Death of the Critic


"Grimdark" Storytelling

Written by: Tom Blaich


There is a widespread hate for the oft-maligned "gritty reboot" of a beloved franchise, where a director takes a well-established (and often not dark) property and propels it into a much more "realistic" world, which usually means a greyscale color palette, an actor with a five o'clock shadow, and a love of the word "fuck". Sometimes these can work out for a property, and the new direction can be a refreshing take on a familiar formula. The problem comes in with so-called "grimdark" storytelling, where the point of the story stops being the characters and becomes about how "dark" or "edgy" it can be.

Spend any significant amount of time reading fanfiction (which no one should ever do), and it is a trope that you'll become intimately familiar with> For many writers, they don't know how to make a story more mature, and as such they conflate maturity with severity, and fill their stories full of rape, torture, and gruesome murder because "it happens in the real world all the time."

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The Hero's Journey

Written by: Tom Blaich

We try to give our audience as strong of a background in the themes and ideas that we talk about in our essays. As we look at media of all types, we can see so many common themes that run through our canon, our comprehensive body of work. The more media that you start to consume, the more common threads that you will begin to notice. Perhaps the most common is that of the "Hero's Journey". In essence, the Hero's Journey is a quest that a main character goes through to undergo some kind of personal growth. Harboring deep ties to Arthurian legend, you can see the same set of plot points and character archetypes instilled in so many of the stories that we tell.

You have your main character. Maybe they are a noble knight, or a chosen warrior, or some kid who doesn't quite know their place in the world. They have a specific goal: conquering a dungeon, defeating a dragon, or just talking to a pretty girl in gym class. All along the way they are faced with challenges that stimulate the growth of the character not only in strength of body, but also of character. It is the classic coming of age tale that is told in so many ways by so many different people. Read More…