Soapbox: Sympathising With Severus – Why All Harry Potter Fans Should Have A Soft Spot For Snape

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Admittedly, beneath his prickly exterior is an equally prickly interior…

Harry Potter author JK Rowling recently kicked-off the kind of fierce debate only the internet can facilitate, when – as part of her tradition of apologising for the death of character killed during the Battle of Hogwarts – she tweeted that she was sorry for killing off Professor Severus Snape.

Despite Rowling’s pleas for fans not to argue over the tweet (which was about as ambitious as a Muggle trying to cast a spell, really), battle lines were drawn almost immediately.

On one side were those Potterheads who have forgiven the notoriously unpleasant Potions Master thanks to his posthumously revealed acts of heroism, and on the other were those who still can’t look past what a jerk he was to Harry and his classmates.

To be honest, I’ve never really understood why the issue of Snape’s redemption always seems to become such a talking point, let alone such a huge bone of contention. To me, not only is Snape one of the most fascinating characters in the Harry Potter series, he’s also – glaring personality flaws included – one of the most heroic.

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Soapbox: Sympathising With Severus – Why All Harry Potter Fans Should Have A Soft Spot For Snape

Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

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This flick has roughly 989 million more colours than the average modern blockbuster movie…

A lot has been written about what a surprise hit Guardians of the Galaxy was when it landed back in 2014, but it bears repeating: Marvel Studios really did accomplish the unthinkable in making a big budget film about an obscure superhero team – which including talking raccoons and trees, no less! – into one of the most critically and commercially successful blockbusters of that year.

Fast forward three years and the inevitable follow-up, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, has finally arrived to considerable anticipation. In promoting the film, returning director James Gunn promised fans something different, but in reality, this second go-round doesn’t really diverge too much from the formula laid down by its predecessor.

But then, when that formula produces such fun end results, does anyone really care if Vol.2 simply offers more of the same?

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Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Easel Update: May 2017

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I wish I could say this was a self-portrait…

Another month, another Easel Update – this time centred around studies of the human figure.

Whilst readers of The Studio’s Instagram account will be aware that there were also several other sketches done over the last couple of months (predominantly still life drawings), I’ve chosen to focus the May Update on figure work for several reasons.

The first is that this material shows a strong sense of progress, both from similar work shared in the February post, as well as between the individual pieces featured this time around.

The second – and most important – reason is that with this phase of my artistic development behind me, it really does feel like we’ve reached the end of the beginning, and that far more exciting artwork is now just over the horizon!

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Noticeboard: May 2017

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I think I speak for everyone when I say that it’s good to see these guys again

There’s an energetic, springtime vibe permeating The Pop Culture Studio this month, and you’ll see that in several posts, particularly the latest Easel Update, which will provide a round-up of the latest artistic scribblings by yours truly.

This upbeat vibe will also extend to the latest Review, which will take a look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, and offers up a verdict on whether or not it’s as much fun as Marvel Studios’ original surprise smash hit.

You can also check out the newest Live From The Pop Culture Studio video – a primer on Starz’s big budget TV epic, American Gods – along with plenty of other pop culture-fuelled ramblings, before we say goodbye to May for yet another year!

Noticeboard: May 2017

Live From The Pop Culture Studio: Everything You Need To Know About American Gods

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Mr. Wednesday and Shadow both regretted the decision to fly coach

American Gods – Starz latest big budget TV series – arrives on our screens this weekend.

While fans of the Neil Gaiman novel on which the series is based will already be up to speed with what to expect, others might be a little less certain.

Never fear though – this month’s Live From The Pop Culture Studio video covers everything newcomers need to know about American Gods!

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Soapbox: An Adventure In Space And Time…In Heels! Why The Next Doctor MUST Be A Woman

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The Doctor thought long and hard about what life as a woman might be like…

Doctor Who Series 10 is now well under way, and yet rather than focussing on the mystery at the heart of this newest story arc – and seriously, what is the Doctor guarding in that vault? – many fans seem more fixated on who will take over from current series lead Peter Capaldi when he departs the show in December.

As even the most casual Doctor Who fan will already know, one of the key conceits of the show is that our hero is a Time Lord, an alien capable of “regenerating” after sustaining a mortal injury – a convenient plot device that allows a new actor to take on the role of the Doctor when the current star decides they want to call it quits.

With Capaldi and showrunner Steven Moffat set exit when the credits roll on the 2017 Christmas Special, there has been a huge amount of speculation – and, inevitably, equal amounts of excitement and outrage – at the prospect that incoming series mastermind Chris Chibnall will make history by casting the first ever female Doctor.

Whilst a recent statement by the BBC seems to have dashed these hopes, plans for Series 11 of Doctor Who are far from set in stone, and there is still a slim chance that a woman may yet be given the keys to the Doctor’s time travelling TARDIS.

Read on to learn why a female Doctor MUST happen – for the good of the Doctor Who franchise and its fans – and for a few thoughts on which actress should fill the role!

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Soapbox: An Adventure In Space And Time…In Heels! Why The Next Doctor MUST Be A Woman

Crystal Ball: Visions Of The Force – The Five Biggest Things We Learned From The Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser

So the plan this month really wasn’t to feature TWO Star Wars posts (let alone two virtually back to back).

But, as I lack Jedi clairvoyance, I wasn’t able to foresee the arrival of the Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi teaser trailer earlier this week, and thus realise that my intended next post would soon be headed the way of the Death Star.

Still, what you lose in variety, we all gain in excitement – because The Last Jedi teaser is exciting. VERY exciting.

This first sneak peek at director Rian Johnson’s new adventure offers fleeting, tantalising glimpses of Leia, Finn, the Millennium Falcon and at least one breathtakingly epic space battle, all of which are enough to give fans genuine goosebumps of anticipation.

Even so, these brief moments – whilst undeniably cool – are virtually nothing compared to what else is on show, which is why I’ve pulled together this rundown of the biggest talking points across the galaxy (or at least, the internet) surrounding the teaser, and what they might mean when The Last Jedi hits cinemas this December!

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Crystal Ball: Visions Of The Force – The Five Biggest Things We Learned From The Star Wars: The Last Jedi Teaser