Monthly Archives: July 2011

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Mass Effect”

Dear Frank,

As you know, every once in a while I reach out on Facebook and Twitter to ask people what they think you need to know about, because as a great philosopher once wrote, “true enlightenment comes from complete submersion into the unknown.” Okay, that great philosopher was me pulling some words out of my ass just now, but the concept is sound, right?

Anyways, a friendly fellow by the name of Woody Tondorf suggested that you needed to know about the video game series Mass Effect, which is a video game I have heard a lot about, but have never played, because as previously mentioned, my gaming abilities are pretty sub-par. However, I knew of someone who had played it: Kate Cox, of the video game criticism blog Your Critic is in Another Castle. Not only is the name of her blog AWESOME and her analysis of the video game industry from a feminist/media perspective very smart, but we went to summer camp together. Which makes her a most trusted expert.

So this week it’s less Liz Tells Frank and more Kate Tells Liz What to Tell Frank. But to be honest about it and show my work, below please find the chat conversation in which Kate reveals the first Mass Effect‘s secrets, I ask a lot of stupid questions, and we learn how complicated sexytimes in space can be. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Sweet Valley High”

Dear Frank,

It only took about thirty years, but I think the young ladies of today have stopped reading Sweet Valley books. To which I say — oh, THANK GOD.

See, Frank, when I told you what happened in Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, I mentioned that I was giving you one of the true secrets to understanding women. Sweet Valley High is another one. It’s not because it has any real insight into the reality of being a teenage girl — Buffy the Vampire Slayer offers a more realistic portrayal of high school life — but the genius of Sweet Valley is that it had nothing to do with reality. instead, it preyed on the deepest insecurities of young ladies, simultaneously coming off as aspirational and soul damaging. Reading these books could fuck you up for life. Let me explain how. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In the 1996 “Doctor Who” Back Door Pilot

Dear Frank,

As you may be aware, the history of Britain’s classic science fiction series Doctor Who is epic — we’re talking about a show that premiered the day after Kennedy was assassinated and is still on the air. But the show hasn’t been running non-stop since 1963; between the “classic” Who years and the Russell T. Davies relaunch, the franchise experienced a fallow period. A very long fallow period. During which some truly crazy shit happened.

See, in between the show’s initial cancellation in 1989 and the recent reboot, the Fox Broadcasting Company got the idea that maybe Doctor Whowould work for American audiences. This was the year 1996, at which time Fox had established a proud tradition of airing crazy sci-fi shows, including The X-Files, Strange Luck, M.A.N.T.I.S. and VR.5, so the idea of them picking up Who isn’t as bizarre as one might think.

Hedging its bets, Fox pulled a pretty common network move, commissioning a back door pilot to be shot in Canada (another proud ’90s Fox tradition!) and starring a new (younger and presumably hotter) Doctor — if it worked, then Fox would continue the series, and if it didn’t work, all that would happen is an embarrassing memory for all involved. (GUESS WHICH ONE HAPPENED GUESS!!!!) Read the rest of this entry

“Doctor Who” 2005-2009: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

Hey, want to catch up on the entire series to date? “Doctor Who”: 2005-2013 can be found in “Liz Tells Frank: The Skip It/Watch It Guides,” now available on Amazon!

So I’ve been a Doctor Who fan for years now, and one nice thing about sticking with it for so long has been seeing more and more Americans get on board with the show — especially over the last year or two, thanks to a big push by BBC America and a high-profile change in star and showrunner.

Like most established series, though, Doctor Who can be intimidating to new fans worried about having a lot to catch up on — a fair concern, given that the show officially premiered in 1963. (That is a long time ago!)

So in 2005 the show was relaunched with a new take on the tale of a man with a magic box that travels through space and time, a new take that would allow new viewers to jump in without needing to be aware of decades of back story. But now 2005 is also a long time ago! And new Doctor Who fans who want to limit their consumption to the modern era still have some catching up to do. Hence, the below (by reader request). Read the rest of this entry

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