In this issue: The Found Footage and Detective genres are discussed, and we answer a comic book store etiquette question.


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    • I definitely recommend Sherlock just on its execution and the joy of saying “Benedict Cumberbatch” when talking about the series… but, I think technology borders on the magical MacGuffin more than a few times in the series. Moriarty’s one button hacking, for example.

      That said, it doesn’t get in the way per se… we still get something that fulfills the spirit of a Holmes detective story in nearly every regard and the advance of technology doesn’t detract from that.

  1. The latest Aw Yeah Podcast talked about the unreality of reality shows too. Bizarrely I listened to that one right after this podcast, despite the fact it came out a while ago. I just hadn’t gotten around to it, but it fit in really well.

  2. re: Twilight Zone and Technology…

    There’s a short British speculative fiction series called “Black Mirror” that fans of the Twilight Zone might want to check out. It’s a dark “What If?” extrapolating on present day technological trends, consumption, etc.

  3. Similar to the Found Footage genre are Mockumentaries, which suffer from many of the same issues. Cameras catching angles not really possible given the conceits of the genre, ‘convenient’ camera placement and timing, etc. Both genres can really only work if the creators are very careful to not ‘break’ their format (found footage/documentary) too much, drifting into traditional film narratives and techniques.

    Improvisational storytelling such as Blair Witch and Spinal Tap probably work better than more scripted approaches like what was described for Chronicle (I haven’t seen it) in the found footage realm, and Drop Dead Gorgeous in the mockumentary realm.

  4. Concerning stories having to change due to technology (Rockford Files, Nancy Drew etc) I’ve found the same thing with D&D campaigns/stories that I’ve written in the past. I’ve played rpg’s for a while now and have seen ‘power creep’, over the several new iterations change how I tell D&D stories. This got really bad towards the end of 2nd edition with all of the add-on rules that was bolted onto the game and to a smaller degree with 3.x too. With all of the new spells/powers/weapons etc you couldn’t write the basic story of ‘orc and pie’ without someone pulling out the latest rulebook saying (in my best ‘I have the original issues’ voice) ‘ummm…I believe I have a spell/skill/power for that’. It kinda comes down to as the world evolves, so must our story-telling.

  5. I posted something in the forums regarding my dislike of how the original Swedish adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo just because of the “magic hacker” maguffin. In the book, more than half the book is devoted to a pretty realistic search for a person that is found in the movie in almost a single scene by the titular character in her hacking things using hackery skills for hacking, as hackers do.

    Most of the hacking descriptions in the book are actually done pretty realistically. Not so in those movies.

  6. I can’t tout this series as an example of great detective stories, but I love Supernatural on the CW. The show often involves scenes where the principal characters have to research the beastie of the week. Sometimes this is done via internet, but often the Internet will not give them what they want, and they have to go to a library, read ancient texts, or look at notes their father or a previous hunter made in a hand-scribbled notebook about their encounters with creatures of that type. One character in particular, Bobby, a mentor/father-figure to the two male leads of the show, has even been known to deride or ridicule them for not doing ‘real research’ sooner. As for the cell phone issue, yeah, the boys have cell phones, but a frequent plot point is that one has found something important in their research and tries to contact and inform/warn the other, but can’t, not because the battery is dead or there is no service, but because they are at that time in the middle of getting their ass kicked. The issues with modern technology have really been brought to the forefront as the main baddy of the current season, a Leviathan creature possessing the body (or replacing, I’m hazy) of a powerful public figure by the name of Richard Rohman, has, using his resources, tracked the boys via their credit cards, phones, etc., and forced them into hideouts more spartan than they’d been accustomed, and simultaneously limiting their actions. It’s a series I’ve always loved, and I’d like to see someone on the Major Spoilers crew give it a fair shake. It can’t help that it’s on the CW, after all.

  7. Completely agree with prior posts recommending Sherlock and Supernatural. But for a great pure detective story that blends technology seamlessly, I have two words: Veronica Mars. She had a smart phone, but more importantly, she had smart writing. I think the initial pitch for the show was “Raymond Chandler in high school.” They certainly got it right, but don’t let the high school stuff fool you, the show’s first season is dark and brilliant, the second is less so but still fantastic, and in it’s third season, they were just trying to stay on the air and it was still better than 99% of what was on at the time (2004-2007). Another great “modern” detective story – “Brick” with Joseph Gordon Levitt. Another moody, noirish story (set in a high school) that has all of the modern accoutrements but doesn’t use them to cheat. Would LOVE to hear you guys dissect Veronica Mars and more modern detective tales like Veronica Mars and classics like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler!

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