On The Importance Of Tits And Dragons


Ian McShane is a master of his craft. I don’t know if I’d call him a genius because that label sometimes discounts the many hours of disciplined work and practice someone puts into their profession. But Ian McShane is a master. Just watch any episode of Deadwood for evidence. But the 73 year old actor has an incredible resume of achievements from “Dallas” to “Pirates Of The Caribbean” to his famous series “Lovejoy.” If I ever have the privilege of meeting him I would shake his hand in Congratulations on a stellar career.

Recently, Mr. McShane has raised the ire of many genre fans for giving away spoilers for his appearance on “Game Of Thrones.” He gave a response in the Telegraph which said, “You say the slightest thing and the internet goes ape…I was accused of giving the plot away, but I just think get a fucking life. It’s only tits and dragons.”

Here’s the original Telegraph article:


I encourage you to read the entire article because there’s a lot more than just the “tits and dragons” line that made the headline.

And before you get excited, this isn’t a complete rebuke of Ian McShane’s comments. He’s done more than enough in this business to be entitled to whatever opinion he has. Besides, interview quotes are tricky. Was he just joking? Was he rolling his eyes at internet outrage? The quality of “Game Of Thrones” is pretty much undisputed so I’m sure he’d have some very glowing things to say about the script and experience. Of course, the internet being the internet, that’s harder to find than the mean comments.

But he does bring up some interesting points about internet outrage, spoilers and the genre experience.

Ian McShane cannot be more correct when he says “You say the slightest thing and the internet goes ape.” One just has to look at the ongoing feuds between many Bernie Sanders supporters and many Hillary Clinton supporters to know that’s true. Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders are putting an exemplary debate exchanging ideas in the political discourse. Some of their surrogates, however, are shouting at each other on talk shows and across social media. (Following the example of those they profess to love is some advice that wouldn’t go amiss.)

As I have explored in these pages, the keyboard can be a sword bringing bravery to many a troll. The black and white image of one quote taken out of context can instill an extreme judgement of “HOW COULD THEY?!?!” when in fact there was much more to the story.

I ain’t mad at McShane’s comments because every once in a while (or maybe every day) internet outrage really does need to be told to chill the fuck out. Judgments shouldn’t be made on one out of context quote, but by meticulously researching all aspects of a story. And I say this from no high horse. This all has to be learned the hard way. (“Well, OF COURSE, Iraq has weapons of mass destruction,” said I in 2003. We all can be very wrong about who we believe in.)

I was blocked on twitter not that long ago by a fellow Democrat who was losing her mind about Bernie Sanders ATTACKING Barack Obama. Mr. Sanders wasn’t in fact attacking Obama, but just pointing out how his policies differed from the President’s. In a very reasonable manner. It’s also reasonable to guess President Obama wasn’t mad at Senator Sanders comments. Disagreements happen all the time in politics but the mere suggestion that Bernie Sanders wasn’t the enemy lead to a barrage of rage from this person toward myself and several other people. I’m a loyal and proud voter of Barack Obama but I apparently betrayed the cause by not being mad enough at Bernie Sanders it seems.

(I’ve received the same rage by the way from some Bernie supporters for not loving him so much. There is no political bent that is immune to the pitchfork mentality of mob outrage.)

There’s also the matter of spoilers. In this day and age, they’re getting harder and harder to avoid, but as I’ve mentioned before, apps like this can be a lifesaver:


Typing in Game Of Thrones into that app might have kept fans safe from the secret being spilled. It’s impossible to ask the whole world to be quiet about spoilers but there are earmuffs out there that we can wear.

But then there’s the matter of dismissing the genre. In all honesty, I don’t think that’s what Ian McShane meant to do. However, for a great number of years, many us who lurked in Comic Book shops have had to deal with our passions being dismissed with an easy wave of the hand. The explosion of genre programming today shows that those passions weren’t just passing phases and they should not have been so easily dismissed.

Recently, even I was gobsmacked by the amount of attention the new “Captain America: Civil War” trailer got. I don’t mean the buzz but I mean voluminous articles breaking down every shot. Spider-Man’s uniform being combed over. New theories about the plot were written in great detail. People went nuts over this trailer. Google it if you don’t believe me.

Why in the hell would anyone spend so much time and energy over a single few minute long trailer?

The answer is quite simple: It’s important to them.

VERY important to them.

Some scoff and say that Comic books, sci-fi and escapist entertainment is nowhere near as important as serious drama. Perhaps not. That is the endless debate between critics and fans.

Then of course some say that people shouldn’t get so emotionally invested in these kind of genre things. It’s not as important as cancer, domestic violence, rape, abuse and all the other horrors of the world that need fixing. “Why don’t people spend more time worrying about that than the new Godzilla movie?” some will ask with furrowed brows of disappointment.

Those furrowed brows are missing a very key point. Cancer, domestic violence, rape, abuse and all the other horrors of the world are WHY genre is so important. The words nerd and geek have now become affectionate labels for those of us who spend time watching the TARDIS materialize or dress in Starfleet uniforms. It’s easy to forget that the words nerd and geek used to be (and maybe still are) some of the worst names you could be called on the playground. Bullies earned their stripes by inflicting as much torment on the geeks at school and as far as dating went? Forget it.

The “It Gets Better Campaign” reminds us these trends are still there despite the mainstream money-machine that genre has become. So when school is a place of abject terror, when home is a hell of domestic violence, when the steel grip of depression keeps you clawed down, it’s hard to know where to turn.

Many people find not just solace and comfort, but pure bliss in the pages of a fantasy novel, the images of comic book or the wild adventures found in deep space. That faraway land isn’t just mindless escapism but where our troubled minds can escape the painful, chaotic asshole that is real life and find some kind of peace.

And that is the one place I would respectfully disagree with the estimable Mr. McShane. Many of the people who are so invested in shows like Game Of Thrones ARE in fact getting themselves a life.

Yup. Genre entertainment can be damn silly. The sets sometimes wobble and the acting can reach over the top proportions.

Yup. Genre entertainment can take itself way too seriously. Fandom can overreact to the slightest changes in canon and should sometimes take a step back a bit. (I still for the life of me do not get the rage at Goyer & Mazin’s She-Hulk jokes. Google that if you don’t believe me or maybe don’t.)

The world is unfair. The world is filled with tragedy that can strike at any second. The world hurts. Genre, escapism and entertainment, I put it to you dear reader is not just spaceships and superheroes. It is medicine for those hurts.

People often ask me if I’m ashamed of the work I did in Reality TV. “Are you kidding?” is usually my reply. I spent more than a decade laboring to entertainment millions upon millions of people. Even some of the small shows I worked in got around 700,000 viewers. That’s a SHIT TON of people when you think about it. If the show I was working on was a way for those folks to unwind, relax from their day and deal with whatever they were stressing out about, I’m not only not ashamed of the show – I am HONORED to have been a part of it.

Yup. Genre entertainment IS people’s lives. And it will always be of vital importance as long as there are hurts that people need healed.

And besides, the description of “Tits and Dragons” I daresay would attract a great number of viewers. I mean, come on, a show about tits and dragons – how can you go wrong?


The Handsome Timmy D Express is proud to be a part of:

The Dan & Travis Show Podcast: An Awesome Thing



The Chronic Rift: A series of podcasts that attempt to “find the culture in pop culture.”



Halloween Special: An Interview With Rick Dominicus

All Hallow’s Eve is upon us soon and if you’re like me, you want to watch, rewatch or discover some horror movies this week.  To that end, I’m very excited that Rick Dominicus sat down with me this week to discuss that very subject. Rick’s been working in Hollywood for over 14 years now as a librarian, archivist and assistant editor for hit shows like “WWE Legends House,” “The League” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” An assistant editor does not get the editor their coffee and dry cleaning. The job of an AE is actually managing and organizing enormous volumes digital media making it efficiently accessible.

photo_07 388168_863557896249_1321316686_n  inside-2007-movies-it-takes-a-lady-to-love-a-list-of-the-best-female-centric-horror-films

When he’s not making editors lives easy, Rick is making his own life and his friends’ life easier with a vast collection of movies from all over the world. Rick puts the word “cinephile” to shame and he kindly took time from his hectic workload on the reality show staple “Shark Tank” to give us a detailed guide on both iconic and hidden gem horror movies. Films from Europe, the far east and from various generations are discussed. And in the end, we transition from horror to horrifying as we delve into movies that challenge the bravest viewers from whatever time of year. A great listen for anyone looking to discover movies off the beaten paths:

You can find  Rick on Twitter here:


For more on Rob Zombie’s Directors Cut for Halloween II:


For more on the films of Ti West:


For more on the films of The Soska Sisters:


I Saw The Devil Trailer:


Night Of The Creeps Trailer:


The Exorcist Trailer:


The Handsome Timmy D Express is proud to be a part of:

The Dan & Travis Show Podcast: An Awesome Thing



The Chronic Rift: A series of podcasts that attempt to “find the culture in pop culture.”



Dead Squad: An Interview With Stephen Scaia

On episode 16 of the Express, I finally welcome one of my oldest and closest friends, writer Stephen Scaia. Along with his writing partner Matthew Federman, you’ve seen Stephen’s writing and producing credits in the shows “Judging Amy”, “Jericho”, “Warehouse 13” and “Human Target.” He’s also co-written the feature-film adaptations of “Y: the Last Man” and “Ghost Recon” coming soon a to a theatre near you. These guys know how to tackle big set-piece action stories without forgetting about the core of what makes those stories great – the characters.

Steve Solo

Stephen offers a unique perspective in this interview as he and Matthew recently adapted the graphic novel “Pax Romana” and this month released their “Dead Squad”, their own original comic book. “Dead Squad” is a part-action, part-horror, all-existential story about a group of soldiers who are surprised to find themselves alive after being killed on a mission. Stephen tells us the different challenges between adapting existing material and creating something completely new across different mediums. We also get into some character analysis for some of your favorite movies which offers great insight on how to get to the root of the characters you’re writing.

Pax_Romana_01      Dead_Squad_Preview_Page_1

Stephen has been a great friend and guide to me as a writer. You’ll find out why in this interview which offers great advice for aspiring writers but also some practical nuts-and-bolts reminders for seasoned vets. And it’s Austin Film Festival week so of course we touch on that as well. Enjoy…

For more on Dead Squad:


Here’s another interview with Stephen along with his writing partner Matthew Federman


For more great insights from Stephen, check out his twitter:


The Handsome Timmy D Express is proud to be a part of:

The Dan & Travis Show Podcast: An Awesome Thing



The Chronic Rift: A series of podcasts that attempt to “find the culture in pop culture.”



Doctor Of The Dead: An Interview With Dr. Arnold T Blumberg

I’ll be posting a written blog tomorrow but I’m delighted to be posting my third interview in a row. This is a real informative interview with a gentleman who wears many hats. Dr. Arnold T Blumberg is a college professor, a writer, a podcaster and a publisher. Arnold’s expertise lies within the genres of horror, science fiction and comic books. You may have seen Arnold on nationwide news shows and documentaries as his expertise in all things zombies is often sought out in the media. In fact, he’s such as an expert, he teaches very popular college courses on zombies and comic books amongst other pop culture subjects. Though as you’ll hear, those classes are not pop culture trivia cake walks. Arnold instructs people on how not to be passive viewers and to understand the themes of the media they enjoy.

Arnold T Blumberg

Arnold is an experienced podcasting host of not one, not two but three different podcasts exploring many aspects of pop culture. It’s fairer to say that Arnold was my co-host this week not my guest. Here, he gives a fascinating overview of zombie mythology in the context of American history as well as the universality of comic book stories and of course, we talk about Doctor Who. I’m happy to say I learned a lot about these topics and I hope you will as well.  Enjoy:

For more of Arnold’s podcasting adventures, you can find him below:

The G2V Podcast:


G2V YouTube Channel:


Doctor Of The Dead Homepage


Who’s Talking Homepage

Arnold on twitter:


I’d post to Zombiemania – but a new edition is coming soon so we’re gonna plug it then.

The Handsome Timmy D Express is proud to be a part of:

The Dan & Travis Show Podcast: An Awesome Thing



The Chronic Rift: A series of podcasts that attempt to “find the culture in pop culture.”