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Editorial

Personal opinions and commentary.

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The Rise and Fall of Canuxploitation

In 1967, after members of the Canadian film industry lobbied to expand funding of homegrown filmmaking, the government of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson approved $10 million CAD for the funding and creation of the Canadian Film Development Commission (CFDC). In 1968, offices opened in Toronto and Montreal, and the CDFC offered a 100% tax incentive for new films made in the country—Canadian filmmaking was ready to chart a new course.

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How Fandoms Fail Black Protagonists

I’ve been in and out of fan spaces for movies, books, and TV shows since I was in high school. I love fandoms because of the a shared sense of community and creativity that enhances the enjoyment of any story, and I’ve also met many wonderful people in these spaces. Unfortunately, over the years I’ve noticed that all fandoms I’ve been in also have one negative thing in common—an unacknowledged undercurrent of racism.

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How Nickelodeon’s Doug Helped Anxious Kids Cope

Editor’s Note: NickSplat is now available on VRV! It includes Nickelodeon content from the 1990’s and beyond, including “AAAHH!!! Real Monsters,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” “CatDog,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” “Doug,” “Kenan & Kel,” “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “The Angry Beavers” and “The Wild Thornberrys,” among others. To celebrate, we’re sharing our childhood experiences with these shows and inviting you to rewatch these classics with us.

Of all of the cartoons I watched as a kid, none left quite so strong an impression on me as Doug.

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Four Nickelodeon Game Show Challenges I Would Totally Have Aced

Editor’s Note: NickSplat is now available on VRV! It includes Nickelodeon content from the 1990’s and beyond, including “AAAHH!!! Real Monsters,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” “CatDog,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” “Doug,” “Kenan & Kel,” “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “The Angry Beavers” and “The Wild Thornberrys,” among others. To celebrate, we’re sharing our childhood experiences with these shows and inviting you to rewatch these classics with us.

As an 80s and 90s kid with cable, I inevitably watched tons of Nickelodeon. In particular, I was a fiend for their game shows: Double Dare to start, and then the 90s onslaught of programs like Guts and Nick Arcade. And if there’s one thing I know about those shows, it’s that I could have done everything on them perfectly.

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A Primer on Defense Against the Demonic Arts

On the list of things that can really put a damper on your day, demons are surely up there. Vomiting, speaking in an extremely deep voice, and being forced to disembowel your friends in a secluded cabin are but a few of the common annoyances a demon can bring into your life. In rare cases, they can even lead to the kissing of Satan’s butthole. To protect yourself from these threats, you must first know your enemy. Which is why I’ve decided to teach this advanced course in demonology.

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I Was a Teenage Gym Leader

I can remember the first time I played a Pokémon game better than I can remember the first time I rode a bike. It was my birthday, and I unwrapped a gift from my best friend to find a copy of Pokémon Blue, the first game—along with Pokémon Red—released in the series in North America.

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The Anime Series That Deconstructs Itself

The key to a successful comedy series lies in establishing circumstances for characters’ antics and misadventures. When a series sets up a reliable framework, new episodes can build upon that identity while still staying fresh with new jokes. This can be seen in all sorts of episodic comedies including gag anime, which typically build their identity around a world ruled by bizarre logic or fantasy elements. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. does just this by shaping an otherwise normal world around its hapless, psychic protagonist.

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Meet the Sherlock Holmes Fan Who Built His Own 221B Baker Street

Fans create amazing things. They collect, they build, and they show their love and appreciation in a beautiful myriad of ways. Whether they have the world’s largest Hatsune Miku figurine collection or are trying to build every Doctor’s TARDIS, fan collections and creations are simply marvelous. A sterling example is Chuck Kovacic’s authentic and historically accurate recreation of Sherlock Holmes’ sitting room at 221B Baker Street.

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Yes I Am Afraid of the Dark, Thanks for Asking

Editor’s Note: NickSplat is now available on VRV! It includes Nickelodeon content from the 1990’s and beyond, including “AAAHH!!! Real Monsters,” “Are You Afraid of the Dark?,” “CatDog,” “Clarissa Explains It All,” “Doug,” “Kenan & Kel,” “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” “Rocko’s Modern Life,” “The Angry Beavers” and “The Wild Thornberrys,” among others. To celebrate, we’re sharing our childhood experiences with these shows and inviting you to rewatch these classics with us.

I was an anxious kid growing up. I worried about improbable scenarios, invisible threats, and even the fates of characters on TV. So when Are You Afraid of the Dark? came on each weekday evening with its spooky opening music, I usually scrambled to shut off the TV or switch to playing The Rocketeer on my Super Nintendo—it was the 90s, you were stuck with what was airing on TV and whatever garbage videogame you asked your parents to get for your birthday based on the cover art.

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How Dragon Ball Super Solves the “Sissy Villain” Problem

Editor’s Note: This article references the Toei dub of Dragon Ball Super.

Growing up, I identified with the villains in stories. Characters like Scar from The Lion King, Envy in Fullmetal Alchemist and Loki within the Marvel Universe were some of my favorites in the media I consumed, and the list only grew longer as I got older.

It was a few years before I realized why I gravitated towards the “pretty”, flamboyant villains who frequently wore purple eyeshadow: I was gay and nonbinary, and these were often the only mirrors I had when consuming media. They were characters I could connect to with ease.

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You Called for Me: Masculine Pain and Isolation in Akira

From Breaking Bad’s arrogant, embittered Walter White to Conan the Barbarian’s titular brute, the masculine urge to dominate is a prevalent narrative force in popular art. How many movies and shows consist more or less solely of men struggling with one another for control over a lover, a kingdom, a company? Katsuhiro Otomo’s legendary 1988 animated sci-fi feature Akira, a brutal film about a futuristic Tokyo gripped by unrest and corruption, a gang of rough-edged young biker punks, and the mysteries surrounding a group of children with terrifying psychic powers, delves deep into this stock element of so much action-driven fiction, probing at the seldom-touched origins of masculine violence with surprising poignancy.

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Goku is the John Cena of Dragon Ball and That’s Fine Actually

When I was a kid, there were few responsibilities I took as seriously as my daily obligation to join Toonami Tom and watch the newest decade-late rerun of Dragon Ball Z. It didn’t matter if I’d seen the episode a million times—the battles fought by Goku, Piccolo, Vegeta, and all their friends against countless colorful foes lit up the dopamine centers of my adolescent brain like a Christmas tree.

I love Dragon Ball Z. I always have, and I always will. But I have a confession to make:

I don’t give a crap about the super powerful, never-give-up, unwaveringly-cheerful main character of the series. I don’t care about Goku.

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Midnight Void: I’m Not Your Wolf Man, Guy

There are films that simply belong to another place—a place reserved for the indefinable, the indefensible, the irredeemable, cinematic slime banished long ago to a dimension that is accessible only in the darkest hours. So leave your humanity behind, embrace the social mutant within, and enter… the Midnight Void.

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The Surprising Origins of One of Sci-Fi’s Scariest Supernatural Threats

In the early 2000s, Stargate was the sci-fi franchise to beat. Star Trek was running both Voyager—generally held to be the weakest series in the franchise—and Deep Space Nine, now a critical hit but representing a vast divergence from The Original Series and The Next Generation. Enter Stargate SG-1, a live-action series based on Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin’s 1994 film Stargate, a tale about an ancient portal allowing for interstellar adventures. SG-1 would go on to run for ten years, accompanied by a line of toys, books, and even Stargate-shaped coasters.

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How YouTube Makes Childrens’ Entertainers Behave Like Machines

In 2018, YouTube is a nightmare. Neon thumbnails and meaningless titles litter the trending videos page, a state far removed from the platform’s humble beginnings in 2005. Ruling over this state like a distant sovereign is the algorithm, a power that prioritizes quantity and view count over quality. At the algorithm’s whims, YouTube’s top creators endlessly churn out videos and sacrifice their sanity.