TV Features

Before Its Time: Jessica Alba and Jensen Ackles in James Cameron's "Dark Angel"

Once upon a time in 2000, "Transgenics" (genetically enhanced humans) were violently attacked by the public, stripped of rights by the government, and shamed into hiding in plain sight. Sound familiar?

Jessica Alba

By Joe Seer (Shutterstock)

Back in 2000, Jessica Alba, Jensen Ackles, and Michael Weatherly starred in a James Cameron-helmed TV series about a dystopian cyberpunk future.

Yes, you heard that right. Chuck D of Public Enemy even composed the theme song with the group's producer, Gary G-Wiz, and Cameron later praised the production as "the best experience [he] had working with other writers." And yet, few people have ever heard of the series, so what happened?

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Photo by Possessed Photography (Unsplash)

In the world of design, there are two ideals that must be balanced: form and function.

They rest at opposite poles of a spectrum, and a designer's vision must find a compromise between them.

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20th Century Fox

The 4th of July means you'll probably get plenty of time to watch movies about aliens.

Why aliens? Because it's Independence Day, silly: the day our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, freeing the thirteen American colonies from British rule. As a nation of immigrants, one could argue that we're all aliens on this special day. So without further ado, here are the top five Alien movies to watch on Independence Day (*wink wink*).

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Amidst the loud colors, fanciful outfits, and poppy beats of your average K-POP boy group music video, the most foreign element to an average Western viewer likely has nothing to do with the pageantry. Rather, it's the fact that the boy band members frequently touch one another.

Take the music video for BTS's "Boy With Luv" featuring Halsey, for example:

BTS (방탄소년단) '작은 것들을 위한 시 (Boy With Luv) feat. Halsey' Official

All the members of BTS sit on a couch together, with one member's arm draped around another. Their relationship isn't portrayed as sexual or romantic. They're just really close friends. In Japan and South Korea, this act of intimate, platonic touching is called "skinship." And it's viewed as totally normal between straight male friends.

Human beings crave physical touch, and a lack of touch, or "skin hunger" as some psychologists call it, can result in negative psychological effects similar to depression. But in Western culture, straight men platonically touching other straight men is stigmatized. Two women can hold hands or cuddle without any fear of presumptions that they're sexually intimate with one another, but for male friends, this isn't the case.

The same is true for emotional intimacy. In spite of what many believe, men crave emotional intimacy just as much as women do. At the same time, men are socialized to be stoic and emotionally unavailable, especially around other men. As a result, men struggle to make and maintain friendships compared to women, which can lead to intense loneliness, especially later in life.

Unfortunately, Western media offers lackluster representations of male friendship, oftentimes relegating anything deeper than surface-level bromance to the realms of goofball comedy or "gay panic" humor. Movies like I Love You, Man and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry turn male friendship into a source of laughter rather than a genuine connection between two people who care about one another. Even Scrubs turned the close friendship between J.D. and Turk into a jokey musical number, rife with homoerotic innuendo.

Surprisingly, the best representation of a healthy male bromance to-date was in the 2007 high school comedy Superbad. Amidst all the stupid dick jokes, the relationship between Jonah Hill's Seth and Michael Cera's Evan feels as real as any rock solid high school friendship––the kind men tend to miss and yearn for as they age.

While Superbad's plot revolves around two high school losers' quest to get laid before going to college, the movie also possesses a solid emotional core regarding fears of growing up and moving on in life. Arguably,one of the best male friendship scenes in any movie comes near the end of Superbad when, after a big fight, Seth and Evan reconcile during a sleepover. The two talk openly about their fears regarding college and losing touch and verbally express their platonic love for one another. It's a sweet, honest scene, funny but not played for laughs.

I Love You, Man - Superbad (7/8) Movie CLIP (2007)

"I love you. It's like why don't we say that every day, why can't we say it more often?" says Evan.

"I just love you, I just want to go on the rooftop and scream 'I love my best friend Evan,'" replies Seth.

They're right. Why shouldn't male friends be more intimate with one another? Why are two men platonically showing affection for one another seen as socially inappropriate?

For whatever reason, the stigma gets pushed constantly. Worst of all, those pushing it are often well-meaning. In this misguided Telegraph article on "The 12 Rules of Male Friendship," the author lists rules like "3. Never openly verbalize that you value the friendship," and "7. Indirection can be intimate." It's hard to understand why these rules should have to apply to male friendships, especially when studies make it so clear that men feel otherwise and are capable of intimacy.

Similarly, fandom and shipping communities tend to imbue their favorite straight male friendships in fiction with sexual connotations, which may be fun but also further stigmatizes genuine emotional connection between male friends. A great example of this can be found in the Sherlock fandom's "Johnlock" conspiracy, which posits that Sherlock and John are actually written as gay characters in the BBC show, despite the creators' statements to the contrary. In fact, some writers even argue that it doesn't even matter what the actors behind the characters think about their own characters' relationships and motivations.

Even puppets aren't immune. Sesame Street pals Ernie and Bert have long been the subject of the "are they friends or lovers?" debate, which seems like a strange take in a series where nobody seems to have sexual or romantic motivation in the first place. Which begs the question: Why can't two guys just be very close friends? Why do we let society stop men from openly expressing friendships in healthy ways? Why shouldn't we cuddle with our bros?


Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Be Back in "Terminator: Dark Fate"

Find out who else will "BE BACK" in the new "Terminator: Dark Fate" trailer.

The first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate is a real bombshell for fans of the classic sci-fi franchise.

It's been a bumpy road for Terminator fans. The James Cameron-created cyberpunk series started off incredibly strong with The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), which was a rare example of a sequel outshining the original. Both movies were written and directed by Cameron. His lack of involvement in subsequent Terminator projects led to a noticeable drop in quality, with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2004) turning out just okay and Terminator Salvation (2009) and Terminator Genisys (2015) both being laughably bad.

But now, James Cameron is back for the latest installment of the franchise, both producing and helping to craft the story, along with Tim Miller (Deadpool) in the director's chair. And best of all, Terminator: Dark Fate will be a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day, meaning that all the subpar sequels no longer matter.

The plots of the original two films follow Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), a normal '80s gal who finds herself the target of an unstoppable, self-regenerating killing machine from the future––The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). As it turns out, The Terminator was sent back in time by Skynet, an AI network hellbent on destroying humanity, to wipe out the leader of humanity's last resistance––John Connor, Sarah's not-even-conceived son. Well, The Terminator inevitably fails, and Sarah Connor becomes a warrior in her own right, giving birth to John and attempting to turn the tables on Skynet by destroying the AI technology before it can ever be fully realized. She also befriends a reprogrammed original model (T-800) Terminator, meaning Arnold got to play a good guy in the sequel.

Dark Fate picks up more than two decades after the end of Judgment Day. A young woman named Dani Ramos is being hunted by an even newer model of Terminator. Luckily for her, Sarah Connor returns, now a grizzled middle-aged badass with heavy firepower. Along with the help of good guy T-800 Schwarzenegger, Sarah protects (and probably trains) Dani.

Considering how great the original two films were, and the fact that James Cameron, Linda Hamilton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are all returning, Terminator: Dark Fate might just be worth getting your hopes up.

Make sure to catch Terminator: Dark Fate in theaters November 1st, 2019.

Film Reviews

"Alita: Battle Angel" Meets All the Hype and Is Worth Your Money

Deadly mercenaries, David-and-Goliath robot fights, and a bit of romance—what more could you want from a big-budget sci-fi movie?

Alita: Battle Angel | Official Trailer – Battle Ready [HD] | 20th Century FOX

No one knew anything about Alita: Battle Angel when the teaser first dropped in late 2017, but this is apparently a project James Cameron has been planning since as early as 2000. Was it worth the wait?

Answer: heck yes.

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