It’s the black sheep of the fandom family. The distant, embarrassing cousin we don’t talk about at parties. Its name is slash shipping and guess what, it’s time to let it out of the closet and acknowledge its existence.

Something is happening in the Supernatural fandom right now. I won’t fault you for not having heard about it, because except for within select circles (read: Tumblr), no one is talking about it. Because it has to do with slash shipping.

I bet a lot of you just winced when you read those words.

Look, sometimes being a fan is hard. As I have explored in a previous column, society at large has decided that spending all your time watching episodes of Buffy and Star Trek ranks you lower in the social hierarchy than watching college basketball playoffs.

But we prevail and we persist, because we have it on good authority that being a geek is just about to get cool. (Right? That’s still happening? I’ll never give up hope.)

Sadly, fandom isn’t always the big happy family we pretend it is, and like any other subculture, there’s plenty of hating and trolling and flaming and shaming to go around for everyone, both online and off.

Shipping 101

Slash ship Kirk Spock Star Trek

For those not initiated, shipping is the shorthand term used to describe the act of wanting two (usually fictional) characters to get together romantically.

Contrary to popular belief, shipping did not start with Harry Potter and Twilight, but has been around practically since the beginning of literature itself.

Shipping is essentially the reason for the enduring popularity of classic love triangles like Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot (Arthurian legends), Darcy/Elizabeth/Wickham (Pride and Prejudice), Linton/Catherine/Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights), and Rhett/Scarlett/Ashley (Gone With the Wind).

These stories would not work if the readers didn’t care about the romantic outcomes, and as we tend to identify with the main characters of the stories we read, their romantic choices in some cases come to equivocate whether or not we see their ending as a happy one. And we want them to have a happy ending, of course, because they’re us.

Nevertheless, being a shipper is still a tough label to carry, even in fandom circles where your general geekiness has already been accepted. Shippers are often viewed as sex-obsessed, immature, simpering girls who are unable to look past the pretty boys and girls to the “really important” subtext underneath.

It’s all subjective though, and ultimately, “mythology fans” are just as obsessive and geeky as shippers, only in a different way – and who’s to say you can’t be both? Kate’s choice turned out to be as important as the origin of the Smoke Monster, Lost fans, so let’s move on.

The “other” kind of shipping

Slash ship Xena Gabrielle

In this article, I want to talk about slash shipping, and the problematic assumption that it is somehow more shameful than “normal” shipping.

Note the problematic use of the word normal in this context.

“Slash shipping” is a label used to differentiate (for whatever reason it needs to be differentiated) the supporters of male/male or female/female relationships from those whose ships are of the male/female variety.

While of course used to describe the supporters of actual gay fictional relationships – like Kurt/Blaine (Glee) – most of the time, slash shippers read homosexual subtext into the interactions between supposedly straight characters.

See Kirk/Spock (Star Trek), Draco/Harry (Harry Potter), Xena/Gabrielle (Xena), Stiles/Derek (Teen Wolf), Emma/Regina (Once Upon a Time), and Merlin/Arthur (Merlin). Or the millions of other examples that spring to mind.

A common misconception is that the discomfort surrounding slash shipping has to do with homophobia. Sure, this is sometimes the case, but in my experience, the dislike of slash shippers by fandom at large has more to do with the perceived notion that slash shippers equate to 13-year-old girls writing smut fanfiction about what a man and a man (or woman and woman) do when they love each other.

And hey, I’m sure that happens. But no one likes a sweeping generalization. Especially when it causes a group of people to feel bullied, marginalized, and shamed.

Fandom’s dirty little secret

Slash ship Dean Castiel Destiel

What happened this weekend at the Supernatural convention in New Jersey brings up the question of where to draw the line – if a line needs to be drawn at all – between where it is acceptable to talk about slash shipping, and where it isn’t.

There is a wonderful in-depth article by Aja Romano at The Daily Dot which examines the events in great detail, and I highly recommend that you read it for intelligent analysis (but note that, like this on, it is a column article which will express the personal views of the writer).

To summarize what happened: a convention-goer went to the panel with the main stars (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) and began her question: “I love your character becoming more comfortable with himself this season. I’m bisexual and I’ve noticed some possible subtext–”

That was as far as she got before she was cut off, both by the audience groaning and booing, and by the stars’ bodyguard, who stepped in to remove her from the microphone stand. Supposedly because they were assuming she was about to ask a question about “Destiel,” the relationship between Ackles’ character Dean and the angel Castiel (although it later turned out that she actually wasn’t).

A lot of the discussion (to put it nicely) happening on Tumblr right now is talking about whether or not Ackles’ reaction (saying, “Don’t ruin it for everybody now,” though we can’t conclude whether he said it to the girl or the crowd, and therefore shouldn’t make assumptions) was homophobic, but in an article about slash shipping, that is neither here nor there. Ackles’ opinion is irrelevant – or, at least, it should be. Right?

After all, romantic subtext is just one area – and arguably a prevalent one – of Supernatural canon, and while some fans seem to believe that the banning of all shipping questions at conventions (a rumour which later proved false) makes sense, I want to take a moment and ask: why?

Don’t ask, don’t tell

Slash ship Emma Regina Once

What is so horrible about slash shipping, and asking the actors about it? Why should asking Ackles about whether Dean might possibly have feelings for Castiel be more taboo than asking him about Dean/Lisa, or whether he thinks Dean should die at the end of the series, or what his favourite moment filming season 8 was?

For those who claim that they’ve been asked about slash shipping a million times and that it just makes everyone uncomfortable: this might be the case, sure, but these guys do like 20 conventions a year. Do you really think that there is one single question which you could possibly ask them which they haven’t had to answer at least a dozen times before?

The difference seems to be that some fans believe it is harassment to force the actors to confront the possibility that their characters might be homosexual.

I’ll just leave that statement right there.

Of course, no one wants to see the actors harassed. No one wants to see hysterical fans desperately throwing themselves at the cast, demanding that they acknowledge the deep love between X and Y character and/or themselves, because actors are people too and should be treated with respect.

But in this writer’s personal opinion, there’s a difference between harassing, and asking the creators of these characters you love and identify with to acknowledge you and your interpretation – whether that interpretation is about a character’s love of a brother, a friend, or a potential lover of either gender.

Do the actors have to agree with it? No, of course not. They’re actors, they are there to act. They go to conventions to feed the fandom, to make fans feel like they have a personal connection with the show, to give loyal viewers a chance to get up close with the stars and go home with happy memories and memorabilia (for a price).

I’m sure each actor has to deal with a number of questions that make them internally roll their eyes and think, Not this crap again. These fans are crazy! I’m sure a lot of topics make them embarrassed or uncomfortable.

So singling out slash shipping (or shipping in general), when there is so much more that might be awkward for the actors to be confronted with? That is problematic. Whether you’re an actor, a creator, or a fan, I have to question the logic that “slash shipping is cool as long as we don’t talk about it.” Don’t ask, don’t tell? Really, fandom?

Bringing slash shipping out of the closet

Slash ship Merlin Arthur Merthur

This is a debate we should be having. This is something we should be talking about. Especially now, today, when fandom is beginning to become more mainstream and fans are taking their online obsessions out into this elusive place called “the real world” we’ve heard so much about.

Whether or not you believe that slash shipping should be acknowledged or kept hidden like a dirty little secret, that’s your prerogative, but I personally would like to know why.

In my experience, people shout the loudest and they fight the hardest when they have something to fight for. Before jumping to the conclusion that slashers are delusional and militant, think about why they lash out so strongly.

Sometimes, yes, it’s all about the smut and NC-17 fanfiction. But sometimes, it’s not about the ship at all, but about what that relationship stands for. Acceptance by the writers that homosexual relationships are worth writing about and exploring. Acknowledgment that the love the shippers see is real, that the type of love they see is real.

We all know that shipping can get crazy, but can’t fandom in general get crazy? Can’t the world get crazy? Hell, football fans have riots, people die. This doesn’t happen in online fan communities.

But sometimes, people get hurt. Sometimes, a girl is booed off the stage for announcing that she is bisexual – for daring to bring the topic of Dean’s sexuality up in front of the stars.

And whether or not the audience members were booing her or the question, the conclusion we can draw from this is clear: slash shipping isn’t something we’re supposed to be talking about. But maybe we should be.

The 2017 Grammy nominations have arrived, and Beyoncé leads the industry with a total of 9 nods.

Coming in close second are Drake, Rihanna, and Kanye West each with eight nods, while Chance the Rapper comes in third with seven.

The 2017 Grammy Awards will be hosted by Carpool Karaoke genius James Corden on Sunday, February 12. “I am truly honored to be hosting the Grammys next year,” said Corden when the news was announced. “It’s the biggest, most prestigious award show in music and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of such an incredible night.”

Read full article

The 2017 Grammy nominations have arrived, and Beyoncé leads the industry with a total of 9 nods.

Coming in close second are Drake, Rihanna, and Kanye West each with eight nods, while Chance the Rapper comes in third with seven.

The 2017 Grammy Awards will be hosted by Carpool Karaoke genius James Corden on Sunday, February 12. “I am truly honored to be hosting the Grammys next year,” said Corden when the news was announced. “It’s the biggest, most prestigious award show in music and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of such an incredible night.”

2017 Grammy nominations

Album Of The Year:

25 — Adele
Lemonade — Beyoncé
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Views — Drake
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson

Record Of The Year:

“Hello” — Adele
“Formation” — Beyoncé
“7 Years” — Lukas Graham
“Work” — Rihanna Featuring Drake
“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

Song Of The Year:

“Formation” — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)
“Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
“I Took A Pill In Ibiza” — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)
“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)
“7 Years” — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)

Best New Artist:

Kelsea Ballerini
The Chainsmokers
Chance The Rapper
Maren Morris
Anderson .Paak

Best Pop Vocal Album:

25 — Adele
Purpose — Justin Bieber
Dangerous Woman — Ariana Grande
Confident — Demi Lovato
This Is Acting — Sia

Best Pop Solo Performance:

“Hello” — Adele
“Hold Up” — Beyonce
“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber
“Piece By Piece (Idol Version)” — Kelly Clarkson
“Dangerous Woman” — Ariana Grande

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:

“Closer” — The Chainsmokers Featuring Halsey
“7 Years” — Lukas Graham
“Work” — Rihanna Featuring Drake
“Cheap Thrills” — Sia Featuring Sean Paul
“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album:

Cinema — Andrea Bocelli
Fallen Angels — Bob Dylan
Stages Live — Josh Groban
Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin — Willie Nelson
Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway — Barbra Streisand

Best Dance Recording:

“Tearing Me Up” — Bob Moses
“Don’t Let Me Down” — The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya
“Never Be Like You” — Flume Featuring Kai
“Rinse & Repeat” — Riton Featuring Kah-Lo
“Drinkee” — Sofi Tukker

Best Dance/Electronic Album:

Skin — Flume
Electronica 1: The Time Machine — Jean-Michel Jarre
Epoch — Tycho
Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future — Underworld
Louie Vega Starring…XXVIII — Louie Vega

Best Rock Performance:

“Joe (Live From Austin City Limits)” — Alabama Shakes
“Don’t Hurt Yourself” — Beyoncé Featuring Jack White
“Blackstar” — David Bowie
“The Sound Of Silence” — Disturbed
“Heathens” — Twenty One Pilots

Best Metal Performance:

“Shock Me” — Baroness
“Slivera” — Gojira
“Rotting in Vain” — Korn
“Dystopia” — Megadeth
“The Price Is Wrong” — Periphery

Best Rock Song:

“Blackstar” — David Bowie, songwriter (David Bowie)
“Burn the Witch” —Radiohead, songwriters (Radiohead)
“Hardwired” — James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich, songwriters (Metallica)
“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)
“My Name Is Human” — Rich Meyer, Ryan Meyer & Johnny Stevens, songwriters (Highly Suspect)

Best Rock Album:

California — Blink-182
Tell Me I’m Pretty — Cage The Elephant
Magma — Gojira
Death Of A Bachelor — Panic! At The Disco
Weezer — Weezer

Best Alternative Music Album:

22, A Million — Bon Iver
Blackstar — David Bowie
The Hope Six Demolition Project — PJ Harvey
Post Pop Depression — Iggy Pop
A Moon Shaped Pool — Radiohead

Best R&B Performance:

“Turnin’ Me Up” — BJ The Chicago Kid
“Permission” — Ro James
“I Do” — Musiq Soulchild
“Needed Me” — Rihanna
“Cranes in the Sky” — Solange

Best R&B Song:

“Come and See Me” — J. Brathwaite, Aubrey Graham & Noah Shebib, songwriters (PartyNextDoor Featuring Drake)
“Exchange” — Michael Hernandez & Bryson Tiller, songwriters (Bryson Tiller)
“Kiss It Better” — Jeff Bhasker, Robyn Fenty, John-Nathan Glass & Natalia Noemi, songwriters (Rihanna)
“Lake By the Ocean” — Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)
“Luv” — Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin & Daystar Peterson, songwriters (Tory Lanez)

Best Urban Contemporary Album:

Lemonade — Beyoncé
Ology — Gallant
We Are King — KING
Malibu — Anderson .Paak
Anti — Rihanna

Best R&B Album:

In My Mind — BJ The Chicago Kid
Lalah Hathaway Live — Lalah Hathaway
Velvet Portraits — Terrace Martin
Healing Season — Mint Condition
Smoove Jones — Mya

Best Rap Performance:

“No Problem” — Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
“Panda” —Desiigner
“Pop Style” — Drake Featuring The Throne
“All The Way Up” — Fat Joe & Remy Ma Featuring French Montana & Infared
“That Part” — ScHoolboy Q Featuring Kanye West

Best Rap/Sung Performance:

“Freedom” — Beyoncé Featuring Kendrick Lamar
“Hotline Bling” — Drake
“Broccoli” — D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty
“Ultralight Beam” — Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream
“Famous” — Kanye West Featuring Rihanna

Best Rap Song:

“All The Way Up” — Joseph Cartagena, Edward Davadi, Shandel Green, Karim Kharbouch, Andre Christopher Lyon, Reminisce Mackie & Marcello Valenzano, songwriters (Fat Joe & Remy Ma Featuring French Montana & Infared)
“Famous” — Chancelor Bennett, Ross Birchard, Ernest Brown, Andrew Dawson, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein, Kejuan Muchita, Patrick Reynolds, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring Rihanna)
“Hotline Bling” — Aubrey Graham & Paul Jefferies, songwriters (Drake)
“No Problem” — Chancelor Bennett, Dwayne Carter & Tauheed Epps, songwriters (Chance The Rapper Featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)
“Ultralight Beam” — Chancelor Bennett, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Kirk Franklin, Noah Goldstein, Samuel Griesemer, Terius Nash, Jerome Potter, Kelly Price, Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Derek Watkins, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West Featuring Chance The Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & The-Dream)

Best Rap Album:
Coloring Book — Chance The Rapper
And the Anonymous Nobody — De La Soul
Major Key — DJ Khaled
Views — Drake
Blank Face LP — ScHoolboy Q
The Life of Pablo — Kanye West

Best Country Solo Performance:

“Love Can Go To Hell” — Brandy Clark
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert
“My Church” — Maren Morris
“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood
“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

Best Country Duo/Group Performance:

“Different for Girls” — Dierks Bentley Featuring Elle King
“21 Summer” — Brothers Osborne
“Setting The World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney & P!nk
“Jolene” — Pentatonix Featuring Dolly Parton
“Think Of You” — Chris Young With Cassadee Pope

Best Country Song:

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)
“Die A Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)
“Humble and Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)
“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)
“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

Best Country Album:

Big Day In A Small Town — Brandy Clark
Full Circle — Loretta Lynn
Hero — Maren Morris
A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson
Ripcord — Keith Urban

Don’t know what to get your fandom-loving friend for the holidays this year? We’ve compiled a 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for geeks of all types.

From TV subscriptions, to the latest technology, to… waffle makers. We have you covered.

Hypable’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

For Harry Potter fans: ‘Chamber of Secrets’ Illustrated Edition

chamber-of-secrets-full-cover-illustrated

Read full article

Don’t know what to get your fandom-loving friend for the holidays this year? We’ve compiled a 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for geeks of all types.

From TV subscriptions, to the latest technology, to… waffle makers. We have you covered.

Hypable’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

For Harry Potter fans: ‘Chamber of Secrets’ Illustrated Edition

chamber-of-secrets-full-cover-illustrated

Sure, the Potter fan in your life may have the first editions of every Harry Potter book, but do they own the newly released illustrated editions? The beauty of every single page of these books can not be overstated. Most Potter fans may not have heard of these reissues, so they make a perfect surprise gift for the Harry Potter loving person in your life. As of right now only the first two books are available, with the rest rolling out over the next few years.

Related: Check out our review of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone illustrated edition!

You can purchase Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Amazon for $23.99, but we highly recommend going to a local book store, leafing through the beautiful pages yourself and then buying!

Honorable mentions: With Fantastic Beasts just hitting theaters, there’s plenty of merchandise related to the movie now available. We recommend the script book and The Case of Beasts for anyone who’s obsessed with the movie.

For techies: Amazon Echo Dot

Holiday Gift Guide Echo Dot

Home automation is all the rage this year. But the Amazon Echo Dot stands out because of its cute design, abundance of use and small price tag. The Echo Dot, which does the same thing as the Echo but without the giant speaker, is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms and more. Consider it a smarter Siri. A few of us at Hypable have used this for a few months and absolutely love it.

You can buy the Amazon Echo Dot on Amazon for $49.99, or pick one up at a local Best Buy, WalMart or Target.

For cable-cutters: Sling TV

sling-tv

Cable-cutters, rejoice! If you’ve dropped your cable box, or are considering it, Sling TV is a good transition into the cable box-less lifestyle. Starting at $20/month, Sling TV offers a slew of channels including CNN, HGTV, Disney Channel, Freeform, AMC, and ESPN without the high cost of cable. Best of all, there are no hidden or additional fees (besides the need to pay for internet). If you’re looking for even more channels, you can upgrade your subscription with additional “extras” that suit your needs.

Honorable mention: On Wednesday, November 30, DirecTV launched a competitor to Sling TV called DirecTV Now. They’re offering a very enticing introductory offer: Commit to three months of service (for as low as $35 per month) and you get a free Apple TV — the new one Apple unveiled last year. What’s more, you can lock in DirecTV Now’s 100-channel plan for only $35 per month, and it’ll stay at that price for as long as you keep your subscription active. Normally the 100-channel package is $60/month, so you better act fast!

DirecTV is still missing key features like a virtual DVR, but AT&T says it’s coming.

For cable-cutters: Hulu’s No Commercial plan

hulu-live-tv-service

Another solution for cable-cutters: Earlier this year Hulu dropped their free service, and the announcement stung. But honestly? Hulu is worth paying for these days, because their “No Commercials” plan is fantastic. For $11.99 you get to watch current TV shows (save for CW shows — ugh) as if they were on Netflix. You hit “Play,” and it begins to play without pesky ads. No commercial breaks. Just the TV show. Shelling out $11.99 per month is worth the TV bliss.

Hulu also has an impressive lineup of movies, including the latest James Bond movie Spectre, Mockingjay, Part 2, and Creed.

This is a cable-cutters dream come true, and something we’d recommend over Sling TV. And if you need those CW shows, download the CW app and stream ’em for free.

For party people: UE BOOM 2 Bluetooth Speaker

ue-bluetooth-speaker

If you need a portable bluetooth speaker for parties, vacations, etc., look no further than the UE BOOM 2. Yes, it’s available in a variety of colors and offers unique features like an app that lets multiple people contribute songs to a single playlist, but this is the most important part: It sounds great. Seriously, seriously great. You won’t believe the amount of sound that comes out of the little thing.

The only problem is it’s a little pricey: From $169 to $199. But trust me, if you want to impress your friends and your ear holes, this is the first and last bluetooth speaker to consider.

(By the way: It can hook up with that Amazon Echo Dot)

For the organized Potter fan: A Divination Planner

il_570xN.1102831277_n9sh

Ruskerville has the best planners for any and every Potter fan. I would know; I’ve ordered a planner from this Wisconsin-based Etsy seller every year for the past three years. Ranging from daily to weekly and encompassing all of the Hogwarts houses, these planners have the perfect amount of flair to make every day of the year a great day to celebrate Harry Potter. You can choose your starting month and what layout you like best for your planner, which is really handy if you forget to buy one before the start of the year. Best of all, the planners are well-made and durable, even if they spend most of the year jostling around in your over-stuffed purse.

You can buy the Divination planner here for $24.00. Be sure to check out Ruskerville’s Etsy shop to see all of the Harry Potter planner options. — Danielle Zimmerman

For the Star Wars fan who loves breakfast: A Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker

huik_sw_death_star_waffle_maker

Do we even need to say anything here? If you love Star Wars and waffles, you can’t possibly go wrong with this. With Rogue One coming out very soon, this is the perfect gift for your Star Wars loving friend.

You can buy the Death Star Waffle Maker for $39.99.

For the nerdy political junkie: Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy

star-wars-propaganda-book

Fans of politics and political history can find their passions combined with Star Wars in Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy. A gorgeous in-universe art book, Star Wars Propaganda tells the story of galactic politics through the evocative persuasive posters produced throughout all seven episodes. With “scholarly commentary” from Jaynor of Bith (the text is actually written by Star Wars mastermind Pablo Hidalgo) and ten beautiful art prints, this rich fictional history is a treat for both the eyes and the mind.

You can purchase Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy for $28.54.

For the Tyrion Lannister in your life: Valar Dohaeris/Valar Morghulis Beer Set

GOT_Beer

Ommegang Beer takes the edge off the holidays (and the wait for Game of Thrones season 7) with their Valar Dohaeris/Valar Morghulis beer set. The Valar Dohaeris Tripel Ale is a new addition to the the brewery’s Game of Thrones line, and Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale is a re-release of a popular bottle from 2014. Packaged in beautiful House of Black and White-themed box, the set comes with a commemorative glass and a delicious way to remind your friends and family (over the legal drinking age!) that no matter what, all men must serve.

You can learn more about the Game of Thrones beer set here. You’ll have to shop around at your local liquor stores to get your hands on it.

Do you have a favorite fandom gift that you know fans would love to receive as a holiday gift? Add a link in the comments below!

Andrew Sims, Michal Schick and Danielle Zimmerman contributed to this article.

It’s been eight long weeks. We’ve had drama, killer plants, kissing, killer flowers, death, more kissing and finally; more death. This weekend saw the season finale of Class – the first Doctor Who spinoff since 2011. So was it worth the wait? Let’s have a look.

‘Doctor Who’ spinoff ‘Class’ review

Overall Class covered quite a bit in just eight episodes. It had the tough task of developing five lead roles and a handful of supporting actors in what could be considered a short season from the BBC. While we did get to grips with each individual character, there were definite moments where I wanted to see some major developments, and all I got was tired old cliches.

The definite highlight of the show was Katherine Kelly’s stellar performance of hard-arse teacher/alien Miss Quill. She perfectly portrayed a huntress in heels with an killer attitude to match. It’s a real pity that whilst the show revolved around the students at Coal Hill, they couldn’t hold a match to Kelly’s fantastic portrayal of her character. The younger cast members each had their moments where they shone, however Miss Quill definitely gets an A+. My fingers are thoroughly crossed she manages to high-kick her way into the TARDIS again at some point.

Read full article

It’s been eight long weeks. We’ve had drama, killer plants, kissing, killer flowers, death, more kissing and finally; more death. This weekend saw the season finale of Class – the first Doctor Who spinoff since 2011. So was it worth the wait? Let’s have a look.

‘Doctor Who’ spinoff ‘Class’ review

Overall Class covered quite a bit in just eight episodes. It had the tough task of developing five lead roles and a handful of supporting actors in what could be considered a short season from the BBC. While we did get to grips with each individual character, there were definite moments where I wanted to see some major developments, and all I got was tired old cliches.

The definite highlight of the show was Katherine Kelly’s stellar performance of hard-arse teacher/alien Miss Quill. She perfectly portrayed a huntress in heels with an killer attitude to match. It’s a real pity that whilst the show revolved around the students at Coal Hill, they couldn’t hold a match to Kelly’s fantastic portrayal of her character. The younger cast members each had their moments where they shone, however Miss Quill definitely gets an A+. My fingers are thoroughly crossed she manages to high-kick her way into the TARDIS again at some point.

doctor-who-class-miss-quill

While it’s important to note that the other cast members are significantly younger than Kelly, I personally don’t feel their character development was due to a lack of acting skills – but more poor scripting. Most supporting characters didn’t come to life and their dialogue all too often made my eyes roll involuntarily. Need an example?

MATTEUSZ: Please no more promises. I won’t make any either. Except one. I promise to love you today. And tomorrow, I will make this promise again.

CHARLIE: I’ll make that promise, too.

MATTEUSZ: I would quite like to kiss you now.

I’ll give you a moment to throw up before I continue. There were just too many moments where Class felt like its sole purpose was to twang the heartstrings of viewers by using worn out cliches. Even the characterization was a bit on the nose. Being gay myself, I’m all for LGBTQ representation on television, but there there were definitely times when it felt that the show was over-compensating. It made it apparent from episode one that Charlie (Greg Austin) was our comfortably gay lead character. This was all the audience needed to know about him and his sexuality.

Unfortunately, the show continuously reiterated that this character was gay and that it wasn’t a big deal. Sadly this had the reverse effect, and by reiterating that it wasn’t a big deal, it became a focal point of early episodes and subsequently a ‘big deal.’

Doctor Who Class Gay Character

On paper Class seems like an fantastic concept. What happens to the world once The Doctor has sauntered off? How will people’s day-to-day life be effected by the waves he’s caused in time and space? In reality, Patrick Ness dealt us a story about the Shadow Kin. A race of aliens who are basically the most grudge-y creatures in the Whoniverse and love to back-stab (seriously – count how many times it happens!). There was little tie-in to the events of Doctor Who, something that would’ve been a massive positive for Class. While the show had some surprising twists that caught me off guard, there were definitely moments that were lost on me because there was no build-up of tension.

Take the most recent episode, “Lost,” as an example. This is your “spoiler-alert” warning by the way…

Our favorite jock, Ram played by Fady Elsayed, is having a friendly kick around with his Dad. We’ve April (Sophie Hopkins) singing about how people lose things (keys, sanity, the audience), and then what-would-you-know, Ram’s dad is dead. Completely out of the blue he’s standing in the middle of a football field with a sword through his chest.

While this is one of several deaths Ram witnesses (don’t get me started…) it’s a turning point for the character. A switch flicks in his head and he wants blood. However the gravity of this moment was totally lost on me because there’s absolutely no build up leaving me a bit confused and scared to play football.

As always with any bi-product of the Whoniverse, we’re left with a cliffhanger keeping us wanting more. This time around, we head into the mysterious Room M107. After another death and a cameo from a Weeping Angel, we hear about “The Arrival”, which presumably will be the main arc for season two.

The question is, was Saturday’s last scene enough to entice audiences back for a second helping? Personally – this is the one Class I’ll be happily skipping.

Tags: class, Doctor Who