The Dorking Out Show

The show for anyone who loves to dork out about the stories in pop culture that we love. That means TV and movies, books and podcasts, and any other kind of engaging storytelling we can find. We talk about Star Wars and Gilmore Girls, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Trek, Netflix and Amazon, Serial and S-Town and, and, and... Every week noted TV critic and blogger Sonia Mansfield and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Christopher Allan Smith talk about movies, TV, books and more from both a fan and creator perspective. Think of it as a great conversation over drinks with your quick, clever friends who know about a lot.
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Now displaying: August, 2017
Aug 28, 2017

Rundown: We share our most anticipated TV shows of the fall 2017. And speaking of TV, in our second segment, Ben Weddell from Big Ben’s Movie Show joins us to review THE DEFENDERS on Netflix. Is this one going to be a street fight between a DEFENDERS defender and two hosts ready to ditch the Marvel TV Universe? Yes. And finally, Peter Brown from Assignment X joins us to talk about the season 7 finale of GAME OF THRONES and what we are expecting for the eighth and final season.

Topic 1: Fall TV Preview

It feels a little silly do to a Fall TV Preview anymore. This was a thing that TV critics and entertainment websites always did because the TV season officially started in September and ran through May. That’s right, kids. There was a time when the only thing on during the summer months were reruns. But now there are new TV shows all year around, but a majority of the broadcast networks still save their big TV premieres for the fall, so the Fall TV Preview lives on. We’re each going to pick the five TV shows we’re most excited about this fall, not including STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, because - DUH - of course we’re excited for STAR TREK DISCOVERY. So excited, we’re going to talk about it every single episode on this show.


Master lists of TV premieres:

Chris’s Picks
The Vietnam War - PBS 9/17

Mindhunter - Netflix 10/13

The Good Place - NBC 9/20

SMILF - Showtime

Star Trek: Discovery CBS All Access 9/24

Honorable Mentions: Rick and Morty Season 3, Curb Your Enthusiasm HBO in October, The Crown on Netflix in December

Sonia’s Picks
The Orville - Fox 9/10

The Deuce - David Simon’s new show on HBO 9/10

Alias Grace - Netflix 11/3

Top Of The Lake: China Girl - Sundance TV 9/10

Stranger Things Season 2 - 10/27 Netflix

Honorable mentions: I Love You, America - Hulu 10/12; Too Funny To Fail - Hulu - a documentary about the failed Dana Carvey show that featured Louis CK, Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert
Returning shows - The Good Place, South Park, Will & Grace

Topic 2: Netflix's The Defenders and Comic Book Fatigue?

Guest: Ben Weddell from Big Ben's Movie Show

On August 18, Netflix gave us a gift the Defenders, the Avengers-like team up show of its adult oriented Marvel superhero shows which include Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and The Iron Fist. If this were a real gift, I would return it. As promising as it started, I am done with Netflix’s Marvel shows. More on that to come. In our show prep, I learned Sonia and I might be on the same page. So we’re bringing back friend of the show, Ben Weddell, host of Big Ben’s Movie Show… you can see it on YouTube … who has declared his misguided love for this show.

Status Check For Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 7

Guest: Peter Brown from Assignment X

RECAP: The dueling queens, Daenerys and Cersei, get together for a little chat about maybe putting their differences aside and fighting the undead together. Cersei is reluctant, but then after a very tense heart-to-heart with Tyrion, she agrees. Of course, Cersei is a lying liar. She tells Jaime that she plans to just sit it out and wait to see who wins in the fight between good and evil, and she’ll fight the winner. Jaime says, “I’m out.” Theon Greyjoy finally grows a pair and decides to try and free his sister from his uncle’s prison.

Brann tells Sam that the luckiest bastard Jon Snow isn’t really a bastard; he’s not Ned Stark’s bastard son, but really the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, Jon Snow, the luckiest bastard ever, is currently having sex with his aunt Daenerys. Hot! Littlefinger finally gets what he deserves, his throat slit, after the Stark Sisters confront him of all his misdeeds. Oh, and The Night King flies his undead dragon to The Wall and destroys it, and now the undead are marching right on through.

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Aug 18, 2017

In this week’s episode, we talk about the summer movie season... Our favorite movies, our least favorite movies and what it all means and in our second segment, we look ahead to our most anticipated movies of the fall and winter movie seasons - movies that are not THE LAST JEDI. But Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in there for sure. Finally, Peter Brown from Assignment X joins us talk about Season 7, Episode 6 of Game Of Thrones.

Topic 1: The Movies of Summer of 2017

But first, a little review 

Chris’ Picks from his Summer Movie Preview

War for Planet of the Apes
Dark Tower
Chris’s Bomb: The Mummy

Sonia’s Summer Movie Preview Picks

Wonder Woman
Cars 3
Rough Night/Girls Trip
Sonia’s bomb: King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword
Honorable mentions: Atomic Blonde, The Beguiled

The 25 Major Movies of Summer 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%
King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 28%
Snatched, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 35%
Alien: Covenant, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%
Baywatch, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 19%
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: 29%
Wonder Woman, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
It Comes At Night, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
The Mummy, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 16%
Cars 3, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  68%
Rough Night, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  48%
Transformers: The Last Knight Rotten Tomatoes Score:  15%
Baby Driver, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  94%
Despicable Me 3, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  61%
The House, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 17%
Spider-Man: Homecoming, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%
War for the Planet of the Apes, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  93%
Dunkirk, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  93%
Girls Trip, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  88%
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%
Atomic Blonde, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76%
The Emoji Movie, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  8%
The Dark Tower, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 18%
Detroit, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
Annabelle: Creation, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%
The Hitman's Bodyguard, Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%
Logan Lucky, Rotten Tomatoes Score:  92%

Topic 2: Fall/Winter Movie Preview

Star Wars: The Last Jedi -


Chris’ 5 most anticipated movies:

Blade Runner 2049, Oct 6 -

Marshall, Oct 13 -

Suburbicon, Oct 27 -

Downsizing -

Molly’s Game -


Honorable Mentions:

Justice League, Nov 17 -

LBJ, Nov 3

Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Sept 29 -


Sonia’s 5 most anticipated movies:

mother! - Sept. 15 -

Battle Of The Sexes - Sept. 22 -

Thor: Ragnarok - Nov. 3 -

The Papers - Dec. 22 -

Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Film - Dec. 25 -


Honorable Mention:

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri -

The Greatest Showman - Dec. 25 -

A Bad Moms Christmas - Nov. 3 -


Dishonorable Mention

9-11 on Sept 8,


Status Check: Episode Discussion, Game of Thrones Season 7 Ep06 w/Peter Brown


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Aug 14, 2017

Rundown: On this week’s show we’re talking about Kathryn Bigelow’s new movie, Detroit about the riots, the Algiers Hotel incident. It’s a searing, adult drama about race, police, the changes in American society of the 1960s, and one that has an all-too timely feel today. Wonder Why. We also use this as a jumping off point to talk about dramas for adults and wonder if they’re still a thing. We then talk about a provocative piece in The Guardian by Danny Leigh which asks the question is Hollywood in desperate need of a Bonnie and Clyde moment… more on that in segment two. It’s a good discussion. We then wrap up with our old pal Peter Brown, the Associate Editor of Assignment X, as we do one of our Status Check segments on, what else, Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 5, Eastwatch.


Topic 1: Review of Detroit and the state of Movie Dramas

Is there a movie more timely playing in theaters right now than “Detroit?” Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and written by Mark Boal, who previously worked together on “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Detroit” tells the true story of the Algiers Motel incident, which happened during the 12th Street riot in 1967 Detroit. The police raided the Algiers Motel believing there was a sniper, and proceeded to beat and torture 9 people, 7 African American men and 2 white women, most of them teenagers. Three African American teenagers were killed by police officers. The film stars Algee Smith, John Boyega, Will Poulter, Jason Mitchell and Anthony Mackie.

The movie about race and police brutality, and after everything that happened this weekend in Charlottesville, and the acquittal after acquittal of police officers in the murder of black men, this movie is set in 1967, but it could be set right now.


Topic 2: Does Hollywood need a shake-up?

For the past few years now, film lovers and movie critics have commented on the rise of the genre film, how wanna-be blockbusters have broken out of summer and seemingly eaten up every month of the movie calendar, and how movies don’t seem to get any love anymore unless there’s some comic book connection. Movies have become very predictable and stale, and have more or less lost their preeminence as the most valuable real estate in pop culture storytelling.

To quote a Battlestar: Galactica, this has all happened before and will happen again. 50 years ago, the old studio system was dying. Big movie after big movies were bombing. But back then those movies weren’t wanna-be blockbusters but bible movies, musicals and westerns… essentially the comic book movie fads of their day.

Then along came a little movie called Bonnie and Clyde, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, and that movie started a revolution in 1960s filmmaking leading to the golden age of director centered movies in the 1970s, including The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Jaws, Star Wars and on and on. Essentially, Bonnie and Clyde blew up the status quo and made way for a new Hollywood era. Is Hollywood ripe for new Bonnie and Clyde? If so, what would that look like today?

That’s the provocative question we’re going to talk about, with a nod towards Danny Leigh’s article in the Guardian this weeks which asked this same question, and got us thinking.


Status Check: Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 5 "Eastwatch"

From the Game of Thrones Wiki:

Daenerys demands loyalty from the surviving Lannister soldiers. Jon heeds Bran's warning about White Walkers on the move. Cersei vows to vanquish anyone or anything that stands in her way.

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Aug 7, 2017

Rundown: We review the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower,” starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Does it live up to expectations? The answer is surprisingly long. In our second segment, the men behind HBO’s “Game Of Thrones” announced their next project, a controversial new series called “Confederate,” which is set in the present day and the South had seceded from the Union, and slavery is still legal. We talk about questionable stories and being offended by something you haven’t even seen yet. And speaking of “Game Of Thrones,” Peter Brown from Assignment X joins us to talk about Sunday night’s episode AND last week’s episode since we were on vacation last week.


Topic 1: The Dark Tower and the art of adapting books to film

Sit back folks, this one’s going to be a doozy.

The 1990s was an era of pipe dreams for nerdy story lovers. While more and more genre movies were being made, they missed as much as hit. It seemed moviemakers just couldn’t trust their source material. This was the era where Joel Schumacher took Batman, the raw materials you could use to make The Dark Knight, and chose to make Batman and Robin. Every time a genre movie was made, Hollywood directors and writers would have to put their stamp on it, discarding what fans loved in the source material and replacing it with Hollywoodized versions even while nerd fans dreamed of well-made, direct adaptations of their favorite works. For every Dick Tracy, there was a Saint (starring Val Kilmer, it was awful). For every Contact, starring Jodie Foster, there was a Judge Dredd, starring Sylvester Stallone.

It was a time where the greatest nerd stories ever told were just out of reach. I remember discussions in the back of comic book shops about how great it would be to adapt J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings into a fantasy trilogy, doing for fantasy storytelling what George Lucas did for sci fi in his original Star Wars. Or wouldn’t it be cool if they used Marvel comics as a basis for movies, but did it like they did it in comics so the characters could cross over into each other’s movies. The smart money said those things were never going to happen.

But in the early 2000s, Hollywood began to get smart. The did faithful adaptations of The X-Men, then in one glorious year Harry Potter and the first Lord of the Rings book. And they were smashes. The more the learned, the better they did. The Harry Potter series became a classic. The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead all showed with the right talent using the respect for the source material could make quality, lucrative movies and shows.

But one series stood out, unmade, above many of these. That was Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Now Stephen King was such a prolific storyteller that there were many undisputed classic movies to his name.. Stand By Me, Misery, The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, The Dead Zone, Dolores Claiborne, even The Running Man. And the Dark Tower was his magnum opus, his series with the most ardent fans, all begging for a faithful adaptation of this series about a mythic gunslinger traversing a barren, magic filled land to kill a villain who may be the devil himself.

Now surely in the era of Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and The Walking Dead, a studio could see its way clear to do a diligent and modern adaptation of this storytelling icon’s most beloved series.

In fact plans were announced in 2010, with Ron Howard directing the first in a series of movies which was to adapt King’s books into a series of interlocking movies and short-run, Fargo-like TV series. Akiva Goldsman, hot off his Oscar winning screenplay for Howard’s A Beautiful Mind was to help adapt. And then, this, and then that, and then the Hollywood machine ground the idea more and more until Howard dropped out, the ambition was pared down from a seven or eight movie series to a single movie that wasn’t even based off any of King’s existing books. The Dark Tower, which hit theaters this weekend starring Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, and Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black, is a story which takes place after the last book in the series.

For Goldsman, one of the credited writers and also a writer on Schumacher’s 1990s Batman and Robin, and director Nikolaj Arcel, it’s like the last 20 years didn’t exist. You have one of the most beloved storytellers of the modern era give you eight books of stories, and no, they’re not good enough, you have to replace them with your own story? Did these guys, or Sony, not learn anything from The Lord of the Rings?


Topic 2: HBO’s Confederate and controversy in TV making

No script has been written and not a single frame has been shot, but the HBO show “Confederate” is already engulfed in controversy. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the men behind “Game Of Thrones” and Nichelle Tramble Spellman, a writer/producer of “The Good Wife” and her husband Malcolm Spellman, a writer and producer of “Empire,” “Confederate” is an alternate-history drama set in modern times in which the South has seceded from the Union, and slavery is legal. Right after the announcement, the Twitterverse was lit up and there were calls for boycotts. A lot of folks don’t love the idea of Benioff and Weiss, two white men who have often faced controversy about “Game Of Thrones” lack of diversity and sexual violence, telling this story, even with the Spellman’s involvement. There are concerns that the timing for this type of show really sucks, because racist Trump supporters are more emboldened than ever. And the flip side, there’s a backlash to the backlash, asking if we’re supposed to offended and start protesting movies and TV shows we haven’t even seen yet? So, yeah, let’s talk about it. Smith, what do you think? Is the outrage premature?

Malcolm Spellman on the fantastic Scriptnotes podcast:


TV Show Status Check: Game of Thrones Season 7 Episodes 3 and 4

We talk Episode 03: The Queen’s Justice and Episode 04: The Spoils of War.


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