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Super Bowl LIII Open Thread. The New England Patriots again? That's four times in the last five Super Bowls (with two victories this decade). At least the NFC is sending a fresh challenger to face them this year, with the Rams looking to bring home a championship for the first time in its storied three-year history in Los Angeles. (I'm only half kidding; despite playing in LA for nearly fifty years in the 20th Century, the Rams' lone Super Bowl win came in 1999 when they called St. Louis their home.) The Patriots are slightly favored. May the best team win, defying blown referee calls and doubly stubborn uprights. Maroon 5 also stars.

Nightflyers Open Thread. In 1980, George R. R. Martin published a short novel called "Nightflyers," an expanded version of which was released the following year. The science-fiction/horror story won the Locus Award and was nominated for a Hugo. Later that decade, GRRM sold the film rights to the story, which led to the 1987 film, Nightflyers, directed by T.C. Blake. The film was neither a commercial success nor a cult favorite. But George R. R. Martin himself would go on to bigger and better things, which may be why Nightflyers is getting a second (or third) chance at being adapted for the screen. This time it's being adapted by Daniel Cerone Jeff Buhler for the cable network Syfy. The first episode premieres tonight at 10 PM ET, with other installments of its ten-episode season airing on consecutive nights.

As GRRM recently noted, he has had little involvement with the production of this new show, though his agents did negotiate an "executive producer" credit for him. Nevertheless, GRRM is reminding us to watch it. Here's how he describes it:

On a mission aboard the Nightflyer, the most advanced ship ever built, a team of scientists embark on an expedition to make first contact with alien life. Set in the year 2093, their mission takes them beyond the edge of the solar system, farther than mankind has ever gone before. But when terrifying and violent events start to occur, the team and crew begin to question themselves, each other, and their reclusive captain. They soon come to realize that the true horror isn't waiting for them in outer space - it's already on their ship.

I personally have not yet read the novella on which the show is based, though I did flip through the first few pages of it in my copy of Dreamsongs (Volume I). Tomorrow we'll discuss whether or not we should read the source material before watching any adaptation, but for now, please use this thread to discuss Nightflyers the TV show, if you're planning on watching, and if so, what you think of it and/or the idea of running new episodes every night.


Solo: A Star Wars Story Open Thread. Now the story of some space pirates who spent years hustling one other, and the one intergalactic heist that by chance brought them all together. It's Solo: A Star Wars Story. Directed by Ron Howard (who took over for original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller), it stars Alden Ehrenreich as the title character (who inherited the iconic role from Harrison Ford), and features supporting turns from Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, and Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke. Star Wars vet Lawrence Kasdan wrote the script with his son Jonathan.

It's only been a few months since the last Star Wars installment and here we are again to discuss this next standalone film. (If you haven't already, please do check out Stefan's thoughts and Marc's book on The Last Jedi.) Does Solo make for a good story, or even a necessary one? Is Han Solo a great character who transcends time and space, or was it Harrison Ford who made him timeless? Let us know in this open spoiler thread what you think of Solo: A Star Wars Story, its place in the franchise, and which characters ought to headline the inevitable next standalone.


Westworld Season 2 Open Thread

Westworld returns tonight with its first new episodes since 2016. HBO no doubt hopes that it has found, if not the next Game of Thrones, then a show that satisfies a Game of Thrones-like audience's need for a mystery to fixate on and speculate about. If nothing else, Westworld seems to have taken what was once Game of Thrones' treasured spot on the network's spring schedule.

The second season of Westworld likely picks where the first left off: full of characters -- and viewers -- questioning what is real, in a setting that somehow is both slightly futuristic and an old-timey western, and about a story that remains inscrutable yet meticulous in its vision. Reviews for the new episodes have been promising and even hint at some potential greatness. Will you be watching Season 2? What are your expectations? Feel free to discuss all things Westworld in this open thread.


Bracket Madness 2018. Happy Selection Sunday! At last, we'll find out which colleges will make the 2018 NCAA Tournament, launching us directly into March Madness. If you're interested in filling out a bracket and squaring off against fellow Tower of the Hand members, join us in the 4th Annual Scorchiebeanie Memorial Bracket Clash. This year every player may submit up to two brackets. For extra fun, players may get bonus points for picking the upsets in the first two rounds.

Everyone is invited to participate. There's no money involved -- just bragging rights. If you'd like to join, send an email to [email protected] with your email address and your TotH username, and our league commissioner pharout will email you an invite. Brackets must be completed by Thursday, March 15, 12:00 PM EDT. If you have any other questions or problems, feel free to leave a comment here.

Consider this the official thread for this year's NCAA Tournament. Feel free to discuss your brackets, the games, and all things March Madness here.


Super Bowl LII Open Thread. Tonight's Super Bowl will bring the latest football season to a close, but will there be any surprises this year? The New England Patriots will (probably) win their third championship in four years. Justin Timberlake headlines the halftime show, where there (probably) won't be any appearances from Janet Jackson or a hologram Prince. Jack Pearson will (probably) die in This Is Us. Do you have any predictions that defy all expectations? What's your plan for watching the big game?

Star Wars The Last Jedi Open Thread. A long time ago -- forty years ago, in fact -- George Lucas released a memorable slideshow of his adventures in space. It centered on aimless farmboys and hopeless princesses, intoxicated aliens and petty robots, intergalactic bureaucracy and ancient religions. Frankly, it has to be real because it's too weird for one man simply to have made up. But here we are, some seven movies later, anxious to see where his story goes next. Rian Johnson takes over the director's reins, under the stewardship of Kathleen Kennedy, in what is being called Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.

Let's discuss the newest chapter in the Star Wars saga. Are you excited to see what returning favorites Luke and Leia have been up to? Or are you more interested in the newest protagonists, Rey, Finn, and Poe? Do you think the latest movies are worthy additions to the Star Wars franchise and are you confident that everything can be wrapped up satisfactorily in Episode IX, which promises to be the final installment of the Skywalker legacy? Feel free to share every one of your thoughts on The Last Jedi in this open spoiler thread.


Stranger Things Season 2 Open Thread. Stranger Things sounds like a spooky tale that you'd hear around a campfire: a twelve-year-old boy has gone missing, and it's up to his family and friends to bring him back from some hellish nightscape in which a terrible monster roams. Also one of the kids has legit superpowers. And there's a government conspiracy, too. The show was full of scary moments, yes, but its heart and humor (and winning performances) made it one of the pleasant surprises of 2016.

This weekend, Stranger Things returns with a second season that undoubtedly expands upon and complicates the events of last year. Who plans on watching? Is horror your thing? Does all the 80s nostalgia and references to genre films make a show like Stranger Things better or worse?

Because it's Netflix and all nine episodes of the new season are available to be binged immediately, we'll have to handle this open thread a little bit differently. If you wish to discuss one of the new episodes with specific details, be sure to use spoiler tags. Thanks!


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Tower of the Hand is an unofficial companion to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones, featuring chapter and episode guides, character profiles, family trees, and much more.

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