Reza Aslan’s “Rough Draft” | #TBT

If you’re a writer interested in exploring identity, religion, or politics, then you should familiarize yourself with Reza Aslan. For the uninitiated, Aslan is an Iranian-American author, religious studies scholar, and TV host. He’s currently starring in a new show for CNN called Believer. Billed as a spiritual adventure, the new series features Aslan immersing himself in the world’s most interesting faith-based groups to “experience life as a true believer.” I left the cable TV life a long time ago, so I haven’t actually watched this, and I probably won’t until it arrives on a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu.

In the meantime, I’d recommend you check out another show of his that you might have missed last year called Rough Draft:

“Rough Draft with Reza Aslan is a timely and fast-paced talk show about writers and writing. Today’s biggest scribes (screen, television, books and press) sit with Reza for a lively discussion that’s intimate, provocative and always entertaining. Intercut throughout the show are clips of unscripted and exclusive green room footage featuring Reza, the main guest and the evening’s musical guest, all sharing tales over drinks prior to the show.”

What I like most about the series is the rapport between Aslan and his guests. One of my favorite episodes was the one featuring Transparent showrunner Jill Soloway. Although Aslan does get into discussing the writer’s room and process, more importantly, he touches on the larger cultural and social impact that shows like Transparent can have on future generations. Each episode has a musical guest, and a laid back vibe as everyone hangs out in the green room. The exchanges are conversational, personal, informational, and of great insight to any writers interested in writing for television. I’ve embedded my favorite episodes below, but you can watch all episodes of Rough Draft on their YouTube channel.

As a bonus, I’m also including this epic clip where Reza OWNS a stupid Fox News anchor. The lady starts off the interview by basically asking, what business does a Muslim have writing a book on Christianity? This in reference to Aslan’s #1 New York Times Bestselling book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Aslan begins the schooling by laying down the facts: He’s a scholar of religions with FOUR degrees who’s been studying the origins of Christianity for TWO DECADES. The rest is pure gold and a must-watch because the woman refuses to let up on her ignorance. SMH.


The Game of Thrones Season 7 Promo Is Here And I Can’t Watch It

Internet citizens, HBO is circulating the latest promo for Game of Thrones Season 7, and I can’t watch it. Well, it’s more like I refuse to watch it. I can’t watch GOT until George R.R. Martin spits out that next book. I don’t want to get mixed up in a different canon, I started with the books and I’m going to stick to them.

The promo is embedded above, but if you’re like me and you don’t want to engage, I’ve found some other delightful GOT-related, spoiler-free, videos you can watch instead.

Serj Tankian Performs Rains of Castamere Live at The Forum

This looks like it was an epic concert, and Serj has such an amazing voice.

Top 10 Differences Between The Game of Thrones TV Series and Books

This one might be SLIGHTLY spoilerish if you haven’t gotten through all the books and existing GOT seasons.

Game of Thrones as a Seinfeld Sitcom

Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Hitler finds out about Ned Stark in Game of Thrones


George R. R. Martin Watches “Red Wedding” Reaction Videos

George, why do you do this to us?????

Did this quench your GOT thirst? If not, too bad. I think I’m good for now. Until tomorrow…



Book Adaptations Round-up

It’s been a banner week for book-to-TV/Movie adaptations! It seems like, in addition to recycling proven franchises, Hollywood is also dipping into the book pond, not that this is a new concept for them. Except that all of these new projects actually look real good, so maybe this isn’t such a bad idea. Which one of these are you most excited about?

Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower”


Earlier this week, Sony gave CinemaCon attendees a treat by showing them the trailer for Stephen King’s The Dark Tower movie adaptation, and the internet has been reacting ever since. Some diehard fans, like Quint of Ain’t It Cool News, are already disappointed because the world depicted is at odds with the dilapidated post-apocalyptic world in the books. Some folks, like Scott Wampler over at Birth.Movies.Death, are quick to point out that the movie was never meant to be a straight adaptation, so chill.

Personally, I’m totally impartial. I was a huge Stephen King fan when I was a kid, and yet I never got into the Dark Tower series, so I have the ability to judge the movie as a standalone film. With Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey starring, it can’t be THAT bad, right?!?!?!


Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods”


Starz released ten character posters for Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which premieres April 30th. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read ANY Neil Gaiman, but his latest book, Norse Mythology, is on my very long to-read list. Check out the other poster art on Geek Tyrant.

Munro Leaf’s “The Story of Ferdinand”

Is nothing sacred? Mutha…fucking…Ferdinand? I mean, look, it makes sense, Ferdinand is one of those beloved children’s book characters that made it OK to be different. It’s just such a stark disconnect, looking back at the original illustrations compared to this wannabe Pixar effort. Despite my cynicism, the trailer looks really cute, and John Cena voices Ferdinand, and I love him. So….I guess….not so bad.


 Stephen King’s “It”

It’s IT! New Line Cinema released the latest trailer for Stephen King’s It, and I’m pretty stoked. It’s got all kinds of 8o’s Stand By Me vibes, and I’m excited to see what Bill Skarsgård’s spin on Pennywise will be. Tim Curry KILLED IT in the original movie, so he’s got some big clown shoes to fill. Also, the Duffer Brothers (of Stranger Things fame) originally had a bid to make this adaptation, but they were rejected, so let’s see if that was a good decision from New Line.