15th May2015

West Week Ever – 5/15/15 (Upfronts Edition)

by Will

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This is gonna be a long one, so strap in and get comfortable. Last year, I did daily posts about the network upfronts announcing their new shows and schedules. This year, we’re doing it all here. But first, some movie stuff.

st vincent

I really put Redbox to work over the past few days, catching up on some films I’d missed in theaters. First up was St. Vincent. Starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, it’s basically about the friendship formed between McCarthy’s son and Murray’s curmudgeonly character. It’s one of those films where Murray actually kinda acted instead of just playing himself. It’s a cute film, and I recommend it – even to those folks who tend to hate McCarthy. Don’t worry, as she doesn’t tumble over anything in this movie.

top-5

Next up, I watched Chris Rock’s Top Five. At its core, it’s a Cinderella story. No, really. If you watch the film, you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, Rock plays Andre Allen, a comedic actor who’s at a point in his career where he wants to be taken seriously. He spends the day with reporter Rosario Dawson, as he does press to promote his new drama about a Haitian uprising. Over the course of the day, we find out about his drinking, his sham relationship with a reality star, and his fears about his own abilities. In terms of casting, it’s basically a modern-day Harlem Nights. You have never seen a collection of Black comedians of this caliber since that film. It’s a movie built on cameos, from Ben Vereen playing ANOTHER deadbeat dad to Seinfeld making it rain in a strip club. And there’s an AMAZING DMX cameo. Trust me. Anyway, I really liked this movie, and I’d definitely watch it again to see if there are any cameos that I missed.

birdman

Finally, I watched Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). For almost a year, I’ve been hearing about how great this movie was, and what a great job Michael Keaton did in the role. Now that I’ve seen it, I have to ask: did we watch the same movie? No me gusta! It was a little too artsy for me. Now, I have simple tastes, but I was a theatre kid so I got most of what was going on. It was the whole battle of “celebrity” vs “actor”, and Keaton’s character just wanted to leave behind a legacy outside of the fluff of the popular Birdman franchise. He was already a celebrity (something of a hasbeen), but he wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. I get that. But it was still kinda weird to me. Like, why did he have telekinesis? At times, it felt kinda Black Swan-y to me, but maybe that’s what they were going for. Part of my review isn’t even the movie’s fault; the first disc I got from Redbox was warped, so I was only able to watch 2/3 of the movie. I had to get a refund, get another disc, and give the movie another try before I was able to finish it. So, I didn’t feel the movie was good enough to warrant all that I had to go through to watch it. What did you all think of the film?

Now, for the upfront news. Let’s look at Fox’s offerings:

Grandfathered – Tuesdays at 8:00

I really like how this looks. It’s got a Raising Hope element to it, while everyone loves John Stamos. That said, he hasn’t had a ton of luck with his starring vehicles (Thieves, Jake In Progress). It kinda bothers me that it doesn’t have a lead-in, and is expected to kick off the night. More importantly, it’ll be going against The Muppets on ABC. I think those are different audiences, but I’d feel a lot better about it if it were placed after New Girl. The problem with that is that New Girl isn’t coming back until midseason because of Deschanel’s pregnancy. I really want this one to work.

The Grinder – Tuesdays 8:30

Who doesn’t love Rob Lowe? And Fred Savage is acting again! This looks very “Fox”, but I still like it. The potential problem is that it doesn’t have an established lead-in (Grandfathered), and it’ll be going against Fresh Off the Boat on ABC. FOTB experienced a ratings dive last season, so I honestly don’t see it as a threat. I just wonder how the freshman Fox comedies are going to do without help from established shows.

Minority Report – Mondays at 9:00

I never saw the movie, but I know the general gist: in the future, crimes are predicted before they’re committed. This is the kind of show that Fox LOVES to kill. They give it a chance and they kill it. It’s expensive sci fi, and the ratings are never high enough to warrant season 2 (see: Almost Human, Terra Nova). Fox should be given credit for giving these shows a chance, but instead they just have a rep for killing them. It’s got the plum post-Gotham timeslot (to the detriment of Sleepy Hollow, which moves to Thursday), but I don’t know if that’s going to be enough to save it. Speaking of Sleepy Hollow, Fox seems to love that White guy, Black female partner trope.

Rosewood – Wednesdays at 8:00

There’s quite a bit of an obsession with pathologists on TV lately. Pathologist obsessed with death becomes the go-to guy for the Miami police department. This feels a lot like Forever. It stars Morris Chestnut, so it helps the problem if the lack of primetime diversity. I’m just scared this might be 2015-2016’s Backstrom. I don’t think this one survives.

Lucifer – Midseason

I said this about Constantine, and I’ll say it again here: I don’t think the Bible Belt is ready to embrace a show about the Devil as the star. Not on network television. I don’t care how far we’ve come as a society. I don’t care if it’s a “smart” show. The same people who would like this show are the ones who hate The Big Bang Theory. You know who LOVES The Big Bang Theory? Middle America. It’s a midseason show, so I figure Fox is using that time to figure out just how to properly market it. NBC couldn’t call Constantine “Hellblazer”, likely for the same reasons. No matter what it was called, the show is now gone. I don’t think this one has a prayer (heh) either.

The Frankenstein Code – Midseason

Take everything I said about Minority Report, and multiply it times 2. This show will not last.

Bordertown – Midseason

Originally scheduled for the 2014-2015 television season, this show has been bumped to next season. And it STILL doesn’t have an airdate. Fox must have faith in it, since it’s executive produced by Seth MacFarlane, but it just doesn’t seem as good as his other shows. I also hate the animation style. I don’t like animation where you can’t tell if a character is supposed to be attractive or not (see Bob’s Burgers). Anyway, I say it gets one season (since animation has lead time), which will then end up being aired late Sunday night on Adult Swim (see Unsupervised).

Now for ABC’s shows

Dr. Ken – Fridays at 8:30

I like Ken Jeong, but this show isn’t exactly reinventing the sitcom wheel. Considering the edgier comedic films he’s done, I’m surprised that he went for such a cookie-cutter multi-cam family show. That said, it multiplies the Asian American representation in sitcoms by 100%, so it helps to diversify the shows on the air. I hate the Friday timeslot, as this ain’t TGIF. Last Man Standing isn’t that strong of a lead-in, so it won’t be of much help to this show. I just KNOW some executive recommended pairing this show with Fresh Off the Boat before someone shot him down.

The Muppets – Tuesdays at 8:00

I’ve never understood the Muppets, so I’m probably not the best one to cover this one. Sure, the Jason Segel movie did well, but the sequel did not. It seems like the success of the Muppets hinges on the presentation. This show is basically The Office with Muppets. I don’t really like what I see, but again, I’m not the target audience. It’s going against Fox’s Grandfathered, but I think they’ll have different audiences.

The Real O’Neals – Midseason

I really like what I see here. It’s like a better, single-cam almost-prequel to CBS’s cancelled The McCarthys. ABC only seems to really have two nights for comedy (Tuesday and Wednesday; I don’t really count Friday), so I’m not really sure where it would go at this point.

Uncle Buck – Midseason

This actually looks a lot better than I was expecting. We basically got the whole pilot in the trailer, but I would watch this. I could see ABC doing something like swapping it in for Black-ish for a few weeks, which would then result in an outcry that ABC refuses to have 2 Black shows on at once. Heh. Anyway, this might just work.

The Catch – Midseason

This looks good. It’s a Shonda Rhimes show, so I expect nothing less. I said I’d watch How To Get Away With Murder, and then I never got around to it. I’d say the same about this, but maybe I’ll just catch it on Netflix. This one’s a hit. Shonda can’t fail.

Of Kings and Prophets – Sundays at 10:00

STOP TRYING TO MAKE THE BIBLE “COOL”! This was clearly made in response to NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues, only I’m pretty sure ABC probably thought that series was going to be more successful than it has been. Networks keep trying to make these shows because they want their own Game of Thrones. The problem is that you can’t make that show on a network television budget, with network standards and practices. You just end up with a neuter version, which no one wants. Fox learned this last season while making Hieroglyph, which they canceled before it even aired. This show will not succeed.

The Family – Midseason

I like this. A year ago, I probably wouldn’t have had a lot of faith in it, but ABC had a lot of success with Secrets & Lies, and this is in that vein. I can’t wait to watch this!

Quantico – Tuesdays at 10:00

ABC has had a problem with this timeslot for the past few seasons. Most recently occupied by Forever, it’s the hour where ABC dramas go to die. I like what I see, though. It’s basically 24 with a less experienced agent. It also helps that it’s led by a woman of color. It’ll be interesting to see what happens here.

Oil -Sundays at 9:00

Kinda cared more about this when it was called Dallas. ABC needs a soapy drama to replace Revenge, but that show never really did that well. Neither does Nashville. ABC wants to stay in the sudser game, but the numbers just aren’t there. Who knows, though? It might work.

Wicked City – Midseason

I don’t really even know what’s going on here. I don’t think it fully captures the 80s aesthetic for a “period piece”. I don’t see this one really getting off the ground.

I really only care about one thing on CBS:

Supergirl – Mondays at 8:00

Well, this has certainly gotten folks talking. From Greg Berlanti, who’s given us Arrow and The Flash, we get a show about Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El. First of all, why is it pronounced “CAHR-uh”? Anyway, I have a lot of issues with what I’ve seen in the trailer. Why does everyone know her identity? By the end of the trailer, everyone seems to know except her boss.

Also, I hate that they made her cousin such a big part of her identity. Why couldn’t they live in a world where there’s no Superman? The problem with this is the same problem I had with Birds of Prey: when you mention that someone bigger and more important exists, the audience is just waiting for him to appear. In BoP, we all wanted Batman on TV, and here we’re all going to want Superman. Now, Warner Bros had a show about Superman that ran for 10 years, yet he never really “showed up”. Why would they do anything differently here? Too much is predicated on making her cousin proud or “Your cousin sent you a gift”. Considering this show is supposed to take place in the “Berlantiverse” (has anyone coined that term yet?), I don’t like the idea that there’s a Superman out there in the same world as The Arrow. I liked that Arrow was kinda grounded, and this season sorta threw all of that out the window. I know there’s bigger threats and whatnot, but I wasn’t prepared to jump right to the House of El.

Anyway, I’m still not sure why this just didn’t get put on The CW. I mean, CBS owns half of that network, and it’s where the other Berlanti shows are. It’d make things more convenient for crossing over (which is something they’ve said they would like to eventually do) if they were on the same channel. If you’re not a show about the FBI or some other acronym, CBS doesn’t really know what to do with you. It’s also interesting that for the first time since 1949, CBS has no comedies on Monday night, instead giving a slot to Supergirl. And it’s going up against Gotham! If I had to choose between dark, nonsensical Gotham and bright, optimistic Supergirl, I know what I’ll be watching Monday nights.

As for NBC:

The Player – Thursdays at 10:00
I don’t even know what’s going on here. They bet on crime? Anyway, I don’t see this one making it, which is sad ’cause Wesley could use the money. They say that it’s by the executive producer of The Blacklist, but that’s not entirely a vote of confidence as that show’s been slowly dying since the move to Thursdays.

Blindspot – Mondays at 10:00

This trailer is just exhausting. It’s Memento with a hot chick. Again, this thing seems too steeped in its own mythology to be accessible. I don’t see a second season for it.

People Are Talking – Fridays at 8:30
I really want this to work, as I love Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Just like Fox makes expensive sci fi shows just to cancel them, NBC loves to make multicam sitcoms only to cancel them. It’s a miracle that Undateable is still around, really. And for some reason, they’ve decided to program Friday night with comedies like ABC. Maybe the DVR numbers will be decent? Anyway, it’ll be going against ABC’s Dr. Ken, which also has an uphill battle for that night and timeslot.

And of course, while I was writing this, the trailer dropped for The CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow:

I’m so behind on Arrow and The Flash that I don’t really feel qualified to have an opinion on it. I like what I see, but I need to catch up before I can get really excited, as I know some of the groundwork had been laid over the past few episodes. It’s The CW, which kinda has a low bar for success anyway, so this show will do just fine.


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Mondays at 8:00

This is the only other CW show I’m looking forward to. It was originally created for Showtime, but got picked up for network instead. This chick seems insane, and I’m curious to see how they get a whole series out of this premise. That said, it’s got an Asian American love interest – how often do you see that?! And it’s half musical? Yeah, I’m already there. Anyway, it airs the same time as Supergirl, so I’ll be DVRing it. Or maybe I’ll just lose interest, like I did with Jane The Virgin.

MADCAST_LOGO

Another week, another guest spot on The Mad Cast. I love talking Mad Men with Corey, and we discussed a pretty powerful episode this week. Give it a listen!

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-Fox announced that the next and 15th season of American Idol would be its last. And there was much rejoicing. Not from me, however. It may have slowed in recent years, but Idol gave us Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, Fantasia Barrino, Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Scotty McCreary. The Voice, for all of its accolades and ratings, can’t say that about a single contestant. And I didn’t even list only winners. Being on Idol was enough exposure to launch a career. The Voice, however, has yet to create a household name. So, le roi est mort. Vive le roi!

-Contract negotiations broke down, so Harry Shearer is leaving The Simpsons. Last time that happened, they killed Maude Flanders. I doubt they’d kill Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Kent Brockman, and Mr. Burns, though, so I expect them to find replacement voices. The show’s been on for almost 30 years – it’s not like there aren’t other, cheaper folks who can do those voices now.

-Fox has greenlit a New Mutants film spinoff from the X-Men franchise. It’s to be directed by Josh Boone, who also did The Fault In Our Stars, so I expect it to have teen angst and all of that. I wonder if this is taking precedent over the X-Force film that was being discussed a few months back.

Legends of Tomorrow

-Caity Lotz will be playing The White Canary on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. In the comics, that minor character was originally Asian, so brace yourself for the “whitewashing” thinkpieces…

-The trailer for Jem and The Holograms was released, and the internet went crazy – in a bad way. It doesn’t seem to be about a rocker who uses hologram technology to save the world. Instead, it’s about a shy singer who’s trying to find the motivation to make her voice be heard. Instead of “Jem is truly outrageous”, the tagline should be “Jem, like, can’t even!” Some people have said that the haters aren’t embracing new ideas, but there’s nothing “Jem” about this. Why use the name and the franchise if you’re not going to do anything with it? That’s like if G.I. Joe were about a dude named George Indicott Joe, a former soldier who’s now a plumber in Queens. It’s just a waste.

-In comic news, the identity of “She Thor” was revealed in this week’s Thor #8. I thought it was just gonna be Lady Sif or something. I was wrong. Here’s a hint, though: she was in the movies. My pal Kevin over at Team Hellions has the scoop!

Links I Loved

Ben Savage on Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World, and the Meaning of Life – Vulture

Figures of Empire: On the Impossibility of Superhero Diversity – Snoopy Jenkins

Ranking EVERY Villain of The Avengers Comics – The Robot’s Pajamas

What the Number of Action Figures You Own Says About You – UnderScoopFire

As you can see, there was a LOT of television news this week, and I didn’t even cover all of it. The week belonged to the networks as they rolled out their Fall schedules. There will be some winners and a LOT of losers, but it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. It may seem like a cop-out, but I feel like the major broadcast networks had the West Week Ever.

01st May2015

West Week Ever – 5/1/15

by Will

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the signal

On the movie front, I watched The Signal. If you’ve never seen it, 3 college kids are on a road trip that goes awry. They’ve been taunted by a hacker, and they’ve tracked him to Nevada. Since they’re on the way to California, they decide to take a detour and surprise him. Once they get there, a bunch of strange stuff happens and they wake up in a secret facility, being interrogated by Laurence Fishburne. And that’s when the weird shit happens. In all, I really enjoyed the film. The ending was kinda weird, but I know that’s what they were going for. Still, it’s one of those films that was trying too hard to have a message than just simply entertain. If you read the Wiki entry for the movie, it says

The filmmakers have stated the movie was constructed as a metaphor for the conflict between rational and emotional decision-making, contained inside a science-fiction genre vehicle.

Whatever. I wish you could see the gesture I’m making while I read that. In any case, I don’t know if it accomplishes all of that, but there are worse ways to kill 90 minutes.

athf

In television news, it was announced that Aqua Teen Hunger Force  will be ending this summer after 15 years on Adult Swim. I used to be a HUGE ATHF fan, and have the first few seasons on DVD. I kinda fell off when it became Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1. Then, like Power Rangers, the show just kept changing its name every season, even though the show itself never really changed. The final season will be called Aqua Teen Hunger Force Forever.

new avenger

In movie news, it’s rumored that the title of the next Spider-Man film will be Spider-Man: The New Avenger. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it fits the naming scheme of the other Marvel movies (Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Captain America: The First Avenger, etc). On the other hand, I’m not sure I want him to be an Avenger. Sure, we all wanted a shared universe, but I’ve never been one of those “Spider-Man Needs To Be On A Team” folks. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed when Bendis put him on the team in New Avengers, but since they’re skewing younger for this Peter Parker, I kinda wanna see him find his way on his own, instead of immediately joining a team. Then again, maybe it’s just a name and doesn’t really mean anything right now.

asa butterfield

In related news, Asa Butterfield is rumored to be the frontrunner for Peter Parker/Spider-Man. I know nothing about this guy, as I never saw The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas or Ender’s Game. He’s not who I’d think of when I think “Peter Parker”, but neither were Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield. Anyone know anything about this kid?

Phillippe Fist

In related Marvel news, Ryan Phillippe has said that he’s been in talks with Marvel for a role on one of the Netflix series. People have taken this to mean that he might end up as Iron Fist. I, for one, love this idea. Since Cruel Intentions, he kinda has that “rich kid pedigree” thing going for him, and his star is on the rise again thanks to ABC’s Secrets & Lies. I don’t know if he’d have any chemistry with Mike Colter (Luke Cage, his partner in crime), but I’m sure they’ll take care of that when the time comes. I know there’s a contingent out there who want an Asian American Iron Fist, but I’m not in that camp. Unlike most comic characters, I feel like Iron Fist’s whiteness is a key component of what makes him special. My friend, Jenn, has a much better explanation as to why this is, so I hope she writes about it someday.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

FF

-A new Fantastic Four character poster was released. Getting excited!

-There’s a Good Times movie coming, from Black-ish creator Kenya Barris. This is a horrible idea.

-The Power Rangers movie has been delayed to January 13th, 2017. Even as a Power Rangers fan, this doesn’t really disappoint me.

JubileeandJean

-Jubilee and Jean Grey on the set of X-Men: Apocalypse. I’m still not sure what they’re doing with this movie.

-Laura Linney just joined TMNT 2 in a mystery role. I really thought her career was better than that.

casey jones

-Speaking of TMNT 2, here’s your first look at Stephen Amell as Casey Jones. Shredder, YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY!

batsuit-The Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Batsuit was revealed. This doesn’t really do much for me…

batwing

-Speaking of Dawn of Justice, that dude from the Latino Review got a sneak preview of the new Batwing. It’s not batty enough for me. At this point, I really don’t know what it’s gonna take to get me excited about this film


-Just watch it. Trust me.

-Don’t forget that tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day! Be sure to drop by your local comic shop for some free comic goodness. I know I’ll be picking up the Avengers book, as well as the DC Divergence book. How about you?

Links I Loved

The “Best” Genre Films of Lesser Known Celebrity Siblings – The Robot’s Pajamas

“We Are Who We Choose To Be”: Sadistic Choices, Forking Paths, and the Rejection of Social and Narrative Progress in Superhero Comics and Films – The Hooded Utilitarian

The Fastest Cars in Sci-Fi – The Robot’s Pajamas

avengers-art-final

Are we really going to pretend that Avengers: The Age of Ultron didn’t have the West Week Ever? It’s already made $255 million at the international box office. Most of you have already seen it, it seems, so you tell me. I saw it last night, and I’ve got a few, non-spoilery thoughts.

First of all, it’s good but not as good as the first one. Here’s my dilemma: they added more countries to show you that the Avengers’ mission is spreading globally. That said, the comics have taught me to only care about New York City. Since most of the action takes place NOT in NYC, the stakes don’t seem as high. I mean, I don’t care about Sokovia. Yes, I know that’s very Ugly American of me :-p  Also I felt the non-Ultron villains were wasted in the film, especially after all the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. #itsallconnected buildup. And the ending doesn’t make a lot of sense (I can’t wait to be able to discuss this with someone). Oh, and Days of Future Past‘s Quicksilver is a lot cooler than Age of Ultron‘s Pietro Maximoff.

I was told that I’d leave the film really loving Hawkeye, and that was true. He’s the most human member of the team, and the movie does a good job of showing what he brings to the table. I also loved all of Stark’s new toys. And the mid-credits scene was great. Plus, I LOVED Spader as Ultron. Perfect casting there.

All that said, I really enjoyed it. Then again, I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to comic book movies. Out of all the ones I’ve seen, the only one with which I had major problems was The Dark Knight Rises. Before you ask, yup , I liked that one. And that other one. Yup, that one, too.

It very much feels like the middle movie of a bigger storyline, which is exactly what it is. It put all the major pieces in position, setting up Civil War and Infinity War. This is not a cerebral movie, however, and I know some of my friends are gonna loathe it. Still, let’s not act like it’s not gonna make a billion dollars, so Avengers: Age of Ultron had the West Week Ever.

24th Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/24/15

by Will

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Other-Space

This was a week of me binge-watching short comedy series online. I started things out with Other Space on Yahoo Screen. I mentioned the show in last week’s post, but I hadn’t gotten around to watching it. Created by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids and The Heat), the show is set in the year 2105, and focuses on the young, inept crew of a spaceship that finds itself stranded in a parallel dimension. I’ve admired Feig since I read his book, Superstud, so I had to check out this series. I came for the creator, but I stayed for Milana Vayntrub, AKA Lily Adams from the AT&T commercials. First, let me say this: I hate webseries. There’s always something “This isn’t quite good enough for television” about them. And this show looks and feels like a webseries. Still, I powered through the 8-episode run with ease, as the cast is good, and the writing’s pretty funny. For you Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans, Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu are also part of the cast. It’s got humor, it’s got pretty ladies, and it’s got space – there’s something for everyone!

scrotal recall

Next up, I binged Scrotal Recall on Netflix. Yes, that’s its actual name, but the show is so much better than that questionable moniker. Imagine if How I Met Your Mother had more sex, and no Lily & Marshall. That’s basically this show. There’s a Ted, there’s a Barney, and there’s a Robin. The hook, however, is a bit more mature than HIMYM: when Dylan discovers that he has chlamydia, he has to notify his former sexual partners to let them know that they need to get tested. Then, we follow those past relationships as the show jumps around the timeline. Meanwhile, Dylan is secretly in love with his best friend, Evie – who happens to also be in love with him. However, she’s about to be married to another guy. Will they finally admit their feelings to each other before it’s too late? The series originally aired on Channel 4 in the UK last year, and I continue to be impressed by how much British showrunners are able to cram into a mere 6 episodes of a series. It was great to see Antonia Thomas again, who I discovered when she played Alisha on the Channel 4 series Misfits. Also, if they ever make a US version of the show, June Diane Raphael HAS to play Helen. Anyway, I’m really hoping for a second season, as I really like the ensemble, and there’s definitely more ground to cover. In the tradition of My Name Is Earl, Dylan has a pretty sizable list of women he needs to contact, and we only get through the first 5 in this season.

babadook

Next, I watched The Babadook on Netflix. A 2014 horror movie with a lot of buzz around it, I felt like I had to watch this movie. Now, I’m not exactly a horror fan – in fact, I don’t like the genre much at all. Still, I’d heard nothing but good things about this movie, so it seemed to be worth my time. Well, what did I think? Babadook? More like Babadookie. Seriously, what did people see in this movie? If you’re not familiar with it, the movie focuses on a single mother and her son in Australia. Amelia’s husband died on the way to the hospital for her to give birth, so it’s just been her and the son, Samuel, for the past 7 years. And it’s starting to take its toll on her. One night, she lets Samuel choose the book she’s going to read to him before bed, and he picks a book called Mister Babadook. In the story, there’s a creature called Mr. Babadook who begs to be let in, and will never leave once you do so. The story basically terrorizes the son, as he begins to see the Babadook everywhere, and he’s scared something’s going to happen to his mom. The mom refuses to believe in the Babadook, but as she continues to go without sleep, strange things begin to happen around the house. That’s the basic gist of it. To me, the biggest problem is that the Babadook just isn’t that visually frightening. He looks like something from a Tim Burton movie. Anyway, I was pretty unsatisfied and I don’t get the hype that surrounded this movie. Was it the fact that it was a horror movie by a female director? Did I miss something? The main brunt of the movie seems to be “Single parenting is a BITCH!”, but the Babadook himself? Not so scary.

full-house-tv-show-reboot-netflix

I’ve written about it a bunch, but it was officially announced this week that Fuller House is happening, and will premiere on Netflix in 2016. The show will follow widowed veterinarian DJ Tanner, who needs help raising her 2 kids (with another on the way). So, best friend Kimmy Gibbler, along with her own teenage daughter, Ramona, moves in to help out. Finally, Stephanie Tanner, now a musician, will also move in to lend a hand. John Stamos will produce the show, and also guest star as Uncle Jessie. I like this idea, but I’m somewhat surprised it went to Netflix. After all, this show seems tailor-made for ABC Family’s comedy slate, especially with the aging Melissa & Joey on the way out this summer. I can think of about 3 cable networks that would be a better home to this show than Netflix, but I guess Netflix is trying to expand its offerings. Based on the media coverage this thing has been getting, they just may have chosen a winner.

finding your roots

There was a lot of hubbub this week regarding Ben Affleck. No, I’m not talking about the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer. You see, Affleck was on the PBS series Finding Your Roots, where he discovered that one of his ancestors owned slaves. Well, thanks to leaked emails, we discovered that Affleck asked that that particular part be cut from his episode. Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., the host of the show, wasn’t sure how to handle the situation, as detailed in the email thread. Eventually, the show acquiesced, and the segment was removed. Once news of this broke, there was outcry that Affleck shouldn’t have asked/the show shouldn’t have complied with his request. Affleck finally addressed the situation on Facebook, saying:

“I didn’t want any television show about my family to include a guy who owned slaves. I was embarrassed. The very thought left a bad taste in my mouth.”

He also pointed out that Finding Your Roots isn’t a news show, so it’s not like he was compromising journalistic integrity. I kinda see both sides of the situation. On the one hand, if you’re an American, you’ve got to know there’s a *chance* your ancestors owned slaves. That goes for both races. However, he’s right in that it wasn’t a news show, and they had to go with what made the most sense from an entertainment standpoint. Considering he didn’t want that aspect known, and PBS didn’t initially want to cut it, I feel like they just should’ve scrapped the episode. Move on to the next celebrity and keep it moving. There’s currently an ongoing internal investigation at PBS to determine if the omission violated PBS editorial standards.

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The television corner of the Marvel Universe certainly had a busy week. First off, it was revealed that 12 Years A Slave writer John Ridley was creating a Marvel Universe show for ABC. Later in the week, that rumor expanded, implying that he was working on a series based on current Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan. Next, Deadline Hollywood reported that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be spinning off the characters of Mockingbird and her ex-husband Nick Hunter, in a Mr. & Mrs. Smith-esque spy drama. Finally, it was announced that Daredevil has been renewed for a second season, albeit with new showrunners.

Thoughts? Well, I kinda like Kamala Khan as a character, even though I think her powers are stupid. I wonder if America’s ready for a show starring a female Muslim hero, but “you never know what you can do until you try”, right? Ridley’s 2006 Wildstorm miniseries The American Way showed that he understands heroes, while his current TV series, ABC’s American Crime, shows that he can handle culture clashes. He’s an interesting choice for a Marvel project, but I’d be really curious to see what he could bring to that universe.

As for the Mockingbird show, I feel like they should focus on making Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a solid show before spinning off one of its best components. I’m not the biggest Mockingbird fan, but I’ll admit that the show has gotten more interesting since her debut. This new series is being looked at as a companion show to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and may run concurrently, like Once Upon A Time and Once Upon A Time In Wonderland so unsuccessfully tried last season. If they do a spinoff, I’d be OK with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. going away, and letting the spinoff replace it. It’d be like how Benson went on to last twice as long as Soap, the show that birthed it. I love Phil Coulson, but I’ve always felt that he was a “less is more” character. On the Age of Ultron press circuit, Whedon said that he felt the resurrection of Coulson kinda took away the impact of his death in Avengers, and I have to agree. He went from this guy we saw every few movies to in our faces on a weekly basis. They could get Coulson out of the field, and put him in an actual director capacity, which would keep him out of sight. It’d be the way they used Richard Dean Anderson at the end of Stargate SG-1 – we wouldn’t see him very often. This could also allow the AoS field team to disband and something different (potentially led by Mockingbird) could rise from its ashes. It’d be a good way to reboot the S.H.I.E.L.D. concept. Skye could move on since she’s now powered and really has no business with S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ve never really liked Melinda May, though she could stick around as The Muscle. And I’m kinda tired of Fitz and Simmons. The team needs a shakeup, and the current S.H.I.E.L.D. vs S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline isn’t doing enough to further that.

As for Daredevil, the news of a second season isn’t really a surprise. It seems, however, that this could delay the Defenders team-up that was originally planned to close out the Marvel Netflix series. According to Forbes, Marvel initially shopped the series around as a 60-episode package: 13 episodes each of Daredevil, A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, with the remaining 8 episodes being devoted to a team-up series with all of those characters, called The Defenders. Since second seasons weren’t part of the original plan, it stands to reason that The Defenders may get shuffled. The Forbes article even posits that The Defenders may actually precede Iron Fist – which doesn’t yet have a production date in place. Marvel seems to want to get the Netflix characters into Avengers: Infinity War, so it’ll be interesting to see how they handle the timeline over the next 3 years in order to make this happen.

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Meanwhile, DC Comics had some news of their own, as they announced the creation of DC Super Hero Girls. It’s not the flashiest or catchiest name, but it makes DC look good during a week where Marvel is facing criticism for the lack of merchandise featuring female characters from their movies. Designed for girls aged 6-12, the cross-platform initiative centers around female super heroes and super villains of the DC Universe as “relatable teens”, according to the press release. Mattel is a partner, and will create a line of action figures specifically targeted towards girls. One thing you’ll notice from the art above is that the characters are mostly covered – something that’s unusual for female characters in comics. As a new dad of a baby girl, I’m excited to see where this goes.

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I had the pleasure of joining Corey over at the MadCast for this week’s episode. If you’re not familiar with the MadCast, it’s the best Mad Men recap show around. We discussed this week’s episode, “The Forecast”, and I even got in some Three’s Company references. If you’re a Mad Men fan, check it out here.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week


-Bob Saget was NOT the original Danny Tanner

-I took the Jeopardy online test last week. I will not be on Jeopardy anytime soon.

-The official Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer was released. It did absolutely nothing for me.

-The latest Jurassic World trailer was released. Still felt nothing.

-The new Fantastic Four trailer was released. Actually starting to look forward to that one.

-Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Meg LeFauve (Inside Out) will write Marvel’s Captain Marvel film

Agent Carter‘s Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark) has been cast as Jesse Custer in AMC’s adaptation of the Vertigo Preacher comic. He will be joined by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Ruth Negga (Raina).

-It was rumored that the title of the Arrow/The Flash spinoff will be Legends of Tomorrow. Meanwhile Edge of Tomorrow‘s Franz Drameh has joined the cast as a mysterious character named Jay Jackson.

-The next Star Trek movie will be released 7/8/16, and will be titled Star Trek: Beyond

-Speaking of Star Trek, it was revealed that a Galaxy Quest series is in development at Paramount. I think the concept worked well as a movie, but I don’t see it as a weekly series. It might work as a 13-episode Netflix situation, though.

-Sandra Bullock was named People Magazine‘s 2015 World’s Most Beautiful Woman

-After 53 years, Spanish-language variety show Sabado Gigante will end September 19th.

-Sony announced plans for a movie franchise based on the Valiant comic line. Good luck with that…

-Mr. Feeny will make his return to Girl Meets World in the season 2 premiere on May 11th.

-Animated Spider-Man film planned for 2018. Next to no other details are known at this time.

-Tyler Perry has been cast as Baxter Stockman in TMNT 2

Links I Loved

The Man Who Broke the Music Business – The New Yorker

10 Shows Marvel Should Make Before Mockingbird – The Robot’s Pajamas

10 Things KB Toys Sold in 1998! – Dinosaur Dracula

Iceman

After wallowing in obscurity for years, X-Men team member Iceman finally became relevant again this week when the latest issue of All-New X-Men revealed that the character is gay. And news outlets went crazy with their “An Original X-Man Comes Out” headlines. But that’s not exactly true. Long story short, the original X-Men of the past were brought to the present to see what their actions end up doing to mutantkind, in the hopes that their experiences will motivate them to change the present. Unfortunately, they can’t get back home. So, the teen versions coexist in the present with the adult versions. Seeing as how the teen version of Iceman is gay, but the adult version is not, it’s beginning to look like the past team is actually from an alternate timeline or universe.

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Still, this has sparked a lot of….interesting online conversations. Most of the comments are along the lines of “How come they’re changing characters again?!” Well, they’re not, really. The Iceman you knew and ignored is still around, and still straight. It’s alternate timeline Teen Iceman who doesn’t like the ladies. To me, that’s kind of a copout. It allows Marvel to have its cake and eat it, too. Just say Iceman’s gay. It won’t negate any past stories (Sure, he dated Opal, but it’s not like gay guys don’t have women in their pasts), and it won’t change anything about his heroism (or lack thereof). I just want him to be *interesting* again – something that hasn’t happened since 1997’s “Operation: Zero Tolerance” storyline. I’ve always kinda liked Iceman, and if this means that he’ll be in the spotlight more, then I’m all for it. If they’re just gonna shuffle him to the back of the line again, then it was a useless gesture. At the end of the day, the X-Men are about the battle for acceptance, be it about powers, race, or sexuality. So, this feels pretty fitting. If they’d created a new gay character, as the naysayers are suggesting they should have done, that character simply would’ve been a token. No, it had to be an existing character. Plus, there hasn’t really been a “definitive” Iceman story, so he’s perfect. He’s an original team member with a ton of storytelling potential and little baggage.

I do, however, have problems with how Marvel handled it. Ya see, Iceman didn’t come out – he was outed. There’s a difference. This article goes into it much more eloquently than I can, but what Jean Grey did was invade Iceman’s privacy by reading his mind. So, hopefully there will be some ramifications behind that.

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Also, this isn’t the first time that Iceman has been used in the Something Drastic and Permanent Has Happened to an Original X-Man role. You see, a few years back, Marvel realized that everyone and their cousin was a mutant and something needed to be done to thin out the herd. So, during the House of M miniseries, Scarlet Witch cast the spell “No More Mutants”, and this reduced Marvel’s mutant population to approximately 198 people. In order to make readers feel the impact of what had happened, of course they needed one of the original X-Men to lose their powers. Enter: Iceman. Iceman, along with Magneto (who later got a power recharge from the High Evolutionary), lost his powers and was seemingly just a normal human. Until Marvel writers or whatever got cold feet, and Iceman realized he still had powers, but some sort of PTSD from the events of House of M was preventing him from being able to use them. So, in the long run, all of the original X-Men pretty much made it through the mass depowering unscathed, though no new mutants appeared for the next 2 years.

I really hope Marvel follows through with this and doesn’t just retcon it via Secret Wars or something. If nothing else, however, this has given Iceman more attention than he’s ever received. And for that reason, Iceman had the West Week Ever.

17th Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/17/15

by Will

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The week started out with the debut of the newest Ant-Man trailer. I’ve got to say that I’m getting more excited about this movie the closer that it gets. Sure, it won’t be Avengers-level awesome, but I think it’ll hold its own in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know a lot of you like to avoid trailers and spoilers, but this one is worth watching just for the train gag at the end. Trust me. Anyway, for a great scene-by-scene breakdown of the new trailer, check out this post from my pals at The Robot’s Pajamas.

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Next in comic movie news, DC’s Wonder Woman lost its director when Michelle MacLaren left the production, citing “creative differences”. That director’s chair wasn’t cold for long, however, as Patty Jenkins was given the job a few days later. In the long run Jenkins may be the better choice, as she has box office experience, having directed Monster, which won an Oscar for Charlize Theron. On top of that, she was slated to direct Thor 2, before leaving that production citing “creative differences”. So, she’ll make her comic movie debut in the DC Universe instead.

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Meanwhile in the DC Cinematic Universe, the trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is slated to be released in a special event on Monday. They even released a teaser for it yesterday. Yes, a TEASER for a TRAILER. Can this just stop? Movie studios are like sluts, where they start out slow, by just letting us slip the tip in, and right before the movie comes out, they’re just GIVING IT AWAY. Look at what’s going on with Age of Ultron. They insist that we haven’t seen anything yet from the third act, but I sure as Hell feel like I’ve seen everything else. Just release your trailer and move on. Sure, there are fans clamoring for this, but I’m not one of them. I think it’s pretty stupid. But if you wanna pay for an IMAX ticket to go watch a trailer, I guess that’s your business. As for me, I just can’t find myself getting excited about this movie. If it were another DC television series, I’d be all about it. They’ve figured out television. They’re still trying to understand movies.

Jessica Jones

In comic television news, hot on the heels of the Daredevil debut, we got our first look at the Netflix series A.K.A. Jessica Jones. I love Krysten Ritter and I love Jessica Jones, but I’m still not sure I love Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones. I still think Alexandra Daddario would’ve been a better choice, but I’ve learned to trust Marvel’s judgement at this point. As for Luke Cage, I’ve got no real thoughts on him. I kinda wanted Lance Gross to get it, since it’d be nice to see someone graduate from Tyler Perry stuff to the big leagues (someone not named Sofia Vergara, that is).

One thing I’ve been curious about these Netflix series is the production timeline. Daredevil has clearly been a runaway hit, so smart money is on a season 2. That said, do we have to wait until after the Defenders team-up, or could it potentially happen before? At this time, there are no production dates for Iron Fist or The Defenders, but it’s unlikely they’d take place before late 2016/early 2017. Would they sneak another Daredevil season in before then, or would we have to wait? Seems like a long time to keep your cast sitting on the bench, especially since it’s now rumored that those stars may appear in Avengers: Infinity War. I’d love to find out more information about the Netflix deal.

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Probably the biggest news this week, the second Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer debuted at Star Wars Celebration yesterday. I’m far from a hardcore Star Wars fan, but I enjoyed it. I’ll see it. I’m sure you want more than that, but I’ve got nothing. I’m sure a ton of you needed a towel after that final scene. For a better explanation of the trailer, again, check out this post at The Robot’s Pajamas.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– A couple of people announced they were running for President.

-For some reason, a 25 year old Sizzler commercial went viral.

-Ryan Gosling has been cast in the Blade Runner sequel

Other Space debuted on Yahoo Screen, co-starring Milana Vayntrub, AKA The AT&T Girl

-It appears David Hasselhoff just discovered the glory of Kung Fury

Links I Loved

Daredevil Netflix Series: Marvel Universe Easter Eggs and Comic References Guide
– Den of Geek US

On Jackie Robinson Day, Let’s Remember When He Was Fired From the New York Post for Being Too Republican – Reason.com

How Avengers: Age of Ultron Nearly Killed Joss Whedon – Vulture

Japanese Game Show Where The Contestants Get Hand Jobs While Singing Karaoke (NSFW) – Dangerous Minds

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Yeah, I know the new Star Wars trailer is driving nerds crazy, but I’ve got to give WWE to Daredevil. Again. Last week, it was just for the pilot. It still had 12 more chances to go downhill from there. And it did not. On top of that, I’ve yet to see anyone say anything negative about it – ON THE INTERNET! When’s the last time that happened? Sure, Star Wars will have its day in the sun but, to me, this week belonged to Ol’ Hornhead and Hell’s Kitchen. If you haven’t watched it yet, what’s wrong with you? Is it because you don’t have Netflix? If that’s the case, I’m sure there’s some kind of free trial you could exploit or something in order to watch it. If you just don’t care, then I feel bad for you, son. You’re missing out on the best television comic adaptation to date. That’s why Netflix’s Daredevil had the West Week Ever.

17th Mar2015

Much Ado About Batgirl

by Will

So, usually I’d just let this kind of thing go, or just drop a casual mention of it in West Week Ever, but I was inspired to say more about this particular thing. Last week, DC Comics revealed a variant cover for the upcoming Batgirl #41, which can be seen here:

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The cover, by Rafael Albuquerque is an homage to Batman: The Killing Joke – the 1988 graphic novel where The Joker shoots Batgirl/Barbara Gordon and paralyzes her. This was a violent and pivotal storyline, resulting in Barbara eventually adopting the role of Oracle to the DC Universe. The reason this cover is controversial, however, is because of this page from The Killing Joke:

Killing Joke

You see, after shooting her (in her Barbara Gordon guise), Joker then showed pictures of her, naked and bloody, to her father, Commissioner Gordon. Over the years, it has been surmised that Joker actually sexually assaulted Barbara before and/or during the photoshoot. The creative team of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland have never confirmed whether or not this was a depiction of the aftermath of a sexual assault. It’s really left open to interpretation by the reader. I can see where that idea comes from, with the S&M imagery of Commissioner Gordon’s garb to the facial expressions in the photos. That said, until DC Comics comes out and says “Yes, Barbara was raped” (and yes, they are just dumb enough to do that), then I’m going to assume that she was not. I don’t even think DC would go that far.

So that brings us to the variant cover above. Many people felt it was in bad taste because it harkened back to this assumed sexual assault. The Joker with his arm draped around her, holding a gun pointed downward, while her eyes fill with tears. The Internet heated up with demands for DC to cancel the cover, via the #CancelTheCover hashtag. Eventually, things got out of hand as death threats were being hurled around, and DC finally announced that they were cancelling the cover at the request of Albuquerque. Well, what do I think about all this? So glad you asked!

I think the Batgirl cover’s uncomfortable, but I also think that’s *the point*. There’s more storytelling in that image than anything current Batman writer Scott Snyder’s done. As my Twitter pal @Friginator put it,

It’s supposed to trigger a response in you. They want the reader to think that there are high stakes involved. That said, I’d probably cry if I were cornered by the guy who paralyzed me. He wouldn’t have had to have raped me to trigger that response. To me, the cover is just another Big 2 crossover tactic to make you think something worthwhile may actually happen in the book. That said, covers haven’t really correlated to a comic’s content in years. For all we know, Joker’s on the cover, but Batgirl’s probably saving the local coffee joint in the story (if you haven’t read recent Batgirl, she’s moved to the hip Burnside neighborhood, which is Gotham’s stand-in for Williamsburg). At the end of the day, it’s probably much ado about nothing.

I’m also surprised that this kind of uproar is the result of a VARIANT cover. If you’re not familiar with how the comic industry works, variant covers are considered incentives to the retailer. Let’s say a retailer typically orders 35 copies of Batgirl. DC would like retailers to order more copies, so as an incentive to do so, they’ll give the retailer a special cover if they increase their orders to, say, 50 copies. The idea is that the retailer can then sell that variant cover at a price that’ll make up the difference in copies that may never actually sell. It’s a common practice, and variants can be offered at any level. Some publishers offer a variant cover for every 10 copies ordered, while some high dollar variants are 1:100. In this case, there are 25 Joker-centric variant covers released in June to commemorate the character’s 75th anniversary. The main point that I’m trying to make is that these aren’t the regular covers going to consumers. Right now, it’s unclear as to what kind of ratio in which the variants will be shipped. People were worried about what kind of impression the Batgirl cover would make on a new reader, but that’s probably not the cover that a new reader will see. The regular, common cover of the book looks like this:

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This isn’t the first time in recent history that a variant cover has caused fan uproar. Just a few months back, Marvel commissioned a variant cover for Spider-Woman from noted erotic artist Milo Manara. After all of his years in the profession, Marvel had to know what it was going to get from him. The result was this:

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The uproar was deafening, though Manara just did what he had been asked to do. He did what he does best, and apparently that’s drawing apple bottoms on crazily-contorted superheroes. Whatever. The point is that Marvel couldn’t play dumb since they knew the guy’s resume, but they also didn’t want to alienate the fans. So, they canceled the cover. Which was a variant. Which most people would never see outside of the websites bashing it.

I can understand the side that opposed the cover, even if I don’t share that sentiment. What bothers me is the precedent that this sets. Kinda like the Robin Thicke/Marvin Gaye decision, I fear for what this means for the future of the comic industry. Are they going to have to run everything by The Mary Sue (popular website by and for female comic fans) before they approve it? Does Gail Simone (DC Comics’ most prominent female writer) have to give her approval for everything concerning women before it’s universally accepted by fans? Are all controversial comic decisions going to have to be approved by some sort of committee comprised of fans and professionals? Nobody needs to be hurling death threats over *comic books*, so this clearly escalated quickly. Did DC make the “right call”? Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder. In his statement following the cancellation of the cover, Albuquerque said, “I respect these opinions and, despite whether the discussion is right or wrong, no opinion should be discredited.” I think this whole thing uprising was a bit much, but that’s just my opinion. Convince me I’m wrong in the comments!

20th Feb2015

West Week Ever – 2/20/15

by Will

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At the top of the week, I watched A.C.O.D., or Adult Children of Divorce. It stars Adam Scott as an adult whose parents divorced when he was young, though he’s still feeling the effects of it. His mother and father haven’t spoken in 20 years, but Scott tries to bring them together to celebrate his younger brother’s wedding. And, of course, nothing goes according to plan. The thing I loved about this movie is that Adam Scott is working with a ton of people he’s worked with before, so they already have proven chemistry. Richard Jenkins plays his dad, while he played his stepfather in Step Brothers. Amy Poehler plays his stepmother, while she plays his wife on Parks & Rec. Jane Lynch plays his therapist, while they worked together on Party Down. And Clark Duke plays his younger brother, and they worked together on the upcoming Hot Tub Time Machine 2. So, the movie is almost one big Adam Scott: This Is Your Life. In all, it’s a cute little movie, and a decent way to kill 90 minutes.

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I also caught the cult comedy classic Wet Hot American Summer. I’d seen parts of it before, but never the entire movie. There’s been renewed interest in the movie since Netflix just greenlit a prequel series. First off, who isn’t in this movie? While the movie’s from 2001, the cast is chock FULL of people who’d go on to bigger and better things. That said, I don’t really get the hype behind the movie beside its stellar cast. Sure, it had its moments, but it wasn’t as hilarious as I thought it was going to be. Right now, On Demand, it’s being marketed as “From the Producers of Role Models“, and I’ve got to say that Role Models had me rolling in the aisles. This movie? Not so much. I would watch it again, though, as I feel like it might be an acquired taste, and it seems like the kind of movie where you notice something different each time you watch it. For now, though, all it did was remind me of my crush on younger Janeane Garofalo.

TAAHM

Last night saw the series finale of Two and a Half Men. Say what you will about it, the show had an impressive run over 12 seasons and 262 episodes. Everyone thought the show was doomed when Charlie Sheen went crazy on tiger blood (#winning), but it managed to reinvent itself into something with a lot of heart. Ashton Kutcher’s Walden Schmidt was a welcome reprieve from Sheen’s lothario Charlie Harper. Where Sheen’s character was lecherous and without a conscience, Kutcher’s Schmidt was naive and optimistic. He wasn’t out to take advantage of people, but this also meant that he didn’t always realize when folks were taking advantage of him. Later in the run, the show lost its “half man”, as Angus T. Jones found God and decided that he no longer wanted to be a part of the show. The show circumvented this by adding Amber Tamblyn as Charlie’s long lost daughter. Every time something came along that could end the show, they found a way to keep it going. It still averages about 11 million viewers a week, and could probably last another 3 seasons, but it’s just time for it to end. I won’t go into the finale, but let’s say it’s meta and pokes fun at the fact that it knows it’s a TV show. To many, the quality of the episode comes down to whether or not Charlie Sheen returns one last time. I won’t spoil that for you, but I was very satisfied with the finale.

Power Rangers Imaginext

Last weekend was the New York Toy Fair, where all of the toy buyers gathered to see what would be the hot new items throughout the year. As you may remember, I attended the show last year, but couldn’t make the trip this time, due to my baby shower. From what I’ve read, it doesn’t look like I missed much, as something about this year’s offerings just seemed sort of lackluster to me. To me, the most surprising announcement is that Fisher Price will be adding Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to its Imaginext line. I didn’t really think that Bandai would allow something like that to happen, but it’s happening! For full coverage of the show, however, be sure to check out Awesome Toy Blog.

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Announced some time ago, there’s a Guardians of the Galaxy cartoon coming to Disney XD. Well, this week, news started trickling out regarding the voice cast for the show. If you follow animated series, a lot of these names will sound familiar. For example, Kevin Michael Richardson will be voicing Groot. Outside of Phil Lamarr, Richardson is the workingest Black man in animation. Meanwhile, Boy Meets World‘s/Batman Beyond‘s Will Friedle will be voicing Star-Lord. I haven’t checked out any of the Disney XD Marvel series, but I might give this one a shot.

Links I Loved

Norm Macdonald tells the story of #SNL40 – Storify

Isn’t the internet big enough for more than one “Angry Asian”? – Reappropriate

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This week also saw the celebration of Saturday Night Live‘s 40th season. Airing over the course of 3 and a half hours Sunday night, the special was a welcome look back on past sketches like Celebrity Jeopardy and Wayne’s World. A lot of the original sketches fell flat, as the Super Bass-o-Matic felt like a Leno-era Tonight Show skit, while I’ve never been a fan of The Californians. To me, the best parts of the night were the true retrospective parts, such as the montage of audition tapes from the likes of Kevin Hart and Zach Galifianakis. There were a few awkward parts of the night, such as the tribute for he’s-not-dead-yet Tracy Morgan (accompanied by a dreadful impression by Alec Baldwin). Also, there’s the debate of whether or not Eddie Murphy “freaked out” onstage. I don’t think Eddie has stage fright, but I do feel like he’s uncomfortable in public. And I kinda can’t blame him, as he’s had a lot of bad luck over the years, from the string of box office bombs to the male prostitute incident back in the 90s. Like Marshawn Lynch, he’s clearly a man who just doesn’t really have a great relationship with the media these days.

Spartans

Anyway, half the fun of the special was watching the crowd, as you never quite knew who you might see. There was even a rumor that *NSYNC would reunite, and I have no idea who started that one. Most of them, with the exception of JC Chasez, were in attendance, but it just wasn’t the venue for such a thing. I was more surprised by some of the SNL people from whom we got nothing, like Cheri Oteri. Say what you will, she was just as instrumental to the rebuilding era as Molly Shannon and Maya Rudolph. Sure, the other two have had stronger post-SNL careers, but I figured they could’ve given Oteri a line to say. Hell, even Ellen Cleghorne got a line!

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Anyway, I felt like there was too much emphasis on extremes – either the first season stuff or the recent stuff. A lot of the “in between” years got lost, especially the late 80s/early 90s bunch. In any case, SNL is an institution, and 40 years is an impressive feat. I’ve been wondering if we’ll get an SNL50, seeing as how Lorne is 70 but doesn’t really have a successor. That’s another 10 years, and it just might be too much to hope for. So, we have to appreciate what we do have, which is 40 years of something that has touched a lot of lives. That’s why Saturday Night Live had the West Week Ever.

As a “bonus track”, here’s a pic of the awesome cake from the baby shower:

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17th Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/17/14

by Will

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The week started with a quick trip up to NYC for the New York Comic-Con. I hadn’t been to the show in years, as it tends to fall on the weekend of my anniversary. You see, the show used to kick off the convention season in February, and then someone got the bright idea to move it to October, thus thwarting my plans! I caught an early morning bus, and got to the show about noon. Remember how I got into Toy Fair? Well, seeing as how the show was sold out, I employed a similar tactic to gain access to NYCC. My name for the day was “Juan” (When I was gonna write a standalone post recapping the show, I thought about calling it “Juan For The Road”, but I got lazy).

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Anyway, after about 10 minutes on the show floor, this chick came up to me and gave me a card about a Dark Horse series called Concrete Park. I looked at the card, and knew she only gave it to me because I was black. I looked up at her, and blurted out, “Hey, I know you!” It was actress Erika Alexander, better known as Cousin Pam from The Cosby Show/Maxine Shaw from Living Single. She had written the comic, and told me to come by the Dark Horse booth at 1 for a free signing. I later went to that signing, and got the above pic taken with her.

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Soon afterwards, I met up with my pal, Jay, and we tried to navigate around the show floor. There were simply too many people there. With a reported 151,000 attendees over the weekend, NYCC is now even bigger than San Diego Comic Con. There have been a lot of articles lately blaming cosplayers for the decline of convention commerce. The argument is that cosplayers jam up the walkways, and take attention away from the professionals trying to make a living. Up til now, I’d been on the side of the cosplayers, as I thought this was just a case of sour grapes from the comic folks. After NYCC, however, my opinion has changed. They really do congregate at the WORST places for photo ops, and it was hard enough to get through as it was. I saw a lot of great cosplay, and would love to have taken pics for a blog post, but I wasn’t about to add to the traffic jam. It’s a shame because there was so much great stuff to see, but no time or space to enjoy it.

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Jay had a 2:00 bus to catch, so after he left, I finally got to meet my Twitter pal @bionicbigfoot (Chris). We’ve been trying to meet for some time, and I’d missed him at Toy Fair. He’s a great guy and the best Archie historian around! At the same time I met him, my buddy @Tekcorps (“Sprocket”) came up and we all walked the show floor together. They got some great deals on dollar box comics, but I just couldn’t find anything to spend money on. The toy selection wasn’t that great, and I couldn’t find any comics that I needed to fill gaps. Still, it was great hanging out with those guys, as it definitely made the trip worthwhile. After Chris left to do an interview, Sprocket and I headed to Artist Alley to see what we could find. It was there that we ran into Twitter buddy @T16Skyhopp (Nik). Since the show was winding down, Sprocket and I decided to leave before the mass exodus of people. We were both headed to Penn Station, so we were gonna split a cab. Unfortunately, we found ourselves on the wrong side of the street of the first available cab. We walked out into the street just as the light turned green, and almost got his by a bus! Let’s just say the cabbie wasn’t too pleased with our stunt, but our money was green, so… Anyway, Sprocket hung out with me as I waited for my bus, and I got to know a lot about him, Eventually, we parted ways, and I headed back home. In all, it was a great trip, but not necessarily because of the convention. The show, itself, was just too much. I’ve been to San Diego, and this felt worse than that. I don’t really like crowds, so this was not the place to be. I didn’t really get anything awesome, and I took part in virtually NO convention programming. What made it a great trip, however, were the people. It’s always great to put a face to a Twitter name, and I look forward to hanging out with them again at Toy Fair. Oh yeah, I’m going back. I just need to figure out who I’m gonna be…

 

Civil War

So, some pop culture news. Reports surfaced that Robert Downey Jr. would be appearing in Captain America 3, seemingly kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the Civil War storyline. If you’ve never read it, Civil War featured Iron Man and Captain America on opposite sides of an ideological battle. Following the destruction of Stamford, Connecticut, the public calls for regulation of super beings, complete with registration with the government. This was the side that Iron Man chose. The Cap side, however, believed that registration was a violation of their rights, and that they had no reason to make their identities public. As we saw in The Winter Soldier, Cap is already in a place where he doesn’t exactly trust his government, so things are likely to get worst before they get better for him. Still, this movie isn’t coming out until 2016, which feels so far away, so I’m going to wait to get excited about it.

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Speaking of comic movies that are so far away, Warner Bros finally revealed their plans for their comic book movie universe. Ten movies are slated through the year 2020, and the list includes:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer (2016)
Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot (2017)
Justice League Part One directed by Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
The Flash starring Ezra Miller (2018)
Aquaman starring Jason Momoa (2018)
Shazam (2019)
Justice League Part Two directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
Cyborg starring Ray Fisher (2020)
Green Lantern (2020)

Where to even begin? It looks like the reports of Momoa as Aquaman were correct, but it’s a shame what’s happening with The Flash. This news should’ve been announced at SDCC, before the premiere of The Flash. Instead, they allowed The Flash to break CW viewing records, and now folks are falling in love with a hero who won’t get a shot at the big screen. This is reminiscent of when Brandon Routh was cast in Superman Returns, while Smallville was a television hit. Things didn’t work out so well for Routh (who now finds himself on the TV version of a DC franchise, Arrow), and I don’t see it working out for Ezra Miller. I don’t know anyone who wants a Cyborg movie, but it shows DC beating Marvel to the punch in terms of diversity, as the slate includes a solo movie for a woman and a black hero. Still, Marvel has several mystery movies that haven’t been announced yet, so they could still shock us by announcing Black Panther or Captain Marvel. I think it’s funny that the Shazam movie is 5 years away because it’s almost like they’re waiting for a star to rise who can hold his own against The Rock. It’s odd that they would cast the charismatic actor as the villain, as there really isn’t anyone who can currently match him onscreen. It almost would’ve made more sense for them to have cast him as Captain Marvel, which would’ve been terrible casting, but would’ve solved the problem of needing a hero with star power. Anyway, I’m sure there are folks out there excited by this news, but I’m not one of them. It’s not the projects themselves that leave me wanting, but it’s the fact that they’re so far away.

Tyrus

In wrestling news, my recently-released favorite WWE wrestler, Brodus Clay, has resurfaced in Total Nonstop Action as “Tyrus”. I love me some Brodus Clay, but I don’t love him enough to watch TNA Impact every week. I just can’t do that to myself. So, I wish him luck, but I’ll catch up with him when he eventually makes his way back to WWE.

This has not been a great week for me on Twitter. First off, some dude called me a “Geekmudgeon” because I hate-watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s just not a great show, and it’s too bad people can’t see that. Anyway, it escalated to the point where I ended up blocking him, and I never block anyone! Things got worse, however, the next day. You see, I had missed the premiere of Casey Wilson’s Marry Me, and tweeted about it. In that tweet, I also kinda mentioned that the fact that it starred SNL alum Tim Meadows meant that it wouldn’t last. It’s true! Look at his IMDB! Anyway, guess who Twitter searched his name?

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Not only did he find it, but he retweeted it! Then, when I acknowledged that I noticed his retweet, he retweeted that! It’s like he wanted to mobilize his fans against me, but nobody said a thing. Why don’t people ever see when I say good things about them? I DO! Sometimes.

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Have you been listening to Classick Team-Up lately? Not only did he have the debut of the Thrift Justice duo on a podcast, but he’s also had some great interviews with @LamarRevenger and @P0lishPhen0m lately. Head over to the Cold Slither Podcast Network to check it out.

Arrow

“YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY!” Oh man, oh man, oh man! Guys, I am so late to the party here, and I completely acknowledge that it’s my own fault. You’ve been telling me that Arrow was great, and I just wouldn’t listen. I reviewed the pilot when it first aired, but then I never went back. Last Saturday night, I decided to rewatch the pilot on Netflix and I’ve been bingewatching it ever since. I’m still on season 1, so please don’t spoil anything for me! I LOVE this show, and I think I prefer watching it like this, as I don’t think I could wait a week between some of those cliffhangers. Stephen Amell is great as Oliver Queen, and he’s like a young, hotter Chris O’Donnell. Meanwhile, Laurel is like a pretty Maggie Gyllenhaal. And socially awkward Felicity Smoak is my new favorite fictional character. Everything I thought about this show was wrong, and I can’t get enough of it. I want to discuss it with folks and shout it from the mountaintops, but I’ve got to get caught up first. I’m sure this probably should go to NYCC or the DC announcements, but nothing rocked my world this week like Arrow. For that reason, Arrow had the West Week Ever.

 

10th Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/10/14

by Will

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First of all, thanks to everyone for the kind words in regards to my West BABY Ever?! post. We’re all excited at West HQ, and we’ve got a lot to do between now and March. I know some of you out there are also moms and dads, so I’ll take any advice that you might have to offer!

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In television, the week started with the premiere of Mulaney, the Fox sitcom starring standup comic/former SNL writer John Mulaney. I had high hopes for this show, but none of the clips I’d seen made me feel good about it. Once the show premiered, my hopes were further dashed. At its best, Mulaney is a pale imitation of Seinfeld. It starts out with Mulaney doing standup for the audience, a la early Seinfeld, and Nasim Pedrad is doing her best Elaine Benes. There’s even a quirky annoying neighbor named Andre who fills the Kramer slot. At its worst, it’s just a dreadfully unfunny sitcom, made even more unbearable by Martin Short hamming it up. I’ve never been a Short fan, and I feel like he just makes a bad show worse in this case. One of my major gripes whenever comedians get shows is that they write episodes based on their act. While it’s new to those unfamiliar with the comedian, if you’ve already heard the jokes, then it just feels tired. Mulaney’s pilot is based off a joke in his act where he describes how he went to the doctor to get a Xanax prescription, but goes too far in describing his ailments, and ends up getting a prostate exam. It’s actually the combination of two separate Mulaney bits, but they’re much funnier as jokes than as a sitcom subplot. The rest of the episode involved Mulaney trying to prove himself to the eccentric Short, who has hired him as a writer. I LOVE Mulaney’s standup, and if you’ve never experienced it, check out New In Town or The Top Part. This show, however, is not the best showcase for his talents. Ratings were pretty poor, so it’s probably not long for this world, which is a shame. It had so much potential, but I can see why NBC passed on it.

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Next, minds were blown when it was announced that Twin Peaks is returning to television in 2016, as a limited series on Showtime. I’ve never experienced the show, but I love the theme song, as it was on the first volume of Pure Moods. I figure now’s as good a time as any to get acquainted with the show, so I know I’ll catch up somehow before 2016 rolls around. I’ve got time.

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Then, shit got crazy as it turned out that the LAPD is investigating 7th Heaven‘s Stephen Collins on possible child molestation charges. This sent ripples through Hollywood, and resulted in Collins being fired from Ted 2, as well as a guest spot on Scandal. He seems to be laying low for the time being, but I see this situation getting worse before it gets better. What I’m curious about, however, is how the news got out. Apparently, Collins admitted past incidents during a therapy session that was recorded. Now, I thought things said in those environments were confidential, but I guess it’s different if they were scared he’d strike again.

blackish

Black-ish received a full-season order from ABC yesterday, which is great news for the show. I, however, am on the fence as to whether I like it or not. My biggest problem stems from the fact that every episode seems to involve Anthony Anderson trying to figure a way to “black up” his son. In Anderson’s eyes, Andre just isn’t black enough. I have problems with the idea that something makes someone more black than someone else. Maybe this is something that hits close to home for me, but I tire of watching Anderson try and fail to make his son live up to some standard of blackness that he holds. I’d love for an episode to end with Anderson realizing that Andre is OK just how he is. We kinda got that ending this week, but the show will be back next week, and I’m sure Anderson will be back at it again. I enjoyed this week’s topic about the Black Guy Head Nod, but in educating the public, I almost feel like the show is giving away our cultural secrets. Whatever. I’m just talking out of my butt and it’s late. All I know is that no one should have to live up to someone else‘s standard of blackness. That’s just ignorant.

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In movie news, there are rumors that Marvel and Sony are in talks for Spider-Man to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On top of this, there are also rumors that the Spider-Man franchise may be rebooted AGAIN with the planned Sinister Six movie. It’s being reported that whether or not Spidey appears in something like Avengers 3 will hinge on the box office success of the Sinister Six film. I think we all knew that it would be rebooted eventually, but I think we were just getting used to Andrew Garfield. Anyway, we should get used to stunts like this as Sony will stop at nothing to keep those rights from reverting back to Marvel. Sure, they may share Spidey, but they’re not gonna just give him up. I don’t care what they do as long as I don’t have to sit through another origin. I already know his origin story. Everyone knows his origin story. Let’s just start the next iteration in media res.

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In comic news, Batman was about to become the first monthly $4.99 comic, but writer Scott Snyder came on the scene and said that he would talk to DC about lowering the price back to $3.99. Earlier this week, he announced that next month the book would be back to the $3.99 price. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I’m cynical or what, but I refuse to believe that DC lowered the price because a writer asked them to do so. Comic companies don’t care that much about the talent, and they certainly don’t consult them on business decisions, such as pricing. Maybe retailer outcry did it or maybe fan outcry did it, but I refuse to thank Scott Snyder for something that I really don’t think he had a hand in changing. It certainly makes him look good to the fans, however.

No, this isn't from a comic. I couldn't find a good scan as of press time.

No, this isn’t from a comic. I couldn’t find a good scan as of press time.

While we’re on the topic of comics, something really grinds my gears in Marvel books lately. I’ve noticed a lot of guest spots with Tony Stark showing him drinking. Now, if you know anything about Stark, it’s that he’s an alcoholic. The movies don’t really get into it, but the comics have certainly dealt with it. Now, I forgot that he fell off the wagon during the Fear Itself event. They made it seem like he “magically gave up his sobriety”, but that’s a fanciful way of saying he fell off the wagon. And I guess he never got back on, as he’s still being depicted drinking. I think that’s kinda irresponsible coming from the company that refuses to show anyone smoking anymore just because Joe Quesada’s dad died of lung cancer. It seems like they’re picking and choosing their high horse, and it just seems sort of wrong to me. They’re saying that smoking’s bad, but drinking’s whatever. I, personally, don’t have an issue with either, but I feel like if you’re gonna hitch your moral wagon to lung cancer, you could also do so for alcoholism. I feel stupid for even getting upset about this, but this is the sort of problem you run into when comic companies want to apply real world politics to their books.

Weeabos lost their minds when Hatsune Miku performed on Letterman this week. If you’ve never heard of Miku, that’s because “she” is not real – it’s a hologram. Yeah, I don’t really understand it, but here’s some video:

My pal Keith submitted this for West Week Ever, and it almost won. In high school, they used to call me Carlton and, yes, I can do the dance. That’s why this clip from Dancing With The Stars made me smile:

The-Flash

This week, we experienced the premiere of yet another comic book television show. Unlike Gotham and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., however, this one hit all the right notes. The Flash premiered on The CW, giving the network its highest ratings in five years. Those viewers were deserved, too, as the show is superb. It’s an optimistic show, with colorful heroes – a nice departure from the current stuff that seems to be ashamed that it’s adapted from a comic book. I just can’t get into Gotham, but I loved every second of the Flash when I first saw the “leaked” pilot over the summer. Grant Gustin makes me care about Barry Allen – something I never thought was possible, and I love the entire cast, from Jesse L. Martin to Tom Cavanagh. And that final scene?! I will definitely be back next week, and without a doubt, The Flash had the West Week Ever.

 

 

25th Sep2014

West Week Ever – 9/26/14

by Will

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warrior dash

The week started out with me in CT, taking part in the Warrior Dash. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a mud run obstacle course, but not as hardcore as the Spartan Race. I’d never done anything like it, but my college friends James, Jenn, and Debra wanted to do it, so I decided to make the trip up there. Seeing as how I can’t swim, I was planning to skip all of the obstacles that had to do with water. Little did I realize that the very first obstacle would be in the water. We had to walk through neck-high water to a raft, climb up on it, walk across, and walk to the shore through the water again. I sucked it up and did it, even though I could’ve drowned. When everything was said and done, I didn’t end up skipping any of the obstacles, and I’m pretty proud of myself. I did mess up my knees on the rope ladders, but they’ll heal. If you ever have a chance to do a mud run, it’s definitely something different. I’m still not sure if I’ll do it again, even though my friends are already excited for next year.

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While in Connecticut, I developed an addiction to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I am far from a “gamer”, and I especially suck at first-person shooters. Something about this game, however, clicked for me. When we first started playing, I couldn’t even figure out how to turn my head, but by Sunday afternoon, I was killing terrorists with the best of them. Outside of the Warrior Dash, most of our time was spent playing that game. In fact, I played so much that I’d see it when I closed my eyes to sleep. I’m finally able to sleep without seeing terrorists around every corner, but I’m seriously considering buying that game.

kenan

On to pop culture news! It was announced early in the week that Kenan Thompson would be leaving Saturday Night Live at the end of the season. Then, there was some backpedaling, as sources started reporting that the initial announcement may have been premature. So, no one really knows what’s going on right now. It would certainly be a blow to the show, even though some folks might say that it’s been a long time coming. One writer, when speaking to Slate, basically said that Kenan can save any weak sketch, and SNL definitely needs a guy like that these days.

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The leads for season 2 of HBO’s True Detective were announced this week, and it seems like Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell will be our new cop duo. I enjoyed the first season, but I fall into the camp who felt it was overrated. Part of this could be due to the fact that I binge-watched it in a day. I felt like it tried to build this weird mythology within the case that didn’t have a lot of payoff. Maybe it’s because every drama in post-Lost television feels it needs something mystical to hook the viewer, but I feel like the show would’ve been just as strong if they’d handled a straightforward murder case instead of the Yellow King stuff. A lot of folks are upset about this casting news, as they were hoping for possible female leads, but I like Vaughn, and I now have HBO, so I’ll give it a shot.

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As a Batman fan, I’m sure some people wonder what I thought about Gotham. Well, to be honest, I only saw the last 15 minutes. I wasn’t sure I was gonna watch it because I really have no desire to see another Batman origin story. I have big problems with the purpose of the show. Unlike Smallville, which is where Clark Kent spent his formative years, Gotham holds very little meaning for Bruce Wayne’s development. I mean, it’s the site of his parents’ deaths, but his training takes place around the globe. If it were a show about THAT, then I’d probably watch. There are a lot of “lost” tales from that era, as we got most of our knowledge of his training from Batman Begins. Other than that, we don’t know much, and I’d be down for a show about that. Maybe a show about Bruce training with Henri Ducard. This show, however, starts with Bruce as a KID, and intends to follow him as such. There’s no story there. In the meantime, I don’t really care about seeing where Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot came from. It’s enough that they exist, but this show seems to want to wrap a nice little bow on all of their origin stories. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before they start teasing The Joker, because they won’t be able to help themselves. I also don’t like the casting, except Donal Logue – who was born to play Bullock. They’re reairing the pilot tonight on Fox, so I’ll watch the whole thing to give it a fair shake, but I don’t think this show is for me.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came back and introduced Absorbing Man. It was nice they finally went with an existing, established comic villain, and it was a decent enough episode, but I still don’t really like anyone but Coulson and Triplett. And now there are two black guys, so it’s only a matter of time before one of them dies. On the ratings side of things, the premiere wasn’t much higher than last season’s finale. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if it lasts until Avengers 2, it will have done its job. This was never a show with the staying power to last 7 seasons. If it turned out to be a massive hit, then that would’ve been great, but the real purpose of the show was the whet our appetites for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in between movies. On its own, it’s a dud, but when linked to that universe, like with The Winter Soldier, it has a lot of potential. The problem with 22 episodes of television is that it has to tread water until these beats present themselves. It’s nice to see that Marvel’s willing to take chances and, luckily, they’re only “miss” has been on TV and not cinematic. I’m saying Agent Carter is a one and done show, while Agents will probably wrap up after season 3.

blackish
The show I was most anticipating was ABC’s Black-ish, which premiered after Modern Family Wednesday night. I’ve loved Anthony Anderson since he was Teddy on Hang Time, and I knew his career would eventually amount to something. It’s a comedic take on the struggle to maintain one’s cultural identity while also fitting in with the world. There’s a lot of “Black people do this, and white people do this” humor, but it wasn’t as hackneyed as your typical Comic View comedian. I think the show has a lot of heart, and it launched to big numbers, so I think it’s a keeper. Unless something crazy happens over the next few weeks, it’ll definitely get a full season pickup. I think ABC’s got a hit on their hands. I am, however, curious to know how white audiences felt about the show. On Twitter, black viewers were pretty vocal in their support, but I wondered if some of the race stuff was too “on the nose” for some white viewers. Anybody wanna share their thoughts in the comments?

FOREVER - Pilot Gallery (ABC/Bob D'Amico) IOAN GRUFFUDD, JUDD HIRSCH

Ya know, I considered giving this honor to Derek Jeter, but then I remembered that this is MY site and that I don’t care about sports. In I know Jeter’s a future Hall of Famer, and I’ve heard he “plays the game the right way”, but I know him more for the notches on his bedpost. Mariah Carey, Minka Kelly, Jessica Biel? The man is only surpassed by Justin Timberlake when it comes to the women who have streamed through his bedroom. No, I decided to take about my favorite show so far of the fall season: Forever.

When I did my ABC upfronts post, I said that this show might have a hard time if it just poses questions without answering them. It’s the only show so far this season to have aired two episodes (it premiered on Monday, and moved to its regular timeslot on Tuesday), so I’ve got more to go on for it than with the other new shows. Forever stars Ioan Gruffudd, whom Americans may remember as Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four movies. I love that guy, and I think he’s my Colin Firth. There’s just something dashing about him, so maybe I’m biased. Anyway, Gruffudd plays Henry Morgan, a medical examiner for the New York Police Department. He knows a LOT about death, mainly, because he can’t die. Sure, he dies, but he always comes back to life – naked and in a body of water. He’s been enduring this cycle for over 300 years, so he’s been keeping journals on his deaths and their different pain levels. Because he’s died so much, he’s great at determining the cause of death of victims who come through the morgue. He uses his knowledge and talents to help the homicide division to solve crimes. Meanwhile, since every post-Lost era drama has to have a mystery to it, there appears to be another who shares his same affliction, and has been watching Morgan from afar. He sends him vague messages, signed by “Your Fan”, and the show is clearly leading up to a big meeting between the two. Here’s hoping it lasts that long. The ratings for both episodes weren’t stellar, but they were steady. If it can prove itself as a reliable performer, Forever just may get to finish out its season. I really hope more viewers give it a chance, as it’s really good and I’m curious to see where it’s going. Anyway, for being my favorite television debut of the week, Forever had the West Week Ever.

16th Sep2014

Wizard World Richmond 2014 – A $25 Show at Twice The Price

by Will

2014-09-13 10.46.50

So, that title isn’t too optimistic. At the end of the day, it was a good experience, but it wasn’t without its issues. I’d never been to a Wizard World show before, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  Considering Wizard has been putting on shows for years, I expected a well-oiled machine, even if this was their first foray into Richmond.  I had been to the VA Comicon in Richmond, so surely it had to better than that, right? Right?! Why was I making the +2 hour trip to Richmond? One reason: to meet Jason David Frank, the original Green Power Ranger. After crossing meeting Stan Lee and Adam West off my bucket list, that left one person I wanted to meet. My Power Rangers fandom has been covered at great length, so this should come as a surprise to no one. This as the closest Frank appearance in years, so I talked Special Forces into joining me, and we made the trip.

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We got to the Greater Richmond Convention Center around 10, just as the show was starting. We didn’t prebuy tickets because we didn’t want to pay the online fee. This meant that tickets at the door were $55 for one day. That’s more than twice the Sunday price for Baltimore Comic-Con. Surely, I’d get my money’s worth, right? Or so I thought. We walked into the showroom and started to make the rounds. We were done by 11 AM. There just weren’t enough booths to fill up all the space.

They eventually put up a curtain so kids couldn't see all the vibrators

They eventually put up a curtain so kids couldn’t see all the vibrators

The first thing to know is that this is more of a pop culture show than a comic convention. This meant that there were only 2 comic vendors, and they were selling the kinds of books that would’ve been on Wizard‘s Top 20 List 20 years ago. Stuff like Venom #1 (not Agent Venom, but the original brain eater) and old issues of Uncanny X-Men. The rest of the vendors sold toys and collectibles – several of whom I’d just seen in Baltimore the earlier in the week. They seemed so pressed for vendors that there were some decidedly non-Con companies there, like Lasik and Adam & Eve. The local CW affiliate was there, promoting this fall’s new shows and giving away temporary Flash tattoos. Artists, like Neal Adams, Arthur Suydam, and Kevin Eastman, were scattered amongst the vendor booths.

At the back of the room were the celebrity autograph booths. In addition to Jason David Frank, there was Ernie Hudson, Sean Patrick Flanery, Giancarlo Esposito, Dean Cain, Ron Pearlman, Batista, Michael Rooker, James Marsters and Lou Ferrigno. Oh, and the guy who plays Slade on Arrow. On top of the admission paid to get into the show, you then had to pay extra for autographs and photo ops. These prices ranged from $30-100, depending on the celebrity. I was amazed by how much Dean Cain thought he could charge for an autograph, and I wasn’t alone, as he didn’t have much of a line all day. Oh yeah, Harry Kim from Star Trek: Voyager was there, and he didn’t seem to have much demand either. I mean, he’s one of the lesser characters of the most hated Trek show. What do ya expect? Cameras weren’t allowed in that area, as they wanted you to pay for pictures, so we didn’t linger there for long. Seeing as how my prepaid photo op with Frank (another $55) wasn’t until 6:30, we had to find some way to kill the next 7 hrs. We were gonna have to go to some panels.

Usually when I go to cons, I avoid the panels because they take up valuable showroom time, and most are recapped online anyway. Lately, I don’t even look at the con programming, since I have no plans to take part in any of it. This time, however, we had to go to some panels just to kill time. The first one that caught our eye was a 30-minute preview of Gotham, courtesy of Fox. It seemed odd to me that they would only show us 30 minutes of a 45-minute show, but free is free. The panel was from 12:00-12:30, and they didn’t get started until about 12:10. Before it starts, they tell us they had plans to show the whole pilot, but Fox had pulled it from them the day before. So, we’d now be watching a 20-minute preview sent by the network. What we ended up getting was a 10-minute future DVD featurette about the show and nothing else. People started leaving the minute we were told it wasn’t the pilot, but more people left during the featurette. I don’t believe that the Wizard World staff ever had the whole pilot because the pre-printed programs already mentioned that it was a 30-minute preview, which wouldn’t have been enough time for the pilot anyway. I think they always meant to show the featurette and just covered it up by saying Fox pulled the pilot from them.

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Once the Gotham thing was done, we went back to the show floor and made the rounds a few more times. Mainly, we’d stop by the CW booth to see if they had their prize wheel out again. It was at this time that I finally talked Special Forces into doing Sci Fi Speed Dating. If you’ll remember, about a year ago, TLC had a special called Geek Love, about sci-fi speed dating – an event that took place at SDCC and the New York Comic-Con. I guess the guy decided to expand, as here he was in Richmond, VA. We had passed his table several times, and he’d called out to us. I couldn’t do it, ’cause ya know, married, but SF was fair game. Once I agreed to finance it (it was free for women, but $20 for men), he finally agreed to do it. When I heard that it was $20, I blurted out, “These better be some top shelf women!” The speed dating host tried to shame me and replied, “And what if they aren’t?” My answer should have been, “Then I want my money back”, but I knew what he wanted to hear. I said, “Well, I guess that’d be alright, too.” Ugh. Anyway, when Mike was done, I asked him how it went. All he could say was “It was stupid! It was dumb.” So, I don’t really know what happened behind those doors…

Packed house for Adam & Burt

Packed house for Adam & Burt

While he was in speed dating, I went to the Adam West and Burt Ward panel, commemorating the release of Batman on DVD and Blu Ray. It was your standard Q&A, complete with stupid questions. One kid asked how many Batphones were used during the filming of the show, while some other folks asked Mayor West questions. No real juicy tidbits came out of it, but it was good to see them in a panel setting since I didn’t get that when I met them at Monster Mania last year.

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After that, we went to the Jason David Frank Q&A session, which was really good. He’s engaging and great with his fans. Like any Q&A, the questions ranged from good to stupid, but he had great answers and stories for all of them. He told us how he’d been invited to Neverland Ranch, but that it was OK because he was over 18. And he told us about how Amy Jo used to get calls from prisoners. In all, it was the best panel of the day.

When it was finally time for my pic with Jason, I was really nervous while I waited in line. Would I smile? Would I pose with my Morpher? I met him and he shook my hand. The pics were an assembly line, but he was nice and gracious the whole time. I told him it was an honor to meet him and shuffled off to pic up my print.

will west with green ranger

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

You didn’t come for all that exposition, though, did you? You probably came for cosplay pics. Well, here ya go!

Wolverine

Wolverine

 

Magna Defender from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy

Magna Defender from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy

 

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Harley & Joker

 

The Tick & Lil Deathstroke

The Tick & Lil Deathstroke

 

Um....some anime something.

Um….some anime something.

 

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Kick Ass & Hit Girl

 

No clue, but it was cool and ornate.

No clue, but it was cool and ornate.

 

Batman '66 & Catwoman

Batman ’66 & Catwoman

 

Last Airbender Aang

Last Airbender Aang

 

"MASTADON!"

“MASTADON!”

 

Ghostbuster

Ghostbuster

 

Nick Fury

Nick Fury

 

The friendliest Joker you'll ever meet

The friendliest Joker you’ll ever meet

 

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Supervillain Pirate Lasses

Supervillain Pirate Lasses

 

Boba Fett

Boba Fett

 

He is THE LAW!

He is THE LAW!

 

No clue, but it looked cool

No clue, but it looked cool

 

Loki

Loki

 

Firefly Jaynes

Firefly Jaynes

 

Arrow & Black Canary

Arrow & Black Canary

 

A black Harley! A Blarley!

A black Harley! A Blarley!

 

Steampunk Ghostbuster

Steampunk Ghostbuster

 

Zatanna

Zatanna

 

Rogue & Friends

Rogue & Friends

 

No clue, but it was impressive.

No clue, but it was impressive.

 

Bat Family

Bat Family

 

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

 

Katniss (?), Batman, Rogue, and Logan

Katniss (?), Batman, Rogue, and Logan

 

 Joker & Harley #3? I lost track.

Joker & Harley #3? I lost track.

 

Poison Ivy and Lisa from Weird Science. I love the look on that dude's face!

Poison Ivy and Lisa from Weird Science. I love the look on that dude’s face!

 

The second greatest Ranger of all time.

The second greatest Ranger of all time.

 

Batman & Storm

Batman & Storm

 

MEGATRON!

MEGATRON!

 

Ursula

Ursula

 

Gamora

Gamora

 

Cassandra Cain Batgirl

Cassandra Cain Batgirl

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