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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
So, with the baby and all, I haven’t had a ton of time to watch stuff. That said, I did get around to finally watching Tron, or Tron: The Original Classic as it’s now called for some reason. Yeah, I’m 33 and I’d never seen this movie before. Now that I’ve seen it, I guess my question is: how did this get a sequel? Sure, it took 30 years, but still! If you’ve never seen it, Jeff Bridges is a computer programmer who finds himself trapped inside the digital world of a supercomputer. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a visually stunning movie, even by today’s standards, but the story is weak. I don’t understand the motivations of most of the characters. Why has Dillinger been seemingly corrupted by the Master Control Program? Why is Alan so eager to help his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend commit a crime? And then there’s the heavy-handed User/program religious dichotomy that doesn’t really seem to go anywhere. Also, why is it called Tron when Clu is the actual hero of the movie? Do they expand on any of this in the sequel? I guess I’ll have to watch that next. Oh, and Alan’s footsteps at the beginning of the film were totally added later in ADR, as the sounds don’t sync up with his gait. Anyway, I probably need to watch it again, as I fell asleep on it the first time I tried to watch it, and then I struggled to stay awake when I finally powered through it. I just don’t see how it’s had such a cultural impact.
Last night, I watched The Purge: Anarchy and I have to say that it was just as good as the first movie. If you’re unfamiliar with The Purge franchise, in the near future the New Founding Fathers of America have devised a way to reduce the unemployment and crime rates in the nation: one night a year, citizens are encouraged to purge in order to “cleanse their souls”. During this 12 hr period, all crime – including murder – is legal, and no emergency services are available to help you. The first movie depicted the Purge as something that most Americans willfully go along with. In this movie, however, it’s revealed that the Purge is actually part of a class warfare conspiracy. Since the crime rates are low, the poor simply aren’t dying. So, the New Founding Fathers of America have stacked the deck so that most of the purging will happen amongst the poorest citizens. Every time I watch these movies, I’m left with so many questions. For example, the Purge is a United States phenomenon, so what do other countries think of it? Does international travel surge around the time of the Purge? Who cleans up all the dead bodies? From my 5 minutes of research, apparently there’s a third movie in the works which will serve as a prequel and show us the very first Purge. I’d love to have some novels or comics to expand upon the world of the Purge. I usually look at those as useless cash-grabs, but I’m so fascinated by that society that I really want to experience more of it.
In the world of television, The Slap ended last week, with a whimper more than a bang. Seeing as how my Thursdays at 10 have freed up, I decided to check out American Crime on ABC. Created by 12 Years A Slave‘s John Ridley, the show follows a handful of characters as their lives interact following a murder. Just like The Slap, that’s a simplistic explanation of the show, as it’s about so much more. There’s the interracial meth head couple, there’s the self-hating Mexican mechanic, there’s the kinda racist mother of the victim, and finally there’s the victim himself – who may have been a drug dealer. Or you could break it down as “White guy is killed, and every minority is a suspect”. Either way, it’s a very heavy show, and the ratings haven’t been stellar. It’s a limited series of 11 episodes, though, so it’ll at least get through its story.
If you’re a Comcast/Xfinity customer, then you may know that this is Watchathon Week. An annual event, this is the week where they unlock all of the premium channel content On Demand, so you can get a taste of the critically acclaimed shows you may have missed. Last year, I bingewatched Girls, House of Lies, and True Detective. This year has been a different story, however. You see, we actually signed up for premium channels late last year, so Watchathon Week isn’t as special, seeing as how I can watch that stuff whenever I want. They used to put up every episode of the top 100 shows, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, as the first few episodes of Secrets & Lies and Better Call Saul aren’t available, and those are two shows I’d been wanting to check out. Anyway, if you’re a Comcast/Xfinity customer (seriously, which one are we supposed to use? Their branding is terrible!), you’ve got until Monday to bingewatch to your heart’s content.
Speaking of Comcast, apparently they got butthurt about the Rob Lowe DirecTV commercials, and approached the Better Business Bureau to report that DirecTV was making unsubstantiated claims about their service. The BBB sided with Comcast, and requested that DirecTV modify or discontinue the ads. So, now we’ll never get to see Post Apocalyptic Warlord Rob Lowe. Instead, DirecTV has started airing spots with a model on a talking horse. Booo!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC is working with Marvel to develop an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff. The big question is WHY? The ratings for AoS are less than stellar, and they certainly aren’t high enough to warrant a spinoff. On top of this, AoS hasn’t even been given a third season pickup yet, so it seems odd that they’d want to spin off of a property that’s not even guaranteed to be around. I’d much rather have another season of Agent Carter, especially since no one seems to know what the spinoff would be about. It can’t focus on S.W.O.R.D., as I’ve read that organization is part of the X-Men license. I’ve seen some folks mention that it should focus on Damage Control, which I love. If you’re not familiar, Damage Control is a construction company, co-owned by Tony Stark and The Kingpin, that cleans up NYC following superhero battles. I love that aspect of the comics, but I can’t really see a weekly television series based on that premise. I understand the desire to expand the universe, but I think they really need to be pumping those creative juices into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. instead of diluting the brand with a new concept.
Things You Might Have Missed This Week
– It was confirmed that the Russo Brothers, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, will be directing Avengers: Infinity War Parts 1 & 2.
-The suit for The Thing was revealed from the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot hit the web yesterday. I think it looks good and, unlike most, I’m looking forward to this movie. Then again, I liked the last 2 FF movies, so I’m easy to please.
-Speaking of Marvel movies, Bryan Singer confirmed that EastEnders actor Ben Hardy will be playing Angel in X-Men: Apocalypse. According to this production art, it seems more like he’ll be playing Archangel.
-A picture of the Suicide Squad cast hit the internet. Did we know that Ike Barinholtz was in this movie?
-Bobby Flay and actress Stephanie March have split after 10 years of marriage.
– Producer Brian Grazer reported that there are plans for 17 more episodes of Arrested Development, but it’s a matter of timing. 17? Such an odd episode count.
-Simpsons producer Al Jean announced that there would be no more physical DVD season sets released of the show. Since the launch of the Simpsons World website, digital seems to be the preferred method for consuming episodes of The Simpsons. He said that they would still record commentaries for episodes, which would be available at Simpsons World.
This morning, I woke up early on a work day. That NEVER happens! But today was no ordinary day. You see, at 3 AM EST, the 13-episode Daredevil series debuted on Netflix (Don’t worry – I woke up at 6). I’ve been a fan of the comic depiction of the character since Brian Michael Bendis’s run in the early ’00s. Plus, unlike most folks, I actually enjoyed the Ben Affleck movie. So, we could only go up from there, right? Anyway, what did I think? I thought it was EXCELLENT.
If you’re not familiar with Daredevil (and c’mon, if you’re reading this site, I’m pretty sure you know something about him), blind Matt Murdock is an attorney by day and a vigilante by night. The show is set in the same Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Avengers movies, but this is a very different tone. At first, this was a little off-putting to me. I couldn’t imagine this Daredevil in the same world that had recently experienced an alien invasion – important, since said invasion sets up the basis for this very series. Could I see this Matt Murdock interacting with Bruce Banner? No, but I’d kill for some banter between Foggy Nelson and Tony Stark. Just like the comics, The Avengers is world-spanning action, while Daredevil is more street-level action. Don’t look for Daredevil to be called when the next alien invasion happens, but he’ll be handling the looters and criminals who try to take advantage of the situation.
Anyway, I can’t think of anything that I hated about the pilot. The opening credits are great, the casting’s good, and the fighting is incredible – it looks like actual, brutal fighting and not the well-choreographed “ballet” that we usually get in action movies. I tend to look for things to tear apart, but I couldn’t find anything in the pilot. Maybe things will get dicey once I have a few more episodes under my belt, but I can’t wait to see what’s next. I won’t go into too much detail, as I know many of you haven’t had the chance to check it out yet. Trust me, though – you won’t be disappointed. Nice work Netflix and Marvel!
So, for capably expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and for just being plain ol’ awesome, Daredevil had the West Week Ever.
So, last weekend I finally got around to watching St. Elmo’s Fire. If you’re not familiar, it’s one of the Brat Pack films from the 80s, though it’s nowhere near as critically acclaimed as The Breakfast Club; I never realized that until I started reading old reviews after watching the movie. Anyway, if this movie were released today, it’d be called White Privilege. It’s the story of 7 college friends who graduate from Georgetown University and embark upon adulthood. The problem is that most of them suck at life, and aren’t very good at being “adults”. Emilio Estevez stalks Andie MacDowell, Rob Lowe sleeps with everything with a vagina, Judd Nelson cheats on his girlfriend in order to pressure her into marrying him (yeah, that plan makes no sense), Andrew McCarthy is obsessed with Judd Nelson’s girlfriend, Demi Moore sleeps with everything with a penis, Mare Winningham has NO self esteem, and Ally Sheedy is just there. I know it came out during the “Me Generation”, so I’m sure it spoke to a lot of people at the time. Looking back at it now, however, it’s just hard to like any of the characters. Living in the DC area, it was cool to see what Georgetown looked like 30 years ago. I also enjoyed seeing the Q107 sticker on the pay phone (Q107 was the predecessor of WRQX/Mix 107.3, which is now the struggling “DC’s 107.3″). From where I stand, the best thing about the film is David Foster’s “Love Theme”. Just listen to it:
Next up, I watched the documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. From Super Size Me‘s Morgan Spurlock, the doc follows Spurlock as he tries to finance a movie completely from sponsored endorsements. Meanwhile, he delves into the practice of branding and how it affects our daily lives. For example, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has outlawed all outdoor advertising, so there are no billboards, no bus ads, and no corporate graffiti. As a result, local businesses have to rely upon referrals and word of mouth in order to stay afloat, yet everyone feels that the move allows them to fully take in the world around them without being assaulted by ads. I liked Super Size Me, although I completely sided with Big Mac (Spurlock’s girlfriend, now ex-wife, was a vegan chef. He got sick because he simply wasn’t used to eating meat. It wasn’t all McDonalds’ fault. Plus, nobody should eat that shit THREE times a day. Even I know that, and I DO IT). Anyway, it was funny watching the man who singlehandedly destroyed the Super Size option go out into the world and try to court sponsors. I mean, everyone’s already seen what he did to McDonalds, so how could brands be sure that he’d portray them in a positive light? As interesting as the movie is, it’s still built on a weak premise. It’s not like he’s actually courting brands to help finance some sort of Hollywood blockbuster. No, he’s courting brands to sponsor the documentary that you’re already watching. That is the movie. It’s very meta. It was definitely an interesting documentary, but I think I expected more from it.
On the standup comedy front, I caught the Showtime special Jay Mohr: Happy. And A Lot. I’ve been fascinated by Jay Mohr ever since his stint as a featured player during the SNL dark years of the early 90s. I’ve even read his book, Gasping For Airtime: Two Years In The Trenches of Saturday Night Live. His body of work isn’t very memorable, but he did create Last Comic Standing, which has been pretty influential in the standup world for the past decade or so. Then, to cap it all off, he married Nikki Cox, who was quite the hot number in the late 90s. Anyway, I really enjoyed the special, which surprised me since my recent track record with standup specials hasn’t been so great. The material isn’t stellar, but some of it spoke to me. For example, he said that married couples don’t have to have shared interests, but rather need shared hates. Maybe my wife and I are terrible people, but that’s definitely true for us. Then, he capped off the special with a pretty killer Norm MacDonald impression. I’m not so sure I’d recommend it, but I enjoyed it.
Ciara Renee has been cast as Hawkgirl in the CW Arrow/Flash spinoff, while Arthur Darvill has been cast as Rip Hunter. I don’t know either of those actors. I like what The CW’s doing with Arrow and The Flash, but I fear they’re about to dilute the brand by adding this 3rd show (possibly 4 if they keep Supergirl in-universe). As good as The Flash is, I feel like the quality of Arrow has slipped a bit, with the good stuff going over to the former. Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m used to binge-watching Arrow instead of consuming it on a weekly basis, and I’m not so sure that’s working for me.
Meanwhile in live action comic adaptations, an April Fools video with Ryan Reynolds claims that the Deadpool film will have an R-rating. Now, I’ve heard folks longing for this in the past, and I don’t quite understand it. Why does it need to be an R? I consider myself a Deadpool fan, but I don’t go way back to his origins. I’ve been a completist since his series started during Secret Invasion, and I’d read some Cable & Deadpool before that. In all of my Deadpool reading, I haven’t experienced anything that indicated a film adaptation would need an R-rating. The comic is not for mature readers, so it seems like it would translate more to a PG-13, with one “fuck” thrown in for good measure (that’s allowed in PG-13 movies).
The speculation surrounding a reboot earned Full House the West Week Ever back in August. Well, it looks like we’re closer to getting Fuller House (that’s the name they’re using now) after all. Reportedly, the show is headed to Netflix, and will focus on the friendship between Candace Cameron Bure’s DJ Tanner and Andrea Barber’s Kimmy Gibbler. Considering how much Candace has gone on the evangelical offensive over the years, I wonder if that hurts the potential audience for this show. Anyway, score another one for Netflix. Right now, I’m sure Yahoo Screen is looking into rebooting Empty Nest.
-It was reported that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has been cast as Killer Croc in DC’s Suicide Squad movie. I have no clue how to say that dude’s name. If I ever met him, I’d have to play the “What’s up, my brotha?” card. Anyway, that guy from Latino Review who loves scooping stuff reports that Suicide Squad will take place between Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in the span of the DC Cinematic Universe. *Yawn*
In the world of music, Jay-Z and his Illuminati friends announced the purchase of Tidal – a new streaming service that costs more than most other services because the artists want to make more money. There was a press conference and everything. It ended with them signing a document that you’d think was the Hip Hop Magna Carta or something. Anyway, the files are supposedly of a higher quality, but you won’t be able to tell the difference if you’re listening through headphones. Good luck with that, Hov!
In the world of television, Weird Lonerspremiered on Fox Tuesday night. It feels like someone found some old Happy Endings scripts, but there were food stains all over the best jokes. Seriously, this show feels like it really wants to be HE, complete with the casting of Zachary Knighton, but the rest of the cast just isn’t that strong. Plus, I can’t get over how that one guy looks like Nick Swardson if he really let himself go. Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t expect too much from “The creator of The King of Queens, and the executive producer of New Girl.” What’s it about? Four people who are unlucky at love kinda band together as friends. Oh, and 3/4 of them are kinda assholes ’cause that’s how they make sitcoms now.
Meanwhile, in the world of television, South African comedian Trevor Noah was announced as the new host of The Daily Show. And the people rejoiced…for about a day. Then, someone checked out his Twitter history and discovered that he’d said a bunch of off-color stuff. Ya know, like a comedian. You ever follow a professional comedian on Twitter? With the exception of very few, they’re all just throwing shit out there to see if it sticks. If it gets retweeted or favorited, excellent. A lot of them come off as insecure when they do this, and it’s not necessarily coming from some place of bravado. If anything, they’re tearing others down in order to feel good about themselves. Whatever. I’m not a licensed shrink. All I know is that Comedy Central decided they wanted to go the comedian route for the job, and they knew what they were getting themselves into. Comedy Central has already said that they stand by him, so I expect nothing to come from this. Plus, Stewart’s fans are gonna hate any replacement in the beginning, just because he’s not Stewart.
This week also saw the premiere of the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber. SNL‘s Pete Davidson was great (I had no clue his father was a firefighter who died on 9/11), but Martha Stewart was surprisingly brutal. My pal Chris Piers pointed out that there’s no way she wrote those jokes, but I just give her credit for saying them. The roast ended with a well-written, yet clearly staged, apology from Justin himself for his outrageous behavior. Even though it was somewhat canned, I felt like it showed a lot of maturity, and I’m eager to see where his path leads him. After all, Justin Timberlake was once just “that guy in that boyband”, and look at him now. I’m not saying Bieber is that multi-talented, but I’d really like us to get to a place where “Justin Bieber” isn’t an instant punchline anymore.
I loved this article about the making of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. My favorite part is that they acknowledge that Raph has mental problems. I’ve always felt this, but had never seen it actually written anywhere. Seriously, if Raphael is your favorite turtle, I wonder about you…
This week, I had the pleasure of joining Corey and Eclectik over on the UnderScoopFire Podcast. We discussed all of the pop culture stuff we’re looking forward to during the months of April through June, and it was a lot of fun. I was really starting to think that folks were tired of having me on their shows, so it felt really good to get back in the swing of things. Anyway, give it a listen!
Things You May Have Missed This Week
-Speaking of Turtles, Stephen Amell has been cast as Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Sure, movies trump TV, so this is good for his IMDB page, but it almost feels like a lateral promotion.
-Hugh Jackman announced that Wolverine 3 will most likely be his last appearance as Wolverine, after 17 years in the role.
-It was announced that season 6 will be Downton Abbey‘s final season. I still have seasons 4 and 5 on my DVR, so I’m not quite sure if I’m saddened or relieved by the information.
-In other news about shows I need to watch, House of Cards has been renewed for a fourth season on Netflix.
-Gnardians of the Galaxy, the porn parody of Guardians of the Galaxy, released its trailer. Nope, I’m trying to be Safe For Work, here!
-Cougar Town‘s series finale aired this week. One day, I’m gonna have to catch up on that show.
-Fresh off the cancellation of What Not to Wear, Clinton Kelly will be getting a new show on TLC where he and Real World: Brooklyn‘s Devin Symone will give social media makeovers to folks looking for love. Think of it like What Not To Catfish.
-This week on The Today Show, Darius Rucker said that Hootie and the Blowfish would reunite, but it was simply a matter of timing. Uh-huh. He’s gone Full Timberlake but doesn’t want to admit it. I’ll believe this reunion when I see it.
-Wrestlemania 31 was this week. So that happened. Technically, I’m a WWE guy whenever The Undertaker is involved, but even I couldn’t get excited about his match against Bray Wyatt. Anyway, The Dead Man won, so I guess I’m happy. I tend to care more about the Hall of Fame ceremony than the actual event; I’ve got it on my DVR, but haven’t had the chance to watch it. So, look for my thoughts next week.
I love Scientology. Let me rephrase that: I love all secret society-ish things, and Scientology happens to fall under this banner. Over the years, I’ve read and watched a LOT of stuff about the religion, and I continue to be fascinated by everything that I discover.
I can be a Judgy McJudgerson at times, but I try not to criticize anyone’s religion. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make it in this life, one day at a time. Some folks need some sort of coping mechanism to do this, while others don’t. Plus, and some folks won’t like this thought, but all religions have their farfetched aspects. Yup, even mine. We criticize Scientology because our parents are older than the religion, and the idea of Xenu and whatnot seems hokey as Hell. The funny thing about Xenu is that that information isn’t even available to Scientologists until they fork over the money to learn it. It’s not like that’s their pitch to the man on the street. No, for that they use e-meters to give you “stress tests”.
Anyway, based on my fascination with all things Scientology, I knew that I’d have to watch the documentary Going Clear, based on Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief. It was SO GOOD! I was already familiar with the concept of Operating Thetans and the Sea Org, but the doc does a good job of explaining these things for the uninformed. Not only does it cover the celebrity aspect, like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, but it also documents the abuse and the living conditions suffered by the more common members of the religion. Tom Cruise may seem like an all-powerful supervillain, but that’s because he’s got money. If you or I joined Scientology, we’d be drafted into their space Navy on a billion year contract, doing menial labor and making about 40 cents a day. This is the side of Scientology that no one talks about.
I could understand the attraction to celebrities, but I’ve never quite understood why an average Joe would join up. For this, I’m not sure the documentary did the best job of explaining. I mean, it seems like a rich celebrity club, with tax-exempt status, but the celebrity aspect is so small compared to the men and women who raise their families in the religion. According to a 2008 study, about 25,000 Americans identified as Scientologists, and Tom and John are only two of them. Outside of the celebrity world, who are these people? What’s the draw? In the footage that they showed of the annual conference, there were Black people in attendance. How, pray tell, do you get a Black Scientologist?! The documentary focused on Hollywood members, like writer/director Paul Haggis, but I would’ve liked more info on “the little people”. I guess there’s only so much you can fit into two hours, so I’ll need to check out the book (Lindsay read it and highly recommends it).
If you have even a passing interest in Scientology, I really think you should give this documentary a shot. It’s worth it just for the story about how they “recruited” Tom Cruise’s new girlfriend. So, for being the most interesting thing I consumed this week, Going Clear had the West Week Ever.
I totally wasted last Saturday, as I could’ve been watching new stuff, but instead I watched four movies I’d already seen. FOUR MOVIES! Yup, the day started with Die Hard, followed by Iron Man 3. Later that night, I caught A Million Ways To Die In The West, and capped it off with The Dark Knight. What can I say? I really like all of those movies. Anyway, I’ve really got nothing to add except for the fact that I still hate that ferry scene in The Dark Knight. It unnecessarily makes the movie longer.
Saturday, I also caught Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles. I’m a Silverman fan, so I pretty much knew what to expect. Still, I found myself disappointed. I don’t know what it is, but I felt like I’d heard all of that material before. I’m pretty sure they weren’t the same jokes as Jesus Is Magic, so I’m not quite sure where I heard them, but it all sounded like old material. After the recent Aziz specials, followed by this, I’m really not winning in the standup department lately. Anyone got any suggestions?
Earlier this week, I finally watched HBO’s Behind The Candelabra. If you’ve never seen it, it’s the story of Scott Thorson’s relationship with Liberace during the final years of Liberace’s life. Michael Douglas was amazing as Liberace, who seemed like one creepy old son of a bitch. Meanwhile, Matt Damon was great as Thorson, and I can understand why it won as many awards as it did. Looking back, I still don’t know how the general public convinced themselves that Liberace wasn’t gay, but I suppose it was a different and simpler time. Liberace and Paul Lynde…it’s like people only saw what they wanted to see with those two.
The other night, I finally watched Choke – a movie I’ve wanted to see for years. Based on a story by Chuck Palahniuk, and written and directed by Agent Coulson himself (Clark Gregg), the movie follows a sex addict (Sam Rockwell) who, while trying to care for his schizophrenic mother, discovers he may be a clone of Jesus. Meanwhile, he runs a scam where he pretends to choke in public places so that he can con his “saviors” into supporting his financial needs. Yeah, it’s kinda twisted, but it’s a great dark comedy. I highly recommend it. Plus, for you Community fans, if you’ve ever wanted to see Britta topless, this is your movie.
Speaking of Community, sure it won West Week Ever last week, but now that we’re 3 episodes in, something seems kinda off about it. I’m not sure if it’s the lost cast members or the new “network” it’s on, but it feels lacking. I think it’s the fault of Yahoo Screen. It’s just such a ghetto medium compared to Netflix or Amazon Instant Video, and it almost feels like UPN 2.0. Just look at the other shows on the “network”. Sin City Saints? That’s totally the kind of show that UPN would’ve cancelled after 5 episodes, only to be replaced by more Shasta McNasty. I’ll keep watching because, as far as new episodes of Community goes, Yahoo Screen’s the only game in town. I just hope they bolster their offerings with some quality programming to support what they already have with Community.
Meanwhile this week, Fox announced The X-Files would be coming back for a 6-episode special event. And if ratings are good, I’m sure there’ll be more. I’m not exactly what you’d call an X-Files superfan, but I did watch more than half of its run. I enjoyed it at the time, but I’m not really sure I was clamoring for more. If anything, this saddens me because it’s just more proof that Hollywood’s out of original ideas at the moment. People are constantly saying this, but when you go back and resurrect a show that’s been off the air for 13 years, you’re kinda proving their point. I wonder if they’ll retcon the last movie, as it seems like that killed a lot of people’s desire for more Mulder and Scully. I never saw it, so I’m only going off of scuttlebutt. Anyone care to weigh in on whether or not it was as bad as I’ve heard?
Speaking of crazy comebacks, it was announced yesterday that NBC ordered 13 episodes of <strong><em>Coach</strong></em> – the sequel to the 90s ABC show of the same name. Yes, Craig T. Nelson will once again play Coach Hayden Fox. Apparently, he’s retired and is his own son’s assistant coach at an Ivy League school in PA. I don’t even know what to make of this. First of all, I hate when shows switch networks. Second of all, is NBC <em>that</em> desperate? I mean, I loved Coach back in the day, but I don’t know if there’s a place for it in today’s TV landscape. Thoughts?
Yesterday, the cover leaked to Marvel’s Free Comic Book Day offering, The All-New, All-Different Avengers. On it, the post-Secret Wars team appears to be comprised of Iron Man, Vision, “She-Thor”, “Blaptain America”, Ms. Marvel, Nova, and Miles Morales’s Ultimate Spider-Man. It looks like The Diversity Crew to the rescue! A friend of mine online said that he believes that this will be the B-Team of Avengers, and I’m inclined to agree with him. There’s a good mix of young and veteran heroes, but I’m not sure if they’re “Avengers”. This reminds me of when Marvel created the All-New Ultimates, comprised of Miles, Cloak & Dagger, Black Widow, Kitty Pryde and Bombshell. It really should’ve been called Ultimate Runaways, but the Ultimates name carried more clout. Ms. Marvel, Miles, and Nova are clearly the next generation of heroes, but they’re not really on that level yet. So, maybe they’re being mentored by the veteran heroes. Despite Miles’s presence, I’m more surprised that Sam Wilson as Captain America and the female Thor are present post Secret Wars. I thought they’d be the first to go in a multiversal shakeup, but I guess they have staying power. People love to point out that “She-Thor’s” sales are higher than those of the Odinson, but I maintain that it’s due to the mystery surrounding her identity. That’s not to take away from the storytelling, as folks wouldn’t stick around if it weren’t up to par. Still, those numbers will drop once her identity is revealed, as this same scenario played out with Red Hulk. My problems with Sam as Cap have to do with the concept of “cowl rental”. My friend Jenn explains it much better than I could, but let’s just say that the “replacement hero” rarely fares well once everything is said and done. Anyway, luckily it’s a free book, so I’ll pick it up and see what all the fuss is about. I mean, I’ve pretty much vowed to read whatever Miles is in, so I’ll read it, but I’m not saying I’m optimistic about the whole thing.
In the world of music, Zayn Malik announced that he was leaving the boyband One Direction. As much of a boyband fan as I am, I’ve never really given the time of day to 1D. I’m not really sure why. I guess it’s because their songs aren’t really that catchy to me. I’m a bit of a boyband snob, and if your songs aren’t from Max Martin, then you haven’t made it yet. Teenage girls seem to be losing their shit over this news, but I didn’t even think Zayn was that important a member anyway. It’s not like Harry Styles quit! Anyway, 1D will be fine. Fellow UK boyband Westlife had a similar thing happen when Brian McFadden left the group in 2004, yet they continued on as a 4-piece up until 2012. So yes, Directioners – there is life after Zayn. Unless, of course, he was your favorite member. then, I guess you’re screwed…
Last week, I had the pleasure of joining the Nerd Lunch guys to discuss television series finales. This is a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, as I love me some TV and I love some series finales. I’ve heard before that a good series finale should equally satisfy longtime viewers, but also serve as a decent jumping-on point for the casual viewer. Which shows adhered to this tenet? Well, hop over to their site and give the show a listen!
We’re doing something a little different this week. You see, I was off work because I was out on paternity leave. As many of you probably know, my wife and I have been expecting a baby since about July, and this week was the due date. Well, last night came a moment I’ve been equally terrified of and excited for: at 7:20 PM, Evelyn Robyn West was born. Weighing in at a whopping 8 lbs and 7 ounces, she licks her lips like Heath Ledger’s Joker, she’s pink and kinda looks like the baby from Dinosaurs. But she’s all mine, and I know that my life won’t be the same from this day forth. Mommy and baby are doing well, though Daddy almost passed out several times. That’ll just be our little secret! So, since nothing will ever compare to this in my mind, little Evelyn West had the West Week Ever.
First off, thanks to everyone who read my Batgirl post, as I had my best traffic in over a year. Who knew that something I wrote in the middle of the night would garner that much discussion? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click the link!
This week, I caught the series premiere of Transformers: Robots In Disguise and I don’t really know what I saw. Taking place years after Transformers: Prime, it features Bumblebee (voiced by Will Freidle) as the leader of a ragtag group of Autobots trying to recapture some Decepticons who had crash landed on Earth. I love Will Freidle and I love Bumblebee, but I I’m not sure I love Will Friedle as Bumblebee. Also, it was kinda jarring that the sequel to the CGI Prime is a standard 2-D animated show that looks more like the sequel to Transformers Animated. I’m not the biggest Transformers fan, so I kinda don’t have a horse in that race, but I still thought I’d check it out. It didn’t hold my attention, so I can only imagine how kids are gonna feel about it.
On the cable front, I checked out Tammy. Yes, I know that some people hate Melissa McCarthy and, yes, I know that they trailer did a horrible job explaining what the movie was about. Still once it hit DVD, I knew I was gonna watch it. I’d meant to get it from Redbox, but it premiered on HBO last weekend. So, what is it about? Well, after a really bad day – where she finds out that her husband’s cheating on her and she’s fired from her job – Tammy (McCarthy) sets out on a road trip with her grandmother (Susan Sarandon). Was it funny? I thought so. It’s produced by Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Productions, so you’ve kinda got an idea of the type of humor that it contains.
Speaking of movies, some drama’s been going down concerning upcoming Aquaman, Jason Momoa. Apparently, he signed a fan’s poster with the words “Fuck Marvel”. While some folks are saying this was unprofessional, others are happy that he’s igniting a true cinematic rivalry between Marvel and DC. DC fans say that the Avengers stars run their mouths about how their movies are superior, so why is this any different? I think it’s more a case of the fact that Marvel’s proven its worth. Momoa’s untested and hasn’t even acted in anything yet in the DCU, yet he’s already knee deep in a “rivalry”. If Henry Cavill had said it, I’d take it, since he’s already gotten his feet wet with Man of Steel. As it stands, however, Momoa really doesn’t have anything to back himself up. Someone on Facebook tried to say that Momoa passed on being Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy, so clearly he must have more faith in DC by taking the Aquaman role. I beg to differ. I think he realized he’d made a mistake when GOTG went on to be HUGE and he jumped on the next train that came along. Anyway, let’s see who’s laughing when Dawn of Justice finally comes out.
On the comics front, I got my hands on an advance copy of Archie vs. Predator #1. Sadly, I probably know more about Archie than I do the Predator franchise (I’ve never seen any of the movies). So, I’m sure some Easter eggs were lost on me. Still, the story should still be rather accessible, right? Wrong. It just doesn’t flow well. The characters’ personalities are off, as they seem to exist at extremes. Reggie’s REALLY a dick. Betty’s REALLY a dumb blonde. If Jughead had more than 2 lines, I’m sure he’d be REALLY hungry. It felt like a book made by someone with little familiarity with Archiefor someone with little familiarity with Archie. On top of that, the level of gore that we get at the end of the issue doesn’t fit tonally with the rest of the issue. It reads like a “My First Archie Story” for kids, and then ends with eviscerated corpses hanging from trees. There are 3 more issues in the miniseries, but this one didn’t leave me with the desire to read more. I was expecting them to pull it off, like Archie Meets The Punisher, but this wasn’t on that level. If you love Archie or Predator, you’re gonna hate this.
In the video game world, it’s rumored that game developer Hideo Kojima has left Konami. Now, I’m the furthest thing from a “gamer”, but I do know that he’s behind the highly successful Metal Gear franchise. That game series holds a special place in my heart, as I almost beat Metal Gear Solid II: Sons of Liberty, and that game’s theme is what I want played at my funeral. Seriously, just listen to it:
Anyway, if Kojima has left Konami, this will be a huge blow. Apparently, there’s been a falling out between Kojima Productions and Konami, and Konami has lashed out by removing Kojima Productions branding from Twitter and the Metal Gear website. For now, if he hasn’t left already, it’s believed that Kojima Productions will leave following Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes, as well as what happens to the Metal Gear series.
It’s been confirmed that Toys “R” Us won’t be renewing their lease for the well-known flagship store located in the heart of New York’s Times Square. TRU has been in the space since 2000, and they occupy 110,000 square feet. This is a sad development that shows the current state of the toy market. In fact, the brokers are convinced that they won’t be able to find a single tenant for the entire space, so it’ll end up being divided. It’s rumored that TRU might actually lease retail space at the nearby Marriott Marquis, but I’m not sure if they’re going to take the giant dinosaur and the Ferris wheel with them to the new location. The move should take place next February.
Things You Might Have Missed This Week
-In the IDW Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, one of the turtles was killed this week. Hint: It’s not the one who leads, the party dude, or the one who’s cool but rude.
-The series finale of Glee airs tonight. I’ve seen, like, no fanfare for this thing, so I wonder who even knows about it.
-a well known comic blogger was accused of cyberbullying a former comic editor, driving her to the point of PTSD. I’m not naming names ’cause at least one of them seems like to type to Google her name. Yeah, the blogger was a dick, and the editor never really seemed screwed on too tightly. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
-One of my tweets was used in an Essence.com recap of the Empire season finale.
-I joined the guys at Nerd Lunch to discuss TV series finales. The episode will go up Tuesday, and I’ll post a link in next week’s post.
-I’ve been obsessed with the ’60s group Jay and the Americans lately. Here’s their hit “Cara Mia”:
– The California Raisins are coming back in a live action/CG film
-President Obama might be buying the Magnum P.I. house
-Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s Ruth Negga has been cast as Tulip in AMC’s Preacher adaptation.
Community is the little show that could. After 5 seasons on NBC, it seemed like all was lost. Then, Yahoo stepped in and picked the show up to be featured under the Yahoo Screen banner. Well, the first episodes hit the Internet this week, and it was good to see the gang again. It was also kind of jarring to realize how much they’ve lost over the years. Troy’s gone, Pierce is dead, and now Shirley’s gone to her own spinoff (it makes sense when you watch the episode).
Certain things didn’t work. For example, Abed didn’t seem like himself. It’s like he’s trying to be a new person, and he no longer seems interested in imagining that they’re all characters in a sitcom. Also, things didn’t really work on a technical level, either. You see, Yahoo Screen can be viewed via a browser, but it can also be used through an Android or iOS app. The Android app is pretty janky, as it was constantly buffering – sometimes for periods up to 5 minutes. I thought it might’ve been my connection doing it, but I’ve read that others had the same issues. So, with that going on, it took about an hour to watch a 27 minute episode.
Certain things did work, though. The writing is still there, and it definitely feels like Dan Harmon work and not the episodes from the “gas leak season” (the one during which Harmon was fired). I also enjoyed the addition of Paget Brewster, as I’ve loved her ever since Joey and Chandler were fighting over her on Friends. Her character, Frankie Dart, seems like she’s there to keep the show grounded, but it’ll be fun to watch her get sucked into the madness that surrounds Greendale.
The show’s joke was always #sixseasonsandamovie, and they just might pull it off. It nothing else, they might get another season on Yahoo Screen. Either way, I was glad to see it back, so Community had the West Week Ever.
The week started off with me watching After Earth, starring the men of the Smith clan. I know the movie bombed in North America, and I’m not exactly a “Will Smith fan”, but I really enjoyed it. More than that, I enjoyed Jaden. I know we’re supposed to hate him, since he’s insufferable in real life, but he brought such intensity to his role. I guess there was supposed to be a message in there, that Man ruined the Earth, turning it into something designed only to kill humanity. That message, whether sadly or thankfully, got lost. If it was supposed to be a cautionary tale, it failed on that account, but as a survivalist thriller, I thought it succeeded. Their accents were somewhat off-putting, but I guess that’s somewhat to be expected with it set 1,000 years in the future. It was an M. Night movie, but luckily there wasn’t a crazy twist at the end. I don’t say this often, but I’d watch it again. I’d never seen a Jaden Smith movie before, but I think I might like his acting. What’s happening to me?!
Next up, I finally watched Cloverfield. I’d been curious about it since it was in theaters, but it was never really “my kind of movie”. I don’t really do disaster movies, but I remember it had been shrouded in secrecy, and it was filmed in that “found footage” format. It was about what I expected it to be. I’m glad that the format eliminated the need to explain where the monster came from, or to even explain how/if it was defeated. It’s a shame we never got a sequel, as there are so many questions, but the format didn’t really allow for a sequel. If anything, it would have had to be the same night from a different point of view. I had no clue that TJ Miller was in that movie, but I was also surprised to see friend of a friend Ben Feldman in the film. Too bad his character probably died. Anyway, it was refreshing that the Black girl was the one to survive. At least I think she was Black. Maybe she was a halfy? Who cares. She lived. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t think I ever need to see it again.
This week saw the season (?) finale of Marvel’s Agent Carter, and I’m surprised to say that I was sad to see it go. When they first announced the show, I thought it was a dumb idea. Nobody cares about Captain America’s stupid girlfriend. Then the show actually debuted, and I found myself drawn to that world. I came to enjoy it much more than I ever enjoyed Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,and I’d rather have 5 more seasons of Peggy Carter than stupid Skye/Daisy Johnson. As someone said on Twitter, Agent Carter did more with 8 episodes than S.H.I.E.L.D. has done with nearly 40. I know part of the problem is that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is so beholden to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Agent Carter can get away with more, being set in the ’40s and all. Anyway, I have to admit that I need to rewatch the finale, as I was a little distracted when it actually aired. From what I caught, I felt kinda like it wrapped up a little too quickly. I know they only had 8 episodes to work with, but the finale felt somewhat rushed. Again, I need to rewatch it, as maybe my opinion will change. Ratings were never really stellar, with an estimated 4 million households tuning in every week, but S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s ratings haven’t been great since the premiere, so they’re pretty much in the same boat. I think it’ll get a second season, but we probably won’t hear anything until May. According to rumors, the character is in Avengers: Age of Ultron, so it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of Peggy Carter.
Deadline is reporting that The CW is in the early stages of developing an Arrow/Flash team-up spinoff, starring recurring characters from both shows. Some folks online are saying that it’s essentially a Justice League TV show, but it doesn’t sound like that to me. If anything, it seems closer to the Brave and the Bold team-up concept. I’m glad to see that Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer is joining the show, as I’ve come to like that character. They also announced that Caity Lotz, better known as Arrow‘s Sara Lance/Black Canary I, is involved, but it’s unknown if she’s playing the same character or a new one. This news is pretty surprising, as there had been rumors of that universe being expanded, but it was assumed that it would probably be an A.T.O.M. or Firestorm show down the road. I know that Flash is firing on all cylinders, but Arrow seems to have taken a bit of a turn in the “suspension of disbelief” department. I’m scared that they might be diluting the brand by rushing another show into development in that same universe – especially since CBS’s Supergirl is supposedly in the same universe, should they choose to cross them over. In Berlanti I trust, however, so I’ll just wait and see.
Speaking of Supergirl, Calista Flockhart has been cast as Kara’s boss, Cat Grant. I’m not sure how I feel about this casting. If you’ve read Superman books recently, you know that Cat Grant is kinda of a cougary go-getter. If I had to cast the role, I probably would’ve gone with someone a little closer to Elizabeth Banks. Sure, she’s not at the point in her career where she has to do television, but that’s the age and look I would go for.
DuckTales is coming back in 2017! Yeah, I guess this is good news, but I’d much rather have Darkwing Duck back. Anybody remember Quack Pack? It’s the follow-up to DuckTales where Huey, Dewey, and Louie were teens. Apparently, it was supposed to be an extension of Donald Duck shorts instead of DuckTales, which is why you never see Uncle Scrooge and other DuckTales characters. It seems like most people I know had checked out of The Disney Afternoon by the time that show came along.
I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but I’ve become a fan of NBC’s The Slap. Sure, it’s got a dumb name, and seems built around a dumb premise, but it’s so much more than that. It really centers around a Greek-American family, and the drama that’s boiling beneath the surface in all of their lives. One character’s marriage is strained, and he’s falling for the teenage babysitter. Zachary Quinto plays a successful car broker, who has anger issues and is also cheating on his wife. Uma Thurman is a successful TV producer who’s dating a much younger man, and finds out that she’s pregnant by him. It all comes to a head one afternoon at a family party. A guest’s child is out of control, and when Quinto intervenes, the kid kicks him in the shin. As a reflex, Quinto slaps the kid in front of everyone. The kid’s parents go apeshit, and the party goes to hell quickly.
Here’s some backstory on the kid: Hugo’s 4 years old and he’s a little asshole. The whole party, he was throwing iPads and having tantrums. Meanwhile, his parents are hippies, and the mother still breastfeeds him (HE’S FOUR YEARS OLD!). He totally had something coming to him, but I guess it was up to his own parents to make that call. I’m completely fascinated by this, as it’s such a cultural thing. Had this been a Black cookout, the party would’ve kept going. When you employ the whole “It takes a village…” model of raising kids, you run the risk of someone else disciplining your child. It just comes with the territory. We live in a society now where people don’t want to raise a hand to their kids, but I just feel like this is the kind of show that could only really be dramatic at this time in history. Anyway, now the hippies are pressing charges against Quinto, Uma knows about Hector and the babysitter, and everyone’s life is in a spiral right now. It’s no Empire, but it’s still a really engaging show. If I had to compare it to something, I’d say it’s like an edgy Parenthood.
I’m a sucker for gimmick sodas, and my latest drink of choice is Coca-Cola Life. For lack of a better description, it’s what I would call a “pairing soda”. On its own, it tastes kinda janky. However, if you drink it with a meal, the food enhances the flavor and makes it taste like Pepsi. I guess I could cut out the middle man and just drink Pepsi, but I’m just kind of intrigued by how it all goes down. Coca-Cola Life is sweetened with Stevia, so it has fewer calories than regular Coke, but is much more caloric than Diet Coke. A 20 oz bottle of Coke Classic will run you about 240 calories, while the same amount of Coke Life will run you about 160 calories. Pepsi has followed Coke’s lead, releasing its own Stevia-sweetened cola, Pepsi True. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve got a bottle in my refrigerator, so I’ll update in the future.
I debated whether or not to talk about this, as I sometimes think I write too much about Power Rangers – especially since Power Rangers fans don’t really give a shit about my opinion. Still, it was on everyone’s timeline this week, so it bears mentioning. Producer Adi Shankar released Power/Rangers – a dark and gritty short film starring Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek. This film had everything you never wanted from Power Rangers, including machine guns, threesomes, titties, and curse words.
The movie kicks off with the Rangers, suited up, fighting with machine guns. It turns out that Rocky (Red) sold out to the evil Machine Empire, and he’s interrogating Kimberly (Pink) to discover the whereabouts of Tommy, the Green Ranger. So, I’ve got some questions. First off, why Rocky? He was the replacement Red Ranger, yet there’s no mention of Adam and Aisha – the replacement Black and Yellow Rangers. It just seemed like a reach to make him the traitor. And the machine guns? The Rangers are essentially magic, so why bring man-made weapons into the mix? And I don’t even want to get into the social implications of Zack’s interracial threesome.
At the end of the day, it was clear that this was not a love letter from a longtime fan of the franchise. Most fans realized this, and many took to social media to state how displeased they were. Meanwhile, the laymen who do’t realize there have been multiple incarnations of the franchise for the past 21 years, seemed to like it. All the podcast hosts and members of the Power Force (yeah, such a thing exists. Don’t get me started…) decried “THIS IS SHIT!” while most “normal” people were like, “Huh, that was kinda cool.” All day Tuesday, headlines ranged from “You Won’t Believe This Piece of Shit!” to “The Power Rangers Get Gritty And It’s AWESOME!” Needless to say, it was a very polarizing video. On top of that, Saban Brands has been trying to get the video taken down, as it infringes upon their trademarks, and doesn’t classify as “parody”. So far, it has been taken down from Vimeo (that was the version with the titties), and now it’s gone from YouTube, too. I can understand that, based on the tone and language, it’s not the kind of thing that Saban wants out in the world representing his product. Now, the debate has gone from whether or not the video sucked to whether or not it deserved to be taken down by Saban. Those opinions are just as polarized as the opinions on the clip’s quality.
It was clearly a well-done fan film, with great special effects, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t Power Rangers. It was something else entirely, but it just didn’t work as Power Rangers. It demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the source material, as Power Rangers can be gritty without being….whatever that was. Power Rangers has gone dark before. Check out Power Rangers RPM – I recommend it to anyone who’ll listen to me. This, however, ain’t Power Rangers.
This week saw the series finale of Parks & Recreation. After 7 seasons, and 125 episodes, Leslie Knope dined at JJ’s Diner for the last time. Or at least, I guess she did; JJ’s wasn’t even shown in the episode. Anyway, the episode featured flash forwards to give us a glimpse into the futures of the characters we had come to love. April and Andy had kids, Craig got married, Donna became a real estate mogul, Tom became a motivational author/speaker, Gary/Jerry/Larry/Terry Gergich enjoyed multiple terms as Pawnee’s mayor, and Ron became the head of the Pawnee National Park. Meanwhile, Ben became a Congressman and Leslie ran for Governor of Indiana. We even got a flash forward for fan favorite Jean-Ralphio, as he faked his own death.
The first half hour wasn’t really high on laughs, and went more for the heartstrings. I felt like I was watching the Six Feet Under finale all over again, and didn’t really like the experience. The second half hour, however, felt like classic Parks & Rec, and we even got cameos from Ann and Chris. I’m kinda sad they never even attempted to mention Mark Brendanawicz, but the show really wasn’t very good when he was around, so I can forgive the omission.
By no means was I some kind of Parks & Rec superfan, but I always enjoyed it when I watched it. Its ratings were never anything to write home about, but it was NBC’s “little comedy that could”. Though it was initially developed as a pseudo-spinoff of The Office, I feel like its legacy will be much stronger once history has its say. For one thing, Amy Poehler didn’t leave the show before the end of its run, so it had that going for it. Also, Parks & Rec just got stronger, as the cast gelled and became a well-oiled machine. NBC definitely doesn’t have anything else on its schedule like it, and it will be a long time before a show that good comes along again. So, for giving us 7 seasons of laughs, and for going out on top, Parks & Recreation had the West Week Ever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
So, I decided to put a dent in my DVRed movies, so I checked out The Purge. If you’ve never seen it, it takes place in the year 2022 on Purge Night – a government sanctioned night where all crime is legal. Wanna kill your boss? Done. What to get revenge on your neighbor for his barking dog? Done. Due to the annual purge, the crime rate has gone down considerably, and it is believed that the purge cleanses one’s soul of violent urges. In the movie, Ethan Hawke is a rich guy who’s made his fortune selling purge night security systems to the rest of the houses in his neighborhood. Then, the purge starts and his stupid, stupid kid decides to provide sanctuary to a stranger who’s trying to gain shelter in the neighborhood. And then all Hell breaks loose. I had a lot of thoughts about this movie. First of all, it made me scared to be a husband/father, as it’s his job to protect the family in a situation like this. I would’ve been USELESS. Did I mention that all crime is legal?! I don’t wanna die! Anyway, it really got me to thinking about what I’d do if Purge Night were an actual thing. I think I’d just hole up somewhere and wait til it passed. Knowing me, though, I’d probably get killed. Anyway, now I need to see the sequel, The Purge: Anarchy.
Next up, I watched Jason Bateman in Bad Words. Basically, Bateman plays a 40 year old man who exploits loopholes to participate in children’s spelling bees. Why does he do it? Well, you’ve got to watch the movie to find that out. Meanwhile, he befriends a 10 year old boy who also happens to be one of his competitors. That may sound heartfelt, but it’s not. Bateman’s character is foul-mouthed, and calls the kid – who’s Indian – stuff like “Slumdog”. Directed by Bateman, it’s a small movie with big moments. It definitely has some funny scenes, but it could’ve been stronger. If you’re a Bateman fan, however, it’s worth checking out as his character is a departure from the level-headed straight man that he usually plays.
I read that Dredd was leaving Netflix this month, so I figured I should watch it while I had the chance. And I LOVED it. I’ve never been a fan of the Dredd comics because they always seemed so…British. It’s funny because I actually worked with Rebellion when I worked at Diamond, but I never read anything they put out. That said, I was really impressed by the movie, as it made me want to know more about that world. I loved the effects, and it has some good action. Plus, it was the second movie I watched that night starring Lena Heady as someone trapped in a building (see The Purge). I know that Vincent over at The Robot’s Pajamas has been raving about this movie for a long time, and now I see why. It definitely deserves that sequel that everyone’s been requesting.
I don’t get into it much, but I hate space. Not so much that I wanna defund NASA, but where most people see wonder and possibility, I see cold loneliness and death. I think my hatred of space came from X-Men comics because they used space travel as a cop out a lot of the time. When things would get too crazy on Earth, they’d take to the stars and get into it with the Starjammers and the Shi’ar. By the time they got back to Earth, all the drama they’d left behind had somehow righted itself (see Operation: Zero Tolerance). Anyway, Gravity reminded me of all the non-comic reasons I hate space. My God, is it terrible up there! Beautiful, but terrifying. And this movie captures all of the good and the bad of space, from the beauty of a sunrise to the fear of running out of oxygen. If you don’t know what’s it’s about, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney find themselves in the middle of a debris storm during a space walk. And then they have to survive. I won’t say anything else, but SO much goes wrong, that you’re left wondering what could possibly go wrong next. The suspense is strong with this one. I don’t feel like I need to own it, or really ever see it again, but I enjoyed it for what it was.
The big news of the week was that Marvel and Sony would be partnering on the next Spider-Man movie, and this would also allow the new Spider-Man to debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And fans went crazy! Tons of blog posts and memes heralded “Welcome Home Spidey”, and fan speculation ran wild. Would he appear in Captain America: Civil War? After all, he’s set to debut in a 2017 Marvel movie, and then debut in his own movie on July 28, 2018. Would he be part of Avengers: The Infinity War? What does this mean for the Sinister Six film (it’s been put on hold)? Some related news that didn’t get as much attention was that Marvel shifted the release dates for half of their Phase 3 films, including moving the release date for Black Panther from 2017 to 2018. Anyway, then the speculation took a turn, as some folks started saying that it’s time for a Black Spidey, reigniting the “Donald Glover for Spider-Man!” campaign. Then, folks took it one step further and said that the next cinematic Spidey should be current star of Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales. I don’t know about all this. I like Glover, but they say the studio’s skewing younger, which is fine with me. I LOVE Miles, but I don’t see it happening. I feel like the Peter Parker name recognition is too important to the man on the street. In fact, I feel like there’s a better chance of a Black Peter Parker than there is of Miles Morales being the big screen Spider-Man. They might throw us a bone, and have Miles join the movies as a friend of Peter, and maybe set things up for a potential Phase 4/5 Miles Becomes Spidey movie, but I’m not holding my breath, especially since some announcements have already said that they’re going with Peter Parker. Plus, the thing to remember is that Sony retains final say in everything, so they could still mess things up.
According to multiple reports, TBS has cancelled Ground Floor, which makes me a sad Will. I really loved that show, and I know its stars will move on to bigger and better things. Everyone already knows Skylar Astin from the Pitch Perfect movies, while I think Briga Heelan has the potential to be a very big deal. Anyway, considering it only had 10-episode seasons, it would’ve had to be on the air for many many years in order to qualify for syndication. The ratings just weren’t high enough to sustain it (though they were higher than Cougar Town, which is in its final season). Still, I wish it could’ve gotten a third season, like other TBS sitcoms Men At Work and Sullivan & Son. A moment of silence for another fallen sitcom.
Things You Might Have Missed This Week
-Netflix accidentally released season 3 of House of Cards 2 weeks early. The episodes were taken down within 30 minutes.
-Jon Stewart announced that he’s leaving The Daily Show by the end of the year
-CBS was billing this Sunday’s episode of CSI as a series finale, ending the series after 15 seasons. CBS later recanted, saying that the episode is merely a season finale, but current ratings insist otherwise.
You know someone who did NOT have the West Week Ever? Brian Williams, Man, that’s a shitty situation. If you’re not in the know, NBC Nightly News anchor/father of Marnie from Girls, Brian Williams has been suspended for 6 months without pay, due to the fact that he lied about being in a helicopter that came under fire in Iraq. NBC News launched an investigation, citing reason to believe that he may have lied about other stories, as well. Many are saying that this is really just an exit strategy, and that Williams will not return to NBC airwaves. It’s a shame that it came to this, but other news careers have been ruined for less. Anyone remember Dan Rather? In any case, I’m surprised that it took this long for Williams to fall. I mean, he’s always come off as a likeable guy, but he always seemed too…accessible to me. He was always game for a good time, and I don’t know if that’s what the viewing public wants from their news. He’d do stuff like Slow Jam The News which, while funny, blurred the line between news and entertainment. Of course, that segment was always meant to be pure entertainment, but I think the audience developed a stronger relationship with him because he was so relatable – making his transgressions that much more of a “betrayal” of that trust. We live in a different time than the Walter Cronkite era, but it’s clearly a problem when newscasters become the news. I really hope he lands on his feet, as I like the guy. It’s just a shame this all had to happen like it did.
That’s right – nothing had The West Week Ever. Try harder next week, America!
I’m back on a standup kick, so the week started out with me watching Kyle Kinane: I Liked His Old Stuff Better. I’m still trying to get over the fact that Kinane is the Comedy Central voiceover guy. How did I not realize that sooner?! Anyway, I love this guy, and he’s in my top 5 of modern day comedians, but this special’s title was pretty much on the money. He had some good bits there, but I’ve just come to love his other stuff because I’ve heard it a million times on Comedy Central Radio. Maybe I’ll warm to this special once I’ve heard the jokes just as many times.
Next up was Gary Owen: I Agree With Myself, If you’re white, you probably don’t know who he is. If you’re black, you know him as that white dude who’s always in black stuff. No, not Turtle from Entourage. The other one. Yeah, him. This special was HILARIOUS as he dealt with race issues, his marriage, and his mentally challenged cousin who contracted an STD. I won’t say it’s politically correct, but it’s funny nonetheless.
Finally, I watched Donald Glover: Weirdo. Most folks know Glover from Community, but you might also know him by his rap name, Childish Gambino. It’s a good special, as Glover’s a good storyteller. My problem with Glover is that he’s got such career ADD that he doesn’t seem to know what he wants to do. Is he an actor? A rapper? A comedian? He hasn’t slowed down enough to perfect any of these areas. Instead, he’s just “pretty good” at all of them. I wish he’d slow down and focus on what it is he wants to be. Wow, I sound like my mother…
On the Netflix front, I finished season 2 of Maron and decided to check out the Bojack Horseman Christmas Special. I’ve written about my love of Bojack already, but I was surprised like everyone else when the Christmas Special had a stealth release back during the holiday season. In Bojack Horseman, Bojack used to be the star of a family sitcom called Horsin’ Around, so the Christmas special was actually a Christmas episode of Horsin’ Around. During the series, we got clips of Horsin’ Around, but this is the first time we see an entire episode. I loved it, and I hope we get to see more of the Horsin’ Around world in season 2. After all, there are 2 other cast members whose whereabouts are still unknown at this point. My favorite line of the whole thing was “Goober didn’t molest all those Laker Girls. The actor who played Goober molested all those Laker Girls.” It’ll make more sense when you watch the episode, so check it out!
I caught up on this season of Girls so far. I’ve got to ask: is there anyone out there who doesn’t hate-watch this show? Surely there can’t actually be people out there who like Hannah, can there? I watch the show just to see bad stuff happen to them all. I like seeing Marnie cry, because she sucks at life. I laughed when Hannah’s bike was stolen (TWICE!) because she sucks at life. I thought it was awesome when Jessa was arrested for peeing in the street because she thinks she’s above everything and everyone. And Adam…in the words of Hank Hill, “That boy ain’t right.” I’ll refrain from using “the R-word” (is that really where we are as a society now?), but he’s seriously close to that classification. The only one I love is Shoshanna because she’s so dumb that she loops back around to smart. And she knows that she has no business hanging with these other girls. Why? Because they clearly suck at life, and she wants better for herself. I know that Lea Dunham is supposedly the “voice of a generation”, but I fear for that generation, as they all need to be drowned in a river. If you wanna watch the same generation, but actually laugh with them, check out Broad City.
Now for the controversial stuff. This week, depending on what you read (it has spanned from “rumored” to “confirmed”), Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones are your new Ghostbusters. No, this isn’t Dan Ackroyd’s planned Ghostbusters 3, but another all-female take on the franchise by the studio. According to Variety, Gillian Bell from Workaholics/22 Jump Street is rumored to have a role, while SNL‘s Cecily Strong is rumored to play a government employee like Walter Peck. And the internet lost its shit! “Why are they all women? How dare they do this to Ghostbusters? Why couldn’t they get someone funny?” All of this and more was uttered across Twitter and Facebook (and probably by that one guy who’s still over on MySpace). How do I feel about it? I LOVE IT. I love the cast (seriously, why do y’all love to hate Melissa McCarthy so much?) and I’m curious to see what they do with this. I find it interesting that no men have been announced in any roles yet. Is this some sort of Y: The Last Man scenario, where all the men are gone or something? Someone I follow on Twitter said that Ghostbusters is a flawless movie and doesn’t need to be remade. I don’t know about all that. I don’t hold Ghostbusters in that high esteem. Don’t get me wrong – I have loved every incarnation of the franchise, from the movies to Extreme Ghostbusters. I even love Ghostbusters 2, which is blasphemous to some people. My thing is that I’m not “Mr. Movie”, so I don’t feel qualified to say if something is “flawless” or not. I only know what I like, and I like this idea. Plus, the thing to remember is that this doesn’t really affect the movies that already exist. Sure, it might kinda sully the brand a bit, but the stuff you loved will still exist, so let’s not jump to conclusions. It’d be more interesting if they destroyed the originals every time they remade something. THEN, I could see people getting upset. I do kinda wish they’d called it something other than Ghostbusters, just so more people would be willing to give it a chance. Anyway, if you don’t like this idea, don’t go see it. Nobody’s forcing you. But you’ll still go. I know it. You know it. So let’s just cut the bullshit.
-David Tennant has been cast as The Purple Man in Netflix’s AKA Jessica Jones series, while Rachael Taylor has been cast as Patsy Walker (Hellcat).
-Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore filed for divorce
-Disney wants Chris Pratt for Indiana Jones
-Sly Stone was awarded $5 million in back royalties
-Black actor Mehcad Brooks has been cast as Jimmy Olsen in the Supergirl pilot. Awaiting the internet’s racist reactions in 5…4…3…2…
-If you love anime and/or TGIF, you’ve GOT to watch this!
My pal Matt sent this along. Apparently, scientists combined Lady Gaga with Iggy Azalea. Oh, and there’s a dancing biscuit.
Staying with controversial stuff, let’s talk about the Fantastic Four trailer. Everyone kinda hated this but, again, I don’t know why. I thought it looked interesting. Sure, it looks like a generic sci fi movie, but a darn engaging one. I have to be honest, though: I’ve always hated the Fantastic Four. I find them boring, and I’ve never liked any of their adventures. People always try to sell it as “they’re a family!”, but I don’t see it that way. Sue’s more interested in a fish king than her own husband, Johnny’s a womanizer jerk, and Reed is cold and distant. The only character I liked was The Thing, and I’m not really sure why. Maybe I felt sorry for him. Whatever the case, I didn’t really care about the Fantastic Four until the Ultimate incarnation came along in Ultimate Fantastic Four. They were younger, not yet a family, and they had problems. I could get behind that FF. After about 40 issues or so, even it got boring to me. The younger, hipper FF just couldn’t hold my attention. I like the characters when they interact with the rest of the Marvel Universe, but I just don’t like those 4 as a self-contained team – regardless of interpretation. I’ve heard that this reboot is taking more cues from the Ultimate version, which I like, but this is an uphill battle for me, as I’m predisposed to disliking whatever they do since it’s the Fantastic Four. This trailer, however, kinda got me excited. And that’s not an easy feat. So, for that, the Fantastic Four trailer had the West Week Ever.
The week started out with me watching The Chernobyl Diaries, which was a departure for me because I’m not really into horror movies. I am, however, into most things Russian, and I’m fascinated by the abandoned city of Pripyat. If you’re not familiar with the whole Chernobyl incident, Pripyat was the city where the Chernobyl workers lived with their families. It’s just tons of apartment buildings and an amusement park. When the Chernobyl reactor blew, everyone had to evacuate immediately, without being able to gather most of their belongings. So, now Pripyat is a ghost town, where nature has reclaimed most of the land, and it just looks like everyone got raptured. It’s beautiful and eerie all at once.
So, The Chernobyl Diaries was about a bunch of Americans on a European vacation who decide to take a side trip to explore Pripyat. Once they get there, however, their van is sabotaged, and they’re forced to try to survive in what is partially a nuclear wasteland. Spoiler Alert: they all die. What happens to them doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I’m still kinda confused after having watched it 1.5 times (it aired again the next morning, and I caught the ending of it).I also don’t get why it has diaries in the title. There was nothing concerning a diary in the entire thing. This isn’t Anne Frank we’re talking about here. Where’s the damn diary?! Since I’m not a connoisseur of the horror genre, I can’t say whether or not I recommend it. Overall, was it a good movie? Not really.
I also started watching season 2 of Maron, now that it’s on Netflix. I’ve said it before, but I prefer Maron to Louie. I can relate to Marc Maron a lot more. He’s bitter, damaged, and he’s going through the whole “Why are my peers doing better than me?” thing. Sure, that doesn’t paint me in the best light, but I can understand where he’s coming from. He tackles things that speak to me, like how hard it is to make friends as an adult. There’s an episode where he thinks Ray Romano is becoming his friend, when Ray is really just making Marc his bitch. It’s funny and poignant at the same time. A lot of folks are fans of Maron’s podcast, but I’m not sure if they’ve all checked out his show. It’s a great chance to get a glimpse of the man behind the mic.
In the world of television, it was announced that CBS has cast Melissa Benoist as their Supergirl. I can’t remember if this was ordered direct to series or if this is only for a pilot. In any case, it’s by Greg Berlanti, and the rumor is that his deal to produce the show was that it had to take place in the Arrow/Flash universe. People forget that CBS owns The CW, so it’s definitely doable, although CBS brass have said that a crossover wouldn’t happen too early in the show, as they want Supergirl to stand on her own two feet for a while. I know nothing about Benoist, since I still haven’t seen Whiplash and I dropped Glee years ago, so I have no real opinion on the casting. I’m not the biggest Supergirl fan, but in Berlanti I trust, so I’ll check it out.
It was announced this week that Milestone Media would be returning to the world of comics. If you’re black, you’ll remember this as the comic company that gave us Hardware, Icon, Rocket and more. If you’re white, then you’ll know it as the company that gave us Static Shock. Yeah, 20 years later, and its only real legacy is Static Shock. I’m kinda conflicted by this news. On the one had, comics could use some diversity, and Milestone had the best shot at injecting that into the industry. However, as someone who has almost every issue of Hardware, I didn’t think they were that good. Maybe they were ahead of their time, and I just wasn’t the right age to be reading them, but Milestone books were just a little too ghetto for me. And I don’t say that because they were black. I say that because they were set in Dakota City, which just seemed like a dark, dank ghetto. There was no joy to the books. They fully encapsulated the EXTREME edge of 90s comics, and just added some color to the mix. That’s not really something I’m looking for in my comics today. The characters made an appearance in DC Comics a few years ago, and it’s not like they really set the night on fire over there. So, I’m not quite sure why this announcement came this week. According to the Washington Post article heralding its return, the creators only promise that the comics will be available both physically and virtually, but they didn’t announce a publishing plan, and they only hope to have some promo art ready by San Diego Comic Con. Right now, it just seems like they put the cart before the horse by announcing this now. I guess time will tell whether or not this was a good idea.
Speaking of comics, Marvel announced this week that this summer’s Secret Wars will essentially reshape their comic universe going forward. Ripped from the pages of Avengers and New Avengers, the Marvel Universe (616) and the Ultimate Marvel Universe (1616) will smash into each other, and the chips will fall where they may. As Editor In Chief Axel Alonzo stated, it’s like a pizza where some toppings will combine, while other toppings will fall off. the aftermath of the event will be the Marvel Universe going forward. I have so many thoughts on this, and it’d probably be easier to say than write, but this is the medium I have at my disposal, so let’s see how it goes.
What It Means for 616: This is a big deal for the mainstream Marvel Universe, as it serves as the first time that they’ve really embraced a universe-spanning reboot. Sure, DC Comics does this every 10 years through their Crises, but Marvel has pretty much managed to avoid having to do this by employing a loose, sliding timeline. Over 50 years of continuity were somehow crammed into a timeline of about 11 years as far as the characters were concerned. They’re essentially wiping this out for this new future. What’s odd to me, however, is that they’ve gone to great lengths to make the comics more like the movies. They introduced Agent Coulson to the comics, and they halfassedly created a black Nick Fury so that he’d be familiar to moviegoers. Now, they say that their goal ISN’T to make the movie and comic universes one and the same, but their actions say otherwise. So, why do all that only to just blow it all up now? Also, Marvel just did a whole diversity push with Falcon becoming Captain America and the debut of “She-Thor”. What happens to them? This also means that Marvel gets out of the corner it painted itself into in several instances. There’s no need to bring Wolverine back from the dead, because nothing matters anymore. There’s no need to return Steve Rogers to a younger age, because nothing matters anymore.
What it Means for 1616: This sounds like the death knell for the Ultimate Marvel Universe, which makes me sad. Created in 2000 as a newer, hipper take on the Marvel Universe, Ultimate Marvel reimagined classic heroes in modern settings. It was as if the Marvel Universe had started in the ’00s instead of the ’60s. I enjoyed the concept because, to me, it was like what it must have felt like to have been a fan in the 60s. The beginning of the line was full of excitement, as architects like Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis introduced us to modern takes on classic ideas. Spider-Man became Ultimate Spider-Man, a critically acclaimed, all-ages take on Spider-Man as a teenager. Avengers became The Ultimates, a widescreen Hollywood blockbuster of a book focusing on new versions of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk. I became a dedicated fan of the Ultimate U, and I have a full run of every book that’s been released. It’s fair to say that the Ultimate Universe is near and dear to my heart. So, it saddens me to see what has become of the universe in recent years. Unlike in most comic universes, in the Ultimate Marvel universe, dead means DEAD. So, as they killed off known heroes, they never really did much to fill that void. As my friend, Jenn, said, recent Ultimate Marvel has simply been Spider-Man standing amid the littered corpses of reimagined X-Men. There’s only one jewel in the crown of the Ultimate Universe at the moment, and that’s the current Spider-Man, Miles Morales. I’ve written about him at length before, so I won’t get into all of that here. Let’s just say that Miles is one of my favorite characters in recent history. And it’s safe to say that he’s really the only thing left in the Ultimate Universe worth saving. So, I’m sure he’ll survive the event, but at what cost? What happens to his supporting cast, like best friend Ganke, or even his dad?
Anyway, Marvel tends to get West Week Ever quite often, but that’s usually for something that the movie division has done. The comic side of Marvel is constantly coming up with event after event – all promising to CHANGE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE FOREVER!!!! This is the first time, however, that I feel they may actually mean it. So, for that, Marvel Comics Secret Wars had the West Week Ever.