19th Dec2016

The Greatest Threat To the Direct Market Comic Retailer IS The Direct Market Comic Retailer

by Will

So, a few days ago, The Beat wrote the article “Why Are The Comics Retailers Worried About Mass Store Closings?“, which was your standard fear mongering about how the Direct Market is on its last legs. If you’re not familiar with the comic industry, here’s a crash course: the Direct Market is comprised of the comic shops who specialize in selling comics and related merch. If you buy the latest issue of Batman from Barnes & Noble, you’re not participating in the Direct Market. However, if you buy it from Jack’s Comics & Stuff, you’re a Direct Market consumer. Comics in the Direct Market are sold on a non-returnable basis, meaning that if retailers order too much of a book, they’re stuck with that stock, and can’t send unsolds back to the distributor unlike other periodicals.

The article posits a few different reasons retailers are afraid:

  • DC’s Prices Are Too Low – Um, $2.99 isn’t too low when most of those books are shipped biweekly. Simple math dictates that retailers will make more from selling two $2.99 books than one $3.99, even if it’s marginal. Sure, the retailer may want to make more money, but it’s a nice gesture of goodwill to the consumer – something Marvel could learn from, considering they keep releasing quarterly $9.99 Deadpool issues on top of the several spinoff series they have for the character that month.
  • Customers Are Disappearing – Well, duh. Minecraft and video games. Oh, and for the lucky older consumers, sex. Gotta pay for that sex!
  • Customers Are Switching To Collected Trade Paperback Format – Well, you get more bang for your buck that way. For example, each comic from Image has a cover price of $3.99, however each first volume of an Image series’ trade paperback collects approximately 6 issues for $9.99. Can you blame them?
  • Customers Don’t Like Marvel’s Output – When have customers liked Marvel’s output? No, when was the last time someone was like “Marvel’s really firing on all cylinders”? The first Civil War crossover? That was ten years ago. It’s not that Marvel’s necessarily worse these days. It’s that people are used to Marvel being better than DC, and now the gap between their quality is a lot smaller, due to Marvel trying to make lightning strike twice and DC getting a slight bump from Rebirth.
  • Rising Costs of Doing Business – Well, you can’t really fight that. Everything is more expensive.
  • Diamond Credit Crackdown – This is on the retailer. They knew they owed Diamond money, and kept letting it build up, not thinking Diamond was ever gonna come collect. It’s a business, not a charity.

A lot of comic shops are having a tough go of it, but the blame is being passed on to everyone from the distributor, Diamond Comic Distributors, to the Big 2 publishers, Marvel and DC. It’s always the same crap: “Diamond’s model is antiquated and comics should be returnable” or “Everything Marvel’s publishing is crap right now.” To read the comments on the post, however, you see a lot of folks railing against Marvel’s supposed “Social Justice Warrior” agenda, where they’re “forcing” diversity into all of their books. Really, if you wanna make a bunch of middle aged White men mad, start trying to diversify their funny books. Anyway, in a fit of anger, I wrote the following comment:

 

This is going to be a controversial opinion, but I see no overwhelming reason to support small businesses, and I don’t think I’m alone. Why am I paying more for something I can get cheaper elsewhere, especially with complaints of poor customer service, poor stocking of items, etc so pervasive these days? Now, call me an “ungrateful millennial” or whatever, but I don’t have fond memories of walking down by the crick, with a rolled up comic in my back pocket that I got from the local five and dime. It’s not an experience that I relate to. Same with comic shops. I have several I love, but the world would keep spinning if they shut down tomorrow.

The mentality that wants me to support Mom and Pop is the same one that wants Marvel to never change, and keep offering the same product it did 50 years ago. This is a common argument in the geek TV world. There are tons of adult fans angry at Power Rangers because it “sucks” compared to when they were kids, or hate Cartoon Network for showing nothing but Teen Titans Go – never stopping to realize they’re not the target audience. Thirty year olds wonder why today’s kids can’t love Snake-Eyes as much as they did, not realizing that maybe it’s time to give a new generation their OWN stories. There’s no shame in knowing when to walk away. I’ve seen folks say things like “I didn’t leave comics, comics left me.” Well, take that as a hint. Maybe the industry doesn’t want or need you anymore. Time to find new hobbies and pursuits!

 

What I said about small businesses is true. Just as I don’t really subscribe to the notion of “team spirit” (which is why I’m a terrible sports fan), I also never understood the push to support local mom and pop stores. I’m just fine with my big box retailers, with their affordable prices and decent customer service. These comic retailers chose to open their businesses, but now they approach them as if they’re victims. The distributor is out to get them because of the lengthy ordering window and lack of returnability. The publishers are out to get them because they keep publishing lackluster product. But it’s never “Ya know, I backed the wrong horse by buying into Marvel’s crossover hype.” It’s never “I made the wrong call”, but instead it’s phrased like “How dare Marvel make me order that tripe?!” That doesn’t even make sense. I think there’s a certain level of professionalism needed that’s not always there for small businesses. I don’t know what the CEO of Walmart thinks about the latest Hulk book, but you better believe Joe at Joe’s Comics & Stuff is gonna gripe to me about it. Not recommend it, or pivot to something better – GRIPE. That’s no way to run a business. Retailers are sitting there going “Man, Marvel sure is putting out a lot of shit”, but in the same breath asking, “Why won’t anyone buy books from me?” Maybe stop badmouthing your product and find a way to hype it! Even if it’s a turd, polish that turd and sell it because that’s your JOB.

There’s another unique thing about the comic industry that people never really think about: comics are the only industry where the consumer knows the distributor and is trained to hate them – trained, mind you, BY retailers! If a shipment gets messed up at Toys R Us, nobody blames Lash Tamaron, ’cause they don’t even know they exist. No, they blame TRU. In comics, however, retailers have this special ability to pass the blame on to Diamond when it’s their own decisions that got them in jeopardy. Didn’t order enough copies of a book, it’s easy to just say “Oh, Diamond shorted us”. Customer might mutter a “Fucking Diamond”, and both parties just kind of shake their heads together at the distributor’s ineptitude.

I might sound like a Diamond apologist, and in many ways I am. Full disclosure: about ten years ago (wow, has it been that long?), I was a purchasing brand manager in the print division of Diamond. That’s a big fancy way to say that I killed a lot of dreams. No, seriously, and I’m not proud of that. If Dave has had a lifelong dream of seeing his name on a comic sold in stores, I’m the guy who would have to work with him to make it happen. The problem, though, is that Dave has created some derivative superhero comic, and consumers have no reason to support his $3.99 black and white book when Marvel and DC have full-color superheroes covered. But I’d get him into the Previews catalog that all retailers use to place their orders, and I’d let the market decide. Then, for a variety of reasons that probably deserve their own post, I’d end up having a very difficult discussion with him about 6 months later. Why? Because a lot of creators aren’t business people. And a lot of comic shop owners aren’t, either. The successful ones have found ways to survive, but it’s the dinosaurs who were sitting pretty during the 90s bubble that don’t know what to do with themselves now.

Now, that’s not to say that Diamond isn’t without problems. It is antiquated. The men running that part of the industry have been doing so for the past 30 years, so there’s not a ton of new blood. There are problems at the warehouse. Back when the main warehouse was in Memphis, there was a UPS center across the street that paid more. The UPS center, however, required you to have at least a year’s experience in a warehouse environment. And guess where they’d get that experience: Diamond. So, the main warehouse is filled with a bunch of novices trying to pad a resume for a better position. No shame in the game, but it’s to Diamond’s detriment. And let’s not forget the publishing cycle: Diamond advertises books that will be available for sale two months from now, with no returnable cushion. So, a retailer does have to take a gamble when it comes to ordering the next month’s books, before they even have this month’s books in hand. But here’s the kicker: Diamond is so ensnared in the distribution process that it couldn’t extract itself if it tried.

Another quick history lesson: about 20 years ago, Marvel bought a distributor called Heroes World, which turned out to be a terrible idea, but I guess it seemed right at the time. In a mad dash for survival, Diamond signed everyone else to exclusive contracts for distribution. This drove a lot of smaller distributors out of business, lessening competition. Then, to make matters worse, Marvel declared bankruptcy and came crawling back to Diamond. This made Diamond king of the hill as the result of a flurry of activity needed for survival. In the years since, people have longed for a competitor to Diamond, but it just ain’t gonna happen. It’s the WWE of comic distribution, and there isn’t really even a TNA waiting in the wings. It’s an unintended monopoly, but a monopoly all the same. But as much as people clamor for the death of Evil Diamond, no one has stopped to consider what would happen if they went away. It’s not going to mean freedom for all the publishers. No, THAT will be the death of the Direct Market, because no one is equipped to take its place. And even if they somehow managed to do so, then they’d eventually become just as hated as Diamond. After all, “You either die a hero…”

The medium needs change, and those fighting that are part of the problem. My friend James once said that comics are for children, and that’s true. I’ve always felt that there’s a 20-year lifespan on comic fandom. If you stick around longer than that, everything becomes Been There, Done That. After 20 years, it’s time to move on. Start repairing old cars, or take your Harley for a three-day cruise. Comics are for the young, but the problem is that the young want nothing to do with them. Oddly enough, though, it’s a bunch of middle-aged armchair quarterbacks who think they know what today’s youth would like. “Spider-Man should be the same as he was when I was growing up!” they yell. Let’s see, kid whose parents are dead, lives with his old aunt in Queens, and he’s late all the time? Hate to break it to ya, but that’s a Black kid. They just didn’t have the social clout to do that back then. If they turned Peter Parker into a Black guy now, those fans would lose their shit. “Why can’t Marvel create NEW characters?” Marvel, then, creates Miles Morales, and then they cry, “Why are you forcing diversity down our throats?!” Is the mere existence of a minority the equivalent of “forcing diversity” on you? Well, I’m sorry the sight of me offends your eyes, Mr. White Man! I just think it’s time for certain fans to go. They don’t like what the industry is doing, and the industry is starting to realize that it can’t survive on mutton alone. There’s no shame in knowing when to walk away.

Anyway, this is all to say that the greatest threat to the comic retailer IS the comic retailer. Stop being a victim, and buckle down. You made this bed so now lie in it. But I also don’t believe in these crowdfunding attempts to keep shops open. The market has spoken, and you’re really just delaying the inevitable. Some shops need to go. That’s nothing personal. It’s business, and they simply lived out their usefulness. The more resourceful shops, however, will find a way. At the end of the day, Superman and Wolverine will outlive the Direct Market, so retailers can gripe all they want, but Disney and Warner Bros are gonna make that money with OR without them. Retailers need Marvel and DC, regardless of the quality of the output, but Marvel and DC don’t necessarily need retailers. The sooner Direct Market retailers realize this, the sooner they can start planning for the future.

And that’s where the post originally ended. And then I saw that I’d received a reply on my comment at the original post (I removed his name ’cause it’s not like I asked his permission to post this or anything):

 

@Will
“I didn’t leave comics, comics left me.” Well, take that as a hint. Maybe the industry doesn’t want or need you anymore. Time to find new hobbies and pursuits!

No, that`s a terrible attitude to show contempt at long-time customers who helped build Marvel. These long time fans deserve better than that!
Also be careful what you wish for as Marvel`s sales are in the tank, and they might be begging for those old time fans back one day!

 

I saw this and figured it was just another middle-aged White man, mad about change. His biggest mistake is that line about showing contempt for the customers “who helped build Marvel”. So, I had to address that:

 

See, that’s dangerous thinking, because Marvel doesn’t really owe you anything. You’re approaching this like a shareholder, when that’s not the nature of the arrangement.

As for the old-time fans, they’re gone. Plain and simple. Sure, catering to them might lead SOME of them back, but not enough to really make them the focus. The old time fan wants too much in order to come back. DC did Rebirth, basically as a “We’re sorry for what we did”, and a bunch of fans still wanted them to kiss the ring and do a little humiliating dance. The thing to remember is that these companies don’t *owe* you anything, long-time fan or not.

 

And then he had to go and prove my assessment of him correct:

 

@Will.
The thing to remember is that these companies don’t *owe* you anything, long-time fan or not.

Maybe my friend,but let`s sticky this post because I predict in less than a year Marvel will do a 180 with all their SJW theme comics and will please their old-time fans by bringing back the old school style. Marvel is going to have to go back to basics to stop their ship from sinking. It`s all about money, and Marvel`s old time loyal fans have the deep pockets that the majority of cosplay SJW fans don`t seem to have.

 

Ugh, he had to go and use a term like SJW. You can tell a lot about a person when they’re worried about the perceived Social Justice Warriors. He’s just another stick in the mud, resistant to change. So, of course, I couldn’t let that go:

And you just had to go and torpedo your argument with “SJW” nonsense. The injection of diversity is an attempt to get the dollars they’re not already getting, from audiences they’ve previously ignored. That, my friend, is the future. Any industry propped up by the buying habits of middle aged White men is an industry in trouble (unless you make Cialis or Rogaine), and they’ve finally come to realize that. What’s gonna happen when you die? Are you still going to be rallying from the grave “Put White Spider-Man back in high school!” to an audience base that clear couldn’t give two shits? The Marvel you grew up with is fine, but it’s done. I just don’t get why fans can’t grow up in their expectations.

I won’t exactly call it a “mic drop”, but I really don’t know what’s left to say after that.

16th Jun2015

The Price of Admission: The Socioeconomic & Racial Implications of Jurassic World

by Will

jurassic world gate

Let’s talk about Jurassic World  namely about the socioeconomic status of the people who visit the park. I asked this question when the movie was first announced, and I still wanna know: how much does it really cost to visit Jurassic World?

First off, we have to look at comparable theme parks. The Washington Post recently posted an article about how parks like Walt Disney World have priced middle class families out of the market, as the cost of a daily pass is now $100 per person. In fact, Walt Disney World is currently promoting a 6-night, 7-day package for a family of 4 at $2,370 – which doesn’t include transportation to the park. Disney is an experience, but it’s essentially just a park full of rides. Jurassic World has motherfucking DINOSAURS! Sure, it’s not like they went back in time and retrieved them, but they still managed to genetically engineer dinosaurs in the present day. There’s GOT to be a premium on that, right? I mean, based on the movie, enough time has passed that humans are pretty blasé about the fact that this place even exists. We learn that attendance is steady, but it’s not growing or really going down – which is where the Indominus Rex comes in. A new attraction equals a spike in attendance.

Jurassic World crowd

All this is to say that there weren’t a lot of minorities at Jurassic World. While everyone was captivated by the dinosaurs onscreen, I was focused on the folks in the background. The park attendees don’t seem rich, per se, but the majority of them are White. In fact, most of them appear to be middle- to upper middle-class, which might actually be the most unrealistic part of the movie about a park full of dinosaurs. How does a middle class family afford to fly to Costa Rica AND go to the park full of dinosaurs? There’s also the ferry to Isla Nublar, but according to the park’s website, that’s included in the cost of park admission. So, why aren’t there more Black people at Jurassic World? I think of it this way: you really only have to tell us something once. I forget which comedian said it, but he used to joke that if Black people see folks running, they join in and don’t ask questions. I figure after the tragedy at the original Jurassic Park, the Black community was essentially like, “Well, fuck that shit!”

Kids Playing With Dinosaurs

I’m even gonna go out on a limb here and say that there’s a racial disparity in the love for dinosaurs. I always joke with @sharepointjoe about this, but White people LOVE dinosaurs. It’s almost like a developmental phase. There’s the phase where little boys love trucks, and next they love dinosaurs. “Well, Will – the movie made half a billion dollars, so surely that means a lot of Black people went to see it.” Yup, they sure did. But, you see, Black people love MOVIES. If given the choice to see real dinosaurs, or a movie about people being attacked by dinosaurs, we’ll choose the movie 9 times out of 10. Going to the dinosaur park would be “White People Stuff”, like white water rafting and brie. In fact, if you Google Image search “black people and dinosaurs”, you get NOTHING.

I also think the Black Church plays a role in things, as there’s not really an emphasis on dinosaurs. They, like the unicorn, didn’t get on the Ark. Then, down to simple economics, with the exception of Oprah and Beyonce, Black people just don’t have the disposal income to go to dinosaur island. With the disproportionate love of dinosaurs, I feel like White families are more likely to scrimp and save up for the dino resort than Black families, who’d use that money for something else.

Equally, though, one thing that people don’t realize is that, due to the popularity of the park, one would also have to assume that it would result in an increase in attendance at the Creation Museum. The extreme Christian Right would LOATHE Jurassic World, as everything it’s done is an abomination in the eyes of The Lord. Plus, add in the fact that they’re hard-working, salt of the Earth people, they more than likely can’t afford the trip to Jurassic World. After all, that would require a trip to Costa Rica, and that’s where “all the damn Mexicans come from”. Also, you can see animatronic dinosaurs there, so it’s a lesser experience, but at a much lesser price. Right now, the cost of adult admission to the Creation Museum is only $29.95 for an adult (which is good for admission on TWO consecutive days), and you’ve only gotta get yourself to Kentucky. The mere existence of Jurassic World is probably driving Creation Museum attendance through the roof – which will surely help them finish that life size Ark they’ve been building.

Essence Festival 2015

So, what could the park do to lure more minority guests, which equates to more dollars? Four words: Jurassic World Jazz Festival. The annual Essence Festival is HUGE, drawing thousands to New Orleans every July. Just this year alone, the festival features headliners such as Usher, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, and Missy Elliott. Move the festival to Isla Nublar, or create a similar festival, and watch the dollars roll in. Also, film a Beyonce video there. She’s the highest profile Black entertainer these days, so she’s got the audience. Plus, it’s an exotic location that everyone would be curious about. Remember when Boyz II Men filmed the “Water Runs Dry” video, and everybody wanted to go to the desert with the white sand? It’d be just like that. But you know what would go a long way to appealing to minority guests? STOP LETTING THE DINOSAURS GET LOOSE AND KILL PEOPLE!!! You take care of that simple matter, and you just might have the Black community on your side. For now, though, the cost (and risk) is just too high.

17th Mar2015

Much Ado About Batgirl

by Will

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

BG-Cv41-Joker-variant-solicitation-88c4e-31e8d

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

Killing Joke

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

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

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

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

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

batgirl-41-cover-cameron-stewart-600x927

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

SPIDERWOMAN001Manara-06299-600x853

 

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

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

20th May2014

Upfronts with Will – CBS Edition

by Will

_cbs_network_logo

Finally, here were are at CBS. I’d have to say that CBS has the least ambitious schedule of the Big 4 next season. They’re playing it safe with spinoffs of existing shows and themes with which we’re already familiar. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Madam Secretary

Tea Leoni is something of a showkiller. The premise of this show is kinda hokey, but it could tap into the West Wing audience that’s been looking for a new outlet the past few seasons. My problem with this trailer is that it shows us the entire pilot in 5 minutes. Seriously, there’s no reason to watch the first episode at this point. I really don’t see this getting a second season, but I’ve been shocked before. It’s on Sunday night against Once Upon A Time and The Simpsons, leading into The Good Wife, which is probably the best place for it. I think they would share an audience, but it might be in a stronger position if The Good Wife led into Madam Secretary and not the other way around. It seems CSI is following The Good Wife, and they ain’t moving that.

The McCarthys

Oh, Boston humor! This feels like the sitcom equivalent of those Hopper commercials from DirecTV. It’s good to see New Kid Joey McIntyre on the show, as well as Roseanne‘s Laurie Metcalf. That said, I’m not sure about this one. Then again, I wasn’t sure about The Millers, and it somehow got a second season. Well, actually, CBS owns The Millers so they have a vested interest in keeping it around. I’m not sure if the same arrangement will apply to The McCarthys. I’m saying this one won’t last. Hell, if CBS couldn’t save a show with Robin Williams, I really don’t see this one working. I mention The Crazy Ones because The McCarthys will be in the same Thursday 9:30 timeslot in which the former died.

NCIS: New Orleans

I’ve never watched a single NCIS, but it seems to be a proven formula. Man, when they spun NCIS off from JAG, I’ll bet nobody knew it would turn into a Law & Order/CSI incubator for future spinoffs. I don’t think we’ve reached critical mass yet for NCIS shows, so this will do just fine. It’s on Tuesday nights, going against Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., New Girl/Mindy Project, and Supernatural. Based on CBS’s older audience, I’m not so sure that competition will matter much.

Scorpion

This is my favorite new show on CBS’s schedule. I like the premise, I like the cast, and the trailer really sold me on it. I think this has a shot because it could tap into that Numb3rs audience, and that show lasted 6 seasons. I’m saying it gets a second season. CBS is shortening the Monday comedy block by an hour, so this will air at 9 PM, against Sleepy Hollow and The Voice. I still think it’ll do OK.

Stalker

Something about this just doesn’t work for me. Maggie Q’s pretty, but Dylan McDermott just helped kill Hostages last season. I don’t think it makes it. It’ll air Wednesday night against Nashville and Chicago P.D., so it’s not exactly going up against ratings juggernauts. So, it could go either way, but I just don’t see it finding an audience. Then again, maybe I’m underestimating the number of torture porn fans out there.

CSI Cyber is also on the schedule for this Fall, but there’s no trailer. It’s a CSI show, so it’ll at least get 3 seasons, easy.

Out of the new shows, outside of CSI and NCIS spinoffs, my money’s on Scorpion to be the big CBS debut of the season.

19th May2014

Upfronts with Will – NBC Edition

by Will

nbc-logo

Man, NBC has not been having a lot of luck when it comes to programming. Were it not for The Voice, they’d be dead in the water. Last week, they announced the cancellation of MANY shows, including cult darling Community. Next season will be something of a rebuilding year as they try to get their schedule on track. Let’s see what they’ve got in store for us.

 

A to Z

It’s too soon for How I Met Your Mother: The Remix. It’s got everything that show had, including celebrity voiceover (Katey Sagal) and The Mother herself, Cristin Milioti. I want to like this show, as I love Milioti and Ben Feldman, but this is just such a rehashed plot. I’m just not sure there’s an audience for this. Hell, CBS hasn’t even given an official order for How I Met Your Dad yet, so I don’t see this imitator taking off.

Bad Judge

I hate the title, as Bad Teacher just got cancelled and it just feels kinda lazy. Still, I love Kate Walsh and I want this to work. Screwed up judge who means well, but just can’t get her shit together. I can dig it. The problem, however, is scheduling, as this and A to Z will be going up against both Scandal AND Fox’s Gracepoint. Thursdays at 9 are going to be a tough battleground next season.

Constantine

I’ve never been a big Hellblazer fan, so I don’t know much about John Constantine. I also never saw the Keanu movie, so I’m coming into this blind. Still, it looks pretty interesting. When I first heard about the show, I had no interest in seeing it. After watching the trailer, however, I’d check it out. Something about it, though, just doesn’t feel like an NBC show. It seems like it’s left over from The WB era. I also don’t know what that Friday timeslot is going to do for it. Still, Grimm airs on Fridays and will serve as a decent companion show, so it might just do OK.

Marry Me

I always want Happy Endings alums to do well, and I love Casey Wilson. I’ll definitely check this out, but it’s got a bitch of a timeslot: Tuesday at 9. So, next season, it will be going against New Girl and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I’m not sure it can take that kind of heat, especially when I think it and New Girl share a portion of the same audience.

The Mysteries of Laura

Terrible title, but I love Debra Messing. Tough detective, single mom. I like the premise, but I don’t know if it’ll keep folks coming back. Plus, I was kinda surprised to see that this is an hourlong show, so I guess it’s your standard police procedural. Luckily, its scheduling gives it a little air to breathe, as it’s only going against the aging Hell’s Kitchen and the ABC combo of The Middle and The Goldbergs.

State of Affairs

I haven’t really been a Katherine Heigl fan since Roswell, but in this she dates a black guy. That is, until he’s killed. Oh, and Alfre Woodard is the president. I’m not sure about this show, but they certainly put together a damn fine trailer. I gave up on 24, but this might be just the thing I need to fill that void. It’s scheduled for Monday at 10, and so far its only announced competition is Castle. I hope the whole series is as good as that trailer.

So, that’s NBC. They’ve packed a schedule filled with stars that I love, but we’ll have to see if the rest of America loves them, too. What are y’all’s thoughts on that lineup?

 

15th May2014

Upfronts with Will – ABC Edition

by Will

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ABC has Modern Family and Scandal. That’s pretty much all you need to know. They don’t have a ton of failures like NBC, but they also don’t have a ton of hits. They’re still dependent on the aging Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor, and they could really use some new hits on their schedule. Let’s see what they’ve got in store.

How To Get Away With Murder

I’m not a big Shonda Rhimes person, which means Thursday nights on ABC won’t necessarily be the place for me. That said, I really liked this trailer. I’m not sure what the show will be like, but this trailer does the job of making me want to learn more. Plus, it’s got the Shonda staple of a ball-busting black chick. It’s scheduled for Thursday night at 10, which means its going against Parenthood, which will be in its last season. I see no reason for this not to be a success, as everything Shonda touches for ABC turns to gold.

Cristela

I’ve never  heard of comedienne Cristela Alonzo, but this show brings diversity to the network. It’s going to be paired with Last Man Standing on Friday nights, so it might do OK with the audience looking for that kind of thing. I completely forget that Last Man Standing exists, so I suspect the same fate will befall Cristela. Plus, this trailer did absolutely nothing for me. I thought the show was about the dude, as the woman says nothing. Turns out the woman’s Cristela. You learn something new every day…

Manhattan Love Story

More like Canceled After One Season Story. Nothing about this feels fresh or unique.

Selfie

It’s certainly timely, but I’m not sure Karen Gillan’s character is likable enough to make this appointment television. Plus, the role is such a departure from what folks are used to from her that I doubt she’ll be bringing her Whovian fanbase with her. It seems too cutesy, which is the kind of show ABC picks up every season and drops (see: Don’t Trust The B and Super Fun Night). ABC loves to give these shows a shot, but they never keep them because they don’t have long-term potential. Still, having John Cho in a lead role does help to diversify their lineup a bit. Anyway, it and Manhattan Love Story will have to face off against Utopia and The Voice next season, which won’t be an easy task.

Black-ish

This is probably the show I’m most looking forward to on ABC’s schedule. It not only brings diversity to primetime, but it also deals with the whole notion of whether someone is “black enough”. I can really relate to the subject matter of the show, and it looks pretty funny. I like the cast, with Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne as the grandfather. Anthony Anderson is kinda sitcom Kryptonite, but I’m willing to give him a chance here. It shows that ABC has faith in the show, as it’s been given the post-Modern Family timeslot, which is valuable real estate. I really hope folks give this one a shot.

Galavant

I hadn’t even heard of this show until I was going through ABC’s upfronts trailers. This show’s got it all! Adventure, music, Lassie from Psych. Typically, this wouldn’t be my cup of tea, but I can’t wait to watch this show. It’s not on ABC’s schedule yet, so it’s probably a midseason replacement. Now, excuse me while I watch this trailer 1,000 more times!

Fresh Off the Boat

I’m conflicted about this one. On the one hand, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about it from the Asian community, as they lobbied hard for ABC to pick up the pilot. That said, it’s kinda racist. Like when they’re about to go into the grocery store, and the mom tells him to go with a white family, as he’ll be safe there. Or when she asks him why all of his shirts have black men on them. I’m sure this is probably a common theme in Asian households, so it might just seem funny or relatable to them, but there were certain jokes that sort of stung. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, and I’ll probably give the show a chance once it has a timeslot.

The Whispers

This looks freaky. I was ready to give it a chance until the scope widened. When it looked like it was just a small-town show about imaginary friends, I was intrigued. Then, when the president got involved and it became a worldwide phenomenon, I kinda lost interest. This is the kind of show that’ll be canceled before they answer any of the important questions.

Forever

I like Ioan Gruffudd, as I didn’t hate the Fantastic Four movies as much as others. He’ll always be Reed Richards to me. I also like Judd Hirsch. I’m curious about this show, as it’s an intriguing premise. Basically, the trick is to see how long they can keep killing him before they have to explain why he can’t die. Again, I don’t know if the show will last that long. Right now, it’s scheduled to go against Chicago Fire, so there’s not a ton of competition there. I just hope the audience is ready to go on this particular ride because it seems like the sort  of show where answers will be few and far between.

Secrets and Lies

This feels like Fox’s Gracepoint, but with the pacing of a box office thriller. If it’s a one and done series, I might check it out. I’m certainly curious. Been a long time since we’ve seen Ryan Phillippe! No timeslot as of yet, so it must be a midseason replacement.

American Crime

This looks really good, but it feels more like a movie than a TV show. If this is an exploration on race, I wonder if it’ll start discussions the same way that Crash did. There’s no timeslot yet, so this is probably slated for midseason. I’ll have to check this out when it hits.

Man, there’s a LOT of good looking TV coming from ABC this Fall. It’s been a long time since I’ve been an ABC man, but things may be about to change. What looks good to you guys?

14th May2014

Upfronts with Will – Fox Edition

by Will

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This is the week that dreams are made of in the world of television. The network “upfronts” take place, where networks present the shows and schedules that will debut in the fall. I’ve been told that folks enjoy when I write about TV, and I actually have a lot of thoughts this season, so I thought I’d do some daily posts analyzing the shows that are announced. For today, we’re going to start with Fox. Fox’s embedded trailers autoplay, and I couldn’t turn it off, so to see the trailers on the Fox site, just click the show title.

Backstrom

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This looks like House as a cop. It could work because House was a big hit for Fox, and they’ve been having a hard time filling the void left when it ended. The question is whether or not the audience is ready to forget Dwight Schrute and accept Rainn Wilson in a new role. I could see this thing running for quite some time. This is a midseason show, so Fox either needs something to fail, or it’ll get the Gracepoint slot once that series ends.

Empire

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This show looks interesting, as it would definitely bring diversity to the network. Plus, outside Scandal, there really aren’t any black-led dramas on broadcast television. It also seems to tackle some pretty hot-button issues, like homosexuality in the hip-hop community. It’s got some great casting, with Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. That said, I just don’t see it catching on. I hope the audience can find it, but I’m not sure if Fox is the network for this show. It’s being held for midseason, so it’s unknown which night it’ll air. As long as it doesn’t end up going against the aforementioned Scandal, it might have a chance.

Gracepoint

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I’m tempted to watch the source material for this, Broadchurch from the UK. That way, I can compare and contrast, as I’ve read that the ending will be different for our version. Anyway, this will do just fine, as it’s got a strong cast with Anna Gunn, David Tennant, and Michael Pena. Plus, the beauty of the show is in its structure: it’s 10 episodes and done. No worry about a second season, no worrying about getting the “back nine” episode order. It’s self-contained, and when it’s done it’s done. That’s somewhat of a new f0rmat for US television, as we tend to want everything to be a multiyear franchise. I think Gracepoint will do well, and even if it doesn’t, Fox doesn’t have much to lose by burning off the episodes. It’s a simple 10-week commitment. The only problem is that it’s going against Scandal. If they share an audience, then maybe it’ll make up the ratings difference through DVR numbers.

Hieroglyph

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This show doesn’t have a chance in Hell. The problem with it is that it’s mired in the desire to deliver something on the level of Spartacus or Game of Thrones, but within the confines of broadcast television standards. It could push more envelopes if they’d shift it to FX, but Fox is not the place for it. Why watch an imitator when you can watch the real, balls to the walls shows on premium cable? If they’d “teen it up”, it might work on The CW, but this is not going to have a second season. It’s another midseason show, but it really won’t matter when they schedule it.

Last Man on Earth

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This looks like a pretty cool premise for a movie – maybe something put out by Fox Searchlight. This does not, however, work as a television series. The American public isn’t patient enough to wait for it to build, and the whole idea of JUST Will Forte for 22 minutes a week doesn’t sound that engaging, even though I’m a big Forte fan. As with most things I’ve discussed so far, this is also a midseason show, so it’s not yet clear on what night it will air. I’m not sure it matters, though, as I don’t really see it taking off.

Mulaney

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I’ve been excited about this show ever since it was slated for NBC. When they passed on it, I was glad to hear that Fox was picking it up, especially since it’s a multicam show. I’ve loved John Mulaney for quite some time, and I’m a big fan of anything that gives Nasim Pedrad a bigger showcase, as she’s been tragically wasted on SNL lately. That said, I hope the writing gets better as the show goes along. The footage we see is probably just from the pilot, and I’m not finding it all that funny. Mulaney’s a hilarious guy, and he seems to have a good cast to support him – especially Martin Short, who’ll probably chew every scene he’s in. I really want this show to succeed, but I’m also not sure of its scheduling. You see, Fox is getting rid of the Animation Domination 2-hour block, and they’re airing Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Mulaney on Sunday nights. I think that block would work were they back-to back, but instead they’re airing B99 after The Simpsons and Mulaney after Family Guy. I’m not quite sure I understand why they’re being split up like that, as it’s kinda jarring to go Animation-Live Action-Animation-Live Action. Plus, I’m not sure if I like the Seinfeldian stand-up bits or not. Part of it is because I’ve heard most of the jokes before, but another part is it just seems kinda dated.

Utopia

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Ah, a good old fashioned Fox reality show. I love how it’s comprised of “15 everyday people”, yet they’re mostly beautiful. Anyway, I’m intrigued by the idea of a 52-week experiment to build the perfect society. I can see myself checking it out, but then getting bored as the show goes along. It’s scheduled to go against The Voice on Tuesday nights, and will serve as a lead-in to New Girl. Another episode will air Fridays, against Grimm and Shark Tank. I don’t know how this is going to do, as 52 weeks is asking a LOT of an audience. I wonder if the contestants are there 52 weeks, but it’ll be truncated into a season’s worth for TV. Reality shows work because the cycles are relatively short, allowing them to run multiple cycles per year. I’m not so sure this is gonna be a hit…

Wayward Pines

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Hey Twin Peaks fans, your show is back! Strange things happen in strange town, and Matt Dillon can’t leave. And it also stars Terrence Howard. That dude must really need work! It’s an M. Night Shyamalan production, so your mileage may vary. I’m intrigued by the trailer, but it seems like a show too mired in its own mythology. I fear those sorts of shows because I’m scared they’ll be cancelled before any of the questions are answered. It’s another midseason show, so we don’t know what it’ll be going up against.

Red Band Society

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It doesn’t have a trailer yet, but it’s described as follows:

What if a hospital was your high school, boarding school and summer camp rolled into one? What if it was the place where you fell in love for the first time and made friendships that lasted a lifetime? And what if it was all weirdly hilarious and the most fun you ever had in your entire life? This is the world of RED BAND SOCIETY. RED BAND SOCIETY is a provocative, unconventional and, at times, comic high school drama told through the eyes of a group of teenagers who meet as patients in the pediatric ward of Ocean Park Hospital in Los Angeles. The series is part comedy, part drama, with a tone that’s unique unto itself.

So, it sounds like Glee amongst sick kids. With Glee on the way out, Fox is trying to find a way to secure that audience and keep some teen viewers away from The CW. I’m intrigued, but I need to see a trailer.

Bordertown

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BORDERTOWN (working title) is a new animated comedy about two families living in a Southwest desert town on the U.S. – Mexico border that takes a satirical look at the cultural shifts occurring in America, where the U.S. Census forecasts that by 2017, Caucasians will be a minority. Set against this increasingly diverse backdrop, the series explores family, politics and everything in between with a cross-cultural wink.

Every season, Fox debuts some animated shows to make people think that Family Guy and The Simpsons will have company on Sunday nights. With the exception of Bob’s Burgers, these shows always fail. Even though Seth MacFarlane is an executive producer of this show, and Family Guy‘s Alex Borstein is doing voicework, I’m not sure this one is going to fare any better than the others. I might change my tune when I see a trailer, but for now, I’m not banking on success. It’s also a midseason show, so we’ll have to wait until January to see.

Weird Loners

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WEIRD LONERS is a new single-camera comedy about four relationship-phobic, quasi-underdog 30-somethings who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives, forming unlikely bonds in a Queens, NY, townhouse.

There’s only one thing about this show that I like: it stars Zachary Knighton from Happy Endings. Otherwise, this sounds like the same single-cam version of Friends that every network has tried and failed at. It’s yet another midseason show, so it’ll be interested to see what it goes up against.

Well, those are my thoughts. What do you guys think? Excited for anything in particular? Also, I didn’t forget Gotham – I already discussed it here.

09th Jan2014

West YEAR Ever – 2013

by Will

Well, 2013 has come and gone, but we couldn’t let it go without looking back one last time. I couldn’t really wrap my head around how to write it all, so I figured we’d just go with bullet points and pics. Hell, if you’re a loyal reader, you’ve seen all this stuff before. This is just to whet your palate as you await tomorrow’s 2014 debut of West Week Ever!

Milestones of 2013

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I explored a dead mall

I got cornered by Conservatives from Craigslist

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I binge-watched a Sentai series

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I met Twitter pal @LamarRevenger

I changed the way I consume comics

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I beat a video game!

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I finally met @chrispiers! & @robotspjs!

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I celebrated 10 years of blogging

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I went to Canada

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I introduced a new blog column

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I ran my first 5K and met Twitter pals @claymationhowl, @JohnDoctorKent, @FakeEyes22, @meistershake, @bmorin54, @doubledumbass, @P0LISHPHEN0M, @howardthedeck, @chapmanrunner, and @monsterfink.

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I met Adam West and Burt Ward

My Favorite Posts of 2013

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1 Broke Plot: How 2 Broke Girls Shortened Its Lifespan

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Black History Month is Back-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack!

Because Nobody Asked: Will On Comedy

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“I Wanna Xup, Baby” AKA Anyone Else Remember Xuxa?

My (Alternate) Reality

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Judging Bottles By Their Labels

Must Flee TV – The Future of Comedy on NBC

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Pitch Perfect and the True Story of Collegiate A Cappella

The Fall Guy Cast

Reboot That Bitch: The Fall Guy

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Best of the West #3: Knight Rider Knight 2000 Voice Car

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A Tribute to Mystic Music’s Cool Rock

Where’s Mama Cass?

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Thrift Justice – The Expendables XI: Never Stop Spending!!!

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Monday Musings – Skins Series 7 and the Close of a Franchise

New+Pure+Moods+disc+1+pure+moodsPure Moods and The Loss of Innocence

West Week Ever Recipients of 2013

Seth MacFarlane
Mila Kunis
Hugh Grant
Charles Bronson
Cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Psy
Delta Gamma Sorority
Fall Out Boy
Robert Downey Jr.
Charles Ramsay
The Office
Cast of Saved by the Bell
Howie Decker
Superman
North West
Happy Endings
America
Regular Show
Breaking Bad
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Canada
Christina Bianco
Ben Affleck
Power Rangers
Jennette McCurdy and Andre Drummond
Baltimore Comic-Con
Retro Con
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Breaking Bad
Miley Cyrus
Star Wars Trilogy
Cool and Collected Magazine
Marvel
Ground Floor
Batkid
Gal Gadot
Beyonce
Paul Rudd

breaking bad reters

So, last year, I was asked “Who had the West Year Ever?” Well, for 2012, the answer was me. I’d gotten married and a whole slew of other stuff. That’s not the case for 2013, however. No, that distinction goes to Breaking Bad. It’s the only multiple West Week Ever recipient, and the series wrapped up in 2013 in top notch fashion. The only entity to come close to Breaking Bad‘s 2013 was Miley Cyrus, but she just flew a little too close to the sun to clinch it this year.

2013 was also the first full year of West Week Ever, and I couldn’t do it without you, the readers. Thanks for all your support and I hope you’ll stay with me into 2014!

11th Oct2013

West Week Ever – 10/11/13

by Will

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Text I Received Yesterday: “I am eating shawarma for lunch…just like the Avengers did after they saved New York from the aliens. I am a reserve Avenger now.” Sure you are, Keith. Sure you are…

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This week saw the release of Miley Cyrus’s Bangerz, which is way better than it has any right to be. Sure, she’s been controversial lately with the tongue and the twerking, but it’s a REALLY good album. Not only is it her trying to change her Hannah Montana image, but it also joins the Great Breakup Album Club. Who knew that Liam Hemsworth would be right up there with Dave Coulier in inspiring a great, all-around revenge album?

 

This is my song of the week. It’s so stupid, yet so epic at the same time.

MV5BMTc1ODg5MzM5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzI3MjAwMDE@._V1_SX214_ Are you ready to bow down to my television industry knowledge yet? Last week, I predicted that Lucky 7 and We Are Men would be the first canceled shows of the season. Today, they are both gone. Do I know my shit or what?! it92s20always20sunny20in20philadelphia It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia celebrated its 100th episode the other night, and it did not disappoint. From a bad ass martial arts sequence, to an Up! parody, it was a great milestone, yet still faithful to the Sunny spirit.

cory-monteith-320 Speaking of TV, Glee did their tribute to Cory Monteith last night. I get that what happened to him was unfortunate, but it still bothers me that it didn’t open a dialogue. There was more debate over his Emmy tribute than there was about what he had done. At the end of the day, he was not killed in a car accident, nor did he succumb to cancer. He overdosed, and that should have been a teachable moment. Glee has quite the youthful fan base, and the event should have been used to teach them the dangers of drug use. I don’t just say this to be on my high horse – I actually had a half brother who overdosed before I was born. Growing up, he always stood as a cautionary tale, and it scared me away from ever wanting to try something that could kill me like that. It might not work for everyone, but if that kind of thing affects just one person, then it was worth it. I wanted to see more of that in the aftermath of Monteith’s death, but I have yet to see it.

Random thought: has anyone else noticed that, as you get older, there’s no great place to put stickers anymore? I LOVE stickers, and wish I had something to put them on. I’ve got all those Apple stickers that come with iPods, I’ve got a boss UnderScoopFire sticker, and I’ve got a ton of Batman stickers. Some folks put them on computers, but that doesn’t work for me because my laptop is textured in a way that doesn’t really allow anything to adhere to it. The same goes for my Nook. It’s not like I have a Trapper Keeper anymore. I need somewhere for all these stickers! I went to a Lutheran elementary school, and when you got to 3rd grade you got your own hymnal. It was tradition to customize them anyway you wanted, which isn’t the best freedom to grant an 8 yr old. So, these books filled with songs for the Savior where adorned with MLB holograms and Double Dragon stickers. I need something like that again!

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If you’re a Kickstarter fan, or just miss ToyFare magazine, here’s your chance to make a difference! Several of my pals are trying to get Cool & Collected Magazine off the ground, which will cover vintage toys, as well as more recent fare. From what I’ve seen, it looks gorgeous, but they can’t do it without your help! For more info, check out their Kickstarter page.

Links I Loved

My Night at Fenway Park, and Asian American Fatherhood – Reappropriate

Get Out of My Brain, Creator of LEGO ‘Golden Girls’ Kitchen – UnderScoopFire!

Who The Hell Elected Chris Hardwick As The Voice Of My Generation? – Pajiba

One came in like a sexual wrecking ball, while another had its manhood questioned. One is no longer with the gang, while the other’s gang is still trucking along. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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What can I say? The album’s that good. I’ve had it on a loop all week. Knowing my readership, most of y’all will probably hate it, but I think it’s the best album I’ve heard all year. The singles that have hit radio are good enough, but it’s the songs that you haven’t heard that really drive it home. She’s got Britney on the title track, “Bangerz”, and she’s got tracks with Nelly and Big Sean. It’s a grown up album, and she’s clearly no longer Hannah Montana. For really knocking one out of the park with Bangerz, Miley Cyrus had the West Week Ever.

04th Oct2013

West Week Ever – 10/4/13

by Will

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This week saw the series finale of Breaking Bad. I have nothing to say other than it was PERFECT. I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way, and it may be the most satisfying series finale I’ve ever seen. That’s all I’ll say on it.

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I caught the series finale of The IT Crowd, as well. It was a great episode, but not really a “finale”. It was really just a double-length episode that provided a slight bit of closure, but also left the door open for more in the future. Since the show introduced me to Richard Ayoade, I wanted to see more from him. I found a show online that he hosts called Gadget Man. Originally hosted by Stephen Fry, Ayoade took over for the second season and it features him as he tests out various gadgets for different scenarios. You can find most of the season on YouTube, so I recommend you check it out.

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This week saw the second episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., also known as the first episode I decided to skip. That wasn’t the smartest idea as (SPOILER ALERT) Nick Fury showed up after the credits. So, I guess I was wrong about him never showing up. I can admit when I’m wrong. I still don’t know if I’m wrong about the entire show, however. As I was telling someone on Twitter, we watch the Marvel movies for the unexpected. At the end of the day, does the general public want a Marvel procedural drama? We want thrills, not NCIS: Marvel. Right now, the show is too dependent on movie plots and movie gimmicks, like the post credit cameos. How long can it get by on these tropes before it comes into its own? I mean, is this it? Last week, I said that I don’t think the Marvel cinematic experience should be boiled down to a weekly show, and I stand by that. Ratings dropped 35% from the pilot; we knew they would decrease, but did we know by that much? By the time ratings level out, it could be out of tricks. I guess time will tell.

Want some more TV thoughts? The Michael J. Fox Show is simply painful to watch. It’s natural they had to write in his Parkinson’s, but it’s hard to look at him. Plus, it was kinda of “pandery” the way NBC trotted out all their on air talent, like the Today Show crew, for the pilot. At the end of the day, it’s one giant commercial for WNBC4 – NBC’s NYC affiliate.

CBS’s We Are Men will probably be the first canceled show of the TV season. First off, it did nothing with its How I Met Your Mother lead-in, losing a chunk of the audience. Next, its numbers were worse than those of Partners, the CBS sitcom that was canceled early on last season in the same timeslot. It’s not very compelling, and none of the characters are very likeable. CBS Monday night has a decidedly female focus, so that show doesn’t fit the demographic. If the ratings stay on the same track, it’ll be done by Halloween. That’s if ABC’s Lucky 7 doesn’t beat it to Cancelville. I haven’t watched that show yet, but no one has, which is the big problem.


I’m a champion of the syndicated drama, but I don’t know if I can get behind SAF3. If you don’t know, SAF3 is from the Baywatch creators, and it shows. It’s essentially a Baywatch reboot, only the acting’s worse and the Hasselhoff role is now played by Dolph Lundgren. Instead of focusing only on lifeguards, the main cast is comprised of a group of firefighters and rescue workers. Dancing with the Stars champ JR Martinez is one of the costars, and his burns have been written into the show. I’ll keep watching it because I hate myself, but it’s SO BAD.

Narcissistic PSA Alert: I’ve been thinking a lot about this post that I wrote on Tumblr last year. As I said in that post, I wrote it over there because I was kinda too ashamed to write it over here. Still, a year later, the sentiment still stands: why am I not a bigger deal than I am? I know that’s a dick thing to say out loud, but it’s the last thought I have many nights before going to sleep. I need a champion: someone with a sizable fanbase who’s like “Hey, check this guy out.” I totally appreciate all of you who read and retweet. I just want MORE of you! This seems to be happening with bigger, more successful bloggers, as Dinosaur Dracula (one of my inspirations) has written similar posts. The same people who tell me they love Thrift Justice are some of the ones who never share it. Why? Are you ashamed of me? For some, I think that’s true. You’re family men, with responsibilities, and your association with my “blue” writing might not be in your best interest. It still kinda hurts, though.

I’ve tried to go out and “make friends”. I read and comment on other sites. I even joined up with “The League of Extraordinary Bloggers”. The latter did next to nothing for me, as it felt cliquish, and folks just didn’t seem to have the time for me. It was never worth it to me to have a big “I quit!” gesture, but I pretty much left them alone because I wasn’t in the reindeer games. A lot of this is me thinking out loud, and I realize how petty some of it sounds. I just felt like the point of The League was to expand readership and foster a sense of community. I didn’t get that out of it, and it clearly wasn’t getting anything out of me, so I just went on my way.

Here’s full disclosure: there’s not much difference in hits whether I post something new or just let the backlist sit there. I’m so tired of hustling. I’m tired of constantly retweeting of my own stuff, and I’m sure you’re all tired of seeing it. I just feel like it’s something I have to do, ’cause I never know if anyone else is gonna do it for me. I’m tired of poring over Alexa rankings trying to figure out the secret to traffic. They say you have to practice something for 10 years in order to be good at it. I hear standups talk about how they’ve been on the road for 10-15 years, and I wonder “How did they do it?” Then, I realize that I’ve been blogging for 10 years. All of that was practice, putting in time. It’s supposed to be fun, and I have a lot of fun writing. It just kills me when nobody cares to read it. Now I think I’m ready for something bigger. I’m not the best, but I think I’m good – good enough to be a destination site. I want you to turn on your computer in the morning and think “Let’s see what Will has to say today.” That’s the goal, at least. So, the question stands: what do you want from me? What do I need to do? If the answer is “nothing”, then please tell a friend. For those who already do, I appreciate you more than you know.

Anyway, back to the show…

Links I Loved

The Dark Side of Star Wars – The Nerds of Color

So Bryan Cranston And Dean Norris Were Both In The Pilot Of Pamela Anderson’s Bodyguard Show, ‘V.I.P.’ – Warming Glow

Podcast Alert

My Twitter sister @ItsTheBrandi has a hilarious new podcast called “Brandi and Bill Talk About Blaxploitation”. They’ve already covered Blackenstein and Foxy Brown. You can check out the episodes here.

Meanwhile, CT from the Nerd Lunch Podcast has a new James Bond-centric podcast called “Pod, James Pod”. If you’re a Bond fan, you should definitely check it out here.

Finally, the guys behind the No Topic Required Podcast have decided to start a new show, focusing on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. You can listen to the first episode of the Reveal the S.H.I.E.L.D. Podcast here.

This Week’s Post

The Con-Clusion: Monster-Mania 26

One turned it off and on again for the last time, while one reached the end of its Albuquerque road. One gave us a post credit surprise while the other isn’t worth watching past the credits. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

breaking bad reters

This is unprecedented, but Breaking Bad is the first repeat West Week Ever winner. That finale was simply that damn good. As I said on Twitter, the ball’s in your court, Don Draper.

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