The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

This week

tvVery much been waiting for this week, a lot of returning shows. Let’s start with the best one – Doctor who started up again Saturday!

doctor_who_series_nine___the_magician_s_apprentice_by_lemonhead118-d8cgc5eI like Capauldi. As he settles into the role I find I like him more and more. This was a good story too. When he cried out to the child in the battle field “Tell me the name of the boy who will survive this!” and the missy-michelle-gomezboy replied with his name…it made my jaw drop.

As much as I don’t like the implications of the Master’s gender swap, I have to admit that Missy is the best incarnation of the character since Anthony Aniley. Possibly since even Roger Deglado. The further examination of her relationship with the Doctor was fascinating – Clara asked all the right questions. But what I love more than anything is the way this episode makes Missy one of the companions.  Now THAT’S brilliant. I’ve always preferred a crowded TARDIS with multiple companions, but to make the Master one of them? Perfect. From time to time he’s been a regular on the show and it just fits.

I do have to admit though, the whole bit with the doctor playing guitar felt like a bit too much for me. It feels like it belongs in a Pixar movie, not in Doctor Who. It’s the sort of thing cartoon characters do to make little kids laugh. Doctor Who kind of should be better than that.

Still, if that’s my biggest problem here, then we’re in good hands. The cliffhanger has me eagerly awaiting this week’s broadcast.

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Gotham is back! But man, that was over the top this week wasn’t it?

My first thought seeing Barbra Keen in Arkham was to wonder if that was Harley. That speaks to the problem of jump starting this series again after another long break. Those hiatuses are killing us.

gothamI know it was all over the place so we knew to expect it, but I wasn’t thrilled about seeing the Joker here. Honestly he doesn’t need a backstory and I find him far more interesting without one.

But back to over the top. Seriously, how many times can Gordon lose his job and get it back? Our only glimpse of Edward nigma was him going crazy – a bit of a shame. He’s a fun character and I’d rather see more schtick with him, not just his deepening insanity. Penguin is still the show stealer, but he’s becoming a bit of a caricature of himself. This worries me.I know this is the rise of the villains, but a LOT of balls were tossed up in the air this episode. I do hope they follow them one at a time instead of giving up a bit of five different storylines each episode like a soap opera. I sold my wife on this series as a police procedural crime drama, and last year it was. In fact it was done so well it never even occurred to her that this might be a Batman show. I’d like to see them pull this back a bit, closer top that again. I’m still interested. Still engaged, and I definitely want to know what Bruce’s dad was doing in that cave office. I imagine this is where the court of Owls will come in.

image_5ba8fa2aSo, the Muppets. I guess my first reaction was “Is this the best they could do?”

I have been cautiously optimistic about this series the entire time and I very much want it to succeed. It does not bother me that they are not presented as kids characters. What bothers me that I didn’t find the new show funny.

There’s some notable exceptions. The gag about Zoot mistaking what kind of meeting it was and Fozzie describing the perils of going on dating websites referring to yourself as a Bear are great jokes that will make kids and adults laugh – for very different reasons. They need more of that. I liked the bit with Gonzo, Rizzo muppetsand Pepe previewing their Dancing with the Czars bit (and how good is it to see Pepe getting back into the act again? I missed him in the last two movies!). It’s funny and very Muppets. There’s a moment when Kermit tells the girlfriend “You don’t have to be funny every time you come into the writers room. The writers certainly arnt!” It’s a good gag, very Kermit…except there’s something in the delivery. In the past when he’s been critical of an act, it felt exasperated, flabbergasted. In this series it feels cynical. Exasperated is charming. Cynicism is not. Edgy and mature, but not charming – and I don’t think that’s the way people want to see these characters.The Daily Telegraph put it better : “The fundamental mistake multi-millionaire comedy genius Bill Prady has made is to assume that because grown-ups still harbour affection for The Muppets, they’ll automatically want to watch the characters in adult situations. We do not. We already hate our jobs, our relationships and our lives. We don’t want to see that frogs, pigs and bears have it just as miserable as the rest of us. ” Read the rest of thier review here : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/tv-and-radio-reviews/11883190/The-Muppets-ABC-review.html

I think I’d like this better as a special or a mini-series, rather than being the official incarnation. It’s not an inherently bad format, but it did fall flat for me. We’ll have to see if the fans (including me) can acclimate to it (but really, should we HAVE to work this hard to like something?). Then again, I just don’t understand the need to reinvent the wheel. Boom comics did a good job going back to basics and I still really miss that comic.
I don’t think ABC understands how to develop it. NBC took a shot at it ages ago (two years before Disney finally bought the property) and actually produced one of the best muppet specials ever (A very Muppet Christmas) and I wish they could have another shot at it. This isn’t that hard, why does everyone feel the need to reinvent the wheel? Bring back the Muppet theatre. Bring back the stage show and the backstage antics. That’s EXACTLY what NBC did. They built the theatre – FULL SIZE, and they were doing a big Christmas show to save the building from an evil developer (played by Joan Cusak). It just worked SOOOO Well. “A Very Muppet Christmas”. Don’t know how NBC got the rights that one year, but ABC has done everything since. Sometimes its okay, I liked OZ. Most of the time…well, I really don’t like any of their other comedies either.

I’m not alone in my concerns either, EW and the NY times join The Telegraph as less than optimistic about the show’s direction.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/arts/television/review-muppets-abc-kermit-ms-piggy.html?_r=0
http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/22/muppets-ew-review

There is one thing to be happy about though, and I can’t say this enough. I am beyond pleased that Disney is using the property. Really that is a huge positive. It is a great shame that the previous owners let the franchise fall out of the public eye and did nothing with it from 1996 to 2002 ( and very little before or after that). Since Disney got them just over ten years ago we’ve see constant output and development, and when Imagine Dragons did the closing performance and we had the Electric Meyhem backing them up, animal playing the big drum with teh stage lights pouring down on him…yeah, some of the magic is still there. It’s why I’m goign to give this a bit more of a chance. Interested in seeing next weeks ratings for this show.
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  1. Pingback: Batman versus Superman | Argo City Comics

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