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Posts tagged “Doctor Who

Doctor Pool

Deadpool rides his unicorn right into the TARDIS!

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Man-At-Arms (part one)

Costume

I love these- there’s almost a narrative you can follow. It starts with War on Eternia.

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Just as it looks like our heros are overwhelmed, an ally arrives and Man-At-Arms sets off in search of allies

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The search begins in part two!

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Doctor Who

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My personal definitive way of drawing iconic characters

   For me, the Doctor is always number 3, preferably in green.

A lot of the way I draw Jon Pertweek is based more on Frank Bellamy’s illustrations for the radio Times than on the actor’s actual features. It’s something I should correct, but it’s hard to change now….

Doctor Pencils Doctor inked Doctor color

 


Last week

tvThe FlashFirst and foremost, I’d like to say that Zombieland is NO substitute for The Walking Dead, okay? It was actually a clever move for SyFy to run it last night in the Walking Dead’s time slot though, sort of trying to ease us out of the Sunday night habit we developed over those last two months. I found myself flipping between that and the Big Bang Theory reruns on TBS, not truly watching either one.

Enough of that. This entry here isn’t really about what I HAVEN’T watched, it’s about what I DID watch last week!

Can we just start off by agreeing how awesome the Flash and Arrow crossover was this week? Honestly I felt like I was watching an old issue of showcase.​ It’s amazing to me that these crossoveres even exist and I’m so happy to watch them.

Of course, if we want to be perfectly fair, we HAVE seen the Flash and Hawkman both on screen together before….but really, that’s a special that is best forgotten….12308301_1075958212448601_4967550108004245228_n

I know that they’re obviously setting up for next year’s Legends of Tomorrow series, but it’s one of those moments where even though I know I’m being played with a backdoor pilot, I just don’t care. The payoff is good enough that I’m fine with that. Really that’s the thing about DC on television, everything you’re doing just works. I know I’ve said it before, but what Marvel is to superhero movies, DC is to superhero television.I’m looking forward to Legends of tomorrow more than ever.

I’ve been about a week behind on Doctor Who, which is fine. The tendency of them to do two partners this season has really been troublesome for me, I really prefer the one shots that they started doing back when the series returned in 2005. The constant cliffhanger episodes have really been a little much. I suppose it wasn’t strictly a Rachel-Talalay-capaldi-series-9-300x219two-parter, but really close enough that I’m delighted to see you Rachel Talalay back in the directors chair though, I’ve enjoyed her work since her association back with the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and to have her become such a big part of these new Doctor Who episodes is delightful. Someone up on the Hellbound web mentioned that the hell episode felt almost Hellriaser, with the Doctor having to actually solve what ended up being a giant puzzle – and the confession dial actually does resemble one of Leviathans puzzles more than a little bit. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a Hellraiser influence in Doctor Who either, remember the trickster? Now there was a cenobite clone if I’ve ever seen one! (and don’t even get me started on those boxes in the Sarah Jane adventures)

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The initial departure of Clara from the series didn’t please me. While I don’t really enjoy her chemistry with the current Doctor, I much preferred her with Matt Smith, but that initial end still seemed like a very punk way to go out that I much prefer the exit that they gave her here, although it seems extraordinarily dangerous to have another rogue Tardis just floating around out there. Isn’t time lord technology supposed to be dangerous? And doctor_who_series_9_poster_by_jasetheavenger-d8i3dtqeven with Clara there, she is accompanied by Me.  Me is nothing short of a sociopath. I hate this chick, and to this day I believe she was one of the Doctors greatest mistakes.

The return to Gallifrey for the final episode was amazing.  I’ve been saying a lot this year, that the season has been mediocre. Not the last two episodes – these are been everything I’ve come to expect from the Doctor Who reboot. I love the fact that Gallifrey now seems to be back in our universe, but still far enough away that we’re not going to see it often. It’s still more distant than it was in the original series but close enough to maintain a presence. The idea of the Doctor being outraged at the use of the confession dial as a torture device, the way he forced the resignation of the Lord President, the description of him by the soldiers, it was all just perfectly epic. I so enjoyed this story. Moffat knows enough to give us some fan service whenever possible, and the return of the Hartnell Tardis, that too was a delightful surprise. really to me I don’t think of it so much is the Hartnell Tardis as I do the Pertwee Tardis. The first incarnation that we see that we see him in– or perhaps at a later one I don’t remember – is this same console, along with a very similar if not identical console room. The back wall, the one we never see, the one that isn’t all roundles, that room always made an impression on me.

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hqdefaultI’m really digging the velvety coat that Capauldi dons at the end. That along with the banded collar, I hope those stay. All around, he gets more and more like my favorite  (again, see Pertwee above) every day it seems.

The new sonic screwdriver that we see at the end of the episode by the way, I like it. I like it way better than the one that Mat Smith and Capauldi have bee using, although I still have a seriously soft spot for The one that Tennant and Ecclston used. It had a more practical look where as this on in particular looks very much like a prop that you’d find in engineering during an episode of Star Trek : The Next Generation.(seriously though, doesn’t that look JUST like it belongs in that Starfleet tool box down there?)

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Still it’s an improvement, especially over the stupid sonic sunglasses (which there was no need to be outraged over – we were told flat out at the basheginning that they weren’t going to last)

I had to catch up on two episodes of Ash versus the Evil Dead as well. You know what? I’m glad these things are only half an hour. I still believe that the series is almost entirely fan service. it’s interesting what’s going on with it, but there is so little actual story that to spread it out over a season has got to be difficult – and it shows start after each upset I don’t feel like I’ve watched a whole lot of story, but that’s okay because I’m really tuning in to watch Ash with his chainsaw and slice up fiendish demonic thingies and we get that in spades. I am interested in seeing where the series goes, and I think it would be really cool if somebody re-edited it down into say, a two hour Evil Dead film – just boiling it down to the essentials. I think it could be accomplished, and the end result would be even more satisfying – still not complaining, I never thought the series would happen and refused to believe that it was actually real until I was sitting down watching it. Really if I have any complaints, it’s that as far as I know, Tom Sullivan isn’t doing any of the artwork for the Necronomicon. The Book of the Dead flew open in this last episode and I could see some of the images in there and they look very similar to what Tom created for the original Book of the Dead. There is absolutely no reason he shouldn’t have been invited back to create the new Book of the Dead prop and any artwork necessary. It’s a real missed opportunity.

Still, what a time to be alive, when you can watch the Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman and Hawkgirl on live-action television, and then let the channel the next day to watch Doctor Who and one more time to watch a continuation of the evil dead. it’s good to be in 2015.


Last week

tv The FlashDoctor Who started the season slow. The Muppets is a disaster Gotham is disappointing.

Thank God for the Flash.

I can not say this enough. Thank God for the Flash or I might be done with TV again. Seriously, it’s the only show that makes me feel even remotely the way Doctor Who does; glued to the TV in wonder.

This season opener was shockingly strong. What’s amazing is that they came in so strong despite basically everything on the show having changed. Characters gone, roles changed, new jobs, new threats. That the show has held up so well, not only held up, but indeed managed to thrive is remarkable.

We were left on a bit of a cliffhanger last year and the premier took a risky approach, resolving it bit by bit using flashbacks spread over the first half hour of the episode. It shouldn’t have worked as well as it did but it kept me engrossed the entire time. We get set up very well for this season with Jay Garrek showing up in the final minuets (this is in the commercials, so I don’t consider it a spoiler) as wel as FINALLY seeing that circle behind the lightning bolt  go from red to white! My single biggest complaint on that costume and it’s gone!izombie

Seriously, considering my resistance to this show, I can’t believe it’s become one of my favorites. But it has a perfect balance of superheroics, humor, and drama. Indeed I wish the DC cinematic universe would pay more attention to it.

iZombie returned last night as well, not quite as great as the Flash, but you know what, it’s maintained it’s quality. It’s just as good this year as it was last year, and I’ve got no complaints.

I kind of dropped off the series last year after the Flash ended it’s season. It wasn’t intentional, I just forget to sit down to watch TV sometimes. Flash is a super strong lead in for iZombie and I think i kind of need it to keep up. I’m still going to have to go back and catch up, because I’ve obviously missed some major plot points, but still I didn’t feel too lost. There’s a very episodic feel to the show and you can almost ignore the story arcs here if you need to. I’m glad it’s back and look forward to watching it again this season.

Tuesday nights seems kind of crowed actually. It’s the night for the Muppets as well. Of course there’s just muppetsone little problem there, the Muppets still hasn’t really gotten better. It’s just to dark and cynical for me. This  episode revolves around Fozzie writing a bad script for the show. Kermit moans about how terrible it is and misleads him about it. The setup is actually very muppets, but the mean-spiritedness is not. The Kermit I know would have arrived at the conclusion to help Fozzie with his script far earlier, or would have just put it in the show anyhow because he’s a good guy. Kermit is love. But not so much on this show.

For the last three episodes, I’ve actually found the “B” storylines far more interesting and funny. This one has two of them. The first is Miss Piggy trying to get back at Christina Applegate for showing an embarrassing video of her on her show. And we’re back to mean-spirited. Piggy’s egotistical and kind of selfish, but her rage is usually expressed in a karate chop, I don’t know. Something just feels off here. The Gonzo storyline with him computer dating using a profile picture of Liam Hemsworth is much funnier. In fact the bits with Gonzo, Rizzo and Pepe have been the most consistently funny things in the show.

Overall it’s not working for me. It’s kind of like the Star Trek reboot. It’s not bad, it’s fun sometimes evern, but gothamit’s lost whatever made these characters special. It’s lost it’s soul. I more than half expect this show to get cancelled early. Mid-season at best.

I’ve said it already. Gotham this season is disappointing. It’s stayed firmly over the top, with out new Joker character firmly in the forefront. Here’s the problem:

Last year it felt like a cop drama set in the edges of the Batman universe. This year it feels like a Batman show, but without the Batman. You see where I’m going here? The more we focus on Jerome and Bruce, the more we really kind of miss Batman and the Joker. I didn’t miss them last year because it wasn’t about them. This year however, the series feels compelled to remind us “It’s a Batman show!”. Yeah. Okay. But there’s no Batman. There’s not going to BE any Batman. Not for a while anyhow – five, six years at least. And more importantly, that’s not what I signed on for. I signed on for a cop show, a crime show, I signed on for Law and Order : Gotham. And I doubted you. I thought “There’s no possible way they can maintain this for a full season…” and you proved me wrong!

But that was last year. This year, it’s a diffrent show, and I’m not really sure I like it as much. Jerome….it’s a half measure. It’s a network exec saying “We can’t have Batman without the Joker!” and they’re right. You can’t have Batman without the Joker. But the thing is….you don’t have Batman either. And all you do is remind us that you don’t have Batman and you don’t exactly have the Joker….this direction seems ill convinced.

doctor_who_series_9_poster_by_jasetheavenger-d8i3dtqIt’s not just the Joker focus, it’s the reduced focus on the Penguin – who was arguable the break-out character of last year. People LOVED Robin Lord Taylor, and it was a popularity that grew organically (As opposed to the very forced feel I get with Jerome). And seeing Nygma descend into madness… it’s no fun. I’d argue it’s not even accurate. The thing about the Riddler is that he’s super-smart, not that he’s a madman.

I guess it all comes back to my original thesis. This year, Gotham is just…disappointing.

I mentioned earlier that Doctor Who was starting slow. I stand by that staement. There were some stand out moments in the first story, but by the time we got to the back half of that two parter it had gotten awfully talky and convoluted. There’s a good idea in there, but it seems like they were more in love with discussing the idea than actually telling some kind of story.

This week’s ghost story was an improvement, but it still felt extremely average – not the sort of riveting, can’t-take-my eyes-off-the-screen storytelling I’m a bit more used to. Still, the thing about Doctor Who is, even when it’s average, it’s still so much better than most of the other things on TV. I like Capauldi and I REALLY prefer him in that hoodie. Good thing TheWalkingDeadPostertoo, it seems like he wears that far more than that white button down shirt.

More Doctor Who coming up on Saturday (Can you believe we’re already at the FOURTH episode this season? We’re a quarter of the way through!) and Walking Dead returns Sunday night. See you all there.


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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Peter Capauldi (Spoilers. Just move on if you have to)

6487210-low_res-I’m just not sure what to think.  I wonder if that’s a bad thing?

It seems like I was just doing this, reviewing a new Doctor in a new season of Doctor Who. There’s not doubt, I bought it. I totally accept Capaldi as the new  Doctor. This is a good thing because it took a full year or so for me to accept Matt Smith in the role – and that was weird. Smith really always felt like he was a kid in a costume playing at the role until that big speech in “The Pandorica Opens”. It was there for the first time I could actually see the Doctor in him. It got better as time went on, particularly in the last year or so we could really see the ancient being in the young body. The old man with a youth’s face.

With Capaldi it’s instant. He feels like the Doctor. He’s confidant in the role, even as he tries to make us wonder what kind of person he is. This is a tactic that was already tried with both Colin Baker and Paul McGann, and it didn’t really work for me either time.10462933_779076368803455_7055546326964120705_n It almost seems like they are trying a little TOO hard to make you distrust Capaldi by making him abandon Clara. Twice.  Sorry, but there’s better ways to distinguish this incarnation from the others and better story devices to make him edgy. Nice pointing out how dynamic his eyebrows are though.

I’ve been optimistic in the year we’ve spent waiting for this. I mostly liked the costume, enjoying the similarities that his look has to my favorite Jon Pertwee. So much so, that I really kept watching for a similar persona. I saw a LOT of Pertwee influence in the Russell T Davies era, not quite as much in the Moffat era but enough that it’s still there and I’ve always loved it. Capaldi seemed to be heading that was as well from the buzz, but I actually don’t see it in the actual episode.

I kind of wish he had something on his neck too.

Honestly, I know, it seems like I’m never pleased and I’m overanalyzing – it’s Sci-Fi. That’s what we DO. But seriously, as much as Matt Smith’s bow ties bugged me (until he started wearing a vest. THAT costume, I loved), the buttoned up collar feels empty to me. I would have loved it back in 1992 when that was a common look, but not so much in 2014.  I hope it’s not going to be one of those little bothersome details that just drives me NUTS.  It’s made even more frustrating 974e2fbffa234f78cf5ef869db81c72ebecause of how GREAT Capaldi looked in that high necked collar and tie. Seriously, If I were a girl, I’d be swooning. I still might.

I hope the disguises become a part of this Doctor’s shtick. It was a great bit of business, and one of the things we really saw in this story was how well Capaldi does different modes of dress.

As for the story, first episodes are frequently a bit weak. I really like “Castrovalva” and “Robot”. I want to like “Spearhead from Space” and “Time and the Rani”. At least I can sit through  those. “The Twin Dilemma”, “The Christmas Invasion” and the movie are just plain hard to watch. This story was surprisingly average, surprising considering it has a Dionasuar bursting into flames and steampunk robots…then again, steampunk doesn’t really do anything for me.  The tenuious connection to the Madam De Pompadour felt a little to shoehorned in and would perhaps have been better served later in the season. I like the intrigue they are setting up, calling back to the Bells of St. John and connecting it to someone keeping Clara and the Doctor together.

The constant references to Madame Vastra and Jenny being married annoy me. It was like someone was determined to clobber you over the head with it. RTD was always very in-your-face with homosexuality, and 4fddac9a3e4f1ae01f68308936679d62always felt like he was driving an agenda. Moffet has generally been far more subtle. The subtext between Vastra and Jenny has always been there. You could revel in it if you so choose (much like my friend Don does) or you could just ignore it (much like I always did). Repeating “We’re MARRIED” four or five times over the course of one episode was unnecessary and if you consider it, a little insulting. Respect your audience and trust them to pick up on the subtext. There’s no need to be this dramatic.

The final thing that rather bothered me was Matt Smith’s appearance. I suppose I kind of get it; Moffat is appealing to the teeny boppers and fangirls who latched on to the show when they started casting pretty boys in the role of t he doctor instead of middle aged men with character in their faces.  I personally have been waiting for them to go older wit the Doctor again for  the longest time and if you truly GET the show, it’s a non-issue old or young.  It was an interesting way of speaking directly to that demographic. It also feels a little desperate. Like someone wasn’t confidant in the show continuing even as it moves closer to it’s roots.  I don’t like that, it sends the wrong message.

It’s a little more than that though as well. Dramatically, it’s….I don’t know…disingenuous? Stephen Moffat, through Matt Smith’s Doctor criticized David Tennants Doctor for being narcissistic and having issues referring to his half regeneration (keeping the face) and in a more meta sense, criticizing the lengthy and dramatic goodbye that Tennant had. But watching Matt Smith call Clara from Trensalore felt much like the Bvv6T_eIIAEpdKqsame kind of thing – a lingering goodbye. And extended swan song. It’s the second time we’ve bid him farewell, and it almost feels to me like he’s milking it. Yet at the same time, it’s a shocking scene. My jaw dropped and my heart plunged. The story EARNS that scene.

At the end of the day, I’m obviously going on and on about the trivial, and talking very little about Capaldi himself. Indeed, more than half the pictures in t his article are of other Doctors. It all comes back to my opening salvo; I just don’t know what to think.  I don’t instantly dislike Capaldi the way I did with Matt Smith. I don’t instantly love him the way I did with David Tennant. I’m hesitant, nervous. I’m still waiting to see where this is going to go.

For now, I’m going to hang on, and follow the eyebrows.

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Star Trek into Darkness

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StarTrekIntoDarknessIMAXposterPTParamountFinally took a break from Violent Blue to get out to the Lorain Palace to  see the new Star Trek movie. My reaction was simple. It was good. It wasn’t Star Trek, but it was good.

I think that’s the only way I can look at these movies and be okay. The whole time travel conceit helps, but I’m just far too aware that these are not the characters I know. That’s Chris Pine playing Kirk. It’s not Kirk himself on screen.  I never had those kind of feelings with the original cast…not even with Nimoy’s cameos in the new movies….when Nimoy shows up – that’s Spock. I believe it. When Zachery Quinto is on screen, it’s Zachery Quinto in pointy ears.

It’s not just the cast though, J.J. Abrahams seems to be missing some of the soul of Star Trek, and certainly the familiarity. When the Klingon ships show up – I had no idea what I was looking at. If they hadn’t told me those were Klingon ships, I never would have figured it out. That wasn’t the case when  the bird of prey showed up in Star Trek 3. It LOOKED Klingon. There was a design language that told us what we needed to know immediately. Those new ships….they’re just a bunch of polygons flexing up and down. It’s a shame, I like Abram’s direction, and his style, but I wish he’d been P9gCjj5given the reins ten years ago and done this stuff in continuity, rather than in a tangent universe. I think that would have been a beautiful and bold change. This….this is just…not Star Trek.

I’m not going to try and make snarky remarks about this being a remake of Wrath of Kahn, because it isn’t.  It’s a completely different kind of Kahn story and a good one at that. It’s also a great thing they set Kahn up to be able to come back, and really using him is logical. Over the years he’s been set up (correctly or incorrectly) as Kirk’s arch-enemy. It makes sense for him to show up here. The touches like the Spock shouting “Kahn” as Kirk lies dying in a radiation chamber are obvious star-trek-into-darknesshomages (and I think, a little unnecessary) but this is not even remotely the same story. I do believe it can stand alone and really is a great story.

I did like all the alternate uniforms we saw. The diving suits were really cool and I even marginally like the gray suits for headquarters, though the hats I think took the military look to far – anyone who complained about Harve Bennetts red uniforms looking to militaristic ain’t seen nothin’ yet! Still the I liked the variety. I’ve always thought that was a nice part of the films- we had the base red uniform, and different coats for away missions, and different uniforms for engineering and medical.

star-trek-into-darkness-scene-600x337They take the alternate uniforms a little far this time though don’t they?

Seriously. It’s the same complaint I had with IM3. We don’t actually see  Tony in the suit enough. It’s still a problem here. We waited all last movie to see Kirk in the gold shirt, and we got it for five seconds at the end. This movie, we’re still spending the majority of the film with him in different uniforms.

Perhaps they were able to get away with this better when Shatner and Nimoy and Kelly were in the roles (although I’m not even sure about that. On of the things that irritates me about 3&4 is the lack of screen time for my favorite of all Starfleet uniforms) but with these characters, we haven’t had enough time to emotionally invest in these actors as the characters. We haven’t had movies_star-trek-into-darknessenough exposure to this ensemble and it only heightens the feeling that these are just actors playing the characters… not the characters themselves.

And that’s what it keeps coming down to. This isn’t Star Trek to me. I don’t recognize it, and that’s a shame. I think people like me would have been more ready to embrace it if we’d had more, not having to wait for three years. The only continuity we’ve had is a comic book series from IDW and perhaps a few kids novels.  A sister series on TV would have helped. A set of monthly novels and more magazines would have helped. Most of all, an eighteen month turn around schedule would have helped.

But there’s none of this, and whatever bloom there might have been, is off the rose.

These are fun sci-fi- action flicks (something that Trek  films devolved into during the TNG movies- and they really should be blamed for that), but they aren’t Star Trek, and that’s fine. But don’t expect my devotion. Don’t expect my respect.

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When does Doctor Who start up again?


Doctor Who 2013

timthumbSo we are definately far enough into the 2013 half-a-season for me to be able to form an opinion. I’m very much enjoying this run. Of course you probably wouldn’t expect anything else right?

Well, maybe you would.

I’m not Matt Smith’s biggest fan. He’s kind of like Tom Baker to me, everyone else loves him and thinks he’s the best thing since sliced bread. I’m kind of lukewarm to him. I’m happy to watch him, but he’s nowhere near one of my favorites.

A couple of things have changed this time around though  The costume has changed slightly. longer coat, and a vest.  I can’t tell you how much the vest helps that costume. It adds loads to the “old man in a young man’s body” thing that Smith plays (In fact it actually helps him play it better than Tennant did I always wanted to see him look younger and more punk, maybe lose the necktie. Smith goes in the opposite direction and perfects it).  During Smith’s first two seasons I hated that suitjacket and bow tie combination so much I can’t even begin to express it. It never worked for me, and I cringed every time there was a long shot panning over the endless expanse of white shirt below that tie. A bow tie NEEDS a vest or a high button coat, otherwise it ravages the eye. The running gag about bow ties being cool is fine – very Who, but the costume ruined it for me. The longer coat we started to see in “Good Man Goes To War” helped, but this outfit perfects it. The occasional appearance of Amy’s eyeglasses is a superb touch.

The redesigned TARDIS is another source of delight to me. I despised the console from the previous run. The whole mish-mash of old technology that made up the console when the series first returned was handled with far more subtly in Eccleston and Tennenats era. It was too over-the-top in Smiths previous series. I love  the look of the new console. I miss the size of the previous console room,but it’s a fair trade for a console I can once again look upon with awe. I AM glad they still built the set so we can get in below the console and work in the guts of the TARDIS. That was a great innovation in the last set and a logical extension of how we would see Eccleston working under the grating of the console room in the first series.

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Matt Smith came in under a disadvantage, following a popular Doctor (one that became a favorite of mine) his age (Actually too young. I didn’t know that could matter so much…but it does) and was saddled down with bad costuming and sets that went too silly. I know. All of that seems shallow – then again, just ask Colin Baker about how a bad costume can drag down a character. This stuff does matter.

It took me a full year to really accept Matt as the Doctor. It never clicked for me until his speech to the army of aliens in The Pandorica Opens.  “Remember every black day I defeated you! Then do the smart thing……let someone else go first”. Yeah, that was the Doctor. Finally.

All of those superficial complaints I’ve had however are gone now and let’s face it, the cosmetic shortcomings in the series have constantly been overshadowed by the excellent storytelling and directions Stephen Moffet has taken us.

That’s not slowing down either. For the first time I can remember, I’m really intrigued by the season arch – specifically who is Clara? It’s enough to make me move past the Ponds (who I was actually fond of, besides, I always liked a crowded TARDIS. Multiple companions always added a more ensemble feel to the show. One of the reasons Peter Davison is one of my favorites) and really wait on the edge of my seat for the next episodes.

While I’m waiting, I better get some Violent Blue done.


Last Week’s Pulls

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green_hornet1Okay, I tried to do one of these earlier in the week, this time we’ll see if I can get through it without getting distracted!

First up is the new Green Hornet book. This is a good re-introduction. It’s a self-contained story with a good resolution, though we get one page at the end that suggests this will be part of a lager arc to come. It’s not only a good jumping on point if you’re already intrigued, it’s also a good sampling issue for folks who aren’t familiar with the Green Hornet but might have been recommended. It’s got everything that makes the character great. We’re back in the 30’s, and that’s cool. While I do think that the Hornet lends itself better to modern updates than other characters indexlike The Shadow. Back in the NOW day, they really ran with it and I loved what they did. Dynamites wasn’t bad, they incorporated some very good ideas like adding the Motorcycle and the mechanic, but I never completely warmed up to the costume and things just never quite fell into place. I’m not bothered by it going away. The whole Green Hornet : year one series had been far better done anyhow. the art was beautiful, moody and dark, much like the Bendis era of Daredevil, and it suited what they were doing with the character.

Speaking of Year one series, I did try out The Shadow : year one. It was pretty much what I expected…..it’s an origin story and that just rubs me the wrong way. I think one of the strengths of The Shadow is that he doesn’t have 2013-02-17-shadow_year_onean Origin. Of course it’s possible that this is just one of his misdirections. After all, we have three other distinct origins – the One from Chaykn’s 80’s series, the Shamballa origin. This however contradicts the origin from the ’95 film, and neither really meshes with the one presented at the end of the 90’s series “The Shadow Strikes”. However, in that story, the Shadow does acknowledge, “One day I might tell you the story of Shamballah” suggesting that all of his potential origins are fake stories.  That’s cool. I can deal with that, but if that’s t he case, i’m not going to waste my time on stories that don’t really develop the character because they’re misdirections.

shadowI’m not complaining about this mind you – having a Shadow Year One series just shows that Dynamite is willing to exploit the license to it’s fullest. That was my biggest problem with Dark Horse when they had the character, they never put out any material. A couple of mini-series. A one shot. A team up. That’s about it. At least when DC had the Shadow, they were putting out a title every month. Dynamite has my enthusiasm because they are running two Shadow series simultaneously,  not to mention specials, annuals and the team-up book Masks, which continues to be the most exciting crossover of my lifetime (getting a little crowded though. I’d rather see more Shadow and Green Hornet, and les Ms. Fury and Black Terror). This is nothing but good news, and the further we get away from the Ennis series, the better The Shadow has been. He’s fighting a lot more masked villains lately though and that feels a little unusual. It’s taking some getting imagesused to, but it’s not a bad thing inherently. NOW managed to make that look good when they were doing the Green Hornet in the 80’s and 90’s, but then again, at that time period EVERYONE was wearing masks and spandex and armor….not so much in 2013. Still, it’s a fun book and I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

Not a lot has changed in t he last few months. The DCU is still practacly unreadable to me,  I just don’t recognize these characters anymore. Grifter is losing his title, which was one of the only new 52 ones I was keeping up with. We caught my impressions of the bat titles earlier this weeks so let’s move on to Doctor Who.

doctorwho7cI started back up on these based on the high recommendation from my friend Don Smith. The art has improved since the Tennant series, I recognize all of the characters this time. My impression of the stories themselves however have just been……meh. It’s not bad. It really isn’t. It’s just not great….it’s not even as good as the TV series (and that’s a fair criticism. There are tons of Star Trek comics that I could point to that are superior to a bunch of the shows or films). Average isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s also not usually enough to keep me following it. This issue features the return of the Vash’narada (from silence in the library) but it really feels like I’ve seen all of this before.

On the other hand, IDW is also publishing the 40th anniversary series “Prisoners in idw-prisoners-of-time-3Time”. This is featuring all of the previous Doctors in order. I skimmed the issues with one and two. I’ve just never liked those incarnations. I can sometimes enjoy Hartnell in the Target novilizations, and Trouton was fine in the two Doctors, but really they both just irritate me, and I’ve never understood why Trouton is the favorite Doctor for so many of the actors that came later.

This issue hwever…..this is the one featuring Jon Pertwee. The third Doctor. MY Doctor. He has always been my favorite, always been the one I think of as the REAL Doctor, and I’ve never seen him portrayed better in the comics.

There really aren’t that many comics featuring him in the first place and most of the ones that do exist are standard newspaper comic strip kind of art. He’s never gotten the dynamic Image Comics kind of treatment that the modern Doctors peroidiclly enjoy. I loved the art in this. It’s stylalized, kinetic and modern. Even better, it features Sarah Jane Smith as his companion (My favorite of the Thrid Doctor’s companions. Funny, I still think of her more as Pertwee’s companion than Baker’s) and they’ve got Liz Shaw back as well . Nowere to be found is that dolt Jo Grant, but the Brigidier is here as well and the story is very much an action one. I really love this piece.

Doctor Who

There were more pulls last week, things like Red Team, which is a good series, especially if you’re a fan of procedurals like Law and Order or Criminal Minds- it deals with a group of cops turning vigilante, but I suspect there’s a bigger picture going on here. All Star- Western is another great idea series, and it seems to get better. Some people have criticized it for taking place in western era Gotham, but I’ve actually been enjoying some of that and throwing Vandal Savage in there fighting against Jonah Hex was a good idea. Still it’s another average book , and hard to generate a lot of enthusiasm about. Finally there’s Justice League Dark and Constantine. I think the whole issue with John Constantine deserves some further examination – I may revisit that once we’re a few issues into the new series. JLD on the other hand – this is a really interesting series….and too interesting to survive. I expect cancellation any day. We’ll see. For now, I’m heading off to do some Violent Blue. See you tomorrow.

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Snow Dalek!

603266_507358265975268_586656540_nSo after Cleveland dumped a metric ton of snow on us, the girls and I decided to head out making snowmen in the front yard. They made some little guys themselves, but then quickly became far more interested in the one I was making and came over to help. They did all the roundels on the base and  helped pile snow up for the body. I like it.

Really it shouldn’t be surprising that the girls loved making the snow Dalek….Daleks are as commonplace in our household as Violent Blue. They’ve been used to Daleks being around since…..

well…..

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Tis the season to kvetch

 

colum1Allow me a slight indulgence today, I feel the need to complain a bit.

Every year, my wife complains that I am incredibly hard to shop for.  I disagree with that assesment. It’s easy to see what I have, just walk into my library. It’s easy to find something for me if you know what I’m into.

Still, she pesters me to make a list. When I make her a straightforward list, she complains that everything on it is impossible to find. That might be true if we didn’t have used bookstores, record exchanges, all of Coventry street in Cleveland Heights or the internet.

So this year, after a couple of weeks of griping at me about getting her a list I gave her a wide open one.

1. A movie with my favorite actor in it (the guy in my favorite movie – his wife was nice enough to send me her autograph). I don’t have too many of his films, and I don’t think I have any with both him and his wife in it.

2. A graphic Novel with my second favorite hero in it. There should be a trade from the current series out. (I’d settle for my third favorite hero or his grandfather though)

3. A standing coat rack I can put in the living room or my Library.

4. An action figure of my favorite Doctor. There’s a set of all eleven, but there’s no point in spending $100  when there’s only three in that set I would want.

5. A book by my favorite author that I don’t have a paper copy of (ebooks don’t count)

She flipped out on me.

Admittedly, this isn’t a straightforward list, but it leaves a lot more room to pick and choose something. She called it a guessing game.

Really?

Perhaps trying to figure out my favorite Doctor Who is a little difficult, I’ll give you that one, but you know what? If she asked Johnny, or Rachel, or even my Mom, they would all tell her who it was with no hesitation.

The rest of that list – is it really unreasonable of me to expect my wife of eleven years (who has known me for fifteen) to know who my favorite actor is? Is unreasonable to expect her to know what my favorite movie is? Those things haven’t changed in all the time I have known her. I read at least ten books my favorite author every year. If you look in my Library you’ll see more books by Zelazny than anyone else. colum2

I wouldn’t be offended by a wrong guess either if it were close. After all, I’ve taught classes on CS Lewis and I watch a lot of Peter Davidson other work. I also used to be really into Kevin Costner’s movies, though that was long before I met my wife.

But I come back to the question, is it unreasonable for me to expect her to know these things? I flat out told her what my favorite movie was less than six months ago and refered back to it less than two. I talked about my second favorite hero to her last month when I dressed up as him. If you just read this blog with any regularity (or scroll back through the posts) you will know these things. Of course she doesn’t read my blog (which actually hurts my feelings quite a bit) or my comic strip Violent Blue.

Keep in mind, I don’t have that much to complain about. My wife is faithful to a fault. The very idea of either of us ever cheating is so absurd neither one would ever consider it. When I arrive home at 3:00 AM there are no suspicions or questions. She has no problems with me attending conventions and getting into fandom. (I can think of one person that I almost married, who would have made me give things like that up completely) Let’s face it, she didn’t even get upset when I hit Horrorhound on our anniversary insted of staying home with her. (She got me a cute squishy TARDIS for our Anniversary by the way!). She’s a good mother to our children, and was pleasantly creative enough in the process of making them. She’s happy for me when I get a big yellow envelope in the mail, even though she rolls her eyes at it sometimes. She’s devoted to her faith and will drop everything to come and rescue me if I’m in trouble (usually involving my car). I have a GOOD wife. I don’t want this to make it look like I don’t.

But sometimes I wish she knew me better. I wish she spent time looking into my interests (The ones she dosen’t share)  instead of letting me watch TV and go to movies alone. She tried to turn the  tables on me asking “Well, do you know what MY favorite TV show is?” I immediately answered correctly “Dance Moms”, although you also never miss “CSI” despite the fact that Lawrence Fishbourn is gone and you really preferred William Peterson anyhow. Close runners up would Be “The Little Couple” and “Little People, Big World”…and actually you watch “Law and Order : SVU” more than anything else but that’s mostly because It’s on TV constantly and you do really like Martiska Hargitay. (I don’t like any of those shows BTW, though I watch most of them with her). I frequently feel like she puts me in this box, like I’m just some stupid guy who only watches horror movies and Doctor Who, and only reads comic books. There’s a lot more to me  than that and I wish she saw that.

After all, it would make Christmas shopping a great deal easier for her.


Akron Comicon

The Akron Comicon was a pleasant surprise. I really wasn’t sure what to expect as I drove the hour long trip to Akron. I checked the website earlier in the day and was disappointed to see P.Craig Russel had canceled, but otherwise everyone seemed to be scheduled to still show up. So I took the day off from Violent Blue,   donned my Shadow costume and off I went.

I had a hard time find the parking the FB page recommended, but was just as happy to park on a side street and walk the block to the show. My cloak flowed in the wind and that always puts me in a good mood.

It was a smaller space than I expected, but it was used with extreme efficiency. Almost immediately I was approached by a fellow who asked If I’d like to do an interview about my favorite comics and why I was at the con today. It pays to wear a costume! I don’t usually cosplay at horror cons because I want to look normal for photo ops, but comic cons are different.

I got in a surprisingly short line for Gerry Conway, the man who created the Punisher and wrote the death of Gwen Stacy in the Spider-Man comic series.  After taking their pictures with me, the guys in line behind me and I started to chat a bit. They showed me some beautiful reprints they were getting signed. Then on of them pulled out his copy of Spidy 120 – the issue before Gwen dies. I smiled and pulled out 121, and they nearly plotzed. IT was a good feeling. I related the story behind how I got that and the Punisher origin story (you can find it back here : https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/new-old-comics/ ) and they speculated on what these might be worth in the condition they are in. I was told I had at least a couple of hundred dollars in my backpack, but I wasn’t sure. These werent in great condition. They also pointed out that autographs don;t always increase value. That was something new to me, but in the end,  I really wanted Gerry to sign them.

When I got to the front of the line I flopped them down on the table and re told the story to Gerry who handled then with a remarkably gentle touch. He seemed to revere them almost as much as the fans behind me, advising me “You have some really expensive comics here.” He then mentioned with a smile, “these are worth more money than I was paid to write them!”

I popped over to a couple of other tables, and got to see Mike W. Barr who wrote my favorite series of Star Trek for DC. I’m not so much a TOS person or a TNG person as I am a DC comics-movie timeline person. That’s real Star Trek for me. He was also kind enough to sign my copy of Batman and the Outsiders #1 for me and chat a bit about Jim Aparo. Jim defines the look of Batman for me and I always remember Denny O’ Niel saying how brilliant he was.  Mike agreed with these statements and related a story to me about the one and only time he heard Jim complain; “It was a crossover with the Teen Titians and there were some supervillians on the cover too. He finished it and then looked at me and asked ‘They aren’t ALL going to be like this one are they?'”

It seemed like I was getting through all the lines really quickly….untill I hit Norm Breyfogels line. Now I understand he IS a bigger name, but honestly, Gerry Conways line wasn’t this long! Of course people weren’t asking him to sign entire runs of his work either. I know the sign says “No Limit” but seriously? Dropping a stack of fifty or a hundred comics to be autographed is just the lamest of fanboy behavior. Yes dude. I’m calling you out. You ARE the bad guy here and Norm was a saint to put up with you.

I attended a few of the panels, These could have been better, but were perfectly fine for a first year con. There was a fun moment during one panel on how comics are made. The presenter was using an slide show that he had already prepared for other seminars and it began with the question and definition of “What are Comics?”

“I think if youre here at this show, everyone probably already knows the answer to this one.” He topped for a moment. “Well, maybe not the guy dressed as the Shadow, but the rest of you I’m sure…” I had no comeback ready for this, but someone else did. From the audience I head a voice shout out “oh, the Shadow KNOWS!”

Lots of fun cosplayers, and a LOT of Doctor Who, including the cutest little Doctor costume I’ve ever seen on a baby. Not as many sales as I would have like to have seen though and very little in the way of film, bootlegs or rare. I would have expected at least something like the corman FF or the JLA pilot, or even Mockingbird lane. Oh well, perhaps next year.

And from what I heard, the con was successful enough to guarantee there WILL be a next year, and it totally deserves it. I’ll expect more next year, but for now, I had a blast at this years show!