TV Round-Up

It’s been fairly quiet over here on the Nerdgazzum blog.  I broke the silence over on my personal one where I have come to accept that I am suffering from depression and that’s put a bit of a stop on most things Nerdgazzum.  All of THAT noise will be over on my blog as this isn’t the place and  I wanted to break the silence on this blog by discussing what’s happening on TV at the moment.

First up, the return of The Flash.  Great mid-season premiere.  Kinda tugs at the heartstrings what with Patty and Barry and Joe and Wally but still a gripping watch.  The best bit by far had to be the credits scene with [su_spoiler title=”Spoiler!” style=”fancy”]Eobard Thawne as the Reverse Flash who has somehow returned and is rather confused…[/su_spoiler]

Next, we have Arrow and things are getting very interesting.   We have Damien Darhk and [su_spoiler title=”Spoiler!” style=”fancy”]his family who we assumed knew nothing of his activities and it turns out his wife is fully in the know and, possibly, in ordering him…[/su_spoiler] Then there’s the question of who is in the grave? Seeing as [su_spoiler title=”Spoiler!” style=”fancy”]it’s not Felicity who I think will go on to become Oracle as she’s lost the use of her legs. I reckon it’s either Oliver’s son or the boy’s mother. Felicity wasn’t wearing the engagement ring when Oliver got back into the car and see seemed mighty pissed but Oliver wasn’t THAT broken up for it to be any of the team. Perhaps, because Eobard Thawne has returned at the end of Flash, Thawne causes havoc in Star City to weaken the fledgling “Justice League”…[/su_spoiler]

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow premiered and all I can say is “WOW”.  Another great ensemble made up of familiar faces with our new acquaintance, Rip Hunter.  Action packed and gripping throughout, the episode also tugged at heart strings at a couple of different points.  I can’t wait to see where they go with this and how the other shows tie in going forward because they will, especially after [su_spoiler title=”Spoiler!” style=”fancy”]recognising Gideon’s voice who is then named later on as the AI onboard the Waverider which, as we should all know by now, was created by Barry Allen.[/su_spoiler]

It took me a while to warm to Supergirl.  I felt it was the weakest in the CW lineup but she seems to be coming into her own.  The incessant references and name-dropping alluding to her cousin, Clark, got rather boring and annoying.  But towards the mid-season break it really picked up.  Maxwell Lord and his dark plan drawing us in with great interest and, of course the reveal as to who Hank actually is.  The latest episode, “Strange Visitor From Another Planet” was incredibly strong and CW seem intent at tugging at our heart strings across all of their shows at the moment This episode was a reminder of some of the fantastic storylines in Justice League Unlimited where [su_spoiler title=”Spoiler!” style=”fancy”]we see the fate of the Martians and J’onn J’onzz (Hank) becoming the last son of Mars. The White Martians were really well done and a far better depiction compared to the animated iteration.[/su_spoiler] and then the show closes with Supergirl saving a bus [su_spoiler title=”Spoiler!” style=”fancy”]but as we know, it can’t be her as she’s sat eating ice cream watching the news as it’s happening. Looks like Maxwell Lord has created a Bizarro Supergirl which we kinda guessed when Hank infiltrated room 52…[/su_spoiler]

As stressful as having such a full TV calendar due to these fantastic shows starting back up, new shows announced and others returning soon (The Walking Dead) is,  I am still in awe that we are now in a world that accepts these bizarre storylines and characters as mainstream content and no longer a discussion kept at the back of class or away from the popular folk’s ears.  To see stuff from the comics and animated series make it to live-action and not on the “big screen” is truly amazing.   It’s an awesome time to be a geek.

Gotham – The TV Show We Do Not Need Nor Deserve

So, anyone that knows me knows I LOVE Batman and the DC Universe and very rarely do I have a negative thing to say about anything Batman related.  Aside from my major disappointment with Arkham Knight and the abominations that were the Schumacher flicks I have nothing but love for the variety of story arcs and depictions of my beloved childhood hero.  Yet I find myself struggling with Gotham.  I tried so hard to like it.  I WANTED to like it but the spoon-feeding of references and cheesiness is reminiscent of the classic TV show and that ship sailed decades ago.

I initially envisioned a Gotham that was dark, gritty and needed cleaning up.  Season 1 had me thinking that was the case and I defended the show as I so desperately wanted it to be what I thought it would become.  But then the villains started happening.  A new villain every episode with every single hint of who they are spelt out in blazing neon.  Unlike DC’s other efforts over on CW where Flash and Arrow intelligently give newcomers a treat yet don’t alienate the diehard fans with boring references and big arrows pointing at who this newcomer on screen is.

I thought this show would centre on Jim Gordon and his battle to clean up Gotham without getting too dirty himself.  I pictured a young, grieving Bruce Wayne trying to find his way in life and finding a means to overcome the loss and emptiness the demise of his parents brings him.  I pictured a gritty CSI Gotham with subtle references and indications of villains’ origins through well written stories and cameos.  I pictured a tightly woven pre-Batman world that would hold gems for fans and newcomers alike.

I was wrong.  I still watch it.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps I cling to the hope a new writing team and/or show runner comes in as the offscreen Jim Gordon to clean this mess up.  Every time a new villain casting is announce I die a little inside and the calamity grows.  I really enjoyed the Court of Owls run in the comics and, season 2 brought us a link to that arc and I am displeased with how it has played thus far.  The Order of St Dumas came into play, Edward Nygma’s license plate is “RIDDLR”, Penguin’s bizarre and annoying mother…so many let downs that I lose respect for villains I respected and loved in the comics and other media.

Season 1 was the closest we got to what I expected; the (short-lived) turf wars between Falcone and Maroni (and the wretched Fish Mooney that was not required at all).  It was all down hill from there.   Just look at little Bruce, not at all consumed by his parents’ death as he should be.  This is the defining moment in this child’s life and he’s acting more like what a young Alan Sugar would as opposed to the heir to millions who was face to face with his parents’ killer and, who was technically responsible for their death.

The freaks in masks shouldn’t appear until Batman does – the age old argument, is Batman friend or foe and do we need him?  If Batman wasn’t around, would the lunatics have come out of the woodwork?

I watch Flash and Arrow and every time Cisco drops a name reference or every time you see the likes of a pilot’s jacket with the name ‘JORDAN’ with no major focus or reference to it I get giddy and the fanboy gets excited.  I watch Gotham where everything is spoon-fed to the viewer and I yawn and feel no excitement for the next episode.  Perhaps we did need a Gotham TV series.  Just not right now.

Nerdful Things 11/07/15

Let’s start this week’s Nerdful Things with the news of the Mystery Funko POP!  The option to buy a random Funko POP! from my in stock items (unless they sell out in which case I will order more random POP!s in) has been added to the store.  I’m still looking at other mystery box options (other manufacturers as well as bigger boxes packed with goodies).   As a bonus, the mystery box is being offered at a discounted price (cheaper than the cost of a regular POP!) for the first month.

Now, at this point I had intended on adding the other store additions here.  I had left it for today to update but yesterday a bombshell hit my e-mail.  A short and sweet e-mail with details of the SDCC Funko POP! pre-orders so I dropped everything.  After a rush to break the news I managed to get the store updated and also hit up eBay.  It’s taken a while in between my internet completely screwing up (I’ve rebooted my router countless times over the last 24 hours) as well as handling all the e-mails, messages and looking after 3 kids.  Considering my current state of health I haven’t done too bad!

Anyhoo, enough about my woes!  This week’s Nerdful things has now been hijacked by SDCC and I will to a bumper edition next week to cover what I was going to do originally!

You can view/pre-order the SDCC POP!s here.

I’ve submitted my figures to the distributor and hope to fulfill each and every order.  In the event I can’t, full/partial refunds (where applicable) will be issued.  Last year was less of a rush, considering I’d only been in operation for about 3 months.  More warning was given regarding the available items but it came with the drawback that items were staggered from August to November and saw some MAJOR delays and turned into some cancellations.  This year has seen a whirlwind tear through but the plus side is that the items are scheduled to drop much, much sooner.  Most are scheduled for later this month with a couple in August and one in September/October.  Details of estimated dates are on each product page.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the various announcements and news coming from San Diego and if you’re actually there or have been…well. I’m sure you’re feeling victorious after some epic hauls and signings etc!

 

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Constantine (TV Show)

I watched the Constantine pilot a few nights back.

I really enjoyed it but I feel I probably would benefit from reading more of the comics (I’ve read the New 52 stuff such as Justice League Dark).  I got some of the references (such as Dr Fate’s helmet) and loved the dark, gritty look and feel of the show.

Not sure about the casting but it coulda been worse (Keanu Reeves…) I’m excited to see what else is brought to the table and how well this weaves into other storylines and characters.   James Marsters (Spike in Buffy The Vampire Slayer) is the type of figure I had in mind…

I have a sneaking suspicion that CW can’t be beaten in terms of intertwining characters and references – Arrow and the Flash are immense and go from strength to strength.

I have faith, however, and DC seem to be strengthening their TV presence.  In comparison to Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D,  DC are pwning the airwaves.  My main hope is that these shows then give DC the much needed clout in the movie business.  Superman and Batman (as much as I worship the Bat) have had too much attention in the movies and the way it’s going now, DC’s gallery of heroes and rogues are getting the attention they deserve as DC’s ever-strong animated presence is only going to skim the surface of viewers as not everyone will watch animation.

Constantine looks like it will be what I had hoped Supernatural would have been (after season 6 it went way downhill…it should’ve ended then and not continued).

So, fingers crossed but this pilot was very promising.  Roll on episode 2!

Justice League: War – The Review

I sat up watching Justice League: War last night in the dark.  My notes may not make much sense as I convert them into this review but I want to start off by saying there may be spoilers for you ahead but I’m going to give more of a general overview rather than a step by step breakdown of the entire movie.

A lot of what transpires in the movie is well known via various comic arcs and animated episodes of the Justice League.  Based on Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns, Jim Lee and Scott Williams to kick of their debut on the New 52 Justice League arc, the movie gives us a quick introduction to Green Lantern, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman, Cyborg and Shazam as well as bringing Darkseid into the fray with his converted minions to terraform earth and consume it as he has multiple other planets and universes.

So, we start off with reports of the ‘Batman’ with terrified victims being snatched by a bat-like creature.  Batman is clearly still a being of myth and legend, still hunted by the GCPD based on reports of the elusive crime fighter that people would rather deny the existence of.  It soon turns out that this is not Batman but a creature similar to a lizard but equipped with alien technology and armour as well as the ability to breathe fire.

Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) swoops in after the kidnapper swipes his latest victim and soon discovers that this is a formidable foe.  After a beautifully animated fight sequence with complimentary explosions, Batman arrives to assist.  This is HIS city, after all.

We encounter our first of many comical comments from Green Lantern when he says, “Batman?  You’re REAL?!”  As the movie progresses, Green Lantern and Batman have a few sarcastic and comical exchanges.  It nails the character of Hal Jordan from the comics and the dry, matter-of-factly Bruce Wayne.

Another fantastic sequence ensues when Batman attaches his grapple-hook to what we later find out to be a Parademon.  Just as he takes off he states “This is my city”  To which Green Lantern responds “This entire space sector is mine”.  It [Parademon] flies through Gotham with Batman in tow, swooping by buildings and other objects that would make you hurl with fear of dying if you came into contact with them.

Shortly after, the creature escapes into the sewer system.  As they pursue, another pleasant exchange takes place between the two.  “I’m a Green Lantern, I can do anything.”  “Except shut up, apparently,” Batman responds.  Green Lantern then probes Batman in the familiar fashion of the comics by questioning what his abilities and powers are.  My favourite part of this scene is where Green Lantern asks, “Do you fly?”  And Batman responds with, “In a plane.”  It’s a very short line but the humour rings through for those die hard fans of DC comics – every incarnation of the meeting of the two has an element of disbelief and sarcasm when it comes to the fact that this guy, Bruce Wayne, is just a guy in a bat suit.

I’m not going to give a running commentary on the movie, you’ll see and hear everything I describe if you watch it yourself – that was just a taste of the first few minutes of the movie opening and sums up the overall tone. Later we get introduced to Wonder Woman in the company of Steve Trevor, about to introduce Diana to the President of the United States when the Parademons attack the White House.

The way all of the remaining members of the reluctant ‘team’ and ‘super friends’ are introduced is great, Cyborg’s creation by far one of my favourite parts of the movie.  Darkseid’s eventual arrival and the way he swats Superman and the others out of the air and breaks Green Lantern’s arm using less energy than a halogen heater on it’s lowest setting spells impending doom for Gotham, Metropolis and the rest of the world.

Through problem solving and teamwork, Darkseid is defeated and teleported back to his homeworld.  The heroes who were hated and feared previously are now celebrated as champions of Earth.  Their little remarks and conversations as the President addresses the public shows how much they do not want to work together and they want to go their separate ways, but we all know that Earth will be under attack again and again and this unlikely bunch will need to band together to save us all.  Meet the Super Seven!  Wait…that name sucks.

So…how does this movie fare?

Well, the story is fantastic.  Most DC fans already know it but it’s great to see it in a feature length film with what animation has to offer today.  The animation is amazing and fluid and it makes it feel like we’re watching a comic book unfold in motion on our screens.  The voice acting takes a little while to get used to when your Batman is Kevin Conroy but once you get past the voice talents that are missing you can enjoy the ones that are actually there.  My reaction to the voices was similar to when I watched Batman: The Dark Knight Returns – I couldn’t embrace Bruce Wayne/Batman and Commissioner Gordon’s voices but after a few viewings I got over it.

The movie is done in a way that, regardless of your knowledge of the characters and the DC universe, everyone can enjoy it.  Fanboys may see some things they haven’t seen before and newcomers can just enjoy the ride.  DC know what they’re doing and, by tying this release as well as some of their other titles in with the New 52 series, it may gain a new readership rather than potential readers being put off by wondering where to start in the massive back catalogue of previous titles.

So, here’s my breakdown via the gift of stars:

[usrlist “Movie:4.5” “Animation:5” “Story:5” “VoiceActing:4”]