Archive for June, 2022

Media Update 6/30/22

June 30, 2022

Ms. Marvel

I was a huge fan of the 2014 release of Ms. Marvel as part of a fresh new look at what a Marvel superhero could be. Kamala Khan was the first Muslim superhero while also being a super relatable teen girl. Even I, a white guy, saw myself in Kamala’s nerdy and clumsy energy. She was a delight. This is the story of a young Muslim living in New York City who obtains superpowers and must deal with her heritage, her culture, the US government, and more. Iman Vellani is absolutely adorable and does an excellent job capturing the spirit of the title character. She is somebody I really love spending time watching. Zenobia Shroff and Mohan Kapur are so great as Kamala’s strict yet loveable parents. I also really love Yasmeen Fletcher as Kamala’s extremely clever and brave cousin. Between the dialogue and the visuals, this show is so beautiful. It is funny, touching, and exciting. I recommend this show.

Class of Titans

This one was recommended by a friend and I was pleasantly surprised. A group of teens discovers that they are descended from Greek heroes and are destined to form a team to save the world from the mad Titan Cronos. I had a similar idea in the early 2000s. So did Rick Riordan who came out with the first Percy Jackson book the same year as this cartoon came out (2005). The show is very much a 2000s Canadian animated show. However, I was surprised at how much depth the show has. It reminded me kind of like a mix of Percy Jackson, X-Men Evolution, and Captain Planet. I was also surprised how much mythology they mention both as part of the main plot and in throwaway gags. I recommend this show.


I had never heard of the character of Naomi McDuffie from DC Comics before this CW show was announced. It is connected to the Arrowverse yet also standalone. The show stresses mystery and navigating relationships instead of action. It is a fascinating mystery so far. In a world where the DC heroes we know are comic book characters, Superman suddenly appears and changes everything for a young girl. Kaci Walfall is great as the titular character, a young woman who thinks she has everything figured out and then her world is shaken. Mary-Charles Jones shines as the motormouth best friend. The whole cast is great as Naomi deals with her military parents and her friends and potential romantic partners. I am interested to see where this goes and I am already sad that it was canceled in the great CW bloodbath. I recommend this show.

Music of the Week:

Rina Sawayama – This Hell

Spiritbox – Rotoscope

Neck Deep – STFU

Megan Thee Stallion – Plan B

Mashup of the Week:

Tablaro – Around Without Me

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Teen Heroes”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Jesse Cox, Game Grumps, Barry Kramer, Gabi Belle, Super Beard Bros, Attorney Tom, SuperHorrorBro, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Major League Wrestling, Wait in the Wings
  • I finished Batwoman Season 2
  • I started watching Stranger Things Season 4
  • I watched more Archive 81 Season 1
  • I watched more Blacklist Season 8
  • I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 6

Top 11 Obscure TV Shows That Only I Might Remember Pt. 2

June 27, 2022

6. Moonlight (9/07 – 5/08)

When this show came out, I was already two years into working in New Jersey with very little money and not much access to television. This was before there were streaming services, of course. I wouldn’t have had the money for a streaming service anyway. I actually bought episodes of this show with Pepsi points of all things. This show is about a vampiric private investigator who struggles to help humanity more than he helps it. I was drawn to the show because of Jason Dohring who was a regular on this show and had been a featured actor on my favorite show Veronica Mars. The show approached vampirism in interesting ways. Their unique lore feels closer to something you would see in Vampire The Masquerade with vampires getting some extra non-traditional powers. For example, Dohring’s character was older than the main character but the main character’s actor was older than Dohring. The main character was played by Alex O’Laughlin who is charismatic and was an easy character to follow. The mysteries that O’Laughlin tackled were also interesting. It often involved undead politics and also human/vampire interactions. The show only made it one season, laid low by the writers’ strike of that time.

5. Freakzoid! (6/95 – 6/97)

I thought a while about including this on the list because my friends and I talk about this series all the time. I watched it religiously because it ran concurrently with Animaniacs, a much more remembered cartoon from the time. Freakazoid was about a young teen Dexter Douglas who accidentally gets zapped into cyberspace and gains the ability to turn into the Freakazoid, a hero basically made of the Internet. However, they often tossed that origin aside if it did not further the plot. Freakazoid is played by Paul Rugg and is an often childish but well-meaning hero. He is highly distractible and is not always on the ball but comes through in a pinch. He usually pals around with a middle-aged cop named Cosgrove (voiced by Ed Asner). His rogue’s gallery is just as silly as he is and so are all of the other heroes he encounters. The episode’s rough plot is just an excuse for gag after gag kind of like movies like Airplane! or Police Squad. While every episode has a Freakzoid story, it also has a few shorts about other heroes. The show lasted years but only 24 episodes.

4. Dead Like Me (6/03 – 10/04)

I only caught this show because a friend of mine lent me his DVDs well after it was on the air. He knew the offbeat stuff that I was into and raved about the show and I agreed to check it out. I was immediately hooked. This show follows George Lass, a young woman on the verge of getting her life together when she is hit by debris from a destroyed space station and killed. Instead of moving on, she is tapped to become a grim reaper and tasked with taking people’s souls before they die of misadventure. Ellen Muth plays the lead and she is snarky and relatable as somebody caught in a day job even after death. Her boss is the gruff but likable Rube played by Mandy Patinkin. They are joined by a British drug addict, a meter maid, and an ex-actress in a misfit squad of reapers. The show also follows George’s family as they mourn her and try to figure out how to move on. The show made it two seasons and had a movie sans Mandy Patinkin who was apparently difficult to work with.

3. The Unusuals (4/09 – 6/09)

I am not even sure how I managed to watch this show as it was not on for long. As well as I can remember, I probably watched this directly on ABC’s website as the start of on-demand viewing. I tried it on a whim having seen a thumbnail and I immediately latched on. This show is about the New York City police precinct that always has to handle the weird stuff. Not supernatural but just erratic, absurd behavior. The show stars Amber Tamblyn who plays a young cop from a rich family who becomes a detective. She is great as the audience’s surrogate as the newbie who needs things explained to her but she is very clever in her own right.  Her partner is played by Jeremy Renner, a hardened yet empathetic cop trying to root out corruption in the force. Harold Perrineau and Adam Goldberg play a hysterical odd couple pair of partners who oscillate between bickering and having each other’s backs. The rest of the cast are also oddballs. Each episode has several cases being run at once, each one strange and comical. The show only made it ten episodes. 

2. Terriers (9/10 – 12/10)

I only recently started and finished watching this show this year so it is the show on this list freshest in my mind. It had been on my list for quite a while because of the advertisements that I saw. The show is about two private detectives, former cop Hank and former criminal Britt who struggle to make ends meet. Hank is played by Donal Logue, one of my favorite actors, and is a recovering alcoholic trying to do his best. Britt is a former thief and is eager to walk the straight and narrow as long as his bills keep getting paid. The show’s strength is in the chemistry between these two tight friends. We also get to know the interesting characters in their orbit. The show is really good at creating standalone episodes that also further long plot arcs and was actually pretty brilliant at putting things together. Logue’s acting in particular is so good. The show does not pull any punches when it comes to darkness but it has a lot of comedy as well. The show’s one season lasted only a few months.

1. Life (9/07 – 4/09)

This was another show that was introduced to me by my only friend up in New Jersey. I had no idea it existed and probably would never have known about it without his help. It just has such a generic title that I may never have given it a second glance. The show is about a cop who gets framed for murder but is exonerated by DNA years later. As part of a settlement with the city, he gets his badge back plus millions of dollars. Damien Lewis plays this cop, Detective Crews, who has become very zen in order to survive being a cop in prison. He acts offbeat and very un-cop like which creates both incredible dramatic moments and comedic ones. His partner is Reese, played by Sarah Shahi who comes across as hard but is secretly compassionate and really good at her job. The show also has great characters played by Donal Logue, Adam Arkin, Brent Sexton, Brooke Langton, and Robin Weigert. The series has a really great at laying out a big mystery while also having episodes that worked great on their own. This remains in my top five favorite shows. It only made it two seasons.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 4

June 25, 2022

Rapunzel all but leaped into Eugene’s arms with a shout. The princess had never really been shy about expressing herself, especially when it came to Eugene. Thankfully, Flynn was physically able to catch her and she had a very light frame. He swept her up in his arms and pulled her close for a kiss.

“Oh my goodness, Eugene!” Rapunzel said. “It feels like I haven’t seen you forever. I’ve got so much to tell you.”

“The eternal optimist,” Eugene said. “I wasn’t as sure that I would ever see you again but I kept going just in case. I’m glad to be proven wrong.”

“I like proving you wrong,” Rapunzel said. “And I’ll always find my way back to you. I promise. You know how important promises are to me.”

“I do,” Eugene said. “One of the many reasons why I proposed. Your honesty and loyalty has really rubbed off on me.”

“Oh?” Rapunzel asked. “Have you been well-behaved?”

“Yes,” Eugene said. “But I didn’t have much choice. I was imprisoned by a witch.”

“Really!?” Rapunzel asked and stepped back to examine him. “Did she hurt you?”

“Not really. She was a very incompetent witch,” Eugene said. “She caught me off guard when I ended up in Hawaii.”

“Hawaii?” Rapunzel asked. “I like the name. Speaking of witches, Gothel is here.”

“Gothel?” Eugene asked. “Last time I saw her, she stabbed me.”

“I remember,” Rapunzel said. “She’s locked up in a cell, though. Everybody knows who and what she is so there’s nobody for her to manipulate here.”

“Have you seen her?” Eugene asked.

“No,” Rapunzel said. “I haven’t visited.”

“Do you want to visit?” Eugene asked. He stroked her cheek with his hand and she closed her eyes and pressed her cheek into his palm.

“No,” Rapunzel said. “I don’t think I want to revisit that chapter of my life. Besides, my hair is coming back in and she’s obsessed with it.”

“I was going to ask about that,” Eugene said. “Any explanation?”

“None,” Rapunzel said with a shrug. “As for Gothel, let the others deal with her. If I have to deal with her, I’ll cross that bridge then.”

“We will,” Eugene said. “Together.”

*         *          *

“Anna!” Elsa shouted. “There you are! I was so worried.”

“I wasn’t,” Anna said. “Ok well, I was a little bit. It got really bad there for a bit but I always have faith that we’ll find each other again. We’ve been through so much already. The long separation, the blizzard of Arendelle, the elemental spirits, the Enchanted Forest, the Jotunn, the flood, everything and we’re still standing.”

“I remember all of that, of course,” Elsa said. “But I like being there to protect you.”

“I should remind you that I’m a queen now too and that I can take care of myself,” Anna said. “But I also do like it when you protect me. I like being with you.”

“I never thought we’d be in this strange place,” Elsa said. “So far from home. I sent Mattias back to Arendelle to check on things.”

“I hope he’s alright,” Anna said. “I hope Kristoff is alright too. All of our friends and family are nowhere in sight.”

“I have a feeling that I would know if something permanent happened to Olaf,” Elsa said. “Kristoff can take care of himself usually and when he can’t, he has Sven.”

“True,” Anna said. “I’m sure he’s fine. I do wish the Grand Pabbie was here, though.”

“We seem to be in good hands with the fairies,” Elsa said. “They seem wise enough.”

“I never thought I’d see a real fairy,” Rapunzel said. “It was amazing.”

“The way our lives have gone, I thought it was pretty much inevitable that we would get around to fairies,” Elsa said.

Anna laughed. “I guess you’re right,” she said. “We seem to attract magic.”

“At least, I do,” Elsa said, a guilty look crossing her face

“Don’t go blaming yourself,” Anna said. “We’re in this together.”

Media Update 6/23/22

June 23, 2022

Death Drop Gorgeous

I saw this pop up on Shudder and I was intrigued. The title is a play on the term “drop dead gorgeous” but instead references the “death drop” which is a stylized pose in drag shows. This movie is about a drag club where gay guys start getting murdered one by one. As one might suspect, the acting and plot are very campy. Still, the movie definitely has a good heart and actually has a decent message. The drag queens are very fun and the non drag characters are the actual protagonists. There is not much gore in this one but the deaths are fairly brutal but also mischievously fun. Michael McAdam steals so many scenes as the faded star Gloria Hole and she is an absolute delight. Michael Alhern, Christopher Dalpe, and Brandon Perras do triple duty as co-directors, co-writers, and actors in the movie. The rest of the cast is so good. I recommend this movie.

Daughters of Darkness

I had heard a lot about this movie and I lucked out that it just dropped on Shudder so it was meant to be. A newly married couple ends up at an empty hotel in a resort town in Belgium. However, they are shortly joined by a mysterious woman and her female companion. Delphine Seyrig steals all of her scenes as the enigmatic yet playful Countess Bathory. Danielle Oumet is likable and pitiful as the newly wed bride. John Karlen is easy to dislike as the hotheaded and pushy aristocratic husband. Andrea Rau is so interesting as the young “companion” of the Countess. The whole movie has a dreamy feel to it and there is a ton of subtext and not much gore. It is more of a character and tone piece with a ton of subtext and coding without saying the obvious parts too loudly. It is a stylish production that takes advantage of the beauty of the three actresses and a beautiful hotel. I recommend this movie.

Fear No Evil – Prime

While this movie is not explicitly gay, there are some definite undertones that can be interpreted as coming out of the closet. Lucifer repeatedly is born into physical form on Earth and three angels (Mikhail, Rafael, and Gabriel) have sworn to God that they will kill Lucifer to prevent his takeover of Earth. Lucifer is in the body of an awkward 18-year-old teenager. The movie is clunky and kind of has a hard time figuring out who the main character is but has a lot of neat moments. It is kind of like a campier version of The Omen. Stefan Arngrim plays Lucifer as both reserved and incredibly campy and I found him a lot of fun. Elizabeth Hoffman plays the troubled human form of Mikhail, an old lonely yet wise woman and she is fun when things go off the rails. 

Kathleen Rowe McAllen plays a dreamy teenage girl who is mysteriously drawn to this whole thing. I recommend this movie for the campiness.

Music of the Week:

Thou – The Changeling Prince

Dai Burger – Bite The Burger

Trace Lysette – SMB

Worriers – Yes All Cops

Mashup of the Week:

Viclis – Nightsquare

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Queer Horror”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Jesse Cox, Game Grumps, Barry Kramer, Gabi Belle, Jarvis Johnson, Super Beard Bros, Attorney Tom, Rina DeCoro, Chad Chad, SuperHorrorBro, Impact Wrestling

Rolling Stone Top 100 Pt. 17

June 20, 2022

96. Martha and the Vandellas – Heatwave

This is one of those songs that I heard over and over as a kid but I am pretty sure the first time I gave it a lot of notice was when I saw it in Sister Act. That movie and its sequel was such a good thing for music performed by these wonderful girl groups. Naturally, the original version is way better than Whoopi Goldberg and her fellows. The lyrics speak not of a literal heatwave but of the heat of passion that is both constructive and destructive. Love can be dangerous and volatile. Martha Reeves was a great singer and the Vandellas the perfect compliment to her. I really love the steady drum beat accompanied by a very nice saxophone (complete with solo). 

97. Diana Ross and the Supremes – Stop! In the Name of Love

When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by the lyrics of this song because it treated the concept of love like it was an authority. It reminded me of how Sailor Moon often said that she stood for love and justice. The idea intrigued me. This song actually came back to me in a big way when I worked in west Baltimore for a summer. Apparently, the song was a huge hit on the house and club circuit and there was a particular remix that was hugely popular. The song itself is, of course, great. Diana Ross does a great job blending in with the Supremes and they sing as a team. The backing instrumentals are simple but compliment the voices on the track.

98. Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up

This song feels so seventies to me with the mix of brass and guitar with soulful singing. That makes sense as the song is from Mayfield’s self-titled debut album released in 1970. Except it is so energetic from the getgo. It has to be as the song lasts nearly nine minutes and its joyful energy never flags or fails. Mayfield’s vocals sound playful and excited like a celebration. The familiar brass riff with a complicated, driving drum beat make sure the party continues while Mayfield is not singing. 

99. REM – Losing My Religion

Funny enough, this song came out at a time when I stopped going to church and started feeling like church was unnecessary for me. However, singer Michael Stipe has insisted that the song is not about religion. Instead, it is about unrequited love and the slang (which is apparently a thing in the American South) which means losing your cool or ‘flying off of the handle’. This actually fits a lot with me personally as well. Around this time I started to get very angry easily, something I only let go of relatively recently. I have always loved Stipe’s voice as his style could have easily come off as whiny but he does longing and sadness really well. Aside from the lyrics, the rest of the song was basically written by guitarist Peter Buck who came up with the song while learning the mandolin. The guitar work is really good and I can hear where it might have come from that different style.

100. Talking Heads – Once In a Lifetime

One of the main reasons that I picked this song over other songs is the sing-speaking that happens before the song starts and at intervals during the song. The strange rambling of the song is definitely memorable and interesting to me. I find myself repeating “This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife” randomly all the time in my head. I love the instrumentals, especially the groovy drumbeat throughout. I really like when things get weird and this song definitely feels like a musical version of David Lynch. Some of it is very clear but some of it requires interpretation.

Undead Reckoning Pt. 14

June 18, 2022

“Who are you?!” Talbot asked of the mystery woman. It came out louder than he had meant to but as he watched her, he imagined how she had been in the dream. Dying in bloody agony.

“You forget your manners, Sergeant Hawkwing,” Lord Blackrance said. “Perhaps you should sit down. You look a bit pale. We can get you some tea if you’d like.”

“Don’t try and change the subject, Blackrance,” Talbot said. “Who is she? Who are you, miss?” He kept seeing blood pouring from the gaping wound in her chest. He remembered holding her in his arms. He remembered her voice.

The woman looked both curious and amused but spoke calmly. “Please sit down, Mr. Hawkwing,” she said. “I will try my best to explain what may have happened.”

Talbot found a chair and sat down. His mind was racing as he imagined so many questions and possibilities.”

“Tea, Sergeant?” Lord Blackrance asked. “Perhaps something stronger considering your sudden fright?”

Talbot nodded. “Yes, Lord Blackrance, maybe we ought to go right on to coffee,” he said. “I suddenly feel very tired.”

Lord Blackrance gestured and Titus hurried off, presumably to fetch Talbot’s coffee. Blackrance sat back in his chair as if he was watching a stage play.

“Well, Mr. Hawkwing, do we know each other?” The woman asked, her eyes studying him. Talbot suddenly got the feeling that she studied people a lot with those eyes.

“I would answer with a no,” Talbot said. “I don’t even know your name but I have seen your face before. I have also heard your voice” 

“And where did you see my face and hear my voice?” The woman asked. She did not look entirely surprised. She was definitely a cool customer.

“I saw you in a dream,” Talbot said slowly, watching the woman’s face. “On the train ride here when I dozed off. When I saw you in the dream you -” 

The woman held up a hand and cut Talbot off before he could continue. “Please do not tell me what happened in the dream,” she said. “I’d rather not know. I already know too much. My name is Kare Coldlight and I am a seer. What you experienced was most likely an aftereffect of my abilities. When my abilities have touched on somebody, they can be entangled with my soul and I suppose that can come up in dreams. There is still a lot that I don’t know about my particular abilities. I apologize, Mr. Hawkwing.”

“It’s just Talbot,” Talbot said. “But thank you for not calling me Sergeant. I suppose that does explain things and I don’t need an apology, I guess. Why did you foresee me?”

“It’s not just you,” Kara said, glancing at Lord Blackrance. “It’s the others too. It’s everybody.”

There were footsteps on the stairs and Talbot saw that the dinner companions from the night before were coming downstairs. All of them were foreseen by Kara Coldlight, Talbot surmised. Things were starting to make a bit more sense but there were still a lot of questions.

“Yes, well, let me explain,” Blackrance said. “All of you, gather close. I want to thank you all for making the journey here. As you may have guessed, my name is Lord Callum Blackrance and I am the benefactor who has summoned you here. Some of you I have met before but others I know only through your reputations. You were all chosen through the gifts of Kara Coldlight, a seer in my employ.” He gestured toward Kara. “This is her.” Kara bowed her head as a greeting.

“When I have a wrong that needs righting, I call on Kara to seek out the best candidates with her second sight. She has chosen all of you.”

Media Update 6/14/22

June 16, 2022

Our Flag Means Death

I have been through a few periods in my life where I have obsessed over pirate history. Part of that was influenced by being a pirate descendant and playing Sid Meier’s Pirates. Regardless, I have read books and researched the true stories of legendary criminal figures. So when I heard they were making a show about Stede Bonnet, I was excited. He was not a good pirate but was a good boss. Of course, the show is created by Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby who work so well together. This is basically a historical rom-com with several characters going on journeys of self-discovery. Rhys Darby is delightful as the aristocratic Stede Bonnet who likes the idea of being a pirate but not any of the actual pirate activities. Taika Waititi is great as the gruff yet secretly sensitive Blackbeard, a great brooding performance. The rest of the cast is full of loveable misfits, throwing out many funny asides while being fully rounded characters. The show is infinitely quotable. I recommend this show.

De La Terreur, Mes Soeurs! (Terror, Sisters!)

I do not usually talk at length about short films but I am making an exception for this piece. I had seen the poster for it in the Shudder UI and I thought it was visually interesting. When I read the blurb, I thought it would be perfect for this June. The other day, I found out that it is only 27 minutes long but I decided to watch it regardless of whether I would review it here or mention it below in the weekly update. This short took me on a journey that was worth talking about. The story seems simple enough. Four transwomen imagine how they would get their revenge on the cis normative system/fix this cis-tem. Each woman’s idea is shown in full and allowed to play out. This leads to very surreal looks at the frustration and crushing oppression that trans people face daily. It can be silly, exciting, scary, and touching in turn. It is a great emotional snapshot of what it feels like to be trans. In a mere 27 minutes, I felt like I was let inside the heads of the four main characters and allowed to know what makes them tick. Actresses Nana Benamer, Naëlle Dariya, Raya Martigny, and Dustin Muchuvitz felt like people I would like hanging out with which is the point. I highly recommend this trippy short but know that it is in French.

Multiple Maniacs

As a proud Baltimorean, I know John Waters well. In fact, I used to live near his house and play in his backyard. However, there are still a few early movies of his that I have not seen. Of course, those are the ones that are the craziest. I decided to watch this fever dream of a movie as it was perfect for this week’s theme. The movie stars Divine as the insane diva of a sideshow full of sexual perversions. The movie largely follows her as she suffers and makes people suffer. Mink Stole plays a woman who opens her eyes to the joys of woman on woman sex. Graphically. Meanwhile, we follow Divine’s ex played by David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pearce who are plotting to kill Divine. The plot barely matters as the movie is a series of crazy happenings mixed in with commentary on human sexuality, perversion, and how we react to it. I recommend this madness but uptight religious types should stay away.

Music of the Week:

Demi Lovato – Skin Of My Teeth

Kiddy Smile – Sugar

Rita Ora – Finish Line

Against Me! – True Trans Soul Rebel

Mashup of the Week:

Mashups and Remixes by Rich – Numb In Havana

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Be Gay Do Crimes”
  • I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch: Jesse Cox, Game Grumps, Barry Kramer, Gabi Belle, Jarvis Johnson, Super Beard Bros, Attorney Tom, Rina DeCoro
  • I watched more Batwoman Season 2
  • I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 12

Top 11 Obscure TV Shows That Only I Might Remember Pt. 1

June 13, 2022

11. Happy Hour (4/99 – 7/99)

This is the show that sparked this list. I was unsure if the show actually existed until I found episodes on YouTube. I had mistakenly misremembered the title of this show as Viva Variety which is a completely different show. This is a variety show but it is also a game show in the style of Whose Line Is It Anyway. One of the things that I correctly remembered is that the show is hosted by Ahmet and Dweezil Zappa, the sons of the famous musician and funny lunatic Frank Zappa. The two are wonderfully weird but they definitely walk that line between being entertaining and being annoying. I can see both opinions as valid. The two sing and keep the show moving kind of like emcees. Celebrity guests are divided into teams who compete against each other. They perform karaoke as a group and answer trivia questions in themed games. The atmosphere was wild and chaotic and felt like it was just people hanging out in a barely controlled jovial frenzy. I really liked the show but it was gone after three months.

10. Defiance (4/13 – 8/15)

This was a bit of a crazy show. Part of what made the show so wild is that it seemed to be an experiment that has not been repeated on the same scale. The idea is that this television show would come out concurrently with an MMORPG set in the same setting with all of the show’s characters as NPCs. So you had to have a television studio working very closely with a video game studio to try and make sure that the lore and visuals were consistent. The show takes place in a future settlement of Defiance which was formerly St. Louis, Missouri after aliens arrived and terraformed the Earth. Humans live in a tense harmony with several other species all of whom have their own cultures, traditions, and hang-ups. The worldbuilding is really great and the character designs of the various races and creatures were a breath of fresh air, similar to shows like Farscape. The real strength of the show for me was the strong character work from all of the actors as they come into conflict with each other while trying to survive. Tony Curran was the clear standout on the show. The show made it three seasons but the companion game existed in some form until 2021 when the servers shut down.

9. KaBlam! (8/96 – 1/00)

This was a show that I remembered strongly but did not remember where I saw it. I mistakenly thought that it had been on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim instead of primetime Nickelodeon. The latter actually makes more sense as there was nothing in the show truly objectionable for kids. The show was a cartoon variety show which had a theme based on a comic book. It was hosted by comic book characters Henry and June. They would snark at each other and introduce each cartoon. The main cartoon that I tuned in for was a stop-action show using action figures called Action League Now! which followed a group of misfit heroes fighting a villainous city mayor. My other favorite was Prometheus and Bob which had no dialogue and involved the slapstick shenanigans of an alien trying to teach a human caveman about more advanced concepts. There was also a show about odd-couple roommates called Sniz and Fondue, another stop motion show called Life With Loopy which was a funny slice of life about a goofy family, and finally The Offbeats about a group of school misfits trying to succeed against the popular kids. There were plenty of other cartoons that popped up here and there but those were the main ones. It introduced a lot of animators to the industry and had a subversive humor to it.

8. Beakman’s World (9/92 – 1/98)

The Sharks to Bill Nye’s Jets, Beakman’s World was a show that taught science to kids in a comedic way. This show was born out of a weekly newspaper feature that ran alongside the comics in a lot of papers. In the newspaper, Beakman and Jax would teach kids some simple science in a brief yet understandable way. The show starred Paul Zaloom as the titular scientist who answered letters from fans and did more in-depth explanations of scientific principles and systems. He was joined each season by various female assistants and his “lab rat” Lester. The female assistants (Josie, Liza, and Phoebe) were excitable and often acted more as co-hosts. Lester was a grown man dressed in a tattered rat costume and whether he was a rat or a man was left ambiguous. He was mainly there to spout ignorant things for Beakman to correct. The show was very frenetic, rapidly moving from bit to bit but still keeping the science coherent and funny. I watched this show a lot during my childhood but never Bill Nye until a lot later.

7. M.A.N.T.I.S. (8/94 – 3/95)

This show is criminally neglected as it was probably too far ahead of its time. It was a show about a Black scientist who is shot and paralyzed by a police sniper during a riot as he was trying to save a child in danger. During his attempts to sue the police department, he uncovers evidence of widespread corruption and an agenda against Black communities. Sounds familiar, He used his scientific know-how and funds from his company to create an exoskeleton that allowed him not only to walk again but the ability to fight crime as well. Fittingly, the suit is outfitted with tranquilizing darts. Unfortunately, they quickly turned away from the police corruption storyline immediately after the pilot. Still, the show was entertaining and was paired with The Flash in the CBS lineup. The star Carl Lumbly was so good at bringing life to this man of science who wanted to protect his friends and his community. Fun fact, it was one of Sam Raimi’s many TV projects. It only made it one full season.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 3

June 11, 2022

The portal opened, Enchantress beckoned, and everybody came through. Aurora came through first with her hand on her sword hilt as usual but relaxed when it seemed that everything was safe and calm for the moment. Jasmine was impressed that she walked right up to Jasmine and shook her hand as clearly, she was in charge. Aladdin was standing next to her but he did really exude royalty. This armor-clad woman exuded a lot of royalty.

“Thank you for your hospitality,” she said. “My name is Princess Aurora and I will do my best to use this sword to safeguard our cause and wellbeing.”

“Thank you,” Jasmine said. “I am Queen Jasmine, ruler of this land. Your oath is unnecessary but welcome. This scruffy man is my consort and husband Aladdin.”

“Nice to meet you,” Aladdin said a little too casually but Jasmine let it slide, of course. There would be time and energy for manners and etiquette later. Besides, that smile of his was impossible to be mad at for long.

Aurora turned as Adam, Belle, Tiana, Esmerelda, and Eugene walked through the portal together. Jasmine was relieved that none of them looked monstrous. Perhaps this would all work out after all. She reapplied her best smile.

“Welcome to Agrabah!” She called out. “All who come in peace are welcome. It is unfortunate that I am hosting you in this recently seized enemy fortress instead of the palace. It is hard to be so generous to guests here but we make do. We will find somewhere for you to sleep in private before we get to the matter at hand.” Jasmine turned toward Enchantress. “We have time to rest before, right?” But Enchantress was no longer there. Godmother looked just as startled.

“I will go find her,” Godmother said. “I’m sure there must be time to rest before the final battle.” Godmother vanished in a shower of sparkles. Somehow, the sparkles seemed as frustrated as Godmother’s face had been.

“She’s a lot to handle,” Belle said. “But I am pretty sure she means well this time.”

“Um, where is our prisoner?” Adam asked. “She was right here.” Yzma had been in chains among them. Enchantress had insisted and now the bony old witch had disappeared. She did not seem extraordinarily bright so it was a surprise that she had vanished.

“And I thought I was sneaky,” Eugene said, rubbing his chin in thought.

“Do you think she escaped?” Adam asked. “Is that even possible?”

“I don’t think so,” Eugene said. “I think we were robbed. I would know. I mean, I used to know. I mean, I know how that feels.” 

“I’m wondering if this is another thing to ask Enchantress,” Jasmine said. “That list is growing. I’m not exactly pleased.”

“Neither are we,” Adam said. “We’ll corner her later.”

Belle turned and looked at Jasmine and her cheeks blushed with embarrassment. “Oh!” she said sheepishly. “I’m sorry. We haven’t introduced ourselves. I’m Belle. Queen Belle, I guess.”

“Um,” Adam said softly.

“Is that not correct, dear?” Belle asked.

“To be determined,” Adam said. “We haven’t had time to investigate our status. Regardless, my name is Adam and I’m Belle’s husband.”

“All of this royal stuff can be kind of hard to navigate,” Aladdin said. “I still struggle and we both understand.”

“We do,” Jasmine said. “We really do.”

Esmerelda started to juggle and dance a bit to lighten the mood. “Esmerelda, of the Romani people, entertainer extraordinaire and voice of the people,” Esmerelda said as an introduction.. “At your service.”

“Wow,” Jasmine said. “You remind me a bit of Genie. You two should meet. Or maybe that might be too chaotic.” 

Aladdin looked over at Eugene. “And you’re a thief, right?” he asked.

Jasmine gasped. “Aladdin!” she said. “You can’t just say that!”

Eugene was startled and his eyes went wide. “Thief? That’s a hell of an accusation,” he said. “I’d be offended if it weren’t so accurate. Former thief. Now a prince. People call me Flynn Rider.” Jasmine relaxed and Aladdin smiled triumphantly.

“I was a thief too,” Aladdin said reassuringly. “I’m glad you also got the chance to turn it around, Eugene.”

“I’m trying,” Eugene said. “For example, my real name is Eugene. I’m still a prince, though.”

“Nice to meet you, Eugene,” Aladdin said. “We’ll have a lot to talk about.”

“Well, I guess I’m a princess too but I’m more of a restauranteur,” Tiana said. “Tiana is my name and Tiana’s Palace is my restaurant. If you point me to the kitchen, I can whip something up.”

“That’s not necessary,” Jasmine said. “You all probably need a rest. Leave the hospitality up to me and my people.”

“I’ll cook the victory feast then,” Tiana said.

“It’s a deal,” Jasmine said. “I like that optimism. Let’s get you all settled.”

Media Update 6/9/22

June 9, 2022

Candyman (2021)

I found the first movie intensely interesting so I was very interested in another take on the story. This one was developed by director Nia DeCosta, Jordan Peele, and Win Rosenfeld. The movie reclaims the story as a particularly Black story about urban legends, the art world, and gentrification. Clive Barker was not involved but the movie definitely feels inspired by his works and it is a soft sequel to the original movie that he was involved in. It definitely has that otherworldly feeling. A big reason for that is that the movie is more psychological and surreal which is really saying something. This movie has a lot to say about folklore and history and so much more. They were able to create something new that also harkens back to that original darkness. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays an emotionally disturbed artist who gets caught up in the urban legend. He is so fascinating to watch. I don’t want to spoil the movie but I recommend it.

Nightbreed (Director’s Cut)

Barker has a history of disliking the movie adaptations of his work but Barker himself directed this one. Of course, he complained about the originally released cut. I have not seen it but apparently, it cuts out a lot of the gore and some major plot points. I do not blame Barker for being frustrated. The movie is about a young man who dreams of a fantasy world of monsters but gets caught up with a murderous psychiatrist. The worldbuilding is so wonderfully weird and visually interesting that I found myself instantly drawn in. Legendary writer/director David Cronenberg plays the villainous Dr. Decker. Craig Sheffer plays the clueless yet hunky hero of the film. Anne Bobby actually carries a lot of the movie as the inquisitive girlfriend of the hero. There are so many character actors who put on scary and funny performances but I have to shout out to Hugh Ross as a comically insane monster. I recommend this movie and I am looking forward to the possible tv show being developed.

Rawhead Rex

Another movie that Barker was displeased with but I thought this movie was way better than it had any right to be. An American family traveling in Ireland so the father can study the juxtaposition of churches and pre-Christian folklore is terrorized by the legendary Rawhead. The design for the creature looks kind of goofy but ends up being a lot of fun and actually terrifying in its movements. The acting is goofy B-Movie acting but it really fits the tone of the movie well. David Dukes (the plural is important there) plays scholar and writer who cares a lot for his family and about finding the truth. He feels warm and fuzzy like somebody who would be good to know. Niall O’Brien plays the hard-nosed police investigator who has to put up with this American. Kelly Piper plays the snarky yet sharp wife who cares deeply for her family and is a bit tired of being dragged along on these trips. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Hayley Kiyoko – For The Girls

The Warning – CHOKE

Arch Enemy – Sunset Over The Empire

Panic! At The Disco – Viva Las Vengeance

Mashup of the Week:

Titus Jones – Diving Up That Hill

Weekly Update:

  • This week’s theme is “Clive Barker”
  • Happy Pride!
  • I watched a metric ton of Twitch and YouTube
  • I watched more of Theodosia Season 1
  • I watched more of Bob’s Burgers Season 12
  • I watched McBain (Rifftrax version)
  • I watched Fun in Balloon Land (Rifftrax Version)
  • I watched Deadly Instincts (Rifftrax Version)
  • I watched Invasion of the Animal People (Rifftrax Version)

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