Posts Tagged ‘Reboot’

Follow the Yellow Brick Road – A Wizard of Oz Story

April 7, 2020

Dorothy stumbled out of the house. The inside looked like a bomb had gone off but somehow Dorothy had survived the fall. She leaned against the door frame, her hand clutching it tightly. She reached up instinctively toward a sharp pain on her forehead and she saw that her fingers were now covered in blood. Maybe she had not been as lucky as she thought. She heard Toto scramble out of the house behind her and felt thankful that the dog had survived. Then a sudden thought hit her. Where was Elma? She turned carefully and shouted into the wreck of a house.

“Elma!?” she screamed. “Are you alright? Where are you?” She and her sister had been unable to make it to the storm cellar and had instead ducked into the house. They had hoped for the best but the tornado had somehow lifted the house up. She had no idea how long she had been passed out on the floor. There was no answer. She did not have the strength to walk back in to check. She barely had the strength to remain standing. She started to cry.

“You killed the Wicked Witch of the East!” A voice said from behind her.

Dorothy jerked around and nearly fell down. “What?” she asked. “I didn’t kill anybody.”

Standing there was a young girl who was very short. Actually, she was incredibly short like a child but she had adult features. Was it some form of dwarfism? Dorothy remembered hearing about that in school. She had never seen anybody like that in person, though.

“No you definitely did,” the woman said. “Her body’s right over there.” She pointed over at the side of the house. There were two feet sticking out from under the house. Thankfully there was no blood visible but there surely was a lot of it under the house.

Dorothy leaned against the house and threw up all over the siding. She wiped her mouth and turned back toward the woman. “It was the storm,” she said. “I didn’t mean to.”

“No, it’s alright,” the woman said. “She was oppressing us. We had been engaging in warfare against the Witch’s forces for years now. You did us a favor.”

“I didn’t mean to,” Dorothy said. “Have you seen my sister?”

“You and this little fella are the only ones here,” the woman said, leaning down to pet Toto who seemed miraculously unharmed. “I’m sorry. Are you ok?”

“No,” Dorothy said in a whimper. “I’m really not.”

The woman gestured toward the nearby bushes and several people her size came out of hiding. “It’s safe!” she called out. “Come help me carry her. We need to get to the village. She needs a bed and medicine. My name’s Pippa.”

“Dorothy,” Dorothy said and her voice sounded weird.

It was at this point that Dorothy’s vision started to swim and her knees buckled. She could hear Toto barking as she fell towards the ground and then everything went back. She had the vague sensation of being carried somewhere. The little people were stronger than Dorothy would have guessed. Everything went dark and silent again.

She had no idea how long she had passed out when she awoke later. She was aware that she was now in a bed but she was also aware that her feet were hanging over the end. Still, it felt warm and soft and her head did not hurt as much anymore. She could feel Toto nestling against her side and that was a comfort. She tried to sit up and it went alright although she still felt kind of sore. A woman with pink hair suddenly appeared in the doorway, she was tall and thin and very pretty.

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” the woman asked dramatically.

“I’m not a witch at all,” Dorothy said. “I’m Dorothy Gale from Kansas.”

The woman glanced at the door and gestured and it closed on its own. “My name is Glinda,” the woman said. “I’m from Pennsylvania.”

“What?” Dorothy asked.

“Look, you’re like me so you must have come through one of the gates,” Glinda said. “People who come here from Earth absorb the energies between worlds and it allows us to perform great feats of magic.”

“What?” Dorothy asked again.

“One minute I’m a hairdresser in the Poconos and the next moment I’m a sorcerer here,” Glinda said.

“Where is here?” Dorothy asked.

“Welcome to Oz,” Glinda said. “It’s a really weird place.”

Media Update 10/25/18

October 25, 2018


Haunting of Hill House (2018)

For those familiar with the original Shirley Jackson novel, this show is an adaptation but not a direct one. It shares plenty of plot elements but is constructed differently but no less interesting. The show follows a family who once lived in “the most haunted house in America” in order to flip it and sell it. To be fair, when they move in it has not yet widely known to be haunted. There is a father, a mother, Three daughters, and two sons. The show uses non-linear storytelling to jump from the past to the present to show the family’s journey. You get to see important events in the kids past and then you see the effects those events had in the present. You get to see the psychological effect that trauma has on a family in the short term and the long term. The editing of this is brilliant as sometimes a kid will open a door and step through and suddenly they are an adult in an entirely different place. We see a lot of parallels between the past and the present and get these great character studies of who these people were, who they are, and why they are who they became. The acting is really good as they really made me believe that the young versions and the older versions were the same people. There are also ghosts but they are almost secondary to the exploration of the family. I recommend it as it is not very scary but definitely intensely interesting.


Curious Creations of Christine McConnell

I have never really been a fan of “craft shows” as I remember seeing a bit of Martha Stewart as a kid and rolling my eyes at it. I need an actual story to keep interested. Later in life, I watched a lot of Discovery Channel when it used to be interesting to me and I would zone out and watch How It’s Made. When I saw this show pop up on Netflix, I dismissed it initially. However, people I trust on twitter started to praise the show and I decided to look into it. The show follows Christine McConnell making Halloween-inspired crafts and foods step by step. While that part did not really interest me (except for the Halloween part) I found out that the show teamed McConnell (an Instagram star? Do they have shows on Instagram?) with Brian Henson. McConnell’s character is a woman who lives in a spooky house with a bunch of monsters played by puppets. These puppets provide a lot of the humor and plot of the show which Christine plays off of and also gives Christine a reason to make random things. I absolutely fell in love with the offbeat humor in the show and the puppetry is really enjoyable. Plus, it is kind of fun to zone out a bit during the crafting segments and just watch her create art especially since Christine is very charismatic. The things she makes are way too much work for me but they are pretty to look at. I definitely recommend it especially to my friends who are very crafty and my friends who are very goofy.


Charmed (2018)

I was a pretty big fan of the original Charmed. It was a show that I started watching ironically and pretty soon I started watching it unironically. I really thought the show really picked up in the fourth season with the addition of Rose McGowan to the cast but I enjoyed all of the seasons. It was a show that explored the supernatural with likable characters, comedy, drama, action, and it did not take itself too seriously. This show is definitely a spiritual successor to that. The show reboots the original show and taking a lot of the central parts to it but also making it its own thing. Once again, there are three sisters who must confront the fact that they were born witches. However, this time they are all in college and not in their mid to late twenties. These three girls are playing different characters than the original although they share a few elements of their backstories. However, for the first time on the show, we get a main character who is a person of color and a main character who is gay. I really feel like this show has potential and, unlike others, I do not immediately dismiss reboots. It feels a lot like the original show (which was fun but totally goofy). Obviously, the special effects are better in the new series and I hope it has some staying power. I recommend it as I want people to watch it so it stays on.

Next Week’s Halloween Schedule:

October 29 – Veronica (2017)

A Splash of Djinn
October 31 – The Outing (1987)
October 31 – Under the Shadow (2016)

November 1 – Media Update – Halloween Hangover

 

Halloween Music of the Week:
Ghost – Dance Macabre

Concrete Blonde – Bloodletting

Lola Blanc – The Magic

Mai Lan – Vampire

Powerwolf – Night Of The Werewolves

 

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Halloween Television”
– I watched more Gotham Season 4
– I finished The Good Place Season 2
– I watched more American Vandal Season 1
– I watched more Glitter Force Doki Doki Season 2
– I watched more Once Upon a Time Season 7
– I started watching Daredevil Season 3

Top 11 Favorite 90s Characters

February 17, 2018

Top 11


11. Bob (ReBoot)

When I played my first video game on the Atari, I was hooked. Even though the games of my youth were next to impossible, I loved trying each and every game I could get my hands on. Computers were also becoming more and more of a thing as I entered my teen years. I spent a lot of time playing computer games and video games with my friends and we bonded over them. So when Reboot first premiered, I was instantly in love. The show is about the programs that live inside a computer city called Mainframe. The show’s main hero is Bob who is a guardian. Being a guardian means that Bob would enter the games the user played and would “reboot” himself as an enemy character and try to beat the user at the game. If he succeeded, he protected Mainframe and if he failed, that section of Mainframe was destroyed. So it set up most gamers as unintentional villains opposed by guardians like Bob. Bob was always level-headed and did not let fear override his thoughts as he could not afford to get distracted. Bob also had a multitool that could transform into a lot of gadgets he might need to save the day both in the games and out of them. Even with the danger, I envied Bob’s life of basically living in video games.


10. Freakazoid

As I was growing up, my sense of humor started to evolve and animation started to move beyond the laugh track humor of past cartoons. Instead of corny humor of shows like The Flintstones or He-Man, family shows started to really figure out humor. Just because you are putting out a PG product, does not mean that your humor has to insult even its youngest audience members. The makers of Freakazoid obviously embraced a lot of different types of humor. Most of all, they seemed to embrace smarter forms of humor like Monty Python or Bugs Bunny. Combining the silly and the surreal was what that sort of humor was about. Dexter Douglas is a young nerdy teen (like I was!) who got zapped by his home computer and was transported into the Internet. Let’s pause there because I would have loved to be able to be zapped into the Internet. That would have been a geek’s dream. The experience turned Dexter into Freakazoid, a manic but enthusiastic superhero. Freakazoid is always out for a good time but, like Bugs Bunny, he often has to take care of villains just to get back to the fun. Freakazoid was also the defender of Washington, DC which is close enough to my hometown for me to get a little excited. This show had the same humor as The Animaniacs (more on that later) with low humor blended with high humor. Freakazoid was impossible not to root for too.


9. Mega Man

I was an early adopter when it came to video games even though I have always been kind of in the middle of the pack when it comes to skill. Still, I have always loved the aesthetics that video game developers come up with. Even a lot of the worst games at least look interesting. When I was young, I immediately glommed onto Mega Man 2. It was an incredibly difficult game but I loved the franchise’s idea of having elemental-themed enemies with a high degree of character. The show combines the concepts from the video games with anime. Rock is a robot who gets redesigned for battle and uses an energy blaster to fight evil robots. He also had an onboard computer feature that could copy his enemy’s abilities when he touched them which was similar enough to the games. I just remember Mega Man being so cool and confident and I liked the idea of not being stuck with one power but being able to use your enemies’ powers against them. The cartoon was short lived but it included a lot of stuff from the franchise and Mega Man eventually teamed up with his future counterpart Mega Man X as well. What kid didn’t want to be a robot with a robot dog?


8. Xena: Warrior Princess

Before I discovered the Evil Dead franchise, I discovered something else that Sam Raimi and his gang produced. That something was Hercules: The Legendary Journeys but, while it was a good show, Hercules was kind of a bland show compared to its spinoff. Xena was supposed to be a one-off character on Hercules, a brutal female villain for Hercules to contend with. At the end of her turn on Hercules, the audiences loved her so the decision was made for her to reform and to start her own legendary journey to right wrongs. Basically, she was fighting the patriarchy before most people were even using that term. She was also one of the first lesbian characters on television and even gawky preteen me understood that subtext. Xena was a total badass and she never met a situation she couldn’t fight, intimidate, or trick her way out of. She was also funny in the same way that Batman was funny which is funny without trying to be. She also fought a lot of the mythology that I had fallen in love with after reading The Oddysey, The Iliad, and other Greek/Roman tales. She also is one of three characters to get stuck in a Groundhog Day-esque scenario that ended up funny and interesting. (The other two are Sam Winchester and Phil Connors himself, of course). I also often have a soft spot for tough people who secretly have a heart of gold.


7. The Blue Ranger (Billy Cranston)

Power Rangers was a show that I was a huge fan of. I had no idea at all that it was edited from footage from a similar Japanese show. However, Saban was able to turn that into an unstoppable franchise that became its own animal. For me, Power Rangers was something I watched before leaving for school at one point. I remember being really interested in the idea of normal teenage kids becoming superheroes. It also scratched the same itch that magical girl shows would later also scratch. Billy, in particular, was my favorite because he had abilities beyond being a Power Ranger. He was yet another example of blue characters being the smart ones. He was an inventor who came up with a lot of the extra gadgets the original Rangers used and a lot of those gadgets continued into later series. He was also the awkward one, a little insecure about being among other people. When it came to actual Power Ranger powers, he was on par with everybody else. Episodes focusing on him often dealt with more real issues like rescuing a new girlfriend, phobias, or science.


6. Gambit (Remy Lebeau)

When I was a kid, I hated the Boy Scouts of America. I was briefly part of the Indian Guides (now thankfully called Y-Guides) and the Scouts were our rivals. Even today, I do not put much faith in the organization. But when I was a kid, I was kind of averse to “boy scout” characters like Superman and especially Cyclops. I much preferred to see more subversive characters like Wolverine, Rogue, and especially Gambit. Gambit was a thief from New Orleans who had the mutant power to replace an object’s kinetic energy with explosive energy. Anything he touched basically turned into a grenade. He did not wear a team uniform and instead wore a custom costume with a big trench coat. This was at a time when I was very tired of wearing uniforms for sports. While Gambit did not get nearly enough time on the animated series during the nineties, they meted out just enough of him to keep people wanting more. On top of that, I always wished I had his confidence growing up.


5. Darkwing Duck

This was officially my first experience with the combination of Disney and superheroes which would end up often being a very satisfying combination. Drake Mallard is a duck living in the DuckTales universe and he dresses up and fights crime as Darkwing Duck. He is basically Batman, James Bond, and The Green Hornet combined into one hero. He is a serious hero but the show was both a serious superhero show and a parody superhero show. The character of Darkwing Duck is a superhero who fell in love with being a detective and fighting crime. However, he also had a huge ego and tended to be rather clumsy at times. He often only saved the day when he managed to get serious and get out of his own way. He fought alongside Disney-fied versions of popular superheroes and fought Disney-fied versions of popular comic book villains and James Bond-esque villains. Unlike annoying heroes like Inspector Gadget, the humor did not come from him being incompetent but from Darkwing’s quips and physical humor. The character was also a good father to a little girl he had adopted who often helped to fight crime along with DW and his sidekick Launchpad (from DuckTales). As the show continued, Darkwing’s history was added to and there was a lot of great world-building.


4. Yakko Warner

The Animaniacs was a cartoon variety show that focused on a whole cast of zany Warner Brothers style characters updated for the nineties. The main focus of the show was the Warner Brothers and their sister Dot. They were cartoons deemed too zany and disruptive and were sealed in the water tower on the Warner Brothers lot. At the beginning of the series, they finally made their escape and the studio spent the entire series trying to acclimate them to polite society with no success. The kids were not evil, though. They were rambunctious and sarcastic but, like Bugs Bunny, they really only caused malicious chaos when somebody crossed the line and upset them. Their revenge was out of proportion but justified. Out of the three, Yakko Warner was my favorite. His form of comedy was mostly wordplay. He employed puns, sarcasm, and just good old-fashioned tricks with words. He was basically a cartoon form of Groucho Marx. He always seemed to be the smartest guy in the room and he leveraged that to make mean or rude people pay for their behavior. He also sang quite a few of the show’s most memorable songs including the highly educational Yakko’s World and Yakko’s Universe. Like Groucho, he usually ended up as the leader of his siblings and their spokesman. Inside my head, the words always flowed like Yakko but outside, especially as a kid, I was never as glib.


3. Sailor Mercury (Ami)

When I was sitting on my bed, watching episodes of Sailor Moon from Cartoon Network’s line up, I always loved Sailor Mercury the most. She never had the coolest power but in retrospect, her abilities usually gave the Scouts a tactical advantage such as fog or freezing the enemy. I mean, Sailor Jupiter obviously had the coolest powers. However, Ami was present from the fifth episode and it is a good thing that she was. She is by far the smartest of all of the Scouts and was the only Scout to be granted a magical supercomputer. There is only one episode of the original anime when she pulls out her Mercury Goggles which was basically a VR overlay visor for scanning things. That blew my mind because the combination of technology and magic was amazing. I identified with Ami because she was the “smart one” and my teachers kept claiming I was intelligent. I was also interested in the emerging technology of computers just as Ami was. Also, I was probably drawn to Ami because she was the shy and timid one and that was how I felt as well.


2. Spider-Man

In the middle of the decade, Marvel finally got its crap together and started to put out really good animation. Spider-Man is a character who I have always loved. His origins are as a nerdy and shy high schooler who got to magically transform into a superhero after being bitten by a radioactive spider. As a kid, I dreamed of finding my own radioactive spider (figuratively, of course). He also got to work for a newspaper in a sort of creative job all while studying cool science in college. That cool science enhanced his gear with gadgets but his main deal was his brain, his strength, and his speed. The cartoon in the 90s was great. It really captured a lot of what I loved about reading Spider-Man comics and it included pretty much his entire rogue’s gallery. They really captured both Peter’s internal monologue and the quips that Spider-man uses to disarm his foes mid-battle. The show also explored a lot of the angst that a young superhero felt while also trying to juggle a career, school, and a girlfriend. The show and the comics made me feel at the time that I could be Spider-Man which is one of the main strengths of the character. Anybody can be under that mask as long as they have radioactive spider blood too.


1. Batman

When I was a little kid, reruns of the 1966 Batman show came on and, while I enjoyed it, I never really engaged with it. It was better than I Dream of Jeannie reruns because it had superheroes even though Adam West was never really super. My relationship with Batman drastically improved when Bruce Timm and Warner Brothers released Batman: The Animated Series. B:TAS was everything that I wanted Batman to be and it became the bar by which I measured future Batman stories. The Animated Series was an amazing mix of both light and dark. I welcomed the darkness which was so sorely lacking from the campy Adam West series. I realized that Adam West was never really Batman. This was Batman. Kevin Conroy’s strong voice matched the shadowy, adventurous character on screen. His voice could be scary, brave, warm, vulnerable, and even funny at times without losing the character of Batman. The writing made it clear that Batman was not perfect but he lived in a world that believed he was. He put the weight of the world on his shoulders and then still saved the day the best way he knew how.


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