Posts Tagged ‘Television’

DC Comics Television and Film Wishlist

November 14, 2022

Since the announcement that James Gunn and Peter Safran were taking over as heads of DC Comics Film and Television, I have been more optimistic about what might be coming down the line. I decided to put together a little wishlist in no particular order of projects they could work on. The last time I did this, I apparently wished She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and Hawkeye into existence so my fingers are crossed. Some of these are repeats but with a different twist.

1. Birds of Prey 2 and/or Harley Quinn 2

I loved the Birds of Prey movie produced by Margot Robbie and directed by Cathy Yan. The movie was a roller coaster from start to finish. While Warner Brothers’ marketing would feel the need to change the name to Harley Quin: Birds of Prey, the movie introduced a lot of cool versions of classic characters. It is an absolute crime that this is not already a franchise. I would love to continue the madcap adventures of Harley. I like the idea of her flitting in and out of other people’s stories and there are a ton of heroes and villains she can mess with. I also want to see the continuing adventures of Black Canary, Renee Montoya, and Huntress. They could go on a lot of adventures together and there is a wealth of Birds of Prey comics to draw on. These actresses deserve better than being pushed aside for the Snyderverse.

2. Sandman Mystery Theater (TV Show)

Now that we have seen the success of the Netflix version of Sandman, it would be cool to see some of the possible offshoots and spinoffs connected to that world. One character that I have loved since I first read the above-titled comic is Wesley Dodds who was also known as the Sandman. Dodds was a wealthy eccentric who is haunted by strangely prophetic nightmares about the crime happening in his city. He would don a World War 1 style gas mask, three-piece suit, and trenchcoat. He uses some gadgets and traditional detective work to determine the truth of the crime. He carries a gas gun that ejects a sleeping gas or a gas that causes delirium and uninhibited truth from the subject. He fought the symptoms of societal problems like racism, nazism, classism, and mental illness. He did not kill. He was aided by Dian Belmont, the socialite daughter of the District of Attorney who used her connections and the fact that she was a woman to hear things to help Sandman save the day.

3. Batwoman (Season 4)

I have been thinking about this show lately since I watched the last episode produced. The show was canceled along with all of the other Arrowverse shows which are in the process of wrapping up. This show got a lot of initial buzz when Ruby Rose was cast as Batwoman, Kate Kane. The show had a compelling story and created a really neat world with excellent characters. When Ruby Rose quit the show, the showrunners decided to replace her instead of just trashing the whole thing. This ended up being the best thing to happen to the show. They introduced the new character of Ryan Wilder. They were able to keep a lot of what made the first season work including the return of the villainous Alice (Kate’s sister) who stole every scene she was in. I feel like the change also shook up the cast a bit and allowed characters Luke Fox and Mary Hamilton to step into the foreground. The third season saw Batwoman face down her own demons along with the legacy of Batman, finally realizing who and what she is. The show ends on a cliffhanger and there was so much more to explore.

4. Green Arrow: Supermax

This is an idea that has been kicking around since the mid-nineties on various film rumor sites and apparently, at least one script was written. The idea is that Green Arrow is framed for a crime he did not commit and is sent to a prison designed to hold supervillains. If he is to survive, he will have to fight through some of DC Comics’ criminals and law enforcement. I think the idea was that he would also team up with some anti-heroes. There are so many possibilities of who Green Arrow would fight or team up with inside the prison. The setting would allow the blending of a lot of franchises within DC Comics. I feel like one of the reasons that the movie was never made was that mainstream folks did not know who Green Arrow is. With the success of the Arrowverse, that has changed. It is time to pull out an old idea and dust it off.

5. The Outsiders (TV Show)

This is a variation of an idea that I have had for some time now. The Outsiders is a DC Comics team that has had several different lineups. The team is most linked with Batman who started the team as a more covert alternative to the Justice League. There have been versions without Batman at all. My favorite was actually co-led by Nightwing and Arsenal. This would be a different idea. This would be Batman forming a team of young heroes who all have the burden of having at least one villainous parent. The idea would be that all of them somewhat share an understanding and similar motivations for heroics. The core team would be Spoiler (Stephanie Brown), Robin (Damian Wayne), Enigma (Evelyn Nashton), Orphan (Cassandra Cain), and Ravager (Rose Walker). There are plenty of other characters who could slide in and out of the show. I would think it would be best for this to be animated.

6. The Question (TV Show)

I always loved the character of the Question as soon as I was introduced to him. He is a throwback sort of hero similar to “mystery men” like Sandman (see above), Crimson Avenger, and Vigillante. The character is a detective who wears a blank face mask and a color-changing suit. The character of Rorschach in Watchmen was based on him. However, unlike Rorschach, he is a character who is more likable and his politics are much easier to stomach. He is also a hero, operating in the shadows. A detective show is always a win for me, especially if the detective is not a cop. Also, he eventually recruited cop Renee Montoya to be his successor. The idea of a show where a cop is slowly shown the right way sounds great to me. While we are rebooting it, we could also remove more of Steve Ditko’s objectivist leanings.

7. Suicide Squad (TV Show)

I feel like this idea is a no-brainer especially since one of the new heads of DC Film and Television revived the franchise on the big screen. I feel like there are several more Suicide Squad movies that can happen but there are also smaller stories that can be told as well. The Suicide Squad is a great repository of B and C list villains where we get to explore who and what they are. It is also a great way to refurbish and fluff up villains before they are in a movie or continue their story after they have been in a movie. The Peacemaker show was successful. I feel like there is more meat on that bone.

8. Catwoman: The Heist (TV Show or Movie Series)

I watched the movie Catwoman: Hunted earlier this year and I loved it. It felt like somebody put Lupin III and DC Comics into a blender and hit frappe. I would love to see more of this charming world. The series would pick up where the original movie left off with Selina Kyle aka Catwoman having her own agenda as a world-renowned thief and less renowned fighter for the rights of the weak. She would work with and/or manipulate her relationship with Batwoman, Julia Pennyworth, and King Faraday to steal valuables, fight injustice, or both at the same time. The series would continue the International feel of the original with the team showing up anywhere on the globe to fight familiar faces and more obscure foes.

9. The Shadowpact

This is a little bit of a deep cut but I really liked this team when they briefly got the spotlight in DC’s Day of Vengeance storyline. They are all supernatural heroes who banded together by chance but stuck together because they felt like family. The lineup originally consisted of Detective Chimp, Blue Devil, Nightmaster, Enchantress, Nightshade, and Ragman. The group is full of has-beens and never-weres. Still, they are all experts in their own areas. For example, Detective Chimp is possibly the world’s second greatest detective (after Batman). The team operates out of the Oblivion Bar, a bar that exists outside of our known dimension. The bar is frequented by every supernatural creature you can think of. I feel like they could provide an interesting story that has not been told yet.

10. Justice League International

Or whatever you want to call it. The point is, I would love them to capture some of the fun from the Justice League International days that was specifically carried over into Formerly Known as the Justice League. That title was full of superheroics but its real strength was its goofy humor and witty banter. The series saw the reformed Maxwell Lord build a new team called the Super Buddies made up of Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Elongated Man, Sue Dibny, Mary Marvel, Captain Atom, Fire, and Power Girl. It feels like Always Sunny in Philadelphia and DC comics had a baby. In the end, they are heroes but they are going to be very snarky about it. This would be a great antidote to the grimdark reputation that Snyder left behind.

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Top 11 Fictional Objects From Television

July 18, 2022

The rules that I imposed on myself are thus:

1. The object has to be useful in my ordinary life

2. One object per show

3. The object is not part of an architecture

4. No time travel. Too dangerous.

11. Gills of Hamachi

(First Appearance: Xiaolin Showdown S02E14)

The magical objects in the animated show Xiaolin Showdown are called Shen Gong Wu and are part of a struggle to protect the world from them falling into the wrong hands. The Xiaolin monks constantly face off with the wealthy and evil Jack Spicer, Chase Young, and the witch Wuya. for control of these magical items. The Shen Gong Wu grant the user fantastic and strange abilities, most of which can be used in battle or the titular showdowns. Most of these would be useless to me in my everyday life, but the one that sounds awesome to me is the Gills of Hamachi. As one would expect, they grant the user the ability to breathe underwater. I love to swim and the idea of being able to stay underwater indefinitely is attractive. The only downside is that the gills must be deactivated when surfacing or you will suffocate.

10. Kamilla Hwang’s Camera 

(First Appearance: The Flash S06E10)

I like photography and, if I had more time, I would work on my digital art and video editing more. What would help with that? A camera. In the Arrowverse, Cisco Ramon is one of the most legendary scientists and the foremost tech guru. His girlfriend Kamilla is a professional photographer and Cisco gifted her with this high-tech camera. Cisco did not invent it but picked it up during a walkabout to figure out where he was going in his life. The technology of the camera is supposed to be bleeding edge. While we do not get to see all of its capabilities, it is advanced enough to detect an extradimensional clone. I would probably not want to hunt alien invaders but it has to be better than any camera we have available in the real world.

9. Personal Shield Emitter

(First Appearance: Stargate: Atlantis S01E03)

The world is a dangerous place. It would be nice to have something to help protect myself. The device was invented by The Ancients, a mysterious race of beings who ruled over Atlantis long before it was discovered by Stargate Command. The device is fairly simple to use. It is a palm-sized device that activates through thought, turning on in an instant to protect the wearer. As the name suggests, it projects a force field around the user and will only shut off when the energy is depleted or the wearer wills it. It would certainly help when walking around traffic and even while driving myself.

8. Honjo Masamune

(First Appearance: Warehouse 13 S01E07)

The artifacts of the titular Warehouse 13 are imbued with special abilities and properties based on their history and their connection to the people around them. The agents of the Warehouse are meant to collect the objects considered dangerous and store them in the Warehouse, away from the world. In the continuity of the show, Gorō Nyūdō Masamune forged this sword during the Edo period (similar to the history of a real sword which is a national treasure of Japan). The care that the legendary swordmaker put into making the blade resulted in an edge so sharp that it can bend light, rendering the user invisible. As somebody with social anxiety, the ability to walk around invisible sounds like a relief. Plus, I would have a cool sword to hang on my wall.

7. Sonic Screwdriver 

(Version First Appearance: Doctor Who 2005 S01E01)

The technology of Doctor Who has traditionally looked very simple because there was not a very high budget for science fiction at the BBC in the sixties. I’ve always loved that simplicity when it comes to the devices used by The Doctor. This one has been used in some form since the very first Doctor but the technology has improved over time. Each iteration had increased capabilities but nothing too crazy. The version that appeared in the hands of the ninth Doctor and was later held by the tenth Doctor has a lot of fun uses. First and foremost is the screwdriver’s ability to pick locks. It can also lock a door from a distance. It can project sound and light, detonate mines, and act as a portable x-ray. It sounds like a great utility tool to have. 

6. Bag of Holding

(First Appearance: The Magicians S04E07)

The world of The Magicians is one where incredible and strange magic is lingering just beyond the veil of the observation of normal human beings. This mostly comes from the human world coming into contact with magical worlds beyond our mundane world, similar to The Chronicles of Narnia. However, most of this magic is incredibly dangerous which is reiterated many times on the show. So picking something to take from this show was enticing but dangerous. This item works the same way that the Dungeons and Dragons item works. It is a portable bag that is much bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can hold way more than the bag should hold and one can access the huge inventory in the bag by thinking about the object they want to pull out. This would greatly help in organizing my life and make for an epic go bag.

5. Federation Communications Badge 

(Version First Appearance: Star Trek Voyager S01E01)

The Federation is kind of like the Space UN but with way more power and its own military which is the primary focus of the television shows. They have developed their own proprietary technology throughout their history which constantly gets better. A lot of their really neat technology is larger than an object or item (ex: transporters, holosuites). That is why I chose the communications badge and specifically the version that first showed up in Voyager. I would not use it primarily for communication purposes but if I could, I would. The world of Star Trek has an invention known as the Universal Translator which enables the communication between different races in the universe. It also can use linguistics to decipher unknown languages. By the time of Voyager, this system has been made so compact that it fits in a tiny comm badge.

4. The Batmobile 

(Version First Appearance: Batwoman S02E1)

The reason that I thought to do this list. In the Arrowverse, Batman has been missing from Gotham for years and, by season 2, we are presented with a new Batwoman. In the show, Batwoman adapts a lot of Batman’s classic gear and also newer technology to fight crime. One of the first things she grabs is the Batmobile. The Batmobile has had a lot of different versions over the years, ranging from the cool to the very cool. This is the most lowkey version that I have seen. The car is black on black with zero highlights and no visible bat symbol. It looks like it was built to blend somewhat into traffic, unlike its more ostentatious cousins. It is still heavily armored, bulletproof, and a high-performance vehicle. One of the most attractive features is the most subtle drive assist programming that helps the driver correct human error. It was so subtle that Batwoman drove it for months without noticing it.

3. Legion Flight Ring

(First Appearance: Supergirl S03E10)

The Legion of Superheroes is a massive team of superheroes that operates throughout the universe, made up of aliens from many worlds. All of the members of The Legion have different powers. Some can fly and others cannot. To facilitate teamwork tactics and travel, members are given a flight ring. What looks like a simple piece of jewelry actually allows the user the ability to fly through force of will. The user flies in the direction that they think of. The rings work through advanced anti-gravity metallurgy but also allow the user to fly in the atmosphere and in space. The utility of this is pretty easy to see. I could choose to fly to work instead of drive and I could travel quickly at a moment’s notice.

2. Senzu Bean Plant  

(First Appearance: Dragon Ball Red Ribbon Army Arc)

The only living object on this list. Son Goku and his friends met a lot of weird characters and saw a lot of strange things as they searched the world for the Dragon Balls. One of the craziest parts of any Goku story is all of the weird training he went through to get superhumanly strong. One of his teachers was Korin, a giant cat who lived in a giant tower and dared Goku to catch him and made him reclimb the tower. Korin eventually became friends with Goku and the Z fighters and offered them access to his crop of Senzu Beans. The beans are known to instantly heal a person from grievous injury and fatigue and provide a body with nutrients for up to ten days. A great thing to have around in case I get hurt or need a quick shot of healthy food.

1. The Anywhere Key 

(First Appearance: Locke and Key S01E01)

The Locke family forged mysterious keys made of whispering iron, a metal fashioned from the remnants of demons. Each key has a different ability, some of them more dangerous than others. There are a lot of cool keys but many of them feel way too dangerous to me in multiple ways. One of the keys with no known downside is the Anywhere Key. It is a simple metal key. When you approach a door, the key will automatically fit in whatever lock is attached to it. You turn the key while thinking of where you want to go. When you open the door and walk through it, you will emerge from a door in the location you wanted to go. It has no known limitations on distance or location. All you need is two doors, one at the departure point and one at the arrival point. You also have to have seen the door you’re going to. This means an instant commute, instant visit to friends/family, and makes it very easy to move.

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.

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.

Media Update 3/3/22

March 3, 2022

The Cuphead Show

I talked about the video game on Monday for a reason. I knew that I was going to watch the show this week. This show came right out of left field for me but in hindsight, it makes a lot of sense. The game was inspired by old-school cartoons so now they are actually making a cartoon. Also, they made a lot of animation assets when they were making the game so reworking them for a show makes sense. The animation from the game obviously returns and it is a throwback but also cleaner. Tru Valentino and Frank Todaro have great chemistry as the goofy voices of Cuphead and Mugman. I really love Luke Millington-Drake as The Devil, a smarmy yet wacky personality. Joe Hanna has perfect comic timing as Elder Kettle. The show is a lot of fun and the episodes are only ten minutes long at the most. I recommend this show.

Arcane

I never played League of Legends before mostly because the player base is beyond toxic but what little I have seen was interesting. There are so many fun and interesting characters with great designs. This show attempts to give origins to several of the playable characters. The show is compelling right off the bat. The central story is a tale of two sisters who are thieves in the slums and the very different trajectories their lives take. I am only two episodes in so I will speak to that. Hailee Steinfeld (who is everywhere lately) is great as the older sister, burdened with purpose and a hard life. Mia Sinclair Jenness is also great as the younger sister, incredibly intelligent but feeling less than. There are plenty of other interesting characters swirling around as the intrigue levels rise. I recommend this show.

Mega Man: Fully Powered

I stumbled upon all of the episodes of this show on YouTube. I have played a lot of Mega Man games and I fell in love with the aesthetic a long time ago. The idea of having all these elemental villains that the hero can copy powers from is a lot of fun. I was a big fan of the 1994 show. The show has some interesting animation style which is colorful and sharp. The designs of the robots are reminiscent of the game but with a unique flair. The show is definitely aimed toward the younger crowd but it has some interesting things to say. For example, when Mega Man copies abilities, he can also copy their emotional states and personalities. Each episode comes with a lesson which I approve of. The show is created by Man of Action who has created or worked on so many successful cartoons. I do not recommend this show unless you are a huge Mega Man fan.

Music of the Week:

ABRA – Roses

ESSES – Little Mouse

Ukrainian Patriotic Song – Bayraktar

Volcano – Fool 2 Tha Game

Mashup of the Week:

TKRMX – Peacemaker

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Video Game Adaptations on Television”
I watched a ton of YouTube and Twitch
I started watching The Mentalist Season 6
I started watching Supergirl Season 6
I watched more Charmed (2018) Season 2

To Catch a Thief

January 3, 2022

When I was working and living in New Jersey after graduating from college, I lived close enough to work to walk home to have my lunch. I could hit the deli in between work and home and hang out in my bedroom while I ate. The house I lived in had cable but, without the box, I did not get all of the channels. Therefore, I became obsessed with the daytime programming on the Discovery Channel at a time when the network actually had some educational value. I would watch shows like Mythbusters, How It’s Made, and Cash Cab while eating and surfing the web.

One show that I also loved that did not seem to reach a wider audience was To Catch A Thief. The show was only on for two seasons between 2005 and 2007 so if you blinked, you missed it. Obviously, the name came from the phrase “It Takes a Thief to Catch a Thief” which should start to give you an idea of the premise. However, every time that I have mentioned the show in conversation, I get blank stares and have to explain it. Maybe I should just explain it here and explain a bit why it captured my attention.

The show was about home security and was definitely educational but perhaps not in the traditional way. The premise of the show was that the producers would hire a professional thief. This thief would case a family’s home. They would then try their hardest to break into that house and get their hands on the valuables while the family was out of the house. At the same time, the family would be sitting with another professional criminal who would show them live footage of the break-in. The expert in the van would point out vulnerabilities in the security protocols as the break-in happened and would urge the family to control their emotions.

These two men were both ex-convicts named Jon Douglas Rainey (the thief) and Matt Johnston (the guy in the van). After a career as “housebreakers”, they turned their lives around and one became a schoolteacher and the other became a private investigator. They agreed to do this show for the educational value it provided (and also the paycheck, naturally).

Matt would then bring in security companies for a full security renovation of the house. The companies would completely upgrade the security systems. This was a chance for companies to show off their security technology for free advertising. They would show footage of new systems installed. Improvements were not limited to electronic security systems and/or cameras. They actually focused more on physical improvements like sturdier doors, deadbolts, window casings, and other structural changes. Each house was unique and presented different challenges.

More importantly, Matt would take time to teach the family how to operate their security system. The goal was not only to upgrade security but also to install something that the family was comfortable with. It was important that they learned the ins and outs of their new system and that they establish a routine. Routines keep people from forgetting details and keeps them vigilant. All of this is done with a firm hand but also with kindness toward the family.

After all of the installations were completed, the show would skip ahead several weeks later. On a random day, Jon would try to break into the house again. This would not only be a test of the improvements but also the family. If the family had gotten lax, Jon would be able to break in again. This taught an important lesson to the onscreen family and to the viewers at home that they are the strongest part of the security system. Peace of mind is different from apathy. Whether the second break-in succeeded or not, the episode would be over.

I loved watching the show for all parts of it. First, it is fun watching Jon try to figure out each house like a puzzle. It reminds me of heist or stealth video games and how you have to choose between guile and brute force. He would try and keep failing until he got inside and then he would scoop up whatever he felt was valuable and could sell easily. I also loved getting to see all of the engineering of the rebuild. Frankly, I also really liked the game show quality of testing the family a second time.

A lot of the episodes are apparently available on YouTube and on Discovery’s website.

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 8

July 12, 2021

Dick Van Dyke

Dick Van Dyke got his start in show business without having to go too far as he became a radio DJ in his hometown of Danville, Illinois in the 1940s. He eventually joined up with a performer named Phil Erickson and they formed a mime act. Their act involved lip synching to records in nightclubs on the West Coast. After that, the two of them shot over to Atlanta in the Fifties where they created a television show where they did a more original act with comedy skits and music. In the late Fifties and early Sixties, Dick made a splash on Broadway where his fusion of music and comedy were successful. He originated the role of Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie which won him a Tony award. He started to make comedy appearances on television, guesting on several shows. He then achieved even greater fame by starring in the Dick Van Dyke show as part of a contract deal with CBS and in partnership with Carl Reiner. He won several Emmy awards on that show. He went on to work heavily in television for the rest of his career. He appeared in plenty of movies most memorably in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Van Dyke would be perfect for the Muppet Show because of his mix of comedy and music. At the time, he was not only vastly talented, he was also somebody who had a lot of experience creating his own things. He also had worked with animation which would give him a leg up working with the Muppets. On top of all of that, Dick can be maudlin and serious when he needs to be without getting too dark.

Cold Open: Fozzy and Pops warmly greet Van Dyke as fans but Kermit snubs him.

Guest Arc: Kermit and Dick Van Dyke have an old feud over Kermit’s resentment that Van Dyke got famous and Kermit did not because Kermit was left out to dry. Eventually, Dick apologizes for not being a better friend and they make up.

“I’ve Got Your Number” (Cy Coleman) with Annie Sue
“Easy Street” (AR Jones) with Rowlf
“Put on a Happy Face” (Adams/Strouse) with Kermit https://www.youtube.com/embed/8RPw9IE53ok

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin was born in her family home in Memphis, Tennessee in the heart of a very musical part of the United States. Her mother was a piano player and vocalist which obviously inspired Aretha. Her family moved to Detroit, the home of Motown during a very formative time in music history. She started her own musical journey in church shortly after her mother’s death singing hymns. She was inspired by Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Marvin Gaye (who her sister dated) to move into more commercial work in soul, r&b, pop, Motown, jazz, and more. However, it was in the late sixties where she really started to catch fire and started to churn out hits that she would be remembered for like “Respect”, “Think”, “Chain of Fools”, and more. She elevated herself from a singer to a musical goddess and a legend in her own time. She was often looked to as an inspiration for countless musical acts

Aretha would bring a sense of greatness to another season of the Muppet Show. On a personal note, she was one of my favorite singers to listen to when I was a teenager. Her appearance in Blues Brothers showed that she had a sense of humor and her musical talent would definitely drive an episode. She is very personable and I would have loved to see her interact with the cast.

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give the warning but Animal is there to feed Aretha chocolates. Unfortunately, he’s a bit too aggressive.

Guest Arc: Beaker has finally had it and wants to quit working for Bunsen Honeydew. Kermit brings in the Queen of Respect to not only guest but help teach Bunsen to be a little nicer so he can keep Beaker around.

Guest Acts:
“Respect” with Miss Piggy
“Think” with Sweetums
“Jump to It” with Camilla and the Chickens https://www.youtube.com/embed/KSTIsZULYmY

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf got through a troubled childhood in Dallas, Texas where he was cast in high school theater productions and learned that he could sing. He used his inheritance from his mother’s death to move out to Los Angeles where he immediately started his music career. He started a band called Meat Loaf Soul after a high school football nickname. The name stuck with him. Their very first gig was opening for Van Morrison. They changed their name to Floating Circus and opened for The Who, Grateful Dead, The Stooges, and more. He got cast in the Los Angeles cast of Hair which boosted his career and then ended up in the Broadway production of the musical. He started performing in cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show in the original LA cast and acted in the movie as well. Around this time he started working heavily with Jim Steinman whose music would come to help Meat Loaf define himself as a unique rock and roll musician. He released album after album and even started a bit of a film career in the 1990s.

Meat Loaf would be great for The Muppet Show because I have often thought of him a bit like a human muppet. Whatever he has done in life, he has played it to the hilt and done his utmost to entertain. His songs are epic performances and his stage presence and voice are legendary. His movie roles in Spice World, Fight Club, and Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny show that he does not take himself too seriously. He would be a great foil for the cast.

Cold Open: Meat Loaf rides into the theater on his motorbike when Kermit goes to complain, Piggy greets him happily.

Guest Arc: Meat Loaf arrives on the Muppet Show to woo Miss Piggy who looks like she might leave the show. It is all revealed to be a scam to make Kermit jealous.

“Bat out of Hell” with the Electric Mayhem
“You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth” with Miss Piggy
“Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 4

May 17, 2021

S06E10 Tito Puente and his band

Tito relied on the GI Bill to pay to study at the Julliard School of Music. He was classically trained in conducting, orchestration, and music theory. He drew on his heritage growing up in Spanish Harlem to bring Afrolatino to the people. He was an expert in playing a lot of styles initially popularized in Hispanic countries like Boogaloo, Salsa, Latin Jazz, and more. He asserted during his lifetime that Latin Jazz was African in origin. He was inspired by Cuban and Puerto Rican sounds in his neighborhood and the Big Band sounds on the radio. While he was a bandleader, he played the timbales and the vibraphone which helped to keep the band’s rhythm. His first album was released in 1951 and he kept going from there and ended up making or appearing on what looks like nearly a hundred albums. He was a prolific musician, composer, and conductor and gained a lot of fame in the music world. He even guested on The Simpsons not long before his death. He was known as the “King of Latin Music”.

Puente would be perfect for The Muppet Show because he seemed to have boundless energy. His music was suffused with passion. His most famous song was “Oye Como Va” which was later further popularized by Carlos Santana. The Muppet Show definitely had a go-to style but they also tried to celebrate other cultures and I bet they would have loved to incorporate Puente’s unique sound and style.

Cold Open: As Tito approaches Pops to check in, Floyd and Dr. Teeth protest him trying to replace them.

Guest Arc: Tito and Kermit try to broker peace between the bands since Tito is a big fan of the Electric Mayhem. In the end, they form a supergroup for one night. Tito also enlists Miss Piggy to illustrate that the emotion in music extends beyond whatever language the song is in.

Guest Acts:
“Oye Como Va” (Tito Puente) with mambo dancers
“Guantanamera” (Traditional) with Miss Piggy
“Ran Kan Kan” (Tito Puente) with the Electric Mayhem

S06E11 Billie Hayes

Billie Hayes was born to be an entertainer. She started performing professionally at the age of nine. She took up tap dancing and apparently never stopped feeling the rush of performance. She was from Illinois so her options for growth were not so many but she started touring with Vince Genovese’s orchestra and then struck out on her own tour. She could sing, dance, and act which made her one of those sought-after ‘triple threats’. She got a big break in Lil’ Abner on Broadway and did several national tours of various Broadway shows. It was no small wonder that Sid and Marty Kroft picked her to be one of the main players on their television show HR Pufnstuff. It was here that she would play her most memorable role of Witchypoo, the main villain of the series and a role she would reprise on Lidsville and the Banana Splits Adventure Hour. She also played a similar witch character as a guest spot on Bewitched. She also played the heroic but pathetic Weenie the Genie on Lidsville. She went on to have a great career in voice acting for various very popular cartoon series.

She would be a superb guest for the Muppet Show for many obvious reasons. First, she is a triple threat and just about able to do anything required of a guest on the show. Second, she obviously did not take herself too seriously and was able to do comedy. Third, she could portray a larger-than-life character that still lives in the minds of those who grew up watching her. Fourth, and probably most important, she worked with puppets and people in suits already so she would be suited to the rigors and particular challenges of working with Henson’s crew.

Cold Open: Kermit complains to Scooter and Fozzy that they have no special guest when there is a familiar cackle and a witch buzzes them on her broom.

Guest Arc: There is no guest star but when the Muppets try to continue on with the show anyway, they are terrorized by a witch who succeeds in taking over the show. At the end, Billie reveals herself as the witch and thanks Fozzy for booking her which Fozzy forgot about.

Guest Acts:
“I Put a Spell On You” (Jay Hawkins) as the cast runs in terror
“I’m So Bad” (Oingo Boingo) with hypnotized followers
“Season of the Witch” (Donovan) with the Electric Mayhem

S06E12 Weird Al Yankovic

Alfred Yankovic took his father’s advice to heart when he told him that the key to being a success is to do what makes you happy for a living. He started playing accordion at age 7, at first having the instrument pushed on him by his parents. There was already a famous accordion player named Frankie Yankovic (no relation) and his parents felt another accordion-playing Yankovic made sense. Al was often stuck inside because his mother was overprotective and did not want him playing outside. This gave him plenty of time to practice his instrument. It also allowed him to listen to a lot of comedy and rock and roll albums and set out to figure out how to combine the two on the accordion. It was at this point that his love for comedy and the fringes of pop culture lead him to the Dr. Demento Show, an absolutely insane comedy radio show who agreed to play Al’s music on air. He went on to have a particularly unique music career that had a foundation built from parody songs. However, he does write his own songs (often pastiches of another band’s style). He even got to write and star in his own movie, UHF.

Weird Al would have been great for the Muppet Show because his sense of humor is just as strange as the Muppets. His enthusiasm for entertaining is contagious and it is hard not to laugh along with him. Unlike many parody artists, his work (and the work of his band) was high quality and his musical skill was (and is clear to see. At this point, his career was really just taking off since in 1983 he would have been only four years into his career as a recording artist. His movie UHF proves that he was willing to roll with just about any idea as long as it makes somebody smile.

Cold Open: Scooter gives Weird Al his warning but he is being petitioned by various foods to write songs about them.

Guest Arc: Weird Al makes it his mission to make Waldorf and Stadtler enjoy the show and goes all out with the help of the Muppets. In the end, Waldorf and Stadtler challenge him to sing something original but they don’t like that either.

Guest Acts:
“Another One Boards the Bus” (Yankovic) with the Electric Mayhem
“My Balogna” (Yankovic) with his accordion
“School Cafeteria” (Yankovic) with the food

Media Update 7/16/20

July 16, 2020


Hannibal

I had watched a little of this show at some point but I never really gave it a fair shot because it was not accessible. I have read all of the Thomas Harris books where the character of Hannibal Lecter was created. This show is a reimagining of the three books and the movies. It is really neat because the movies had different directors, screenwriters, and tones. To have it all under one banner gives things more of a unified direction. The show follows Will Graham (the protagonist of Red Dragon) as he works to catch serial killers. Hannibal Lecter (played brilliantly by Mads Mikkelsen) has decided to help out but obviously has an ulterior motive. He is a shark swimming around and pushing buttons. Laurence Fishburne plays Jack Crawford, Will’s boss and Lecter’s friend. Caroline Dhavernas plays Alana Bloom, a psychology professor who tries to keep Will stable. The show explores the twisted world of serial killers in a very pretty artistic way. Seriously, the crime scenes are often disgusting but they are also gorgeous. I recommend this show.


Dark

This is a German show but I have started watching it dubbed in English (since Netflix provides that service). The show is a science fiction show that deals with time travel and disappearances in a small town. I am not that far into it but there are a ton of characters including adults, teens, and children. The town is reeling from a suicide and a child disappearance. On the edge, the town is in for much worse events that may be repeating things from back in the late 80s. It is an interesting show that slowly works through dozens of interconnected threads. I am interested to see where this one goes. I am not sure if this actually involves time travel or just weird stuff with time and space. It may be something else entirely. It is rare that I am so lost on the premise of a show but also excited about it. There are a lot of characters and plot threads to keep track of but it may be very rewarding to do so. I recommend it as well.


The Alienist

The concept of this show is that it is set in 1896 in New York City. The show covers the dawn of modern crimefighting techniques that use psychology and forensics. It mixes both fictional characters with actual figures from history. For example, there is a character based on Alice Stebbins, the first female police officer in New York. Figures like Teddy Roosevelt and JP Morgan are around. Luke Evans plays a reporter who is arrogant and a playboy with connections in the dirtiest parts of town. Dakota Fanning plays the aforementioned first female cop, dealing with misogyny and trying to further her career. They work with Daniel Bruhl who plays the title character, an Alienist which is kind of a special psychologist who specifically examines abnormal psychology. The show is super dark and deals with sexual exploitation and violence toward minors. It is not an easy show to watch but it is pretty fascinating. I recommend the show but it is also pretty gory and not for the faint of heart.

Music of the Week:
Gorillaz – Hollywood

ESKIMO CALLBOY – Nice Boi

Drown This City – Stay Broken

YUNGBLUD – original me

J Balvin X Bad Bunny – Yo Le Llego

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Investigating the Darkness”
– I watched more Elementary Season 2
– I watched more The Flash Season 6
– I watched more Watcher videos
– I watched more Supergirl Season 5
– I watched more Riverdale Season 4
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 4
– I watched more Legends of Tomorrow Season 5
– I watched more Doom Patrol Season 1
– I watched more Scooby-Doo: Mystery Inc. Season 1
– I finished American Vandal Season 1
– I watched Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
– I watched Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
– I watched Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay

Tidelands (2018)

April 23, 2019

I remember when we studied the Odyssey in middle school. It was 1997 and I was in an English class where we read a lot of books that completely and utterly left me spellbound. Part of it was that we spent a lot of time in class actually reading the books in a cozy little classroom and stopping to analyze things every so often. Our teacher made sure we understood the books completely and did so in a fun, accessible way. It was the kind of class that increased people’s joy of reading which is just as important as teaching reading comprehension. When it came to the Odyssey, I was incredibly interested. Myths and legends have always been a thing for me (see my Into the Woods review) and there is just something iconic about the Greek mythology on display in Homer’s texts. While the Iliad is a story about heroes and villains and warfare, the Odyssey is basically a primer on what nasty creatures lingered out in the wide world as the Greeks knew it. Odysseus confronts and uses his might and his mind to counter or avoid many horrible monsters and crafty dangers on his way home.

Among those nasties, were the sirens. A lot of people who do not remember much from that book still remember the sirens. People remember the sirens because they are used as an allegory or a literary allusion so many times in pop culture or as commentary on real life. Sirens are often depicted as beautiful, ethereal women who have such good voices that they draw people in. The truth of the matter is that the sirens are actually ugly creatures who use their beautiful voices to lure sailing ships, making them crash into unseen rocks that surround their island. I am sure you have heard people “um actually” about these women’s ugliness. I never really thought that they should have been depicted as ugly. If they really were beautiful but evil, that would fit with the ‘all that glitters is not gold’ message that people need to hear. For me, it was the same thing as people talking about Satan’s ‘true face’. If he is beautiful and evil, it teaches people not to automatically trust physical beauty. Take that even further and maybe the sirens do not need to be evil. Maybe they cannot help themselves or they are just being pragmatic. Food for thought.

This is an Australian produced show so I had never seen any of the actors before. I will say that the acting is pretty good. It reminded me of the Shannara Chronicles or Riverdale a bit which is not an insult. The production is very slick. I really loved the lighting in particular. They did some excellent subtle modeling with light that can be rare in television. I really liked the production and character design as well. They did a really good job of differentiating between humans and ‘tidelanders’ without it being too outlandish. It is more likely that non-human creatures would adapt to our world instead of continuing to be so flashy with their otherness. They would know that our society does not reward otherness. They also do it a lot with different accents which makes me think of Keel’s Men in Black descriptions. People are more willing to excuse weirdness if they can simply write it off as ‘being foreign’. Special effects are used sparingly which is good because CGI is expensive and risky in television.

The story is pretty neat. The show is ostensibly a crime drama with some supernatural elements. It reminds me of the early seasons of Haven. Similarly, it is set in a seaside fishing town where the community is tight and everybody knows everybody else. The whole town works like a well-oiled machine. I lived in a small town once and I remember that extreme interconnectedness. It was very foreign to a city-born guy like me. Still, just like anywhere else there are a lot of secrets and danger for those trying to uncover those secrets. Beyond the crime drama, there is a lot of personal drama and mystery as we explore those secrets. The supernatural elements are brought in bit by bit so that the show can still focus on more human character development and connections. I am three episodes in and I am pretty fascinated about where this goes next. There are only five episodes left in the only available season so far.

Overall, I liked the show. The air of mystery is great at enticing me to keep watching so that I get some more answers. The pacing is really good as I never felt like the show was dragging or lingering on anything too long but it was not going too fast either. I was also impressed with the casual depictions of LGBTQ+ in the show. There will be a day where I do not have to be surprised by it but it definitely pleased me that it was done in a casual matter-of-fact way. It is refreshing to see. As it is Netflix, there is quite a bit of casual nudity as well.

(Written on 4/20/19)


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