Posts Tagged ‘Television’

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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Top 11 Television Lawyers

December 17, 2016

As a little celebration of finishing all of my classes on the way to my paralegal certificate (except an internship), how about we look at some great lawyers.  Unfortunately, they do not make any shows about paralegals.  Obviously, I may need to change this eventually.


11 Jeff Winger (Community)
Trial Lawyer

Community has been one of my favorite shows since my brothers introduced me to it. In the first episode, we meet Jeff who is a lawyer who has just been put into a tough spot. He had lied about having a bachelor’s degree when he was hired at the law firm he was working at. So he is forced to go to Greendale Community College to get a quickie law degree. This is now somewhat familiar and relevant to my life. So a successful lawyer has to attend college just to get a piece of paper. Winger is at the bottom of the list because he is not a properly licensed lawyer through most of the series. Jeff was a defense lawyer who mainly tried DUI and other traffic cases. Jeff’s main strength comes from his excellent charisma and his ability to make a great speech with very little substance. He was very successful but it seems that he does not know a lot of actual law and falls back on convincing judges and juries with his silver tongue. Throughout the show, he does sometimes act as an advocate at disciplinary proceedings and we see both how effective he can be and also how ineffective he can be when people see through his nonsense.


10 Saul Goodman (Better Call Saul)
Public Defender/Civil Litigator

I am really only referring to Saul Goodman during the first season of Better Call Saul. In Breaking Bad, he is a piece of crap and does very little that an actual lawyer does or should do. In the early part of the show, he is a lawyer with a small general practice operating out of the back of a nail salon. Like Jeff Winger, Saul’s true strength lies in his opening and closing statements. When his money situation gets desperate, he becomes a public defender for meager checks from the State. He encounters some horrible prosecutors who seem disinterested in dealing with him in any way. As far as we see, his clients are pretty guilty but Saul does not quit. He works tirelessly for his clients, giving masterful closing arguments and going above and beyond his duties to try to get plea bargains for his clients instead of letting them get fully prosecuted. He does not lie, he does not cheat. He does what a good defense lawyer does and tries to slant the cases in favor of his clients and does his best on behalf of his clients. He falls into a dark place for a bit, trying to cheat the system to make some money but he is also scared back to a more righteous path. Later on, he gets really jazzed about representing the elderly in writing wills and then protecting their rights. He will fall to evil eventually but for the first season, he is a good lawyer.


9 Lindsey McDonald (Angel) – Defense Lawyer

For those of you were born after the nineties, Angel was a spinoff of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and both of those shows are in the upper echelons of my favorite shows. The heroes formed a sort of detective agency that did more saving of lives than actual mystery solving. The main villains of the show came from an evil law firm known as Wolfram & Hart. While there are a lot of jokes about how evil lawyers are, this show took that to the extreme and connected lawyers to several hell dimensions. One of those lawyers was a southern boy played by the awesome Christian Kane. He was tough as nails and was eventually grizzled and buff. When he first appeared, his main strength was that he was one hell of a lawyer (pun intended). Time and again, it is proven off camera and on camera that he is a great lawyer. While he represents vampires and demons, he often did his best to prevent his clients or his firm from carrying out truly heinous acts. He was not a good guy but he had a moral code even if he did want to kill the title character on more than one occasion.


8 Rafael Barba (Law and Order: SVU)
Assistant District Attorney

Really, I could have picked almost any Assistant District Attorney from the Law and Order series to put in this spot. The Law and Order ADAs are often excellent at their jobs. They are very charismatic and they speak with great eloquence and know just how to play witnesses like they were musical instruments. Of course, this leads to overly melodramatic moments that would probably never actually happen in court but it makes for good television. What impresses me most about these ADAs is their knowledge and command of case law. Almost every lawyer on the show knows key cases at the drop of a hat which convinces the judge to see things their way. After law school, most lawyers do not memorize these things anymore because even memorizing local landmark cases is way too much information to retain. Besides, that is what research is for. The ADAs are also very good at convincing judges to make decisions without putting in motions. This is not entirely out of the realm of possibility in real courthouses as this sort of thing falls under a judge’s discretion. However, most judges like having some paper to point at when somebody asks why they made their decision. I picked Rafael Barba for this spot specifically because he seemed to me to be the most professional and least emotional lawyer of the bunch. He assigned to Special Victims Unit and has to try some very difficult cases and it feels like he really never let it get to him too much.


7 Alan Shore (Boston Legal) – Defense Lawyer

Alan Shore is unequivocally an asshole, a fact that becomes more and more clear as the series progresses. However, he usually uses that power for a good cause. He has an undying loyalty toward his client and champions for their right to a fair trial no matter what. He works for a huge multinational law firm called Crane, Poole and Schmidt which largely handles both civil and criminal cases. He is an extremely competent lawyer who is very good at reading people and finding a path to victory when defeat is certain. He specializes in what he calls pulling a rabbit out of his hat. He creates sensational stunts to win cases in the eleventh hour when things are looking dark. It is clear that he also knows how to use case law and actual lawyering to win cases. He often has to resort to his strange tactics because the firm gives him the strangest and most difficult cases. They do this because he is a very self-destructive person who delights in instigating the people around him. He also bends the rules constantly which is another reason why the firm throws him the bad cases to try and get rid of him. As the show progresses, he works at evolving as a person and a lawyer and gets better every episode. This reminds me that I need to watch more of this show.


6 Stewart Sanderson (The Grinder)
Trial Lawyer

When we meet Stew, he is a somewhat downtrodden lawyer who works at his father’s law firm. While he technically works for his father and another partner, he acts as the boss of the law firm. We see him leading meetings, deciding case strategy and assigning cases and work to lawyers and assistants at the office. The tiny firm does good work and obviously,  Stew is an extremely competent lawyer. Throughout the one and only season of this show, we see that he is very adept at doing his research and clearing cases the right way. In the pilot, he clearly remembers a lot of landmark decisions because he is able to pull just the right ones to convince the judge to make the correct decision. He knows the rules and he sticks to them because it gets results. His one weakness is that he is not very good at speaking in court. He relies too much on note cards and does not speak with any fluidity and finds it difficult to adapt his strategy. Enter Dean Sanderson, Stew’s big brother. Through exposure to Dean’s hammy acting and superior confidence, Stew begins a journey where he becomes more confident and therefore a stronger lawyer.


5 Laurel Lance (Arrow) –
Defense Lawyer/Assistant District Attorney

In a show that involves law enforcement and vigilantes, it is a little weird that there are so few lawyers that we see. Of course, most of the show hinges on action and drama and there is no time to slow down and show some courtroom drama. Laurel has worked hard all of her life to do what is right and protect the people around her. The first we see of her, she is working as a defense lawyer who largely represents poorer clients. One of the themes of the show is about class differences so this was a perfect starting point for her character. As the daughter of a cop, she was in a great position to see both sides of things and decided to defend people legally instead of physically. While the show does not focus on her that much, we see that she is a great lawyer. She eventually gets hired on as Assistant District Attorney, a position she uses to team up with her father and secretly with the vigilantes. While normally I would question a lawyer for bending or breaking the rules by working with a vigilante, she is working in an extremely corrupt system. When things are wrong, you have to do what it takes to make them right without crossing major moral boundaries. In the end, she blurs those boundaries by becoming a vigilante herself but she still operates as a lawyer.


4 Constance Griffiths (Life)
Legal Aid/Assistant District Attorney

Few people seem to know about this show but I will continue to champion it until my final breath. The whole show is put into motion by Constance who takes a wrongly accused police officer’s case pro bono. She is able to use DNA evidence to exonerate Charlie and get him the best and weirdest settlement that I have ever heard of. We know from what we see of her that Constance has a big brain and even bigger heart. She does not believe that the innocent should be left to languish in jail and fights for the rights of the falsely accused. She is a one woman Innocence Project. Throughout the show, she deals with a client that has some interesting and potentially annoying personal quirks with ease. She fights to make sure that her client keeps their end of the bargain and protects him at every turn. When it is clear that she has become romantically connected to her client, she removes herself from the position. Her hard work pays off and she is offered a position as an Assistant District Attorney and I always believed that she was probably very fair and ethical in that job.


3 Caroline Julian (Bones)
Prosecutor

At first glance, Caroline is a bit of a bulldog. She is a prosecutor who works directly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She seems to be assigned all of the cases that come from crimes investigated by the partnership between the Jeffersonian Museum and the FBI. She comes across as humorless and has little time for nonsense as she helps investigate cases. She works hard to get the FBI good legal standing and open up doors to allow them to investigate. She is key in getting warrants and clearing obstacles that stand between investigators and the evidence they need. As the show progresses, we see Caroline become more comfortable in being more personable. She works to make things run smoother in the FBI offices and Jeffersonian Labs in the interests of being more efficient. Through it all, she retains the ability to be very intimidating but also later becomes more of a mama bear in the cast. While we do not really get to see her in court, we know she is dead set on following the rules and is instrumental in the cast’s success rate.


2 Foggy Nelson (Daredevil)
General Private Practice

While it would have been easy to put Matt Murdock himself in this spot, we know that Matt has an unfair advantage while plying his trade. Matt can literally monitor a witness’ heartbeat during testimony and is basically a human lie detector. Also, while he is kicking butt on the streets, he often neglects his actual job. Foggy Nelson turns out to be an even better lawyer. He works day and night for his clients and it shows in the bags under his eyes and the beers that he drinks after work. When we first meet him, he is a little too eager to take shortcuts to get clients and clear cases but he has evolved quite a bit on the show. He does his research and he and Matt are able to make a name for their little law firm. One of the main reasons I gave this spot to Foggy is the moment where he was forced to deliver an opening statement on the spot without any preparation and he knocked it out of the park. He also was able to do the same kind of thing in the middle of a knife fight which saved a lot of lives. He is a good man and a good lawyer.


1 Cliff McCormack (Veronica Mars)
Public Defender

Finally, we come to one of my all-time favorite television shows. I mourn its cancellation more than Firefly’s cancellation because every single character was awesome and I wanted a billion of their stories. One of those characters was Cliff McCormack, a public defender, and a working class lawyer. He associated with the Mars family because it is wise for lawyers to use private investigators and for private investigators to have lawyers handy. They form a friendship which Cliff is loyal to a hundred percent. I really, really love Cliff as a lawyer. He always has a hundred cases on his plate but never seems to let any of them down. He has a personal code of ethics and although he may come off as slimy, he is anything but. He even tells a rich murder suspect (a client who could net him a lot of more lucrative cases) to hire a better lawyer. While he is not above using tricks to win cases, none of those tricks involve him breaking the law. He is charming, hard-working and successful.

Baltimore on Film

April 2, 2016

I love when my hometown of Baltimore is in anything. I especially love when film trucks come to town and they shoot a movie or television show here. It feels like Baltimore often gets the short end of the stick because we’re often overlooked. Maybe it’s because we’re too close to Washington DC or maybe it’s because they see us as boring. Baltimore is anything but boring and the architecture and culture are near and dear to my heart. Now, everybody knows The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Streets and, although I love them, I don’t need to discuss them. I picked a couple that may surprise you. All of them are shows and movies that I really like.


Live Free or Die Hard

I love the Die Hard franchise. My whole family loves the Die Hard franchise. People are down on Live Free or Die Hard but I feel it’s a good Die Hard movie but understandably not the best. However, it’s still a lot of fun to watch. The movie is set mostly in Washington DC but has a fairly lengthy segment in Baltimore. They travel to a Baltimore neighborhood to visit with Kevin Smith’s character which is the greatest collision of Jersey and Baltimore since me. Aside from that establishing shot, numerous locations in Baltimore stood in for DC streets. It’s pretty hilarious for a Baltimore boy who grew up disliking DC.


Hairspray

I could have put all of John Waters’ films in here as my old neighbor’s movies are pretty much all set and largely filmed in the Baltimore area. Hairspray is a great example of this as we see all sorts of areas downtown and areas out in Baltimore County. The movie is set in Baltimore at a boiling point in the civil rights movies. Baltimore is a great city for that because we have historically been caught between the north and the south. Baltimore really comes alive in the movie and it looks like a place you want to live. When the movie originally came out I was six and I frequently was near locations in the movie even if I wasn’t aware. Also, forget about the new version as only one establishing shot was filmed in Baltimore. Most of it was filmed in Toronto of all places.


X-Files – The Unusual Suspects

I watched the X-Files almost every Sunday for the first few seasons. It was a great show that mixed mystery, science and the supernatural together. I loved the characters, especially Mulder and Scully because both actors made it work so well. An early indicator of my love of conspiracy theories was probably how much I loved The Lone Gunmen, a ragtag group of informants for Mulder. In season five I was overjoyed to learn that the characters would be given their origin story. Not only do they get a well-written backstory but it’s also set in Baltimore. In fact, much of it is filmed in the Baltimore Convention Center. We also get an appearance from Detective Munch of Homicide and Law and Order: SVU fame.


Twelve Monkeys

Twelve Monkeys is a great movie but admittedly it’s a very strange movie. The science fiction elements end up being a little confusing but you tend to expect such things from a movie with time travel in it. There are great performances in the movie that cover a lot of the weak points and the movie ends up being a great Terry Gilliam movie. In particular, we get a great performance from Bruce Willis and a show stealing performance from Brad Pitt. In the movie, a man is sent back in time to Baltimore to prevent a catastrophe. Unfortunately, a lot of iconic scenes take place in Pennsylvania but there are plenty of shots in Baltimore. Specifically, there were scenes shot on Gay Street and in Mount Vernon. I have been in these neighborhoods more times than I can count.

Media Update 2/18/2016

February 18, 2016


Deadpool

I went into this movie with so much hype I was nervous that it wasn’t going to hold up. I like Ryan Reynolds a lot because he’s a funny and charismatic guy who seems to put everything he has into each role he gets. He has now been in five comic book movies and until now none of them were really considered a hit. Two of them were flops. Now, you may remember me defending X-Men Origins: Wolverine on this blog and I stand by that but I agree that it could have been much better. This was much, much better. This was maybe 300% better. Do yourself a favor and watch some of the promotional material for the movie such as the cancer PSAs or the Australia Day promo. Get yourself in the mood for a raunchy, silly movie. Don’t get me wrong, the movie also has a lot of heart too but it primarily made me laugh from beginning to end. See this movie. (But be warned it’s a hard, hard R movie)


Battleship

Wow. So I have to assign some blame here for this one before I begin. While sitting and waiting for Deadpool to start I mentioned I had not seen this movie. Afterward, my friend Liz suggested I watch it on FX that evening. So I did and you can tell already what I thought of it. However, the movie was not without merit. It was a very pretty movie as the effects were all professionally done and the cgi was very believable. The story was alright but it felt like it wandered a little. The movie is a love letter to the US navy but alot of the navy men and women came off as emotionless or just plain assholes. It reminded me, yet again, why I never went into any sort of armed service. The two main characters were unlikeable at best and the main main character should not have been in the movie past the frist fifteen minutes. The movie was way too long and I would have cut at least 45 minutes by eliminating characters and plotlines. Stay away from this movie unless you’re drunk among snarky friends.


Colony

So there seems to be a lot of Science Fiction shows that started up recently. As I’ve stated I’m not the biggest fan of science fiction because it gets a little bogged down in talking about technology. I prefer science fantasy but I will give science fiction a fair shot if it looks interesting enough. Colony is about a world after aliens have successfully invaded and dominated the Earth. They killed a lot of people and divided the city we see so that any resistance cannot communicate and merge into a larger faction. The main character is a former FBI agent (or something equivalent) who is pressganged into working for the human representatives of the aliens. While he is working for the transitional government and trying to subvert it from the inside, his wife is working for the resistance. It’s kind of a sci-fi spy thriller but the emphasis is on the thriller part. It’s a pretty good show and, while I won’t be watching every week, I’m interested to see where it goes.

Links of the Week:
Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
The Misfits – Where Eagles Dare
Fall Out Boy – Alone Together
Deadpool Australia Day
Neil Degrasse Tyson – Diss Track

Weekly Updates:
– I am going to Magfest tomorrow
– I am watching a lot of Lucha Underground
– I’m watching the Indiana Jones Mythbusters episode right now
– I ran into somebody deprived of TV during their childhood
– The above person did not know Family Feud
– Not much else to talk about today

Supernatural Television

October 26, 2014

I have not only indulged in scary movies this October but there is actually too many Halloween-flavored television shows out there.  I’m not talking Walking Dead because I am sooo over zombies and the show never really struck a chord with me.  Granted I only watched one episode but whatever.  I might break down and watch it at some point but right now I doubt it.  There’s no need to watch it as there are plenty of other shows that I can sample this month (and into the future).  It’s an excuse to check out paranormal shows that I have been meaning to watch.

Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (Two episodes in)

This show is a parody on supernatural/paranormal shows like Twin Peaks and Dark Shadows.  In the fictional world of the show, Darkplace is a showcase for fictional horror writer Garth Marenghi who was commissioned to write and star in a drama for the BBC.  The BBC canceled Darkplace before it was even aired but, now that they are short on programming, they begrudgingly air the show along with commentary from Garth Marenghi and his producer.  The show within a show is cheesy as they emulate all of the poor acting, bad special effects and horrible writing of a low budget series.  There is a lot of eye rolling goodness and they cover a lot of supernatural ground.  I really like it and I will watch more but the show is already over and, like other BBC shows, did not last beyond the first series.  In fact, there are only six episodes.

American Horror Story: Freak Show (Three episodes in)

Like most seasons of American Horror Story, the show sets up a pervasive creepy and twisted mood.  There aren’t really that many outright scares but instead it explores the darkness inside everyone.  There are circus freaks (or insert the PC term) but they aren’t really frightening or repulsive, just interesting.  They do a great job of creating more rounded characters and even extras are given a little business that makes them seem more full.  Jessica Lange is pretty brilliant and recently revealed that she can sing as well as she can act.  The plot kind of meanders a lot and sometimes it feels like they are making it up as they go.  They lean heavily on atmosphere, interesting characters and good acting instead of focusing on plot.  Maybe I’m wrong and I just can’t see what they’re doing yet.  Only time will tell.  If all else fails, I recommend seeing at least one episode just for the much publicized creepy killer clown.

From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series (9 Episodes in)

From Dusk Till Dawn was the beloved result of two friends (Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino) pairing together to create a Vampire/Action/Comedy movie.  The story follows two criminals and a family of three who get attacked by vampires in a strip club.  It was pretty simple but had some nuanced bits in it, mostly because of stellar performances from Harvey Keitel and George Clooney.  The TV series basically takes the movie and fleshes it out, making it longer and allowing for there to be more at stake (no pun intended).   I think they fill in a lot of the mythos for the show using the backstory laid out in the Dusk Till Dawn Sequels but I can’t remember because those movies were pretty boring.  I try to remember them and I pretty much get white noise.  Anyway, the show is pretty creepy and has a lot of great performances including great ones from Wilmer Valderrama and Robert Patrick.

I have some more that I’m going to check out so I’ll get back to that as soon as I do.

Entertainment A to Z

April 6, 2014

So I am stealing this from my friend Joe and altering it but he stole it from somebody else and altered it first so I think that works out.  Check my math.  The idea here is that I list my favorite Movie, Book, Comic Book and TV Show starting with each letter.  I had to make some hard decisions and there are a few spaces I had to leave early but whatever.

Numbers:
Movie – 9
Book – 1984 – George Orwell
Comic Book – 300
TV Show – 30 Rock

A:    Movie – The Avengers (2011)
Book – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
Comic – Angel: After the Fall
TV Show – Arrow

B:     Movie – Batman Begins
Book – The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
Comic Book – Batman: The Long Halloween
TV Show – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

C:    Movie – Captain America: The First Avenger
Book – Coraline – Neil Gaiman
Comic Book – Civil War (Marvel Comics)
TV Show – Community

D:    Movie – The Dark Knight
Book – Dead Beat – Jim Butcher
Comic Book – Deadpool: Dead Presidents
TV Show – Doctor Who

E:    Movie – Escape from New York
Book – Earth (the Book) – Jon Stewart and Daily Show Writers
Comic Book – Excalibur: Defenders of the Realm
TV Show – Eureka

F:     Movie – Frozen
Book – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
Comic Book – Fables: Legends in Exile
TV Show – Firefly

G:    Movie – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Book – Groucho and Me – Julius “Groucho” Marx
Comic Book – Green Arrow: Year One
TV Show – Game of Thrones

H:    Movie – Hellboy
Book – Have a Nice Day! – Mick Foley
Comic Book – Hellboy: Seed of Destruction
TV Show – Hannibal

I:     Movie – Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Book – If Chins Could Kill – Bruce Campbell
Comic Book – Iron Man: Armor Wars
TV Show – The Incredible Hulk

J:     Movie – Juno
Book – Jurrasic Park – Michael Crighton
Comic Book – JSA: Stealing Thunder
TV Show – Justice League United

K:    Movie – King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
Book – A Kiss of Shadows – Laurell K. Hamilton
Comic Book – Kingdom Come (DC Comics)
TV Show – Kids in the Hall

L:     Movie – Life of Brian
Book – The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
Comic Book – The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
TV Show – Leverage

M:  Movie – The Muppets (2011)
Book – The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA – Antonio Mendez
Comic Book – Marvels (Marvel Comics)
TV Show – Marvel’s Agents of Shield

N:    Movie – A Night at the Opera
Book – Nightlife – Rob Thurman
Comic Book – Nightwing: A Knight in Bludhaven
TV Show – Numb3rs

O:    Movie – Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
Book – The Odyssey – Homer
Comic Book – Outsiders – Looking for Trouble
TV Show – The Outer Limits

P:    Movie – The Princess Bride
Book – Pawn of Prophecy – David Eddings
Comic Book – Punisher War Journal: Civil War
TV Show – Psych

Q:    Movie – Quantum of Solace
Book – Queen of Sorcery – David Eddings
Comic Book – The Question: Zen and Violence
TV Show – Quantum Leap

R:     Movie – Reservoir Dogs
Book – Red Dragon – Thomas Harris
Comic Book – Robin: Unmasked
TV Show – Rick and Morty

S:     Movie – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World
Book – The Shining – Stephen King
Comic Book – Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
TV Show – South Park

T:     Movie – Taken
Book – A Time to Kill – John Grisham
Comic Book – Teen Titans: A Kid’s Game
TV Show – The Tick

U:    Movie – Up
Book – Underboss – Peter Maas
Comic Book – Underworld Unleashed (DC Comics)
TV Show –  The Unusuals

V:    Movie – V for Vendetta
Book – <None Yet>
Comic Book – Villains United (DC Comics)
TV Show –  Veronica Mars

W:   Movie – The Wizard of Oz
Book – Wrestlecrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling – RD Reynolds
Comic Book – Watchmen
TV Show –  Warehouse 13

X:    Movie – X-Men: First Class
Book – <None Yet>
Comic Book – X-Men: Age of Apocalypse
TV Show –  X-Men Evolution

Y:    Movie – Yankee Doodle Dandy
Book – A Year at the Movies: One Man’s Filmgoing Odyssey – Kevin Murphy
Comic Book – Young Justice: A League of Their Own
TV Show – Young Justice

Z:    Movie – Zero Dark Thirty
Book – Zen in the Art of Writing – Ray Bradbury
Comic Book – <None Yet>
TV Show –  Zoids

Top 11 TV Shows On the Air Right Now

September 18, 2012

Why Top 11? I’m blatantly stealing it from the Nostalgia Critic.

1. Doctor Who

I never got into the previous versions of this show as I was unlucky enough to be born into a childhood without Doctor Who. I saw the dude in the scarf on magazines in comic book stores but it was beyond me. I missed it when Eccleston began in 2005 but caught the first bits of David Tennant’s first season. This show always makes me smile and often makes me laugh. It’s hard to explain to you what this show is since each episode can pretty much be about anything. I’ve seen every episode that was aired since it began again in 2005. Matt Smith is rocking the new seasons and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

2 Gravity Falls

The show follows Dipper and Mabel, twin siblings forced to spend the summer working at their Great Uncle (“Gruncle”) Stan’s Mystery Shack which is a tourist trap in Gravity Falls. In each episode they tend to get entangled in supernatural mysteries and/or hijinks.This is a new find for me. I love goofy, crazy humor that is just this side of surreal. Well, I love it if the show isn’t trying too hard. This show effortlessly pulls off throwaway gag after throwaway gag but it also keeps a good foundation of reality and continuity. Each episode has callbacks to earlier episodes but isn’t pushy or intrusive about it. Really though, this show just makes me laugh during every episode and that’s enough to make me love it.

3 Leverage

Nathan Ford is a former insurance investigator who descended into alcoholism after the insurance company he worked for refused to pay for an experimental procedure that could have saved his son from death. He pulls it back together to form a Robin Hood kind of team that punishes the powerful who hurt the powerless. Each member of the team is a specialist in their field which reminds me of character classes in Dungeons and Dragons. We get a fighter, a hacker, a grifter, a thief and Nate who is the mastermind. I love a good ensemble and I like that each of them gets to show off their particular skills and personalities. However, this show has given the characters a lot of room to grow. I can’t wait for the mid-season finale tonight.

4 Alphas

Dr. Lee Rosen is a neurologist and psychiatrist who is an expert in the Alpha phenomenon. Alphas are individuals who have developed superpowers through some quirk in their neurology. He leads a team of his patients in stopping threats from violent or out of control Alphas. This is another great ensemble show with everybody working towards a great show. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that David Straitharn as Dr. Rosen is a huge reason why I love the show. The show kind of reminds me of Heroes but if it was a tad more realistic and didn’t have vast, meandering subplots. Which is less bashing Heroes and more praise of this show.

5 White Collar

Neal Caffrey is a world-class conman and forger who is caught by Special Agent Peter Burke. He makes a deal with the FBI to work with Burke as a consultant to the white collar crime division where they use his larcenous gifts to catch criminals. What instantly stole the show for me was the fast talking, smooth Neal Caffrey but the supporting cast really has grown on me. Each character has become a little more rounded with each episode and I’ve come to appreciate the complicated relationships between the cast of characters. It also has a conspiracy theorist who often spouts famous quotes.

6 Flashpoint

Team 1 of the Strategic Response Unit in Toronto responds to crimes and tense situations where normal police are less equipped to act. The team heads into life or death situations which usually involve gunplay and usually at least one of the team on sniper duty but there is also a strong emphasis on negotiation. This is another ensemble show so I hope you’re sensing a pattern. I like that the show focuses a lot on tactics and the human element of each and every situation they face. I also like that those same situations are rarely black and white and the solution almost always leaves you and the characters wondering if they did the right thing.

7 Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13 is where an untold amount of magical and potentially dangerous artifacts are stored. These artifacts usually bestow some special ability to the user but often have a terrible downside. The agents go out into the world to track these artifacts down so they can be safely stored in the warehouse. Artifacts may range from Sylvia Plath’s typewriter which sucks the will to live from people all the way to Anne Bonny’s cutlass which makes you act like a pirate. The show is fun to watch but sometimes even more fun to research as all of the artifacts are connected to real life historical figures and events. While the show doesn’t make me laugh, I can appreciate it’s low key sense of humor.

8 Young Justice

A group of superhero sidekicks forms their own team which takes on more covert missions as back up to the more flashy Justice League of America. The founding members of the team are Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Artemis, Superboy and Miss Martian. They are the sidekicks of Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Arrow, Superman and Martian Manhunter. The cast has since majorly expanded so the episodes have a rotating cast of crimefighters. I am a huge fan of the Young Justice and Teen Titans comic book series so I was excited when this premiered. It doesn’t disappoint as they stick pretty close to the source material while also doing their own thing.

9 Community

Jeff Winger is a shark of a lawyer who is suspended from practicing law because it is discovered that he faked his undergraduate degree. He attends Greendale Community College as a way to get a quick degree so he can get back to his career. The show follows Jeff and the study group that he inadvertently forms in the first episode. They are a mismatched group of characters with surprisingly realistic personality flaws considering the off the wall humor of the series. The show is very “meta” and the more episodes that you’ve seen, the more you’re rewarded. The show begins it’s fourth season soon after firing their showrunner who also created the show. I hope it keeps the same spirit that it’s had since day one.

10 Lost Girl

Bo is a succubus, which in the world of the show is a kind of faery but is pretty much how a succubus is explained elsewhere. She teams up with a human named Kenzi to act as a private invesitgator amongst the fae and the supernatural world. Basically an urban fantasy show with a tough female protagonist. I like its take on supernatural creatures and how they fit in or don’t fit in to modern society. The low production values and clever dialogue remind me of another show called Sanctuary. I just discovered this show as it was recently imported from Canada.

11 Psych

Shawn Spencer has a photographic memory and a razor sharp attention for detail which he uses to convince the Santa Barbara police that he is a psychic detective. With the help of his friend Gus and two police detectives, he solves murders. I was obsessed with this show for a while and I am still a big fan. Shawn’s tendency to spout pop culture references is a big plus for me as I’m a sucker for pop culture references. The show is often over the top but usually doesn’t go too far. The show also has a kicking theme song.


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