Category Archives: Television

TV Review: Gotham S1E1: Pilot

gotham castThere’s quite a few television shows based on comics hitting the small screen this fall season, but none have me more excited than Fox‘s Gotham. Gotham is the origin story behind Commissioner James Gordon’s rise to prominence in Gotham City in the years before Batman’s arrival. While the series focuses on Gordon, and his start as part of the Gotham police force, it’s much more than that.

When we think of the city of Gotham when it comes to DC Comics, we think of Batman, and the characters that surround him, especially his rouge gallery. Gotham adds a new character, this city itself.

The first episode does the impressive, mixing in the comic world with a grounded police drama. We could call this Gotham: SVU really, as it leans more towards the latter when it comes to the two, and this is a great thing. The focus here is Gordon, and his work in a corrupt city. Surrounding him is a peppering of characters we comic fans will recognize as growing up into some of our favorite characters.

And the inclusion of those other characters works…. almost. So far we have those who later become Poison Ivy, Selina Kyle, Penguin, and Batman (with rumors of a Joker thrown in as a mystery). The last two work perfectly in the series, while the first two seem out-of-place so far. But really, they’re flavoring for the focus, the police force. For comic fans, you’ll recognize characters beyond Gordon such as Harvey Bullock, Sarah Essen, Renee Montoya, and mobster Carmine Falcone. They are really the focus of the show, and like any good police story, they are the personalities that the show will sink or swim. After the first episode I’m leaning on swim.

Gotham is bleak, with corruption all around. In fact, it might be one of the more depressing shows on network television, with Gordon hoping to route out corruption, but in reality the more he attempts to do so, the worse we find out it is. Add in drama hinted at, and we have a show that’s rich in-depth, in story, character, and look.

And the look of it all is important. The first episode takes us to numerous locations within the city, each with a distinctive look, and feel, yet it all seems coherent and part of the same world, a realistic world. The coloring, the choice of framing, it all is spectacular, bringing a cinematic noir feel to the small screen. The look is what cements Gotham the city, as a character in Gotham the show.

I’ll admit I went into the first episode with some nervousness, but having watched the pilot, I came away wanting more. DC has nailed it when it comes to this show, adding an entry that’s engaging, and exciting, and most importantly easily accessible for new individuals. Gotham the city might have a rich history in the Batman universe, but Gotham the series feels like a fresh and new beginning in a dirty and grimy world.

Overall Score: 8.75

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TV Review: The Strain S1E11 The Third Rail

the-strain-logo111 episodes in and The Strain decides to channel Blade 2!? How do you deal with vampires in sewer tunnels? For anyone that’s seen Blade 2, you know where I’m going with this. But while some are building weapons and planning on killing, others are having issues with the mission, especially due to the fact that Eph and Nora are doctors and supposed to help.

But, even with those apprehensions Vasiliy, Abraham, Eph, and Nora head into the tunnels in hopes of killing the Master, and ending the scourge. But, it’s pretty clear the “focus” of the episode is the slow crumbling of civilization. All around them, people are looting, and as they go into the tunnels, they are greeted by trinkets the vampires are dropping as they retreat into them. It’s some solid symbolism, and mixed with what’s going on in the streets, solid detail.

While they’re on their mission, the story of Gus continues, as he attempts to deal with how the vampire outbreak is affecting his family, friends, and everyone he knows. And Gus finally crosses our main cast, in the form of Zach who has decided to venture out from safety to do a task for Nora’s mom. In other word, Zach is quickly turning into the Carl Grimes of this show.

The episode also brings Eph face to face with the Master, something I didn’t expect for quite a while. What the meeting does really well is set up the Master’s obsession with Eph and why he decides to take a focus on him.

The episode isn’t the strongest, but there’s more than enough to keep the story moving and small details to keep us focused and debating. The series continues its solid narrative, keeping us on our toes. After the ending, it’s kind of hard not to be.

Overall Score: 7.75

Graphic Policy Radio Talks Gotham with Guest Scott Kaufman

GP Radio pic MondayThis Monday Graphic Policy Radio is back for a brand new episode. We have a very special episode with return guest Scott Kaufman, who you might know as SEK. The show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

The fall television season has begun, and with it brings numerous shows based on comic books. Debuting Monday is Fox‘s Gotham, a prequel of sorts exploring the city of Gotham before Batman. Instead of centering on the Dark Knight it instead revolves around James Gordon and the Gotham Police force, before collorful characters became the center of crime. It’ll feature some familiar faces, including the origin of some of DC Comic’s most iconic characters.

Scott is the proprietor of the AV Club’s Internet Film School and an associate editor at The Raw Story. He also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money, podcasts, and is an expert on Game of Thrones.

We want to hear what you think of the show, as well as the other shows that’ll be on the air. Call in with your thoughts at 619) 768-2952 and Tweet us what you think @graphicpolicy.

New York Comic Con 2014: Batman: The Complete Television Series Swoops In

PrintAdam West will bring Batman: The Complete Television Series to New York Comic Con in a panel on October 9.

Fans will get all the details on the most anticipated home entertainment release in fanboy history when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment puts West center-stage for a Bat-tastic look at Batman: The Complete TV Series.

Starting at 6:45pm on the Main Stage in the Jacob Javits Convention Center, fans in attendance – and those live-streaming the panel at home – will get an inside sneak peak at all the exclusive content in this long-awaited home entertainment release, as well as dazzling HD remastered footage from the landmark series.

Batman: The Complete TV Series will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as a Limited Edition Box Set, and on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD, starting November 11, 2014.

Supergirl Lands at CBS

Helen Slater as SupergirlEntertainment Weekly is reporting that Supergirl has landed a series commitment from CBS. They are the last network out of ABC, NBC, Fox, and the CW, to land a television series based on a comic character.

Supergirl’s background has varied in the DC universe, so it’ll be interesting to see what they go with for the show. The Big Bang Theory which airs on CBS often features characters from DC Comics. Warner Bros. and DC over the next season will have Arrow, The Flash, Constantine, Gotham, and iZombie on the air. They also have Teen Titans, Lucifer, and Ronin in development.

Arrow and Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti and New Normal’s Ali Adler will write and executive-produce with Sarah Schechter.

Supergirl has appeared on Smallville which was on The CW and she also headlined a movie.

Machinima Lands Justice League: Gods And Monsters Chronicles

TrioMachinima has landed the exclusive rights to Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, a three-part animated series from Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. It’ll be co-produced by Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett.

Chronicles is set in DC’s New 52 animated universe that began in Justice League: War. It’ll debut in 2015 and then be released on video later.

Warner Bros. made an investment in Machinima, so the partnership isn’t shocking.

 

Fox Commits to Lucifer

luciferFox has given a put pilot commitment for Lucifer, a spin-off of the heralded Sandman comic series. Lucifer was published by Vertigo, a DC Comics imprint. The television series will be produced by Tom Kapinos.

A “put pilot commitment” means the network guarantees to air the pilot, if not there are penalties.

The story is about the Lord of Hell who gets bored and unhappy, resigns his throne, abandons his kingdom, and heads to Los Angeles to open a piano bar called Lux.

This is the latest of over a dozen comic series on television or being worked on, and the latest DC property in recent weeks with news coming out that both Teen Titans and Supergirl are also being developed.

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E4 Listen

doctor who capaldiDoctor Who can do goofy, can do sci-fi, but I think the show is often at its best when it does horror. Some of my favorite episodes are the scarier ones, which mix scares along with the usual craziness that’s associated with the Doctor.

Mixing in some time travel, Clara and the Doctor head back in time and meet a young Danny Pink and deal with the idea of nightmares, and the idea we’ve all experienced the same one at one point in our lives.

The episode is a fascinating one, in that it not only tells us a lot about Danny, and his past, but also about the Doctor now. Clara shows lots of caring and affection, but the Doctor also has shown he has tossed his affection and caring. This Doctor is no longer sugar-coating things, instead he just wants to get the job done, which is to protect humanity.

But the episode not only dives into Pink’s past, but also the Doctor’s asking in a way if the Doctor is defined by his companion(s)? These first four episodes continue to deconstruct the Doctor, his motivations, and now his past and origin. And it even sheds some light into the War Doctor we know so little about with this episode.

The season has been interesting so far, with a goal to entertain, and also challenge what we think and know of the Doctor.

Overall Score: 8

TV Review: The Strain S1E10 Loved Ones

the-strain-logo110 episodes in and The Strain continues to surprise with twist and turns. The beginning of the episode flashes back and forth a bit, finally giving us an idea of what has happened to Eph’s ex-wife Kelly. For those who have read the comic, we know what to expect, but here we get some solid detail and creepy scenes. I found myself squirming. The episode bounces back and forth following Kelly’s story, mixed with Eph’s search for her.

A lot of the episode focuses on Kelly, but some is focused on Dutch and Vasiliy who are attempting to fix the mistakes that Dutch made by helping Eldritch Palmer. That whole segment is interesting, in that we learn what Palmer was planning on getting out of the deal with the Master, and some loyalty isn’t quite what we thought it was.

But really, the episode is about Eph and his search, and in that, he’s forced to do some pretty brutal stuff. He also shows his human side, something nice to see since Eph has been such a dick throughout the series so far.

Through the scares, and the chills, the series does a good job at showing the human side of things, and that’s the focus of the episode. It pulls us back in to remind us about the people involved in the story. In a show about vampires, this episode was about the human side of it all.

Overall Score: 8

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E3 Robot of Sherwood

doctor who capaldiPart of Doctor Who’s brilliance is that it can take us anywhere and at any time. For this episode, we get a trip to Sherwood forest to join Robin Hood and his band of men in their battle against the evil Sheriff.

What’s interesting is what happens near the beginning of their getting to know Robin Hood. He explains how he began his battle, prompted by a woman to stand up for what’s right. Much like how the Doctor is now by Clara. Also, the Doctor seems to be confused by this figure who shouldn’t exist, not realizing that his bewilderment is similar to Clara’s relationship, and all companion’s relationships, with the Doctor.

Overall, the episode is ok, keeping us questioning what is real, and what is not. The story, isn’t the main focus, it’s the underlying themes as discussed above that really matters.

The episode is all about legends and heroes, and what the Doctor’s labels are when it comes to both of those. It’s clear the season is really focusing on all of that, the Doctor’s role in the world and that question if he’s a good man.

Not the best episode, but it moves along the themes of the season well.

Overall Score: 7.5

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