Category Archives: Television

TV Review: Doctor Who S8E10 In the Forest of the Night

doctor who capaldiOne morning in London, and every city and town in the world, the human race wakes up to the most surprising invasion yet: the trees have moved back in. Everywhere, in every land, a forest has grown and taken back the Earth.

For much of the season, the stories for Doctor Who has taken on the horror genre, and this episode too dips a bit into that with a trip into the forest, the setting of so many children’s tales, grim as they are. It’s appropriate since this episode focuses on a bunch of kids, Clara, and Danny Pink. Pink, Clara, and the kids begin on a class school trip, and when attempting to go home discover London (and the world) has been overrun with planets. In comes the Doctor and one strange little child.

The whole tree aspect is interesting, and some nice pro-environment messaging, though a meh story. What’s interesting though is the interaction with the Doctor and Clara. While the Doctor is trying to save the world, there’s a point Clara gives up, a switch from her integral part in saving the world the last couple of episodes. It also shows a part of her that’s a bit tired of it all. She also sides with Pink, choosing him over the Doctor.

There is some very interesting discussion at the end about forgetting, and humanity’s habit of doing so. But, really, it’s that “next time” that really has me excited. It looks like the season has been building up to something interesting, and we’re about to find out what that is.

Overall Score: 7

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Young Justice: Invasion, Out November 18

1000524714_BD_youngJusticeS2Warner Archive Collection brings another outstanding Warner Bros. Animation television series to Blu-rayTM with the November 18 release of Young Justice: Invasion, the thrilling second season of the popular series.

Taking this release to another level, Warner Archive Collection has added an exclusive commentary track on the series finale episodes “Summit” and “Endgame” featuring creators Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti along with voice actors Jason Spisak (Kid Flash) and Stephanie Lemelin (Artemis). The package also includes a Behind the Scenes featurette.

Young Justice: Invasion finds our heroes five years into the future – and a lot can change in five years, as our super heroes are about to find out. First, there’s some new residents to be found at Mount Justice: new team leader Nightwing, Wondergirl, Blue Beetle, Batgirl, Bumblebee and Beast Boy. And Young Justice will need all the help it can get as an alien presence has infiltrated Earth, while certain members of the Justice League are forced to stand trial at the criminal hearing off-world. Watch as The Reach, spearheaded by the quick-talking Ambassador and backed by the muscle of Black Beetle, manipulates a trusting public while maintaining its shadowy maneuvering with The Light. This is a grand 20-episode adventure as the risks have never been greater and the conflicts never so far-reaching – and the epic finale will shatter everything you know!

TV Review: Constantine S1E1 Non Est Asylum

CONSTANTINE-First-Official-Image1Based on the wildly popular comic book series Hellblazer from DC Comics‘s imprint Vertigo, as well as the New 52 series Constantine, seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine is armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and a wickedly naughty wit. He fights the good fight – or at least he did. With his soul already damned to hell, he’s decided to abandon his campaign against evil until a series of events thrusts him back into the fray when an old friend’s daughter becomes the target of supernatural forces.

It was only nine years ago that John Constantine made his mass media debut in the 2005 dreadful film Constantine, which starred Keanu Reeves in the title role. It’s interesting that nine years later the next attempt to bring the character to the masses shares the same title, but after seeing the first episode it sort of makes sense.

The visual aesthetic I think shares a lot with that film, something the movie got right. It has a bit of a cheesy horror film vibe about it all, just a step above the cheese though (though not much). The film and television show share the basics of the character, and a little of the attitude, and that’s where things generally end.

The greatest departure is Matt Ryan, who now embodies the role of John Constantine, sharing an impressive closeness in look to his comic depiction, and also playing off the borderline asshole personality of the character as well. The first episode rests on his shoulders, squarely on his shoulders, because that’s what there really is for the show.

Constantine the show is somewhat restrained by the fact its a network show, as opposed to being able to pull off an R adaptation. The comic has done some of its best work when it’s embraced its mature label. Mix that with some folks who know “horror” and you could have an amazing show. The debut though feels like “horror” light. It needs to go full “horror,” and dig in to what makes that genre succeed. Television lacks a solid horror show, and this could fill that niche nicely. As is, it dances around that, sanitizing the scares, and disturbing imagery, for the masses. It begins to go there, and it never quite crosses that moment that has me jump from my seat, or feel tense with anticipation and fear. There is definitely moments I was shocked NBC showed (don’t get me started on that pairing). There’s also a lot of religious themes, stories, and characters, that would probably get the masses up in arms if done correctly. The New 52 Constantine is a sanitized Hellblazer, and Constantine the show’s first episode is a further sanitized version of the New 52 Constantine.

The debut is a decent start, and should pair nicely with its lead in show Grimm. It shows promise in where it’ll go from here, but overall the debut episode didn’t blow me away. I’m nowhere near ready to render my verdict for the series as a whole. There’s a lot I like, Ryan being top of the list, and nothing I truly disliked. The show just kind of is. What it embraces from its comic roots will be a key to the season, and its willingness to go full horror and push what can be shown on television. There’s great potential in the series, we’ve seen what the character can do in the comics, crossing my fingers the series pulls off some magic and embraces a bit more of its dark side.

Overall rating: 7

 

Archie and the Gang Head to Television in Riverdale

LifeWithArchie_37-0ARArchie Comics has announced Riverdale, a one-hour drama based on the iconic Archie comic book characters, has landed at Fox. Warner Brothers Studios is producing along with studio-based Berlanti Productions.

Riverdale offers a bold, subversive take on Archie, Betty, Veronica, and their friends, exploring the surrealistic twists of small-town life plus the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath Riverdale’s wholesome facade. Set in the present in the small fictional town of Riverdale, New York. The show will focus on the eternal love triangle of Archie Andrews, girl-next-door Betty Cooper, and rich socialite Veronica Lodge, and will include the entire cast of characters from the comic books—including Archie’s rival, Reggie Mantle, and his slacker best friend, Jughead Jones. Popular gay character Kevin Keller will also play a pivotal role. In addition to the core cast, Riverdale will introduce other characters from Archie Comics’ expansive library, including Josie and the Pussycats.

The show will be produced by Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions, written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.

After the company’s successful twisted take Afterlife With Archie, we’ve wanted something like this in comics for quite some time. It being on television instead? We’ll take!

TV Review: Arrow S3E3 Corto Maltese

arrowOn this episode of Arrow, Oliver decides it’s time for Thea to come back to Starling City, so he packs for Corto Maltese, where Felicity has traced Thea’s whereabouts. Lyla asks Diggle to go with Oliver because one of her field operatives, Mark Shaw, has gone dark in Corto Maltese and she’d like him to look into it. Feeling responsible for Thea’s departure, Roy joins Oliver and Diggle on their journey. Shaw double-crosses Diggle, putting numerous A.R.G.U.S. agents, including Lyla, at risk. Meanwhile, Laurel meets Ted Grant, and Felicity adjusts to her new job.

Interspersed throughout the episode is Thea’s origin into whatever she is now. We get to see her and her father in the beginning, and generally how he won her over. Juxtapose that with Oliver and Roy attempting to bring her back and you get an interesting back and forth.

Then you have Laurel, who seems to be heading down an expected path, especially after the introduction of Ted Grant, a name that should be familiar to DC Comics fans. Blonde hair, and mask? Yeah, I think we might be seeing a new Black Canary in the making. We’ll see where it all goes though in the television series.

What’s a bit meh is the A.R.G.U.S. storyline which just feels like they needed to add in a big action sequence for the hell of it. The episode would have been much stronger focusing on Laurel and Thea instead and get rid of the side story. Giving more details on either of them, some more training, some more discussing their motives, that would have been much more interesting.

Overall, this is a needed episode that could have been done a bit differently with a much better result.

Overall rating: 8

Marvel Reveals Bobbi Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird’s Look

Played by Adrianne Palicki, Marvel has released a look at the tactical suit that Agent Bobbi Morse, a.k.a. Mockingbird will wear on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The character debuted on last night’s episode.

Mockingbird Agents Suit

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2E5 A Hen in the Wolfhouse

Agents_of_SHIELD_logoCoulson’s team is up against the beautiful and deadly Bobbi Morse — Security Chief for Hydra. Meanwhile, Skye’s father forces Raina to reunite him with his daughter at any cost.

The first third of the episode, I honestly tuned out. Not much jumped out at me as exciting our all that interesting. It wasn’t until Coulson talks to Skye, and reveals she might be an alien…. now you have my interest…. until predictably Jemma is threatened with being outed as a mole for S.H.I.E.L.D. by Hydra. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. summed up in a two minute span right there.

But, really the episode is about the introduction of Bobbi Morse into the Marvel cinematic universe. And boy does she enter in a pretty bad-ass way.

The rest of the episode mixes things up a bit getting things settled for the rest of the season. Bobbi is now part of the team, and clearly has some history with folks, REALLY entertaining history. Skye’s pursuit of her father is probably the main story for the season, and I’d expect a big reveal at the end about Skye, or for it to lead to a further mystery next season. There’s the weird symbols Coulson is drawing. And Jemma is back, which can mean a whole lot of things for Fitz.

Overall, better than last week’s episode, but not quite the quality from the end of last season.

Overall Score: 6.5

Warner Bros. Announces Static Shock

STATIC SHOCK #1Warner Bros. has revealed some of the details about its digital production unit. The unit named Blue Ribbon Content has unveiled some of its initial development plans, including some more work based on comics.

Already announced is Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, which will debut on Machinima in 2015 as well as the virtual reality experience, Batman: The Animated Series Experience. Warner Bros. has a stake in Machinima, so the project makes complete sense. Some other projects are tied into The CW, the television network that Warner Bros. is also involved with.

Today brought even bigger news, a project based on Static Shock.

The action series include Static Shock, an adaptation of the Static comic from writer-producer-director Reginald Hudlin (Django Unchained).

That’s a pretty big announcement quietly put out there. Warner Bros./DC Comics was the first to announce a movie based on one of their female characters, as well as an African American character. Now we have Static Shock out of nowhere. Seems like the company that had been receiving lots of criticism is now beginning to fire on all cylinders.

Here’s more details on the comic related projects:

Static Shock — Writer/producer/director Reginald Hudlin (Best Picture Oscar nominee for producing Django Unchained) leads the creative team behind a live-action adaptation of Static Shock, featuring the African-American super hero Static, aka Virgil Ovid Hawkins. Static Shock is based on the Static comic co-created by the late Dwayne McDuffie with co-writer Robert L. Washington III and artist John Paul Leon, which was originally published by the DC Comics imprint Milestone Comics and, later, by DC Comics. Milestone Media co-founder/comic book artist/TV producer Denys Cowan (the original Static Shock animated series) is collaborating with Hudlin on the new Static Shock.

Batman: The Animated Series Experience — As previously announced, Blue Ribbon, DC Entertainment and visual effects pioneer OTOY are teaming up on an immersive entertainment experience that will see the Batcave from the acclaimed Emmy Award–winning Batman: The Animated Series brought to life via interactive holographic video for virtual reality displays. OTOY is collaborating with series producer Bruce Timm on this interactive narrative experience which will give fans the opportunity to explore Batman’s world like never before, allowing them to feel what it is like to be inside the show’s stylized universe on devices such as the Samsung GALAXY Gear VR, the Oculus Rift, and on forthcoming “glasses-free” light field displays that will power future TV and mobile devices.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

TV Review: The Flash S1E3 Things You Can’t Outrun

theflash_full_costumeAs Barry and the team at S.T.A.R. Labs work to capture Kyle Nimbus a.k.a. The Mist, a dangerous new meta-human with toxic gas powers, they revisit the painful night the particle accelerator exploded and killed Caitlin’s fiancé, Ronnie. Meanwhile, Joe decides to finally visit Henry in jail after all these years, but things take a dangerous turn when Kyle shows up looking to punish Joe for arresting him years ago. Meanwhile, Iris and Eddie continue to hide their relationship from Joe.

Three episodes in and The Flash keeps running away as the freshest “comic” show to debut this year, might be why its been picked up for a full season.

Tonight’s episode introduces yet another meta-human for Barry to fight, but really the episode’s points are two other things. First, it addresses the fact that Barry could run into prison and grab his father. The second is the introduction of Ronnie Raymond. Why is he important? Well, fans of DC Comics will know him as the superhero Firestorm.

The episode is decent, not quite as strong as the first two, but like those first two it does an excellent job setting up what’s to come. We know there’s more Rogues, the Reverse Flash, Firestorm, lots for comic fans. The fact the show is able to do this in a fun package.

Yes the episode has issues, lets face it a vacuum could defeat the bad guy, but that’s not the point. This is a show that’s fun, and that’s something we need more of on tv.

Overall rating: 7.5

Viz Media Celebrates 30 Years of Voltron

Voltron-30thAnnvBook-3D-smVIZ Media takes readers on an exciting journey to explore the history and legacy of Voltron, the legendary giant robot anime series that marks the 30th Anniversary of its original North American broadcast premiere.

Voltron: From Days of Long Ago, A 30th Anniversary Celebration examines the entire Voltron universe and the property’s notable impact on pop culture and will be released in-print on October 28th from the company’s Perfect Square imprint. The hardcover oversized edition will carry an MSRP of $29.99 U.S. / $34.99 CAN.

A digital version of Voltron: From Days of Long Ago, A 30th Anniversary Celebration also will launch on October 28th for $14.99 U.S. / CAN from the Perfect Square App, which has titles available for the Apple iPad and iPad Mini. The Perfect Square App is available from the iTunes store. Readers also will be able to find a digital version for the NOOK, Kindle Fire, and Kobo eReaders, as well as in the iBooks and GooglePlay Stores.

Thirty years ago, Voltron: Defender of the Universe hit the airwaves, and the world hasn’t been the same. Now, Voltron: From Days of Long Ago chronicles the story of Voltron and its cultural relevance, taking a detailed look at the story behind the show and the many related toy releases, the mythology of both Lion Force and Vehicle Voltron (with a nod to Albegas), and concludes the exciting Voltron Force saga. This new book is truly for fans, by fans: authored by Brian Smith, a former Marvel Comics editor and writer for Perfect Square’s Voltron Force series of original graphic novels, Marc Morrell, co-host of the official “Let’s Voltron!” podcast, and Joshua Bernard, founder of CollectionDX, a popular website devoted to covering the world of Japanese toys, action figures and pop culture; with a bonus Voltron comic written by Smith and illustrated by Jacob Chabot, artist on the Voltron Force series; with a foreword by Jeremy Corray, former Creative Director of World Events Productions, the company behind the classic Voltron TV series.

 

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