Tag Archives: Television

TV Review: Constantine S1E2 The Darkness Beneath

CONSTANTINE-First-Official-Image1Deep in the mountains of Western Pennsylvania, John is the small mining community’s only defense against an ancient Welsh spirit. In the course of protecting these isolated innocents, John finds a vital new ally in a mysterious young woman named Zed.

Only two episodes in and Constantine has already had a shake up, dropping it’s leading lady for a new mysterious woman familiar to fans of the comics series. Also not present is Chas, which makes me wonder how much he’ll be a part of the series. It also made me wonder why there wasn’t a reshoot of the pilot episode. I have no idea if the average person would think this.

The overall episode is pretty meh, with Constantine running around trying to figure out what’s going on in a town. It’s a little bit X-Files, with a demonic bent. This could work long term, especially with a team dynamic.

But, many of the issues from the first episode remain. The episode doesn’t go quite far enough, but is better. I think the bigger issue is the shift in characters from the first episode. It indicates to me that the series doesn’t know what it wants to be. Further, the end of the first episode hinted to expect one type of series, and now we get something else. Generally, the second episode leaves me with similar impressions as the first. There’s potential here, but it needs a strong creative team and vision behind it. Right now, I’m not seeing it.

Overall rating: 7

 

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So, it was new comic book yesterday! What stood out to you? Anything you read that you’ve really like?

Around the Tubes

The Florida Times-Union – IRS fails to find a buyer in Jacksonville for former lottery winner’s comic books – At $5 a book? Um, nope.

ICv2 – New ‘Richie Rich’ Show – Huh.

Reuters – Xtreme Justice – Some real life heroes.

Paste Magazine – Tentacles & Madness: 10 Comics That Continue H.P. Lovecraft’s Horror Legacy – Some good ones on the list.

 

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Comic Vine – Aliens: Fire and Stone #2

Comic Vine – AXIS: Carnage #1

ICv2 – Barkamon Vol. 1

Comic Vine – Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1

Comic Vine – Deathlok #1

CBR – Deathlok #1

Comic Vine – DMC #1

Comic Vine – Elektra #7

Comic Vine – Guardians of the Galaxy #20

Talking Comics – Magi Vol. 8

Comic Vine – Rasputin #1

Comic Vine – Savage Dragon #199

The Spire – Some People

The Fandom Post – The Way of Shadows

TV Review: Arrow S3E4 The Magician

arrowOn this episode of Arrow, Nyssa and Oliver join forces to go after the Dark archer. Yeah, that pretty much sums up the episode. There’s a lot of “who killed Sara” in the episode, enough to keep us the viewers wondering who’s telling the truth, and who’s lying. At the end of the episode I’m still not sure.

This is a pretty straightforward episode that brings the fact Malcolm Merlyn is still alive to front and center. Overall, the episode brings up a lot of interesting stuff. First there’s Thea and Oliver’s relationship. They’ve promised to be open to each other, but clearly they’re both keeping something back. Second, you’ve got Nyssa running around and trying to get vengeance, and then Oliver’s proclamation to her. Finally, there’s Oliver’s vow to not kill. He struggles a lot in this episode with that. And we see that he’s a lot worse about all of that in his past than we know about… ie his time with Amanda Waller.

The episode overall is pretty mixed. By itself, the episode doesn’t stand too well on its own. But, as part of the build up in the season, it’s a solid episode. In three episodes we’ve had a lot thrown at us, and this episode slows that down some to have us catch up and bring some of those threads together.

It’s a bit weaker of an episode, but that’s partially because the first three were so packed with things. But, the episode was needed as well. Overall, Arrow has learned a lot in it’s first two seasons, and we’re seeing those lessons on full display, in a positive way, so far this season.

And, lets face it, it’s kind of hard to not dig the end of the episode.

Overall rating: 7.25

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2E6 A Fractured House

Agents_of_SHIELD_logoThe world turns against S.H.I.E.L.D. when Hydra impersonates them to attack The United Nations, and an unexpected enemy leads the charge to bring about their downfall.

With Hydra running around pretending they’re S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson’s team decides to head to a weapons dealer who might help them figure out where they enemy is, and stop them. The whole part is a bit odd, but it is what it is. There’s also an issue of a Senator after S.H.I.E.L.D. is Grant’s brother. I snickered when they listed him as a Republican.

I will say, the coolest part of the episode is the increased profile of Daniel Whitehall. This is one character from the comics that might be a bit under the radar for most. Whitehall is also known as Kraken, a relatively new character to the Marvel comic universe who was introduced in a S.H.I.E.L.D. related comic series Secret Warriors. Whitehall doesn’t sport his awesome design, but there’s hope we’ll see it in the future. Also solid in the episode is Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird’s relationship with her ex-husband. Their banter is solid, and we’ve seen something similar in comics with her and Hawkeye.

The action at the end is pretty decent. There’s some nice weapons battles and the inclusion of Morse to the team is very welcome. Seeing her kick-ass with her iconic weapons is great to see and of course May whipping ass too is entertaining.

With what Grant reveals to Skye, the episode continues to build to…. something. I’ve got thoughts, and theories as to where they might go with Skye, especially with her Hydra connections. There’s also the political play, which seems to shift S.H.I.E.L.D.’s standing with the US government. This is an interesting series shifting episode. Where it goes from here? We’ll see though.

Overall Score: 7

TV Review: Gotham S1E6 Spirit of the Goat

gotham cast When a killer begins targeting the first-born of Gotham’s elite, Bullock is forced to confront traumatic memories from a nearly identical case he worked in the past. Later, Gordon is confronted by past decisions.

This episode of Gotham is light on the main attraction, Oswald Cobblepot, but heavy on Gordon and Bullock. It’s a very different episode that focuses more on the detective aspect, with some supernatural elements, versus what we’ve been seeing before, which I’d call more drama.

What’s particularly interesting, and very much-needed, is a bit more insight into who Bullock is. Yes, he’s crooked. Yes, he’s morally questionable. But with all of that, there’s still a code that drives him, and we get a bit of that. We get to see that he really isn’t all that shitty, and there’s some good in there.

What’s also meh is the whole Gordon killing Cobblepot aspect, which comes to a head here. It’s not exactly difficult for him to beat the charges, so I don’t see this going very far, and in general it’d have been great for this to play out longer in the season.

Again, the episode is mixed, like previous episodes. Bullock and Gordon on the case is solid. The rest is a bit meh. Much like a lot of the series as a whole. It’s still figuring out its rhythm and balance, but it’s getting there. The ending though hints it’s all about to get good.

Overall Score: 7

Graphic Policy Radio this Monday Talks DC Comics with guest Emma Houxbois

GP Radio pic MondayThis Monday night Graphic Policy Radio returns with a brand new episode! The show airs live this Monday at 10pm ET.

This show is all DC Comics as we talk about some brand new series as well as the debut of Constantine on NBC this past Friday. Joining the discussion is frequent guest Emma Houxbois.

Emma is a queer blogger for hire out of Vancouver, BC, and the DC Comics reviewer for The Rainbow Hub!

On tap this episode we’re discussing:

  • Constantine debuted this past Friday on NBC. We discuss the first episode and what we think of the latest live adaptation of the character.
  • DC Comics has been shaking things up debuting lots of new series and shaking of the creative teams on others. We’re discussing new series and the new directions for Catwoman, Gotham Academy, and Batgirl.

We want to hear from you too! Call in with your thoughts at (619) 768-2952, or Tweet them to us @graphicpolicy.

You can listen in live this Monday!

TV Review: The Walking Dead S5E3 Four Walls and a Roof

walking-dead-5 photoAs Bob fights for his life, Rick and the group take a stand to defend the church against Gareth and his gang of cannibals.

Right away the episode kicks off catching up with Bob and Gareth as Gareth continues to rant about eating people. Bob then drops a bomb on them about his condition, something I wondered about during last episode. But, moving from him back to Rick’s crew, it’s clear that someone is watching them. Finally Gabriel admits what he did. All of this is within the first 10 minutes of the The Walking Dead, one hell of a start.

We also get the first butting of heads between Abraham and Rick, something that’s been brewing for a bit. It’s clear there’s two alpha males, and they won’t always agree. Interesting enough though, Glenn steps in, continuing his interesting role in the group dynamic.

What plays out is some amazing strategy played out between Rick and Gareth with some highly tense moments played out in very dark quarters. To say it’s all cathartic is an understatement with Rick completing a promise he made to Gareth. Just beyond cathartic.

But here’s the question, with the violence shown and committed, is Rick’s crew any better than Gareth? Both are done out of necessity. Both are done out of survival. The difference really plays out at the end between Bob and Rick. If you want to know if there’s a difference between Gareth and Rick’s actions, it’s summed up by Bob.

It’s the last 10 minutes of the show that hits you. If you can watch the end, and not tear up a little, you have no heart. Truly the end of the episode sums up what the series is all about. The Walking Dead might have zombies, and scares, and lots of blood and death, but at its heart, the show is about people and humanity. A stellar episode, one of the best of the series.

Overall rating: 10

TV Review: Comic Book Men S4E3 Stand Up Guys

comic book menIn this episode of Comic Book Men, Walt challenges the guys to perform stand up comedy at the Stash. A collector brings in key Marvel comics from the 1960s.

The show kicks off right away with that 1960s comics above. The man who comes in says he’s a collector and a dealer, which makes me wonder why he’s coming into the Stash to sell these books, and it’s an impressive set of comics. It’s a little weird that he’s a dealer and yet goes to another shop to sell them, and they never ask why he’s trying to sell the books. Plus, Walt doesn’t even check out the books. He doesn’t see if it’s restored, or how the insides are. Walt just hands over cash. As a person who used to work at a store myself, this segment doesn’t really sit well with me at all. But, segment shows off some comic history. It’d have been better talking a bit more as to why they’re important, but also going over and grading the comics themselves. Dropping a couple hundred dollars without checking the item out is just odd.

There’s another segment about selling a toy. That one was a bit more interesting to me. It’s a toy I know nothing about. Here, some history is given about why the toy is important, and there’s a lot of joking. It’s a stronger segment than the first, and here the dealing is more realistic and there’s an explanation as to why the guy is trying to sell the toy.

The third segment sadly plays into folks who are on the show for some fame. She walks in dressed as the Baroness to sell a toy. It felt a little bit playing into the whole tv show aspect. The selling of the item does have a good reason about it, it’s to raise money for a charity. That part is nice, but it’s a bit odd overall.

The comedy segment, I do have to say I’m impressed with the two comic minimum to get in. That’s some great out-of-the-box thinking that more stores should do to sell products. It’s actually a great idea overall, and if I had a store still, you better believe I’d be holding events like that. The jokes themselves…. are mixed. The crowd seems to enjoy themselves, so that’s good. None of them will likely be making a living in comedy. Overall though, the crowd seems to have fun, and it’s a good idea to get folks into the store. I’d love to see more of this type of things going forward. Mix that with the comic history, and the regular banter, you’ve got a solid series.

Overall, this is the first episode that I had an issue with someone selling something, it bothered me as a former store clerk. With that, it was a mixed episode overall.

Overall rating: 6.75

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

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

 

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