Category Archives: Television

Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Limited Edition on Blu-Ray is Out this Tuesday

Batman Beyond, the landmark animated television series that illuminated the imagination of a new generation of Batman fans with its creation of an altogether new hero, is celebrating its 20th anniversary – and you get the gift! Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has remastered the heralded series for its first-ever presentation on Blu-ray in the all-encompassing Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition, arriving on Digital ($49.99 SRP USA, $59.99 SRP Canada) starting October 15, 2019 and in a stunning box set ($99.99 SRP USA, $119.99 SRP Canada) on October 29, 2019. Distribution in Canada will be day-and-date with the USA, Pre-orders are now available.

The extraordinary Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition package features approximately 1,500 minutes of entertainment spread over four Blu-ray discs, plus the two bonus discs of enhanced content. In addition to a newly-remastered Blu-ray presentation of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, there are 15 featurettes on the bonus discs, highlighted by two new inside looks at the beloved television series, led by Nostalgic Tomorrow, a gathering of Batman Beyond production talent and cast led by executive producer Bruce Timm and actors Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle, the voices of Batman and Terry McGinnis, respectively. The bonus discs also spotlight four episodes with audio commentary from Timm and select members of the production team.

Collectibles within the stunning packaging include an exclusive chrome Batman Beyond Funko POP, and four beautifully-designed lenticular art cards produced especially for Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition. This ultimate collectors Blu-ray box set will be individually numbered for a Limited Edition release of 50,000.

Of the 52 original Batman Beyond episodes, 41 have been fully-remastered from either their original 35mm film source or the uncommon format “OCND,” the original camera negative digital (a digital scan of original negative). Lines and resolution have been enhanced, and dust and dirt have been removed – however, cell dirt remains to not disturb the original picture. Included in the remastering was the removal of grain, resulting in enhanced colors. The remastering process does cause a slight aspect ratio change (approximately 3% loss of screen image).

Due to time-worn irreparable damage, the remaining 11 episodes were “Smart Rezzed” from standard definition Digibeta video. The process provides for significant enhanced resolution and improvement of the original source material in converting from standard to high definition, though it does sacrifice horizontal lines for clearer image and color representation. While still a marked improvement over the original video, viewers will notice a slight difference between the Remastered and the Up-Rezzed final footage. The 11 affected episodes are: “Eyewitness,” “Final Cut,” “The Last Resort,” “Armory,” “Sneak Peek,” “The Eggbaby,” “Zeta,” “Plague,” “April Moon,” “Sentries of the Lost Cosmos” and “Speak No Evil.”

Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition

Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition
Enhanced Content

Nostalgic Tomorrow – A Batman Gathering (All-New Featurette) – Many of Batman Beyond’s core production team and actors gather for an enthralling roundtable discussion of the evolution and execution of the animate series. Join producers Bruce Timm and Glenn Murakami, casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano, director James Tucker, writers Bob Goodman & Stan Berkowitz, and stars Kevin Conroy & Will Friedle as they take a wildly entertaining trip down memory lane.   

Knight Immortal (All-New Featurette) – A visual and visceral celebration of the Dark Knight’s 80 years of crime fighting, narrated by storytellers of the past, present, and future.

Tomorrow Knight: The Batman Reborn” (Featurette) – Storytellers explore the rise of Terry McGinnis as Batman and Bruce Wayne’s relationship with the young hero as he mentors a new Dark Knight for modern times.

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (Feature-Length Film) – The beloved hit animated film from 2000 is included in the box set – fully remastered for your enjoyment.

Audio Commentaries – Enlightening audio commentaries by filmmakers and voice actors for four key episodes: “Rebirth, Part 1”; “Shriek”; “Splicers”; and “The Eggbaby.”

Featurettes – A dozen inside looks at the genesis, production and effects of Batman Beyond.

Disc 1

  • Rebirth, Pt. 1
  • Rebirth, Pt. 2
  • Black Out
  • Golem
  • Meltdown
  • Heroes
  • Shriek
  • Dead Man’s Hand
  • The Winning Edge
  • Spellbound
  • Disappearing Inque
  • A Touch of Curare
  • Ascension
  • Commentary on the episode “Rebirth, Part 1” by producers Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini & Glenn Murakami and director Curt Geda.
  • Audio Commentary on episode “Shriek” by producers Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini & Glen Murakami, director Curt Geda and writer Stan Berkowitz
  • Music of the Knight” – producer Bruce Timm introduces a feature allowing access to key scenes from Batman Beyond, accompanied by the compelling score created for the series.
  •  “Inside Batman Beyond – Meet the Creators” – producers Alan Burnett, Bruce Timm, Glen Murakami and Paul Dini discuss the creative process behind Batman Beyond and its inaugural season. Jason Hillhouse moderates.
  • Batman 80th Anniversary Collection trailer

Disc 2

  • Splicers
  • Earth Mover
  • Joyride
  • Lost Soul
  • Hidden Agenda
  • Bloodsport
  • Once Burned
  • Hooked Up
  • Rats!
  • Mind Games
  • Revenant
  • Babel
  • Terry’s Friend Dates a Robot
  • Commentary on the episode “Splicers” by producers Bruce Timm and Glen Murakami, storyboard artist James Tucker, casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano and Will Friedle, the voice of Terry McGinnis/Batman

Disc 3

  • Eyewitness*
  • Final Cut*
  • The Last Resort*
  • Armory*
  • Sneak Peek*
  • The Eggbaby*
  • Zeta*
  • Plague*
  • April Moon*
  • Sentries of the Last Cosmos*
  • Payback
  • Where’s Terry?
  • Ace in the Hole
  • Commentary on the episode “The Eggbaby” by producers Bruce Timm & Glen Murakami, director James Tucker, Producer Glen Murakami, casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano and Will Friedle, the voice of Terry McGinnis/Batman
  • Inside Batman Beyond: The Panel” – An in-depth discussion with producers Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Glen Murakami and Paul Dini as season two of Batman Beyond is explored with moderator Jason Hillhouse.

Disc 4

  • King’s Ransom
  • Untouchable
  • Inqueling
  • Big Time
  • Out of the Past
  • Speak No Evil*
  • The Call, Pt. 1
  • The Call, Pt. 2
  • Betrayal
  • Curse of the Kobra, Pt. 1
  • Curse of the Kobra, Pt. 2
  • Countdown
  • Unmasked
  • Inside Batman Beyond: Season 3” – A fascinating discussion on season three of Batman Beyond with producers Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Glen Murakami and Paul Dini.
  • Inside Batman Beyond Season 3: Close-Up On...” – producers Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, directors Butch Lukic and James Tucker, and voice actor Will Friedle discuss their favorite moments among final-season episodes.
  • Inside Batman Beyond Season 3: Out of the Past” – producers Bruce Timm & Paul Dini, director James Tucker and voice actor Will Friedle sit down together to talk about “The Legend of Batman” musical (which appears in this episode) and other memorable moments.
  • Inside Batman Beyond Season 3: The Call, Part 1” – producers Bruce Timm & Paul Dini, director Butch Lukic and voice actor Will Friedle gather to discuss the additional heroes and the exciting action showcased in this episode.
  • Inside Batman Beyond Season 3: The Call, Part 2” – producers Bruce Timm & Paul Dini, director Butch Lukic and voice actor Will Friedle talk about the appearance of Starro and Superman in this episode.
  • Inside Batman Beyond Season 3: Curse of the Kobra, Part 1” – producers Bruce Timm & Paul Dini, director James Tucker and voice actor Will Friedle reminisce about the personal relationships that highlight the story of this episode.

Disc 5

Nostalgic Tomorrow – A Batman Gathering” (All-New Featurette) – Nostalgia strikes like it’s 1999. Seated at the table are the Batman Beyond Team: producers Bruce Timm & Glen Murakami, actors Kevin Conroy & Will Friedle, director James Tucker, casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano, and writers Bob Goodman & Stan Berkowitz. Care to join us for a chat?

Knight Immortal” (All-New Featurette) – A visual and visceral celebration of the Dark Knight’s 80 years of crime fighting, narrated by storytellers of the past, present, and future.

Tomorrow Knight: The Batman Reborn” (All-New Featurette) – Storytellers explore the rise of Terry McGinnis as Batman and Bruce Wayne’s relationship with the young hero as he mentors a new Dark Knight for modern times.

Gotham: City of The Future” – A Close-Up Look at Gotham City Circa 2039, the modernization and the inspirations for its high-tech design and massive scale.

The High-Tech Hero” – Batman Beyond storytellers discuss the evolution of the new Bat Suit and its futuristic design and capabilities.

Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics” (Documentary) – The Story of DC Comics and the rise of the Super Hero mythology as a zeitgeist in American pop culture.

Disc 6

Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” – Remastered for Blu-ray, the heralded animated feature film spawned by the Batman Beyond series is included on a separate bonus disc in the box set. *=Due to source material, episode resolution was enhanced (up-rez) instead of remastering.

TV Review: Watchmen S1E2 Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship

Watchmen

Watchmen‘s second episode focuses on the fallout of the murder of the police captain Judd Crawford played by Don Johnson. The episode goes beyond that but also builds on its history of Tulsa as well as Angela Abar’s.

We learn about Angela’s history with Judd and her history with Judd. That history becomes closer due to the White Night, a coordinated attack by the 7th Cavalry murdering police officers. Through that we also find out about Abar’s children, who are the children of her former partner who was killed during the attack. It’s an interesting scene as it explains why an officer would be so close to her superior and also why the police now hide their identities.

The series continues to entwine itself into the history of the Tulsa Race Riot. It becomes clear as to why Judd was murdered as Angela discovers what looks like a KKK outfit in Crawford’s closet. We also discover Louis Gossett, Jr.’s Will Reeves is indeed the young boy from Tulsa as well as his connection to Angela.

What makes Reeves interesting is his talking in riddles which has the viewer parsing everything he has to say. It forces you to listen to the dialogue and question everything said. It puts the viewer in a similar position with Angela as she attempts to discover the truth.

We also learn more about Veidt and his servants. It’s now much clearer as to what’s going on and the oddness of them. It shows Veidt is up to his old tricks and has lost his mind even more than before. Is he still the villain?

The episode has a lot of revelations and adds depth to each of its characters in small moments and big ones as well. It also deepens the mystery as we, like Angela Abar, discover each new piece of information. For each answer, there’s so many more questions presented.

Watchmen is proving itself to be every bit the worthy successor of the original comic material delivering a layered story and fleshed out history. This is much watch television. One that deserves multiple viewings.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Batwoman S1E4 Who Are You?

Batwoman

Batwoman fourth episode has a bit of a different focus as it shifts into the bad guy of the week territory. That tends to be the formula for The CW DC-based shows and generally has become predictable and a tad bit repetitive.

Magpie is the new villain and she comes off as a second rate Catwoman. Her entire focus is stealing jewelry and it isn’t until the end that there’s any depth to the character.

The bigger focus of the episode is Kate attempting to balance her life as Batwoman and her personal goings on. She’s dating but has issues dealing with that and donning the cape.

There’s potential here as far as the show goes is the greatest. There’s some solid territory to mine and it’s something for Batman that no films have really dived into well.

There are some revelations about what Katherine has been hiding and she’s forced to admit things to Kate’s dad. It adds to the chance that Alice is telling the truth about her being Kate’s missing sister. It also adds some tension to her family.

The episode gets the small details right. It finally hints that Kate is Jewish. It’s something the series has ignored for the first three episodes. It also has Kate not being smooth in the Batsuit. She misses a Batarang and causes damage. She doesn’t slide right into the role which is a nice touch.

The show actually finally shows some standout ideas as the end has Kate making a declaration as to what she’s going to do. It feels like a response that Batman would do more to help Gotham as Bruce but doesn’t. It puts the concept Kate can do good in both her roles and out of everything, this is what can really make the series interesting. Hopefully, it’s more than just a line and the team does something with it.

Overall Rating: 7.2

Watching the Watchmen. A Deep Dive Into “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

Watchmen

HBO‘s Watchmen has debuted and the first episode exceeded expectations. The show called for multiple viewings and deep examination of scenes, characters, scenery, and so much more.

Below is what stood out in the first episode… warning, spoilers!

Bass Reeves – The show opens with a silent film featuring Bass Reeves. Reeves was real and the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi. He mostly worked in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Reeves is rumored to be the inspiration for The Lone Ranger. The silent film features a masked Reeves with a rope around a white police officer’s neck bringing him to justice. It echoes the end of the episode where Don Johnson‘s Judd Crawford is hung by it looks like Louis Gossett, Jr.‘s Will Reeves.

Tulsa Race RiotWe’ve written about this real-world event. There’s a lot of solid details included like the soldier wearing a WWI uniform. Some of those who took up arms served in the war. The inclusion of the planes as well is a nice historical touch. This scene sets up the young boy at the end with the note and the baby he picks up. It’s likely that Louis Gossett, Jr.’s Will Reeves is this boy grown up as he has the note in his lap (he could be the baby instead). During the teaser, Reeves says he’s 105 years old which would make him about 7 years old during the riot. It also hints as to who Reeves might be.

Hooded Justice – Hooded Justice first appeared in 1938 in the Watchmen world as a vigilante. His identity is never revealed and there are enough contradictions it’s unclear as to who he might be. There’s a good chance that Reeves is indeed Hooded Justice. That’d make him 24 when he first became a hero so his character would be the right age to be a member of the Minutemen.

The show is one that also is about the details. Hooded Justice is seen on the side of the bus as Angela Abar heads to her business. Hooded Justice also is seen in the animated video playing behind Judd Crawford. There are strong hints that HJ plays a role in the show as he’s one of the few original heroes from the comic shown multiple times.

Hooded Justice also was a closeted gay man in the comics who faked dating Sally Jupiter. At one point Sally’s daughter Laurie believes HJ is her father. He was really in a relationship with Captain Metropolis. He’s the character who beats the Comedian for raping Sally. Laurie also is in the show as Laurie Blake, an FBI agent. Blake is the Comedian’s real-world last name.

Watchmen Smiley Face

Yellow bandanas on the police – The standard police officers cover their faces to protect their identity. The bandanas they use are yellow, like the iconic smiley face from Watchmen.

At the end of the episode we see blood dripping from Crawford’s body onto his badge. It’s similar to the blood drip on the Comedian’s smiley face pin in the original Watchmen.

The scene in the school – Angela Akbar is talking to a class about her cooking business. She initially makes eggs into a smiley face, a yellow one. Other things that are noticeable in this scene:

  • Vietnam is referred to as a state
  • Robert Redford is shown in a grouping of four important Presidents. Richard Nixon is next to him. In the trailer park, Nixon is a statue on the outside and a trailer says something negative about Redford. Later, Don Johnson’s Crawford is listening to talk radio where they’re talking negatively about Redford and a gun program.
  • A poster of a squid is shown in the back echoing the alien attack at the end of the Watchmen comic.
  • Reparations are mentioned which could be a reference to the Tulsa Race Riot which reparations were recommended for families impacted by it. It could also be a broader program involving slavery.

The squids – There’s the poster of the squid in the schoolroom and they fall from the sky like rain. It’s bad enough there’s a cleanup crew dedicated to them that we see working in a neighborhood. This is a reference to the “alien attack” that happened in the comic which looked like a giant squid. Later in an interrogation scene, there’s a mention of a government conspiracy about interdimensional attacks.

7th Cavalry – This was another nod to real-world history. The 7th Cavalry was lead by Custard and battled in Little Big Horn. This is why Angela Abar was texted that. There’s a lot of history with this military unit to unpack but they’re known for numerous battles against Native Americans.

Watchmen End is Nigh

Future is Bright – When Angela is going to her business a man is holding a sign that says “The Future is Bright.” This is the exact opposite of Rorschach’s “The End is Nigh” from the comics.

Jeremy Irons’ Adrian Veidt – Veidt is one of the few characters from the original comic. A newspaper article says Veidt is dead but he’s clearly not. He’s living in a castle with two servants who are most likely created by Veidt as part of whatever plan he has. Mr. Phillips, his butler, hands a horseshoe to cut a cake and Veidt’s look is one of confusion and disappointment as something is off. There’s rumors as to who these two characters might be but so far there’s no indication this is true.

Watch and clocks – The clock is an important motif of the original Watchmen. Veidt is given one as a present. In the next scene during a dinner between Crawford and Abar, the overhead shot looks like a clock. 7th Cavalry is after watch batteries. We hear tic-toc in numerous scenes.

Unanswered questions:

  • Why does everyone think Veidt is dead?
  • When Don Johnson’s Crawford is leaving from his home a picture is shown that we assume is him and his father. Whatever history is there might be why he’s killed.
  • Why was Oklahoma chosen for the musical other than the show takes place there? I just don’t know the musical much.
  • The police have an Owlship. Is this the new heavy armored vehicle like real-world police are buying from the military?

Visual standouts:

  • There’s the shift from Veidt and the watch to the dinner with the chandelier looking like a watch.
  • The overturned truck at the end of the Tulsa scene looks like the front windows of the Owlship.
  • When the kids at the end of the Tulsa scene are looking at the burning city you can see the title of the episode a bit above them as the viewer is situated behind the title.

So, that’s everything that stood out to me. What’d I miss? What stood out to you?

Legendary TV Options Grass Kings from BOOM! Studios

Grass Kings

Comic series Grass Kings by writer Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins is being developed into a series by Legendary Television. Grant Wheeler and Ben Freiburger are adapting the comic. The story follows an off-the-grid Alaska town and the threats it faces as it grows.

Legendary VP of Television Eric Brassard brought the project to Legendary. Wheeler, Freiburger, as well as BOOM! Studios’ Ross Richie and Stephen Christy will produce. Kindt, Jenkins, and Averie Huffine are Co-Executive Producers.

The comic was released starting in 2017 and has since been collected in trades and hardcover editions.

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E3 Ghosts

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead focuses on the characters and psychology in the third episode “Ghosts.”

The threat of the Whisperers return leads to paranoia sweeping over Alexandria; in the meantime, Carol battles with the need for revenge.

The episode is a focus on the slog of it all and the impact on the survivors. It opens with hours after hours as waves after waves of walkers attack a town and need to be repelled. Something is driving them and it’s unclear if it’s the Whisperers or not.

How does that impact individuals?

Carol, Aaron, Michonne, and Negan are all spotlighted as they struggle to deal with the situation. That includes interactions with the Whisperers and facing the threat that looms. Carol and Daryl have their moments as Carol’s mindset is explored especially after the death of her “son.”

Negan and Aaron are key too as Negan is tasked with helping Aaron. Has Negan changed and what of his past crimes? The tension is there and their back and forth are interesting. Aaron has lots of resentment towards Negan. Negan does come off as wanting to reform and leave his past behind. But, at the same time he’s not sorry. His words indicate that he sees it all as what needed to be done. It’s clear Negan will have his redemption in this season, the question is how and when.

The episode is a tense one as danger looms and the focus is squarely on the pressure of it all. It’s a good episode that revolves around the characters as the series always does. The Walking Dead isn’t about scares. It’s about the survivors and their dealing with this new world. The episode is important hinting at what’s to come and reminds us where the characters currently are.

Overall Rating: 8.05

TV Review: Watchmen S1E1 It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice

Watchmen

Based on the classic graphic novel and comic series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘, HBO‘s Watchmen is the latest attempt to build off what is considered one of the greatest comics of all time.

Opening with the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, the series is an interesting exploration of fascism on all fronts. Taking place after the events of the classic comic series, police now don masks and personas in a battle for justice using less than just means. A white supremacist group who seem to worship Rorschach has risen.

While it’s clear who the bad guys are (unless there’s some twist yet to come), it’s an interesting spin to deliver a series where we’re supposed to emphasize with the police. An attempt is made towards the beginning when one is gunned down but from there it’s a series focused on bad all around. Bad and weird.

It all feels a bit overkill in the middle America this takes place. The police force has a version of Nite Owl’s Owlship which while used for a rather exciting sequence all feels a bit over the top.

And maybe that’s part of the point?

Like our local police force having military grade hardware in real life, it all feels like it’s an exaggeration of the broken down rule of law and order that exists today. Police kill innocent individuals going for the gun when other methods may due. Here, the police ignore civil rights and revel in military assaults.

But, what stands out the most of this debut episode is how much it nods to the source material while not relying on it. It’s set in the world of, but is its own thing. A man with a sign is in a scene as a character walks back. The sign reads the opposite of Rorschach’s doom and gloom of the comics. The squids falling from the sky is a reminder of how the comic ended.

Watchmen‘s debut episode also delivers some depth to each of the main characters. Don Johnson‘s Judd Crawford and Regina King‘s Angela Abar feel like the two characters the series revolves around. Despite their fascist tendencies, there’s enough there to like them as people and empathize with them. King’s Abar especially seems to have nice depth to the character and her husband Cal Abar, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is one of the more fresh aspects of the show.

And then there’s that ending… So many questions. So much history playing out on the screen. Much like the comics, the story we witness is just one of a story that weaves in and out of other aspects.

While the title might be Watchmen, this show stands on its own delivering an intriguing adaptation of the source material. One that makes the viewer think and ponder right from wrong, good and evil.

Overall Rating: 8.5

TV Review: Batwoman S1E3 Down Down Down

Batwoman

In the third episode of Batwoman, the city awaits for another visit from who they think is Batman; Alice continues to taunt Kate; Mary gets an unexpected new friend; as Batwoman faces a new enemy, Kate realizes she must make a decision.

The third episode of Batwoman picks things up a bit as the dance between Alice and her father and Kate continues. But the real focus is a former friend of Bruce and Kate who’s out for revenge.

That plotline is a bit mixed. It gives a distraction from the Alice storyline but the decision to act against Bruce due to “Batman’s return” feels a bit rushed and not fleshed out. We get a Riddler reference but overall it’s all a bit meh.

Ruby Rose continues to improve in her acting. While her delivery is still a bit cold, there’s at least some variant in her delivery of lines and scenes. Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox has his moments and shows off a lot of entertainment factor. He feels a bit like a few other actors and characters we’ve seen on CW shows but he brings some subtle humor to the episode. Nicole Kang still feels like the underused actor and while there’s glimpses of her Mary of being a bit more than a bratty socialite, she’s used here mostly to push Kate’s story and relationship with her ex Sophie.

Rachel Skarsten continues to be the standout of the show. There’s something about her delivery and every scene that’s entertaining. She runs circles around the others on the show and as a first season villain, she’s the highlight of the series.

Though Skarsten as Alice and the dynamic between her, Kate, and their father is interesting, the dance is a bit old. Not enough emphasis is delivered as to why Kate doesn’t just turn her in and let the truth come out that way. The show never quite makes the case as to why it’s doing what it is.

We do get a more proper Batwoman costume on this episode and it’s not a bad adaptation from the comic version. It beats what we’ve seen the last few episodes in the proto version that never quite worked and didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The episode is just ok continuing the series rather dull delivery of the material. It’s not good and it’s not bad. It just is. The hour at times feels like a chore thought the last this episode and the previous less so than the debut. Batwoman underwhelms in what should be a much higher quality show and makes one wonder if the magic of The CW’s DCTV might be waning.

Overall Rating: 7.0

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