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Trailer Thoughts

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There have been some killer trailers dropping recently for comic-related shows and movies. I figured I’d pop a few of them in here, to get them in one place and also to offer a bit of commentary.

The Walking Dead Season Six

This looks fantastic, especially as a fan of the comic since the beginning. Morgan’s re-introduction last season was already a significant departure from the source material, and him apparently leading a mutiny against Rick’s probable leadership of Alexandria is even more of one. While there are certainly parts of the comic I look forward to seeing brought to life in the show panel-by-panel, surprises like this are what really keeps me interested. Along the same lines, check out the last 40 seconds or so. Daryl didn’t exactly have killer parts in the backend of season five, so I’m hoping the writers breathe new life into him–or kill him off, while enough fans still care enough for it to have a big impact. And speaking of things I’d like to see pulled straight from the comic–I’m liking the brief glimpses of Jessie, most likely speaking out in favor of the Ricktatorship. If that’s true, and a certain bit of the comic is also done in the show, this is going to make it all the more sweet.

Fear The Walking Dead Season One

Which brings us to the brand-new prequel show, scheduled to hit in another month or so. I’m still a bit wary at the whole concept. I mean, is another Walking Dead show necessary? Is there really anything new to say about the beginning of the apocalypse, as many times as that’s been explored in film and television? From the trailer, I’m pegging this as mainly “zombie apocalypse as family bonding experience.” Not being too confident about the show doesn’t mean I won’t be tuned in (and probably live-tweeting) every episode, however.

The Flash Season Two

There isn’t a whole lot going on in this trailer, but there doesn’t have to be, really. Anyone who watched the first season, who caught the finale and ISN’T foaming at the mouth waiting for more simply doesn’t have a pulse. The big takeaways here are the confirmation of Jay Garrick’s introduction (hinted at via the silver helmet coming through the time portal in the finale) and the ominous “ZOOM IS COMING.” I wonder how Zoom’s going to play out. I’m betting the show’s incarnation of Zoom is Eddie Thawne; I don’t believe he’s really dead, since the show made a point of showing him being sucked into the time portal, and his role as a police detective and friend of Barry’s strongly parallel the origin of Hunter Zolomon, the comics’ Zoom.

Batman vs Superman

As a consumer of comic properties on the small and big screens, I tend to favor television over film in most cases–I offer Daredevil’s handling as exhibit A. I also tend to favor Marvel over DC, when it comes to movies and comics–the playing field of my mind is pretty level when it comes to television, though. This particular film however, I’m more excited about than any other comic-related item except for possibly Walking Dead. Definitely more than Gotham, the Flash…even X-Men: Apocalypse, and I make a point of seeing X-films on opening night whenever possible.

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Heroes Reborn Revisited

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I’ve written before about Heroeshow much I adored the first season, how disappointing the follow-ons were in comparison–and the closer we get to the relaunch, Heroes Reborn (anyone else think the title is extremely meta, by the way?) the more hope begins to swell in my breast.

“Whosoever holds this katana, if she be worthy, shall possess the power of Hiro.”

I don’t think at all that the superhero genre on television and film is going to die any time soon (the current slates for Marvel and DC easily put that thought to rest). However, there’s a sub-genre of the genre (which itself could be considered a sub-genre, but I digress) that could use some building up: original superhero material. By which I mean, of course, television and film not based on an existing comics property. Especially not based on one from the major companies, and already heavily exposed to the market.

I enjoyed the movie Hancock. I enjoyed Chronicle. For television, The Cape wasn’t too bad (though I’d probably have to watch through again to make sure it wasn’t simply a case of any port in a storm) and No Ordinary Family had potential (I still wish to God I could do something with that property). And I honestly think that more, and better stuff, in that vein would be a good way to capitalize on the existing trend without risking even more of a burnout with the fanbase then what’s already been predicted.

“Reunited, and it feels so goooood…”

My opinion is merely that of one man, of course, but it bodes well for my potential enjoyment of the show that I completely agree with some of the moves they’ve made early on. For instance, we knew pretty much that Horned Rim Glasses (HRG, or Noah, if you will) was coming back to the show. Later, Hiro Nakamura’s return was announced. They’d have likely had a hard time getting Zachary Quinto to reprise his role as Sylar even if the last couple seasons hadn’t completely boned the character. Likewise for Hayden Panettiere’s Claire Bennet, though how they’ll explain the lack of the latter gives me pause, considering HRG is her dad. We might not get Claire, but the other character that best makes sense when you consider HRG will be–Jimmy Jean Louis’ Haitian.  No other alumni returns have been announced, but the three we have remained popular throughout the original show’s run, and weren’t shit upon too heavily by the latter seasons’ writing.

My personal assessment of Heroes’ plunge hinges on two things that shouldn’t end up plaguing this new show: 1) the writer’s strike that completely screwed season two and 2) Creator Tim Kring’s departure from his original concept of each season being a completely different story with all-new characters. I can’t see him making the same mistake twice, personally–something that appears to bear out, with Reborn being advertised as a miniseries. Also, biting off small chunks at a time like this should help keep outside concerns from being big problems–if there was another disaster like the strike, they could simply push back the production of a second, separate miniseries.

All in all, I’m seriously excited about this, and you can totally expect I’ll be live-tweeting during every episode.

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The Walking Dead Season Four Retrospective

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The week after the season five finale, I soothed my soul by rewatching the show from episode one. After the short first season, I discovered the better way to watch Season Two. As much as I feel Season Two improved on the show’s initial effort, watching Season Three all over again did nothing to change my opinion that it’s where the show really found its legs and turned into what we love today. Season four is, in many ways, a continuation of Season Three, which might be a big part of why I feel Season Three was the show’s launchpad into its current state of glory.

— I enjoyed the initial sickness threat that plagued (pun intended) the survivors at the start of the season. It was part of the logical progression of things, as anyone who’s been around an elementary school daycare or soldiers’ barracks can tell you, and it was something they hadn’t faced before–an enemy they couldn’t fight with their hands and weapons.

— Nothing really compared to the continuing threat of the Governor, though. As groan-inducing as the prior season finale was when it didn’t end with his death, as a storyteller myself and as a fan of the show and comic, I was glad they didn’t dispose of such a great character so readily. His two-episode solo arc kicked ass, leading into an outstanding (well, not for Hershel, I suppose) mid-season ending.

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— Carol’s arc this season was a complete departure from the comic storyline, and I loved it. From the season premiere she was presented as having inherited Comic Andrea’s badass crown–something the television version never had, and she’s been delivering on that promise ever since. Given the demise of her character far earlier in the comic version of the story, she’s as much of a wild card now as Daryl, a character created specifically for the show.

— Remember how I said Season Two was much better when binge-watched? The back end of Season Four is like that, too. I heard/read a good amount of complaining about the character-specific episodes after the group was scattered in the aftermath of the Governor’s attack on the prison, and it’s not nearly as vexing when you know you can watch the next episode right away. We wouldn’t have had “The Grove” (while we’re on the subject of Badass Carol) or the development of Beth into a character we cared so much about without this type of writing.

— Abraham, Eugene and Rosita’s introduction. Perfection. ‘Nuff said.

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The Walking Dead Season Three Retrospective

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So, the week after the season five finale, I started watching The Walking Dead again from episode one. Of course, season one being only seven episodes in length, I made short work of it. I then discovered that binge-watching makes Season Two much better than it was upon initial viewing.

Season three is what I was really waiting to get to, though; I have to be honest. There’s good stuff in the first two seasons, and I didn’t rush through them to “get to the good parts” or anything, but Season Three is where The Walking Dead really starts feeling like the show I watch religiously now. The characters have arrived at the second of the comic’s iconic locations, the Prison, and most of the cast has settled into their characters. More to the point, we’ve had some time to settle into them.

Of course, there were rapid-fire shakeups from the get-go, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way:

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— The season kicked off with Rick amputating Hershel’s leg. Even though something similar happened in the comic, I was completely caught off guard because in the book, it happened to Dale (who, of course, bought it last season). Ol’ Hersh ended up not only inheriting Dale’s beard and status as the group’s moral compass, but also his destiny of becoming the busiest man in an ass-kicking contest. This sort of thing happens regularly in the latter seasons of the show–Hershel takes one for Tyreese at the end of Season Four (comic fans will get the reference) and someone else gets Dale’s “Tainted Meat” subplot from the comic in Season Five.

— Hands down, one of the best scenes in the entire season happened in the second episode–Rick chopping Tomas in the dome after the convict tries to feed him to some walkers while they were cleaning out a cell block. The carefully-considered, episodes-long approach Rick took with the “Shane problem” in Season Two had it’s place, but it showed growth in his character that he wasn’t handling things the same way anymore.

— The Governor–I can’t say enough about him. David Morrissey and the writers’ take on him was plenty different from the comic version, but no less iconic, and touched on the most important parts of the source material: his affection for his dead daughter, the animosity toward Michonne and of course, the heads in the fishtanks. Dude was cray. In his first episode, the way he deals with those soldiers was diabolical, but at the end of the season, what he does to his own damn people is nothing short of insane.

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— I’m really glad they didn’t waste Merle–I mean, they did waste him in one sense, heh. But they did a good job of breathing life into someone who was pretty much a stock character in Season One. I remember all the teasing that went on in the weeks before the season aired, and I remember thinking how disappointing his return was probably going to be. It totally wasn’t. He managed to serve as both protagonist and antagonist in the same season, have a bit of a redemptive arc at the end, and of course, was the reason for Daryl Tears, something far more rare than a unicorn (at least, before the apocalypse).

— The return to Rick’s hometown–and Morgan–in the episode “Clear,” is easily one of the best episodes of the entire show so far, though Season Three made it damn hard to pick just one episode as the best of the season. The little bites we got at the beginning and end of the first half of Season Five just wouldn’t work as well if the last time we saw Morgan was in Season One.

— Finally, I’d advise  you folks to pour one out for Andrea, but really, she doesn’t deserve it. Nothing against Laurie Holden–she was a great Andrea–but I just can’t believe they wrote her character as such an idiot. She got exactly what she had coming. The first few episodes were believable enough; her getting taken in by the Governor, the schism between her and Michonne, even her sharing his bed. But everything after she had that chance to kill him while he slept, and didn’t? She asked for that shit. As annoying as Lori was, at least she went out like a champ, to ensure the survival of her child.

Next up is, of course, Season Four, which I’ve already finished as of this past weekend. I’ll try to get that and a recap of the first half of season five up before the show starts up again, but no promises.

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My Thoughts on X-Men: Apocalypse and the New Casting

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I rarely squee about movies on here–especially not horror movies, strangely enough, because I don’t watch them often–and not even about superhero movies, though comics and related media are my other bread and butter in life. The casting for the X-Men Apocalypse has me more than a little excited, though. Way more excited than I was about Days of Future Past.

I knew that with such a large ensemble cast, there was no way Blink, Sunspot, Warpath and Bishop were going to get the sort of limelight I’d have enjoyed, so there wasn’t much sense in getting worked up about it. Hell, I thought for sure at least Havok would get more play than he did, being a First Class-member and all, but nope (and I’d have loved for Banshee to return…he was always one of my favorites in the comic). I have a hard time believing Singer would cast a new Cyclops, Jean and Storm though and give them minor roles, though.

I’m the most excited about Sophie Turner, of course, as a Game of Thrones fan. She’s got the looks for a perfect Jean. My only real concern is how she’ll do with action–Arya’s been the go-to Stark Sister for physical dynamics, while Sansa’s gotten more of the castle intrigue. I’m sure she’ll do well, though. Tye Sheridan definitely has the look for a young Cyclops, though I haven’t seen anything he’s been in. The same goes for Alexandra Shipp as Storm, though I hope they write better (and MORE!) for her than they did for Halle Berry. Halle got a lot of crap from X-Men fandom for her Storm, but the scripts certainly weren’t part of the solution, either.

In terms of introducing the characters, I’m betting Storm’s will have something to do with her comic origin of picking Xavier’s pocket in Cairo, since Apocalypse is Egyptian. I can only hope that introducing a new Scott Summers in the wake of DOFP’s timeline-reset means a fix to the horrible movie-logic that rendered Havok and Cyclops as brothers a near-impossibility.

I’m pretty stoked about seeing Gambit in this film, though that rumor’s not exactly “new” news. I hope it gets confirmed soon, though. The other thing I’d really like to see is Jackman’s Wolverine sitting this one out. First-Class only had a cameo appearance, which was funny as hell, but worked well without adding him to the plotline. Days of Future Past…I get why the did it, from a movie-making standpoint, but as a fan, I was pissed that they skewed so far from the source material. In return, I’d love to see the character benched for the next couple X-Men movies at least, to give some other heroes the spotlight.

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