Tag Archives: TV

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Highlights From Emerald City Comicon, Day 1

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First of all, I always forget how impossible it is to get online at cons, so updates are going to be limited to when I can step away from the convention center. I have also never worn such an elaborate costume to a con, and I salute everyone whose costume is even more constricting and sweaty! Well done! (Costume photos tomorrow!)

After wandering the floor a bit and getting the lay of the land, I headed to my first panel of the con, Loving What You Hate: How to Love Media That Doesn’t Always Love You Back. The panel consisted of members of the Digital Future Lab at UW Bothell discussing their passion for various fandoms at the same time they examined what is problematic in each. (Problematic in this context refers to lack of diversity, racism, homophobia, etc.) It’s something many of us deal with, whether we’re directly effected by the particular issue or not. The conversation was based on a podcast episode by the same name from the DFL. The main take-away is that while we are bound to fall in love with things that have problematic themes, it’s also important to examine those problems and talk about them. And if you’re not sure if something is racist (for example), look into the response from the community it’s affecting. No community is monolithic, but it’s important to step outside yourself when an issue doesn’t directly affect you. It was a great panel, you should give the podcast episode a listen.

"The prop dept gave me a key item from each episode. So I do have Steve's blood. And a bomb." @HayleyAtwell #ECCC  — Emerald City Comicon (@emeraldcitycon) March 27, 2015
“The prop dept gave me a key item from each episode. So I do have Steve’s blood. And a bomb.” @HayleyAtwell #ECCC
— Emerald City Comicon (@emeraldcitycon) March 27, 2015
I arrived an hour early for the Hayley Atwell panel, and boy was I glad! The main hall was packed solid for Atwell’s first appearance since Agent Carter aired. The panel immediately started well: former Mythbuster Grant Imahara was the host which is a huge improvement from hosts in years past. (According to his Twitter feed Imahara is moderating a bunch of the panels throughout the weekend.) Hayley Atwell is beyond awesome: smart, well-spoken, thoughtful, compassionate, funny… everything you hope she is! She started off with a story of her clutzy first days of stunt-fighting. They didn’t end well for many members of the cast and crew, including a stuntman she accidentally kicked in the balls SIX TIMES! During the Q&A she was asked what she’d like to see next for Peggy Carter, and replied that she’d love to explore Peggy’s background and where she gained her strength and independence, or possibly see into Peggy’s future and how she handles having a family while continuing to kick ass. She also talked about how glad she is that Peggy’s friendship with Angie isn’t competitive as opposed to how female friendships are often portrayed. And while she considers Chris Evans almost like a brother, she indulged fans with a description of kissing him… he has VERY soft lips and smells really good. When asked what she’d like to be able to tell other woman, Atwell replied, “Know your value.”

Stay tuned for more tales from the con, coming up tomorrow!

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Powers on PlayStation Network

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Powers

You heard right, Powers is dogshit–but it may yet redeem itself. The pilot is hard to watch even for folks like me who aren’t big fans of the comic series*, and while its quality does pick up in subsequent episodes (we’re up to #3 now), it still stinks of wasted talent.

But god help me, I’ll watch through the whole dang series. I know I will.

Here’s the 101: Christian Walker is a Powers Division cop in a world in which superheroes and villains (“powers”) are slightly more prevalent than they are in Marvel/DC comics. The series breaks with the comic narrative by quickly and repeatedly informing the audience that Walker was an A-list superhero once–in print, writer Brian Michael Bendis slowly built to a sizable reveal. Old friends and enemies pop up once Walker starts investigating the death of a hero with DARK SECRETS. It’s half police procedural, half noir-y paranoia.

The pilot was plainly written by well-meaning folks who understood their audience to be thoughtless jerks. Every little thing is telegraphed, overexplained, and lingered upon to the point of suffocation. The writing improves in later episodes, but the unfortunate attitude toward the audience remains. Many shows have this problem (I’m talking to you, Heroes), but it shines especially brightly here. Fans of the comic series are pretty uniformly outraged over liberties taken with plot and character, but adaptations are usually hard for us nerds to take. (Cf. Fantastic Four, Ghostbusters, and pretty much everything else, really.)

It’s not all bad–far from it. The actors are mostly terrific and well-cast. Noah Taylor (Game of Thrones) in particular turns in a lovely performance as Johnny Royalle, a complex villain whose big, nebulous plans include opening a nightclub for powers. Sharlto Copley (District 9) plays the lead with an unfortunate stiffness that doesn’t cater to his strengths as an actor; I’m hopeful that he’ll get to stretch a bit later in the season. Relative newcomer Susan Heyward plays Walker’s n00b partner and is a great foil. Add Michelle Forbes (Battlestar Galactica) as top hero Retro Girl and Eddie Fucking Izzard as an insane, godlike power held chained and naked in a super-dungeon and you’ve got a cast that’s super-fun to watch.

The effects and visual design are also good fun. There’s a weird Miami Vice vibe to the set design that works better than it should, and the costumes and makeup on the powers–especially the trashy club kids–are delightful. The special effects are nice to look at, but not overwhelming or distracting. It definitely feels like a comic book world.

And while the writing hasn’t found its mark yet, the mysteries underlying the plotting and certain character motivations are engaging enough to keep me involved. If they can avoid bullshit lines like “Your real name is Walker. Like as in one who walks ’cause he can’t fly anymore” and focus on the big picture, Powers could turn into an innocent pleasure.

* Yeah, I know, I’m a philistine AND a terrible person. I’m likely to give the comics another chance because I feel sorry for them now.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer At 18

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ea_b_s1bIt’s hard to believe how long it’s been since we first heard that opening howl and entered the Hellmouth. The Atlantic has a great piece reflecting on Buffy eighteen years after its premier, and on the show’s importance.

In its first two minutes, “Welcome to the Hellmouth” establishes a universe, as the camera creeps slowly through a high school in the dark, lingering on skeletons in a classroom and shadows behind a door. But it also establishes a premise—that this is a show about female power. The pretty blonde, a vampire named Darla, isn’t a victim but a predator, just as Buffy has strength and acuity that belie her looks. At the end of “The Harvest,” the second part of the two-episode debut, Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) watches Buffy and her friends walk away, cheerily discussing the ways in which she stands between the world and its total destruction. “The earth is doomed,” he says, wearily. It’s this kind of assumption—that being young and frivolous and having profound influence are mutually exclusive—that Whedon would go on to dispel throughout Buffy’s seven seasons.

Go read the whole thing.

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I’m Kind of Excited About iZombie

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10341999_240261379430973_8279923604760198415_nThe other night I saw a commercial for iZombie, a show that premiers on the CW next week, Tuesday, March 17. My boyfriend rolled his eyes but I immediately got excited: Liv is a half-zombie girl who sees the memories of the dead when she eats their brains and uses those visions to solve crimes. Hell yeah, I’m in! (How can you be half zombie? Who cares.)

That premise might sound familiar to some of you… iZombie is based on the comic of the same name by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred from DC’s Vertigo imprint. (It also might remind you of Chew.) I’m not personally familiar with the comic, although now I’m going to check it out.

What pushed it over the top for me is that the show is being helmed by Rob Thomas, creator of the beloved series Veronica Mars—he’s already proven his ability to make an excellent show about a kickass girl detective. (If you’re not familiar with Veronica Mars, Kristin Bell plays a high school student who helps her PI father solve crimes. Also, go watch it now.)

Between the creator and the CW’s track record with genre shows (Arrow, Flash, Supernatural) I’m optimistic, but let’s meet back here in a few weeks and compare notes.

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Episode 19 – Agent Carter

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agent-carter-tv-show-poster-01-horizontalMarvel’s Agent Carter on ABC just wrapped up its 8-episode engagement—tucked in between the two halves of Season 2 of Agents of SHIELD—and we took some time to explore its many virtues. Rob and Mary spoil the season ending for Paul, so if you haven’t caught up yet, you may want to do so first. We’ll wait—and it’s definitely worth your time!

For once, Rob was right about something: Hayley Atwell did indeed appear on Agents of SHIELD in a couple of flashbacks. To balance things out, he was wrong-o about Leviathan’s relationship to HYDRA. Turns out the former is all about the Soviets, while everybody knows HYDRA is just a Nazi rebrand. He regrets the error AGAIN.

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