Archive for the ‘Multimedia’ Category

Black Lightning crashes Superman’s Funeral

Friday, April 21st, 2017

SNL did this skit back when Superman died fighting Doomsday

I interviewed Black Lightning’s creator about 15 years ago and he said that he’d kiss Sinbad for the job he did on this one.

you might need money on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

“It’s my money, Jake! If you want to bid at the auction, use your own money.”
“I’m Human, I don’t have any money.”
“It’s not my fault that your species decided to abandon currency-based economics in favor of some philosophy of self-enhancement.”
“Hey, watch it. There’s nothing wrong with our philosophy. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity.”
“What does that mean exactly?”
“It means… it means we don’t need money!”
“Well, if you don’t need money, then you certainly don’t need mine!”

The exchange between Nog and Jake Sisko from the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Episode “In The Cards” provides an excellent example when scarcity is suddenly encountered just outside a so-called post-scarcity society.

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My First Time with Buffy

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
I’ve just started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a 19-year-old show I never saw before. I’m 8 episodes in and it’s already getting annoying how there is no accumulated history in that Smallville/Murder, She Wrote/X-Files way. The death toll for this small school is already catastrophic, the principal has been eaten, one girl had her mouth disappear due to witchcraft, but by the end of the episode no one has any trauma and next week it’s all forgotten. No funerals, no memorials, not even a follow-up about how those four hyena-infected kids feel about eating a human being. Class sizes and bell curves aren’t affected by the number of dead kids. No grieving families of these murdered teens are ever shown.
 
Like I pointed out above, it’s not unusual in episodic television, and it’s the kind of thing that probably looks far worse when binge-watching. What I don’t get is: WHO WRITES THIS STUFF AND WHY? Why does Joss Whedon write the show this way and not expect the audience to react as I do?
 
Of course, I found the sheer number of people who managed to visit Gilligan’s Island, escape the island and not get the castaways rescued annoying as well when I was six years old.

MLK told Nichelle Nichols “don’t you dare leave the show”

Monday, January 18th, 2016

UhuraEvery Martin Luther King Day a good Star Trek fan should listen to this story and know this story.  The most beautiful member of the original regular Star Trek cast, Nichelle Nichols, played the loveliest member of the crew.

I don’t have to tell anyone that Nichelle Nichols plays Uhura.

My title may spoil the story but the fact remains the original Star Trek very much features the very world envisioned by the Reverend King, a world of human equality.

The story is wonderful. Nichelle Nichols tells NPR:

If you want a different re-telling of the story, here is something from the Archive of American Television:

Patrick McNee is dead

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

john_steed__185410

Patrick McNee the actor famous to most of us for playing John Steed on the original Avengers television show, passed away today. From Variety:

Patrick Macnee, famous for his role on “The Avengers” British TV series, died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 93.

Macnee, who played John Steed in the spy-fi show, died with his family at his bedside.

“Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories,” a statement on the actor’s website read. “Patrick Macnee was a popular figure in the television industry. He was at home wherever in the world he found himself. He had a knack for making friends, and keeping them.”

“The Avengers” initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant (Macnee), but Macnee’s famously bowler hat wearing, umbrella-wielding intelligence officer (he never used a gun) became the protagonist when Hendry exited the series. Macnee played the part alongside a succession of strong, female partners, including Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Joanna Lumley. The show ran from 1961 and 1969 and was reprised in the 1970s.

Condolences to his family. I’m sure he will be missed.

I never watched the show myself, but it is on my list and I appreciate the actor’s contribution to our popular culture and our niche culture.

 

The All-Important Soundtrack

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

An excellent soundtrack will work so well that you aren’t aware of how it’s manipulating you.  Oh, you’ll hear it and perhaps enjoy it, but you aren’t truly cognizant of how essential it is to the experience until you see raw footage and realize most of the emotional thrust of a moment was the music.  Without that, and a good sound effect engineer, you just have uncomfortably awkward moments with Chewbacca screeching like a cockatiel.

Good Lord!  How pivotal were John Williams and Ben Burtt?!!!  Yeesh!

In Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, there’s a…

Okay, I know it’s not a great movie.  It’s a good movie, and at the time we all appreciated that it gave everyone  in the cast a moment or two to shine, but the ending is a snoozer.  Still, it’s got some great moments.  One of the highlights is “Stealing the Enterprise,” mainly due to the soundtrack by James Horner.

Why the soundtrack?  It’s not just the thrill of the soaring horns once the doors open, it’s the entire piece…and how it plays you.  Because this scene shouldn’t work at all.

How much tension is there, really, in Scotty’s trouble getting the doors to open?  Is the Enterprise going to smash into the doors?  Are they going to fail in their attempt and all go to prison?  So how can there be tension in this scene?

But James Horner pulls it off.

James Horner composed the sountracks to 125 films, many of which played a big part of my life,  including many hours spent listening to them on CD.  He died Monday in a plane crash, only 61 years of age.  R.I.P.

 

 

Doctor Who is on Disney XD?

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

This strikes me as extremely wrong but I cannot place my finger on exactly why.

Just based on the clips this appears to start in the second season of the Welsh series with David Tennant. Perhaps they are just promoting it that way.

 

Is Ares the Teen Idol in Question?

Saturday, August 9th, 2014
Lynda Carter

now why would they hire her to play Wonder Woman? I wonder…

I was skimming TitanTV.com for tonight’s broadcast television schedule and I clicked the episode for tonight’s Wonder Woman on MeTV. I found the title and the summary of the episode to be remarkably incongruous.

Wonder Woman
WSYMDT2 – 47.2Sat, 8/09, 8:00 PM 1 hr
“My Teenage Idol Is Missing”
9/22/1978, Action, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Family, Adventure
The Amazons crush the war god, Ares, and Zeus charges them to hold him prisoner as warriors on a secret island; centuries later, an U.S. Air Force pilot is lured to crash land on the island and the commotion allows Ares to escape.

I would never expect the title for a show about the war god Ares to be “My Teenage Idol is missing” although I suppose that fits overall with that particular series.

Pinky and the Brain at Dragon Con

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Pinky and the Brain

Here is a convention panel with Maurice LaMarche and Rob Paulsen. I love to hear my favorite cartoon characters cuss.

Iron Giant as Superman

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Nothing I can say can really match the quote I used…. well, I could write something that is as good, but the theology seems inappropriate for this blog….. maybe on Apologies Demanded.

Iron Giant Superman

Titular Iron Giant as thematic Superman

From Jim MacQuarrie:

The Iron Giant is the purest illustration of faith ever recorded.

It’s not just that the giant chooses to be Superman; it’s that he does so in the face of all reason and evidence. He looks like a monster; he’s a giant metal man from space who shoots lasers out of his eyes and can crush cars in his fingers. Every fiber of his being screams that he is the metal monster from space sent to destroy us all, everyone he meets is afraid of him, he has every reason to see himself as others see him, and yet…

and yet…

…he chooses, through sheer force of will alone, to reject his origin and nature and become Superman, a character he bears no resemblance to at all. He has no reason to want to be Superman, not one thing to suggest that he CAN be Superman, nothing except Hogarth’s word for it, and that’s good enough. By faith alone, he declares that he is Superman, and when the need arises, it turns out that he IS Superman, simply because he had faith that he could be.

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Why Alan Brennert Won’t Be Watching Fox’s “Gotham”

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Barbara Kean, from Detective Comics 500

Barbara Kean, from Detective Comics 500

WHY I WON’T BE WATCHING FOX’S “GOTHAM” THIS FALL:

Back in 1981, in a story called “To Kill a Legend” in DETECTIVE COMICS #500, artist Dick Giordano and I created a character named Barbara Kean, the fiancée of Lt. James Gordon.  (This was set on a parallel Earth where counterparts of the “real” Batman and his cast were twenty years younger.)  A Golden Age “Mrs. James Gordon” (no first or maiden name) had appeared in 1951, mother of a son named Tony, but my character, later picked up by talented writers like Frank Miller and Barbara Randall Kesel, was clearly the prototype (with the same first name) for the “Post-Crisis” first wife of Lt. James Gordon, and—as Barbara Kean Gordon—became a supporting player in Batman continuity, and even made two movie appearances in BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT.

And this fall on GOTHAM, Fox’s prequel to the Batman mythos, one of the supporting characters will be…Barbara Kean, fiancée of Lt. James Gordon.

Ironically enough, on the same day that DC’s online news site listed the results of a fan poll in which I was chosen one of “the 75 greatest Batman artists/writers,” an executive at DC Entertainment—let’s call him “Johnny DC”—dismissed my request for “equity” (a percentage of income received when a character you create is used in other media) in the character.  The justification?  Because I had given her the same name, profession, and appearance as her daughter (at the time, just a sly wink to the reader), she was “derivative” of her daughter Barbara (Batgirl) Gordon and equity “is not generally granted” in derivative characters like wives, husbands, daughters, sons, etc., of existing characters: “this is the criteria by which all equity requests are measured.”

I then pointed out to him that writer Mark Waid had been told by then-DC management that DC did, in fact, give equity in “derivative” characters, just a smaller percentage—and indeed Mark and artist/co-creator Mike Wieringo received equity in the “derivative” character of Bart Allen/Impulse (grandson of Barry Allen/Flash) and received payments when he was used on SMALLVILLE.  I suggested DC grant a similar reduced percentage on Barbara Kean, and I was willing to limit this to her appearances on GOTHAM and forget the movies.

How did Johnny DC respond to this?  Did he rebut my argument?  Nope.  When confronted with the, shall we say, lack of veracity of his statement, he simply stopped responding to my emails.

Classy, right?

Now, let me be clear:  I’ve since learned that the amount of money involved here can be as little as $45 an episode for a full equity character.  So clearly I’m not in this for the money, but the principle.  This is small change compared to the fact that the estate of Jack Kirby receives no share of the billions in dollars that Marvel/Disney makes from movies based on characters he co-created.  But I suspect DC counts on the fact that the money is low enough that hiring an attorney to pursue it would cost more than you’d ever receive in equity payments.  They also count on the fact that their freelancers depend on DC for work and thus will not publicly call them out.  (And sometimes these freelancers are the very ones for whom that little bit of extra money would mean a lot.)

But as a novelist I depend in no way on DC for my livelihood, and have no problem recounting the bad faith they have demonstrated to me.  But I take little satisfaction in it.  There was a time—under the management of Jenette Kahn, Paul Levitz, and Dick Giordano—when DC went to great lengths to credit and compensate creators. They felt it was money well spent, because it brought other creators to the company and everyone benefited.  I was actually proud to be associated with a comics company with a conscience.  I hope my experience with the “new” DC is not typical, and that they still have a conscience.  But I sure don’t see it from where I sit.

(If you’re a fan of my comics work, feel free to share.)

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world building and character significance in a nutshell

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
DOC SIDHE (1995) written by Aaron Allston

DOC SIDHE (1995) written by Aaron Allston

“Great. I’m helping a guy that everybody in the world either works for or wants to kill.”
Doc nodded. “That about sums it up.”

Batman versus The Terminator

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014


Terminator Batman by ChrisWeyer on deviantART

It is an animated fan film conceived by Tony Guerrero and animated by Mitchell Hammond. I like it.

Harold Ramis passed away at 69

Monday, February 24th, 2014

It’s pretty simple, his movies were funny and most today are not. RIP.

— Rob Macomber, February 24

 

Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis. May he now get the answers he was always seeking.

— Dan Aykroyd, February 24

Actor and Director Harold Ramis, who brought us Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Stripes, and directed wonderful films like Groundhog Day, passed away in front of his family, from complications of an autoimmune diseases.

Given the contributions he has made to our entertainment growing up, injecting fun into our lives, it’s not inappropriate to be saddened by his passing.  Our condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones

the Olympic Adventures of Brisco County, Jr

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

If while watching NBC you hear the Adventures of Brisco County Jr come on it must be the Olymics

Stephen Graziano and Velton Ray Bunch composed original music for the series. Composed by Randy Edelman, the distinctive theme music gained recognition beyond the show’s following; in the mid-1990s, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) hired Edelman to provide music for its sports coverage, including National Football League games and the Olympics. The music samples Edelman sent NBC included the Brisco theme, and by 1996 it was being used during coverage of the Olympics. NBC used it again as the theme for their coverage of the 1997 World Series. Edelman said, “It was original, and it seemed to have the right spirit. It’s got a very flowing melody, it’s triumphant, and it has a certain warmth. And it has at the end of it, what all television things like this have, a ‘button,’ an ending flourish that works really well if they need to chop it down into a 15-second thing.”[44]

NBC continues using the theme in contemporary commercials for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. If you listen you’ll notice.

Now normally the theme for the Olympics is this:

It was even noted on the commentary track for the very first episode the Brisco County DVD set that the theme music ultimately outlived the series and very few of the people that hear it these days would know its origin. But if you listen and you hear this,

then it is fairly obvious. It is sad that this extremely underrated and completely perfect series ended before its time (likely because it was ahead of its time) but at least parts live on. Just not the parts I want.

Disneyfy your life

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

John Hayward makes a very good point about “Saving Mr. Banks,” the new Disney-made film about a Disney production, and how it is very unfair to the creator of Mary Poppins by twisting the outcome of the disagreement that is central to the film.

Man of Steel Animated Series

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

What’s the one thing everyone is going to remember about Man of Steel in five years?*SNAP!*

House of Cards is probably not getting canceled

Monday, October 14th, 2013

 

The Huffington Post, the crapass internet rag that it is, pretended to be something of journalism and posted something that does not resemble actual journalism and was not true but pretended to be true.  This lazy notion was that the wonderful television show House of Cards was being cancelled after the second season based on speculation casually thrown about by some low-level writer.  In fact the plotlines for seasons three and four have been written for Mr Spacey and he has not announced a parting of the ways.

 

The show is not being cancelled.  May those that wrote and published that story as truth be ejected from their chosen profession and be forced to toil unhappily in order to make a decent living.

The Batman got too much spite

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Mark Pellegrini, the guy who runs the TMNT Entity blog, wrote a comparison between the Batman cartoon immediately after the Dini/Timm Batman/Justice League animated cycle and its predecessor, arguing that objective overall superiority of the DC Animated Universe stuff aside and the 1990s series especially, The Batman and its five seasons got short shrift.

now that both the DCAU and The Batman are but memories distanced by years and a multitude of newer cartoons and straight-to-video animated films clogging our DVRs, I think it’d be a good idea to discard the bitterness of the Bat-Embargo and judge The Batman against its holy brethren of the 1990s, Batman: The Animated Series, a bit more objectively.

Okay, so even objectively, Batman: The Animated Series wipes the floor with The Batman; like Hell I’m here to argue that. Instead, I think the safer activity to pursue is determining what aspects of the Caped Crusader’s mythos The Batman actually succeeded over Batman: The Animated Series in adapting and improving upon.

It is disturbing how correct he is. There is much to rip on in the first season of The Batman, including but not limited to how many of the characters’ first appearances involve less profitable crime and more the destruction of the city as facet or totality of the evil act.  There is also at least two episodes early on where Gotham City’s fate hinged on unlikely city planning.  In the episode where Killer Croc intends to flood the city that fate literally hinged on a switch that would “flood” or “not flood” the city.  The initial Mr Freeze episode was predicated on the entire metropolitan area having central heating and air systems.

There was also the far more naked use of concepts designed for toys, the Batwave coming to mind immediately.

The article does not mention any of that and it is absolutely correct to do so.  The article exists to extoll virtues of the program, not pound endlessly on what was wrong, which we in the internet and on our couches have certainly done already, far too much yet completely fairly.

So the article touches upon what The Batman did correctly, especially where The New Batman Adventures failed in a comparative place.

That said, I like these paragraphs:

On one hand, it wants to be a gritty and intelligent look at the psychological aspects of Batman’s adventures with daring plots and grim consequences, but then it also wants to be a fun and lighter take on the character where he eats enchiladas, pilots a giant robot and has kung-fu battles with the Penguin. The Batman wanted to be both kinds of shows and while it did strike that necessary balance from time to time, mostly it was a whole lot of nonsense and Greg Weisman phoning it in while waiting for that Spectacular Spider-Man gig to come along.

Perhaps its greatest hurtle during its initial run, though, was just the fact that it was the successor to the DC Animated Universe and that meant it was going to have a lot of guys in their early twenties who were going to hate it simply for existing. The fact that it ran concurrently with the last season of Justice League Unlimited, resulting in the infamous “Bat-Embargo” surely didn’t help (the Bat-Embargo prevented Batman’s supporting characters and villains from appearing in JLU as The Batman had exclusivity rights to them).

In other words, The Batman performed certain bits better because The Animated Series failed.

is this Gundam timeline helpful or accurate?

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Does this accurately represent the Gundam “Correct Century” timeline?


I’m not even certain what “Correct Century” means. I watched a good deal of a few shows within the continuity of the original series and some episodes in the continuities that are more fantastical but the graphic seems cut in bad places and my memory is a little rusty after ten years.