Before we go any further with the actual details, let me get this out of the way.
You? You were all surprised like "What? How could this be? Four new Marvel shows? Aren't they having problems with just the one?" Meanwhile visionaries like myself were riding public transit to work and nodding smugly and sagely to a confused, uncomprehending Witch Hazel lookalike.
I mean, yeah, my whole reason for writing that article had to do with a completely different set of superheroes, and I was pushing for Marvel to create an entirely new network instead of working with Netflix, and I didn't even get the number of shows right, and I completely missed on the idea of a team-up miniseries to cap off everyone's seasons.
But those are just MINOR QUIBBLES IN THE FACE OF MY CRUSHING VICTORY. NERDS.
Alright, now that that's out of the way, here's the details:
Superman turned 75 this year. There are some who don't consider the film released this summer to be much of a tribute to the guy. I disagree, myself, but for those who found Zack Snyder's take on the Man of Steel a little (or a lot) lacking, this is what it looks like when you swap out David S. Goyer for WB Animation deity Bruce Timm, and give Snyder all of two minutes to tell a wordless story.
This link takes you to a description of all the eras referenced, just in case you're a little rusty on the Big Blue Boy Scout's history. Even if you don't like the guy - you think he's boring, bland, sanctimonious, dull - I dare you not to smile when the animated version of George Reeves grins at you, or when John Williams' Main Title bursts onto the soundtrack as Fleischer-era Superman punches through a robot, or when Hans Zimmer's score swells as Superman rises from his '90s grave.
I mean, not to put too much weight on a single two minute ad for the character of Superman, but this does show that Snyder does get, on some level, what about Superman is appealing to people. The hope, should you choose to nurture it, is that the coming Man of Steel sequel manages to have a few more moments that feel like this short does, even with notorious pouty-pants Batman hanging around.
Star Trek: The Art of Juan Ortiz is a book of posters. Ortiz, an illustrator and graphic designer, challenged himself to come up with one movie-style poster for each episode of the original Star Trek series—80 posters in all. The challenge is to make 80 unique, compelling images with a limited set of symbols. How many ways can you twist the shape of the USS Enterprise, the Starfleet logo, or Spock's face and still make an image that has its own design language?
Not every page of Star Trek is memorable, but there are a lot more winners here than losers. Ortiz pays homage to Saul Bass, Jack Kirby, Russian propaganda posters, Jackson Pollack, and many more influences throughout the book. Sometimes his posters look more like those great old sci-fi paperback covers, or psychedelic band fliers from the 60s. They each reference at least one plot point in the Star Trek episode they're representing, making it an ideal gift for the Trek fan who's seen every episode of TOS multiple times.
Ortiz's art aggregates into a narrative that runs underneath all the posters: It's the story of a Star Trek fan who decided to revisit one of his favorite shows, but this time as an artist, in the hopes of finding something new to enjoy. I think the story has a happy ending.
While most of America is busy shitting their pants in anger over the government shutdown, today Star Wars fanatics have a reason to cream their pants in delight, for scientists now have the technology to create an actual motherfucking lightsaber. More via the Guardian:
Harvard and MIT physicists writing in the new edition of Nature say they have discovered a way to bind photons together in order to form a new molecule which behaves almost exactly like George Lucas's deadly devices.
"Most of the properties of light we know about originate from the fact that photons are massless and do not interact," said Harvard university physics professor Mikhail Lukin. "What we have done is create a special type of medium in which photons interact with each other so strongly that they act as though they have mass, and bind together to form molecules.
"It's not an in-apt analogy to compare this to lightsabers. When these photons interact with each other, they're pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what's happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies."
We're still waiting on the hoverboard, though.
*Not that Agents of SHIELD was that boring... but c'mon. It was kinda boring.
In an attempt to score huge numbers like the ones Joss Whedon's Agents of SHIELD attained last night, the Fox network has picked up Gotham—which will recount the adventures of young Commissioner James Gordon (sans a certain gravel-voiced bat-shaped grumpy gus). From Deadline:
It explores the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon and the villains who made Gotham City famous. In Gotham, Gordon is still a detective with the Gotham City Police Department and has yet to meet Batman, who will not be part of the series.
Oh, and it's being created by the guy who did The Mentalist—which you don't remember at all, and for very good reason. My hope is that it will be like Smallville—in that young James Gordon will be a dreamy-eyed hunk who takes off his shirt and exposes his rock-hard nipples for no apparent reason.
Good luck, Fox!
Tonight the nerds of the world will squirt in unison for the debut of Joss Whedon's Agents of SHIELD. (Yes, I refuse to call it Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, and I refuse to put periods after every letter. Fuck you, Marvel.) For those who can't wait, here's a quick roundup of what the nation's TV critics think of SHIELD. (Spoiler alert: They're not exactly squirting.)
The New York Times says, "moderately entertaining... but there’s still an inevitable residue of disappointment."
New York Daily News says, "S.H.I.E.L.D. is rip-roaring good fun."
Slate says, "[It's] too self-serious to be really goofy, and yet too fan-boyish to rescue even one hour of television from mediocrity."
Hitfix says, "And how is it? It's... okay."
A.V. Club says, "There are enough fun and funny moments in the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot to suggest the kind of show that will settle into a groove with time. Yet there are also moments that seem boring, cautious, and predictable."
Redeye Chicago says, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is good, but not quite great—at least not in its first hour. That doesn't mean it's not an entertaining ride with incredible potential."
You'll be hearing much more tomorrow (TRUST ME), and be sure to pop by Blogtown in the morning for our Agents of SHIELD recap from our own Bobby Roberts! Until then... I believe the take home message is clear: manage your expectations.
While one should always put one's money on black Wonder Woman, both contestants and this dance battle are a goddamn thing of beauty.
So of all the so-called "celebrities" on this season's Dancing with the Stars, we know there's really only one: Bill Nye the Science Guy. Here he is in last night's season premiere, dancing the cha-cha-cha to Oingo Boingo's "Weird Science" (of course). He's charming in practice (1:00 mark), clumsy on the dance floor (2:44), and brave as the judges absolutely eviscerate him (4:30).
Check it out, and let's all move on with our lives.
A British video streaming company Blinkbox Live (somewhat like Netflix) promotes showing Star Trek: Into Darkness by setting up a Trek transporter in a mall that apparently actually works! At least that's what the gullible, but cute limeys in this mall think after seeing the transporter in action (with some help from illusionist Scott Penrose).
From the press release:
Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced an expanded creative partnership with world-renowned, best-selling author J.K. Rowling. At the center of the partnership is a new film series from Rowling’s world of witches and wizards, inspired by Harry Potter’s Hogwarts textbook “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and the adventures of the book’s fictitious author, Newt Scamander. The announcement was made by Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment.
I love how prolific J.K. Rowling has been, post-Potter. A lot of authors would just sit on their fat stacks of cash and spend too much time deciding on what their next step should be. But I'm not sure if Rowling being the guiding force behind a film-only prequel to the Harry Potter series is a good idea; I think it gives the films an authorial legitimacy that they wouldn't otherwise have. This is an interesting choice from Rowling, and it's undoubtedly good for her brand, but I'm not sure that it's a great thing for the books.
(Via Book Riot.)
Here are five short (but illuminating!) teasers for the incredibly difficult to type Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—debuting Tuesday, Sept 24 on ABC at 8 pm. [Note to Joss Whedon: Will you be mad if I stop typing all those periods when I write about your show? It's really annoying. Also, please put all your short teasers in ONE video, so I don't have to watch a terrible Jack-in-the-Box commercial five times. YouTube can handle it, I think. Yer pal, Wm.™ Steven Humphrey]
The other four after the jump!
Here's another future Syfy show to get excited about: New Zealand's The Almighty Johnsons which is a comedy/drama about a normal family who just happen to be reincarnated Norse gods. Set to debut in the states on Syfy sometime next year, the trailer below demonstrates a very skilled/funny/sexy mix of Thor and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Watch.
While TV—and okay fine... sometimes me—have been quick to make merciless fun of cosplay people, this new Syfy show Heroes of Cosplay does a good job of demonstrating the obsessive care these guys take to make a truly awesome outfit. And tonight's debut episode is set right here at Portland's Wizard World convention, and makes fine use of hometown cosplay guy-made-good, Jesse Lagers. Check it out.
Heroes of Cosplay debuts tonight on Syfy, 10 pm.
To be a fan of anything is to be an amateur casting director. There’s more joy in imagining potential entertainments than in their actual consumption; it’s why we leave a movie after waiting patiently for the now-traditional mid-credits stinger, and immediately start brainstorming ideas for the sequel the instant our feet touch lobby carpet. The announcement of the latest inevitable reboot is met with all the enthusiasm of having to clean out the catbox, until we catch ourselves playing in that grimy sand, pushing recycled ideas around like kitty pickles; What if Spider-Man did this? What if the Terminator did that? What if so-and-so was the Doctor?
This past weekend, a new Doctor was chosen. Peter Capaldi is a great actor, and a wonderful choice, not only for the energy he can bring to the role, but for the fact he’s a massive Doctor Who nerd. But there was still disappointment to be found, partially because you just can’t please everybody, partially because he’s in his fifties and not conventionally attractive, and partially because he’s the twelfth straight white dude to play the character. Thirteenth, if you count John Hurt, who is playing a one-off version of the Doctor in an upcoming special.
Steven Moffat, Doctor Who’s current emperor, took time during the half-hour live press event announcing Capaldi to throw shade at the idea that the Doctor could be anything but a white guy, namechecking Dame Helen Mirren’s volunteering for the role, and smirking up a one-line dismissal about how he can’t wait until a man is chosen to be Queen of England.
So with those specific TARDIS doors clicked shut, pop-culture addicts have to move onto other scenarios with which to disappoint themselves, scenarios that almost always involve the same guy:
There's a lengthy piece up over at Wired's culture blog Underwire about Trek in the Park, which kicks off its final season this weekend at St. Johns' Cathedral Park with classic episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." Having witnessed a Tribble-making party at the Jack London Bar, where the bar turned into a very fuzzy factory floor, I'm looking forward to seeing all those Tribbles in action.
THE PREMISE: If you people had bothered to watch even one measly episode, you'd know at least this much: "These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise"—an interstellar spacecraft 250 years in the future. It's on a five-year mission to extend the military and economic might of an America-like assemblage of peace-loving planets called the Federation. It's also tasked with checking the expansionist impulses of the Soviet-like Klingons and Red China-like Romulans.
(Full disclosure, I occasionally freelance for Underwire.)
Or at least, that's the codename the BBC is using. Or at least, that's what I think is what's going on, but I can't confirm it from official sources yet, because fucking bullshit, that's why:
1) An announcement is planned sometime today.
2) That announcement will explain that there is an event happening on Sunday that will unveil the next Doctor.
3) There is an embargo for the announcement of the announcement regarding the event.
4) The embargo is up at midnight tonight, U.K. time
What the fuck is going on here? Why are there embargoes being placed on press releases about announcements for events to announce an actor in a role? Not to actually announce the actor. Just to announce there is an actor. BBC realizes that press releases are for releasing, yes? Is this another example of misplaced focus on the part of production companies, who treat the advertisements for their product with more care, importance, and passion than they do the product itself? "Don't you dare share our trailer! Don't you take pictures of our theater standees! Don't tell people we're going to tell people what person we've cast to play a person!"
If only you gave 1/3rd of a turd about the product itself as opposed to whether people on the internet are sharing your commercials without permission.
Thanks to the internet being the internet, someone at Metro.co.uk accidentally posted the announcement of the announcement before the embargo to announce the announcement of the announcement was up. Fearing vicious British retribution, they yanked the page, and proceeded to the nearest corner, teeth chattering, breath hitching, as their chilled soul curled into the fetal and waited for a right proper flogging.
Thanks to the internet being the internet, Metro's fuckup was screencapped, and the text was copy+pasted. After the jump if you still care.
Syfy's new reality show Heroes of Cosplay debuts on August 13, and here's the first extended trailer. WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? Because a) you love obsessive people, because you're obsessive people, b) the amount of care and expertise that go into these costumes is amazing, c) you are a geek, and you love it, admit it, and d) THERE'S SOMEBODY FROM PORTLAND IN THIS THING (shock)! From the cast list in the Syfy press release:
Jesse Lagers – Jesse lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works as a software systems administrator. He hopes that success in cosplay competitions will lead to his own business creating costumes and props. Jesse is a stickler for realism and authenticity in all of the costumes he creates.
Good luck, Jesse! And here's the trailer.
Looks like Time Warner is preparing their next big superhero for a TV series and an upcoming movie franchise. And it's...The Flash?
I really like The Flash. I think he's a character whose powers are well-suited to the comics medium, and he's had some great talent on his book over the last seven decades. But come on. Come on, people. The next choice for a superhero movie should be obvious: Wonder Woman. She already had a successful TV series. She's the most high-visibility superhero to not have a movie in the works. There's presumably a Justice League movie on the horizon. Why wouldn't Time Warner be putting her on the fast-track? Is it because the conventional wisdom dictates that female-led superhero movies don't succeed? The three superhero movies that I can think of off the top of my head that starred women didn't fail because they starred women. They failed because everything about the movies were terrible, from top to bottom. If you put top-notch writers, directors, and stars on a Wonder Woman movie, you'll make money. I assume that Time Warner wants to make money. So what's the problem?
Late yesterday, Latino Review, a movie news/rumors website, updated with an exclusive story about who might be cast in the newest Star Wars movie. Lots of things happened at the 2013 San Diego Trailer & Advertising Expo, but there was no real Star Wars news, no day in which fans of a galaxy far, far away were herded into a giant pen and fed commercials until they were fat with excitement.
Latino Review satiated some of that hunger with their report, stating that the names being "tossed around" at Lucasfilm were Ryan Gosling and Zac Efron.
This seems plausible-ish, I guess. Both have a Disney background, both are age-appropriate, although to be honest, that's just as much a guess as anything regarding this new Star Wars movie, since nobody really knows anything about the story, or the tone, or even the title. For some fans, this rumor might even seem predictable, because why wouldn't a Disney production feature actors with Disney backgrounds? And honestly, considering what a teen puppy mill Disney's been for the last 20 years, it's hard to find viable young actors that haven't been touched by Mickey's glove at some point in their career.
Also predictable: The immediate backlash to the idea that Ryan Gosling and Zac Efron should be in a Star Wars movie.
Did you read my "Worst. Night. Ever." post yesterday about how you made me dress up like a wizard and attend the Canterbury Renaissance Faire? IT'S PRETTY GOOD! But here's an update! As you recall, I was very unimpressed by most of the merchandise there—which consisted of crocheted chain mail, ugly pictures of wolves howling at the moon, scented skull candles, and various hand-carved wizard staffs—BUT!! There was one item that knocked my freaking socks off and it was this:
A woodburned portrait of Data from Star Trek: Next Generation meeting C-3PO! SQUEEEEEEE!!!
As I noted in the piece, i was initially put off by the $40 asking price, but ever since then I've been kicking my own ass (and letting you join in) for not purchasing the greatest piece of art ever maaaaaaaade! Happily, the artist Colleen Jess commented on the story, so all is not lost!
Now because I'm such a nice person, I'm going to step aside and let the rest of you dorks fight it out over who will order and this amazing piece. OR maybe you can ask her to make more and put 'em on back order! Thanks again Colleen, for making the world a MUCH better place!
Great local band the Doubleclicks has a new video out that takes on sexism and elitism in geek communities, compiling submissions from self-proclaimed geek girls and prominent nerds like Wil Wheaton, Marian Call, Paul and Storm, and John Scalzi. And it's *delightful,* empowering and tough and quite funny. I laughed out loud at local comic book writer Kelly Sue DeConnick's "Who died and made you Batman?" bit. (DeConnick is a great writer who happens to be married to Matt Fraction, one of the biggest names in the industry—she's written eloquently and angrily about what it's like to repeatedly face the assumption that she has her husband to thank for her career.)
There's also a Tumblr collecting even more submissions that they couldn't fit on the video.
The Doubleclicks are performing this weekend at the Secret Society with a couple of other great ladies, comedians Barbara Holm (Joss Whedon-approved!) and Bri Pruett, and musician Sarah Donner. Tickets and show info here.
Man of Steel is by no means a perfect film. It’s written by David Goyer and directed by Zack Snyder, for example. There are going to be problems built-in:
Goyer: Exposition heavy. Bad dialog. A sense of fun that is almost entirely mean-spirited in nature.
Snyder: Bad Pacing. Overindulgent. Emotionally stunted.
There are examples of the above littered all over their filmographies. Man of Steel is no different. The film’s forward progression is wobbly; it lurches forward like a newborn fawn wearing jackhammer boots. Almost none of the people actually sound like people. Combine that with its overtly sci-fi feel, and hopefully you’ll understand why I refer to the film as “Easily the best of all the Star Wars prequels.”
I don’t mean that as a negative, however. The spectacle is fucking spectacular. The characters may not sound like people, but there is humanity in them. The emotions evoked are, more often than not, legitimately earned by the actors, and Snyder does manage to tease out some honest feelings in and around the film’s city-spanning pummelings.
But the narrative that’s unfolded in the week since its release focuses on one feeling in particular: Betrayal. It comes in different shades and flavors, but the two main tastes are these: Superman betrayed humanity, Goyer and Snyder betrayed Superman.
There are multiple articles that intelligently give voice to those viewpoints, and while I mostly disagree with them, I understand where they’re coming from; well, except for the end of Mark Waid’s review, where he describes going into a fugue state in the theater and falling out like a Southern belle who caught the Vapors. But I figure that’s just dramatic license on the part of the man who wrote the definitive origin of the 75-year old superhero. He’s more than allowed.
But I’m increasingly feeling like Mugatu when I read these articles as they come pouring out of blogs and entertainment news sites.
Specifically, the betrayal seems to be pinpointed to the climax of the film, where two things happen (and from this point forward, I will be dealing with plot spoilers, fair warning):
If you're a fan of the mid-90s style of Batman cartoonies that had a little bit of a darker edge to them—think Batman: The Animated Series, and Batman Beyond—check out this trailer for Cartoon Network's newest batty outing Beware the Batman. It debuts July 13, and it's all CG and shit! (Prepare your excuses for why you're inside on a sunny afternoon watching baby shows.)
Earlier this week, comedian Casey Malone wrote a blog post alerting readers to a Kickstarter project that was, essentially, a sexual assault manual. The author of this manual had previously published excerpts as dating advice on Reddit; Malone dug up some of that advice, which included suggestions like "Don't ask her permission, force her to rebuff your advances" and "pull out your cock and put her hand on it."
The post went racing around the internet like a Funny Car fueled by 300 proof liquid rage, and people, without even needing to be asked, started shouting at Kickstarter to yank the listing.
Kickstarter is no stranger to controversy, with more than a few thinkpieces being written about its metamorphosis from "Champion of the little guy" to "Savings & Loan for film studios", discussing whether said shift is ultimately a bad thing. But this was a different kind of controversy, landing in their lap the same day the project was closing, and they had all of two hours to make a decision as to whether to shut it down, or let it fly. They chose the latter, and the author's book was funded.
Today, Kickstarter apologized for that choice. They don't ask to be excused from their decision, only that users understand how they came to that decision, and why they realize that decision was a bad one.
They further went on to say their policies are being adjusted so that "seduction guides" will be prohibited from using the service going forward, and Kickstarter will donate $25,000 (almost $10,000 more than the book itself managed to raise) to RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization.
But will this apology be accepted? Will Kickstarter earn back some lost goodwill, or is this a case of too little, too late? People on the internet are often great at shining spotlights on thoughtlessness, cruelty, and oppression, but not so good at saying "apology accepted." And sometimes, as in the case of Serena Williams' disingenuous PR fart regarding her Steubenville remarks, those apologies should be given the side-eye. Time will tell if this response from Kickstarter carries tangible weight.
People who like awesome stuff were already aware that Fox is producing an animated series based on the best thing the human mind has ever, and likely will ever concieve: Axe Cop, a comic created by a five year-old, drawn by his 29 year-old older brother, starring a mustachioed titan of masculinity who dispenses hickory-handled justice upon those who do evil, like Pretzelhead, the Vampire Man-Baby Kid, and Mr. Doo-Doo.
Today, thanks to contractual obligations clearing themselves up, Fox was able to announce that yes, showrunner Nick Weidenfeld (Children's Hospital) made the only acceptable choice to voice Axe Cop; Ron Swanson himself, Nick Offerman.
But that's not the only bit of good news. Over on the Axe Blog, co-creator Ethan Nicolle broke down the rest of the cast, which includes some of alternative comedy's best (Patton Oswalt, Ken Marino, Peter Serafinowicz, Rob Heubel); alongside some serious heavy hitters, like Breaking Bad's Gus Fring and Mike Ehrmantraut (Giancarlo Esposito and Jonathan Banks) Mad Men's Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser), and finally, Michael Fucking Madsen.
The best animated show television will ever behold premieres July 27th, 11pm, on Fox.
|Most Popular||I, Anonymous||Best of the Merc|
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!