Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Blacklist - Smokey Putnum

The Blacklist returns with a quirky season premiere with Liz (Megan Boone) tagging along with Reddington (James Spader) on a road trip. Following the dismantlement of his criminal empire, Red has decided to live in a motel and become a bounty hunter while pressuring the FBI to help him rebuild that which Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) burned to the ground. It's an odd episode with no real stakes other than finding and transporting a fugitive (Michael Aronov). Despite his recent turmoil, and the knowledge that the corpse suitcase is still out there somewhere, there's a freedom to our master criminal we haven't seen in quite some time. Despite everything, he's decided to make the best of his situation. And, as always, there is an ulterior motive at work.

Friday, September 29, 2017

SEAL Team - Tip of the Spear

SEAL Team is one of two new high-profile military action-dramas hitting network television this Fall. David Boreanaz leads the cast as the troubled leader of a SEAL team following the loss of one of their own. The first episode gives us Senior chief petty officer Jason Hayes (Boreanaz) struggling with the loss of a man under his command, a new joint CIA mission involving the capture of a high-profile target and rescue of an American citizen, his dislike for therapy, and a new member thrown into his unit whom he has plenty of reason to distrust. While there's not much original about the show's pilot episode, the episode's action sequences are all well-staged and the emotional moments (while over-simplified at times) work well enough to make it a better alternative to NBC's The Brave.

American Made

We've seen this all before. And even if we've seen it done better at times (see Charlie Wilson's War, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short, American Hustle, and others), American Made certainly entertains. Director Doug Liman and screenwriter Gary Spinelli come together with star Tom Cruise to offer us another one of those stories too crazy not to be true.

Cruise is in fine form. I've remarked before that I have always enjoyed the movie star more when he's able to unleash a bit of the crazy. And American Made certainly has enough crazy to go around. The film is based somewhat loosely on the real experiences of former TWA pilot Barry Seal (Cruise) who went to work for the CIA in the late 70s and 80s running clandestine reconnaissance missions in South America while also working on his own making money smuggling drugs into the United States from Columbia. After introducing us to his Seal, his wife (Sarah Wright) and the CIA agent (Domhnall Gleeson) who enlists him and funds the dubious enterprise, the insanity begins in earnest. What makes things work is Seal is just smart enough to know when to take advantage of the situation and just dumb enough to not know when he's over his head.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Big Bang Theory - The Proposal Proposal

Picking up immeadiately following the Tenth Season finale, The Big Bang Theory returns with Amy (Mayim Bialik) giving the expected answer to Sheldon (Jim Parsons) proposal. While there are certainly no suprises there, Howard (Simon Helberg) and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) deal with some unexpected news and Raj's (Kunal Nayyar) loneliness continues.

The Wild Storm #7

The Wild Storm #5 offers a bit of breather for readers. And murder. Lots of murder. The introduction of Jackie King, Chief Analyst at I.O. allows the comic to go over the events of recent issues and the growing number of threats I.O. has to solve, primarily that of Angela Spica. While not dwelling too much on what we already know, this works as a nice refresher for those who have read the previous six issues and a primer for those just coming on-board for the first time.

Scorpion - Extinction

Scorpion returns for a Fourth Season with the first-half of a two-part episode that sends the Scorpion to Norway to plug a methane gas leak which their old frenemy Mark Collins (Joshua Leonard) believes could be the first domino to start an extinction event for all life on Earth. Leave it to Scorpion to bring out the most outrageous stakes ever for the start of a new season. Needing Collins help, the team heads overseas where the the "changed" man slowly begins to sew seeds of discord among the group including between Walter (Elyes Gabel) and Paige (Katharine McPhee). While the episode plays the character down-the-line without concluding one way or the other on how much he has changed, I'm fully expecting a full-on villain turn for Collins in next week's conclusion (which would be a mistake as the character could be far more interesting in his current role as a potential recurring guest).

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Rick and Morty - The ABCs of Beth

Just who is Beth (Sarah Chalke)? For nearly three full seasons Rick and Morty has shown us who people want her to be, but who is she really? The discovery that her childhood imaginary world was actually a pocket dimension created by Rick (Justin Roiland) to keep her away from harming other kids (with ray guns and a whip to make others like her, yeesh), and that a childhood friend believed to have been killed by his father has been trapped there for decades is the start of a father/daughter adventure in which Beth realizes just how much like her father she truly is. Who is Beth? Turns out she's very much her father's daughter.

The Big Bang Theory - The Complete Tenth Season

The tenth season of The Big Bang Theory marks a major change for the nerds as Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Amy (Mayim Bialik) begin living together apart from newlyweds Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco). Over the season the guys will work on a project for the Untied States Air Force (with mixed success), Leonard and Penny will re-do their I Do's for family and friends, Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) will give birth, and Sheldon and Amy's relationship will be tested leading into a surprise proposal to close out the season.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers #4

The fourth issue of the five-issue mini-series finally makes its way to comic shops. Opening with the Spirit's capture and torture at the hands of the bizarre group, Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers #4 introduces the Spirit to private investigator Lisa Marlowe. Although the art of Marlowe retelling her story is terrific, writer/artist Francesco Francavilla does go over quite a bit of familiar ground for the audience to get our hero up to speed.

The Orville - About a Girl

The third episode of The Orville makes a dramatic turn after two episodes setting up the show as sitcom with Star Trek trappings. "About a Girl" centers around the Orville's second officer Lt. Commander Bortus (Peter Macon) and his mate Klyden (Chad L. Coleman) whose baby is born female - a cultural deformity according to the pair's race. After Dr. Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) refuses to perform a sex change on the infant, Bortus and Klyden request assistance from their government leading to a trial on their homeworld with Commander Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) pleading for the baby to remain female.

Dragon Con 2017 Star Wars Cosplay

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

For years LEGO has released video games, television shows, and straight-to-video movies centered around LEGO characters. The successes of The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie at the box office seem to have emboldened the company to try their hands at more theatrical releases. Maybe they should have stopped with Batman.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

While I enjoyed writer-director Matthew Vaughn's absurdly over-the-top (but not that original) Bond spoof, I was far from the biggest fan of Kingsman: The Secret Service. Two years later Vaughn returns with most of the key figures from the first film offering more of the same while widening the world and opening the franchise to new sequel opportunities. The script follows the still unfortunately-named Eggsy (Taron Egerton) as one of the few surviving members of Kingsman which is destroyed by a crazy drug kingpin (Julianne Moore) who has a failed Kingsman recruit (Edward Holcroft) on her payroll.

The Librarians #1

Dynamite Entertainment brings TNT's adventure series The Librarians to comics beginning with The Librarians #1. For those unfamiliar with the premise, the Librarians are a group of talented archaeological heroes and their Guardian Eve Baird who keep the world safe from magical artifacts and groups who would use them for evil. Appearing to be set sometime during or after the show's Second Season, which saw a more hands-on involvement by original Librarian Flynn Carson, the first issue of the series involves the group heading to the film festival of an archaeological hack who is murdered on stage by a mysterious wooden weapon by his longtime partner.

The Good Place - Everything Is Great!

After the shocking reveal to end last season, "Everything Is Great!" resets The Good Place as Michael (Ted Danson) erases the memories of the four humans and reintroduces them to a heaven that is really anything but. There's a bit of redundancy in the two-part premiere as the show gives us the perspectives of each of the main characters over the course of the first day in The Good Place. Despite his best efforts to separate the quartet, Michael watches despondently as his reboot doesn't have the effect he had hoped. But when you fail, try, try again.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Green Arrow #30

Green Arrow's road trip finally leads him back to his former hard traveling companion. Needing help to get into space to check out the Ninth's Circle secret satellite, Ollie calls on his old pal Hal Jordan. Writer Benjamin Percy certainly has fun bringing this argumentative pair back together for one more road trip.

Voltron: Legendary Defender - The Journey

Whatever happened to Shiro (Josh Keaton)? The Black Lion's paladin disappeared during the Season finale. While offering hints that there's far more to the story than what we are seeing, "The Journey" picks up Shiro's thread when the paladin breaks out of a Galra ship. After a crash landing on a frozen moon, dealing with a pair of resistance fighters, and stowing away on another cruiser, Shiro finally finds his way back to Voltron. It will take several days alone in the black of space, however, before his eventual reunion with his friends.

The Flash - The Complete Third Season

While the Third Season of The Flash feels a bit too familiar with the introduction of yet another evil speedster, the show does provide several memorable moments including a dark turn for Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker), the death of a major character, a musical crossover episode featuring Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), and the shake-up of The Flash's world following his Flashpoint adventure. There are a few clunkers here, but when it's good The Flash can be awfully good.

Other highlights include a fun Christmas episode, characters dealing with the complexity of what Savitar is, a trip into the future, the season finale, meta-humans altered by Doctor Alchemy to match characters from the Flashpoint reality, Jesse Quick racing into action, the Invasion crossover, the two-part return of Grodd, the introduction of Gypsy (Jessica Camacho), and the first appearance of a classic Flash villain.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rick and Morty - Morty's Mind Blowers

There are two interesting takeaways from Rick and Morty's version of a clip-show. After a troubling adventure involving Morty (Justin Roiland) looking into the eyes of an unknowing turtle, Rick (Roiland) offers his grandson the ability to have the memory removed and reveals and entire library of mind-blowing memories the scientist has taken out of Morty's mind. Showing his grandson a few to demonstrate the point allows the show to offer us glimpses of several bizarre adventures without going into much depth while highlighting either the bad decisions of Morty, the questionable decisions of Rick, or something the scientist simply didn't want his grandson to remember.

Astro City #47

With Astro City #47 writer Kurt Busiek and guest-artist Mike Norton introduce perhaps the most adorable Astro City hero ever. The latest issue is an origin story, but an unusual one. In the first page of the story introduced to a small-time thief and the cute Corgi he "borrows" as collateral to get the money owed to him as a friend. While he never gets the money, he does make a quick connection with the dog who will turn out to be man's best friend.

Cosplay Remix: Wonder Woman

Monday, September 18, 2017

Darth Vader #5

After defeating Jedi Master Kirak Infil'a, Darth Vader has one last piece of business before claiming his trademark red lightsaber. Sent to Mustafar by the Emperor, the Dark Lord of the Sith will face one final challenge in his attempt to bend the Kyber crystal to his will and create his trademark blade.

Elementary - The Complete Fifth Season

Hoping to artificially instill some continuity to the show's Fifth Season, the first episode of the year introduces us to Joan's (Lucy Liu) former patient and reformed gangbanger Shinwell (Nelsan Ellis). Shinwell's issues will be a recurring theme throughout the year as Sherlock's (Jonny Lee Miller) attempts to help the man infiltrate and bring down a local gang have consequences for everyone involved. Sherlock's odd behavior, getting even odder towards the end of the year, will culminate in his conversations with a stranger (Joanna Christie) and larger implications for his partnership with Watson heading into Season Six.

While far from the show's strongest season, highlights include the death of a magician, murder and pirate gold, the return of Kitty (Ophelia Lovibond), a desperate client, Holmes struggling with attending his AA meetings, and the murder of a mathematician.

This is Dragon Con 2017 (Atlanta Best Cosplay Party Showcase)

The Orville - Command Performance

Half-assed. I've been searching for the right words to describe Seth MacFarlane's Star Trek rip-off and "half-assed" is about as succinct as I can get. There's a reason sitcoms aren't an hour long. Even at 20 minutes the lazy comedy can begin to stretch thin. At a full hour The Orville's latest episodes has more groans than laughs. If the whole enterprise was crap it would be easy enough to ignore, but what's maddening is that there is some good acting and some interesting ideas that just keep getting mired in basic sitcom hell. The premise of "Command Performance" finds Alara Kitan (Halston Sage) in charge of the ship after Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) are Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) kidnapped and Bortus (Peter Macon) is unavailable while sitting on his egg during the misadventures which will follow.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Jessica Jones #12

Jessica Jones #12 wraps up the Maria Hill arc with answers for Jessica about why Hill put out a hit on herself, hired Jessica to dig into her past, refused to answer questions about the reason for why she hired Jessica, and then shot her for doing her job. After a couple of final battle blows, including seeing her office explode, Jessica is able to track down her client and get paid (along with an overdue apology).

Supergirl - The Complete Second Season

In a year where both The Flash and Arrow found themselves recycling different versions of the same story (evil speedsters and archers), Supergirl took a definite step forward as the best of DC's television line-up. Sure, the exit of Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) as a regular after the first couple of episodes left a huge hole to fill and there were some clunkers early on, but this season saw Kara (Melissa Benoist) grow considerably over the course of the year take on Cadmus, get a boyfriend (Chris Wood) and deal with his evil mother (Teri Hatcher), and make an unlikely friend in Lena Luther (Katie McGrath).

Highlights from this year include the two-part season finale, the show taking a hard stand against anti-immigration policy, the first appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk (Peter Gadiot), exploring what's next for Superman's best friend, Kara flexing her reporting muscles and standing by her friends, the return of Livewire (Brit Morgan), the introduction of Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), and a super-team-up against Metallo.

Dragon Con 2017 - This Beautiful Cosplay Life

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Preacher - The End of the Road

The Second Season of Preacher wraps up with more of a whimper than a bang. After being stuck in neutral for most of this season, the show moves microscopically forward with Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) admitting the hard truth to himself about his son, albeit in a completely selfish way, providing the beginning of Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper) working as Klaus Starr's (Pip Torrens) new messiah, and offering a pair of deaths which should finally force the show to move out of the rut it has gotten stuck in since landing in New Orleans.

Batman #30

Continuing the War of Riddles and Jokes, the latest issue of Batman picks up the thread from Batman #27 and brings back Kite Man as our narrator. Obviously having chosen the wrong side, especially now that Batman has chosen to team-up with the Riddler to take down the Joker's army, Kite Man languishes as the Dark Knight and the Riddler's men slowly whittle down the remaining Joker supporters until only he is left.

Hooten & the Lady - The Caribbean

Hooten & the Lady closes its First Season with one last adventure for the mismatched pair before, or to be more accurate on, Alex's (Ophelia Lovibond) wedding day. Running from the drama of a wedding that's gotten out of control, Alex follows Hooten (Michael Landes) to the Caribbean in search of lost pirate treasure of Captain Henry Morgan. When her fiance Edward (Jonathan Bailey) follows, Alex struggles to juggle the future she wants with the man she loves versus the adventure she craves with the other man in her life.

Cosplayers Explain Anime Words (Anime Expo 2017)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rick and Morty - The Ricklantis Mixup

"The Ricklantis Mixup" offers a bait-and-switch. As our Rick (Justin Roiland) and Morty (Roiland) head-out for an amazing adventure in Atlantis, the show shifts focus to show us the goings on in the Citadel of Ricks. Given the tease of the episode and its title, the content of "The Ricklantis Mixup is a bit unexpected but probably long overdue. There are several different stories at play in the Citadel, but the driving force behind the episode is a Morty running for president and winning the election on a platform of change. Brutal, murderous change.

Usagi Yojimbo #161

After several months Usagi Yojimbo returns with the first issue in a new two-part story. Opening with Kitsune breaking into a wealthy doctor's house only to discover the man dead, and temporarily being accused of his murder, Usagi Yojimbo #161 offers up a double-homicide for Miyamoto Usagi and Inspector Ishida to solve when their primary suspect in the first murder turns up poisoned in the same manner as the doctor.

Star Wars Rebels - The Complete Third Season

Set some time after the events of the end of the show's Second Season, the Third Season of Star Wars Rebels offers the return of Darth Maul (Sam Witwer) and his final confrontation with Obi-Wan Kenobi (Stephen Stanton), the arrival of a dangerous new adversary in Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen), and the continued fight of the Ghost's crew against the Empire.

Highlights include Thrawn's victory in the season finale, the growth of the Rebellion, Thrawn's discovery of a traitor in his ranks, Sabine's (Tiya Sircar) training with the Darksaber and her return to Mandalore, and the introduction of Wedge Antilles (Nathan Kress).

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Orville - Old Wounds

Set in the 25th Century, The Orville is more Star Trek knock-off than parody. The show's pilot episode introduces us to troubled officer Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) who is granted command of a starship not out of any qualifications but simply because the Planetary Union ran out of suitable candidates. Initially psyched for the assignment, Mercer is shocked to discover his cheating ex-wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) has been assigned as his first officer. The ship's first assignment, to deliver supplies to a medical station, goes awry when the lead scientist (Brian George) reveals the existence about a time displacement device which could be used as a terrible weapon an alien race known as the Krill show up to steal.

Wonder Woman #29

Opening with Wonder Woman and Etta Candy fighting off a group of super-villains and bounty hunters (including Cheshire, Plastique, Cat Eye, and Abolith), Wonder Woman #29 eventually reveals the reason for the attack and why someone wants the Amazon, dead or alive.

Lucifer - The Complete Second Season

Lucifer's Second Season introduces us to Lucifer's mother (Tricia Helfer) who escapes Hell and arrives on Earth in the body of a beautiful lawyer with plans to return to Heaven. Along with providing plenty of new drama for Lucifer (Tom Ellis) and Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside), the Goddess' arrival will lead to the reveal of why Chloe (Lauren German) is immune to Lucifer's charms along with her unusual origins.

Highlights from the season include the appearance of a man who believes he's God, Lucifer's need to punish himself after the death of his brother, humans becoming all murdery when getting their hands on Azrael's blade, Lucifer testifying in court, the season finale, murder at a prestigious school, Lucifer's wife, and a girls' night out.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

IT: Chapter One

IT isn't the first time Stephen King's novel of the same name has been adapted, although it is the first time it has been made into a theatrical release. There are some noticeable differences between the 1990 two-part television mini-series and the latest version from director Andy Muschietti, most notably that this version only offers half the story and alters the timeline of events considerably.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Harley Quinn and Batman #2

The misadventures of Harley Quinn continue in this second issue. After being saved from the Dynamic Duo by Poison Ivy, Harley helps her gal pal with her latest plant-inspired scheme. To do so however, she'll need Harley's help in financing the plan. And Harley knows just where to get the money (which will bring in another major character from Batman: The Animated Series - albeit in her far-less interesting redesigned look).

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eleven #10

On the run and seeking proof about what the United States Government is really up to concerning internment of magical creatures, Buffy and the Scoobies break into a secret facility where they discover all manner of odd experiments created from a mix of science and magic including a cyborg octopus. Realizing government scientists are draining magic and imbuing their own creations with them, the Scoobies seek out more answers... by kidnapping the Vice President of the United States.

Game Card Trader Awesome Pack 1

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1

Obviously taking place before the events of Red Hood and the Outlaws #13, Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1 offers a standalone story guest-starring Nightwing. Since the Rebirth reboot DC hasn't spent much time on the relationship between Dick Grayson and Jason Todd. There's obviously some bad blood and animosity lurking under the surface, but it looks like the two former Robins have been able to put most of that behind them.

Killjoys - Wargasm

Killjoys closes out its Third Season with the war between the Hullen and the Killjoys finally heating up. "Wargasm" also gives us the confrontation between Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen) and Aneela (John-Kamen), although its outcome (and that of the war) is unexpected. Given how the episode ends, it looks like its going to be awhile before our three heroes return to their roles as space bounty hunters.

Infamous Iron Man #11

Infamous Iron Man #11 offers a big reveal about just why this other Reed Richards wants Doom stopped. The reveal actually works quite well, and explains quite a bit without having to go into much depth. Much like S.H.I.E.L.D., this "Richards" has a definite agenda when it comes to stopping Victor von Doom. The question at the heart at this series has been whether or not Marvel's biggest villain has a right at redemption. While not coming to a definite conclusion as to what he should be able to do, writer Brian Michael Bendis and and artist Alex Maleev state that Doom could (just maybe) become the kind of hero he wants given enough space and time.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Coming Soon - Star Wars Rebels (Season Four)

We now have a full trailer for the upcoming final season of Star Wars Rebels. The show returns October 16th.


Batman & Harley Quinn

Batman & Harley Quinn is Batman: The Animated Series Lite. Co-written by Jim Krieg and Bruce Timm, featuring Kevin Conroy as Batman, and set in the later style of BtAS, the straight-to-video feature has some of the feel of lesser episodes of the animated series. Sadly, it also has some stunningly bad dialogue, odd tangents (super-hero-themed restaurants and bars for henchmen) which are only loosely connected to the plot, juvenile fart jokes for the kiddies, and an over-sexualized nature that's certainly not directed at the same audience. In other words, it's something of a mess - although starting out be recasting one of the most iconic roles from the TV-series was a good hint that something would be amiss.