Monday, April 19, 2021

Punky Brewster - Pilot

Soleil Moon Frye returns to reprise her childhood role of Punky Brewster. Punky is all grown up, fresh off a divorce to a musician (Freddie Prinze Jr.), with a high school daughter (Lauren Lindsey Donzis) and two adopted sons (Noah Cottrell and Oliver De Los Santos). Her old friend Cherie (Cherie Johnson) works to place foster children in permanent homes which leads to the introduction of the precocious young Izzy (Quinn Copeland) who by the end of the episode becomes the newest member of the Brewster household. The reboot is typical sitcom family humor, relying more than a little on nostalgia, with an emphasis on promoting adoption, foster care, diverse families, and letting kids be themselves. Its heart is certainly in the right place, but this version of Punky Brewster could use a little help to get through its growing pains.

Somewhere Under the Rainbow with Jean Watts

Jean Watts is an American singer, actress, and dancer. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Also check out her official site.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Truth

"Truth" picks up immediately after the previous episode with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) chasing down the new Captain America (Wyatt Russell). For show that has been about moments rather than consistently good storytelling, the episode delivers with a strong action sequence that (along with a scene or two later in the episode) effectively ends John Walker's tenure as Captain America. While some may be wowed by the action scene which opens "Truth," it's the half-hour which follows where the series actually deals various issues it raised in previous episodes (and then promptly ran away to the next action scene). The big turn to end "The Whole World is Watching" no doubt had more people talking about the series, but it's here The Falcon and the Winter Soldier puts in the work on character development and storytelling.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Kung Fu - Silence

"Silence" feels like the show setting up the template for the remainder of its First Season. Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) struggles with trying to fit back in with her family while helping someone in need, with an assist from an old boyfriend (Gavin Stenhouse), and relying heavily on Henry (Eddie Liu) to search for Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman). Nicky also struggles with finding the peace to properly deal with the loss of her life in China and the death of her mentor. The client of the week is a mother and daughter with an abusive boyfriend (Link Baker) who has been stealing from them to fuel his gambling habit. A visit from Nicky, first in their home and then later in an underground casino where she takes back the last of the family's savings, help put the matter to rest (and also make others aware of Nicky's talents). As for Zhilan, she makes an appearance in the epilogue as the race for the other mystical weapons has begun.

Batman Adventures: Riddle Me This

The Batman Adventures: Riddle Me This trade paperback collects five Riddler-themed stories from comics inspired by Batman: The Animated Series (which is a bit funny given the character appeared so few times on the show compared to other top-tier Bat-villains). This of course means plenty of riddles and misdirects (some of which work better than others). The best story turns out to be the last of the collection when a reformed Riddler grows bored and attempts to publicly engage the Batman in "Poker Face" from Batman Adventures #11. The reformed villains shenanigans not only tick off the Dark Knight Detective but also Mayor Penguin who frustratingly can't find anything to charge Nygma with as Riddler isn't breaking any laws.

The Flash - Growing Pains

When a murder points to the work of Frost (Danielle Panabaker), and gets Caitlin arrested (hey, someone finally noticed they look exactly alike!), Team Flash works to try and clear their friend's name. While evidence allows for Kristen Kramer (Carmen Moore) to make some questionable calls, the episode certainly suggests she has a personal stake in bringing Frost to justice (or somethng more permanent?). The reveal of Chillblaine (Jon Cor) being behind the frame is a bit of a letdown, although the earlier sequence between the bartender and Frost provides one of the funnier scenes of the episode. Frost, although cleared of the murder, will still have to answer for her crimes and in doing so perhaps we'll learn about Kramer's interest in the frosty metahuman.

Friday with Kimberley Garner

Kimberley Garner is an English swimwear designer and celebrity. You can follow her on Instagram.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Supergirl - Phantom Menaces

Emotion drives most of the stories of "Phantom Menaces" with Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) trapped in the Phantom Zone leaving her friends to soldier on and deal with her loss. Not suprisingly, Alex (Chyler Leigh) is hit hardest by the team's inability to rescue Kara while J'onn (David Harewood) attempts to bury his emotions and throw himself into his work finding the phantom that escaped as it looks to breed through humanity creating a new army of phantoms. Meanwhile, Lena's (Katie McGrath) and Brainy (Jesse Rath) help each other work through the frustration of Lex Luthor's (Jon Cryer) win and attempts to get back to business in a plot thread that works to build on the redemption arc of both characters and push Lena into a new role on the series other than her brother's keeper. McGrath continues to be the season's stand-out.

Green Lantern #1

A new volume of Green Lantern opens with Oa hosting a gathering of the United Planets Conclave with representatives from all over the universe. With the fate of the Green Lantern Corps and their role in the universe at stake, most Lanterns have been recalled to Oa under the leadership of John Stewart to keep the peace. Of course, something goes wrong.

Home #1

With all the other awful and incompetent aspects of Donald Trump's presidency some may have forgotten the zero tolerance policy towards immigration that separated parents from children under brutal circumstances with lasting effects (hundreds have still yet to be reunited with their families). This provides the backdrop for the first issue of Home in which writer and Julio Anta and artist Anna Wieszczyk take an unflinching look through the eyes of Mercedes Gomez and her son Juan who attempt to enter the United States legally under refuge status only find the harsh reality of the "Icebox" facility far different than the promise of safety.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cleopatra in Space - Wednesday

Based off Mike Maihack's comic series, the first episode of Cleopatra in Space introduces us the Egyptian princess Cleopatra (Lilimar) who gets sucked through a time portal and finds herself 30,000 years in the future. "Wednesday" offers a solid opener with the introduction of Cleopatra as the rambunctious and fearless teen heroine. With half the episode taking place in ancient Egypt, we don't get as big a glimpse at her new surroundings other than meeting two friends in the alien Akila (Katie Crown) and the cyborg Brian (Jorge Diaz) as well as the talking cat Khensu (Sendhil Ramamurthy) who always believed Cleo was destined to arrive from the past and help save the Nile Galaxy from the villain Octavian (Jonathan Kite) whose evil robots Cleo encounters for the first time. The exploration of our hero's surroundings, P.Y.R.A.M.I.D. (where Cleopatra will learn how to save the galaxy), and more about Octavian will have to wait for future episodes.

Scarlet Witch Cosplay by Karrigan Taylor

Batman's Most Ridiculous Villains

Monday, April 12, 2021

MacGyver - Barn Find + Engine Oil + La Punzonatura + Lab Rats + Tachometer

"Barn Find + Engine Oil + La Punzonatura + Lab Rats + Tachometer" works on MacGyver (Lucas Till) and Desi's (Levy Tran) relationship when the nanobots within his bloodstream take away the use of his hands while the pair are working to get their hands on a vintage automobile that might lead to the capture of a criminal in hiding for decades. Having Desi work as Mac's hands over the course of the episode helps relieve the building tension between the pair and find some common ground. The sudden issues Mac experiences help explain why the show didn't move on from the nanobots. Although does this mean Phoenix thought there would be issues that could affect both Mac and Riley (Tristin Mays)?

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - The Whole World is Watching

Well, that escalated quickly. One of the oddities about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, given it's shortened six-episode run, is the series is somehow both slow to advance plot while also skipping over and rushing to big moments at the same time. "The Whole World is Watching" certainly gives us the big moment, it also takes the new new Captain America (Wyatt Russell) from frustrated hero with an inferiority complex to psychopath in the space of a single episode (and that's before he chooses to juice himself with the super-solider serum which only enhances his flaws). The result is a memorable final scene that sets stage with brutal murder, a bloody shield, and several questions about where the show goes from here. While a step-up from the previous episode, the structure of the peaks and lulls continues to provide some great moments but also some hit-and-miss plot to move characters from one of these events to the next.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Caturday with WanderlustLuca

WanderlustLuca is a cosplayer from the Netherlands. You can follow her on Instagram, Twitter, Twitch, Twitter, and TikTok. You can also support her on Fansly and OnlyFans.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer's Road #5

Reprinting the story from Usagi Yojimbo #11, "The Tea Cup" offers a team-up of Miyamoto Usagi and Murakami Gennosuke who the rabbit ronin runs into on the road. Gen has accepted a job to deliver a valuable tea cup, but there are those who don't wish him make that delivery. With nothing else to do, Usagi decides to accompany his friend as the two fight and bicker along the way.

Kung Fu - Pilot

After three years in an all-female Shaolin monastery Nicky Shen (Olivia Liang) returns home following the ransacking of the temple, death of her mentor (Vanessa Kai), and the theft of a (magic?) sword by one of the monastery's former students (Yvonne Chapman). Following the narration-heavy opening in China, the story shifts to San Francisco and Nicky's attempts to reconnect with her demanding family and the boyfriend (Gavin Stenhouse) she left behind. While still looking for answers concerning the sword and mystery woman, an attack on her father (Tzi Ma) leads Nicky to put her training to use against the Triad who are terrorizing the community and threatening both the family's restaurant and her father's life.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Black Cat #4

With the "King in Black" crossover complete, before moving Black Cat on to her next heist, Black Cat stops to examine the perspective of Queen Cat who has been watching and tracking Felicia for several months. I'm not wild about the art here with Nina Vakueva taking over duties with this issue. While Queen Cat works well enough, a character we don't know as well, Felicia never comes out quite right.

The Flash - The One with the Nineties

The Flash offers up a time travel / time loop storyline when Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Chester (Brandon McKnight) get trapped in 1998 after laying sensors to track movements of other Force manifestations like the Speed Force who has shown up in the form of Nora Allen (Michelle Harrison). "The One with the Nineties" features the most obvious 90s jokes such as a Blockbuster, fax machines, and the outlandish clothing of the decade. The reset also brings Chester into contact with his father (Milton Barnes) giving him insight into the man he never had while growing up prior to the pair running into the Force behind events (Christian Magby) whose anger eventually effects the rest of the team as well.

Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land #2

The second issue of Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land provides more information about Scarlett Santiago who had become a cult figure and something of a vigilante prior to disappearing over the ocean. Crashing on the hidden island, the Sky Devil was taken in by the island's ape men known as the Ohnar who not only saved the young woman's life but also transferred into her the power of their god-spirit Un-Gaah (allowing her to transform into a giant ape herself which turns out to be a useful skill when saving Hellboy from a T-Rex).

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Tuesday with Kaia Gerber

Kaia Gerber is an American model and actress. She is the daughter of model Cindy Crawford and businessman Rande Gerber. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

MacGyver - Royalty + Marriage + Vivaah Sanskar + Zinc + Henna

MacGyver (Lucas Till), Desi (Levy Tran), and Russ (Henry Ian Cusick) go in undercover to protect those who want to prevent a a royal Indian wedding from taking place. The setting offers a chance to explain Desi's reluctance to consider marriage (i.e. a never-before-mentioned dead fiancé whose body was never recovered) while also laying the rather obvious foundation of what will likely happen to derail their relationship (i.e. the inevitable return of the not-so-dead fiancé). The episode is more memorable for the setting than the mystery as the most obvious character is eventually unmasked as the one attempting to prevent the princess (Aneesha Joshi) from going through with the wedding.

WWE Elimination Chamber 2021

Released on DVD, WWE Elimination Chamber 2021 includes all seven of the matches from this year's Elimination Chamber PPV (although it's stretching things to refer to two of them as matches) plus the Fatal 4-Way Match which was part of the kick-off show is included as an extra. Most of the matches are short (under 10 minutes each) and the PPV featured no woman's Elimination Chamber Match for the first time since 2017.

The two Elimination Chamber Matches featured Daniel Bryan defeating Cesaro, Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Sami Zayn to earn a Universal Championship opportunity (and promptly get squashed by Roman Reigns) and Drew McIntyre successfully defended his title by defeating AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, and Sheamus to retain his World Heavyweight Championship before being attacked by Bobby Lashley (who had lost the WWE United States Championship earlier in the evening) and then losing his title when the Miz cashed-in his Money in the Bank contract.

Monday, April 5, 2021

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Power Broker

The third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes a bizarre turn as Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) work with an escaped Zemo (Daniel Brühl) whose knowledge of Hydra's former super-solider program they hope may give them their first break in finding the Flag Smashers. Visiting Zemo in person and helping him on the outside are two very different things, Bucky even apparently helps trigger his escape, and working with Zemo certainly stretches the credibility of our heroes (even with Sam's weak initial objections). The episode also weaves in grittier version of Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) who Marvel is apparently going to keep sticking into projects until the character works.

Legacies - Yup, It's a Leprechaun, All Right / Long Time, No See

The two latest episodes of Legacies play on the season's two big themes to this point: attempting to save the Salvatore Boarding School from closing down and the loss of Landon (Aria Shahghasemi). The introduction of the Leprechaun in "Yup, It's a Leprechaun, All Right" offers some zany fun as Lizzie (Jenny Boyd) decides to use the creature's ability to attract wealth (along with greed and madness) to try and make the money necessary to save the school in a day of fundraising that, of course, gets out of hand. The arrival of a Malivore monster also has an affect on Hope (Danielle Rose Russell) who realizes she may have a way to reach Landon after all. Hope's recklessness, and the reveal of MG's (Quincy Fouse) betrayal (which I'm still struggling to understand?) make up most of "Long Time, No See" as Hope risks everything, even her friends, in another dangerous search for Landon.

Supergirl - Rebirth

Supergirl's final season begins with a mess of a first episode that attempts to wrap up several threads from the COVID-shortened Fifth Season all in one episode prior to moving on to new stories. Before the opening credits even roll, Brainy (Jesse Rath) is saved and Leviathan is defeated leaving the rest of the episode to deal with Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) who apparently has become a god, has half the world's population under his sway, and is working to kill off everyone else. Cryer is fun here yet again in what will apparently not be his final appearance which offers him more than one victory over Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). As has been the show's problem recently, too much of the episode is centered around making sure every single member of the ever-growing supporting cast gets their moment. Given Supergirl's current predicament, I'm bit concerned with the short-term direction of the show and if the rest of the cast can keep things afloat prior to the Maid of Might's inevitable return from the Phantom Zone.