Showing posts with label television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television. Show all posts

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Anyone else watching "The Flash" on CW?

After 10 years of Smallville and trying Arrow once or twice (I think because they were introducing Crazy Quilt or something.  I forget.), I was pretty skeptical about the CW's spin-off Arrow series, The Flash.

But, look.  I read some of the Wally West Flash comics a bit when I was a kid, and I like The Flash as a concept.  Truthfully, I am totally okay with any DC character who has had the name, from Jay to Bart.  Because of my comics habits of the time when it was going, I missed Waid's run (which is not collected in hardbacks, which kills me a little), but I got back into Flash during Geoff Johns' run and never really looked back.

Since then I've read all of the Flash stuff collected in Showcase Presents (I think.  I need to double-check), and these days, I'm a pretty solid fan of Barry Allen, especially those first few years when it really did feel like a different kind of book.  Look, no kidding.  Barry was so... nice, I guess, that the character gets a bad rap as being "boring", but I really don't find a whole lot of boring in those early Silver Age books.  Mostly, they were a sort of conceptual exercise to begin with as The Flash was largely about villains and the really pretty awesome things the writers came up with to do with superspeed.  And then...  They did something a little different in that Barry kind of knew his villains.  Maybe not best pals, but they were his, and he actually worked to rehabilitate a few of them (yes, Batman, I'm looking at you...).

I wasn't against Barry coming back to the DCU a few years ago, but I will admit to not keeping up with The Flash in the new 52.

Oh, and I actually watched The Flash (starring the terrific John Wesley Shipp) during it's run back when I was in high school.  The Flash and Amanda Pays on a single show?  Twist my arm.



What I considered, before setting the DVR, was: if Johns was working on the show - and he knows his Flash - how bad could it be?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

iZombie to TV this March

Coming in March, the Chris Roberson/ Mike Allred comic "iZombie" is coming to the CW as a weekly TV show!



If the CW's success with The Flash and Arrow is any indication, this should be pretty good! I notice some significant changes to the comic's set-up, but the tone and basic idea are intact, at least in the trailer. And certainly Gwen's look is spot-on.  Although it does seem her name has been changed for the show.  Which...  huh.

Well, The Flash has changed a lot from any version of the comics, but it's still The Flash in spirit, so, you know...  I don't really get that bent out of shape about changes from comics to TV or movies the way I once might have, unless it seems like the moving picture version just sort of missed the point of the comic.  (cough... Man of Steel)


Here's to hoping the great world Roberson and Allred built makes it's way to the show.

Friday, January 9, 2015

What Else Have I Been Up To? TV, Part II

We started talking TV over here at Part I.

This here is Part II.

I also forgot to mention:

Fargo on FX, which I tuned in to out of morbid curiosity.  It seemed pretty ballsy to make a show that would have been compared to the astoundingly good feature film namesake, but I wound up feeling the show knocked it out of the park (even if the finale had some unsatisfactory moments).

And it gave us Allison Tolman, for which we should all be grateful.

Pretty sure she left her keys around here somewhere

Thursday, January 8, 2015

So, What Have I Been Up To? Television

Since I started blogging in 2003, the TV landscape has changed on an almost yearly basis, whether you want to talk the variety of content or types of access one can have to serialized storytelling in a motion picture form.  Because, in a lot of ways, the definition of what we called "television", back when it was 3-6 channels coming over an aerial antenna that required you be there when the station antenna sent out the signal - is deader than Herbert Hoover.

Still makes more sense than watching TV on your damn iPhone

My cable spectrum is technically infinite, on-demand has become a possibility through a huge number of channels (through my cable or via various internet services), the TV "season" still exists at the networks, but only kinda...  the start of Fall is no longer when new shows air.  Now that's literally every week of the year.  And Netflix proved you could dump whole seasons on people at once and let the audience and God sort it out.  You can now jump into a show in season 3, and just find the prior seasons on Hulu or Netflix... 

The one, great trick I have decided upon is to wait and see if my trusted pals will watch a whole series and tell me if they felt the ending was satisfactory.  Series now have endings and finales.  They no longer limp along, becoming a pale version of their former selves, getting by on the faithful habits of watchers who are just seeking familiarity.  Look, I got burned by both X-Files and Lost, and I'm not doing it again.  

Fortunately for all of us, a year and half isn't all that long in TV terms, so it's not like my TV habits have changed greatly since I went to go get milk and cigarettes in 2013 and never came back.  

I am still watching:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In Her Satin Tights, Fighting For Your Rights - "Wonder Woman '77" coming to comics

Over here at The Signal Watch, we don't "binge-watch" much TV.  When I hear someone watched an entire season of a TV show over a weekend, I think maybe that person has a butler who runs their errands, walks their dogs and amuses their friends and family in the hours when they aren't at work.  For me, "binge-watching" is watching an episode or two of a show a night, maybe 3-4 days a week.  I've done it with maybe 4-5 TV series, and haven't even finished most of those (sorry, Breaking Bad).

pew!  pew! pew! ping! ping! ping!


At the end of the summer and through the fall, we watched all 3 seasons of Wonder Woman.   We did so out of order and it took a while to do it, but we did finish.  And now?  I kind of miss it.  But I know it would be weird to watch the whole show over again so immediately.*

Monday, January 5, 2015

So, What Have I Been Up To? Me and Comics Since June 2013

I really don't know how to write this post, because, if you've been following me for any length of time - and, in particular, if you've been here because of comics, this is where I disappoint you.

I am no longer a "read 20 comics per week" kind of guy.  I'm more of a "I'll knock through a trade once a week or so" kind of guy.  My comics reading and collecting was changing before this site was frozen in carbonite, and it's continued to mutate.

y'all buckle in, because it's about to get pedantic and ornery up in here

I kind of quit trying to keep up with Marvel as a universe around Secret Invasion, which was several years ago now.  I've tried to keep up here and there with Captain America and a few other titles, but Marvel's insistence on the cross-over stunt has made that exceptionally difficult.  Pair that with the fact I read Marvel in trade collections rather than floppies or digital comics, and their "all new #1's all the time" marketing strategy, and I literally gave up trying to understand what was happening at Marvel as a Universe.  But I will be picking up some of the Star Wars books for a few months and see how I like a Marvelized Star Wars U.

DC and the New 52 kind of sent me screaming.   The quality of DC hasn't really improved much over the past two years, and it was in the basement with the launch of the New 52.  I recently read that by Spring, DC will have canceled 60 titles since the launch of the New 52, which is an indication that I'm not crazy to think they have some problems and maybe they aren't serving their audience very well.

In the past year, it's safe to say my habit of reading comics has greatly reduced.  At least the reading of new comics.  When I do buy floppies, I collect them for a couple months and read a few at a time, unless it's something that's self-contained.  And I'll talk about what I'm buying as floppies, which isn't much.

The other day I mentioned that I've recently also sold off a huge portion of my collection.  Well over half my stuff has been dispensed with since August, something like 15-20 boxes (short and long), something like 4-5000 comics.  I've also sold a huge number of my action figures, graphic novels and other items.

And - you know - I don't miss them.  I have more than a room full of great stuff that I like and feel like showing off from time to time, and it's a lot more focused than it once was.

So What Happened?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Film Noir on Fridays in June on TCM

Noir maestro Eddie Muller is guest hosting every Friday in June on Turner Classic Movies.  The line-up is pretty nuts, and I highly recommend looking at the list and setting your DVR.

Here's a website up at TCM.

Check out the schedule starting this evening!

Tonight:
The Maltese Falcon
City Streets
After the Thin Man
The Glass Key (a must see)
Satan Met a Lady

well, we've all wanted to punch Peter Lorre at some point



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Superman: The Happiest Fella?

Just up here in space, smiling at nobody

There have been a lot of posts (hi, Max!) and articles by longtime Superman fans regarding the to-date seemingly somber tone of the new Superman film, Man of Steel.

Folks are worried about a "grim'n'gritty" Superman versus the cheerful fellow who takes delight in his powers that you've seen since Superman's first appearance in Action Comics #1.  That imagery has been a part of the "discovery" part of the story for Superman in one form or another in all sorts of representations, from Superboy comics, to the animated series, to Superman Returns and Superman: The Movie where we see a young Clark Kent running faster than a freight train and beating Brad and the gang back past the Kent homestead.  And, of course, the absolutely terrific "reveal" sequence when Superman saves Lois and then runs around Metropolis saving the day.

Probably the most joyful you're likely to see Superman is in Superman: The Movie after The Man of Steel first appears and then flies around Metropolis performing super good deeds.

In fact, I've gone on record as saying that the key to my understanding of Superman in many ways is the moment wherein he saves Lois, reminds her of the relative safety of air travel, and then turns around and lets loose with this huge grin before flying away:

"Man, I wish she'd fall out of a helicopter EVERY day!"

Monday, May 27, 2013

Supermarathon! 50th Anniversary TV Special

A bonus feature in some of the various Superman DVD and BluRay box sets, the Superman 50th Anniversary Special is kind of must-see Superman TV from an era when adults were all kind of patronizing jerks about Superman.  Except for Hal Holbrook.

I recall Superman's 50th Anniversary mostly thanks to the terrific Time Magazine cover on a week during which nothing else must have been happening in the world.


What's most amazing about the special is the amazing array of talent that was known at the time, and the talent that shows up in supporting roles.

The show is presented as a sort of retrospective on the career of Superman as if he were real and Dana Carvey is your celebrity host for the walkthrough of Superman's life.  There are man-on-the-street interviews cut in, which seem as if they really asked people questions about Superman and used what they said.  It's pretty good stuff.  Others are clearly actors, and there are some sort of mini-skits thrown in for good measure, along with footage from cartoons, serials, The Adventures of Superman and the Superman movies.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Supermarathon: Some 60's Cartoons and "Panic in the Sky"

Back in the 1960's, Filmation had just been formed, and they had a contract to develop some cartoons based upon DC Comics characters.

The New Adventures of Superman rolled out as one of these cartoons, short cartoons long enough to get packaged with other DC characters, so you got a full cartoon between each commercial.  The animation is of the "limited" animation variety.  Lots of Superman's mouth moving and nothing else.  A static Superman in flying position as the background scrolls by behind him.  Lots of stuff re-used.  All to contain cost to deliver just a whole ton of these things at a reasonable cost.

By modern TV cartoon standards, the animations doesn't look so hot, the voice acting is stiff and awkwardly paced (Filmation would go on to do He-Man in the 1980's, a show which - even then - I thought had some very strange voices), and the stories are nigh non-existent.  Still, it's pretty clear these cartoons were aimed at little kids, and as straightforward Superman adventures, they do the trick.  And, as its more likely kids will come to Superman via cartoons than comics, it's not a bad first exposure.  If the kids can make heads or tails of 1960's technology and fashion.*

And, I like the theme song. It's jazzy!

Here's the pilot cartoon in its entirety.



I also watched a few episodes of Season 2 of The Adventures of Superman (live action, black & white, Noel Neill as Lois), including the famous episode Panic in the Sky.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Some weekend catch-up - movies, TV and comics

If you follow me on social media that is not this blog, you might have heard I had a touch of the food poisoning over the weekend.  A bad salad or pizza, I think.  Worst greek salad I've ever eaten, but it seemed fresh, so what do I know?

Well, I know what it feels like to get kicked in the stomach from my karate days, and this felt sort of like that, going on and on for quite a while.  So, I want to thank Jamie for the 2:30 AM run to Walgreen's to grab me some OTC meds and being a great help to me over the course of the weekend.  For a dialysis patient, it seems like the last year she's been taking care of me more than me of her.

I was sidelined from a planned viewing of Star Trek: Into Darkness, but I did catch a few movies over the weekend on cable and DVD.

Manhattan Melodrama with Myrna Loy, Clark Gable and William Powell was actually very, very good.  Thanks to Paul, who handed me that DVD on Friday.  Some 30's-era moral-minded civics lessons wrapped up with gangsterism and Myrna Loy in some great hats and dresses.  The title is dated, so don't expect organ music and fainting.  It's a bit more of a personal drama sort of movie.

The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis was probably released at the wrong time, when we were in the middle of election season and everyone was so deadly serious about politics.  It's a lightweight movie in the Semi-Pro or Step Brothers model.  But it's pretty funny stuff, if pretty blue.  Speaking of, though it's two GOP candidates, I think you could have done this with any two candidates, aside from a few points.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Supermarathon! Adventures of Superman: Superman on Earth! and The Haunted Lighthouse!

Few shows change tonally over a few seasons so much as The Adventures of Superman.  And I kind of love all the takes.  Really, I can't think of anything I don't like about The Adventures of Superman.  

in the old days, Superman didn't need a scaly outfit and proudly wore his pants really high

Thursday, May 2, 2013

We Salute Mythbusters as they enter their 10th Season

I often forget to mention that I watch Mythbusters nigh religiously.

Yes, they blow things up real good in most episodes.  Yes, I am curious about what happens when you throw a car in a swimming pool, or jump at the last second in a falling elevator, or try to maximize gas mileage or park a car behind the exhaust of a 747, drop a car from a helicopter or blow up a cement truck, just 'cause...  The show raises questions I didn't know I had, then answers them pretty thoroughly.  Even if, in an early episode, they got that whole thing about sodas exploding in one's car wrong.*

Adam has aged, but Jamie is eternal
No doubt the mix of personalities keeps the show working, and the dichotomy of Jamie and Adam's approaches always an object lesson in how even two people who know each other well can have completely different ways of solving a problem.  And, of course, we all love the build team and you should really follow them on Twitter.  They're pretty amusing.

It may not be perfect science, but the progam aims to demystify science and engineering, and therefore, perhaps, demystifies the world through some of the steps of the experimentation (and less often, the scientific) method.  Evidence is reviewed.  Hypotheses and ideas are considered and explained (including why some options are cast aside), and small scale testing of components is shown.  As the full experiment is built to, math is shown, explanations of physics are all brought down to a consumer level.  And if the myth doesn't go off as planned, in recent years, Mythbusters has gone on to find what they think would be required to replicate the scenario described in the myth.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Supermarathon: Superman - The Animated Series! ("Last Son of Krypton" and "Blasts from the Past")

I started developing an interest for Superman in high school, and just after I'd picked up a couple of issues, DC launched the whole "Death of Superman" business, which I knew was a gimmick, of course, and so I didn't bother with it.   And this sounds perhaps a bit trite, but when Superman "returned" with a mullet and entered into what I consider to be one of the weakest eras of Superman writing and development, there wasn't much to grasp onto.*

In 1996, Warner Bros. responded to Fox Kids Network's complaints that Batman was too "dark" by trying their hand at a Superman series.  Superman was a lot spunkier, in theory.  Of course, it's a story that depends on killing an entire planet of people just to get started, but let's not split hairs.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Supermarathon! Pilot: Lois & Clark

I wasn't watching much TV when Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman debuted.  I was a freshman at UT and the only TV I really watched was:

  • Animaniacs
  • Batman
  • 90210 (it's a long story)
  • Melrose Place (an addendum to the long story)
  • X-Files
  • Brisco County Jr.

Of course, the only channels we had good reception for in the dorm were Fox and PBS.

As I recall, the show aired on Sundays, which was homework night.

the show more or less promised Lois and Clark would eventually "do it" from the first promo pic

I did watch the pilot with some buddies, no doubt our iffy reception riddled with static.  And it aired at the same time as the pilot of SeaQuest DSV, and we couldn't figure out which to watch.  In the end we decided to try to pass our courses (barely) and didn't watch either on an ongoing basis, really.

Stars Dean Cain (Superman/ Clark) and Teri Hatcher (Lois Lane) became household names immediately.  A nation embraced the phrase "Great Shades of Elvis!" from our erstwhile Perry White.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Planning The Super-Marathon - a list of things we'll be watching!

Leading up to the release of Warner Bros. Man of Steel, expect this blog to become all the more Super-Centric.

If I could watch all of the Harry Potter movies again before catching the final installment, and watch all the Avengers movies leading up to Whedon's Avengers, I think I owe it to myself, to you, and to the world to watch just a whole ton of Superman media leading up to the film's release.

I am going to go chronological, and if you want to play along at home, I'll try to keep you up to speed with what I'm watching.

Also, I am not averse to having screenings where folks can come over and join me if they're in the Austin area, but time is of the essence.  We can't really dilly-dally while you try to find a date that works for you.  We've got, like, 100 hours of media to watch before the movie kicks off.*

The Fleischer cartoons



I figure three or four ought to do it.  These cartoons are groundbreaking for the era and hold up remarkably well today.  Superman still can't fly in most of them, but he's a heck of a lot of fun as the squinty-eyed, devil-may-care action ace who is always two steps behind Lois's nose for news.

Superman (aka: The Mad Scientist)
The Mechanical Monsters
Terror on the Midway 
The Underground World

We'll see, I'll probably watch all of them peppered in with other items.

The Serials

Live action (except for flying scenes), these serials are good, clean fun with a very young Noel Neill and the affable Kirk Alyn playing a less lantern-jawed Superman.



At minimum, it seems necessary to catch the first two episodes
Superman Comes to Earth (in which his parents are Eben and Sarah, I believe)
Depths of the Earth

Monday, April 8, 2013

Annette Funicello Merges with The Infinite



It seems that original Mouseketeer, beach movie fixture and boomer icon, Annette Funicello, has passed.

 I knew Annette from her 80's-era TV appearances and also as the girl that, apparently, men of my Dad's generation all grew up having a crush on.  Annette Funicello was going through a sort of nostalgia-tour renaissance when I was a kid, in peanut butter commercials, guest appearances, etc.. at a time when we also happened to have the Disney Channel, which would rerun the old Mickey Mouse Club episodes (but not in order, because that would be nuts).  And I was just the kind of kid who was cool enough to think a good afternoon included Mr. Ed and Mickey Mouse Club re-runs.