Showing posts with label superman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label superman. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Return to Smallville - Season 5 - In Which I've Just Had It



Arrival - Brainiac's ship arrives, along with a few Zod-folk.  Clark loses his powers, hooks up with Lana
Mortal - Some guys escape from Belle Reve and decide to make their name by taking out Clark Kent, who is an urban legend at Belle Reve.  
Hidden - a former classmate of Chloe and Clark takes over a nuclear missile silo? and decides to dust Smallville to get rid of meteor freaks.
Aqua - we watched the first six minutes or so of this one before I remembered this episode is very bad and everything you need to see (YMMV) is in the pre-credits sequence
Thirst - vampires at Metropolis U
Exposed - Lois is a stripper
Reckoning - I'd never seen this one.  It's where Clark tells Lana, things go well until they go very, very bad.  It was actually like an episode of grown-up TV.
Vessel - Cliffhanger Season Finale where Lex becomes Zod and Clark gets tossed into the Phantom Zone.


So I really was thinking about a few overarching things in these episodes.  

"Smallville's" Clark Kent Bares No Resemblance to Superman In Other Media

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Return to Smallville - Season 4

Move, Clark.  You're in the way.


Well.  We finally got to Lois.  

We also finally got to the season where Smallville went from teen-romance to "they're 18 now, so it shall be SEXY".  

It's also the season where I didn't watch everything.  

Season 4 episodes we watched:  
  • Crusade - the one where Lois arrives and Clark returns from null-space with his memories wiped clean and he flies on camera to get a plot device MacGuffin stone that will do whatever it's gonna do when he collects all three.
  • Transference - the one where Lionel Luthor Freaky Fridays with Clark
  • Spell - the one where 17th Century witches Freaky Friday with Chloe, Lana and Lois
  • Spirit - the one where a Mean Girl ghost possesses/ Freaky Fridays the cast, Martha is hilarious, Chloe wins prom queen, and Lois looks smashing in a pink gown she has for some reason
  • Blank - the one where Clark loses all his memories and Chloe has to lead him around for the day
  • Commencement - the one where Clark and Chloe graduate, Jor-El is a parent who just doesn't understand, Lex is betrayed by everyone in his life, and then a meteor shower falls on Smallville.  Again.

Look, doing "they aren't themselves" is cheaper than actual make-up or special FX, and it also gives the actors something else to do, which seems fun for them.  See Annette O'Toole's version of a Mean Girl in Spirit.  Fantastic stuff.  But if what you wanted was Welling somehow more wooden, boy, have I got some episodes lined up for YOU.

But like "mind control" in prior seasons, amnesia and possession get old fast as plots when you watch them back-to-back.  It's mostly just waiting for the characters to resume their normal lives and *never mention it again*.  

By the way, I was absolutely wrong that heat vision would not come back tied to boners.  It came up twice in just the few episodes we watched.  I mean, fine.  I'm not above a good boner joke.

Mercifully, by skipping so many episodes, we missed a lot of Clark/ Lana drama.  16 years ago when these episodes aired, I was exhausted/ bored by the show leaning so hard into their drama, and stunned then and now at the writers room's utter inability to give us a reason to root for them or care while utterly centering on those characters.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Happy Belated Birthday to Erica Durance, "Smallville"'s Lois Lane


Yesterday, June 21, marked the birthday of Erica Durance, Canadian actor, who played Lois Lane for seven seasons on TV's Smallville.  From her first appearance, she had the part down pat, and while I was an inconsistent viewer over the years, Durance remained a highlight and did a lot to elevate the show during some turbulent seasons.

She has several other TV series and a variety of movies under her belt, but has returned to the Super-media world as Alura, mother of Kara Zor-El on TV's Supergirl (yeah, I know, she's like maybe 9 years older than Melissa Benoist, but live-action depictions of Superman media often insist Kryptonian women age well).  

I am already planning an Erica Durance watch-party this Christmas, so get prepared to get merry.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Return to Smallville: Seasons 2 and 3

These people all hate each other but will only talk to each other



It's kinda kooky keeping on with our Smallville rewatch.  We're now past the few episodes we watched for Season 1, and moved from Season 2 (episodes:  Heat, Lineage, Rush, Rosetta) and all the way through Season 3 (episodes to date: Shattered, Delete, Truth, Covenant).  I'm not picking episodes, I'm just bearing witness.

It's amazing what a weird, weird show Smallville became in the course of three seasons.  

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Tim Sale Merges With The Infinite




Comics artist and illustrator Tim Sale has passed.  




Sale's work was singular, unmistakable, and reminded an industry what could be done with a certain minimalism if you knew how to capture the essence of character in gesture, expression and motion in a line.  He volleyed between Marvel and DC for a good bit, but I believe I remember learning of his work through Haunted Knight and then the superlative Long Halloween.  

His work at Marvel provided a depth to characters with whom we're all familiar on multiple series, such as Daredevil: Yellow and Spider-Man: Blue.  

As a Superman reader, it's hard not to point to the defining work of A Superman For All Seasons, a new chapter to the life of a young Man of Steel finding his place in the world.  It's a beautiful comic with a deeply sympathetic take on Superman that you simply wanted to comfort as he sought his place in the world.











Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Return to "Smallville"



It's a fascinating thing to return to a show 20 years later.  For the kids, Smallville debuted when I was about 26 and would have watched pretty much anything that was comic-book related, but was aggressively obsessed with all things Superman - an obsession which started roughly five or six years prior and continues to this day in a toned-down sort of way.  It will sound weird to new comics readers now, but arriving at Superman around the age of 20 or 21 was late for a comics nerd as I'd been reading comics for a decade with no particular interest in The Man of Steel.  But, a confluence of comics that spoke to me where I lived featuring Superman* began trickling out in the mid to late 90's, and that, paired with the WB's Superman: The Animated Series, turned the tide.

At the time of show's debut, I wasn't much of a TV watcher - as in, I didn't make time for television, but I did watch a lot of films.  That said - I'd followed X-Files til right about at this point (when I gave up on the program), but had not been a person to obsess over a particular show, otherwise.  Well, maybe Seinfeld, Simpsons and some Babylon 5.  And lest we forget, Chef!.  No Buffy, Angel or whatever else for me.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Things I have Been Watching That Are Not Movies

Jessie Spano looks on



We don't just watch movies at Signal Watch HQ.  If I'm being candid, re-employment and other things have reduced my time for movie watching.  But I'm also watching a movie or two per week for the PodCast, plus editing and posting, all of which takes time.  And I do write up stuff when I watch a movie.

This post is not your opportunity to recommend shows to me (please don't), and I am not telling you anything is essential and must be watched.  Sometimes we just say "hey, this is what we watched" when it comes to TV.

So what have we been up to on the TV side of the spectrum?

Sports

Chicago Cubs Baseball 

This is a mistake in 2022.  Since the Ricketts got their World Series win in 2016, burning through all the Cubs karma and possibly all of that for the Planet Earth to secure a win, the team has disintegrated in spectacular fashion.  They're usually 4th in the NL Central.  Which is like not being the absolute worst team in the worst division in baseball.  

Cubs gonna cub.

Austin FC Futbol

I was a massive skeptic of Austin's foray into Major League Soccer, but we got a team that started in 2021, and I've watched about 80% of their matches on TV or online.  I have not yet been to the stadium.  I now follow the team and try to make sense of a sport that I've struggled to grok in its complexity for my entire adult life.

It's still fun!  I'm kinda into it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

New League of Super-Pets trailer



Still pretty happy with everything I've seen so far in the trailers and ads for this.  

Hey, we're getting a full DC Super-Pets movie!  That's excellent!


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Happy Birthday, Sarah Douglas!

 


Happy birthday to Sarah Douglas!  Among other things, this site is a Superman fan site - and what would Superman: The Movie and certainly Superman II be without the casually-delighted menace of Sarah Douglas's Ursa?  I won't get into her full filmography, because that is what we call "a storied career" and you can IMDB her on your own.  You will begin realizing "man, I really have seen and heard her voice work in a shocking amount of stuff".  

Ms. Douglas is also on twitter, and seems as cool as you would hope!  

Here's to Ms. Douglas, and let's hope she's celebrating with pals.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Hallmark Christmas Watch: Christmas Together With You (2021)




Watched:  11/24/2021
Format:  Hallmark Channel!
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Kevin Fair

This year vis-a-vis Hallmark movies has been an emotional rollercoaster.  We had to switch cable services and wound up on YouTubeTV (recommended), but it had no Hallmark Channel.  I was a little sad, but I don't *need* to see my Hallmark Christmas stories, so I figured: time to move on.  But then, I was informed a week or so ago that, NO, YouTubeTV now carried all three Hallmark networks.  Feliz navidad, indeed!

But, Jamie now has a pretty hard rule about not putting on Hallmark movies til Thanksgiving night, so I honestly hadn't been watching.  But this last week, the network debuted a new movie, Christmas Together With You (2021) - and the stars caught my eye.  Harry Lennix portrayed General Swann in Man of Steel, and Laura Vandervoort played Supergirl (sort of) on Smallville off and on for half the show's run.  Thus, it got recorded.  

And, then, I needed to watch something that needed minimal attention while I worked out.  So here we are.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Supergirl on the CW Ends




I started watching Supergirl from the pilot when the show had big ambitions and was going to air on CBS.  The pilot of the show is... not great.  You could feel the hands of CBS, home to a wide array of boring shows I don't watch, all over the show and kind of wringing themselves with all this superhero weirdness.  But they did bring in a decent cast, and seemed to have some ideas for modernizing the Maid of Might from her incredibly goofy origins in Action Comics 252.  

I won't get into it here, but Supergirl as a property allows for some flexibility as the character's titles never last, no one working on the latest iterations seems aware of prior incarnations, and once on the title, never seems to know what to do with the character for more than 3-6 issues.  I have probably hundreds of Supergirl comics, and there's been exactly two modern runs that I would recommend.

The show started off on CBS, which was always an awkward fit and probably one of the things that drove DC and WB to realize that working with network suits was more trouble than it's worth.  For the first half of the first season, the show felt deeply uncomfortable with itself, bucking against old network tropes and trying to make the domestic life of Kara Zor-El as basic as possible.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Superman Stuff: Let's Talk That Jonathan Kent News




If you came here because you're under the impression that the character known as Superman - who goes by Clark Kent in his everyday life as a mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper - is now categorized as bisexual:  he's not.  Hang in here with me.  

Let's start by clarifying - at this time, Clark Kent, Kal-El of Krypton, is still into women as far as the comics have indicated.*  The "Superman" in question is - in current Superman comics - the young-adult son of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, one Jonathan "Jon" Kent.  In the comics, as Clark Kent has had to take care of some business elsewhere, Jon Kent has been promoted from Superboy to Superman.  

It happens. I don't make the rules, I just report them.  But, yes, there are now two Supermans.  Mens.  Whatever.  It's less and more complicated than who is and is not a Green Lantern.

I don't think it's any surprise to folks that know me or follow this site where I stand on certain topics.  

In coming issues of Superman: Son of Kal-El, a maxi series based on current events in Superman comics, it seems our guy Jon is finding love with a male reporter.  Jon Kent's sexuality is not an issue for me as a reader.  He's a character reflecting both science-fantasy ideals but also a character who will be defined by many characteristics as a person which will appear in his serialized adventures hopefully for many years to come.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

TL;DR: The New 52 - 10 Years later - from a guy who just buys comics




Polygon recently ran an oral history of the New 52 effort from DC Comics.  It features then DC Co-Publisher, Dan Didio, as well as a number of writers from the era.  It's a fascinating article for a lot of reasons, in part because of what those interviewed considered success and good ideas, and it seems that at least one person seems to have some difficulty separating fact from fiction on a few points.

A lot of talent - writers, artists and editors - seem to have turned down Polygon's request for an interview, some even citing that working on the New 52/ Nu52 was so unpleasant, they'd rather not talk about it.  So the number of voices that you'll see represented are minimal and probably well insulated from being seen as "difficult" or "willing to talk" by the current folks in charge.  After all, it's a tiny industry, and speaking out of turn even about deposed rulers can still label you as a problem.

In my opinion, reading the article, it's shocking how little self-reflection has occurred and how little awareness at least Dan Didio has about how it all ended - eg: being shown the door in early 2020 - just as he was gearing up to do a redux of New 52 and literally needed to be stopped.

Well, here's my history of DC's  New 52 publishing adventure as I remember it.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Superman & Lois Season 1 - That Went Okay




Well, that went better than expected.  

If you watched, I invite you to jump into the comments.

It's hard to wrap up talking about an entire season of a television show, but I can say without reservation that it was considerably better than I figured we'd get.  I've done some due diligence - I watched *most* of Smallville, all of Supergirl to date, several seasons of The Flash, about 2.5 seasons of Legends of Tomorrow, and plenty of crossovers between the shows.   The CW DC shows are great to watch on the elliptical when there's a shortage of O2 headed to your skull, but none of it's working on the level of Watchmen or name-your-prestige-show.  

At this point, I've seen some remarkable comics adaptations on TV as well as the movies.  I'm still reeling from what Marvel has delivered on Disney+.

I didn't mind that DC and CW were afraid to take on a Superman show.  After all, Superman should be a movie-level property, even if Superman has traditionally employed serial and multi-episodic formats in radio, cartoons, television and more.   I mean, the Fleischers were so certain of this notion, they asked for a ridiculous budget to make Superman cartoons, and someone gave them that money.  And, 80 years later, those cartoons still look insanely good.  Superman: The Movie was massively expensive and, man, it's a singularly beautiful movie.  You can see how the character fell from grace as sequels worked with lower budgets, limping through Superman 4.  

But, as rocker David St. Hubbins observed:  It's such a fine line between stupid and clever.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Happy Birthday, Lois Lane

art by the great Nicola Scott



Well, the internets (and especially Max) tell me today, August 17th, is the observed birthday of intrepid reporter, Lois Lane.  

If you've hung around these parts long enough, you'll know I'm a Lois Lane fan, be it comics, television, movies, cartoons, what-have-you.  She's as big a deal to me as anyone else in comics and very much the key to Superman as a character.  

It's been an absolute delight to have Lois on my television this year and realized in the capable hands of the astounding Elizabeth Tulloch.  She doesn't just get the character through and through, she's managed to sort out the Lois of the show and made her her own.  And made 100% clear how she's at least 50% of this package.



Anyway, any excuse to celebrate Lois, I'm going to take.  

Happy birthday, Lois!


Monday, July 5, 2021

Richard Donner Merges With the Infinite

 

Director Richard Donner has passed at the age of 91.

Donner has directed and produced a tremendous number of films that impacted my generation, from The Omen to Lethal Weapon to Scrooged to Goonies to, of course, Superman: The Movie.  

Of course, closest to our hearts here is and will be Superman: The Movie, one of my first movie memories, and - curiously - the movie that has perhaps had the most impact on my life of any film.  And I can name a handful of people who can say the same.  While film is a massively collaborative medium, and here at the Signal Watch we only pay attention to auteur theory in certain cases, it was Donner who shepherded that movie and vision of Superman as a friend, a pal, a genuinely good person here to assist us, to the big screen - and in the period of cinema that was perhaps more genuinely and honestly cynical than the market-driven edginess of today.  The Salkinds bank-rolled the thing and Reeve and Kidder were themselves, but Donner's the guy who brought it together and put it on the screen.


Wardrobe may become outdated, a few cultural touchstones no longer work, but I can tell you... I've sat in more than a half-dozen theaters as an adult watching Superman unspool before always very mixed audiences (the matinees are always best attended and most fun), and this film still works, full stop.  People laugh, they cheer, they ooh and aah at this movie.  And they absolutely, totally buy into the idea of Superman, himself.  

Donner gets left out of the USC-explosion conversation and the new wave of Hollywood blockbusters.  He's older than Spielberg and Lucas, maybe didn't get the press and adulation they did, but he kept a hand in film and television straight through today, moving on from direction when so many of his contemporaries faded.  He hadn't directed in some time, working as a producer, but he had a head for story and character and how they intermingled that's undeniable, and necessary to make a film that has a chance of working.  I mean - go look at what Donner did with Scrooged some time.  That's a remarkable movie and lives on in the cinema landscape in a way dozens of other 80's comedies and endless Christmas Carol adaptations haven't managed to accomplish.  

And, of course, he was great in interviews - a sort of chummy, baritone-voiced fellow who made it sound like work he was delighted to do.  Maybe not delving into a lot of discussion of art and artistry, but what would make a film actually work.  

I will surely miss knowing he's out there, but he left a terrific legacy.  Here's to one of the greats.  Godspeed.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Ned Beatty Merges With The Infinite




Actor Ned Beatty has passed at the age of 83.

Beatty looked for all the world like she *should* have been a character actor.  But, instead he played a wild array of characters.  I mean, you've seen Network.  

If you've never seen the 1990 version of Captain America (yes, it's a feature length "movie" of sorts), Beatty is the one competent actor in the whole thing and you wonder what he thought of the final product, if he bothered to ever watch it.  

But as Otis in Superman: The Movie, he's provided me with no shortage of laughs.  It's a perfectly studied comedic part, and he's hilarious whether you're 3 or 43.  

Monday, March 15, 2021

PODCAST: "Superman III" (1983) - a Kryptonian Thought-Beast PodCast w/ SimonUK, Stuart and Ryan




Watched:  03/01/2021
Format:  BluRay
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Richard Lester

Other ways to listen

We assemble the finest trio possible to take on the third in the Salkind's Superman franchise - this one inexplicably very heavy on very adult comedian Richard Pryor. It's a future-shock story of the magic of computers and how they can make a Superman a grumpy gus. Join SimonUK, Stuart and Ryan as they get super excited over the sharp turn the franchise took into goofiness.


Music:
Main Title, The Streets of Metropolis - John Williams, Superman III OST
The Struggle Within/ Final Victory - John Williams, Superman III OST
 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Second Episode of "Superman and Lois"



In the afternoon, before Episode 2 of the new CW show Superman and Lois even aired (on 03/02/2021), the CW renewed the program for a second season.  Those numbers on the pilot must have been really something, because that show cannot be cheap to make, and they didn't even bother to see how the show did Tuesday night when viewers would vote with their feet based on what they'd seen.  My guess is that streaming numbers were very good, indeed - and, I think it was shown on WB owned TV channels TNT and TBS to catch any cable-bound stragglers.

The notion of *why* the show was working for me kind of kicked in during episode 2. And it's both totally obvious based on the premise, but for me - as someone who has thousands of Superman comics, has seen countless hours of TV and movies, read multiple histories of Superman...  it somehow didn't quite resonate til it did.

Superman got to move on.  

Thursday, February 25, 2021

So, that "Superman and Lois" pilot on the CW




So, yeah.  After 2 serials, 6 seasons of Adventures of Superman, 4 Christopher Reeve films, 1 Helen Slater film, 4 seasons of Superboy, 4 seasons of Lois & Clark, 10 years of Smallville, 1 Superman Returns, a handful of Henry Cavill movies (3?), and 6 seasons of Supergirl, it's time for one more go at live-action Superman.  

Tuesday February 23rd saw the debut of Superman and Lois, a show about Superman/ Clark Kent and Lois Lane, now well into their lives, married and with two 14 year-old teenage sons (fraternal twins).