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

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.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Julee Cruise Merges With The Infinite




Vocalist and musician Julee Cruise has passed.  

Cruise is well known to fans of Twin Peaks, and is one of the signature sounds of the aural landscape of the show.  She released solo work as well as standing in for Cindy with the B-52's during tours.

She was s unique and rich talent, and she'll be missed.


Thursday, June 2, 2022

Too Much TV - What Shows I've Been Watching




We had just finished up a few shows, but TV now knows most of us don't actually want to go outside on Memorial Day, and so... it was decreed, a bunch of new stuff would hit around this time.

What we're watching:

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

"She-Hulk, Attorney-at-Law" is Coming to Disney+

It's not easy being green whilst filing writs of habeas corpus



On May 17th, the trailer hit for Marvel's She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law multi-episode series, which is set to begin on Disney+ in the coming months.  

When talking to pal GadK about the trailer last night, I had to put aside 30-something years of personal knowledge and history and consider what the hell She-Hulk looks like to someone unversed in the character.  Which, for us old man comic nerds, is an increasingly common occurrence.

Here's that trailer.




We're just in a weird, weird part of whatever the arc will be for superheroes media in our very own reality and continuity.  We're moving rapidly away from how superheroes were understood by the broad population as costumed do-gooders who fight obvious bad-guys in melodramatic four-color battles, an impression derived from barely understood comics of a by-gone era.  

What a non-comics person should know:  At some point, the various genres of comics that appeared across a range of comics (romance, western, etc...) seeped into various genres of the booming superhero genre and sparked endless iterations and permutations - and that is what you will now get at your local comics shoppe.  And it means things in Marvel and DC comics adapted to TV and movies will get weirder than a sarcastic space raccoon post haste.  

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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

80's TV Movie Watch: The Spirit (1987)




Watched:  05/02/2022
Format:  DVD from Warner Archive
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Michael Schultz

Way back in the 1980's, I ordered a Bud Plant catalog so I could get an idea of what all was out there in the world of comics.  I remember two things that really stuck out - a Mike Kaluta image of The Shadow (the first time I'd heard of the character) - and an image for a collection of The Spirit strips with P'gell prominently featured.  You know the one.

I didn't know what the hell The Spirit was, but to my 11 year old brain, this seemed very sexy indeed, and I assumed The Spirit was some sort of soft-core comic.  

Flash forward probably only a matter of months, and I read in Comics Scene that someone was making a TV movie of The Spirit, learned more about it (not a softcore book!) and back in the days when we weren't having superhero media rained down upon us, I was very interested.  

Finally the movie was slated to air, and of course there was some scheduling conflict (we just missed TV in those days), but I could probably catch the last hour or so.  I don't remember where we were or what was up, but I do remember my mom ran into a friend and started talking.  And I just had to stand there while the clock spun and my 1980's chances with no DVR faded away of seeing any of the movie.  

I walked in the door, watched the last five minutes, and then went to do homework.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Quarantine Watch Cont'd: Love Is Blind Season 2

about 3.5 of these people are sociopaths



I don't really watch "reality TV" anymore.  There's plenty wrong with it, and I don't think I need to get into the myriad reasons I think it's a large contributing factor as to why we're at this end-stage as a species.  I don't think Chrisley Knows Best or Season 52 of "Shirtless Morons Hooking-Up With The Prettiest Girls From The Slow Learners Class" has set our monoculture on the path to earning a place among the space-faring races.  Call me crazy.

I mean, I did watch some back around 2002-2006, but I don't know how to tell you people:  it's all the same.  Including home make-over shows.  Or people just off the road pretending to look for Bigfoot.  

But back when we were actually still scared of coronavirus enough to Lysol our produce, I remember laying on the couch sideways and letting hour after hour of Love Is Blind Season 1 slide by.  My memory of the show is minimal.  Someone named "Jessica"* was a real piece of work, and the very pretty girl married a guy who couldn't believe his luck**.  That's about it.  That's my memory of 11 hours of TV.  In fact, I suspect Nick and Vanessa Lachey hosted the series, but Jamie and I spent five minutes debating if they had been and couldn't remember.***

At the time, we had no idea what was happening in the world and whether or not we would be dead within weeks.  This was Weekend 1 of COVID showing up, and suddenly we were all stuck home with streaming services, and Netflix had this and Tiger King.   I couldn't deal with Tiger King, so we never finished it.  Or at least I didn't.  I don't know what Jamie did.

Season 2 has rolled out, and I declared "let's see what these horny morons are up to."  So we put it on.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Emilio Delgado Merges With the Infinite



Sesame Workshop has announced the passing of Emilio Delgado, who we all know as Luis, one of the friendly faces in the neighborhood of Sesame Street.  

Luis was there to show us adults could be kind, curious, considerate and that there were many different kinds of people who were in our communities.  My memory was that I thought Luis was "the funny one" of the human cast members.  I have read a passage or two about what it meant to have a Latino male featured on television to some of my friends.  I believe it.  Delgado had one of the few roles on TV in the 1970's for a Latino male defined as a regular, stand-up guy, and not - as was so often the case in network TV then and now - as a negative stereotype.  

I'll be honest - I think the goals of Sesame Street worked.  To this day, I think of all of the human cast members of Sesame Street as folks I want to run into at the super market.  TV is a powerful tool, and the notion of representation is important for everyone, especially for folks who don't see people who look like themselves on television, but it can also be good for other kids to see those positive  representations to combat the negative portrayals which are a sad default of mass media.

Here's to an actor who brought a welcome face to the screen for generations of kids, who did it with humor and joy.  I'm very sad to hear that Delgado has passed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Television Watch: The Righteous Gemstones




The Righteous Gemstones takes the tried-and-true David Gordon Green/ Jody Hill/ Danny McBride formula of southern-born numbskulls with no filter (Eastbound and Down, Vice Principals) and this time focuses on the family of a highly successful televangelist, Eli Gemstone (John Goodman).  McBride plays Jesse Gemstone, the eldest child of Eli and Eli's now-deceased wife Aimee-Leigh.  Adam Devine plays the youngest child, Kelvin, a man-baby, closeted even from himself.  And Edi Patterson plays Judy Gemstone, the near feral daughter who somehow takes it up a notch even from what McBride is delivering.  Other players include Smallville's Cassidy Freeman as Amber Gemstone (if you thought she was maybe one of the more talented folks on Smallville, she's here to show that notion was correct.  She's maybe too young for the role, but she's great, so let it slide), Jesse's wife.  And, Walton Goggins as Eli's brother-in-law, Baby Billy.

I have to stop there, because one of the fascinating things about The Righteous Gemstones is the massive scale of the show, including the cast.  All those names aren't even scraping the surface of all the characters.  We see a massive sanctuary/ auditorium, each Gemstone has a separate McMansion on the family plot, there's a theme park (Heritage USA, baby!), and a story that sprawls across decades.  The ambition of the show - which is centered on an emotionally stunted, foul-mouthed clan who earnestly believe both in their righteousness and whatever is the last thing to come out of their mouths (no matter how vulgar or insane) and the very real failings of people on a pedestal.  Especially those who would claim to speak for God.  

Thursday, January 6, 2022

TV Watch: Queer Eye - ATX Edition




So, back in 2019 word got out that Netflix's reboot of Queer Eye was coming to my hometown, Austin, Texas.  I've seen most of the original series from the early 00's and all of the reboot series.  Given Austin's unique physical and political location, I thought - yeah, that'll work.

Austin sits on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, and while the eastern portion of town is mostly flat to rolling fields, the further west you head through town, the higher the hills.  It's a mix of lovely green trees and white limestone, and in the more densely populated areas, people do try to make the most and beautify through art and color.  Most of the new skyline defining architecture I find intensely boring, but there are a few stand-outs (the new Google building is amazing).  All of which looks swell on camera.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Holiday Regret/ Rifftrax Watch: The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

I like how you can see Harrison Ford thinking about literally anything but where he is in this moment



Watched:  11/22/2021
Format:  YouTube
Viewing:  third?
Decade:  1970's
Director:  Steve Binder

Hubris, thy name is Signal Watch.  

Jamie put up three options for us to watch the other night, and I was like "ha ha!  I'm feeling daffy!  Let's watch The Star Wars Holiday Special!  It'll be great with Rifftrax!"  

Friends, it was not great.

Look, Rifftrax is/ are fun, but they can't turn a broken sewer line into the fountain in front of the Bellagio.  It's more about standing there, cracking wise at the broken sewer line.  I mean, Lucas disavowed and tried to hide the existence of the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) for decades, but early tape decks and bootlegs at sci-fi conventions kept it alive and kicking despite best efforts to quash this thing's existence.  

Star Wars was once upon a time a thing where there wasn't that much of it - unlike today's Disney-fueled production factory, we got a movie every three years and then some occasional oddball items.  But every attempt to expand beyond the narrow confines of the feature films seemed to be met in disaster.  I was jamming to Christmas in the Stars as a kid (a record that drives Jamie into a fury when I put it on), live-action Ewok movies, an Ewok cartoon and a Droid cartoon, all of which were...  not great.  But I hadn't even heard of the Holiday Special until college.

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.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

PODCAST: "Foundation" Sci-Fi TV discussion w/ JuanD and Ryan




Watched:  09 and 10/2021
Format:  Television Apple+
Viewing: First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  various




Juan and Ryan ponder what has come before to consider what is happening now and what will happen next as they take on the famously unfilmable series of books from one of the greats of American sci-fi. Join us as we run the numbers on a show that's epic in scale, and maybe dropping a space elevator on the fans of the books.




Music:
Foundation Main Theme - Bear McCreary


Sci-Fi Playlist

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

PODCAST: Ted Lasso Roundup - Seasons 1 and 2! With MBell, Maxwell, MRSHL and yours truly






We gather our forces to take on the juggernaut that is a little TV show about American football coaches shipped to England to coach football/ soccer. It's an unlikely smash hit with a pile of Emmy's, and since we were going to talk on it, anyway - we figured we'd talk out loud and y'all can listen in.

Get ready for a long episode as we go deep on how the show is structured, how it builds themes, models ideas and makes for television that challenges expectations.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Elvira Watch: "Elvira - Mistress of the Dark" (1988) - part of "Elvira's 40th Anniversary Very Scary, Very Special Special"

Just in time for Halloween!



Watched:  09/28/2021
Format:  Shudder
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  James Signorelli

Well, it's now an annual thing that I watch Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988).  So, I won't belabor y'all with yet another pondering of the film. 

This year, Cassandra Peterson is marking 40 years in the dress as Elvira, originally a late-night horror hostess character that somehow has spun out into a cultural icon.  These days, Peterson does conventions, co-owns/ed a convention, does talk-shows, cooking shows, whatever it takes to pay the bills - including selling comics in which her character partakes in comedically spooky adventures (currently at Dynamite).  And! she's got fashion lines, shops and a bit of a merchandising empire.

She also just turned 70, and released a tell-all biography that is sitting on my coffee table.  Recently she's been a hit on talk shows making the rounds plugging the book as it contained the revelation she hasn't been single in 19 years (which I couldn't personally figure out) as she's partnered up with a lady friend.  It's all been very buzzy in a very positive way.  


One of those films - Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.  So, yeah, it's a heavy serving of meta wrapped in a meta tortilla.   She's still every bit herself after a small stretch of time away from the divan (but not the internet), and so it's great to have her joining you for the movies.  

Honestly, I could never sort out why one of the streaming services didn't do this forever ago.  It just makes sense as a format.  And, if anything, Elvira is maybe more popular now with people willing to spend money on her than at any time in the past three decades.  She genuinely has generations of fans after 40 years.  I guess Shudder finally did the math on that.

Still, only four movies!  And who knows if Peterson will want to do it again.  She sounds very ready to not have to put on the outfit anymore, and I don't blame her.  So, maybe she'll go animated, try again to find a replacement, or figure something else out.  Whatever she wants to do, I'm good with it.

In the meantime, get the Shudder App.  There's a free week of trial, and you can probably blaze through her show in that time.  


Friday, September 17, 2021

Bye-Bye Brooklyn 99




Sometime before COVID, Jamie was watching that comedy cop show on Hulu that I think was on Fox.  I knew about it, and found it curious that it co-starred Andre Braugher, who I'd seen in several things, but had thought was a fine dramatic actor from his Homicide: Life on the Streets days (a show I did not watch religiously, but would tune into specifically for Braugher).  I liked Andy Samberg well enough, but I was mostly not checking out Fox sitcoms at the time.  

Well, as often happens when - in pre-COVID times, when I wasn't here all the time - Jamie was watching episodes on her own.  And she'd watch them if I was around and doing other things, and I'd I listen enough that I eventually I would stopped what ever else I was doing and watch a couple of episodes.  Anyway - I was into it.  

I planned to catch up after she went to bed, starting over myself on Hulu, but she offered to re-watch the show with me from the beginning, which is always a sign it's an okay show.