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

Sunday, November 11, 2018

PODCAST: Dead White Girls in the Water - "Twin Peaks: Pilot" (1990) and "The River's Edge" (1986) - High School Movies with Laura and Ryan



Twin Peaks: Pilot
Watched:  10/12/2018
Format:  Amazon Prime Streaming
Viewing:  Unknown.  5th or so.
Decade:  1990's

River's Edge
Watched:  10/24/2018
Format:  Amazon Streaming
Viewing:  5th or so
Decade:  1980's

Laura and Ryan's exploration of High School Movies takes a term for the grim when they pick the topic of "Dead White Girls in the Water".  Join us as we talk the pilot to Twin Peaks (1990) and seminal 80's flick River's Edge (1986).  It's a look at two pieces of media where the death of a young woman means very different things, but maybe under the plastic, how and why they work means they have more in common than we think at first glance.





Music
Here Come the Warm Jets - Brian Eno
River's Edge Theme - J├╝rgen Knieper - River's Edge Original Soundtrack
Laura Palmer's Theme - Angela Badalamenti - Twin Peaks Original Soundtrack
On Some Faraway Beach - Brian Eno


For more from the Signal Watch PodCast, including playlists, where to listen, etc...  Click Here



High School Movies w/ Maxwell and Ryan Playlist



Friday, September 14, 2018

LOIS NEWS: We Have a New Lois Lane! (CW Superhero Shows News)



If you hang around these here parts, you know we're fans of the character Lois Lane in all her forms, be it comics, television, movies, what-have-you.  She's as big of a deal in our world, practically, as Big Blue himself.

Season 2 of the CW hour-long-drama Supergirl saw the arrival of Tyler Hoechlin as Superman, and while I wish his costume had a few tweaks, the man inside is really pretty great as Superman/ Clark Kent.  We saw him talking to Lois on the phone, and Season 1 featured Lois Lane's sister, Lucy, as a romantic rival for Jimmy Olsen (this is comics canon in a way, going back to the Silver Age, but it was nowhere near as goofy as anyone showing interest in Jimmy in the comics).

Season 4 of Supergirl started production a while back (and will begin airing in October?  Maybe?), and us Superman/ Lois fans were thrilled to hear that the CW was seeking a Lois Lane for their TV multiple TV series.

People - we have our Lois.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Television Watch: GLOW - Season 2


With Emmy nominations now announced (GLOW received a few, including Best Comedy) and a few weeks passed since the second season arrived, it feels fair to talk a bit - but in no way comprehensively - about the show.

So...  Every once in a while when I'm watching GLOW, the fictionalized show about a real women's wrestling show that aired in the 1980's, I think about the Coen Bros. film, Barton Fink.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

90's Watch: The Brady Bunch Movie (1995)


Watched:  06/23/2018
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  I dunno.  4th?
Decade:  1990's

Huh.  So, the original Brady Bunch ran from 1969 - 1974 and then endlessly in reruns.

Here's the math:

  • End of show to release of the movie - 21 years
  • Release of the movie to now - 23 years

Yeah, Gen-X'ers, I know.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ho, boy. We Should Talk About "Krypton" on SyFy

The most exciting thing in this show is a piece of fabric


Ignore Jamie's guffaws to the contrary, but I quite like being proven wrong about (some) things.  Example:  I started watching Supergirl because I like Kara Zor-El quite a bit as a comics character (and mad props to Helen Slater for being better than her bad movie).  I found the first couple of episodes of Supergirl hilariously bad, and then the show start playing against expectations and I found myself enjoying Supergirl in a sort of "this is okay TV and pretty fun" sort of way.  It's not exactly The Americans, and it can't sustain 22 episodes per year and I wish they'd cut it to 13, but it's in my TV rotation.

So despite the David S. Goyer association and SyFy channel "we're doing serious Sci-Fi now" and some pretty boring adverts for the show (which, weirdly, ran incessantly during the Winter Olympics on NBC), I wanted to give Krypton a try.  Sure, it looked plodding and joyless in the vein of Goyer's Man of Steel work, selling that "but this is seeerious, Mom" vibe that one can only get when everything is gray and poorly lit like a nightclub that will have a brief but forgettable existence.

Krypton has an uphill battle no matter what.  It's not a mistake that DC Comics has only explored Superman's home planet in bursts via single issue appearances and the occasional brief mini-series.  If the stories don't arc toward Superman - you're more or less looking at a planet knowing "oh, you guys are boned".  After all - the point of Krypton (the planet, not the show) is to be either a near Utopia that made some critically bad choices about getting out of Dodge, or to exist as a highly advanced planet that should have been named "Hubris".

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Action Comics Hits #1000 and 80 Years of Superman



April 18 marks both the 80th Anniversary of the release of Action Comics #1 and the release of Action Comics #1000.

Short a few documents written by fellows in wigs and waistcoats, there are few things in Western culture, Pop or otherwise, with so profound an impact or as wide a legacy as this simple, brief story by a couple of young men from Cleveland.

Superman's first appearance was just one of several of different genres appearing in Action Comics #1 (this link is currently good and includes the first Superman story)   To revisit the story, every time I read it I find it shocking how much of Superman springs to life there in those first few pages - an assemblage of parts of other characters and science fiction concepts forged into something entirely new and its own.

Doomed planet.  Locomotives and bullets.  Lois Lane as a tough girl reporter.  The cape, the boots, the forelock.   A newspaper setting.  The dual-identities of Clark Kent and Superman, Lois' failure to recognize her co-worker.  Superman/ Clark's immediate attraction to Lois.  Righting wrongs.

Superman.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

In 2018 I finally watched "Freaks and Geeks"



I work from home these days (yes, you are right, it is freakin' weird, man) and I generally take about 50 minutes for lunch each day.  That's, it turns out, enough time to catch part of two episodes of The Nanny* or the 12:00 news/ ambulance chaser commercials.

Over the years, few shows have been as consistently recommended to me by trusted sources as much as Freaks and Geeks.  The show was a primetime hour-long dramedy that aired for eighteen episodes around 99' - 00', which is why I didn't watch it at the time.  I was just very busy and not watching much primetime TV during that era.

Well, I have now spent my lunch hour and a few evenings watching it, so stop telling me what to do.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

We Talk Winter Olympics 2018

whole lot of skatin' goin' on

I didn't write about it, but most of our evenings - and some of our day times - of late have been filled with hours and and hours of Winter Olympics.  Snowboarding, ski jumping, luge, skeleton, curling, some hockey, and lots and lots of ice skating.

Jamie and I have been together since 1995, and prior to this, I know I watched *some* Winter Games, but nothing like what happens when Jamie gets Olympics Fever.  She particularly loves herself some ice skating, and for maybe the first decade-plus of our relationship, I sort of watched skating with her during the Olympics, but I found the scoring system arbitrary and open to (to put it politely) interpretation, and the commentators on NBC grated like parmesan over pasta.  But this is our sixth winter Olympics.  I am now pretty good at watching skating, I guess, and can see it as a sport.*

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Television in 2017 (for me)



Here was the thing about television in 2017:  there was so damn much of it.  

I think we're all pretty comfortable at this point just telling people "I've already got too many shows, I'm not looking for anything new."  Anything and everything is discussed as if it's must-see water-cooler discussion material, but the fact is, the audience is so splintered, and there's so much supposedly quality content on, none of it qualifies as required viewing nor are characters and storylines part of the shared cultural lexicon.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

"A Christmas Story Live!" Hot Takes

On the evening of 12/17/2017, Fox broadcast a sorta-live version of what's apparently a real Broadway musical, a - if I'm being honest - not terribly great musical.

And there is nothing like checking in with twitter to get the voices of America, and despair.

There were a lot of pleased, happy tweets.  A lot of criticism, just and otherwise.  But I grabbed a few samples to share with you.  They will tell you all you need to know about The Greatest Country on Earth and what people think is a pretty good idea to just shout into the internet void.












Sunday, November 26, 2017

(TL;DR) The Whitest Christmas of All: Hallmark Christmas Movies

Hollywood is Weird


I am 90% positive I've previously mentioned my fascination with basic-cable Christmas movies.  I'm not talking about the endless rerunning of Elf, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, or other films that had a theatrical life before finding a permanent second life as seasonal programming somewhere on the basic-cable dial.  I'm talking about the made-for-TV 2 hour films that appear on The Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime and the Up Network, running in an endless loop, 24-hours-per day, starting this year a few days before Halloween.

Look, I'm not against Christmas.  But, as Jamie wisely pointed out to me, if you're starting your Christmas movies October 20-something, that makes Christmas last fully 1/6th of the year, and that's insane.  And, it bulldozes two fairly major holidays inbetween.

What's fascinating is that this model must be wildly profitable for Hallmark and the other networks for Hallmark to start running these channels as 24-hours-per day holiday movies so early.  These movies have their own little pocket of stars, the top of the heap features former Full House co-star Candice Cameron Bure and former Party of Five sib Lacey Chabert.  Others flirt with the stardom.  Alicia Witt's in a few of these, Lori Loughlin (also Full House), and you'll see a few other actors pulling double or triple duty as stars, but you can guarantee at least one or two new movies per year from Chabert and CCB.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Pleasure and Pain of a New Star Trek Series



I am going to be blunt with you people.

Since late college, I've liked Star Trek more in theory than in practice.  The last Star Trek movie I remember enjoying on its own merits was The Undiscovered Country, and possibly First Contact.

Admittedly, my exposure to Deep Space 9 was deeply hampered by the fact it ran while I was in college in the 90's (and often cash-poor) so I had a lack of things like:  television, cable, free time and Saturday afternoons, which is when I think the show aired in Austin.  Voyager I tried on, but literally disliked everyone but Janeway - and a recent attempt to watch the series again bore that out.  An attempt to watch Enterprise was hampered by a terrible theme song, pandering cat-suited Vulcans and a fairly bland kick-off that I never got into.  But I liked Captain Archer, so, I dunno.  By the time I looped back to try and watch it ("it got good!" people told me), it was canceled.

The new movies have only occasionally even remembered that they're Star Trek, failed to go on any missions, and while I genuinely liked the most recent one, the plot was weirdly inconsequential and could easily be forgotten if they skipped to a movie where they (a) actually went space exploring and (b) didn't destroy the Enterprise again.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Television Signal - Catching Up: GLOW



We watched a lot of television this year, and in our reduced content mode, we haven't talked about the usual favorites - so just assume we enjoyed both Fargo and The Americans.*

Way back in high school I recall coming home one afternoon and somewhere between TaleSpin and The KareBear rolling into the driveway/ me starting homework, I was flipping channels when I stumbled upon an edition of Family Feud in which the new-ish World Championship Wrestling league was squaring off against a league I'd never heard of - G.L.O.W., or, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

As colorful as the fellows from the WCW were, I was shocked to find out that there was an all-women's wrestling league and I had never heard of it.

I was never *that* into wrestling.  As a very young kid I was part of the wave that saw Hulk Hogan and JYD and Jake "The Snake" Roberts rise to stardom on Saturday broadcasts, but I'd moved on fairly quickly, watching WWF only occasionally.  But when I was 14, for some reason Steanso, his pal Lee and myself jumped in Lee's car and drove downtown and watched the show - and, man, live - wrestling is @#$%ing bonkers.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  The next year we also attended a taping of an episode or two of regular WWF and NBC's Saturday Night's "Main Event", which was neat just because we saw all the flagship wrestlers of the era.  Yeah, I've seen Hulk Hogan from the 13th row.

But... that was kind of it.

Needless to say, by age 15 or so, the notion of lady wrestlers held some appeal.  And, as I watched what turned out to be a week's worth of episodes, the ladies of GLOW seemed way (waaaaaaay) crazier (and, honestly, smarter) than their male counterparts over the the WCW.

But I don't think GLOW ever aired anywhere I lived, either when I'd just previously lived in Austin, or when I moved to Houston between 9th and 10th grades.  Texas, especially before, say, 10 years ago, was a place where you find strip clubs the size of a warehouse, but there was also a church on every corner - the net result that TV stations probably decided it wasn't worth the letters and complaints from folks getting the vapors from witnessing ladies in high cut leotards jumping off turnstyles.  Believe me, I would have watched the living hell out of that show.  (edit:  Steven has written in to tell me he recalls seeing GLOW air in Houston circa 1987.  I was living in Austin at the time.)

Consequently, I've always had a deep-seeded curiosity about GLOW, but was unable to turn up much the few times I thought to Google it.

Of course, when Netflix announced it was putting out a show about GLOW featuring no less than Alison Brie, heck, yeah, I was in.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Great Andrea Romano, Voice Director for Animation, is Retiring


Like every other DC Comics nerd, I know Andrea Romano's name from watching my Batman, Superman and Justice league cartoons a little too closely.  And, of course, the extras on the DVD sets.

It seems she's hanging up her... headset?  microphone?  and passing off her duties as she heads into well-earned retirement.

It's hard to say how one measures the skill of a voice director for cartoons, but here's a sample of shows she's worked on:


  • Chip N' Dale Rescue Rangers
  • Duck Tales
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Animaniacs
  • Batman: The Animated Series
  • Freakazoid
  • Superman
  • Batman Beyond
  • Static Shock
  • Justice League
  • Teen Titans
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • Spongebob Squarepants
  • The Boondocks


and a whole lot more

I know the folks 10 or 15 years younger than me will disagree because they've got nostalgia on their side, but I couldn't ever figure out what was wrong with the acting in the Marvel cartoons of the 1990's (or, heck, today).  The voice acting always sounded rushed, like people just shouting lines into a mic.  But DC's work always sounded natural, like a radio show or movie, just animated.  Her characters were distinct, had their own cadences and personalities.

And when you think of shows like Animaniacs or Tiny Toons - those voices were so specific and as much a part of the characters as any cell animation - you can't really separate the two.  Hell, the Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister) still bounce around in my head in perfect pitch.

Yeah, that's because WB has a great stable of voice actors, but they've also been working under Romano for decades now.   She brought in name talent like Clancy Brown for Superman, and she found a fellow by the name of Kevin Conroy and made him "the" Batman for two or three generations of fans, no matter who was putting on the cowl in the feature films.

Back when I was still buying DVDs and BluRays of DC movies and series, I'd always jump immediately to the extras and hope they'd have an interview with Romano, who was casual but a total pro every time she was on camera.  Her feel for the characters and, really, how to work with actors was superb, and it played out in every story, in every series and movie and arc.  And even though she's not associated with Justice League Action - which all of you should be watching - the show's production carries so much of her stamp, such is her legacy at at WB Animation.

I'm sad she's retiring, because it means less of her work, but it's important to say a big thanks to Ms. Romano, who has been such a huge part of so many hours of entertainment we've all been able to enjoy, and who's amazing abilities elevated an artform that many thought of hokey kid stuff.

Here's to you, ma'am.





Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Black Lightning is Coming to the CW!



I was always a little lukewarm on Black Lightning as a superhero character until, I guess around 2002 or so, someone came up with the idea that Jefferson Pierce was a little older and had daughters who were manifesting powers (and, of course, wanted to be heroes, too).

Not only did it mean Black Lightning was suddenly anchored a lot more as a character - no longer just "that black guy with lightning powers" which he'd become after the early appearances, it gave him a robust supporting cast.

Unfortunately, The New 52 wiped away the take on the Pierce family I'd come to like quite a bit, following the characters across a few DC books.  Needless to say, I'm thrilled this is the angle they're taking on for a new DC show on the CW.  Those writers do family well, and - when given the chance - also do people of multiple generations pretty well.

Looking forward to tuning in and seeing how they pull this off.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Re-Reading "Preacher"/ Quitting "Preacher"



note:  Preacher, both TV series and the comics series upon which the show is based, contain graphic violence, deeply mature themes, deeply immature themes, sexual frankness and deviation and no small amount of content of a religious nature which many-a-good folks would reasonably find offensive.  You can read this post, watch the TV show, or read the comics, but you've been forewarned, you're on your own, and your mileage will vary.   

Last year, Preacher came to television via AMC - arriving as a sort of high octane dramedy and a loose adaptation of the original comics which ran from 1995-2000 under DC's Vertigo imprint.  The second season is now underway, but I only made it fifteen minutes into the first episode of this year's offering before saying "You know, I'm good.  Let's not watch this."

You can do well with a superhero comics adaptation so long as you remain basically true to the intention of the authors, or - in the case of serial comics - find that core to the characters and concepts that have brought readers back, year after year, outlasting almost all other forms of long-time serial publications in the states.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Adam West, the "Bright Knight" Batman, Merges With The Infinite



This one hurts.

Adam West has passed at the age of 88.

Literally my earliest memories include watching Batman starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.  Steans-family lore states that my first words were "Batman" as I ran around our home with my security blanket around my neck.

The story is that I was toddler-ish and Jason was two years older, and my mom, The Karebear, had to make us dinner before my Dad got home from work (dude worked hard and late).  In order to wrangle me, her ADD wunderkind, she figured out that I'd sit perfectly still for Batman, which happened to be on in syndication right when she needed to fire up the stove.

When the Michael Keaton-starring "serious" Batman was released, in 1989, when I was 14, the show came back on cable, and I totally got what they were up to.  Somehow, inbetween, like many of my generation, there'd been some confusion about the show being a drama that was kind of stupid and something you grew out of.  But, nope, the show had been winking to the older crowd all along.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

TL;DR: We Discuss Our Love of Wonder Woman as Character, Icon and Hero



This isn't a review of the movie, which I'm slated to see in a few hours.  But with the arrival of Wonder Woman in cinemas, I wanted to reflect on Wonder Woman as a character and my road with Diana.

Like most kids of my generation, I grew up with Wonder Woman as the default "superhero for girls".  Sure, DC had a wide array of female characters, but a lot of "team" concepts aimed at boys included 1 or maybe 2 girls on the team no matter how big the roster got (see: GI Joe).  And on Super Friends, Wonder Woman was the all-purpose female character who was not Jayna of The Wonder Twins of Wendy of Super Marv and Wendy (ahhh, the 70's).

but at least they gave WW two villains from her rogues gallery

Monday, March 20, 2017

Under the Sycamore Trees: End of Twin Peaks (1991) and Fire Walk With Me (1992)



As I mentioned previously, as a TV series, Twin Peaks managed to limp along for most of the second half of the second season.  You could feel the writers realizing they'd taken a bad turn and trying to right the ship in the final few episodes, but the good continues to be outweighed by the bad.

The drippy plotline of the Miss Twin Peaks pageant, and Robyn (Teen Witch) Lively doing her best with a dog of a plotline for her wildly inconsistent character, Lara Flynn Boyle being reduced to a background character, Audrey and Billy Zane going full in flagrante in a private jet right in front of Pete...  and the tired plotline of Lucy choosing the father of her kid - something so worn out even the show winked at how nobody cared anymore by the time she made a decision...

Lost in all this was Harry and his plotline with Josie.  And from what I can find online, Michael Ontkean who played Sheriff Harry Truman walked away from the show fairly bitter about the whole experience.  And I can hardly blame him.

That said - the final episode of the show, directed by David Lynch with writing by Mark Frost, Robert Engels and Harley Peyton, returns the show to form.  Doing such a good job and creating some of the most memorable moments of the entire series that it's easy to forget the meandering path we took to get there.