Friday, June 15, 2018

Top TV Dads

Happy Father's Day! To complement my Mother's Day post from last month, I wanted to do a Top TV Dads. Too often fathers are degraded and viewed as unimportant in the media, so let's celebrate the ones who were actually good.

Takehiro Matsuki (Digimon Tamers)
To be fair, he was a bit of a permissive dad at times, seeming to want to appease his son Takato. However, he also proved to be a big support throughout the season. When Takato's mom was frantic about the Digimon, Takehiro was level-headed and trusted Takato to be safe and smart and mature. Even before he knew about the Digimon, Takato was seen having a friendly, healthy relationship with father, talking to him about school and everything.

Prince Charming (Once Upon a Time)
He missed the first 28 years of his daughter's life due to a magically-induced coma, but after the curse was broken he strived his hardest to be a good father to Emma. He struggled with the idea of having another child, causing him great fear, but he seemingly conquered that fear (despite leaving Neal behind during various adventures). Despite being the same age physically as his daughter, he and Emma were shown to have many heart-to-heart moments, including when she was grieving over the loss of her boyfriend.

Joe West (The Flash)
Let's start with the fact that he was a single father after his wife walked out on him. For years he cared for Iris on his own, being a solid male influence in her life, leading to healthy dating relationships for Iris. Now let's fast-forward to when he became foster-dad for Barry, after the death of his mother and incarceration of his father. Sure the transition was bumpy, but he developed a great relationship with Barry, supporting him, even though he didn't understand Barry's wild tales about the Man in Yellow. Their relationship was solid enough that Barry brought him on to Team Flash not long after donning the red suit. Finally, decades after his wife left, he met his son Wally. It was rough at first, trying to parent too fast, but after slowing it down, Joe was able to be a solid influence for Wally as he became Kid Flash.

Jack Geller (Friends)
While his wife is a piece of work, Jack was very compassionate and loving towards his two kids. Granted, sometimes this compassion bordered on cluelessness. While his wife was a bit more nasty towards Monica, his negligence was a bit more passive. All the same, despite his faults, he genuinely loves his children. No moment portrays this more than when he came to comfort Monica after her break-up with Richard.

Cory Matthews (Girl Meets World)
After seven seasons of life lessons of his own (plus 14 unseen years), Cory became a bit of a mix of his young adult self, his father, and Mr. Feeny. Not only was a loving father (albeit crazy and quirky) to his own children, but as a teacher he was also a father-figure to some of his daughter's friends, especially Maya. Like Mr. Feeny before him, he tried to teach life lessons all the way along through middle school and into high school.

Pete Tyler (Doctor Who)
We've got two incarnations of this character to look at, both amazing fathers. The original Pete, Rose's biological father, was a bit of a clever airhead, schemes running through his head and driving his wife crazy (not that she needed help). When adult Rose showed up suddenly with the Ninth Doctor, he was willing to sacrifice himself to set the timeline straight, all for the sake of his daughter. Now jump to the parallel universe, Pete Tyler never fathered Rose, but he became the adoptive father for her after the Battle of Canary Warf. During the battle, he risked his life to save Rose from falling into the void, despite the risks to the universe.

Solomon Moto (Yu-Gi-Oh!)
We don't particularly know what happened with Yugi's parents (his mom briefly appeared in a Japanese episode once), but Grandpa Moto seemed to raise Yugi through his teenage years (if not even earlier). Despite all the crazy battle (and all the times his soul was trapped), Solomon stuck it out for his grandson and his friends. Perhaps it was his understanding of the Egyptian origins of it all, but he was surprisingly trusting of Yugi running into battle at least half a dozen times between Battle City and the Memory World.

Who's your favorite TV dad?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Tenth Doctor

Been a bit of a whirlwind, starting a new job and getting acclimated. But in honor of David Tennant coming to FanX this fall, here’s the Tenth Doctor.

Series 2
Welcome back, Cybermen.
Top Story: Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel
It was a close between this and The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit. I think the reason I liked this story the most has to do with how the Doctor defeated the Cybermen. I wrote a longer post about it on my personal blog, but for the sake of brevity: I got something that was powerful for me about the power of choice (agency), pain, and the purpose of life. To me, it was like the Cybermen's plans were analogous to Satan's plan for God's children.
Flop Story: Love & Monsters
The joke of all Doctor Who episodes. It was the first Doctor-lite episode and it had potential. However, the monster in this story was absurd looking. Add into that Elton's flirting and manipulation of Jackie Tyler... it was just awkward. I don't know if I know a Whovian who enjoys this episode.
I'd love to see more of these
Honorable Mention: School Reunion
Back in the Third and Fourth Doctor era, Sarah Jane Smith was a popular companion (even a favorite of David Tennant). So when she returned for Doctor Who story, it set a great prescedent for homages to Classic Doctor Who. This story also set up for a spin-off series, "The Sarah Jane Adventures", which started about 2 years later. I would love more episodes like this, bringing back Classic companions for a one-off adventure.
Series 3
Ladies and gentlemen, Donna.
Top Story: The Runaway Bride
DONNA! I can't say enough how much I love Donna. Despite being a Whovian Christmas tradition, I'm actually not a super big fan of many Christmas specials. This one is the exception. First of all, we got sassy Catherine Tate as a brilliant one-off companion (later to be a long-term companion). She was also (and would later be) a breath of fresh air to have a companion with no romantic attachment to the Doctor, after Rose's departure. After such a heavy season finale, the light-hearted combination of David Tennant and Catherine Tate left us with a delightful yuletide adventure.
Flop Story: Gridlock
The biggest problem with this story is that it was forgettable. I have to strain my memory to remember how this episode went. Just can't say I really enjoyed an episode, with the basis being jumping from car to car to save Martha. On the plus side, it did include the return of the Macra, last seen in the Second Doctor era. Also, on the plus side, this story did have the Face of Boe, which left the "prophecy" of the Master's return.
The Master returns...
Honorable Mention: Utopia/The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords
Speaking of the Master's return, the Master finally returned in two different bodies after 10 years. Last seen against the Eighth Doctor (previously against the Seventh Doctor), we got this three-part finale to reintroduce this classic villain. The Toclafane were chilling and thrilling for me and it freaked me out when I learned their origin. This story also did a good job of wrapping up the season, pulling in elements from throughout Martha's adventures (Harold Saxon, "You Are Not Alone", Lazarus, etc.).

Series 4
Companions, assemble!
Top Story: The Stolen Earth/Journey's End
To culminate the end of the Tenth Doctor's regular episodes, the Doctor had all his allies from the past several years team up to fight the Daleks: Donna, Martha and UNIT, Sarah Jane and her friends, Jack and Torchwood, and Rose and her family. It made for an epic two part finale. And of course every fan of the Doctor will remember Donna's fate... even though she won't. So despite it being the most heart-breaking companion exit I've seen (and I've seen almost all), it was a fulfilling end... even if I hate it.
Flop Story: Planet of the Ood
Another, mostly forgettable episode. I liked the Ood a lot more in "The Satan Pit". It worked a lot better. Looking back, it kind of feels like the only purpose of this story was to set up the appearance of the Doctor-Donna and the end of the Tenth Doctor's song. Also, I really don't know how I feel about the passive Ood turning his master into an Ood.... that's an odd Deus Ex Machina, even for Doctor Who.
River's beginning and end
Honorable Mention: Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead
This story got the honorable mention because of the classic introduction of River Song. It was a long-term, complicated project for us to get River's story, since it was all out of order. Numerous fan have tried to piece her story together from her perspective, but for us and the Doctor this is where her story began. I loved this episode because it had multiple mysteries layered perfectly together: the Vashta Narada, the missing people, River Song, and Donna's disappearance.

2008-2009 Specials
As there wasn’t a new season of Doctor Who in 2009, these four specials are often grouped together.
Wish we'd have Lady Christina again
Top Story: Planet of the Dead
This story was unique for Doctor Who, at least among the specials. First off, it is the only Easter special Doctor Who has ever done (I could have used one of those this year). Also, it involved no TARDIS travel in getting to an alien world. As a result, the one-off companion never even entered the TARDIS. This was my favorite among the 2008/2009 specials because of its unique story telling. It also did a good job of leading into the Tenth Doctor's swan song with the four-knock tease.
Flop Story: Waters of Mars
This is one of those stories that I don't even remember the full scope of. I remember the Doctor showing up at a Mars space base, but I don't remember much else. It was an odd story and an odd conclusion. I get that the Doctor was fearing his death and regeneration, but they dragged out of the theme far too long. Previous Doctors never got a hint they were going to die, but this trend continued for the Eleventh Doctor and the Twelfth Doctor and it kind of bugs me.
Who is she? The Doctor's mother?
Honorable Mention: The End of Time
My favorite part of this was the return of the Master, Donna, and Donna's family. The Master's fate at this point was left vague, so it was great to see him back during the last season finale (I know we had Missy in the meantime, but I was pleased to see the John Simms version of the Master again). It was also nice to get a brief cameo of all of the Tenth Doctor's cohorts before his regeneration (According to the Eleventh Doctor in the Sarah Jane Adventures, he went to see ALL his previous companions at that time).

Rose      (9th Doctor) - Doomsday
Mickey School Reunion - The Age of Steel
Donna   The Runaway Bride; Partners in Crime - Journey's End
Martha Smith and Jones - Last of the Time Lords; The Sontaran Stratagem - The Doctor's Daughter
Jack        Utopia - Last of the Time Lords

Donna   The Runaway Bride
Astrid    Voyage of the Damned
Christina              Planet of the Dead
Adelaide              The Waters of Mars
Wilf        The End of Time

Donna Noble!!!
Favorite Companion: If you couldn't tell by my thoughts on "The Runaway Bride", I'm a big Donna fan. After Martha and Rose's romantic feelings for the Doctor, I liked having a breather. Tie into all of that that Catherine Tate is a fantastic comedian, it gave a lighter feel to the Tenth Doctor's adventures with Donna. I also love the character development for Donna. She went from a sassy, insecure temp to the savior of the universe. That development in seeing her own worth inspires me. Add into all of that her tragic ending and it gives a fulfilling (though heart-breaking) character arc.

Martha and UNIT
Least Favorite Companion: For the record: I don't dislike Martha. I just like her the least. My biggest problem with Martha was that, in my opinion, she had little character development throughout the season. She pined after the Doctor, only to have her character development all happen off-screen in the finale. That being said, I enjoyed her character development in the year that never was and I enjoyed her when she returned the following season. In the end, I guess that's my issue... I liked her more after she left the Doctor than when she was with him.

Are you planning on meeting David Tennant this fall? What about any upcoming Doctor Who cosplays?

The (Fifth) Doctor's daughter who played the (Tenth) Doctor's daughter who married the (Tenth) Doctor

Monday, May 7, 2018

Top TV Moms

Happy Mother’s Day! Or at least it will be in a few days. So consider this your reminder so that you can plan something special for your mom before the Primary kids start singing their songs in Sacrament Meeting this Sunday. As for this post, I’ve put together a list of a few wonderful TV moms that were total rock stars. With all the parent/child drama on TV, take comfort in these solid TV moms.

She changed a lot since her first encounter
Yuuko Kamiya (Digimon)
She appeared in all three Digimon adventure series. She was a bit clueless to the kids’ adventures in Seasons 1 and 2, but in the Digimon Adventure Tri movies (released 2015-2016), she was shown to be supportive of her two Digi-Destined kids and their Digimon partners. While everyone else in Tokyo was panicking about the Digimon attacks, Yuuko kept a calm head, trusting her kids and their friends to take care of all the attacks. Just like in the Season 2 finale, she displayed faith in the Digi-Destined and her only concern was making sure the kids and the Digimon had enough food.

Talk about character development
Regina Mills (Once Upon a Time)
She adopted Henry to fill a void in her heart caused by killing her father and spent the next ten years faking who she was. Before her redemption arc (seasons 1-3) she was kind of a poor mother, in many respects, but by the end of Season 3 she had redeemed herself to the Charmings and to her son, enough that by Season 7 she was purely a hero focused on helping Henry on his adventures. She dropped everything in Storybrooke to be with her son and help him succeed. Also, as shown in “Is This Henry Mills?” (episode 7.20, so spoiler alert, guys) she displayed great faith in her son by trusting him to make very big, important decisions about his future, even though it eventually meant him leaving the realm itself.

So much sass
Shirley Bennett (Community)
When the series began, Shirley was the recently divorced single mother of two young children. The thing I respect the most about her is that instead of wallowing in her husband’s betrayal and the subsequent divorce, Shirley did what she had to take control of her life and eventually care for her kids. Fast forward, she ended up re-marrying her husband, but her drive to create a better life for her kids is one of the things I find most admirable about her.

Not above sassing the Doctor
Jackie Tyler (Doctor Who)
Her daughter Rose left with the Ninth Doctor and flew off into the night for at least two adventures before returning to London a year later. Even after her daughter had been missing a year, Jackie reluctantly let her daughter fly around time and space with an unknown man. She was the first mother of a companion to be featured and she did not disappoint. Naturally she’d go crazy, with her daughter missing for a year, but her faith in and love for her daughter was unwavering, even to the point of moving to a parallel universe to be with her daughter.

Back before she was Belle
Claire Littleton (Lost)
The reluctant single mother crash-landed on the Island eight-months pregnant. The thing I love most about her is that in the three seasons that she mothered Aaron, she stepped up to the job. Sure, Sun and Charlie and others helped out, but from the moment her son was born, she held on tight. So going from putting him up for adoption, to becoming the Island crazy-lady when he was kidnapped, I have to respect Claire for never giving up as a mother.

Will she return again? Spoilers ;)
Dinah Lance (Arrow)
She’s only appeared in seven episodes of Arrow, but I’ve been rewatching the show lately and certain aspects of her character really impress me in Seasons 1 and 2. First of all, it’s not exactly clear how or why she left her husband, but it’s implied that it happened after Quentin started his binge-drinking after Sara’s apparent death. So I have to respect Dinah for (presumably) getting out of a bad situation with an alcoholic and moving on with her life. I also love her faith in Season 1 that Sara was alive. Really, it was probably just blind faith because Oliver had returned to civilization, but her blind faith paid off when Sara returned in Season 2.

Who are your favorite TV moms? What’s the best surprise you ever made for your mom for Mother’s Day?

Monday, April 30, 2018

Avengers 4: Potential Titles

“Infinity War” has been out less than a week and of course people are already theorizing about the sequel Avengers film coming out next year. We were previously told that Avengers 4’s title was a spoiler for “Infinity War”. Now that it’s premiered, let’s theorize what the next movie will be called. As such, there will be spoilers ahead. So between talking to my brother and looking around the internet, here are some ideas I came up with.

Avengers: Disassembled
The “Avengers” roster kind of exploded during this movie with the Guardians, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man. And then at the end of the movie these pseudo-Avengers were literally “disassembled”. So it would make sense that a large part of this next movie would be about bringing these heroes back into existence. Even the remaining heroes are “disassembled”; between physical distance (Nebula and Iron Man on Titan), emotional distance (after “Civil War”), or just not knowing each other (Rocket and the Wakandans), there isn’t much pulling these characters together. So between pulling our remaining heroes together and bringing our dissolved heroes back, “Disassembled” could be a valid title.

Avengers Reassemble
Similar to “Disassembled”, this would focus the movie on bringing our heroes, dead and alive, together in order to put the universe back in order and stop Thanos once and for all. The difference here would be the theme and focus of the movie. Someone pointed out to me that (assuming Hawkeye is still alive), all six of our original Avengers survived Thanos’s snap. As I previously pointed out, the Civil War and the distance of space have torn them apart. As a result, just as they had to put aside their differences and assemble in “The Avengers”, it’ll be time for our heroes to pull together and fight back against Thanos’s forces, just like before.

Avengers: End Game
My brother reminded me that Doctor Strange saw millions of outcomes of their battle with Thanos. Only one resulted in their victory. I had originally thought Star-Lord messed up their one shot, but it hadn’t occurred to me that our mystical surgeon foresaw Quill losing his cool and giving the Time Stone to Thanos. That would mean that this is all part of the plan. Doctor Strange straight up said that “this is the end game”. Avengers 4 is “this” and it is likely all part of the end game that Stephen Strange predicted.

The Last Avengers
As noted before, five of the original six Avengers are confirmed alive. These “last Avengers” will inevitably play a key role in returning the world to normal. We also know that this will be the last movie for a number of our key players, giving the title another meaning, as it will be the last Avengers movie. This title also hearkens back to Captain America’s first movie “The First Avenger”. It would be very fitting for the phase three finale to have a title that mirrors our earliest hero.

The New Avengers
Just as our original Avengers have their finale in Avengers 4 (one way or another), it would make sense for a new team of heroes to fill their shoes. I’m not familiar with the comics, but I know there’s a team call “The New Avengers”. Among their ranks are some of our Phase Three heroes, Luke Cage (from Netflix), Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist (also from Netflix), Mockingbird (from Agents of SHIELD), and many others. We also have a couple characters previously owned by Fox, Wolverine and The Thing. I have little confidence we’d see any of the Netflix heroes or X-Men in Avengers 4, but we’ll be seeing more of them in one form or another. So at the same time we’ll retire Captain America and Iron Man, we could very easily get a new team with Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

What did you think of “Infinity War”? Any theories for Avengers 4? Don’t forget we still have “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “Captain Marvel” to be released before then. How do you think they will play into the sequel?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Marvel Puzzle Quest-Free Game Review

I know this game has been out for a while, but since I've been playing so much of it lately I figured I'd toss my two cents into the hat.

Marvel Puzzle Quest is a Candy Crush clone complete with the micro-payment extravaganza that has been plaguing modern games like tuberculosis, but with the difference being that Marvel Puzzle Quest isn't pay-to-win, it's grind-to-win.

The grind-to-win model is a response to the play-to-win issue of course, that response being "Alright if you don't want to give us money then you're jolly well going to give us as much of your time as you possibly can and jolly well like it!" The big question is if the grinding is worth it?

In a word... Yes?

So the hook of the game is that you build a team of your favorite Marvel characters with their different powers that damage an opposing team of characters and the drop downs trigger damage and different abilities. This functions remarkably well, since the drop down gameplay is proven to be a great game mechanic in the free to play market. The game features a good 100+ characters to mess around with, from the well known and overused Wolverine to the lesser known like Moonstone and 800 versions of Black Widow for some reason.

Now let's say there's a character or characters that you would love to have because you think they're just the bees knees, either for gameplay or because you have all their comics, like Iron Fist. Well good luck unlocking them because the characters are behind an unlock wall that spits out a random character once you've ground long enough to be welcomed in for a try. Usually you'd just get more of the special currency that helps you occasionally level up your characters and is good for nothing else or endless copies of characters too weak to use or too useless to care about.

If you're fine with paying then the funds aren't much help, since all money will get you is more opportunities to try your luck at the spandex lottery. To add insult to injury the price for these spins increases the more you buy, either with the special and hard to get in-game currency it takes to open them or with that hard-earned cash, so the game fights you at every turn to get the guys you want.

Now I said that the grind is worth it with a question mark, and that's because if you do put in the grind which is usually playing a few games every 3-4 hours, you can start unlocking about a character every few days. This doesn't seem like much, but the drop-down gameplay is still entertaining and the wonky comic book stories they come up with is still enjoyable enough to have it on your phone with few regrets.

Pros: Visuals, gameplay, and eventually playing your favorite Marvel characters.

Cons: Grind, randomization of picking up characters, Nothing worthwhile behind the pay wall.

What's your thoughts on this? Have you played?

If you have and like it join our alliance- Magnitos Right


Friday, March 30, 2018

The White Witch's Mistake

(This post was originally posted on my personal blog in May 2013)

"Did you honestly think that by all this you could save the human traitor? You are giving me your life and saving no one. So much for love." --The White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe 2005 movie)

How often do you hear this lie from Satan in regard to the Atonement? How often does he tell you that you 'wasted" the Savior's blood? It's never wasted. The Atonement is always available to save you. And no matter which side you choose, Satan will lose and Christ will win.

I have to wonder what lies Satan told the Savior as He suffered in Gethsemane, as He mocked that night, and as He crucified on Calvary. I imagine it was similar to what the Witch said to Aslan. “So much for love.” I can see Satan whispering to the Savior as He kneeled in Gethsemane, “You are in so much pain and yet they won’t repent. They’re mine anyway. You’re wasting your time. You are suffering and killing Yourself for no good reason.”

I think he also tells each of us the same lies. “You have gone too far. You can’t repent now. It’s too late. You might as well give up. Christ suffered for you and you’ve gone too far; you’ve wasted His blood.”

Narnia has been one of my favorites for years! Aslan being a type of Christ has taught me so much about the Atonement, from something as commonly understood as Aslan sacrificing himself to save Edmund from the White Witch (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), to something as intimate for me as Aslan quietly protect Shasta (The Horse and His Boy).

Like Edmund, we have all made mistakes, betrayed those we love, told lies, gotten angry, and said things we didn’t mean. Like Edmund, we have all felt guilt and remorse for those mistakes. And (hopefully) like Edmund, that remorse has pushed us toward humility and repentance in order to make amends for what we’ve done.

Look forward to more Narnia posts. I’ve been hoping to do them for a long while and now it’s just time!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Potential Storylines

This week we got our trailer for the “Fantastic Beasts” sequel: “The Crimes of Grindewald”. As JK Rowling’s wizarding world continues to expand, we get more and more glimpses into the pre-Harry Potter era of it all. Seven books and nine movies in, we’re probably only scratching the surface. But from what we know, here are a few things I’d like to see in this next movie (or at least by the end of the Fantastic Beasts series). WARNING: Spoilers from the new Fantastic Beasts trailer.

Hagrid and Aragog: Likely not in this movie, but seeing as the Fantastic Beasts movies are said to span 19 years (1926-1945), there’s a chance we could see Hagrid meet Aragog. As we met a new awkward friend fond of magical creatures, it’s not unreasonable to think that Newt is the one who gives Aragog to Hagrid. If the Chamber of Secrets was opened by Tom Riddle in the early 40s, we still have plenty of time for the Big Friendly Half-Giant to appear.

Voldemort’s Beginnings: Not that we necessarily need backstory on Voldemort (since “The Chamber of Secrets” and “The Half-Blood Prince” already basically did that) but it would be interesting to see glimpses or cameos of Voldemort’s past as the war against Grindewald happens. Presumably Tom Riddle Jr would be in the orphanage for the first half of the “Fantastic Beasts” series, so a cameo could be possible, but perhaps not probable.

Newt’s Backstory: We got glimpses into Newt’s past with the first “Fantastic Beasts” movie, but I don’t think it’d be unreasonable to see his flashbacks of his time at Hogwarts. Maybe learn why he was expelled (and why he got to keep his wand?) and maybe learn a bit about Leta Lestrange. Especially since the trailer makes it look like we’re visiting Hogwarts, it wouldn’t be too crazy for Newt to have a few flashbacks.

Newt’s Future: To contrast my last comment, it would be interesting (more just for the fun of it) to see a “flashforward” for Newt at the end of the last movie. Maybe show that the “Fantastic Beasts” series was him or his son telling Newt’s grandkids or great-grandkids about his adventures. Maybe even get Evanna Lynch to reprise her role as Luna Lovegood, as she marries Newt’s grandson.

Dumbledore’s History: From the trailer, we know we’re supposed to see Dumbledore. Since the series is supposed to end around the time that Dumbledore defeats Grindewald (can’t remember if we’re supposed to see that battle or not) it would be likely that we’ll at least get some dialogue about the Dumbledore and Grindewald families (if not flashbacks). It could be controversial to show a romance between Dumbledore and Grindewald, but I think we can at least expect to see their friendship addressed.

What other tidbits from the “Harry Potter” books would you like to see in the “Fantastic Beasts” movies? Any characters revealed by JK Rowling that you’d like to see younger cameos from? Maybe a young McGonagall. That’d be cool. Granted, she’d only be 10 by the end of the series, but still.