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

-JOE

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.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Ninth Doctor


So after watching all of Classic Doctor Who over the past two and a half years (and writing about it for two years) I’m finally at Modern Doctor Who! So without further ado, here’s my first Doctor: Christopher Eccleston.


Series 1
The show regenerated
Top Story: Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways
It was really a hard choice between the finale and “The Empty Child”/“The Doctor Dances” for top choice. In fact in my first draft of this post, I picked it. But I wanted to choice the two-part finale, because of its firsts. This was the first time since the Key to Time series that Doctor Who had an overall story for the season, instead of just individual adventures. Through the season “Bad Wolf” popped up occasionally and then got resolved in the finale. This trend has continued through Modern Doctor Who, ever since. It was also the first modern regeneration, so we gotta enjoy the introduction of David Tennant.
Flop Story: Boom Town
It was this or “The Long Game”. However, this story was just unnecessary. I have no issue with the Slitheen. Considering that Doctor Who was bound to have poor special effects on its first season back, of course the aliens were going to be weird. But their original story and their reprisal in “The Sarah Jane Adventures” were good. This was just an unnecessary revival of a supposedly dead character, just to have a story.
"Run!"
Honorable Mention: Rose
This is how new Doctor stories need to be. What the Eighth Doctor movie did wrong was assuming that viewers knew the Doctor, knew regeneration, and knew the TARDIS. In this story, we learn about the Doctor and the TARDIS as Rose does, making it easier for new viewers. This was repeated to some extent with Martha and Bill, making easy points for new viewers to come in without committing to 20+ years of Doctor Who before getting caught up. Granted the Autons were odd, but it was a nice throwback to the old Third Doctor villain. Since the show is 50+ years old now, it needs stories like this to bring in new blood.

COMPANIONS:
Rose      Rose - (10th Doctor)
Adam    Dalek - The Long Game
Jack        The Empty Child - The Parting of the Ways

Favorite Companion: It seems like Rose gets a lot of flack from the fanbase, but I like her. Granted, she and the Ninth Doctor were my first pair I ever saw together consistently (I started with “Blink” and then went back) but this pair worked together. Rose had the character development that I’d want for all companions. She went from working in retail to saving the universe and even matching wits with the Doctor a few times. To be fair, I would have preferred she kept her ending at the end of Series 2 with the Tenth Doctor, but I enjoyed seeing her return in Series 4, so I can’t complain.

Least Favorite Companion: Adam. Just Adam. I don’t know anyone in the fanbase who likes Adam. He hitched a ride in 2012, went to the future, and then got thrown out back at home. We all like to forget about Adam, but he was an unfortunate side effect of time travel I suppose. Above all else, he sucked because he was the one companion to use traveling in the TARDIS for personal gain (unless you count Turlough working for the Black Guardian). He did get some “redemption” in the 50th Anniversary comic series called “Prisoners of Time”, but regardless he’s still down low on my list of companions. ALL companion (even including Adric).

What was your favorite Ninth Doctor story? You did watch the Ninth Doctor right? We don’t skip Nine here. So go watch Nine. Now. Just go.


I was once told that Colin Baker wanted the Sixth Doctor to have this outfit. Tough luck.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Part 10

So back when I started my Marvel Cinematic Universe posts, ABC was part-way into Season 2 of “Agent Carter”. At that point, I had no way of watching Season 1 to catch up for Season 2. Recently I learned that Hulu had both seasons available. So as I’ve been binging the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe (everything: movies, Netflix shows, network shows, etc.) I worked “Agent Carter” into it all. So now that I’ve watched both seasons, it’s time to backtrack and cover Agent Peggy Carter’s adventures.

Agent Carter: Season 1 (Episodes 1-8)
Season 1 follows Peggy and Edwin Jarvis trying to clear Howard Stark’s name. Meanwhile, Peggy needs to maintain her job at the SSR where she’s constantly undermined. So here we go.
  1. Now is Not the End: In 1946, Peggy maintains her cover while working at the SSR. The SSR investigates Howard after his inventions get stolen. Howard asks Peggy to help clear his name. Jarvis helps Peggy recover Nitramene, ahead of the SSR. Jarvis and Peggy narrowly escape the implosion of Roxxon.
  2. Bridge and Tunnel: The SSR investigates the explosion at Roxxon. Peggy and Jarvis confront Brannis about the Nitramene. He dies in a conflict with a man in a green suit. Peggy finds a new place to stay.
  3. Time and Tide: Peggy meets Dottie Underwood. SSR Agent Thompson recovers Green Suit’s typewriter and discovers its transmitter. Thompson interrogates Jarvis. Peggy and Jarvis track the theft of Howard’s inventions and tip Agents Sousa and Krzeminski off. They get ambused and Krzeminski gets killed.
  4. The Blitzkrieg Button: SSR Chief Dooley investigates Finow. Peggy and Jarvis rescue Howard. Peggy retrieves the Blitzkrief Button, discovering Cap’s blood inside. Sousa investigates the tip. Peggy confronts Howard about Steve’s blood. An assassin comes for Peggy, but Dottie kills him. Peggy hides the blood.
  5. The Iron Ceiling: In 1937, the Red Room trains assassins. Dottie steals Peggy’s room key. The Remote Typewriter leaves a message at the SSR. Peggy translates it and recruits the 107th regiment to help the SSR. The SSR and the Howling Commandos infiltrate the Red Room. They bring Ivchenko back with them. Dooley questions Jarvis about Howard and Finow.
  6. A Sin to Err: Peggy and Jarvis try to track down a Red Room spy. Sousa investigates Peggy. Dottie and Ivchenko infiltrate the SSR. The SSR goes after Peggy. Peggy tries to escape but Dottie knocks her out.
  7. Snafu: The SSR interrogates Peggy. Jarvis brings a fake confession for Howard. Ivchenko steals Item 17 and leaves Dooley in an explosive vest. Dottie and Ivchenko deploy Item 17 at the movie theater, causing a massacre. Dooley dies in an explosion.
  8. Valediction: The SSR investigates the theater massacre. Howard gets captured by Ivchenko/Fennhoff, who hypnotizes Howard to drop the Midnight Oil (Item 17) on New York. Peggy breaks Howard out of his trance. Dottie escapes and Fennhoff is taken into custody.

Random Trivia/Connections:
  • The opening scenes of “Now is Not the End” recap Captain America’s “death” in “The First Avenger”.
  • Soviet scientist Anton Vanko appears in “Now is Not the End”. His son becomes the main villain in “Iron Man 2”.
  • The Red Room appears in “The Iron Celing”, which is where Black Widow says in “Age of Ultron” that she was trained.
  • Armin Zola, who appeared in “The First Avenger” and “The Winter Soldier” appears in prison with Fennhoff in “Valediction”.

Thoughts:
The first season of Agent Carter was unsettling for me, but in a productive way. In a smaller way, it was like “Black Panther” and the discussion of racism. Taking place in the 40s, Peggy wasn’t exactly treated well by her male colleagues. It was unsettling (and probably understated compared to the real 1940s). It was a perfect opportunity for me to evaluate how I treat the women in my life. I also liked the mini-series format. About the time I’d start getting bored, the climax of the season happened.

Agent Carter: Season 2 (Episodes 1-10)
  1. The Lady in the Lake: Peggy captures Dottie. Peggy goes to LA to help Sousa with a case. Jarvis, Sousa, and Peggy investigate Isodyne Energy. Peggy questions Calvin Chadwick. The SSR rescues Jason Wilkes.
  2. A View in the Dark: The Council of Nine infuriates Chadwick. Peggy and Sousa investigate Isodyne Energy. Wilkes tells Peggy about Zero Matter. Wilkes and Peggy steal Zero Matter. In a confrontation, the Zero Matter absorbs Wilkes and infects Whitney Frost.
  3. Better Angels: Wilkes is framed as a communist spy by Frost. Peggy tries to spy on the Council of Nine. Thompson tries to bring Peggy back to New York. Sousa discovers Forst is scientist Agnes Cully. Peggy and Howard discover Wilkes stuck in the Zero Matter. Frost sends an assassin to kill Peggy after a confrontation. Thompson meets Chadwick. Frost accidentally kills her director.
  4. Smoke & Mirrors: Growing up, Agnes Cully’s scientific ability is shunned before becoming actress Whitney Frost. Young Peggy buries her adventurous side until her brother dies. In the present, Frost experiments with her Zero Matter power. Sousa and Peggy interrogate Hunt. The SSR gets audited. Frost kills Hunt.
  5. The Atomic Job: Wilkes shows Peggy his Zero Matter powers. Sousa celebrates his engagement. Rose, Samberly, Peggy, Sousa, and Jarvis infiltrate Roxxon. Peggy fights Frost. Violet treats Peggy. Chadwick calls a meeting of the Council.
  6. Life of the Party: Peggy and Sousa try to stop Wilkes from disappearing. They recruit Dottie’s help. Dottie and Jarvis go after Frost, who meets with the Council of Nine. Frost kills half the Council, including Chadwick. Thompson captures Dottie.
  7. Monsters: Frost interrogates Dottie. Peggy and Jarvis go after Dottie. Frost goes after Wilkes, their Zero Matter making Wilkes tangible again. After Frost shoots Ana Jarvis, Dottie escapes and Masters takes control of the SSR.
  8. The Edge of Mystery: Frost observes Wilkes’s powers. Peggy and Sousa meet Manfredi. Thompson investigates Peggy. Jarvis, Sousa, and Peggy use fake uranium to trade with Frost. Masters retrieves the real uranium. Frost creates an atomic explosion, which absorbs Wilkes. Frost captures Peggy and Jarvis.
  9. A Little Song and Dance: Thompson, Samberly, and Sousa steal an SSR car. Peggy and Jarvis escape Frost and steal a truck. Thompson tries to double-cross Frost. Thompson tries to detonate a bomb on Frost. Wiles confronts Frost.
  10. Hollywood Ending: Frost absorbs the Zero Matter. Manfredi teams up with Stark, Peggy, and Jarvis. The team uses the Gamma Cannon to separate Frost from the Zero Matter. Jarvis uses the hovercar to close the rift. In the aftermath, Peggy starts a relationship with Sousa.

Random Trivia/Connections:
  • The Zero Matter is related to the Darkforce, involved in the powers of Daniels in “The Only Light in the Darkness” and Krupin in “Parting Shots”.
  • The Darkforce Dimension (where Zero Matter originates) is part of the Multiverse introduced in “Doctor Strange”.
  • Sousa’s fiancée Violet was portrayed by “Sarah Bolger”, who also played Princess Aurora on “Once Upon a Time”. Aurora was similarly caught in a love triangle.
  • Though the series ended with Sousa and Peggy in a relationship, it is unlikely that Peggy married Sousa. As stated in “The Winter Soldier”, Peggy’s unnamed husband was saved by Captain America in “The First Avenger”.

Thoughts:
I enjoyed Season 2 less than the first. Maybe it was because of the extra two episodes? Maybe it was less action? I’m not sure. There was also less of Peggy forcing herself to be assertive as a woman. Other than an episode with her backstory, there was less development with Peggy’s character.


Thoughts on Agent Carter? Probably would have been good to have the series wrapped up a little nicer, but at least each season was a self-contained story. As a result, other than Peggy’s husband, I don’t see any loose ends to be concerned about. Overall, good mini-series.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Krypton and other Stupid Ideas

Yet another TV show is coming out based in the DC Universe but is only tangentially connected to anything worth making a show out of. I'm of course talking about Krypton, SyFy's new enterprise based on JorEl, the adventures of Superman's biological dad. 
Ugh. 

Who is JorEl?
Normally we don't get much from JorEl except that he was a scientist who threw his baby in a rocket and launched it at Earth right before his own planet exploded. Occasionally we've got stuff like the crystal tech that allows him to talk to Superman and give him random advice and honestly that's all we really needed. JorEl's part in the story was done. On Krypton he was a scientist (presumably a geologist since he figured out Krypton would explode but he also built a rocket so whatever) and while a couple comics here and there have mentioned him we don't need much more. 

Not the First Time
This is an overall problem I'm seeing with DC and Marvel universes. They keep making TV shows about either the long drawn out origin story of super heroes, IE Smallville and Gotham, or the company's D List, IE Supergirl, Arrow, The Defenders and the Legends of Tomorrow. We'll let Marvel slide on this one because they seem to be legitimately trying to make a massive world with varying degrees of success but every one of DC's shows take place in different universes. 

A Thought on CW
The CW shows have a similar problem in that they focus on the part of the super heroes lives that we don't care about. Arrow and Flash's bigger plots are the always tired "Will they/Won't they?" TV storytelling trope. Between every awesome battle we have to stop the flow and talk about weather or not Oliver will tell whoever that he loves her or if Supergirl can date whoever-nobody-cares-man. 

What If...
I don't want to see Superman's dad, or Bruce Wayne's training, I want to see Superman and Batman. If DC took all the money they keep pouring into these idiotic backstories and romantic comedies into one show about the Justice League, how they got together and them doing a monster/villain of the week thing, I guarantee it'd be more popular than Superman: Before The Cape could ever be. They could get smaller unknown actors to play the major parts, introduce other heroes later if they need to rotate the team as happens in comics, and maybe even make spin-offs as they need to. 

Tell me you wouldn't watch this show. 

-JOE

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Year of the Dog: The Goodest Boys

So I’m not much of one for Chinese New Year (I frankly can’t tell you the significance of the Chinese Zodiac) but in honor of the year of the dog, I wanted to share some of the goodest boys on TV and movie.


K-9 (Doctor Who)
The Fourth Doctor picked up the original K-9 in “The Invisible Enemy” and he was left on Gallifrey with Leela. The Doctor already had K-9 Mark II at the beginning of “The Ribos Operation” when Romana arrived and he stayed with Romana in E-Space. K-9 Mark III was sent to Sarah Jane Smith for Christmas 1978 in “A Girl’s Best Friend” and returned with her in “School Reunion”. After Mark III was destroyed, the Tenth Doctor left Mark IV with Sarah Jane, which continued to be her companion in her spin-off series.

Super sassy and super intelligent. Always loyal to the Doctor and his companions, K-9 is definitely a good dog. I especially loved his banter with the super-computer “Mr. Smith” during the Sarah Jane Adventures. 11/10 loyal good boy.


Dug (Up)
The goodest of all the dogs. So innocent. So loyal. He’s everything I aspire to have in a dog. He started as Muntz’s lackey, but was so innocent and just wanted to capture Kevin so that he would be loved. So when he was taken in by Carl and Russell, is it any surprise that Dug jumped ship and chose a new master?

But yes. 12/10 good dog. He’s just met you and he loves you. What better reason is there? He’ll also hide under your porch because he wants to stay. He’s a good listener and he loves to fetch. Just don’t put him in the cone of shame. It makes him sad.


Growlie (Pokémon)
Team Rocket’s James had a pet Growlithe growing up. When returning to his family’s estate in the Indigo League (Season 1) he reunited. When James’s parents tried to manipulate him into marrying the creepy Jessiebelle, Growlie came to James’s rescue and helped James evade and defeat the wretched Jessiebelle. The real question is why didn’t James take Growlie with him after that?

First of all, Growlithes are adorable anyway. I can’t get enough of them on Pokémon Go. Second, it’s hard to not love a pooch who is so loyal and loving after all those years. 10/10 loyal Poké-pooch.


Snoopy (Peanuts)
What a smart intelligent dog! A bit weird too. Who sleeps on the point of a dog house? All the same, he writes, he knows history, and he knows how to have fun. And with how unlucky Charlie Brown is, he’s very protective too, even if it’s in the oddest ways. Like in the Peanuts movie, what dog jumps out on the dance floor to pump up their owner? 10/10 imaginative pup.


Pluto (Disney)
Who can forget Pluto, Mickey’s doggo? Now let’s not get into the Goofy/Pluto dog debate. Let’s just talk about how wonderful Pluto is. No matter what short or series we’re talking about, Pluto is so loyal to Mickey and he does everything he can to love Mickey and keep him safe (even if it’s just from chipmunks). 13/10 Disney top dog.


Stitch (Lilo & Stitch)
Not a dog per se, but he’s an honorable pupper in my book. Although he got off to a rocky start, he helped bring LIlo’s family together and change their lives for the good. In the sequels and the TV series, he was super helpful in rounding up his 600+ cousins and teaching them to be good. That’s not to say that Stitch is good. He’s got a mischievous streak the size of his badness level.

He’s protective and faithful to Lilo. He got aggressive when Cobra, Gantu, and others each tried to take Lilo away from her family. So mischievous he may be, but he’s a good doggo in the end. 15/10 mischievous pupper; he’ll steal your left shoe, but he’ll also love you to death.


Who’s your favorite TV/movie pupper? 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black Panther -- A Breath of Fresh Air

I was a little bit late getting my tickets to Black Panther, but was lucky enough to still find a decent seat at the AMC just down the road and saw Black Panther opening night in Dolby Cinema.

Black Panther was a different kind of Marvel movie, and one that I will most likely see again in the coming weeks. **Some Spoilers May Follow**


 The movie follows King T'Challa after the events of Captain America: Civil War, as he returns to Wakanda and is crowned as King. From an old family foe to an unexpected challenge to T'Challa's reign as sovereign and King, the movie is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly crowded Marvel Cinematic Universe and sets itself apart as an entertaining movie, a moving story, and a much needed commentary on modern social issues.


The Good

  • Tackling Modern Issues: This is one of the few Marvel Movies that brought up uncomfortable, but necessary, parts of our history and our past e.g. slavery, colonization and imperialism, racial inequality, and so forth. I appreciated the tasteful way that these subjects were woven into the storyline -- but it is the first time I recall modern issues being tackled in a Marvel movie. About time!
  • A Black Superhero: The MCU is white. Pasty white. Too white. Chadwick Boseman's stellar performance in Civil War and in his own title movie sets him apart in my mind as a new favorite.
  • Music: I could write pages and pages about the music, but needless to say one of theist memorable parts of the film for me. Beautiful, at times haunting, and inspiring soundtrack!
  • Costume and Set Design: Outside of the bad-a** costume of the Black Panther himself, the Wakandan wardrobe and the movie's set design is simply stunning and breathtaking.
  • Spirituality: I found this to be a much more spiritual film than I was initially expecting, or used to, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which is saying something considering Thor is a Norse God....) Again, much needed spiritual addition to the MCU after the almost-straight-up comedies that Marvel has recently released.
  • Character Complexity: Instead of a traditional "good guy fights bad guy" scenario, I appreciated the character complexity and development in Black Panther. Not all beloved father figures are perfect. Real moral dilemmas exist, such as nationalism vs. individual and familial loyalty, and noninterventionist pacifism vs. racial equality and justice. In addition to being entertained, I was moved and inspired.

What Lacked in Comparison

Honestly it's hard to complain about anything in Black Panther, but here are a few thoughts I had.
  • Integration of MCU characters: At this point, well into stage three of the MCU, I was expecting more integration of Marvel Characters at some point in the story other than the credits. While not an absolute, for me it would be a "nice to have" element to the story. To be honest, Black Panther didn't need it....but who doesn't love a cameo here and there!
  • Humor: I LOL'ed my way through Thor: Ragnarok, and Avengers, and while Black Panther had great humor, it was not as straight up funny as some of the other films Marvel has produced. Again, I think in this case it was not needed. Black Panther is a different Marvel movie, at this point in time one of its kind. I was fine with the different kind of Marvel film...but for those who are used to the puns, one-liners, and antics of Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth, this film has a different flavor and humor to it. 

Overall, a solid 8.5 out of 10 or dare I say even a 9, depending on what you are looking for in Marvel Cinema. I'm stoked to have Black Panther return in Avengers: Infinity War

What did you think of Black Panther? What did you like or dislike about the film? What are your expectations for Infinity War?





Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Power TV Couples

Happy Valentine’s Day! This is a new one for me, since it’s the first time in my life that I’ve been in a relationship for Valentine’s Day. Every year so far it’s been about friendship (which it still is), but in honor of romantic love this year here are a few of my favorite TV couples.

Barry Allen and Iris West (The Flash)
                So while they may have grown up as foster brother and sister, Barry was in love with Iris from an early age. After the particle accelerator explosion, Barry lost some time and in the meantime Iris started dating her father’s partner. But Barry is the eternal optimist and romantic and three years later they ended up married. In the end, Barry is the epitome of a geeky boy who got his dream girl.
                Maybe it’s because I was dating my now-wife when I binged The Flash, seeing the development of Barry and Iris’s relationship, but in many ways (not all) my relationship with my wife seems to parallel Barry and Iris’s. Can’t look at Iris without thinking about her. Barry and Iris have been through more than their share of trials together, Savitar’s threat being the least of it. If Barry and Iris can survive Savitar’s attempted murder of Iris, couples in real life can handle anything.


Chandler Bing and Monica Geller (Friends)
                I don’t know if the writers of Friends originally intended Chandler and Monica to end up together, but I love them as a couple for that reason. Even before their relationship was planned, they had a playful, friendly relationship. As early as “The One with the Birth” they joke about getting together, which intermittently continues through relationships with Janice, Richard, etc. until they got together at Ross’s wedding. So when they got together it was the perfect relationship.
                My wife and I relate to Monica and Chandler in my ways, jokingly and seriously. I don’t consider that bad. They became best friends and they worked through their issues (body image, commitment issues, etc.) and eventually became one of the best power couples I’ve seen on TV. Minus the pre-marital sex, I’d probably recommend every couple look up to them.


Cory Matthew and Topanga Lawrence (Boy Meets World)
                What better couple is there on TV? Goofy, sort-of friends in the first season and then developing into a couple in later seasons. Very rarely on TV or in real life do high school sweethearts lead to real marriages, but they did. They worked through fights, break-ups, and other issues together. In Girl Meets World, they dealt with some intense parenting issues together too. If we’re talking TV power couples, I’m putting Cory and Topanga up there with Monica and Chandler.


Rory Williams and Amy Pond (Doctor Who)
                Some people (TJ in particular) might be surprised that I’m putting Rory and Amy on my list. It’s no secret that I have issues with Amy. Granted, she was obsessed with the Doctor from a young age, but trying to make out with the Doctor the night before her wedding still rubs me the wrong way. Still, her relationship with Rory is still one to be envied.
                Despite her obsession with the Eleventh Doctor, Amy was so committed to Rory. Even after he was erased from existence and she forgot about him, Amy still felt strongly for Rory. After Rory was “reincarnated”, she ultimately committed to her husband. When the choice was between the Doctor and Rory, she always chose Rory, even when it meant never seeing the Doctor again. Sacrifice is part of love and marriage and, despite my initial distaste of Amy, she knew that.


James “Sawyer” Ford and Juliet Burke (Lost)
                Despite being together about 3 years, we never really got to see much of Sawyer’s relationship with Juliet. I can only assume that it developed naturally and powerfully. They started as enemies when she arrived at the survivors’ camp in Season 3, but during the time jumps of Season 5, they bonded and had to stick together. Eventually getting stuck in the 70s, Sawyer leaned on Juliet for support.
That support grew into a stellar relationship. So when Juliet died, it was understandable that Sawyer was destroyed. I can’t begin to describe how I felt when they reunited in the afterlife. Sawyer loved Juliet through her insecurities and into her death. Sawyer had many faults, but Juliet made him a better man, who he was always meant to be.


Who are some of your favorite TV couples? Anything you’d add to the ones I’ve described? Whether it’s with your significant other or with friends, enjoy Valentine’s Day. Above all other kinds of love, our Father in Heaven loves you and our Savior loves you enough to have died for you. Even if you’re single and/or struggling, there’s always someone who loves you.


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Phoebe Buffay

I’ve been re-watching “Friends” lately and it’s cementing itself again as one of my favorite sitcoms. The highlight of nearly every episode (almost inevitably distracting me from whatever my wife and I are talking about) is Phoebe. She’s such a random and lovable character. It’s kind of impossible to not like her if you have any humanity. So in case you need reasons to love Phoebe, here are four of my favorites:


Phoebe has this wonderful undying optimism. Her life has sucked and yet she’s almost always happy. Her dad walked out on her family, her mom committed suicide, her step-dad went to prison, and the list goes on. I know she’s there for comic relief at times, but most characters with her past would be a dark humor instead of the ray of sunshine that we get for ten seasons.


I’m also not sure that there is a character on that has so many amazing one-liners. Maybe Fat Amy on “Pitch Perfect”, but throw in Phoebe’s silly songs and she easily trumps Fat Amy. Her naivety, yet having so much harsh life experience, makes her off-handed comments so much more enjoyable.


Fun little theory of mine, just to be silly, is that Phoebe also had some mad ninja assassin skills. Don’t ever get on her bad side. Remember that episode where she got replaced as the musician at Central Perk? Did we ever see Terry the Jerk again? I mean, he was mentioned again a year later, but we never saw him again. Did we ever again see Stephanie who knew all the chords? Nope. Never. Only explanation is that sweet little Phoebe offed both. Plain and simple. She used her street skills to assert herself.


Final reason to love Phoebe: Smelly Cat. Not even exaggerating, sometimes when I’m stressed I can just calm myself by singing Smelly Cat to myself. Remember that episode where she got to do the Smelly Cat video? Also that time that it got turned into a jingle? And then there were all the people she tried to teach it to, like Stephanie (before she offed her).


What are you favorite things about Phoebe? Any favorite one-liners or songs?