christinesrant, DC comics, Entertainment, Fantasy, Genre, Legends of Tomorrow, Marvel, Review, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Superhero, Television, Time travel, TV, TV-series, USA

Legends of Tomorrow. Heroes of TV today.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is what you get when superheroes has gone prime time.

It is the new original story (for TV) on CW about a gang of superheroes and villains teaming up together to fight a common enemy. And the bunch has a better fit than The Avengers.

There is a Legends of Tomorrow comic but it supposedly has nothing to do with the TV show.

legendsCW is no virgin when it comes to superheroes, as both the gritty drama Arrow and the more light-hearted and sometimes insane and silly The Flash has both run successfully for a couple a years. And let us not forget about Smallville (2001-2011). We are talking about 10 seasons of Superman here. A real blast from the past.

I am a superhero fan. I have seen all of the recent superhero movies. Some I did not like very much (read what I think about The Avengers: Age of Ultron) and some, like Ant-man I really enjoyed.

I am also not a newbie when it comes to superhero TV. Arrow, The Flash, Smallville, Supergirl (CBS), Agent Carter (ABC), Agents of Shield (ABC), Jessica Jones (Netflix), Daredevil (Netflix), Gotham (FOX), I am not missing anything.

So what about Legends of Tomorrow?

The superhero genre usually means human melodrama mixed with super talent(s), i.e. cool special effects. And I prefer more of the latter. But there needs to be a story there. Arrow almost lost me when the drama got too much air time (read why here) but The Flash got me back.

LoT takes some of the most colorful characters from Arrow and The Flash and give them an insane scifi playground; a couple of bad guys, some flying lovers, two geniuses, a black guy and Rory from Doctor Who.

Superheroes and time travel.

People, what’s not to love?!

The creators and writers are having fun making this shit up!
I am talking Doctor Who and Star Wars spoofs aplenty.

Laserguns, time masters, Cronos the Bounty Hunter, spaceship AI.

But best of all, you know you have the ultimate super villain when you meet the 4000 year old Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). You just know what to expect with a name like that. And it delievers.

It is genuinly funny, fast paste with special effects and explosions out your ass. And when the team goes to Norway in 1975, I am sold.

Firestorm (the excellent Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein and Franz Drameh), the Atom (Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer (he actually played Superman in the really shitty Superman Returns movie from 2006), White Canary (Caity Lotz as Sara Lance), Hawkgirl (Ciara Reneè) and Hawkman (Falk Hentschel), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) and Captain Cold (Wenthworth Miller) have all appeared on one or both Arrow and The Flash. Now with team captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), they are ready for new adventures.

So am I.

Christine

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Bipolar disorder, christinesrant, community, Discrimination, Entertainment, Genre, Mental disorders, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Prejudice, Rant, Television, TV, TV-series

How Many Crazy People Do You Need? A Box set.

Did somebody loose the key to the loony bin?

It seems like every show on TV these recent years consists of one or several crazy people. Usually solving things.

Some of them are known to us as Superheroes. As if that makes everything alright! Sorry, this rant is not about supes. Or is it?

I am not here to put labels, but as one who wants awareness, I am curious about how mental health issues are expressed or implied on mainstream TV-shows. What is this interest in the psychotic yet helpful?

Why is it almost always connected to behaving as a douchebag?
Does mental illness/high intelligence give a free pass to behave as a dick?

Is it just another bad boy (needs saving) trope, a fixation on the Eccentric, or just another tribute to the Genius?

Or are they in fact the new superheroes, their issues often described as talents and gifts in an almost supernatural sense. A common man hero, sort of. More common than the common man becoming a superhero, that is.

Or is it a poorly concealed, yet bogus pat on the shoulder to all fighters out there, living, enduring or barely holding on.

Cue: Heroes by Alesso ft. Tove Lo.

Some of the shows are following this trend head on. I have made a compilation rant of them. I might have missed some. I might have ignored some.

House M.D. (2004-2012)
Honestly, I have not seen enough of this show to say anything meaningful about it. But then again, there might not be any meaning to it at all. I have however seen enough to make highly astute guesses. Because lets be honest, every episode is the same one.

House is being an asshole but occasionally he shows a couple of seconds of remorse or goodwill. Enough to like him, or at least accept his bullshit. Not to forget; he saves life!

His superpower: He can medic-babble for 40 minutes.

Dexter (2006-2013)
I saw perhaps half of the first season back in 2006 so I am really just shooting blanks here.

As I remembered it, it was no confusion to the fact that Dexter is mental, but he was not an unsocial jerk. He just could not stop killing (bad) people. How people would sit through this for seven years is beyond me.

His superpower: a never ending supply of duct tape and plastic wrapping.

Monk (2002-2009)
Adrian Monk is the human personification of OCD, complete with 312 fears and phobias. The show is comedic in its form but portrayed with so much love you are compelled to see his beauty.

His superpower: Did I mention he has 312 fears? It is a miracle he gets out of bed in the morning!

Bones (2005-)
It is implied that forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan has Asperger’s.

I have only seen an episode here and there, but I get the impression that she comes of as a strong female lead in spite of her challenges. Flawed but lovable.

Bones superpower: When she points a finger out in the air, a three-dimensional graph or other medical image pops up, showing someone’s insides.

Homeland (2011-)
Carrie Mathison is another strong female lead on TV. I am immensely impressed by the portray of bipolar disorder in the first season of Homeland.

Carrie is very good at what she does, but her strengths are also her weaknesses. It deserves a better mention than just a paragraph in a compilation rant, so I am writing a whole post on her, but this is all I got for now.

Her superpower: A never-ending supply of highlight markers in different colors.

Perception (2012-2015)
This investigating duo consists of a flat Rachael Leigh Cook and a scrubby heterosexual Will  from Will&Grace, complete with flannels and a 3-day beard.

His mental health problems are first referred to as visions, incidents, then goes on to be called conditions, schizophrenic hallucinations and finally recognized as Paranoid Schizophrenia.

Not a good show. However, portraying the different phases of his illnesses is very good although oversimplified.

Superpower: His hallucinations are just as smart as him.

Elementary (2012-)
This show  tries to remake Sherlock (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) in a more modern version. By moving him to the US, giving him some AA advice and a female Watson. Not to forget, a female Moriarty. You know you are witnessing post-modern stuff when half the characters change their gender. It is however, worth watching because of the cast.

Sherlock’s superpower: Animal companion: Clyde the turtle.

The Following (2013-2015)
A change from the other shows, The Following does not have a psycho investigator. Ryan Hardy might suffer from different disorders he self-medicates with alcohol and self-sacrifice, but it is this shows antagonist Joe Carroll that is the crackpot. Although I believe his followers must be even crazier because this cult leader is as charismatic as a wall-to-wall carpet.

Why someone would follow this man, and why people would watch this, is still an enigma to me. Perhaps that is Carroll’s superpower.

The Blacklist (2013-)
Yet another crime/drama/mystery worth mentioning. Reddington is leading agents around in a maze, not sure when he will turn on them or not. Is he psychotic, desperate, fatherly or only out for revenge? Is he an intuitive genius or has he staged everything from the beginning?

Reddingtons superpower: No one beats him at party planning.

Scorpion (2014-)
If one genius is not lovable enough, why would you bring in some more? Now we have a whole band of them. Are they mental or just unpleasant? This is a relative new instalment of the “crazy and obnoxious helping the happy (?) untalented”. This show lost me just a couple of episodes in.

Superpower: Instant WiFi access.

The Bridge (2013-)
This one is on my to-watch-list. In fact, all of the versions are on it. You have the Swedish/Danish original Broen, the US version The Bridge at the border to Mexico, and the UK version The Tunnel between UK and France.

Sonya Cross (US) seems like a flawed and strong female protagonist. I have read somewhere that she is supposed to have Asperger’s but it is never explained during the show. Anyway, I am looking forward to checking this one out.

Hannibal (2013-2015)
This is also on my-to-watch-list, but is it yet another version of the crazy leading the blind?

It is based on the novel Red Dragon (Thomas Harris, 1981) about our favorite cannibal Hannibal Lecter. What is not to love?

Christine

If you have questions about mental health issues, please contact your national and/or local mental health organizations and clinics.

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Genre, Marvel, Movie genre, Movies, Rant, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Superhero, The Avengers

The Avengers. Age of Boredom.

I was not expecting much except be entertained by The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

No breakthroughs. No innovative methods for soul searching. No deep touchy feely stuff.

Just good fun popcorn kind of time.
With a lot of CGI.

Alas, I have not been entertained by Marvel since the first Iron Man movie (2008).

Is it me or is the whole Marvel Superhero franchise becoming crappier by the minute?

Sorry, the franchise is not getting crappier. It is actually thriving and rightly so. Each movie installment however is a whole ‘nother matter.

Yup, they are milking it. Everybody can agree and accept this (they are not alone!). The difference now from the earlier installments is that they kind of count their chickens before the eggs hatch. Meaning every movie feels like a 2-hour trailer for the next one. Nothing more.

Alternatively, that half the movie story wise was discarded in the last production stages. Cause the movie does not make any sense. At all. What so ever.

The public’s negative opinion of the Avengers drives the heroes into hiding. How dare they save the world by destroying it!

This permeates the whole movie but perhaps more in the beginning, implying it as one of the main storylines.

Both you and I know the Avengers does not fix things from behind a desk. Already we have a pending conflict. An interesting one, at that.

Because we all know they (the heroes) are going to fuck it up. Stark and Banner fulfills that prophecy pretty quickly.

What happens to this conflict?
Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing!

Not once is this brought up after its initial introduction.
No angry public. As if it wasn’t an issue.

But it was. The fucking Avengers went into hiding because of it!

Looking past the obvious shitty logic of the movie, the usually witty exchanges seemed stale. At one point, it seemed like everyone was tired of their own dialogue. You and me both!

Stark is doing his own thing. As always.

Captain America disagrees a lot with Stark. And can never have romantic relationships with anyone since Peggy Carter has become her own thing on TV.

Thor has absolutely nothing invested in this movie. He is the character in the background apologizing to everyone for stepping into the other’s scenes, seemingly awaiting his own movie franchise update. Okay, he did two things. He verbally showed off his very boring human girlfriend, and at one point took his shirt off and waded waist deep in a pool. Sexily.

Banner is more Whiney-Hulk than usual.

Who the fuck is Barton/Hawekey again?

Once the only female (movie) Avenger and alibi, Black Widow is in love with the Hulk, only seeing his beastly power and soft heart.

We have seen this before, folks. Belle from Beauty and the Beast has the same problem, and just like another Bella (Twilight) Black Widow has to put up with a gloomy and (self) destructive boyfriend.

It is easy to say that Black Widow is just as cool, powerful and sexy as her male companions are. She even gets to fight men! Sometimes.

Then they (who ever the fuck is in charge) go and screw this up. BIG TIME.

And this did it for me. The point of no return.

Black Widow breaks down emotionally feeling incomplete as a woman because she does not have children. Worse, she cannot have any.

Worser (if it is good enough for Shakespeare, it is good enough for me!) still, the spy/assassin training camp took this away from her. To make her a more effective agent.

As if pushing a child out your hooha would erase 15-20 years of brainwashing and extreme fitness training.

I am not buying this bullshit.

I am not even going to mention that Ultron actually is really cool as a bad guy.

Christine

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Christianity, christinesrant, Entertainment, Faith, Genre, Religion, Sci-fi, Television, TV-series, USA

Fantasy and God. Part 2: Book of Insight.

The Leftovers  final episode came and went with a lot less fuss than I expected.

From the first episode there was this massive built up frenzy from fans, critics and hostiles. Mostly from frustrated fans looking for answers.

Surprised by my own reaction while I watched The Leftovers, it spurred not only reflection on my part but also writing a blog entry on fantasy genre and God where I raise the question of the sudden appearance of God everywhere in (new) fantasy fiction.

More surprised, I had so much nothing to say that one entry was not enough. That is why you are reading part two.

Rich conservative Christian individuals/organizations/churches/ congregations/cults/whatever they call themselves, are no virgins to media production.

They have their own radio and TV channels. Hell, they have even conquered the Internet! Streamlining their message, teaching people to be good Christians. All over the world.

Now however, it seems they are getting their hands dirty by putting their hard-earned dollars into mainstream media production, funding a more hidden message. Making the Christian God a natural part of everything.

You sense I am not a fan.
You sense right.

There is nothing natural about God.

And, nothing natural about my reaction to The Leftovers.

It shook my soul. My skepticism went haywire, casting me out into total chaos, ending up as an emotional ball of unresolved anger.

Why?

The Guilty Remnants (GR).

Every time the story lingers on these white clad, chain-smoking and silent folks, my stomach hurt. They anger me.

They make me uncomfortable. They scare me because the only thing I know about them, leaving the last two episodes out of it, is that they leave everyone and everything behind (although still part of the society) swears to silence, wears only white and chain-smokes.

Their mission is to make people remember.

Up until the final episode, it is unclear what people are supposed to remember. Making it universal. Whatever you have regrets about becomes what you should remember.

Up to a point, they only stalk people.

Soon they move on to breaking into people’s homes stealing photos and clothes. Leaving family and friends of those raptured with less to remember them by.

It is an effective way to piss people off. I am not the only one reacting badly to the GR and I am not even part of that world!

In the final episode, they top their weirdness by placing human-sized dolls looking like those raptured in their own clothes in the exact same situation they were raptured from.

At the same time, I am not that outraged anymore. Because now I have a clearer picture of who they are and what they want.

The more I know, they crazier they get, the calmer I stay.

Which made me think.

Christine

 

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Family, Feminism, gender, Genre, Television, TV-series

Mom. The Perfect Family.

I am a huge fan of the family sitcoms like Raising Hope and Modern Family.

They both portrait family as a non-homogeneous group of individuals defined by their good and their bad qualities. Not perfect families.

Of the two I recommend Raising Hope.

It is a highly non-functioning family portrayed with so much love and kindness that the Pritchett/Tucker-Pritchett/Dunphy-alliance, although both gay and multicultural, comes out as just petty.

Although both MF and RH is a tad goodie two-shoes, it seems that a “in your face” type of humor is seeping through many new comedies lately.

Humor so explicit it is only comparable to the cumshot in porn.
2 Broke Girls  is an example.

I am no prude. I enjoy 2BG immensely!

Then I saw an episode of the sitcom Mom.

I never found Anna Faris funny in the Scary Movie franchise.
Which I also did not like. Must be all the poop jokes.

However, I respect Allison Janney  immensely.

Where 2BG mostly joke about sex, Mom joke about fucking up life with drugs and alcohol but mostly fucking up your children’s life for the same reasons.

It is somewhat trashy. I can handle that.

Between the three generations portrayed, there is so much psychological and emotional abuse, and child neglect; it just gives me an iffy taste in the mouth.

I did not laugh through the whole season. I was uncomfortable all the way.

Then it strikes me.

Perhaps this is exactly why this show is worth watching?

It is honest.

It portrays flawed and somewhat broken females struggling to redeem themselves as individuals, as women, mothers and as a family.

Most importantly, they do it without judgment.

Christine

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Christianity, christinesrant, Entertainment, Faith, Genre, Television, TV-series

Fantasy and God. Part 1: Book of Pretence

Some would claim that the Bible is the most successful fantasy story ever written. Some would say the Bible is Truth. Nothing but the Truth.

The fantasy genre often contain some type of religion, being polytheism, monotheism, or any theism of you choosing. Usually made up especially for that story.

However, using ideas and iconography from established philosophies and religions is usually not put-upon.

The Chronicles of Narnia without C. S. Lewis’ Christian belief could perhaps be a story, but permeated with it as it is, it would also be a very short and nonsensical one. Aslan would perhaps not suffer so much though.

The new trend is using Christianity unashamed.

For years, you could enjoy demons and even angels without questioning if God is real or not.

Hell used to be a place where bad things happens repeatedly, with freeway gates shuffling living and dead back and forth. With or without Lucifer’s blessings.

Lucifer might not even be a part of it. When he was, he did it without longing for God’s approval because God did not need to exist in the story.

Now it seems we need to have God smack in the middle. We cannot have demons and angels without it being a fight where God is a main player, although missing from the picture.

Dominion is an example. Supernatural has become another one. Unfortunately.

As I have said, I have no problem swallowing the angel stuff in both these stories without God. They are fantasy stories after all.

Why the sudden need for God?

Christine

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Genre, Literary genre, Literature, Movie genre, Movies, TV-series, Uncategorized

Tolkien did not invent fantasy but he may have ruined it.

I heard somewhere that Tolkien is to epic fantasy what Jimi Hendrix is to rock music. Now, I love rock music and I call myself a Hendrix fan.

I like fantasy but strangely enough, I am not that into Tolkien.

It might be me.
Seriously, I can be at fault here.

Epic Fantasy (also known as High Fantasy) has become commercially successful. It is recycled endlessly; movies, TV-series, novels, games. You cannot escape it.

Ultimately, you cannot escape Tolkien.

Tolkien did not invent elves, goblins and dwarves. However, his vision of them has almost replaced their origin.

It has also left a curse behind. The curse of staying true to the traditions of epic fantasy, unwilling to bring something new to it.

Why does nobody accuse Tolkien of stealing material?
Not that I want to go into a discussion on Originality.
I am just saying.

At the same time, modern fantasy (after Tolkien) and its complexities and moral ambivalence has more in common with the grittier and darker fantasy genre (Low Fantasy) than that of Tolkien. He is much more a ‘black and white – and nothing in between’ type.

He is also a bit of a prude.

Modern fantasy is therefore more in the traditions of the pulpy weird fantasy from the US, beginning in the 1920s and 30s with its amorality, nudity, violence and gore. I.e. novelists such as Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) at the front.

Where am I at fault?

Is it a highbrow issue? I usually go for the underdog.
Is it a popular notion? I like what I like. Going against the flow as a default setting.

Does it simply come down to what I like?

In that case, I like my fantasy personal, dark, dirty and naked.

Christine

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