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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Ash vs Evil Dead, CBS, christinesrant, Diversity, Entertainment, Limitless, Minority Report, Person of Interest, Prejudice, Racial discrimination, Revenge, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, sexism, Sleepy Hollow, The X- Files, TV, TV-series, USA, Women empowerment

The Black Female Cop and the Case of the Uncontrollable White Male.

I am hoarding TV shows and while this makes me seem friendless, lazy and pathetic, it gives me great joy and even some deep frustrations, but mostly it gives me food for thought.

So not that sad actually.

When watching so many TV shows simultaneously you start seeing connections between them. Even when there is none. But that is a medical condition and not the subject of this rant.

Lately TV shows combine police investigations with sci fi and/or supernatural threats. Most of them even turning to the fantastic when working cases. It is quite the trend!

Multiple reality checks vs sci fi/fantasy.
Badge vs evil, sort off.

Wearing said badge is usually a very competent female Afro-American police officer. What most of them have in common; a white male bringing chaos into their world.

Men who rely on their gut feeling, magic and even crime.
Men with a mission.
With secrets.

Men who need protection.
From themselves, but mostly from others.

Should I tread lightly now, you say?
Being a white middle-aged middleclass woman.

I will jump right in then.

Firstly, worth mentioning when taking on this trope, is Detective Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson) in CBSPerson of Interest (2011-), the show that least rely on supernatural stuff but is very much a science fiction mystery show.

PERSON OF INTERESTDetective Carter is a confident single mom and an excellent detective. She is in control of both her work and personal life; although you could say, she is somewhat boring. No romantic entanglements, no shady business, but manages to balance her work and family duties like a pro.

Enter the ex-assassin John Reese (played by Jim Caviezel).

Some would claim that Reese is not chaotic at all and right they are, he is a total neat freak but he is still a chaotic part of Carters life. First, he is a suspect then an ally, a partner and a friend. Somewhat stupidly he ends up being a unfulfilled romantic connection. All while he tries to do good by doing a little bit bad.

Person of Interest season 1 trailer

Following along this path almost exactly is Fox’ show Minority Report (2015-)  based on the movie from 2002 with the same name.

Minority-Report-PosterMegan Good plays Detective Lara Vega, solving murders 10 years after the Precrime ended. She is a remarkable and very capable detective. Never needed any help doing her job before. She even manages to handle her ex being her boss.

Until Dash (Dashiell Parker).

A half shy, half-autistic precog living in a milk jar for six years played by Stark Sands, who sees the crimes before they happen but has no clue whom the victim is or the guilty party.

Dash desperately wants to help. In addition, hide from whoever is looking for him and the other precogs. To disrupt Vega’s life even more, his visions comes with an unsettling timing. And they spend equal time trying to cover up their workings from exes, police and powers to be. His criminal brother Arthur Watson (played by Nick Zano helps out, to keep the chaos rolling.

Minority Report season 1 trailer

Sleepyhollow-poster1780’s Ichabod Crane (by Tom Mison) stirs up trouble (first) in 2013 (and ongoing) for police Lt. Abbie Mills (Nichole Baherie) in FoxSleepy Hollow.

To be fair, she was already gifted/cursed as a Witness as a child but this has never been a problem in her adulthood. She does have a crazy and criminal sister who did not handle what had happened to them that well.

Like all the others, Mills is very capable, on her way to become FBI but a couple of resurrections, one headless horseman and an evil witchy wife later, her life is in shambles. I say she handles it all very well.

Sleepy Hollow season 1 trailer

Also worth mentioning, although only support cast member, is the lovely but disgraced State Trooper Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) in StarzAsh vs Evil Dead (2015-) hit TV show.

We know Ash (Bruce Campbell) from the previous comedy horror movies to be cheesy, resourceful and unlucky. And Fisher needs to get to him before anything more evil happens. She is however not immune to his charms. With fatal consequences.

Ash vs Evil Dead season 1 trailer

Disruptive white men have not only been a black woman’s problem. White women have also had their share of uncontrollable white male partners.

FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) in FoxFringe (2008-2013) collaborates with criminal Peter Bishop (by Joshua Jackson)  and his crazy father, Dr. Walter Bishop (by John Noble).

Fringe season 1 trailer

US Secret Service Agent Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) in Syfy’s Warehouse 13 (2009-2014) is a by-the-book agent. She has an eidetic memory and is all about details. A rising star that suddenly finds herself stuck with the recovering alcoholic and rule bender agent Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) with a knack for vibes.

Warehouse season 1 trailer

In the new CBS show Limitless (2015-) based on the movie Limitless (2011) Agent Rebecca Harris (Jennifer Carpenter) has her share of trouble containing Brian Finch (Jake McDorman).

Limitless season 1 trailer

x-files-exclusiveFinally, but not forgetting Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). She iconized the trope in The X-files (originally aired 1993-2002, new mini-series in 2016), keeping control on Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was a full time job. It is also one of the most anticipated new season of a sci fi show EVER. And the first episode delievers. Especially when it comes to Mulder’s usual lift off and Scully carefully bringing him down and back to reality.

I am still amazed how fucked up their communication is, and yet we still watch it. Mulder never explains anything, but rambles on about THIS thing (never pronouncing what the specific this IS) being the most important bit about IT (?) and that they have to whistleblow it. Scully always shutting him down but never makes him actually explain it. She never asks why or what he is talking about. Either she is a Mulder mind reader or she does not care at all. Watch trailer for the new mini-series underneath.

Christine

 

 

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Adaption, christinesrant, Entertainment, Review, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, space opera, Syfy, Television, The Expanse, TV, TV-series

The Expanse. Expanding in the Right Direction.

OMFG!

I am having trouble finding words to describe exactly how excited I am about The Expanse!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here I am. All fired up!

Alert French Bulldog running forwards

This space opera could be the next big thing since Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)!

It seems to be the answer to all my prayers. If I prayed. Which I do not. But if I did, I would pray for something like this.

I am a huge scifi fan and there has been a serious lack in the space-opera-on-TV since BG.

I love TV shows like Star Trek (any of them), Farscape (1994-2004), and Babylon 5 (1994—1998) etc. Although not space operas per se, not even these scifi shows have worthy successors.

I have been mildly interested in the deteriorating Falling Skies (2011-2015) and the more bearable Defiance (2013-2015).

I even tried Dark Matter (2015-), but it did not hook me. DM is scheduled for a season two, so I might pick it up again, but it is not likely to happen anytime soon.

I gave Killjoys (2015-) a try. A choice I do not regret. If you are into fun-loving, high-tech, guns blazing, and adventurous scifi, you will not regret watching it! Season two is already scheduled.

Now I crave something more complex with depth.

The Expanse is a serious contestant in winning me over, as the scifi slut I am.  Four episodes in, it promises a lot and I am certainly intrigued. Belly up and all.

It is bas1484233348223075652ed on a series of novels called The Expanse by James S. A. Corey. There is actually a duo hiding behind the pen name, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The first one in the series is Leviathan Wakes from 2011, so it is relative new. They have released five novels and counting.

More delightful, the Syfy channel is responsible for this bowl of goodness.

It is about time that the channel sheds its lame, low production escapist B-movie status. The channel did give us cheesy movies like Sharktopus (2010) and Sharknado (2013). And, yet again give us pompous space opera dramas like they did with BG.

Honestly, the trailer is kinda meh. After watching the first four episodes (of 10 total), I do not feel it represents the show fairly. So I beg you, see episode one instead.

The first episodes paints a big picture with broad strokes, introducing a well of characters and plotlines with little information to go on. Characters die at a rapid rate and I am guessing blindly who will be the remaining main cast.

Three characters stands out though.

Police detective Joe Miller, played by Thomas Jane (Punisher from the movie with the same name and Ray Drecker from Hung) is on a missing woman assignment while his home world Ceres erupts into chaos.

Chrisjen Avasarala, a United Nations executive played by Shohreh Agdashloo (Stefania Vaduva Popescu from Grimm) is trying to prevent war between Earth and Mars.

Ship Officer Jim Holden, played by Steven Strait (D’Leh from 10,000 BC and the forever hunky Warren Peace in Sky High) quickly finds himself and crew sole survivors of an attack, with failing air supply and the enemy close by.

Action, drama, survival, terrorists, space travel, technobabble, mystery, political thrills, secrets, military strategies, culture clashes, tech noir, explosions, conspiracies, you name it!

A 13- episode second season is already scheduled to air early 2017.

I cannot wait!

 

Christine

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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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christinesrant, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV, TV-series

The Importance of Being Pregnant.

Stories have a correlation to the world we are living in. They are man-made. There is nothing natural about stories.

Shortly after 9/11 a bunch of mainstream Hollywood movies best described as revenge movies came on the scene. No one explicitly taking on the subject of course, it was too early to do that.

We have struggled for a long time now with an enormous amount of post-apocalyptic movies and TV-shows. It does not seem to fade away.

Not so strange when crisis after crisis has had the world in turmoil this last decade. Economic collapses, political and environmental disasters. You name it!

Post-apocalyptic themes and zombies usually follows vampires, a leech that not so strangely correlates with economic changes in society.

I am not kidding. You can google it.

What comes after the post- apocalypse?

Babies, is the right answer!

We need something stabilizing. We need society to move one. We need the family to stay together and we need hope. Nothing says hope like a baby.

I do hope this fad is short-lived.

The last time we had a wave of pregnancies was during the mid-90 to mid-2000 and every drama/comedy in mainstream cinema had at least one pregnant woman or unprepared parents in it.

TV science fiction is now picking up the torch, expecting and bursting with babies.

Extant combines pregnancy with alien intrusion. As if it was not hard enough, Halle Berry need to struggle with aliens, a husband on a mission and Roboboy too.

This show tries hard at many things. Thankfully, they have money enough for visual effects, good actors and a solid production.

Perhaps it would be a better show if they had not done both the ‘alien pregnancy conspiracy’ plot at the same time as the ‘Roboboy is just like human boys’ plot.

The Lottery  is seriously taking the subject of pregnancy, or the lack of, straight on. This show has potential.

I know. It is just another way to say they fucked it up.

It was supposed to be Children of Men  for TV but perhaps they got too afraid it would look like a copycat? Children of Men was good on as many levels as this show is bad.

Okay, you had a beautiful baby. Can we please move on now?

Christine

 

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christinesrant, Doctor Who, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV-series

Doctor Who. An Apple a Day.

This is a difficult rant to write but the necessity has become alarming.

My Whovian affinity began with me accidentally watching part of an episode at a friends’ house. Tennant was the Doctor. I admit, I remember it as a bit embarrassing.

However, one thing was clear.

The Doctor might be in almost every scene but the show is not about him.

Awkward, there was still something there. Enough for me to want to check out more.

I wanted to part-take. I liked the whole space and time concept, although wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

Before I jumped on the new series bandwagon, I decided to watch the old stuff first.

It took me a year to go through it all.
From 1963 up until 89, including the movie from 1996.

I was hooked.

Early on, my theory about the Doctor was confirmed.

His part in the story became clearer through each regeneration. The Doctor is as much a character as the Tardis is. The story was not about him.

The new instalment changed this.

Doctor Who needed to follow the New Golden Era Formula for TV series. Which means an emphasis on character driven plots (hooks) at the expense of story driven ones.

He became the main character.
He became a man.

He is not.
He is an alien.

We needed him to fulfill the (epic) hero role. Complete with romance and everything. With the ugly and embarrassing affair of Rose and the 10th Doctor as the result.

The Doctor is not supposed to be a romantic hero.

He is a tool. A device.

I do not want to figure him out, or know more about him because there is no unresolved mystery there.

He is simply the Doctor.

Doctor Who?

Exactly.

Christine

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, The New Golden Era Formula, TV-series

The New Golden Era Formula. (Or, How to Watch the Same Shit. Repeatedly.)

People speak of the New Golden Era for TV.

Well, it has a backside.

You do not need to watch many TV shows before that numbing feeling that you have seen this before comes creeping along.

I have two problems with TV mystery/sci fi dramas today:
A) The Formula itself.
B) The character driven story.

A) The Golden Formula is basic = 1) Solve one (story) plot per episode. 2) Solve one arc plot per season. Usually 22 episodes.

Only 3-4 episodes connects directly to the arc plot, so a season contains mostly of one-offs. Usually, there is at least 2×2 episodes that follows the ‘to be continued’ rule, either around mid-season and/or season finale.

B) It is completed with character driven plot (character hooks) instead of story hooks. It is no longer the story that keeps us coming back for more. It is the characters.

You can’t have one without the other, you say?
Start making good story hooks then!

Every episode begins with up to 5 minutes of character development, a tiny bit of information gathered through lines or actions.

It then continues to easily solving the story. Which is the same one, only changing the backdrop, character name and the actors that play them. In some cases, not even that.

In the last minutes of each episode, we are again treated to some tiny bit of character info, only enough to keep us hanging on (hook), tuning into the next episode.

Rinse.
Repeat.

I have touched the subject earlier, as in my rant on Arrow and in the plea about Intruders.

This New Golden Era Formula has become more obvious with the current binge-watching epidemic. You can actually time the scenes and hooks in every episode!

Advertisements must take some of the blame. A show needs hooks before going to break, usually 2-3 times during a 40-45 minute episode, but ads cannot take the blame for character driven plots.

I clearly see who is at fault.

It is J. J. Abrams.

Alias  (2001-2006) is the show that stands out to me as the one first perfecting this formula.

It is a rollercoaster of hooks and plot twists heavily character driven. Sidney solves the same case every episode, the only change is with which wig. It is her relationships, her friends, her parents and employers, all summed up as ever-changing allies and enemies that moves the story forward. One minute at a time.

In 2004, Lost added flashbacks to the mix. A narrative device I now only think of as the Mother of all Evil.

The only way to escape boredom is if you find the characters interesting, lovable or not. If sucked in, you are trapped in a maze of hope.

Will they fall in love? Will he ever trust again? What happened to make him so cold-hearted? Which is all questions about the character.

Person of Interest (2011-) comes highly recommended by fans but it follows the Formula to the point of it being ridiculous. Sorry folks, Reese and Finch are just not that interesting for me to get an addiction. #StillNotAFan

However, in the shadows of the Formulistic Maze there is hope lurking.

Shows like The Lottery  and The Strain, had they only been better!

I firmly believe that the successes (critical acclaim) of shows like Fargo, The Leftovers, True Detective and (not surprisingly) Intruders, partly is because they dare to break free of the Formula.

Christine

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