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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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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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Shadowhunters. Unfinished Business.

Shadowhunters is the brand new TV adaption of YA author Cassandra Clare’s bestselling series The Mortal Instruments (paranormal romance/urban fantasy).

In the US it airs on ABC Family, now named Freeform (Netflix for the rest of us), which sadly is the only interesting thing about the show.

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First off, I have read the books. They are okay. Perhaps a tad cliché for my taste but then again, I am no young adult anymore.

I have even seen the movie from 2013.  It was bearable. Mostly because of the casting.

Now somebody has been unfortunate enough to be responsible for Shadowhunters the TV show. So please, whoever is in charge, put an end to this travesty.

It is not imperfect. It is total GARBAGE.

I am actually not that concerned of the changes in the cast. Like so many fans.

I like Lily Collins but not a fan of her as Clary Fray in the movie. Therefore, I welcomed Katherin McNamara, except for the fact that she sucks at acting.

I do not even care that Luke is black. Tokenism or not.

Jamie Campbell Bower was never Jace to me. I always pictured him like Alex Pettyfer, when he still had is golden locks.

I can even tolerate the new high tech X-men base that is the no-longer gothic Institute.

The only one that actually can act is Alan Van Sprang. I am certain he can give the oomph that is Valentin Morgenstern. I loved him as Sir Francis Bryan in The Tudors and as King Henry II in Reign, but the writers do not bother explaining or give time to the antagonistic Circle or Valentin. Hell, they do not even bother about Shadowhunters that much.

What they do care about is showing of model perfect, beautiful people.

Mannequins.

Locked in selfie mode.

Look at the official teaser (all the way down, at the end of the rant).

If you think it looks weird, low budget and unfinished, this is also how the rest of the show looks like.

I am talking plastic swords with LED- lighting and ill-fitted supermarket cat eye contacts.

Hey, it is cheaper than CGI!

You know what will save even more money? Let’s not actually show the fight scenes! Just hint at it. Cheaper than paying a fight choreographer.

In my research for this rant (yes I actually do work at it) I found what creator Clare herself says about the show.

Clare states on her homepage (and seriously, it is really all her, high lights and all): “Please understand that I have nothing to do with the decision to make a television show instead of more movies. I have nothing to do with any casting or recasting decisions. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WRITING OF THE SHOW OR ITS PLOT. […]“.

I rest my case.

Christine

 

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Shades of Blue. Not Worth the Bribe?

Shades of Blue is a brand new cop show from NBC starring a Latina pop singer, one sober Drea de Matteo, a multiform support cast and haven’t-aged-a-day-since-the-80’s Ray Liotta.

First off, we are introduced to a bruised and crying Jennifer Lopez breaking down in front of her webcam.

We get that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is falling apart too slowly to realize and too quickly to see it coming.

I must admit, Lopez is a better actress than I give her credit for.

2 weeks earlier, NYPD Deshades_of_blue_postertective Harlee Santos’ (Lopez) rookie partner Michael Loman (played by Dayo Okeniyi), straight outta the Academy, makes an epic mistake.

He kicks down the door and shoots a suspect only to find that the gunshot he heard was from a video game the perp was playing, no gun in sight.

With absolutely no time-out, Santos rearrange the crime scene and their story, so it matches a how-not-to-be-fired-on-the-second-day-script. Because the perp was a bad guy. No doubt about it.

She even shoots her poor rookie partner in the vest. Without warning him, and she is somewhat cold and eerily calm while doing all of this.

This is not her first rodeo.

When asked later why she did not warn him, she answers, “Cause you would have flinched. And I’m not that good a shot.” Okay, then. That makes it alright, I guess.

And even when she meets her teenage daughter and banters her, she still seems emotionless.

But it does not feel limited to Lopez’ acting. I actually believe she is this cold.

The first time she is even remotely emotional is when the rookie seeks her out, telling her that he wants to come clean when talking with Internal Affairs. He even suggests keeping her part out of it all.

Her reaction is to rant on how HER daughter is HIS daughter because the badge makes them family, and that she saved him today and that he need to save her tomorrow.

Her boss Lt. Wozniak (Liotta) is of course in on it all. They all are. Santos and a bunch of colleagues meets in the cold unit in a backroom somewhere, getting their dirty money. Mr. Lt. Police Boss is in charge.

Okay, so she has money problems. Her daughter’s school is too expensive. However, her boss is there for her. He is taking care of it all. Just like family should.

Enter the FBI.
And trouble.

Because corruption is still corruption. Even if it makes a good and safe family, and it has cleaned up the neighborhood.

Santos needs to choose between her family and her dirty cop family. And I am guessing this will fuel the drama and suspense of this show.

Liotta is marvelous as a loving father figure gone psychotic dirty cop. The rest is kinda meh.

I enjoy the 80’s flare and Lopez is actually not that bad. I like her character (before the FBI). Here’s hoping she keeps her cool and not fret out. Keep the suspense and less drama.

There is also something about the weird tension between Santos and FBI agent Robert Stahl (played by Warren Cole) I find musing.

I think I will give it a few more episodes.

Christine

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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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The Last Ship. Fire In The Hole!

OMFG!
I do not know how or where to start this rant.

At first, The Last Ship looks cool.

A post- apocalyptic pandemic scenario and a US Navy guided missile destroyer.

Straight of I get a Battlestar Galactica feel. A hint of old school sci-fi, like with real sets and everything.

In addition, there is a present and an imminent danger.
Not in a far future. Furthermore, it is on our earth. No parallel worlds. No aliens.

Oh Gosh, I am getting my hopes up!

Not 12 minutes into the episode, the Russians attack.

Ah, I see.
A nostalgic nudge to 80’s and 90’s action movies with American number one favorite enemy Russia. I am cool with that.

From there on EVERYTHING about this show goes horribly wrong.

Half way through episode 2 I am getting increasingly uncomfortable as our heroes searches Guantanamo Bay for supplies.

Freed because of the virus, Al-Qaida prisoners rule this playground hell-bent on killing everyone although the virus is killing everybody anyway.

So not to be confused with our heroes, Al-Qaida is dressed in their standardized uniform complete with orange neckties, afghan turbans and beards.

It is as if they never left the Afghan mountains.
They are even accompanied by an exotic soundtrack.

Do the US and their military need a pat on the shoulder?
Here represented by the Navy. The finest of the whitest. Yeah, I am talking about their iconic white ceremonial uniform.

Is their reputation THAT tarnished?
‘Cause in my mouth this tastes awfully like propaganda.

Russia is the enemy throughout the season. Thank goodness, we have evolved though!

Our hero captain speaks Russian.

In addition to reading books.
About Russian military captains.

However, there is no Russia anymore. Only forces operating on their own authority according to what is left of the US Government holding out in a bunker underground, hanging on the US of A is still standing strong!

Although it is in shambles.
Just like Russia.

But in control.
Unlike Russia.

The ongoing threat by the Russians and the one from the Al-Qaida is only the beginning.

Meet El Toro. The drug lord type living it easy in the Nicaraguan jungle he calls his own.

He molests young girls, preferably right before they hit puberty. He is surrounded by jungle music with sounds of monkeys and bongo drums.

So to best get that jungle vibe.

Still not convinced this show is crap?

Every military person on board is understandably American. Therefore, we need an intelligent alibi.

Thankfully, the scientists guesting the destroyer are British. The man is however a traitor.

He does not speak much in the beginning. When he does, it is with the Russians. Therefore, you accept his stone cold nature without blinking while the female scientist runs around all emotional.

To top it off, he has red hair and bad acne scars across his face for goodness sake!

Of course, he is bad.

I mean British.

To complete this work of crap, the Asian-American engineering guy does not stop reading while eating and one of the two Afro-American guys you get to know, is the first to die. On an away mission of all things.

Christine

 

 

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