How do you wrap up 2016?! TV and Streaming BARBARIANS RISING


2016 was a FANTASTIC year for TV.

Netflix and streaming options such as Amazon Prime and Hulu has effectively changed how the world consumes and watches tv.

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Tonight I discovered History Channel’s BARBARIANS RISING, which tells the tale of one of the greatest warriors in the history of the world, Hannibal Barca, and his insane dream, obsession, vision, to conquer the unconquerable Rome.

I have my issues with the HISTORY CHANNEL, I think their VIKINGS TV show, that paints a friendly, proto-feminist, misunderstood anti-hero view of the Vikings, is irresponsible and misguided film-making at its worst.

I don’t expect a documentary, and even in a documentary, much of what we know, must be colored, romanticized, dramatized. The truth of over 2000 years ago like the truth of yesterday, will never be exactly seen by any two people, exactly the same.

But that said while the telling is fluid, blatantly changing the morality of what is known is not. That is simple mendacity.

It’s white-washing of history, that is beyond romanticism to bald-face lying. Like making the ancient Egyptians white. :).

Here’s the thing the Vikings, in their approach to nonvikings, were proto-Nazis, Nazis in their purest form. They were what Nazis dreamed of being. They believed in rape, and pillage, and death, and wholesale slaughter of their enemies. They were in battle, drug addled butchers and thieves and rapists, who put to the sword any land they could reach. War and Pillaging, was not an end, it was a practice, it was a purpose, it was a past time, it was the reason to wake up and the reason to go to bed. As it was for many of the ancient people. Blood, unfortunately, is under most of our ancestors nails.

They did monstrous things, but they also did admirable things. But art, to be honest, must not dismiss the one, to elevate the other. And that’s what the show VIKINGS does, it glorifies that which has no glory in it, and ignores that, which should not be ignored. And to do this is analagous to havaing a show called Nazis, and to portray them as heroic, with no look into the programs of genocide, and the Nazi Work and Death camps.

I’m not saying don’t have a show about Vikings, but tell the truth, don’t make saints out of sinners, and if you find your characters are too reprehensible when you do that, then maybe that’s telling you something.

So I have my issues with HISTORY CHANNEL.

But those issues do not extend to BARBARIANS RISING. Which quite frankly is my last great television discovery of 2016!

 

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The first episode, RESISTANCE, simply must see television.

“I swear by the Deathless Gods that I shall not rest till the heart of Rome bleeds dry on the sword of Carthage.” –Hannibal Barca, Son of Carthage, One of the Greatest Generals in the History of the World

 

This is one I have to own the Blu-Ray of! It’s not a show you want to have disappear off of streaming.

Get your copy here:

 

 

Barbarians Rising [Blu-ray]

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Slim of the Day : THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN : FALL OF MAN

We have the technology.

We can rebuild him.

We can make the world’s first Bionic Man.

 

Four decades ago kids everywhere thrilled to that opening of one of their favorite TV shows, The Six Million Dollar Man starring Lee Majors as the titular hero… Steve Austin.

Well New jersey Publisher  Dynamite Entertainment since 2014 has been bringing us various slim revivals of everyone’s favorite slow motion super powered hero.

[Slim- A stapled publication, consisting of words and pictures telling a narrative in periodical format, typically monthly doses, told in scant pages in a highly portable format, with eye catching covers and interiors. Also known by the more widely used misnomer of comic books.]

Six Million Dollar Man Fall #1A

And 2016 mini-series THE FALL OF MAN written by Van Jensen with art by Ron Salas and Letters by Taylor Esposito and colors by Mike Atiyeh and Caitlin McCarthy, is the companies fourth time at bat with this property and is their most successful. As it takes place in the 80s, in a cold world, where the wall has not yet fallen. but the year is never implicitly stated; instead the time is set in inventive and satirical story beats and sight gags.

From 80s star references to a bit of lampooning of the high tech marvels of the day (Such as portable phones in the early 80s, truly monstrously sized things by today’s standards, but back then they were marvels. Same with the room sized computers that had less processing power than even your low-end laptop today); while all the while telling a crackerjack action story of betrayal, globe trotting espionage, and bionic feats of derring-do.

It’s just a fun series.

And while Ron Salas figure drawing at first strikes as merely serviceable, his use of layouts and panel composition and inventive storytelling is exceptional, as are his covers for this series. I’ve read all issues of the series to date, and they have all been exceptional and come highly recommended. 

If late to the party have no fear, as all issues are available at the link below.

Use the below link, get great books, and support this blog, as every purchase though the link, generates a couple pennies to keep this blog bringing you the best in Pop Culture finds!

Without further ado, get your issues of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN : FALL OF MAN here:

 

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Netflix Series of the Month : LUKE CAGE by Cheo Hodari Coker! Report card on Episodes 1 to 8!

The long awaited third Netflix/Marvel series, LUKE CAGE, has launched, and helmed by relative unknown show runner, Cheo Hodari Coker, eight episodes in and I’m LOVING IT!!!

Here’s a minor recap of the eight episodes seen to date. It’s relatively innocuous comments, but to cover my bases I will say minor spoilers ahead, if you haven’t seen the episodes. But really I don’t think it spoils anything. But if in doubt, watch the episodes first.

Episode 1 and 2 written by Cheo Hodari Coker and directed by Paul McGuigan are exceptional. As strong, if not stronger of a start than the previous Netflix entries. It’s really some fantastic, rich, long overdue writing that touches on everything from Crispus Attucks to Walter Mosley to Dennis Lehane.

Episode 3 is good but I have minor quibbles with it. The first 2 episodes sets up Luke Cage as someone who doesn’t curse and doesn’t like profanity, so his going into a battle listening to a profanity laden rap song seems questionable.

Also the Director has the chance to make a pivotal action scene to match the wonderful episode 3 highlight of the DAREDEVIL season 1, and misses a mark with a pretty unremarkable action sequence. However the remaining episode, good dialogue, nice twists, and a literally explosive ending keeps this episode in the winner category.

Episode 4 is FANTASTIC. An excellent origin story. Superlative story

Episode 5 is FANTASTIC! Yes!

Episode 6 Wonderful wrap-up. If this was a 6 episode season it would rock! In many ways this is the end of the first story arc, if this was a comic trade-paperback. And episode 7 begins the 2nd arc.So you should really approach starting the 7th episode, after a small break, like you are starting a new story arc.

Episode 7 – Fantastic score highlights this episode. Probably the best score of any of the episodes. A fantastic origin story, this time for the antagonists. What makes a great hero, is a great villain. And this episode shows you the roots of two of them. One of the best episodes!

Episode 8 – The machinations against Luke tighten as his life, and the lives of those around him come tumbling down. Another engrossing episode, that I was thoroughly entertained by from beginning to end.

3/4ths done and I think this series is a Home Run. I like it much better than Daredevil Season II, and have to wait to see if it sticks the landing… to see if I like it as much as DAREDEVIL Season 1 and JESSICA JONES.

The Marvel/Netflix juggernaut continues to be, like Luke Cage, bullet-proof. 🙂

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

GREAT 2015 Art Books to get before the end of the year!!

 

The Art of Horror: An Illustrated History

Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness

 

 

Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions

 

 

Hello, Here I Am

 

 

Hall of History Bermuda’s Story in Art

 

 

Gustave Dore 1832-1883: Master of Imagination

 

 

 

American Grotesque: The Life and Art of William Mortensen

 

 

Currently Watching : Netflix’s JESSICA JONES

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Netflix continues to just hit it out of the park these days. As smart and succesful as Marvel Studios has been crafting the most succesful movie Franchise in history, Netflix is making those kinds of historic strides in the area of streaming entertainment.

The quality of the projects they produce and they purchase is just phenomenally high. They know how to pick and make great projects, from HOUSE OF CARDS to LONGMEYER to DAREDEVIL they have not just made good shows for a streaming channel, they are making great and groundbreaking television… by anyone’s definition.

JESSICA JONES, the 2nd of their Marvel Universe properties, continues that midas touch streak. Three episodes in and I’m loving it. It’s a different beast from DAREDEVIL, perhaps not as compulsively brilliant, it’s more of a slow burn, but so far that’s working out just fine.

Brian Michael Bendis, the writer whose graphic novel ALIAS this series is based on, and the producer on this series, should be justifiabbly pleased. This series so far is doing justice to his acclaimed graphic novel, while being distinctly its own thing.

If you are not watching it yet, my recommendation is to start. It is very good. Oh, and for mature viewers only. 🙂

Movie Poster of the Day! Support Quentin Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT!

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Finally we get a good poster for Quentin Tarantino’s eagerly awaited eighth movie… THE HATEFUL EIGHT!

I for one am definitely looking forward to it, as it has a great cast and an intriguing premise, and I’m a fan of westerns. Tarantino remains one of the most interesting filmmakers, and this is one I want to lay down my money for.

Plus it would be great to send a big FU to “not-worthy-to-be-named Tarantino haters”, by making this movie a box-office smash! 🙂

BEST OF 2015: Album/CD of the Day… Oddisee’s THE GOOD FIGHT


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Oddisee’s THE GOOD FIGHT- After seeing numerous best of list in 2015 extolling Kendrick Lamar’s TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY I offer up THE GOOD FIGHT as a dissenting opinion. Good on any musician who can get accolades, but I’m of the mindset that the only thing good and creative about TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY is the title and that the actual album is juvenile and perhaps unnecessarily ignorant… to the point of stupidity.

There may be a positive message somewhere in TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY, but somewhere in the 15th N word this and F that, I became extremely bored. It was almost laughable, in that it seemed I was listening to a 14 year old that had just learned how to cuss and was doing it all the time, rather than an adult who should be able to put together a lyric or perhaps an entire song without the crutch of expletives.

And I know he is doing it because that is what his label wants him to do, what they want to sell to urban children as the extent of music, but it does a grand disservice to everyone.

It’s analogous to the comedian who goes on stage and does fart jokes, it may get a laugh or a chuckle when you’re a kid, just hearing it, but somewhere along the way you want more out of your humor than the lowest common denominator, You want wit, and perhaps a bit of wisdom. And the same for music, you get to the point where you want of your music, a bit of wit and wisdom.

THE GOOD FIGHT offers that bit of wisdom, delivered by a rapper with real skills and a social conscience, and the ability to sell his message without the crutch of constant cursing.

In any sane world you can not listen to the flow, the lyrics, the speed, the melody, the entire package that is Oddisee’s THE GOOD FIGHT and not rate it as not just the superior album by miles, but the superior performer. One is the work of an adult talking about you and me and the world striving toward better, and one is the petty ramblings about bitches and hos, not done particularly well.

The praise for TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY and the relative obscurity of THE GOOD FIGHT, perhaps indicative of a generation of children raised and sold on profanity over performance and mendacity over musicality. Well THE GOOD FIGHT is an excellent album for people raised on awful rap/gangsta ‘music’ to see what great Rap actually sounds like. Grade: B+.

Get your copy at the link below:
The Good Fight