News you can Use!… And a RanT.

DISNEY QUIETLY DELETES ‘TOY STORY 2’ SCENE AMIDST ‘ME-TOO’ BACKLASH.

https://frompage2screen.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/disney-quietly-deletes-toy-story-2-casting-couch-scene-after-metoo/

 

This is a bit longer than I intended it to be, so feel free to read in pieces. I think there may be some grain of wisdom in the wildness of it. It goes hither and yon, but its heart is in the right place.

 

First I have never liked Disney.

I don’t.

I do not like their stance on copyright. I do not like their stance on creator rights. And I do not like that they famously, or infamously bought a news station, rather than being the subject of the news.

I do not like any company that is above the law. All laws. And masks their absolute earth shaking power, behind this facile facade of familial values.

But you do have to respect Disney.

Respect what they have done, and how they have done it.

But cheer-leading is another matter.

I think people who were championing for Disney to buy Fox, or this company, or that company. the mass of people without a stake in Disney, championing Disney so they can see fictional characters share the same screen, are morons who do not understand larger issues of monopoly, and wage manipulation and price fixing, and law making, that comes with allowing a company to get that big. Real tangible issues that affect the people and the quality of life of the people, not at the very top of that economic pyramid.

I think people who take an ownership view of how much billions more, billion and trillion dollar entities like Disney make (oh we have to get the Avengers movie over a Billion or to 2 Billion) are ignorant slaves, cooing for their masters to build a bigger house, and expand their plantation, when you barely have a pot to piss in.

I like the Marvel and Star Wars movies and think Disney has done well by them  (However I would have been happier if neither Disney purchase was approved, and they remained separate companies, because competition and a free market and quality of life and choice… is more important than getting a specific type of movie), and I want entertainment I consume to be good, but as far as being a cheerleader for how much more billions these movies make for their global overloads. I sincerely could not care less. If the movies lose money they lose money, if they gain money they gain money.

The fact that studios have helped destroy local theaters and distribution, that 40 years ago, that money a  blockbuster made would go into the local economy,. Into the Independent theaters, the distributors, the retail companies. That money a movie made, a nice portion of it, went back into the local economy. Not so any longer. Now a studio owns a stake in everything from the distribution company, to the chain of theaters it is shown at, to the theatrical equipment and media used. The Billions a movie makes, is literally billions moving out of the pockets of the many poor, and into the pockets of the few rich.

Only if you are a stock owner should you feel some tiny type of fiscal ownership or incentive in Disney’s financials, and I guarantee you most of the idiots who are clamoring for a movie to break this record or that record, do not own a single Disney stock. They are penniless slaves taking ownership in their masters house, rather than any ownership in their own.

So that is my background on how I feel regarding Disney.

 

Now onto them cowtowing to ‘Me Too’ mob.

 

This is the reason DVDs and Blurays can not be replaced by streaming, because of this tail wagging the dog syndrome, this knee-jerk reaction companies and politicians and courts are engaged in of cowtowing to the mob, and acting and punishing at the whims of the mob, before thinking.

We can have great intentions, but the 2nd those great intentions transcend due process or replace ‘innocent till proven guilty’ with ‘guilty till proven innocent’; you become a mob rather than a movement.

And businesses and courts and the media, cowtowing to this witchhunt atmosphere become part of that lynchmob mentality.

Let us start with the big picture and some historical perspective and work our way down.

A lynch mob mentality. That’s the type of atmosphere, where people lose their job and livelihoods and lives before their day in court, where books get banned and burned, and in the age of streaming, films get… altered.

So that’s the reason if you have a movie you love, you only truly own it, if it is in a physical format. Any item you own in the ‘cloud’ or even on your hard drive (if it is accessible to updates) is subject to this re-writing of content, this editing of content, to placate the unreasoning, scared, power-hungry mob.

Most people have good intentions.

To protect their communities, to support democracy, to fight against discrimination, to oppose sexual harassment, to protect children, to defend women.

But we have allowed people with bad intentions to weaponize these good intentions, with unthinking rigid slogans that replace and usurp the rule of law, and dispense and enact punishment before due process, popular American slogans such as “Make America Great Again aka Keep America White” or “Better Dead than Red” or “Me Too”, when you become a knee jerk defender of slogans over reason and due process, you move from a defender against crime, to a committer or crimes. A lynch mob and a witch hunt.

And I’ll have no truck with that.

Too many people have been lynched in this country, both literally and most recently social media wise, to let anyone get away with mob justice, or mob punishment, as our new normal.

Someone is accused of a crime, guess what people… IT IS STILL AN EFFING ACCUSATION until proven in court. You should not immediately go from reading a headline to attacking that person, and calling for punishment and calling for them to be fired or banned or stripped of their earned honors.

(One thing on that — If an honor a university or organization has given to a person that has earned it, is removed at the behest of the mob, you do harm to the value of that honor. To the integrity of that organization.

What matters is not who the person you gave an honor to… becomes, or was in the past, but that you gave your word. If the reason the honor was given remains a fixed point in time, a fact, than that honor must likewise remain a fact, a fixed point in time.

We do not get to only immortalize a man’s falling down, his standing up, the reasons for those accolades must likewise be a fixed point. For accolades and honors to be removed with the mutterings of the mob, is to make those honors and the institution that gives them and takes them away… of no more value, than spit in wind. I’m looking at you Yale and Xavier and the Navy… to name a few.)

What we do not do, is 4 years before their date in court, pronounce them guilty, fire them, hound them, and generally destroy their life and livelihood on an accusation. That is the definition of a witchhunt and mob justice.

A man or woman’s bad, does not erase their good, and in this ME TOO slogan age, we seem to want to  make a person the one, and erase the other. And that is not how judgement works, or none of us will see the paradise.

Because if men who have done more good, than any twenty of us walking this planet, can be demonized by the mob in the blink of an eye, with none of that good taken into account, all those accolades edited out, and only the bad judged, then none of us, judged that way, will escape hell.

We must weigh the good a person has done against their bad, and only then can they be judged fairly. And they must be judged by people impartial, without axes to grind, or an agenda to put forward, else it is not judgement, it is crucifixion.

This censoring and editing of content, because ‘we’ no longer agree with an actor who is in it, or a joke that is portrayed, is a very slippery slope. And we have been here before, and it does not work out well for anyone.

A bit of an off-topic rant, but one that was brewing for a bit.

And shows how potentially widespread and damaging to every facet of our lives, cow-towing to the mob can be.

Final take away: slogans are for outside the court, not in place of it, and more trivial take away… if you have content you love, be it a book, a song, a movie, in this new digital/streaming age, while accessing it has become easier, so has altering and censoring it. So if you have something you love, own it in a form that can not easily be changed, a physical/tangible form.

 

Here endeth the Rant. 🙂

 

 

On JESSICA JONES Trailer, Tom King’s BATMAN, and DCs SWAMP THING show!

Let us start in the middle Tom King’s BATMAN.

I listened to a recent podcast where they were bemoaning the news of Tom King stepping off the BATMAN comic. All kinds of speculation on him being removed, etc. That he was doing a brilliant run on Batman, etc, etc. And they couldn’t understand how DC could not see what a great, innovative job he was doing, and that DC execs must not like great stories, yada, yada.

This very minor and relatively harmless rant from this podcast I watched, illustrates perhaps a less wholesome issue with our culture in whole. This inability to see or look for, or acknowledge, viewpoints other than our own.

The truth is out there, to paraphrase a show I was never a fan of, beyond the odd ‘monster-of the week’ episode.

The truth is out there, but we have to look, and we have to do our homework.

It doesn’t have to be controversy when we get news we do not expect or agree with.

It doesn’t have to be DC executives are stupid.

It could be as simple, if Tom King was removed, as simple as the books were not moving in the numbers they liked, or meeting with across the board praise.

A simple look at reviews of Tom King’s BATMAN run, whether podcasts, or Youtube videos, or blogs or websites, when you extend the search beyond your circle, your chorus, you see a run, a body of work, that from the first trade on, was conflicted. And grew more uneven and conflicted, in terms of the writing, and the response to the writing with every trade/issue.

I think a lot of people make excuses for Tom King”s work when they do not love it. Like they refuse to admit they didn’t love it because of Tom King, so they blame the publisher, or the editor, etc.

A writer is a lot like a director, you get the praise when a product is great. You should also carry the blame when a product isn’t. A lot of people like to give King the former, and make excuses to keep him from the latter.

Stop making excuses or trying to blame Editorial if you do not like a Tom King story. You do not try to give them the praise if you love a Tom King story. So let’s not be hypocrites.

And I am not anti-Tom King, I am not one of these knuckle dragging anti social justice warrior, anti-woman, anti-diversity, psuedo neo nazi nuts. I judge the work, on the work, and wait to read it, before having an opinion on it.

Tom King can be a great writer.

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https://amzn.to/2MAm9GC

His VISION series is one of the greatest things I have read in years. (And if you have not read it, I urge you to pick up the collected hardcover… it is that good.)

His OMEGA MEN very good.

https://amzn.to/2EZQGHG

His Batman, in pieces, standalone, I’m thinking specifically of ANNUAL 2, can be great. Annual 2 was great.

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https://amzn.to/2MzJsk0

However, specifically to Batman, other than that standalone story,  his actual run on Batman, the first 4 or 5 trades, I found awful. I mean… awful. “I am suicide!”As his take-away on the character of Batman. Really???!!

Batman: I Am Suicide (The Complete Story) - YouTube

The great flaw of Tom King’ s BATMAN (for me), was always Tom King’s take of the character. He keeps writing the same broken, suicidal, and ineffective character, over and over again. And while it worked for the Vision and Mr. Miracle, shoehorning that Hamlet type protagonist and calling him Batman or Kid Flash, does not work at all.

He keeps trying to tailor these heroes and archetypes to his ptsd framework, and it increasingly does not work. He needs to start writing to the character, than simply shoehorning them into his rigid story.

We get it,

Tom King brings a military background, and a CIA background, and an espionage background, and a background of those places where we all break under stress and pressure. And again telling that story with certain characters can work, however retelling that story with every character does not work.

There are more stories than that. And another reason we look to these heroes is because they are our aspirations writ large, they should not all be stand-ins for the places where we fall down, they should be the standards of how to standup. They should be our hopes writ large, not our insecurities. The VISION type stories should be the exception, not the rule.

I do not want to read a comic with a Superman dealing with PTSD. It starts to become one note writing, rather than great writing, to make all the heroes analogs for the common man, or the Hamlet in us.

So yeah, while I will not be picking up the individual issues regardless of who writes BATMAN, because paying more than $2.99 for a single Marvel or DC comic is insanity (Marvel and DC should both be ashamed of themselves for charging more than $2.99 for scant pages of comics. Now, smaller Independent publishers I cut them slack on pricing, because their page count and quality is usually higher. However Marvel and DC has the economies of scale to keep prices low. To not do so comes down to mismarketing, mismanagement, and short term greed, over long term sustainability and growth) , I will, if the word of mouth is good, check out the books when they hit the $1 bins of the secondary market or in collected edition at the libraries.

I look forward to a new take on Batman, and a new writer.

Okay… next topic…

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JESSICA JONES Season III trailer. Here is the thing, I was not interested enough to watch the 2nd season of JESSICA JONES. And by all reviews I did not miss much. But I went into the the trailer for season III hoping it would be good. I have to tell you, I found it incredibly uninteresting.

I can only take so much of brooding, not quite likeable, characters so, just with the way the protagonist is played, with a listless, can’t be bothered attitude, the performance of Jessica Jones is typically the weakest part of the show JESSICA JONES.

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So that said, you need charismatic, interesting people surrounding her to make the show worth while. You need a Luke Cage, you need a Purple Man. You need dynamism to counteract the plodding, disaffected, and starting to get annoying, performance of the protagonist.  And unfortunately the trailer for Season III offered none of that. Offered an Antagonist, absolutely as uninteresting as the protagonist. A battle of who could bore me more.

 

So yeah the trailer to Season III of JESSICA JONES, a hard fail. That is not going to make my watch list, based on that trailer.

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Finally, the news that the DC Swamp Thing show has been cancelled before the 1st season really starts.

It has come out the reason DC/Warner Brothers pulled the plug is largely because North Carolina, an increasingly politically suspect state (excuses to my North Carolina Friends, but you are starting to be run by the pointy hat crowd. And I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. You know you need to start cleaning your house, much the same way the Nation needs to clean its house) basically bailed on their promise to help finance the production of SWAMP THING in their state.

It is a great shame, because I have to tell you, I absolutely loved the full trailer to SWAMP THING.

They looked like they had all the elements for a wonderful , long form story, worthy of the kind of eerie, brilliant, haunting storytelling that creators Alan Moore, Bissette, Totleben, Wein, and Wrightson laid the ground work for.

Such a shame.

Maybe someone else will add the additional funds so we get to see this vision of Swamp Thing, eventually played out.

Well that’s it guys.

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in on those 3 topics. Take two seconds and support today’s recommended comics.

You know when I was saying I cut Independent comics a slack, because of their quality of content and packaging. ALTERNA COMICS and AHOY COMICS are two cases in point. There are a lot of great writers/artists in comics, arguably one of the best of them is Eric Powell. I absolutely am enamored with his GOON and his HILLBILLY and his SPOOK SHOW. And ALTERNA comics addreses all the issues with price gouging that we are getting from the big two, Marvel and DC, while giving us quality products. So you can preorder comics from both publishers and get them direct mailed to you.

https://www.mycomicshop.com/subscriptionservice

 

Use the links above get great books, support these publishers, and earn a few pennies for this blog. A win-win!

 

“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. ”

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Filmic Fridays! AVENGERS ENDGAME early thoughts

While everyone is busy pondering and obsessed with how many Billions of Dollars AVENGERS ENDGAME will eventually take in, I find myself not really on that hype train.

I do intend to see AVENGERS ENDGAME (quick aside: that is a terrible title. While perhaps definition-wise apt, the actual use as a memorable, imaginative, compelling title… leaves much to be desired) and given the Russo’s track record in their past three Marvel movies I expect it to be great. But as far as getting into the speculation game is how much richer this movie will make one of the richest companies on the planet, I could not care less.

This sense of ownership comic fans show toward these films they own no part of, and corporations that 99.999% of them own no stock in, is very reminiscent of house slaves taking a sense of ownership in the gaudy trappings and parties of their masters.

I dislike Disney.

I have always disliked and distrusted Disney.

From a little kid there was something off about the company, an undercurrent always contrary to their seemingly family friendly/kid friendly fare. As a kid I always felt about all their product there was something so…. forced and insincere and cloying.

Time and egregious acts such as Disney being one of the first companies to buy a news division, (ostensibly to not be scrutinized by a free press, but to actually be the owners of the news) to now being one of the biggest monopolies in the world, has only strengthened my distrust of the company.

All these morons clamoring for Disney to subsume Fox, for no better reason than to see a movie with fictional IPs interacting, to have their Avengers meet their X-men, not understanding the broader real world implications of one less movie and TV company, one less alternative, in a world clearly running out of things not owned by Disney.

Disney has proven themselves historically to be an opponent of concepts such as public domain and creator owned, concepts that enrich culture, and move us forward.

And now that they in little more than a couple of decades have completely eaten any promising rivals to their claim of being the ‘Dream Studio’ from PIXAR, to MARVEL STUDIOS, to LUCAS FILMS, to now FOX, they are the textbook definition of a SUPER MONOPOLY.

About a 108 years ago the Supreme Court was RIGHT in breaking up Standard Oil. The Rockefeller’s monopoly of the oil business. Understanding a company with such broad reach could set prices, fix wages, even create and change laws. They were right to break Standard Oil all to pieces. And they are wrong to not actively be doing the same to Disney.

One company, especially one with as combative a policy on public domain and creator rights, should never have been made the owner (jailer?) of so many cultural and pop cultural properties, a large portion of which, like Shakespeare, like the writings of Mark Twain, Like the works of Poe, should already be in public domain. Batman, Superman, Captain America, these are concepts around long enough to become part of the cultural lexicon and conversation and hence, owned and own-able by all.

So just like any studio or TV station can put out Poe derived properties, the same should be the case with many of the early properties of Disney. Public Domain not keeping companies from making money off these concepts, it just keeps them from being the only entity to do so. it spreads the wealth, understanding that at some point, if a story lives long enough, it becomes the story of all men, and not the property of a single man or monopoly.

And Public Domain being only one of the rights of man trampled on, when a company grows too big. A company of sufficient size can set wages for an industry, effectively blacklist or put out of work who it chooses, suppress and eliminate competition/ choice.

Marvel Studios getting bought by Disney was not a good thing.

We are the poorer when viable competition to Disney or Microsoft or Apple or Google gets taken off the board.

So I hope for my own enjoyment that AVENGERS ENDGAME is a good movie, but as far as if it makes money, breaks even. I don’t have a dog in that fight. I’m not a theater owner, I’m not a studio stock holder, I’m not one of the people who worked in or on the movie, so in no way am i profiting from whether the movie does well or badly, anymore than as a film fan.

And for a fan to be interested in if he will see more of a franchise is understandable, but for a fan to be rabid about a film breaking records or how much billions it makes or its opening Weekend hall, is to lose sight of that money is largely going one way, out of many diverse people and  communities into a very few pockets.

In many ways those Billions a movie makes are further funds siphoned, to widen the gap… between rich and poor.

Now i do not fault a movie for doing well, but I will be much abused or maladjusted, before I cheer billionaires becoming bigger billionaires, when the bulk of people in this world, are getting poorer.

That’s my take on how completely, a monopolized media can skew us against our own best interests.

Here Endeth the Lesson.

🙂

 

 

 

The End of American Comic Books?

With the major two American Publishers (Marvel Comics and DC Comics) Marvel Comics (Real) | Spiderman animated Wikia | FANDOM powered ...Dc Logo Png Transparent - Dc Comics Logo 1976 - Free Transparent ...largely pricing themselves out of the periodic comic book market, ($4 for a 22 story page comic? Are you on crack?! 🙂 ) and failing to engage any sizeable readership in the sub-thirty market, and losing readers in their dwindling above 30 market, they are kept around largely to just be an idea space/loss leader for the actually profitable divisions of the multinational oligarchies that own them.

That is not to say there are not brilliant writers and artists that work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, but unfortunately they are crippled by a few things.

First a pricing structure (over $3 for a couple dozen pages of comics. 10 minutes of reading entertainment is moronic. It is a poor value for dollar when compared to just about anything else) , second a quality structure ( abhorent paper and cover quality. Poor and obtrusive placement of ads, especially when compared to better Indy publishers. Marvel Comics is especially culpable in this) and third a flawed editorial structure/mindset ( lets inundate the MARKET, dilute the brand and confuse and frustrate the readership, with too much overlapping, and conflicting, and redundant books, and events, and storylines. Let us not give prospective readers one clear on-ramp to our comics, a single Batman book to follow, or Spiderman book to follow, when we can publish 20 poorly selling, and market-fractioning books instead. And let us not place the books or advertise the books, places where our demographic could actually find them).

All three of these ingrained ‘sales’ structures of major American comics, seemingly just designed by moronic frat boys, rather than capable professionals who really love and want to grow/expand the medium.

Marvel and DC comics for the last few decades since the 90s, proving themselves inept at selling American Comics to Americans or anyone else. Think about it, Marvel and DC comics, these publishers, their inability to sell 100 thousand comics in a nation of 300 Million people, is an unprecedented level of failure. Especially with the hard work of selling these characters to the mainstream already done by the movies and TV shows.

If I were the parent companies, AT&T and Disney, I would wholesale fire the Marketing and Editorial departments of both companies, and bring in fresh blood with fresh ideas. Because, clearly the people currently running these divisions have not the slightest clue how to sustain and grow their print model/readership.

Now on the Independent comic book publishing Front, there are still promising companies, IMAGE COMICS, and some of the smaller companies such as Alterna and Albatross etc. these companies are really challenging the ingrained pricing and content and quality deficits of marvel and dc. these companies resembling more the mad creativity and broad appeal of marvel comics in its bronze age glory days, before it lost its way. before the peter principle took hold of marvel and dc, and they grew past their best and most useful state.

WHERE I BUY JUST ABOUT NOTHING MONTHLY FROM THE BIG TWO (Exception being Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE) I buy just about everything from ALTERNA, and ALBATROSS and a bunch from IMAGE. Dark Horse, IDW, Ahoy, Aftershock, Titan, all companies putting out great books.

However a recent rash of buyouts of Indy comic companies, by deep pocket Chinese companies may bode ill for true Indy American Comics. and may signal an end to this current golden age of american comics.

AND YES, I WOULD ARGUE THAT LOW SALES AND OTHER ISSUES TO THE CONTRARY, WE ARE IN A GOLDEN AGE OF COMIC BOOKS, graphic literature, slims. cause when you get away from the reprehensible shenanigans and mismanagement and flooding the market tactics of the big two, the comics themselves, have truly never been better, or richer, with nearly every genre of book being published, and across the board, a higher level of story and art then ever before.

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Ahoy Comics | Expect More

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i grew up in the bronze age of comics, i love the bronze age comics, and there were some great comics. but across the board the quality and creativity is better today. you just have to push a lot of that noise of the big two out of the way so you can see eric powell’s hillbilly and goon, so you can see brubaker’s criminal, so you can see rucka’s lazarus so you can see walker’s bitter root, so you can see dingess’ manifest destiny, and the list goes on. and even in marvel, great comics are being made,  ta-nehisi coates black panther and captain america, jason aAron’s thor, montclare’s moon girl and devil dinosaur, g. willolw wilson’s ms. marvel and the list goes on, it is just marvel has made these books (for reasons mentioned) unpalatable to pick up monthly. it is better to wait for the collected edition and read the story that way.

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for monthly comics I really like the Alterna model in terms of pricing, and seeking old fashioned newstand distribution. And hopefully other companies can follow their homegrown lead so we continue to have American comic book companies not potentially censored by allegiance to foreign interests.

Hope you found the above slight tirade useful. It comes from a place of love for the medium, and love that a home grown, domestic comic book company… can endure.

If you want to buy the back issues of any of the books I mention, or subscribe to books (preorder new books, I highly recommend it) use the below link. You will get great books, and it will earn a few pennies for this blog. Enjoy!

https://www.mycomicshop.com/?AffID=200301P01

 

STAN LEE

“WE TELL THE DEAD TO REST IN PEACE, WHEN WE SHOULD WORRY ABOUT THE LIVING TO LIVE IN PEACE.” —Anthony Liccione

 

” WHEN YOU WERE BORN, YOU CRIED AND THE WORLD REJOICED. LIVE YOUR LIFE IN A MANNER SO THAT WHEN YOU DIE THE WORLD CRIES AND YOU REJOICE.” —Native American Proverb

 

“ALL SAY, HOW HARD IT IS THAT WE HAVE TO DIE— A STRANGE COMPLAINT TO COME FROM THE MOUTHS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE HAD TO LIVE.” —- Mark Twain

 

It has been a bloody decade, losing a lot of people we are the poorer for losing. It is odd the things that form our lives, especially cultural pivot points. The very nature of who we are, doesn’t get formed, or forms drastically differently… without those signposts of our youth. Without names like Poe and Bradbury and Baldwin and Assimov and Ellison and Cosby and Lean and Welles and Ford and Poitier and Stan Lee.

And Stan Lee.

Men who spoke to us from distances vast, but with the power of the written word, the movie screen or the tv screen or the radio… seemed to be ever constant friends, and mentors and guides.

I am, like most of us a flawed person, but what is in me that transcends flaw, and looks to brighter horizons, more hopeful climates, I owe to many people. Parents of course, friends and family, but these… ghost people … we knew only by their work, which was entertaining us, these were people who spoke to the creative part of us, and somehow shaped us, while not knowing us.

Shaped us, while not knowing us.

What a great gift.

And yet seemingly knowing us ( the cumulative us, of comic-book fans or film fans) completely.

Stan Lee was one of those people.

I owe him, like I owe all those, living and dead, whose work touched, and moved and shaped me, and offered solace and hope in a world oft devoid of it, a debt that can not be relinquished or shirked, but must be acknowledged and paid the only way it can. By passing it on, in whatever humble ways I can, passing on moments of solace and inspiration and hope.

Excelsior!

TV Show Review : DAREDEVIL Seasons 1, 2, and 3!

cool-poster-art-for-daredevil-season-3-highlights-the-hero-and-villain1

The first season of DAREDEVIL, was and remains game changing , ground breaking TV. In terms of action choreography, and initial complexity of storyline, and some amazing performances.  It remains an astounding season of television, however it didn’t quite stick the landing.

There was something rushed and not quite satisfying in the ending. Something that did not quite live up to the AMAZING buildup.There was always a slight worm in the apple, and that was what was best and most enjoyable and most likable about the series, what was really brilliant about the series, was never the main three protagonists, the great acting of the series was done by the so-called villains such as Wilson Fisk, Alexandra, Wesley  and by the supporting characters such as Ben Urich and Stick.

What was annoying about season 1, was Karen Page, and she got increasingly more annoying, like nails on chalkboard through the season. Her remaining on the show, when two other astounding characters met violent ends, really for me weakened the show going forward. Also Matt Murdock, his maudlin approach, begins to wear thin at the end of 13 episodes.  But all those caveats aside, the strengths outweigh the failings of that first season. A solid A- of a season.

 

Fast forward to season 2 , which has a strong first half, but disintegrates in the 2nd half, Karen Page gets more annoying, Matt Murdock gets more whiny and maudlin, and Elektra storyline doesn’t do much for me. Karen Page playing girl reporter, just emphasizes everything I find annoying about that character, and how much the character of Ben Urich is missed.  Season 2 has its moments, largely due to the Punisher in the first half, but overall is strictly fast forward material through much of the 2nd half of season 2. This season is the definition of uneven, coming in at a C+/B-.

 

Daredevil Season 3 Review

 

The DEFENDERS series plays very much as DAREDEVIL Season 2.5. Because we get to minimize exposure to the weakest parts of season 2, namely Karen Page. Even though the Elektra/Black Star storyline is largely nonsensical and uneven (she can take blows from Power Man, but is affected by blows from Daredevil. Nonsensical.) the series moves at a fast clip, and seeing these actors together, enjoyable. Overall, inane ending excepted, a fun series. Grade: B+.

 

That brings us to the just finished third season of DAREDEVIL. It starts off intriguing, But quickly, particularly in the later episodes, drowns in all the unlikeable characters.

Karen Page is show stoppingly annoying every-time she is on the screen. Also three seasons of watching Matt Murdock suck all the joy out of everything, is just tiring. “Ooh, I have special powers, to make up for being blinded, I have friends, a good job, a great apartment… Oh I’m so angry!” what the hell does he have to be mad about all the time? 🙂

Just a joyless, depressing performance. And I am not saying it is badly acted, the actor is good, it is just he is written with nothing to do but complain all the time.

By comparison all the so-called villainous characters are far more interesting, to the point I was rooting though the later episodes for Fisk and the Mystery Villain 🙂 to take out Karen Page (Again, a fine actress, she is just written with nothing to do but eat the joy out of every scene. And what works in a few scant panels in a limited story, over three seasons… tires), and beat Matt Murdock.

I felt the ending was very unsatisfying.  Matt Murdock/Daredevil just comes across as much a psychotic as those he fights, and a hypocrite on top of it. And again the character flaws that work briefly in panels on a comic page, does not wear as well over three seasons. Add Karen Page to the mix, and you have a season 3 that I lose interest in whenever the three so-called leads are on camera. (To be fair, I quite liked the character of Foggy. He was the one thing that worked in that triangle.)

Overall a very dissatisfying wrap up to DAREDEVIL Season III. Karen Page survives, where yet more good characters die in her stead. I bought the first DAREDEVIL on BLURAY,  I bought the first LUKE CAGE on Bluray, and will be buying the 2nd season when it is available. I might buy the DEFENDERS, its flaws aside, overall it worked very well, and what IRON FIST couldn’t do in his own series (be good) he manages to pull off in the DEFENDERS and LUKE CAGE Season II.

With Luke Cage having been canceled, I don’t see anything to bring me back to the Netflix/Marvel Properties.  Not a fan of PUNISHER Season 1, Jessica Jones I fell off of, Iron Fist show was a train-wreck, and DAREDEVIL can not get out of its own way. Should a MOON KNIGHT show pop up, or a WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, I would definitely give those a look, but for now it appears the great Marvel/Netflix ship of success… has capsized.

 

DAREDEVIL Season 1 A-

DAREDEVIL Season 2 C+

DAREDEVIL Season 3 C+/B-

Overall Grade: B

 

 

 

 

TV Show of the Day : LUKE CAGE SEASON 2 by Cheo Hodari Coker

Cheo Hodari Coker’s 1st Season of Luke Cage was one of my favorite TV shows of 2016, right up there with the excellent Noah Hawley LEGION. They were each in their own way, game changing and ground breaking TV.

Mike Colter in Luke Cage (2016)

LEGION largely for its visuals and innovative storytelling, and Coker’s LUKE CAGE for in many ways being one of the few shows to offer a multitude of characters of colors in non-stereotypical ways, and with innovative roles, with unfettered storytelling. One of my favorite shots in the 1st season of LUKE CAGE, was four strong, upstanding women of color, captured in one great shot. Not as prostitutes, not as rappers, not as comedians,  but as heroes. Likewise their male counterparts were admirably done.

LUKE CAGE, the series, sings/rewards…  largely because of those conversation of books in the barbershop, those conversations on playwrights and writers. Those things, those conversations, that mostly uninformed people (who mainly know Blacks via the stereotypes they have consumed through mass media), would right off as preachy, or talky, or unrealistic, those are the conversations, that immediately sang for me, and clued me to the greatness of this show.

As someone who grew up in those Barbershops, those conversations are very true, to how many of us escaped the traps of the street, and found our way to something… better.

Always Forward.

If SEINFELD can be acclaimed for being, in places, a show about nothing, we should allow that same latitude to a serious show such as LUKE CAGE, that uses those seemingly frivolous nothings about the writers, and the artist, and the books, and the music; to say profound somethings.

Of All the Netflix shows, it is the only one that says something more profound, than the standard super-hero or for that matter action or drama tropes. It says something about the world outside our door, and how to meet it. Not preachy, not banal, and never losing the joy and beauty we can find, despite the dire days, and the dangerous nights.

It is the balance of crime and charm, violence and virtue, war and wit, that can sing, to those with ears. And it withstands repeated viewings better, because of all those layers you can view it on.

Cheo Hodari Coker’s LUKE CAGE is one of the best written and most innovative and ground breaking shows to come along in years for precisely this reason. It takes you the place all great writing should, beyond your prejudices, your assumptions, your comfort zone.

For my money it is one of the best of the Marvel/Netflix TV shows, right up there with the first season of DAREDEVIL. But edges it out, because I find the characters in LUKE CAGE, especially the protagonists, far more interesting and likable. DAREDEVIL’s main characters are various stages of unlikeable and annoying.

Add to that Coker’s plot has something valuable and timely and timeless to say about our world, that transcends bad guy fights good guy. There is a complexity to the storyline and the conflicts, that rewards repeated viewings.

Ten episodes in and that complexity remains for Season 2 of LUKE CAGE. It is not perfect, I can do with less Alfre Woodard, particularly her and the character of Shades getting intimate, I can really do without. I never really buy Shades attraction to Woodard’s character, and the more they try to sell it, the less it works for me. Also Alfre’s unhinged performance, while I get it.. she is Lady Macbething it up, for me it is too much. She is always in her twitches, and sputterings, always at eleven, always wildly and uncomfortably out of control, which for my own taste would have been better dialed back to 4 or 5. Also the poster for season 2 is absolute garbage, whoever came up with that poster should be fired. It is that inept of a poster. Right up there with the HANCOCK boxart and poster.

But those minor weakness aside, LUKE CAGE season 2, following strongly in the footsteps of Season 1 is crushing it; the story and performances shine, and like season 1 it has the best soundtrack of the year. Ten episodes in and I’m loving it… Grade: B+.

More to come as I watch the last few episodes.