19 Jan 2015

Hit Me With The Hashtag



Usually when government types try to be funny, it comes off more embarrassing than genuinely hilarious. Which is why it's nice to have an entirely fictional government, in the form of the West Wing cast, to do the funny for them. Setting aside that we're a year away from it being a decade since the show went off the air, much of the cast reunited to promote the real White Houses' second annual Big Block of Cheese Day, which was a real historical thing that Andrew Jackson did, which nobody remembered until Aaron Sorkin made it the focus of two spectacular episodes of West Wing. Of course, this being the 21st century, the modern Cheese Day is digital, to eliminate the possibility of crazies. Cause if the internet is lacking anything, it's crazies.

Via Uproxx.

Dinner Is Postponed



No sooner than the digital ink was dry on my reporting on the cast additions to Hannibal's season three last week, where I queried as to when we might actually see the third season, when NBC announced that it wouldn't premiere until this coming summer. This is the third change to the series' premiere, with season one appearing in the spring and season two airing in the winter. Because NBC doesn't pay for Hannibal, and because it is one of the network's lowest rated series despite the critical acclaim, they loose nothing by airing it over the summer, where they also have less competition from the other networks. NBC seems to be introducing a summer season to their network, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant, as this summer will also see a David Duchovny-lead Charles Manson series, Aquarius and the Heroes reboot Reborn starring Zachary Levi.

This also provides the Hannibal team an extended period of time in which to put the season together. Last season was a tightly scripted, highly focused story that played out with style and grace. With a year in between the seasons, it means the Fuller and his writers have that much more time to make certain the scripts are at the height of excellent. And because the series is going to Europe for at least part of the season, it also gives them time to make certain the production values are on par, if not an improvement on last year. It'll be a disappointment to have to wait another six months to see who survived the laughter at the end of season two, but if it means season three can exceed it, I'm willing to give it the time.

Via Hitflix.

[Review] - Constantine, Season 1 Episodes 8 And 9, "The Saint of Last Resorts Parts 1 And 2"

Courtesy of Warner Bros Television
Due to my negligence before the holiday period, looking back I discovered that I never got around to reviewing the Constantine midseason finale. Which turned out not to be that big an issue, since episodes 8 and 9 are an excellent pair to review together. Both focused on Constantine's past, and on his larger personal failings as a person, as well as his rare selflessness.

However, it might not be a great sign for the series that, as episode 9 began, with a month since part one was broadcast, I had largely forgotten the particulars of what had happened. I recalled John getting shot, but little else. It all came back as the episode progressed, mostly due to the fact that the episode saw fit to recap the previous goings on in several instances of of exposition. Still, the episodes managed to move the "Rising Darkness" story forward a touch, while focusing primarily on the characters.

Hit the jump for the brief review, which contains spoilers that need a stronger dose.

16 Jan 2015

Would the Lambs Have Peace Or War, Clarice?




Richard Armitage has signed on for his first big post-Hobbit role, and it's in a place where he'll get to make the most of his acting abilities. The British actor has landed the role of Francis Dolarhyde, AKA the Tooth Fairy, in the second half of Hannibal's upcoming third season. This confirms Bryan Fuller's previous statements that Hannibal's game plan moving forward would be to collapse much of the remaining source material into shared and paired seasons. So, season three will cover the manhunt for Hannibal, after last year's incredible finale, and then dovetail nicely into Will's hunt for the William Blake obsessed serial killer. Personally, I was hoping that Lee Pace might be persuaded to take the role, but Armitage is a wonderful second choice.

Dolarhyde, for anyone familiar with the novel or film Red Dragon, has a cleft lip, and believes himself much more horribly disfigured than he is. He also butchers families and bites his victims, hence his nick name. However, those familiar with the source material know that the TV series has already used a lot of material from the book in its first two seasons. So, while the broad strokes of the plot will likely be maintained, the series will have plenty of opportunities to put their own unique spin on things, and have lots of room to continue to surprise us viewers.

But that's the back half of the season. coming up first will be Hannibal's sojourn across Europe as he evades FBI and Interpol capture, as well as the revenge seeking grasp of last season's victim Mason Verger. Bad new though, as the fantastic Michael Pitt has opted not to return to the show. He has been replaced by Joe Anderson, who will carry on in the role unrecognizable under considerable makeup, as Mason must now live disfigured in the aftermath of Hannibal's attack. No word on if Katherine Isabelle will be returning as Margot Verger, and no casting news on Molly, Will's source material love interest who, if season three will be tackling Red Dragon, would presumably be a necessary addition to the cast.

NBC has also yet to announce a premiere for the new season, though last year it aired towards the end of February. Given how many episodes of Constantine are left for them to air, that timetable would work for this year as well, though that is only a month away, and you'd expect they'd have made an announcement by now. As well as started releasing some marketing.

Via Collider.

The Penny Drops...



My favourite new show of last year was undoubtedly Penny Dreadful. It was Penny Wonderful, and despite tepid ratings, Showtime agreed and gave it a second season, much to my and it's devoted fan base's delight. And now, it has officially announced a start date for that second season: John Logan's Victorian psycho-sexual Wold-Newton series will return on April 26th. To mark this, they've also released the first full trailer for season two, which promises a lot of bathing. Just not necessarily the sort of bathing that makes one cleaner.

Via Uproxx.

[Opinion] - How To Make Spider-man Work In The MCU



Late last year (yeah, a month ago), in the wake of the Sony Hack, a lot of sites reported that Sony had been in talks with Marvel to license the cinematic rights of Spider-man back to Marvel. These talks were ultimately unsuccessful, and have resulted in Marvel promoting Black Panther to the upper echelons of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, earlier this week, a new rumor has emerged that suggests those talks have been reignited, and that the web slinger will be brought into the MCU fold during the Infinity Wars of 2018. Sony, of course, has denied this latest rumour. Disney has been silent. And frankly, it's ridiculous.

As I recently told a true believer that Spidey would soon be fighting side by side with the Avengers, there is a better chance of Spider-Ham showing up in any film than there is Spider-man's rights package being folded back into Marvel. And the simple reason is: money. This will surprise no one, but making money tends to outweigh all other arguments when decisions are made, especially in Hollywood. And Sony has a reasonable argument to make when it comes to Spider-man: despite continued critical disaster, the films make money. Spider-man is an easy sell; he is the world's most lucrative superhero (followed a hell of a long way behind by Batman). While Sony doesn't see money from party hats and lunch boxes, putting out a Spider-man movie, even a supremely shitty one, is guaranteed bucks, pounds, euros and yen. And Sony knows this. Of five Spider-man movies released, only 1.5 of them have been good, and that's an assembled figure (yes, Spider-man 2 makes up the bulk of that figure, but even it is a flawed film). But they've all been profitable.

Last year, Amazing Spider-man 2 was released to a choir of derision, and seemed to successfully alienate the internet, the stars of the franchise, and derailed what had been an embryonic attempt to develop a shared universe around this sole rights package (which, Spider-man material makes up a solid fifth of the Marvel comics universe, so that wouldn't be that hard). But all that does is loose Sony the good will of the audience. The movie still made $202 million. That's not Batman or Avengers money, which is what Sony was hoping for, but that's exactly twice as much as the number 3 highest grossing film that Sony put out last year, The Equalizer (number 2 was 22 Jump Street, which made slightly less than Spider-man). In 2012, Amazing Spider-man was number 2 in Sony's yearly total, taking in $262 million, and being only slightly beaten by Skyfall, arguably the best James Bond movie to date. And neither was a budgetary loss. They came close on AS2, but it still came out in the black.

Which was likely why Sony was willing to discuss a profit sharing program with Marvel. They understood that they were starting to skim the edge of profitability because their movies were shit, and that Marvel had a better chance of making a good movie people like, that Sony could profit from (this seems the long way round to just making a good movie themselves, but anyway). And they've got a grace period between productions before the rights naturally expire and revert back to the House of Ideas (of Mouse). Rather than inundate the market with subpar quality product, they could take the time they need and put together something worth making. But they don't have to.

The flip to all that is Marvel really doesn't need Spider-man. In fact, because of the bad taste that he's left in audiences mouth recently, they are better off without him. But while not having a recognizable hero to promote may have been a concern back when they started, Guardians of the Galaxy has proven that quality plus earned faith equals an audience that is willing to back a complete unknown rather than a spoiled franchise. And will continue to do so, Marvel expects, right up to 2020. Spider-man bogs them down in having to work an entirely new version of an over saturated character into their tightly run ship. Personally, I'd rather not see Spider-man in the MCU. Let Sony keep hacking (no pun intended) away at it, and maybe eventually, like Fox seems to occasionally do with the X-Men, they'll get it right.

But...

But is my wheelhouse. But is where I live. But is where I brush my teeth and think about things in too great a detail. But is where friends start to get concerned that maybe I'm devoting too much energy to something.

But...

What if Spider-man, all of a sudden, had to be part of the MCU? The massive shared universe that began in 2008 and has worked as a well oiled and incredibly detailed machine since then. What if the friendly neighbourhood so-and-so had to be inserted, abruptly, into this world? What would that look like? Would that work? I decided to take a crack at it; run off at the mouth a little, in what likely amounts to little more than a depressingly detailed fan-fic. How would Spider-man exist in the MCU? Feel free to browse my opinion, after the jump.

14 Jan 2015

The Second Age Of Ultron



Yesterday saw the release of the second official trailer for Age of Ultron. And while I'm disappointed that this is essentially just another "explosions and CGI" trailer rather than one that attempts to explain the plot, it is still more successful at being an engaging trailer than the Ant-man one we saw last week. But is really bothers me that Marvel is essentially banking on the inertia of the name "Avengers" (and how insane is it that the name "Avengers" has isn't own inertia?) rather than using some of that good will and marketing prowess in producing a two minute set-up trailer, that is a little more than James Spader's really effective voice over being menacing.

None-the-less, while watching this trailer, I took away several things, and accordingly, have placed my analysis after the jump.

Survival Of The Fittest



This first, full trailer for House of Cards season 3 really amps up the tension with a lot of quick cuts and a pounding soundtrack. However, as much as it really revs me up for another season of plotting and politics, is also reminded me of season two's shortcomings. In that, until I watched this trailer, I had forgotten about that terrible subplot involving the hacker from last year. And his rodent. Gods, that was terrible. Hopefully in episode one, Frank pushes him under a Zamboni or something.

[Review] - Agent Carter, Season 1 Episode 3, "Time and Tide"

Courtesy of Marvel Television Studios
Well, that was a horrible "previously on" sequence to attach to the front end of a perfectly good show. The narration, the pacing, the way the footage was cut in. And the fact that it just kept going. Every time Peggy took a breath, you'd hope that it was over and we could move on. Once it did, everything was sunshine and roses. But getting over that hump was a real labour.

There was no change from last week in terms of the quality of the show. I have the utmost confidence in the creative direction of this programme, and I suspect I know why the airable result is at a higher level than most shows. Because of how heavily serialized the show is, it is clear that they are not writing by the seat of their pants, like some shows do. Nor, I suspect, are they working from a plan. I believe that Agent Carter is the product of a well orchestrated and executed map, whose beginning, middle and end were designed in their entirety well before pen got put to paper. Maybe this isn't the case, and if so, then all the more respect to the likes of Butter, Fazekas and Dingess for pulling the show together as they have. But this feels far too honed to be left to circumstance.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are accounted for; they're in Nevada.

12 Jan 2015

Not A Great Day For America, Everybody. Or The Rest Of Us


When Craig Ferguson ended his run on the Late Late Show last month, which happened the day after Colbert finished his show, and pretty much left me devastated that weekend, he said a lot in his farewell monologue. But more than that was what he wasn't saying. Or, what he couldn't say. He made some veiled references to continuing, not there and not then, but somewhere and somewhen. And I took that as a reference to his syndicated half hour talk show that was reported on back in August. At the time, I recalled that we hadn't actually heard anything about that new show, which would have seen Craig reunite with Geoff and Secretariat and his producer Michael at 7pm, since that original report.

Well now we have, and it's not good news I'm afraid. Tribune Broadcasting, the syndicate that was behind the earlier talk show, was unable to convince enough affiliates to purchase the show to make it a viable product. From a cost/benefit perspective, producing a show that would have only aired in LA and New York (and, considering how proliferated the Late Late Show was on YouTube, been an internet sensation) didn't meet their bottom line, and thus have pulled the plug on the potential talk series. They did however renew his game show, Celebrity Name Game, for a second season. Because game shows are an easier sell then philosophical chat shows with foreigners and gay robots. Thanks Obama.

Via Uproxx.

Sometimes Animals Talk Back




You know, after watching a trailer like this, your mind rolls back over every Disney movie where the protagonists talked to cuddly little animal buddies, and reevaluates the wholesomeness of that brand of entertainment.

I've been waiting for this one for a while, folks, and for a few reasons. Mostly, because when The Voices premiered at Sundance last year, it got everyone talking. The macabre comedy stars Ryan Reynolds as a mild mannered, mentally ill factory workers, whose cat and dog instruct him to murder a co-worker (Gemme Arterton), whose head then also starts telling him to do things, all the while he grows sweet on Anna Kendrick. There is no part of that that doesn't sound just fantastic. And if the people who saw it at Sundance are any indication, the film is pretty funny, and pretty enjoyable. It's picked up a limited release on Feb 6th, which is nice to see it isn't being dumped direct to market.

And it's nice to see because, well the honest truth of it is that Ryan Reynolds needs a win. I went out shopping after the holidays, and Walmart had their usual discounts on DVDs. And the $2 bin was basically everything that Ryan Reynolds has made over his career. It was depressing. Not undeserved, because that man has made some bad movies. But there has to be a winner in his pile at some point. I actually really liked Buried, and maybe The Voices will be a nice turn around. And if not, he's still got The Woman in Gold coming out this year. Maybe he'll finally catch a break.

Via The Mary Sue.

Crime Solving Ponies Make Everything Better




HBO would like to remind you of several things. 1) Last Week Tonight was a huge success, both critically and creatively, and that it is coming back for more. B) The more it is coming back for begins on Feb 8th, which is only a month away. With the Colbert shaped hole in the world's load bearing satirical wall, Oliver's return is both sorely needed and will be doubly welcome. And iii) nothing is going to change. With creative control of the programme entirely in John Oliver's hands, he has wisely (and I'm sure to the network's delight) opted for an "if it ain't broke, for the love of gods don't touch it, because that is how things get broken: needless prodding" approach.

Which I'm entirely fine with. Oliver brought a mostly calm voice of reason, and used that old nugget "sense and logic" to monologue in fine fashion on the great societal ills of our time. What Jon Swewart does isn't fake newsmanship so much as it is satirical editorialism; most of his material is reactionary. What Oliver does is satirical newsmanship, in the old sense of newsmanship. The Cronkite meaning of the word. Oliver's programme investigated, at length, issues which the public woefully needed to be educated about, in a relevant and timely fashion. The fact that inbetween these pieces of fact and reality, he cracked jokes only makes it more entertaining, not less true or educational. It's disturbing that news has to be dressed up in clown makeup for it to be willingly and welcomingly consumed, but then again, I suppose it's really no different than the court jester saying what everyone is thinking.

It probably also helps that he's British. The accent seethes trustworthiness. That's why Brits are the bad guys in American films: Americans can buy the idea that people would just do stuff if someone with an accent told them to.

Via Last Week Tonight.

9 Jan 2015

Finally, An Insider's Look At Today's Stars That I Could Stomach


It is no piece of news that Neil deGrasse Tyson has a lot to say about science in the modern world (and how it got there), and enjoys saying it, and says it well. It was only a matter of time until someone gave him another and longer term opportunity to do so. Thankfully, the ones giving up the goods are sensible and not sensationalistic: National Geographic Channel (it occurs to me that might have sounded sarcastic: it wasn't).

After the critical success of Cosmos, NatGeo has opted to give Tyson a televised spinoff of his popular podcast StarTalk. Each episode will be filmed in Tyson' Hayden Planetarium in Brooklyn, and feature Tyson discussing science and science-related popular culture with scientists and scientist-related celebrities. And each episode will conclude with a one minute rant from former and forever Science Guy, Bill Nye, who is a regular contributor and guest on the podcast, as well as general side kick of Tyson's. They be Science Buddies.

It won't make up for Colbert being off the air. But it'll be close.

Via Uproxx.

Shows Have Actors In Them, Don't You Know


As the new year breaks, so does the cavalcade of casting announcements for shows that shall see their premieres in the first quarter. Like, a whole day and a half after the blockbuster premiere of Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD attempted to steal some of their thunder by announcing that Admiral Adama himself, Edward James Olmos has been cast as the mysterious and gravitas- dependent Robert Gonzales. No idea on who that is, or in what capacity he'll being coming up against Coulson and team, but that's a pretty solid guest star. Here's hoping he gets more to do than poor Brad Doriff or Lucy Lawless. Or, really, any guest star this show has wrangled.

Next, FX has announced the star-studded cast of season two of Fargo. Now, I really really didn't like season one, and had no intention of tuning in for season two. It had an equally star-studded cast, and was a mess of decompression, time wasting and disappointment. But season two will star Nick Offerman in some capacity, so congratulations FX, I'm listening:
"The all new “true crime” case of Fargo’s new chapter travels back to 1979 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Luverne, Minnesota, where a young State Police Officer “Lou Solverson” (Patrick Wilson), recently back from Vietnam, investigates a case involving a local crime gang and a major Mob syndicate. Helping him piece things together is his father-in-law, “Sheriff Hank Larsson” (Ted Danson). The investigation will lead them to a colorful cast of characters that includes “Karl Weathers” (Nick Offerman), the town lawyer of Luverne, Minnesota. A Korean War vet, Karl is a flowery drunk blessed with the gift of gab and the eloquence of a true con artist. Three-time Emmy winner Brad Garrett will play “Joe Bulo,” the front man for the northern expansion of a Kansas City crime syndicate. The new face of corporate crime, Joe’s bringing a Walmart mentality to small town America. His number two is “Mike Milligan” (Bokeem Woodbine). Part enforcer, part detective, Mike is always smiling – but the joke is usually on you. Bulo and his crew have their sights set on the Gerhardt crime family in Fargo, currently led by matriarch “Floyd Gerhardt” (Jean Smart). With her husband at death’s door, Floyd takes over the family business, frustrating her eldest son, “Dodd Gerhardt” (Jeffrey Donovan). An impatient hothead with a cruel streak to match his ambitions, Dodd can’t wait for both his parents to die so he can take over and expand their business from kingdom to empire. “Bear Gerhardt” (Angus Sampson) is the middle son, an intimidatingly large man who, although inarticulate, is the most decent of his clan. “Rye Gerhardt” (Kieran Culkin), the youngest of the Gerhardt clan, views himself as a big shot, but in reality he’s just a small dog who barks big."
That sounds just as impressive as season one did at this time last year. And that turned out painful for me. So... I still don't know.

HBO has announced their return dates for their rating heavy hitters, and conveniently, they are all on the same date. Game of Thrones will premiere it's fifth season on April 12th at 9pm, followed by Silicon Valley's second season at 10 and Veep's fourth season at 10:30pm. Which is about as appointment television as you can get.

And Netflix has announced that the spring will see a string of new original series from them. House of Cards will have a third season premiere on Feb 27th, followed by the Tina Fey created sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (which Netflix took from NBC) will appear on March 6. Marvel’s Daredevil, the first of four series set in the MCU, will be unveiled on April 10. And to finish off the season on May 8th will be the sitcom Grace and Frankie, which stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston.

I think the biggest take away from all of this is, the next few months will be super unproductive for me.

Via Uproxx three times, and EW once.

[Review] - Good Omens

Courtesy of the BBC
Yeah, it's late. I suck like that some times.

If Dirk Maggs wants to just keep on adapting Neil Gaiman's works, he is welcome to do so. He clearly has the right mentality when it comes to putting these projects together. And like Douglas Adams before him, Gaiman's work is both wordy enough and dependent on impractical visuals enough to work extremely well on radio. And the BBC, pretty much the only place left in the world which recognizes radio plays as an acceptable art form, is the perfect place for Gaiman's brand of wit and wisdom. Having Terry Pratchett's influence along for the ride this time didn't hurt either.

Good Omens is the story of a boy and his dog, an angel, a demon, a couple witches and a troublesome book. And under Maggs' direction, this adaptation, like the Apocalypse, went off with only a few small hitches. Before you go much further, and if you haven't already (it's been weeks, guys... come on), pop on over to the Radio 4 website and give the six episode series a listen while you can. After that, come on back here for my thoughts on the end of the world.

Hit the jump for the brief review, which contains spoilers that always count the nipples.

8 Jan 2015

The Dead Should Stay That Way



Well, folks, this here is an odd one. The Lazarus Effect is a horror movie, coming from fine horror purveyors, and wouldn't warrant a moment's interest or second look from me, someone who loathes the mediocrity of the horror genre with every fiber of my being. It is an aggressively lazy genre. What makes The Lazarus Effect stand out is everything else.

First off, it stars Olivia Wilde, Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, Evan Glover and Sarah Bolger. No one in there are scream queens. In fact, most of them are better known for their comedic roles. It is directed by David Gelb, a documentarian, and co-written by Jeremy Slater, whose only other credit is the forth coming (and apparently heavily under wraps) Fantastic Four reboot. Now, what I'm hoping is that, all of that means this won't be a traditional horror film. That it might take some chances, or manage some originality. The trailer certainly plays up the aspects that one would expect to find in a "blinking lights and quick edits" horror films, but again, I'm hoping that is just a marketing ploy to attract the usual apathetic horror audience. And that those of us that are paying attention will be drawn in by how interesting everything else seems.

That's what I'm hoping, anyway. But I've been wrong before.

Give An Ant, Take A Man




Marvel had released the first official footage of Ant-man. And it is... OK, I know that this is a teaser trailer, and it's whole purpose in life is to just give us a look at bare, raw footage and some specific special effects, in anticipation of seven months of recut variations of this footage until the actual movie comes out. But, Marvel has had a pretty solid run of marketing their films, not to mention their final products. Sure, Iron Man 3 completely misrepresented the tone of that film, and Marvel's Phase 2 has had a decidedly more comedic twist to it than Phase 1 did. But Ant-man's first trailer, considering the comedic pedigree and presumed tone of the film, is very... placid.

It isn't really anything special. Marvel is certainly up for having some fun with the marketing, releasing an ant sized teaser for this trailer release last week, and the poster is pretty solid. But the trailer isn't that inspirational, and the two jokes that are present aren't knee slappers. They aren't even very funny. I've said for a while that Kevin Feige seems very apathetic towards Ant-man, being a long suffering obligation that he'll be more than likely to be glad to get off his plate. And this uninspiring trailer might be a symptom of that. I'm sure he'd much rather be thinking about Doctor Strange. In fact, so would I.

[Review] - Agent Carter, Season 1 Episodes 1 And 2, "Now is Not the End/Bridge and Tunnel"

Courtesy of Marvel Television Studios
I think everyone's biggest worry going into this was that Agent Carter would repeat the mistakes of Agents of SHIELD, and that the televised corner of the MCU would be doomed to languish in mediocrity. Happily, in two hours, not only did Carter completely sweep aside any of those fears, but managed to make one and half seasons of SHIELD look all the more disappointing. Not to rag on SHIELD, but I think the faults of that series' creative team are all the more apparent in the wake of the immediate, focused and layered success of the period adventures of Peggy Carter. And not just because she's British.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that wish Captain America were here to save them.

6 Jan 2015

Good Grief



If, while watching this trailer for the upcoming Peanuts film, you feel a wash of familiarity, it isn't because the animators have managed to perfectly capture the nostalgic feel of Charles Schultz' comic creations. It's because this is the exact same trailer released earlier in December, except that one had a Christmas themed framing device and this one merely has a winter theme.

I was impressed by the first trailer, at how the movie appeared to capture the feel and tone of the old Peanuts shorts and specials. Now, I'm starting to get a little annoyed. This is the third trailer, we've still got eleven months until the release, and what we haven't seen is any content. Only empty nostalgia-exploiting guss. At this point, I'm really hoping that the film has more to offer than just because something that parents remember from their childhoods. And isn't another pretty much everything else. Like Peabody and Sherman.

Every Time NBC Cancels A Show, An Angel Gets Pissed Off And Turns The TV To CBS



We're a week away from NBC's childish burning off of the entire seventh and final season of Parks and Rec, so that they can get back to broadcasting the programming that they want to air, and that no one is watching. Which, since I only watch NBC when I have to, I assume that they mostly just turn a camera to endless reels of ordered pilots being fed into a tire fire. Actually, that sounds engaging and fun, and NBC is not in that sort of business; they are in television.

To celebrate this, Entertainment Weekly gave the show the cover of their Winter Preview, and this image sums up the series rather nicely: really successful at being heart warming and funny. I mean, there is a joke in this picture. It's a static image that conveys all manner of huggy emotionality, and they still managed to squeeze in a really solid laugh. I'd say I'm going to miss this show, except I own every season on DVD, so I'll be able to watch it over and over again until the format becomes obsolete.

Via Uproxx.

[Review] - The Librarians, Season 1 Episodes 5 And 6, "And the Apple of Discord/And the Fables of Doom"

Courtesy of Electric Entertainment
Half way through the season, and Flynn returned to check in on the condition of the Library, while providing no actual progress on his own mission to re-anchor the full Library to reality. And while he did that, he provided an important piece of illumination: the show is better without him. No disrespect to Noah Wyle, who clearly has a blast playing Flynn, but in only a few short episodes this series has established a nice repertoire between it's regulars. And Flynn doesn't fit organically into that arrangement. He sticks out, disrupts things, and doesn't really offer anything that can't be fulfilled by one of the five stars.

Which, as crazy and ridiculous as the show is, as episode six clearly illustrated, is also a credit to the folks both behind and in front of the camera. In six episodes, The Librarians is far more successful than Agents of SHIELD at establishing a team dynamic. Hell, in six episodes, The Librarians is far more successful than Agents of SHIELD at a lot of things, including being consistently enjoyable to watch. And that isn't good for Marvel, consider how very different these shows are from one another. It is however, very good news for the Librarians.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that are having a really good hair day.

5 Jan 2015

That's A Lot



The letter B is a wonderful letter, if you pronounce it correctly. If you are wondering what pronouncing B correctly sounds like, go take a listen to Rowan Atkinson making his way around the word "Bob" on Black Adder a few dozen times. Never isn't hilarious.

Or, take a couple minutes to absorb this chronological supercut of all the times Carl Sagan said million, billion and trillion on the original Cosmos. I liked the remake and all, but what it really missed was Neil deGrasse Tyson really putting the extra effort into those early consonants.

Via Uproxx.

Warning: Do Not Consume After 65 Million Years


Artist Alejo Malia has taped into two powerful fan bases, and merged them with near perfect harmony: gigantic monstrous reptiles from the depths of time, and dessert. Yes, answering the age old question, what would dinosaurs look like if they had been made out of delicious treats instead of prehistoric protobird. And he did it while resisting the overpowering yet terrible urge to make puns. Remember kids, every time you make a pun, that is the devil licking your soul. Licking it like delicious, dinosaur infused ice cream, or perhaps a heavily cheese cheese covered aquatic reptile of some kind.

I've wandered off the beaten point. And that point is, in a series called Jurassic Sweet, Malia has perfectly captured the gentle wonder and majestic beauty of after dinner junk food, given life and teeth. And claws. And in most cases, the ability to crush us all under the massive weight of their sugar-infused nobility.

Hit the jump for the rest of Malia's creations.

[Review] - Big Eyes

Courtesy of Silverwood Films
I've waited eleven years to see a good Tim Burton film again. Coincidentally, that film had the word "Big" in the title too. Mostly, I'm just relieved that Burton is still capable of making films with some semblance of quality. Maybe the reason for Big Eyes' success is that Burton remembered that, while being a visual medium, films need substance of story as well as being good looking. Maybe it's because Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are thankfully nowhere to be seen, thus freeing Burton up from his decade long, self indulgent friends-only binge, a zone apparently free of constructive criticism.

Or maybe that, this based-on-real-events story is really hard to screw up. In fact, despite the fact that the film is both highly enjoyable and successful in what it attempts, it takes as easy a path at telling the story as you can get. Burton could well have painted this one by the numbers. And after his  recent string of impressionist messes, that is more than good enough.

Hit the jump for the review, which contains spoilers that aren't art, they're kitsch.
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