Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #83



TV

Snowfall

Snowfall is a series FX has been promoting with each and every commercial break for the better part of 2017 now with spots set to the Run-D.M.C. tune “It’s Tricky.” Last year the channel had great success with its mini-series The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story so Snowfall, a fictionalized version of the creation/introduction of crack cocaine in Los Angeles circa 1983, seems like it would be a good replacement show this summer.

While the O.J. series grabbed me right away, Snowfall on the other hand, hadn’t yet grabbed me by the end of the first episode.

The LA of Snowfall is this weird amalgam of how everyone thinks the 1980s were, but not how it was really like. The characters either live a completely hedonistic, opulent lifestyles, doing drugs and attending orgies in their colossal mansions, or live in a bad part of town where people are getting into fistfights while selling weed. It’s all presented in a hyper-real look at the 1980s where everything exciting that ever happened is happening at once and every hit song of that era is playing out of every radio.

All of which is fine, it just makes for a show that’s a bit hard to watch as it’s always trying to grab your attention.

It doesn’t help matters that most of what Snowfall is doing has been done before in other things like the movies Blow and American Gangster. But what I kept coming back to compare Snowfall to, with its eye towards 1980s fashion and music and colors is the TV series Miami Vice. But instead of focusing on the cops Snowfall instead focuses on the guys selling the drugs.

I just wish Snowfall had been as interesting as Miami Vice was 30 some years ago.

Castlevania

For as much as I’m into all things horror and sci-fi I’ve never been all that much into video games, or really into them at all. I grew up with an Atari and later on a Nintendo with all the classic games of the time but to me video games were always a social activity, something to be played with cousins in grandma’s basement over Christmas and summer vacation or at friend’s houses after school. I rarely, if ever, played games on my own and never got all that good at them. So, while my friends were becoming experts at Metal Gear or Zelda I was getting left behind skill-wise, and as I got further and further behind I became less and less interested in gaming.

When Netflix announced a series based on the classic game Castlevania I was suspect since I can’t readily think of any video game inspired movie or series that was any good, and surly this new series couldn’t be any good either. That was until I read who was involved in the series; writer Warren Ellis.

Ellis is one of the best comics writer in the industry and who’s stories have gone onto be the basis of several movies like RED and Iron Man 3. He also wrote one of the best G.I. Joe stories ever, and certainly the best G.I. Joe story outside of the Larry Hama comics; the animated series pilot for a new Joe cartoon called G.I. Joe: Resolute. What that pilot, Ellis took something that before in its TV version was silly and stupid where the bad guys always managed to get away to something that was dark and dangerous, with characters being in situations that felt real and scary with some longtime faces of the comics being killed off in a story that felt very much of our time.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Castlevania nearly as much as I did G.I. Joe Resolute. I only played the Castlevania game a few times so I’m dimly aware that it’s about a hero out to stop a vampire in his castle Castlevania but not much else. And after having watched the first episode of the series I’m not sure I’m any more clear as to what Castlevania is about than I was before I’d seen it.

The first of four episodes is nearly all prolog, beginning in 1455, then jumps forward 20 years then yet again another year. To which I wasn’t sure of the point of all this time hopping? I’m assuming it’s meant to setup that the character of Dracula (Graham McTavish) who has time to meet and fall in love with a human woman before she’s burned alive at the stake for being a suspected witch. But this all happens so fast on screen that while Dracula might have been upset over the death, I don’t think the audience will have time to be within the confines of the episode.

It seems to me that what gets compressed into the first episode, Dracula meeting this woman, falling in love only to have her lost to a population steeped in superstition where he then vows vengeance might have made an interesting first season rather than just a single episode. As it is it made for one confusing half hour of TV.

Comics

Planetary Book One

The classic Warren Ellis series is being released again in a trade paperback form with this edition that collects roughly the first half of the series as well as some Planetary one-shots. If you’re unfamiliar, Planetary takes place in a world where things like Marvel and DC comics characters, James Bond and Doc Savage to name a few all exist together in pastiche form alongside one and other in this series. And it’s up to a team of very special individuals to investigate the them and other weird goings on around the planet, and stop the people who are secretly pulling the strings of society.

“It’s a strange world, let’s keep it that way.”

This new cut of the classic series includes extras from the Absolute Edition, including sketches and variant covers. Collecting the adventures of Elijah Snow, a powerful hundred-year-old-man, Jakita Wagner, an extremely powerful but bored woman, and the Drummer, a man with the ability to communicate with machines. Collects Planetary #1–14, the Planetary Sneak Peek and Planetary/The Authority: RULING THE WORLD #1.

Cool Sites

The Ultimate Oldschool PC Font Pack Home of the world’s biggest collection of classic text mode fonts, system fonts and BIOS fonts from DOS-era IBM PCs and compatibles.

The Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1940: Patrick Stewart, Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Charles Xavier of the X-men films is born
  • 1981: Escape from New York opens
  • 1982: TRON opens in theaters
  • 1984: The Last Starfighter premiers in theaters
  • 1985: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome premiers
  • 1985: Explorers opens in theaters
  • 2016: Stranger Things premiers