Resin Heroes

Opening Credits Sunday: Sanford and Son (1972)

Direct Beam Comms #111


The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story ***/****

After The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story debuted in 2016 and was a critical smash it wasn’t surprising that FX put another American Crime series on the fast-track. That show, which is still in the works two years later, was supposed to be about hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, but proved to be too complex so was shelved. Now, what was originally set to be the third series instead debuted last week as the second — The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

This time the true-crime angle is of spree-killer Andrew Cunanan (Darren Criss) who in the summer of 1997 murdered four men from Minnesota to Illinois to New Jersey before ending up in Miami Beach where he most famously shot and killed Gianni Versace (Edgar Ramírez) outside his home. The first episode of the series focused on Cunanan’s murder of Versace as well as flashing back in time to the early 1990s when we meet both the killer and Versace in their somewhat formative years.

I remember the summer of 1997 when the killings started it was news, but not top news. Then as things progressed it became headline news but after Versace was murdered networks the news outlets would break into their regular coverage to provide updates on the case, going so far as to broadcast live the raid of Cunanan’s final hideout on TV.

I really enjoyed the first American Crime series but think part of that was because the series was mostly focused on the trial of OJ Simpson and the media circus surrounding that and less about the actual murder. And while I can see a “media circus” element happening in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story there won’t be any trial component since Cunanan killed himself eight days after killing Versace.

Even though the series is titled The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story I suppose too much of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will deal with Cunanan’s other murders as well as that above mentioned “media circus” that surrounded him and those events. I can’t imagine there’s enough story to justify ten episodes of just Cunanan and Versace.

Corporate **/****

The new Comedy Central sitcom Corporate debuted last week. The series is funny enough if it borrows maybe a bit too much from what’s come before in other similar corporation themed series. Like the beginning of Corporate is pretty much a direct lift from the “TPS reports” part of Office Space — here it’s being sure to CC everyone in on e-mails, but the gist if the joke is the same. In many ways too Corporate feels like a version of the British TV series The IT Crowd with the zany, slightly nutty and dangerous bosses with a dash of Better Off Ted’s weird corporate culture and faux corporation TV commercials thrown in for good measure.

There’s nothing wrong from borrowing from past series but I do have to question why an office themed TV series would choose to ape one of the best known skits from one of the most beloved office related films of all time? That just seems dumb to me. I think Corporate can turn into an interesting TV series if it’s ever able to shed the weight of what’s come before and create something new.


Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: Fall of the Pantheon

I had almost forgotten that I collected The Incredible Hulk comics in the early 1990s. I think I was collecting them since I was in awe of then Hulk artist Dale Keown at the time but even after he left the book I kept buying them because of the wonderful writing of Peter David with art by Gary Frank. Many of those David/Frank comics I loved so much are collected here with Incredible Hulk Epic Collection: Fall of the Pantheon.

From Marvel:

Hulk goes to Hel and back! First, Hulk and the Pantheon face a painful — and all too human — loss. But Hela herself soon claims the Hulk in an Asgardian underworld epic! Then, it’s the end of an era as the Pantheon is torn apart from within! Agamemnon stands trial, one among them falls and the Hulk’s rage transforms him into a savage…Bruce Banner?! While Doc Samson strives to save Bruce’s mind, Betty battles for her life — and the stage is set for a new status quo. In hiding and struggling to remain calm, the Hulk takes on Man-Thing, the Abomination and the Punisher! Plus: Hulk shares a symbiotic showdown with Venom and joins Hank Pym and the Wasp in a true Tale to Astonish!


The Movie Chain: #3: Strange Days (1995)

Last week: The Abyss

The Movie Chain is a weekly, micro-movie review where each week’s film is related to the previous week’s movie in some way.

All through the 1990s there was an excitement building about the turn of the millennium where we’d be leaving the 20th century and heading to the 21st where surly things would be great. One of the movies of the time that capitalized on this fervor was Strange Days. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and co-written by James Cameron of last week’s The Abyss, Strange Days takes place on New Year’s Eve 1999 and is a little too ahead of its time with its technology. In the movie Ralph Fiennes plays Lenny Nero, a dealer of black market videos that depict everything from porn to robberies. But these aren’t just regular old VHS tapes, in the 1999 of Strange Days these recordings give the viewer an immersive experience where they actually feel like they’re making it with a porn star or robbing a convenience store. The twist here is that one of these recordings accidentally captures the LAPD murdering a man, and the two cops that committed the crime will stop at nothing to destroy the recording. And all this is taking place around the turn of 1999 to 2000 with all the celebrations and craziness and hedonism that was happening in the world of Strange Days.

The technology of Strange Days is pretty cool, the device the the person wears to view these recordings is called a SQUID and looks pretty much just like a technological version of its namesake that’s attached to the person’s head. 23 years later we’re just starting to get to the technological level of what’s in the 1999 world of Strange Days.

Now mostly a forgotten film, Strange Days is a typical 1990s action-thriller that tried to look forward to what the future was going to be like and got some stuff wrong and some stuff right. Movies like The Net, Hackers and Johnny Mnemonic were all released alongside Strange Days and all dealt with many of the same ideas. I haven’t seen Strange Days for a while now but remember it liking it when it first came out.

I wouldn’t call Strange Days a cult movie, but director Kathryn Bigelow is known as the director of the cult film Near Dark and would go onto direct The Hurt Locker which would win six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director as well.

Next week: “Who here has been in a helo crash before?”

The Reading List

Cool TV Posters of the Week

Akira (1988) animation cell


TV Mountains

I was impressed a few years back when a friend of mine watched an entire season of 24 in a single weekend. Without commercials that’s about 18 hours of TV in two days, which is a whole lot of “butt in the couch” time. Which got me thinking — in this day and age where people binge TV series all the time, if Mount Everest is the hardest mountain to climb, then what are the hardest TV series to binge?

These are the TV Mountains.

Difficulty: Easy

The Walking Dead

These TV mountains can be climbed in around a week of TV binging.

The Walking Dead: This series originally debuted back in 2010 but doesn’t have seasons that are too long so there’s only been around 100 episodes produced so far, or around 75 hours of TV to date.

Lost: Lost ended its run a few years ago at 121 episodes or around 90 hours of TV.

Difficulty: Moderate

These TV mountains can be climbed via few weeks of TV binging.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons: Airing new episodes since 1989, to date there’s been more than 620 episodes of the series produced. But since each episode of The Simpsons is just 30 minutes long, less minus commercials, you could make it through all of The Simpsons to date in about 205 hours.

Supernatural: This long-running series is currently in its 13th season and has aired more than 280 episodes or about 210 hours of TV. But like The Walking Dead and The Simpsons, Supernatural is showing no signs of stopping, so even if you finish all of Supernatural there’ll be more to watch later.

Difficulty: Difficult

These TV mountains can only be climbed via many weeks of TV binging.

Dark Shadows

Law & Order: Airing since 1990, the Law & Order franchise has produced more than 450 episodes of TV. The series is so popular new episodes are still being produced and the various Law & Order series airs in syndication on many outlets. So far there’s been about 335 hours of Law & Order created. Or, if you did nothing but watch Law & Order back to back and didn’t sleep, it would still take you more than two weeks to make it through all the series.

Dark Shadows: This classic gothic soap opera aired more than 1,200 episodes between 1966 and 1971. Each episode was only 30 minutes long, minus commercials, but still makes for more than 405 hours of TV.

Difficulty: Severe

These TV mountains can only be climbed via months of TV binging.

Tom Baker as Doctor Who

Star Trek: Counting all the various incarnations of Star Trek there are more than 725 episodes of this series or more than 540 hours of TV and counting. To put that number into perspective, doing nothing but watching Star Trek 40 hours a week it would take you more than 13 weeks to finish. Assuming you’d be able to make it through the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, that is.

Doctor Who: There’s been more than 835 episodes of Doctor Who created since the series began in 1963 which makes by my estimation more than 555 hours of time and relative dimension in space TV viewing.

Difficulty: Extremely Severe

This TV mountain can only be climbed via years of TV binging.

General Hospital

General Hospital: General Hospital is the longest running US soap opera and has been producing new episodes on a weekday basis since 1963. Back in 2014 it entered the record books as having the most episodes of any TV series at more than 13,000, or, around 8,600 hours of TV. If Star Trek would take you 13 weeks to finish at 40 hours a week then General Hospital would take you more than FOUR YEARS to finish at the same rate!

The most difficult part of watching all of General Hospital, the Mount Everest of TV shows that’s still growing, would be finding all the episodes. My guess is that in the intervening more than half-century since the show debuted some of the early episodes would have been lost because of time and shortsightedness. But even if most of the episodes are still around finding them would be difficult. First is the huge amount of episodes, so at some point cost acquiring them is going to be an issue. Then there’s the fact that for the most part only seasons of General Hospital that are just a few years old are available making full seasons that aired even prior to 2010 hard, if not impossible, to find.

I take it back, General Hospital isn’t the Mount Everest of TV series, it’s Mount Impossible of TV series!

Aliens (1986) lobby cards