Resin Heroes

2017/2018 TV preview



New Series

The year superheroes broke TV

There are so many superhero series debuting this TV season there’s almost too many to cover here. In fact, there are at least eight new live-action superhero shows debuting this season which will bring the number currently airing to more than 25 based on comic books.

Inhumans

Inhumans

What was originally set to be a series of Marvel films has now become a TV series with Inhumans on ABC. I never really collected any Inhumans comics so I don’t really know the core Inhumans story. I do know that the show will be the third Marvel series to debut on ABC with Agents of SHIELD entering its fifth season and Agent Carter being cancelled after two. I wasn’t a fan of Agents of SHIELD nor of Agent Carter but will still checkout Inhumans, if with a bit of trepidation.

What I do know about The Inhumans, and what I could glean from ABC’s marketing materials, has them as a race of super-powered people living in a hidden city on the Moon with the likes of Black Bolt who’s voice is so powerful it can destroy entire cities and Medusa with living hair. In the series, a coup on the Moon forces this ruling family down to the Earth to face life among us mere mortals and the rest of the Marvel universe characters.

The Gifted

The Gifted

The Gifted on FOX looks to take the X-Men franchise TV screens with a series about a family on the run after they learn that two of their kids are mutants with super-powers. Some X-Men characters are set to appear in the series but don’t expect Wolverine, Cyclops or Jean Grey to show up in The Gifted. Instead the likes of Polaris, Thunderbird and Blink will be the muties helping the family on the run.

Krypton

Syfy enters the superhero TV game with their series Krypton about life on Superman’s alien home-world decades before his birth. But like with The Gifted don’t expect the Man of Steel to swoop in during sweeps week to boost ratings on the show as Krypton follows Superman’s granddad Seg-El as a spry 20-something living and working on Krypton before the planet went and got all explody.

The Punisher

The Punisher

The Punisher, on Netflix, follows the character of the same name who originally began as an ally/antagonist on the series Daredevil before being spun-off onto his own show. Not much is known about The Punisher other than to expect to see him eliminating as many bad-guys as he can in 13 episodes.

Runaways

The Hulu series Runaways sounds interesting, but reports from the creators of the show make me wonder if it’ll be as interesting as I first thought? The comic series Runaways is about a group of teens who discover that a) they all have superpowers because b) their parents are all major super-villains who run a west coast crime empire. But the creators of the Hulu version have said that the series will be “the O.C. of the Marvel Universe” and that just because the parents are super-villains who quite literally sacrifice people, “that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all that bad.” Ugh, ugh, and double ugh.

Black Lightning

Black Lightning will join the CW stable of established DC characters like Arrow, Supergirl and The Flash this season with the title character who can harness electricity and must return to the superhero fold years after retiring.

Freeform, the old ABC Family, is set to debut two new superhero series next season with New Warriors and Cloak and Dagger.

New Warriors

Cloak and Dagger

When I was a teen New Warriors, a comic about a team a sort of teenaged X-Men, was one of my favorites. But this TV New Warriors isn’t an action series, it’s reportedly a half-hour comedy starring a character named Squirrel Girl, who’s, admittedly, really popular with the younger set these days.

Cloak and Dagger

In the comic Cloak and Dagger Cloak was a character of darkness and Dagger of light who were a team called, you guessed it, Cloak and Dagger. From the looks of it, the TV version retains the characters and their powers, but looks to be more Twilight, “they’re from two different worlds but are in love,” than X-Men “let’s kick Magneto’s butt” in tone.

Non-comic book series

I can’t tell you how weird it feels to write that. Literally a few years ago there weren’t any series based on comic books, now there’s so many I can’t even keep track. But even though there’s quite a few new superhero TV series to look forward to this season, there are a few non-superpowered shows debuting 2017–18 as well.

The Crossing

The Crossing

The Crossing on ABC has a small town becoming inundated when hundreds of bodies begin washing ashore from some disaster. But this disaster is something that’s going to happen in the future and these people are really refugees escaping to their past, our present, to find safety. The Crossing is a show I’m interested in as long as it doesn’t turn out to be another Lost where the goal is to spread the mystery of it out over as many seasons and episodes as possible rather than telling a coherent story.

Even The Crossing seems to have somewhat of a superhero element to it with some of the characters from the future possessing strange abilities far beyond that of mere mortal men.

There are a few interesting looking non-superhero series on FOX this season, the first of which is The Orville.

The Orville

The Orville

The Orville created by and starring Seth McFarlane of Family Guy fame is a live action comedic take on Star Trek. From the looks of things, The Orville is a sort of TV version of Galaxy Quest if the characters on Galaxy Quest were really the bumbling crew of a starship and not Hollywood actors playing them. I think The Orville is a great idea for a series, if I don’t think I laughed once at the promo that was released for the show a few months back.

Ghosted

If The Orville is a take on the movie Galaxy Quest then Ghosted also on FOX seems to be a take on the movie Ghostbusters. This time, instead of four scientists working together to bust ghosts, it’s, according to FOX, a skeptic (Craig Robinson) and true believer (Adam Scott) who’re the ones having to go around and do the busting as it were.

LA > Vegas

LA > Vegas

LA > Vegas has the most unique sitcom setting I can think of over the last few years. The show takes place aboard an airliner that makes a weekly round-trip between LA and Las Vegas with there being some regular characters of LA > Vegas including jet’s crew and people who travel to Vegas every week as well as new passengers each episode on a trip to lose money in the desert.

S.W.A.T.

The S.W.A.T. franchise has had a surprisingly long history. The original TV series of the same name debuted in 1975 with a feature film version in 2003 and a low-budget sequel released in 2011. And now comes a new S.W.A.T. TV series on CBS that’s set to premiere later this fall. CBS dramas aren’t known for their subtly and the promo for S.W.A.T. isn’t subtle with S.W.A.T police officers having gun battles in the streets one minute, smooching with their wives in the shower the next to dodging bazooka blasts a later that evening.

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery

Star Trek: Discovery also on CBS has the most interesting path to series of any show in memory. This series has been around so long that I originally wrote about it in my 2016 TV preview. Star Trek: Discovery was supposed to premiere January 2017 but was then pushed back to May after execs realized that there was no way the series would be ready to air last winter. Then, a few months into 2017, they also realized that a May debut wasn’t going to happen either so the series was once again pushed back to September 24. Which looks like it’s going to happen since there’s been quite a bit of marketing released on the series including things like posters and online promos for the show.

But wait, there’s more.

Only one episode of Star Trek: Discovery will be shown on CBS with the remainder of the episodes then debuting over the next few weeks on the CBS All Access streaming service for residents in the US and Netflix for most of the rest of the world. Which seems like a bit of a misstep to me. I think CBS is eying fans of Star Trek and are just assuming they’re going to shell out $6 a month to watch Star Trek: Discovery because it’s Star Trek and fans of Star Trek will pay any amount of money to see anything labelled Star Trek. Now, I’m a fan of the Star Trek but I think most of what CBS offers is pure mung and can’t imagine shelling out $6 a month just to watch Star Trek: Discovery when there’s so many other things to watch on TV, especially around the time Star Trek: Discovery is premiering.

Here’s what I could see doing, though.

Star Trek: Discovery

If that first episode of Star Trek: Discovery that airs on CBS is good, if it’s intriguing enough for me to want to checkout the rest of the episodes — all of which is debatable since though I consider myself a fan of Star Trek none-the-less I really haven’t liked anything Star Trek since the late 1990s. If Star Trek: Discovery is interesting enough what I may do is wait until all the episodes are available on CBS All Access since they’re not all being released at once but instead over the course of a few months. And when they’re all available get CBS All Access for a month, binge them and then cancel my subscription.

But like I said that’s debatable. Star Trek: Discovery will have to be really good for me to want to do that and everything I’ve read about the show, from original series helmer Bryan Fuller exiting the series to CBS changing the look of Star Trek: Discovery from retro-Trek to something more futuristic makes me doubt that I’ll be in a big rush to checkout the rest of the series after it debuts in September.

Returning series

Because of the weird nature of TV I’m not quite sure what all current series are returning and when? Like both the series Legion and Westworld aired episodes in early 2017, but are only scheduled to return “sometime” in 2018, which might mean they’ll return in a few months or in more than a year. While there might not be a load of returning shows I’m interested in this season, those that are returning are really good and I don’t think I could be more excited about new episodes if I tried.

The Good Place

The Good Place

One show that is scheduled to return fairly soon is The Good Place on September 20. This NBC comedy about a woman (Kristen Bell) who dies and wakes in “the good place” but really was supposed to go to the bad one was the one new network show from last season that I liked that’s still around for a season two. I was surprised as to just how much a slow-burn The Good Place was, with each episode acting as a single chapter in a season-long story. My initial thoughts on the show was that it might be the most disturbing thing on TV since in the universe of the The Good Place 99.999% of everyone who dies goes to “the bad place,” and it’s only the supremely good among us that end up in “the good place.” So even the best of us are doomed. And in the show if Bell’s character is ever found out what happens to her? Does she get a one-way ticked to hell? I liked The Good Place enough to stick with it until the end, when a twist I saw coming from the very first episode hit that I was still surprised by made me change The Good Place from a show I liked to one I adored.

Stranger Things

Stranger Things

The 2016 breakout TV series that I think surprised everyone, including myself, as to how good it was Stranger Things returns to Netflix for a second season October 27. Stranger Things is a show about the 1980s but isn’t about the 1980s, it just so happens to take place there and is this weird, cool mesh of horror and sci-fi I really wasn’t expecting when I first started watching it last summer. Stranger Things stars a mostly pre-teen/teen cast of actors who, after one of the group goes missing and a girl mysteriously appears out of nowhere, must go on a quest to rescue their friend. But be it starring kids and teens or not, the danger and violence of the first season of Stranger Things was palpable with characters being shot, consumed by monsters and cocooned alive to wait out a fate worse than death. I don’t want to say that the first season of Stranger Things was a perfect show, but it might be about the most perfect show fans of horror/sci-fi these days can hope for.

Black Mirror

This surprisingly long-lasting British anthology horror/sci-fi series returns for a fourth season on Netflix this year. It’s easiest to describe this series as a modern day The Twilight Zone, but it’s really its own thing. Generally, episodes of Black Mirror take place in a few years time and deal with our everyday technology gone amok. Be it a society that runs on social media “likes” or soldiers with computers in their heads doing battle with mutant people who turn out to be a little less “mutant” and a lot more “people.” Where Black Mirror excels is at this everyday horror aspect to our lives, it’s the answer to the question, “Do we control our technology, or does it control us?”

And now for the ones that return sometime in 2018.

The Expanse

The Expanse

The Expanse on SyFy channel remains the lone holdout on a network that’s supposed to be for fans of sci-fi that actually is a quality sci-fi show. Two seasons in and I’m surprised as to just how well The Expanse has progressed. What started as a sort’a conspiracy thriller set in deep space with the search for a missing woman has grown exponentially into a war spanning the entire solar system with a group of characters spread out between the Earth, Mars, the asteroid belt, Jupiter and now Venus. I think what I like most about The Expanse is that while the show has grown in scope, the focus has remained on most of the same characters from the first season with a few additions here and there. So while a similar series like Game of Thrones has grown to the point of being unable to contain its story in a single episode, The Expanse has remained grounded and feels much like the same show when it started while the bounds of the story had been let to expand.

Legion

Legion

Legion might be the most trippy series on TV — and one of the best. It’s a superhero show but is nothing like a traditional superhero show since the focus of Legion is on character’s mental states rather than who can punch the villain hardest. I’m not sure the construction of the first season of Legion is like any other series out there. Legion starts out with David Haller (Dan Stevens) living his life inside a mental institution who has these weird memories of his childhood. It seems like David can do these strange things, or maybe he just imagines that he can. As the series progresses we go in and out of David’s, as well as other character’s minds, to the point where we’re really not sure what’s real and what’s not. But in the universe that is Legion what’s real and what is not is not as important as what the characters believe is real or not.

Westworld

Westworld

To me at least, this year wasn’t a great one for original series on HBO. I’m not sure if I’m just aging out of the core HBO demographic, but in 2017 the only show I really cared about there was Westworld, and much like with The Good Place I didn’t think it was going to be very good when I first heard about it. I mean, how could it be? Westworld was delayed ages because of “script problems” and was based on a decades old movie about rich people who visit a theme park where they can do whatever they want to the robotic inhabitants there. And I mean whatever they want. But instead of simply following the model of the movie, the creators of the Westworld TV show also made its focus on the robotic characters of the park in addition to the wealthy visitors. These robots are doomed to unknowingly live the same day over and over again, on a loop with the park’s patrons treating them like toys to be shot or raped or murdered. The question of the Westworld series is, what happens if these robots start realizing their lives aren’t their own and want to claim them back?

The X-Files

The X-FIles

An eleventh season of The X-Files is slated to debut in 2018 on Fox even with the 2016 tenth season having the fans divided. Some thought that because episodes of the new The X-Files were essentially a continuation of the old, and were told in the same anachronistic 1990s fashion, the new episodes were no good when put up against other modern series. While others, myself included, thought that when people were screaming that they wanted more The X-Files, and when more episodes of The X-Files arrived on their TV screens, what did they think they were exactly going to get?

Better Call Saul

Better Call Saul

The AMC series that started off as just a prequel to the hit series Breaking Bad but over the years has evolved into something so much more Better Call Saul usually returns in the first quarter of the year. The last two years I’ve called Better Call Saul the best series on TV and so far in 2017 it’s still the best. This series has some of the best characters out there, be it sack-sack Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) who in the third season is well on his way to becoming Saul Goodman, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), Jimmy’s not yet right hand man who turned to the dark side last season and Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn), a woman who’d seemingly have it all together and a great life as a lawyer except she’s fallen into Jimmy’s orbit and ends up literally crashing and burning this season.




Direct Beam Comms #81



TV

The Mist

I was a big fan of the 2007 movie The Mist written and directed by Frank Darabont from the story by Stephen King. But not too many others liked it as much as I did and The Mist didn’t do well at the box office. Even friends I showed the movie to on DVD didn’t much care for it. I think the ending to The Mist is to blame. That ending, which I won’t spoil here, is so extreme that I think it turned a lot of people off to the film.

Let’s put it this way, we live in a world where most horror movies follow the same formula. There’s a bad guy, and this bad guy is killing off characters in the movie one by one. They start with the least important character and work their way to the main character. Where, in the end, the main character gets the better of the villain and good wins the day. Only this doesn’t happen in The Mist. There’s no one main villain, there’s a few actually. There are these weird creatures that come out of the titular mist and there’s the character of Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) who’s religious fervor over what’s going on means that she’s as dangerous as the monsters out in the mist.

And because The Mist was unpredictable, didn’t follow convention and has a nasty ending where good doesn’t necessarily win the day meant that what could have been a big hit instead turned into a cult-classic.

The basic plot of the film is that after a storm hits a small Maine town, a weird mist descends that hides all sorts of dangerous creatures that are hungry and out for blood. A few survivors lead by David Drayton (Thomas Jane) hole up in a grocery store and try to wait out the events transpiring outside. But as the minutes turn to hours and the hours to days and the people inside start turning on one and other, Drayton must decide whether it’s safer in the store or outside in the mist.

What I find most ironic is that while the public didn’t turn out to see The Mist, they sure turned out a few years later for Darabont’s next project; The Walking Dead. There are so many similarities between The Mist and The Walking Dead that it’s ironic that The Mist failed so badly but The Walking Dead was, and continues to be, one of the most popular series on TV. There’s the whole apocalyptic angle with people cut off and having to fight for their lives from a weird force. There’s the brutality of the situation, with characters being killed off in some disturbing ways. There’s even some of the same cast shared between The Mist and The Walking Dead too.

What’s funniest, though, is now comes a new The Mist TV series that owes its existence more to the very successful The Walking Dead rather than the film version of The Mist.

Let me start by saying that everything I’ve seen from The Mist TV series promoting the season as a whole looks very good — like it’s going to be a lot of giant “things” in the mist horror fun. That being said — the first episode of The Mist was a big let down. For most of the episode it was more bad CW teen high school drama than Stephen King horror series. Almost all of the first episode is a drama around this Maine town where there’s a whole lot of characters, I suppose TV needs more characters than movies, but they’re all so broadly drawn caricatures of real people that none of them felt real. My guess is that the idea was to introduce these characters under normal circumstances before the mist comes to town and then when they start getting bumped off one by one it’ll have more of an emotional impact in future episodes.

But since no one felt too real I can’t imagine this will happen.

As much as I like to rag on The Walking Dead I have to say that the first season of the show did a great job of introducing characters. Right now there may be dozens of people on the show, but at the start there was only a handful really which meant we got a lot of time meeting each person. And in the first episode we’re only with the character of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) for a good part of the hour as he explores a post-zombie apocalypse wasteland. I think by having the loads of characters in The Mist and having the episode play out in normal life like a cruddy drama lessons the impact of the show. I mean, the show’s called The Mist but in the first episode we get maybe 15 minutes of the mist. The rest of the time it’s this fake family stuff.

If The Mist is comparable to any other show I’d have to say that show would be Under the Dome, another Stephen King series, and I mean that in a bad way. Like The Mist the characters of Under the Dome felt broadly drawn, suffering from the highs and lows of mania and just generally unreal that I bailed on that show after a few episodes.

Still, I have high hopes The Mist will be more The Walking Dead than Under the Dome, especially if the promos for the upcoming season are more representative of what the other episodes are really going to be like rather than just showing us the good bits like movie trailers tend to do.

Better Call Saul

This third season of Better Call Saul which wrapped up last week was better than ever. I think part of the reason the show is so good/I like it so much is that it’s headed towards some kind of conclusion, even if that conclusion is of the character of Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) becoming Saul Goodman who later appears on the series Breaking Bad. As much as I might like the idea of having an open-ended story that a medium like TV provides, I have to admit that in practice its almost never a good idea. Too often series start out promising but go on a bit too long and instead of coming to a natural story conclusion drag out the story and grow stale/boring in their declining years. Series like Man Men, Game of Thrones or The Americans started off interestingly enough but went/have gone on a season or two too long and went from interesting series to watch to a slog to suffer through.

I think at least with Better Call Saul we know what the ending is with the character of Saul Goodman. So no matter what happens in the next (hopefully) few seasons, Better Call Saul is a series that’s headed to some sort of story conclusion that will lead to the events that transpired in Breaking Bad.

GLOW

I remember when GLOW, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, was a thing in the late 1980s. Then, professional wrestling, specifically the WWF, was quite the phenomena and it seemed as if everyone in my school watched wrestling and had their favorite characters from that show. I was never a big fan of wrestling but I had my favorite character. My favorite character was … well, I can’t quite remember who he was since I picked my fav by going to the toy store and buying the first WWF toy I could find and telling everyone that guy was my favorite.*

GLOW, on the other hand, was a bit different. First, it was on during the day after cartoons Saturday afternoon where I lived and rather than being almost all guy wrestlers as the WWF used to be was all female. What GLOW lacked in production values, each episode looked like it was shot on an $10 budget, they more than made up for in wild characters, over-the-top stories and a bit of titillation. For a time it seemed as if GLOW was somewhat popular but only for a little while. And just as quickly as the series emerged from the jurassic ooze of 1980s TV it was swallowed back up to disappear forever.

Well, kind’a forever. Now comes a new Neflix series called simply GLOW about the fictional formation of the league in the 1980s. Starring Alison Brie as Ruth, an actress in Hollywood who hasn’t acted in anything but is told of an audition where they’re looking for all sorts of different girls that turns into an audition for GLOW. The fictional GLOW shows the inner-workings and what was going on behind the scenes with the people playing the characters on TV each week.

One episode in and GLOW is a pretty interesting show. The first episode has some very strong characters who along with Brie include’s Ruth’s friend Debbie (Betty Gilpin) and GLOW producer Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron). It’s almost this weird, workplace show where the only people who tryout for this unproven GLOW series are, shall we say, “unique” individuals. Some, like Ruth, are looking for a way into acting, while others want to do something physical that’s a bit like a sports team since there was really nothing like that available to women in the 1980s. And some just had nothing else going on in their lives.

If you’re interested in learning more about GLOW I highly recommend the documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling that’s very insightful.

  • After some eBaying, I’m relatively sure the figure I bought was of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.

Comics

Predator: The Original Comics Series–Concrete Jungle and Other Stories HC

Out this week is a hardcover edition of the original Predator comics series that’s become known a “Concrete Jungle” over the years. This series written by Mark Verheiden who would have a hand in the Battlestar Galactica reboot and Daredevil TV series with pencils by the amazing Chris Warner whom I tried to emulate art-wise for years is probably the best Predator comic series out there. In fact, it was so good that many elements of it, from its location to many scenes, ended up in the film Predator 2.

Celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of one of the great action movies of all time with this collection of original comics sequels to the film. For the thirtieth anniversary of Predator, Dark Horse is releasing three now-classic tales in one oversized, deluxe hardcover volume designed to sit on your bookshelf beside the Aliens 30th Anniversary edition! Collects Predator: Concrete Jungle TPB (#1#4). Predator: Cold War TP (#1#4), and Predator: Dark River TPB

House of Secrets vol. 1

If the classic long-running DC comics horror series House of Secrets is remembered at all it’s because in its pages the character of Swamp Thing originally debuted back in 1971. And while a mint copy of the comic House of Secrets #92 might fetch thousands of dollars today, the story featured in this new hardcover collected edition, and many others, can be had for a measly $50.

Experience DC’s classic horror series in the retro collection as it was originally printed. Collecting HOUSE OF SECRETS #92–97, including the first appearance of Swamp Thing, this book includes contributions from writers and artists Len Wein, Bernie Wrightson, Jim Aparo and many others and sets the groundwork for classic DC Universe horror stories for years to come.

Toys

Predator 2 Lieutenant Mike Harrigan figure

Crozz Design has created a neat Lieutenant Mike Harrigan figure from the movie Predator 2, but they’re calling him “Savage Hunter Mike” since I’m assuming they don’t have a license to produce anything related to Predator. This incredibly detailed figure retails for around $160.

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1961: Mothra premiers
  • 1972: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes opens in theaters
  • 1975: Rollerball premiers
  • 1979: Moonraker opens
  • 1982: Blade Runner opens
  • 1982: Megaforce opens
  • 1987: Innerspace opens in theaters
  • 1998: Armageddon premiers
  • 1999: The last episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine airs
  • 2005: War of the Worlds (2005) opens in theaters



Direct Beam Comms #71



TV

Better Call Saul Season 3 episode 1 Grade: A

Some people think that Better Call Saul is a pale imitation of Breaking Bad, of which the latter is a prequel. When these people watch Better Call Saul they don’t want Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk), they want the guy Jimmy becomes in Breaking Bad; Saul Goodman. Except what I think these people are really getting at is that they’re not as much interested in a Better Call Saul TV series and aren’t willing to take that show on face value, what they really want more Breaking Bad.

Which I get, Breaking Bad is one of the most critically acclaimed and loved series of all-time except I’d like to point out one difference between Breaking Bad and Better Call SaulBetter Call Saul is the better series of the two.

Much like from the first to second and now second to third, this latest season of Better Call Saul kicks off right where the last season ended. With Jimmy having betrayed his brother Chuck (Michael McKeen) which ended up with Chuck in the ER and then Chuck turning the tables on Jimmy. And Mike Ehrmantraut* (Jonathan Banks) finding out that while he might be following and keeping tabs on the criminal element of Albuquerque, the criminal element is also keeping tabs on him.

I think this is all why Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad. I’ll admit that while Breaking Bad was a great series in its last few seasons, I honestly don’t think it was very good in its first few. I know I’m in the minority here, but I’ve tried watching that series from the start but could never get into it. That was until I started watching it from later on when the character of Saul Goodman was an integral part of the show. Then I liked Breaking Bad, a lot. But there’s the pesky fact that its first few seasons are just not that good, while Better Call Saul has been great right from the start.

I think a lot of that has to do that the creators of Breaking Bad having learned a lot of lessons from that series, especially what not to do, and applied them to Better Call Saul.

I find it ironic that Better Call Saul is a show with a lot of heart, from Jimmy trying and constantly failing to do right to his partner/girlfriend Kim (Rhea Seehorn) always trying to see the good in Jimmy and make him a better person. Even if in the end with the character of Saul and what he does/has done in Breaking Bad we know that’s a doomed task.

  • What’s not to love about his last name!?

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Season 12 episode 1 Grade: A-

It’s crazy to think about, but until last week the last new episode of MST3K aired nearly 18 years ago. What first started on a local TV station in Minneapolis in 1988, then moved over to the cable on The Comedy Channel which became Comedy Central before switching to The Sci-Fi Channel originally ended its initial run in 1999. I think most fans of the series, myself included, assumed that would mark the end of MST3K but a nearly $6 million dollar Kickstarter campaign in 2015 meant that there was now money to produce 14 brand new episodes of the classic series, which are now streaming on Netflix.

Jonah Ray and the bots

The classic MST3K is one of my seminal cultural touchstones, even if I only ever saw a handful of episodes when they originally aired. To me, MST3K is one of those shows that I keep coming back to year after year. And even though the sets and special effects of the show are cheesy, the spirit behind MST3K has been unmatched the last few decades. I think in the current era we live in when it’s very easy for filmmakers to make things look very slick, to have something like MST3K that at its core is about having things very raw and not slick at all is a bit of an anachronism. But it’s a good anachronism and is something that I adore.

This new MST3K is slightly updated with new faces like Jonah Ray in the lead as Jonah Heston as well as Felecia Day and Patton Oswalt now as the bad guys. But the bots are back and there are lots of familiar names working on the series behind the scenes so this new MST3K looks, feels and has the same tone as the classic series. There are the same cheesy hand-built sets, funny models and goofy inventions. But there are some updates too from Tom Servo sometimes flying around when they’re watching the movie and modern pop-culture references too. There’s a Walter White joke at one point.

The first Netflix MST3K episode takes on the dreadful Danish movie Reptilicus that I’d say was unwatchable in its original non-MST3K form. In fact the only thing that made the movie bearable was having it spoofed on MST3K.

Since all episodes are available and we can see what movies will be featured in upcoming episodes, my only wonder is that most of the movies that will be joked on are all at least 30 years old at this point? It’s not a complaint, just a wonder. Classic episodes of MST3K spoofed movies that were only a few years old at that point, it wasn’t all jokes being made about movies several decades old. I just wonder if getting the rights to even newer bad movies is more difficult that getting the rights to older, bad movies?

I’m Dying Up Here TV spot

Comics

Vigilante by Marv Wolfman Vol. 1

This edition collects the first 11 issues of the classic 1980s Vigilante series written by Mary Wolfman and illustrated by Keith Pollard. The 1980s Vigilante is DC’s kind’a sort’a answer to Marvel’s the Punisher, except whereas the Punisher doesn’t wear a disguise and goes after any criminals, Vigilante is masked and is a district attorney by day Adrian Chase who goes after the criminals he sees escape justice at the courthouse at night. From Amazon:

As a district attorney for New York City, Adrian Chase used the legal system to keep the streets safe. But when it came to protecting his own family, that system failed him. After losing his wife and children in a failed assassination attempt, Chase makes the fateful decision to take justice into his own hands!

Concealed beneath a featureless mask and supported by an arsenal of custom weaponry, Adrian Chase becomes the Vigilante—and declares all-out war on criminals, using their own brutal methods against them. But Chase’s new vocation comes with a price. Can inflicting violence on others truly heal the pain of his family’s death? Or is the Vigilante doomed to become the final casualty of his all-consuming need for revenge?

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This week in pop-culture history

  • 1946: Tim Curry of the mini-series IT and movie Legend is born
  • 1954: James Morrison, TC McQueen of Space: Above and Beyond is born
  • 1964: Andy Serkis of The Lord of the Rings and Rise of the Planet of the Apes is born
  • 1966: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the Comedian of Watchmen is born
  • 1969: Joel de la Fuente, Paul Wang of Space: Above and Beyond is born
  • 1973: Soylent Green is released
  • 1979: James McAvoy, Charles Xavier of X-Men: First Class is born
  • 1979: The TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century premiers
  • 1996: The movie Mystery Science Theater 3000 opens
  • 2011: The first episode of Game of Thrones airs
  • 2013: Oblivion debuts in theaters



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