Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #67



TV

Iron Fist Series premiere episode 1 Grade: B+

There aren’t a lot of good comic book series on TV. To be sure, there are lots of them but only a few of them are worth watching. Legion on FX is very good and Daredevil on Netflix is pretty good too. But for the most part the Arrows and Agents of SHIELDs and Preachers of the world are time wasters at best and just plain bad at worst. Into this mass of comic book TV series comes the latest Marvel series to stream on Netflix Iron Fist.

So far Iron Fist has gotten pretty tepid reviews. I’d go as far to say that it’s the worst reviewed series of the four Marvel/Netflix series of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. So when I watched the first episode of Iron Fist I was a little concerned — was it going to be the “turd in the punchbowl” of Marvel TV series that everyone else is claiming?

Actually no — Iron Fist isn’t great, but it’s not a bad series either. In fact I’d say that it’s no better nor no worse than either Jessica Jones or Luke Cage.

Finn Jones plays Danny Rand, the son of a wealthy family who’s plane crashed decades ago in the Himalayas that left everyone thinking all the Rands were dead. Except Danny survived the crash, was rescued and now has returned to New York City to reclaim his spot in his father’s company. Only now Danny is different. Much like with the other Netflix Marvel shows that are action/martial arts oriented, Danny has returned as a kung-fu master who’s able to easily scale the outside of buildings, leap over moving cars and take out corporate security goons without breaking a sweat.

It seems like the first season of Iron Fist will focus on Danny reclaiming his rightful place as majority owner of his father’s company while at the same time trying to uncover a conspiracy of those now in control who want him dead.

I actually enjoyed Iron Fist a great deal and found it to be a lot of fun. It’s not as dark as Daredevil is, which is a good thing, yet still fits in the same corner of the Marvel universe the Netflix series all do nicely. The only reason I can think that other reviewers aren’t liking Iron Fist is that they’re coming to the show with some expectations of how it should be based on the other series like how the creators of Jessica Jones or Luke Cage handled those shows. Except Iron Fist is its own thing and I think should be treated as such. It’s not a Jessica Jones or Luke Cage and I think that’s a good thing — if it were Iron Fist would be redundant and not nearly as interesting as it is.

Trial & Error Series premiere episode 1 Grade: D+

The new comedy Trial & Error debuted on NBC last week. It was a show I was looking forward to the last few months and was something NBC had been pushing hard since last winter too. But after having watched the first two episodes I hate to say that Trail & Error was most definitely not worth the wait.

This series seems to be partially based on the 2004 documentary The Staircase that followed a man accused of murdering his wife and is followed by a film crew in the lead up to trial. In Trial & Error, John Lithgow plays Larry Henderson, a man also accused of murdering his wife who’s also being followed by a documentary crew. Junior attorney Josh Segal (Nicholas D’Agosto) is assigned to the case and quickly becomes lead attorney when Henderson’s funds dry up leaving Segal in charge. Helping Segal is investigator Dwayne Reed (Steven Boyer) and assistant Anne Flatch (Sherri Shepherd) who turn out to be incompetent and are more detrimental to the case than beneficial. Reed accidentally destroys some evidence and Flatch suffers from a variety of maladies from face-blindness to fainting whenever she sees a beautiful piece of art.

If it were just Reed and Flatch who were the goofballs of Trial & Error it might have made for an interesting series. It’s like with The Office that had two strong, goofy characters with Michael and Dwight with a lot of other “normal” characters orbiting around them. With Trial & Error it’s like every character is extremely eccentric and it pushes the balance of things totally out of whack.

There’s Henderson who can’t quite take the murder trial seriously and is more interested in rollercising and skate keys, the prosecuting attorney Carol Anne Keane (Jayme Mays) who wants to get the death penalty for Henderson and have sex with Segal no matter what and even a DNA expert (Andrew Daly) who masturbates whenever he’s stressed. The list of crazy characters goes on and on and is way too much.

Also, can we agree at this point sitcoms that are shot documentary style are passe? When the BBC version of The Office did this 16 years ago it was new, unique and fresh. But these days it seems old and stogy, even if it actually makes sense in Trial & Error with Henderson’s trial being the focus of a The Staircase like documentary.

Usually there’s something with 20 minute sitcoms that I can latch onto and stick with a season or two. Either there’s some tiny spark in the writing that interests me or a different kind of character than what’s come before. But with Trial & Error there were several times during the episodes that I very nearly shut it off since I was bored with the show. But I did stick with it until the end and, upon reflection, I think I would have been better off if I would have turned the episode off and watched something else instead.

Movies

Wonder Woman origin trailer

“It is our sacred duty to defend the world.”

Toys

ARTFX+ Spider-Man 2099

Kotobukiya’s ARTFX+ Spider-Man 2099 statue is gorgeous. It stands 5 inches tall, will retail for around $65 and will be available in September. I love everything about it from the colors to the physique of Spider-Man. My only issue is the Kotobukiya statues aren’t really statues, they’re like this cross between action-figure and statue. They’re not made out of resin so they don’t feel solid, but that makes them affordable.

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1931: William Shatner, James T. Kirk of Star Trek is born
  • 1948: John de Lancie, Q of Star Trek is born
  • 1995: The TV series Sliders premiers
  • 1999: The TV series Farscape premiers
  • 2004: Dawn of the Dead opens in theaters
  • 2009: The last episode of the TV series Battlestar Galactica airs
  • 2012: The Hunger Games opens in theaters



Direct Beam Comms #33



TV

Vice Principals Grade: C

Vice-Principals-HBOVice Principals, the latest HBO series from Jody Hill and Danny McBride of Eastbound and Down fame, looks, feels and has the same tone as that earlier series. And I supposed if you really dug Eastbound and Down you’re going to really love Vice Principals too. But if you thought Eastbound and Down was just okay you’re probably not going to be that into Vice Principles.

Here, McBride plays Neal Gamby, a vice principal from hell, running his South Carolina high school like some Soviet provincial governor where he deals out rewards and punishments to the students with little regard to the consequences. Walton Goggins (Hateful Eight) plays another vice principal Lee Russell who doesn’t get along with the Gamby and when school principal Welles (Bill Murray) steps down to care for an ailing wife both Gamby and Russell each think they’ll be the next principal. If Gamby is a bully Russell is a weasel willing to do anything if it means advancing his career.

But when the school board decides to go with an outsider as principal, Gamby and Russell team up to take her out and claim the position for themselves.

I think where Eastbound and Down worked where Vice Principals doesn’t is that the McBride character in Eastbound and Down was a self-centered foul-mouthed idiot that was believable in a show about an ex-ball player who’s been coddled all his life and was spat out of the MLB after he lost his pitch. It doesn’t work here for a character who has daily contact with the public, and their children, and could easily lose his job or be demoted for any one of things he does or says xin the first episode.

Vice Principals does have some funny moments and I can see myself watching the series — it is summer after all and there’s not a ton of new stuff to choose from — but it’s something I’ll probably watch off my DVR when there’s no other options rather than being excited about it and watching it live.

Halt and Catch Fire season 3 preview

Iron Fist preview

Defenders preview

Luke Cage preview

The Man in the High Castle season 2 preview

American Gods preview

Movies

Wonder Woman teaser trailer

Justice League Comicon footage

Kong: Skull Island teaser trailer

Doctor Strange trailer

The Reading List

Return of the Living Dead: The Chaotic Production Of A Zombie Classic

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1928: Stanley Kubrick is born
  • 1966: Batman the movie premiers
  • 1983: The TV mini-series V premiers
  • 1983: Krull opens in theaters
  • 1986: Flight of the Navigator opens in theaters
  • 1987: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace opens in theaters
  • 1990: The TV series Swamp Thing premiers
  • 2001: Planet of the Apes opens in theaters



Not the Netflix Iron Fist poster



This might not be the poster to the much rumored Netflix Iron Fist TV series, but it should be!

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