Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #67


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.


Wonder Woman origin trailer

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


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

Alex Ross Spider-Man movie concept art

Paolo Rivera Spider-Man painting

Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #328 cover

Direct Beam Comms #53


Westworld season 1 – Grade: B+

“Cease all motor functions!”

I am afraid of Westworld. So many times in the past I’ve fallen for shows like Westworld that have these deep, intricate character-driven storylines only to be disappointed in the end. In my heart of hearts I know that with TV series like Westworld the journey is more important than the destination, but I’m always hoping that the series ending will be as good as the road it took to get there. And so far at least, one season in, Westworld has taken one fine, interesting road and has quickly become my favorite thing on TV in the last few months.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Westworld but whatever I was thinking the show might be like isn’t anything as to what it actually was like. Much of the story is told via three groups of characters. The first group is of people like Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) who are trying to keep this massive park running while at the same time making improvements while acting in a sort of god-like way even if some of their changes have started causing glitches in the robots of the park known as the “hosts.” These robots don’t know that they’re robots and awaken each day anew not realizing that they’re all in a story loop and essentially play the same day over and over again. With this robot group are characters like Maeve (Thandie Newton) who’s starting to have memories she shouldn’t have and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) who’s beginning to question the nature of her reality. And then there’s the human visitors of the park like William (Jimmi Simpson) and “The Man in Black” (Ed Harris) who are experiencing the park in very different ways. Harris’ character is convinced that there’s a core story beneath the veneer of Westworld that the rest of the guests experience and wants to uncover this truth, even if it means he has spend 30 years there and cause pain, death and destruction to the hosts to do so. And William, brand new to the park, wants to help Doloris in her quest for self realization but isn’t sure what all is required to do so or the ramifications of.

I think that what works best about Westworld are all the questions that the series creators ask. Like if Dr. Ford is creating these robots, and these robots are self-aware, feel pain and have emotions, has he created life? Even if that life can be changed, controlled and obliterated at the flick of a switch. And for the “hosts” of the show who, if they’re somewhat self-aware now, what happens in the future when they become fully self-aware and want to control their own destinies and futures and not be controlled and tied to the Westworld park as they are now? And what will they do when they realize the people who’ve created them have spent decades abusing them over and over again with no consequences?

I’m also fascinated with how Westworld ties into modern day video games. In those games players come up against characters in the game who they can do what they will with. Though there might be consequences in the game if the players harm these characters, there are no real world consequences if they decide to do so. And this is the same for Westworld where the visitors can do whatever they want to the hosts be it hurt them, rape them or kill them. There’s no consequences since technically you can’t hurt, rape or kill a robot. But what if someday the robots started remembering these terrible things done to them and what if they wanted to fight back?

It’s interesting to imagine just where Westworld will go in future seasons? In my head I’ve got it all mapped out down perfectly to the series sixth season. But if I’m lucky the creators of Westworld will continue to do their own thing and keep creating a surprising show that asks a lot of bit questions about what it’s like to live in the times that we do without providing a lot of easy answers.

Legion TV Spot

“The human race is beginning to evolve.”

The Expanse TV Spot

“In this world that we live in you have to pick a side.”


Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer

“This is my chance to prove myself.”

War for the Planet of the Apes trailer

“All of human history has lead to this moment.”

The Mummy (2017) trailer

World War Z + Suicide Squad = The Mummy

The Reading & Watch List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1917: Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End to name a few is born
  • 1941: The Wolf Man opens in theaters
  • 1976: King Kong debuts
  • 1978: Superman opens in theaters
  • 1984: Dune premiers
  • 1984: Runaway debuts
  • 1984: Starman opens
  • 1996: Mars Attacks! premiers
  • 1998: Star Trek: Insurrection opens in theaters
  • 2002: Star Trek: Nemesis premiers
  • 2005: King Kong opens in theaters
  • 2010: Tron: Legacy debuts