Resin Heroes

The best TV series of 2017



Mindhunter

Serial killers have been stalking lots of TV series in one way or another for decades now. They play a sort of “boogeyman” to all sorts of various procedural shows and even turn up in regular old dramas from time to time. It wouldn’t surprise me if one day to lift sagging ratings that one might show up in a series like Modern Family. I jest, but it’s true that they’re all over modern TV yet there’s never really been a TV series to address where serial killers come from — that was until Mindhunter on Netflix.

Here, FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), Bill Trench (Holt McCallany) and professor Wendy Carr (Anna Torv) stumble upon the science of profiling active serial killers by interviewing jailed ones in prison. Back in the late 1970s when Mindhunter takes place everyone knew serial killers existed, but no one had taken the time to figure out how to find them. Then, the FBI was setup to take down bank robbers, not men who murder others for seemingly no reason. Enter Ford, Trench and Carr who spend the series trying to come up with ways of figuring out why serial killers are the way they are and if there’s any way to stop them in the future.

That’s why I think Mindhunter works so well as a series. The show isn’t about the FBI tracking down serial killers — that’s been done many times before on many other shows. Mindhunter is the thinking person’s CSI where the characters aren’t gunning down suspects, they interviewing and probing convicts to find out how they tick to try and develop a science as it were in order to be able to put together an intelligent profile of the killers to be able to catch them before they’re able to murder again.

Better Call Saul

Three seasons in and Better Call Saul is still one of the best things on TV — as of right now it’s the only reason to watch AMC. I’m constantly astounded at the quality of the writing, acting, directing, set design … well, everything about this show.

The third season of Better Call Saul finds lead character Jimmy McGill’s (Bob Odenkirk) life slowly imploding around him as important people in his world turn their backs on him while his law practice goes up in flames leaving him with very few options for a future where he’s got next to no money coming in with the bills still piling up.

GLOW

Another Netflix series, GLOW takes place in the 1980s at the heart of a real burgeoning women’s wrestling TV series called the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — or GLOW. What, you don’t remember women’s wrestling in the 1980s!? The good thing is with Netflix’s GLOW you don’t have to as this show isn’t so much about the wrestling as it is about all of the women and men who went in to make GLOW a reality. Like Ruth Wilder (Alison Brie), an actress who can’t land a part to save her life where GLOW represents a last chance for her to be in the entertainment industry.

I think what works best about GLOW are the characters like Ruth — they’re all different and they all want different things out of their experiences with GLOW. Sometimes what they want goes together and sometimes what they want doesn’t.

Stranger Things

The second season of the bonafide pop-cultural phenomena Stranger Things debuted on Netflix a few months back and was easily the series the most people I knew were excited about returning. Stranger Things is a show that cuts across different demographics — I know 50 year olds who watch the show along with 10 year olds. It’s not necessarily a family show but is a show I think families can watch together. As long as those families don’t have kids who are too little and might be frightened of terrifying things that go bump in the night.

The Orville

I can’t say I was much looking forward to The Orville when I first heard about it last summer. A live-action sci-fi show from animated series impresario Seth McFarlane who seems to reveal in being controversial? And the first TV spots for The Orville sold the show as a sort of TV version of Galaxy Quest where the crew of the ship are buffoons.

But even watching a single episode of The Orville it’s plainly obvious that the series has got nothing to do with Galaxy Quest. In fact, The Orville might be the show that’s closest to the true spirit of the original Star Trek since, well, the original Star Trek.

The Punisher

Netflix really “hit one out of the park” with their latest Marvel series The Punisher. Like I’ve said before the character of The Punisher is one of my favs, so I suppose I’m predisposed to like this show. But I didn’t just like The Punisher, I loved The Punisher. It’s certainly one of my favorite series based on comic books ever, and is certainly my favorite Netflix superhero show.

Legion

I’ve never really been a fan of comic book TV shows. They tend to put the story ahead of the characters when to me it should be just the other way around. That’s why I loved the FX series Legion so much. There were parts of that show that literally take place inside of characters heads in this weird mental space where I had no idea of what was going on. Yet the characters of Legion are so strong I would, and did, follow them almost anywhere.

The Expanse

I know SyFy has been trying to turn their image around for years now. And while the quality of most of SyFy’s shows are questionable at best — as I write this SyFy.com which is a website that’s ostensively there to promote SyFy’s TV shows instead has articles about Stranger Things and Thor Ragnarok on its homepage, neither of which appear on SyFy — there’s one bright spot on the bleak thing that SyFy has become which is the TV series The Expanse. One of the best, if not only, hard-sci-fi series on TV these days, in its second season The Expanse continued to improve and tell quality stories about life in the future where humanity, on the brink of extinction, is still squabbling over trivial matters.




Netflix The Punisher Mondo poster



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TV

The Punisher

I am such a big fan of the character the Punisher I think my review here might be a little skewed. I’ve been collecting Punisher comics since the heyday of the character starting in the late 1980s and have spent the intervening 30 some odd years filling out my collection with various comics, collected editions, statues, toys, posters, magazines, etc., etc., etc. So to say that my review of the first episode of the new Netflix series The Punisher might not be as balanced as I’m used to would not be an understatement. Still, I endeavor to try to at least be somewhat fair here.

A little backstory on this version of the character — played marvelously by Jon Bernthal, Frank Castle aka the Punisher first appeared in 2016 during the second season of Daredevil where he served as a sort of agent of chaos in Matt Murdock/Daredevil’s world. Here, Punisher was a sort of “yin” to Daredevil’s “yang” where he had no qualms about killing bad guys even if it made Murdock’s life, who won’t kill and wants to bring the bad guys to justice, a lot harder. But in the end the two did team together to take the bad guys down, even if Castle used a lot more firepower than Murdock wanted.

What I found most interesting about the first episode of this new The Punisher series is that it starts where I would have assumed the first season would have ended. Literally in the first ten minutes of the episode Castle hunts down and kills all the men responsible for the murder of his family — what originally sent him to becoming the Punisher in the first place. I figured that the first season of The Punisher would deal with this. Or if not the first season then a good chunk of it.

What we get instead is a Frank Castle hiding under an alias living life as a construction worker in New York, City. His job as the Punisher is done yet the nightmares of his murdered family remain. So what’s Castle to do? Stay hidden in plain sight and let things like a young worker at the work site be pulled into a life of crime and do nothing? Or put back on the bullet-proof vest and declare an all-out war on crime?

I’ll let you guess as to what he does.

I was expecting a lot of things from the first episode of The Punisher and I didn’t really get any of them in this first episode. Which is a good, no, GREAT thing. I love being surprised in situations like this where the creators of the show could’ve played it safe and given the audience a version of Frank Castle/The Punisher we were all expecting from the start. It’s great that they chose to give Castle the option of being removed from his days of blowing the bad guys away or returning to his life of a vigilante. A life that would seemingly be a one-way trip to an early grave when Castle slips up or slows down one night and loses his edge for long enough for the criminals to get the upper hand on him on day.

Just that the character’s given the chance to make this decision — even if we know what decision he’s going to make since the series is called The Punisher and not Frank Castle — is a breath of fresh air.

One critique I’ve heard about the show from others is that there are more episodes than there is story to support it. Which might be true. It might also be true that The Punisher is one of those shows that needs to be watched slowly, and not binged over a weekend. We’ll see since I don’t plan on watching more than a few episodes of The Punisher a week at most.

Mindhunter – Season one

I’m not going to go into a lot of details here on the first season of Mindhunter since I’m currently working on my list of the best TV series of the year of which Mindhunter plays a part. And I’d just end up repeating myself here and there. But rest assured that Mindhunter is one of the best TV series of the year airing wherever. This show about the birth profiling serial killers by the FBI is so unlike any of the similar shows out there these days, and there are loads and loads of serial killer shows or shows that feature them, that it’s worth to note how different Mindhunter is from the rest. Those shows are all about vengeance and tracking people down whereas Mindhunter is all about talking, and trying to figure the killers out so that the next one can be stopped before he starts hurting people.

Mindhunter might just be the best show on Netflix right now and that’s saying a lot for a platform that has loads and loads and loads of great shows.

Comics

Batman: Year Two 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Hardcover

Every comic fan knows of the Batman: Year One but it wouldn’t surprise me if most aren’t aware of the Batman: Year Two story. I’m aware that Batman: Year Two is a thing, but even having read comics for decades I’ve never read that story myself. That is, I’d thought I’d read that story, but it turns out that what I’d really read was a graphic novel called Batman: Full Circle. I know that Batman: Full Circle ties into Batman: Year Two, but Year Two Full Circle ain’t.

One thing, this collected edition retails for around $30 but if you do some hunting you can find previous collected editions of the same material for less than $10 in softcover.

From DC:

Collecting a Batman classic in hardcover for the first time! A close friend of Bruce Wayne introduces him to Rachel Caspian, and the two quickly develop a romantic relationship. But in the midst of love, Rachel’s father decides to come out of retirement as the Reaper, Gotham City’s first vigilante!

Movies

Rampage movie trailer

Deadpool 2 movie trailer

The Reading & Watch List

Rumor Control

I’ve started making a list of things to write about over 2018 for my bi-weekly columns and much like in 2017 I was easily able to fill out much of 2018 with things to write about very quickly. Looking at my list, there’s really only eight non-movie things I’ll write about next year in 24 columns. And much like last year a lot of what I have listed to write about are upcoming superhero and sci-fi films. Which even just a few years ago I’d have had problems finding even a handful of movies I was interested in to write about, now there’s so many I literally can’t get to them all.

Here’s a list of films I’ll probably write longer articles on in 2018:

  • Annihilation
  • Black Panther
  • The New Mutants
  • Rampage
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Deadpool 2
  • The Incredibles 2
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Mission: Impossible 6
  • The Predator
  • Venom
  • X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Cool Movie & TV Posters of the Week




First look at the Punisher on season 2 of Daredevil



The Punisher (Jon Bernthal) on Daredevil




Jon Bernthal as The Punisher photo



At least my interpretation of Bernthal as Frank Castle in the upcoming second season of Daredevil. Underlying illustration by Mike Zeck.

 

Jon_Bernthal_The_Punisher