Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #75



Rumor Control

TV

New series and finales

Since these “Direct Beam Comms” updates have started I’ve been reviewing new and returning TV series as well as finales here. When I began I figured I’d probably review one or two shows a month and that would be it. Boy, was I wrong. Since the end of November each week I’ve reviewed at least one new show or a finale, if not more. I don’t know if that was a fluke or a sign of the times that we live in but week in and week out there was always something to write about and it just so happens that last week was the first week in nearly six months that there were now shows I wanted to review. I mean, I could review the series Master of None that debuted on Netflix, but I decided that since it’s a show I really wouldn’t watch since I didn’t enjoy or finish the first season, it really wouldn’t be fair for me to review this new season when that review would probably have been negative so why waste the time and energy?

And looking forward there are a few other new shows like Master of None that I could review but probably won’t. 12 Monkeyson Syfy that’s entering its third season but I could never get into that time traveling show based on the movie of the same name nor will I review the Netflix series Kimmy Schmidt that I thought was all right but a bit bland.

And I wonder if I should review the documentary… err… I mean Netflix drama House of Cards too? That show is entering its fifth season in a few weeks but I’ve really only watched two seasons of that series. The amount of shows I’ve watched one or two seasons of before I got bored and stopped watching is absurd.

I have a feeling that after the fall finales of this TV season taper off later this month/early next it might get even lighter in the TV review department here. There are quite a few upcoming shows that I’m interested in seeing like the third season of The Carmichael Show, the second The Tunnel and new shows like The Mist and GLOW, but those are spread out over months instead of weeks like what happened the last half-year.

The Mist TV series commercial

Movies

1987 The Running Man

The Running Man

One movie from 1987 that I always liked, but never loved, is The Running Man. That film has almost everything going for it — The Running Man stars Arnold Schwarzenegger at the start of his height of action-hero fame, it’s based on a novel by Stephen King and the film was adapted by Steven E. de Souza who’s film just before this was the insta-classic Die Hard. Unfortunately, even at the time The Running Man looked a bit cheap and flimsy, even more so today with how glossy entertainment looks, so the movie hasn’t held up well the last 30 years.

Still, when I recently rewatched it earlier this year I was stuck as to just how the dystopian future depicted in The Running Man has come true today — heck, the movie’s even partially set in 2017.

In that future the most popular show on TV is the game show The Running Man. Now we’d call it a reality show, but that term hadn’t been invented in 1987 so the tried and true “game show” term was used back then. In this game show contestants run through the earthquake leveled streets of Los Angeles trying to avoid the “stalkers” who are out to kill them with everything being broadcast on live TV with a host and studio audience. These stalkers are vaguely superhero-esque, one’s even called “Captain Freedom,” but instead of helping the runners they’re out to kill them. If the runners make it to the end of the course then they are given their freedom and spend the rest of their lives living in luxury. But no one ever really makes it till the end.

It’s interesting as to just how much our current society kind’a sort’a mirrors that of The Running Man. From reality TV being the most popular programming out there to some of the biggest celebrities in the world being stars of these programs. Here it’s Damon Killian (Richard Dawson) the host of The Running Man and a man so powerful he has a direct line to the Justice Department. Even the idea of people being more obsessed with pop-culture than what’s really going on in society is a major focus on The Running Man.

In some ways, The Running Man is a sort of anti-The Hunger Games. In that one the contestants are seen as sort of lambs being lead to the slaughter with most of the population not caring for the games. In The Running Man the population hates the runners, and it’s only when the Schwarzenegger character starts winning against the stalkers, something that’s never been done before, that the public starts siding with him.

Still, even if the story of The Running Man had nearly divined the future, there’s no getting around how cheap the whole movie comes off. The film is visually more made-for-TV 1987 than big screen looking and I think that hurts its legacy a bit. I mean, if everything were the same about The Running Man EXCEPT it looked as good as other similar films from 1987 like Predator or RoboCop do I think people would talk about The Running Man in terms of being a classic film and would be studied in universities. Instead it’s seen as a b-grade sci-fi flick that just so happened to get a few things right about our present from 30 years ago.

Blade Runner 2049 trailer

Toys

Alien: Covenant alien monster figure

NECA is set to release a figure based on the creature from the upcoming Alien: Covenant movie at the end of June for a retail price of around $30.

The Reading List

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1955: Bill Paxton of Aliens, Predator 2 and Apollo 13 is born
  • 1980: The Empire Strikes Back opens
  • 1989: Miracle Mile opens
  • 1996: The TV movie Doctor Who airs
  • 1998: Godzilla permiers
  • 1999: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace premiers
  • 2002: The last episode of the TV series The X-Files airs
  • 2002: Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones opens
  • 2005: Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith premiers



Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Running Man



The_Running_Man_lg_239




The Secret Sci-Fi Trilogy?



When you watch as many genera movies as I do, you start to see certain patterns emerging. To be sure, most of these “patterns” are nothing more than the creator of one movie aping another, but sometimes I think these patterns point to something larger. Like perhaps a series of seemingly unrelated movies from the late 1980s might in face be interrelated.

I, for one, believe the movies They Live (1988), The Running Man and RoboCop (both 1987) might just be a secret trilogy of films I was the first to discover.

Click here to continue reading this column on the movies The Running Man, They Live and RoboCop.