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
- The broadcasters have launched 17 new shows since Jan. 1 — with zero breakouts
- LLNL Atmospheric Nuclear Tests
- How the Unlikely Duo of Marvel and FX Turned Legion Into a Hit
- Adidas Trademark War Means Three Stripes And You’re in Court
- ‘London Bridge is down’: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death
- Anthony Bourdain Does Not Want to Owe Anybody Even a Single Dollar
- ‘The Matrix’ Reboot in the Works at Warner Bros.
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