Resin Heroes

Direct Beam Comms #105



Based on the comic series of the same name by writer Grant Morrison and illustrator Darick Robertson, Happy! on SyFy follows ex-cop turned hitman Nick Sax (Christopher Meloni) who during a hit is shot, has a heart attack and starts seeing a small, purple cartoon-like flying horse named Happy (Patton Oswald). Happy’s an imaginary friend to a little girl who’s been kidnapped, and Nick in a near-death state is somehow able to see Happy when no one else can.

It’s an interesting concept, unfortunately Happy! isn’t a very good show.

The first episode is so overstuffed with story from an evil Santa Claus, the kidnapping, four mafia brothers out to get Nick, a secret password that’s somehow tied to the real evil-rulers of the world… there’s so much going on here there’s hardly a through-line in Happy!. It doesn’t help matters that things are so over the top in terms of colors, action, gore and character behavior that nothing’s believable yet Happy! is set in what looks to be our world.

What Happy! reminds me the most of is the AMC series Preacher in terms of tone, story and over-the-top-ness. And I didn’t think Preacher worked as a series and I don’t think Happy! does either.

What really sucks is this is the second terrible series to come out of SyFy this year, the other being Blood Drive. I’m not sure if the person picking the shows at SyFy has really bad taste or it’s overall bad luck, but so far the new genera friendly SyFy doesn’t look all that much different from the old SyFy of a few years ago.

The Orville – first season

I honesty didn’t think I was going to like the FOX series The Orville too much when I first heard about it last summer. I’ve never been a huge fan of series creator/star Seth Macfarlane and the whole vibe promos for the series were giving off — a goofy sort of Galaxy Quest — didn’t look that interesting either. But because I watch a lot of new shows, and because The Orville was the first of the new shows to debut last season, I checked out the first episode.

And I didn’t hate it.

I actually kind’a liked it. As the first season has progressed some episodes have worked more than others, but all in all I’d say that The Orville was a lot more good than bad and it quickly became one of my favorites of the season.

About the ship of the same name commanded by Ed Mercer (Macfarlane), who, along with Commander Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki), Security Chief Alara Kitan (Halston Sage), Navigator Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) and others explore the galaxy in the distant future. Which has been done many times before in shows from Star Trek to Babylon 5 and everything in between. But what I think differentiates The Orville from other modern day similar series like the newest Star Trek: Discovery or even The Expanse is that whereas those two series follow the modern model of telling realistic, and often depressing, stories told over the course of an entire season if not series. The Orville harkens back to the shows of old where each episode is mostly self-contained and there isn’t a season-long story and everything’s positive.

Which I usually don’t enjoy. I like my TV series to be telling complex, interweaving stories over the course of many episodes thank you very much. But for whatever reason with The Orville, be it the humor, the strong characters, the acting, the writing, the whatever… I haven’t missed the whole season-long story here and I think The Orville is a stronger show for it.

If anything, The Orville is a love-letter, or really probably MacFarlane’s personal love-letter, to the original Star Trek series. Where the reason for exploration is a noble one and the crew of the Orville head off into deep space only wanting to gain knowledge and an understanding of alien species and cultures even if it means putting their lives on the line. But what’s different and new here is that The Orville is a funny series too.

Some of the humor started of a bit broad and unrealistic — I’m thinking of a scene in the pilot episode where Malloy and Mercer ride in a shuttle to the Orville as Malloy drinks a beer and the two argue about it. It’s more cartoonish humor than coming from reality. But over the course of the season things have settled down a bit and while there’s still comedic moments they don’t come off as weirdly as that scene did in the pilot.

Unfortunately, I think that scene in particular turned a few people off to the show. When The Orville first premiered there was almost a stampede of online commenters who damned the show which I thought was very unfair. With similar series like Star Trek there’s always been the idea that the first season is a write-off. The creators of those shows spend that first season finding their footing and it’s not until the second season that those series start to come into their own and show promise. Which makes me wonder why people were so fast to damn The Orville when if it were called Star Trek: The Orville instead fans would probably be more willing to give the show more of a benefit of the doubt than they did here?

I adore Star Trek: The Next Generation but the first season of that series was pretty atrocious. Last summer I went through and watched much of the first season again and enjoyed a handful of episodes. A handful. Much of the first season of that show feels like an attempt at recreating the original Star Trek series again in the 1980s and most of it doesn’t work. However, whereas a handful of episodes of the first season of TNG work, I’d say that just a handful of episodes from the first season of The Orville didn’t work. And even the ones that didn’t were interesting for all sorts of reasons.

Altered Carbon TV spot


X-Men Epic Collection: Mutant Genesis

Travel back to the dark and mysterious age that was the early 1990s when the hottest comic books on the market were titles from The X-Men universe. Collected here in X-Men Epic Collection: Mutant Genesis are loads of comics written and illustrated by some of the biggest talent on the market back in the early 1990s including Jim Lee, Andy Kubert, Chris Claremont and Whilce Portacio. Now I’m not sure if these comics have aged well in the intervening quarter of a century since I haven’t read them since they were first released, but if you’re interested in what comics were like “back in the day” you could do much worse than checking out this collection.

From Marvel:

The end of an era for the X-Men! The original team, now called X-Factor, takes center stage when Proteus returns from the grave. But when Apocalypse strikes, infecting Cyclops’ son Nathan with a deadly virus, Cyclops must make a bitter sacrifice! And the current X-Men return to Earth to find that Professor X’s old foe the Shadow King has risen — and taken over Muir Island! It will take X-Factor and the X-Men’s combined strength to triumph — and when the dust clears, the two teams will become one! An uncanny new era begins as the reunited X-Men go back to basics — beginning with a deadly confrontation with Magneto and his fanatical Acolytes!


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

You thought they’d never go back to the island, BUT YOU WERE WRONG! They always go back!

7 Days in Entebbe

Alita: Battle Angel

The Reading & Watch List

Cool Movie Posters of the Week

Opening Credits Sunday: X-Men (1992) Japanese opening

John Byrne & Rich Larson X-Men poster

Logan: Last of the old guard

To me, the modern era of superhero films began on November 21, 2000 with the release of the first X-Men movie. To be sure, superheroes had been a part of movie theaters since at least the 1930s and one of the biggest movies of all time Batman came out in 1989. But it wasn’t until the release of X-Men which was the first superhero team movie, had a big budget and used modern special effects is when our modern era of superhero films started.

And over the last 17 years there’s been dozens of other superhero movies to follow like Spider-Man, Hulk and new Batman and Superman movies to name a few. But the one constant over this time is that actors will cycle in and out of roles portraying the heroes. Since 2000, two people have played Batman, two Superman and two The Incredible Hulk. And while this really hasn’t happened for characters like Iron Man or Captain America yet, Marvel has announced that while older characters like those will still be a part of the Marvel movie universe, other characters in other films like Doctor Strange and The Guardians of the Galaxy will be taking their places in future movies.

That’s why it’s so interesting that since the start of the modern era of superhero movies, only ONE actor has played the character of Wolverine consistently over all those years and eight films; Hugh Jackman. Jackman began his career in his native Australia before relatively quickly landing the role of Wolverine which made him an international star.

Logan, aka Wolverine, debuted in X-Men sort’a like he was in the comics at the time — an oddball loner with two incredible powers. Logan can heal himself of any wound almost instantly and has a set of six adamantium covered claws that pop out of his hands whenever he wants to cause mayhem. His backstory is a mystery. The most he can remember is of military experiments that enhanced his powers, hence the claws of adamantium. But the side-effect was to effectively erase his memory. So, with his incredible healing factor Logan might be 30 years old or he might be 130 years old, we/he can’t be sure.

And because we can’t be sure means that Jackman as Logan has been able to pop up in some unexpected places in X-Men movies over the years. There are really two different X-Men movie franchises, the first trilogy that began in 2000 and the second First Class trilogy that began in 2011 and went back into the 1960s to see what the origins of the X-Men with new actors. But a clever plot-twist with the second film in that series Days of Future Past meant that a Wolverine living in our present could be sent back to relive his life and have adventures in the 1970s since Logan would look the same as he does today as 40 years ago.

But all things must end and now comes what’s reported to be the final Wolverine movie Logan, due in theaters March 3. This time, it’s the near future and an older Logan, still Jackman, and a much older Professor X (Patrick Stewart) must protect a girl with special powers from a group of rogue robotic assassins out to steal her for themselves or eliminate her if they must. And it’s up to Logan, who’s healing powers have started to break down, and Professor X, who’s begun to lose his grip on sanity, to save the girl to start a new era of X-Men.

The only thing is this idea of the “last” Wolverine movie. Now I could see it being the last Jackman Wolverine movie, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Wolverine continues long into the future with many different actors all playing that role. Don’t believe me, just ask the likes of Adam West, Michael Keaton, George Clooney, Val Kilmer or Christian Bale if they thought they’d be the last guys to play Batman and see what they say.

Whilce Portacio The Uncanny X-Men #282 cover