Reviews

Read in awe as we deliver our stark opinions of the funnybooks we read!

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This was a nice change after last weeks disheartening episode and after a whole half season that has been a rough transition.  MOTOE felt like an old school Doctor Who episode.  By old school I don’t mean 2008, rather 1977.  Like an old horror film, it was reminiscent of the Philip Hinchcliffe and Robert Holmes era(1974-77).

The first thing that stood out was the mummy itself.  Scariest DW monster in quite awhile.

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This thing was legitimately creepy.   Great SFX as it looked like a walking corpse rather than a campy monster on a kids show.  I am almost glad my three year old has lost interest in the show as this thing would have scared the crap out of her.  I cannot express how impressed I was with this.

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The other part that reflected the mid seventies was a fantastic impression of the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.  I kid you not.  There was a scene where the Doctor is talking to himself, bouncing thoughts and ideas off himself.  One voice was his own, and the other?  One of the most impressive Tom Baker impersonations I have ever heard.  Rivals Jon Culshaws famous impressions.  This was clearly not a happy accident, and one has to wonder if the Doctor is somehow communing with his past selves, and if it explains some of his erratic behavior this year.  Of course it would make sense as it was the Fourth Doctor who also faced an intergalactic Egyptian threat.

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Finally, I am not sure what is happening with Clara.  Last week she was done with the Doctor.  This week she says it is a farewell trip, and she certainly acts like this is the end.  Again this week the Doctor is a prick, putting the lives of the passengers behind solving the mystery.   At one point he puts a girl directly in the mumm’ys path for the sake of studying it, right before he removes the target from her and puts it on himself.  He then confronts the mummy and finds a clever, and incredibly Doctorish way of defeating it.  When she asks if he was only acting heartless, he says that sometimes all of your choices are bad, but you still have to make them.

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Somehow this makes Clara do a complete 180.  She lies to Danny about being done with the Doctor and says let’s keep on going.  I don’t understand her change of heart.  While the Doctor’s argument is a good start, it does not feel like enough to have swayed her yet.  I just don’t buy it, and I think something else is going on here.

This was the best I have felt after a DW episode in a long time.  At the very least it seemed like everything is working again.  Next week’s “Flatline” looks interesting to say the least.

 

 

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What a way to open a season!!! Finally we get to see Roy suit up as Aresnal, and the whole gang working together like a machine. I think the reason for this is to show they are all in a good place, before everything gets really bad. Really, really bad.
So in the past few months no one has seen Thea who took off with her father and Dark Archer, Malcom Merlynn, at the end of last year. Diggle and his ex wife are expecting a baby. Oliver and Felicity are apparently an obvious thing to everyone but Oliver. Laurel has been working hard with the DA’s office and her dad is now a captain in the police force.
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One of his first actions being to announce the end of the task force assigned to capture The Arrow and thank him for his help saving the city. Nice stuff. Everyone is happy happy. Oliver and Felicity go on a date. Then get blown up.
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By this guy, the new Count Vertigo. Who may not matter because he is caught by the end, saying there will always be someone to take up the mantle of Vertigo. Or some other silliness, I’m not sure.

Bigger thing here is the addition of Ray Palmer, A.K.A The Atom. Played by former Superman, Brandon Routh.
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He is taking over Queen Industries. That’s going to be fun.
Diggle’s baby is born and Sarah Lance returns as Black Canary. Everyone is happy. Then Sarah takes three arrows to the gut and falls like five stories to her death. All on screen. No cutaway or doubt or anything. Super dead. Unless they roll out Lazarus Pits or clones to this show, her bird is cooked.

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Was a good one. Can’t wait for next weeks episode, “Sara”.

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I woke up this morning to find a glowing review of the pilot episode of The Flash, written by our fearless G33kpod leader Paul. I agreed with almost everything he said, but one thing stood out and made me choke on my coffee.

“It has already surpassed Arrow”

Paul, did you take a fanboy pill last night? I have to know because I cannot agree with or let that comment go. Have you even seen Arrow? I am sure this new Flash series is going to be good, maybe even better someday than Arrow. Maybe we will even get to see this:

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Ok, maybe not. Here is the thing. I am not going to get in a row about which superhero is better, because we all have opinions and we are all right. To say in one episode The Flash has out done two years of world building is ridiculous. Arrow has proven again and again to be an incredibly well done show. In fact the only issues any one ever has is generally is the girl who plays Laurel, and Stephen Amell’s acting. I have heard he is wooden and not very good. What I see is one man playing three different parts, The Arrow, the public face of Oliver Queen, and his true self. The true self certainly is wooden because he is a damaged person who can’t quite bring himself back in to the world he left when he was marooned on the island. That’s three parts, all different from each other. That is pretty good for CW show.
But this is not a review of Arrow, this is a statement. SOMEDAY The Flash may be better than Arrow. SOMEDAY we might be talking about how The Flash is the high point of comic based television. But I believe it is wrong and premature to make that statement right now. This year we have Ra’s Al’Ghul and Firestorm and The Atom coming to Arrow. This year we will have The Flash having his powers sputter out on him due to his confidence. You watch, bet ya ten bucks we get that in the first season. That is because that happens on every super hero show in the first year. The Flash will be great I think and hope. Just not yet. But that’s okay because this is how you build a world. You want an example of how good The Flash can be? Check out the last few seasons of Arrow…

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As an aside, just so all the fanboys out there know, we will not be getting the Green Arrow and Flash team you all are expecting from the comics. This is the fault of both shows, but primarily Arrow because that is where the seeds were sown. In the comics they are good friends and ball busters. In these two shows I cannot see Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen ever having the confidence to riff on his mentor and all around scary guy Arrow. I also don’t see Stephen Amell’s Arrow ever being unbroody enough to make a joke or crack a real smile. Just the way they are written. It could be worse though, we could be getting this next week.

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It’s finally here! After all of the hype, The Flash is finally here. I just watched it and…. It was Outstanding!!!!! One episode in and it’s already surpassed Arrow.  For those who don’t know and haven’t watched ( and if that’s you… seriously, shame on you! why the hell are you on a g33k site if you’re not watching the g33k shows.)  This is the story of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin ), a CSI-in-training forensics police officer and all around nice guy/ uber-nerd. Due to a wildly pseudo-scientific lab accident he gains fantastic abilities that he uses to fight crime.

That’s not everything though, they took this 4 color concept and quickly humanized it. Barry is the affable everyman that the audience needs to identify with, having day to day troubles like being perpetually late fr work and pining for the girl of his dreams Iris West (Candice Patton ) but it appears he is doomed to remain in the friend-zone, since they grew up as best friends. Barry’s accident and subsequent super-powers are skillfully explained with sound comic book techy logic that sounds just plausible enough to keep the audience engaged and it’s alluded that the accident has resulted in the creation of the other Metahumans we will meet as the “freak of the week” villains (The  format  made famous by Smallville ) that our Scarlet Speedster will go up against throughout the rest of the season. Speaking of villains, it really says something for the creative team that they rolled out Weather Wizard as the first villain and actually made him creepy-cool! Imagine what they’re going to do with some of the more awesome rogues!!!

This series looks to be a fanboy’s dream come true. There were a TON of easter eggs sprinkled throughout the episode ranging from the glaringly obvious ( Star Labs, The Arrow’s appearance ) to the deftly subtle ( Grodd, Ferris Air ) . I literally chuckled and “oohed” throughout the show, much to my wife’s displeasure.

All in all, I give it a 5 out of 5. It was THAT good. I’m in for the entire ride already. Bring on the Rogues!!!!

 

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Three eps in a row now AOS is doing a good job not sucking. It is evident that unshackled from the movies they actually know how to craft an interesting and compelling narrative.
Simmons is in Hydra, or correctly undercover for Coulson in Hydra. We open the episode with Hydra bad guys doing some brainwashing on a former SHIELD agent and discover that is what they are doing. Recruiting the good guys, and the ones that don’t play nice, programming them too. Interesting stuff and opens up lots of possibilities for the future.
They seem to be in pursuit of the kid from last year who was going to SHIELD training and received freezing powers from a weather machine… sometimes I feel stupid typing this stuff. Anyway, Simmons is debriefed by Coulson at home in a very cute scene over dinner which shows us she did not abandon Fitz, but is on assignment.
In the meantime, Skye is trying to turn in to super bad ass agent, and is doing a not half bad job. Her and May have a discussion about what it is like to “take someone out”, meaning that later this episode she will take someone out.
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The highlight for me was when Fitz found that former Agent Ward is being held in the facility, and confronts him about the damage that he did to him when he ejected them from the Bus last year. Really strong stuff, and the actor who plays Fitz(Iain De Caestecker) is knocking it out of the park this year. Is it me, or is Ward getting both less creepy and more creepy at the same time? I look forward to seeing what his arc is this year.
The rest was standard action stuff that was both satisfying and exciting. Simmons protects her cover and Skye takes out freezy man.
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I suppose we are going to see her stress out about this during the rest of the year. In fact I wonder if she might not be more like Ward by the end of the year as that would make dramatic sense.
There is not much else to say with out spoiling all the small moments, but is was a worthy episode, and next weeks looks good too. Here is the promo for “I Will Face My Enemy”

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The CW stalwart, Supernatural, began it’s tenth season last night. That in itself is a great achievement for a show many people say should have ended after season five. The fact that they have found a fresh an interesting new way to go this season is even greater as I would still watch if the show wasn’t getting better every year.
Dean Winchester is a demon now. Not an evil spirit wearing a meatsuit demon, but his own soul in his own body turned in to a demon by the Mark Of Cain(long story). His road trip buddy and spiritual adviser being none other than the King Of Hell himself, Crowley. That is hilarity enough, and they quickly get out of the way the biggest question from the end of last year. Is it still Dean?

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Drunken karaoke? Yup, that’s Dean alright. He just seems like normal Dean but angrier, until a particularly brutal exchange with a young women he had been spending time with:

Dean: “I seem like the kind of guy to sleep with a skank in every town I come through.”

Girl: “I’m just messed up enough inside to leave here thinking I deserve that.”

It was an incredibly cruel exchange, and one that leaves no doubt there is something broken inside him.

Then there is Sam, searching for his brother and getting himself kidnapped by a hunter whose name I don’t think we learned last night. He seems to have an old issue with Dean and thinks he can use Sam as leverage to get Dean to show for a confrontation.

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No luck there. Dean tells the guy Sam is on his own and we are left with more questions than answers. There is also a side story featuring Castiel which looks like more angel garbage. It isn’t bad, but I had hoped when it was announced Misha Collins was getting bumped to series regular that he wouldn’t be off on his own all season. Hopefully there is a plan here and it won’t just be script filler. We also have the addition of Mark Sheppard to series regular which means Crowley every week if we are lucky. The only thing that concerns me about both of these additions is the last time we had a fan favorite added to the regular cast it was Jim Beaver, the year his character Bobby Singer was killed.

This was not a bad kickoff. It almost seems like it is fashionable to complain that Supernatural should have ended by now, but I think if you never watched past season five, you can’t really judge it. It is funny, because I can no longer remember a time when this show wasn’t on the air. If it continues last years trend of gaining viewers, we could be in for a long road ahead still. It is great to see a ten year old show still come up with something new to base a season around, and I for one cannot wait until next Tuesday.
Here is an extended promo for that episode, “Reichenbach”.

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So the big season one finale came and went as if it was an episode from halfway through the season. There finally was some movement on the black ops vamps, and a glaring fuck up in the main story.
The good guys finally trace the Master back to a theater where he is being protected by a den of vamps. They attempt to infiltrate the theater through the sewer tunnels and head toward a confrontation.
While all of this is going on there are some pointless parts where they set up conflict for season two. Replacing the person in charge of the CDC, and discovering that the other group of vampires are apparently pissed at the Master for waging this war in the open. They have three “ancient ones”, vampires so old they cannot move. I am not sure if they are better or worse than the Master, but they apparently do not have any love for the Master.

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Also we learn that even the Ancient ones have no junk.

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The largest problem with the episode is not the lack of resolution, but the lack of action by the main characters. The crew rolls in to the theater owner by Bolivar armed for bear. I question the choice of bringing a child in to battle, but the fight was pretty cool. Abraham and Ephraim head up to the attic to confront the Master and here lies the problem. I was sure Abraham was going to die here. Through clever thinking and breaking of windows they smash the Master out the window and on to the roof in direct sunlight. He is smoking and burning. Both Eph and Abe standing over him. Thirty seconds goes by while they stare like a teenager seeing boobs for the first time. Then the Master gets up and runs down the wall.

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WTF!!! Even my wife was yelling at the TV! They didn’t stab him or cut him or do anything. They just stared then let him get away! I was astounded that the people making this show thought this was an acceptable conclusion to the season. I knew they wouldn’t kill him because we have more of The Strain ahead of us, but I just can’t buy that level of dumb-fuckery.

Finally before the end credit, Eph’s wife pops back in to scare her son and run away. Because we are on a roll of wrapping up no storylines here, let’s not break the chain right? Ugh. All in all this is a good show. I can’t wait for the next season, I just wish they had rewarded us for putting up with the slow pace. It was as if the characters reaction times are as slow as the plot this year.

Since there is no promo of next year, I will instead post a funny Batman picture.

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If you can forgive the use of a socially unacceptable term, my exact words to my wife after watching this episode were “Well, that was not the least retarded episode of Doctor Who I have ever seen.”
It was an interesting concept. A desperate mission to the moon to find out why it has been gaining mass and causing havoc on Earth. The moon’s new found gravity was destroying the Earth and if they could not find the problem, then blow it up. There were creepy moon spiders and loads of potential for a scary, old school episode of Doctor Who.
Then the wheels come off. Problem number one: The moon is an egg. With a giant space thingy in the center and no one knows what it will do when it hatches. I suppose with the right writing this could have been pulled off, but as it was it just feels dumb. This is not a believable show to begin with. When you stretch even that credibility then you are in trouble.
Problem number two: The Doctor is a dick. I don’t mean is difficult or tetchy or quirky. I mean a complete jerk. I know they are building towards something with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor being harsher and darker. Up until now it just seemed like he had a more Tom Baker attitude. This past week though, he was just a jerk. No redeeming quality, no reason behind his abandonment of Clara except he seemed to want to see what she would do in a bad situation. It reminded me of Supernatural when Sam didn’t have a soul. He would let bad things happen because he was curious about the outcome. That is what I got here. The Doctor wanted to see what the stupid little apes would do without his help.

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Visually I thought it was a strong episode. The moon surface looked great and there was a narrative reason for there to be gravity at the time. The spiders were well done as well.

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Interestingly enough, I took a look at the reactions from fandom on the internet and half of them say that was the best episode yet, and these last seven are the strongest of the revived series. I do not usually find myself at odds with the general consensus on Doctor Who, but I just do not like where they are going now. I know last week I thought I got it, but this week they have undone all the goodwill I had toward this new Doctor. No matter what the endgame is, I cannot imagine a satisfying reason for him to be so cruel to someone who has traveled his entire time stream and saved him from death. I think we sometimes forget that Clara is no ordinary companion. She was split in to fragments and scattered all along his life, intervening and guiding him toward becoming the man we knew. This just does not work on so many levels.
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Let’s hope next week can redeem something, anything. Here is the promo.

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I sincerely hope all the hullabaloo about this seasons Agents Of Shield ratings turns out to be nothing because so far it is far more promising than the first season.
“Heavy Is The Head” is the second episode of AOS’ second season and continues to show that without their hands tied by the release of a movie(Captain America:The Winter Soldier), these guys can make great tv. It picked up where last weeks left off with The Absorbing Man in possession of the mysterious object and on the run. Standard stuff really, but within all the action you can see what is really important.
One of the surviving mercs would seem to be on a path to redemption. Seemingly joining the team at the expense of an expense account. Simmons also has a breakthrough where we find when he can’t figure a problem out, it may be because he did it in the past. Evidenced by when they need a solution to negate The Absorbing Man’s power, he keeps saying “I didn’t solve this today!” As it turned out he did solve it in a previous day, but due to his condition cannot recall when or how.
We also see the return of Rainna. She is no longer in the employ of Hydra and is working for a new character played by… wait for it… Kyle MacLachlan!!! Is it weird that I am so happy to see him back on tv? Man I loved Twin Peaks. Anyway, if the spoilers are to be believed he is Skye’s father. I am certain that he will steal every scene he is in, and I cannot wait to see him face off with Agent Coulson.
Also the new comer Mac seems to be finding his place in the group. When asked about his proficiency with technology he replies “Ya know how some people can play a song by ear? I need the sheet music.” Seems he may be able to help Fitz get some work done finally.
Near the end we again see Coulson face off with General Talbot. In a field by himself it seems, offering the captured Carl Creel as a peace offering. Then with the decloaking of a Quinjet and the Bus showing that Shield is still doing all right in the armament department. I hope we get to see Talbot finally come around to the group and at least tolerate them. Right now it’s fine but I don’t want to watch him trying to convince himself they are the bad guys for twenty more episodes this year. The man is not an idiot.
Again, the show delivers this week. If they keep this up we may still have the show around for Avengers 3. Get out there and watch it people. It would be sad to let such a great vehicle for the Marvel Universe die because it took them a year to get their footing.
Here is a preview of next weeks episode, “Making Friends And Influencing People”.

This is the first in a column we are going to call The Narrows. If you know anything about the Batman mythos you know the Narrows are the seedy underbelly of Gotham city. Where the poor and the criminal live side by side. I thought it was a good name for a place to air grievances or other thoughts that did not fall in to the normal review category.
Which brings us to this columns topic. Why I won’t Be Reviewing Resurrection.

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Last year the internet was abuzz with high praise for a new ABC show based on a french show and book about people coming back from the dead. We did not watch the first few episodes, but heard great things about it. It is never good time to add a new show to the rotation, but my wife and I decided to give this a shot as we were being told it was great. So we decided to go to on demand and catch up.
The buzz was not wrong. This was a great show. Even watched it on the night of broadcast most of the time, which for us is a measure of how good something is. Only a few shows get that treatment, and it said quite a bit about how much Resurrection grabbed us with it’s returned from the dead plot.
Without recapping the series, these aren’t zombies or anything. They are people who died 40 years ago to just recently. Returned to life as the same people with the same issue, injuries, and memories they had before. What’s even stranger is the bodies they once had are still there. Buried, entombed, whatever. Whole new bodies, just like the old ones, inexplicably alive with no memory that time has passed. Creepy stuff, right? Compelling too as loved ones are reunited, etc. When the season finale came around with the military involved, the the main character (Omar Epps) surrounded by helicopters trying to get a returned boy out of town, and the rest of the Returned being rounded up like prisoners, I was hooked.
The cast is great and well rounded. The dad from that 70’s show, and some other recognizable character actors were fantastic. Although I kept expecting Martin Bellamy to call in Dr. House to solve the mystery and tell us it was Lupus.

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So the premiere was Sunday, and I had a realization. I don’t want to write about this every week. I am not going to say the number of shows I do have to write about does not come in to play here. It is a part of it, but there is something greater than that.
The season premiere not only didn’t resolve the finale, it added more questions and avoided answering any. I am not saying that upset me or I was let down. In fact I enjoyed it and we will continue to watch every week. It is because of the nature of this whole narrative I don’t want to write about it every week.
There is only one question at the center of this show, how and why are the dead returning? Everything else is drama surrounding that. There is nothing wrong with that being the pure and true nature of the show.
However in this day and age, good ratings mean four, five seasons average for a television show? Once they answer that one question, the show is over. Therefore they cannot ever answer that question until the final season. So much like LOST, they need to go further and further down the rabbit hole each week.
I don’t want to spend five years writing columns about nothing. That is what it would be. Articles about mysteries NOT being solved. Until that last one, where I am convinced nothing can measure up or even make sense at this point anyway. The low hanging fruit is clones, and even that is a stretch that this one lonely town is where the powers that be decide to test their technology.
It’s a tough realization. That I like this show but I don’t want to write about it. Because in the end, I truly believe it will let me down. Unless it really is Lupus.

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Addendum: How telling is it that there is one picture of Omar Epps in this article and two of Hugh Laurie? That connection will never be broken!