spreading the talent

Pick Of The Week

Review: Star Trek Beyond

star-trek-beyond-living-one-sheeI finally had time to sit down and watch the newest Star Trek film, and came out of it with mixed feelings.  It was not a bad movie at all, but instead a slower paced installment than most of the others in the series.  So what made the 13th movie work, and what didn’t?  Here’s my brief review with some spoilery material.  If you just want my rating and skip all of the other comments, then scroll down to the last paragraph.

As I mentioned, the narrative was slow.  It felt like the first half of the movie was void of energy.  I was surprised at this, but it didn’t turn me away.  I wanted to see what was going on, and though the second half more than satisfied me I was left with a few questions unanswered.

Idris Elba’s character was a decent villain, but I felt like we didn’t get enough explanation as to how he’d extended his life and why he changed appearances.  It was awkward at times.  We also didn’t get further explanation on the weapon he was using.  We only got a brief origin of both of these and they could have used more clarity.

Those were my complaints.  It’s not a lot, but then again I don’t have many compliments either.  Here’s what I felt really worked… The feeling of a family.  They used the Kirk, Spock, McCoy connection to its finest.  Their feelings of doubt and wanting something other than what they had ended up being replaced by knowing that they are all a family of sorts, and it’d be dull without each other.

Leonard Nimoy’s death was addressed by having Spock learn of Spock Prime’s death.  It was written in well, and served as the catalyst for younger Spock’s feelings on life.  The picture of the original crew in Prime’s belongings was a surreal moment, that probably is the best tribute to the original series we will ever get.

Finally, onto Chekov.  Sadly Anton Yelchin has passed tragically at a young age.  He did such an amazing job bringing the character to life.  I don’t know how they will write him out of the series.  In the original series he was absent from season 1.  However they go about it I could see them tastefully replacing the character with Jayla as she easily shined in this film.  Plus it would be good to see more of her species and back story.

All in all it was far from the best Trek film, but certainly not the worst.  Its low moments were balanced by nostalgiac high moments making it a worthwhile rental.  I will always be a trek fan, so my hopes for the 14th movie are even higher now, as it will have to step up.  My final rating is 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think of Star Trek Beyond?

original-star-trek-crew


Peaceful Politics… and all else

argueAh, it’s almost over.  The wait that is.  Here in the United States Facebook feeds are filled with rhetoric, memes, links, and jokes that are all in bad taste toward other candidates.  Yes, I’m talking about election time.  We are about to elect our 45th President, and it is downright ugly.

The divide is more than its ever been, and people seem to have forgotten that our founding Presidents tried to find a common ground.  That isn’t the case any more.  Now it’s a very angry right and a hateful left.  Things have gotten violent in some cases.  It’s almost as if you are no longer allowed to have an opinion because someone will scream at you if it’s different from theirs.

In all honesty we are at a scary point in history.  If something can’t be agreed upon we may end up in dare I say another Civil War.  (Some already claim this is happening).  Thomas Jefferson once said, “Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.”  That was 200 years ago, and it couldn’t be more fitting now.

Part of what makes this country an amazing place is that no matter if you are Black, White, Straight, Gay, Christian, Jewish, or of any other denomination or group, you are ALL American.  So why is it that our passions have gone and made us embarrass ourselves?  Why can’t I sit at a holiday dinner with family or friends, and have a conversation that is rational and respectful toward other stances?

I blame this on the media as a whole.  If you’re watching CNN, Fox News, or any of the other mainstream go tos, you’ve probably only gotten a biased reporting.  I say probably, but we know that’s the case.  The fact is as Americans we have the right to vote, but we have the DUTY to do it responsibly.  Taking someone else’s word for it (media or not) is irresponsible.

So how do you figure out the facts?  They are out there if you look.  Stop voting for Hillary because she’s a Democrat… Stop voting for Trump because he’s Republican.  START voting AMERICAN… if you do your research and feel that either of the above, or a third party are what is best for America, then I encourage you to vote that way, but ONLY if you do your research.  Otherwise you’re just one of the irresponsible angry or hateful ones.

I want a country fit for my children and generations to come, but politics seem to divide us more each time.  I was asked by a friend, “How do you do proper research on the candidates?” The answer is simple.  Click on those links you don’t want to view.  If you’re an avid Left or Right of center person challenge yourself to honestly look at what the other side is offering.  It may irritate you, but you may actually gain a piece of information that your side isn’t giving.

Look, I’m using politics as my main line here, because it is what is happening right now.  But this goes for anything.  No matter how correct you think you are, you aren’t perfect.  No one is.  If you’re sitting there behind a screen sharing “information” about how bad the other side is, then you should be looking at your own candidate’s flaws too.  If you’re constantly on the offense, then no one will ever take you serious.  You will NEVER win an argument or convince someone of your ways because you will seem irrational, and in most cases no one will want to be around you.

I wrote a book a few years ago about arguing, where I presented some facts from both sides of common disputes.  I presented it without bias despite having strong feelings about some of the issues.  Each chapter is introduced and ended with a humorous experience from my own life.  I hope to update it one day soon as it could use an extra fact or two added because of changes in events.

The goal of the book is to find a common ground, or something near common so that we can be civil with each other instead of civil warring each other.  Sure there is a chapter about Conservative vs Liberal, but other arguments (some silly and some serious) are presented as well… Cats vs Dogs, Star Wars vs Star Trek, Religion, Sports, Music.  The list continues on.

NO, IT’S NOT. YES, IT IS: ARGUMENTS is available in print at lulu.com and in digital at Amazon.  Feel free to check it out.

In the meantime, let’s all get along or at least try.  Stop doing things such as “voting for the lesser of two evils.”  That’s still evil.  Stop voting AGAINST a candidate, because if you are doing that, then you aren’t voting FOR someone.  Vote for something in which you believe.    If you aren’t fighting for something you believe in, then you are just fighting because you’re intolerant of other people.

As a side note, yes I AM voting in this election.  I do lean toward one side more.  I have toyed with voting third party.  I’ve taken into account ALL angles and have decided on one that I believe is the correct choice to lead.  I hope this post helps you realize that it is important to negotiate with facts, and not bias.  If not facts, then at least have common sense in your stance.

Wrapping up my rant I’d like to say that those who claim “Third party voting is throwing your vote away,” well I agree and disagree.  I agree because let’s face it… one of the big two will win (at least in this election).  I disagree because if you are voting for someone who isn’t Republican or Democrat, then you are telling the establishment that you don’t like their choices.  I’m by no means saying to do that, but if you are then I don’t believe your vote is being wasted.  Again, research is the key, not what media and others tell you.

I haven’t pushed my view in this post or who I’m voting for, because that would go against everything I’ve mentioned.  Stating my stance would negate the purpose of forgetting outside influence.  I encourage comments below.  Please do not go off on political rants for or against your choice.  Let’s see how civil we can be in a forum, and maybe there is hope for the future.  And with that I say cheers.


Review: Ghostbusters 2016

ghostbusters_2016_film_posterFor a change I’m going to do a virtually spoiler free review.  I’ll mention some minor things that could be considered spoilery, but they aren’t crucial to the story.  What can I say about this movie?  The trailers did not do it justice.  I frankly was slightly irritated at the previews because it looked downright terrible.  I thought they’d gone and just remade the original movie with a different cast of characters and some other minor subplots.  I am happy I was wrong.

Now, was this a great movie?  No.  Was it a bad movie?  No.  In fact I’d say it was as good or slightly better than Ghostbusters 2.  To some of you that isn’t saying much, but bear with me.  I loved both the original movies.  Here’s my main problem with the reboot.  It should have been a sequel.  A loose one perhaps, but a sequel nonetheless.  Here’s why…

As a total reboot it felt disrespectful to disregard the original movie which had nothing wrong with it.  We’ve got a totally different story and people here, so why not change some VERY minor things about it to make it a third entry?  It could still be a reboot and distance itself, while honoring what made the first one work.  This would have made the fans of the originals happy with the new one, and turn a new generation onto the old ones.

My kids (ages 6 and 8) even said, “Daddy, why aren’t they (the cameos) the original characters?”  I had no good answer.  How could they have made it part 3 and a reboot?  Here’s my answer (slight spoiler warning)…

The plot involves the Mayor of New York basically telling the new team that they had to keep ghost existence quiet.  This could have explained why the original ghostbusters were no where to be found.  They could have referenced that someone tried to hoax people 30 years ago and where are they now?  Sure, it’s a long shot, but THAT would have worked.  The cameos tie into this line of thinking…

Bill Murray could have still been Peter Venkman, who now worked for the Mayor as a paid skeptic.  He’d been bought to prove that it wasn’t real.  As one of the original Ghostbusters, this would have been a smart move.  He had a falling out with the other guys, and was broke from no more business after GB2.  He was desperate.  The best part about this would have been that they wouldn’t have had to change his role at all.  He still could have acted EXACTLY the same with the same role, and it would have worked.

Harold Ramis’ bust is seen.  The actor is dead, so this was a very nice tribute.  It could have easily been Dr. Egon Spengler’s bust, and had mention of that on a plaque.

Dan Aykroyd was a cab driver.  He had no name.  Why couldn’t this have been Ray Stantz current job?  Nothing needed to be changed, and he was afraid of dealing with the ghosts from him being threatened by the Mayor’s office to keep quiet.

Ernie Hudson could have just as easily been Uncle Winston instead of Uncle Bill, and they could have kept him in the same role.

Annie Potts did exactly what she did in the originals.  Why couldn’t this have been Jeanine Melnitz’s current job?

Slimer was Slimer.  He never really spoke, so his presence wouldn’t need to be explained at all, even Mrs. Slimer wouldn’t have needed to be explained.

The ONLY one of the original characters who’d have to have a few little rewrites to fit in would have been Sigourney Weaver’s Dana Barrett.  With a little ingenuity this could have been an easy tweak.

(End of spoilers)

Okay, so those are my thoughts on that.  It all goes back to WHY.  To me it is a slap in the face to fans.  All of that aside, let’s look at the rest of the movie.

Acting wise it was decent.  All of the ladies did a great job, and made some of the over the top campiness work.  It was funny, and highly enjoyable.

The special effects were also on par with being amazing.

The slight remix of the original Ghostbusters theme song was great, though the Fall Out Boy Ghostbusters song was downright terrible.

One final thing about that final scene at the end of the credits.  It was a nice nod, but if a sequel happens (and I hope it does), then I really hope they don’t go down that route.  We need to see something entirely new for the girls in order for it to work right and last.

If this was a sequel to the originals not much would have to have been changed, and then I’d give the movie an extra point, but because it wasn’t, it won’t get 4 points… Instead I’ll award it a 3 sCrypt Coffins out of 5.  It’s enough to say it wasn’t bad by any means, but was no way near as good as it could have been.  It deserves a second shot, so I’m holding out for a follow up to this one.

What did you think of Ghostbusters 2016?  Did you like it?  Hate it?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Day 30 -Inspiration in different times

img_6813The possibility of time travel has always fascinated me.  In college I took a class called “Paradox”, and mid semester I came up with an idea for a book on it.  That was about sixteen years ago, and the book is finally in the works (well three books to be specific).  Can I go back and retract that typo?  Sure, that’s what the backspace key is for, but what if we could go back and change something in our past?

When I was ten years old I read H.G. Wells’ THE TIME MACHINE.  It was the first book that really had me thinking about the subject.  The classic movie from the 60s wasn’t as good as the book, but it’s still one of my favorites to this day.  Even the remake done in the 2000s holds a special place in my heart.  Am I bold enough to say it is one of the best science fiction novels ever written?  Yes, and I’ll stand by that statement.  Wells came up with an idea to quell his own curiosity about what the future held.  While the book doesn’t go into alternate realities or changing the past (it is hinted at, but not a major component), it instead looks forward.  In certain aspects it shows a bleak future (far ahead of our own time), but there is something to be taken away from it all.  I feel the lesson written here is that we should appreciate what we have now.  No matter how bad things can get, it can always be worse.

Once I reached my teenage years there was a show on called QUANTUM LEAP.  It involved a character who was from the future and stepped into a time chamber.  He woke up in the past in someone else’s body.  The fun thing about this show was that each episode had him trying to figure out what he needed to make sure happened in order for him to leap to the next random time period.  The show was limited only to years in which the actual character had been alive on earth.  If he were to leap to another time he’d cease to exist, so it kept it very grounded in modern times (or at least the last 35 years prior to the show).  This series had me tuning in every week, but sadly it fell victim to what I call the “final episode”.  At the end of the series we are left with a cliffhanger of not knowing if he ever made it home or not.  Was Sam stuck in time?  Where did he go?  I still hold out hope for a reboot/sequel that will explain it all and maybe re-launch the series.

Lastly is the TIME PATROL series by Bob Mayer.  Mayer’s series takes a similar concept to leaping into a historical person’s body, but goes beyond that to actual events.  He isn’t limited to one time period, but instead has a selection of multiple in each individual novel.  One date throughout history is being affected by the mostly unseen antagonist in different ways.  It’s difficult to go into detail about it without being spoilery, but the Time Patrol is a fun and interesting ride.  It may even have you wanting to do some research on certain days or events in history.  I haven’t just been entertained by the highly anticipated novels, but have learned from them.  Where else can you have one story with multiple subplots going on in a book?

With the holidays fast approaching I’m frantically working on A COURSE FOR HUMANITY.  It won’t be out until early 2017, but in the meantime if you are looking for a great time travel story, I highly recommend all three of the above; especially Time Patrol, since it’s a current series.

So what are some of your favorite time travel stories?  Use the hashtag #scrypthalloween and you may be one of the lucky winners chosen to receive a free copy of one of my novels.

halloween

 


Day 27 -Inspiration in Space

thumbnail_img_6784I can’t say I’m a hardcore science fiction fan, but there are some franchises that I have the utmost respect for when it comes to space exploration.  Those are what inspired me to write my novel DEVOURED UNIVERSE, and its spinoff short COSMIC ORBITS.

When I say I can’t stand Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, I mean it.  It was a horrifically slow movie that didn’t do the book justice at all.  Arthur C. Clark’s novel was much more entertaining, and holds a top place in my list of epic science fiction in space.  It had 3 sequel books: 2010 ODYSSEY TWO, 2061 ODYSSEY THREE, and 3001 THE FINAL ODYSSEY.  Although outdated in terms of mention of year, it isn’t as far fetched as it seems.  If you’re a fan of the movie (or not) then I recommend checking out the books because they are much better.  The unlimited potential of outer space is depicted in a way that really makes you want to know what is out there.

Next up is the ALIEN franchise.  Sure, there are countless books and comics based on the series, but I’m referencing the main films.  ALIEN, ALIENS, ALIEN 3, & ALIEN: RESURRECTION fell victim to the sequel not being as good as the preceding entry, but that said, they are still fantastic movies.  I would count the two ALIEN vs PREDATOR movies, but since that includes the PREDATOR franchise I’ll refrain (Predator is also a series I love, but that’s going off on another).  The prequel movie PROMETHEUS is getting a follow up called ALIEN COVENANT.  So far so good with those.  What makes these movies great isn’t the characters as much as it is the threat of such a frightening alien.

A series that has fans always in anticipation of the next release is STAR WARS.  In all honesty I love the main films, but the spinoff series, cartoons, and books never grabbed my interest.  Let’s face it… what makes this franchise great is the heart of the story.  Don’t hate me fanboys and girls… I’m just seeing it from a writing perspective.  The core here is good vs evil..  There really is no in between in this saga, but that’s what makes it so good.  Each chapter holds its own, even though the prequels were widely hated by fans.  They really aren’t bad when it comes down to it.  We’ve got a handful of them: THE PHANTOM MENACE, ATTACK OF THE CLONES, REVENGE OF THE SITH, A NEW HOPE, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RETURN OF THE JEDI, THE FORCE AWAKENS, and episode 8 and 9 coming as well as some crucial backstory starting with ROGUE ONE.  Since Disney has taken over it seems to be headed in the right direction, and will hopefully expand to include a simpler, yet less two dimensional narrative.

The other fan eager series is STAR TREK.  We’ve got The ORIGNAL SERIES, THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, VOYAGER, ENTERPRISE, and the new series DISCOVERY.  Like Wars, Trek’s spinoff novels and comics do nothing for me, but the movies have been hit or miss.  THE MOTION PICTURE, THE WRATH OF KAHN, THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK, THE VOYAGE HOME, THE FINAL FRONTIER, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, GENERATIONS, FIRST CONTACT, INSURRECTION, NEMESIS, STAR TREK, INTO DARKNESS, and BEYOND all have a way of telling a much broader story.   Trek has a way of displaying how vast the universe is, and how each different race perceives and handles events.

My goal was to incorporate what was best about all of these: The vastness of the universe, a frightening alien threat, characters that are cared about, and various stances on how things should be handled.  DEVOURED UNIVERSE really utilizes these to tell a fresh new type of story that closes out a trilogy and sets way for a future cast to deal with something beyond.

So what are some of your favorite space related or alien movies, films, TV, drinks, food, games, etc etc?  Make sure to hashtag #scrypthalloween and you may win a copy of one of my novels.

halloween


Review: Luke Cage Season 1 Netflix

luke_cage_netflixNetflix and Marvel successfully do it again.  The question is whether it was as good as the other shows, and if it warrants a second season.  Here’s my breakdown of the characters in the show, how they factored in, and a little bit of speculation on where it could go from here.  There are spoilers, so if you don’t want to see them, scroll down to the final paragraph for my rating.

Luke Cage/Power Man/Carl Lucas: I said it before and this series backs that claim… Mike Colter is the perfect pick for the main character.  He looks as if he enjoys his character, and Cage was presented without flaw in my opinion.  The back story of Carl Lucas, the references to his classic Power Man costume and name, and the evolution of Luke Cage was spot on.  If there was anything I thought could have made it better would be Pop’s barbershop becoming a new place with Heroes For Hire.  Although they didn’t show that, the H4H was certainly set up that way.  Luke was always a character I liked, but never spent much time thinking about.  Now I wonder why he wouldn’t have been the new Captain America instead of Falcon in the comics, but that’s going off on another tangent.

Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes: I’ve never seen Mahershala Ali in anything before, but his acting made Cottonmouth worth watching.  He turned what was a very lame character in the comics into a badass.  I didn’t see his death coming as early as it did, and who’d caused it.  His actions were always a surprise, and though he wasn’t as much a crime lord as Kingpin in Daredevil, he certainly had a great presence.  If I’d have changed anything, it would have been how he didn’t seem like much of a threat in the episode he died.  I felt he should have gone out stronger than he did.  I see why they did it however.  It was a way of making you feel for the character right before ripping him away.  All in all?  Great storytelling regardless of how it was approached.

Mercedes “Misty” Knight: Simone Missick was just proof of more great casting choices.  I love the buildup and portrayal of Misty, and felt sorry for her along the way.  She was the single character in this whole series that had more to deal with than anyone else.  Constantly being stuck in a hard place didn’t mean she couldn’t kick ass either.  Aside from her central role in the story we also got a few other comic references with her.  When she was shot in the arm there was even mention that she could lose it.  This was in reference to her bionic arms in the comics.  Her outfit at the end, when she reentered the club undercover was straight from the pages of Marvel, and her tearing the piece of paper from the light post also gave a nod to another character whom she’ll eventually meet, Colleen Wing.

Hernan “Shades” Alvarez: Theo Rossi was irritating in a good way.  This was THE character that you hated to love.  He’s the type of antagonist that makes the viewer want to see punched in the face, but also never go away.  In the comics, Shades had a visor similar to Cyclops from X-Men.  I’m extremely happy that they took away that aspect and left him as a right hand man for the bosses.  He seemed to have no particular allegiance to anyone, which makes me question one thing… He could pull off being a mob boss on his own, so why does he always end up being someone’s lackey?  And what is it about him that scares his bosses?  I say that because it seemed he could say anything he wanted to them, and there’d be no consequence.

Willis Stryker/Diamondback: Erik LaRay Harvey was a good pick for the character, but I don’t feel Diamondback was one to be taken seriously.  Sure, he was crazy, but that’s what made it seemed out of place to me.  His motivations were lacking and childish, and I can’t see why Cottonmouth was afraid of him.  Okay, that aside, he was a major threat to everyone in the story, including Cage.  The Chitauri metal being used as bullets that could penetrate Luke’s skin was an interesting addition, especially since we got to see how they could possibly do surgery on him.  The final battle with Luke gave Diamondback a comic appropriate costume that made sense, and we’re obviously going to have him getting similar powers to his half brother in the second season or Defenders, after that ending.  I look forward to seeing him return in a less mentally awkward role, and more of a physical threat.

Claire Temple/Nightnurse: Rosario Dawson’s character finally got some good screen time.  She received some more back story, and even talked about how she wanted to help people with powers.  This set up her role as the Night Nurse in Defenders.

Mariah Dillard/Black Mariah: Alfre Woodard has to take the prize for best acting in the series.  She’s stellar in her performance of the corrupt politician.  She’s got motivation and I’m glad to see her overall role remaining a presence.  This woman came off as more of a threat than Wilson Fisk did in DD.  I’m eager to see what will happen with her if she returns.

Comic book cameo roles: Trish Walker was heard over a radio broadcast briefly.  Turk Barrett returned, and though it felt like a forced placement it was welcomed.  Comanche played a role as Shades’ partner in prison, and though I can honestly say I know nothing about that character’s comic book portrayal, it was cool to see another D-lister appear in some way.  Stan Lee’s poster was seen again in the background, just like in the other Netflix shows, and the references to the incident in Avengers as well as the other Netflix heroes brought it all together.

Various other roles: Detective Scarfe, Pop, and the countless other thug and police roles, as well as the countless musicians involved were nothing but pleasing to see.  Method Man’s appearance was downright awesome!

Speculation: here’s what I think.  Defenders are set up (all but Iron Fist, but he’s coming).  We’ve got Luke Cage, who will obviously get out of prison due to a certain Daredevil lawyer.  Aside from those two heroes there’s Misty Knight, The Night Nurse, Jessica Jones, Punisher, and the soon addition of Iron Fist and Colleen Wing.  We might even get Trish as Hellcat.  But who will be the threat?  It was just announced that Sigourney Weaver will be the main villain for Defenders.  Who she will be remains to be seen… Perhaps Madame Hydra?… regardless she has a ripe picking of villains to add to her antagonist army… Diamondback will now have abilities, Mariah Dillard, Shades, Kingpin, Turk and I’m sure I’m missing a few.  I thought Avengers was highly anticipated when it was coming out, but now I’m beginning to think Defenders will be much the same.

Overall review: The music and acting were superior.  Comic book references made old school fans happy.  Real world events fit into the storytelling without pushing an agenda.  This was some great storytelling with some flaws.  It didn’t drag out like Jessica Jones did, and it did give us a good origin for multiple characters.  It’s not perfect, but its earned one of the top places in my book for great action and attention.  This was the first series of ALL of the Netflix shows that I think I could have literally watched all the way through without stopping in one sitting.  I’d never do that, nor have the time to, but it was compelling and really decent.  I give it 4.5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my review.  Keep them coming, Netflix and Marvel.


Review: Once Upon A Time season 5

onceuponatime_season5_poster1While I feel this season was the worst this show had to offer, it had its moments and built towards a finale that was worth the wait.  Season 6 is sure to return the show to what once made it so great, but what was it about season 5 that just didn’t match par?  Below is my spoiler filled review.  As usual if you don’t want to see the spoilers, then scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.

The main characters: Emma / Dark Swann wasn’t convincing as the Dark One for the first half of the season.  There was no personality change short of having different motives, and even that is a stretch.  It wasn’t the switch that we’ve seen with Mr. Gold so well, and felt boring from start to mid season.  Speaking of Mr. Gold… Rumplestiltskin even felt boring for the first half of the season.  It wasn’t until the final three episodes where he began to be interesting again.  I’m hoping season 6 really returns him to that role in the way that makes him a great villain.  Snow White & Prince Charming are questionable at best.  They should never have gone to the underworld with Emma while leaving their daughter behind.  Does someone want to tell them that at this point they are insignificant?  At the end it started to feel like the couple was going to be useful again, but to me they didn’t feel like themselves.  Henry was all over the place, but for some reason this works.  Perhaps its his age and making decisions on his own that brings the realistic feel of his actions into play.  My only critique here is his speech to the New York crowd.  I doubt he’d have gotten that type of response in real life, at least with the verbage used.  Belle was a hinge in the way that directly her presence did nothing to make the show better, but indirectly she served as a pivot for Rumple’s teetering.  Hook and Regina both remained interesting and without them the show may have fallen apart.  I’m happy with where they both started and ended.  Robin Hood was the biggest surprise, and I’m left wondering what will happen to his son after all that’s gone down.  Regina just sent him back to the enchanted forest with the Merry men.

The newcomers:

King Arthur was frustrating for me.  It worked when they made Peter Pan a villain, but Arthur felt like a slap in the face.  This legendary king was nothing more than a thug with power.  Guinevere didn’t even matter in the long run, and Lancelot was as close to the real thing as we were going to get.  The interesting parts were with Excalibur being a part of the Dark One’s dagger.  That alone was the most interesting part of the first half of the season.  And then there is Merlin… Am I wrong to have wanted an old guy to play this part?  I didn’t care about the race change.  What I wanted was someone who seemed to be ancient, and this was a role completely miscast.

Nimue was extremely interesting and great while she lasted, though I feel I wanted to really see what she was capable of as the Dark One.  We only got a tease of that, but she had a nice back story which helped move it along.

Violet came as a surprise.  Her addition gave Henry a love interest, but her reveal of her origins (or at least her father’s) at the end of the season was exciting.  I hope she returns making Henry’s decisions more of a focal point as at this point I think they can take the reigns and run with it.  It’ll be nice to see younger heroes matter more.

Hades was amazing, and his Underworld bringing back many of the dead characters worked well too.  What didn’t work was Hercules and Megara.  Their stories were good, but if they’d have been more utilized then I think the second half would have been more exciting.  Instead the Underworld made me wonder if the writers had been from there with the bland and drawn out narrative.  Zeus‘ quick appearance was a pleasant surprise though and made for a good ending to that part of the season.

Merida and her parents, her story, and her village was absolutely perfect!  In fact I might say she was the best new addition we had all season.  She stole every scene and the source material was well respected.

Dorothy Gale oh Dorothy Gale.  (long sigh).  Anyone who knows me knows that the Wizard of Oz and those L Frank Baum books were a huge inspiration into my writing career.  I love the interpretation of the Wicked Witch in OUAT, but Dorothy made me a bit upset.  Look, I get that you need to put gay characters into the show.  In fact I welcome it.  But the writers not only took creative freedom with her sexuality, they made her a little too much of a warrior in my opinion.  Dorothy in the books was always a sweet girl, and nothing about this actress echoed that.  She looked miserable the entire time, and didn’t seem like Dorothy at all.  To top that off, it wasn’t so much that she was attracted to women, but she fell in love with Little Red Riding Hood, Ruby.  So is it safe to say that she is no longer in the gay community, but into bestiality instead?  Bottom line is the decision made here was a public relations ploy that is insulting to straight and gay alike.  If you’re going to make a person gay, then don’t have them making out with a human/wolf hybrid.  Bestiality is not cool even if Ruby is smoking hot.  All rant aside it was cool to see the cameo by the Scarecrow.

Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde – now THIS is where the show started to feel like it had gone back to its roots.  I love Disney in every way, but the overkill of Disney related stories was getting to me and I think the audiences.  Storybrooke and what made this show work was that ALL story book characters were alluded to.  We got Frankenstein and a few others, so my question was always where are all the other books?  There should be no limits.  I realize rights issues are a problem, but not with all.  Jekyll and Hyde were good interpretations with the separation twist that set up a potentially great season.  I’m curious to see where they go now that Hyde’s minions are in town.  Who are they?  They made references in the book Henry found that showed Paul Bunyan, Frankenstein, and Gulliver’s travels, but who else?  The suspense is killing me.  Top that with wanting to know how Hyde and Rumplestiltskin knew each other, AND Regina now being a separate entity from the Evil Queen and season 6 could be better than all prior seasons combined.  Other than Granny, all of the other characters have returned home leaving a virtually blank slate for those coming on board.

In Conclusion I realize my review is a bit rough in spots, but as a writer source material is important, a compelling story is important, and some sort of suspense or anticipation is important.  Season 5 fell flat on all of these except in some special places.  That aside, I will be returning for season 6 and can’t wait to see what’s in store.  Season 5 gets 2 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins for my rating.


Review: Marvel TV shows 2015-2016

Since I did the DC post it’s time to review the Marvel TV and Netflix shows for the 2015-2016.  Like all of my reviews I will break it down by character giving my honest thoughts as a comic fan and viewer.  There will be spoilers, so if you want my rating on each show scroll down to the final paragraph of each section (which ends with a solid line).

Feel free to comment and add your own thoughts below.  I will be reviewing Jessica Jones season 1, Daredevil season 2, Agent Carter season 2, and Agents of SHIELD season 3.

First up Jessica Jones season 1:

jessica-jones-season-1-poster-691x1024Jessica Jones – She’s raunchy, she’s a drunk, she’s sexual, she’s got a bad attitude, she’s everything that a superhero isn’t, but she leaves her mark as one.  Jessica is the most interesting character to watch as of yet.  My only problem with this show was the extreme amounts of sexual scenes.  I’m no prude by any means, but by the fourth gratuitous softcore porn scene I was tired of it.  It’s as if there was nothing else that the writers had to do with their time.  We get it.  We get the type of character she is, but seriously it was overkill.

Luke Cage – was one of the two best things about this show.  Casting was perfect and his acting superb.  I actually got chills during the first bar fight scene that made me want to skip right to his show coming this fall.  I found it predictable that he’d be controlled by Killgrave at one point, so I wasn’t surprised.  I WAS however shocked by the shotgun blast to the face.  That part of the story was intense and brought in the help of Claire Temple who made reference to Daredevil.

Kilgrave – The Purple man was an absolutely delightful villain to see.  He is right up there with villains you want to hate but love (like Loki, the Joker, and Hannibal Lecter).  He’s downright creepy and his ability to control others actions adds to that.  By far he was one of the top villains in Marvel live action.  It’s just a shame that he’s now dead.

Trish “Patsy” Walker – I loved her in the show, and she’s another perfect casting.  In fact all of the cast was perfectly picked.  They obviously are building her up to become Hellcat at some point, so we shall see what they do in season 2.

Simpson / Nuke – The officer gone rogue was basically an abusive addict by season end.  He really embodied the rage that his comic book counterpart portrayed and the viewer is left really wanting him to be hurt for his actions.

Jeri Hogarth – I feel this part of the show could have been better written.  We get that she likes women, but we don’t need a reference every two seconds.  None of the straight characters are doing that, so it seems forced a bit.  I’m all for equal portrayal of characters, but it got a bit over the top in parts… then again most of this show was over the boundaries.  Regardless of my opinion she served a great purpose to the narrative, and I hope we see more of her.

In conclusion: Season 1 of Jessica Jones frustrated me not on the soft core porn sense, but it could have been just as effective if it were 4 episodes shorter.  It was drawn out to a point where I was yelling at the tv for her to finish the job already.  Other than those two complaints I really did enjoy it, and it brought a new feel to the Marvel cinematic universe.  I give the show a 3 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins


Daredevil Season 2:dd ssn2

Daredevil / Matt Murdock – To me DD took a back seat this season as Castle was the highlight of the show, but that doesn’t mean he was bad by any means.  We got to see a conflicted side of Matt Murdock, and while he mostly stuck with his own judicial and moral code he waivered at times making him unpredictable.  This was a great decision on the writing end.

Foggy and Karen – I put them together because they each had their own equally interesting story arcs.  Foggy is even going to work for Jeri Hogarth now, so I’m sure we will see him crossing over into the other shows.  The trio is no longer a team, but each has their own little corner in the story.  I’d like to see Karen and Matt work on their relationship because it left in a strange place.

Melvin Potter and Claire Temple – again I had to put these together as they were very small roles as opposed to the pair above.  I’d like to see Potter become the Gladiator and I think they are building it towards that.  He would be an excellent villain as he knows DD’s weaknesses.  Claire is just Claire.  She’s doing what she does best and it should be kept that way.  Rosario Dawson can do no wrong here.

Elektra – Why Matt ever was attracted to her other than looks is beyond me.  She’s clearly got little morals.  But her beauty and bad nature clearly had its wrap on him.  Elektra was great.  I’ve no complaints other than I’m kind of hoping she’s brought back somehow.  To me it made no sense to kill her off.  I’d have rather seen Karen or Foggy wiped out instead.

Stick and the Hand – Both the old man and the ninjas were completely badass.  There isn’t much more to say other than I’m hoping everything established in season 2 with these will bring about Daredevil in a Shadowland story.  Him in charge of the Hand would be very interesting to see.

Kingpin – Wilson Fisk’s role is small, but that’s all it needed to be.  Even behind bars he clearly has control of everything.  His manipulation of Punisher and no fear of Murdock puts him in a place where you know he’s coming back better and badder than ever.

Frank Castle / The Punisher – He is my favorite comic book character of all time, and he was done so right here that there’s no way it could get better other than seeing his own series next year.  From his brutality to his purpose he had it all nailed.  Kudos to Jon Bernthal for kicking ass and taking names.

In Conclusion: DD season 2 was by far my favorite of the Marvel seasons to watch.  Perhaps even more so than the movies as well.  I am rating it with a full 5 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.


ustv-agent-carter-season-2-posterAgent Carter Season 2:

Peggy Carter – It’s always a delight to see Hayley Atwell do anything, so I feel bad for how this season turned out.  I don’t think it was the worst it could have been, but it lacked heart.  Peggy was one of two parts that were good about it.  Everything else really didn’t work for me.

Black Widow (Dottie Underwood) – was underused.  Jarvis – was all over the place with who he was in love with and his own morals.  Howard Stark – was no way near as good as he was in season 1 and it almost didn’t even feel like his character.

Joseph Manfredi – was decent enough, but never felt like a true threat, while constantly being overthrown by the Zero Matter plot.

Whitney Frost / Madame Masque – was the other part I felt was worth seeing.  She played the villain role well and it made sense.  I just feel as though it could have been better.

In conclusion: I said at the end of Season 1 (which I liked) that season 2 would not be needed.  It should have stayed that way.  We had a great hero and a great villain, but everything else was forgettable.  If a show can’t hold my interest I’m out, but I forced myself through this entire season only to be sorely disappointed at my wasted hours.  I have to rate it with a 1.5 out of 5 sCrypt coffins.  It wasn’t quite a 1, but didn’t deserve 2.


Agents-of-SHIELD-season-3-poster-600x923Agents of SHIELD season 3:

The agents: Phil Couson continues to be a pleasure to watch, though his constant smirk makes it difficult at times to take him seriously.  Hunter fell flat this season due to his relationship with Mockingbird / Bobbi Morse.  The pair worked great together, but individually only she worked.  I realize they were written off of the show due to a potential spinoff, but now that that isn’t happening I hope we still get to see Bobbi’s return in some manner.  Fitz/Simmons became slightly less annoying as the season went on and for the first time in the series I actually didn’t mind both of them.  I still feel as though Fitz is better when he’s driven to make solo decisions, and that Simmons acts exactly the same no matter what situation she’s in.  That’s good for him, but bad for her.  Melinda May continues to be a badass, but we got to see a softer side of her which was nice for a change.  It enabled viewers to see that she isn’t all work.  At least she didn’t used to be anyway.  Mack by far is my favorite agent to watch.  He’s the perfect embodiment of what an agent should be, although he does tend to have issues with authority at times.  All around the entire SHIELD team are like pieces of a puzzle.  They are great as a whole, but individually have flaws.

Secret Warriors: Daisy Johnson / Quake – Well she finally took on her codename by season end, but I was left confused.  She is on the run or running solo?  Why is SHIELD hunting her?  She was obviously left scarred by her actions against the team, but if SHIELD is after her to make her accountable for what she did, then how did she escape in the first place?  There is too much left unanswered.  Lincoln on the other hand had a surprising fate.  I did not for one second believe he’d be the one to die.  I really grew to like him throughout the season so it makes sense as he said he didn’t want to be an agent after all.  Despite that statement he still died a hero.  Meltdown was underused in my opinion.  The first episode was great when they hunted him down, but after that he didn’t get used nearly enough.  I’m hoping this changes.  Yo-Yo was great as well but I think they are rushing with her and Mack’s “relationship” if that’s what you want to call it.  It is possible however that they are gearing up for her to be Mack’s new partner in place of Daisy on the team.  The question then is… What happened to the Secret Warriors?  Are they now defunct?

Lash was great until the reveal of his true identity.  I feel he lost some bit of mystery there, but it was redeemed when he fully became Lash again.  The fact that he saved Daisy makes me believe he was a combination of both personalities and that in the end the decision was made by his human half and not his bestial one.

Hive – What makes Agent Ward even better?  Make him a heartless alien bringer of death.  Everything from his powers to his true appearance looked superb.  I’m glad he was destroyed as I didn’t want this story to drag on, but it makes me wonder who could possibly be brought in to be a great villain for next season.  His deformed lackeys were terrible looking thugs with no purpose other than to be henchmen.  That part I’m not sure I liked too much.

Talbot  and Absorbing Man – I love the recurring presence of Talbot, and the smart use of Crusher Creel.  I could see this whole thing leading into a “Dark Warriors” storyline, something akin to what the comics did with the Avengers, only having Talbot in charge.

Hellfire was great though I’m not sure I like his origin.  My pickiness aside he was fun to watch and had a lot of character to him.

Holden Radcliffe was  as the Machine Teen in the comics, and I’m glad to see they changed this for the show.  He works better as a man with age and wisdom.  I can see how his creations could prove to be a future threat, even if he did leave on good terms with SHIELD.  I wouldn’t mind seeing him as a more significant villain.

Other references/characters: Werner Von Strucker was no way near as threatening as his father, and for that reason I’m glad he was only a small role.  Manifold was referenced quickly for any comic fan who may have picked up on it.  Civil War had also affected the show on a minor level but then it was left to hang.  There was no real reveal as to whether Coulson’s team would be forced to sign the accords or not.

In Conclusion – Agents of SHIELD season 3 was the best season of the show yet, but still had some irritating qualities.  It was a good build up for a season 4 that could potentially be really great.  Still, despite what it lead into it fell flat enough to make it less than great.  Overall I’m rating it with a 3 out of 5 as it has established itself as a fun show that can exist successfully without relying on the much better films in the same universe.


So there’s my take.  What did you think?  This gives Marvel TV 2015-2016 an average sCrypt rating of 3 out of 5.  Clearly aside from Netflix DC rules the contest with their TV shows, but Marvel’s strong suit remains on the big screen leaving DC in the dust.  I only want both to succeed and am happy for what we get, so here’s hoping it all gets better.


Review: DC Comics TV shows 2015-2016

This review will cover all of DC’s Television shows for the 2015-2016 season.  It includes Gotham, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl.  Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments below, and be warned that there will be spoilers.  If you want to know my review of each show individually, then skip down to the last paragraph of each section (sections end with a solid line ______).  I will do a quick character breakdown as I feel that is the best way to rate a show.  Plot points etc will be mentioned there as well.

gothamFirst up… GOTHAM Season 2:

James Gordon – The story arc this season was all over the place.  I didn’t like his actions at the end of the first half of this season because I didn’t feel it was in his character, but I accepted it.  Then this season we get Gordon as a cop, Gordon on the run, Gordon as an inmate, and Gordon as a broken hearted self shaming man.  Very little did we see the James Gordon that becomes Batman’s biggest ally.  With his departure at the end of the season I don’t know how he will be when he returns for season 3, but I hope this is corrected.

Harvey Bullock – If anything Harvey played a better role than Gordon.  But what bothers me is that he was more of a role model than his partner.  He played a badass who broke the rules but did what was right and is now in charge of the police force.  I’m not sure I like that leadership role for him, but Bullock was still fun to watch in every scene.

Tabitha Galavan /Tigress – Again here is another character who felt right in the beginning and fell apart.  She was a cold hearted assassin and then suddenly just a henchman.  The last we see of her she’s in a hospital bed.  I’m sure she’ll be making an appearance again, but if we don’t see her it won’t be that much of a loss.  If she does return I’m hoping for the cold hearted assassin again.

Butch – There isn’t much bad I can say about him.  I think some of his story arcs are lame and he’s a bit of a quirky character, but as a henchman he’s fitting.  As a leader he is not, so I’m glad they got away from that quickly.  When he used the gatling gun at the end and shot up the school bus I thought to myself that he’s finally returning to being the “muscle” of the villains.

Jerome Valeska – He was easily the highlight of the season.  I would have been happy if he turned out to be the Joker one day.  The perfect amalgamation of all joker incarnations so far he really played that psychotic part well.  If there is one character I do hope to see return from the dead I hope its him.  I realize that the basement in Arkham has been shut down, but I hold out hope that he was one of the escapees on the bus, because no one could play that part better.  Whether he ends up being alive and the Joker remains to be seen, but he left behind a legacy of laughter that obviously set seed for the main villain to be born.

Richard Sionis / Black Mask – What a waste.  I had to mention him because he’s a key character in the mythos, but they killed him so fast I am a little irritated at how they handled it.

Chief Nathaniel Barnes – I’ve no complaints but more a question here… Did Barnes die?  They said he was rushed off to the hospital but I’m not sure he was ever declared dead.  Either way his presence helped to make the first half of the season enjoyable.

Silver St. Cloud – For once a female character in the show didn’t annoy me.  Sorry, not to sound sexist, but the writers tend to make feminine characters cringe worthy.  Silver however seemed like her comic counterpart and the actress played the part well.  It was an interesting plot point adding her in so early with her Bruce Wayne relationship.

Bridgit / Firefly – And she’s the second intro I really enjoyed.  From her origin until the end of the season I thoroughly enjoyed her evolution into the female version of Firefly.  Nothing felt forced and I look forward to seeing her again.

Eduardo Flamingo – Batshit crazy comes to mind, but in a whole other way than Jerome.  His short stint for an episode was another highlight, and while I didn’t think the acting was done all that well I feel as though the character served his purpose.

Professor Hugo Strange – It was good to see a live action version of this character who in my opinion is one of Batman’s greatest foes.  I think they kept him close to the trueness of who he is supposed to be, but while he always fed into the psychosis of the villains he never actually created them.  That’s where this falls short for me.  I’m not sure I like just about every villain being his creation.  For some it works, but not all, and because of that I was split down the center with him in this season.

Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze – His story arc was handled well, but I’m not sure what his motivation is from here on out.  With his wife dead that part of his persona and purpose is mute.  Mr. Freeze always did what he did to find a cure for his wife, but now she’s dead, so the character really has no meaning other than being a common criminal with an ice gun.  At first I didn’t like the look with his hair, but loved the eyes.  The look grew on me by the end of the season though and the special effects were nice.

Patrick “Matches” Malone – I like that Bruce came face to face with a persona that he will adapt one day while undercover trying to gather information.  I don’t like how they handled this character though and ignored the Joe Chill killing Bruce’s parents.  It seemed like the writers just wanted to throw another name into the mythos way too early in the game.

Azrael – Theo Galavan being resurrected was the only part of this that made sense, but as Azrael he felt close to being acceptable.  The look was right, but I really hope this is just a precursor to the real Azrael.  With him being dead it is to be believed that the Order of Saint Dumas would continue using that legend to recruit newer versions of the character.  Time will tell, but for now we can lay this one to rest.

Oswald Cobblepot / The Penguin – When he is acting as The Penguin he’s easily still one of the best parts of this show, but I’m sick of this back and forth with him.  He was all over the place, and with Mooney’s return at the end I fear once again we won’t be getting what they keep building him up to be.  The nonsense needs to stop once and for all.  Get this character right as we have seen can be done in this show, and keep him that way.

Edward Nygma / The Riddler – Now THIS is a character who is the best part of this show hands down.  We actually have a true Riddler now and I look forward to him more.  We definitely haven’t seen the last of him.  All he needs now is a costume and name.

Clayface / Basil Karlo – A quick and pleasant use of the character.  He was never my favorite Clayface (the Matt Hagen version is), but I enjoyed his addition and will be eager to see him used again and the extent of his shapeshifting abilities.

Fish Mooney – WHY?  WHY?  WHY?  KEEP HER DEAD!!!!  Jada Pinkett is the worst actress on this show.  It is so painful I can’t take it.  They had to bring her back and now she’s got the powers to control people by a single touch?  Ugh!!!  I can’t… I just can’t…  Horrendous.

Bruce Wayne – In the first season he wasn’t handled too well, but each episode with him gets better and closer to the Bruce/Batman that I love.  As he matures I feel the acting gets better and his story continues to flourish.  I do one day hope to see him take up the mantle, but in order for that to happen we need about 8 more years of this show, which I’m not sure is possible; unless the writing improves.

Alfred Pennyworth & Lucius Fox – I put these two together because of the size of their roles as supporting characters.  Alfred has become a slight annoyance at times, but seems to be turning in to more of Bruce’s sidekick rather than his protective guardian, so I like that.  Lucius is perfect in every way.  The actor nails the part and the writing works well.

Selina Kyle / Catwoman – She, like Bruce, has grown in her acting and the way she’s being written.  By the end of the season she’s not only got a better look about her, but a better handling as well.  As a character who once annoyed me I have been swayed into really enjoying her on screen.

Other characters: The Mad Hatter was hinted at as well as a brief cameo by Killer CrocIvy was underused but I’m glad they handled her that way as overcrowding would have been more so.  She’s being set up for better use in the future, so this is smart.  The Court of Owls will obviously be the antagonist of season 3.  Barbara Kean was slightly better than last season, but needs to be killed off for good as she’s not needed and not handled well.  And finally Hush.  I am not sure if that was Tommy Elliot who looked like Bruce Wayne at the end, but it would make sense to introduce us to the boy who would be Hush.  It’ll be interesting to see.

Final Rating: All in all I keep watching Gotham because for its many faults it does have some great highlights.  The first half of this season was done really well, but went downhill in the second half with some great moments scattered here and there.  I want this show to succeed and wonder if it will at some point tie in to the rest of the DC tv properties.  Season 3 will be interesting because of what is obviously coming with the ending of season 2, but I do hope for better writing, less overcrowding of characters, and more coordination.  Season 2 gets 2.5 out of 5 sCrypt coffins for my rating.


Zoom-The-FlashTHE FLASH season 2:

Barry Allen / The Flash – I thoroughly enjoyed his path this season, as well as Iris West‘s.  The pair grew toward their future selves and have great on screen chemistry together.  I will discuss something here though that bothers me.  Everything in season 1 and 2 no longer matter as Barry went back and changed it all at the end.  So with a complete reset button hit, what does that mean for season 3?  Will the alternate earths all merge (being as Supergirl is now on the CW)?  This would make sense and enable Wells, Jesse, and Jay Garrick to remain as characters on the show.

The Legends: Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Vandal Savage, & the New Firestorm (Jefferson Jackson) have been introduced kicking off Legends of Tomorrow.  The two episode crossover this season introducing the first three characters was a good stepping stone to start it all.

Returning Rogues: The Reverse Flash (Eobard Thawne) still lives due to time travel, which is refreshing.  I am not sure it would make sense to have him return, but with this reset to the Flash world I’m sure we will see him again.  Gorilla Grodd had a better episode this season and was left with Gorilla City potentially lined up for the future.  Girder returned as a zombie, which was a fun take on the character.  The Trickster and Weather Wizard also returned and felt like real rogues for our hero.  Finally, Pied Piper had another appearance, but I’m not sure I like the decision to make him a hero of sorts.  He basically gave up his villainous nature to save the day, and I don’t think I can get on board with that.

Supporting Roles: Joe West and Harrison Wells continue to be solid characters on the show.  They never feel forced and each scene with them is believable.  Jesse Quick and Wally West have been set in place both gaining likeability.  It’ll be interesting to see if and when they become speedsters.  Patty Spivot was a good temporary love interest for Barry, though I was sorry to see her go.  Jay Garrick (the real Jay) was my favorite part of the season.  I grew up watching John Wesley Shipp as the Flash in the 90s, so seeing him as The Flash again gave me chills.  It was handled well with the alternate Earths in a way to bring him in that way.  I really hope we get a lot more of Jay to come.

Vibe / Reverb – Cisco continues to be perfect comic relief.  His nerdiness only got better with his evolving powers, and the portrayal of his doppleganger helped the character evolve more towards his Justice League persona.

Kaitlyn Snow / Killer Frost – I’m hoping the reset merges these two dopplegangers because I really enjoyed Killer Frost over the Kaitlyn Snow personality.  Her redesigned look worked well too.

Zoom / Hunter Zolomon: I didn’t like the way Hunter started out as a false Jay Garrick.  I didn’t like it before I didn’t know he wasn’t Jay.  Even at the end it seemed his reason behind his actions was a little lacking in purpose.  It didn’t feel right writing wise.  I do however like that his actions caused the Time Wraiths to bring him into their fold creating The Black Flash / Death Racer. Now that this has happened I’m very eager to see the return.  He actually would have a purpose now as Barry altered time itself.

New villains: Atom Smasher was a disappointment as the CGI fell flat and I wanted to see the hero version of this character, not a bad guy.  On the other hand the CGI on King Shark was superb.  I never thought we’d get to see him in live action and I’ve been proven wrong.  Geomancer, Tokamak, Dr. Light, Trajectory, Rupture, The Griffin, Tar Pit, and Turtle all served their one episode arcs really well.  Some would be a welcome return, but not necessary.  Black Siren (the villainous doppleganger of Earth 2) is a major relief.  I feel that if Barry did merge universes together that this could correct the writers killing off Black Canary in Arrow, seeing as Siren is still alive.   Deathstorm was a disappointment in a way.  Ronnie Raymond in Earth 2 didn’t look or feel like the character, and I assume that’s why they killed him off so quickly.  I’m still hoping for the original Firestorm to return though.

Overall Summary: The Flash wasn’t as solid this season as the first, but had so many great moments it is easy to overlook the flaws in storytelling.  It got very confusing at times with the multiple earth dopplegangers; even for someone who was watching every episode.  Barry resetting the timeline may have been a conscious decision to fix this problem.  All in all though I give season 2 of the Flash 4 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.


Supergirl_poster-600x900SUPERGIRL season 1:

Kara Zor-El Danvers – Melissa Benoist deserves an award for her outstanding acting capability.  Her range of emotion was not only believable, but brought to life Supergirl in a way no other character on the small screen has.  Kara showed her short fuse on numerous occasions, but also her torment and willingness to do what is right.  The team up of her and The Flash was more than fun, but she remained pleasant throughout the series.

James “Jimmy” Olsen – I feel like this is such a miscast it hurts.  The actor portraying him does a wonderful job, but to me this isn’t Jimmy Olsen.  If this role and the role of Winn were switched by actors it would make more sense.  Instead we get a version of Jimmy that isn’t anywhere near what he needs to be or should be.

Winn Schott Jr – Winn again I echo my sentiments about Jimmy.  This character is exactly how I’d perceive Jimmy Olsen, but instead we are just given another shy guy who has the added twist of being the son of the villain Toyman.  His arc with his father made for very interesting storytelling and leads me to believe that what has happened to him throughout his life may bring him to one day being a second version of Toyman.

Jonn Jonnz / Martian Manhunter – What a relief and surprise it was to find out that he wasn’t in fact Hank Henshaw.  It isn’t that I don’t want to see Henshaw as Cyborg Superman, but it just makes more sense this way.  It not only was an unexpected surprise, but brought a true interpretation of Jonn to audiences.

Cat Grant – She not only broke the “4th wall” on many occasions (which was witty writing by the creators), but Calista Flockhart is perfect in the role of mentor and boss to Kara.  I wasn’t sure of her in the first episode, but by mid season I found myself enjoying her screen time.

Astra and Non – I feel as though these were just a pale imitation of General Zod.  Non turned out nothing like the brute I wanted him to be, but instead was a strong leader.  Astra (and her sister Alura) fit well into the plot, but again seemed forced.

Lesser villains: Hellgrammite, Vartox, Reactron, Jemm, The Master Jailer, and Guardian were decent enough, but easily forgettable.  I feel that with project Cadmus obviously being key to season 2, that we will see more of James Harper (Guardian’s) involvement.

Maxwell Lord – started off strong enough, but seemed (like Non and Astra) to just be a second rate version of a known Superman villain.  The Lex Luthor rip off is acted well enough, but I’m not sure where they intend to go with Max.  I understand his willingness to ally with his enemies toward a common enemy, but he seems lost in translation.  Hopefully season 2 will make this more clear as it is fun to watch his interactions with the others.

Lucy and Sam Lane – what can I say?  Both were good supporting characters that could have been removed and replaced by unknown generics.  Their names are the only thing that made them stand out.

Livewire – I’m glad to have seen her in live action.  She was written well and looked great, as opposed to her team up with Silver Banshee who’s motivation made sense, but the reason for her look over the top and ridiculous (even if she did closely resemble her comic version).

Red Tornado – WTF?  I just don’t know.  T.O. Morrow created this strange version that is very wrong.  I’d have rather have seen his other creations take on Supergirl and then their parts reconstructed to make Red Tornado into a hero.  With the tech still around who knows…. maybe we will get a good version of the loved character, but until then what we got was garbage.

White Martian – The entire episode with the White Martian served as an origin of sorts for Martian Manhunter.  While I never really liked the White Martians in the comics, it was portrayed well here and felt like a real threat.

Bizarro Supergirl – Another copy of a great Superman villain, but unlike Lord and the Kryptonians mentioned above I’m more acceptable of this version.  Why?  Because there are Bizarro versions of the other characters not just Superman, so Bizarro Supergirl was the best interpretation we could have gotten short of Bizarro himself.

Black Mercy Plant – I’d like to see a version of this used on a grander scale.  If not, the best next thing would be Starro, but what we ended up with here was good for an introduction and fit well into the continuity.

Indigo / Brainiac 8 – She was the best villain of the season with one major problem… She looked like a rip off of mystique.  They could just as easily used the greenish hue that she was in the comics, but other than look she was outstanding.  Add in the fact that she was played by a former Supergirl, Indigo rocked.

Other notables: Fortress of Solitude was used on a sparing level that cemented Kara’s cousin’s established heroics.  They even included the key outside the door that was part of the lore in the comics.  My only issue is that Jonn describes the key as having the weight of hundreds of tons.  Supergirl lifts it with ease, yet there are times when she is struggling to lift things that are much lighter than that, so there’s a slight discrepancy here.  Superman & Lois Lane are both mentioned numerous times.  Clark is even seen briefly in a few places, and though we never see his face in season 1 (other than him as a child) his presence is felt as he communicates via email and texts to Kara.  Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers don’t have very big roles, but the fact that they are played by a former Superman and Supergirl brings together fans of old and new.  And finally the Kryptonite in Red and Green.  I’m not sure I like the fact that Red K was invented by Max Lord, but the effect was the same as in the comics.  When Kara went bad from it she was very fun to watch.

In conclusion: Whatever Kara confronted at the end leaves all of us on the edge of our seats.  Who or what did she see?  With Supergirl coming to the CW for season 2 I see a lot of potential for better story telling.  Let’s just hope it continues to get better and not fall to the plague of writers getting lazy.  I give Season 1 of Supergirl 4 out of 5 sCrypt coffins.


legends-of-tomorrow-posterLEGENDS OF TOMORROW season 1:

Rip Hunter – He’s definitely the leader of this motley crew, but I’m glad he’s questionable at times.  I feel as if this series sets groundwork for him to become a great leader of the new Time Masters.

Ray Palmer / Atom – While Brandon Routh is one of the best parts of this series, the Atom is not.  If I wanted to watch Iron-man I’d do it right and go to Marvel movies.  Nothing can top Ironman, so why attempt a cheap and horrible looking knockoff when you could focus on Ray’s genius and shrinking powers and make it more interesting?  I really hate this version of Atom and hope they ditch the ridiculous looking suit and laser blasts for something more size appropriate (pun intended).

White Canary – She’s much better placed in this show than she was in Arrow, and by the end of the season I actually started liking her character.

Firestorm II – While Martin Stein is still great I feel that they’ve done a disservice to Jax.  No, this isn’t a race thing, as I most certainly am NOT racist.  I just feel that the actor portraying Jefferson over acts.  He’s not much fun to watch and at times even annoying.

Heatwave – Mick was the best part of the season.  I still don’t know how I feel about him being a “heroic” character.  Sure he still acted like a villain, but I didn’t like his usage here and would much rather see him in the villain role permanently.

Captain Cold – Well like Heatwave I’m sad about him not being cold and instead having a warm side.  He’s supposed to be a villain, yet sacrificed himself for the team and all the world.  So now we have a Flash universe where there is no Captain Cold?  UNACCEPTABLE.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl – Kendra and Carter were great.  Their story was key in this series and we even got a mention of Thandagar as well as Nighthawk, so we may get more hawk people further down the line.

Chronos – it’s no secret who Chronos is now, but it still felt like a different person all together, so I’m including it that way.  I actually liked him better before the reveal as he was the one villain aside from Savage consistent throughout the season.

Vandal Savage – I’m torn with this one.  I love the villain and actor portraying him did a wonderful job, but I think the season got old fast.  We could have had 6 episodes and been just as effective as the 12 that ran.  It was a bit of an overkill.  The addition of his daughter Scandal Savage did nothing to add to the show either.

Valentina Vostok & Per Degaton were used well as villains for their short arcs making me wish they were more of a focus than Savage in parts.

Ra’s Al Ghul – was good to see again at an earlier time.  This episode was one of the best of the season because it felt like it belonged.

Jonah Hex – was in an episode and while he looked great I feel as though the focus should have been more on him.  Instead they made him seem like just another plain character.  I hope we get another episode with him and they correct this.

Oliver Queen / Green Arrow – Ollie is old and has a one arm in the future, which is straight from the pages of the comics.  This episode was decent enough and introduced an alternate version of Connor Hawke Green Arrow as John Diggle’s son.  Both G.A.’s were great.

Ravager – Deathstroke had a son, but instead of fighting the Teen Titans he was wreaking havoc on Star City and that’s okay.  His addition didn’t make the show better or worse, but flowed nicely.

Gideon – Should I even include the computer?  I have to.  In The Flash season 1 Gideon said that Barry Allen created her, yet there is no mention of this anywhere and we are just to assume she’s an A.I. built for the Time Masters.

Hourman – okay, he was only in it for the last few seconds, but his presence and mention of the J.S.A. breathed life into the series.  It actually makes me excited for season 2 whereas otherwise I wouldn’t have been.

In conclusion: Legends of Tomorrow was a spinoff that could have been a movie or miniseries.  It went on too long and felt very out of place.  I’d rather go back and watch old episodes of Star Trek.  That being said however, it did have its good moments, and I feel as though season 1 was an origin, where as season 2 would take it in many interesting directions.  I’ll give it a sub par rating of 2 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  I just feel that my complaints listed above would make it more watchable.


Arrow-season-4-episode-5-Black-Canary-Green-ArrowARROW season 4:

Oliver Queen / Green Arrow – This year was certainly better than last with him taking up the actual title “the Green Arrow”.  I’m still waiting for him to be less Batman like though, and this is a small step in that direction.  With him becoming mayor of Star City at the end of the season I think it will open things up to a whole different area of corruption.  His flashback scenes were okay too.  They seemed more entertaining, but drawn out.  Now he’ll be headed to Russia somewhere for his flashbacks, and it should be his final year before returning to Star City.  Does this mean if we get a season 6 there would be no flashbacks?  Time will tell.  Either way, Stephen Amell has evolved in his few years as the character and I’m happy to see him continue to grow.  I’m now wondering if he will be more solo like in the beginning now that his team is gone.

Speedy / Thea Queen – The best choreographed fighter of the season, yet her character was lacking.  Arsenal was a much better sidekick, but Thea has grown on me.  I doubt her departure from the team at the end will stick, but it should for a while in my opinion.

John Diggle / Spartan – John is the best acting wise.  He’s the most believable as far as story goes, but at what point do you call it quits and make your daughter a priority?  I’m not saying all soldiers should retire, but clearly he and Lyla/Harbinger are career oriented and not thinking about the picture in the long run.  I guess it just bothers me because what if he and Lyla both die in the line of duty?  There are no family for the baby to go to.  It isn’t like he can just call his traitor of a brother Andy Diggle to care for her.  Speaking of Andy though his and John’s story arc this season was great.  The emotional torment John is going through will be interesting to see how it carries into the next season, as he is no longer part of the team.  Please pray that his ridiculous helmet is gone next season.  Magneto would be pissed.

Dinah Laurel Lance / Black Canary – Oh Dinah (sorry I refuse to call her Laurel) why are you dead?  This was the biggest gut blow to the fans ever.  There are a half a dozen other characters who could have been offed permanently, and yet they pick one of the two key characters to kill?  I’m so outraged.  Half of the season I wondered who the death would be and from a writing standpoint I realize why they did it because it was the least expected death.  But after that it seemed like I didn’t care much about any of the other characters.  This was a big mistake for the show.  She finally earned her place and was making that connection on certain levels with Oliver, but we will never get to see that.  I’m hoping that Flash resetting his timeline will alter this as well (as much as I hate people coming back from the dead).  This is the one case where it needs to happen.

Felicity / Overwatch / Proxy – Quite possibly the most annoying aspect of this show.  I loved the old Felicity who was quirky and nerdy.  Now she’s become whiny and too serious with only moments of the old Felicity coming through.  I was worried about her being shot and them turning her into Oracle, but instead we got a smart move with making her Proxy.  Sure they don’t call her that, but that is who she is in the comics, at least if you look at her father, situation and skills.  Of course the only member other than Green Arrow himself left on the team is her, so things are about to get more annoying for season 5…. unless they get more interesting and create a divide between the two characters.  I don’t think I’m the only one who doesn’t want these two together.  But maybe I’m just upset about Laurel.

Curtis Holt / Mr. Terrific – He’s a good replacement for Felicity as he and Oliver working together could be the beginning of a Justice League alliance.  He may not have donned the moniker Mr. Terrific yet, but he’s got all of the ingredients to make it work (T-Spheres, Decathlete, smart).  I also have to add in that he may have Vibe topped on the nerd reference factor, and I love it.

John Constantine – I was extremely disappointed when Constantine was cancelled, and am appreciative that the CW is using him when they can.  My only complaint was that he should have been in the show again to help against the main villain’s magic.  Still, the one episode we got with him was wonderful.

Vixen – I’ve yet to see more than one episode of the Vixen animated shorts that take place in this universe, but she fit in quite well.  The effects used for her powers and her persona made her a total badass.

Damien Darhk – Neal McDonough just keeps getting better and better.  I can’t remember the last time I saw this guy in a role he can’t totally rock.  Damien Darhk was definitely the biggest threat to date.  Even without his magic he still had H.I.V.E. afraid of him.  His over the top plan actually made sense if you thought about his reasons behind it.  I’m not saying I want to see this in real life, but for a comic book show he’s the villain we need.  That being said, now that he is dead I hope we get a more grounded villain next season.  We have to get away from “oh Star City is going to be destroyed” or in this case the world.  I want to see something a little more original, but regardless of the repetitive results Darhk brought something new to the show.

The Calculator – I actually wouldn’t mind seeing him as the main baddie next season.  Think about it.  He knows who the entire Arrow team is.  He’s proven to put himself above others, and he’s a major threat.  Put all of that aside and we still had a great few appearances this season.

Double Down – I list him as a major villain because he was one of my favorites this season.  His introduction made it feel less  grounded and more supernatural, which is what it needed in the beginning.  The effects were done well, and his acting wasn’t all that bad either.

Anarky – Now here is a serious psycho.  I’m not sure about why he’s such a decent fighter, but the core of his character is solid.  They stayed pretty true to the source material with him, and I’d like to see him return as well.

Returning villains or small roles: Cupid was back and as psycho as ever, but still a great villain.  Bug Eyed Bandit returned with an equally threatening and decent role.  Brick‘s return wasn’t anything spectacular, in fact it was unnecessary, but was for a purpose.  Murmur was downright creepy and awesome, though how the hell does this guy eat?  Will someone please explain that?  The Demolition Team and Lady Cop Liza Warner appeared but were easily forgettable by the end of the season. Amanda Waller’s death was a surprise but a good move.  The Black Canary II was made for the show and only a plot point to keep the viewer wondering if Laurel was still alive.  It was a cheap trick, and though I didn’t like it it helped show Laurel’s legacy.

In conclusion Arrow Season 4 was better than the previous season, but is still lacking something that makes it unique.  Because of the issue I mentioned above with one of the characters I am rating it lower than I want to, but feel it is more accurate that way.  If that decision hadn’t been made I’d have rated it higher.  So for now it gets 3 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.


So there you have it.  DC is clearly spread out with their shows and have established a decent sized universe hopefully for years to come if the writing inconsistencies improve.  Overall the DC tv shows for 2015-2016 season score a 3 out of 5 sCrypt Coffins.  What did you think of the shows?  Comment below and stay tuned for my Marvel tv show review.

 

 

 


Review: Alice Through The Looking Glass

Alice_Through_the_Looking_Glass_(film)_posterIn the second of my two reviews I felt it necessary to write this one for two reasons… 1) I don’t understand the critics of this film, and 2) Lewis Carroll was a huge inspiration in my own writing career.

That being said this review won’t have spoilers, but will be brief and to the point.  Critics have panned this movie so hard, and I just don’t get why.  Did they go into it thinking it was going to be an interpretation of the novel “Through The Looking Glass” and came out realizing it was nothing like it and had an older Alice?  Did they not see the previous movie and understand that Wonderland is supposed to be a little bit weird?

That’s exactly what this movie is.  It’s weird.  It’s strange.  It’s colorful.  The original two novels were all of that and more.  This isn’t the second part of Alice’s story, it’s the 4th.  This and its predecessor are sequels to the original novels where Alice is grown up now.  I give Hollywood credit for making an original story, and I can honestly say this was refreshing.

Would I see I again in the theaters?  No.  Would I tell you to see it in the theaters?  no.  But I do think anyone who enjoyed those stories growing up should rent it when it comes out on dvd and blu ray.  Don’t see it if you haven’t seen the previous movie because it might make you feel as though you missed something.  It references the other movie and doesn’t stand on its own if you’re unfamiliar with its predecessor.

I think what made me like this film, other than seeing it with my daughter, is that it goes out of its way to explain why certain characters are the way they are.  Why is the Queen of Hearts so bitter?  Why is the Hatter so mad?  It does this and more while having a good moral to the story.

It isn’t a movie to be taken seriously.  It’s a movie about friendship and fun.  A movie about dealing with real life stresses and escaping to a fantasy world.  It emphasizes that you cannot change the past, but only deal with it, learn from it and make the best of what’s to come.  And most of all it teaches that no matter how bad family feuds can be there will always be a way to patch up those things and find a common respect and love for one another.

The novels were better than the two sequel movies, but I feel as though the sequels fit into and respect the source material.  I give Through The Looking Glass 3 out of 5 sCrypt logos for decent story, character and visually stunning effects.