Tag Archives: FOX

If I Made GOTHAM

For a little while now, I’ve been unexcited about the concept behind FOX’s upcoming Batman prequel, GOTHAM. I don’t know if it’s because Smallville teased me for a decade or because I was more excited for Heroes than I have ever beenabout any other show. Ever.

You should note that these criticisms have nothing to do with what we’ve seen of GOTHAM at all. And that’s fair. The cast looks great. The trailer actually looks pretty amazing.

But I guess I just don’t see the point. I wouldn’t be shocked if some of the show had been inspired by Gotham Central, which I quite enjoyed. The premise being what super crime in Gotham looks like from the street view the cops have.

But the takeaway of these stories for me is that there need to be superheroes. Which I totally agree with, but why would I want to watch a show that doesn’t have any?

A Different Kind of Show

So if I were doing GOTHAM, I think the first thing I would do is get rid of Gotham City. It’s too well-known and the idea of Batman is so provocative you risk creating a Batman babies program with kid Catwoman and young Joker. I say forget that noise. Instead, I would do a completely generic police procedural like you see on TNT. There would be dramatic scenes, compelling music, and beautiful, brooding protagonists staring directly at the screen a la Rizzoli and Iles or Cold Case.

And I would keep it completely mundane for the entire first season. Just the typical one-shot criminals and police drama. And then in the second season, a few episodes in, I would hit the protagonists with their first supervillain. No one knows where he or she came from or why they do it. All the cops know is they’re darn near unstoppable and they barely run them out of town.

At this point, careful observers might have noticed the tiniest hints of weirdness around the edges of the first season that foreshadowed something else going on. And then the show would go back to normal for a little bit while everyone wondered what the #$?! was going on.

And the show would carry on like that for a while. Normal police procedural that occasionally sees a supervillain pop in a do something crazy. It would be a subtle escalation that tests the limits of our heroes and gives a true view of what everyday life looks like when you have to live in a world with superpowers.

And then around season 4 the first superhero would show up. Just out of the blue, after the cops are getting used to just barely winning and seeing friends die at the hands of super crazies, a masked vigilante shows up and changes the game.

And this is where it gets really interesting. The show turns out to have been a hero origin story the whole time, but from the perspective of our dynamic police force. And like the cops, the show doesn’t reveal who the hero is or how they became what they are. Instead we’re left guessing if it’s one of the supporting cast or some bit criminal from season 1. Could just be some guy no one knows.

Maybe eventually the police even form an alliance, if they ever figure out he’s not just another nut job and stop trying to arrest him.

GothamAnd I would have the story arcs for each season pre-written, so we could lay down clues and foreshadow events years out.

At least that’s how I would do it, with nods to sources like Gotham Central, Irredeemable, and Nemesis –works I’m stealing from in spirit if not directly.

It would be a long con for sure, and I expect no basic cable station would want anything to do with it in the age of instant gratification television. And if it did get a first season, there would be the constant threat of cancellation. But imagine audience reaction once it started to get real. And maybe this kind of show is too conceptual for modern television. Hard to say, but I do think we live in an embarrassment of superhero riches. As the genre’s creative boundaries stretch further and further, maybe some enterprising, young artists will read this and steal it.

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NanaNanaNanaNana BAT-NEWS!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get better than Batman: Arkham Origins, this happened:

That’s right, Rocksteady is back with Batman: Arkham Knight. Everyone thought they were done with the franchise and Warner Bros. Games Montreal would be taking over the series, but while you were busy with Origins, they were secretly creating the grand finale that is Arkham Knight.

I want to drive it SOOOOOOOO bad!

I want to drive it SOOOOOOOO bad!

From the trailer, you can see that Two-Face and the Penguin have returned to wreak more havoc and carnage on the city of Gotham. It has also been announced that the legendary Kevin Conroy has returned to voice Batman, as it should be. And it appears that Batman is more armored than he has ever been, so I’m gonna say that there will be a MASSIVE amount of fighting in this game. Best bit of news that I’ve heard is that the Batmobile will be drivable! ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME?!?! The beastly-looking, Tumbler-style Batmobile is drivable. Thank you very much, Rocksteady. If you were real, I would hug you.

Unfortunately for me, this game will only be for Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Windows. I do not currently have either of the two systems and my computer is not powerful enough to run a game as incredible as this will be. If anyone would like to donate either a Xbox One, a Playstation 4, and/or a powerful gaming computer to me before this game comes out, I’ll be waiting a while to play it. Sad face.

In other Batman-related news, Gotham has cast its Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. Fox has cast David Mazouz as the preteen Bruce Wayne and Camren Bicondova as teenage Selina Kyle before she became Catwoman. Bicondova is a newcomer, while Mazouz recently co-starred with Kiefer Sutherland on Fox’s Touch. Along with following Gordon’s pre-Batman years with Gotham P.D., the show will also follow Selina’s early days as a thief and pickpocket. However, the show will also follow a young Bruce Wayne after his parents were killed and before he becomes Batman, which means we may be looking at a lot of crying and whining and tantrums about how unfair it is that his parents were taken away from him. I’m sure we’re in for some rebellious acting out and more things of the like. The first season might get annoying for Bruce’s story, at least until he starts training. Hopefully it’ll be more of a background story to Gordon’s tale.

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The Road to Gotham is Paved With Good Intentions

If it’s not one thing, it’s another. If someone’s not remaking or rebooting something, they’ve gotta make a prequel or an origin story. Granted, it’s more satisfying to watch the latter two (except for the Star Wars prequels). In most cases it can be quite interesting to see how your favorite character(s) came to be.

I'm just wondering how Ben McKenzie is going to look with that sweet Jim Gordon mustache.

I’m just wondering how Ben McKenzie is going to look with that sweet Jim Gordon mustache.

This is definitely the case for Fox’s upcoming series, Gotham. Based in Batman’s hometown, the series follows everyone’s favorite Batman ally, Jim Gordon, as he begins his career with Gotham P.D. Long before he was Commissioner Gordon, he was just a rookie cop trying to keep Gotham City safe. Not the easiest thing to do in such a broken city, where the city officials and police officers are just as corrupt as the criminals, if not more.

Hopefully they'll focus less on Bruce going through puberty and more on him going through training.

Hopefully they’ll focus less on Bruce going through puberty and more on him going through training.

The show will also be focusing on an adolescent Bruce Wayne after the tragic death of his parents, following him throughout his youth and teenage years, as he gains all the worldly knowledge that he’ll need to become the Caped Crusader. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how entertaining all of that is going to be. The later years should be more interesting than the earlier but the writers are bound to find a way to make it all exciting. Something about Bruce Wayne attending private school and sitting through classes just makes me yawn. Might have to fast-forward through those scenes. Once he gets into his training and preparation, that’s where the fun will start.

A plus side to the show is that you’ll get to see how some of Batman’s greatest foes came to be. The Joker, the Penguin, Catwoman, and many others will have their origins told but instead of fighting the Dark Knight, they’ll have to contend with the tough-as-nails Jim Gordon. It’ll be interesting to see if they use the “Red Hood” origin story to introduce the Joker or if they’ll find a brand new way. If they keep with the proper timeline of things, we probably won’t get to see Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, or Scarecrow, but you never know. We may get to see their pre-villainous forms, which could still be intriguing.

Can he be the tough, honest cop that Gotham needs?

Can he be the tough, honest cop that Gotham needs?

So far, there is a basic cast list for the show, just some of the main characters so far. Ben McKenzie as Jim Gordon, which I’m all for because he’s actually a really good actor and can totally make it work. If you want proof, watch Southland. Donal Logue as Gordon’s partner, Harvey Bullock, is another solid casting choice. He’s one of my favorite actors and will pull off the rough-around-the-edges cop role nicely. Sean Pertwee, son of the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, will play the role of Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s caregiver and protector. He’s got the “middle-aged, ex-marine Alfred” look to him. So far, only two villains have been cast: Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot (aka The Penguin) and Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, a sadistic crime gangster and nightclub owner, as well as Oswald’s boss. Both very interesting choices and I’m excited to see what they do with the roles.

From the first announcement of it, I’ve gone back and forth with this show. I was okay with it when they said it was going to focus on Gordon and the Gotham P.D. Then there was a rumor that the show was going to be more like Smallville, with Bruce and the villains being in high school together, which I was completely against because it’s a ridiculous idea. But now with the confirmation of the way the show is actually going to be, I’m more excited than ever about Gotham. I shall remain skeptical however, as I have been let down before by comic-book-to-television adaptations (Birds of Prey). As I grow older, I learn with every new adaptation to reserve judgement until the final product is revealed. So until it premieres, I’ll will remain excited, yet reserved.

What are your thoughts on Gotham? Post your comments in the comments section.

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Shuffle up and Deal: House of Cards

 

 

image property of netflix

image property of netflix

 

When Netflix announced it was nearly doubling its rates by separating its by mail DVD service from the instant streaming,  they claimed the additional revenue would be used for two purposes. The first purpose was to purchase better content (I’m still waiting on that one to come to fruition). The second was to venture into creating original material. Lilyhammer, the first such attempt, was mostly a flop. It was a story about a mobster in witness protection played by Steven Van Zandt. Van Zandt played basically the same character he played on the Sopranos and the six episodes set Netflix, and probably original streaming content, back about two years.

Netflix has become something of a misleading name for the company as almost 60% of its available content and the vast majority of its new content comes from broadcast television. Currently, the provider is producing a return of the ground-breaking situation comedy Arrested Development. Much to the delight of its die-hard fan base, new episodes of the show FOX seemed determined to cancel  will begin airing this spring (though, I guess “airing” is an outdated phrase now). Netflix will make a full season of content available on the first day.

It has done the same with the new drama House of Cards.

image property of Netflix

House of Cards, based on the BBC series of same name, is a political thriller that opens with a new president taking office. It’s obviously fiction, because the new prez is moderate.

The president-elect is expected to nominate Majority Whip Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, for secretary of state… but, he doesn’t. Considering himself  “in the know,” Underwood is shocked to learn he won’t be nominated to the post.

Underwood sets out to destroy the secretary of state nominee by drudging up a less than flattering story written for his college newspaper. The senator then uses a young contact from the press named Zoe Barnes (played by the lackluster Kate Mara) to push the story beyond a single news cycle.  In doing so, Underwood ensures the nominee will be forced to decline the post. This allows Underwood to place someone loyal to him within striking distance of the president.

Underwood is a borderline sociopath who has his hands in everything in Washington. People are simply assets to him in his gradually unfurling quest for the White House.

While glad-handing and schmoozing with everyone he encounters, Spacey’s Underwood tells us his true feelings and ambitions by way of asides with the audience. Underwood uses Barnes, the reporter mentioned above, to exploit the 24-hour news cycle and Twitter-verse to serve his purpose. He makes use of the congressional gridlock and partisanship to shame dissenters.

 

image property of Netflix

image property of Netflix

The dynamic between Underwood and his wife, Claire (played by Robin Wright), is by far the most interesting part of the series. They have an open marriage — provided they are honest with one another. Though, it’s interesting to note that this is one of the few areas that they are actually honest about. She uses his connections on the Hill (do real people ever call it that?) to further the efforts of her nonprofit. When their ambitions are at odds, the sparks really begin to fly.

House of Cards is a murky depiction of our current situation in Washington. Everyone is dirty or waiting for the opportunity to be dirty. The scenery is dark and dreary. In the fictional DC, it is always raining or about to. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the show is aptly titled and far more functional than Netflix’s recommendations algorithm.

Seriously, how do they get that? Just because I enjoyed Ken Burns’ Baseball, they think that I would enjoy Jackass 3? Is there a place where I can input my IQ in order to stop them from suggesting professional wrestling titles? Sorry, I just got a little off topic…

House of Cards is a solid B+. Watch it if you love politics or Kevin Spacey.

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When Are My Shows Back?

I think I probably watch too much television. It’s kinda hard not to, though. With so many good and promising new shows on TV these days (even on the networks, shockingly enough), it’s difficult not to pay attention…or, at least not to pack up the old DVR like a fat kid at a cake buffet.

(What? They don’t have cake buffets? Cake buffets totally need to be a thing.)

Some of my favorite shows are already back for the fall season. Doctor Who is back on BBC America at 9 p.m. on Saturdays. I love me some Doctor, and we have a great recapper/reviewer here on The Cool Ship, so make sure you check him out (both the Doctor and the writer!). His articles are here, here, and here.

Alphas and Warehouse 13 on SyFy premiered weeks ago, and I’m already dreading when they go on hiatus. They’re on Mondays at 8 and 9 p.m., respectively. SyFy has branded the block “Powerful Mondays,” a moniker I’m not convinced is the best. I’m a fan of alliteration, though. Meh.

ABC’s Revenge is definitely on my list. Because Emily will get them all. SHE WILL GET THEM ALL! Image courtesy of ABC.

NBC is really pumped about Revolution. It premiered last Monday, and you can’t hope to miss the advertising for it if you happen on the Peacock for 60 seconds or less. But, other than the annoyance of over-saturation, I must say that I’m still interested. I caught the premiere and saw enough that made me want to come around for another view. It’s on after The Voice, which is usually 10 p.m.

Then, there’s a whole slew of returning comedies I pay attention to (Whether I watch them or not is a different story.):

NBC

Up All Night – Already premiered. Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.

The Office – Already premiered. Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Parks and Recreation – Already premiered. Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.

30 Rock – Oct. 4 (Thursday) at 8 p.m.

Community – Oct. 19 (Friday) at 8:30 p.m.

CBS (Step up your game, CBS. You don’t interest me much.)

How I Met Your Mother – Monday (Sept. 24) at 8 p.m.

FOX

Glee – Already premiered. Thursdays at 9 p.m.

New Girl – Tuesday (Sept. 25) at 8 p.m. Looks like there’s another new show at 9 p.m. that night, too, which is when I’m guessing it’ll live since…

Raising Hope – Oct. 2 (Tuesday) at 8 p.m.

ABC

The Middle – Wednesday (Sept. 26) at 8 p.m.

Modern Family – Wednesday (Sept. 26) at 9 p.m.

Happy Endings – Oct. 23 (Tuesday) at 9 p.m.

Last Man Standing – Nov. 2 (Friday) at 8 p.m.

Okay, let’s talk dramas. I have to say that I’m eternally grateful for my DVR. Not so much because there are so many, but more because a lot of them start at 10 p.m. or are on days that just aren’t convenient for me. I’m old; I like to go to bed at a reasonable time. Jon Stewart be darned!

NBC

Parenthood –  Already premiered. Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

Grimm – Already premiered, but already on hiatus. Returns Sept. 28 (Friday) at 9 p.m.

Smash – There’s no posted return date. This worries me.

ABC

Castle – Monday (Sept. 24) at 10 p.m.

Once Upon a Time – Sept. 30 (Sunday) at 8 p.m.

Revenge – Sept. 30 (Sunday) at 9 p.m.

I’m not even going to talk about new shows on the networks, because there are lots. Lots seem to be bad ideas (I’m looking at you, The Neighbors), and lots look too melodramatic.

Not that I can talk about melodrama…I mean, look at my choices! REEEEEEVENGE!

I know, I’m a walking contradiction, and I’m proud of it!

And cable? Gosh. Too much. My DVR would explode.

What shows are you looking forward to this fall season?

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Comic Book Movies: Marvel’s Future Looks Bright, DC’s Looks Dim

Pardon me whilst I rant for a moment.

So what does DC have now that Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is done? Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel? A Justice League movie? That seems to be about it. What does Marvel have? Sequels to Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, plus a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Advantage: Marvel.

Even though I’m hopeful for the new Superman film (due to Snyder directing, Nolan producing, and the amazing cast it has), I’m still quite fearful for DC. Their Wonder Woman show didn’t even make it off the ground, their Flash movie is constantly stuck in limbo, and Green Arrow: Escape from Super Max is never going to happen. And let’s not forget the bomb that was Green Lantern. Yeah, they’re not exactly knocking ’em outta the park. They have plans for Hawkman and Aquaman movies, and there are even rumors that they may even reboot Batman AGAIN, but they probably won’t happen until the Justice League movie gets released, which may or may not ever happen. Other than Man of Steel, the only thing they really have going for them is Arrow on the CW, and honestly that’s only there to fill the void that Smallville left when it ended its 10-season run. Not that I think it will or anything.

DC has really got to step-up their game in order to catch up with Marvel. Now, I know that Nolan’s Batman trilogy has made billions of dollars, and those movies are pretty much three of the greatest comic book adaptations ever made, but seriously, that’s only one character. Marvel is having major success with multiple characters. The Avengers (in solo and joint films) are kicking ass and taking names in the box office and there’s only more success to come. As I mentioned, all the sequels, as well as an Ant-Man film, and a Daredevil reboot should be in the works sometime soon thanks to film rights reverting back to Marvel from FOX. There’s even a new Hulk television series in the works, as well as AKA Jessica Jones, Mockingbird, Cloak and Dagger, and The Punisher. Advantage: Marvel.

I know some of you reading this are gonna say, “Well Marvel has made some crappy films! Ever heard of Ghost Rider?” Yes I have. But Ghost Rider, as well as its sequel, came from FOX. As did X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Wolverine Origins. Spider-man 3 came from Sony and I believe Blade: The Series came from New Line. See what I’m saying here. Marvel Studios makes the good stuff, that’s who I’m talking about. The actual crap-tastic films have come from other studios. Once Marvel decided to go into the film production business for themselves, things got better. And it didn’t hurt that they were bought by Disney and now have their backing. But I’m not saying DC should step away from Warner Bros. and start producing their own stuff, although it is an idea.

What I’m saying (and I realize that I haven’t actually pointed this out yet) is that DC needs to stop trying to do things the Marvel way. They don’t need to make a Justice League film right now, they just need to make better movies. Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises were all steps in the right direction. Man of Steel might be as well. And a few solid steps are all you need to get off and running, but don’t rush and trip up. Start working with better directors and writers, cast your characters properly, keep things smart and realistic (or as realistic as you possibly can),  and stay true to the comics (solid stories have already been written, you just have to look for them). This is all DC has to do and [most] fans will be happy. [Editor’s note: Die-hard fans can never be pleased. NEVER.] Get to work on The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman movies. Don’t worry about rebooting Batman for a long time. And if Christian Bale won’t play him in the Justice League movie, get someone else who will do him justice [pun intended]. But don’t worry about his backstory, I think by now we’ve got that part figured out.

I mean c’mon, who wouldn’t want to see a movie about these two? [image property: DC Comics]

Stop worrying about quantity and start worrying about quality, DC. Once you do that, the money will just roll in. Sure Marvel has a good lead on you, but that’ll happen when your only opposition is sitting with their heads up their butts, waiting for a miracle to happen. Well your miracle happened, his name is Christopher Nolan. Follow his example, make better comic book movies, and stop screwing around.

And would it kill you to make a Booster Gold/Blue Beetle flick?

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Extra, Extra Insert Headline Here

 

Image from Wikimedia Commo

I am tired of politics.  Scary thought from someone who connects with the world biweekly on topics of government.  I am dismayed at the lack of opinion-free journalism available to the general public.  We need a return to honest reporting, of pure unadulterated fact delivery.  To that end I have reworded some recent headlines to reflect truth in reporting:

Christian CEO Takes Bait and Offers Biblical Stance on Same Sex Marriage

White House will not Release Fast and Furious Documents, Spokesperson Overheard Saying” What About Romney’s Taxes?”

Romney camp will not release additional tax returns, Spokesperson overheard saying “what about Fast and Furious documents?”

Romney booed at NAACP on slow news day

Obama praised by NAACP on slow news day

That was mostly for fun, but you get the idea. The media has crafted every headline to divide us and turn our focus away from anything that really matters.  This is a world where one can have his “news” spoon fed to him 24hrs a day and with the partisan sauce of his choice.  I am guilty of falling into this trap as well.  Sometimes it is nice to get some info-tainment crafted to quench my conservative thirst.  I find it just as tempting to tune in to the version designed for my liberal friends just to get my blood up.  You have to do your own research.

The associated press is the source of about 40% of news content on the Internet.  Their stories appear unaltered in newspapers and on websites run by MSNBC, Fox News and others.  The key is how the headline is presented.

CNN might run this story:

New Retirees Receiving Less in Social Security Than They Paid in, Marking  Historic Shift

The same story might  appear on MSNBC but with this headline:

George Bush Murders Small Village with Social Security Privatization. 

When we allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media and the cavalcade of us versus them rhetoric, there are no winners. In the short term the owners of the media outlets and the politicians win.  We must become focused on the ways in which we are alike.  This can only be achieved by understanding the positions of our neighbors and friends.  We cannot truly understand anyone’s position until we understand our own.

 

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