First, an explanation and an apology. This is not the original Round 3. The first version had different rankings, that in retrospect, were not the best. After multiple people expressed their views on it, I decided to start Round 3 over. Sorry for the poor choice and confusion, and hopefully this will go better the second time around.
Now, the results from Round 2! I’m happy to write that 37 members voted, eight more than Round 1.
The bold numbers represent how many people voted for each series.
- “I’m old enough to know that a longer life isn’t always a better one. In the end, you just get tired; tired of the struggle, tired of losing everyone that matters to you, tired of watching everything you love turn to dust. If you live long enough, Lazarus, the only certainty left is that you’ll end up alone.” Doctor Who just barely lost to Star Trek: The Next Generation. 17/16
- “What do we say to the God of death?” “
Nottoday.” Game of Thrones lost to Firefly. 22/12
- “Pants are an illusion, and so is death.” Perhaps not, as Avatar: The Last Airbender lost to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. 13/11
- Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited tied. Out of necessity, a coin was flipped and Batman: The Animated Series won. 9/9
- The man with no fear beats the fastest man alive. The Flash loses to Daredevil. 19/9
- Stargate: SG-1 beats Babylon 5. 13/9
- Transformers was apparently exactly what met the eye, and lost to TMNT. 17/8
- Futurama beat MLP:Friendship is Magic. 20/8
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy didn’t have anything on how to beat Quantum Leap. 20/9
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer beat X-Files. 17/12
- Farscape was far more popular than The Twilight Zone. 13/8
- Supernatural beat Sabrina the Teenage Witch, (super)naturally. 13/10
And now, on to The Great Science-Fiction/Fantasy TV Showdown, Round 3: Back with a Vengeance!
I used Random.org to input the 12 properties. I then took the pairs to use for the brackets.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer VS Daredevil
- Stargate: SG-1 VS Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Firefly VS Quantum Leap
- Farscape VS Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Futurama VS TMNT (Original)
- Batman: The Animated Series VS Supernatural
To vote for Round Three, just click here.
Remember, you can also chat about all aspects of the competition here!
Spoiler-filled analysis from the point of view of one who reads comics, not who reviews movies.
This article originally ran on medium.com and was reposted here with the permission of Thaddeus Howze
For the record. I hate writing reviews. Why? Because criticism is easy. Any idiot can sit in a theater and have an opinion. Any art critic can, with the weight of their degree in art literacy, define why a thing fails to deliver whatever THEY think it should deliver to an “audience.” As a writer who struggles to find that proper beat to put a story to while I am writing it, I am always reminded movies are a special breed of writing.
Movies are a collaboration. They are a story written by at least one person, massaged by two or three other people, edited by another person before being turned into a script which gets changed daily. As the shots are reviewed and then taken from different angles, all that work is gathered together and digitally enhanced, cinematic effects added, CGI constructs placed and then this beast is edited down to fit a designated time pattern.
This is one of the most important parts of a movie’s creation: No matter what vision a director might have, arbitrary decisions made as to what stays in and what goes out are often made by executives whose reasons for doing what they do are completely their own but presumably were meant to make the film more “profitable,” based on some movie-making algorithm only they understand.
After watching a few random episodes of Doctor Who over the previous several years (I saw the 2006 Christmas special live on TV, and then a selection of episodes from Series 4 and 5 around Christmas 2011), I started to get seriously into the franchise around Christmas 2014, and now consider myself a fully fledged Whovian, having watched over two-thirds of all New Who episodes in not much more than a year. Series 9, the most recently released, was the first Doctor Who I’ve watched week by week while it was coming out.
The series was largely well received, having been hailed by various critics as the best Moffat season yet, the best since Eccleston, or even the best season of New Who. Personally I think Series 4 is still my favourite New Who series, but I did very much enjoy this new one, and Capaldi could now give Tennant a run for his money as my favourite Doctor.
This series contained more multi-episode stories than any other for a long time. This allowed more time for each story to develop, mature, and conclude without feeling overly rushed; on the other hand, it detracted from the self-containedness that many of the best Doctor Who episodes have, and made it harder for casual viewers to ‘drop in’ for just a single episode.
Jenna Coleman secured the title of the longest-serving Companion of New Who towards the end of this series before her eventual departure. Peter Capaldi has now really settled into his role as the Doctor, bringing some of his own flair to the show and ensuring his place in the annals of Whovian history. In Series 8 he had to spend too much time acting grumpy and proving that he wasn’t Matt Smith, but now he’s been able to spread his wings, let his hair down a bit, and establish himself as (in my view) the best speech-making Doctor in all of New Who. Oh, and speaking of hair, was I really the only one to notice the swap in hair length between the two main characters?
Now without further ado, let’s start on the episode-by-episode summaries. Naturally, SPOILER ALERT.
Most people (myself included) thoroughly enjoyed the first season of Daredevil. It wasn’t perfect by any means, hampered by an increasingly meandering story as it went on and a finale that dropped the ball in a multitude of ways, but as an introduction to this new part of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe? It did a good job of setting the tone for the rest of the Netflix shows, something followed up by and capitalised on by the significantly better Jessica Jones.
Although the second season of Daredevil fails to reach the heights set by Jessica Jones, it’s still an improvement over the first season in nearly every way – primarily thanks to the way that show-runners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez seem to have listened to and acted on criticisms of the first season. The most obvious strength that the second season has over the first is also the most simple – the second season of Daredevil has enough going on to actually justify it’s length.
There are two fairly distinct stories at play in the second season of Daredevil. The first sees the introduction of fan-favourite character Frank Castle (also known as The Punisher) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a murderous vigilante who is terrorising Hell’s Kitchen as he seeks revenge for the death of his family at the hands of criminals. The other sees Matt reunite with Elektra Natchios, an old girlfriend from Matt’s time in college who is significantly more dangerous than she may appear at first glance. more »
I went to the 9:50 screening of Deadpool last night. I managed to get the center seat in the back row. The theater was about 1/4 full, and even then there was a buzz in the air.
Deadpool, Marvel’s latest comic book character to receive the R-rated movie treatment due to violence and subject matter, drew genre appropriate previews. I couldn’t even absorb the body count before the actual film even started. If you like “shoot -em up bang! bang!” movies, this summer might be your best summer yet.
I have been enjoying the Deadpool teasers as they have been released, so I had a pretty good idea of how the movie was supposed to be, but we know how that can work. Best laid plans and all that. However, this particular movie delivered. Yeah, sure, this movie is about a wisecracking immortal a-hole comic book character, but the immortal wisecracking a-hole comic book character has style, and the film even managed to give us enough backstory to make Deadpool three dimensional. The movie felt like it was crafted by both the people in front of and behind the cameras. It comes across as the movie they meant it to be and wanted us to see.
It was entertaining from the opening credits all the way through the closing credit scroll (and beyond), so don’t be in a rush to leave your seat. Ryan Reynolds admirably breaks down the 4th wall, and this movie is most definitely a feather in his cap. 2016’s Deadpool is a far cry above the version he played in X-Men Origins, and the supporting cast, CGI, stunts and dialogue come together to make this film funny, action packed, and maybe, just maybe, my new favorite comic book to movie translation.
It is full of helpful life lessons, like math and advice on relationships, delivered with his never say die attitude. I’m just going to say it. If you like the comic books, you will love the film.
Your friendly neighborhood Major Stackings.
The latest entry in TT Games’ highly successful Lego video game series is Lego Marvel’s Avengers. Similar to the Lego Harry Potter and Lego Star Wars games, Lego Marvel’s Avengers is an adaptation of multiple movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; specifically, the content of the game covers portions of Captain America: The First Avenger; Avengers; Thor 2: The Dark World;Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. I recently picked up this game and played through the first few levels, and thought I would share my initial impressions.
PLEASE NOTE: This is not a “review” of the video game; I wouldn’t consider myself qualified to score it relative to all other video games. As a fan of Marvel and of Lego video games in general, this is just my first impression on where this game falls among it’s peers.
Star Trek: The Next Generation had a Writer/Director’s guide, commonly referred to as the bible. Within this guide was a list of 13 things that were not to ever happen on TNG (i.e. commandments).
Here we will look at each commandment, and show when TNG maybe didn’t follow their own rules.
All blockquotes and episode details are from Memory-Alpha.
Rule #1. Stories which do not materially involve our own crew. Yes, we do like to see interesting new characters — but only when used in addition to an interesting story line involving our continuing characters.
TNG Episode 7×15 “Lower Decks”
Junior officers speculate on the reasons for recent unusual actions taken by the command crew near the Cardassian border.
This episode only has the main cast in the periphery, and focuses on four junior officers and their attempt to receive a promotion.
If Daredevil managed to prove anything back when it was first released, it was that the ABC stylings of Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter were not going to define the TV side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Significantly darker than anything we’d seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far but still managing to avoid the joyless grit of films like Man of Steel, Daredevil used it’s tone to tell a fascinating long form story with one of, if not the, best antagonists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at that time. Sure, Daredevil had issues (ones that are becoming increasingly apparent in the wake of Jessica Jones), but it created a baseline for the Netflix/Marvel Studios shows that Jessica Jones adheres to nicely.
It is the same Hell’s Kitchen from Daredevil that we find ourselves in for much of Jessica Jones. We follow our titular character as she attempts to make a living for herself as a Private Eye, but Jessica is significantly more than she appears – gifted with super-strength and very limited flying abilities, she gave up her attempt at super-heroics after a prolonged encounter with a man who can control minds, Kilgrave, left her with severe PTSD.
In case that basic synopsis isn’t enough of a clue, the topics that Jessica Jones deals with are sensitive ones. Although the idea of mind control has been used in various ways in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before now, it’s never been explored in such detail – the implication of somebody being able to control not just your actions but your very thoughts and emotions is naturally horrifying, and the loss of agency that comes with that haunts everyone that Kilgrave uses. And it isn’t just an allegory for rape or sexual abuse – Jessica herself is a rape survivor thanks to Kilgrave, and much of the shows focus on human sexuality (and the diverse nature of it) shows us her taking that aspect of herself back from Kilgrave. One of my only concerns going into Jessica Jones was that this aspect of the show would be handled poorly, in an exploitative way or used for shock value, but I’m pleased to say that it isn’t.
If some of that sounds a little heavy for a superhero show then you’ll be pleased to find out that Jessica Jones isn’t just a superhero show, at least not in the way that you might expect. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very ‘comic book’ at times, with multiple characters having superpowers and the show having subtle (and not so subtle) links to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe – but in much that same way that Daredevil was a crime show first and a superhero show second, Jessica Jones is very film noir for much of its run time, with Jessica the cynical and jaded narrator talking us through her thoughts. She’s a fascinating character to base a show around, in some ways the prototypical noir protagonist – deeply damaged and self-destructive (particularly in her coping mechanisms) but also truly heroic when given the chance, she isn’t so much an anti-hero as she is a hero who has been through too much, and thanks to an emotional and often understated performance from Krysten Ritter I can’t imagine anyone else in the role.
The entire supporting cast is on the whole pretty great, particularly Mike Colter as bulletproof bar owner Luke Cage and Carrie-Anne Moss as cut-throat lawyer Jeri Hogarth, but special mention has to be made to David Tennant as Kilgrave. The way he is written and how that ties into the subtext of Jessica Jones already meant that Kilgrave was destined to be the best villain in a Marvel Studios production to date, but Tennant’s performance takes that and elevates the entire thing to a new level, making Kilgrave one of the best villains of any comic book property that I’ve ever seen. Kilgrave is broken at a fundamental level, petty and cruel and completely lacking any concept of right and wrong thanks to how long he has been abusing his powers, and the result of that is that he has no regard for anyone beyond what they can do for him. His motivations are simple and make sense in a twisted way once you understand the character, which just makes his particular brand of villainy all the more disturbing – because people like Kilgrave (sans powers, obviously) exist in the real world.
He is effectively the living embodiment of entitlement, a disgusting human being without a moral compass who decides what to do based on what he wants right now and nothing more – but he’s also charming when he wants to be, a true manipulator who hides just how nasty he actually is behind a carefully crafted façade of niceness and a level of self-pity that is both understandable and almost certainly unearned, and Tennant balances these two sides of the character perfectly. More impressively, Jessica Jones isn’t afraid to humanise Kilgrave without ever justifying him – his back story is a sympathetic one, but we see other characters with much the same story who have taken a very different path, and the show doesn’t try to explain away his actions by making you feel sorry for him.
The fact that everything about Kilgrave ends up tying into the subtext and themes of Jessica Jones is a testament to how well written the show actually is, never mind the consistently high quality of each episode . Whereas Daredevil peaked very early on and very slowly went downhill from there (I should mention here that Daredevil was still never anything less than good even in its worst moments), Jessica Jones starts off good and continuously gets better until it peaks around about episode nine with what I can only describe as some of the best few episodes of any show I’ve ever seen. It does drop in quality slightly over the last few episodes with the introduction of sub-plots that the show doesn’t need and an increased focus on the most tertiary of side characters taking some of the momentum out of the build up to the final confrontation, but even here it is amongst some of the best television of the year.
Jessica Jones isn’t perfect, but the minor flaws it contains are more than made up for by the multitude of strengths that come with them. In a time when television is regularly giving us shows that raise the bar for what the small screen can offer, Jessica Jones still manages to stand out as a show worth paying attention to, a legitimately great season that would work just as well on its own as it does as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jessica Jones is stronger and more confident in its first season than the vast majority of shows ever manage to be, and I can’t wait to see what the Netflix/Marvel Studios partnership brings us next.
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Minority Report is set 10 years after the events that took place in the Steven Spielberg directed movie, but instead of Tom Cruise attempting to prevent crimes before they occur, it’s Meagan Good who’s serving up her own brand of justice as Detective Vega.
The show opens with a recap of the events of the movie and origin of the three Precogs. It then jumps 10 years into the future, where we learn at least one of the trio as left their island sanctuary. That island living was good for them, because they are all a lot thinner and more attractive.
Precog Dash is back in D.C. trying to make it on his own. He has flashes of murders, but he doesn’t get the whole picture (he needs his twin to put the pieces together). After witnessing a murder 40 minutes in the future, he dashes (pun intended) to try and stop. He arrives just a moment too late.
Enter Detective Vega (Meagan Good). She is a homicide detective investigating the recent murder. She lives in the shadow of the now defunct Precrime (the first fifteen minutes has several news reports in the background stating how things have become worse since Precrime closed). Murder is back with a vengeance in D.C. and Vega can’t help but marvel at the days when unnatural deaths were extinct in the nation’s capital. As she is leaving the scene of the murder she is followed by Dash. After an encounter in an vacant stairway he gives her a drawing of the killer. Vega is able to run down the killer with the image and begins looking for the mysterious informant. She easily finds him (no one can hide in the future!), moments before he has another Precog episode about a murder to take place the next day. Vega and Dash team up to stop the murder of a prominent politician and his wife.
Here are some things I noticed about the show:
- Dash’s murder insights come in a variety of timeframes. From several seconds, to forty minutes, to a day, but not the four days they enjoyed in the movie (for premeditated murder).
- Minority Report, the film, is famous for predicting several key technologies, such as multi-touch interfaces and breeding crack babies who can see the future. This pilot tries to capture that magic; with HUD contacts, small surveillance drones, and the future of advertising.
- Dash’s twin brother doesn’t look much like him as an adult (in the kid flashbacks, they are identical).
- They did manager to get one actor from the film. Daniel London reprises his role as Wally the Caretaker, at least for the pilot.
- The show seems to be going out of its way to make sure we know that Meagan Good is a woman.
Overall I thought the pilot was okay, but I feel like the detective with the none-cop partner has been done. I’m thinking of Sleepy Hollow, Forever (canceled), Castle, Bones, Due South, Rizolli and Isles, Fringe, just to name…a bunch. Are there any detectives out there who are partnered with other cops?
Anyways, Minority Report. If you loved the movie for all the elements that weren’t Tom Cruise, you might like the TV show.
Recently the live chat movie night has been reborn. Several movies have been watched and commented on. One recent one was the classic 1951 film “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”
An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.