Avenger’s Assemble will air a special hour preview, “The Avengers Protocol” Parts 1 and 2, Sunday May 26 on DisneyXD. If you don’t want to wait you can also watch “The Avengers Protocol” Pt. 1 via iTunes.
“So the plan is: there is no plan.” Hawkeye sarcastically remarks to the newly reformed Avengers as they are about to infiltrate a Hydra base. This is a great way to describe the first episode of Avengers Assemble. There is no show. Yes it is a linear series of events with some logic, but there is nothing to it. The first episode of Avengers Assemble is simply put an utter piece of shit that doesn't bode well for the future of this series and Marvel animation in general.
Just to get it out of the way. That story that this show would be following Earth Mightiest Heroes is not true. It feels like none of the Avengers even know each other. Thor and Hulk bicker and Hawkeye acts snarky to everyone but he doesn't appear to know Black Widow. These are former friends who disbanded, for some reason. None of them seem all that bitter about seeing each other again. Black Widow shows up completely out of the loop...even though she’s been following them the entire time. Sam Wilson, The Falcon shows up after he gets retconned a bit which isn’t a big deal. But there is no character or context given to these “new” Avengers. There isn’t any given to the old Avengers. Once again stuff just happens in this episode.
“The Avengers Protocol” Pt.1 has a mile a minute plot, which is terrible. Seriously watch the first 3 minutes of the show a TON of stuff happens. The Avengers break-up, Red Skull kills Captain America, MODOK nearly kills Iron Man. Heck a ton of stuff happens in the first 5 minutes. Only problem is that when things happen, of which there are many, none of it has any sort of emotional weight or solid context. You kill Captain America in the first 3 minutes and it’s brushed off 30 seconds later. The Red Skull comes back from the dead somehow it’s given a pacing line and then forgotten. The Avengers are Disassembled, for some reason but that dissolution was only so they can get back together in the first 5 minutes. The band is called back together to avenge one of their own and none of them take a second to mourn or even pause. It’s just well I called you hear so we can go kill Red Skull. Ready. Set. Go! Things just continue to happen to these characters and while there is a logic to it none of it feels right.
Assembles Animation is a mixed bag. The character designs are a bit robotic but there is a nice detail and style to them. Only problem is these cells feel like they are just being overlayed on top of the background with no thought given to shadows or attempts at depth. Making the animation look like a “higher” quality version of the old The Marvel Super Heroes aka Motion Comics the TV show. Which is a real bummer on their own the character animations are workable. Captain America (or should I say Red Skull) moves fluidly across the frame taking apart our heroes. When they aren’t moving the designs look completely out of place. Spectacular Spider-Man and Earths Mightiest Heroes had a very stylezed look but the mise-en-scene worked. It all gelled and felt alive. This feels cheap and dead. There is a real of solid action sequences, but you’ll probably want to watch them in gif form.
.The voice acting leaves something to be desired but clearly the least of this shows problems.
22 minutes later and Avengers Assemble feels like a cheap cynical cash grab to keep the Avengers brand in the mind of young people and sell toys. Who will most likely eat this up because they don’t know better. There will be toys made and they will sell. Assemble feels like some of the worst examples of 80s animation. At least GI JOE and Transformers had a certain amount of irony and fun about it. This is has none of that.
Time for the typical disclaimer. Maybe the first couple episodes just really suck and aren’t going to be indicative of the overall product. It isn’t uncommon for shows to take some time to figure out their rhythm. Most shows though don’t start on this wrong a foot. “The Avengers Protocol” Pt. 1 isn’t a wrong step. It is like someone failing at QWOP who thinks they are running.
Ah upfront season is just about over. The networks are done begging advertisers and their old school money for greenbacks. All the trailers have been put out. So what am I looking forward to based one highly edited and selected clips put out by major media companies who want to monitize my existance?
This time last year NBC excutives were all to thrilled to marginalized "comedy geek" shows like Parks&Rec (despite it being the networks most critically aclaimed show) and Community, the weird cousin of Parks. Replacing them would be nice family broad comedies like 1600 Penn. and Go On. That is until they canceled 1600 Penn., Go On, and Whitney. Leaving Community and Parks to be the only comedies standing amongst the ashes of NBC Thursday nights. Honestly none of the comedies look that good now and I generall don't judge them off of trailers anyways. I just wanted to make a jab at NBC because it was easy.
I want to belive in Belive a show from Alfonso Curaon and produced by J.J. Abrams. The premise sounds interesting and it would honestly just be really coold if Curaon was involved with the show long term. So far he is diecting the pilot and producing. With Revolution being put in the wild on Wednesdays it'll be a sink or swim situation for the show. With how things currently look I doubt that'll be my first choice for TV. No word yet on Hannibal, which is annoying it's such a good show but really isn't cut out for Network TV. It has to much Pathos for the dead and living compared to The Following Rumor has it if NBC dosen't renew a couple cable networks might pick it up, which would be a better fit. Still with Dracula, another international co-fiance job maybe it will pair those together and just draw decent raitings due to the lowered investment. Dracula though looks like a rejected Starz venture that has been now sanatized of any style and sexuality which means it'll proably be boring. Curous though to see what the reaction will be to having a vampire who dosen't give a F about sucking blood.
James Spader looking all cancery has me interested. It also looks waaaaay to much like Silence of the Lambs to make me feel comfertable. Honestly this show looks utterly inofenssive and bland. But since Belive lacks a trailer I give you this. Happy? (probably not)
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. this fall)
It's finally going to be here. The fabled SHIELD TV series. The intial 30 second spot left me luke warm at best but this near 3 minute trailer is more like it. I may find that MCU to be utterly devoid of stakes and emotianl ressonance but hey Joss Whedon and his people are involved this will be worth shot. Also more Clark Greg will be nice. The guy looking like Luke Cage probably isn't Luke Cage he might be Rage of the New Warriors. It'll be really interesting what kind of cases they get to tackle. Tuesdays at 8 though is right up against the NCIS juggernaut which sounds bad, but this will likely skew younger and other than an absolute disaster should last at least a season.
Mixology (currently unscheduled)
I am likely the anti-demo for this show. Never the less I am just kind of smitten with it. The gimmick of it happening all in one night is very 24-ish and could (will) lead to narrative disaster by say ep8. But cmon that could be a fun ride while it lasts. Also I'm getting a Time of Eve (anime) vibes.
Almost Human (airs Mondays at 8 p.m. in “late fall”)
Almost Human will air on FOX Mondays after Bones finishes up (so after Baseball-ish).
Almost Human when you read teh summary for it, sounds like a terrible RoboCop knock-off. Which it kind of is with a dash of I, Robot (film and book). Karl Urban is a man who must get over his dislike for synthetics and accept his new self and reality if he wishes to continue being a police officer. Assisting him will be Michael Ealy as a early model syenthetic who can feel.
The overal prodcution value shown in the trailer and something about Karl Urban makes this seem not all around terrible and perhaps even mildly watchable.
Where this could go all wrong for me is if the procedural nature takes over with cut and dry cases. That’s Law&Order boringness give some stuff with grey area and I’ll be there. Of course if that happens it would probably mean the end of the show, lest the public actually want to think during their cop shows.
24: Live Another Day
Jack will be back for 12 hours this time. While it breaks rom teh 24 gimmick this might make for a better overall narrative. Still best guess is that Tony was the mole ALL ALONG. Also any have odds that Jack meets some partner along the way and than either gets killed or maimed in someway setting up 24 to return proper with some new guy? I think it's pretty likely.
Sleepy Hollow (airs Mondays at 8 p.m. this fall)
Anyone else think this dosen't look as stupid as it sounds? It's all still preeeety dumb but with to much seriousness. I don't really plan on watching this I just wanted to make that comment.
I'd hate to wish anyone out of work but I want the show starring Margo Martindale to fail. She is of more use on The Americans!
I never thought it’d happen but there are a couple of shows that make me want to watch The CW. The quasi network is phasing out the female oriented shows and replacing them with genre heavy shows, becoming WB Network for the 21st centurary. Scheduling Arrow, one of the networks few hits up against Revolution will be itneresting. There is bound to be some crossover between the shows but if I have to chose between Revolution and Arrow the Scarlet Archer wins every time. That show at least has a since of narrative movement.
The Tomorrow People Wednesday at 9
The Tomorrow People is your basic mutant problem show where people are devliping special powers and there are sides trying to control this next stage of evolution. As someone who liked Alphas consider me intrqued.
Reign Thursdays at 9
Reign appears at first blush to be your typical CW pretty person show, and it probably is. Still a show about a teenage Mary Queen of Scotts could be interesting.
The 100 (midseason)
The 100 is once again in that CW pretty person mold but will feature 100 juvenile delinquents sent to repopulate the Eart after a disaster forced us off the rock. It screams Lord of the Flies shinanigans.
Add on to this Arrow and there are now 4 shows on CW that I'd like to watch instead of just 1. Also with Revolution and Arrow both on at the sametime I suspect Arrow will win out in terms of "live" viewing, though I plan to watch both.
Of all the Networks the CW is the one im now most interested in. Didn’t see that one coming.
I'm in a bit of a rush and haven't posted anything recently, sans a review for Iron Man 3 and the normal TV coverage. So I'm digging back into my archives a bit and sharing something a wrote fairly recently on Homicide: Life on the Streets. I was asked to think about the show in terms of genre (crime procedural) as well as why the show enver beecam a mainstream hit like another show on NBC from that time, Law & Order. Focusing in particular on S1 Ep 2 "Ghost of a Chance"
You can watch the episode (embeded below) and most of season 1 at least of Homicide on YouTube, becasue someone put it there. And it's a great showcmon you know you want to.
Homicide: Life on the Streets ran for seven seasons, won numerous critical awards (3 Peabody awards), but never became a mainstream success. Despite being on NBC when it was the top network in the United States. Homicide was not like other shows at the time, focusing on grief stricken minorities and urban environments. Both running counter to the largely positive outlook of the 90’s US. Network TV is generally the base line for genre television, in an attempt to draw the largest audience. Homicide largely eschews the crime procedural genre, except for elements necessary for the show to operate on an episodic basis. These deviations were further compounded by stylistic choices that further alienated the mainstream.
The 1990’s are often looked back upon as hopeful and generally happy decade. The Cold War ended a year prior. The economy was stable or excessive for the majority of the decade. The world wide web was coming into wide adoption. This sense was reflected in the US’s media. Homicide: Life on the Streets ran from 1993-1997. On a (theoretically) weekly basis running counter to this sense of optimism. Cases didn’t get solved. Even when a case was solved there was never any sense that the men and women of Baltimore’s Homicide Unit could do anything to stem the tide of deadly violence. They didn’t even have enough office equipment. It would be the first of two shows from David Simon making the city of Baltimore out to be Hell on Earth. America’s mainstream was hopeful heading into the new millennium. Homicide was pessimistic at best, nihilistic at worst.
Homicide ran counter to most of American television by focusing on minority characters, not middle class whites. The majority of Homicides detectives were white, Andre Braugher and Yaphet Kotto as Det. Frank Pembleton and Lt. Al Giordello respectively made up the main minority characters in Homicide. The focus of the show though was on inner city murders, often involving minorities. White actors might make up the majority of the cast but they were surrounded by black faces.
Most minority driven shows are comedies, everyone can laugh. The Cosby Show featured an African American family, but it was still about the universal concept of family, with tinges of African American issues. Homicide was about a much darker universal concept of death and actually dealt with it. When mixed with the large amount of minorities and pessimistic outlook it isn’t surprising that Homicide never grew a mainstream fan base.
During it’s 7 season run Homicide was one of two major crime procedurals on NBC. The other being the original Law & Order from producer Dick Wolf. The original Law & Order started in 1990 (ending in 2010) and has become the foundation of the crime procedural genre. It is because of this connection that it is readily apparent how Homicide deviated from the genre.
Generally speaking a crime procedural features a single case, whose investigation is headed up by a pair of detectives. With a recognizable supporting cast that may get involved. In “Ghost of a Chance” the episode starts on a crime that is investigated by a pair of detectives, rookie Det. Bayliss (Kyle Secor) and Frank Pembleton (Andre Braugher). The investigation for the girls killer is the main plot of the episode but it is not solved by the end of the episode. The procedural format normally ends with the case being solved. This one is not, becoming a larger story arc for season 1. A solved case gives audiences a sense of closure. “Ghost of a Chance” features a case being closed only it is for a crime that happened prior to the episode. We never see the victims body or early investigation. All that audiences see is Danvers and her partner Felton's frustration with the lack of proper evidence. By the end this case is solved but it wasn’t the big one leaving audiences unfulfilled. Detectives Bolander and Munch are also involved in a possible murder, resolving in no real closure just arguments over ethics and morality. “Ghost of a Chance” had three cases being worked simultaneously it forces viewers to pay attention. None of these investigations are really shown with proper police work e.x. the collection of evidence and interrogation really working,. All of these subvert genre expectation and would of left most audiences unfulfilled from a pure genre perspective.
The actual procedural part of Homicide eschewed expectation. Allowing the show to go further off center with how it dealt with it’s cast of characters. Crime procedurals like Law & Order, have a fairly large cast of characters. But they aren’t anything beyond social and archetypes. this can not be said for Homicide’s cast. In “Ghost of a Chance” it pushes multiple character forward beyond being an archetype or socialtype. Making most detectives out to be antisocial and repugnant individuals. Often as dirty as their job. The main case involving Bayliss was the characters first as a lead detective. He is unsure, timid, his own partner tries to steal it out from under him. Normally by the end Bayliss would have been transformed into a cocksure investigator He isn’t, instead he is left emotionally damaged at failing to close the case. Det Bolander is shown to be slightly comedic in the bleak context of the show with his lack of social skills and frequent talk of near sexual encounters. His partner, Munch is largely the straight man of the pair. Another detective is shown to be a major conspiracy theorist, constantly going on about the Confederacy's involvement in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. These features made them into memorable television characters across all of television, not just for a crime show. Homicide added actual character to it’s cast instead of using the genre to provide character.
Homicide’s production had stylistic choices that broke from continuity style, further alienating it from the mainstream. In “Ghost of a Chance” there would be multiple short jump cuts, that would only cut a second or two making it appear more to be a playback issue at first not artistic intent. These short cuts are used mostly when Detective Danvers is searching a trailer for the murder weapon, at the behest of a ghost the audience never sees. This breakdown in continuity style mirrors the fraying mental space of Danvers, narrating through technique the drive and guilt Danvers feels. Still this break from continuity editing would alienate unsuspecting viewers in the mainstream. These viewers may not know about continuity editing but have an inherent knowledge of it due to sheer consumption of film and television.
The sound of Homicide is another feature that alienates the viewership. The opening shot of “Ghost of a Chance” is the body of the murdered girl, slowly circling her body revealing that it is a POV shot of Bayliss as he circles the corpse. All the while we just hear him muttering “Wht am I missing?” and other things to himself. This muttering is is not revealed to be Bayliss until minutes into the episode. Homicide is filled with sound, characters cream at eachother or hear screams from off screen constantly. Often times the camera lags behind the sound. This diegetic use of sound creates the illusion of a real world but it also makes Baltimore feel unsafe , that the characters and by extension viewers have no control over the world. Forcing viewers to pay even more attention to what is happening.
With a seven season run on a network at the top of its game Homicide still failed to become a mainstream success. It’s pessimistic outlook ran counter to the hope filled 90’s. More importantly it subverted genre expectation by actively messing with episodic expectations and archetypal characters. These divergences when mixed with stylish editing and sound design alienated the mainstream American audience. What makes Homicide a unique and enduring television series is precisely why it was a much loved but little viewed television series.
So Zach Braff is doing a kickstarter. He is asking for $2 million dollars to finance a “tonal” sequel to Garden State. Currently it stands at $1,228,453 as of 7:57 pm Wednesday April 24. I think it’s going to make it’s goal.
No this isn’t a post about how it’s gross for celebrities (who might have a fair amount of wealth) looking for funds for a project. Kickstarters come down to connections and marketing, Braff, the Veronica Mars movie, most nostalgic video game kickstarters are all just leveraging their preexisting value. It still feels kind of dirty.
At the sametime I doubt the Weinstein’s, Focus Features or other major indie outlets would just right Braff a check for $2 million no strings attached. Michael Bay “had” to make Transformers 3 before he could do Pain & Gain. Which is his biggest point, that the money men are there they just might interfere with his artistic vision. Which is what Kickstarter is all about, attempting to and tapping a niche market that just isn’t worth it for the big guys. Even now Double Fine probably couldn’t get a good deal on a new point and click adventure game. Wasteland 2, a kickstarter I’ve backed probably wouldn’t be in production or at least not under Brian Fargo’s inXile. O the woes of making commercial art.
Should we be fighting back against celebrities and other pre existing industry types attempting alternative funding or should we accept that even Zach Braff can’t snap his fingers and do it all on his own. Maybe business is more complicated then it seems.
Personally I doubt I’ll back this. I LOVED Garden State when I was in high school. It’s OST is still one of my favorite mix tapes. That said I don’t really feel the need for a “tonal” sequel to it. I kinda just want nostalgia to care it on into the recesses of my mind so I don’t eer have to come back to it and realize man it’s not that good. But hey if the OST is good maybe I’ll buy that.
Friggen loved this song when it was in the trailer.
I'm bored and putting off other writing that I kind of have to do. Plus it feels like I haven't posted a blog post here in FOREVER, ok It's been 2 weeks...semantics. What follows is an essay written for my Television Studies class. Looking at Veronica Mars as a whole but with particular interest on S1 Ep02 "Credit Where Credit's Due" directed by Mark Piznarski and written by Rob Thomas. We were instructed to pay particular interest to the social and archetypal characters and setting found in Veronica Mars.
I'd embed the epiosde. It was on thewb.com along with the ENTIRE RUN OF THE SHOW but it isn't now, which is a bummer. You should go hunt this show down it's pretty good.
Veronica Mars is a teen drama wrapped in a detective procedural. With the economically stratified town of Neptune serving as background for the show to explore class conflict. Using this inherent division to characterise every character on screen, even if they do not say a word. The division also gives Neptune’s residency a variety of archetypal and social type characteristics.
The town of Neptune has two distinct classes. On one side there is the 09er’s, named after living in the 90909 area code and those who do their bidding. They are the rich affluent upper middle class generally, primarily caucasian. Then there is everyone else, blue collar workers of all ethnic backgrounds. While there is a logical amount of economic mobility within Veronica Mars there is very little social mobility, neither side willing to accept someone from the other class. These two classes are shown to be in conflict with one another in Veronica Mars second episode “Credit Where Credit’s Due”.
Series lead Veronica Mars is a collage of social and archetypal characteristics. In many ways she is like Antigone from Greek mythology. The myth of Antigone sees her violate Greek law, social norms, by giving her dead brother a proper funeral. An act that is punishable by death, Antigone eventually hangs herself after being sealed alive within a cave. Before the start of Veronica Mars, Veronica chose to side with her father former respected Sheriff of Neptune, over her friends the 09er’s. Who only really accepted her due to her father and relationship with the Kane children. By choosing to side with her father Veronica is ostracized by the 09er clique. She becomes a complete social outcast after her non-09er friends, like Eli "Weevil" Navarro, do not accept her back. Claiming she can just return to her 09er friends and that they no longer need each other.
The social outcast is a requirement for Veronica as a detective in a neo-noir show like Mars. In classic noir films, such as Kiss Me Deadly, the detective lives on the social fringes with a chaotic life. Veronica Mars is clearly not Humphrey Bogart but her normal life as a teenager when mixed with an alcoholic mother, disgraced father gives her enough features that she can be a believable detective. Detectives or private investigators have a surprising amount of access to all the classes. There profession is always need by people of high and low stature. Though never fully accepted into a given clique, seen more as a necessary evil to be done away with as soon as possible. This makes the detective out to be a wily and cunning type as they gather information across all the classes. Veronica is consistently shown to be the most logical, sound, capable teenager at Neptune High. Her investigative skills put he in a very permeable place within the high school social structure. She is an outcast but she has the skillset that makes everyone turn t her when they are in a jam. Even adults, like Weevil’s Aunt, turn to Veronica for help.
In Veronica Mars second episode “Credit Where Credit’s Due” there are two clear types of 09er shown: Logan Echolls and Troy Vandergraff. Logan Echolls in a high school setting would be the bully or “obligatory psychotic jackass” according to Mar’s narration in the pilot. Like the lower class bad boy Weevil, Logan resorts to physical threats to get his way. Using his father, Aaron Echolls, money and social standing to keep himself above the law. His relationship with Veronica is complicated. He used to date her best friend and fellow 09er Lilly Kane. Together with Duncan and Veronica they made up the inner circle of the 09er clique. All of this makes his antagonism of Veronica extremely personal. It is heavily implied that he slashed her tires and busts her headlights on a regular basis. Like most bullies Logan’s aggression is derived from a traumatic childhood and not a need to be the “obligatory psychotic jackass”. As a child he was beaten by his father, something very few people know about. With this knowledge it isn’t surprising that he rises to the top of the 09er clique, embracing the 09er ethos of they are better and can control those beneath them.
The other prominent 09er featured in “Credit Where Credit’s Due” is the new kid in town, Troy Vandergraff. He is presented as a possible love interest for Veronica, Romeo to her Juliet, and is made out to be the archetypal “good guy”. Troy is a recent resident to Neptune and the 90909 area. His father is a major architect, making the Vandergraff family wealthy and automatically accepted into 09 culture. What puts the 09er clique above just a gathering a, largely rich white people, is their own social cues. Like Romeo, Troy disregards the order to ostracize Veronica Mars, because he doesn't know about it in the first place or the reason why. The other 09ers wonder why he is helping her out but none of them bother to tell him why he shouldn’t. These things make Troy out to Veronica and viewers as the typical kind and caring man depicted in many romantic comedies. While Logan breaks Veronica’s car, Troy actively helps her fix it. Troy stands in clear opposition to Logan and the 09er culture.
Other than Veronica, Eli “Weevil” Navarro is the only other major non-09er featured in “Credit Where Credit’s Due”. He is the leader of the local motorcycle gang as well as of hispanic decent. Weevil is a common minority California and is shown as such, his Aunt cleans an 09er played by Paris Hilton’s house for a living. Like the 09ers he is unwilling to fully accept Veronica back after being ostracized but his family is immediately willing to ask for her help once he is arrested. Despite being a teen Weevil is a gang leader and a teenage Godfather. Acting out like the mafia would when his cousin Chardo disgraces and damages the family. A common trope in mob films is when a member of the gang betrays or disgraces the family. Leading to that person being kicked out of the gang. After Chardo’s betrayals, letting Weevil take the fall for his crimes as well as date and love an 09er, Weevil reacts like any mafia Don. They save Chardo from a beating by the 09ers but once they are back beat him themselves after he is kicked out of the gang.
Veronica Mars is a teen drama wrapped in a detective procedural. With the economically stratified town of Neptune serving as background for the show to explore class conflict. Using this inherent division to characterise every character on screen, even if they do not say a word. The division also gives Neptune’s residency a variety of archetypal and social type characteristics. Turning former small characters like Logan Echolls into something more with very little work. Or adding more depth to a character like Eli “Weevil” Navarro. The stratification and embedded nature can also be used to characterize new residents who do not know about the nuances.