Disgraceland with Paul Briggs

Graceland character and rogue FBI Special Agent Paul Briggs, played by Daniel Sunjata on the USA Network show, is pathetic – in his grand desire for revenge over his having gotten his fellow-Fed girlfriend killed, he’s set every faction in his and his current team’s little world against each other – and acts like he doesn’t care who gets hurt. (See previously.tv for why.) In real life, his FBI supervisor would have had his shield confiscated by now, though prosecutors would be scared of Briggs getting a defense attorney who could convince a jury that Briggs was berserk with grief at the bad guys at the time. But hey, it makes for “good drama,” right?

Fantastic 4 and Mickey-Mouse Negotiating

The Fantastic 4 (a/k/a Fantastic Four) remake’s been accused of suffering from the same problems as The Amazing Spider-Man: dark-tone cash-grab designed to appeal to critics while keeping publisher Marvel Comics’ owner Disney from reclaiming a fallow field from 20th Century-Fox of 20th the movie studio and Fox the TV network fame.  Similar fates had already befallen Daredevil and Elektra and threaten the X-Men.

There’ve been claims also that Disney tried shade campaigns of its own against the Fantastic Four reboot (just to keep 20th from enjoying the F4 franchise without sharing more with Disney; see entry under The X-Men). And this is After earlier claims by Disney producers that one of their attempts at a live-action franchise was a victim of critics’ shade campaigns (see entry under The Lone Ranger).

Honestly, I’m surprised that nobody’s pointed out yet Disney’s infamy for holding out on a deal until that studio gets better terms. What also shocks me is that the late-1990s/early-2000s deals made among 20th, Marvel Comics’ Marvel Studios, and fellow Marvel distributors Columbia, Dimension Films (at that time a Disney unit), New Line Cinema, Paramount, and Universal for the movie, merchandising, and theme-park rights to Marvel Comics never included (or publicized) a clause involving what happens to the rights to those films (who gets to produce/distribute a film, stage, or TV show, or operate a theme-park ride/shop/restaurant/stage show where, in which format, for what time frame, and for how much money to put in versus how much money to get out) in the event that any of those companies changes owners, merge/buy each other out, and/or merge with/take over/get taken over by a party outside of their merry little clique.

Even more surprising to me is that 20th hasn’t yet taken Disney and their fellow distributors to court, claiming that Disney’s been pressuring them all into giving up lucrative movie rights without much of a fight to protect themselves or each other, and/or that Disney’s forced them all to make hole-plugging rush-jobs just to cover terms in their pre-Disney-buyout license deals with Marvel Comics’ Marvel Studios so that the rights don’t go to Disney.

And that’s leaving out that in the pre-Disney days, Marvel sought to develop a live-action X-Men TV series (Mutant X) without Fox getting any say in – or money out of – it, yet wouldn’t let 20th use Nick Fury on the big screen (likely both to keep from diluting the character in the Paramount movies, and to reduce jokes about Fox’s unsold Nick Fury TV pilot from the 1990s; that said, Fox earlier had done a failed – and, apparently, reviled – pilot for a live-action X-Men TV series, which partially could explain why Fox wasn’t invited to the Mutant X party).

(Of course, then 20th will have to prove those charges in court, which depends on how good their PIs, jury consultants, and lawyers are…)

At a later date I’ll explore a major criticism I’d listed earlier about how dark the non-Disney Marvel movies have gotten (a likely result of misreading the reasons for the X-Men movies’ critical and financial success and the creative mixed bags that the Batman, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four movies became). I’ll also comment on how dark the Distinguished Competition’s TV shows and movies have gotten in response, and in turn may have influenced the House of Ideas.

‘Til then, quoth Stan Lee, Excelsior, true believers!

‘Nuff said!

Day Two, Post 2B – Flash Back to Arrow

Remember yesterday, when I wrote about angst in the CW network’s DC hero the Flash, and how it’s a superhero trend, maybe for the worse?  Since the show The Flash is a spin-off of fellow CW Arrow, based on fellow DC hero the Green Arrow, The Flash may be following Arrow‘s lead.

Consider: Oliver “Green Arrow” Queen has a corrupt-politician mother who let them get swindled out of the family business, he and his sister Thea have different fathers, both men got mixed up with Ra’s al-Ghul, Green Arrow’s gotten one sidekick killed (by Thea for her birth father) and had to deal with another’s (supplied by Ra’s) drug addiction, Oliver’s US Government handler and Ra’s both want Oliver corrupted to their own ends, and a freelance hitman’s been gunning for Oliver since the beginning.

Then there are the love triangles: chiefly Laurel Lance (Sara’s kid sister)/Oliver Queen/Felicity Smoak (Oliver’s and Ray Palmer‘s aide-de-champ)/Ray Palmer himself (also known as fellow superhero the Atom).

Of course, Arrow‘s had a two-year head start on all of this morbid nuttiness, so it’s not as overwhelming as on The Flash, but still…

More to come, true believers of the Distinguished Competition, but first, I’d like to hear what you’d think.


Welcome to My Blog!

Welcome, folks, to my new blog!  Here, we’ll be talking about science fiction TV shows and movies – not just what’s on now, but also what’s been around a while, who does what better, if these guys can join forces to create one great project instead of two good ones, how far they can go in one way without too many fans complaining, stuff like that.

I watch this stuff more than read it, though I also read lots about both; if I hit it big then maybe I can both read and watch.  Someday…

But for now…For my first post, we’ll (or at least I’ll) be talking about DC Comics’ Scarlet Speedster, the Flash (at different times forensic scientist Barry Allen and his nephew and former sidekick, fellow forensic scientist Wally West).  His show’s on Tuesday nights on the CW, so for both time and medium we can focus on that for now.   For all the praise it’s gotten, you could say the show also represents problems with superhero stories in general now:

1.) Love Triangles and Dark Secrets keeping the hero and the lady he loves apart (artificial drama with a frustrating drag-out);

2.) Avenging Dead Relative as motivation (hey, it works for Batman…); and

3.) Morbid Tone (see #2).

They all help create drama, but with the Spider-Man and Batman movies relying strongly on them, the whole thing feels derivative and more than a little bit dull.

Flash’s 1990 TV forbear had similar problems to the 2014 – in both cases, somebody probably took one look at a recent, successful Batman movie and said, “That’s working – the darkness and the thirst for vengeance – give the cool young guy some of that angst stat!”

Also thrown in, by the way, probably to keep viewers from drowning in backstory: “Whomever we could introduce into the story without guys standing around gabbing where they came from – who cares if our lead guy’s dead in the comic book and we’re giving his his of sidekick’s supporting cast!  And jamming this non-Marvel Silver Age B-Lister down non-readers’ throats is YOUR problem!”

Of course, the 1990 show failed because it had scheduling problems caused by the Gulf War and Bart Simpson, budget problems caused by “realistically” showing the Flash’s speed (and with 1980’s technology, to boot), no-one knowing who the Flash is…not because of how mirthless and at odds with the comic book it’s been accused of being.

The newer Flash possibly elides some of these problems – not going for the same audience as another network’s show on its night (I’m looking at you, NCIS and Agents of SHIELD); introducing the characters to TV viewers with Arrow and Smallville; stylizing the high-speed effect to keep even 2014 technology cheap; and keeping pace with the cast and tone of the contemporary comic book (for all the line’s complaints; see entry under Didio(t), Dan).

Still, we’ve got The Dead Relative and The Love Triangle to worry about: except the best that the show apparently can come up with is the angst-increasing “Third point in Love Triangle may also be to blame for Dead Relative; his solution to both involves a universe-destroying paradox that the hero has to stop.”  I wonder if, in the name of artificial drama and lazy writing – I mean, dark tone – the writers would append “…by stopping the ‘solution’ from happening.  Instant drama!  Instant back-to-not-having-to-rewrite-our-series-bible!”  Road trip to celebrate!” to the earlier quote.

That’s all for now; if I have anything more or new to say I’ll add it; if you have any questions, I’ll answer them; till them, quoth Stan Lee…Excelsior, true believers!

‘Nuff said!

Best Joke on TV Tonight – by Jimmy Kimmel

No, not how uneven and divisive Rizzoli & Isles seems to be – Jimmy Kimmel just joked that if Republicans can have their own madmen polling strongly heading into Iowa, then the Democrats might as well draft Joe Biden just to keep up.