Posted on: November 30th, 2011 REVIEW: Green Lantern-The Animated Series #0

GLTAS Comic 0I’m going to tell you a little something about my mother. Yep. I write about comics and I’m going to lead in by talking about Mommy Dearest. I think deep down my mother had a deep fear that her children were going to turn out to be idiots. From our very beginnings, she was determined to constantly hold us to higher standards. My brother had it worse; she put him in a bilingual kindergarten class just so he could be exposed to spanish constantly. (She didn’t try that with me. She’s still trying to keep me from eating crayons…) At any rate, she would try to slip in educational material into any source of entertainment. My point: she would have approved of Green Lantern: The Animated Series #0.

This comic is going hand-in-hand with the newest animated series on Cartoon Network. I watched the first hour long special. I read the first comic. Let’s do this. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: January 10th, 2011 Review: NBC’s The Cape

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I try to be fairly optimistic when entering into the entertainment world. I want to enjoy movies. I’d really like to find a new tv show that excites me. I go into a show with all the faith in the world. And it hurts me when I find that I’m experiencing just another soulless, corporate, waste of time.

It’s no big secret that I love superheroes. It would thrill me to no end to have more people share my love; for children to be introduced to characters beyond a Spider and a Bat. So each time I see a new movie or tv show that deals with the idea of masked vigilantes and super villains, I think “Yes! We’re making progress! People will see this and recognize the value and merit of the superhero. This could be the turning point that saves the comic book industry. This could spawn a new generation of creators and readers. Greater success within the live-action sector can only spur more interest in the content!” I think that. Because I am a schmuck that enjoys disappointment.

David Lyons stars as Vince Farraday-a good cop. He’s got a wife and kid. He tries to do the right thing. There are some on the force that have fallen by the wayside. Crooked cops are becoming more and more prevalent. Society has started to turn to privatized protection, more specifically the ARK corporation. When Vince comes aboard this new-style of police force, he soon realizes that they may not be out for the people’s best interests. While attempting to find answers, he is framed for the crimes committed by the murderer known as “Chess”. (Chess is actually Peter Fleming-head of ARK). Vince is pegged as Chess, brought down by ARK, and assumed dead.

Well, guess what. He isn’t dead. He’s rescued by a band of thieving circus misfits. If he makes it known that he isn’t dead, he puts his family in danger. So he does what any desperate man would do. He learns the trade of the circus and throws on a fancy outfit…to fight crime. Naturally. He also meets up with quirky blogger and amateur investigator Orwell, played by Summer Glau.

This show is garbage. The Cape stands as a reaffirmation to the general public that superheroes are silly and childish. I sat in front of the television for the entire two hour premiere, watched a glorified Mercedes Benz commercial and received nothing but an insult to my intelligence. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: November 27th, 2010 REVIEW: Young Justice Animated Feature

Young justiceI believe that animated shows and movies appeal to very different demographics. Sure, you’ve got to keep the kids happy. It’s a cartoon-if you don’t market towards kids, then you won’t have their parents dishing out money. You’ve got to market it towards parents too because they want to know that Timmy and Sally are watching something that won’t turn them into psychopaths. But somewhere in the dark corners of the animated demographic is the single adult with no children. The one that looks forward to animated movies and has loads of cartoons on the DVR. I am that single adult with no children. I like cartoons. I like super heroes in comic books. I like cartoon shows about superheroes based on comic books.

Like Young Justice on Cartoon Network? This soon-to-be series premiered tonight with the tv-movie bearing the same title. It simply serves as an introduction to the cast of characters. I can get behind anything that’s going to show kids that comic books go much further than Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and Iron Man. This show looks like it will do just that.

Our Young Justice is made up of Dick Grayson’s Robin, Wally West’s Kid Flash, Jackson Hyde as Aqualad, Superboy Conner Kent, M’gann M’orzz/Megan Morse/Miss Martian, and Artemis. Now you may be asking yourself, “Why Dick and not Tim? Why Wally and not Bart?” My guess is that they want to stay close to the originals. That does not explain the existence of Jackson Hyde instead of Garth. But, although introduced in Brightest Day, Jackson was created specifically for this cartoon so who’s to say? They’ve also opted to use Artemis over Arrowette.  The short answer? I have no clue why they chose these representations of the characters. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on: November 1st, 2010 REVIEW: The Walking Dead Series Premiere

the-walking-dead-posterFor many last night, the porch lights went out a little early and the last trick or treater received the rest of the candy bowl, for all sets seemed tuned in to AMC’s premiere of The Walking Dead. The series, which has been promoted heavily since this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, has been anticipated more than any other television series, and perhaps more than most film events this year. The wait paid off, and last night was a Halloween to remember, as The Walking Dead premiered a thrilling, tense, expertly crafted feature-length pilot. It’s easy to tell we’re at the beginning of a very special series, quite possibly one of the best of the genre in any medium.

Mild spoilers from here on out…

Episode 1, entitled Days Gone By, starts with quite possibly the most ballsy opening sequence of a series ever aired on television. We follow lone sheriff Rick Grimes as he approached a deserted gas station, only to encounter a little blond girl carrying a teddy bear. Of course she slowly turns around to reveal a mangled zombie face and Rick puts a bullet right between her eyes. Less than three minutes in and we have our first kill, that of a six year-old. Like I said, ballsy. Cue the opening titles, which are gorgeous, boasting the production value and attention to detail on the series.

The episode covers about half of the first trade paperback of Robert Kirman’s acclaimed comic series. Although I won’t regularly compare the tv series to the books, the pilot episode is remarkably faithful to beginnings of the story. Leaping off the page, this time in color, is Rick’s awakening in the hospital to discover his world – including his wife and son – gone with only reanimated corpses lurching about. He’s taken in by a man and his son who catch him up to speed with the status quo. Rick then sets out off to Atlanta in search of his family, and the episode concludes with him in one hell of a mess. The episode takes its time to really get us into Rick’s mindset, and sets the tone for what to expect; a deep character-driven tale of survival.

Showrunner Frank Darabont, who has written and directed the first six episodes of the season, has left his mark all over the show. Beautiful cinematography and a voracious eye for detail makes the show seem more like a movie than a series, boding well for the show. Just like the pacing, the writing is tight and organic, adding an extra layer of believability from the performances. For anyone weary of Andrew Lincoln’s portrayal of Rick, fear not; it’s evident very early that he is Rick Grimes. He’s the fulcrum of the series, certainly, and the pilot episode is all him, though we do get some screen time with some of the rest of the cast, albeit very brief.

More than anything, The Walking Dead appears to take itself and the genre very seriously. In one of the most emotional scenes in the episode, Rick studies a zombie, connecting with its former humanity in his head. It’s great television and great storytelling, and a tremendous way to start a long-running series; we’re becoming rooted in the story and the characters, making nothing superfluous and everything engaging.

I can’t wait for the next episode to air; I’m not a tv guy at all, so it’s unusual for me to have a night of my week booked on the couch. But damn am I looking forward to it.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 10/9c on AMC.

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Posted on: September 5th, 2010 2010 Fall Television Primer

s6 promo posterFiguring out when your favorite shows come back is a nightmare. Figuring out what new shows to watch is just frustrating. GKS is here to help you unscramble the Fall television season.

The first step? Here’s a list of September premieres for you to TIVO or whatever you do. I mark them in my day planner. But I’m a nerd.

No commentary. Just the facts. With a little commentary. I AM ALLOWED. More commentary will come as the shows start airing, I promise. I don’t watch all these shows. Imma do my best to keep up on the news, but if you want news/recaps/commentary on specific shows, let us know!

Thursday September 9th

CW- Vampire Diaries returns and the premiere of yet another branch of the Nikita story.

Sunday, September 19th

HBO- Boardwalk Empire – about the prohibition or something (they had me at Buscemi)

Monday: September 20th

ABC- Castle- The Fillion Fanatics Favorite
CBS- Hawaii Five-O Re-imagining
NBC- Chuck, Premiere of The Event (some conspiracy mind-fuck show)

Tuesday, September 21st

FOX- Glee returns.

Wednesday, September 22nd

NBC- Undercovers- looks like some sort of spy dramedy, using the descriptor ‘sexpionage’

Thursday, September 23rd

FOX- Bones and Fringe return.
NBC- Outsourced – Sitcom, in an office, probably with hipsters and cultural misunderstandings.

Friday, September 24th

FOX – Human Target returns (YAY!)
CW- Final season of Smallville, 6th season of Supernatural

Saturday, September 25th

Syfy- Movie of the Week is Sharktopus, which no one should miss.

Sunday, September 26th

FOX- Animation Domination line-up mostly all returns.

Tuesday, September 28th

Syfy- Return of Stargate Universe and Sanctuary.

For the Canucks, SPACE’s September programming is as follows:

Sept 12: Nikita Premiere
Sept 16: Being Human Season One Encore
Sept 24: Smallville Final Season
Sept 26: Chuck Season Four
Sept 28: Eureka Season Four
Sept 29: Supernatural Season Six

Nikita and Vampire Diaries are also picked up on Canadian stations, so check your local listings.

Please note: AMC is currently airing Rubicon if you want to tune in, and Walking Dead starts in October. Check back here at GKS for full coverage  on Kirkman’s zombie epic.

Also in October, NBC is debuting The Cape which seems to be some sort of comic bookie type thing.

Posted on: August 25th, 2010 THE WALKING DEAD Trailer Hits Online

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Those of you who made it into AMC’s Comic-Con panel for the upcoming television adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead were treated to a first look at the series trailer (and a lot of you were privy to numerous shoddy bootlegged versions), but the full clip has finally been released online (and circulating on AMC).

Watch the trailer, embedded below:

I may be biased, as I absolutely love the comic series, but this show looks awesome. It’s different seeing things in living color, but it appears they’ve captured the tone and essence (and characters) of the book wonderfully.

The Walking Dead premieres on AMC Halloween night, October 31 at 10/9c. Stay tuned to GKS for full reviews and coverage.

Posted on: July 24th, 2010 SUMMER TV: True Blood, Warehouse 13 & More

farnsworthWarehouse 13 is back on Tuesday nights on Syfy. I wasn’t impressed with the premiere at all, but the second episode was great nerd fun featuring Jewel Staite and Sean Maher, Firefly’s power couple of cuteness and awesome. What this show lacks in character depth, it makes up with neat gadgets and odes to steampunk. Word is there will be a Farnsworth Device replica at San Diego ComicCon this weekend. Neat.

True Blood is back and everyone is all ‘WOO! True Blood,’ but I can’t seem to get into it. The season two finale cliffhanger nearly killed me, so I was surprised that I really didn’t care about the premiere. I like Sookie and Bill together. Anyway, Bill has been kidnapped by a vampire king (no queen jokes). Sookie is looking for him, but no one wants to help her except Eric who is doing it for his own selfish reasons. There are werewolves. I was on whiskey and Benadryl when the werewolves arrived, so I haven’t quite figured out that whole story.

There is a new sexy evil vampire in town. His name is Franklin Mott, which really isn’t much of a sexy name, but he’s played by an incredibly gaunt and spooky looking James Frain, who will always be Sir Thomas Cromwell (Tudors) to me. He has lost a lot of weight for the role, and I didn’t recognize him until I looked it up, but the hollow cheeks just make him look even more dastardly.

Someone poke me when Bill and Sookie are reunited, and I may start watching again, but something tells me (well tweeple tell me) that they are not in for an easy romance when he gets back. Television writers want to hurt me. It seems to be their main goal. In all fairness to True Blood, they are up for some Emmy’s and the writing is superb, if a tad obsessively dramatic.

I may need to draw you a map to all the Being Human news. Being Human is a BBC show with an utterly stupid premise about a ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire sharing a flat. Stupid premise aside, the show is on my favorites list due to the wonderful gore, intriguing characters, excruciating suffering, and good old British wit.

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Series three is filming in the UK now. Series two is airing on BBC America starting in this weekend, and Series One is coming to Canada in August on the SPACE Channel, and was also just released on DVD to North America for mass consumption.

Syfy has bought the rights to remake Being Human, America style, only filmed in Canada with a Canadian actress. Which is awesome. Meaghan Roth will play the ghost, with Sam Witwer and Sam Huntington playing her blood-lusting flat-mates. They have different character names, so we’ll see how it compares/differentiates from the mainline BBC series.

If you’re a Being Human virgin, it’s worth tracking down the original pilot. Two of the actors are different, but it is a beautiful piece of television, in a Spaced meets Anne Rice sort of way.

That’s it. My summer recommendation is go get the DVD box set of Being Human, and give cable a rest. Or go to the beach, read a book, something.

Posted on: July 24th, 2010 DOCTOR WHO’s Big Bang

amyandthedoctorSeries five of Doctor Who felt like it went by really fast, probably because the wonderful people in the UK, (as well as wonderful pirates) spoiled it for me three weeks in advance. The season finale is this Saturday, but I feel like all of nerd-dom has already watched it. I am waiting. This is not a moral stance. I have no morals. I just don’t want the series to end, and it can only go one of two ways. It can be hugely disappointing and I’ll end the season with a ‘meh’, or it will be a super awesome cliffhanger and I’ll be holding my breath until….well.. Christmas?

I’ve already written on how much I love Amy Pond, the new companion. I think she did really well this series, and I am looking forward to seeing more of her. I went in to Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor with an open mind and was richly rewarded. I felt he was able to switch really easily from being vulnerable and goofy, to being incredibly sad and morbidly dark. Tennant could do this, but even in the saddest moments of his run, you kind of felt like his goofy grin would come back at any moment. With the eleventh Doctor, I was legitimately worried at times that he would never ever smile again.

I had to keep reminding myself of the general theory of who-niverse silliness relativism. The last series ended on such a dark note, I was at times taken aback by how silly the show can be, but I just had to remind myself that the last Doctor saved the world with an orange that happened to be in his pocket. It’s a silly show.

I think it was the guest characters that I found to be profoundly lacking, ie. there was no one to the caliber of Jack Harkness. Liz 10, the future Queen of England, was the highlight for me, while I find River Song to be a dingbat on all accounts. Winston Churchill was good, if a little over done, and the whole Van Gogh episode was mildly entertaining but sophomoric.

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I always find that the boyfriend of the companion is a really tough character to write. I think, should I be picked up by the TARDIS, I should be allowed to ditch any mere mortal I may be dating in favor of crazy Doctor sex, BUT, the mythos of the show involves the companion having a soft spot for the old boyfriend. This works because it makes the relationship with the Doctor deeper, but usually leaves the boyfriend character pouting in a corner. Amy’s fiance Rory annoyed me, but in a pitiful sort of way.

By far, my favorite episode of the series was ‘The Lodger’. Raw human love wins over murderous automated invaders. Yeah, I’m a sap. And I was really impressed by some of the scary bits this seasn. I was screaming during the weeping angels episode and plugging my ears whenever they’d tease Dalek attacks. Writers smacked you over the head with the ‘cracks in the wall’ foreshadowing. I can’t even say foreshadowing, more like waving their arms saying ‘this is going to be resolved in the finale somehow!’. Still a nice reminder of the Doctor’s internal tension about how he tries to do good, but wonders if he’s really doing any good at all.

So may I set up the season finale for you? All of the Doctor’s enemies are convinced that the Doctor will, somehow, cause the end of the universe, so they gang up on him to keep him contained for the rest of time. We get to see all the wonderful baddies, including the pride Daleks, the Cybermen, and my favorite, the Judoon! The future looks bleak for Amy, River Song, the TARDIS, and the poor Doctor.

The Doctor Who series five finale airs Saturday night on BBC America and the SPACE Channel.

Posted on: July 8th, 2010 EMMY Nomination Highlights

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As a TV reviewer, I fail at Emmy time. I get lost in sci-fi fare and miss a lot of the mainstream programming. Even the ones I want to see are on networks I don’t get, being too cheap to fork out for premium channels. Perhaps GKS should pay my cable bill, and write it off as a business expense? (Editor’s Note: LOL.)

So here’s a few QUICK highlights of this morning’s Emmy Nominations. There was a well deserved nod for Matthew Morrison as Will Schuester from Glee for Lead in a Comedy Series, as well as his co-star Lea Michele as Rachel Berry. Glee was tough to watch this year because it got pretty intense and sometimes not very glee-full, but they put on a good season and deserve all the attention they can get.

Outstanding Drama Series highlights include Dexter, True Blood, Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Michael C. Hall in Dexter, is butting heads with Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad for the Lead in a Drama Series.

An interesting lesser focused upon race will be for Outstanding Costuming in a Series, pitting Mad Men vintage attire against The Tudors’ wonderful doublets against 80s Madonna fashion in Glee.

human-target-1Okay so honestly, this is all I’m really interested in. I’m so glad Human Target got recognized for the Outstanding Main Title Design. Strikes me that I haven’t written much on Human Target for GKS, and that’s a shame because it was really the most delightful element of last year’s television line-up. It was funny and full of great quotable punch lines.

The Human Target, aka Christopher Chance, is based on a comic character created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino. He’s sort of a body guard with a shady past for which he feels he has to atone. He usually does this by protecting pretty ladies and then making out with them. In the television series on Fox, Chance is played by Mark Valley who is as strikingly handsome as they come, but he’s also genuinely funny.

Jackie Earle Haley has made the simple supporting role as Guerrero into a cult icon with his constant catchphrase ‘dude’ and ability to create mischief without even cracking a smile. Human Target has been renewed for a second season, thank God, so you really should catch up on it. It’s very James Bond, though on a more street/less gadget and glamour level. Like a Connery Bond. Yes. I digress.

I think that Human Target’s opening credits are the best on television today. Some may argue with me by bringing up True Blood, which does have great credits, but they are long and pretty intense and sitting through them every week gets a little tiresome. HT’s credits are just classy and well designed and simple. I just like them. Decide for yourself.

So yeah, the Emmys. The Pacific, HBO WWII fare, took the big haul with 24 nominations. Glee snagged a happy 19 nods, and Mad Men stayed strong at 17 nominations. My predictions? I have none. Lost will pick up a few trophies for sure. As long as Jane Lynch picks up Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for Glee, I’ll be a happy awards ceremony watcher person.

The Emmy’s air August 29th on NBC.

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Posted on: July 6th, 2010 INTERVIEW: SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD’s Alan Van Sprang

una-foto-di-alan-van-sprang-91260We here at Giant Killer Squid love new talent, and even though Alan Van Sprang has been around for awhile, his name is now starting to make it into some major circles. I recently had the chance to ask Alan some questions about starting out, Romero’s zombies, being Immortal and Mickey Rourke’s unblinking eyes. Enjoy!

GiantKillerSquid: How does a kid who grew up in Calgary, Alberta Canada end up working beside names like Mickey Rourke, John Hurt and Isabel Lucas?

Alan Van Sprang: It was a natural progression really. I graduated High School, went to theatre school at Mount Royal College, started doing regional theatre across Canada, got an agent in Vancouver which started me doing a bit of film and T.V. I found myself enjoying that medium a bit more and eventually got myself out of the theatre loop and found myself doing film and T.V. Each job I got was a bigger and better opportunity, which led to the next, and here I am battling Immortals and smoking cigarettes with John Hurt.

GKS: You’ve now starred in multiple George A. Romero zombie flicks (Land Of The Dead, Diary Of The Dead, Survival Of The Dead). What’s your take on the new zombie revival and the master of the genre himself?

AVS: Well, naturally I’m a slow zombie fan and a huge Romero fan, always have been. But I love zombie flicks, love Shaun Of The Dead, love The 28’s, although those aren’t zombies. I was close to getting a part in Zack Snyders Dawn Of The Dead remake, which I loved, thought that was a great remake. Actually, I’m loving the whole horror/remake surge, I think zombies will live forever (laughs).

GKS: Romero’s Survival Of The Dead is definitely one of the biggest roles you’ve done on film. Was there added pressure going into this film, as it’s star?

AVS: Well, yes there is added pressure naturally because you are carrying a story, so you are continually having to keep the whole arc of the film in your mind at all times. But I find it much easier playing huge parts and carrying stories than not. When you are supporting you don’t have the same freedom and room to breathe when telling the story, as you do when you are carrying it or when you are integral to the plot and how it moves along. But I know George so well now it was actually like going to zombie camp. It was beyond fun. He has always been so open to letting me do whatever I want that it just makes the process that much more rewarding.

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GKS: Anonymous Rex, by author Eric Garcia, happens to be one of my favourite novels. Tell me about your character development process for film, particularly your character in this film, Raal?

AVS: Character development for Raal…hmmm, how do you become a Dinosaur? It was quite fun actually. Eric Garcia was on set everyday and kind of walked us through his whole take on the novel and the screenplay. I just would go on camera and be as bad ass as possible, keeping in mind that I was a bit of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Obviously we were hiding our true identities so we were always told not to have primal reptilian qualities, keep them human.

GKS: Did you get a chance to hang out with Faye Dunaway off set while filming Rex? What is it like meeting some of the big names in the film industry, as you yourself build your name?

AVS: Yeah, I spent some time with Faye on-set chatting. She was great to me, definitely the diva of the film world, an amazing presence. She works her ass off on character development which is amazing to watch and experience. I have always found meeting big names quite fun and easy. I never really get star-struck so I have always had a very laid back, very real relationship with a lot of them. For the movie I did “NARC” with Ray Liotta, we had been best friends and partners in the movie, so Ray wanted to spend quite a bit of time with me before we went to camera. So for a few weeks I would just go over to his hotel lobby and we would meet for dinner and drinks and just hang out. Working with him was definitely the best and most ‘learning’ experience I have had to date.

GKS: In addition to well over 20 film titles, you have a TON of television appearances. Which do you prefer, film or television?

AVS: I love both, but I definitely have a love affair with movies. It’s a much grander and slower process. The attention to detail is so rewarding for an actor and you are afforded the time to try and create something that is so absolutely right, where the story is crystal clear. Whereas T.V. is a bit rushed. Doing “The Tudors” was a much different experience, it was like doing a movie every episode, very rare for T.V.

GKS: Corner Gas is a massive cultural phenomenon here in Canada! Why the hell weren’t you on it?

AVS: I’m not funny enough for Corner Gas. I think I’m funny, I can be spontaneously funny in life, but you TELL me to be funny…not funny.

GKS: Degrassi is another Canadian icon. And you did act in Degrassi: The Next Generation. How does it feel to be part of such a huge tradition?

AVS: I loved being on Degrassi, loved seeing and meeting the actors from the original series, they’re all such great people and some of the true icons in Canada. In theatre schools we had a “Schools Out” party when that Degrassi movie came out, I cried for weeks, poor Wheels, Poor Lucy. (ed. Note: I still remember Caitlin saying “You Fucked Tessa Campenelli”, and she said that on T.V.!)

GKS: Tell me about the latest film you’re working on, “The Immortals”.

AVS: I play Darieos, who is an ex-slave who teams up with Theseus and is part of the Theseus 5. And unfortunately my friend, that is all I can say, otherwise I will be sued (laughter). Sorry Mark.

GKS: That’s okay, you can make it up to me by getting me press passes for the preview!

GKS: Tarsem Singh, director of “The Immortals” brought such an amazing distinctive visual style to his past feature “The Cell”. Is that same direction going to be applied to “The Immortals”?

AVS: One thing I can say about Tarsem is that he is a master visualist and he is definitely bringing that, without a doubt, to “The Immortals”. He is truly a genius and has the imagination of a four year old, and energy for days. Going through the sets and the story board with him was a six hour process in itself.

GKS: Okay, you’ve worked with both Mickey Rourke and Daniel Baldwin. Who would win in a staring contest?

AVS: (hard laughter) Mickey Rourke hands down! I don’t think he ever DOESN’T stare. Daniel would just start laughing.

GKS: Describe yourself as one fruit and one vegetable.

AVS: I’m definitely a banana and a red pepper.

See Alan Van Sprang in the upcoming BluRay release of George A. Romero’s Survival Of The Dead and the upcoming theatrical release The Immortals.

Posted on: June 16th, 2010 Comically Challenged: Darkwing Duck #1

Would you like to know how I decide which book from my pull list gets a review posted? Probably not, but I don’t care. I pick the book based on its impact on my mood. If I’m indifferent, I don’t review it. It seems like a fair measure of scale. So, the review may not be about the best book of the week-but it was the book that stood out from the rest. That being said…

Darkwing Duck 1I absolutely love Darkwing Duck. Well, too be fair, if you have any place in your heart for crime-fighting superheroes, you love Darkwing Duck. There I was, seven years old: sitting way too close to the tv, eating Cheerios, watching the awesomeness that was Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop and syndicated TaleSpin. Good times, good times.

All right, let’s say you were deprived as a child and were forced to see the world through books. Maybe you didn’t own a tv, you just had a box of crayons and imagination. Maybe you’re only twelve years old. That’s sad for you but here’s the low-down:

There was a time, not so long ago, that Disney made really great, funny tv shows-primarily animated. I know, I know-it’s hard to believe given the current state of The Disney Channel, but it did exist at one time. This was a Disney animated series that ran from 1991-1995. In a very cookie-cutter like setup, we find Drake Mallard-a very average citizen of St. Canard by day, and by night-the fedora-clad vigilante Darkwing Duck. He’s fighting crime with his sidekick Launchpad (originally from another great show, DuckTales) and trying to raise his adopted-daughter Gosalyn as a single parent. Now, the charm of this show stemmed from the tongue-in-cheek references to comic book characters and plot devices.

You had the child that wanted to fight crime on her own, reformed-villain-turned-girlfriend, the team of villains (The Fearsome Five), alternate realities, and the organization of evil (Fiendish Organization of World Larceny, aka F.O.W.L.)

You can buy the first 54 episodes on DVD box set now. I strongly suggest you do so. But wait, this is a comic book review so let’s get on with it.

Darkwing Duck 1vOur friends at Boom! Studios released their new DW title this week. The book is written by Ian Brill, art by James Silvani with Andrew Dalhouse on colors. It’s been a year since we’ve seen the Duck Knight due to the fact that all crime-fighting efforts are being handled by robots. Now the super villains and the heroes have assimilated into the rolls of mundane time-clock-punchers. Everyone is tense. Now the crimebots are getting a little too heavy on crime and somebody is recruiting the former villains. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this is a job for Darkwing Duck.

As was the case with their work with The Muppets, Boom! has once again restored my childhood through sequential art and word balloons. If you liked the cartoon, you’re going to love the comic. James Silvani could have been lead animator on the cartoon from what you see on the panels. It looks EXACTLY the same. It reads the same as the dialogue in the cartoon; you get to have the super-touching father/daughter moments, the obvious over-explanation of plot points and even the funny one-liners. I draw your attention to Megavolt (the stereotypical electricity-themed villain) being kidnapped and yelling out. “Edison’s sake!” It’s comedy, kids. Accept it.

Do you have younger kids? Read this comic with them. Not really a read-with-your-kids kinda parent? (You’re a terrible person.) Go buy the DVD box sets and watch the cartoon with them. It’s brilliant. Want to relate to me and my obsessions? Go buy both and enjoy. Then we can laugh and talk about how great it was to be seven.

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Posted on: June 15th, 2010 A BLUE BEETLE Live-Action Show?

DC’s comic book writer extraordinaire Geoff Johns took to twitter to announce that DC Entertainment is toying with the idea of a live-action Blue Beetle television series. One can assume that this would be DCE’s way of keeping DC on the television once Smallville ends its tenth season.

Johns then posted some more details over at the DCU Blog, and even put up some stills from test footage that has been shot – the full video clip will debut at this years San Diego Comic-Con. Johns was very particular to point out that the series has not yet been greenlit, and this is all merely test footage. Nevertheless, take a look at the stills for yourself.

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The series would be based on the third Blue Beetle, Jamie Reyes, who acquires the powers and suit of Blue Beetle when a magical scarab fuses with his body.

While it is cool to see another DC character live and in the flesh, the Blue Beetle does look like a harder pill to swallow, given Smallville’s more drama-based approached. The test stills above kind of remind me of Bandai shows like Power Rangers and Superhuman Samurai Cyber Squad. But hell, I trust DC and I trust Geoff Johns, and I’d love nothing more than a great superhero tv show.

Posted on: June 7th, 2010 TORCHWOOD Series Four Announced

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It is surreal to have this finally happen. It is long awaited news on Torchwood series four, scheduled to start production in 2011, and it looks official enough. The BBC released the following information on their Torchwood website this afternoon.

“BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Worldwide and US premium entertainment network, Starz Entertainment, have today announced a three way co-production partnership that will develop a new series of the hit BBC sci-fi drama Torchwood.”

Good news is that it is a 10 episode season let by creator Russell T Davies, and includes John Barrowman returning as the ever horny Captain Jack Harkness and Eve Myles returning as spunky Gwen Cooper. When we last left Gwen after the Children of Earth tragedies, she was full on pregnant, so there will likely be a baby Gwennie running around in series four.

The release also mentions new faces, and predictably does not mention the status of the deceased but cult favorite Ianto Jones, played aptly by Gareth David Lloyd. There has been internet murmurings about fans refusing to watch a series four without a resurrected Ianto. Others have said they may watch, for the same reason they watch train wrecks and car crashes. I mean, nearly everyone on the show has been bloodily murdered, and Jack is immortal, so what else can they do? Who else can they kill?

Final quote seems to indicate that Torchwood Series Four will have an international flare, with the BBC stating:

“Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever.”

Check the press release for yourself here.

Imma watch. Captain Jack will always be my man. My guess is the saveiantojones.com people will be back in full force. Will you watch without Ianto? Does anyone care about Ianto anymore? Where do you think Torchwood will go from here? Will Captain Jack be morose and broken hearted after causing the death of his grandson, or will he be back and peppy as ever?

Posted on: June 3rd, 2010 BOOK REVIEW: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia

Star Wars Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia JacketWe here at GKS are huge fans of DK Publishing, especially anything Star Wars related that they put out (which, luckily for us, is quite a lot). Hot off the heels of their major success with Lego Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary (New York Times Bestseller list anyone?) DK gave us a sneak peek at their latest and greatest offering, Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia.

This 208-page full-color hardcover encyclopedia is packed to the gills with everything you could ever know, or want to know, about the characters of the hit series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Painstakingly chronicled by author Jason Fry, the encyclopedia features over 200 full character bios and statistics. From the smallest astromech droid  to the most dangerous bounty hunters in the galaxy, this book shows fans how it’s done.

Any true Star Wars fan can appreciate the level of detail and dedication that goes in to collecting and archiving the vast information in this type of supplementary  reading, and I’ve never quite seen such a comprehensive source. Even if you haven’t seen the Clone Wars cartoon, there is plenty of old-school content to revisit, and the book certainly highlights the rich characters and stories being told even after thirty years.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia will be available in-stores this June 21; and is available for pre-order online. From even the most casual of fans to the hardcore fanboy, the book is a must-have for your shelves.

Check out some samples below:

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Posted on: June 2nd, 2010 Stargate FTMFW

scottchloeOkay I’m not one of THOSE Stargate fans. Really I’m not. I will admit, after Star Wars, Stargate was the first sci-fi movie that I remember watching multiple times. I thought James Spader was hot. I was a little National Geographic nerd at the time, and the movie was partly set in Egypt, and I was pretty certain that if the archeologists looked hard enough they would find a stargate somewhere. Yeah.

Then there were a few, you know, ‘filmed in Canada production value’ type Stargate television shows and movies which I’m sure were fabulous in their own way, but I just never got into them. Fast forward to 2009, and I’m severely lacking in Battlestar Galactica goodness, and I see ads for the gritty looking Stargate Universe. Someone somewhere assured me that I don’t have to be a Stargate geek to understand SGU, and I needed space western in my life, desperately, so I tuned in.

Safe to say I was blown away by every episode. Drama just mounted on top of drama and every episode was a painful joy. I was screaming for the lives of my favorite characters and hiding under my blanket when disaster seemed only seconds away. Plot-wise, and please forgive me for inaccuracies, this gamer kid unlocks the Ninth Chevron by solving a problem hidden in a video game. This is apparently a big deal in terms of space travel. The military abducts him, and presto chango, they all end up accidentally flung across the universe onto an awaiting starship called the Destiny. Even with two geniuses, a near platoon of army dudes, and a United States Senator on board, they can’t figure a way back to Earth and barely have control over the Destiny herself. They are helpless passengers, which of course, spells space opera fun, all that humanity all smushed into close quarters. Grin.

There is not a character in this story that comes across flat. They all interact beautifully and violently. Ugly Betty’s David Blue plays Eli, the loveable accessible nerd who cracks the tension with his misunderstood geekery jokes. The concept of his finding his destiny (pun somewhat intended) by playing a video game is a wonderful way to start a tough sci-fi series on a human level. He contrasts with Robert Carlyle, who plays the buttoned down genius Dr. Nicholas Rush, who just wasn’t genius enough to crack the Ninth Chevron code when Eli did it in his near sleep. Tension.

SGU deals with a lot of the civil military relations junk in a different way than Battlestar, maybe because it is on an smaller scale, one ship vs a fleet? Leading the military unit is Col. Young, played by perennial guest actor Justin Louis. He is kind of a crusty pirate captain type, a mediator, but with a low threshold for bullshit from the troops, the civilians, and especially little tolerance for Dr. Rush. Lt. Scott is the eye candy second in command, virile young man that he is. Of note, is the gorgeous Alaina Huffman who plays Lt. Johansen, the ship’s defacto medic.

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Elyse Levesque plays Chloe, the senator’s daughter, who really has no reason to be there, but glues the crew together with her calm head and her tight yoga outfit. Yes, she’s the love interest for Eli and Lt. Scott. And yes, Lt. Scott is winning, even though I think Eli’s the real catch. Ming-Na, of ER fame, leads the rag-tag group of civilians that are just stuck on the ship, along for the ride, and she fights hard for their rights among the top down decision making of the military.

OH. And Lou Diamond Philips randomly shows up every once in a while and yells a lot. For the win. He may or may not be a spy. Yes. The latest episode, ‘Subversion,’ was seriously the only episode that made me wish I knew more about the other series. There was a few ‘huh’ moments but I managed. People stuck on ship, trying to find their way home. That’s all you need to know. Voyager, only with attractive, sluttier people.

I obviously can’t compare it to other Stargate television shows, but what about the Battlestar comparisons? I guess my only thought is that SGU seems to bring everything down to a smaller scale. It’s one ship, not a fleet. One commander, not a chain of command. There are no heroes in Vipers, there’s Lt. Scott with the one rifle and a ramshackle shuttle. Where Battlestar seemed to have supermen, SGU has lost smelly people with no change of clothes and barely enough to eat and drink. I just find the characters a smidgen more relatable.

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So the details: ‘Incursion’ is a two parter season finale. Part one airs this Friday on Syfy and the SPACE Channel, with the second part airing the week after. Season two is scheduled to start in October, moving to Tuesday along with its time slot cousins, Caprica and Sanctuary. Currently, on DVD, there is Stargate Universe 1.0 which is the extended pilot, as well as Stargate Universe 1.5 which is the first half of the first season. I’m sure the rest of the episodes will be along shortly.