Archive for March, 2014

I graduated out of Columbia College Chicago. BA Film/Video specializing in film producing. I love movies. Always have, even as a kid. It was a special treat in my family to go to see a movie opening weekend. I lost count how many Friday evenings were movie night with the family.

These are the films that I am *stoked* to see this year. Here’s the thing, I am rating these based on if you should spend your hard earned cash at the theater or wait till you can watch it on Netflix.

Rating System is as follows:

  • Opening Night Worthy: These are the films that I would (if I had the time and money) sit outside the theater until midnight to see the film.
  • 2nd Run Worthy: We have a couple of theaters in Chicago that play films in second run (usually a month or so after they are released, quicker if the movie is exceptionally bad).
  • Must Own on DVD: This should be part of any good fan’s collection.
  • Red Box Worthy: Worth checking out for a buck to see how good/bad it really is against the reviews that came out. Or to rip apart. 🙂

Anything else I wouldn’t even waste my time on. All release dates are for USA market.Muppets


Muppets Most Wanted
 

  • 2nd Run Worthy
  • Released: March 20th, 2014
  • Directed By:James Bobin
  • Starring: Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Tina Fey

I was pleasantly surprised by the first film (especially during the “Man or Muppet” segment with the guest star). Initial reviews of the film are not so hot, however Tom Hiddleston makes a cameo and it deserves at least one viewing on the big screen.

 


Captain America: The Winter Solider

  • Opening Night WorthyCap2
  • Must own on DVD/Blu-Ray
  • Releases April 3rd/4th 2014
  • Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
  • Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Georges St-Pierre, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández

It’s Captain America! Come on! In this film we are supposedly going to see how Cap adapts to the real world (I am really hoping that one of the lines is “Whats an Ip-od?” which is right out of the comics). Also, another reason I want to see this is that supposedly they are going to expand the character of Black Widow. With the upcoming Marvel Knight’s Netflix shows (particularly Daredevil) I am hoping to see a reference there!

 

 

Only_Lovers_Left_Alive_23

Only Lovers Left Alive

  • Opening Night
  • Releases April 11th, 2014
  • Limited Release, check your local listings.
  • Directed By: Jim Jarmusch
  • Starring:Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt, Anton Yelchin, Jeffrey Wright

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as Vampires against the world. Do I need to say anything else? Mucho props to filmmakers for filming in Detroit and helping the economy in the area. Plot Summary: set against the desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, depressed by the direction the world is taking, reunites with his lover. Their love story has endured for centuries, but the woman’s uncontrollable sister disrupts their idyll. Can these wise outsiders continue to survive as the world collapses around them?

The Amazing Spider-man 2spidey2

  • 2nd Run/Red Box Worthy
  • Releases May 2nd, 2014
  • Directed By: Marc Webb
  • Starring:  Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field,
    B.J. Novak

I was really hoping that with the revamp to the franchise things would get better and they did. However I had a lot of problems with the first film and it seems as though they are carrying over into the second film. The two things are a) too many villains (really haven’t we learned this formula doesn’t work yet Hollywood?) and b) poor VFX work. I come from the school of thought that the best VFX work should be where you can’t tell its VFX work (ahem, I submit for example pretty much anything Marvel Studios has done). This still looks campy to me.

 

X-men: Days of Future’s Past

  • Opening Weekend/2nd Run Worthy
  • Releases May 23rd, 2014X-Men-_Days_of_Future_Past_134
  • Directed By: Bryan Singer
  • Starring: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halley Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Boo Boo Stewart, Adan Canto, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Lucas Till, Evan Jonigkeit

I am having a love/hate with what I have seen thus far on the film. There’s a HUGE change to the original story (which in some ways makes sense, but I am still the producer type that says “Don’t change massive parts of the source material”). Then again, we get to see Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen on the screen together again.. hmmm. Then again, Bryan Singer returns to the franchise, hopefully to salvage what has been done with X3: X-men United, and the Cannon retconned in X-men: First Class.  This is an epic storyline from the comic book, and well known to readers and those of us who grew up on the cartoons back in the 90’s, so hopefully its handled with care.

 

 

Maleficent  Maleficent_13

  • Opening Weekend Worthy
  • Releases May 30th, 2014
  • Directed By:Robert Stromberg
  • Starring: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville

Wow.. Just wow. My favorite Disney film of all time was Sleeping Beauty (because its the first movie I can ever remember watching. I fell asleep at one point and woke up to see Maleficent fighting the fairies… which scared the hell out of 4 year old me). The makeup and costuming for this, just based on the trailer, deserve Oscar nominations. Plus, Angelina Jolie just looks born to play the part. I’ve been watching the trailer over and over again. The last time I was this excited to see a new take on a B-list type of character was when Iron Man 1 was in production.

 

Hercules  

  • 2nd Run WorthyHercules_15
  • Releases July 25, 2014
  • Directed by: Brett Ratner
  • Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan, John Hurt, Rebecca Ferguson, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie

Another Love/Hate situation here. Love the story of Hercules, love Dwayne Johnson as an actor… but hate the VFX work. Needs to be watched on Big Screen at least once. I am praying that the VFX are solid enough that it holds through the movie. It seems as though lately with films that take place in the Greek/Roman Pantheons that the VFX are just… icky.  My big concern is that this is being directed by Ratner, who as a tendency to go off the reservations when adapting things and/or trying to squish 4 storylines into a film (I submit to the court for evidence: X-men 3)

 

 

 

Guardians_of_the_Galaxy_29

Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Opening Night Worthy
  • Releases August 1, 2014
  • Directed By: James Gunn
  • Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro

Come on, have you seen the trailer for this yet? This looks like a load of laughs. 3 reasons to see this movie (in no order): A walking/talking tree named Groot, Glenn Close, and a Racoon with a bazooka. Who isn’t a racoon. But looks like a racoon. (It will make sense, I promise).I was worried at first when I heard that Gunn was directing this. Still slightly worried, but not nearly as much after I saw the trailer. This is a risk by Marvel to take, but I think they are at the point that *god forbid* this tanks at the box office (which I doubt it will) that it won’t effect the company too much (now Ant-Man is a different story).

 

 

Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForSin_City-_A_Dame_to_Kill_For_3

  • Opening Night Worthy
  • Releases August 22nd, 2014.
  • Directed By: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller
  • Starring: Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Powers Boothe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Dennis Haysbert, Martin Csokas, Rosario Dawson, Jamie Chung, Jamie King, Alexa Vega, Julia Garner, Christopher Meloni, Jeremy Piven, Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, Christopher Lloyd, Stacy Keach, Jude Ciccolella

All I can say is: FINALLY. Yeesh, 9 years after the first film comes out, we finally get the next one. As a huge fan of film noir, and comic book junkie, I have been waiting a long time for this.

 

 

Gone Girl

  • 2nd Run Worthy
  • Releases October 3rd 2014
  • Directed by: David Fincher
  • Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit, Carrie CoonGone_Girl_1

I’ve always been a sucker for thrillers and espically if Affleck is in them (In my opinion he’s a better director than actor, but as far as acting, he needs to stick with dramas and thrillers).

Synopsis: On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick Dunne’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick Dunne isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but hearing from Amy through flashbacks in her diary reveal the perky perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

 

The JudgeThe_Judge_1

  • Opening Night Worthy
  • Releases October 10, 2014
  • Directed By: David Dobkin
  • Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vera Farmiga,

RDJ plays an attorney that comes back to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. Duvall is the town judge suspected in the murder (RDJ father). Come on. A mystery with the two greatest Roberts of acting? Could RDJ finally get the Oscar he deserved since Chaplin?

 

The Secret Service

  • 2nd Run Worthy
  • Releases October 24, 2014
  • Directed by Matthew Vaughn
  • Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine, Samuel L. Jackson, Sophie Cookson, Sofia Boutella

From the same team that brought us Kick-Ass, we get a story about ” … the ramifications of how America is struggling on the world stage,” Millar wrote of the series in its original solicitation. “Funding is being seriously undercut to balance the books and some people are trying their best to take advantage of the fragile global situation.”  Makes me want to pick up the comic and read it now 🙂

 

There are probably alot of films left off this list that you think I would be interested in. What are those? What are the films you are excited for? Speak your mind below!

 

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I really do have a love/hate thing going on with the CTA. We have the iconic Elevated trains (or as us locals like to refer to… “The El”)….

TheEle

The El System, downtown Chicago.

But lately we have just been having problems left and right. For those of you not local to Chicago, there was a very bad accident involving the Blue line that runs from Forest Park in the south side up to O’hare on the Northwest side. Allegedly, a train at approximately 3 am crashed at the ORD terminal (the end of the line)  due to a conductor that is a “floater” (fills in various shifts) falling asleep behind the “wheel”.  This is one of the lines that runs 24 hours hours (or just about) because of the incoming/outgoing passengers at O’hare.

This is still under investigation, but footage as leaked of the crash :

Keep in mind that this concerns me as I live only a few a stops from there. Thank god, that this happened early in the morning. 30 people were injured (not life threatening). Could anyone imagine what this would be like say, during rush hours? Those platforms are always packed.

Not only that but this follows another incident that happened just 5 months ago in Forest Park with a run-away train that magically started out of a yard, down the tracks and crashed into another incoming train.

Oh and then there are things like this that just annoy me that happened two weeks ago:

semiiriving

Semi Caught under 90/94 underpass at Irving Park 3/18. Taken by Tessana Nemenski

 

This is a constant headache. I would say at least once a month that this happens at Irving Park. When I was working in West Lincoln Park off of North Ave and Kingsbury, I cannot tell you how many times I was late for similar incidents in that area also. I understand that maybe no one as thought to NOT have semi-trucks get off at these exits, or maybe we can’t, but it totally screws up the CTA. I actually sent an email to the CTA saying that this happens often enough that the people at the station should radio it to the trains so people don’t have to backtrack onto the train. They could just make an announcement on the trains and people could stay onboard to a neighboring stop.

Don’t get me wrong. The CTA is not the best system in the world, but its far from the worst. I have friends out in LA who say they would love to have the problems they had while going to school/living here in Chicago. When I have friends come in from out of town, we have to make a mandatory trip on the El around the Loop (downtown Chicago).

I’ve met alot of interesting people on the CTA (both good and bad). I use to be an avid netflix viewer on my commute to and from work, but after an incident years ago with a passenger that was high on god knows what, I stopped doing that.  A lot of times I will put my headphones in and not listen to anything but neighboring conversations of other passengers. It makes for great laughs and fodder for stories. Scourge told me this one last night and I couldn’t help but to create a post for it.

Teenager 1:

You know what would be awesome?

Teenager 2:

What?

Teenager 1:

If someone came up with an English to Shakespeare App.

Teenager 2:

Yes that would be awesome.

 

*mental head slap*  hiddles

This is the type of stuff that I am talking about. There is enough of this type of things that I over heard that makes me laugh and sometimes is so bad that I loose faith in humanity.

The best time to ride the trains is when there is a comic convention in town. At random places you will see cosplayers waiting on {insert train here}

Green Ranger

People of the CTA- Go Go Green Ranger!

whattt

People of the CTA- I don’t even know what this is.

Toy Solider

People of The CTA- Where’s the Toy Store-y??? 🙂

 

SW on bus

Thanks to the 501st Legion page for this pic!

 

Special thanks to the People of the CTA and 501st Legion Websites for these pictures!

 

Overall, The CTA is barely tolerable. Most days its a *shakes head* type of day. But I can guarantee, all this is a “Only in Chicago” type of moments!

Whoo Hoo!

I am happy for Grayson. Who is he you ask? Well you can read my original post about him here if you would like. Over the weekend I learned of the update that fellow fandom kid Grayson can bring his My Little Pony backpack to school.

Why is this a victory? Long story short, the school told HIM to stop bringing the backpack because it “triggered bullying”. Grayson’s mom yanked him out of the school saying that the district was going after the wrong child. Now the district is working with Grayson’s mom to have him return to school… including the backpack.

Hmm. This USA Today article is interesting.

Image

 

It’s this line that bugs me: “We sincerely regret that the issue of being told to leave the bookbag at home was perceived as blaming Grayson”.

REALLY? I mean PR 101 tells you that there is a great chance that people would see you victimizing this kid a second time.

*shaking head* At least Grayson can have his backpack. I want to know what is happening to the kids that were bullying him.

Image

Grayson Bruce- Kid Champion!

Also over the weekend, a dear friend of mine, who for the sake of anonymity, I will refer to as Suize, told me her child is being bullied at school. Why? Well he’s a bit of a geek. Likes to read (comics, novels, whatever he can get his hands on), like different music than the other kids, like’s  sci-fi shows and sports. I was rolling my eyes when she was telling me this. Her kid is a geek, there’s nothing wrong with this. Most kids in the day and age don’t read at all.

However, what really lit a fire under my ass about this situation was that the kids started attacking her kid because of the religion he believes. I was thinking about this as we were talking. Attacking someone (verbally or physically) for race, religion or sexual orientation is considered hate speech. While she is watching this situation closely and is ready to pounce at a moment’s notice, I am going to watch closely how the school reacts. Depending on the situation and Suzie’s permission, I might speak more in detail about it here.

We have become so politically correct as a society that it frankly makes me sick. But if a kid gets attacked for a show/comic/cartoon they like? Nothing really happens unless the social media and fandoms find out. Then its a force to be reckon with.

Part of me wants to push for us Geeks to be labeled as a protected class, but then again, I think that’s pushing the political correctness a bit too far.

At the end of the day.. can’t we just all agree we each have a passion that drives us? None of its wrong or better than others- just different. Why can’t kids understand this? Part of it is because of the lack of parenting. Part of it is also because, sadly, the parents don’t get it either.

In the words of a great history teacher, Mr. Al Nelson, “It’s not weird. It’s just different”.

So I am listening to “The View” while I’m cleaning and I have to sit down and write about this.
One of the hot topics is about a boy in North Carolina who was told by his school that in order to stop being beat up by bullies he should stop wearing his My Little Pony backpack. (Here’s a link to an article about it).

What fresh hell is this? Really?

First, let me address the school and then some of the commentary from the show.
The school, and every other school for that matter, needs to reevaluate bullying. Years and years ago, back when I was in fifth grade I came to the realization that man corrupted the word of the Bible. Why?  I went to a private Catholic school  and was CONSTANTLY harrassed mostly in part because I came from a blue collared family and couldn’t wear the latest Nike shoes or whatever for gym class. When I finally got the courage to tell someone of authority I was told to turn the other cheek. Yeah, I did that all the way to 8th grade before I lost my cool, but nothing happened to the kids that were doing the bullying. Whatever happened to the age old adage “treat other how you want to be treated” ?

This was back in the 90s. Now, with social media in the mix schools have  even more to contend with. Why is this kid, the victim, being told to change his ways? I mean really, him having a My Little Pony backpack doesn’t hurt anyone, does it? No it doesn’t.  It’s not like this kid is walking around in a shirt with racial slurs on it. Him having this backpack makes him happy, shows off his fandom pride, and does NOT offend anyone (unlike say, the shirt I mentioned earlier).

Schools need to stop acting like they are widget making factories and let kids be creative (and that’s a whole blog in and of itself). The kids who step out of line and do something that the collective whole disagrees with (such as beating someone up that’s not in self defense and with no cause) need to be punished. Not a kid wearing a backpack.

Now onto the show. Sherri Shepard, who I know is quite religious,  shocked me by saying the kid should leave the backpack at home. Her argument is that the parents can control this (unlike saying skin color or a handicap) why are they putting the kid in harms way? She went on that it’s the parents responsibility to keep their kid safe, and if giving up the backpack would keep the kid safe, then that’s what should be done.

Reminds me alot of what my principal and teachers told me back in the day to conform to what the bullies want. Guess what Ms. Shepard, the bullies win. Those bullies grow up and escalate into other problems such as being bigoted or racists or sexists. Why? Because the world conformed to them as children and they want that for the rest of their life.

Whoopi Goldberg basically made that point. I wish I could capture verbatim what Ms.Goldberg said because it was perfect, but in essence she said that if the bullies win on the backpack that it becomes a slippery slope of saying someone can’t have a certain backpack to someone can’t do something because of how they look etc.

Keep in mind that Ms.Goldberg is indirectly part of the geek fandom and a geek herself (she was on Star Trek remember?)

I wish I could meet the kid. I would give him a high five for being a good fan and displaying his Bronie pride. I would also like to give kudos to the parents for getting him the backpack without batting an eye.

If you have kids, please encourage whatever they are interested in. This could be wanting to play football, being a fan of Doctor Who, or playing music. Everyone has a passion about something. Encourage that passion and support it.

Sometimes it’s that passion that gets your kid through a hard day with bullies, deal with death or divorce.  In the case of things like My Little Pony, comic books and pretty much any Sci – fi show, it helps teach your kid about acceptance and tolerance.

Maybe, a punishment for these bullies is to make them watch My Little Ponies:Friendship Is Magic.  They just…just may be able to learn something.

The theme for this post is really tied to this panel from Kabuki: Circle of Bloodkabuki_cob_morebs

So last night I am bumbling through my tumblr account to stumble across this great little message from one of my favorite creators of all time, David Mack :

DrDavidMrMack — Great news from Marvel Film Studios that I’m... (1)

You can read the backstory here.

You have no clue how stoked I am about this. I have talked about Mack before (which you can read here). Why am I sitting here like a kid in toy store that was told they could have all the toys?

1) David Mack has always been one of my favorite people. Not only is he brilliant as a creator/storyteller but I have had the good fortune of meeting him on a few occasions and you couldn’t find a more humble person than Mr. Mack. That and he’s a riot to hang out with.

2) Captain America (outside of Daredevil) is probably tied for my second favorite Marvel hero (Thor is in second place also). If you haven’t read Ed Brubaker’s run on Captain America, you will totally be flabbergasted about who Winter Solider is. If you have already figured it out, trust me, you don’t know how he came to be. Its a great story line.

3) Take an epic story line and mash it into film with some of Mack’s art? *mind blown* Just to give you an idea take a look at this picture:

Vision Quest

If the picture is large on your screen, that’s intended. I want to make sure you can see the mind boggling detail. Yes. Those are actual feathers.

Want to see more of his art work? You can go to the official unofficial website here or follow him on Tumbler here. I could wax poetic about all of the different styles of awesome art that Mack has done over the years, but that’s not entirely the point of this post.

This is the reason for the toy store analogy above.

Ink Sketch of Captain America from a conventionMarvel yet again are playing the smart card. Most mainstream people know about the Marvel comics books (here on forever after referred to as the East Coast office) and the Studio (West Coast office). What many people don’t know is how much these two have been working together. Mack working on the title cards etc for Captain America: The Winter Solider is just the latest of it. Since 2007 when Marvel took out a loan with Merrill Lynch to start the studio division, I have pretty much trolled the news about ANYTHING that had to do with the company. As a comic book fan, I knew Marvel had a tendency to do things “The Marvel Way” and I was wondering how much of that would translate over into the film industry that is nothing but rules and regulations.

Marvel has been the first for a lot of things, including the East Coast office of writers, editors etc in setting the bricks for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was the smartest idea. The Winter Solider storyline was done in comics back in 2005/2006. That’s like yesterday when you take a look at how long some companies take to adapt a storyline. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, that Marvel needs to pay their casting directors and script supervisors in gold because they are the most crucial when it comes to the adaptations of the comics.  Grant it, if you read Mack’s post, it was really a round about way that he was included in on this project (it really was based on the art/concept pitch), however, his art is very distinct compared to most artists out there (and I am not NOT curtailing that to only comic book artists, but to artists in general).

Why was this so smart? How many times have you watched a movie or seen a poster done and go “man, I really like that and would totally

Cover to Daredevil V2 Ish 20-- one of the prints hanging on my wall.

Cover to Daredevil V2 Ish 20– one of the prints hanging on my wall.

hang it on my wall”?? At least once or twice in your life. Mack is one of the types that people either really LOVE him or go “ehhh”. I personally have a number of prints hanging on my wall by Mack and gotten a lot of commentary about them. That’s the point of this, commentary. Apples to Donuts, when you go see Captain America: The Winter Solider you will be going “Man, that’s pretty effing cool. I want that”. Marketing at its best folks.

Not only that, but you have the loyal fans of Mack’s talking about this because they are excited. That helps him indirectly because of course I am telling you about him and his work. Which hopefully (and I beg you too) will encourage you to read some of his work or get some prints etc.

You are probably saying that’s not any different than any other movie. Yes it is, because in this case, Mack has done a TON of work in the East Coast office, particularly on the Daredevil and Alias books (which I cannot recommend enough). How many of you would be tempted to go and try out these books either on the Marvel Digital Comic Website or at your local comic book shop?

Having the people that have laid the ground work in the comics put their two sense into the MCU makes so much sense I am shocked that other companies *cough* DC Comics *cough* are not doing this at all or if they are, its not enough/not working. Jeff Loeb, who many of you know as one of the creators of Heroes, is VP of Television at the west coast office. He also wrote TONS of comic books and knows the stories as well as anyone else.  Everything that has worked in the past in the East Coast office has been implemented/tweaked to incorporate into the West Coast office.

IT WORKS.

Hollywood take note, whatever magic Marvel is doing you need to start trying to figure it out. The box office numbers alone should prove this (let alone digital copes, rentals, dvd/blu-ray/3d discs and merchandising). I can tell you one secret I have figured out to get you going Hollywood:

Hire people that actually care about the source material. If you look at everyone that has worked on the films from Iron Man all the way through to trailers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy PLUS Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D you can see that every single person working this truly loves the characters and the story.

That’s why Marvel is so awesome, they hire great people- like David Mack.

So I have this love hate thing going on with Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” (which forever on I will refer to as AOS).  This is a bit lengthy of a post, so I apologize in advanced. Go grab some coffee, log into your SHIELD level 7 computer and read:

This show is just so awesome. There has been a lot of criticism lately that its so slow paced and that it has nothing to do with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with the exception of Clark Gregg  reprising his role (again) as Agent Phil Coulson.  Everyone is so wrong about this. The show is genius, just pure genius. Why? It’s the little things, one being the dialogue, which reminds me  a lot of Whedon’s other shows (particularly Buffy the Vampire Slayer) .

Image

Much like Whedon’s other properties, there is a great group dynamic. Britishness

I know that there are a lot of fans *cough* Scourge *cough* who have been disappointed with the show because it took so long to set everything up. As I pointed out to him and now everyone else, you kind of had to do it this way. Speaking as a producer :

* I have to assume that people have not seen all if not any of the Marvel films. (I know box office numbers say otherwise on this, but how may of those ticket sales were repeat people? Scourge and I saw The Avengers four times apiece in the theaters).

* Because of the above point, I cannot automatically dump every reference possible from the word “go”. It would turn off any viewer who hasn’t seen (insert MCU film here). Have you ever watched something of a series and gone “What the hell is going on?” Then you either have to start from the top or try to figure it out or you just give up. (Like I did with Lost).

*There are a number of characters in this show that are not part of the Marvel Cannon at all. Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), Skye (Chloe Bennet) and the team of FitzSimmons ( Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge  respectively) have never appeared in other MCU properties and to my best of knowledge, never appeared in any of the Marvel Comics either. So there is that to contend with in building these characters and their backgrounds.

*Last but not least, as a huge fan of the Marvel Comics world (both the traditional regular 616 universe and the ultimate universe), I have noticed throughout the films and now with this show, there is a hybrid going on between the two different universes. For example, in the Avengers movie we had a team line up consisting of Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow.  In the traditional 616 universe, the team actually was everyone but Hawkeye and Black Widow (instead it was Ant-Man and Wasp). In the 616 universe Hawkeye and Widow eventually do become members of the Avengers.  In the ultimate version of the team, same as the 616 team but Hawkeye and Widow are part of a “black ops” team that is not even known to anyone but Fury for awhile.

With that example, there are some  things with AOS you need to explain such as what exactly SHIELD is, the structure, how the characters fit in so on and so forth.

With these first episodes of the season it did come across as “one-offs”.  Almost like The X-Files meets a weird version of Law & Order.  For those people that think this, go back and re-watch. Marvel is extremely particular in what they do. Ignoring the “Marvel One-Shots” that are included in Blu-Ray copies of the films, there are references to everything if you look hard enough. Don’t believe me? Go re-watch The Avengers.  Bruce Banner makes a comment about “breaking Harlem” which is in direct reference to The Incredible Hulk film. In that film, if you look closely, when Hulk is yelling at the cliff, there is thunder and lighting in the background, which is a great reference to Thor. Speaking of, in The Avengers while Thor and Loki are arguing, look closely to see a couple of ravens flying. Those are Odin’s ravens which you see again in Thor:The Dark World. I could do another few blog posts about all the references   In essence, nothing should be disregard when it comes to a Marvel project.

Going back to AOS I think the huge problem the show has had is similar to the East Coast office of Marvel with shipping problems. I don’t know who to blame for this- ABC, the showrunners, Marvel, but for the sake of it, I’ll blame ABC because they air the show.

This is the schedule of release of the shows (thanks to Wikipedia for this) :

No.

Title

Air date

Rating/share
(18–49)

Total viewers
(millions)

1

Pilot September 24, 2013

4.7/14

17.01[85]

2

0-8-4 October 1, 2013

3.3/10

13.17[86]

3

“The Asset” October 8, 2013

2.9/9

12.01[87]

4

“Eye Spy” October 15, 2013

2.8/8

11.60[88]

5

“Girl in the Flower Dress” October 22, 2013

2.7/8

11.16[89]

6

“F.Z.Z.T.” November 5, 2013

2.5/7

10.93[90]

7

“The Hub” November 12, 2013

2.2/6

10.13[91]

8

“The Well” November 19, 2013

2.4/7

10.31[92]

9

“Repairs” November 26, 2013

2.6/8

12.75[93]

10

“The Bridge” December 10, 2013

2.1/6

9.16[94]

11

“The Magical Place” January 7, 2014

2.2/6

9.65[95]

12

“Seeds” January 14, 2014

2.2/6

9.59[96]

13

“T.R.A.C.K.S.” February 4, 2014

2.2/6

9.77[97]

14

“T.A.H.I.T.I.” March 4, 2014

1.8/6

15

“Yes Men” March 11, 2014

2.1/7

As you can see, the viewer ratings have consistently dropped.  The biggest is between November 26th and December 10th. Why was there a week long gap? Who knows. But then it gets worse with the release schedule. Another 3 week break between December 10th and January 7th. another 2 week break between January 14th and February 4th.  Then a full month before the next episode on March 4th. Now that last gap was more thank likely because ABC didn’t want to  have to compete with the Olympics.  Which makes sense. But in my humble opinion, what should have happened is a consistent release until December 10th then picking up everything again the week of February 25th. This would have avoided the Olympics, given almost 2 months to do a campaign for the “Spring second half ” of the season (think similar to what Fox has done with Glee).

My idea above should also accommodate tie-in issues. Starting with the March 4th episode we have the, what I will refer to as a crossover like in the comic books, titled “Uprising”.  The only crossover at this point has been with Thor: The Dark World (episode “The Well” which aired a week after Thor: The Dark World released) This weeks episode (March 11th, “Yes Men”) had an appearance by Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) who returned to Earth to capture Lorelei (Elena_Satine)  per the orders of Odin.

Speaking of this episode, I will try not to spoil Thor: The Dark World for those who haven’t seen it yet. For those who have, and heard about Sif’s orders…. this is EXACTLY what I am talking about in regards to Marvel doing things purposefully. Really? Odin wants Loreli as a warrior? REALLY? Hmmmm.  I was also wondering, before the show aired, how they were going to accommodate the fact that Sif indirectly knows Coulson visa via Thor talking about him, yet its been made clear since the first episode, that Coulson wasn’t allowed to talk to the Avengers team. Another reason that Marvel is so awesome- they are are on top of things. This issue was addressed early on in this week’s episode.

Marvel: to whoever your script supervisors are between AOS and the rest of the MCU- please give them a raise. Seriously. They deserve it.

Back to the tie in issues- If you haven’t see the trailer for Captain America: The Winter Solider, here you go:

)

As you can see, S.H.I.E.L.D is a huge part of this film, and more than likely the ramifications of the movie will domino affect into AOS which could also explain a bit of their release schedule problems.

In essence, if you haven’t been watching this show, go download it on on Itunes/Google Play. Give it a few episodes. If you have been watching the show, despite the funky release schedule, hang on. I promise, just based on EVERYTHING else Marvel has done, we haven’t even started to get bumpy yet on this ride.

PS>

If you watch the episodes live, go on twitter and follow the following people:  @IMBrettDalton@ChloeBennet4,@MingNa@jedwhedon,  @josswhedon@AgentsofSHIELD@JoeQuesada@AgentM and last but not least @clarkgregg I guarantee, the show is more brilliant (if possible) while all these cool (but not crazy) cats are live tweeting.

Tahiti

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