Category Archives: TV

Spoilerific Review of Season 7 Premiere of The Walking Dead

 

landscape-1476100221-rick-negan-walking-dead-season-7After 6 months of speculation about who new The Walking Dead big bad Negan had chosen to kill after the creepiest game of “eeny meeny miney mo” ever, we finally got our answer Sunday night. Following a significant backlash from fans upset by the fact that Season 6 ended with no closure on who Negan’s victim was, producers promised that the fans’ patience would be rewarded with the premiere. Now that the show is back, can we really say that it was worth the wait?

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW! If you have not seen the episode yet and don’t want to know what happened, now is the time to turn back.

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You’ve been warned.

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I’m not kidding.

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Seeing as how that victim turned out to be Abraham (a character already dead in the comics by this point), and a second victim, Glenn (thanks to Daryl lashing out for Negan taunting Rosita with the bloody Lucille), was the character that got the business end of the bat in the original story, it would be easy to say “No, it wasn’t worth the wait.” But I would disagree. As I’ve written before, I felt like Glenn NEEDED to die here. It couldn’t just be someone that was expendable like Aaron or Sasha, or even fan favorite Daryl. It HAD to be Glenn. So I’m not upset with him being one of the 2 that met their bloody end Sunday night, nor do I feel like it was lazy on the writers’ part as I’ve seen some suggest.

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With Abraham also falling to Negan, it did give the story on the show a twist that fans of the comic wouldn’t see coming. I’m sure the writers also felt like this would give even more gravity to the episode. But, knowing what I know about how the story progresses from here and how it affects those left alive going forward, I can’t help but feel that having more than Glenn die here kind of cheapened the moment. You couldn’t really finish processing or mourning Abraham’s death before you’ve been shocked further by seeing Glenn get very brutally and graphically beaten to death as well. But it’s not something that bothered me so much that I was unhappy with the final product.

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We also got to see Rick finally reach his breaking point when after repeatedly failing to convince Negan that he was in fact “his”, Negan forces Rick to choose between cutting Carl’s arm off with his own hatchet or watch everyone die. A sobbing Rick picks up the hatchet only to have Negan stop him at the last second, knowing that Rick is completely broken and subservient to his will. Man was it uncomfortable to watch. Rick Grimes is the baddest of badasses. He is the one for 6 seasons that we’ve seen give out orders and kill those that he deemed a threat to his people with little to no accountability. Now he’s the one groveling on his knees to someone else. I’ve read from some fans that this was so upsetting to watch that they claimed if it stayed like this for very long, they’d quit watching the show. *Insert eye roll*

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First off, fans threaten to quit watching the show all the time for really dumb reasons…and yet they continue to watch. Second, let the story play out before you start going to that point. Let’s not be so quickly reactionary. Third, the writers are painting the picture that Negan is a legitimate threat. They need you to see that Rick and his band of survivors are vulnerable and outmanned. They need you to believe that our group may not be able to win. That’s good writing and villain development.

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It looks like next week is going to be solely about Morgan and Carol being brought into The Kingdom. We’ll hopefully be introduced to the leader of The Kingdom, King Ezekiel and his pet tiger (yes you read that right) Shiva. I. Can’t. Wait.

Who Negan Killed. And Why It Has to Be Glenn.

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“You can breathe. You can blink. You can cry. Hell, you’re all gonna be doin’ that.” With those words season 6 of The Walking Dead came to a violent close. Seeing the bat come down from the unfortunate soul’s point of view was a decision that intrigued some (like me) but infuriated most. But regardless, it had us all talking. We’re still two months away from finding who got the business end of Lucille, and the speculation is running wild about who Negan’s victim was.

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As fans of  AMC’s zombie apocalypse drama are known to be rather passionate, everyone seems to have an opinion as to who it was. I’ve heard from some disgruntled fans that feel like it was some minor character like Aaron (sorry Ross Marquand, I love your work, but Aaron could disappear from the show and I don’t think most people would notice). Others believe it will be fan favorite Daryl or our favorite wordsmith Abraham. I’ve also heard from some that think it’s sickly mother-to-be Maggie. But there are others, like myself, that believe it’s Glenn. I would go as far as to say that I would all but guarantee that it’s Glenn.

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Why the certainty? Several reasons.

The easiest and most obvious answer: he’s the one that dies here in the comics. Yes, I know that Scott Gimple and company play pretty loose with the story from the comic books on a regular basis. However, from the end of season 5 throughout season 6, the stories have lined up very closely. Pete’s demise, the herd breaking through the walls at Alexandria, Carl losing his eye, and Jessie’s death are all events straight from the comic with very little deviation. Of course that means nothing when it comes to this situation, at least on its own.

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When you pair that with the reprecussions of Glenn’s death in the comics, it really seals that is needs to be him. This is a moment in the comic that launches the story forward. Everyone is affected. Glenn getting bludgeoned to death wasn’t just for shock value (though there was plenty of it). It was a milestone in the series. It fed so many other threads…created so many plot lines…changed so many relationships. Not to mention it established Negan as THE big bad.

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Think about it from the show’s perspective. If Glenn dies, Rick has lost his oldest friend in the apocalypse, and the man that helped reunite him with his wife and son. Maggie loses her husband and the father of her unborn child. Also how will Maggie’s relationship with Rick change knowing that is was his hubris that led them to this point? Also will she blame herself for negotiating the deal with Gregory to take out the Saviors? Daryl loses a close friend, and some one that helped him overcome his own prejudices. Abraham would see up close what can happen in an instant in that world to someone you care about…after just starting to consider wanting to start a family with Sasha. Would he want to leave her in the same situation that Maggie would be in? The group as a whole would also lose their moral compass yet again (RIP Dale and Hershel). That’s heavy stuff. And much better story arcs than just about anyone else’s death could provide.

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Now let’s look at this from a technical standpoint. Very seldom on the show have we ever seen things from a particular character’s point of view. Yet, the finale opened with, and after every commercial break, returned to what turned out to be a character’s vantage point inside the van where Glenn, Daryl, Rosita, and Sasha were being held. If you look closely the view is from the very back of the van. Meaning it would have to be the person that gets out last. That would be Glenn. So if we hold to the idea that the POV shots were consistent throughout the episode, then Glenn’s view opened and closed it. It has to be Glenn.

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I love Glenn. As a fan, I don’t want it to be him. I would hate to see him go. But I just feel like all evidence points to his violent and bloody end. Am I right? We’ll find out in October.

Quick Shots From Comic-Con – Part 2

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Wrapping up the coverage of the major news coming out of Comic-Con 2016.

Captain Marvel casting –

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After months of speculation, and several women throwing their hat into the ring including former UFC Banthamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, Marvel finally announced who would be playing the titular character in their first female-led film: Brie Larson! Before she the casting was announced, MCU veteran Chris Evans had given his endorsement of her for the gig, which certainly helps her credibility. While I’m not overly familiar with her work, I’m optimistic about her potential to bring Carol Danvers to life. Marvel rarely misses when it comes to casting.

 

Justice League sizzle reel –

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While Wonder Woman amazed with its trailer, the sizzle reel for Justice League was a rather big disappointment. I get that DC is trying to lighten up the feeling of the universe after the overly serious nature of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the footage was just too focused on humor. Bruce Wayne was particularly jokey. And why is the most paranoid member of the Justice League revealing to each potential member that he’s Batman?  I also appreciate that they’re trying to make Aquaman seem more badass, but let’s face it, he’s still one of the lamest superheroes imaginable.

 

Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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When a train in San Diego was seen with an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. advertisement that seemed to contain a fiery chain, speculation ran wild that Ghost Rider might be headed to the Marvel television property. That speculation was affirmed at Comic-Con, when it was announced that the Spirit of Vengeance would in fact be a major part of Season 4. While I am slightly disappointed that the version that will be present on the show won’t be Johnny Blaze, but the All-New Marvel’s Roberto Reyes, I completely understand and support their decision to bring in a minority character. AoS might have already been the most diverse show on television, and it’s going to be even more so now. That’s not a bad thing. I am a little surprised that Ghost Rider didn’t end up on Netflix, where his violent nature would seem to fit in better. But I’m still very much looking forward to seeing the character come home to the MCU.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming concept art –

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It’s not much, but the concept art reveal for Spider-Man: Homecoming was still exciting. Spider-Man is and always has been my favorite comic character, so it doesn’t take much to get my anticipation up for anything regarding Ol’ Web-Head. Tom Holland was absolutely incredible in his small role in Captain America: Civil War, and I can’t wait to see him in a starring role. But this gave us our first look at the upcoming film’s big bad, Vulture. I’m glad they took a different approach with his flying suit to make it stand out from Falcon’s. And Michael Keaton playing the part gives the role a definite epicness.

Help Support Nicole Carter

Taking a break from the continued coverage of what we learned at Comic Con International this year, I wanted to use this platform, small as it may be, to help support someone who could really use it: Nicole Carter. I won’t bother attempting to tell her story. I could never do so as well as she did herself at the link below. I learned about her situation through following comedy show @midnight on Twitter. Speaking of which, @midnight host Chris Hardwick (you may also know him as the host of Talking Dead) in an incredible display of generosity donated over $11,000 himself. He did so anonymously, but I have confirmed it with Nicole herself that it was indeed him. If you click on the link below, you’ll notice that she has already reached (and exceeded) her goal, but as she’s not sure when she’ll be able to work again, I say let’s keep going. It’s not just about assisting her in paying medical bills and expenses, it’s about showing that she is loved and we support her in her fight with cancer. Please click the link, read her story, and if at all possible make a donation. If you can’t make a donation, at least spread the link so that others who can might see it.

https://www.gofundme.com/nicolevschordoma

Quick Shots from Comic-Con – Part 1

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Comic-Con International took place in San Diego over the weekend. The annual geek convergence is always a hotbed of trailer debuts, logo/information reveals, and cast panels. Marvel gave us a new, much longer trailer for Doctor Strange, showed off the logos for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Black Panther, and dropped a bombshell in the casting of titular Captain Marvel. DC debuted a full-length trailer for Wonder Woman and dropped a sizzle reel for the upcoming Justice League. And just as importantly, first trailer for Season 7 of The Walking Dead debuted as well. With so much to cover, I’m just going to hit the highlights and give my condensed opinion on each.

 

The Walking Dead trailer 

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We’re only 3 months away from finally finding out who lost their life at the hands of new big bad Negan. The trailer is brilliantly constructed with the first half running down the potential victims and giving us a very brief history of each characters, and the second half showing us the few characters that didn’t find themselves at Negan’s mercy and giving us some huge reveals: The Kingdom, Ezekiel, and Shiva! Forget Negan; King Ezekiel’s pet tiger is going to be in the show this season! Just kidding (mostly), because I can’t wait to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan tear it up this season.

 

Doctor Strange trailer

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Finally opening the doors to the supernatural corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Benedict Cumberbatch is genius casting and I can’t wait to see his take on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme. We also finally got a good look at the films villain (potentially villains, but I won’t spoil that for those not familiar with the comics). Boy does the trailer get trippy. Like Inception on acid.

 

Daredevil Season 3 announcement

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I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Daredevil had officially been renewed for its third season. I had assumed that with the upcoming Defenders cross-over on horizon that the Man Without Fear’s solo series would be put on hold temporarily. I’m very glad to see that that isn’t the case. The greatest superhero television show ever produced will be gracing us with a new installment soon.

 

Wonder Woman trailer

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As big of dumpster fire as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was, this movie looks incredible. For many, Wonder Woman was one of the few bright spots in BvS, and it appears that that bright spot is ready to shine on her own. Being set in World War II, this movie appears to be in a lot of ways what I had hoped the Captain America: The First Avenger would have been: a gritty, realistic war movie with a superhero dropped in the middle of it. My only real issue is the continued overly-dark cinematography that is apparently going to be the signature of the DCEU. Aside from Batman and some of their imprints, I’ve never seen DC as a particularly dark comic brand. So why are the movies so dark?

5 Characters I Want to See In the MCU…And Who Should Play Them

Even with new Marvel Cinematic Universe projects being announced over the last few years, there are still several characters that have yet to be seen in Marvel’s ever-expanding interconnected universe. A couple of the characters on this list are all but guaranteed to show up eventually as they are villains for an iconic hero set to have his first solo outing in the MCU next year. But I still want to see them finally done right. With each charater, I’ve also listed who my dream casting would be. What other characters would you like to see in the MCU? Do you have a better casting in mind for any of these? Let me know in the comments.

Green Goblin – Jason Isaacs

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The Green Goblin is my all-time favorite villain (probably because Spider-Man is my all-time favorite comic character). While Willem Dafoe did well in his portrayal of Norman Osborn, I couldn’t help but feel like there was something missing: menace. Jason Isaacs, having already brought Lucius Malfoy and Captain Hook to life, can undoubtedly play a villain well. He also can convey menace as well as anyone in the business. As Green Goblin is Spidey’s nemesis, I’m sure we’ll see him sooner rather than later, but I just can’t wait to see him as part of the MCU and feel like Isaacs would be perfect for the role.

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Venom – Tom Hardy

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Another Spider-Man villain that appeared in the Wall-Crawler’s original trilogy. Where Green Goblin was actually done pretty well in that series, Venom was not. Hardly resembling the character from the comics, Eddie Brock was shown as a small, weakling of a man that was almost dwarfed by Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker. This is not supposed to be the case. Eddie Brock is a massive individual that should dwarf Spider-Man even without the symbiote. This is why I think Tom Hardy would play this part so well. He proved in his role as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises that he can put on large amounts of muscle mass for a part. Then add in that he’s just an incredible actor as well, and you have a can’t miss casting for Venom.

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Moon Knight – Jensen Ackles

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Easily one of the most under appreciated, under marketed heroes in all of comics, Moon Knight needs a movie franchise or television series yesterday. The characters is tailor made to be part of the darker, grittier corner of the MCU on Netflix. Jensen Ackles, best known for his role as Dean on Supernatural, would be perfect for the role. A rather underrated asset himself, Ackles would be bring a genuineness and touch of humor to a role that could very easily be made overly serious, and could pull off the badass quality that is a must for Moon Knight. On top of that, he also bears a remarkable resemblance to Moon Knight’s alter ego, Marc Spector.

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Ghost Rider – Josh Holloway

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Stuck with the terrible taste in my mouth from the awful Nicholas Cage-fronted Ghost Rider movie franchise, I’m ready to see Johnny Blaze represented properly. Ghost Rider is an extremely compelling character in the comic world. So the MCU counterpart should be shown as such. Not the pun-spewing, blandness we got before. I’m torn on where the Ghost Rider should be though: the dark, violent content necessary for the character is more in line with the Netflix family of the MCU, but the amount of visual effects needed to pull it off would be more in the budget range of an MCU film. Whichever way they go, Josh Holloway, of Lost and Colony fame, would make a great Ghost Rider. He’s a very good actor that can easily pull off the dramatic elements required for the part. But even more, Holloway would give the character the cool-factor that was so missing from the last portrayal.

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Spider-Woman – Kate Beckinsale

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Another character that should have gotten the movie treatment a long time ago. With HYDRA being destroyed at the end of season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Spider-Woman’s backstory would have to be reworked, but I have faith that Marvel Studios could come up with a new dark and tragic history for the assassin turned superhero. I’ll admit that I love Kate Beckinsale. So perhaps I’m biased in my feeling that she should play Spider-Woman in the MCU. But my adoration aside, she is a fantastic actress with serious dramatic chops, but has shown in the Underworld franchise that she can handle action-heavy sci-fi roles as well. Add in the fact that she is absolutely gorgeous, which is a necessary element to the Jessica Drew character, and you have the perfect Spider-Woman.

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In Defense of The Walking Dead Finale

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I know that this may seem a bit late to the party, but I wanted to let heads cool on the situation before commenting. After the final seconds of Season 6 of The Walking Dead (for my money, the best season of the series so far), the fan outrage was at DEFCON 1-level insane. Watching the debuting big bad Negan pick one of Rick’s group at random to kill, only to have it turn to a first person view of the victim as he’s about to deal out the bludgeoning sent fans into a fury. How dare they not show us who died! How dare they leave us hanging!

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But was it really that bad or even the wrong decision? I personally don’t think it was. Now before you start losing your collective sh*t all over again, hear me out. Do I wish that we knew who got acquainted with Lucille? Absolutely I do. But I also understand that the producers of The Walking Dead aren’t being paid to offer us instant gratification. Their job is to build a product that people want to consume (zombie pun intended) and come back to watch next time. And that’s what they’ve given us for the last 6 years. Have there been hiccups along the way? Sure. Large chunks of the first half of Season 2 and the back half of Season 3 are testaments to that. But overall they have delivered us what I still consider the best show on television. I fully believe that what they gave us in the Season 6 finale is in-line with that.

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The build-up to Negan’s appearance was incredibly well done. The tension of Rick’s group being outwitted turn after turn was something we’ve never seen on TWD. Our merry band of survivors have been shown to work like a well-oiled machine and are great strategists. But not this time. With every blocked route, you could feel the noose getting tighter around their necks. And just when they thought that they had their spot to slip out, the rug gets pulled out from under them and it is revealed that all they’ve done is play right into the Saviors’ hands. The demoralizing of Rick was apparent.

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And that, to me, is why this scene worked so well. Negan self-aggrandizing and threatening was truly something magical to behold. Jeffrey Dean Morgan played his part to perfection. I felt like I was seeing the Negan of the comics come to life. His performance alone would have made this episode special, but it wasn’t just about him. Nor was this episode about who Negan killed. It was about the fact that he was going to kill someone, and there was nothing Rick could do about it. It was about seeing Rick break. His kingdom crumbling before his very eyes at the hands of someone more cunning, more powerful, and certainly more dangerous. It was brilliant television. Let that be the lasting memory of that episode instead of the lack of confirmation on who’s head was bashed in by Negan.

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Now again, I totally wish we had seen who it was. And I have a pretty strong belief that I know who it is…but that is a topic for another day. But the makers of the show didn’t give us that. They wanted us to think about it for the next six months. They wanted us to talk about it for the next six months. They wanted us to debate it for the next six months. And you know what? They got exactly what they wanted. We were Rick to their Negan. We were their puppets and they were pulling our strings. But I for one am not upset by that at all.

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