Friday, February 27, 2015

Fish Mooney scooped her own eye out with a spoon and in that one move made Gotham must watch television

I didn't see that coming, at all. Monday night, I perhaps like most of America sat before my television with my evening meal and was wondering how Fish Mooney was going to get out of the pickle she's landed in.

Fish Mooney (as you may already know) is played by the incomparable Jada Pinkett Smith. She's basically been given an opportunity to define and characterize a new villain for the Batman Rogues Gallery, and she's playing it to the hilt. I've got to hand it to her, because she manages to be the right kind of psychopath that seems perfectly at home in the city of the Dark Knight.

The situation that forced her to carve at her own eyeball with a spoon arose from being a prisoner in some kind of institution ruled by folks who are harvesting body parts from people to sell to the wealthy. There are literally hundreds of people all milling around in a basement complex, fearful, broken, and one by one they are led off only to return (sometimes) with a piece missing here or there. The horror of being unable to escape from a fate so horrible made me cringe. How on earth could you fight back against that? Well leave it to Fish to find a way.

She recognized immediately that the den of prisoners had a leader and took him out. Then she organized everyone so that she would call the shots when they came for someone to go along and get a part cut off for a buyer. Because the institution needs body parts that are alive and in good shape, she promised the guards that if they did not acquiesce to her demands, she would kill every name that the guards called. Of course they tested her and called out a name, and Fish ordered that unlucky person murdered to prove she means business.

Well she got taken to the man in charge, and he thought he had her in a corner. "You have two options. 1) We take both of your eyes. 2) We kill everyone in the basement and just start over. It'll be a high price to pay but that's how it's going to be."

Fish had a third option (of course) and since it was her eyes they wanted (presumably for someone willing to pay for them) she wrenched one out of the socket and squashed it with her foot. So much for having a matching pair.

It left me in shock, asking myself, "Did that just happen?" And realizing it was Fox (a mainstream channel) and not airing on AMC (home of The Walking Dead) gave me a double-take. Unfortunately, the story didn't return to Fish and went on to the other characters and what they were doing, which ended up being far less interesting in terms of content and shock factor. I have questions now, dammit! What happens to Fish as a result of her actions? How does this move gain her power among the crew of psychopaths harvesting organs from helpless people?

I think Gotham is finally turning into the nitty gritty drama it was meant to be.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Star Wars Rebels has turned in a pretty good first season making me ask if it is really possible for a Star Wars story NOT to succeed?

Sheena Kay Graham asked me if I could do a Star Wars Rebels post, so here it is :).

The fact that Star Wars Rebels got renewed for a second season is more a testament to how intriguing the universe of Star Wars really is (and by extension, how much of a genius move it was for Walt Disney to scoop up the rights from George Lucas) than it is to solid animation, lightsaber mechanics, or any characters that we actually care about.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of Star Wars Rebels, but it's not because I think Ezra or Kanan are particularly awesome. It's not because I think Hera is the most badass pilot ever to fly the skies, nor am I particularly enamored by the Mandalorian Sabine. It's because I just like the universe, and the writers of the show obviously know this about its audience because the strongest episodes in the debut season all incorporate cameos from the best characters that have already appeared in everything outside of Star Wars Rebels.
The latest face to grace Star Wars Rebels is Grand Moff Tarkin, and I got to admit, he looks a lot like the character once played by Peter Cushing. And he remains someone that you really don't want to mess with (there's a reason that he actually outranked Vader--the only Imperial "non-force using" officer I know of with that kind of power). But knowing this, it begs the question: who else have we seen this season?

Obi-Wan Kenobi made a disembodied appearance in the pilot episode. And of course who can forget Lando Calrissian? I always liked that space rogue, and it's fun to think we might see how the character came to possess the Millennium Falcon. And Darth Vader's breathing over the season finale's trailer means that we're probably going to see the most famous Dark Lord of the Sith fairly soon. I won't go into questions on whether it will be through a hologram or through an actual encounter. But I'd think they'd stay away from an actual encounter simply because Vader is too powerful for this group to even be able to remotely handle. If they run into him, it'd be ridiculous if people didn't die. And finally we've heard Yoda's voice through the actual Frank Oz. That was a fun episode that resulted in Ezra getting a crystal from a hidden Jedi Temple that he could use to make into a lightsaber/pistol combo. It's actually kind of a brilliant design no doubt motivated by the fact that Ezra knows he sucks with a lightsaber and would like a gun until he gets better.
Who is Fulcrum?
However, the thing that's got me intrigued the most is Hera's contact, Fulcrum. In this week's episode, Fulcrum (who strikes me as a woman) tells Hera point blank that they need to abandon Kanan who is now in the hands of the Empire. I'm beginning to think that Fulcrum is Ahsoka Tano from smash hit The Clone Wars. If this is true, then she's probably the best Jedi outside of Yoda and Obi-Wan that's still alive. Remember, Ahsoka was Anakin's padawan and was officially awarded the title of Jedi Knight but refused it.  So technically, when Yoda tells Luke in Return of the Jedi, "When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be" remains true. Additionally, the exchange between Yoda and the spirit of Obi-Wan where it's indicated "there is another" if Luke fails is probably a direct reference to Ahsoka Tano and not Leia (as many have speculated without evidence).

Suffice it to say that I'm glad the series has been renewed. I hope that the big reveal of who Fulcrum really is happens soon. But now that I tabulate all of the things that I love about Star Wars Rebels and realize that they are all connected to the overall canon, it makes me wonder if it is really possible for a Star Wars story NOT to succeed? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

If Black Sails is to be believed then the book Treasure Island is full of fascinating gay characters and gay love stories.

Black Sails is a pirate show, and if you like pirates then you should watch it. And because it's Starz (the same network that brings us the powerful and compelling story of Jaime, Claire, and Frank in Outlander) it's of course rife with violence, gore when appropriate, and sex. In other words, it's my kind of show.
It's also set roughly two decades before the events of the book Treasure Island. Just to school you a little bit because some people actually haven't read Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson created the fictional character (first name not given), and he was the captain of a pirate ship called the Walrus. The crew of the Walrus accumulated an enormous amount of treasure, Flint and six members of his crew bury the plunder on an island in the Caribbean Sea, and then Flint murdered his six assistants leaving the corpse of one Allardyce with his arms outstretched in the direction of the buried treasure.

The location of the horde is marked by Flint on a map and William "Billy" Bones becomes the keeper of the map. Later, his former quartermaster called John Silver started calling his parrot "Captain Flint." John Silver was also the only man that ever made Frint "afraid."
The guy second from the left is Captain Flint. 
I've been watching Starz Black Sails and haven't felt like there was much to report until this week's episode which suddenly made so much of everything else make sense. You see, Captain Flint is gay and that just tickled me pink. I'd assumed that the two characters of Flint and Miranda had an affair as there's obvious sexual history between them. But peeling back the layers, we find out that they actually fled England because it got out that Flint was in love with her husband Thomas (of course she knew and kept the secret as she loved them both) and let's just mind was blown. Now I want to know if Thomas is still alive. He got committed to an asylum because of indecency charges (let's face it: times would not be safer for homosexuals for several hundred more years), and his chances of being alive are probably slim to none. All the characters on the show just talk about him like it's a foregone conclusion that he's dead.
I do like the liberties that the show is taking with the character of Captain Flint, and I also like how it's being meshed with actual pirate history. Charles Vane is an actual English pirate who has a major role in the show. Also, there's an artist that's essentially coming up with the "Jolly Roger" flag that's the famous logo of all things pirate. And we also have "Billy" Bones as a character too. He's fiercely loyal to Captain Flint, and it makes me think that they might be lovers. What a reveal that would be. It would so totally make sense with regard to Treasure Island because why would Flint murder the people that helped him bury the treasure he gets in a few years and then let Billy live unless he loved Billy?

Wow. Admittedly none of these revelations come from Robert Louis Stevenson so some fans of the man's work might take offense to liberties that Starz is taking with the story. But I for one LOVE IT because it makes the whole story come together in a way that it never did before and that's just fascinating. If you too are intrigued, watch this interview with Toby Stephens who talks about how this character being "gay" actually drives him to do everything that he does.

Friday, February 20, 2015

An incredibly geeky text conversation done by phone regarding the events and speculation on this season's Arrow and The Flash

I've been having epic nerd conversations lately with my friend Adam, all via text message by phone, and I thought I'd clean them up some and post them here for you guys to see how either stupid, weird, or just plain nerdy texting me can be.

Me: "I predict Malcolm Merlin will take over for Ra's Al Ghul and rule the League of Shadows and take Thea with him."

Adam: "Huh? That's a bold proposal. So you think Oliver is unwittingly letting himself be used by Malcolm in his plots, or do you think Malcolm is being straightforward in that they simply need each other to beat Ra's al Ghul?"

Me: "I think they need each other to beat Ra's, but it's an alliance of convenience only. Malcolm is evil and manipulative and will want Ra's out of the way so that he alone can become immortal. He's duping Oliver and Thea is under his control to make the lie more convincing. I think Thea is completely on her dad's side. In other words, she is 'pretending' to hate her father. Just wait...the ultimate betrayal is coming. I can already see Oliver's tears when Thea says that she's joining the League of Shadows and to stay out of her and Merlin's way or else!"

Adam: "I agree. It will be a massive blow to Ollie."

Me: "So I also had this weird thought about 'The Flash.' We know that Barry and Reverse Flash go back in time and that Barry fails to save his mom. If he goes in the current timeline and succeeds, it could cascade forward changing his present and the present we know from Arrow."

Adam: "So the Flash could reasonably make the first season...not have happened? Then where would the CW be?"

Me: "I don't know. I've never seen a show do this, so it would be uncharted territory. Maybe Sara wouldn't have died for example.

Adam: "Hmm, and Oliver never has to face Ra's on Malcolm Merlin's behalf."

Me: "Exactly. If you change one major event that happened seventeen years in the past, all kinds of shit could change. It would be fascinating to see if the writers go that way. Barry obviously needs to stay The Flash or there's paradox. That would be the only constant that I can see. Also, I just read that Caitlyn Snow is turning into a villain on The Flash. Dammit, I love Dr. Snow. She's going to become Killer Frost according to io9! I'm not happy 'bout this!"

Adam: "LOL, so Dr. Snow is a late blooming metahuman? Also it makes sense...her boyfriend turned into flame guy (Firestorm) so she is the juxtaposed counterpart obviously. Think her ice to his flame. Also her last name is 'Snow' for Pete's sake. How did we not see this coming?"

Me: "Definitely surprised, but I'm not up on all of Firestorm's rogues gallery. However, your 'voice of reason' regarding the whole counterpart thing does nothing to provide me comfort. There's no way Barry Allen will be able to hurt Caitlyn. She'll be an Achilles' heel. So after Dr. Wells is exposed for his villainy and Dr. Snow goes evil, Barry will have only Cisco to turn to."

Adam: "It's crappy to give him two villains from his team, that is like if Felicity and Diggle went dark on Oliver...that's a dick move for a writing team to pull."

Me: "Agreed. Barry will need more support. Want to bet that Felicity from Arrow switches to The Flash? She's fed up with Ollie at this point. just occurred to me that the reason Barry couldn't save his mom might be tied to a choice between her and Iris! That's so phucked up..."

Adam: "Why do you think Iris would be at risk? Was she somehow at the scene of the crime in the pilot episode?"

Me: "Because it sounds like a super dick move. Imagine this, 'You can save one of your loves, Barry. Who will it be? Iris or your mom? You can't save both....' It would be chilling to hear Dr. Wells say that. Also, what if it's Barry that kills his own mother. We haven't thought of that possibility and just assumed it was always the Man in Yellow. Or another possibility: Gorilla Grodd (who has incredible mind-control powers) forces Barry to do so to make sure that the accident happens in the future that gives Gorilla Grodd his powers. Or even crazier...what if Dr. Wells is ACTUALLY under mind-control of Gorilla Grodd right now?"

Adam: "Wait...does Grodd's power allow him to give commands that last or does he have to be actively controlling the person?"

Me: "Grodd's mind control is fantastically powerful, kinda like Professor X."

Adam: "Would he have to travel with Barry to keep him under mind-control?"

Me: "Unknown. This version of Grodd might be able to give lasting commands. That would be uber powerful, like mass hypnosis. It's possible imo that Grodd could be the mastermind behind it all. This is how it goes down: 1) we know that there are red skies in the future possibly related to some catastrophic ecological event (something Gorilla's would be concerned about), 2) Wells is from the future and a future Grodd mind-controls him to engineer the accident at STAR Labs in the past to "create" him, 3) Barry disappears from that future to travel to his own past to a self-identified point that started everything and Grodd sends Wells to stop him, 4) in order to succeed, Wells must threaten Iris. Barry chooses Iris over his mom. Mom dies thereby ensuring the future happens as intended. It's basically a fate that Barry can't alter. Also Greg Berlanti is on record saying he isn't afraid to go full on crazy like The Flash comics and has said he will not tone down one bit of the insanity that are the aspects of this character."

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Eight reasons why you should drop what you are doing and go see Kingsman: The Secret Service

I (like most of America) went and saw Fifty Shades of Grey. But I don't want to talk about Fifty Shades. I want to talk about Kingsman: The Secret Service, because I saw it twice this weekend and really want to go again soon. WARNING: SPOILERS ARE AHEAD.

Some of you probably know that Kingsman: The Secret Service is a comic book by Mark Millar. But if you didn't, or if for some reason you are not a fan of comic books, you should put all your prejudice aside and go see this extremely fun movie. Why? Let me count the ways in which it is awesome:

  • The violence is gratuitous, hypnotic, crazy and wonderful. People's heads explode like fireworks done to the British anthem. With Vaughn at the helm, the action is pure gun-kata, which is basically Batman + guns divided by karate--a formula that creates pure win.
  • The nods to Bond are crazy good. The villain is Samuel L. Jackson with a lisp. Think about that for a moment at the awesome that is Samuel L. Jackson when he says, "Shoot that mother f*cker now!" with a lisp? There is no one that can drop "mother f*cker like Samuel L. Jackson. He can't stand the sight of blood, but he's a mass murderering insane billionaire, and his assistant in true Bond style is an athletic woman with prosthetic legs capable of amputating limbs and lopping off heads with a single blow. Odd Job and Jaws got nothing on Valentine's assistant.
  • The great gadgets are full frontal! A bulletproof umbrella that is also a gun with many different effects, a watch that can render someone unconscious and give them amnesia, a cigarette lighter that's also a grenade, a H.A.L.O. balloon rig that can shoot down a satellite, a pair of oxford shoes that have knives in them coated with lethal neurotoxin, a fountain pen that can dispense poison that remains dormant in the system unless a switch is activated, a SIM card that makes people crazy so that they beat each other to death, and on and on and on. WOW! I was breathless.
  • Taron Egerton. Hands down the best eye-candy in the world. He's replaced Chris Evans at the top of my list (sorry Chris). Colin Firth is very handsome too. Even aside from the eye candy aspect of Eggsy, he's a really good person. For example, he won't shoot his puppy like the other candidate did. Seriously, if that doesn't make you love the character nothing will. What put Taron on top though is his accent...which leads me to...
  • British accents. They are everywhere and they are glorious. When Harry (Colin Firth) turns to a crazy church goer in this movie's homage to the Westboro Baptists and responds to "where are you going?" in thick British (and wearing a proper suit), "Madame, I'm a Catholic going to visit my black Jewish Boyfriend whom I have sexual congress with outside of wedlock who works in an abortion clinic. Hail Satan." It's delivered with the bravado that only the British can muster. And of course it precedes the most incredible display of psychotic violence I've seen outside a Tarantino film.
  • It breaks the fourth wall. Kingsman is a carefully constructed film that walks the fine line between absurdity and seriousness by having a complete blast with all of its tropes. It's literally a rollercoaster ride, even when consuming McDonald's cheeseburgers at a billionaire sit down dinner.
  • Knights of the Round Table! All of the Kingsman are knights of the round table. There's Lancelot, Arthur, Percivale, Galahad, and on and on. They even have a Merlin. Arthurian knights as British spies just convince me that all of the best spies in fiction are British.
So those are eight reasons why you should drop what you are doing and go see Kingsman: The Secret Service. However, if you need more, maybe you should watch the clip below.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Better Call Saul is a worthy spinoff of Breaking Bad

Better Call Saul is two episodes in, and I'm already hooked. The first episode (called Uno) pretty much started us out by showing us the ashes of the man we knew as Saul Goodman, and that he indeed ended up in Omaha working as a manager of a Cinnabon. More importantly though, the black and white montage lent itself to the quiet contemplation of history to a time when a young aspiring lawyer looked forward to making his mark on the world. The history of Saul is complex. We've only up to this point seen him as Walter White's attorney. So I guess the story this time around is going to answer the question as only Vince Gilligan can: how did Jimmy McGill come to represent slimeballs so well?

Lawyer dramas are very popular on television. So I'm a little surprised at myself when I think that I hesitated to watch this show. Admittedly, perhaps I thought I was going to be disappointed. That there's no way it could ever live up to the storytelling heights of Breaking Bad. Sure, from the two episodes I watched one could say that it's probably too early to be saying, "This thing is a masterpiece." But the dialogue is so well written and the characters so colorful and oftentimes terrifying that I can't find the strength to turn away.

For those of you familiar with Breaking Bad, Saul is a prequel. Mike works as a parking lot attendant for the courthouse, Saul isn't even "Saul" but Jimmy McGill, and Tuco the psychopath isn't quite a psychopath yet. But he's working on it. If you don't recall Tuco from season one of Breaking Bad, he was the drug kingpin of Albuquerque that snorted crystal meth off of the blade of his knife, he beat his own bodyguard to death and then said "Tight! Tight! Tight!," and has cousins that are better known for not speaking and just murdering people with axes. It's obvious that some of the story is going to focus on these characters that we know so well building/constructing their empires. What's more interesting to me though is the answer to the question I posed at the end of the first paragraph above.

Jimmy McGill came to represent slimeballs because he did something stupid. He cooked up a scam to get money from some crooks and used two idiots, only it didn't work. And in failing, he attracted the attention of Tuco and Tuco's crew who pull him into a world of some very dangerous folks out to make a ton of money. It sounds awfully simple, yet oftentimes its the deceptively simple things that are the most captivating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

I really want to talk about all things comic book today

Well sort of? Yesterday was huge for comic book announcements. You all may have already heard that Sony and Disney kinda/sorta got together and hashed out a deal where Spider-Man is now going to be in Captain America: Civil War. But if you haven't heard it, well you can't say that anymore. So what is Civil War?

It ran in 2006-2007, was a Marvel seven-issue crossover, and takes place around the framework of the U.S. government passing the Superhero Registration Act. Cap is opposed to the registration and Iron Man is the figurehead for "pro-registration." Spider-Man is basically caught between both sides. Spider-Man reveals his identity to the world (spurred on by Iron Man) but later comes to regret it. The conflict between sides continues to escalate until Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic (from the Fantastic Four) build a prison in the negative zone to contain the super people unwilling to register. This news makes me wonder if Marvel is actually going to approach Fox for the rights to the Fantastic Four.

Okay so onto who I want cast as Spidey (since Andrew Garfield is out and I gotta say...I never liked him): I want actor Reeve Carney. I've blogged about him before so I'll let you guys google him to see what he looks like.
Next on my docket is talking about Beth on The Walking Dead, or more appropriately where the actress who played Beth is gonna land next. Guys, Emily Kinney is coming to The Flash! She's playing Brie Larvan who's also known as the Bug-Eyed Bandit. Now the Bug-Eyed Bandit is a known enemy of the Atom. This means that Ray Palmer is going to crossover from Arrow to the Flash in the same episode that's gonna have Kinney in it. Frickin Awesome or what? Oh and check out the Atom suit above because it's awesome!
And finally, I want to say that comic books are expensive. I know because I have five huge boxes of them (the big white long ones that cover the length of a table) and they are in mylar baggies to keep them happy in storage. But I don't buy many comics anymore because...well...the price. However I've learned that there's a new digital service coming from Scribd that will offer over 10,000 comics and graphic novels from Marvel, Arcana, Archie, Boom! Studios, Dynamite, IDW/Top Shelf, Kingstone, Space Goat, Top Cow, Valiant, and more. Yeah, I'm a little disappointed DC isn't mentioned but ah well. Anyway, the service costs a measly $9 a month. Who knows? Maybe if this service gets popular enough, then DC will hop on board.

So yeah, all of this got announced on the same day. I knew Tuesdays were good for something.

Monday, February 9, 2015

This is what Lionsgate should do if they want more Hunger Games movies

Super blogger Meredith Woerner wrote last week on io9 that Lionsgate Wants More Hunger Games Movies. My response after thinking about it is tongue-in-cheek, but seriously listen to this pitch. It's magnificent.

They should make a series that's a cross between Twilight AND the Hunger Games. They'd hire people even prettier than all the actors/actresses on the CW, parade them around shirtless or in sweaters so tight that their boobs are bursting out the tops of their turtlenecks, and set it in a dystopian world where vamps and humans are forced to fight to the death in games orchestrated by a totalitarian government!

The female vamps all fight and run through the woods in makeup and high heels, and the wolf packs are all smokin' hot with mad archery skills. Only the government is evil...thoroughly evil. The vamps just want to look good and are committed to a vegan-esque lifestyle and wear hippy clothes and there'd be all this sexual tension with really no place to go because everyone is crying about everyone else suffering at the hands of the government. And all the people, everywhere, have glitter on their skin so that they sparkle at all times.

Oh and the actual Hunger Games...those take place in...wait for it...A MAZE!

So what do you guys think?


Friday, February 6, 2015

My late Insecure Writer's Support Group post in which I ask you why we write

My Insecure Writer's Support Group post is a couple days late, because I forgot it was this last Wednesday. Alex reminded me in a comment, and I had a very "Doh!" reaction. However, now that I'm past that reaction, this is what I'm doing about it (posting today). Is it better late than never?

When it comes to the Insecure Writer's Support Group, I don't know if I necessarily have insecurities left to express that haven't been aired in all their glory in previous months. But each time I think I've plumbed the depths of my self introspection, I find one more thing that I'd like to talk about. This month, it's about why we all write and then answering that question for me so that all of you know. Because what drives me changes over time, but it began in a fairly ignoble place. So to begin, I think I'm going to use a picture...a picture that sums up most of the reasons people may turn to writing as a form of self expression, and maybe at the end of this you'll leave a comment as to why you write.
I believe the simple reasons scrawled across the note above, left by some anonymous author in the past. After all, some of us have stories that we just need to tell. That's true. But what's also true is that others want to help people with their life experience, or they want to be whistle-blowers and expose the truth for everyone in order to protect society from some greater harm. Some of us immerse ourselves in fiction, others non-fiction, and yet others express themselves through journalism or blogging. I'm a combination of many of these things, but when I think about why I made a push to be professional about it I find other reasons staring back at me.

One of the things that drove me into writing initially was a frustration of being invisible to an entire community, and I was in this kind of needy narcissistic state that grew from a place of very little attention to wanting to do something in which people paid attention to me. I still find that the most attractive trait in a person I meet is their ability to listen. For me, this trait has been more difficult to find than it seems to be with others (or maybe I'm just oblivious to how people get others to listen to them). It seems like every person that I get introduced to wants to dominate a conversation about themselves, so either I'm naturally attracted to people like this because I'm a good listener (and the whole world knows it), or the world at large is changing and more people every day are not upholding the conversational agreement which is: I will listen to you 50% of the time if you listen to me 50% of the time. It sounds like a reasonable request, but I know more than just a few examples of people that expect you to listen 90% of the time, and then pretty much tune you out whenever you open your mouth to speak. They may stay quiet for a minute, but soon find a way to talk over you or alternately end the conversation so that they can leave.

So why does this happen to me? Well it could be environmental factors, but I could also be to blame. I've come to grow a little wiser with time, and I feel that I can now say that I've had quite a few successes in life. But, I've also failed a ton. I think my writing originally grew from out of this failure, to get a notion of what it feels like to achieve all that I failed to achieve. It grew out of a natural condition for people to ignore those who fail, because our society is one that upholds the successes in life. Also, at the ripe old age of 43, I write so that I can experience all the things that I've failed to experience. I've never been to England or New York City, but it doesn't mean that I can't go there in a book. Life is expensive, and I'm not rich, and some things I want to do were kind of off the table for a long time. Finally, I think I'm comfortable saying that I continue to write so that I may be all that I failed to be.

Meeting and connecting with all of you successful authors out there who are selling tons of your books has been a wonderful experience for me. Not only has it been eye-opening in the deeper sense that I'm part of a community that is familiar with the concepts of struggle and failure. But it has also taught me that there are many others who share my experience of living in the shadows of some very tall trees.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The second half of season five on the Walking Dead may hold clues to the zombie spinoff planned for the fall

"The Walking Dead" by Ron Kurniawan, originally published in the December 23, 2013
issue of The New Yorker. You can read "Utter Rot" HERE.
It's that time of year again. No, I'm not talking about Valentine's Day, but about the spring sweeps that the Nielsen's perform to try and gauge what people are watching. I got my phone call yesterday, and I'm doing another Nielsen's diary. Yes, this technically does make me a professional couch potato, and I wear that badge with honor!

Honestly, they couldn't send it to a better household. I'm looking forward to making my choices known on all things nerdy and geeky. Like, for example, The Walking Dead. The penultimate zombie drama returns with its mid-season premiere this Sunday. Actually, it's a double header because AMC is also giving us Better Call Saul and from what I've read about it from those who've seen it, the spinoff to Breaking Bad is just as good. Let's hope I'm not disappointed. However, I gotta say that the hype on this thing is pretty high, and my friend Patrick warns that things rarely (if ever) live up to their hype.

The two minute opening scene for this week's Walking Dead premiere is online now. I watched it twice yesterday, and it picks up pretty much where I thought it would. In other words (spoiler alert) they are taking care of Beth's body and everyone is pretty much asking where they're gonna go from here. From the trailer, I think they'll go south and then meet a community that's been able to thrive in the apocalypse before the next major story arc starts up that leads to all out war with the leader of a huge gang of thugs (named Negan). I'm really excited for this story arc because we get to meet some awesome characters: Ezekiel who is ruler over a place called "The Kingdom" and who has a huge tiger as a pet, Jesus who is a charismatic and athletically gifted warrior from a friendly town of 200, and Aaron (the first really openly gay character who's also smart and not a psychopath). But before you get excited too, realize that the series is basically hovering around issue 67 and we don't get to Negan until about issue 100, so it could be as much as a year away before we meet the next big bad who's so awful, he makes the Governor look like a boy scout.

The second half of season five on The Walking Dead may also hold clues to the zombie spinoff planned for the fall.

So hear me out. One of the rumors I heard on this as yet unnamed show (The Rising Dead sounds nice!) was that there might be one or two characters that move between the original series to this new one. So what two characters do we know that are already in the cast who have no reason to really stick with the group? Duh...Daryl and Carol. Both basically got nothin' holding them emotionally to the others. Everyone they loved is now dead and both are looking for some way to start over fresh and with a clean slate.

I think that this might be an opportunity for Daryl and Carol to go off and join one of the three communities that we are about to get introduced to. You see, in the comics there are towns that are about a day's journey apart from each other by car. Without a car, they're about a week apart. The comics always stay with Rick's group, but this doesn't mean that they couldn't jump to another group of survivors and tell the story from one of these other towns. That'd be perfect for the show because it would allow them to expand the story and spinoff characters that viewers love to "head" another community. Honestly, it seems like an easily mined pit of gold for AMC, and if I were an executive calling the shots, I'd greenlight this idea tomorrow.

Anyway, if you're a fan and haven't seen the trailer for the first two minutes of the mid-season premiere, then you should click play. It sucks you in the same way that Attack on Titan sucks you in. And you know another great thing about the return of The Walking Dead? When it ends, Game of Thrones starts up. Ah spring, how I love thee.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Woven release party was so fun I want to do it again

It's been kind of a Woven blitz on my blog lately, but I wanted to put up one more post and tell you about the Woven release party I went to on Friday evening. First off, David Powers King and his wife Joanna joined me and my friends Jake and Meg at the Paris Bistro (a French-style restaurant across the street from The King's English here in Salt Lake City).
Above is a picture of The Paris Bistro in the summertime. It's one of my favorite places to go (especially when the weather is warm) because you can sit outside, and they hire local musicians to come by and play accordion music which just kind of heightens the atmosphere of the place. David ordered a filet mignon (it was his first!) on my recommendation, and I'm glad he liked it. Then we talked lots of book stuff. At this point in my life, Mr. King is the most famous person I know, and he happens to be rather well connected with friends like James Dashner (who wrote The Maze Runner) on essentially "speed dial." I told him if he's ever hanging out with George R.R. Martin, to snap a selfie in the car and send that to me with a message: "Just me and George cruisin' around town."

Anyway, the book launch party started promptly at 7:00 p.m. and it was in the nice art gallery next to The King's English and boy did it ever fill up. Some of my pictures show empty seats, but as the speaking got underway, those quickly filled up. Here is a view of the gallery peeps:
There were also seats on one side and on the other, so this view is just of the main seating down the middle. You can see the paintings on display for the gallery in the background. Also, I bought two hardcover copies of Woven. One was for my friend Meg as a gift so that she could read it. The other is as pictured below. I did get it signed afterwards by both of the authors, and I want to say that the hardcover is much prettier than the Advanced Reader Copy. For one, it is just higher quality and for two, all the naturally occurring breaks are set off with a beautiful inscribed needle instead of bullets and the chapter heads all have swirling thread decorating the paper.
Finally, below is my picture of Michael Jensen and David Powers King. They both shared the microphone really well. Michael (who is on the right) burst into tears when he was telling his story of how difficult it was to get published. David is cool as a cucumber. Like seriously, the man probably barely lets his pulse get above 80. And David was the one who read us a few pages from the book. At the end, there were some prizes that got handed out. None of us won any, but there were some good books to be had for sure.
And I guess that's all I have to show. It was a lovely evening and there was a huge line at The King's English that wrapped all around their store and even went outside. I'm sure they sold out of all 90 of the books they had. Good thing David brought extras in his trunk. I bet they needed them. All in all, the Woven release party was so much fun I want to do it again. I guess it's a good thing there are sequels planned!