What I’m Watching: Let’s Look at Donnie’s DVR.

The fall TV season is right around the corner.  For me, this could be the biggest fall season of my viewing life.  I remember back in 1990, when the FIRST Flash TV show premiered.  At the time, it was the only thing of its kind.  Hell, Doctor Who hadn’t been on the air for over a year.  Now, looking ahead to this year, the amount of TV in the geek wheelhouse is astounding.  We live in world that is ruled by a zombie TV show, where 10 years ago it was ruled by Survivor.

     As hard as it is to believe, I watch TV more than ever now.  We of course can thank Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. for this.  It’s a binging culture now, where because we have the access to it, don’t want to stop watching it.

     With all this content, I decided to take a look at my DVR.  Here is what I am currently recording:

  1. The Simpsons
  2. Impractical Jokers
  3. Family Guy
  4. Supernatural
  5. 0
  6. Ultimate Spider-Man
  7. Doctor Who
  8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  9. Elementary
  10. Arrow
  11. Teen Titans Go!
  12. Marvel’s Avengers Assemble
  13. Beware the Batman
  14. Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
  15. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  16. The Blacklist
  17. Orphan Black
  18. The Wil Wheaton Project
  19. Falling Skies
  20. The Vampire Diaries
  21. Archer
  22. Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  23. NCIS
  24. @Midnight
  25. Hannibal
  26. Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail
  27. Legends

Wow.  That’s QUITE the list there.  What’s even crazier is that it doesn’t include the NEW shows I am going to add the list this fall:

  1. The Walking Dead/Talking Dead (I caught up)
  2. The Flash
  3. Gotham
  4. iZombie
  5. Constantine
  6. Agent Carter
  7. Game of Thrones (Late to the party, but better late than never)

Now we can debate all night as it pertains to “You SHOULD be watching XXXX,” or “WHAT?  XXXX SUCKS! Why are you watching that?”  Well, that’s the cool thing with TV is that it’s all subjective.  That means I can watch anything I want, and I shouldn’t be criticized for it.  Same with you.  (Please know the difference with giving your friends shit for not watching Game of Thrones and actually judging them for it.  No reason to be assholes.

     I don’t really have a goal with this post other than to show people what I am into as far as television goes.  Good night and Godspeed.

 

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

Doctor Who – Season 8, Episode 1: Deep Breath

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     A new season, and a new Doctor.  Peter Capaldi takes over as the 12th doctor in his first “real” episode (His first appearance being in the Christmas Special Time of the Doctor).  Here is the season premiere episode recap, with a smidgen of review mixed in for good measure.  WARNING: SPOLIERS AHEAD.  IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED, DON’T READ!

     The episode opens with a dinosaur trouncing about…19th century London (Of course).  As a crowd gathers, Vastra, Jenny, and Strax arrive to investigate. Suddenly, the dinosaur begins to hack, and coughs up something.  What else could it be but the T.A.R.D.I.S.?  The Paternoster crew go to the well-known blue box and out comes the newly regenerated Doctor, still disoriented from the change.  He is followed out of the T.A.R.D.I.S. by Clara.  After a bit of rambling to both his friends AND the dinosaur, the doctor finally passes out.

  • 12’s regeneration, as you will see through the rest of the episode, was jarring to the Doctor. When 10 became 11 (if we weren’t Whovians, all this number speak would be a pain), the transition did not take nearly the toll this one did.

Back at Lady Vastra’s home, the team is trying to get the Doctor to get some rest, but like any good time lord post regeneration, the concept of a bedroom will not let the Doctor relax.  He finally falls asleep, thanks to some psychic nudging from Lady Vastra.

  • The Doctor is also confused in this scene by the fact that Clara is speaking with an English accent. It’s when Lady Vastra speaks to him with a Scottish accent that he accepts that he is speaking to someone who is using a normal voice.  Yes, the 12th Doctor is Scottish.  Not sure why I said it that way.  Oh well.  I didn’t mean anything by it, so there.

Clara seems to be having a hard time with the “new Doctor,” asking how they can change him back.  She doesn’t understand why his new face is an older face.  Vastra sees the pain that Clara is going through, but leaves the room. (She left because it was part of her plan to snap Clara back to her old self).  As Clara sits with the sleeping Doctor, he begins to translate what the dinosaur is saying, as he can speak dinosaur.  He says that the dinosaur is alone.  It makes you wonder if he was really translating the dinosaur, or if he was talking in his sleep about himself.

The scene then cuts to the streets of London where a man is murdered…for his eyes…by a cyborg.  More to come on that one.

Clara is in Vastra’s sitting room, relaying what happened to the Doctor and her from his regeneration to when they popped out of the dinosaur’s mouth.  Using her veil as a way to “judge” others, Vastra is able to get Clara angry enough to snap out of her “depression” back to the assertive Clara we all know.  In the meantime, the Doctor has woken up, and started scribbling mathematical equations on the floor of his room with some chalk he found by, as you might have guessed, smelling for it.  As of right now, it’s hard to tell if the math was to help the dinosaur get home, or for something down the road in the season.

The Doctor then climbs to the room of Vastra’s home and lets the dinosaur know that it is safe and the Doctor will get it home.  This is followed by the dinosaur spontaneously combusting.  What else would happen?

As the Paternoster crew and Clara take the carriage to the “crime scene,” the Doctor has already arrived, jumping off the roof of Vastra’s hose and commandeering a horse.

  • It should be noted that the sonic screwdriver, at least in this episode, is the same as 11’s. We will see next week whether or not that has changed.

Surveying the scene, the Doctor notices that the entire crowd is in awe of what they are witnessing, save for one person, who just walks away without showing any emotion.  This is the cyborg from earlier in the episode.  As Sherlock would say, the game is afoot, and the Doctor and the rest of team separate (Involuntarily.  The Doctor jumps off a bridge) to investigate what is actually a murder.  Yes.  A murder of a dinosaur.

  • The transition from the boyish 11 to the darker 12 begins here, as he refers to Earth at one point as a planet of pudding brains. The separation of him from humans is starting.

The next morning, the T.A.R.D.I.S. is brought to Vastra’s home, to attempt to lure the Doctor back.  Strax then gives Clara a “medical examination”, as anyone he fights with needs to be in peak physical condition.  The scene cuts to the Doctor rummaging in an alleyway looking for clues.  He sees his new face in a broken mirror, and seems to recognize it.

  • This is either a nod to The Fires of Pompeii, or a tease of what’s to come. I hope it’s the latter.  This scene also shows the Doctor is again really struggling with this particular regeneration. As I said earlier, when 10 turned into 11, it seemed a lot smoother.  That’s probably because of the similarities both those Doctors shared.  With 12 being a different type of Doctor, it would make sense the regeneration would be harder for him.

Back at Vastra’s house, they deduce that the murders (it is discovered that there have been a rash of similar humans meeting the same fate) are committed this way not to hide who was killed, but to hide what the murderer took.  Clara then notices an ad in the morning paper referring to “The Impossible Girl.”  Thinking it was from the Doctor, she cracks the ad’s code and meets him for lunch at a restaurant in downtown London.

Upon meeting the Doctor at the restaurant, we discover that the Doctor thought CLARA left the ad in the paper.  They were led into a trap.  All the other patrons in the restaurant are robots.  They are then restrained at their table and are taken down a secret elevator to an underground chamber, which is also filled with robots, these ones actually armed for combat.  The Doctor and Clara deduce that the robots are harvesting human organs for their own use.  When the door to their attempted escape closes, leaving Clara trapped with the robot leader, the Doctor abandons her.  Holding her breath to pass as a robot herself, Clara attempts her own escape, but she is not able to hold her breath long enough to get away, and is recaptured by the cyborg leader.

Proving she is worthy of being a companion, Clara outsmarts the cyborg leader into revealing himself, that his “race” was trapped on Earth since the dawn of time, and are just waiting for their proper timeline to reappear by using humans to “regenerate” their bodies.  The Doctor then reveals himself, having disguised himself as one of the robots, also revealing to Clara that even though his appearance and demeanor may be different, he will always have her back.  It is also discovered that the cyborg did NOT send the message in the paper either, leaving that mystery still ongoing.

When the Doctor and Clara are cornered, Clara shouts her secret word GERONIMO!!  The Paternoster gang leap down from the upper level.  Well, sort of.  Strax kind of falls.  The gang fight off the horde of activated robot soldiers as the Doctor follows the leader back to the upper level to prevent his escape.  The leader activates an “escape pod,” which is actually a hot air balloon.  What is the balloon made from?  I am glad you asked.  Human SKIN.

The Leader keeps professing that he is going to take his people to the “Promised Land,” but the Doctor realizes that this is just confusion in his programming from years of stealing parts from human beings.  He tries to reason with leader, making many comparisons between the leader and him.  In a final confrontation, the Doctor professes how he cannot kill, while the cyborg leader states that self-destruction is against his programming.  The next scene we see the robot soldiers shut down before they overtake the Paternoster gang.  The cyborg leader has been impaled on top of a clock tower as the Doctor looks on.  It is not revealed what caused this result.

As the Paternoster crew and Clara return to Vastra’s house, the T.A.R.D.I.S. is gone.  The next day, it returns and Clara enters.  The Doctor has changed both the “desktop theme” as well as his wardrobe.  Clara decides that the change is too much and that she doesn’t know the Doctor anymore.  As she leaves the T.A.R.D.I.S., she receives a phone call.  It is from 11.  He is calling her from Trenzalor, moments from his regeneration.  He gives her is “dying wish,” that she help 12, as he is more afraid than anything she has ever seen.  After having one final goodbye with “her Doctor,” she realizes that even though there is a different man standing in front of her, the same soul she befriended is still there.  The two of them go to share a cup of coffee, and whole new set of adventures.

The final scene of the episode finds the cyborg leader waking up in a garden.  He is greeted by a woman named “Missy,” and is told that he is in “Heaven.”  She then asks him questions about her “boyfriend” the Doctor (Who in the what now?) (Also, the WHO in the previous parentheses was not a pun) .  The episode ends as Missy dances around the garden, giving us a glimpse in what I can only guess is the “big bad” of season 8.

BEST QUOTES:

“Your concepts of biology are left to be desired.”

“This is one of those times I wish Amy was here.”

“We will lure him back here and BURN HIM IN ACID.” “What’s that last part?” “We will NOT BURN HIM IN ACID.”

“I usually take standing up catnaps.” “When?” “Usually when anyone else is talking.  I wait until it’s my turn.  I find it moves things along faster.”

“I’m not much of a hugger, now.” “You really don’t get a vote.”

The Good:

  • I liked the new intro. It sounds a tad retro without sounding like the early 1980s.
  • He was great, and a worthy successor.
  • Capaldi/Coleman chemistry. Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman were so great together, that is was hard to imagine another person fairing as well with her.  It’s not that hard anymore.
  • The “Different” Doctor. With 10 and 11 being very similar in both age and attitudes, the darker tone and age that 12 brings is refreshing.  Not Sprite refreshing.  I don’t want to confuse anyone.

Opportunities:

  • We were spoiled by the Day and Time of the Doctor. You could tell that the VFX in this episode were back to TV quality.  They were good, but not as good as the last two specials.
  • While I really liked the episode, I sometime feel that Steven Moffat goes to the same well to many times. Evil villain, Doctor has no idea what’s going on, Doctor then know EVERYTHING that’s going on, saves the day.
  • There was no epic Doctor Who theme. 11’s theme was so iconic from the time it debuted.  I hope 12 gets one of his own.  (I am not talking about the intro theme song.  I am talking about the actual theme of the Doctor.)

Overall:

I really liked the episode.  Peter Capaldi did not disappoint, and the chemistry between him and Jenna Coleman was wonderful, and that’s what I was worried about the most.  I hope going forward that Moffat starts breaking from his formula.  I want to see another Blink out of him this season.

Grade: B+

 YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

Photo found at this Link:

http://cdn-static.denofgeek.com/sites/denofgeek/files/styles/insert_main_wide_image/public/4/12//doctor_who_deep_breath.jpg?itok=ADUd2wSf

R.I.P. Robin Williams

I will make this short and sweet, as many people have written things way more eloquent than I ever could.  I have been a fan of comic books since I was 3 years old.  The stories, the costumes, everything about them has resonated within me to the age 35.  Batman, Spider-Man, The Avengers, and tons more mean the world to me.  However, I will never forget the first superhero costume I ever saw:

mork-from-ork

Rest in Peace, Mr. Williams.  We will miss you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvel Vision: Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe the Most Ambitious TV Show Ever?

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     Television today is very different from when people watched it in the 1980s.  Shows like Airwolf and Knight Rider ruled the airwaves, and even if someone missed one episode, he or she was still caught up.  Fast forward to 2014, and things are a little different.  It seems that if viewers miss even a MINUTE of Game of Thrones or Mad Men, they would be 100% lost (taking DVR and on demand out of the equation, of course).

This is because in 2014, channels like HBO and AMC have taken a cinematic approach to their programs.  Take The Walking Dead for example.  People aren’t watching a 16 episode season.  They are watching a 16 hour movie broken up into parts.  The term episodic, so prevalent in earlier years, has been moved to the wayside.  Episodic means “consisting of LOOSLY connected events.”  In programs today, nothing is LOOSLY connected.  It seems that everything is linked in some way, shape and form to something else.  Cinematography, writing and direction have given television a more movie-like feel in recent years.  To be honest, TV is better for it.

With television taking so many cues from the movies, wouldn’t it make sense that the reverse could happen as well?  Thanks to Marvel, it has.  They have taken their characters (well, at least the ones they are ALLOWED to take) and put them into the biggest “television” project ever created: The Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Here is a breakdown of how Marvel did it:

220px-Ironmanposter

Iron Man: This acts as the pilot for the series.  Viewers are introduced to arguably the main character of the show, Tony Stark.  They see his origin, and also how the villains are portrayed in the show, giving them a sense of the tone that Marvel is trying to set.  The end credits tease lets the viewer know that there is a lot more to this show that they suspect, and to stick around for the next episode.

The Incredible Hulk

Incredible Hulk: This is the episode after the pilot is “picked up.”  We have some new cast members and conflicts.  Since the show is now on board for a full season, Marvel can start telling more of the overall story arc, which this movie adds to by the appearance of Tony Stark at the end.  So in the first two episodes, viewers are already teased what will occur in the season finale.

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Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger:  These two episodes are important, as they reveal to the viewer exactly what type of program this is: An anthology series.  No, it’s not like America Horror Story, where the same actors play different characters.  This anthology series puts the same characters in the same universe, but each episode represents a different theme:

  • Iron Man: Technology
  • Hulk: Science/Psychology
  • Thor: Myth
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: Politics

This gives the viewer something new with each episode of the series.  If someone is a fan of myth, i.e. Thor, you can enjoy a political/war drama with Captain America, so on and so forth.

TheAvengers2012Poster

Avengers: This is the season 1 finale.  Marvel took everything the viewer has seen throughout the season and brought it all together into one big payoff.  They resolved all the current storylines, as well as the overall story arc, the search for the Tesseract and the forming of The Avengers.  Not only was there closure, but in yet another post credits scene, a taste of things to come in season 2, the first appearance of Thanos.

Iron_Man_3_theatrical_posterThor The Dark WorldCaptain_America_The_Winter_Soldier

Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier:  These are the first three episodes of season 2, with IM3 acting as the season premiere.  Just like a television show, viewers see how season 1 has affected all the characters, as well as upping the stakes, as all new seasons should do.

Based on the success of season 1, Marvel decided to add more to the show in season 2:

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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: This is an ACTUAL television program, but in terms of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe, the episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be considered  “webisodes.”  Webisodes were made popular by shows like Heroes and The Office in the mid 2000s.  While missing them didn’t take away from the overall show experience, they definitely added to it.  The same can be said for S.H.I.E.L.D.  You can only watch the movies/episodes and still receive a full experience, but watching S.H.I.E.L.D. will do nothing but ADD TO that experience and make it better.

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Guardians of the Galaxy: Sometimes TV shows have what’s called a “backdoor pilot.”  They use one of their episodes to introduce new characters and situations that could possibly turn into its own program.  NCIS is an example of this, spinning off from the show JAG (I know NCIS is on CBS, the “old people channel” but if 15 billion gazillion people watch it, SOME of them may read this, therefore understand the reference).  After making 94 million dollars opening weekend, with NO signs of slowing down, Guardians can be considered a successful back-door pilot for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  In fact, the sequel was announced before the movie even opened.  Guardians also introduced another genre into this anthology series: Outer Space.  So now if someone is bored with the political intrigue of Winter Soldier, he or she can blast to another galaxy with Rocket and Groot.

That’s how this “television show” breaks down.  Viewers can even track its “Nielsen Ratings” by the box office.  People tuned in for some episodes more than others.  There were surprises, both on the low AND high end of the spectrum.  Looking at all the data, one thing is certain, Marvel has a bona fide TV hit on its hands.  You just have to put down the remote and head to the theatre to see it.

 

 

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)

 

SDCC 2014 Round-Up Part 1

SDCC 2014 was the best one yet.  Yes, I say this every year, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  To make sure readers don’t get bored with having to read a novel length blog post, I have decided to just set my stop watch for 30 minutes, and write until it beeps.  Then tomorrow I will pick up from where I off.  Here we go!

Tuesday:  The alarm went off at 3am, giving us just enough time to shower and get ready.  We got on the road around 4, with my sister-in-law driving us to the airport.  We enjoy landing in San Diego early, so we can do non SDCC related stuff before the craziness starts.  It becomes a TERRIBLE idea for that time in the wee hours of the morning, but we get past it.  We checked our bags and went through security.  I am not sure what happened, but we got into the TSA Pre-Check line, and they let us go through without having to take anything out of our bags.  I SO want to apply for that now.  While tying one’s shoes is not exactly the hardest thing in the world to do, NOT having to take them off is one of those little things geeks like me yearn for.  Other than that, our boarding and flight were pretty standard.  I got in a few movies, so all was well.

We landed in San Diego right on time.  After getting our bags and almost killing about 17 people (for some reason, San Diego baggage claim turns people into oblivious idiots), we caught a cab to our hotel, THE FREAKING MARRIOT!!!  I was so happy that I got to stay in the hotel right next to the convention center.  If I thought getting through TSA Pre-Check was spoiled, I hadn’t seen anything yet.  They had our room ready, so we checked in and took our bags up.  We were on the 19th floor.  What a view!  This picture doesn’t do it much justice because of the massive Sean Bean poster hanging off the side of the hotel, but you can get the gist of it.

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After we dropped the bags off, we headed to the zoo for the day.  I guess we wanted to get our feet wet with huge crowds, so what better place to prepare for the figurative zoo than a literal zoo.  Rebecca and I decided to walk back from the zoo while our other friends, Nate and Donna, took the trek to the Zoo Safari.

Walking back from the zoo wasn’t that bad.  For the first time in about three years, we remembered to put on sun screen before heading out into the San Diego sun.  We kind of got sick and tired of consistently having to buy a bunch of aloe from Ralph’s each year and cover ourselves in it for the rest of the week.  THANKS SUN SCREEN!

Speaking of Ralphs, we actually did stop there on our way back to the hotel to pick up beverages for the week.  Rebecca got her Diet Pepsi and I got my Rockstar Recovery.  I am NOT a coffee fan, but I need the caffeine buzz as much as the next person, so that’s why I drink Rockstars.

Now here’s some shit:  I bought Rockstars on Tuesday at 2.49 each.  They dropped the price to 10 for fricking 10 the next day.  PRO-TIP:  Buy your beverage on WEDNESDAY, not TUESDAY!!! Stupid Ralphs…

After lugging our Ralph’s haul back to the room, I went down to check out the pool, which of course was closed.  They were re-finishing the cement walkway around it.  The KIDDIE pool was open.  While I may ACT childish at times, I am still 35 years old, so I relaxed my feet in the hot tub for about 20 minutes.

The Yard House in downtown was our next stop for dinner, where we met up with the rest of our group.  If you ever go to the Yard House, I recommend the Mac n Cheese.  WAY good.  That basically wrapped up Tuesday, with the quick stop at Horton Plaza.  Once again, big crowds to try and prep for the craziness that started the next day.

Wednesday:  We got up a little early on Wednesday morning so we could go workout.  Rebecca went walking and I went running along the harbor.  It was pretty quiet that morning.  Little did we know that everywhere we went was going to be wall to wall people camping out for the next four days, US included, as you will hear about in another post.  And speaking of another post, my timer went off, so I will continue this tomorrow.  COMIC-CON!!!!

 

YOUR FACE

Donnie (@dtrain1813)