Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday 11: Raw

Hello internet people.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks and I have in no uncertain terms been struggling. Work was an unmitigated nightmare and I found it all very stressful. It has all felt so very overwhelming. I wasn’t coping and it was getting in the way of everything. I was feeling the weight of everything and wondering what had changed.

Worked it out, I was feeling the weight of it. About 6 weeks ago, I went to my doctor’s and informed him that I wanted to reduce my anti-depressants, with the overall goal of not actually taking them anymore. Since my breakdown I have been taking them daily and am getting the idea that they are no longer doing me any good and for me it’s a concrete sign that I am getting better. I hemmed and hawed about it. worrying that my negative and obsessive thoughts would make a fast return and I’d go back to the terrifying earliest days of my recovery. I’d wish that on no-one, not even me. So anyway, went back to the doctors and we agreed between us that I should go onto one every two days, rather than one a day. And apart from missing the odd one at the weekend, have been doing the one every other day since. So, when do I notice the difference I wonder?

Now, now is when I notice the difference. Anti-depressants, don’t as a rule fix depression, no single thing can do that. They don’t make you happy, nor stop you feeling sad, the idea is that they give you the head-space to deal with shit. But one of the ways they do that is by blunting the effects of the feelings. So they stop you feeling so sad, but essentially stopping you feeling that much of anything. So I went from repressing my feelings, to battling my feelings through to suppressing my feelings to finally now experiencing them. For the first time in a few years, I am feeling everything  that I am feeling. Or at least I am beginning to. I didn’t notice it at first because, it’s takes about 4 weeks for changes in medication to have any real effect. For the first time in a long time, am feeling what I am feeling more. This has been an uncomfortable fortnight as a result and am sure the road will get rockier, long before it will get smoother. But I feel, maybe that I am becoming more present. I miss my son (away for a couple of days with his grandparents) and I mean really missing him, but that’s a pain I am happy to feel, for it reminds me how much I love him. I love my wife the MIGHTY Rosie and being close to her is where I know what hope, love and home mean. I never really worked out how to do feelings, but I am right now in the best company to start learning.

I spent much of the last two weeks, thinking something was wrong, but really, my heart is beginning to wake up. I have a lot of learning to do still.

I am loved, it’s time to show that I love in return.

I fear, it’s time to face that fear.

I am not falling back, this is just a more difficult climb than I expected it to be. But I honestly think I am up to this challenge.

We are mightier than we believe, stronger than we know and more valued than we often feel.

Even me.

 

 

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Posted in Podcasts

5 Podcasts that I am enjoying

It is a fair thing to say that the internet has been to comics (and general geek) fandom a heavily mixed blessing. Whilst it has given many a voice and a collective that they would not have ordinarily have, it’s sometimes a bit sad what we do with that voice.

For me, it’s been universally positive. The main reason for this is that I can treat the vitriol and offensive stuff for what it is, the impotent whining of people who should no better. Apart from the spoilers it’s all been positive. Firstly I’ve been able to do this.

For those who have followed me on this blog, you know that I have struggled this past four years or so. Truth is, I have been battling depression and anxiety for a long time and the past four years have seen me trying to recover from this, with vastly different degrees of success. One of the first rounds of therapeutic  measures led me to writing. This has been an outlet and a connection to the world that I would not have ordinarily have and that’s been a positive as has my experiences here on wordpress, you have all been so good to me here so thanks for that. Secondly has been podcasts. These lovely little audio programs have been a god send when I’ve been alone during times when that was the most frightening time. Now they’re just a form of entertainment that helps me get from A to B when I am out and about. I share individual episodes on here, but I wanted to highlight some of the ones that I am enjoying because it’s nice to share nice things, instead of our outrage and confusion.

1: Stacey’s Pop Culture Parlour

https://popcultureparlour.podbean.com/

Brummie lass Stacey is joined on a mostly monthly (barring special episodes) basis with a rotating cast of guests. Varying topics based mostly on what people have been enjoying it covers a wide variety of pop culture topics, from music to TV to comics to movies and more besides. Warning, some choice language appears, but she is charming as are her guests and even if you don’t know what the episode is about ( much like those on the show) you’ll probably like something they talk about. It has for example made me a big Rick and Morty Fan. Also worth checking out on the same feed is her Community inspired Stace and Barry in the Mornin’.

2: Crisis on Infinite Midlives

http://www.crisisoninfinitemidlives.com/

Two Bostonian former stand up comedians love comics, tv and booze and it’s all on display here. Rob and Amanda are foul mouthed, often drunk and very ‘Get of my lawn!’ but they are also funny. A mixture of news, reviews, tangents and abuse, this pair are definitely NSFW, but there are very funny. Their episode titles are often quotes from the show and it’s often an interesting point about how they get to them and how Rob will slip in familiar sound clips whilst Amanda is expecting something else.

3: OHOTMU or Not

The fire and water podcast network is a loose affiliation of shows organised by the hosts of the Fire and Water Podcast ( Rob Kelly and the irreDEEMable Shag) who have gathered a load of podcasts by their friends and contributors. There are many shows by different people on different topics, including the Supermates show by the husband and wife team of Chris and Cindy Franklin, there’s PodDylan a look at Bob Dylan’s music, song by song, Film and Water Podcast, which obviously is about movies and a plethora of others. The one that I always look forward to is oHOTmu or NOT.

oHOTmu or NOT is a review of the Official Handbook Of the Marvel Universe by geeky bogger Siskoid. The difference between this and the other index shows of this kind is that he’s joined by 6 or 7 of his friends, all Canadians like himself, but with no great comics knowledge and often seeing these characters for the first time and giving a honest opinion on appearance, concept and brief history. What follows is also NSFW, but it’s usually funny as the drinks are flowing and there’s little held back. How hot or not the characters are is discussed and a good time is had by all, as a listener though, you skip the inevitable hangover.

http://fireandwaterpodcast.com/show/ohotmu-or-not/

4: Palace of Glittering Delights

There’s no way I could do this without looking at the Two True Freaks network of shows. Many of the podcasts I have mentioned already have either been guests of or hosted shows on this network of friends and fellow fans. This one is almost always a favourite listen. Andrew Leyland (from too many podcasts to mention) has his own little corner of the net to talk about whatever he likes, from films, TV and comics he enjoys and he does enjoy. Being a simliar generation to me, I remember a lot of the stuff he talks about and his also being and englishmen means there’s even more cultural crossover. His shows are well written, honest and funny and even if I am not a fan of what he talks about, he’s made me more curious about it. Have met Andy at comic marts here in Liverpool and he is as charming and personable in person, he’s also got me buying more back issues than I have room for, but that is the nature of the sickness that is comic fandom. His most recent episodes have been looking at Untold Tales of Spider-Man and it’s made me want to re-read them. Can’t ask for better than that from a Northern chancer talking idly about funny books.

http://twotruefreaks.com/shows.php?show=37

5: White Rocket Entertainment

https://whiterocket.podbean.com/

This is a relative new one, and there isn’t one particular show that has stood out for me as a result, but doing this 5 something posts, has got me in the habit of listing things in 5s. (Yes, am aware I need help)

This is a different set of shows with another vast array of hosts and topics. There’s the On her Majesty’s Secret Podcasts, Avengers Assemble, red-watches of Quantum Leap, Babylon 5 and Space 1999 as well as Comics with Normies, where a comic fan convinces his non-comics reading friends and neighbours to read a random issue he got from a car boot sale and they talk about it. This is a facinating idea, which is more or less entertaining each time.

 

Well now that’s out of my system, on to other things.

TTFN internet people.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Nights Kingdom part 2 of 2

When she awoke, Maria found Steve nearby on the floor, using his torch read a map. “You alright?” he asked.

“What are you doing?”

“Picked up an ordonnance map, just looking at where we could head next.”
“Next?”
“Can’t stay here in this cellar indefinitely, you’re out of food and I’m not sure how safe we are here.”
“We.”

“Sorry.” He smiled, pausing as he couldn’t remember when he last smiled. “I was wondering if you wanted to come with me. If I found you and I am not the only thing out there, you might not be particularly safe.”
“I don’t know. I’m terrified, I don’t know if I can even go outside.”

“There’s a big sodding bump on the back of my head that says you’re braver than you think. I’m going to be outside for a while, if you don’t want to come, I understand. But if you do, I’ll be glad of the company.”

 

An hour or so later, she patted Steve on the shoulder. He smiled, she smiled and they started to walk towards the edge of town. She turned to him. “I swear though, if you start singing ‘we’re off to see the wizard’ I’m going to go back.”

 

It was a couple of hours of awkward and yet terrified silence later, Maria started talking again, about what she was calling the ‘fall of night’. She talked about the screams as the creatures she had taken to calling Darklings, started taking people, the fires that burned nearby fields and the howling sounds that came at random times. She talked about the fear that came from that and above all, the soul crushing loneliness until Steve arrived.

 

The road carried on into the eternal twilight, the trees here also seemed to reach towards the pair as they walked. The cold bit into them, Steve wondered if it was the actual cold, or sense of uneasy dread that permeated the landscape. After more awkward silence, Steve started to open up.

 

“I’ve not really ‘got’ people. Lost my parents quite early on, been on my own quite a lot since. Had friendships and such, the occasional girlfriend, but honestly they always ended up leaving. So I eventually stopped trying. The less I tried, the less I had to try, until eventually I was on my own.”
“That sounds very lonely.” Maria commented.

“Less painful, but I suppose it is.”

“So is that why I’m here? Am I your ‘people patch’? Some time with me and then you remember why you don’t like people?”

“Nothing like that, there’s just a point to it now.”
“What?”
“I kept going because I have no better idea, not much else left to do. But now this seems like what I should do. I can’t just keep going for myself indefinitely, but if I can get you to safety, it feels like I’m being useful. To be honest, was seriously considering ending it all.”
“Oh…” there didn’t seem to be anything you could say after that. As awkward as the silence was, no one wanted to continue that conversation.

 

Hours went by till Steve broke the silence. “There’s a big shopping centre over there.” He pointed to a sign.

“Fancy a shopping trip do we?”

“Was thinking supplies, could find all sort of stuff in there, might even be a place to stay if it’s more defensible than the pub. Worth a try if nothing else.”
Reluctantly, Maria agreed then followed the signs for the shopping complex.

 

The shopping centre itself was a sprawling mass of glass and metal, surrounded by a half-full car park of abandoned cars. The main building was a supermarket with a couple of other stores attached. Some of the cars looked torn into, like the bus and the pub, but only the cars further from the doors. “Ever been here before?” Maria asked.

“Few years ago, did some building work to pay some bills, was an electrician for a while and worked here. This place was originally a hospital before St Mary’s was built nearby. The main buildings were levelled, but someone of the outer buildings were kept to use for utilities.” He stopped, thinking for a second. “I think I know why the cars near the front were left alone.” He walked to a smaller car and using his elbow broke off a wing mirror, he then threw it towards the main entrance. Then something neither expect to happen occurred… The lights at the front of the sore came on.

 

A blinding flash, far beyond the wind up torch the most light he’d seen in three weeks, or she’d seen in six months. “Hospitals have generators, I think the company who built this place, kept the generators in. That way during blackouts, people could keep shopping, no matter what.”

“It’s amazing that they’re still working.”

“It’s more than that, some of the stuff in there will still be working. We can get supplies, changes of clothes.”
“A shower?” she smiled. He looked at her. “Well I can dream.”

 

At the doors, Steve saw the shutters were down, but not locked, so he lifted one of the doors and the two of them slipped inside. It was bright, warm too, for the first time that either could easily remember, they felt some degree of normal.

 

As if struck by some need to be a child again even for one minute Maria ran down the aisles of the supermarket, then leant on a trolley, with her feet up. Steve wanted to tell her to pack it in and get to business, but realised that this girl had suffered more than him, so gave her a few more minutes of silly, this dark land of horrors seemed to have taken so much, and did he really need to add to it? Besides, he had shopping to do himself. A change of clothes, some knives, matches some more food and drink. Most display items didn’t work any better than anything outside of this place. If the generators had been working when everything else stopped, it’d be as dead as his mobile phone. He had just put a list together in his own head, when he heard the scream.

 

It didn’t take long for the trolley thing to stop making her giggle, she was in the cereal aisle and saw porridge, he dad loved porridge and just like that, the horror of everyone else being dead came rushing back. She was grateful to have met Steve, though she felt so uneasy about him, like he was a cat that had gone feral from being alone too long. He barely looked at her, she never thought she’d miss sexual harassment. She was moving along more slowly, when she saw it. It was a shadow, but not the shadow of a man, the shape was wrong. It moved towards her on all fours. It looked more solid as it grew closer, noisier too. Growling and snarling and then red eyes seemed to burn from inside it. It seemed to make the surrounding area gloomier as if it drained the light around it. She screamed. Later she would berate herself for being so ‘damsel in distress’. When it was ten feet from her, she heard the glass breaking, like a bottle being dropped. Then another and a third, this bottle hitting the creature. “Any others?”
Steve asked, walking towards them slowly. “I’m assuming you speak a bit there.”

“Only….me….no…..sharing.” A raspy voice, like something trying to sound like a person. “Well I’ll be honest, that is a relief.” Steve lit a match and dropped it into the puddles caused by the bottles. Maria knew the smell well, vodka, whiskey, she back aware further. The match fell and a ripple of flame raced towards and then engulfed the creature.

 

It screamed, a noise so horrific would stay with them for years to come. The fire consumed it completely, but it live for a few minutes within that alcohol fuelled inferno. When the fire died down, there were even ashes left from it. Steven walked over to Maria, who was pressing herself into the shelves, almost catatonic with hear. “It’s ok.” He whispered. “It’s ok.”

He held her for the second time and for the second time, she fell into a sobbing sleep in his arms.

 

They avoided each other the next day, as far as you can call it a day. That evening, they shared a meal of crackers and jam, drank some wine and for a brief moment, they weren’t last survivors, refugees or broken people trying to work out how to live in a broken world, they were just two friends, stuck somewhere, enjoy each other’s company. Maria was curious about what to do next, but what Steve said was to be frank, unexpected.

“We need people. The world as we know it, is gone, no national grid, no phones, no radio, no signs of life. But I’m alive, you’re alive, isn’t it possible that there’s more?”

“Ok, so what if there are?”

“We bring them here, this place has supplies, resources, fairly defensible.”
“Why us?”

“Because we can, because we need to. In the past, there was infrastructure, systems in place to help people, it’s unlikely any of that still exists. All we have is each other.”

“So where do we go?”

“We pick a direction, load up and go. There’s bikes next door, we could use them. It doesn’t have to be all Mad Max out there, does it?”
“Why do You want to?”
“If we hadn’t met, we might both be dead right now. Maybe there’s a reason for that, maybe there isn’t. We have though, been given a second chance.”
“A second chance to what?”

“To live. Not to survive, but to actually live. We can rebuild, we can go on. It’s dark outside, but we don’t have to be on the inside.”

“Let me sleep on it?”

 

They left the next morning, riding bikes up the motorway. She for the first time, was not afraid, and he for the first time wanted to find something rather than avoid something.

 

They wandered on.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Miscellaneous

Nights Kingdom part 1

This is another story from the old blog

He missed the sunshine, that difference between day and night. There was not a sound beyond his footsteps and the occasional harmonica music which he played when the silence became too terrible.

 

If he were to guess, he’d say it had been three weeks since he woke in a world of perpetual evening. The sky was dark, with sparkly clouds. This seemed to go along with no modern technology working. There was the trees, devoid of leaves, reaching out as if in fear of something as yet unseen. The streets of this town were empty and nothing was working, so he picked up some supplies from an abandoned shop and walked towards the next town of village to see what had happened. He’d been doing that since he stumbled onto that first town a fortnight ago. There was no one there, no one at all. He could wind up his watch, but 12am, looked very much like 12pm if you saw the sky.

 

As he hit the motorway, full of abandoned and stationary cars, his thoughts were cold and melancholic. What if this was it? What if there’s no one else? What if he was alone in the world? He laughed a morose laugh, wasn’t too long ago that it would be a good thing.

 

He name was Steve, not that many called him by name. He was a commercial pilot, when he needed work at least. He ferried post to more remote areas, some charter flights for photographers over hills and mounts. It was a job that required almost the bare minimum dealing with people. He’d work six months out of the year and the rest of the time he’d hide out in his cabin, far from anyone. He’d been delivering something by air when the sky turned black. There must have been a crash, but he didn’t remember it, he woke next to his plane three weeks ago and the sun hadn’t risen since.

 

On one of his raiding trips, he picked up a wind up touch, a mirror and some shaving stuff. Next to the the motorway was a stream, so Steve stopped to shaved. It had seemed a ridiculous idea at first, but that bit of routine and ritual, reminded him that even in this twilight limbo, he was still a man. He caught his reflection in the torchlight, his hair was more unkempt than usual, a mess of light brown hair with touches of silver, he looked at least ten years older than his 35 years and his grey-blue eyes looked colder than ever. He’d not read a book, listened to music, or even met a single person for three weeks, no sign of any people at all. Steve was a terrible misanthrope, but now even he missed people.

 

Even here along the motorway heading north, the trees were cold and twisted charactures of themselves, like gnarled hands reaching for a sun that no longer shined.

 

He found a bus, turned on its side, windows broken, the doors torn, there even seemed to be blood splattered on the steats. Steve looked at the door, it looked like it was torn, like with an axe, or something clawed. He walked on, unsure of what to do.

 

Hours passed and in the distance was a large building, looked somewhat like a pub. It had been a long time since he’d had any alcohol and it’s not like he didn’t enjoy that. When he got there, he found the door had been forced, more signs of axes or claws and parts of the doors were splintered. Steve walked in, the footsteps of his boots echoed through the place. The whole place had been ransacked quite comprehensively. He looked around to see if there was any booze left. After a fruitless look around, he turned to leave, then he heard a creak. He looked behind what was left of the bar and found a trap door to the cellar. He wound up the torch some more and made his way down. The steps creaked under his feet and when he was at the bottom of the stars, he felt what turned out to be a cricket bat, smashed into the back of his head.

 

He wasn’t out long, certainly not long enough to ease the headache he had. He was sat up, with his hands bound. In the perpetual gloom, he saw the light from his torch and heard the first words from someone else in 22 days. “If I have to kill you, I will.”

“And why would you have to?”
“Are you kidding me? After everything that’s happened?” It was a young woman’s voice, northern accent, a frightened tone.

“I have no idea what has happened, you’re the first living creature I have seen in three weeks, since the sky turned black.”
“Three weeks, what are you talking about? That happened six months ago.

“Six months?” Steve couldn’t believe it, for a second and least. Then it made a degree of sense, the lack of people, the unearthly quiet, the appearance of neglect. “Six months.”

“Sorry, figured you knew.”
Steve’s heart sank, the woman placed the torch on top of something and Steve saw her. She was young, early 20s, blonde hair, bound in a ponytail, he clothes were grubby and worn and her eyes were haunted.

“I’m Steve, from Richmond originally, but live in the Welsh mountains normally. Funny, never expected to introduce myself again. Been walking her from Conwy, you’re the first I’ve seen. What happened?”

 

She took a long breath and began talking, holding back tears repeatedly.

“I was working a shift, just wondering whether to quit or not, when the sky started getting dark. I saw some of it on telly, like black holes appearing in the sky. More and more until the whole sky was black. There was panicking and then looting and all sorts. I were terrified myself and everyone left to be with their loved ones, not really having loved ones, I stayed here. I hid. A day or two later, there was a flash and then everything sort of stopped working, phones telly, lights, even ….. other stuff. Few days or so later the creatures came.”
“Creatures?”
“I call them Darklings, you ever watch Lord of the Rings?”
“Read the books.”

“Kind of like the monsters and that in there. They were riding some other things, I can’t even describe.”

“The army and other locals went after them. I can’t even…… they were all killed. I grabbed whatever I could put my hands on and came back in and hid. Then they went door to door and went after everyone they missed. Men, women, children, dogs, all of them. The sounds, I can still hear all those sounds. They even broke in here, maybe looking for me, but I hid here. I’ve run out of food, but I can’t leave, after what I know is out there, I just can’t do it.”

“No one out there now, I haven’t seen any of this. The only sign that matches what you saw was an overturned bus.” Steve looked at her, shaking, but not just from fear. “I had a bag with me when you wellied me in the head, there’s some cereal bars in there, some drink too, willing to share if you cut me free after.”

“Why not before?”
“Then what’s in it for you? This way, you know I am not lying.”

After she ate and cut him free, Maria just started sobbing, a little at first, then uncontrollably. Steve was uncomfortable, but knew the thing to do was hold her. Though he was no more a fan of people then before, this was the first person he had seen in a long time and he would not abandon her to despair. He held her and the two feel into the sleep of the exhausted. The recent revelations spun Steve’s mind as sleep claimed him. Six months lost, black holes, monsters, where were all the dead bodies. Maybe some thoughts didn’t need to be finished. He thought that waking up in a world without people was harrowing, but worse was knowing why.

 

 

 

Posted in Comics n Stuff, TV Stuff

Champions of S.H.I.E.L.D. Part 1: Season 1

First airing 27 September 2013 on the US network ABC, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the first attempt to put the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the small screen with a spin off and 5 netflix series, it can be considered something of a successful attempt.

 

Main Cast:

Agent Phil Coulson –  Clark Gregg

Agent Melinda May  –  Ming Na Wen

Agent Grant Ward   –  Brett Dalton

Agent Leopold Fitz    – Ian De Caestecker

Agent Gemma Simmons  –  Elizabeth Henstridge

‘Skye’   –  Chloe Bennett

Recurring characters

Raina –  Ruth Negga

Victoria Hand   –  Saffron Burrows

John Garret – Bill Paxton

Ian Quinn  – David Conrad

Mike Peterson – J August Richards

Agent Antoine ‘Trip’ Triplett – B J Britt

Agent Maria Hill – Colbie Smulders

Edison Po -Cullen Douglas

Overview: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a gamble, a weekly prime time series, set in the Marvel Universe, but without any of the recognisable characters that could be used in future films, or where there was rights issues. Straight away that takes the Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Namor and a dozen other characters right off the table, add to that the ridiculous weekly schedule and a TV budget, it would be understandable if this was a brief failure. Right at the start, we are shown that the world has changed since the ‘incident’ when the Chitauri invaded a small part of Manhatten, the Avengers formed and the fantastic elements wherein were exposed to a terrified world.

Initial Status Quo: Our P.O.V. character is Skye, who lands on S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s radar after videoing a superhuman saving a woman from a fire. Quickly recruited for the response team is Grant Ward who is a very James Bond-esque agent. He is interviewed by Maria Hill to gauge his suitability to join a team led my an experienced agent named Coulson. Ward points out that he’s a level 6, so he knows Coulson was killed. Coulson walks in and announces that Ward is now a 7. He then recruits Melinda May from administration to act as pilot and takes Ward and May to the ‘Bus’ which is a converted Jet designated 616. Ward is met by newly field-rated scientist Fitz and Simmons, or Fitzsimmons for short. Investigating the superhuman, they encounter Skye, who helps out and is offered a consultant’s position on the Bus. For the first bunch of episodes, it’s very much like that, we get the team investigating weird cases, unexplained events and battle an organisation called Centipede who along with the ‘Clairvoyant’ are trying to develop super soldiers. In between we have the search for the truth of Skye’s past, the facts behind Coulson’s return and his time in Tahiti and all the time trying to train Skye as an agent. The concepts are fleshed out and the writing is decent enough and there is the sense of it all going somewhere as the Clairvoyant starts manipulating events. The synergy thing of it, is that during the season, Marvel released Thor: The Dark World and an episode fits in around that and then Captain America: Winter Solider happened.

The twist: Winter Soldier had the 3rd act twist that from the beginning, Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D and had been working in the background to make the world more dangerous, so to enable their takeover. The series then stops being what it was and becomes something else. Ward is revealed to be Hydra and thus becomes part of the antagonists for the rest of the season and S.H.I.E.L.D is now considered the same as Hydra, so the team are now outlaws. Now on the run, with minimal resources and betrayed at all sides, this rag tag team becomes not a team within S.H.I.E.L.D but the remainder of the organisation. It ends the season, showing that not all of the threats are dealt with and not all of the mysteries are solved. There are also guest stars, minor twists and turns and ultimately the series ends on a high with a final scene that leaves you wanting to know what happens next.

In closing: I liked this series better on the second watch, not having to wait week by week for each new episode and after a wobbly first half dozen episodes it found it’s footing early on and was consistently enjoyable. It’s not high art or award winning drama and to be honest it’s not really trying to do that, it’s an entertaining show set in the spaces around Marvel’s movies, but more and more are separate from them. The main cast do a great job with Ming Na Wen and Clark Gregg playing wonderfully off one another and the younger cast aren’t as annoying as they could have been. Over all this is a TV show that is worth giving a try for anyone who has a passing interest in the marvel movies and the comics they came from, it’s not the comics, nor the movies, but it’s not bad because of them.

Next Time: Rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D., rival organisations and terrigenesis.

 

 

Posted in The MIGHTY Rosie, Thinking Thoughts on a Thursday

Thinking Things on a Thursday 10: A MIGHTY 11 Years

13:08 13 July 2006

It began as just a day like any other. It changed every day since. It was the day that changed the course my life. Because it was the day I met the love of that life.

11 years ago today, I met the MIGHTY Rosie.

The details of that day are beside the point but when I look back on the last 11 years, the ups have outweighed the bad by a HUGE margin. She taught me to value myself, to love with all my heart and above all she loves me, as I am, flawed and ridiculous. I know no one with a bigger heart and owe no one more for teaching me how to use mine.

I don’t tell her enough how lucky I am to have her and I don’t know I can her enough. She is my north star, she guides me home always. I knew the words home and love before her, but she taught me what they mean. She still does.

To my Rosie. You had my heart then and you have it still. The brightest Star in my sky.

 

Posted in Comics n Stuff, TV Stuff

Champions of S.H.I.E.L.D. Part 0: 

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Quality is no real indicator of how much I will enjoy something, nor to be honest is popularity. Many are the show that despite being critically acclaimed or award winning that have simply passed me by. I am no fan of Breaking Bad and found the Walking Dead  to be unwatchable, but I often enjoy stuff that no one else can tolerate. I freely admit though the show disappeared up it’s own arse at the end, I watched Sanctuary right up until the end.  I am willing to give most action or geeky shows a try. There’s little rhyme or reason for the ones I stick with and due to my many many problems, I always feel that when I like a show, I must qualify my appreciation. I should stop doing that. It’s my opinion after all and the only condition you need give for liking something is that you like it.

So one of the shows I stick with that no one else likes is the 2013 series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now I say no one else, but I do know someone, just the one and that’s about it. But the truth is, I like the show. I did in the past and am re-watching it now and enjoying it still. So I want to write about it a bit, look at it season by season and try to work out why I like it so and why anyone else should. I doubt I will change anyone’s mind, but what the hell.

So we start as ever with the beginning.

S.H.I.E.L.D. was introduced in Marvel Comics as Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law-Enforcement Division starting in Strange Tales 135 back in 1965. It was then and for most of it’s run led by Nicholas J Fury.

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Halfway between Man from U.N.C.L.E. and 007 it was a spy agency with all kinds of hi-tech gear who battled with A.I.M. and Hydra (AIM being mad scientists and Hydra being the group formed by ex-Nazis such as Baron Von Strucker. It was a way to use some of the interesting WWII characters Marvel had including the Howling Commandos and S.H.I.E.L.D. was used often to springboard new stories and introduce new characters such as Mockingbird, Jasper Sitwell, Quasar, Maria Hill, Sharon Carter, Victoria Hand and others, who started life of as agents. As time went on, S.H.I.E.L.D. changed becoming more of a traditional espionage agency just with sci-fi trappings and connections to several super heroes. Captain America for example is a connected to the agency and often works alongside them. Refashioned into the Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate back in 1991 it carried on as it did before, just with a post cold war mentality. After the Secret Invasion story in the mid-noughties, S.H.I.E.L.D. was done away with in place of H.A.M.M.E.R. which had no real words behind those letters, but S.H.I.E.L.D. returned as it always does. Given it’s unique place in the Marvel Universe and it’s ability to connect to many different heroes for several different reasons, it made sense for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to have it’s own version of SH.I.E.L.D. in this case the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division, who showed up in Iron Man and Incredible Hulk back in 2008. In Hulk, they simply acted as intelligence providers and arms suppliers, but in Iron Man, we got to see the agents in action, investigating the escape of Tony Stark from the 10 rings camp. Here’s where we met Philip Coulson. Seen as an affable middle management type, he was the everyman in a strange new world, dealing with it as many would, like a job. He returned in Iron Man 2 and led the investigation into Mjolnir in the movie Thor soon after. He showed up in a couple of one-shot episodes that were on the DVD/Blu-Ray releases of these films and then had his role expanded for Avengers in 2012.

By this point, S.H.I.E.L.D. was as much of a character in the movies as anyone else and despite Samuel L Jackson owning the role of the Ultimate version of Nick Fury, it’s face was Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson. His dramatic final scene in Avengers was a lovely denouement to how the films portayed the agents. A nice little finale

Then they announced a series.

 

Posted in TV Stuff

5 TV Series that we only got one Season of

It’s very hard to say what will be successful in regards to TV series. For every Firefly that is cut short, we get 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, I like both, but it does raise the question of how many series have we missed out on, because of a truncated run, or a completed but failed 1st season. Being something of a DVD Boxset fan, have been thinking about series that maybe got overlooked.

Here’s 5 of them, decided to ignore the obvious route of Firefly. We all know that ended too soon, but we did get a cool movie out of it.

1: Bloodties

2007’s Bloodties was technically 2 seasons, but I got them as a job lot. A supernatural procedural, it was about a PI called Vicki,  (Christina Cox) who had to leave the police and her partner Mike (Dylan Neal) for medical reasons, she’s going blind. After getting a missing persons case from local barmaid Corina (Gina Holden) she comes across vampire Henry Fitzroy (son of Henry VIII) and the two battle a demon. From there, we get more and more supernatural stuff and an intense love triangle between Vicki, Mike and Henry. It had action, character stuff, a great expanded cast (including the best deadpan medical examiner on TV) and a will they won’t they romance that I actually cared about.

Spider-Man (MTV)

This 2003 gem was released after the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man film and was completely CGI animated, it had a sterling voice cast including Neil Patrick Harris as Peter Parker, Lisa Loeb as Mary Jane, a pre-Sharknado Ian Ziering as Harry Osborn and Anelle Brooks as original character Indira Daimonji. Playing more with Peter’s on campus life mixed with villains soap-opera complications, this was more like the comics that the movie, whilst still using the movie’s story as a jumping off point. It ended with a cliff-hanger and then replaced by the superior Spectacular Spider-Man series, which was then replaced by the disney-fied Ultimate Spider-Man, so was condemned to an unfair obsolescence.

Friends with Better Lives

To avoid this just being cartoons and vampire shows, I remembered this charming little show from 2011. Friends with better lives if about a group of 6 friends, all in different phases or states of relationships. Will (James Van Der Beek) is recently divorced, Kate (Zoe Lister Jones) is very single, Bobby (Kevin Connelly) and Andi (Majendra Delfino) are married with a child and Jules and Lowell (Brooklyn Decker and Rick Donald) are just now engaged. Playing with the differences between their lives gives the comedy a relatable feel to most people, we’ve all been one of those situations or another. The performances and dialogue elevates it from other similar shows and it shows how James Van Der Beek was wasted doing shit like Dawson’s creek when this and other comedy roles show how funny he can be.

This is a show I appreciated only because it was championed by the MIGHTY Rosie, so I want to say thanks to her for getting me to stick with it.

Wolverine and the X-Men

Back in 2008 after the relative success of X-Men Evolution, Marvel tried it again, mixing the movie versions and the recent comics into a Wolverine-centric X-Men series. A good voice cast, some solid writing and a dual timeline narrative, with Wolverine running the X-Men team in 2008 and Professor X at the end of the world in 2028. Professor X communicates with the past to prevent the horrible future that he is caught up in, giving this a very Terminator vibe. Add in the usual villains and a FBI like Mutant Response Department. This series very much had it’s own identity, whilst still accessible to the characters no matter where you had seen them before, or even if you had.  The season ended with the Sentinel based armageddon being averted, but something more along the lines of Age of Apocalypse happening instead, but since the series ended and Marvel concentrated on non X-Men properties to maximise their own movies and tv projects. We’ve been left hanging since. Although it is one big story, so at least we got some kind of climax.

Moonlight

Kind of saved the best for last and this is another re-watch suggested by the MIGHTY Rosie.

Another 2007 alumni, this was another vampire based procedural, but this one had a difference. Mick St John (Alex O’Loughlin) is a PI trying to live his life. The odd thing about him is he’s a vampire. There’s 300 or so of them in LA and he’s no villain or killer, he has boundaries. Vampires like their secrecy, having suffered the torch and pitchforks of the past, so when an internet news site starts reporting on a vampire-slaying, Mick looks into it, finding Beth Turner (Sophie Myles) who is trying to make the news-site a proper news outlet. They are immediately drawn to each other and there’s good reason.

Less supernatural in nature, this version of vampires are just a bit different, no coffins and gothic shit here, they a stronger and faster and have fangs and all that, but they don’t explode in sunlight and crosses don’t do much. Mick is affable and charming and as different from other vampires, like his blood dealer Guillermo and best friend Josaf Kostan (a hilarious Jason Dohring) as any people can be. Well paced and interesting, this series was and remains an enjoyable bit of tv fluff that had something of a cliff-hanger ending.