Posted in Merry Christmas, The MIGHTY Rosie

To me, my X-Mas

On the 24th day of Christmas the MIGHTY Rosie gave to me….

A pair of my son’s underwear.

Yeah, something’s gone wrong there, hasn’t it. It was all giggles and I don’t know how that happened, but it made us all laugh at the Munky house. Christmas Eve is here and we are as ready as we are going to be. I have enjoyed doing this advent calendar series and appreciate all the likes and comments. This has been a lot of fun and the only way I fan end this is the final line of the night before X-Mas 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Posted in Miscellaneous, TV Stuff

For the Geek in Me, 2017 Was Awesome: TV

This year was in many respects rough.

I know that no one is giving me points for neatness here, but the news is drab or it’s genuinely frightening. The world seems a darker place and for me that leaves a bit of escapism to find my joy. When it came to TV, it was an embarrassment of riches.

As I have been doing this year, I found my 5, but this time with a difference, for every new thing, have added a less-than-new thing that has been a positive this year:

Midnight Texas:

The hero of this story is a medium who fleeces people, but he is an actual medium and he’s on the run and finds himself in a very small town in the midst of Texas and learns that it’s the one place that he fits in. This is the story of the town on the border of Earth and what we call hell and it’s a border that’s losing integrity. Living in that town are a fallen angel, his demonic boyfriend, a pawnbroker with a secret, a preacher who is like a werewolf, but so much cooler than that, a witch, a vampire, and Olivia, who is scarier than any of them. The door to hell is starting to open and it’s about to get a lot worse.

There are succubi, neo-Nazis, a chain-smoking dead grandmother, a serial killer, another renegade angel, a talking cat and a demon. How was I not going to love this show? The show was adapted from books written by the same writer as True Blood, but this doesn’t have that show’s obsession with the sex life of its protagonist. One of the few shows that it doesn’t like such a chore to wait a week to watch, which is becoming something of a rarity.

But I also enjoyed: Killjoys

One of the surprise hits for me of the last year or so, this year’s third season hit the ground running and didn’t stop. The war between the RAC and the Hullen spread across the whole season and in between great character work showcased great action that Star Trek would have been proud to have.

Speaking of which

Star Trek Discovery:

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I liked 2 of the 3 J J Abrams era Star Trek movies. I did, but let’s be honest for a quick second, Star Trek is and always should be a TV property. The people at CBS are launching a streaming service and one of its first offerings is the return of Star Trek to its television roots. Set in the few years before the original 5-year mission, this is the story of a woman called Michael Burnham who was instrumental in the start of the war between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire. The star of this show is not the captain (because we get two of them), nor is the main thrust of the show about the ship (we again get two of them) but it is about Michael, who is thrown into a situation that she was never prepared for. The plot is political in nature, with the Klingons all vying for control of the many noble houses and Starfleet are scrambling to take any advantage in a war that they don’t know that they can win. The captains aren’t square-jawed heroes and the choices made aren’t heroic at times, but this story is interesting and it stands alongside Deep Space 9 as a series I would recommend for not as Star Trek fans, but would like to give something a try.

Something else that was enjoyed (however not by me) Star Trek Voyager:

I am not going to tell you that it’s my favourite series (because it isn’t) or that it’s the most consistently good (because it isn’t) or that I’ve really enjoyed re-watching it (I haven’t) this gets to this list, because of my son. In an attempt to avoid watching such televisual delights as Pokémon and Paw Patrol, I put on the pilot of Deep Space Nine on, then the season 4 opener. He enjoyed them, I threw the dice and put the pilot of Voyager on. He LOVED it, loved it and wanted more. He’s watched several episodes and is now at the start of the 4th season, with the introduction of Jeri Ryan’s 7of9. I am glad he is enjoying Star Trek, maybe 7 is the target audience because he’s been fascinated and asking questions and it’s been a lovely thing I have been able to share with him, re-watching Voyager is a price to pay, but not too high a price.

The Defenders:

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When Marvel announced their Netflix series, I was skeptical. After the lukewarm success of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the announcement that the first of the proposed series was Daredevil, I think I wasn’t alone there. But Daredevil was a hit, then came Jessica Jones which was well written and had outstanding performances, Luke Cage which fleshed out and modernized a great character while accepting the previous look. Even the lamented Iron Fist was enjoyable even with a far from likeably written Danny Rand, so by the time The Defenders came along, I was convinced enough to give it a go. I liked it, there was a lot of threads and characters pulled from the previous stories and did a decent enough job of tying it all together and I got to see Power Man and Iron Fist on screen together and left me wanting a little bit more.

I also have enjoyed Arrow:

DC won’t do a live-action Batman show, he’s A-List, but DC had another character that is essentially ‘what if Batman was Robin Hood?’ Oliver ‘the Green Arrow’ Queen. This series was a Batman Begins take on Ollie, building him from the ground up, introducing more DCU elements as it came along. The MIGHTY Rosie and I have been re-watching and it is even more enjoyable on Blu-Ray, where you can watch 3 or 4 at a time and Arrow’s success led to Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. I have a lot of good telly coming in 2018 too since we are at the point where this CW DC Universe starts to expand, starting with the Flash.

Night Shift:

Every now and again, the MIGHTY Rosie pulls a little gem out of nowhere. This was one of those. Night Shift is the story of a memorial hospital in San Antonio in Texas. This hospital’s night shift is staffed with military vets and adrenaline junkies. The story begins by centering on Doctor TC Callahan, a former Ranger suffering PTSD, his ex-girlfriend Jordan and his best friend Topher. Rounding out the team are a couple of doctors, some nurses and some new residents and this series hooked me with its fast-paced action, complex characterization and medical drama that often took me by surprise. There were only four seasons, so less than 40 episodes in total and each one is worth watching, we found this on Netflix and was an excellent pallette-cleanse from the many police procedurals and sci-fi programs that we’ve enjoyed recently.

I have also enjoyed, Grey’s Anatomy:

I found Chicago Hope boring, didn’t particularly take to ER and the less said about the British hospital procedurals Casualty and Holby City the better. So I have avoided Grey’s Anatomy quite effectively for the best part of a decade and was put onto it once more by the MIGHTY Rosie and got hooked.  This is the story of a group put into a surgical program at a prestigious hospital. They are all broken in one respect or another, suffering their own issue, their poor judgment and yet keep trying. There’s soapy crap, but also some touching scenes, comedy and more than a little whimsy. I’m 5 series in now, I do intend to catch up and it’s nice to get out of your own little niche and find something a little bit different.

Finally we get to Rick and Morty:

I am an avid fan of podcasts, most of them are American comic related ones, but there have been a couple of more local quality shows, one of them is Stacey’s Pop Culture Parlour. The Parlour is a series by the hilarious Stacey Taylor ( @StaceysParlour ) and she talks ‘at length’ on a number of pop culture topics, the reason that she is mentioned is that it’s from her I first learned the words Rick and Morty,, this was mentioned a good number of times and eventually I found it on Netflix and checked it out. It’s primarily a Back to the Future parody/homage (‘Rick and Morty/Doc and Marty) it’s a whole lot darker than that. Rick Sanchez is genius/super-scientist villain/alcoholic, who has reconnected with his estranged daughter Beth, her husband Jerry and their kids Summer and the perpetually anxious Morty. Morty keeps getting pulled into the bizarre misadventures of his grandfather and his portal gun shenanigans. It’s dark, it’s bleak and there’s very rarely a happy ending, but it’s also smart, hilarious and always fun. I currently have a Rick Keyring and am patiently waiting for news of series 4, the reason? Season 3 brought us “Pickle Rick!”

Can’t wait to see what we get next.

I also enjoyed Bojack Horseman:

 Everyone loves Bojack Horseman, but nobody likes Bojack Horseman.  In a world of people and animal people, which is both relevant to the story and not, he’s a former sit-com star with a harassed agent/ex-girlfriend, unemployed houseguest, annoying affable friend and a ghost writer pushing him to open up about a past that he is doing his best to get away from. There are misadventures, commentary on modern celebrity culture and a number of funny lines. None of that is why I am so fond of this series. The reason I enjoy it, is that it’s not a happy show. The most cheerful character is Todd, a unemployed misfit, struggling with his identity as an asexual man. But every character has that melancholy tinge of unhappiness, or confusion about them. It also highlights the self destructive impulses of depression and addiction in a way I have never seen on TV, let alone an animated series. There’s an episode in the 4th season where you hear the internal monologue of Bojack and it’s horrifyingly familiar. It’s not a story with happy endings, nor a likeable lead, but it is compelling and I am hoping a 5th season arrives.

This has been a trying year, but the TV has been above average.

Next Time: No comics, no films, no TV, just life.

Posted in Merry Christmas, The MIGHTY Rosie

X-Mas Forever

On the 23rd day of Christmas the MIGHTY Rosie gave to me….
Captain America socks.

Two days to go and it’s getting exciting. The socks are comfy and anyone who knows my right arm is aware of my fondness for Captain America related characters. Christmas is almost here, Father Christmas is getting his sack ready.

Posted in Merry Christmas, The MIGHTY Rosie

Extraordinary X-Mas

On the 21st day of Christmas, the MIGHTY Rosie gave to me….

 

Rudolph Socks!!

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Have finished for Christmas, food has arrived and it’s all getting really exciting here at the Munky house. Today my son finishes school for this year and I get to go and get him during the day, not after the out of hours club that I collect him from at 5pm. It’s the small things in life that make it.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous

For the Geek in Me, 2017 Was Awesome: Movies

This year was in many respects rough.

I know that no one is giving me points for neatness here, but the news is drab or it’s genuinely frightening. The world seems a darker place and for me that leaves a bit of escapism to find my joy. When it came to films, well they didn’t disappoint. Though I didn’t make a many trips to the cinema as I would like, managed a good half dozen, so had enough to choose from.

As I have been doing this year, I found my 5:

Logan:

 

Some spoilers?

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To describe Fox’s X-Related movies as mixed in quality is lets be honest generous, but the one consistent thing about them has been the portrayal of James ‘Logan’ Howlett, the Wolverine. He’s been at this for 18 years now and while the movies have been up and down, he has always made the best of whatever script he had been given, from the dismal X-Men Origins, to the great X-Men 2, the flawed but entertaining The Wolverine, to his excellent cameos in X-Men: First Class and X-Men Apocalypse. But he’s not going to do it forever and he needed a last film as Wolverine and this is the one he deserved.

It’s a western, the ageing gunslinger is ready to get out of dodge and is dragged back into the fight against his will, it’s a tired western trope, but works well as a setting for this film. It’s 2025, Wolverine is nearly 200 and it’s starting to show, his eyesight is faded, he’s tired and his healing factor isn’t doing the job, not a good thing, considering how much metal is inside his body. He’s spending his time trying to forget about the X-Men and taking care of the reason the X-Men aren’t there any more, the ailing Charles Xavier. He’s pulled back in to take a young girl, with his senses, his healing and his claws to safety from the scientists who created her from Wolverine’s own blood. It has a road trip element as this old man, his invalid friend and this young daughter try to get to the border and to her freedom. This is not a MCU shiny movie with glibness and action figures, this is a brutal tale with violence to match as a man who’s seen too much killing tries to do one more good thing before the end. The performances are good, the action is well paced and it’s beautifully shot and a fitting swan song to this character who needed to have as good a solo film as this one.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

 

I have met one of the actors in this (well someone who made a cameo), just get that out of the way.

Some Spoilers

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The film has an on Earth scene in the past as did the first one, this was a man with Meredith Quill being young and in love, but planning for a future with galactic consequences. We then jump to the Guardians of the Galaxy (including a baby Groot) ready to battle an interdimensional monster for the golden Sovereign people. This is done to the tune of “Mr Blue Sky” by the Electric Light Orchestra (Because you can’t beat a little ELO) and that’s really the tone of this movie, there’s action, pathos and a whopping handful of fun. Everyone is on their A-game here and when the younger man at the start is revealed to be the human personification of Ego, the living planet, we know this film stepped up from the last one. We get more of a look at Yondu Udonta and his relationship with Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill and everyone gets their time to shine and we even get bastardised versions of Star Hawk, Aleta, Martinex, Charlie-27 and Krugarr of the proper Guardians of the Galaxy. (I like this version, but doesn’t change who I always think of when I hear the words Guardians of the Galaxy, I mean look here Standing Guard)

But the movie Guardians are fun, funny and I will never look at Mary Poppins the same way again. I was expecting this to be at best as good as the first, it was in fact better.

 

Wonder Woman:

 

The lowest selling and least successful of DC’s trinity of heroes, but by far the best single movie of the recent DCEU releases. This film had epic action, a romantic plot that seemed to fit the story, comedy with a touch of pathos and above all a story that celebrated Wonder Woman, without being embarrassed about itself. In her few scenes in Batman Vs Superman, Gal Gadot’s Diana owned the film. Here she was given her own movie and did exactly what we all expected and nailed it. She was naive in some ways and wise in others, peaceful and poised, but brutal in a fight and during the no man’s land scene, she added an epic quality to her character. I don’t know what I expected going it, but the bar was raised. I’m not saying more, because I think if you have ever enjoyed any comic related movie, you should watch this one, it stands up alongside any you can think of to be honest. It’s a good sign when you walk out of the pictures thinking “I hope they make another one” rather than the usual “I expect they’ll be a sequel ‘sigh'”.

Thor: Ragnarok

The one place where Marvel Studios has really gone left regarding it’s version of Marvel’s characters is Thor. That is not a criticism, because the Kirby/Lee Thor wouldn’t fit in the MCU and nor should it. The MCU version of Thor is a warrior and a noble being worshipped as a god, but also a little bit of a goof. A well intentioned male bimbo as seen in the YouTube clips about what he was doing during Captain America: Civil War and some lighter moments of Avengers: Age of Ultron. This film saw that tone, the imagery and epic scale of Walt Simonson’s run on the comic and the Planet Hulk storyline, stuck them in a blender and ..wow

Spoilers

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From the opening scene, we get a wisecracking Thor, who’s far from the arrogant youth of his debut film, nor the warrior of myth that the second film seemed to show. This was a Thor, taking himself less seriously, from his one light hearted banter with the fire demon Surtur, to his ‘can’t unsee that’ response to seeing ‘little’ Hulk when Hulk gets out of the hot tub. The entire cast is clearly having a ball from Jeff Goldblum’s bonkers Gamesmaster, to Tom Huddleston’s Loki and the hidden gem of Karl Urban as Skurge the Executioner who goes from comic relief to his epic last stand. There’s Hela, goddess of death as well as a Valkyrie, a confused and terrified Bruce Banner, a sombre Odin, a Heimdall who deserves his own movie and the director voices the star of the show Korg. “Started a revolution, no one came except my mum and her boyfriend, who I hate.” “We’re escaping on that huge spaceship, wanna come?” This was a film that mixed the ridiculous, the comic and the epic and really helped it all hang together. This was Marvel trying to replicate the tone that made Guardians of the Galaxy a success and then accidentally improving in dramatically. If you enjoyed Thor and Thor: The Dark World, you’ll enjoy a lot of this as well, if you didn’t, this is third time’s the charm. Thor: Ragnarok is beyond anything else, fun.

Justice League:

It took me nearly 4 weeks to get to see this film. I want to tell you that it was worth waiting for.

Spoliers

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Well it was.

I liked Man of Steel, but felt that while it featured a guy called Superman, Superman wasn’t in it. The same could easily be said of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice (although the extended Blu-Ray cut I saw made it a better film) and I started to hear the fan theory that it was a 3-act thing and that it’d make sense in Justice League. To be honest, was less than optimistic, but I did enjoy Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, so how bad could it be? It even had Jason Momoa as the most 90’s of 90’s Aquaman and I love me some 90’s era Aquaman. So the only bad side to me was an unnecessarily new Flash and Cyborg, who is a fantastic character, still feels like he was slotted in last minute leaving J’Onn J’Onnz out of the League post Nu52, but that is a rant for another day. But here’s the thing, I liked this film. Was it perfect? No, but it was trying a more light-hearted take on this world. From the 7 year old on sweets Flash, to the body horror of Cyborg, to a Wonder Woman trying not to lead and a Batman forced into doing it, it was a frankenstein’s monster of a film about a bit of a rag-tag team and for me it worked. A lot of people questioned the use of c-list 4th Worlder Steppenwolf as the main bad guy, but that at least gives you somewhere to go, rather than open with Darkseid. The plot made little sense, but there characters interacted well, the tone was light, but the stakes very high and yes, they brought back Superman, surprising no one. But they actually brought back Superman. From the opening flashback, where he takes time to answer some childrens’ question, to not getting into the fight without making sure the civilians were safe. That’s the guy, right there! He was even joking right at the end, after claiming that he liked being alive, there was an explosion, he came to, in so much pain, though chuckling, “I changed my mind, I want to die.” joking with Cyborg and then later racing the Flash. There’s so many places you could nit-pick, but for me I got to see Aquaman on the big screen, with no talking to fish jokes (well maybe one) and so many bright spots in this film. For the first time in nearly 12 years, an identifiable Superman was on the big screen and for the first time in over 30 years, he was in an entertaining movie too. I enjoyed this movie, both for what it was and for the fact I got to share with the MIGHTY Rosie, on a reclining sofa seat in the cinema. Some things are worth waiting for, Superman alongside the Justice League, great seats and great company and the last film of this year for me being one of the best, are all some of those things.

Next Time: I turn my attention to the TV of this year