Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

2022 What a s**tshow – Finale

To describe this year as challenging would be something of an understatement to the level of calling the grand canyon a bit of a ditch. I have come close to cracking more than once and joy and calm have been things that were seldom found. That said, I am trying to look at things in a more positive light and can look back at the year with a more cheerful disposition and look at the good things that 2022 have brought.

So it has been a strange and emotional year, so much of it tied to the house and our continuing drama regarding the living situation. I’ve spent my life so far living in other people’s homes, from my parents’ house to being a tenant and for the longest time that was okay, but a few years ago when our landlord passed away suddenly and all of the certainties and plans that we had disappeared. We had to start looking for a more permanent solution, which we couldn’t really get started on until we knew what was happening with what we had thought of as home. It was a stark reminder that although it was our home, it was not our house.

This has been a hard thing. Not knowing for the first time where I would be living in 6 months and maybe having to say goodbye to the only home that my son remembers was a hard thing. It took a toll on our lives on several levels almost to breaking point in some places. But this year was were it all changed. I write this at my new desk in a new room in a new house. In front of me is my collectibles and stuff to my back and left is a display case with mdidore stuff in it. Things have worked out.

For the entirety of 2022 I have worked in a Gisele free office. My old manager made much of my working life miserable and it’s only been this year that her impact on the job has faded away. Now I am part of a 5 man team with me, Disney Princess and Lil Jem under Posh Spice (I didn’t give him that nickname) and Donna and this has been the easiest December in work in a very long time. I have had problems, but these have mostly been overlap from home stuff. As soon as we closed on the house, things got better. We may be a 4 person team next year for a while after we got the news that Disney Princess is expecting, but knowing how things are now, we will cope and I can only wish her well.

Another great positive was SuperSam. As his final jnr school year came to an end, it was more clear that he needed out of there. Problems with bullying, balls ups from every non teaching part of the school and some friction with his teacher for that year we were glad it was his last one. We learned in spring that he got into a school nearby which does focus on sport and science. Given his love of science and being active this was not unwelcome news and we were only more impressed with the open day and the couple of testing days he did over the summer. With clear anti-bullying procedures and a higher degree of communication it was somewhere we were glad for him to go. Then came the scary part of his going to school alone. With google maps and a couple of test runs we had the logistics sorted, but the parents among you internet people can attest to how that doesn’t blunt the fear in any way and for the non-parents, well you wouldn’t understand anymore that I would have in my 20s and that’s okay. But precautions were taken and off he went into the next great adventure.

We needn’t have worried. He has thrived with this new semi-autonomy. And in the first month in this new school, he had more good days that he had in the previous school year. Its a bittersweet thing watching him group up so much, he’s gone from the little boy who needed you for everything to being able to go to school alone, come back alone, wash dishes, iron his uniform and at times cook a simple meal or two. I miss being needed so much, but as so proud that I’m not. It’s not been perfect, but I am so proud of him. So being a dad this year has been a tremendous positive.

Am also on my diet thing, as well as having lost nearly 40lbs in weight (wow that sounds impressive when you put it like that) I have also lost 4litres of visceral fat from my internal organs. That’s the same as two big bottles of fizzy drinks. I have dropped a shoe size, a shirt size and depending on the pants I wear two sizes in trousers. I am a 36″ waist for the first time since I was 36 years old. The battle isn’t won, but I have less of a belly than in years and feel better about myself because of that.

The last three years has been an exercise in surviving. But since the end of October its become about living again. I am hoping to be doing more writing, although what form that takes is as yet unclear, maybe it’ll be here, maybe the book I’ve been working on since…… yeah that’s been a long time. It’s time to use this fresh start and enjoy things again. The feeling of working together on the house, talking more, having fun together and such is what we went on holiday to enhance and it seems that this is all possible here. We even have a hot tub again. Maybe we should have moved years ago, but it felt like giving up on our home and we’re not people who do that. I drilled into my son the idea that the only time you fail, I mean the only time is when you give up. Every thing else is a setback. But we needed to fight for something other than bricks and mortar. Home is the people in your life, not the four walls they inhabit with you.

So this year has been something of a fresh start and a launchpad for betters years ahead. I get to leave a house with my name on it every day, pass several trees and go this is mine. I don’t know what the future holds, but honestly I’m optimistic. Wow, am optimistic, when did that start happening?

So 2022 what a s**tshow may not be accurate. Maybe it’s more we turned it around. I am wishing for a better year this year, not because I can’t do another year like the previous, but because I genuinely thing this will be better.

Come on 2023, lets see what fun we can get up to.

See you soon internet people, be good to yourselves, so you can be good to eachother.

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Posted in Miscellaneous, TV Stuff

2022 What a s**tshow – Part 3

To describe this year as challenging would be something of an understatement to the level of calling the grand canyon a bit of a ditch. I have come close to cracking more than once and joy and calm have been things that were seldom found. That said, I am trying to look at things in a more positive light and can look back at the year with a more cheerful disposition and look at the good things that 2022 have brought.

Sandman

I have enjoyed this year the audio adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s famous Sandman comics, in fact I have been listening to the 3rd volume this week. However I was even more pleased to see it come to television as well. Well cast and well realised this was faithful enough to the comic, but different enough to justify it’s existence as its own thing. Mostly telling the first half dozen stories as one thing it tells the story of Dream, one of the Endless entities (including personifications of Desire, Delirium, Destiny, Despair and Death) who is held captive for over 100 years and must free himself and reclaim both his post as lord of the Dreaming and his power. It’s not light by any stretch of the imagination and the themes and events are for the adults in the audience, but it’s well worth trying.

Wednesday

This was suggested by the MIGHTY Rosie and I will be honest, I wasn’t keen to try and yet we did. This was so much fun. Moments of drama, humour and horror blended so well that you laughed and took a breath several times without the tone being disjointed. The cast was perfect and the story kept you guessing and had a couple of red herrings that made you suspect how it would play out, but still managed to surprise you. It was fun and for the most part the whole family could enjoy it.

Book of Boba Fett

This was at first a hard sit. It was slow and ponderous with an over-reliance on flashbacks to give the story shape. I mean the cast was good, no one is questioning that, but I’m not too sure that this was a story dying to be told and it looks like the makers of the show realised it too because the last two episodes seemed to change from being the 1st series of Book of Boba Fett and became the 3rd series of Mandalorian. At that point, the series became more action packed and above all fun, It’s a hard sit for the 1st 4 or 5, but it does end with a bang. I don’t know if all of these Star Wars shows aren’t a waste of time, but at least this was fun.

Spriggan

I read Spriggan stories years ago as part of some Manga anthology years ago. This was high concept sci-fi stuff with modern man finding artefacts from a pre-historic era that ended with mass destruction. The only message from this older time was a warning to not make the same mistakes again. A group called ARCAM use enhanced operatives to find and hide away these things that have the capacity to destroy the world.

Doctor Who

As part of SuperSam’s cultural education, myself and the MIGHTY Rosie have introduced him to the post reboot Doctor Who and over the last week or two have finished watching the first season, bringing and end to the Christopher Eccleston run and in the new year we will start with David Tennant’s tenure (the MIGHTY Rosie’s favourite) and hope to talk more about that as we go along.

In closing TV has been pretty solid this year, but not too much in newly produced stuff I must admit as looking back at TV we enjoyed before, or watching older stuff that we didn’t see at the time seem to be how things are going forward, but still there was some good stuff there.

Next Time: But what about everything else?

Posted in Miscellaneous

2022 – What a s**tshow – Part 2

To describe this year as challenging would be something of an understatement to the level of calling the grand canyon a bit of a ditch. I have come close to cracking more than once and joy and calm have been things that were seldom found. That said, I am trying to look at things in a more positive light and can look back at the year with a more cheerful disposition and look at the good things that 2022 have brought.

The Batman

I will be honest, I was somewhat surprised at how good this film was. Being told that a Batman film which was near 3 hours long and featured the guys who played Gollum and the vampire from Twilight should have left me with a no thanks attitude. But after some good reviews from different people and with the knowledge that much of it was filmed here in Liverpool gave me reasons to give it a try.

Damn it’s worth a try. From the visual design of a city in decay to the brutal action sequences and the haunted a obsessive portrayal of Batman this was a really enjoyable Batman story that whilst offering very little new to the franchise was a great film in and of itself rather than a way of launching new films.

Black Adam

With this film having Hawkman and the JSA in it, there was no way I wasn’t going to see this film. I would like to say this didn’t disappoint, I still would.

The negatives here are that the JSA in this is for the most part superfluous and this seems to offer them up as a potential spin-off idea, rather than vital and essential characters. There’s an odd pacing and a mix of tone and there’s a lot of padding in the last third that could’ve been removed.

The positives are that we got to see a Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan is amazing as Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate and despite what was expected, Dwayne Johnson pulled off a more serious performance as the grim humourless Teth Adam. He plays the anti-hero well and rather than be the film’s achilles heel as I expected, he was instead one of the strongest elements. We may not get more of this as the ongoing media drama from Warner continues, but I am glad we got to see this.

Bohemian Rhapsody

I managed to catch this on Netflix, rather than get an early night one day this month. A bio-pic about Queen, it showed the band from it’s beginnings in the 70s to Live Aid. I imagine much of this was a bit on the fictionalised side of things, but the film really rose and fell on the performance of Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury. From voice to looks and mannerisms, he nailed the character and breathed new life into the legend. As well as a great rags to riches cautionary tale, this film had the excellent soundtrack one would expect.

Doctor Strange & the Multiverse of Madness

I watched this as part of a MCU/Spider-movie rewatch with SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie as I hadn’t gone to the pictures to see this. To be honest I haven’t gone to the pictures to see a MCU film since Endgame and I honestly don’t see myself changing that anytime soon. This was fun. We had the whole multiverse thing, a resolution of Wanda’s story lots of cool visuals and concepts well realised on screen. The stand out moment for me was the Illuminati with Captain Carter and (a proper costumed) Black Bolt as well as a Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel (unpopular opinion: a better and more interesting version than Carol Danvers) Professor X and the fandom wished for John Krazinski as Reed Richards looking and playing the part so well that I had the desire to punch him the second he came on screen. It was a lot better than the Iron Man retread that was the first film. It was also nice to see Bruce Campbell again.

Thor: Love & Thunder

I have enjoyed many Thor comics over the years from the wonder of Kirby, to the epic glory of Simonson and the scope and drama of Aaron, there have been lots to love. Thor himself however, is a bit boring as a character. The first two Thor films were quite faithful to the character and despite Chris Hemsworth doing his best with what he had, the films were less than the successes the others were. Somewhere during Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hemsworth’s portrayal changed and became a lot more interesting and funny. I don’t remember where I read/heard it, but it was pointed out to me that he wasn’t playing Thor as much as he was Marvel’s Hercules. Fun-loving, a bit goofy and prone to drink his worries away he became more relatable a character and allowed more humour to come into the story and we all benefitted from that and a new director in the form of Taika Waititi. This more humorous tone was thrust into Thor: Love and Thunder and it ….worked?

The action scenes were good, the overall story seemed to work and the concept of heroes rather than gods was handled well, but at times I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be a comedy or not. But one thing I did like the most about it was that it was a nice line under Thor. If they did nothing else with him it was a strong finish. He went from overly serious an irresponsible to a strong and responsible hero who didn’t take himself so seriously. I would probably watch another Thor film, but honestly if they left it here, they did a great job.

So that was my year in films, a couple of cinema visits and some streaming releases and more and more it looks like quality over quantity.

Next Time: TV

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous

2022 – What a s**tshow – Part 1

To describe this year as challenging would be something of an understatement to the level of calling the grand canyon a bit of a ditch. I have come close to cracking more than once and joy and calm have been things that were seldom found. That said, I am trying to look at things in a more positive light and can look back at the year with a more cheerful disposition and look at the good things that 2022 have brought.

I made a little challenge for myself to see how many comics I would read in 2022. This would have the benefit of showing what I was reading and pushing me to read more and enjoy more. Just scant days before the end of the year I crossed the threshold of 2,500 and my question becomes do I try and top that in 2023?

This was another year where I didn’t actually buy any new comics. Now I bought comics (how else would I feed the addiction) but none of those comics were ones that were produced in 2022. So in a section that is about the new comics I read in a year, what do I put in this post?

Milestone

I missed out on Milestone when it launched as a DC imprint in the 90’s. I recently read the first trades of both Icon and Hardware. At first glance they seem to be a superficial black version of established characters, but were actually interesting ideas that used analogues of established heroes to great effect.

Independents

From the tongue in cheek Moneyshot to the tense Shadecraft to the epic mystery of Ordinary Gods and the dark fantasy of Die, I have tried to give a few more independent comics a try and for the most part this has been a great success and has left me with the desire to try more new comics next year, or at least new to me.

Licensed comics

From the less than amazing Robocop: Dead or Alive to the spin off of the Jack Campbell series I have enjoyed Lost Fleet: Corsair to the 1980s UK Transformers comics and the surprisingly good Doctor Who comics from Titan it’s been a good year for spin-off material. Often tie in material is lack-lustre or a cheap cash grab but there’s a lot of interesting stories that play in someone else’s sandbox.

Collected editions

I made the shift years ago to digital comics. I still own many (many many many) comics and trades, but I check the deals and sales on Comixology and this year I used these to add some trades and epic collections to my reading pile and collection. I’ve added classic X-Factor, a number of Spider-Man collections as well as some 90’s Avengers and 90s X-Men as well as an almost complete run of the Mark Waid Flash run that cemented Wally West as a fan favourite.

The 90s

It has definitely come to my attention over the last year that my favourite era was in fact the 90s. I know that the 90s were a time of excesses, creative and editorial mistakes and more than a few trends that should never have been. But I enjoyed comics the most during that period between 1989-2009 and whilst I have read some amazing comics produced before and after, that was the time that I liked best.

So that’s my year in comics, less bought, less new, but more read and I’m pretty happy about that. It’s about finding your joy and I think I have done just that.

Next Time: Movies Did I even go the cinema this year?

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

New address, new habits and a new future.

Hello there internet people.

After a few shaky months, some things have started to happen and weirdly these are good things. I know, I was surprised too and it’s taken some getting used to.

Shortly after my breakdown, myself SuperSam and the MIGHTY Rosie moved into a house, renting, but the landlord was on a family friend and the terms were really good. Three years ago, before covid and a hundred other things, he sadly passed away. There are details, but this is not my tale to tell, so I won’t. His properties went to his next of kin and there was a lot of legal bits and bobs that needed doing, so we have spent most of the time since in limbo. Things got worse when the house went on the market and we had to deal with people viewing the house, several times over several months. But then we had hope, another landlord we knew was trying to offload a property.

There was so much more back and forth and issues regarding buying the house, the mortgage and so on and so forth and to be honest I could write a book on this part of it alone, but after 3 years of limbo, effecting every element of my life in negative ways. Now the worry and uncertainty was replaced with the deadline of moving. Fortunately we didn’t have a dog full of anxiety and a child in his first year of secondary school to deal with as well…..oh yeah, we did. But still, for the first three weeks of October we moved everything we could, books, bookcases, dvds, blu-rays and my longboxes as well as most of our clothes, boardgames and other bric a brac. Still on Friday, the big stuff went too, white goods, beds and the like, leaving the living room with only half a now busted couch and the TV and on Friday night we moved.

We fit the TV in the back of the car and then added a scared dog (can you see where this is going yet?) and when I tried to set all the entertainment up, the TV lit up only enough to show the cracks. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and we could immediately see 3 or 4 ways it could be avoided. We had the TV replaced the next day and also a couch, so alls well and such.

So here I am in a new place, but this one is mine. I have trees, my own space and a renewed sense of optimism. For the first time in a few years, I feel I can move forward. I’m not trying to put back together the pieces of my life and restore anything, it’s more about building something new and using pieces of the past to get it. There’s so much to do, so many things to put right and yet for the first time in a long time I feel like I can do it.

I am now an hour from home by foot, meaning I can’t walk home during lunch, so I am able to do other stuff at lunch, you may get more of my meandering rubbish on here, you never know. But I am getting more exercise and am enjoying the de-stressing walk and podcast/audiobook time that I am getting without losing time with my family. The family who are all happier where we are.

I drifted too far from shore, before I realised and I became lost. Pieces of me over time fell away till I wasn’t someone I recognised, nor did anyone else. But now, I feel like I have constructed a sail. I don’t know where I am going yet, or who I will be when I get there, but it’s definitely better than where I am right now.

Posted in Mental Health Struggles, Miscellaneous

Trickier coming down

Though I don’t talk about it as much here, my battle with depression and anxiety is still ongoing. That’s a post for another day.

There are several methods of battling/managing these things. Talking helps, diet is a factor, support from those around you. But one that I have neglected is exercise.

I know, shocking that a geeky, overweight middle-aged man with high blood pressure isn’t getting enough exercise. Whilst you are reeling from that particular bombshell. I can tell you that it has started to change.

Through my sister-in-law, my son was introduced to indoor climbing. What I saw in the next 2 weeks was nothing short of remarkable. He grew in confidence and set and met challenges each time. After his 2nd week, I decided I would give this a try myself. And so I did.

Climbing Hangar is a company that has warehouses converted with climbing walls that a colour coded for levels of difficulty. Struggling to climb one wall, then try again and again. Once you crack that wall, you feel 2 feet taller. I learned two things the first week. One is that climbing up is quite a bit easier then getting back down.  The other is that I have missed that sense of accomplishment. I enjoyed the rush of almost falling and the next day sweet pain of overdoing it.

I quickly became a member and go regularly once a weekend, whilst my son goes twice. It’s been a boon to my mental health as well as my physical and every time I go, I improve. Last week, I tried a level 3 course and nailed it, today I did one that I have been aiming for all summer. Now I need a new target and I will have one by Saturday.  I would recommend it as an exercise and activity.  There is a huge cross-section of ages and fitness levels and a great sense of mutual good feel, everyone is rooting for everyone else. The only person you compete with is yourself.

With so much negativity around and in an increasingly uncertain world, its nice to find something that is only positive. Everyone should try this. Because it is a nice reminder of a truth we all need to remember. Whenever you fall, you get back up.

Posted in Comics n Stuff, Miscellaneous

Finding the Positives in 2021 part 4

It would not be unfair to say that this was a challenging year. I felt that it was harder to find the positive, but honestly it was the kind of year that made sure that you had to and so here we are back to look at my pop-culture positives.

Unlike last year, I bought no new comics, compared to 2020’s one comic. But that’s not to say I didn’t succumb to my hobby/borderline personality disorder at all. I read more comics in 2021 than in the year before I think, but this time it was back issues and as before the sales from Comixology. I would highly recommend that app/service as it really has something for everyone and there are several free and cheap comics so you can give them a try. 

So here’s a couple of highlights.

Scooby Apocalypse (and other Hanna-Barbera reboots)

Imagine the plot of something like Dawn of the Dead, but with Mystery Inc. That’s pretty much it. It’s the gang as it always has been, together again, for the first time. Shaggy works at a lab, working with the enhanced dog Scooby. Velma also works at that lab and has contacted journalist Daphne and her cameraman Fred and as they are meeting up, an Apocalypse caused by the people who own the lab starts and this ad-hoc gang has to survive. It shouldn’t work, but honestly I really enjoyed it. It shouldn’t be as good as this, but I am going to look for the next trade before too long. I also read the Jetsons and Snagglepuss mini-series that were fun, but also explored interesting ideas.

Scooby Doo Team Up

I originally bought this for SuperSam as an encouragement to read more, much as my mother did with me which started my love of comics. He adored it, as a form of cultural exchange process, he asked me to read it myself. I will be honest, I did not expect much. I certainly didn’t expect it to be good. Equal parts kids cartoon and sly in-jokes this was a absolute blast. It was Marvel Two-In-One style of team up with both DC and cartoon characters with Scooby Doo being the star and it works. There’s a lot of all-ages content that will appeal to anyone who Scooby Doo appeals to, it’s all classic style with everyone being recognisable. We get DC characters like Deadman, Hawkman, the Legion of Super Heroes in the same title as Atom Ant, Quickdraw McGraw (& El Cabong!) and Yogi Bear. You never knew who would show up next. If you have a kid and you want them to read comics, or were a kid and need a nostalgic bit of easy reading, then this is comic for you.

L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89

Again, not a new title, but one I have been looking for single issues at comics marts. A spin off from DC’s Invasion event, it was a large space police force that tried to fill the gap left by the Green Lantern corp’s abence. It was intrigue, plans and action with a strange and bizarre cast led by son of Brainiac Vril Dox, doing Game of Thrones long it was an idea. I have only read the first 20, but I will continue my scouring of the cheap bins.

Blue Devil

Another product of my back issue bin searches, this was a weird early 80’s series that was very much of it’s time. A stuntman is wearing a prosthetic devil suit on a movie set and an actual demon attacks, bonding the suit magically with his body, leaving him trapped as the Blue Devil. It’s silly, it’s funny and has a gentle charm, none of which can be applied to my last choice.

Die

This was one of the last new comics I read in December and caught my attention in a manner few comics have in recent years. The story is that a handful of friends started playing a role-playing game. They vanished and two years later, all but one returned, injured and traumatised. A couple of decades go past and they realise it isn’t quite over yet. This was interesting, fun and not like much else on the racks. Another comic I would highly recommend, but All-Ages it is not.

 

So yes, it was a challenging year, but in terms of pop culture there were a lot of positives and ultimately, that’s what you need to look at.

Next time: Almost done.

 

 

Posted in Miscellaneous, TV Stuff

Finding the Positives in 2021 part 3

It would not be unfair to say that this was a challenging year. I felt that it was harder to find the positive, but honestly, it was the kind of year that made sure that you had to and so here we are back to look at my pop-culture positives. 

With the restrictions, illnesses, calls for social distancing and changing advice from what we laughingly call leaders, let’s just say we’ve watched a lot of TV together.

 There’s been older stuff, have for the second time watched Blakes 7 after one of the lesser-known channels got the rights for it. We have also started re-watching Archer and have moved beyond where we stopped before. Also old favourites such as Castle and Bones are back in rotation as well as new seasons of A Discovery of Witches and Titans, but there were also a few new stand-outs.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

Now I know what you are thinking, surely this isn’t new. It isn’t I have seen it several times before now, but this year, I began to share it with SuperSam. All three of us here at the munky house have been enjoying this slice of 90’s fantasy. Whilst there are scary moments, the action, writing and humour have made this pretty much  a family favourite. Just this last week, we made it to season 3 and SuperSam shows no sign of wanting to stop watching. 

Sex Education

Now like the rest of these, this was just one for me and the MIGHTY Rosie. Well to be honest, it was one for the MIGHTY Rosie as I wasn’t too interested. After watching some of the first season, I was less than convinced. But then something happened, whether it was the young actors now comfortable in their roles, or a writing staff that had hit their stride, or that enough plot had occurred, that the characters were compelling, but I really started enjoying it. It’s a show populated by strange characters, idiosyncratic events and yet underneath it, heart. You genuinely care for the characters, even the ones that you probably wouldn’t in any show. These are flawed and at times unpleasant characters, but you feel for them and that is just good writing.

Dusk till Dawn

This was one of the earliest Netflix originals. I wasn’t much in the market for a slower retelling of a film I had already enjoyed and walked right past it. I made a mistake. The roles are re-cast with younger actors, the story re-written with a prestige format mentality in mind and subtle tweaks and twists added to make the story fit it’s longer and more in-depth nature. It’s good. It has the gore of the film, but takes it’s time to get to know the characters and explain them a bit. You care for Seth and Ritchie and see how their dysfunctional selves got to having to take hostages in the first place. You sympathise with the main vampire, seeing her as someone who was a victim and became a monster because of it. Everything you liked about the film is there, but there’s so much more and at the end of the film, you’re done, but here it’s only the end of season 1. This was buried when released, but is worth giving a try to.

Midnight Mass

Well I had  no idea what this was going to be when it started, by the end of the second episode, I was in the same boat. But there’s a twist, an almost obvious one with hindsight and the story moved forward, slowly, but forward nontheless. But then came the end of episode 4 and bang, things got turned up a notch and the last two episodes were a rollercoaster of action, horror and drama. What I am saying is, this didn’t start well, interesting, or even worth my time. But this show when it got going was brilliant and almost the new TV highlight of the year. It’s not what you expect, but it is something worth seeing and I am glad I got to see something interesting and a new twist on an older tale.

Lucifer: The Netflix years

Taken from an idea from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics, the story here is that the devil quits hell and moves to LA to open a piano bar with one of his demons. The show gives us the next part of the story, where a detective meets him and they investigate crimes together. This show only worked with Tom Ellis being funny, horny and charming in equal measure as the incredibly honest devil, who was never the bad guy the stories portray him as. Netflix picked up the production after it’s cancelling by FX and I finally finished the last three seasons. Season 4 dealt with the detective knowing that the man she’s known for three years, telling her he’s the devil, is actually the devil. By the end of season 4, she accepts him, but he has to go back and rule hell to prevent some of his former servants wreaking more havoc on the human plane. With season 5 he returns and has to contend with one of his angelic brothers causing enough problems to get the attention of their father, God. Season 5 puts the family drama in the midst of celestial and angelic matters and mixed them well, including God thinking he might need a replacement. There’s a whole big thing, we lose one of the main cast and there was another season left. Well, okay lets be honest, season 6 could have been one episode, or in the words of the MIGHT Rosie “This could’ve been an e-mail”

Yes it was a bit of a tacked on ending, but it worked, giving something of a decent ending to a series that was already cancelled once. The redemption of a TV show that was about the redemption of Lucifer. Yes it was silly, to some blasphemous, but honestly I loved that this show got to go out on a high.

 

Well that’s TV done with

Next Time: Comics

Posted in Miscellaneous, TV Stuff

Finding the positives in 2021 part 2

It would not be unfair to say that this was a challenging year. I felt that it was harder to find the positive, but honestly it was the kind of year that made sure that you had to and so here we are back to look at my pop-culture positives.

With the restrictions goalpost moving, it was hard to do a lot outside, so a lot of time with SuperSam was spent with games (board and video varieties) and TV, a lot of if was new to the both of us and there was a few highlights.

Avatar: The Last Airbender

This was one of the highlights of television. Watching 3-4 episodes a week, we were able to finish this quite quickly and often gave the two of us plenty to talk about. A fantasy story set in a fantasy version of Asia, it’s the story of a mythic figure questing to learn all he can to save the world. This series covered themes of loss, trauma, bigotry and took an interesting look at relationships in a war-torn world. For a kids show, it was surprisingly adult and many characters changed over time.

(SuperSam thoughts: This show was fun and had a lot of jokes that came back, like the “My Cabbages!!” guy.)

Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy

This was three 6 part stories (Siege, Earthrise and Kingdom) that were really one 18 part story about the war between the Autobots and Decepticons. This again was more adult in scope and dealt with the harshness of war and the uselessness of hatred and one can easily become the villain, despite wanting to do the right thing. It was action packed, but deep in it’s themes and plumbed the depth of Transformers lore, throughout it’s 3+ year history. If you have any nostalgia for the property, it is very worthwhile checking out.

(SuperSam thoughts: I liked this, but it wasn’t as good at the end.)

Spider-Man 94 series

This was something I was able to show him that I enjoyed in the halcyon days of my own youth. It is very 90’s in both tone, production design and which characters feature, but it did manage to tell a long form Spider-Man story that rewarded you for paying attention. It had good characterisation felt very much like the Spider-Man that I remembered. GCI animation segments aside, it stands up really well and is long overdue for a re-appraisal.

(SuperSam thoughts: Really fun, with good stories.)

Spectacular Spider-Man

This was a cute lil reboot from before Disney brought all it’s Marvel properties together. Set during the early days of Spider-Man, it was a fresh take on the Steve Ditko era with touches of high-school melodrama and crime noir. It played with familiar themes of Peter Parker’s guilt, responsibility and his life taking the punches for being Spider-Man. It took some liberties with the early stories, but honestly it made it all work and allowed us to care about Flash Thompson without having to wait 20 years for any sort of redemption.

(SuperSam Thoughts: – Made me laugh quite a lot, Doctor Octopus stood out as a cool Spider-Man villain.)

Masters of the Universe Revelation

I talked about this here and feel no need to do so again, but this series ended on quite a high note and was ideal for old fans and new viewers, which is the ideal combination for any kind of revival of this kind.

(SuperSam thoughts: Legen-wait for it-Dary, Legendary. I want more of this!)

And that was that, lots of fun TV aimed at the younger end of the market, but still enjoyed by someone old enough to know better.

 

Next Time: Other TV from this year.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Finding the positives in 2021 part 1

It would not be unfair to say that this was a challenging year. I felt that it was harder to find the positive, but honestly it was the kind of year that made sure that you had to and so here we are back to look at my pop-culture positives.

Much like last year, this wasn’t the time to be going to pictures, I did however manage to get to the cinema a few times as well as enjoy some new non cinema stuff.

Red Notice: 

This was a weird gem of a heist movie with a cast that was almost guaranteed to get people to check it out. The acting trio of Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds were clearly having fun with this film and that got across to the audience. Fun little popcorn fodder with great action, comedy and a decent 3rd act twist. Available on Netflix I’d highly recommend it.

Eternals:

Back in the 1970’s, Jack Kirby returned to Marvel comics and came up with several new ideas that launched into comics he both wrote and drew. One of them, was Eternals. This series put the idea of two other races living on Earth with us, the bizarre looking and tyrannical Deviants, the Human race and the long lived super-powerful Eternals who were often viewed as gods by man and were named sort of after them, or the gods named for the Eternals. The Deviants and the Eternals owed their existence to the Celestials a rage of huge space gods who interfered with the development of humanity for their own unknowable reasons. This was infused with Jack Kirby at his Kirby-est with bizarre ideas, eclectic designs and a large sweeping cast and scope. Marvel announced that this film was coming and I thought “how are they going to adapt this weird-ass tale of millennia old creatures and the assorted oddities?” Well they didn’t. It’s not the same, it uses some names and rough themes, but this was it’s own thing. Once you get past that, it’s an interesting tale, amazing cast, large scale action and a lot of heart. You will start watching this film not knowing anything about the characters, but you will have a favourite by the end.

Dune: 

Being a child of the 80’s I remember David Lynch’s stylish epic Dune. But it did have it’s flaws. I also remember the early 00’s TV mini-series which had greater depth, but was less visually interesting. This new offering very deftly melds the two together. It offered depth and intrigue, but was also visually exciting and gripping with it’s own musical cues and visual iconography. I watched this on my birthday and was absolutely floored by it. It was well cast, beautifully shot and so elegantly performed. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved it.

The Suicide Squad

The previous Suicide Squad film was something of a glorious mess. Two of the high points were Margot Robbie’s highly entertaining portrayal of Harley Quinn and Viola Davis being Amanda ‘The Wall’ Waller. The rest was badly edited, quite incoherent and yet ultimately forgettable. So I was at best unsure about this new version, even with the name of James Gunn attached. I managed to get the time to see it just before it left cinemas. I was not disappointed. From the dark humour, it’s fast placed and witty plot and some exceptional action set pieces this film was a lot better that it had any right to be. Definitely one of the best outputs from the DCEU so far.

Justice League: The Zack Snyder cut

Much like the previously mentioned Suicide Squad, the Justice League film was a glorious mess. There was good reason for it as the director changed partway through production for personal reasons that are neither relevant, or in fact my business. The end result was an uneven tone and a largely forgettable movie.

Time passes and there’s some fan outrage and the demand for the snydercut. The money people saw which way the wind was blowing and decided to do release it. I mean after some re-shoots and an 8 figure budget for post production stuff and the 2 hours mess became some kind of 4 hour auteur thing. It had the same problems that plagued Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman, it was a bit in love with itself, it was badly lit and unnecessarily bleak. But it was a really interesting film/mini-series that had a consistent tone and was a lot more epic in scope. 

So there you have it, my year in film. Less cinema visits, with Red Notice and Justice League enjoyed on my couch, but what I did see, I did enjoy.

Next Time: TV n stuff