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My On-Air Appearance Talking “Logan” and other top stories #ICYMI

HAPPY FRIDAY TWEET:

I return to air tonight on CosmicGeppetto.com, probably in a bathrobe, to re-gush over Logan and its trifecta of Oscar-worthy performances in Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Dafne Keen’s X-23, and Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor X. First things first, though, let’s summarize for ya our favorite piece of casting news this week: smoldering actress Serinda Swan (Graceland, Smallville) getting tapped as Medusa in the upcoming Marvel network TV series, Inhumans.

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Who is Medusa? What is an Inhuman? Why is this actress perfect for the role? Read all about it on our list of the coolest weapons superheroines possess (in Medusa’s case, she has…super-hair. It’s actually quite sexy).

(For more on the Inhumans show itself, debuting in IMAX theaters for two weeks in September before premiering on network TV, here is Entertainment Weekly’s Exclusive First Look  on the cast list).

Back to Logan and Our Primetime Chat!

We will be on the Cosmic Geppetto show tonight (airing at a later time) to discuss the vaunted superhero film in-depth, raving about the many finer points of the experience like how X-23 comes in the adorable, unassuming package of an 11-year-old with all the wisdom of a thirty-something seared into her eyes. Or how all three stars deserve Oscar nods next year or we riot. ICYMI: Here is our must-read on the film, giving you a primer on the precocious prodigy who stole hearts all over theaters this last week.

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Until We Share the Aired, Edited Version of Our Appearance,

Enjoy Lil’s Prior 2 Appearances on Cosmic Geppetto:

a) We discuss prominent superhero race and gender changes in live-action film and TV roles recently.

Click on image for link:

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b) We discuss being a Cumberbitch and, more specifically, Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Marvel’s latest triumphant solo venture by the same name.

Click on image for link:

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TV: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE LEARNED FROM THE 2017 #GoldenGlobes

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Meryl Streep aside, the 2017 Golden Globes was Textbook 101 in why award shows without live performances shouldn’t be on television at all.

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(TL;DR: Being a public figure calls for a modicum of self-awareness, a trait these award shows and their attendees lack in shovels and spades.)

Why do we watch ceremonies like the Golden Globes in the first place? The 3 G’s: The glitz, the glamor, the gossip.

Some of us watch for what’s apparently on-trend in upcoming fashion seasons, some to see what certain celebrities’ new faces look like, and a marginally few even watch to support their favorite works of art or to bemoan which ones got good ol’ snubs:

What don’t we watch for?

Not one of us watches in hopes that Meryl Streep will share her stunning sociopolitical belief that Hollywood actors are in the marginalized segments of society… or that Clint Eastwood will start stumping for Trump in front of a chair (Right-wing or Left, STFU about your politics at entertainment award shows! It’s not a Nobel; thank your mama and get off the stage. Hold a press conference on your own time!). None of us watch, either, for our personal stake in the movies or shows getting showered with gold (quite literally). These televised ceremonies target viewers who have nil to do with the entertainment industry. All in all… we only watch because it’s a guilty pleasure, much like the Real Housewives of [insert city].

These broadcasts, year and year again, repeatedly show a willful ignorance of this fact. Instead, they opt for self-indulgence, not unlike our buddy King Lion here:

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Tom Hiddleston, is that you? 

3 Compelling Reasons Why the “Award” Part of Award Shows Need Not Be on TV:

1.  The lack of entertainment on a show celebrating entertainment:

We love Jimmy Fallon, but boy, did he fail Sunday at this whole hosting thing. Keeping with the theme of self-indulgence, Fallon opened with, in lieu of a raunchy, satirical monologue like his predecessors, a cutesy cold open that only those who have seen the film La La Land (which is 2% of Golden Globes viewers) will appreciate. The rest of the night was spent with him doing the intermittent ’80s hip-hop parody… because.

As someone who has watched the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, etc. with glee from a very young age, I have only noticed this pattern in adulthood: The shows that invite cynicism from the viewers (mainly due to boredom) are ones that provide little in the way of comedy and/or live performances.

The Oscars, while still managing to be way too long each year, at least sprinkle musical performances throughout the evening. The Tonys are very much a show in that their theatrical skits encapsulate the magic of what the night was meant to celebrate in the first place. Same can be said for the Grammys; each year, people tune in for their favorite artists’ performances of their latest and greatest, capitalizing on the Grammys’ huge production budget.

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Then there are “shows” like the Golden Globes and Emmys, which rely entirely on the talents of the host to eke by, praying for controversial moments that will end up talking points the following week. In the past, Ricky Gervais and the dynamic duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have buoyed the Globes with politically incorrect jokes taking direct aim at Hollywood inhabitants in the room, assuming the point of view of those at home. When we the viewers hear Tina and Amy joke about where Leonardo DiCaprio likes his supermodels or a tipsy Ricky Gervais demand Mel Gibson explain what sugar t*ts are, we feel included in the night. A part of the glamor and self-celebration.

2. The insufferably self-important speeches relevant to no one not in the industry:

Ok, Meryl, try to “empathize” with this:

On a show in which every movie star is decked out like a show pony and liquored up to the nines, someone suddenly taking a moment to preach their political views to the masses is not only being tone-deaf, but appearing to hijack the entire night’s spotlight for themselves.

Besides Meryl Streep, Tom Hiddleston also failed to get this memo (or just ignored it in true lack of self-awareness). Accepting his trophy for his role in AMC’s The Night Manager, Hiddleston also took home the win for Biggest Humblebrag of the Night. He told a long story about how, on a trip to South Sudan, a bunch of Doctors Without Borders had approached him and claimed they binge-watched his miniseries while working to lend help to the war-torn region. Hiddleston declared how moved he was by “the idea that we could provide some relief and entertainment for people who are fixing the world in the places where it is broken.”

Essentially, he patted himself on the back for lending entertainment to the people risking their lives helping the less fortunate in Sudan. Scandal star Joshua Malina summed it best when he tweeted:

“Thank you to Tom Hiddleston and all actors who dare to perform in projects that are shown in some of the most dangerous parts of the world.”

3. The Inevitable Technical Malfunctions:

Not all actors are blessed with the gift of improv, which is fine, except when the Teleprompter fails and they have nothing to read.

Every goddamn year, without fail, the Golden Globes has at least one instance of this. This year, it happened as soon as Jimmy Fallon made his way to the stage. What we, the entertain-ees, are left with, is a steaming pile of blushed cheeks and Fallon hemming and hawing. What is it with Dick Clark Productions and uncoordinated tech? Maybe Mariah Carey is onto something. Maybe DC Productions is not trying to purposely sabotage the poor souls on stage, and ruin the viewing experience for all, but one does wonder: Are they comfortably incompetent because they are passively chasing that “moment” in this age of instant viral social media?

The 3 positives from this year’s Globes?

People who still wanted to entertain… and Me:

Sofia Vergara:

Steve Carrell and Kristen Wiig:

Blake Lively? She’s Been Slacking since Gossip Girl!

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We watch the Golden Globes because it’s a guilty pleasure, much like the Real Housewives of [insert city]… Not one of us watches in hopes that Meryl Streep will share her stunning sociopolitical belief that Hollywood actors are in the marginalized segments of society… or that Clint Eastwood will start stumping for Trump.

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TV: Countdown to Season 7 Premiere of #TheWalkingDead. 7 Best Episodes So Far – #7:

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SEASON 7 of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” premieres 7 weeks from today, thus beginning our celebratory countdown with the 7 best episodes of the show thus far, in our humblest of opinions, of course.

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DISCLAIMER: It is a tall order to ask any “Walking Dead” fan to just list SEVEN of his/her favorite episodes, but LIL GRIPES rose to the occasion. Mind you, if we’ve omitted a favorite of yours, PLEASE comment below and let us know! Let us know what you loved about it! xx

No. 7:  Season 5 Episode 1, “No Sanctuary”

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Rick Grimes using red dirt to correct the “Sanctuary for All” sign

The best “Walking Dead” episodes tend to relish in a slow burn rather than high-octane action. “No Sanctuary” is one of the spare, spectacular exceptions.

Maybe it is the elevation of the stakes we knew our heroes were facing right from the start…This season premiere picking up chronologically right after our protagonists were all herded into a dank and dim (read: creepy) train car at Terminus. It opens with them then being herded off into ::you guessed it:: a human slaughterhouse. When Glenn Rhee, Daryl Dixon and Rick Grimes are just four people away from having their throats slit in a human-trough lineup, you goddamn better be sitting on the edge of your seat biting what’s left of your nails.

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*More on Glenn’s hilarious James Bond-esque evasion of certain death not once, but three times, later.

Maybe it is the satisfaction derived from watching the sweet, slow blow of revenge… Thanks to Carol 2.0’s boldest act of badassery yet (leading a herd of walkers whilst covered in their guts toward her friends’ place of capture and blowing up a propane tank to lure said walkers toward our heroes’ captors, the Termites), we got to see glorious gore exacted upon the villains for once. Never has having human faces being devoured on this show been as satisfying as when these walkers made a fine Sunday feast out of the Termite cannibals.

NSFW GIF: GLORIOUS GORY GIF OF A WALKER CHOMPING ON A TERMITE

(I literally applauded and hooted in cheering during the scene in which the above GIF appeared)

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Carol started the fire… da-da-da…

Maybe it’s that our heroes have reunited again as a family working together toward a common goal after spending a whole half-season sprawled apart. With Rick gone farmer all of season four, it was especially welcome to see “Kong Fu Rick” back, blasting machine guns while dripping forehead-to-beard with both the blood of enemy humans and walkers. Given the first chance via Carol’s explosive diversion, Rick stabbed and gunned his way to freedom, leading his group out of the hazy maze of foggy smoke, fiery walkers, and frightened cannibals with appropriate bravado. Rick made it clear: The show had returned from summer hiatus and so had he–he’s playing for keeps Season 5:

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*Now back to Glenn… One of the mostly darkly funny moments this entire series has been how Glenn managed to evade near-death this many times in a roll in the slaughterhouse… Especially given that it was a bat-to-the-head situation, as if morbidly teasing what’s to come for him in the comics (Negan, you SOB). The guy lined up before him had just been knocked unconscious over the trough and his throat just slit open, bleeding him dry. The expression on Glenn’s face (brilliantly brought to life by Steven Yeun) said it all: “Here it comes. This show is about to kill off a major beloved character…again.”

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As you can see, Glenn is one convenient distraction away from joining the first four “cattle.”

Terminus butcher raises his bat to knock out Glenn. The Termites’ leader interrupts him, “Hey, how many shell counts did you have?” He answers.

Butcher raises bat over Glenn again… Termite leader says to the other butcher, “I need your shell count!” He replies, “Oh man, I’m sorry;  I didn’t count mine… It’s my first round-up.”

Leader excuses him for this time’s slip-up and decides to use the moment to chit-chat with Rick. After a good five minutes pass, the first butcher resumes raising his bat over the back of Glenn’s head for the third time. MID-swing, *KA-BOOM* An explosion knocks them all off their feet and onto their sides.

And Glenn the Survivor survives…again…

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Left to Right: Daryl Dixon and Glenn Rhee, the latter of whom was seconds away from death at this very moment.

~ CUE 007 THEME ~

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LINE OF THE EPISODE:

“[My bag] has a machete with a red handle… That’s what I’m gonna use to kill you.”

– Rick to Gareth, the Terminus leader

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 P.S. How hot does Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) look in this promo photo for this incredibly grisly episode? They don’t call it sexy dirt for nothin’:

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Episode ranked #6 next week… Suggestions of your own? img_7347-3

Superhero Race and Gender Changes: The Un-Whitewashing Of Geek Culture

*SIGH* Let me begin by stating that I so wish people weren’t this obsessed with race. We don’t need to inject race into discussions where it doesn’t belong, but nevertheless, racial controversy has bled over into conversations about nerd-centric movies and TV shows. This applies to gender in equal measure. So… let’s do this.

INSTEAD OF throwing a collective hissy fit when a Hollywood star who happens to be Caucasian is cast in the role of a canonically non-white character, we should be acknowledging and cheering on the increasingly diverse casting that is happening in Superhero (and general Geek Culture)-Land as of late. Progress is happening, but people have a tendency to focus on the negative and controversial rather than all the good.

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Lucy Liu’s v Martin Freeman’s Dr. Watson

For example, when Tilda Swinton was cast as the Tibetan sorcerer Ancient One in Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, people flipped out. For every “Ancient One casting,” however, there seems to be double the instance of reverse whitewashing (colorwashing? brown-washing?) and gender-reversing (see: 2016’s Ghostbusters) going around…

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“Progress is happening, but people focus on the negative rather than all the good.”

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Let’s roll the reel, shall we?

15 Recent High-Profile Examples:

1. The Ancient One (portrayed by Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange, 2016)

CHANGE: Asian Male White Female

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Yes, let’s start here. Everyone complains about white male hegemony (a.k.a. “The Man”) but the fact that they cast Tilda Swinton, an actress acclaimed for her daringly androgynous roles, as a powerful male sorcerer is actually quite forward-thinking. Tilda may be “white,” but the Ancient One is one of the most powerful entities in Marvel comics. He is a teacher to many fellow superheroes and without him, Stephen Strange would not have become the Sorcerer Supreme. They chose to endow his skill set and title upon a female. Funny how this is never brought up amidst the controversial cloud that looms over this casting choice, but that is incredibly socially inclusive and progressive.

2. Floyd Lawton a.k.a. Deadshot (portrayed by Will Smith in Suicide Squad, 2016)

CHANGE: White MaleBlack Male

3. Daisy Johnson a.k.a. Quake (portrayed by Chloe Bennet on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 2013-present)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒  Asian Female

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This is not a colorblind case of a minority actress being repackaged as an all-white character. Actress Chloe Bennet is half-Chinese and half-Caucasian in real life, but Daisy Johnson is 100% white in the comics. They rewrote her character for the TV adaptation so that the actress’ Chinese lineage played a major factor in Daisy’s own identity. As the earthshaking superhero, her powers apparently originate from her Inhuman Chinese mother, who was a major villain in the second half of season 3.

4. Elektra Natchios (portrayed by Élodie Yung and Lily Chee in Daredevil, 2016)

CHANGE: White Female  Asian Female

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Young Elektra (Lily Chee) on the show:

One of the most iconic female anti-heroes in Marvel Comics history, Elektra Natchios, the main love interest of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, has always been closely affiliated with her Greek lineage. Well, in the Netflix adaptation of Daredevil, they finally switched her character’s heritage up. This time, she’s a woman of indeterminate Asiatic descent who was adopted by a Greek diplomat at a young age. One can’t help but think this change was to accommodate the actress’ actual half-Cambodian ethnic makeup.

5. Iris and Joe West (portrayed by Candice Patton and Jesse L. Martin respectively on The Flash, 2014-present)

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

Comics ‘ Iris West v The CW’s Iris West

Comics’ Joe West v The CW’s Joe West

Many were initially shocked at the momentous casting of Barry Allen/The Flash’s love interest and her father/his foster father as African-Americans. While race had little-to-no impact on their characters’ context, this was major cause for celebration of racial inclusion because of Iris’ major role in Barry’s life. She is his Lois Lane and she has never been depicted or portrayed as anything but Caucasian before this version. Even the most cynical of Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) should be loudly applauding this moment in pop culture history.

6. Iris West (portrayed by Kiersey Clemons in Justice League [2017] and The Flash [2018])

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Black Female

So nice they did it twice! While Warner Bros. turned their back on Grant Gustin from the CW’s The Flash for the titular speedster big-screen role, they adopted the TV adaptation’s idea of casting Iris West as a young black woman.

The CW’s Iris West and the DCEU’s Iris West:

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7. Perry White (portrayed by Laurence Fishburne in Man of Steel [2013] and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice [2016])

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

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Perry White through the years, from inception to present

8. Johnny Storm a.k.a. The Human Torch (portrayed by Michael B. Jordan in FANT4STIC, 2015)

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

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Michael B. Jordan cast as the classically blonde superhero
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Chris Evans as Johnny in 2004 v Michael B. Jordan in 2015

9. Nick Fury (portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in Iron Man [2008], Iron Man 2 [2010], Captain America: The First Avenger [2011], The Avengers [2012], Captain America: Winter Soldier [2014], Avengers: Age of Ultron [2015],  and on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [2013-present])

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

People forget this part of David Hasseloff’s career but he played Nick Fury in 1998’s Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.:

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As the mean-mugging, no-bullshit director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and creator of the Avengers Initiative, Nick has been quite the prolific glorified superhero babysitter ;-P

10. Jimmy Olsen (portrayed by Mechad Brooks on Supergirl, 2015-present)

CHANGE: White ⇒ Black

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Jimmy Olsen in live-action chronological order, past-present

Not only is this the first non-white Jimmy Olsen, it’s also the first time we’ve seen Superman’s photographer BFF look like a buff leading man instead of a scrawny, goofy sidekick.

Again, SJWs, not only did they change an iconic protagonist from white to black, they made him pinup-worthy… and Supergirl’s love interest. In fact, the actor’s second-billed on IMDB as the leading man to Melissa Benoist’s Kara Zor-El.

11. Dr. John (now Joan) Watson (portrayed by Lucy Liu on Elementary, 2012-present)

CHANGE: White Male ⇒ Asian Female

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Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson on Elementary and Jude Law/Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson

The classic “Elementary, My dear Watson” line now refers to an Asian-American female instead of a British male war veteran. The fact that the show has been a continued hit for CBS for four years now and little raucous has been raised over this double-identity swap suggests the public is readier than most think for gender and race-bending entertainment.

12. Nikita (portrayed by Maggie Q on Nikita, 2010-2013)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female

Maggie Q as Nikita, the first Asian lead ever on a broadcast drama series:

Three previous incarnations of Nikita before the CW series:

La Femme Nikita has been a story told many times and many ways with many different starlets. The CW took a big-but-calculated risk casting this screen icon as anything other than Caucasian for the first time. Despite a decidedly shitty timeslot (Fridays at primetime), it amassed a huge cult following and excellent critical raves for its four seasons. Moreover, it made Maggie Q, previously known for being a model-turned-action star in Asia, an easily recognizable name and face in the American conscious.

13. Mercedes Graves (portrayed by Tao Okamoto in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, 2016)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Asian Female

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Various animated and live-action versions of Mercedes Graves

This change may feel merely ornamental at first blush. However, Mercedes (“Mercy” as Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor fondly called her) is canonically not just a cog in Luthor’s evil entourage, but his most trusted advisor and personal assistant (and sometimes bodyguard/chauffeur). Mercy has caused Superman and Lois Lane a lot of grief due to her unwavering loyalty to Lex. The appearance of Mercedes in the film was a delightful Easter Egg find for comics fans and having her look Asian is majorly indicative of mass media’s increasing acceptance of all.

14. Valkyrie (portrayed by Tessa Thompson in Thor: Raganorak, 2017)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Black Female

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An iconic superheroine based in Norse mythology is being played by an African-American actress? Her character also will be playing Thor’s new love interest (He’s ditched little Ms. Natalie Portman apparently). What a great time to be alive! Run the streets streaking in pure ecstasy!

15. Mary Jane Watson (portrayed by Zendaya Coleman in Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2017)

CHANGE: White Female ⇒ Black Female

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This is, perhaps, the biggest race swap in geek film and TV history. Spider-Man is Marvel Comics’ most popular superhero by far and Mary Jane one of its most endearing love interests. Mary Jane’s race is not integral at all to her character, but devoted fans may take umbrage with the discrepancy between the image of her in their minds and their beloved comics and the one on the big screen.

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They’ll go along for the ride, though, and accept the change that has come… Because change has come. Significant progress has been made in diversity in La La Land and it would be foolish to complain about a few perceived slights and not proudly laud the bold steps Hollywood has taken forward. It’s a brave new world, folks. Accept it. Love it…

CELEBRATE PROGRESS WHEN IT HAPPENS.

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THE FLASH: Ezra Miller over Grant Gustin. WHY?

Ezra Miller (below left) is The Flash in DC Comics’ cinematic universe. Grant Gustin (right) is not.

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Gripers (like me) gonna gripe, but grief is a process and it is time to move past the stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression into one of Acceptance of this tragically appalling news. After all, Miller is already neck-deep into filming 2017’s Justice League with Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman as forensic scientist Barry Allen-turned-fastest man alive, The Flash. He is also confirmed for 2018’s solo venture, The Flash.

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Official concept art for Justice League: Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Ezra Miller as The Flash

We’ve all heard Zack Snyder, who directed Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and will be helming Justice League, give his decidedly canned excuse for why the insanely popular and critically acclaimed Grant Gustin wasn’t a “good fit” for The Flash of the cinematic universe he created. Basically, Gustin and his CW series about the speedster superhero were deemed too tonally light for Snyder’s depressing and ever-moody features.

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Sorry, Grant, you’re too happy to be The Flash apparently.

The Bargaining Us would have retorted, “Have you seen Grant Gustin do dark on his show? When he cries, WE ALL CRY.” The Zen and Accepting Us spots THREE POSSIBLE- AND REASONABLE- ULTERIOR MOTIVES for why the DC and Warner Bros team made such a bizarre snub:

1. They wanted to cast a female Asian Flash without casting a female Asian Flash.

There has been a lot of retconning in both DC and Marvel comics lately to make characters non-white or a different gender or sexual orientation, with the most recent example being a black and female Iron Man:

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15 year-old RiRi Williams is inheriting Tony Stark’s mantle as Iron Man (Iron Girl? Iron Woman? Iron Badass B?)

Here’s my official stance: If your core demo wants to see a character take on a different cultural, racial or sexual identity, do it! Comics’ business model, perhaps more than any other’s, has a direct line from Consumer to Business. That relationship between comics and reader is highly personal. For that same reason, however, it is unwise to go around retooling, willy-nilly, these hyper-iconic figures just to please a small-but-vocal group of SJWs who barely read the comics. Forced progress is never any progress at all.

… Which brings us to: DC seems to have gone for a sound middle ground with the selection of Miller for the role of Barry Allen, who has always been buff, blonde, and manly in the comics.

This hilariously off-color meme sums up not just the evolution of The Flash but the overall state of comics and comics-based movies and TV shows over the past two decades:

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Miller is effeminate without being female and Asiatic without being Asian (The actor’s lineage is 100% Caucasian).

DC can avoid a potentially franchise-killing controversy for casting a non-white Flash while appeasing those who have been incessantly demanding non-Caucasian males on the small and big screens. The preternaturally boyish Grant Gustin isn’t the traditional Barry Allen in terms of looks, either, but his chameleon-like acting chops won the most purist of comics fans over the moment his pilot aired.

Plus, The Flash is not He-Man; a super-fast guy should look lithe and limber, not bulky and stout.

2. DC wants indie credibility. 

DC is losing big-screen dominance to Marvel Studios/Disney and part of the reason is that MARVEL KNOWS HOW TO CAST. Their secret formula? Taking actors formerly famous for only being critics’ darlings and plopping them in the middle of these epic set pieces and storylines. Miller is the perfect get if this is DC’s newfound endgame. He’s exclusively known for small, non-studio films for which he’s received mucho critical clout inhabiting these quirky, prodigiously insightful characters. Gustin has no such reputation. Before The CW’s The Flash, he was only known for being a too-cool-for-school prepster on FOX’s millennial-centric musical Glee.

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Ezra Miller (far right) with Emma Watson and Logan Lerman in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

3. DC is unwilling to keep track of continuity.

Marvel Studios’ motto is “It’s All Connected,” meaning that all current Marvel Studios TV, Netflix, and cinematic properties are running simultaneous storylines in the same universe (officially known as the MCU). At the same time that Loki was plowing through midtown Manhattan with an alien army in The Avengers, Matthew Murdock from Netflix’s Daredevil was already practicing his nighttime vigilantism in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC with just a bandana covering his face. The Netflix series had yet to even be developed when The Avengers was released but “The Battle of New York” is now constantly referenced as having impacted the events of Daredevil. These are just two examples. Off the top of my head, Marvel Studios has had to maintain continuity throughout all of the following shows and feature films so far:

In no particular order:

  • The Avengers
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Man 2
  • Iron Man 3
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Agent Carter (recently cancelled)
  • Daredevil
  • Jessica Jones
  • Ant-Man
  • Deadpool
  • Upcoming Netflix shows: Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher
  • Upcoming MCU films: Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: Homecoming, etc.

DAMN.

Marvel is already visibly struggling to keep all these stories synced chronologically and contextually. Casting Gustin as The Flash in the cinematic DC-verse would mean entangling every last piece of canon previously established on his show with those in past movies like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as well as the upcoming Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Wonder Woman.

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Courtesy of Mic.com

DC don’t want none of that action. Sorry, Grant. They’re just too lazy? Who knows?

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Forget Sad Keanu Reeves. Say hi to Sad Grant.

DISCLAIMER: Ezra Miller is a fine young actor.  My beef isn’t that I think he’ll underperform…It’s that it was entirely unnecessary to recast the Flash when Grant Gustin’s performance has been one of the most sensational and popular in recent superhero movie/show history. You are fixing what isn’t broken and taking a risk on a new unknown variable versus hedging your bets on the likability of a familiar face.

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TV: No Gripes Here About That #TheWalkingDead Cliffhanger

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan, you handsome devil.

AN ENTIRE SUMMER OF US GOING, “PLEASE NOT DARYL. PLEASE NOT DARYL. PLEAAAAAASE. NOT. DARYL.”

This past Sunday, the art of suspense during the Zombie Apocalypse was raised to a hellish new high. Everyone was anticipating Negan, the Biggest Bad to appear yet in AMC’s The Walking Dead TV universe. More specifically, everyone was anticipating his famous death-by-Lucille (a barbed-wire baseball bat) scene from the graphic novels upon which the show is based, during which he beats one of the core protagonists to death brutally and unapologetically.

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Negan meticulously assessing each of his potential victims as a good villain does.

Well, after delivering one of the most charismatic villain-entrance soliloquys of all television and movie history, Negan (the perfectly cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan) did beat one of the group to death. Just.. we don’t know who. Plenty of fans had something to say about that fact.

*To clarify at this point, the show almost always remixes deaths from the comics so it stays its own entity and keeps faithful readers off the scent.

GUESS WHAT… IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO.

The camera switched to a first-person POV as we simply saw Negan swinging (both-handed like he’s trying to win the biggest prize at the county fair), a sudden projectile of blood and heard the cries, screams and bone-crunching as the screen faded to black. It was a monumentally traumatizing moment, yes, but the specifics of that scene were not supposed to be the defining moment of the season six finale. After the episode, bellyachers abound whined that one could “have slept through that entire episode and woken up at the last few minutes because nothing happened wah-wah.”

EVERYTHING HAPPENED.

The episode’s climax was never supposed to hinge on the death itself. The climax’s impact only worked because of the story that directly preceded it–the story of how Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the leader of a band of survivors who have successfully outlived extreme terror and danger for some time now, was stripped, layer by layer, of all confidence, hope, and strategy.

THE CLIMAX’S IMPACT ONLY WORKED BECAUSE OF THE STORY THAT DIRECTLY PRECEDED IT.

He began the episode with an alarming amount of swagger, threatening the Saviors, Negan’s muscly (and many) band of followers, to their faces and ended it on his knees with zero moves left on the chessboard. Rick couldn’t even muster the rage when Negan menaced his son. His eyes were void of all emotion except for pure and simple fear, just like a wild and wounded animal completely backed into a corner.

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Rick has never looked so defeated (third from left).

Rick’s (and by default, his group’s) journey from bravado to barely-begging was a triumphant exercise in tension; all that mattered was someone, no matter the person, paid a fatal price for the group’s ignorant hubris. Now whether it is Glenn (as in the comics) or fan-favorite Daryl or someone else entirely is next season’s arc to unfold. It was not a cliffhanger but a glimpse into a brand-new story.

IT’S FUN TO GUESS, THOUGH. JUST FOR KICKS, A POLL BY THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER ON WHO FANS THINK BIT IT BY BAT:

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TV: Elektra, The Punisher… Rating Marvel’s #Daredevil’s Sidekicks

Needless to say, you are now entering a spoiler-filled zone on Netflix’s Daredevil series:

SOPHOMORE SLUMP, SEASON TWO OF MARVEL’S DARDEVIL AIN’T. Given the vast void left by the now-imprisoned Wilson Fisk a.k.a. Kingpin (played with earth-shaking gravitas by Vincent D’Onofrio), the show has furnished itself with a plethora of vibrant supporting players to Charlie Cox’s Daredevil (Matthew Murdock by day). If you have had a Twitter, Facebook, or even Yahoo News homepage for the past few months, you knew two iconic characters from the comics were coming–Frank Castle a.k.a. The Punisher (Jon Bernthal in probably what will be the defining role of his career) and Elektra Natchios (Élodie Yung). It would take all of Hell’s Kitchen, however, to fortify the lofty stage set by D’Onofrio’s Fisk. Season two of Daredevil is really about the auxiliary arcs, those of characters adjacent to Matt Murdock’s one-man crime-fighting crusade.

LI’L GRIPES rated Season Two’s major side players on both “Likeability” and “Who Gives a ****” factors:

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SEASON 2 OF DAREDEVIL IS REALLY ABOUT THE AUXILIARY ARCS, THOSE OF CHARACTERS ADJECENT TO MATT MURDOCK’S ONE-MAN CRIME-FIGHTING CRUSADE.

The “Likeability” and “Who Gives a ****” scales are numbered 1-10, with 10 being, “I couldn’t like this character more and care what happens to him/her more than I do my parents”:

Frank Castle/The Punisher (Jon Bernthal)

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Likeability (1-10): 8

There are times the Punisher comes off as nothing more than a bloodthirsty, vengeance-seeking, and self-serving animal. More often than not, however, he is a man of great honor and compassion who never puts the hurt on anyone who didn’t deserve it. For example:

  • He mulled down an entire crew of Irish gangsters on their home turf and takes the Pit Bull they were using to dogfight, only to treat it like a lapdog.
  • He, unsolicited, comes to Daredevil’s rescue at one point because it was the right thing to do.
  • Even with the promise of revenge dangling in his face, Frank couldn’t be seduced by Wilson Fisk to go Dark Side. Frank immediately recognized how deeply entrenched in scum Fisk was and refused to associate with him. We cannot wait for his and Daredevil’s inevitable team-up next season against Fatty.

Bernthal’s performance illuminates both the terrifying killing machine Castle is as well as the teddy bear-cushy heart inside that made him fold under questioning when, of all things, his dog’s life was threatened.

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A Marine and family man who is the victim of a government cover-up, Frank Castle’s story is so ripe with morality tales and conspiracy mysteries that it should have consumed a lot more of this season than it did. He left a lot of dismembered bodies in his wake from episode one but by midseason, you already miss him whenever the Punisher is not onscreen.

Who Gives a **** Factor (1-10): 10

Although chances of the Punisher dying his inaugural season were slim given his surrounding fandom, he still came close too many times. Do we care what happens to the Punisher? Oh, HELL YEA! Our hearts even broke when he allowed himself to be incarcerated. By mid-season, we wanted nothing more than for Frank Castle to be roaming free and violently kicking asses.

FUN FACT: Jon Bernthal is not the only cast member from AMC’s The Walking Dead to play the Punisher. Norman Reedus voiced Frank Castle in 2013’s animated feature, Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore.

“Frank Castle’s story is so ripe with morality tales and conspiracy mysteries that it should have consumed a lot more of this season than it did.”

Elektra Natchios (Élodie Yung)

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Likeability: 3

The problem with the character of Elektra is that she really should have been saved for another season. We are introduced to the Punisher from the first episode and don’t meet Elektra until the end of the fourth. Completely immersed emotionally at this juncture in the Punisher’s storyline, we are literally interrupted by Elektra who steals Daredevil away to help solve her own problems.

For the most part, Elektra rubs us the wrong way with her trite rich-girl accent, bratty attitude toward literally everything she sees, and irritatingly snarky one-liners. The only times we root for Elektra are when she is mortally wounded and drops the snooty-bitch act and whenever she engages in hand-to-hand combat. Élodie Yung, who was already a black belt in karate, trained heavily to convince us of Elektra’s ninja cred and every single sweat bead paid off.

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Who Gives a **** Factor: 7

She is the Black Sky, after all. Like or dislike her, we don’t want Elektra falling into the wrong hands i.e. THE Hand. It would void everything for which Daredevil, the Punisher, and all other well-meaning warriors in this universe have ever fought. Still, Elektra’s entire character universe feels sharply dissonant from that of Murdock’s Hell’s Kitchen. Perhaps, it is really better-suited for its own show.

FUN FACT: Elektra Natchios is famously of biological Greek heritage in the comics. Because they cast Élodie Yung, an actress of Cambodian and French heritage, they reimagined Elektra to be the adopted daughter of a Greek diplomat.

“The problem with the character of Elektra is that she really should have been saved for another season.”

Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll)

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Likeability: 8

It is to the writers’, directors’, and actress’s credit that Karen Page is this likeable. From the first episode, she seemed poised at best to be a pretty wallflower and, at worst, a Mary Sue. Karen’s tenacity at peeling back the bullshit film of corrupt men is further hoisted by the actress’s mystifyingly intense glare, one that can cause grown men to wet their pants upon one look. Karen Page is a mystery, but she is also real. She’s not an expert in any martial art, but she knows her way around a handgun (a remnant of some horrible incident in her youth). She never seeks fights, but she has proven herself capable of surviving more than a few kidnappings. She ain’t there to be Daredevil’s cheerleader.

In many ways, Karen Page is more of a badass than the assassin, Elektra. An untrained secretary who singlehandedly took down the right-hand man to the biggest crime boss in New York City…Where is this woman on Tinder?! She’s earned our respect as viewers. Despite that she has been in the dark about her friend Matt’s secret identity for two seasons long, she has always fought in the daylight for the same justice Daredevil seeks.

Who Gives a **** Factor: 2

Unfortunately, liking a character and caring what happens to him or her are two separate entities in the universe of television. As enjoyable and engaging as Karen Page is, she is simply not integral enough to the Daredevil story for us to bite our fingernails over her life expectancy.

“Karen Page ain’t there to be Daredevil’s cheerleader.”

Franklin “Foggy” Nelson (Elden Henson)

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Likeability: 2

What a bellyacher Foggy Nelson is. Great lawyer? Check. Loyal friend? Check. Gullible and naïve about the reality in which he exists? YUP. Vigilantes always need their dissenters and it would be cosmic irony that the Daredevil’s best friend is his. Foggy has his moments of glory when his nonstop jokes do land as the comic relief of this show.

His funny moments are heavily outweighed yet again this season, however, by his aggressively anti-vigilante stance. Foggy’s eagerness to believe the faulty media portrayal of Frank Castle as a bloodthirsty lunatic and unwillingness to help Frank as a defense attorney is confounding. Couple that with this season’s token Foggy outburst in which he lays into Matt for being the Daredevil, for risking his life to save others, without any sympathy for how difficult the tiptoeing act of balancing work and vigilantism must be. He knows the New York City, and the Hell’s Kitchen, in which he lives. How could one be so cut off from reality under these circumstances?

Who Gives a **** Factor: 5

We actually do care what happens to Foggy- We want him to die. We are excited for the psychological ramifications his death would have on Matthew Murdock as a person and the Daredevil as a vigilante. The only other major character upon which his death will impact is Karen Page and, well, we already stated our feelings on her fate. Other than bringing the occasional moments of necessary levity to the show, Foggy Nelson is a generic doughy and clueless sidekick.

“We want Foggy Nelson to die.”

Lend us your thoughts on Season Two’s character likeability.

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Daredevil‘s Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

TV: Come Along with Me to Earth-2 – #TheFlash

CAN YOU SAY DOPPLE…GANGER ONE MORE TIME? These last two weeks of The CW’s “The Flash” saw our titular speedy hero (Grant Gustin) and two friends travel to a mirrored dimension filled with people who look, sound, and move exactly like them, except they lead completely different lives. An alternate reality in other words.

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The trip’s goal was noble, of course–to save a young girl from the demonic clutches of an evil speedster named Zoom significantly faster than Barry Allen of Earth 1 (Barry-1)/The Flash. But that’s besides the point. We viewers really went along with them on this multiverse journey to see all the trippy DC Easter eggs–people and events–that another “Earth” had in store for us… and DC did not disappoint. A world rife with doppelgangers awaited us and here were my reactions and thoughts as I watched along:

PART ONE ~ Episode 13: “Welcome to Earth-2”

5:30 As Barry, Dr. Harrison Wells (the marvelous Tom Cavanagh) whose daughter is said captured girl and their tech-geek pal/newly minted superhero with the ability to permeate the vibrations of the universe (an explanation of “Vibe”‘s powers here), Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), are speeding through the portal to the other dimension, they see objects and people in existence at all instances throughout time–in the past, present and mostly the future.

EGG SCAVENGING TIME!!!

Easter Egg #1: The Green Arrow, in either a future or alternate-reality version

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#2: 90s Flash! John Wesley Shipp (who beautifully portrays Henry Allen, Barry’s dad, on this show) is shown as the Flash on his 90s vehicle

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#3: Supergirl! The current live-action iteration of her anyways, as played by Melissa Benoist on CBS. My not-so-great feelings on that show.

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#4: Gorilla Grodd, hopefully happy and content in Gorilla City

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#5: WHO IS THIS MAN IN A FEDORA HOLDING A DERRINGER? HELP, YOU GUYS?

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#6: A ring… Green Lantern’s ring? (UPDATE: Thanks, @Kevslider on Twitter, I had a total brain fart– THIS is Barry’s ring from the Legion of Superheroes!)

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6:43 I LOVE that Barry and Cisco act like two eager tourists the moment they arrive on Earth-2:

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  • 6:50 “Holy 2001, I feel like I just opened my third eye.” – Cisco upon arrival
  • 6:55 Barry excitedly punches Cisco on the shoulder, saying “come on!” and Cisco, in all the excitement, still goes “ow.”
  • 7:45 Like two tourists, they huddle in front of a cliché landmark symbol for an uber-cheesy selfie. And I mean two-fingers-raised-horizontally-cheesy.

8:02 “AHHHH.” Their reaction to Earth-2 Henry Hewitt… Priceless:

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9:13 Laughing out loud at Cisco’s bravado:

“Alright, Zoom, you can run but you can’t hide,” as he slickly slides on a pair of power-enhancing frames to search for Zoom.

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…Nothing for a good few seconds…

“You know what, you guys are crowding my space. I can’t perform like this under pressure. If you can back up a little…”

…Wells and Barry dutifully back up.

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“Take 2… ‘Alright, Zoom, you can run…”

*LAUGHING SO HARD I’M CRYING EMOJI*

10:09 Barry’s doppelgänger (Barry-2) surfaces and he is…academic. Apparently, distinguished men of all ages wear bowties on Earth -2:

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11:30 I love that Cisco packed TWIZZLERS in his utility vest:

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12:00 Having kidnapped Barry-2 and temporarily taking his place as a CSI to suss out the sitch.. Barry-1 sees, at the Earth-2 Central City Police Department:

  • Captain Singh is apparently a constantly arrested n’er-do-well (a pimp? Drug dealer?)
  • Deadshot, a villainous sniper with a 100% shot record on Earth-1, is a good-hearted cop with the worst aim this side of the multiverse. So he’s still Deadshot…hilariously.
  • Iris West (Candice Patton) is the badass detective of the West-Allen family! She’s also, oh, hold up, why are you feeling me up…Barry’s wife:

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AT THIS POINT, I MUST make a note about the almost-anachronistic fashions of Earth-2. This is apparently an alternate reality in which science and technology are advanced almost a century ahead of Earth-1. Yet, 20-something year old men wear tweed, female police detectives wear high-waisted bell-bottoms, and fedoras bounce atop domes everywhere. Who decided that this would be the sartorial look for Earth-2? I’m not complaining but it is curious how it clashes with the technology of the times.

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ON EARTH-2, 20 SOMETHINGS WEAR TWEED, FEMALE COPS WEAR HIGH-RISE BELL-BOTTOMS, AND FEDORAS BOUNCE ON DOMES EVERYWHERE..

13:50 Enter Killer Frost a.k.a. Earth-2 Caitlin Snow  (Danielle Panabaker). From the moment you hear her echo-y voice deliver an evil monologue and then take in her leather-clad vixen look in full, you fall under her particularly icy spell. Every note of her performance (CLAP CLAP, DANIELLE) is perfection.

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The blue lips, platinum blonde mane, and all-leather ensemble suit her cold-blooded (humor me, please) persona down to the last cube in the ice tray (okay, I’m done). Killer Frost, however, may not be as one-dimensional a villain as viewers would expect.

The first hint of her possible hidden warmth is felt through her love connection to Ronnie Raymond a.k.a. Deathstorm on Earth-2, a villain who blasts nuclear energy at people. Even Killer Frost’s one-liners are not as one-toned as they usually are with Villains of the Week. She seems genuinely damaged and unfortunately twisted into who she became.

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I’m SO gonna be Killer Frost for Halloween 2016.

Every crack in Killer Frost’s broken person sheds human light upon her soul… I enjoy Panabaker a lot more as Frost than as a goody two shoes MD on Earth-1.

15:38 Iris West-Allen undressing in front of Barry-1 causes him to look away like he’s suddenly disgusted by the sight of female breasts… Just good ol’ Barry being respectful to a woman who doesn’t know he’s impersonating her husband.

15:52 Here’s the kicker: Iris tells Barry-1, “Your mom called.” DROP THE MIC–Barry-1’s mom has been dead on Earth-1 since he was 11–for 15 years.

16:00 Barry-1 calls Nora Allen/Earth-2 and we see some very important names on the landline phone’s speed dial:

  • Hal (as in Jordan?! a.k.a.The Green Lantern?!)
  • Diana (as in Prince?! a.k.a. WONDER friggin’ WOMAN?! They have Wonder Woman on speed dial?!)
  • Eddie (Earth-1 Iris’ fiancé who died to save the world)… In this world, I can’t fathom why they would plant Eddie on speed dial. Does he have powers like Hal and Diana? Or is he just an ex here, too?
    • “HEY HONEY, LET’S PUT YOUR EX ON OUR SPEED DIAL FOR SH!TS AND GIGGLES.”

16:35 Barry speaking to his mom = MUCHO TEARS ON MY END. Learning that she’s not only alive on this Earth but happy and healthy…Waterworks.

18:57 Joe (Jesse L. Martin) as a pro lounge singer! Wow, is Jesse L. Martin a smooth vocalist! Bad news… Barry and Joe are not loving foster son and dad on Earth-2 but “Bartholomew” and “Joseph” to each other…A hostile son-and-father-in-law relationship there.

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20:00 Joe’s strong dislike (hatred) for Barry is saddening but mostly hilarious…

EVERY DAMN TIME JOE CALLED BARRY “BARTHOLOMEW,” I PRETTY MUCH PEED MYSELF.

22:05 Back on Earth-1, Jay Garrick confessed yet another shady side to his increasing lack of character– Zoom didn’t steal his powers; he lost them by being greedy and experimenting on himself so he can get more speed.

WOW. I NEVER SAW ME LOVING HARRISON “HARRY” WELLS AND DISLIKING JAY GARRICK AT THE SEASON’S START…

THIS GUY GETS FISHIER AND FISHIER WITH EACH APPEARANCE. SWIM, SWIM, MY LI’L FISHY!

26:00 “God, this is making me so hot!” -Killer Frost watching Deathstorm try to blast the Flash.

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Deathstorm and Killer Frost, two villains up in the flames of their love

30:00 Why am I crying at a fake Joe West’s death? I hate this show’s ability to manipulate feels.

32:21 TOTAL CLARK KENT MOMENT! BARRY, WHO OTHERWISE NEVER GETS THE OPPORTUNITY, GOT TO WHIP OFF HIS GLASSES BEFORE SUPERHEROICS.

33:00 Talk about the dull Villain of the Week. Geomancer… easily the worst thing about this 2-part series. “Get ready to rumble.” Yes, we get it. You make the earth quake. Blah blah, see you in cuffs soon.

33:38 Jay’s speed drug fails him amidst superheroics. DON’T DO SPEED-ENHANCING DRUGS, KIDS.

36:05 Cisco seeing his Earth-2 counterpart:

“Dopple…” – Cisco-1

“…Ganger” -finishes Cisco-2

36:20 Of course, Cisco-2 is evil and shares Cisco’s powers–he’s just way more advanced in exercising them.

37:20 “Are you Cloud City-Vadering me right now?” -Cisco-1 after his counterpart offers to split the Earth-2 empire with him.

38:30 Love “Deadshot” missing each and every attempt at shooting Cisco-2 at close range.

39:20 For a guy who can run about 10x faster than the Flash, Zoom talks at a painfully slow pace. Like, dude, are you like Bane and severely injured around your mouth area or something?

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Zoom grabbing Barry-1/The Flash; I bet Zoom’s breath STINKS.

40:01 A twinge of sympathy for Killer Frost as she weeps over Evil Ronnie’s dead body, courtesy of Zoom.

40:40 As Caitlin and Jay discuss his condition and the possibility of their friends being stuck on Earth-2 forever, I’m beginning to suspect Jay has a terrible ulterior motive. Call it an inkling.

41:14 Great, Barry’s stuck in a prison with the Gimp:

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PART TWO ~ Episode 14: “Escape from Earth-2”

(the superior episode of the 2-parter IMO)

2:20 CAN SOMEONE KILL ZOOM ALREADY SO I DON’T HAVE TO EVER HEAR HIM HOARSELY WHISPER AGAIN IN THAT QUASI-BRITISH ACCENT?

3:30 Barry-2, still kidnapped and locked in a room by Wells and Cisco, is…delightful.

“Hello??? Whoever’s responsible for this…Ohh, we are going to have words, the two of us!”

Now, Barry-1’s no smooth operator but Gustin does an amazing job further differentiating between an awkward-but-superpowered Barry and an awkward-and-super-awkward Barry.

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Stop whimpering, Barry-2! Zoom’s out there!

7:00 The mute and masked Gimp won’t stop tapping, attempting to send the captured Barry-1 a message.

I SAY THE GIMP’S PERCENTAGE CHANCES OF BEING SOMEONE THEY ALL KNOW (OR THINK THEY DO) ARE AT WELL OVER 90.

8:02 Jay CONSTANTLY is breach-fixing, making everyone think he’s the one screwing with the breaches. Maybe he is really a good guy, but he definitely has more nasty skeletons in his closet to share.

9:30 Scott Evans? A pretty-boy editor for Iris on Earth-1… Smells like a love interest for her (before she meets her inevitable destiny and marries Barry) to me.

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Iris’ sexy new boss, Scott Evans (Tone Bell)

12:25 “Patty Spivot is pretty… thorough in her metahuman logs.” – Earth-2 Barry, the pause indicating a whimsical wink at Barry and Patty’s former romance on Earth-1.

12:30 Barry-2’s lab looks identical to his on Earth-1. Guess they ran out of prop and CGI money to upgrade the look of his man-cave.

15:54 “Velocity 9” for Jay–All this emphasis on the advancement of speed drugs for Jay just makes me more and more nervous that his story is heading down a sinister path.

18:00 My favorite SFX on any speedster is when his eyes crackle with lightning:

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18:35 SOMETHING TELLS US JAY WASN’T NAPPING DOWNSTAIRS LIKE HE TOLD CAITLIN…

19:02 And now the Gimp is tapping to tell Barry-1 something about Jay.

A LOT OF FAN THEORIES SWARM THE GIMP’S IDENTITY SO I’LL JUST SPELL OUT THE FACTS AND THE FACTS ALONE:

  • THE GIMP IS IN THE SAME UNBREAKABLE GLASS PRISON AS THE FLASH, BUT NOT JESSIE. A SPEEDSTER PRISON?
  • THE GIMP VEHEMENTLY SHAKES HIS HEAD WHEN BARRY REPLIES, “JAY GARRICK IS ALIVE.”
  • AFTER BARRY INSISTS JAY GARRICK IS ON EARTH-1, THE GIMP FRUSTRATINGLY BANGS HIS HEAD ON THE WALL.

So… keep speculating. This is quite the entangled mystery. Bravo, showrunners.

21:22 Killer Frost continues her dance with her good, bad and neutral sides throughout these two episodes. As Cisco-1 reminds her, they now have a common enemy in Zoom. Yet, she seems both afraid of Zoom and a naturally loyal follower.

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Evil or good? Which am I today? Hmm…

A question about Killer Frost’s powers: She throws apparently deadly icicles through people’s chests. HOW DEADLY are icicles in real life when aimed at most places on the human body? Is it the speed at which she propels them?

28:53 “Caitlin, so sorry I didn’t come sooner.” – Jay… OH, you mean “sooner” as in when I almost died in a crazy, loud-ass fight with Geomancer while you were a mere floor below supposedly napping?

I DO NOT TRUST JAY GARRICK!

33:06 Barry’s speech to Barry motivating him to get fast enough to phase through his prison walls was this episode’s “Barry-1 talking to mom.”

“I’M JUST BARRY ALLEN… YOU’RE THE FLASH.” – BARRY-2 TO BARRY-1

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Heart to Heart with Barry and Barry

35:60 Gimp looks very happy when Barry escapes from Zoom and encouraged him to leave him behind for the time being for Barry’s sake. Sounds like the Gimp is a hero to me.

38:36 “WE HAVE SOME FAMILY IN ATLANTIS WHO CAN HELP US OUT.”

40:24 HOORAY! Dr. Wells, and therefore, Tom Cavanagh, is going back for good to Earth-1. I’m not prepared to lose Tom as a series regular.

40:42 Jay conveniently stands in front of the last closing portal to Earth-2 just long enough for Zoom to stick his claws through Jay’s chest and pull him back to the other dimension. Something tells me that’s what Jay wanted all along…

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WHO IS THE MAN IN THE MASK (WHOM I HAVE BEEN CHEEKILY CALLING THE GIMP AND FOR THAT, I AM SORRY, SIR)?

WHAT IS JAY AFTER? IS HE REALLY JAY GARRICK?

HOW DOES ZOOM POSE A THREAT TO TEAM FLASH NOW THAT THEY HAVE SUPPOSEDLY CLOSED ALL THE PORTALS BETWEEN THE TWO EARTHS?

THOUGHTS?

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Dopple…ganger

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TV: If You’re Not Watching These 3 Shows, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Part 3: Conclusion

Part 1: What’s Show #1?

Part 2: What’s Show #2?

FOR SHOW NÚMERO TRES, we chose something a bit… controversial. This trilogy of show recommendations was never meant to suggest they are necessarily la crème de la crème, simply worthy mentions that deserve a special spotlight in the waves of critical praise being hurled at so many shows these days.

AND… BA-BA-BA-BUM…

3. Legends of Tomorrow,  CW // Thursday, 8PM EST

 “If butterfly wings can cause a hurricane, a missing marijuana joint from the past just might alter the future…”

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WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER “GREAT TV”? If it is a piece of entertainment that keeps you lingering on every word and plot turn and endears the characters immediately to your heart (a.k.a. gives you “the feels” for them), then DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is “great TV,” regardless of one’s genre-preference.

A show premised on a motley crew of elite fighters, killers and thieves from the DC comics banding together to stop an immortal tyrant from annihilating the world in the future, Legends of Tomorrow (LoT) seems to be typical superhero/sci-fi action fare at first blush.

We implore you to get to second blush.

For a storyline fraught with such densely packed supernatural elements (our protagonists include two winged, reincarnated Egyptian demigods, a time-traveler with a time-traveling ship, and two men with the ability to absorb and project nuclear energy once fused into one body), it is the most grounded of all superhero-driven vehicles on TV right now. While each episode is framed around a noble attempt on their grand mission, the real focus is on the ensemble of characters and their collective chemistry as well as individual story arcs.

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Hawkgirl and Hawkman at play, two members of this motley super-crew

Let’s break down exactly what makes LoT give you the feels:

CHARACTER WORK

LoT is basically a Suicide Squad with more hero-than-villain ingredients in the recipe. Nobody on this team is supremely powerful, altruistic or experienced in superheroics the way Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman of DC’s Justice League are. They each have noticeable flaws and weaknesses to which they must attend and confront throughout this show, especially when crammed into a time-ship with seven other colorful characters. Two of them, in fact, Captain Cold/Leonard Snart and Heatwave/Mick Rory (played by Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell, respectively, from FOX’s Prison Break) are stone-cold robbers who originally joined the mission so they could steal objects of mass value throughout history.

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Familiar faces? Prison Break says hi. Left to Right: Dominic Purcell as Heatwave and Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold

Yet unlike the Suicide Squad, none of them are archvillains forced by G-men to perform acts of heroism. Everyone here is a volunteer. Even the two professional robbers hilariously conjoin their original selfish mission with the grand, nobler one:

  • e.g. they can’t swipe a Pentagon official’s keycard to save the world without also lifting her wallet in the process:

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LoT is basically a Suicide Squad with more hero-than-villain ingredients in the recipe.

The character arcs are laid out such that the darker members of the team often turn out to be more conscientious than the surface Boy Scouts. But don’t get us wrong: This isn’t one of those shows that beat you over the head with “don’t judge a book by its cover” morality tales.

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The resurrected assassin known as the White Canary/Sara Lance, as played by Caity Lotz.

What truly fascinates about Legends of Tomorrow is that it took a band of I-could-care-less, no-name superheroes and MADE us care within the first 10 minutes about each and every single member… whether they lived or died…whether they are happy or sad…thanks to the seamless manner in which the show interweaves character-driven dilemmas with the larger plot of each episode.

Legends of Tomorrow took a band of I-could-care-less, no-name superheroes and MADE us care within the first 10 minutes about each and every single member.

PREMISE

Time-travel. Mankind will be as obsessed with this theory as we are with zombies for as long as we are on this Earth. A group of heroes who travel to the future and back in time to stop a Hitler-on-‘roids from completing his endgame? Pretty slick.

As usual with time-travel stories, the danger of disrupting the present and future timelines by traveling to the past is presented, keeping the characters and audience on their toes.

A group of heroes who travel to the future and back in time to stop a Hitler-on-‘roids from completing his endgame? Pretty slick.

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The “Legends” aboard the Waverider, their handy time-traveling ship

 STOP-THE-CLOCK QUOTES

  • “I’ve watched Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall.” – Rip Hunter, the aforementioned time-traveler from the future, during a motivational speech to the team he assembled.
  • “Where–when–I’m from, you’re not just heroes…You’re legends.” – Rip Hunter again (He’s the team leader–it makes sense that he gets the heart-soaring quotes)
    • Speaking of the show’s human touch, a gut-wrenching plot twist is when Hunter reveals the truth: that these folks are not legends or even heroes in his time but nobodies whose lives and deaths had zero impact on the world. “Your life meant nothing,” is basically what they learned. This show is propped up on their desire to alter that fate.

A gut-wrenching twist is when Hunter reveals the truth: that these folks are not legends or even heroes but nobodies whose lives and deaths had zero impact on the world.

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They don’t look like nobodies.

ITS FUN, WHACKY BOLDNESS

  • An elderly, meekish professor who is the brainy half of Firestorm (the aforementioned two-men-fusing-into-one Nuclear Man) ROOFIES his significantly younger counterpart into going on a mission together. It is simultaneously creepy and hilarious.
  • Someone steals a joint from the 1970s, leaving us to wonder if this will cause temporal disruptions on the show:
    • If butterfly wings can cause a hurricane, a missing marijuana joint from the past just might alter the future…That’s the fun, whacky train of thinking this show provokes that makes it so refreshing from other superhero shows.
  • The cojones on the showrunners to KILL OFF a major character in the second half of the pilot. Like, what?! We applaud their sheer audacity.
  • As discussed, the juxtaposition of two multi-convicted criminals now having to jaunt around on a spaceship with people like a tech-billionaire do-gooder and a quantum physics professor is charming and WTF at once.
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The two halves of Firestorm: Left to Right: Victor Garber as Professor Martin Stein and Franz Drameh as Jefferson Jackson/the physical manifestation of Firestorm

ACTING ACE IN THE HOLES:

There are some big gets for this show acting-wise, beginning with the time-traveling leader himself, played by Arthur Darvill, ironically enough a former Doctor Who actor himself.

  • The roofie-ing professor is played with perfect precision and flair by living legend Victor Garber.
  • The Atom/Ray Palmer is none other than Brandon Routh a.k.a. Christopher Reeves Reincarnated a.k.a. Superman in that-Superman-movie-that-was-awful-but-not-because-of-Brandon. Routh has carved his career out of being the good-looking-but-bumbling funny guy and he nails it here, as well.
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Brandon Routh as The Atom/Ray Palmer
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Brandon Routh, born to play as many superheroes as humanly possible

Legends of Tomorrow is so enjoyable that you easily forgive the slight-if-many plotholes sprinkled throughout this show. A show about time-travel and superheroes is bound to have miniscule details brushed aside for the grander scheme of storytelling. Just hop aboard, lay back in your seat and get comfy for the fun and trippy ride.

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