- Lost Hits of the New Wave
- The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast
- The Cape
- The Following
- Bionic Nostalgia
- True Blood
- Doctor Who
- The Flash
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Agent Carter
- Avengers Assemble
- Age of Ultron
- Legion of Super-Heroes
- Jessica Jones
- Young Justice
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Legends of Tomorrow
- Civil War II
- Luke Cage
Friday, February 28, 2014
The foremost of these baddies, in the Silver Age 1960s, was the Clock King. Like most Batman villains, the Clock King's crimes and gimmicks were themed, in his case, clocks and time. Though he wore a rather simple costume and cape, William Tockman's full face mask was a clock, both simplistic and disturbing. In my first encounter with the villain he had imprisoned Green Arrow and Speedy in a gigantic hourglass deathtrap.
Later, when Green Arrow grew a beard and became a liberal, and comics became most 'realistic,' the Clock King was unfortunately treated as almost a joke before fading into obscurity. He was a member of the laughable Injustice League in Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis' comedy Justice League comics, before being murdered as a member of the Suicide Squad. Notably he has reappeared in the New 52.
Ironically the villain's two previous television incarnations were as a Batman foe. Walter Slezak portrayed the Clock King on the 1966 "Batman" TV series, trapping Batman and Robin in the very same hourglass that held Green Arrow and Speedy in the comics. A slicker, cooler, differently powered Clock King menaced the caped crusader in the 1990s animated series.
Like his comics counterpart, he's obsessed with time and clock gadgetry, and unlike him, he's a killer. Happily, he's called the Clock King on the show, unlike many villains who know that's who they are but are never referenced as such aloud. He's also very resourceful and prepared, hacking Felicity's communication in his first encounter with our heroes.
With Sara revealed to be alive, we have a bit of a Lance family reunion this episode. It doesn't go well, as expected. Laurel is the obvious pooper, what with Sara ruining her life and all, but Dad wants it to work, especially between him and Dinah, so an attempt is made. Too bad Oliver is there too. Well, I guess someone has to play a-hole.
I am loving seeing (Green) Arrow and (Black) Canary as a team. We're finally getting some superhero action in this superhero show. For all those folks who gave up on this show early last season, come back, it's gotten sooo much better. That said, we need more of this and less of the soap opera.
Further comics shouts include Central City, the Flash's hometown, Kord Enterprises, owned by Ted Kord, the second Blue Beetle, Blue Devil movie ad on the side of the bus? Coming 'this summer' too, maybe we'll see more? And there's also the fictional MacGregor's Syndrome that almost took out Alfred in Batman Forever, and similarly affects Tockman's sister, as it also did Mister Freeze's wife.
Now while we've been away, and just today as well, there's been lots of "Arrow" news, mostly in the way of two photos on the internet. The first is of the television version of the Suicide Squad, set to appear in the March 19th episode, imaginatively titled "Suicide Squad."
Next week: finally, Deathstroke!
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Biff Bam Pop!, we've been running a theme called "February Faves" where we've been asking our staff and regular contributors to list their favorites in a variety of orthodox and sometimes unorthodox set of categories.
So far we've had Favorite 1980s Songs, Television Villains, Single Issue Comic Books, Recipes Made for Your Soul, Sci-Fi Shows, Break-Up Songs, X-Men, Wicked Women, Movie Marathons, Performances by Seth Green, Performances by Comedians in Serious Roles, Musicians in Movies, Winter Blues Songs, Pop Culture Massacres, and Early Performances You May Have Missed.
And my contributions to February Faves included my Favorite Reboots, Superhero Sidekicks, Favorite Avengers, Cover Songs Better than the Originals, and tomorrow I will be closing out the month with my favorite Avengers stories, look for it!
If you'd like to see everything Biff Bam Pop! has offered for February Faves, you can click here. Thanks for clicking, and reading, Happy February!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
In the late 1980s and early 1990s I loved WXPN, the radio station of the University of Pennsylvania. They were the successful adult version of what passes for most college radio. They were not just different and sophisticated, but they were cool too. Hell, they were the coolest. They had wonderful specialized music programs like Amazon Country, Joe Frank, Gay Dreams, Star's End, Sleepy Hollow, Yesterday's Now Music Today, and the aforementioned Beat Planet. And they also had regular deejays as well.
WDRE caught my attention for a couple years, and I missed what happened to poor Karin Begin.
Karin Begin became so hot, a Philadelphia magazine did a story on her, one that went from feature to expose when her background turned out to be falsified. When it further came out her entire resume was made up, XPN fired her. Upon reading about it, I did remember some of the details. She intimated she and Kiefer Sutherland had been an item, and was in his movie The Bay Boy. I remember renting it to see her, but couldn't find her.
While I cheated on XPN with DRE, Karin moved to one of my favorite radio stations, Z Rock in Baltimore, as Shannon Rock. There she was interviewed for "48 Hours" for an episode about lying, which resulted in her dismissal there. Does anyone check resumes any more?
Karin next resurfaced in San Francisco as Darian O'Toole doing mornings and competing with the syndicated Howard Stern with her own brand of talk, rock, and raunch. She did well for a while with her 'ovaries with attitude' identity there, and her propensity for untruth continued to be part of her repertoire as well. Eventually she list that job too.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Monday, February 24, 2014
I first became aware of Harold Ramis from "SCTV." In my youth, the show aired a 1 AM, right after the original "Saturday Night Live," and was known by me and my friends as 'the secret SNL.' We called it that because most folks turned off the TV when SNL was over, they didn't know about this treasure. "SCTV" was a skit show set under the premise of a fictional Canadian TV network, and featured performers from Chicago's improv troupe, Second City, from which coincidentally half of the original SNL cast was from as well.
Harold Ramis was the head writer of the show, as well as working for Playboy and National Lampoon. From this starting point, he began form his comedy technique, and began writing film. Animal House, Stripes, Meatballs, and Caddyshack (which he also directed) all came before Ghostbusters.
the song that would eventually make Huey Lewis richer.
Later he would come into his own as a director and producer as well, with such films as Vacation, Analyze This, a favorite of mine, Someone to Eat Cheese With, and The Ice Harvest. He would also do his final film with Bill Murray, probably their best film, Groundhog Day, a piece of brilliance that the two men disagreed on how it should be done. To this day, it's probably what has kept Ghostbusters 3 from happening.
We've lost one of the greats, both behind and in front of the camera, who made us laugh and made us think. Harold Ramis will be missed.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Done initially for Archie Comics and animated for the Hub Network, Stan Lee's Mighty 7 does have an intriguing twist if old hat characters and execution. The twist is that it stars Stan Lee as himself. While trying to figure out a new comic idea for Archie he comes upon space refugees from outer space, who he teaches to become superheroes. His writer's block is solved.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Other than fighting with my parents, the warning label, and that all the kids at school were talking about it the next day, I remember very little about it. I know it was theatrically released in Europe with scenes of Elizabeth Montgomery committing the murders in the nude. And of course there was the jump rope rhyme - "Lizzie Borden took an ax, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one."
We had all heard it was a true story, or rather that the movie was based on a true story, one of a horrible murderess who took out both her parents with an ax. I learned later the facts of the case, and that Lizzie Borden was actually acquitted of the crimes and went on to live in the same town of Fall River for another four decades, albeit in infamy, but a free citizen.
Flowers in the Attic remake) the Lifetime Network makes a splash with a movie event, the both humorously and horrifically titled Lizzie Borden Took an Ax. In the title role this time is Christina Ricci, and as much as I love her, she's no Elisabeth Montgomery, despite the resemblance.
the hypnotic "Psychotic Girl" by The Black Keys over the opening credits. The alternative soundtrack continues throughout as if music supervisor Tree Adams didn't know if he was scoring a Lizzie Borden movie or Marie Antoinette 2. I'm not complaining, I was digging the tunage, I just question the appropriateness of it.
This is a good version of the legend, and while not necessarily sticking to the facts, it's a good story. I loved the music, I loved the muted colors, but I wish we could have had Elizabeth Montgomery instead of Christina Ricci. Worth watching.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
If you go to Starbucks, they are quite happy if you order something while you use their wireless. It seems to buy you about three hours. After that they will become what ranges from subtle to passive/aggressive, and sweep under your table and chair, wipe your table, stare at you with those "Are you gonna buy something else?" eyes, and maybe clear their throat every once in a while - but nothing overt.
At Panera bread it is a bit more aggressive. You had better buy something, and once you're finished, the Starbucks dance will begin in earnest. If you don't take a hint, Panera will ask you to buy something else, or they will tell you to hit the road.
You don't really get the 'order something else' eyes at McDonald's however, there they have a different problem, they start looking at you like you might be homeless, despite the presence of a laptop. It's a good thing you can always tap their wireless in your car in their parking lot. They still might call the cops and report you for vagrancy though.
Speaking of Comcast, I don't think I can express my unhappiness with them at this point, and oh yes, I'm holding back. Hopefully however the problem will be resolved this week... or so I've been told...
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Here are the entries for Albania and the Ukraine, who will all be participating in the First Semi-Final on May 6, 2014:
"Zemërimi I Një Nate (One Night’s Anger)" by Hersi Matmuja
"Tick-Tock" by Maria Yaremchuk
Monday, February 17, 2014
The Dumpsta Players Present "DISCOTASTROPHE!"
The Date: Wednesday, FEBRUARY 19, 2014
The Time: Doors open at 10 PM, showtime is 11 PM sharp! 21+ $1.99 cover!
The Place: Bob and Barbara's, 1509 South Street, Philadelphia PA, For info: 215-545-4511
Nothing defines the disco era quite like drama, drugs and divas! Swirling, twirling and whirling, one might encounter Liza or Jagger at Studio 69 bumping a boogie while Sylvester werked her booty under a mirror ball!
Join us as we hustle through thirty minutes of feathered hair, polyester, tube tops, fashion no-no's, questionable hookups and glitterama! But beware when Andy Gibb does one too many party favors...
Break a heel, feather your hair, but don't snort coke in the Ladies Room or you'll create a… "DISCOTASTROPHE!"
A portion of proceeds from this event benefit Gaudenzia House.
Gaudenzia helps people affected by chemical dependency, mental illness and related conditions to achieve a better quality of life -- allowing them to live as productive and accountable individuals.
Check out The Dumpsta Players on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and on their own website.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
"Flowers in the Attic" by V.C. Andrews is at its core a tale of forbidden love. A rich girl has an incestuous relationship with an uncle, and both are cast from the family. They live almost happily ever after outside the family, with a teenage son and daughter as well as pre-teen twins, until the uncle dies in a car accident. The mother must return to her family for help. The children are locked away in a huge attic because her parents are a bit deranged. While the mother is accepted back into the family slowly, the son and daughter enter puberty in the attic, where it's sinisterly intended they never escape from.
That's the first book. It continues in "Petals on the Wind," "If There Be Thorns," "Seeds of Yesterday," and "Garden of Shadows," a Gothic horror series of books telling the repeating incestuous history of this family, all with cool cut out peekaboo covers. Because of the content, they were banned in many schools, but everybody, including boys like me, read them. They were mostly narrated by the daughter, Cathy Dollanganger, and there was much speculation that the stories were true, and Cathy was actually the wheelchair-bound V.C. Andrews. Oh, the rumor filled days from the before the internet!
Now, almost three decades later, the Lifetime Network is trying to take the Dollanganger clan the movie route. This production has Heather Graham as the mother, Ellen Burstyn as the grandmother, and Kiernan Shipka as Cathy. While Graham is seared onto my eyelids eternally from Lenny Kravitz' "American Woman" video and hard from me to imagine as matronly, I think Shipka is perfect casting. The simple fact that so many times I have wanted to slap the crap out of her snotty and rebellious Sally on "Mad Men" makes her the perfect Cathy - because really, the character is just a spoiled bitch. I loved the books, but by the end of them, I kinda felt she deserved the tragedy that was her life. Just my opinion.
This is perhaps not a perfect version of Flowers, but it is easily light years better than the first movie version. Anyone chased away by the 1987 film should check this out, it's the movie we should have gotten, and a much more satisfying translation of the book.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Sara Lance, known as The Canary, was trained by the League of Assassins, and after being pursued to Starling City, she left, hoping to lead her assailants away from her family. At the end of the last episode, she appeared to have returned, and based on the title of tonight's episode, she appears to have brought her enemies home.
From their conversation, Nyssa saved Sara when she was shipwrecked, trained her, and they had a relationship. What is it with daughters of the demon and superheroes? When Sara won't return to the League, Nyssa decides to teach her a lesson. She kidnaps her mom, Alex (Riversong) Kingston, who's visiting supposedly overdosed Laurel. Turns out Nyssa poisoned Laurel too, talk about psycho ex-girlfriends.
Soap opera continues as Moira launches her mayoral campaign against Blood. Felicity finds out Thea is Malcolm's daughter and Moira shushes her like the villain she is. She even pulls the same stunt with Blood himself, before alienating Oliver. Yep, if I was a Starling City voter, I'd be leaning toward Blood.
And when are they going to let Diggle do something other than stand around? They even took his girlfriend away so he doesn't even have a subplot any more. The one real regret I have about this otherwise excellent episode is that Felicity and Oliver's talk about his mom happens off screen. Such a wasted opportunity.
Next: The Clock King!
Just a quick apology for my absence, as first health issues and then lingering internet problems have kept me from keeping this blog up to its usual schedule. Hopefully we'll be back on track soon. Thanks for your patience.
Saturday, February 08, 2014
Bronze Tiger. And his escape from prison could gave been less graphic and disgusting. Not to mention that his plan was a bit old hat as well. I'm also sad that Bronze Tiger has been reduced to Wolverine clone. This was a dramatic, but not happy, start to the episode.
Flashback Island works much better when we don't know ahead of time what's going to happen. Everything now seems telegraphed, whereas previously, sometimes the past had more surprises than the present day. Maybe the writers should stop reminding us that Ivo is dead and Slade gets an arrow in the eye.
Again I find myself wondering if Diggle and Felicity will just stand around and do nothing this episode. Perhaps there are too many characters to keep track of in this show? Speaking of too many characters, the soap opera aspect that pulled down many an episode last season returns with Moira for mayor and Laurel in crisis. More superhero action please.
Our closer has a very svelte New 52 Amanda Waller recruiting the now jailed Bronze Tiger for a squad of like individuals. It's notable that former Arrow opponents Count Vertigo and Deadshot were both longtime members of the Waller run Suicide Squad in the comics. I can't wait to see this subplot come together. Speaking of subplots, next week the Black Canary returns, and she brings Nyssa, daughter of Ras Al Ghul, with her...
Friday, February 07, 2014
One very cool side effect is Arrow and Laurel's excellent adventure to steal a file from the city hall archives. This is an awesome action sequence I'd like to see more of. It not only showed that not all of Starling City's police are inept, but also that Arrow can outthink as well as outfight them when needed. It kinda puts Starling's cops a notch up on Gotham's in my book.
Going for that second score, Blood then kidnaps Laurel under Oliver's nose to lead the Arrow into a trap. At last! Arrow vs. Brother Blood, even the closed captioning acknowledges the villain's true name. He gives a nice rationale for the mask, and exhibits some very Batman-like disappearing techniques, but still, Arrow and Laurel manage to take down... the wrong guy.
Roy spills the beans to Sin about his newfound powers from the Mirakiru, and proposes he become a living target to find the bad guys in Starling City. And even though telling one gal and not the other puts a bit of a romantic split in the Speedy Gang, Sin and Roy set out after the Starling City Slasher.
It seems that with great power comes greater anger management. Roy uses his superhuman strength and lack of control to put the perp in the hospital. He's remorseful but the rest of the Speedy Gang is worried.
Seems her loyalties lie more with Ivo than with Oliver. She takes the walkie talkie and immediately calls her old boss. And it also seems like Ivo may have been more old flame than old boss. Either way, let's just say it's going to be a bad break up.
Speaking of old NTT villains, at the end of this episode we get our first look at the present day Slade as Deathstroke in costume. Not too shabby. I have to say I prefer the island mask as it has more of the comics look as opposed to this hockey goalie vibe, but still, it's Deathstroke, finally.