Category Archives: tv

Batman: The Animated Series and I, Twenty-Five Years Later

I was a bit too young to watch the Batman animated series as a kid, specifically on a regular basis. During it’s early years, anyway, I missed a lot of the show while it was airing. It wasn’t until its later Fox Kids years that I started catching the show after school.

6batmantaliaI remember seeing those episodes as a kid and them seeming so epic. There wasn’t a lot like it, until Gargoyles, that felt like an adult show I was getting away with watching. Those later episodes introduced me to Ra’s al Ghul and the forbidden romance between Batman and Talia, Killer Croc’s inability to reform and the Riddler’s obsessions. I still wasn’t able to watch the show on regular basis, but I knew it was out there and was telling stories that were cooler than any of the other shows I had been following. Images like Ra’s hand reaching out of the Lazarus Pit, Babydoll shooting a shattered mirror or that kiss between Batman and Talia have stuck with me for years.

When Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was released on VHS, my mom rented a copy for me. I don’t know how it all worked out but I ended up watching it alone one night when everyone was asleep. At the time, I couldn’t have been much older than seven and I knew instantly that I was getting away with something.

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As people were dying, kissing and dealing with these huge issues on screen, I kept checking to make sure no one was coming. If my mom saw a mobster getting crushed underneath a tombstone, that tape was going back to the video store pronto. When the Joker was on screen, it was terrifying but thrilling. The clown was killing people! Everything about that movie felt dangerous and it was an eyeopener for my young self. It might be one of the best movie experiences I’ve ever had.

Years later, when the show moved to the WB and became an after school block with the Superman animated series, it became something I watched religiously. That block became a refuge for me. I looked forward to getting to it on time after another terrible school day and it lasted until my parents came home and life became slightly less ideal.

pan12That rebooted version of the show, with it’s updated animation style, was the coolest show in the world for me. It introduced me to Nightwing, a Robin that I was actually jealous of and a Batgirl I would follow to the ends of the earth. Episodes like “Over the Edge”, “Mad Love”, “Growing Pains” and “Joker’s Millions” left huge impressions on me and influenced my view on all the characters. When I started reading Batman comics, starting with No Man’s Land, I was confused by any differences between the elements of the show and what was on paper. But, without the animated series, I would have never picked up the comic.

Batman Beyond and the Justice League series really deserve their own blog, as well as the Superman show. They all became important to me at different times in my life and kept the continuity started by the Batman animated series alive, as well as the character of Batman himself.

batman-the-animated-series-3I was finally able to watch all the episodes I had missed when the series was released onto DVD. Those collections were wonderful and I’ve watched through them multiple times, always excited to restart the series. It’s the easiest show in the world to binge because it’s quality is so high and the characters are so compelling. It’s also one of the few shows I watched as a kid that stands up to watching as an adult. This anniversary has given me the bug again but it’s not something I’ll fight. The show is a treasure to Batman fans. It introduced me to so much of that world and influenced my tastes in huge ways. No other Batman series has topped it in quality, even though Batman: Brave and the Bold found it’s own identity and works on it’s on level. Only Batman Begins has ever come close to being such a faithful adaptation. Twenty-five years later and the original 90s show still has all the vitality of a much younger series. It’s timeless, it’s iconic, it’s Batman.

Why I Hate Lost (Even Now That It’s Done)

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I wanna get off now, thank you.

I don’t like Lost.

I know I’m not alone in this, but I feel like I’ve had a weird experience with the show. You see, when the show first started, I tried watching it, but like the passengers of the plane, I felt lost every episode. It wasn’t newbie friendly and I didn’t have Tivo, so I ignored the series. But people around my liked it, so I had to deal with listening to them talking about the show like it was God’s gift to television. This was before college and it was rough, but I made it through. I would see an episode on TV but I would skip it or, if I was with those watching it, I would ignore it.

Then, I entered college. This would be around the fourth and fifth season, so the show was losing people who came over to my side of the fence; people who felt like the show was going nowhere. But, most people in my dorm loved the show. Which meant I had to deal with more episodes playing then I had ever seen. Come the end of the show, roommates were crowding the common rooms as the watched breathlessly the show I had to keep shutting out with music or a book.

You would think, once the show ended, that I would be free it’s presence. No such luck, as of writing this, my wife is starting the sixth season on Netflix. Which means, two to three years after the show ended, I’m stuck having to see more episodes on my television.

In a way, having watched the series out of order and randomly, I feel like my experience with the island is very much like the characters on the show.

But I can’t stand the series. Sometimes, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills when people talk about how good the show is. All I can see is unlikable, obnoxious character who do whatever the writers need done, not what they would do. Mysteries that don’t get answered, plots that get covered in more plots to the point of having to measure time by the layer of soil on each thread and I can’t for the life of me understand why watching a bunch of people walk around on an island doing nothing is entertaining. Every episode I see moves at a snail’s pace and ends on a cliffhanger that will not have a satisfying resolution come next week. Sure, in the first season, I thought the Myst/Riven like atmosphere of the show was intriguing, but talk about throwing away all the goodwill you built.

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So. Freaking. Unlikable.

Maybe it’s because it was genre television for those who didn’t normally watch genre television, but not as good as Game of Thrones. Lost is science fiction lite or something, that if a book, would be sold in airports. It always seems to be so obsessed with itself, so self-assure and pretentious about how clever it’s being, just because it does everything it can think of. It’s like a cook thinking they’re the greatest chef in the world because they filled a pot with everything they could find in the fridge; sure, it’s stew but it’s not very good and I can’t understand why people like it.

I’m just worried that when my wife finishes the series, two years later I’m going to make friends with people who haven’t ever watched the show and are just starting it from the beginning. And then, my kids will want to watch it. Then, when I’m old and put away in a retirement home, some of my fellow elders will want to rewatch their favorite show from their youth and I’ll know they mean Lost.

And then I’ll die.

Or, you know, have a weird metaphysical experience on an island filled with never to work again actors.

Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Premier Review

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered last night and it was the first time I actually watched a series opening in a long time. I’m not really someone who likes to watch TV on TV’s time.

The first episode was good, but not great. They tried to introduce the concept and all the characters, along with an actually episode, all within an hour and the whole thing felt rushed. I never had a grasp on the characters or what was happening. It really felt like it needed to be a two-parter.  With the little time I spent with these characters, I don’t have much to say on them. Though, in her short time on screen, I hated Skye very quickly. Coulson was likable, but I’ve already seen four movies with him.

Compared to something like Firefly, the opening was weak. With that show, I had a decent idea of what was to come and who the characters were. I didn’t love the show, but I was interested. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. never aired again, I wouldn’t really feel like I missed out on potential. As of now, I wonder if the concept wouldn’t have been better as a mini-series or a made-for-tv movie event every other year or so. Going further, I have two requirements for this show. The first is to take it’s time and let me get to know these characters or I just won’t care. The second is that they need to start bringing in characters from the comics. I’m a Marvel fan watch a Marvel show for Marvel characters. If they decide to skimp on the cameos, I doubt I’ll make it past the first season. I didn’t stick with Smallville or Heroes so I know I’m not a slave to the idea of superheroes on TV.

With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Walking Dead and Arrow, comic books are doing alright on the small screen. I’ve got some ideas for other shows, if you want to read them at my Hubpages; Superhero Comics That Deserve Their Own TV Show and Non-Superhero Comics as well. Let me know what you think!