Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Six Suggestions to Salvage GOTHAM


As we wait for the Fox series Gotham to return from its midseason hiatus on January 5, 2015, I thought now would be a good time to address a number of issues that some viewers (including myself) are having with this Batman prequel ten episodes into its run.

Since the show's premiere back in September, Gotham has performed pretty well for Fox, earning a full season order of 22 episodes, up from the original 16.  And with Fox's current ratings woes across the board, Gotham seems pretty likely to earn a Season 2, provided it can finally stop the gradual decline from the 8.21 million viewers that tuned in for the pilot to the 6.05 that watched the midseason finale "Lovecraft."

The thing is, though, in our new Golden Age of Comic Book Television, Gotham finds itself competing for attention with The Walking Dead, Arrow, The Flash, Constantine and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and often comes up lacking by comparison.  There are enough talented actors and the production values are pretty top-notch, so there's simply no excuse why this series can't be considerably better than it is.  With all this in mind, here are six suggestions of mine to help Gotham become the Batman prequel we deserve:

1.  This isn't 1966 anymore, so lose the camp -- While Gotham is obviously a huge improvement over the Adam West Batman series, it feels like some actors are deliberately hamming it up just to make their characters stand out more.  Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney is a perfect example of this, overreacting to practically everything and delivering her lines as if she's a modern-day Eartha Kitt.  Donal Logue's Harvey Bullock isn't much better, shouting his disapproval of Jim Gordon's moral stances just about every chance he gets or exaggerating Bullock's streetwise nature into a cartoonish buffoon.

2.  Develop Barbara Kean into an actual character -- If there's one regular character you wouldn't mind being killed off, chances are pretty damn good that it's Erin Richards' Barbara Kean.  That's nothing against Richards -- she does as good of a job as the writers allow -- but her character is so tragically one-dimensional that all you can do is shake your head every time she's on screen.  All Barbara seems to be good for on Gotham is lounging around the penthouse apartment all day drinking wine or smoking pot offscreen and waiting around for former/current lover Renee Montoya to tell her how horrible Gordon is just for the sake of getting back into her bed.  And since Barbara is the future mother of Batgirl and James Gordon, Jr., she probably isn't going anywhere, so let her help Jim with research in his battle against police corruption or put her to work at the Wayne Foundation -- anything that gets her out of that damn penthouse.

3.  Embrace the dynamic of Gotham Central -- When Gotham was first announced, Batman fans were hopeful that we would see a reasonably faithful version of Gotham Central, the police procedural comic book series from Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark exploring the world of the GCPD.  And to some extent, we've gotten that, with Gordon and Bullock investigating some unusual crimes.  However, while Gotham Central featured a wonderfully diverse cast of characters interacting with one another as a surrogate family, Gotham focuses primarily on Gordon and Bullock, with Major Crimes Unit detectives Montoya and Crispus Allen serving as antagonistic douchebags, and Captain Sarah Essen constantly looking confused or incompetent.

4.  Amp the changes to Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne up to eleven -- One of the good things we're getting from Gotham now is the gradual shift from Gordon being a naive goody-two-shoes into a determined crusader against police corruption and Bruce Wayne taking his first awkward steps on the path to becoming Batman.  When Gotham first started, Ben McKenzie was a bit of a bore as Gordon, but is finally starting to show the edge his character desperately needs.  David Mazouz, meanwhile, has been a pleasant surprise when displaying young Bruce's emotional detachment, obsessive tendencies and resentment towards his helplessness during his parents' murder.  But we need MORE of this.

5.  Take the time to focus on neglected characters -- Yeah, Barbara Kean certainly falls into this category, but so do other characters -- Edward Nigma, Sarah Essen, Crispus Allen and Ivy Pepper spring to mind.  We get little glimpses of them here and there, but don't really know them all that well because we need to focus on Gordon, Bullock, The Penguin, Bruce and Selina.  One of the things The Walking Dead does so well is mix their big cast episodes with smaller, more personal stories focusing on two or three characters at a time.  It makes the storytelling seem less repetitive, while giving neglected characters some time in the sun.

6.  Kill off someone fans would never expect -- One of the biggest structural flaws in Gotham being a prequel is that you know that Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle, Alfred Pennyworth, Jim Gordon, Oswald Cobblepot, Edward Nigma, etc. will never be in any sense of real danger because they continue to exist in the adult Bruce Wayne's life as Batman.  Killing one major character who shouldn't be killed may piss off a few diehard comics geeks, but think of the story advantages to be gained by making the show that much more unpredictable.  And hey, if you ever need to bring the character back, just introduce the immortal Ra's al Ghul and his Lazarus Pits the way Arrow is currently doing.

SUICIDE SQUAD Casts Viola Davis as Amanda Waller


At last, "The Wall" has arrived.

Latino-Review is reporting that the upcoming David Ayer film Suicide Squad has cast Viola Davis in the key role of DC Comics character Amanda Waller

According to the article, the role is hers as long as the filmmakers can work around her television schedule for the ABC series How to Get Away with Murder.  If so, Davis will join Tom Hardy as Rick Flagg, Jared Leto as The Joker, Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as (Captain) Boomerang, and Cara Delevingne as The Enchantress.

In addition to her current TV series, Davis has appeared in numerous film and television projects, including the upcoming Blackhat, Get On Up, Ender's Game, Beautiful Creatures, The Help, Eat Pray Love, Disturbia, Solaris, Kate & Leopold, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Threshold.

Created in 1986 by John Ostrander, Len Wein and John Byrne, Amanda Waller first appeared in Legends #1 as a former congressional aide and government agent placed in charge of Task Force X, a government-supervised group of supervillains who serve in dangerous missions in exchange for amnesty.  An often ruthless and manipulative leader as the warden of Belle Reve prison, Waller later served as the Secretary of Metahuman Affairs during Lex Luthor's Presidential administrationan and as the White Queen in the espionage organization Checkmate.

In the current New 52 continuity, Waller has been reimagined as a younger, thinner woman who was once involved with Team 7 before assuming command of the Suicide Squad.  After an operation Waller was involved in resulted in the death of all other squad members, including several she had personally recruited, she requested command of a unit she could send to their deaths without regret.  Waller later formed the Justice League of America as a team separate from the main Justice League that she could control.

This will be the second time Amanda Waller has been adapted for film, after Angela Bassett portrayed her in the 2011 film Green Lantern. The character has also appeared on the television series Smallville (played by Pam Grier) and currently appears on the CW series Arrow (played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson).  In addition, Waller has appeared in the animated projects Justice League Unlimited and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (voiced by CCH Pounder), and Young Justice (voiced by Sheryl Lee Ralph).

Suicide Squad is scheduled to arrive in theaters on August 5, 2016.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

THE FLASH Casts Peyton List as The Golden Glider


Once Captain Cold arrived in Central City, you knew his sister wouldn't be far behind...

According to Access Hollywood, the hit CW series The Flash has cast Peyton List in the role of Lisa Snart, younger sister of Leonard "Captain Cold" Snart, better known as the DC Comics Rogue named (Golden) Glider.  Lisa Snart will first appear in "Rogue Time," the sixteenth episode of the series airing sometime early next year.

The article reveals that "while Leonard is cold and calculating, Lisa is a wild child and anxious to prove to her older brother she’s got what it takes to be in his criminal gang.  She is sly, charming, and even a little sadistic.  She's also not afraid to use her sexuality to get what she wants, which will put her on a collision course with S.T.A.R. Labs employee and friend of The Flash -- Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes)."

List is no stranger to comic book shows, having played Lois Lane's young sister Lucy in two episodes of the WB/CW series Smallville.  She also starred as Cara Coburn in the CW's remake of The Tomorrow People with Robbie Amell, who currently appears on The Flash as Ronnie "Firestorm" Raymond.  In addition, List has had notable roles such as Jane Siegel Sterling on AMC's Mad Men and on 90210 and FlashForward.

Created in 1977's The Flash (vol.1)#250 by Cary Bates and Irv Novick, Lisa Snart was originally a figure skater helped by secret coach and lover, Roscoe Dillon, another Flash Rogue known as The Top.  After The Top died from complications while battling The Flash, Lisa swore revenge, developed ice skates that created ice and allowed her to skate on air, and took on the alias of The Golden Glider.

Often joining forces with her brother Captain Cold, the Golden Glider became a member of the Rogues until she was killed by a later partner named Chillblaine.  In the current New 52 continuity, Lisa is once again alive, but was placed in a comatose state after suffering from a brain tumor.  After being caught in the blast from a Genome Recorder that gave the Rogues metahuman abilities, Lisa became able to move once again through astral projection.  Now calling herself simply "Glider," Lisa serves as the leader of the Rogues in Captain Cold's absence.

This will be the first time the character has been adapted for television.

The Flash returns to The CW on January 20, 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

DANGEROUS HABITS Episode 08: "The Saint of Last Resorts" is Up!


"Lamashtu enjoys babies for their nutritional value."

My friend and co-host Karen Lindsay and I are back once again with the next episode of Dangerous Habits: The Constantine Podcast!

We give our thoughts on "The Saint of Last Resorts," the eighth episode and midseason finale of Constantine, including things like the mysterious millhouse, Zed making bad decisions, the Resurrection Crusade, proper self-defense using magical artifacts, Sister Anne-Marie numerous mental issues, Lamashtu, La Brujeria, Pazuzu and Invunches, a special guest appearance by Karen's nighttime alarm, sudden cravings for KFC, the awesomeness of Eva Green in Penny Dreadful, our new show Married with Invunches, Hellblazer switching from DC Comics to VERTIGO, more rants about not having all of the central cast in the same episode, some other podcast called Next Stop Everywhere, and more!

You can check out the episode HERE and for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE, so please subscribe and rate us! If direct download MP3s are more your thing, you can find those HERE as well. In addition, we have our Dangerous Habits show page on Facebook, which you can check out HERE. And we're also on Twitter using the account @DangerousHabit5 because some bloody arse already claimed @DangerousHabits.

Be sure to share these with all of your friends, enemies, demons, angels, sorcerers, ghosts, whomever, and help build our new podcast into something special. Oh, and send us your thoughts about the show or the podcast via Twitter and Facebook. As soon as we get some more, we'll be reading them on the podcast.

Sadly, Constantine won't be back until January 9, 2015, but until then, keep watching the old episodes and hashtagging #SaveConstantine on Facebook and Twitter, then keep checking iTunes, Libsyn and the Southgate Media Group website for our next Constantine review!

Charles Discusses ARROW & THE FLASH on JKL Media!


As you might recall, the lovely folks at JKL Media Podcast were kind enough to invite yours truly over for a lively discussion of four DC Comics television shows currently on the air -- Constantine, Gotham, Arrow and The Flash.  The discussion ended up being so lively, in fact, that it needed to be split into two parts and Part Two has now been posted!

Gathering together from the cosmic reaches of the universe, the four of us talk about how the Green Arrow comic book is mirroring the Arrow TV series, Karen's brutal smackdown of Thea Queen, the redemption of Brandon Routh, Oliver Queen being a playa, calling my shot about Thea Queen switching to the Dark Side weeks before the Arrow midseason finale aired, why Barry and Iris works better than Barry and Felicity, calling my shot about Harrison Wells being the Reverse-Flash weeks before The Flash midseason finale, the upcoming Marvel Netflix shows, which superhero we would pick as a spinoff series, and more!

Once again, my many thanks to Jesse Jackson, Karen Lindsay and Lou Sytsma for providing me an outlet to finally talk about these shows, and for being such fun and wonderful people. If you'd like to check out "DC Universe TV Part Two," you can listen to it HERE in glorious MP3 goodness. And if you'd like to hear more JKL Media, check out their previous episodes right HERE.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Marvel Gives AGENT CARTER Her First Two Assignments


If you're still reeling from the midseason finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and can't wait until the show returns in March 2015, don't worry -- Peggy Carter will keep things interesting.

Marvel has provided synopses for the first two episodes of their upcoming Agent Carter series on ABC starring Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, James D'Arcy as Edwin Jarvis, Chad Michael Murray as Agent Jack Thompson, Enver Gjokaj as Agent Daniel Sousa and Shea Whigham as Chief Roger Dooley.

Here are the mission briefs:

In the episode "Now is Not the End," Peggy is contacted by old acquaintance Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper, Marvel's "Captain America: The First Avenger") when he is framed for unleashing his deadliest weapons and can trust no one else. To help Peggy clear Stark's name, he insists his butler, Edwin Jarvis, be at her beck and call--whether she likes it or not. But the risk is great: If caught, Agent Carter could be targeted as a traitor and spend the rest of her days in prison...or worse.

Guest starring in "Now is Not the End" are Lyndsy Fonseca as Angie Martinelli, Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Andre Royo as Spider Raymond, James Hebert as green suit, Kyle Bornheimer as Agent Ray Krzeminiski, Ashley Hinshaw as Colleen O'Brien, Carrick O'Quinn as tall bouncer, James Frain as Leet Brannis, Tim True as tipsy guy, Johnny Marques as bartender, Jeffrey David Anderson as short bouncer, James Urbaniak as scientist, Bill Kalmenson as Senator Webster, Lesley Boone as Rose, Costa Ronin as Anton Vanko and Kevin Heffernan as Madison Avenue Guy.

"Now is Not the End" was written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and directed by Louis D'Esposito.

In the episode "Bridge and Tunnel," Howard Stark's deadliest weapon has fallen into enemy hands, and only Agent Carter can recover it. But can she do so before her undercover mission is discovered by SSR Chief Dooley and Agent Thompson?

Guest starring in "Bridge and Tunnel" are Lyndsy Fonseca as Angie Martinelli, James Herbert as green suit, Kyle Bornheimer as Agent Ray Krzeminiski, James Frain as Leet Brannis, Erin Torpey as Betty Carver (Radio Actor), Walker Roach as Captain America (Radio Actor), Greg Bryan as Daisy Clover Forman, Ray Wise as Hugh Jones, Meagan Fay as Miriam Fry, James Urbaniak as Miles Van Ert/White Haired Scientist, Devin Ratray as Sheldon McFee, Ralph Garman as Radio Announcer, Don Luce as Mob Boss, Jeff Locker as SSR Lab Tech, and Atticus Todd as Winston.

"Bridge and Tunnel" was written by Eric Pearson and directed by Joseph Russo.


Agent Carter begins with a two-hour series premiere on Tuesday, January 6th at 8:00 p.m. EST on ABC.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

DANGEROUS HABITS Episode 07: "Blessed Are the Damned" is Up!


"Yes, angels exist.  Sound the bloody trumpets.  As for religion, yeah, all right, be nice to your neighbor and all that, but...the world isn't all puppy dogs and rainbows.  You can't just pray evil away.  Still have to fight, hard, on our own."

My friend and co-host Karen Lindsay and I are back once again with the next episode of Dangerous Habits: The Constantine Podcast!

We give our thoughts on "Blessed Are the Damned," the seventh episode of Constantine, including things like snake handling churches, very forward nude male models, luring angels with drugs, engaging the Hellblazers on Twitter, the Constantine gang on Family Feud, Marvel's Angel getting aroused, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, name-dropping Wil Wheaton and Chris Hardwick, the Psycho-Pirate's Medusa Mask, comments to our Facebook page, a few spoilery spoilers, and more!

You can check out the episode HERE and for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE, so please subscribe and rate us! If direct download MP3s are more your thing, you can find those HERE as well. In addition, we have our Dangerous Habits show page on Facebook, which you can check out HERE. And we're also on Twitter using the account @DangerousHabit5 because some bloody arse already claimed @DangerousHabits.

Be sure to share these with all of your friends, enemies, demons, angels, sorcerers, ghosts, whomever, and help build our new podcast into something special. Oh, and send us your thoughts about the show or the podcast via Twitter and Facebook. As soon as we get some more, we'll be reading them on the podcast.

Have fun watching the next episode, "The Saint of Last Resorts," on NBC this Friday night, then keep checking iTunes, Libsyn and the Southgate Media Group website for our next Constantine review!