Saturday, August 30, 2014

Believe It or Not, Fox is Rebooting THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO

I bet you didn't see this scenario coming.

Deadline reported yesterday that Fox has given a put pilot commitment for a modern reboot of the classic ABC television superhero series The Greatest American HeroThe new version will be overseen by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, writers and directors of The LEGO Movie, who will executive produce the hourlong action comedy along with original creator Stephen J. Cannell's daughter, Tawnia McKiernan.

According to the article, Rodney Rothman will write the pilot, which "will chronicle inner-city teacher Isaac’s adventures after his discovery of a superhero suit that gives him superhuman abilities.  Unfortunately for Isaac, he hates wearing the suit and has to learn how to use its powers by trial and error because he quickly misplaces the suit’s instructions.  He also has to deal with a government handler who has very different objectives than him and struggles as to whether he should use his newfound gifts to help others or just himself."

The original 1981-83 ABC series ran for three seasons for a total of 44 episodes and starred William Katt as Ralph Hinkley (changed temporarily to "Hanley" following the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan), a Los Angeles public school teacher of special education high school students, who receives a red suit that gives him superhuman abilities from a group of aliens.  Ralph immediately loses its instruction booklet, and has to learn how to use its various superpowers by trial and error, often with comical results.  Ralph is assisted by his lawyer girlfriend Pam Davidson (Connie Sellecca) and FBI Agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp).

The show's opening theme song, "Believe It or Not" by Joey Scarbury, was popular enough to debut in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 on June 13, 1981 and peaked at #2 two months later, spending a total of 18 weeks in the Top 40.

In 1986, the cast reunited for a pilot movie for NBC called The Greatest American Heroine, which revealed that several years after the final episode, Ralph's secret identity was finally made public, resulting in his becoming a celebrity.  This angered the aliens who gave him the suit, and they tasked him with finding a new hero to wear the costume and use its powers for fighting evil.  Ralph found a young woman named Holly Hathaway (Mary Ellen Stuart), an elementary school teacher who spends her off-hours time looking for lost kittens, raising environmental awareness, and serving as a foster mother.  The rest of the episode deals with her learning how to use the suit with Bill Maxwell's guidance, and the pair trying to develop a working relationship.  The pilot was never broadcast by NBC, but re-edited as the final episode of the original series for syndication and home video.

And here's the Season One opening to The Greatest American Hero, featuring Joey Scarbury's classic theme...

Friday, August 29, 2014

AGENT CARTER Casts Enver Gjokaj & Chad Michael Murray

At last, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s predecessor is getting a staff.

The Hollywood Reporter revealed today that the upcoming ABC television series Agent Carter has cast two of the series' regular roles.  Enver Gjokaj will play the role of Agent Daniel Sousa, while Chad Michael Murray will be Agent Jack Thompson.  Both agents meet Hayley Atwell's character Peggy Carter when she accepts a position at the Strategic Scientific Reserve in New York City.

The article also provided a synopsis for the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe series, which will consist of eight episodes that fill the gap between the first and second half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s second season.  Set in 1946, one year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, "peace has dealt Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad.  Working for the covert SSR, Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life — Steve Rogers."

Best known as Victor/Anthony Ceccoli on the Joss & Jed Whedon series Dollhouse, Gjokaj has appeared in a number of geek-friendly shows, including Extant, The Walking Dead, Witches of East End, Person of Interest and Community.  He also appeared in Joss Whedon's 2012 film The Avengers as a "young cop."

As for Murray, most will recognize him from his role of Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill and his recurring roles of Charlie Todd on Dawson's Creek and Tristin Dugray on Gilmore Girls.  He's also appeared in a number of films including Fruitvale Station, A Madea Christmas and the 2005 remake of House of Wax.

Steve McFeely, Christopher Marcus and Marvel's Jeph Loeb will serve as executive producers.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo will direct episodes two and three of the series and Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnson could follow with episode four.

Agent Carter doesn't have a specific premiere date, but is expected to begin sometime in January 2015 after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes on winter hiatus.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

ARROW Recasts Rila Fukushima as Katana

Well, so much for Devon Aoki.

Deadline reported yesterday that the CW series Arrow has recast the role of Tatsu Yamashiro, better known as the DC Comics superhero Katana.  According to the article, previous actress Devon Aoki pulled out due to a scheduling conflict, so the recurring role will now be portrayed by Rila Fukushima, best known as Yukio from the 2013 movie The Wolverine

According to the article, Tatsu will be "one of Oliver’s mentors in the [Hong Kong] flashbacks and a critical influence on his journey to eventually become The Arrow of present day."  Tatsu's husband, Maseo Yamashiro, will be portrayed by Karl Yune.

Created by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo, Katana first appeared in The Brave and the Bold (vol.1) #200 in 1983. Skilled in martial arts, Katana was married to Maseo Yamashiro until Maseo was killed by his brother Takeo with a sword, a katana called Soultaker, as their children are killed. Tatsu took possession of Soultaker and learned that her husband's spirit resided inside her sword, allowing her to hear his voice.

Originally introduced as a regular member of the superhero team The Outsiders, Katana eventually received a short-lived ongoing comic book series and recently appeared in the pages of Green Arrow during the storyline "The Outsiders War." The character has also appeared in two animated series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Beware the Batman.

Arrow returns to The CW on October 8, 2014 at 8 p.m. EST.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

GOTHAM Director Discusses Mr. Freeze, Harvey Dent & The Joker

Sounds like Arkham Asylum could fill up faster than Batman fans think.

Nuke The Fridge shared an exclusive interview with Danny Cannon, the director of the pilot episode for Fox's upcoming Batman prequel GothamIn the interview provided during the Television Critics Association party for Fox, Cannon shared his thoughts on a number of Batman's villains that could be brought into the series, in addition to the younger versions of Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler and Poison Ivy. 

Cannon also remarked that he has no current plans to direct any more episodes, but will remain with the series as a consultant.  Here are some highlights taken from the article:


Nuke the Fridge: You mentioned to me you’d like to see a version of Mr. Freeze on Gotham. Is that something that could happen in the first year?

Danny Cannon: Oh yeah, we all have our favorite villains. That was my favorite villain and I still think the origins of that story are really beautiful and tragic. The technicalities of it are quite beautiful too, so that’s something I keep bugging Bruno (Heller, the series' showrunner) about.

Nuke: Does that require a little more science fiction?

Danny Cannon: Not really. Not really. Depending on how you do it. I just find him a very tragic character.

Nuke: I assume it won’t be a guy in a cryo suit.

Danny Cannon: Well, luckily we’re in a show where we go way, way back for the origins, so perhaps he’s just a man who goes through a tragedy and he doesn’t know how to express his anguish yet, but he’ll find a way.


Nuke: Would Harvey Dent have graduated college yet, let alone running for office? Do you imagine we could see a young Harvey Dent?

Danny Cannon: I would say that would be a good thing to hope for because he’s a fascinating character.

Nuke: He is, but have we ever seen him before he’s DA?

Danny Cannon: I don’t think so. I don’t think we’ve seen a young lawyer, or a young DA or a trainee.

Nuke: Is he Bruce’s age? What would Harvey Dent be able to contribute to Gotham City as a kid?

Danny Cannon: I always assumed that Harvey was older than Batman. I always assumed that Batman was a younger man. I don’t know but it certainly gives us really great problems to have. I always imagined Batman as a young vigilante. I never imagined him as middle aged.

Nuke: So Harvey could be a law student at this point.

Danny Cannon: I would say that was a good guess.


Nuke the Fridge: There have been some theories going around that every episode will introduce a red herring for The Joker. Are you going to take it that far?

Danny Cannon: Absolutely not. No, I think that’s a rumor that got spread very quickly. I think what got said originally was: will The Joker be introduced in the first season. We were like, “We’re uncertain, but a lot of other people will and perhaps one of them will resemble him.” I think that was just a teaser that may have gone too far.

Nuke: But it’s not going to be the comedian from the pilot, right?

Danny Cannon: Probably not, no.

Gotham debuts on Fox on September 22, 2014.

Monday, August 25, 2014

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE: Episode 001 - "Deep Breath" is Up!

"Look at the eyebrows...These are attack eyebrows!  You could take bottle tops off with these!" 

Jesse Jackson and yours truly are back once again with our third episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast, which we are of course treating as Episode 1 just because we can.  In this review of "Deep Breath," the first episode from Doctor Who Series Eight that aired this past Saturday, Jesse and I share our thoughts about the episode and try our very best to entertain you while not saying something completely stupid in the process.  (That last bit's usually on me...)

We'll cover things like the new opening credits and theme arrangement, the Scotification (is that even a word?) of Doctor Who, Clara Oswald stepping her game up, who that mysterious Scary Poppins woman calling herself "Missy" might be, some lovely reviews of the podcast posted on iTunes, and more!

Yes, for those who have been wondering, we are finally available on iTunes RIGHT HERE, so please subscribe and tell your friends.  Oh, and don't forget we have an officially official Next Stop Everywhere Facebook page and Twitter account, so be sure to Like and/or Follow us, okay?

Oh, and tune in for the next Doctor Who episode "Into the Dalek" on BBC America this Saturday, then keep checking iTunes and the Southgate Media Group website for our next review!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

THE FLASH Casts Greg Finley as Girder

Central City is about to show some rust.

Entertainment Weekly reports that the upcoming CW series The Flash has cast Greg Finley in the role of Tony Woodward, better known to Flash fans as the DC Comics supervillain Girder

Woodward will appear in Episodes 6 and 7 of the show's first season and is described in the article as being able to "transform his skin into living metal" after the S.T.A.R. Labs particle accelerator explosion.  In addition, "The Flash tries to stop Tony when he goes on a crime spree, but this is not the first time Barry Allen has faced Tony—Tony was the bully who used to torment him as a child."

The 29-year-old actor is best known as Drake on the CW series Star-Crossed and has also appeared in episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Emily Owens M.D., House, Cold Case and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Created in 2001 by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver, Girder first appeared in the one-shot special The Flash: Iron Heights as a steelworker named Tony Woodward who causes a riot at the plant after assaulting a female co-worker, and ends up thrown into a vat of molten metal that contains scraps from various S.T.A.R. Labs experiments. His body is changed into living iron and he gains superhuman strength in the process.

The Flash premieres on The CW on Tuesday, October 7th, with Girder presumably first appearing on November 11th.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NEXT STOP EVERYWHERE: Episode 000.5 - "New New Doctor" is Up!

Clara, be our pal and tell us...Are we good men?

Jesse Jackson and yours truly are back once again with our second episode of Next Stop Everywhere: The Doctor Who Podcast, which we are of course treating as Episode 1/2.  In this second warmup podcast before the Doctor Who Series Eight premiere on Saturday, Jesse and I cover a number of subjects to get you ready for the 34th season of the world's longest-running science fiction television series.

Starting with the new Doctor Who specials on BBC America, we also cover how to plan your Doctor Who viewing party and how to prepare yourself for a new, new Doctor.  We also answer some listener e-mail and talk about our new officially official Next Stop Everywhere Facebook page and Twitter account.  Don't forget to Like and/or Follow us, okay?

Be sure to watch Peter Capaldi's first episode "Deep Breath" on BBC America this Saturday and then keep checking the Southgate Media Group website for our long-awaited (by us at least) "Deep Breath" review and also for more great podcasts!

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Casts Adrianne Palicki as Mockingbird

What wonderful casting.

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that the ABC TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has cast Adrianne Palicki in the role of Barbara "Bobbi" Morse, better known as the superhero Mockingbird.  Palicki will appear in the fifth episode of the new season, with the potential to return, and the episode will "find her popping in perhaps not as an ally to Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team."

No stranger to comic book roles, Palicki was previously cast as Wonder Woman in NBC's failed 2011 pilot produced by David E. Kelley, as Nadia in The WB's failed 2006 pilot Aquaman, and as Kara/Lindsey Harrison in the Smallville episode "Covenant."  The actress is also known for playing Lady Jaye in the 2013 film G.I. Joe: Retaliation and for playing Tyra Collette on the series Friday Night Lights.

Palicki joins a number of new actors/characters for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s second season, including Kyle MacLachlan as Skye's unnamed father, Lucy Lawless as veteran S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Isabelle Hartly, Reed Diamond as Hydra agent Kraken/Daniel Whitehall, Henry Simmons as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Alphonso "Mac" Mackenzie, and Simon Kassianides as Bakshi.

Created by Gerry Conway and Barry Windsor-Smith, Bobbi Morse first appeared in 1971's Astonishing Tales (vol.1) #6 and later became Mockingbird in 1980's Marvel Team-Up (vol.1) #95.  Starting off as a female scientist called "Dr. Barbara Morse," Bobbi was later revealed as Agent 19 of S.H.I.E.L.D. before she briefly took on the superhero identity called "The Huntress."

Looking into corruption at S.H.I.E.L.D., Bobbi adopted the new identity and costume of Mockingbird after being hunted by the organization because of being mistaken for a criminal.  Mockingbird later became romantically involved with the Avenger known as Hawkeye and after the two married, they formed a west coast branch of the Avengers in Los Angeles.  The two later divorced, with Mockingbird going off to become part of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Secret Avengers roster.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns to ABC on Tuesday, September 23rd.

Monday, August 18, 2014

DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Episode Titles Revealed

Here comes Series 8...or Season 34, take your pick...

Just five days before the premiere of Doctor Who's eighth season of the current series, Doctor Who Magazine has revealed the full list of episode titles and writers.  As you can see below, showrunner Steven Moffat is now credited as co-writer on Episodes 2, 5 and 6 and the former "Robots of Sherwood" has been changed slightly to a singular robot.  The official synopses for Episodes 1 and 2 are also provided.

  • Deep Breath Written By Steven Moffat

  • Dinosaurs in the Thames and spontaneous combustions all over the city lead the Doctor and Clara into the heart of an alien conspiracy in Victorian London. Only this is a new Doctor, and Clara is not sure whether their friendship will survive his change.

    This episode features the return of the Paternoster Gang -- Madame Vastra, Strax and Jenny Flint

  • Into The Dalek Written By Phil Ford And Steven Moffat

  • When a single ship is surrounded by an entire Dalek fleet, only the Doctor can help the rebels within. Facing his greatest foes, and with a monumental decision to make, the Doctor must examine his conscience and try to find an answer to his question — "am I a good man?"

    This episode features the debut of Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink, Clara's fellow teacher and friend at Coal Hill School.

  • Robot Of Sherwood Written By Mark Gatiss

  • Listen Written By Steven Moffat

  • Time Heist Written By Stephen Thompson And Steven Moffat

  • The Caretaker Written By Gareth Roberts And Steven Moffat

  • Kill The Moon Written By Peter Harness

  • Mummy On The Orient Express Written By Jamie Mathieson

  • Flatline Written By Jamie Mathieson

  • The Forest Of The Night Written By Frank Cottrell Boyce

  • Dark Water Written By Steven Moffat

  • Death In Heaven Written By Steven Moffat

  • The Series 8 finale features the return of the Brigadier's daughter Kate Stewart, her scientific assistant Osgood, UNIT and the Cybermen.

    Doctor Who returns to BBC America this Saturday the 23rd.

    Sunday, August 17, 2014

    Jenna Coleman Rumored to be Leaving DOCTOR WHO at Christmas

    Here's hoping the rumor mill gets this one wrong...

    The UK's The Mirror reported late yesterday that Jenna Coleman, who plays The Doctor's latest companion Clara Oswald, will be leaving the television series Doctor Who with this year's Christmas Special.  However, before fans start fretting, they should keep in mind that at the moment, neither Coleman nor anyone from the series have officially confirmed this news.

    An unnamed source was quoted in the article, saying "The conversations about Jenna’s exit have started, and a plan is in place which is being ironed out.  By the time she leaves she will be one of the longest-standing companions ever.  She has been absolutely brilliant in the role, but everyone agrees it is a part that should change after a period."

    The source added, "It was very much a mutual decision.  It’s important to keep the series moving and fast-paced, and the time is just starting to feel right and the feeling is that it could be a perfect Christmas storyline."

    If the 28-year-old actress actually does leave at Christmas, she'll have just 25 episodes to her acting resume, hardly "one of the longest-standing companions ever," especially since two of them were considered temporal echoes before Clara's first official appearance in "The Bells of St. John."

    Adding a bit of fuel to this particular rumor is Coleman's recent debut on Twitter with her official account, @Jenna_Coleman_.  Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat is notoriously opposed to the social network in order to keep potential spoilers from leaking out, so Coleman's new account established while the Doctor Who World Tour was in Seoul, South Korea is definitely interesting at the very least.

    Doctor Who returns for Series 8 this Saturday the 23rd on BBC America.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014


    Think Batman, Robin, Nightwing and Batgirl are the only ones who can protect Gotham City?  Think again.

    After the recent digital anthologies Legends of the Dark Knight and The Adventures of Superman, DC Comics is now focusing on the remaining member of their Holy Trinity with the release of Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1.  The title may be a tad clunky, but there's no denying the appeal of a series that isn't overly dramatic like the current Wonder Woman ongoing and confined to only The New 52 continuity.

    In the opening two-part story "Gothamazon," former Wonder Woman writer Gail Simone returns to one of her favorite characters with the simple, but effective story premise of what would happen if Wonder Woman was called in to save Gotham from an army of Batman's biggest enemies.  And if that isn't enough to hook you, the setting is somewhere before the events of Flashpoint, meaning Wonder Woman gets to wear traditional gold instead of silver, Oracle (a Simone favorite) is in play, and The Joker thankfully still has his face attached.  Good times, good times...

    Part One opens with Gotham's most notorious supervillains finally waking up and realizing how formidable they would be if they joined forces instead of fighting Batman one at a time.  After taking Batman, Robin and Nightwing off the board (to what extent, we don't know) with an explosion, the Batrogues proceed to take control of Gotham in less than four hours, forcing Oracle to look for help elsewhere.  Deciding that The Flash is "too kind-hearted," Green Lantern is "too cosmic," and Superman is "too noble," GoldiOracle calls in "the big guns," which are juuuust riiiiiiiight.

    As for the art, Ethan Van Sciver (with colors by Brian Miller of Hi-Fi) blends some Pre-Crisis nods into his designs -- Two-Face wears his classic half-orange, half purple-checked suit, The Penguin wears his top hat with tails and white gloves -- while incorporating Batman: The Animated Series' original look for Mr. Freeze.  Although his artwork seems a bit rushed in places with some uneven anatomy, Van Sciver utilizes the digital panel layout well with a number of bold close-ups that create very striking images that enhance the overall story.

    All in all, a very promising start to the series that should continue to entertain Wonder Woman fans with upcoming creators Cat Staggs, Chris Sprouse, James Tynion IV, Cecil Castellucci, Laruen Beukes, Caitlin Kittredge, Amanda Diebert, Renae De Liz and Georges Jeanty.  Be sure to check DC's digital comics store every week for more adventures with everyone's favorite Amazing Amazon!

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014

    AQUAMAN Movie Moving Forward with Two Separate Writers

    To paraphrase Mel Brooks, it's good to be the king...of Atlantis.

    The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that DC Comics superhero Aquaman is expected to get a solo film of his own after presumably appearing in Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016.  Writers Will Beall and Kurt Johnstad are reportedly working on separate scripts for Aquaman as one of Warner Brothers' attempt to build a DC Comics cinematic universe similar to Marvel's.

    Beall was a former writer on the Justice League film back in 2012, but his script was apparently scrapped a year later due to negative reaction from the studio.  He wrote the film Gangster Squad and has also written episodes of the ABC series Castle.  Johnstad, meanwhile, is one of Snyder's preferred writers that he used on the films 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire.

    According to the article, Aquaman is being developed on dual tracks, where studios and producers hire two separate writers to work on the same project in the hopes of getting the best version.  This move allows release dates to be set while a project is still in development to accelerate pre-production.  Last week, Warner Bros. scheduled dates for nine untitled DC movies between 2016 and 2020 and it seems Aquaman will be one of them.

    Created by Paul Norris in 1941's More Fun Comics #73, Aquaman is a founding member of the Justice League whose Atlantean mother fell in love with a lighthouse keeper named Tom Curry.  Discovering as a youth that he could survive underwater and communicate telepathically with sea life, Arthur Curry eventually used his superhuman strength and swimming speed to become the defender of Earth's oceans and often assuming his destiny as the King of Atlantis.

    The current rumored favorite for the first movie on August 5, 2016 is probably Shazam!, followed most likely by Justice League on June 23, 2017.  The next one on November 17, 2017 could be Aquaman, or perhaps Wonder Woman, or possibly a rumored team-up movie starring The Flash and Green Lantern.

    Back in June, former Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa was reported to be cast as Aquaman in Batman V Superman, but there still hasn't been official confirmation (nor a denial) from Warner Bros.

    Last week, Snyder called in to local Detroit radio station 97.1 The Ticket after hearing
    Bill McAllister and fellow hosts making fun about Aquaman and wanting to set the record straight about the character's appeal.  "I don’t want to give anything away about the movie or anything like that, but you know, Aquaman has some cool abilities," said Snyder.  "People are like, ‘does he talk to animals?’ because that seems to be what he does, or fish or whatever, but the cool thing is, his trident, that can actually cut the flesh of Superman if, you know, they came in contact, that’s in the canon."

    Snyder continued, remarking, "He’s super-strong, because of course he can exist in these super-depths so that, when he comes up here he’s crazy strong.  Not to say he’s in my movie or anything like that, but he has the potential to be badass, that’s all I’m saying."

    Monday, August 11, 2014


    To quote the Second Doctor, Ohhh, dear...We are in trouble, aren't we?

    I'm very proud to announce that my longtime friend Jesse Jackson and I have just launched our brand-new Doctor Who podcast, Next Stop Everywhere, as part of the Southgate Media Group.  Our first pre-show recording, "Episode 000 -- An Unearthly Podcast," was posted late last night and you can listen to it HERE.

    In addition, we've set up a Next Stop Everywhere show page on Facebook, which you can check out HEREAnd we're also on Twitter using the account @NextStopSMG.  Be sure to share these with all of your friends, companions, worst enemies, whomever, and help build our little podcast into something special.

    As a few of you might know, Jesse and I have known one another for over two decades now, having originally met as members of the amateur press association TitanTalk, a fan fiction group devoted to DC Comics' various Teen Titans characters.  Jesse, one my closest friends, was kind enough to act as a surrogate father-in-law to give my wife Lori away at our wedding, and now we get to share our love of Doctor Who on a weekly basis with the upcoming Series Eight starring Peter Capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor.

    This first podcast covers our backgrounds as Doctor Who fans -- Jesse as a NuWhovian who became a fan with the David Tennant era, and me as the old school veteran that started watching with the end of Tom Baker's run airing on PBS.  Our next episode will start with our takes on "Deep Breath," the first episode of Series Eight, and we'll share our thoughts on each new episode after they air, as well as older episodes with similar themes that you might want to check out.

    Oh, and our deepest thanks to Rob Southgate at Southgate Media Group for considering us for the gig and for all his help in getting us up and running (dematerializing?).  Be sure to check out Southgate's website at the link above for more great podcasts, okay?

    I hope you'll come along with us on this ride, but if you do, I should warn you.  You're gonna hear all sorts of things -- ghosts from the past, aliens from the future, the day the Earth died in a ball of flame.  It won't be quiet, it won't be safe, and it won't be calm.  But I tell you what it will be -- the trip of a lifetime...

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

    THE FLASH Casts Clancy Brown as General Wade Eiling

    Who's next?  Captain Atom?

    The Hollywood Reporter revealed yesterday that upcoming CW series The Flash has cast veteran sci-fi actor Clancy Brown as DC Comics character General Wade Eiling.  The role will be recurring and Brown will debut in the series' fifth episode.

    Described in the article as "a tall and imposing man, with 'a face carved from years of duty,'" Eiling will be depicted as the leader of a black ops army team pursuing Plastique (Kelly Frye) with the plan of using her as a human weapon.  Eiling is "fanatically intent on protecting American interests around the world and may have ties to a central Flash character."

    A beloved character actor, Brown is no stranger to comic book roles, having voiced Lex Luthor for years in Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.  He's also voiced Mr. Freeze on The Batman, Trident on Teen Titans, King Faraday on Young Justice, Sasquatch on The Incredible Hulk, Captain George Stacy and The Rhino on The Spectacular Spider-Man, Mr. Sinister on Wolverine and the X-Men, Odin on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Taskmaster on Ultimate Spider-Man, Red Hulk on Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H, and Parallax in the 2011 live-action film Green Lantern.

    Brown has also appeared in a number of memorable film and television roles, including Rawhide in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Victor Kruger/The Kurgan in Highlander, Captain Byron Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption, Sargeant Zim in Starship Troopers, Klevin Inman on Lost, and Sheriff August Corbin on Sleepy Hollow.

    Created by Cary Bates and Pat Broderick in 1987, Wade Eiling first appeared in Captain Atom #1 as an Air Force general who blackmails Nathaniel Adam into taking part in an atomic experiment that caused Adam to jump forward in time eighteen years and turned him into the superhero Captain Atom.  In later years, Eiling was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, so he arranged for a team to recover the indestructible body of the Shaggy Man and transferred his brain patterns into the body.  Taking on the creature's massively powerful form with regenerative powers, Eiling became known as simply The General and was later recruited by the groups The Secret Society of Super-Villains and The Suicide Squad.

    This will be Eiling's first depiction in live-action, after J.K. Simmons voiced the character on Justice League Unlimited, and Jeff Bennett on Young Justice.

    The Flash debuts on The CW on October 7, 2014, with the fifth episode expected to air on November 4th.

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Casts Kyle MacLachlan for Season 2

    Needless to say, DAMN good casting...and HOT!

    IO9 reported yesteday that actor Kyle MacLachlan has been cast in a recurring role on the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which TVLine later revealed as [SPOILERY SPOILER] the father of Chloe Bennet's character Skye/Mary Sue Poots.  Skye's father will first appear in Episode 2 of the upcoming season. 

    The 55-year-old actor is best known as Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Dale Cooper on the ABC series Twin Peaks and as Paul Atreides in the 1984 David Lynch film adaptation of DuneMacLachlan also starred in Lynch's films Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, and has had regular roles on the television series Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, How I Met Your Mother and Portlandia.

    The mystery of Skye’s actual mother and father, the events that caused her to end up in an orphanage and her classification as an 0-8-4 were teased during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first season.  The season finale closed with Centipede’s Raina approaching a mysterious figure, presenting a photo of Skye and saying, "I found your daughter."

    In other Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. news, NYPD Blue star Henry Simmons has been cast as Alphonso "Mack" Mackenize, a mechanic who allies himself with Phil Coulson's team.  Simmons joins new Season 2 characters Lucy Lawless as Isabelle Hartley, Reed Diamond as Daniel Whitehall, and Nick Blood as Lance Hunter.

    Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns  to ABC for Season 2 on Tuesday, September 23rd at 9:00 p.m. EST.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014

    ARROW Casts David Cubitt as Manhunter

    Thought Arrow Season 3 bringing in Ra's al Ghul, Katana, Wildcat and The Atom was enough?  Think again.

    The Hollywood Reporter has announced that the CW series Arrow has cast David Cubitt in the role of DC Comics character Mark Shaw, more familiar as the superhero Manhunter.  Shaw will appear in the third episode of the upcoming season, titled "Corto Maltese," and is described in the article as "an A.R.G.U.S. operative in Corto Maltese who crosses paths with Diggle."

    Cubitt is probably best known as Detective Lee Scanlon in the NBC series Medium, and has had roles in the 2001 film Ali, the television series Traders and Lonesome Dove: The Series, and the episode "Død Kalm" from the second season of The X-Files.

    Created in 1975 by Jack Kirby, Shaw first appeared in First Issue Special #5 as a public defender frustrated by how easily criminals manipulated the justice system and got off without punishment.  Shaw's uncle Desmond introduced him to an ancient sect of crimefighters called the Manhunters.  Shaw contacted the Grand Master, the sect's leader, through a magical lion medallion and later assumed the Manhunter name and costume from a previous Manhunter.

    The character later joined the Suicide Squad as a new hero called The Privateer, before returning to the Manhunter identity following the Millennium event storyline and starring in his own ongoing series, Manhunter (vol.1), that ran for 24 issues from 1988 to 1990.  In the current New 52 continuity, Shaw appeared during the Forever Evil event storyline as a U.S. Marshal who was assigned to find The Cheetah and was referred to as "one of the best manhunters" in the United States.

    Another Manhunter, Kate Spencer, has appeared on Arrow, played by Chelah Horsdal.  Spencer was depicted on the show as Starling City's district attorney and appeared in the episodes "Damaged," "State V. Queen," "Birds of Prey," "The Man Under the Hood"  and "Streets of Fire" before being killed by one of Deathstroke's soldiers.

    Arrow returns to The CW for Season 3 on October 8, 2014.

    Saturday, August 2, 2014


    Yep, time once again for another of my movie takes, this time on the film Guardians of the Galaxy, based on the somewhat obscure Marvel Comics superteam.  As always, if you haven't seen the movie yet and you don't want it spoiled for you, then please step back from your computer or whatever electronic device you're reading this on and stop reading now.  If, however, you're wise enough to know that movie reviews with spoilers are always more interesting than the ones without them...well...get ready for something good, something bad, a bit of both...

    Just six years ago in 2008, if you can believe that, Marvel relaunched the comic book series Guardians of the Galaxy with an entirely new roster of antiheroes that spun out of the event storyline Annihilation: ConquestInstead of trying to update the original team of Vance Astro, Martinex, Charlie-27, Yondu, Starhawk and Nikki, writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning brought a bunch of D-list Marvel characters from various titles and eras together to face all matter of insane outer space adventures.  The 2008 series only lasted 25 issues before being cancelled due to low sales, but was fondly remembered by those precious few that actually bought the title every month and became something of a cult classic.

    So imagine everyone's surprise when Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige first mentioned the idea of a Guardians film at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con.  It turned out that Nicole Perlman, a writer in Marvel's screenwriting program, was offered several little-known properties to base a film on and she chose Guardians of the Galaxy because of her interest in space and science fiction.  She spent two years working on the draft until director James Gunn was brought in to contribute, who ended up rewriting Perlman's entire script because he simply wasn't feeling it.

    The film starts off in 1988, with a young Peter Quill (Wyatt Oleff) reluctantly facing the death of his mother.  After being given her final giftwrapped present and too afraid to take her frail hand, Peter watches her die and races out of the hospital in a fit of grief, only to be sucked up into a spaceship.  Jumping ahead twenty-six years, we learn that Peter has become an interstellar outlaw armed with his old Sony Walkman and an assortment of space-techy gadgets, glossing himself "Star-Lord" in the hopes of becoming the space version of Billy the Kid.  Peter is recruited to steal a mysterious orb from the planet Morag, which ultimately results in his imprisonment and meeting with the other Guardians -- Gamora, Drax. Rocket and Groot.

    Peter's "Awesome Mix Vol. 1" cassette tape of classic rock and pop music from the seventies serves not only as the lingering tether to his mother's memory and the planet Earth, but also to give Gunn's movie a fun, irreverent tone that makes a bunch of weird aliens and spacey-wacey stuff accessible to the masses.  And with the extra emphasis on humor wthout turning the movie into an outright comedy, Guardians is an insane, wild ride filled with bantery dialogue to offset all those action scenes loaded with spiffy special effects.  Early assessments of the trailers hinted at "The next generation of Star Wars," but the film actually turned out to be the next generation of the television cult classic Farscape.

    If there's any real criticism of Guardians, it's that James Gunn brings in too many elements from the Marvel Universe.  In addition to the Guardians themselves, you've got the Nova Corps, the floating Celestial head called Knowhere, one of the Elders of the Universe, the Kree, the upcoming Big Bad of Avengers 3 and his second daughter, one of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the six Infinity Gems and so on.  There's a lot going on here, and moviegoers who aren't experts in cosmic Marvel Comics characters may start wondering if they're watching the sci-fi version of The Hobbit.

    Regardless, the film is a refreshing attempt from Marvel to add a new corner to their Cinematic Universe, one that doesn't solely rely on the standard formula of "Dude gets superpowers, pines after girl, fights some crime, gets attacked by supervillain, girl gets threatened by supervillain, and superhero saves the day."  It's not perfect, but now that the Unholy Masses Who Don't Read Comics have been properly introduced to a new bunch of strange, alien lifeforms, maybe the next trip through some distant part of the universe will be even better.

    And thankfully, the film's cast give some great performances with a lot of entertaining character moments. Here are some of the things that stood out:

    STAR-LORD/PETER JASON QUILL -- Chris Pratt reaches official movie star status, with his Star-Lord joining the ranks of Han Solo, Malcolm Reynolds, John Crichton and other beloved outer space rogues.  His television background from Parks and Recreation proved he already had solid comedic timing, but the physical development from doughy shleb to a heroic build deserves respect.  Now the question remains of whether we'll get to see Star-Lord's Spartax heritage explored along with his father J'son.

    GAMORA -- Adding another great geek role to her acting repetoire, Zoe Saldana gets to kick far more ass than she could ever hope as Star Trek's Nyota Uhura.  As the adopted daughter of Thanos, Gamora is far from the typical Marvel damsel in distress and has a deep, rich background rife with potential in future movies.  And if you didn't enjoy Gamora's fight with her sister Nebula, there's some seriously wrong with you.

    DRAX THE DESTROYER -- Apparently now the go-to guy if Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson says no, Dave Bautista gets to flex some comedic muscles as Drax.  I only have a passing familiarity with Drax from assorted Avengers and Silver Surfer comics, but I really enjoyed the way his fixation on literal thinking was used to humorous effect and the way he laughed with joy at the chaos during one space battle was worthy of Star Trek: The Next Generation's Worf.

    ROCKET -- Bradley Cooper wouldn't have been my first choice to voice Rocket Raccoon, but the idea to give Rocket a New York tough guy accent was a fun one.  It was important to show that Rocket was more than just a pissed off space raccoon, so it was nice to see the partnership with Groot carried over from the comics.  Presuming we'll get to see the Avengers teaming up with the Guardians against Thanos in Avengers 3, you just know the meeting between Rocket and The Hulk is going to be absolute gold.

    GROOT -- As anyone who bawled their eyes out in the climactic "Superman" scene at the end of The Iron Giant knows, Vin Diesel was a fantastic choice for the sentient tree known as Groot.  It would've been easy to turn Groot into a simple rehash of Treebeard from Lord of the Rings, but the character's charming innocence certainly shined through in the scene where he smashes dozens of Ronan's goons then abruptly turns and beams a warm, lovable smile at the Guardians (and the audience).  Yes, we are Groot.

    RONAN THE ACCUSER -- Lee Pace absolutely kills it every week as a cocky computer executive on AMC's Halt and Catch Fire, so it's interesting to see him in something so completely different here.  He gets to really ham it up as the movie's central villain, but the script doesn't really let him make his character into something truly special. 

    YONDU UDONTA -- The decision to cast Michael Rooker as Yondu just reeks of watching him as Merle Dixon on The Walking Dead and thinking how great it would be to have Rooker as an alien.  Not that it was a bad thing mind you, but this take on Yondu bears little resemblance to the hunter from Centauri IV from the comics.

    NEBULA -- Meanwhile, the decision to cast Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan as the cyborg daughter of Thanos showed that she has considerable range beyond Amy Pond.  With her head shaved bald and barely recognizable under blue makeup and dark contacts, Gillan crafts a formidable enemy for Gamora to fight, with hints that perhaps we haven't seen the last of her...

    THE COLLECTOR/TANELEER TIVAN -- Benicio del Toro returns as The Collector after his mid-credits appearance at the end of Thor: The Dark World.  The Collector doesn't get to do a whole lot, but he does provide the necessary exposition explaining the importance of the Infinity Gems and teases the inevitable Infinity Gauntlet storyline in Avengers 3.

    KORATH THE PURSUER -- After his role as Papa Midnite in the film Constantine, Djimon Hounsou returns to comic book movies as an intergalactic hunter for Ronan.  He gets a fun sequence with Star-Lord early on and a brief fight with Drax that results in his death, but that's pretty much it.

    CORPSMAN RHOMANN DEY -- John C. Reilly provides the audience with some snarky background on the Guardians during a prison lineup, then quickly does a 180 and suggests the bunch of misfits are Xandar's only hope even though there's not much of a reason for him to do so. 

    NOVA PRIME IRANI RAEL -- In the category of "I can't believe so-and-so is in this movie," we have Glenn Close as the leader of the Nova Corps.  Close gives the movie a bit more gravitas than it would've had otherwise, but essentially serves as the movie's version of Mon Mothma from Star Wars.

    OBLIGATORY STAN LEE CAMEO -- Stan "The Man" turns up in a nonspeaking role as Xandarian ladies' man, who is promptly mocked by Rocket.  It's not his best cameo, but at 91, it's just good that he's still able to do them.

    THE OTHER CAMEO -- Alexis Denisof returns as Thanos' space lackey The Other after his previous appearance at the end of The Avengers and is promptly killed by Ronan for irritating him.  I guess a simple "Shut up, Wesley" was out of the question?  (Bonus points if you got that double reference.)

    THANOS CAMEOS -- Although Thanos is depicted in CGI once again, James Brolin debuts as the character's voice for the first time.  He gets the cool line of telling Ronan that he "will bathe the star ways in your blood" if he fails to retrieve Gamora and the orb, then later vows to kill Ronan after he's destroyed Xandar.  So he's a great motivational speaker.

    COSMO CAMEO -- The dog Fred (not to be confused with Cletus Snow from Smokey and the Bandit's dog Fred) plays the canine cosmonaut Cosmo in the post-credits scene where he is shown licking The Collector's face in the middle of his destroyed archive.  Cosmo doesn't communicate telepathically as he does in the comics, but at least he made it into the film.

    HOWARD THE DUCK CAMEO -- Finally back on the big screen after Lucasfilm's 1986 box office bomb, Steve Gerber's creation also turns up in the same post-credits scene as one of the freed exhibits.  Howard has a drink and mocks The Collector with Seth Green's voice.

    All in all, Guardians of the Galaxy is the fun, sci-fi adventure we were hoping it would be, giving Marvel a wonderful and huge new playground for future movies.  The sequel was greenlit before the first movie debuted in the United States, arriving on July 28, 2017, so if you enjoyed this one, you have less than three years to get a second fix at the movies.  If nothing else, "Awesome Mix Vol. 2" should definitely be worth the wait...

    And for those who may be wondering, here's the updated list of my Top 20 Comic Book Films:

    1. Superman (1978)
    2. The Dark Knight (2008)
    3. The Avengers (2012)
    4. Man of Steel (2013)
    5. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
    6. Spider-Man (2002)
    7. Batman Begins (2005)

    8. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

    9. Iron Man (2008)
    10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
    11. Watchmen (2009)
    12. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
    13. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
    14. X-Men: First Class (2011)
    15: The Wolverine (2013)
    16. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

    17. X2: X-Men United (2003)
    18. X-Men (2000)
    19. Thor (2011)
    20. Batman (1989)

    Your friendly neighborhood movie reviewer,


    Friday, August 1, 2014

    GOTHAM Casts David Zayas as Two-Face's Creator "Boss" Maroni

    And with "Boss" Maroni in play, what does that mean for a certain attorney named Harvey Dent?

    Deadline reports that actor David Zayas has been cast as mobster Salvatore "Boss" Maroni in the upcoming Fox television series GothamAccording to the article, the role will be recurring as Maroni "strives to gain more territory in Gotham, he’ll find himself on a crash course with his rival Falcone (John Doman) for control of the city."

    Zayas is best known as Angel Batista on the Showtime series Dexter and as Enrique Morales on HBO's Oz.  In addition, he's had various roles on The Blacklist, The Following, Person of Interest, Burn Notice, Law & Order, and the movies The Expendables and Rounders.

    Created in 1942 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, "Boss" Maroni debuted in the very first Two-Face story in Detective Comics (vol.1) #66.  Maroni was put on trial for the murder of the murder of a man named "Bookie" Benson, with Gotham City district attorney Harvey Dent serving as prosecutor.  Batman provides testimony at the trial, but Maroni calls Batman a liar, leading Dent to show evidence of Maroni's lucky two-headed silver dollar that was found at the murder scene with Maroni's fingerprints on it.  Enraged, Maroni hurled a small vial of acid at Dent, horribly disfiguring the left side of Dent's handsome face and transforming him into the insane gangster Two-Face.  Later Batman stories organized Maroni as Gotham's number two crime lord under Carmine "The Roman" Falcone.

    Zayas will be the second actor to portray Maroni in a signficant live-action role, after Eric Roberts in the 2008 movie The Dark KnightThe character also appeared in 1995's Batman Forever, played by Dennis Paladino, but only in a brief flashback explaining the origin of Two-Face.

    Gotham premieres on Fox on September 22, 2014.