Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Last Week in Pop Culture #20

Around the Web
One review from me up on Sound on Sight this week, covering the still-not-as-fun-as-it-should-be next chapter in IDW's X-Files Conspiracy crossover, this time featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy hit the internet this week, and if you haven't checked it out, do so. As I said on Twitter, I'm an easy mark when it comes to trailers, but this got me even more excited for the movie, especially for Chris Pratt's take on Starlord. This movie will be a tough sell, even to the millions who have embraced stuff like Iron Man and the Avengers, but the trailer seems to suggest the filmmakers are aware of this, and doing their best to make sure everyone knows what to expect from the movie. 

Also, in perhaps the most WTF news of late, NBC announced that it is rebooting Heroes as a 13-episode "event series" in 2015. Alan Sepinwall does a good job laying out just why this seems like such a bad idea here, though he overlooks one key component: in addition to all its other problems, Heroes under Tim Kring was pathologically incapable of showing any exciting action sequences, at one point literally confining a fight that was the climax of a season to a locked room and showing the audience a character watching the fight through a keyhole rather than the fight itself.

All of which is to say that while a Heroes reboot in and of itself may not be a terrible idea (in terms of doing something with the concept of "ordinary people with extraordinary abilities" while trying to get some juice from the brand name), putting Kring back in charge seems especially stupid. That said, I'll probably still watch it, just to see how awful it is (what the kids these days call "hate watching").

Once Upon a Time: Going Home


Once again, we get another deus ex machina (the Black Fairy's wand) that would have been better serviced had it at least been mentioned, even in passing, in a previous episode.

And once again, the rapid plotting of this show is both its best and worst friend. Pan's plan was dealt with in a delightfully brisk manner that prevented it from falling apart under too much scrutiny, yet at the same time, the Blue Fairy dies and returns and nobody has the time to give a damn. 

After she was first mentioned, I turned to my wife and said "I wonder who the Black Fairy is?". Once the "coming up on Once Upon a Time" preview ended, I turned to my wife and said "So the Wicked Witch of the West is the Black Fairy".

There's absolutely no way that's the end of Rumplestiltskin, right? I can't believe the show would write him out permanently, even if his death scene was the best part of this episode (and now that prophecy about Henry being his undoing has been fulfilled).

The "one year later" time jump at the end does a lot to help smooth over just how much Henry's been hit with the puberty stick of late.

Community: Geothermal Escapism
Sad as I am at the departure of Troy, this was pretty much the best goodbye episode we could have expected, offering up one final "Greendale goes insane" high concept episode for Troy and Abed to participate in, made all the better because the craziness tied in to the difficulties Abed had in saying goodbye.

It (wisely) went unremarked upon, but I also appreciated that Britta was the one who helped Troy and Abed comes to terms with Troy's departure. Not only did it makes sense given Britta's character, but it was a quietly effective nod to her relationship with Troy. 

Putting aside any shipper discussion, I love that in these crazy concept episodes Jeff and Annie always seem to end up allied and working together in some capacity. 

Analysis of Cork-Based Networking
While the Annie/Hickey plot, loaded with guest stars and prompting the title as it did, was clearly the A-story of the episode, I actually liked the other two plots more (Britta trying to spoil Abed while he ends up in another romance-of-the-week plotline and the rest of the gang trying to come up with a dance theme that goes horribly wrong), the Abed/Britta stuff for the way it hung a lantern on Abed's past romances (and brought back the coat check girl) and the dance stuff for the way it absurdly but diligently tried to sell "Fat Dog" as a thing.

Parks and Recreation: Ann and Chris


So long, Anne and Chris. I will miss you, even though neither of you were the show's funniest or most thematically important characters. I will miss you because Leslie and Ben will miss you. Hopefully, we'll get to see you again in some capacity before the series ends.

And hey, at least Rob Lowe got to leave on a comedic high note, dancing to "One Headlight". It's no "stop pooping", but still pretty great. 

Other Shows I Watched
Revolution "Dead Man Walking", "The Patriot Act", Enlisted "Homecoming"

2 comments:


  1. // NBC announced that it is rebooting Heroes as a 13-episode "event series" in 2015. //

    I think it's hilarious that, on top of everything else, Kring or NBC or whomever is so clueless that they're calling this Heroes Reborn — a name that has seriously negative connotations amongst the swath of viewers most likely to check it out regardless of how let down we were by the original run (although of course comics readers are still a tiny percentage of overall potential audience).

    // The "one year later" time jump at the end does a lot to help smooth over just how much Henry's been hit with the puberty stick of late. //

    When this aired I felt strongly that cutting to black just a few moments earlier, right after Hook shows up at the door and says whatever to Emma about her family needing her, would've made a fine series finale. As it stands, I was surprised to get this as merely a midseason cliffhanger rather than at the very least a season finale, in part because placing the happy ending that Emma got with Henry as just a matter of course in the overall narrative, and reversing it in spirit if not in fact by dragging her/them back in already, diminishes the sacrifice and reward.

    I can't help but wonder if this isn't a matter of the show's usually admirable rapid plotting that you mention working against it. My attachment to Once Upon a Time isn't half of what I felt for a certain other show before everything that followed the white flash at the end of Season 5 sunk my hopes to the bottom of the sea, granted. Nonetheless I am now quite wary of series that continue after any scene that feels like as good a place as any to stop — never mind the actual connections between this show and Lost. On the other hand Chuck had several episodes that were perfectly satisfying finales during Seasons 4 and 5 only to keep going, although most of those were in fact made with the possibility if not probability of actually being the end.

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  2. @Blam:I think it's hilarious that, on top of everything else, Kring or NBC or whomever is so clueless that they're calling this Heroes Reborn

    Ha! Just another example of Kring's cluelessness when it comes to established superhero tropes and whatnot.

    I can't help but wonder if this isn't a matter of the show's usually admirable rapid plotting that you mention working against it.

    It seems like it. The upside of rapid plotting is that nothing overstays its welcome and you're too busy absorbing the next thing to realize all the plotholes and leaps of logic in the last thing; the downside is that so few plot developments are given the time to hang out, breathe and be fully explored. The bad ones go away quickly, but so do the good or intriguing ones.

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