content by

Keith DeCandido

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Fiction and Excerpts [3]

“Who are you people?” Marvel’s The Defenders First Impressions of Episodes 1-3

From 2008-2011, Marvel Studios provided an excellent blueprint for setting up what we now refer to as the Marvel Cinematic Universe: two Iron Man films, a Hulk film, a Thor film, and Captain America: The First Avenger. All standalone movies, but with various common elements and through-lines (the Stark family tree, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Infinity Stones) to come together in Avengers, which remains the gold standard. It works as the first Avengers movie as well as the next movie for each of the above characters.

In 2015, Marvel went back to that blueprint for their more ground-level Netflix television series based in New York. Two seasons of Daredevil, and one each of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, culminating in The Defenders, now live on Netflix.

Here’s a quick look at the first three episodes and whether or not they bode well for history repeating itself. (There will be a full review on Monday.)

[SPOILERS for The Defenders season 1, as well as Daredevil seasons 1-2, and the first seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.]

“Live as One of Them, Kal-El” — The Christopher Reeve Superman Movies

In the early 1970s, the Salkinds—son Ilya and father Alexander—acquired the rights to do a Superman movie. While there were plenty of TV movies and pilots and series and such that had been done throughout this decade starring costumed heroes—Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Dr. Strange, all of which we’ll get to in due course—there hadn’t been a theatrically released comic-book superhero film since Batman in 1966, and even that was tied to a TV show. The Salkinds, though, wanted Superman on the big screen.

[Frankly, Mr. White, I don’t really enjoy television. Too much violence.]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Pre-Dawn of Justice: Superman and the Mole Men and Batman (1966)

In the late 1930s, National Periodical Publications had two magazines that would change history: Action Comics, the first issue of which featured “Superman,” a colorful, powerful character created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, and Detective Comics, the 27th issue of which featured “Bat Man,” a darker, nastier character created by Bill Finger & Bob Kane. They quickly became the two main templates for the modern superhero: the one a big, bold, brightly colored hero of the people with tremendous power, the other a darker, scarier defender of justice who used his brains, training, and wealth.

[Since you can’t be trusted with guns, I’m going to have to take them away…..]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Introducing 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Superhero movies are all the rage in the early 21st century, but it’s hardly a new phenomenon. In the earliest days of superhero comics, they were quickly adapted into serialized formats: live action movie serials, radio dramas, and animated shorts. Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel—they all appeared in one or more of those forms in the late 1930s and 1940s.

[Read more]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Movies Overview

Star Trek movies
Original release dates: December 1979 – July 2016
Producers: Gene Roddenberry, Harve Bennett, Leonard Nimoy, Rick Berman, J.J. Abrams

Captain’s log. With the five-year mission having been completed, the three main characters are initially cast out to the nine winds. Kirk is promoted to admiral, Spock and McCoy both resign, the former to study Kolinahr and become more emotionless and logical than he already was, the latter to go into civilian practice. Meanwhile, Enterprise has a new captain and a major facelift, and everyone else has been promoted.

[Don’t call me “tiny”……]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond
Written by Simon Pegg & Doug Jung
Directed by Justin Lin
Release date: July 22, 2016
Stardate: 2263.2

When Star Trek Beyond was released a year ago, I reviewed it for this site, and even did it in the rewatch format. My take on the movie hasn’t really changed, so I present that review once again to finish off the movie portion of the Original Series Rewatch. Next week, the TOS Rewatch will conclude with an overview of the ten films.

Captain’s log. Three years into the Enterprise’s five-year mission to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before, Kirk is suffering a bit of burnout. Things have gotten almost “episodic,” he laments in his log. (Ahem.)

[I joined on a dare……]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness
Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman & Damon Lindelof
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Release date: May 16, 2013
Stardate: 2259.55

Captain’s log. On Nibiru, a planet with white-skinned natives and red plants, Kirk is running very fast, having pissed off the locals. Kirk is attacked by a giant animal and stuns it—except that was the mount McCoy had secured to get them out of there, and now it’s stunned. They keep running, having angered the natives deliberately to get them to chase him so that they won’t be harmed by the volcano that’s about to erupt.

[“That was an epic beating.” “No, it wasn’t!” “You had napkins hanging out of your nose.”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek (2009)

Star Trek
Written by Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Release date: May 8, 2009
Stardate: 2258.42

Captain’s log. The U.S.S. Kelvin is sent to investigate a peculiar spatial phenomenon, and as they approach, a gigantic ship, the Narada, comes through it and immediately fires on the Kelvin and pounds the crap out of it. At the request of the Narada‘s captain, a Romulan named Nero, Captain Robau takes a shuttle to the Narada to discuss surrender terms. Robau leaves Lieutenant George Kirk in command with orders to evacuate the ship if he doesn’t report in fifteen minutes.

Nero asks if Robau recognizes a particular ship or the face of Ambassador Spock. Robau recognizes neither, but it’s not until Robau gives the date that Nero loses his temper and kills him.

[Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek Generations

Star Trek Generations
Written by Rick Berman and Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
Directed by David Carson
Release date: November 18, 1994
Stardate: 48632.4

Captain’s log. A bottle floats through space and breaks on the U.S.S. Enterprise, NCC-1701-B. Joining Captain John Harriman on her maiden voyage is a gaggle of press, as well as Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov. The trio look around and talk to the helm officer, Ensign Demora Sulu, Hikaru Sulu’s daughter.

After Kirk gives the order to leave Spacedock—which he only does reluctantly, and only after Harriman insists—they set course for a trip around the solar system. However, they pick up a distress call. Two ships are stuck in an energy ribbon and are about to be destroyed. Harriman tries to fob it off on another ship in range—but there is no other ship in range, so Harriman reluctantly sets course. Throughout all this, Kirk is practically jumping out of his skin.

[“Very good, sir!” “Brought a tear to my eye.” “Oh, be quiet….”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Written by Leonard Nimoy and Lawrence Konner & Mark Rosenthal and Nicholas Meyer & Denny Martin Flynn
Directed by Nicholas Meyer
Release date: December 6, 1991
Stardate: 9521.6

Captain’s log. We open with the explosion of Praxis, a Klingon moon, and the location of their primary energy production facility. The subspace shockwave from the explosion travels all the way to Federation space, where the U.S.S. Excelsior, under the command of Captain Sulu, is returning from a three-year survey of the Beta Quadrant, charting gaseous anomalies. The Excelsior is hit by the wave, which Science Officer Valtane traces to Praxis—but while he can confirm the location of Praxis, he can’t confirm the existence of Praxis. Most of the moon is gone. Sulu has Communications Officer Rand send a message asking if they require assistance. A distress call from the moon is overlaid by Brigadier Kerla, who responds to Sulu’s offer of help with a definitive “no,” calling it an “incident” that they have under control. Sulu is, to say the least, skeptical and has Rand report this to Starfleet Command.

[I’d give real money if he’d just shut up.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Written by William Shatner & Harve Bennett & David Loughery
Directed by William Shatner
Release date: June 9, 1989
Stardate: 8454.1 

Captain’s log. We open on Nimbus III, the so-called “planet of galactic peace,” located in the Neutral Zone. (Which NZ, it doesn’t say.) A man named J’onn is working hard in the desert when he’s approached by a man on a horse. J’onn grabs his crude, handmade weapon to defend himself. (Weapons are, strictly speaking, forbidden on Nimbus.) The rider approaches and stares intently at him, which manages to take his pain away telepathically. J’onn is eternally grateful, and the rider asks in return that J’onn join his quest. J’onn agrees, and then rider throws back his cloak to reveal tapered ears—he’s a Vulcan. He tells J’onn that they’ll need a starship. And then he laughs.

[Please, Captain, not in front of the Klingons.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Adam West’s Five Best Bat-Moments

A pop-culture giant has shuffled off this four-color coil. Adam West, who played the title role in the 1966 Batman, and later reprised the role in voice and physical form more than once, has died of leukemia at the age of 88.

Having just spent a year and a half revisiting West’s most famous role for this very site, I now present the five best Bat-moments West had in his run on television wearing the cape and cowl:

[To the Batcave!]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Written by Leonard Nimoy & Harve Bennett and Steve Meerson & Peter Krikes and Nicholas Meyer
Directed by Leonard Nimoy
Release date: November 26, 1986
Stardate: 8390.0 

Captain’s log. A giant log flies through space making funky noises. The U.S.S. Saratoga investigates; it appears to be a probe, and it’s also heading directly toward Earth.

On Earth, the Klingon ambassador demands that Kirk be extradited to the Klingon Empire for several crimes, including the theft of Kruge’s ship, the death of Kruge and his crew, and his involvement in Genesis, which the ambassador describes as a doomsday weapon Kirk developed via his son (no mention of Carol Marcus) to be used against the Klingons.

Sarek shows up and counterargues, and then the Federation President announces that Kirk has been charged with nine counts of violations of Starfleet regulations. The Klingon ambassador is outraged, and declares, “There shall be no peace as long as Kirk lives!” before stomping out in a huff.

[Admiral, there be whales here!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Of Bloodless Beheadings and Lifeless Voice Work: The Animated Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman has a much lengthier career in animation than live-action. Despite this, the 2009 animated Wonder Woman is her only solo title.

Bizarrely, Wonder Woman’s first appearance in animation was in, of all things, a 1972 episode of The Brady Kids, an animated spinoff of The Brady Bunch. But she truly came into her own as an animated star in the various Super Friends cartoon series of the 1970s and 1980s, which featured Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, among others. Shannon Farnon, Connie Caulfied, and B.J. Ward all voiced Wonder Woman at various points.

Wonder Woman was also a main character in the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited animated series that spun off of Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series in the 1990s. Susan Eisenberg provided the character’s voice throughout.

Wonder Woman has appeared in several of DC’s direct-to-DVD movies and assorted other TV shows as a supporting character, mostly as a member of the Justice League, voiced by a variety of folks: Laura Bailey, Rosario Dawson, Grey DeLisle, Eisenberg, Rachel Kimsey, Lucy Lawless, Vanessa Marshall, Michelle Monaghan, Maggie Q, Cobie Smulders, Kari Wahlgren—and Keri Russell, who voiced her in her 2009 solo release.

[I didn’t need you to save me. I needed you to stop Ares.]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Written by Harve Bennett
Directed by Leonard Nimoy
Release date: June 1, 1984
Stardate: 8210.3 

Captain’s log. We open by watching Spock’s death and funeral again from The Wrath of Khan, as well as Spock giving the “space, the final frontier” monologue before the credits, which run over the Genesis Planet and Spock’s torpedo on its surface.

The Enterprise is en route to Earth, its battle damage repaired, most of its cadet crew reassigned. The ship has a skeleton crew—including Chekov, who has to reluctantly take the science station at one point. Kirk is more than a little beside himself over Spock’s death.

Elsewhere, a Klingon woman named Valkris has purchased the Genesis data on the black market and delivers it to a Klingon captain named Kruge. He then kills her by destroying the vessel she hired for the rendezvous, as she has seen the data.

[Up your shaft……..]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch