Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Smallville, created by Alfred Gough and Miles Miller based on the comics by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster: a Television Series Review

Synopsis:

Smallville, Kansas seems like your regular, every day, small, Midwest American town.  The city center is quaint and full of mom-and-pop shops.  Cornfields and farms line the edges as far as the eye can see.  And football is the local religion.

Until one day when a series of meteors strike down around the town.  Little does the town know how much of a ripple effect this event will have.

Twelve years later, Clark Kent is going to high school.  The all American boy.  Corn fed and farm raised.  Except he as a secret.  A deep dark secret that may be exposed.  Hes super fast, super strong…and apparently impervious to the sports car that hit him going 60 miles per hour hurtling him and the driver into the river below.

When they emerge from the water something seems to have changed in the small town.  Weird occurrences start to happen more frequently around town…and always seem to be tied to the strange green meteor rocks.  Lex Luthor has moved in and is trying to investigate the crash that nearly took his life. Clark’s friend Chloe is trying to tie all the strange things in town to the meteor strike and write about them in the school paper…

But all Clark wants to do is figure out how to ask out cheerleader Lana Lang…if only he could stop being so clumsy around her. 

Who knew high school could be so tough?

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Action/Adventure, Drama, Teen Drama

-Creator: Alfred Gough and Miles Miller based on the comics by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

-Length: 10 Seasons, 21 Episodes each (44-52 minutes per episode)

-Rating: TV-14 (for superhero violence, mild sex and nudity including implied sexual relationships and discussions, moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of drugs, alcohol and smoking, mild frightening and intense scenes)  

-Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Tom Welling, Kristen Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, Eric Johnson, Sam Jones III, Allison Mack, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, John Clover, Jensen Ackles, Erica Durance, Aaron Ashmore, Laura Vandervoort, Cassidy Freeman, Sam Witwer, Justin Hartley, Callum Blue

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

General Overview:

I am going to preface this by saying that I did watch this show when it was running so some of my review may be colored by the fact that I really loved the show when it was on.

Overall, the show is a really interesting take on the beginnings of Superman and Clark Kent as a teenager.  But because it starts with Clark and his friends in high school there are a lot of plot lines that focus on things that adults really need to remember were the end of the world when they were a teenager.  Between love triangles, the school dances, cheerleading and football, school sports and arts, and even the vote for school president…the first few seasons are kind of cheesy and harder to get through as an adult. 

But as I hold onto the fact that these were life or death situations as a teen (just without the superpowers and the crazy meteor rocks) the show becomes really fun and a cool extension of the Superman world that we have been introduced to over the year.

Season 1:

Oof.  Just as drama ridden and cringy as I remember.  But that is because it all takes place their freshman year of high school.

I appreciate the parallels in the new characters that have been introduced to the characters we know later on in the comics and other films.  Chloe and her school paper as well as Lana Lang both have characteristics of Clark Kent’s later love interest, Lois Lane.  And old favorites have returned but with a more youthful twist such as Lex Luthor.

With the long form seasonal format of a tv series instead of a series of movies we really get to explore the friendship between Lex and Clark, the effects that the Kryptonian meteor rocks have on humans that were in the vicinity of the crashes and even later, the relationships Clark forms with his parents and other friends….even the conflicts that arise from keeping his secret safe. 

It is really enjoyable to watch the stories unfold.  Even if parts of it are still a little more than unbelievable…like a teenager running an entire coffee shop by themselves, or the fact that the Kents keep their son’s spaceship in the basement…without any decent locks.

Season 2:

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Season 6:

Season 7:

Season 8:

Season 9:

Season 10:

Additional Notes:

Tom Welling and Erica Durance did reprise their roles as Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane in the DCEU multi-television show crossover mini-series/storyline “Crisis on Infinite Earth”.  This crossover officially tied the early 2000s series into the new DCEU Arrowverse. 

To see the review for the “Crisis on Infinite Earth” crossover mini-series: Crisis on Infinite Earth

To see our article on how the Arrowverse is connected and the shows tied into it: Arrowverse and the new DCEU

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Trek

Star Trek: The Next Generation (Full Series), created by Gene Roddenberry: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Set 78 years after Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation series follows the adventures of the new Enterprise (NC-1700-D) and her crew.  Headed by Captain Jean-Luc Picard and a team of accomplished and diverse officers, the show focus on the years following an encounter with an immortal, sentient life force known only as Q.

Throughout the series new characters and life forms are introduced like the Ferengi, the Trill, and the Q.  new adventures, planets and discoveries abound during the seven season run.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Drama

-Creator: Gene Roddenberry

-Length: 7 Seasons, 178 Episodes (average 45 minutes per episode)

-Rating: TV-PG (for Science-Fiction action and violence, some sexual content, some adult themes and mild language)

-Where to Watch: Netflix, Hulu, CBSAllAccess, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube ITunes, DVD, BlueRay, and look for the series at your local library

-Main Cast: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Wil Wheaton, Denise Crosby, Gates McFadden, and John de Lancie

-Page of Reference in RPO: 25

Review (contains spoilers):

Please note this review will be updated as I continue to watch through the whole series….

Season 1:

This season is incredibly rough as are many first seasons of Star Trek.  Some episodes are alright while most are okay at best, horrible at worst.  While this is my favorite of the Star Trek series there is much of the first season that is difficult to get through.  From the questionable introduction of Q (usually the Big Bad of a series isn’t introduced in the first episode…and not as what appears to be a throw away character though incredibly charming and quite vexing), to the childish Ferengi, to the various bigger than their britches Starfleet personnel, this season is shaky at best. Save a few important episodes you can basically just skip to Season 2…

Season 2:

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Season 6:

Season 7:

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Serenity, created by Joss Whedon: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The film opens on a new character, The Operative, going through files on Simon and River Tam which doesn’t seem to bode well for the siblings and the crew in the long run.

We rejoin the crew of Serenity as they continue their journey through space…but the ties are currently tenuous. Inara has left the boat, Shepard Book has settled in a community of his own, Simon and River are on the verge of leaving, and Mal seems to be dead set on pushing away most of the crew.

As they set out to do a new job, things get more complicated. What is a routine mission for the group, a bank job, turns sour when Reavers attack…and River is able to sense them.

Simon decides they will be leaving Serenity…but in a twist of events River is activated and knocks out the entire bar they are in while Simon is negotiating safe passage. This pushes Mal to the edge. And the film follows through this problem and its inevitable end at the mysterious “Miranda”.

General Information

-Genre: Space Western, Science-Fiction Drama

-Creator: Joss Whedon

-Length: 119 minutes, feature length film

-Film Rating: PG-13 (For violence, sexual situations, weapons, death and violent injury, implied rape and sexual assault)

-Where to watch: DVD, Blue-ray, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu (with a plug in), or check your local library for a copy!

-Main Cast: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Summer Glau, Ron Glass, Chiwetel Ejiofor

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

A less than satisfactory end to what could have been a long running and landscape changing show.

We are finally reunited with our beautiful crew, 8 months after the Tams set foot on Serenity. The movie starts by revealing some of the mystery behind River’s escape by the hands of her brother Simon. We find that someone is on the hunt for our beloved girl and that her abilities may not be what we see…the insanity, the trauma, the mental anguish and, as we find out, the deadly weapon that she has been trained to be.

We discover some of the mysteries and answer a few of the questions we have asked along the way.

Simon and Kaylee have feelings that we see flourish throughout the film. Wash and Zoe are still amazing together…and Mal and Jayne are themselves.

Though Mal seems more angry and more vicious in his words. Maybe its because Inara moved off of Serenity (for unknown reasons though we can guess that it is because of her mysterious illness and a major fight with the Captain). Maybe he’s just mad at Simon for his over-protectiveness of River. Or maybe he just has a bee in his pretty floral bonnet.

In the end, Serenity is a wonderful piece of science-fiction film. The fights are beautifully choreographed. River’s character develops in a way we never thought we would see. We learn the origins of the Reavers, how the Alliance has been negotiating and killing for years under covert operations.

But the things we lose are not only less than satisfying…they are devastating and are the one time I really feel that Whedon went for the shock factor in an unnecessary way. Wash didn’t need to die. There were other ways that he could have created the feeling that they may not all get out alive. And with his death we had all hopes of his and Zoe’s future taken away. For a shock.

And while we get a wrap up for somethings, like Simon and River becoming a real part of the crew. Mal getting back to himself. Inara coming back… Kaylee and Simon starting something. Jayne is Jayne.

The Alliance is beyond weakened by the broadcast Mal sends out.

As a single film, if you don’t know the show….its wonderful. A full story tied up nicely in a bow. But for the fans….its a difficult pill to swallow as the last time we will see our beloved Serenity and her daring crew.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

(because it’s a great stand alone…but left us wanting as fans…)

Photo from Google… promotional movie poster