Friday, November 28, 2014

LoveCraft | Gotham | vlog #10

Assassins infiltrate Wayne Manor, but Alfred fends them off, allowing Bruce and Selina to escape. Alfred tells Gordon and Bullock about the incident and then goes with Bullock to help find Bruce and Selina. Meanwhile, Falcone meets with Cobblepot to ask how Maroni knew where his money was, as he believes it was them who stole it from the Armory. Cobblepot states that Maroni didn't commit the armory robbery, as there is a mole working for someone else, possibly for Fish Mooney. Dent suspects Dick Lovecraft hired the assassins. At a mob dinner with various gangsters and mafiosi, Falcone kills his operative Bannion for failing to guard the armory and states that they must increase their tributes to him to recover from the attack on the armory, angering two of his caporegimes. Bullock and Alfred interrogate Macky who admits knowing someone who knows Selina's fence. Selina tells Bruce that the assassins were after her and not him. She leads him to an underground area used as a mall for street kids. They are visited by Ivy Pepper, who escaped from juvie to avoid being adopted following her mother's suicide. She tells Selina that her fence Clyde is operating in the Narrows. Gordon finds Lovecraft, who claims those after Selina are also after him. He gives Gordon some files about the Wayne Enterprise stocks and the two are attacked by the same assassins. Gordon is knocked unconscious and awakes to Bullock calling him to say Fish Mooney has given them information. Gordon then finds Lovecraft dead. Bruce and Selina visit Clyde, only to be grabbed by his associates. The assassins arrive to claim Selina, but she knocks one out, just as Bullock and Alfred arrive. A female assassin stalks Bruce, demanding to know where Selina is. Alfred makes his way to Bruce, and the assassin escapes. Clyde and those involved are arrested. Following Lovecraft's "suicide", Mayor James reassigns Gordon to Arkham Asylum after scolding him and Dent for pressuring Lovecraft. Selina checks in on Bruce at home and kisses him.
Written by Rebecca Dameron
Directed by Guy Ferland
Originally aired 11/24/14

Monday, November 17, 2014

Harvey Dent | Gotham | vlog #9

Following Selena's arrest, James Gordon has her placed at Wayne Manor until the police can find the person that Selena has described to be the man who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne as Bruce gets to know Selena. During a prison transport from Blackgate Penitentiary to St. Mark Psychiatric Hospital, insane bomb maker Ian Hargrove (Leslie Odom, Jr.) is taken by the Russian mob who are working against Carmine Falcone following Nikolai's death. James Gordon meets with Harvey Dent to find the identity of the man who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne where he suspects that Dick Lovencraft (Al Sapienza) may be behind the hit. Oswald Cobblepot starts to make contact with Liza. When James Gordon and Harvey Bullock find Ian Hargrove at an abandoned metal factory, they are ambushed by Russian mob thugs who make off with Ian. Manipulated by Fish Mooney, the new Russian boss Gregor and his crew targets a store of money, but are stopped as the police arrive. The truck explodes under remotely controlled by Butch Gilzean as the police get Ian into their custody. Oswald later visits Liza stating that he knows that she is a spy for Fish Mooney and that Falcone would not like the news. Oswald states that he won't tell Don Falcone and that she'll continue working for Fish Mooney. At a press conference, Mayor James states that Arkham Asylum will also hold the criminally insane which also includes Ian Harcourt as one of it's patients. Meanwhile, Barbara has left Gotham to escape the threat of the mafia, but is revealed to be sleeping with Renee Montoya.
Written by Ken Woodruff
Directed by Karen Gaviola
Originally aired 11/17/14

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Mask | Gotham | vlog #8

Bruce returns to school, where he has some trouble with the students, including Tommy Elliot, who made fun of his parents' death and asks Alfred to teach him how to defend himself. Gordon and Bullock investigate Richard Sionis (Todd Stashwick) who is hosting an illegal and deadly fight club where the victims are those who applied for Sionis Investments. When Gordon is caught at the site of the fight club, Bullock asks GCPD for help finding Gordon. After "The Mask" and those involved are arrested, Gordon is informed that Selina was apprehended after robbing a dress store. Meanwhile, Liza's loyalty to Fish Mooney begins to falter when she learns of Mooney's plan to eventually kill Don Falcone. However, this doesn't stop her from stealing a ledger from the mafioso's office that may be used to incriminate him.
Written by John Stephens, directed by Paul A. Edwards

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Batman '66 is suddenly en vouge again

Batman66 (3)Have you noticed that the old Batman television show from the 1960s is suddenly a hot commodity these days?

It all started last year when DC launched the ongoing series Batman ’66. It’s not intended to be part of DC’s superhero canon (pre or post “New 52”), but rather a comic book adaptation of the show that starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. It’s written by Jeff Parker with cover art by Mike Allred and interiors by a rotating staff of artists. The characters are all depicted as the actors looked on the show at the time. In fact, it’s the only comic book adaptation specific to that TV show ever made.

Batman66 (7)The success of that series lead to the latest Kevin Smith Batman comic: Batman ’66 Meets The Green Hornet. Smith has written for the Green Hornet character for Dynamite Comics in the past, and he’s a major Batman fan, so it’s not surprising he would be behind a Batman/Green Hornet crossover (even if it’s the TV versions of those characters). It’s no secret that Smith hosts a podcast aptly titled “Fatman on Batman” wherein he interviews someone who has worked on the character over the years; usually comic book artists and writers, but occasionally actors such as Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy and Adam West among others. His friend and co-writer on the series, Ralph Garmin, is also known as a major Batman geek, and the two have discussed their fandom repeatedly on various podcasts on Smith’s “SModcast Internet Radio” network for years. Their six-issue mini-series is set for a compiled release next April.

And of course, the pièce de résistance of the 1960s-era Batman craze is the long-awaited release of the Batman television show on DVD and Blu-ray. This might just be the most-demanded and eagerly-anticipated release of an old TV show ever. The reason it took so long is due to a ridiculously complex legal situation over copyright ownership, royalties, and distribution rights (this article on explains it pretty well).

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Looking at the so-called “limited edition” packaging of both the DVDs and Blu-rays, it certainly appears to be an impressive feat. Quite a lot of time, effort, and money have gone into restoring those old episodes to their crisp, colorful, original look as you can see here:

This is a package for the serious Batman fan, as it’s the entire series – all three seasons and 120 episodes – in a single box set. It’s not cheap, though, as the DVD set costs $134.99 and the Blu-ray runs $174.99. However, there is a deluge of extras, which I’m sure will satisfy anyone that purchases this set.

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I have only vague recollections of watching the show in syndication as a child and I don’t remember being all that enamored with it. I was just too young to understand the artistic style, the pop culture references, the celebrity cameos, or the deliberately campy humor and atmosphere of the show. It’s something I just never took an interest in, and as I became a fan of Batman comics, I began to despise the TV show since that seemed to be the point of reference for all non-comic people whenever Batman was brought up. I actually remember getting quite angry at times when I tried to tell friends and family how great something like The Dark Knight Returns was, only to have them respond with something to the extent of, “Ooh, did Batman run out shark repellant or something?”

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Thanks to the success of the 1989 Batman movie starring Michael Keaton, Batman was finally depicted as the dark character in the dark universe he really is, which may have come as a bit of a shock to people who still associated the character with the 60s-era TV show (though the Joel Schumacher movies did a great job of undoing all that, grrrr….).

With all this Batman ’66 material available, I’m very tempted to give it a try. The comics are actually the most appealing to me since they’re entirely original works (and they look gorgeous, too). It’ll be interesting to see how these writers and artists, who may not have been there for the original craze at the time, will handle these characters.

As for the show, well, that Blu-ray set definitely has me drooling because it looks so well done. However, I will not be adding it to my shopping cart just yet. Like I said, I was never a fan of the show, so it really has no sentimental value to me. I would like to watch it to appreciate it for what it was intended to be, as well as its place in pop culture. But I’d rather be able to catch it on Netflix once in a while, rather than commit to spending a bunch of cash on a collectible set
(NOTE: yes, I’m aware that it’s shown on the Independent Film Channel, but it’s not in HD and you still have to wade through commercials as well as watch it on their schedule rather than on your own if it were available on-demand). I’ve put it on my wish list, so if anyone wants to get it for me for Christmas that’d be nice. If not, I’ll wait until I can get a used edition at half the price sometime in the future.

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1.       Were you a fan of the original Batman television series (either during its original run or in syndication)? What are your memories of it?
2.       Did you approach it as an action/mystery show or as a campy, zany comedy?
3.       Have you read any of these Batman ’66 comics that have been released recently – if so, how did you like them?
4.       Will you be buying the DVD or Blu-ray sets of the TV show?

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Penguin's Umbrella | Gotham | vlog #7

Upon Oswald Cobblepot's arrival at the Gotham City Police Department, Harvey Bullock attacks James Gordon in the locker room where they have a fight, and Harvey tries to shoot Gordon until he is distracted and disarmed. Meanwhile, Butch Gilzean has visited James Gordon's apartment where they talk to Barbara upon Gordon's arrival, whom orders Gilzean to have his man drop his gun. Gordon then attacks Butch and shoots his man and wants Barbara to get out of town as he drops her off at the bus station. Fish Mooney talks with Carmine Falcone about Oswald Cobblebot being alive and plans to send Victor Zsasz to go after Gordon. Sarah Essen finds Gordon working on arrest warrants for Carmine Falcone, Mayor Aubrey James, and any associates involved in the Wayne conspiracy. Sarah Essen doesn't want to help Gordon and warns him to get out of town. Victor Zsasz and some hitwomen enter the Gotham City Police Department where he announces that he wants to bring James Gordon to Carmine Falcone alive. Following a shoot out, Gordon is rescued by Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen. They have Gordon's wounds treated at a university. As Sal Maroni doesn't want to give Oswald Cobblepot to Fish Mooney, the mob war between Sal Maroni and Carmine Falcone escalates. With help from Alfred Pennyworth, Gordon, Montoya, and Allen take refuge at Wayne Manor as Gordon claims that the people who want him dead are associated with the Wayne murders. Cobblepot, Frankie Carbone, and some Maroni mobsters raid Russian mob boss and Falcone's ally Nikolai's warehouses where Cobblepot and two Maroni operatives kill him and Frankie. A drunken Harvey re-evaluates his choices and plans to help Gordon. Upon having Mayor Aubrey James in his custody, James Gordon visits Carmine Falcone in order to bring him in, with Harvey taing control of his men. Falcone mentions that Victor Zsasz has Barbara Kean pleaded for mercy and that Victor Zsasz has her. Upon proving it with Zsasz bringing her in, Falcone allows James Gordon, Harvey Bullock, and Barbara Kean leave in exchange that he understands that he will see that he will soon be right. When he goes to see his chickens the next day, Oswald Cobblepot shows up. A flashback reveals that the night he met James Gordon, he had Oswald Cobblepot in his possession where he pleads to have James Gordon assigned to kill him and that if he lived, Oswald would be his informant in the Maroni Family upon his return...which Carmine accepts upon learning that Fish Mooney and Nikolai were conspiring against him. After the flashback, Carmine Falcone states to Oswald that everything is going as planned.
Originally aired 11/3/14
Written by Bruno Heller.
Directed by Bob Bailey