Tagged: Bionic Woman

MIKE GOLD: Disney Does Marvel

As is well-known, the Walt Disney Company purchased Marvel Comics a little over two years ago. Marvel joined the Muppets, Pixar, ABC and ESPN as tentacles of that great evil media empire that has done so much to homogenize the American culture. After all the jokes died down, some people wondered why the Mouse wanted the House that Jack Built in the first place.

Disney is a movie company, and Marvel’s shiniest family jewels – Spider-Man and The X-Men – were in the hands of competing studios (Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox, respectively) and aren’t likely to revert any time soon. The sundry Avengers characters were in the hands of Paramount Pictures, although Disney was able to purchase a nice reversion deal here. But, still, the motion picture revenue picture was severely compromised by the Spidey and X deals, and made all the more expensive by the Paramount buy-back. So, the question “why” certainly is valid.

Nobody that big buys a publishing venture – certainly not a comic book publishing venture – for the profits it will generate on its own. The phrase “fart in a blizzard” comes to mind. Merchandising and licensing revenues can be fairly attractive and Disney/Marvel/Muppets are a good fit. But… still… why?

I think we’re beginning to see the real reason. Disney owns ABC, which includes ABC Family, the Disney Channel, Disney XD (which already carries many of the Marvel animated shows), Playhouse Disney, Disney Cinemagic, Hungama, Jetix, Radio Disney, SoapNet, WABC-TV New York, KABC-TV Los Angeles, WLS-TV Chicago, WPVI-TV Philadelphia, KGO-TV San Francisco, KTRK-TV Houston, WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham, and KFSN-TV Fresno, and as the various ESPN channels – possibly excluding “El Ocho.” Plus all kinda stuff overseas.

One can argue that teevee in general doesn’t have much of a future, and I might agree. But teevee programming has one hell of a great future no matter what platform we’ll be enjoying in the future: cable, satellite, computers, tablets, integrated teevee/computer systems, visors, brain implants, whatever. And that’s where the Mighty Marvel Money Machine will become the Mouse’s cash cow, true believer.

Disney already has The Hulk, Cloak and Dagger and Alias in development. Of course “Alias” has to be renamed – it’s working under the title “a.k.a. Jessica Jones” right now, and the show includes both Luke Cage and Carol Danvers. Mockingbird is also in development as a Miley Cyrus style kids show, possibly as fodder for the ABC Family network.

Step back a pace and take a look at what’s going on here.

Most of these shows are built around female superheroes. As headliners, such characters are anathema to motion picture studios. But Disney is betting heavy, heavy bucks that the distaff side will draw a sufficient audience to warrant the investment.

That’s pretty cool – and very risky. Women heroes haven’t fared much better on the small screen: Nikita was renewed by the skin of her teeth, The Bionic Woman revival flamed out, as did Charlie’s Angels redux. David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman didn’t make it past the pilot stage. Yet Disney is developing no less than three Marvel shows built around women.

So no matter what I might feel about Disney’s predatory influence on our culture, they are showing a great deal of courage here – courage they developed by purchasing Marvel.


THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

The Point Radio: Return Of The REAL Bionic Woman

The Point Radio: Return Of The REAL Bionic Woman

In the 1970s, she was Sci-Fi’s Sweetheart – Lindsay Wagner, the original BIONIC WOMAN. Now Lindsay is back on series TV and she gives us all the details.Plus VAMPIRELLA is also back (again) and did you ever see that AVENGERS movie from the 1950s?

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ComicMix Quick Picks – February 21, 2009

ComicMix Quick Picks – February 21, 2009

Today’s list of quick items that don’t fill a full post on their own:

  • Hugh Jackman to Do Oscars Drunk and Nude. Okay, maybe that would deserve a post of its own, if only it were true. Still, the post from E! Online wins headline of the week around here. Also, Ricky Gervais will write some of Hugh’s Oscars gags.
  • If you’re a fan of anime, manga and/or other Japanese pop culture in New York City, run, don’t walk to BookOff in Midtown – they’re having a 20% off sale on almost everything in the store until the end of this month.  This emporium for used Japanese language books, CDs, DVDs, manga and videotapes ALSO has a substantial selection of good-condition second-hand materials in English. Their usual US edition manga prices are around 40%-50% off  and the current sale takes the percentage off of that. They also sell $1 books and $3 CD’s, which don’t get the 20% discount but what the hey, those prices are already a steal.

    Since it’s second-hand, the selection is kind of catch-as-catch-can, but this reporter always ends up walking out of the store with SOMETHING cool. Just make sure you give yourself a strict spending limit…this reporter also has been known to get a little carried away with the bargains.

  • Are your pop-culture tastes more Anglophile than Japanophile? (Or, hey, it’s OK to be both — I loves me my Monty Python as much as my Mobile Suit Gundam) you will want to keep your eyes on BBC America. Ashes To Ashes, the BBC sequel/spinoff of the  time-travel (or something) series Life on Mars (the Americanized version of which is currently airing on ABC) will begin airing on the cable network in March. Check your cable or satellite system for BBC America On-Demand — you can catch a 25-minute sneak preview of the first episode of Ashes to Ashes now.
  • DOCTOR WHO MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN! Well, no actually, it’s actually pictures from the set of the new Doctor Who Easter special, which also features Michelle Ryan, late of last year’s Bionic Woman reboot.
  • And, getting back to anime, in case you haven’t heard — a new Full Metal Alchemist TV series is coming in April!  The scuttlebutt seems to be that it will explore the continuity of the manga that diverged from that of the original TV series.

Anything else? Consider this an open thread.

BBC Orders 2nd Season of ‘Merlin’

BBC Orders 2nd Season of ‘Merlin’

The revisionist take on Camelot, Merlin, has been given a second season order by the BBC according to Variety. The series, starring Colin Morgan as the young wizard, has aired on BBC’s coveted Saturday night usually take n by Doctor Who and Robin Hood. NBC already bought American broadcast rights and intends to schedule the series in the first half of 2009.

The premise has the series occurring during the days of Arthur’s father, King Uther, but Camelot already exists.  Merlin is an apprentice magician, not aging backwards, and befriends a young Arthur (Bradley James).  The series also features supporting characters played by Michelle Ryan (Bionic Woman) John Hurt (Alien), and Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy).

The series was developed by Shine, the BBC, and distributor FremantleMedia Enterprises and is now running in 112 territories. In the UK, its 28% audience share was considered above average, easily confirming a second season order.

Review: ‘Reaper Season One’ DVD

Review: ‘Reaper Season One’ DVD

2007 was a pretty big year for television, bringing us great shows such as [[[Pushing Daisies]]], [[[Californication]]], and [[[Chuck]]], and some duds like [[[Cavemen]]], [[[Bionic Woman]]], and [[[Aliens in America]]]. One gem that seemed to slip through the cracks you can now catch on DVD, in the ABC Studios and The CW’s [[[Reaper]]].

The show followed ne’er-do-well Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) on his 18th birthday when he is told by his parents that they sold his soul when he was born and now must suffer the wrath of The Devil (Ray Wise). Turns out that the Devil actually likes Sam and proposes that, rather than go to hell for eternity, he takes the role as the Reaper, a bounty hunter capturing escaped souls and returning them to hell. Sam reluctantly agrees, tries to fight it, but eventually comes to the realization that this may just be the first thing he’s actually good at. Alongside Sam are his faithful companions Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez), his girlfriend Andi (Missy Peregrym) and along the way they come across a cavalcade of TV favorites, including names like Patton Oswalt, Michael Ian Black, and Angel‘s Mercedes McNab. The show may be about demons and the different levels of hell, but at it’s core; the show is about the birth of a hero, and what it takes to balance the live of fighting evil, with a part time job at a home improvement store.

The show was bounced around more than once on the schedule, finally finding a home right after [[[Smallville]]] on Thursdays. Once the writers’ strike hit, the show suffered like many others, and went into a several week hiatus, but returned strong and finished off season one with a bang. Finally, you can catch all of the laughs and thrills of the season at your leisure as Lionsgate Home Video released Reaper Season One on DVD.

Along with all 18 episodes on 5 discs, you get a great collections of extras including audio commentary on the pilot episode from series creators Tara Butter, Michele Fazekas, and Debra Spera. Also included is a gag reel that shows just how much laughs go into making us laugh (running at 4:30) and a collection of deleted and extended scenes from the past season, which runs at 7:22. The packaging of the box comes together pretty nicely, with a lenticular cover and a plastic slipcover, it would be a nice addition to your DVD collection.

Overall, Reaper is easily one of the better things produced on TV over the past 2 years, and with another 13 episodes picked up for 2009, you are going to want to be caught up on this Network TV Gem, and you won’t be disappointed. 

Overall Rating: 8/10

4 Countries Unite  for ‘Defying Gravity’

4 Countries Unite for ‘Defying Gravity’

Defying Gravity will be a new 13-episode series being coproduced by Fox TV Studios, Canada’s CTV, Germany’s ProSieben and the BBC, which will star Ron Livingston (The Time Traveler’s Wife). Created by James Parriott (Grey’s Anatomy) and Michael Edelstein (Desperate Housewives), The Hollywood Reporter says the series is “set in the near future and revolves around eight astronauts from five countries who take on a mysterious six-year mission through the solar system.”

The cast currently includes Livingston and German actress Florentine Lahme with the first episode, to be directed by David Straiton, scheduled to shoot in Vancouver beginning January 19.

Edelstein the idea for the series came to him when he watched the BBC docu-drama Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets on Discovery Channel in late 2006. "I was blown away by it," Edelstein told the trade. He acquired the rights to it from British producer Impossible Pictures (Primeval) and reteamed with Parriott, having previously worked together on ABC’s Threat Matrix.

Parriott is a self-described sci-fi geek whose credits include the original Bionic Woman and The Incredible Hulk.  He said of the new series, "Throw in a little bit of Grey’s and Lost and you have a pretty good international TV show."

Review: Knight Rider Premiere

knight rider nbcIn an attempt to make up for NBC’s flop of a reboot last year with [[[Bionic Woman]]] comes the new and improved [[[Knight Rider]]] which is like the original series, but with a revamped KITT, a younger cast, a brand new back-story, and fantastic special effects, this show has the potential be a win for NBC’s fall lineup. Many will be going into this “pilot” with some hesitation after February’s TV movie (which was technically the pilot), due to the fact that the show lacked in story structure, was full of WB-level acting, and gave work to David Hasselhoff. Happily, this episode fixed many of those issues and made the hour mildly entertaining.

The story from the original movie is that terrorists go after and “kill” scientist Charles Graiman (Bruce Davison) who helped work on the supercar Knight Industries Three-Thousand, or K.I.T.T. (see what they did there?), which drives away to find Graiman’s next of kin; his daughter Sarah (Deanna Russo). They meet up and Sarah decides to go to her old flame for help, a renegade army ranger named Michael Traceur (Jason Bruening) who is in his own heap of trouble with a whole “the-government-erased-my-brain-not-unlike-in-[[[The Bourne Identity]]]” plot of his own going on. By the end of the movie, Michael decides to become an agent for the newly reformed Foundation (an updated version of the original show’s F.L.A.G.) and drive KITT permanently.

This first episode takes off right in the middle of the action, as main characters Michael and Sarah are on a James Bond-style mission when Sarah gets kidnapped and Michael and KITT go after her, when they learn that these mystery men were actually after Michael and what he “knows”. This triggers the running theme of the episode, as everybody is trying to obtain clearance levels that they don’t have. Lots of shtupping going on for one episode, as there is presumed sexual tension between Sarah and Michael, and also between some other nondescript characters back in what can only be described as the KITTcave.

The KITT effects are easily the coolest part of the show so far. With essentially a Transformer voiced by Val Kilmer, it’s a pretty good answer to the “futuristic” car we got in 1982. There are some great uses of modern special effects where the car can turn into a pick-up truck—and back again—without crushing the passengers inside! Granted, this makes the show basically a weekly 40-minute commercial for Ford, but it is still pretty cool for any fan of the original series who wanted more than a bunch of cool [[[Dukes of Hazzard]]] jumps and William Daniels.

The bad points: there are some very cheeky moments back at the “base” with the wacky super nerds (a stereotype NBC seems to love) throughout the show, which comes across as incongruous for the show’s dynamic. Three-quarters of the show consisted of shadowy government types, as the overall story of the first episode was the death of Michael Traceur and the birth of Michael Knight, which was originally helmed by Michael’s father, Hasselhoff.

The biggest weakness for the show by a stretch is certainly the amount of different elements that the show tries to cram into 40 minutes. With that said, there is still plenty of action to keep you entertained, but add that in with the government mystery storyline, Michael finding out who erased his memory and why, the “Sam & Diane” storyline between Sarah and Michael, the plucky sidekicks, a unnecessarily dominant Sydney Poiter (the daughter, not Mr. Tibbs) and the dry wit of Val Kilmer as KITT, it becomes too much to keep track of. Each element on it’s own would make for great B-story to go along with the weekly spy thriller of the show, but cramming all of this in at once only proves to be confusing and hard to keep straight. The show certainly has potential to make it farther than last year’s Bionic Woman, but may have trouble keeping it up for more than a season unless they can find some solid structure, drop a few secondary storylines, or at least bring Will Arnett back as K.I.T.T. RATING: 7/10

Alan Moore Turns Yellow

Alan Moore Turns Yellow

It’s the lull before the holiday week, as we recover from being jam-packed and roasted at The NYC National convention. Most of the table talk in The Big Apple centered on how life was or will be affected by the WGA strike. Still, we managed to dig up a few nuggets of interest:

Former Marvel Comics editor Andy Schmidt (Annihilation) had launched Comics Experience here – a new full-service comic book creating school and career consulting service, which will be begin classes soon. Courses will include: Introduction to Comics Writing, Advanced Comics Writing, Introduction to Comic Book Art and Advanced Comic Book Art. Future guest lecturers will include Peter David and Dan Slott.

TV Guide in canceling its live Online Video Awards ceremony in lieu of the labor dispute between the WGA and AMPTP. The awards will continue online here, with winners of 18 separate categories to be announced on November 26. More than 1.6 million votes have been cast so far, according to TV Guide.


30 Days of Steve Niles!

30 Days of Steve Niles!

ComicMix Radio kicks off the week with a visit from 30 Days Of Night creator Steve Niles who fills us in on his reaction to the how his project looked on the big screen as well as his new series at DC… plus updates on:

• Comic creators turning up on Numb3rs

• The TV season posts its first causality, but Bionic Woman and Journeyman get new leases on life,

• And our full rundown of this week’s long box full of new comics and DVDs including a new Batman-based mini series from DC, DVD Special Editions of The Shining and 2001 and no less than three more zombie variants from Marvel.

If that doesn’t make you Press The Button – what will?

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Happy birthday, Transformers!

Saturday Morning Cartoons: Happy birthday, Transformers!

Twenty-three years ago today, Hasbro brought the Autobots and Decepticons to store shelves all across America. Initially reusing previously-released toys from the Japanese Takara toylines Diaclone and Microman, Hasbro issued the toys under the name Transformers. The basic back-story of the toyline and subsequent comic books and cartoons was developed by the Marvel Comics writers Jim Shooter and ComicMix‘s Dennis O’Neil; it was O’Neil who actually changed Convoy’s name to Optimus Prime.

Oh, and speaking of Optimus Prime, he now seems to be doing reviews with Alan Kistler, reviewing such recent fare as the new Bionic Woman pilot, the new Flash Gordon series, Eureka and Torchwood. But be warned — Optimus Prime has gone through a few transformations of his own.

If you haven’t heard yet, Transformers: The Movie will be released in IMAX September 21 with extended footage. And finally, we have the most impressive Transformer costumes that I’ve ever come across…