Tagged: True Blood

The Point Radio: Farewell To LOST GIRL

It’s the fifth and final season for the SyFy supernatural show, LOST GIRL. Series star Anna Silk talks about her favorite moments (and the things she grabbed from the set on the last day) plus BITTEN’s Laura Vandervoort talks more about her show’s new season and what it was like to be TV’s first Supergirl.

We are back in just a few days and so is the hit Game Show Network series, THE IDIOTEST. We take the test – here – no holds barred!   Be sure to follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Martha Thomases: News Fantasy

Thomases Art 130920This past Sunday saw the Season 2 finale of the HBO series The Newsroom. When it was over, I was really happy with the season.

Apparently, other people? Not so much.

There are a lot of reasons to criticize The Newsroom. It’s not very realistic. The people who work for the cable news network, especially those with off-camera jobs, are much too attractive. Even the slobs are put together by stylists. Because it is an Aaron Sorkin show, characters will frequently speak in paragraphs, something hardly anyone does in the real world, and certainly not at work in a fast-paced newsroom, where anything more than a grunt or a nod takes too much time.

It’s a world where we know a character has been emotionally damaged because she is female and she cuts and dyes her long blonde hair into a cute red pixie cut. This is so shocking that the network’s lawyer doesn’t want her to testify at a lawsuit. It’s a world where women wear phenomenally high heels to work, and keep them on all day, even when they are at the office for 16 hours or more.

It’s a world in which a major news decision, which we are supposed to consider to be courageous, involves reading the AP wire and seeing that one story might be more important than another.

In other words, it’s a fantasy. I enjoy fantasy. I enjoy HBO fantasy. True Blood and Game of Thrones are my idea of fun times. Why shouldn’t I like The Newsroom?

If you don’t like it, I understand. It’s a series pitched to big city media junkies, even more than The West Wing. It’s easy to claim it’s a liberal fantasy, but if it was truly progressive, the women would be more than caricatures. The Jane Fonda character (a joy!) is the only woman not defined by her relationship to a man (unless we count her son). And she is played for comic relief.

The big pay-off at the end of the last show (SPOILERS! if you’re squeamish) was when the lead anchor, played by Jeff Daniels, proposed to his executive producer (and former fiancée) Emily Mortimer. It was a surprise because they hadn’t been dating, because they hadn’t been flirting, and they certainly hadn’t been sleeping together – at least not recently. He realized he loved her because of who she is and how she lives.

It’s as shocking as the Red Wedding, and way more romantically satisfying.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

 

REVIEW: The Newsroom

NEWSROOM_S1_3D_BD_SLIPCASE_SKEW_COMP1Even at his worst, Aaron Sorkin’s television work is at least trying to say something. He may have crashed with Studio 60 after soaring to heights unimagined with Sports Night and The West Wing, but his first series for premium cable, The Newsroom, hews closer to success than failure regardless of its unevenness.

The series debuted on HBO last summer to mixed reviews and is coming to home video in a handsome box set on Tuesday. Lacking the blood, nudity, and shock value of True Blood and Game of Thrones, it nonetheless makes for compelling watching because these are idealized journalists trying to honor the traditions of journalism they were raised on. The series is set in the recent past, allowing the viewers watch as these reporters cover already familiar events, which lets you invest a little more in the characters and not the story.

There’s little doubt that this is a biased newscast and an equally biased production out to skewer the Tea Party and the radical right as seen through the prism of the disillusioned news anchor Will McAvoy. He and the other reporters on News Night ask all the tough questions that viewers realize all too often do not get asked in the real world. Pundits and politicians all too often get away with making outrageous statements on the air because few challenge them and fewer fact-check the claims. Thanks to hindsight, Sorkin does just that, exposing the Republican party and others for the feckless, thoughtless hacks they are, forgetting entirely about American exceptionalism or the fact that they were elected to lead.

newsroom01So yeah, I like the show. Will McAvoy’s opening monologue about why the USA is not the greatest power in the world is a brilliant info dump that clearly tells you in the pilot’s first ten minutes that there’s an agenda informing the series. But, like Sorkin’s other shows, it’s also a work place dramedy with rich characters and unrequited romance. Led by Jeff Daniels’ McAvoy, who has been floundering until the new executive producer is introduced, who just happens to be his former lover MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer), who cheated on him and broke his heart. He still loves her and has been carrying an engagement ring ever since but can’t bring himself to forgive her. But there’s also Alison Pill and John Gallagher Jr. as staffers who are romantically linked yet drawn to others. Even socially awkward financial journalist Sloan (Olivia Munn) reveals herself to have a heart.

Their trials and triumphs are overshadowed by the ratings chase with corporate, represented by an imperious Jane Fonda, looking for profits. Defending McAvoy from the “suits” is Charlie (Sam Waterston), the old school journalist who brought McHale in to jumpstart thigns and sits back to enjoy the ride, glass of scotch always in his grip.

newsroom15The ten episode box set comes complete with five Blu-ray discs chock full of episodes, commentaries, and special features. There’s an additional sleeve with double-sided DVD editions of the first season and there’s also an Ultraviolet option. They look and sound as one would expect and make for good viewing.

The five commentaries highlight Sorkin but also include various cast and crew. They’re worth a listen as you learn about how the production works and how the actors view their characters down to whether or not the necklaces worn by Mortimer work with her bust. The recaps and previews that accompanied the broadcast versions are included along with the brief Inside the Story segments. You also get treated to five deleted scenes from four different episodes which are said to have been cut for time, which is odd on premium cable, but it’s nice to have them here. You also get Mission Control (5:17) providing you with a look at the amazing newsroom set that just needed a console by console tour to explain what they do. Better is the roundtable conversation with Sorkin, Daniels, Mortimer, Waterston, director Greg Mottola, and executive producer Alan Poul where they reflect on the first season with some funny anecdotes.

Season two is coming in July so this is a good opportunity to introduce yourself to the show or refresh your memories so you know who is entangled with who when the cameras go live once more. For those who don’t like smart writing and smarter reflections on the state of American politics, there are other options.

REVIEW: True Blood Season Five

TB_S5_BD_3D_nostickerIf True Blood Season Five could be easily summed up – and really, it can’t – the theme was about the consequences of one’s actions. Unlike the previous season, this one seemed determined to tidy things up and thin out the herd a bit. During the course of the season, Alan Ball let it be known this would be his final outing as showrunner and clearly, he was determined to be the one to say farewell to a few friends and foes. The season therefore zipped along at a wild, frenetic pace that saw more fangs, blood, and naked bodies than before.

Since Charlaine Harris’ novels began being adapted for HBO, the supporting cast has grown and interestingly, they’re the ones who appear to be the most interesting, getting the deepest development. The triangle of protagonist/antagonist/lover of Sookie, Bill, and Eric sees them getting the least depth this time around as the focus moves with regularity.

trueblood12_16_thSookie (Anna Paquin) is a telepathic human/fairy who can’t decide who will make her happiest: long-suffering Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer), now King of Louisiana; long-lived Viking Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård), or Alcide (Joe Manganiello), a werewolf for variety. She bounces from man to man, scheme to scheme and during the season never seems to take charge of her destiny, making her appear weak.

trueblood12_18The series’ mix of characters, themes, and setting in Bon Temps has made True Blood addictive viewing and Ball gets the credit for finding ways of taking the novels and enhancing them for premium cable, highlighting the more visual character traits and dosing the series with plenty of sex and nudity. Its compelling television as pure entertainment and the fourth season left us panting for more. Similarly, by resetting the stage, season five left us ready for some new directions which arrive in June. Meantime, HBO has released season five in a combination Blu-ray/DVD boxset complete with excellent extras and Ultraviolet digital copies.

After a season resting under tons of concrete, Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare) is back and seeking revenge against Bill and Eric. With Marnie the witch dispatched, they can concentrate on dealing with him, largely adapting Dead as a Doornail. Ball, unlike previous outings, knowing this was his last chance, as well as liberally lifting from subsequent novels in The Southern Vampire Mysteries.

trueblood12_15As has become custom, the new season picks up immediately where we left our fangbangers with Lafayette and Sookie standing over the bodies of Tara (Rutina Wesley) and Debbie. In short order, Pam turns up and agrees to turn Tara, a warped way of preserving her life and continuing to torture the strong character. Sookie agrees to help Pam (Kristin Bauer) fix things up with Eric, which is easier said than done, especially with the sexy blond, and Bill, arrested by the Vampire Authority, led by Roman (Christopher Meloni), for Nan Flanigan’s murder. Rev. Steve Newlin (Michael McMillian) is back, declaring himself a “Proud Gay American Vampire” while Jason (Ryan Kwanten), his former acolyte, deals with his new relationship with Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), realizing the hookup now means his lifelong friendship with Hoyt (Jim Parrack) is done. Tara is finally resurrected and furious at being a vampire and her arc this season is coming to grips with her new reality, which also shows us another side to Pam.

Tara and PamSee? Consequences.

There’s plenty of Council political intrigue as they hunt Russell and deal with the rebellious Sanguinistas and Alcide has contend with the wolf pack that still disapproves of him. Meantime, the humans are tired of seeing their own kind become victims in the fighting and before the season is over, become a new threat. Meanwhile, Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) has had enough brujo magic and finds his spiritual roots in signs from Jesus or is it his lover Jesús (Kevin Alejandro)? Jason, meantime, has his own spiritual journey as he learns what really happened to his and Sookie’s parents. Jessica, one of my favorite characters, finally grows up this season, playing a more pivotal role in the action.

The plot thickens, boils, spills over the pot and makes an attractive mess all across the south. There are the usual flashbacks to deepen some of the characters such as Pam’s first encounter with Eric. We even get ghostly visits from Godric (Allan Hyde) and a surprise, sinister return of Sheriff Bud (William Sanderson).

Bill-Eric-et-NoraThen there are the side stories that enrich the world of True Blood without blunting the main events. This season there was a stirring sub-plot for Terry Bellefleur (Todd Lowe), exploring his military past with the return of former platoon leader Patrick Devins (Scott Foley).

And how could not love a tool called the iStake?

Just when you think things are bad, Bill gets corrupted and as the season – and Ball’s involvement – comes to an end, he turns out to be the biggest, baddest vamp of them suddenly becoming the threat for the forthcoming season.

It’s got the usual assortment of over-the-top moments, moving emotional beats, and plenty of atmosphere thanks to great writing and cinematography. Moyer made his directorial debut, seamlessly blending in with the strong helmers that keep things running at a fever pitch.

As usual with HBO releases, the transfer to high definition is superb with excellent sound so these stand up to repeated watchings. And in keeping with the first four sets, this one comes with plenty of Blu-ray exclusive features. The episode-by-episode enhanced viewing is present as are the interesting audio commentaries. We get, as part of the enhancements, Character Bios, Vampire Histories and Hints/FYIs; Flashback/Flash Forward, and, True Blood Lines, a guide. The usual post-broadcast Inside the Episodes is included.

Of particular interest is the Episode Six: Autopsy, with the cast and crew discussing how this particular installment was crafted which is pivotal to the series and a good glimpse into what goes into making any episodic television

There are Authority Confessionals, short snippets with the characters Nora, Kibwe, Rosalyn, Salome, Steve and Russell all talking vampires, blood, and politics. Amusing.

Those buying the five disc DVD will get only Inside the Episodes, the five commentaries and the previews/recaps.

True Blood’s Fill in the Blood Contest

entertainmentweekly02_93260418_110003716To celebrate the launch of True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season on DVD/Blu-ray with HBO Select, HBO Home Entertainment is inviting fans to Fill In The Blood for a chance to be part of a DVD virtual signing with stars Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton) and Kristin Bauer van Straten (Pam De Beaufort)!

Beginning this past Monday and ending Friday, the True Blood Twitter feed (@TrueBloodHBO) is hosting the “Psalms of Lilith” contest. Each day fans will be asked to fill in the missing words from a Psalm of Lilith (#fillintheblood) and the top ten submissions for each Psalm will win an autographed copy of the release. All of the winners will be announced the day after their tweet. The official micro-site for the contest is: www.fillintheblood.com.

At 12pm PST/3 pm EST on Tuesday May 21st, the title’s street date, Moyer and Bauer van Straten will participate in a virtual signing live from Bill Compton’s mansion on the True Blood set, during which they may read the winning tweets, sign DVD copies and answer submitted questions from fans (which can be submitted by any follower on @TrueBloodHBO).  The signing will stream live on a True Blood branded Ustream channel (link to view will be provided on www.fillintheblood.com ). Winners will also receive a copy of their winning tweet on an old-world styled parchment as a keepsake, along with other prizes.

PULP ON FILM

 Could Tarzan and Zorro be headed back to the big screen and small screen, respectively? It looks that way.

According to a Variety article, The USA Network is currently deciding on a present-day reimagining of the legend of Zorro called simply “Z” executive producers Naren Shankar (CSI, Grimm) and Louis Leterrier (include “The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans), and writers Whit Brayton and Zack Rice.

Set in modern-day Los Angeles, “Z” will chronicle the rise of Diego Moreno from an orphaned teen and raising his sister with little supervision, to an infamous hero fighting to save the city.

For all the details, please visit www.variety.com/article/VR1118063664

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly announced that Harry Potter director, David Yates is working toward a new Tarzan movie with True Blood actor Alexander Skarsgard stepping into the ape man’s loincloth. See below for details.

What do you think, pulpsters? Are you excited for these pulp heroes to return to your TV and movie screens?
For a look at Tarzan’s Centennial Celebration, click here.

REVIEW: Marvel’s The Avengers

Many of the comment that follow are lifted directly from a blog post I wrote after seeing Marvel’s The Avengers opening weekend. I stand by these words and note that I have since then seen it in 2-D in a theater and on my home screen via the just-released Combo Pack. The movie is so well-crafted as to remain entertaining on repeated viewings.

Disney Home Entertainment has released this in a dizzying assortment of collections, some exclusive to certain retailers, such as the Walmart one that comes with a graphic novel by Peter David and an army of artists. The four-disc commercial set comes with the 3-D and 2-D Blu-ray discs, standard DVD, and digital copy. This one also has a link to download music inspired by the film. What I was sent for review is the slightly less spiffy two disc set (Blu-ray and DVD) but it is certainly sufficient.

The major success that was not being discussed during the May release is that for the first time, four franchises have been strategically designed and executed to culminate in the launch of a fourth franchise. There have been numerous all-star films where actors arrive and perform thinly veiled versions of their famous screen personas (and we had a trailer for the latest such examples, The Expendables 2) but this move is unprecedented. While there have been previous winks and nods to a larger universe in other films and television series based on comic books, this team film was carefully planned, laid out, and executed.

Starting four years ago with Iron Man, the Marvel Movie Universe has been carefully structured, taking the very core elements from the 1960s comics, filtered through the 2000 Ultimate Universe and distilled in an easily adaptable essence. Each film was not without its flaws and they didn’t all work with Hulk going 0 for 2 but still considered a key piece of the puzzle. But, when we first saw Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) waiting for Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) after the first film’s credits and heard about “The Avengers Initiative” we knew what was coming.

The question was then: could Marvel Studios deliver on such high expectations The answer is a resounding yes but let’s look at why. First, Kevin Feige gets it. He understands the comics and the characters, but also understands film and how changes need to be made. As studio head, he made certain the egos and budgets were kept in check, focusing squarely on bringing the four-color characters to cinematic glory. That he’s remained in place has helped tremendously. So has Feige using the resources at his disposal and involving former EIC Joe Quesada from the outset, and setting up the writers committee that allowed the current architects of the print universe to help make the movies hew closely to the status quo and assure the storylines were strong.

Zak Penn also gets it. He’s clearly grown as a writer, going from things like Last Action Hero and Elektra to X2 and The Incredible Hulk. As a result, he was able to help set up the threads in the other franchises to dovetail in The Avengers. Then it was handed off to Joss Whedon, who clearly is comfortable with scope, scale, comics, and movies. He entered the Marvel orbits with Astonishing X-Men beginning a relationship that led his doing uncredited script work on Captain America which had him in mind when the current film came up. There was comfort between Feige and Whedon which led to entrusting him with a $215 million production, Marvel’s most expensive, despite Whedon only previously directing the commercially disappointing Serenity.

Fans got what they wanted: all their favorite film heroes together in one rousing story with the fate of the world counting on them. They also wanted to see the heroes bicker and battle one another, a Marvel staple dating back to the first Human Torch/Sub-Mariner squabble. They wanted tidbits connecting the film to the greater universe and got that in the form of the Chitauri (the Ultimate Universe version of the Skrulls). The general moviegoer got spectacle, humor, action, carnage, and adventure.

Given what got accomplished, the 2:23 running time is fairly tidy, especially considering how many alpha characters had to be juggled and spotlit. But that’s where Whedon excels; working with an ensemble of quirky people, each putting their foibles on display until it was time to demonstrate why should care about them. As cool as it was to watch Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo, CGI, voiced by Lou Ferrigno) duke it out, the confrontation between Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) was equally satisfying.

Each character was true to themselves, which was perhaps the trickiest aspect of bringing these franchises together, since their motivations varied and it required Fury to wheedle, cajole, and manipulate them into coming together to save the Earth. The parallel of Fury’s efforts with Loki’s need to keep them distracted and in-fighting was well handed, putting the emotions on display. Similarly, just as Loki cut a deal with the Chitauri to gain control of the limitless power contained within the Tesseract and the Chitauri answered to Thanos (as seen in the first of two wonderful end credit sequences), Fury answered to the international council (Powers Boothe, Jenny Agutter, Arthur Darbinyan, Donald Li) and if the film had any false notes, it was the usual cluelessness displayed by his superiors.

Loki is fittingly the foe given his role in the team coming together in the 1963 comic book and his ability to elicit sympathy from the audience given his tortured past and wounded pride. His scenes one on one with Fury, Widow, and eventually Stark are terrific and most of the credit goes to Hiddleston.

It was also good to have moments directly connecting The Avengers to the other films such as the wonderful cameo of Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), a reference to the whereabouts of Jane Foster, and the display of Hydra weaponry.

The change from Edward Norton to Ruffalo for Bruce Banner brought a level of sympathy to the scientist that was missing from the previous two film attempts. He was clearly channeling the late, great Bill Bixby and the CGI Hulk was a near-Neanderthal brute that finally looked and acted spot on. When he was ordered to smash and smiled before cutting loose, it was a clue we were in for some unbridled destruction. His confrontation with Loki may stand out as one of the single best film moments this year.

The entire second act is introspective, explosive, and fun to watch the actors put through their paces, but once the Tesseract is engaged to open the door to the Chitauri, the film puts things into fourth gear and never looks back. The final act is breathless, heroic, and tremendously exciting to watch.

This was war and with it come sacrifices. Despite all of Stark’s hubris and arrogance, when the time came, he was ready to give his life to save Earth and that changed how everyone around him looked at him. But there had to be some loss, something to make the victory bittersweet and the death that came was not unexpected but it was heroic and sad all at the same time. Clark Gregg was part of the glue that held the films together and his confident, somewhat geeky Agent Phil Coulson will be missed. We were introduced to Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), clearly set up to be his replacement going forward, but if any character lacked Whedon’s dialogue flair, it was her and it’s shame because she looked ready to rock.

Apparently, that wasn’t always the case as is revealed in one of the many worthwhile extras included in the set. There is a nice assortment of Deleted and Extended Scenes (14:59) that includes alternate opening and closing scenes with Hill that actually gave her a more important role. I can sort of see why Whedon excised them and would have added yet another layer to the goings on. There’s also an extended vignette of the isolation Steve Rogers feels in the 21st Century but it would have dragged the film’s pacing so while it’s missed, it made sense. Similarly, there’s a nice exchange between Mark Ruffalo and Harry Dean Stanton that also was dropped since the pacing of the final act demanded speed.

New to the disc is the first of the Marvel One Shot original stories intended to explore the new cinematic universe. “Item 47″ (11:20) stars Jesse Bradford (Bring It On) and Lizzy Caplan (True Blood) as would-be bank robbers using a Chitauri weapon they managed to recover and make work. Agent Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) is sent after them while Agent Titus Welliver deals with the paperwork. It might be the merest hint of what’s to come with the proposed ABC SHIELD series for next season.

The gag reel (4:05) is the usual jolly stuff. There are just two featurettes: “A Visual Journey”, on the visuals coming from page to screen; and “Assembling the Ultimate Team” (14:37), which is the usual cast and crew saying nice things about one another. Whedon’s commentary, as it was on Cabin in the Woods, is dry, funny, and insightful.

Finally, there’s the Soundgarden Music Video “Live to Rise” (4:49). which I didn’t need since their music does nothing for me.

I couldn’t check out The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience since it only goes live tomorrow, release day.

REVIEW: Margaret

The world seen through the eyes of a teenager is an overly complex place, spoiled but adults who overly nuance everything while teens see it all with unjaded clarity. Such a worldview can be permanently altered by a single action and the resulting repercussions, which ripple in waves, touching many in unexpected ways. From that premise comes writer/director Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret, a film whose making is as tortured as its premise.

Originally scheduled for release by Fox Searchlight in 2007, Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) labored over the production and then the editing until the release date came and went, prompting law suits. He finally delivered a cut totaling 3:06, far longer than the 2:30 the studio insisted upon, which became a part of the suit. Finally, Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker stepped in to craft a cut that the director and studio could live with and the movie opened in December.

You missed it. You probably never heard of it or vaguely recall it was something Anna Paquin shot before True Blood made her a superstar. Before that series though, she was always an accomplished actress rarely given the right roles to demonstrate that but Lonergan wrote Lisa Cohen with Paquin in mind and she delivers a riveting performance worthy of your attention. Fortunately, the film is available as a Blu-ray Combo Pack on Tuesday and comes complete with both cuts of the film.

Twentieth Century Home Entertainment recently sent me a screener of the studio cut and it is extremely powerful and moving. Lisa is a 17 year old girl living with her divorced mother Joan (J. Smith-Cameron), an actress, and younger brother. Preparing to spend the summer at a ranch with Dad, she is seeking the proper cowboy hat when she spots one atop bus driver Jason “Maretti” Berstone (Mark Ruffalo). Chasing the bus in the hopes of boarding it and talking to him, he is distracted long enough to run a red light and strike a pedestrian (Alison Janney). Margaret comforts the woman whose life quickly ebbs away and with that the movie is launched.

Margaret gives a false statement, at Joan’s urging, to the police and the guilt weighs on her. She struggles with the memory of the event, the lie, the lack of justice in a cruel world and questions the meaning of life itself. As a result, she is adrift, thrashing out at friends and family alike. She is distanced from her mother, who is distracted first by the impending opening of her Broadway show and then an unlikely romance with a foreign businessman (Jean Reno). Lisa confides in her math teacher (Matt Damon) and ignores her English teacher (Matthew Broderick) and best friend (Olivia Thirlby). She does, though, make a conscious decision to lose her virginity to a stoner (Kieran Culkin) in what has to be one of the most honest lovemaking scenes in a long time.

Eventually, the weight of the lie and lack of proper closure eat at Lisa who connects with Emily (Jeannie Berlin), the victim’s closest friend, and together an odd bond is formed. Lisa confronts Jason, berates the police who have closed the case, and seeks legal remedies. She has made Jason losing his job, protecting potential victims, her mission and focuses solely on that with dramatic results.

As you can see, this has a hefty cast that underplay their parts. Emily is brittle and rude and not terribly warm to Lisa but they’re in this together, a relationship Joan has trouble accepting. No adult can say the right things or make the right moves to salve Lisa’s fevered conscience and Paquin runs with it. Lisa is appealing and sympathetic for the most part, but far from ideal and perfect.

The movie is heavy and dramatic but Lonergan brings a precision to the dialogue and storytelling, making it feel honest and real. He lets his characters argue, including some nice scenes in high school where the kids debate current events and Shakespeare with fervor. There’s one false note, a blunt statement Lisa makes to two of her teachers late in the film that feels out of left field with no follow up. Still, the movie is well worth your attention.

As for who Margaret is, she is a character in Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Spring and Fall: To a Young Child”.

JOHN OSTRANDER: WWKL?

This week marked fifteen years since the death of my sometime writing partner and lovely wife, Kimberly Ann Yale. Since here we talk about pop culture in so many different forms, I thought I would pose myself a question – WWKL? What Would Kim Like? What has come out since her death that she would really have gotten into?

Let’s start right here – on the Internet. First of all, she would have loved ComicMix and probably would have had her own column here. Kim was a terrific essayist – much better at it than me, I think. She was thoughtful, she picked words with care and grammar and punctuation really mattered to her. Me? If it gets past spellchek, I’m good.

In fact, I think Kim would have been all over the Internet. She would have had a blog or two or three, she would have been answering other peoples’ blogs, she would have been Queen of Facebook. Facebook was invented for someone like Kim. She would have had a bazillion friends on FB. I would have had to pry the computer from her.

Kim was also big into monsters and horror, vampires being her especial faves. I think she would have favored True Blood over the others because of the sex and the melodrama and the Southern-fried aspects of it all. (Kim’s mom was Southern and Kim fancied herself as a Southern belle. Kind of hard to do when you’re born up North but her mind worked it around.) The Dark Shadows movie starring Johnny Depp? Eeeeeeeeee! She would be camped out for it right now.

I think both The Walking Dead comic and TV series would have sucked her in but she would have been tickled by Shaun Of The Dead. Kim had a terrific sense of humor and the world’s most infectious laugh. Trust me – if you were a stand-up comic or doing a comedy in the theater, you wanted Kim in the audience.

I wonder what she would have made of Cowboys And Aliens? She was the one who got me started watching westerns and they were among her favorite genre films and, of course, adding sci/fi to it would have really intrigued her but I’m not sure what she would have made of the execution. I only give it two stars and I think she would have agreed (Kim also worked as a movie critic back in Chicago for a small suburban newspaper, so she could really knew how to dissect a movie.)

On the cowboys and spaceships mode, I think she would have been into both Firefly and the movie tie-up, Serenity. And Nathan Fillion would have led her to the Castle TV series (she also loved fun mysteries and strong female characters).

Then there’s Doctor Who. Kim and I met at a Doctor Who con (actually, a combined Doctor Who / Chicago Comic Con) and she would have rejoiced at the Doctor’s return. I think she would have liked David Tennant’s Doctor the best; she would have described him as a “creamie” – as in cream your jeans. However, she would have liked all three incarnations that have come out since the series’ return and, as a writer, would really enjoyed Stephen Moffat’s writing and now running of the franchise. She would have also liked his take on Sherlock Holmes and on Jekyll and Hyde. I stopped watching the latter during its first season; not because it wasn’t good but because it really creeped me out too much.

On movies, she would have been amazed and ecstatic with The Lord of the Rings trilogy and would, as Mary and I are doing, been waiting impatiently for The Hobbit movies coming out. Viggo Mortensen would also have been counted as a creamie.

She would have been fascinated by how CGI made superhero movies possible and what happened as a result. Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, especially The Dark Knight, would have sucked her in and, come Hallowe’en, she would have dressed up as Ledger’s Joker, no question in my mind about it.  I think, however, she would have been even more taken with Inception – Kim had an active dreamscape and tried to spend as much time in it as possible so the movie’s setting would have fascinated her.

She would have liked Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man (less so the sequel) not only because he was so good (and he was) but because she was also a sucker for redemption stories and Downey’s reclamation of his career would have stirred her. She would also have really liked Chris Hemsworth as Thor (creamie) and the whole Captain America film and she would really be anticipating The Avengers, not the least because Joss Whedon is helming it.

I could go on much longer but I think I’ve tried everyone’s patience enough. I may be just projecting onto Kim what some of my own likes and dislikes are but it refreshes her memory in my own mind and heart, keeping the flame alive. She was full of life and she would have brought that with her into the future. Like all those we treasure, she lives on in me and in all those she loved and loved her.

Memory doesn’t die with the body, and neither does love.

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

 

IDW Presents Jack Avarice IS The Courier

IDW Presents Jack Avarice IS The Courier All-new five-weekly miniseries coming in November

San Diego, CA (September 20, 2011) — IDW Publishing is thrilled to introduce JACK AVARICE IS THE COURIER, an exciting, month-long, weekly comic series for the five-Wednesday month of November. Created, written, drawn, and lettered by rising star Chris Madden, the artist on the upcoming Danger Girl: Revolver series, this special five-part series is timed specifically to release one issue a week for each Wednesday of the month.

“When Chris Madden first presented JACK AVARICE IS THE COURIER to me, I was absolutely floored,” said editor Tom Waltz. “I mean, the guy is writing, drawing, coloring AND lettering the series—and doing it at top-notch levels on all accounts! It’s a great comic book story filled with exciting and entertaining characters and distinctly fun artwork. Madden is the real deal and I’m so happy IDW gets the chance to show off his diverse talents to the world!”

This explosive miniseries tells the story of Jack Avarice, a down-on-his-luck kid who dreams of a life like the movies. His world is about to change when he’s recruited by the secretive agency called Courier and is dumped head-first into the world of international spying. Each issue will take Jack on an exhilarating new adventure, where he’ll discover that the reality of spycraft is far deadlier than any movie he could imagine. Spies, voodoo magic, deadly beauties, high-caliber thrills, and high-octane destruction, JACK AVARICE IS has it all.THE COURIER

“I can’t wait for Jack Avarice to hit stands,” creator Madden said. “And I couldn’t be happier releasing it through IDW—it’s a perfect match!”

To kick off this great comic event, IDW is offering a special 5% discount on the entire series. Plus, readers are encouraged to contact their local retailers about the special variant Madden sketch cover.

Click on images for a larger view.
JACK AVARICE IS THE COURIER #1 ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in stores on November 2, 2011. Diamond order code: SEPT11 0253.

IS THE COURIER #2 ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in stores on November 9, 2011. Diamond order code: SEPT11 0255.
Be careful what you ask for—it might get you! Jack Avarice has just been dumped head-first into the world of international spying, and he’s about to find out if he can swim! Recruited by the secretive Courier agency, it quickly becomes apparent to Jack that his life might not be quite as it seems. But before he can digest this revelation, he’s off on his first harrowing mission with a gorgeous new partner, and a deadly new mission—unravel the mystery of the Eyes of Fate… before they can unleash their horror upon the world!

JACK AVARICE IS THE COURIER #3 ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in stores on November 16, 2011. Diamond order code: SEPT11 0257.
IS ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in stores on November 23, 2011. Diamond order code: SEPT11 0259.
IS ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in stores on November 30, 2011. Diamond order code: SEPT11 0261.

Visit IDWPublishing.com to learn more about the company and its top-selling books.

About IDW Publishing:::::
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The Transformers and G.I. JOE, Paramount’s Star Trek; HBO’s True Blood; the BBC’s DOCTOR WHO; Toho’s Godzilla; Sony’s Ghostbusters; and comics and trade collections based on novels by worldwide bestselling author, James Patterson. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints; Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studio; and is the print publisher for EA Comics.

IDW’s original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. More information about the company can be found at http://www.idwpublishing.com/.THE COURIER #5
JACK AVARICE THE COURIER #4
JACK AVARICE
Spies, explosions, voodoo magic, deadly beauties, high-caliber thrills, and high-octane destruction… action-adventure has a brand-new name, and it’s JACK AVARICE! The world of spies and intrigue is very much real and lies hidden just below the surface. But when a down-on-his-luck kid who dreams of a life like the movies meets the world’s greatest secret agent, he’ll discover the reality of spycraft is far deadlier and more explosive than any movie he could imagine—and he now has a starring role! The explosive five-issue miniseries starts here!

JACK AVARICE