Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Okay, it's time to just give in to my obsession with this show. Has it really been four years? The amazing thing to me is that they have managed to keep the quality of the show and the suspense on an interesting level for so long. This is less of a television show and more like a really long movie that you get in bite size pieces. Of course it also has the problem of being one of those shows that if you miss an episode, you are screwed.
This season the remaining members of the original band of convicts that escaped in Season One are given the opportunity to clear the slate. Thanks to a member of homeland security who worked with Michael and Lincoln's father who has a stake in getting The Company put under for good. Now, they have to find six key cards and get the information from them to blow the company wide open. It's some project called Scylla and it will take every trick that Michael Scofield has to get this done with his ragtag band of convicts.
The thing I like the most about the current season is that a prison doesn't really factor in here. Season One was getting Linc out of Fox River. Season Two was the repercussions of that escape and trying to make it work. Season Three brought the Company to the forefront in their scheme to break Whistler out of Sona. Now, we have no prison, just a straightforward mission to give all the men (and Sara) what they want. Freedom. Personally, I was amazed at the direction of the show so far. They killed off Whistler who was so important in the third season right off the bat. Gretchen, as of last night's episode, has become a loose cannon that could spell disaster for the mission or help it along with her new found hatred for the Company that she worked with for so long.
The contract killer Wyatt is probably the biggest menace the characters face because he has his marching orders to kill everyone and is very good at what he does. He also knows that going on a shooting spree could stop him in his mission so he is being very careful with what he does.
Each episode gives us numerous cliffhangers and leaves us wanting more. What every good television show should do. I swear it must be written by fans of old school Marvel Comics where you could go years reading a comic and have a wild cliffhanger at the end of each issue. Thankfully, we only have to wait once a week for our resolution as opposed to the monthly release of most comic books.
All of the past seasons are available on DVD and some online services have them as well. This is an excellent example of television programming and a lot of networks could learn from Prison Break's example.
I'll be back next week to cover what happens next. I can't wait.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Hey, Stew here. Yeah, you can find me knocking around my own site HERE and also on THIS side. Anyway, as a consummate pal and contributor to Doug's this and that's, I figured I was due for another posting on the World Renowned Penguin Comics. This time, however, I won't be reviewing a movie or a TV series, I will, conversely, be covering one of the most fun games I've had the immense pleasure of playing.
I have been a massive fan of the LEGO series of video games since the inception a few years ago with LEGO STAR WARS focusing on the more recent of the two trilogies. Trust me wholeheartedly when I say that the video game (done outstandingly well in all LEGO bricks and folks) is yards better than the relatively wretched films themselves. It was a blast to play, relatively challenging now and again, and featured a slew of playable characters and vehicles lovingly recreated in plasic building blocks. Soon after, the same company, Traveler's Tales Games, released LEGO STAR WARS: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY wherein you could, at least on the console platforms, carry over your characters from the first game and double their numbers with all of the newly acquirable Lego guys from this one. The play was twice as fun, the environments twice as big, the humor twice as funny, and the story spot on.
Eventually I purchased a PSP and this set of games was one of the first I got for the system. They were just as much fun as I remembered them from my GameCube since handed down to my son. So, just this past May, Tt Games did it again with the release of LEGO INDIANA JONES: THE ORIGINAL ADVENTURES. Now they went all out with this one. The landscape throughout the films would seem quite difficult to transfer not only to video games as a whole, but also rebuild out of little blocks! Well, no corners were cut and the game was absolutely astounding! All of the film's cast members are playable all the way from Indy himself to a lowly German Soldier. It offered tons of puzzles and hidden extras and was infinitely playable without ever getting boring.
Then, as perhaps the penultimate LEGO game to date (meaning definitely the best so far, but doubtfully the last, assuming the genre can find newer ground to break with different subjects): LEGO BATMAN: THE VIDEO GAME. Now I am far from beating this or even getting that far but I can honestly already tell you how unbelievably kick-ass it is! Same but different is a good phrase for it as it does play quite similarly to all of the other LEGO titles, incorporating the best from each one as though they'd learned what worked and what didn't. You have the ability to locate different Bat-and-Robin-Suits as the game progresses including (so far, anyway) Magnetic Boots Robin, Bat-Glider Batman, and Bomb Tossing Batman. Each level focuses on the Dynamic Duo doing battle with goons and henchmen eventually leading up to a final fight with any number of the Dark Knight's classic villains: Killer Croc, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy... they're all there! And, as with the others which feature your 'home base' as either the Diner from Episode II (LS), The Cantina from Episode IV (LS:TOT), Barnett College from Indy's flicks (LI:TOA), Batman has his Bat-cave decked out with level progressions, hidden puzzles, and the computer with which you can input codes, purchase earned goods, or watch clips from the great between-game animation scenes. This game is every bit as exciting as a Batman comic: full of fighting, action, secrets, and, well, 'detection' (little joke there). So, if you have any of the systems this game has been released for and you are a fan of the LEGO series (and how can you seriously not be) get on out there and snatch this up! In conclusion, I have to ask, "what's next?" Might I suggest LEGO SPIDERMAN? Or, if it's another film franchise you're lusting after, you could do worse than maybe a LEGO TERMINATOR? Well,it's all just speculation and wishful thinking as I have no idea what's on the drawing board. Until then, Batman will keep me smiling for hours. Have fun!
S. Miller - 9/26/08
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Catch up with your favorite computer geek turned government operative as he saves the world one secret mission at a time with Chuck: The Complete First Season on DVD September 16, 2008 from Warner Home Video. Executive producers Josh Schwartz (The O.C., Gossip Girl) and McG (Charlie’s Angels, We Are Marshall) merge techno-gadgetry, martial-arts smack downs, narrow escapes and gorgeous spies in short shorts into an action comedy about a millennium every guy. When a twenty-something computer geek (Zachary Levi – Less Than Perfect) inadvertently downloads critical government secrets into his brain, he becomes the CIA’s most valuable asset, and must be protected by undercover agents John Casey (Adam Baldwin – Full Metal Jacket) and the beautiful Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski – Gone). The four-disc set includes all 13 episodes, along with two all-new featurettes, a file of declassified scenes, a gallery of web-originated mini-featurettes and a playable demo of EA Sports’ Madden NFL 09 for Xbox 360.
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? I caught a few episodes when it first hit and I liked the premise a lot. The lead was funny, his female secret agent was smoking hot, what wasn't there to like?
Actually, I was busy juggling between FOX and NBC because I am a Prison Break junkie as well as being hooked on HEROES. Sometimes Prison Break wasn't on. Then I would watch Chuck. To be honest, Chuck was more popular with my kids, but I think that a lot of it is geared for a younger audience, and that's okay.
Rewatching it I did find the show growing on me so, I might catch it this new season. Depends on when it's on. Also depends when Prison Break is on. See my dilemma here? Good, thanks for understanding. In the meantime, all you Chuck junkies might want to get this one while it's hot and save a few bucks in the process.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
When you mess around with a classic cartoon you had better bring your A game. Sylvester and Tweety are iconic Warner Brother characters and deserve to be treated as such. In the classic cartoons, Sylvester was motivated by nothing more than hunger. Tweety, for a cute little bird, showed a sadistic streak a mile wide. Add in a giant bulldog and you have a formula for comedy that always worked time and time again. It was kind of like Tom and Jerry if the cat and mouse could talk. It added another dimension to that theme of eternal pursuit. Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner is another prime example, but let's get back to the cat and the bird.
The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries takes the classic formula and injects a little Scooby Do in the mix with the mystery aspect. It takes the basic premise and builds upon it admirably. In the realm of cartoon redux, this might be a prime example of what to do correctly.
Hopefully, Warner Brothers will realize that this series has a definite life on DVD and will get to releasing the other seasons as quickly as possible.
It plays well for the kiddies and adults alike.
When I was growing up I was a Marvel Zombie. My best friend was a DC Dork. This worked out well for me because I would actually read any comic book you put in front of me. My buddy, Steve, loved Legion Of Superheroes. Of all the DC titles I would say that it was the most fun. It was also the most serious of the bunch. Heroes like Ferro Lad being killed. Lightning Lad losing an arm that had to be replaced by a robot one. Triplicate Lass becoming Duo Damsel because one of her three entities got killed. The Legion OF Superheroes didn't pull many punches.
Now we get a cartoon version of that beloved comic from the good people at Warner Brothers.
How does it compare? Think Teen Titans. The book is one thing, but the cartoon managed to forge through it's established mythology and become an entertaining entity of it's own. I think that Legion is doing the same thing. The main Legionnaires are Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. And of course we also get Superboy.
Did I forget about mentioning Superboy? See that is the whole premise of the comic. Superboy travels through time to have adventures with The Legion OF Superheroes. Very cool concept that helps to ground the Legion firmly in the DC Universe.
This DVD gives us five adventures in The Substitutes, Child's Play, Chain Of Command and Sundown parts 1 and 2. The last one gave me chills because it involves an ancient weapon called The Sun Eater. It brought back memories of a classic comic in the annals of Legion history.
Warner Brothers have given us a great addition to the DC comics that a lot of us grew up with. It strikes the perfect balance between silly and fun and some serious super hero action. Bravo!
Hopefully they will consider putting the entire run into one box set in the near future for us collectors. That would be fantastic.
To whet your whistle, here's a clip of the two parter that I personally applaud them for sti8cking so close to the original comic book. Click HERE.