Wrapping up the rest of the #1s! Here's my favorite clip of the week:
From Aquaman #1
Reviews of the internet were much more favorable to this weeks books than I was. A large number I didn't like, and even more are just barely hanging on. But let's get to the good stuff: the book of the week is...
A few weeks back, I posted some thoughts on the state of cable television, wherein I stated that the only way a la carte could ever happen would be through an act of Congress. Because any single cable company who attempted this would be fighting a losing battle against the channel providers.
Then I read this tidbit comes in:
Cable operators want to go "a la carte" U.S. cable operators are privately working on a plan to force programmers to unbundle their networks and allow customers to subscribe to channels on an individual basis.
Wow. The cable companies are working together to force this on the channel providers. I did not see this coming. And I am very impressed.
There was no real standout this week, but out of the new batch, only one book outright sucked, so I call that a win. Since normally I start this off with a pic of the issue of the week, instead I'll give my single favorite panel:
From Red Hood and the Outlaws #1
The sensitive side of me should be disgusted about what they've done to Starfire, but the lecherous side of me laughed my ass off.
I'm sure you've heard that Netflix is splitting their DVD service off into Qwikster. I'm assuming from the fact that they're not calling it 'mailflix' or something like that that they plan to sell off the DVD service at the earliest opportunity.
I barely even watched DVDs anymore, my rentals would literally sit around for months. But there were two reasons I never went to streaming-only:
1) Netflix was convenient and affordable; it was so easy to just not change anything.
2) The number of streams I could watch at once was tied to the number of dvds on my account. With four people in my home who like to occasionally use the service, having two streams available was pretty safe.
As a result of this change, there was no longer any benefit to keeping my DVD service, so it's gone. But will I keep the streaming?
Batman and Green Lantern have been such solid sellers in recent years, that with the reboot their continuities have been allowed to continue more or less where they left off. A quick look at all the Green Lantern-related books:
Hal Jordan will likely feature regularly in both Justice League and the flagship Green Lantern title, although he didn't make the cover of that latter! We'll come back to that.
Back for week 3, which was nowhere near as impressive as week 2. Since I live for Green Lantern, I'll address the #1 separately. As for the rest of the week, there was one that stood head-and-shoulder above the rest:
Recently, DC rebooted their entire line of comics, and here in the month of September are rolling out 52 new number one comics. I decided to try them all! Here, at the half-way point, is what I think so far...
This week consisted of two comics: Flashpoint #5, which marked the end of the old DC, and Justice League #1, which marked the beginning of the new. And I have to say, I'm disappointed with how it ended. I mean, Flashpoint was fine. But the beginning of Flashpoint was really the end (while the current books finished out their runs without acknowledging what was happening). It just feels like an awkward way to say goodbye. Especially since the story was all about Flash/Barry Allen, who's spent the better part of the twenty-five years since the Crisis reboot being... dead.
Tattoos of wings on peoples backs always bother me. The picture above is one of the smaller tattoos I could find, to make my point... and that is, whenever I look at them, I just can't shake the thought that there's no way those things could support the person's body in flight.
Am I missing the point? Maybe, but in my head, it's like someone taped forks to their hands and tried to say they were Wolverine.
"When they come out, does it hurt?"
Then, while watching Sunday's UFC show, I saw Ben Henderson.
Now those are wings I approve of... realistically, they may still be too small, but not so ridiculously out of proportion that it hurts my brain. Ben Henderson, you're doing it right.
"Ambition is the willingness to kill the things you love and eat them in order to stay alive."
I worked for Dish Network for four years before the bastiches fired me, and learned a lot about the television industry during that time. This week, Gizmodo is running a #fixcable series, and discussed the rising price of cable. In it, the writer made this statement:
"But wait! What about satellite? Doesn't satellite fix everything? No... According to the Government Accountability Office, satellite services have little-to-no effect on cable prices."
I had my own viewpoint on this, which I attempted to share last night. It appears the moderators rejected my response, which is disappointing. So I will share it here:
Actually, satellite competition has had a big effect on prices.... it's driven them up. Because before satellite came in, the negotiation between the cable companies and the programmers was a take-it-or-leave-it deal from the cable company. Oh, the customers will complain if we don't carry the channel, but what else can they do?
Now, the programmers are in the drivers seat because they can hike their prices up and play the competitors against each other. Say you're a cable company that doesn't want to take the programmer's price increase. And they're so ballsy these days in that some come in wanting to double their price*... they say it's only a few pennies per customer, but when every channel in your hundred channel package wants a few more pennies, that can add up pretty fast.
So if you decide to stand up to them, they'll pull their signal and your competitor will fight their battle for them by launching a blanket campaign that they have the channel you don't carry anymore... which is somewhat short-sighted since the competitor is empowering that same hardball game when their own contract is up.
The programmers will just keep driving the prices up and up, until the whole system collapses in on itself. The only way I see wide-spread cord-cutting being stalled is perhaps if the government legislates a la carte, and lets the customers decide if each channel is worth what the programmers think they're worth.
Did you know "At the Movies" is still around? It's back on PBS as "Ebert presents: At the Movies"... although Ebert doesn't actually appear on it. And when the chips are down (pledge time), it appears they're going back to the classics. In this case, they went all the way back to the seventies/early eightes when Siskel and Ebert hosted Sneak Previews, and it's a pretty interesting episode, wherein they debate which of the two alleged funniest filmmakers at the time was funnier.
But here's how I see it: At one time, Woody Allen was new and different. Once the newness wore off, then the debate began about whether Woody Allen was actually funny at all.
Mel Brooks is funny, and anyone who would question that is dead inside. So Brooks wins by default.
I'm not usually one to fish for comments, but this time out... post a Mel Brooks quote. Or Woody Allen, if you're one of... those people.
Going a different direction here, giving my thoughts on some of the political goings-on lately. If you have easily offended political sensibilities, please skip this post so that we can continue to be friends.
I used to listen to Loveline years and years ago when Adam Corolla was one of the hosts, and when a wise-ass would get through the screeners with an obviously fake story, he would respond with the deflating phrase: "Is that true? Because it's not funny."
When the phrase "More of this is true than you would believe" flashed on the screen at the beginning of this movie, I knew I was in trouble.
Torchwood. Outside the government, beyond the police. Tracking down alien life on Earth, and arming the human race against the future. The Twenty-First Century is when it all changes, and you've got to be ready.
Torchwood: Miracle Day will be premiering on the Starz Network on Friday! This series is a continuation of the BBC series, and while I'm sure great care will be given to make the show accessible for those joining us for the first time, I wrote this for any newbies who would like to know what's come before, and any old fans who might want to refresh their memories.
Seriously, though... if you have Netflix, the whole series is available to stream there. So why not just stop reading now and go watch it? I won't be hurt.
As a disclaimer, the above picture is a promotional shot from the new series. As I've avoided spoilers (River would want it that way), I'm not actually sure who the two people on the left are. :)
Peggle is a fun little waste of time. It's downright addicting until it gets buried underneath it's own weakness. . You launch a ball from the top of the screen and try to shoot in a direction that will bounce around and hit as many pegs as possible before it's lost at the bottom of the screen. Along the way, you'll encounter levels where certain pegs will cause special things to happen, like helping you aim better, or making all the pegs around it explode.
So you get about fifty levels with the basic game. I had a lot of fun with them When you're done, there's a mess of challenges. But they were basically harder versions of the previous levels. And these challenges hammered home for me that weakness that I mentioned: the harder it gets, the more it becomes a game of luck.
But it didn't stop me from shelling out another $5 down the road to upgrade to Peggle Nights and get another fifty levels. Mild Recommendation.
Pretty. Relaxing... well, until you get to that fourth level anyway.
You are a flower petal. Or maybe you're the wind.... I'm not sure about that. At any rate, you guide your flower petal across pretty green fields, waking up other flower petals. Waking up enough flowers will activate other sections. Pleasant chimes play as you activate the flowers.
There's not a whole lot of challenge here, and I think you can beat the game in an hour or two. But every once in awhile I want to revisit those green fields. Mild recommendation.
Bionic Commando: Rearmed
To clarify, this is the remake of the original, not the disappointing successor that this was released to promote.
Bionic Commando is my all-time favorite NES game, and so when I heard they were doing a remake, I knew I had to have it. What the created is truly a labor of love, as this isn't just a fresh coat of paint, but rather tightening everything up and making it worth to stand alongside the other new and shiny platformers of this console generation.
What's funny is it's pointed out to me how lazy a gamer I've become. This was not an easy game originally. It was a game like Super Mario Brothers where you had to play over and over to master the early levels until you were good enough to play through it in one sitting, and there was no turtle waiting in world three to give you hundreds of lives.
Gameplay wise, the best comparison would be to another Capcom game.. Castlevania. Basically they replace your whip with a mechanical arm which is your primary mode of transportation. It's used to move from one platform to another, swing across pits, pick up itens, and knock back enemies.
I can only guess how many hours I put into getting good enough to beat the original, and even then I still liked to go back on a Saturday afternoon and see how quickly I can beat it.... seem to recall it could be done in about two-to-three hours. I no longer have that kind of dedication, but fortunately this remake had level setting the original didn't have, with unlimited continues, unlimited lives, and the easiest settings cover some of the pits of death so that if you miss a swing you escape death altogether.
This game also had an interesting multiplayer setting as well, but this wasn't one I cared to play with strangers, and didn't know anyone else who bought it.
A Rearmed 2 has since been released.. I can't imagine it being bad, but I understand they added a jump button which I feel completely misses the point of the game.
They took one of the games of my childhood, and made it better without changing anything that made it great. I can't imagine anyone who calls themselves a platform fan not liking this game. Highly Recommended.
I've become very good at avoiding commercials. In terms of movies, it means that I get to walk into some completely blind, which is nice. On the other hand, some movies escape my attention completely. Based on the DVD cover, for all I knew, this could have been a sequel to another movie I'd seen.
So this is more of a commentary than the semi-comprehensive list I did for the first part.
From time-to-time, someone from my generation laments that the current generation doesn't know the joy of Saturday morning cartoons. And I agree, their lives are so empty, trying to fill that void with four nickelodeons, two cartoon networks, a third disney channel launching in 2012, ABC Family, The Hub, streaming video, Redboxes on every corner, and a staggering number of animated movies.
The wealth of animated movies today inspired me to to a comparison to my own childhood. I decided to go back through my childhood and list the best movies of each year from 1974 (when I was born) forward. A picture of the 80's from one child's eyes. It ended up being a shorter list than I thought, because...
1970's: There's not shit here. I knew there weren't as many animated movies being made when I was a kid, but I didn't realize it was this bad. No wonder Charlotte's Web, which was released the year before I was born, is such a beloved classic. The other movies from the late 70's include the Hobbit/Lord of the Rings animated movies which I always thought were vastly overrated, and Hanna Barbara crap. I hated Hanna Barbara. I feel obliged to mention that Disney's The Rescuers which was released in 1977... but that one sorta slipped by me. I've still never seen it. This is depressing, let's move onto the 80's.
So South Park is on its midseason break. Here's the thing about South Park: in my opinion, is that out of its fourteen annual eipsodes, you have three or four that are brilliant, probably about two or three that are crap, and the rest is just kind of "there"... average episodes. It keeps me watching because it tends to be topical, and I appreciate the insights of the creators.
So two or three months ago, I was invited over to try out the multi-player for Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. It was a weird bit of multiplayer in that the objective is to walk around in crowds of people and try to go unnoticed until you find your target player and stick a knife in his eye. And I said, "OMG, I want to jam knives in skullz every day!"
But wait... I have borderline obsessive-compulsive rules about this type of thing.... I have to play AC 1 and 2 before buying brotherhood, and it also gives time for the price to go down because I'm a cheap bastard...
"I'm being extremely clever up here, and there's noone to stand around looking impressed! What's the point in having you all?"
Woah... from the first episode, it's clear they're not messing around this season. And as I was doing my first review, I realized they were doing the split-season thing and were already finishing up the spring run, so I'm doing a combined review.
Oh, River insists that I warn you that there are spoilers below the cut...
I used to read a lot of comic books when I was a kid... and while Marvel books may have been cooler, I was more drawn to the characters of DC... my favorite being Green Lantern. As I hit my twenties, it was the period when DC running sensational stories.... Superman killed, Batman's back broken, and Green Lantern turned evil. There was plenty of other stuff going on in my life, so I more or less drifted away. A few years back, I had to squeeze my life into the back of a pickup to move a few states a way, so I had to jettison most of my comic books. Goodbye Batman, farewell Spidey, happy trails Groo.
But I made room for the Green Lanterns and Justice Leagues. These were my favorites. And so on the precipice of the new movie, which could make him a star or could make him a joke, I decided to write up a history in tribute to my favorite childhood heroes.
In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a miliatry court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The A-Team.
For those not aware of the pedigree, The A-Team was an TV action series that debuted in 1983. It revolved around a team of four special forces guys who each week would hire themselves out to some to some family trying to save their home or their farm or whatever from some corrupt guys trying to run them out.
"A king does not need a chair to sit upon. He only needs a horse."
Episode 7: "You Win or You Die"
I think it was last episode that I mentioned that there was something that bugged me about Littlefinger that I would come back to later, and now's the appropriate time. Spoilers below the cut...
In the early eighties there was just a three-score movie rating system: G, PG,and R. It was a pretty big divide between the latter two, and the result was that anything less than an R-rating for an action movie was the kiss of death.
At the time it was released, Waterworld was the most expensive film ever made, and as of today, still ranks #7 when adjusted for inflation. It is considered one of Hollywood's biggest flops (although it actually did turn a profit worldwide), which is a shame, because it probably discouraged a lot of people from watching it, and it isn't half bad.
"The children of time are moving against us, but everything is falling into place."
I just commented a couple of days ago that I thought they should give the Daleks a rest for awhile. And according to Slashdot, wishes do come true. Showrunner Steven Moffat has confirmed that the Daleks are taking a break. When a portion of the fanbase cried out, however, he clarified it was just for this season. I would have gone for two seasons myself, but this will do.