Largely responsible for the elevation of the ninja to near-mythical status, American Ninja is a hodge-podge of admittedly better 80s films, including The Karate Kid, James Bond, and probably anything to do with Chuck Norris. Yet it pushes so hard the ninja aspect that instead of being mediocre today, it’s actually endured as a cheesy cult classic that features genuinely enjoyable (if ridiculous) action.
Well, folks, I finally did it. After years of picking up scraps here and there through cultural osmosis, I have finally managed to catch up on Batman: the Animated Series. Yes sir, all four seasons and 114 episodes, counting the five crossovers with Superman: the Animated Series, which I have also seen – and it was good, too!
Most of you are probably already well familiar with B:tAS, given that it’s one of the most talked-about and beloved nerd series of all time. It’s not just a great cartoon, it’s also one of the most influential spin-offs of all time, with any number of original characters and character interpretations making their way back into the comics. Harley Quinn, the new version of Mr. Freeze, Lock-Up, Roxy Rocket, Renee Montoya – there’s lots of ‘em.
What struck me, though, was not how many characters had made it out, but how many hadn’t. To the series’ credit, it never leaned too heavily on Batman’s already-established rogues gallery, instead coming up with brand new (or functionally new, as with Freeze) antagonists whenever it seemed appropriate – and you know what? Most of them are really good. Sure, a number did make it back to comics, but there’s also a surprisingly long list of foes that haven’t, and in my opinion really should have by now, because they’re cool.
So why waste time talking about them, let’s shoot out our Bat-Ropes and soar into the night. Ladies and gentlemen, my Top Ten B:tAS Villains That Should Make It Into Comics! Continue reading
As lackluster, short, and — let’s face it — nearly irrelevant as season one of The Office was, the decision to pick it up for a 22-episode second season was as surprising as it was fortuitous. Maybe it was Steve Carrell’s charisma that convinced the network to do so, but good decision, boys!
I consider the first episode of the second season to be the “real” start to The Office. A lot of work went into rethinking characters and getting into a comfortable groove, and the employees of Dunder Mifflin that we know and love today emerged as a true ensemble force here. And looking over the episode list, I’m amazed at the sheer quality of hilarious stories that are packed into this season, which is why it propelled The Office into a “must watch” type of show.
There’s a sort of hipster shibboleth that you’re supposed to claim that the two-season British original of The Office was, hands-down, the best. Say that, and you’re in with all of the cool critics. While it was sort of funny, I never warmed to it the way that I have since latched on to the American version, which I now consider one of my most favorite TV series of all time.
I guess I won’t be invited to their snooty parties. That’s fine with me; I’d rather be hanging out with Jim, Dwight, Michael, Pam, and the rest anyway.
I’ve seen the entire nine-season run of The Office several times through now, as it’s one of my constant “comfort foods” in my TV time. Sometimes I even listen to episodes in the car, because by now my brain can fill in the visuals. The delightful mix of insanely awkward moments, sincere emotion, and hilarious corporate antics have always made me feel that I’d gladly get a job at Dunder Mifflin if it was with people like these.
So let’s go through the seasons, one at a time, and see the evolution of the characters, the company, and the show.
The history of live-action superhero adaptations has been largely dominated by movies – and small wonder; the accurate portrayal of such spectacular adventures can prove expensive stuff. Ever since George Reeves first made his appearance as Superman, however, it’s been a rare period when some such super-show isn’t knocking around the small screen. From recognized classics like Batman and Wonder Woman to farcical flops like Captain Nice, the genre has a long and varied history, and has been showing new life lately with shows like Smallville and the currently-running Arrow.
Inevitably though, some such shows do fall through the cracks, and that is where we come in, boys and girls. The spectrum ranges from duds with few defenders to genuine lost gems, ones that probably should be better known, but somehow aren’t. Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of cult.
One such show was The Flash, a victim of shuffling time-slots that lasted a single season, from 1990 to 1991. It’s since become one of those shows where either you’ve heard of it or you haven’t – and if you haven’t, you really haven’t. It’s pretty well-regarded amongst the former, though, and obscurity, my friends, is our bread and butter. And since there’s another Flash show that debuted not too long ago – well, what better reason to check out this older version first? Continue reading