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LUKE CAGE is cancelled. I'm shocked; the writers had been prepping Season 3, a renewal had been expected even after IRON FIST was cancelled. The first five episodes of Season 3 had been written.

I think THE FLASH would benefit from getting into how the characters earn money, but that ship seems to have sailed. THE FLASH benefits strongly from Barry having a civilian identity because the character is fundamentally a blue-collar tradesperson superhero, something shown beautifully in Season 2 when the Flash was doing construction work and in Season 5 as he struggles with time travel as he attempts to be a husband and father. With the other shows, I don't think it would add much. SUPERGIRL is a very weird situation where Kara Danvers had a very well-defined normal identity except regular cast member knew her secret.

ARROW was initially very concerned with giving Oliver a life outside the Hood and Arrow identities. But after awhile, having Oliver mess around with running nightclubs or running his company was a distraction from Oliver's life as a street-level vigilante, but when they jettisoned that aspect of his character, they also lost the financial rationale for the Arrowcave and all the costumes, gadgets and hardware. And ultimately, the question of who pays for all the supplies was a silly question for this sort of superhero fantasy. Oliver's civilian life, unless it tied into his crimefighting life (like being the mayor), was a waste of time. I assume Oliver's adventures with ARGUS and with the League gave him many opportunities to stash away money.

Oliver isn't interested in living a normal life; the character is not well-served by having him hang out at Jitters for trivia night or chairing boardoom meetings even if it indicates how he's funding his life. Oliver is defined by his war on crime.

LEGENDS had some fun with the civilian side of things when Ray became a glorified intern and Sarah clocked in as a salesperson at Bed, Bath and Beyond for a brief sequence, but, as with ARROW, normal lives just aren't meaningful in this context.


(333 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

There is one aspect of SLIDERS REBORN that I never talked about -- the podcast.

Tom and Cory of THE REWATCH PODCAST expressed a desire to do a podcast to cover SLIDERS REBORN but (understandably) backed off when discovering the scripts were 4 pages, 95 pages, 151 pages, 46 pages and 144 pages with a 6,300 word novella as well. They'd been expecting 46-page screenplays.

But... the thought of hearing Tom and Cory's voices describe SLIDERS REBORN meant so much to me that I wrote a screenplay for them to perform where they would alternatively praise and pick away at my writing.

Being good sports, they proceeded to perform the script and send me the raw audio to edit. They were splendid. Tom was full of charm and enthusiasm as scripted; Cory had been written to be critical and mocking and he softened it with a gentle affection that I found touching. They'd also made numerous additions and ad-libs that I just adored. Strangely, when editing, I found I preferred the parts where they mocked and belittled my writing, so I trimmed any positive views to the minimum. They sent me two hours from which I cut an hour.

I actually wrote Tom's post above in which he expressed his alarm at the length of the scripts.

From a writing standpoint, it was fun to give Tom and Cory some of their trademark catchphrases and to also deliberately have them refer to past episodes with the wrong titles, to have Tom be charmed by my pastiche of the sliders and for Cory to note all the errors and plotholes. I think my favourite part of the podcast is when the boys mockingly recap 'Revolution' (6), a script that features Jerry O'Connell facing Robert Floyd. Here it is with their ad-libs.

CORY: "Okay. Part 5 of Sliders Reborn: it's a 46-page script called 'Revolution,' written by ireactions and published on June 6, 2016."

TOM: "June! So, it was eight months between 'Reminiscence' and 'Revolution'?"

CORY: "I guess life happened or something?"

TOM: (laughing) "Eight months to write... this."

CORY: "This one -- can we actually try to get through a summary?

TOM: "You can try. Uh, maybe we should play the usual music."

The plot summary background music begins.

CORY: (chuckling) "Okay -- so the script is mostly a dream sequence where Quinn is trapped in this mansion that's on fire and Quinn's in a room filling with toxic gas, and he hallucinates Mallory."

TOM: "This would be the character played by Robert Floyd in Season 5 -- the lab assistant that got merged with Quinn. So -- the whole script here -- it's mostly Quinn and Mallory talking."

CORY: "Yeah, Mallory asks Quinn how he ended up in this room filling with poisoned gas, and Quinn runs through his day: this lady in the merged San Francisco was buying tech from parallel Earths, building a virtual reality machine and bankrupting her company and putting all her employees out of work to build it. Quinn went to confront her and got really upset. He went to her house to sabotage her machine only to accidentally set off the hallucinogenic gas that the machine uses -- "

TOM: (verge of laughing) "Because the VR machine uses hallucinogenic gas. Because -- what?!"

CORY: "I don't know."

TOM: "Hahahahahah!"

CORY: "Let's try to get through this. The gas is not only a hallucinogen but highly flammable, Quinn's now overcome by the fumes, he's trapped in the house, he's hallucinating Mallory, and Mallory is trying to talk to him and figure out why Quinn was so fixated on this woman. Tom -- you finish the rest of this summary. I just -- I can't do it."

TOM: "Hahaha! Oh-kay... "

Tom takes a deep breath.

TOM: "Okay -- so it turns out, this lady -- she's Melanie Wallace -- a character who appeared for like one minute in the Season 2 episode with the psychics. She's a psychic. Quinn wanted her help to fix this broken multiverse, but Melanie's seen the future and there's just no hope, and she built this VR machine to... to give herself a perfect afterlife? I mean, I don't even... I don't even -- ughhhh."

CORY: "Keep going, you're almost there."

TOM: "Okay, so, Quinn accidentally detonated the gas. Melanie's dead. Quinn's dying. Quinn has lost hope for saving reality, Mallory gives him a pep talk, and this dream sequence helps Quinn find a way out of the burning house and survive and feel hope for the future? Okay?"

CORY: "Okay."

TOM: "Okay."

The background music ends.

TOM: "I don't even -- I don't think we exactly summarized this story.

CORY: "I think these 46-pages defy a synopsis."

TOM: "Well. You were right before -- all of ireactions' plots are sort of flimsy excuses to get the characters he wants together in the same room -- and for this story, he wanted to get Jerry O'Connell's Quinn and Robert Floyd's Quinn together in the same room.

CORY: (horrified whisper) " ... why... ?"

TOM: "Well, ireactions interviewed Rob Floyd, remember? So, as of this script, Maggie and Diana had joined the cast. And he said in his notes that he didn't feel comfortable leaving Mallory out because it'd be insulting to Rob Floyd -- I mean, they're not like best friends or anything, but they're friends. So he wrote this dream sequence script, y'know?"

CORY: (exasperated) "Jesus."

TOM: "Hahahahah! He said -- he says in his notes -- he sent the script to Rob Floyd, and Rob thanked him, but Rob never got back to him with what he thought, probably because Rob hasn't seen that many episodes of SLIDERS and didn't understand it."

CORY: "Well, I've seen every episode of SLIDERS and I barely understand what's going on."

TOM: (snickering) "Yeah."

CORY: "You've got a psychic creating a VR machine that uses hallucinogenic gas that explodes, a video game company, a terminal illness, Quinn being obsessed with the VR machine, and the VR machine creating a digital afterlife because... ?"

TOM: "Because it creates a situation where Quinn's trapped in a burning building and hallucinating and the hallucination of Mallory gives him information that helps Quinn escape."

CORY: "I think -- I've generally liked Parts 1 to 4 of SLIDERS REBORN. There's some issues in ireactions' approach -- he has a lot of tricks where he obviously works out the scenes he wants before he works out the plot, and he dresses it up with humour and jokes and it's all good."

TOM: "But this time -- it's not."

CORY: "This is where his tricks don't work. The story's a mess."

TOM: "Yeah. The main appeal of ireactions' writing is that he captures the voices of the actors which you said before. But I don't think he pulls it off for Robert Floyd's Mallory -- mostly because Mallory never had a strong voice on the show, so really, ireactions doesn't have anything to work with."

CORY: "You're exactly right. I can excuse pretty much all the problems with Parts 1 to 4 because they get characters I really like back, but Mallory isn't one of those characters."

TOM: "Also -- in Parts 1 to 4, all the references to the past were really effective. But here -- Mallory tells Quinn he's beaten all these bad guys in the past, the CDC, the Prime Oracle, the Zercurvians -- and there's all these descriptions of people Quinn's helped -- but I couldn't remember who any of these people were."

CORY: "I did know who all these people were -- Gillian, Holly the hotel manager and her son, uh, the kid from the Western episode -- but it felt like this joyless shopping list."

TOM: "Well, yeah, especially the kid from the Western episode that you love so much. 'Come back, Quinn! Come back!'"

CORY: "Gnnrrrghhhhh!"

TOM: "Throughout that, I felt ireactions was really trying. He comes up with an arc for Quinn. He finds a way to show that Quinn's scientifically talented, but Mallory knows people. But the plot's too scattered. It's just too convoluted to work Mallory into the story and give him something, like, substantial to do."

CORY: "It just shows that ireactions' strengths are in writing Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo -- and if those four characters aren't on the page in some form, his style just falls apart."

It's weird -- Joe was very low energy in the premiere and 5.02, but I saw that as Joe being exhausted with a new infant. But yes, Jesse L. Martin being seated and clearly tired in every shot he's in is reminiscent of David Boreanaz in ANGEL when he was written to sit for numerous episodes after knee surgery.


It's hilarious for me to think that I've always seen Jessica Parker Kennedy as a willful, troubled, punk teenager when she's actually a 34-year-old woman who has been playing teenagers since she was 22. Nora is being written as a child, but making her a CSI put her close to the actress' age until the 5.02 indicated that with advanced technology, the entry requirements for forensics is a lot lower in Nora's time period due to advanced technology and that she's a rookie. I think we're to see Nora as 21 -22 which makes a bit more sense.


THE FLASH has always been hilarious with employment: Barry had this massive crime lab that seemed exclusively for his use as (apparently) Central City's only forensic scientist. He went back to work after a coma with no need for reassessment to make sure his findings couldn't be questioned in court over his mental fitness.

Season 3 had some fun with this where Barry got upset at having to share the lab with Draco Malfoy. Season 3 also had some fun with STAR Labs trying to earn money with the Flash Museum. Money hasn ever made sense on THE FLASH.

STAR Labs was disgraced and abandoned in Season 1. Where'd the money coming from to pay rent and utilities and Cisco and Caitlin's salaries and for all the supplies and equipment? Season 3 was also strange in showing Barry despondent over getting suspended from the police department. Why? What difference did it make to him if he did forensic work at STAR Labs rather than the crime lab? Why did Ralph Dibney need to give him a job at a detective agency when Barry has owned STAR Labs since Season 2?

(The answer to all of the above is that THE FLASH is a superhero fantasy show.)

SUPERGIRL had a great premiere, although I was somewhat thrown off by Supergirl being unable to catch up to a villain fleeing on a motorcycle? ARROW also had a great premiere, although I was somewhat thrown off by Felicity being in mortal peril in one scene and being completely fine the next? Both shows have set up some great stuff for the season that I'm really excited about; SUPERGIRL is pursuing its strengths as an allegorical fantasy in a wonderland of a city while ARROW is (hopefully) continuing to stick to the grounded, street-level storytelling of Season 2 combined with the soap opera of Season 4 but few if any of the fantasy elements of the League of Assassins and Damien Darhk. And Informant is also having a fantastic season premiere with all the signature aspects of a good season of his stuff and I'm really excited about what else he'll bring to the table.

Look, I take no pleasure in Informant's displeasure with TV and I can't say I share even a fraction of his distaste for the Arrowverse or that I'm enamoured with his gendered analysis of television but it's *interesting* to read and he's totally right about Felicity's offscreen rescue and the shift from ARROW becoming less like BATMAN BEGINS and more like (shudder) SMALLVILLE.


(851 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Another word about Gunn -- I see see his 'jokes,' 'joke' essays and 'party costume' as his trauma. His tweets included: "I like it when little boys touch me in my silly place. Shhh!" "Wondering which Disneyland character would be the worst to get raped by. I think it's Goofy. But Sleepy would suck too." "The best thing about being raped is when you're done being raped it's like, 'Whew, this feels great, not being raped!'"

Even before reading Gunn's scant remarks about his school priest, I felt Gunn's words were clearly the thoughts of an child assault victim, later a twisted adult bleakly voicing his boyhood grief and theorizing as to the mindset of his rapist.

The 'humour' of these words and dressing like the priest who abused him is an attempt to talk about what he endured while hiding behind the guise of 'jokes' to avoid an outright public revelation, something he clearly wasn't (and isn't) ready to do.

When fired, he *could* have said, "I was raped. Those 'jokes' were me trying to talk about what happened to me. It was disgusting, I was wrong, I'm so sorry." I think Disney was right to fire him and declare they found his views unacceptable. That way, Disney didn't come off as attempting a cover up.

I think Gunn was right to issue a statement in which he accepted and understood Disney's decision. That way, he wasn't presenting himself as the victim (of Disney). He didn't try to justify his actions. Which is why I (currently) feel confident that James Gunn is not Bryan Singer.


(851 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Singer has never given his side of the story, only blanket denials. I don't have any real facts to offer, but in that TMZ interview, Singer did not condemn Kevin Spacey, a known and self-confessed child molester who assaulted Anthony Rapp. Singer did not rule out working with Spacey. Singer did not express any shame or regret for, as he said, having helped launch Spacey to stardom. Singer did not show any sign of anger or outrage towards a child abuser. And what I didn't see there really disturbed me.


(851 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Gunn attended Catholic school in Manchester, Missouri and the school pastor was Russell J. Obmann. In a tweet, Gunn named this man and described him as giving him meals and an education. "Simultaneously, he fucked us." On his personal blog, Gunn described Obmann as a child molester and how he reported this to his parents but was ignored.

This combined with that awful party where Gunn dressed as a pedophile priest suggest to me that Gunn was dressing as his rapist in an attempt to reappropriate the likeness of his monster as something he could control, mock and dismiss. It didn't work, he spiraled deeper into those horrible essays and tweets. I've also heard that Gunn had a penchant for roleplay where he asked adult women to pretend to be teenaged girls when they had sex together. After a time, I believe Gunn climbed out of that darkness, those dark days remained online and destroyed his career at Marvel.

It's interesting that you mention Salva. Gunn did a book reading at a 2011 event where he recognized Salva in attendance -- and Gunn expressed outrage at Salva and called him a pedophile.


When Bryan Singer was first accused of raping Michael Egan, I did not find Egan credible as he accused Singer of raping him in Hawaii during a period when friends of mine knew for a fact that Singer was basically on lockdown in Toronto, desperately assembling the first X-MEN movie. Financial records and studio documentation would eventually confirm that Singer was in Toronto during the period Egan claimed that Singer had raped him.

Since then, I have heard other stories -- from the same people who told me that Allison Mack was in a sex trafficking cult and had manuevered Kristen Kreuk into a threesome with the cult leader. I didn't take these tales seriously, but ever since Mack was arrested for sex trafficking, I have been forced to reconsider. I've heard stories of a law firm taking on a fraudulent rape case where the lawyers knew the so-called victim was making it all up, but also knew that his lies going public would draw out genuine victims of a prominent film director with rock-solid evidence which the lawyers would use, not in court, but to make this film director pay out massive financial settlements, in perpetuity and outside the legal system -- a far more lucrative proposition than a conviction for sex crimes.

I don't know that any of that is true. Maybe none of it is true.


Recently, I was struck by Singer's interview on TMZ. Singer was all charm and grace, speaking warmly of a director who'd replaced him on a FOX project from which Singer had been fired, generously answering any and all questions, declining to be angry at FOX for firing him. When the interviewer asked Singer if he would ever work with Kevin Spacey again. Singer said it'd depend on the project. Asked if he thought Spacey would ever work again, Singer said that Spacey would always be able to work, it was merely a question of whether there'd be an audience for that work.

Singer's gentleness and kindness were sweet and touching -- except he was speaking of Spacey, a pedophile, a harasser, likely a rapist -- and there wasn't a flicker of condemnation, outrage, anger or hurt. Singer described himself as having helped launch Spacey's career and there wasn't a hint of guilt or shame at having enabled Spacey to acquire a career that allowed him to assault others with the immunity of power and influence. Unlike Gunn, Singer didn't seem to be troubled at having been in the presence of a known sex criminal.

... it scared me and I am no longer able to give Singer the benefit of the doubt.


(851 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I don’t believe James Gunn is a pedophile. I believe he was raped when he was a boy by a teacher and his tweets and the costume party and such were a troubled attempt to deny his trauma.

That said, I also didn’t believe Bryan Singer to be a rapist only for many Hollywood actors (Evan Rachel Wood, Jessica Chastain) to describe it as an open secret...

I'm with Informant on THE FLASH in Season 5, but I've also adjusted my expectations a bit. I enjoyed "Nora" which found a neat twist on FLASH's procedural-mythos format by bringing in Barry and Iris' adult daughter. It was great to see Jessica Parker Kennedy who played a troubled teen in SMALLVILLE (she was Plastique) and played a troubled teen in THE SECRET CIRCLE and seems to be once again playing a troubled teen in her performance and in the nervous dialogue the script assigns her. It's strange: Parker is 34-years-old and if Nora's a CSI, she has to be nearly 30, but Kennedy is playing a child with her awkward fumbling -- whether that's because she's in the presence of her parents or the scripting being at odds with the backstory, I'm not sure. But it's a neat angle and I thought it added quite a bit.

That said, THE FLASH has struggled to recapture the magic of Season 1. A lot of that is because it's a CW network drama that's been handled like a factory pumping out 22 or so episodes a year with the contracted actors. The content is a tertiary concern.

THE FLASH established itself in Season 1 as a show about (a) exploring Barry's powers and different applications of speed (b) the team learning to work together and (c) the Flash legacy and mythos beginning with the murder of Barry's mother leading to Dr. Wells as Barry's mentor. Season 2 largely stuck to this playbook. A different villain and a new Dr. Wells changed the details so it didn't feel like a rehash, but in Season 3, THE FLASH started running into some problems.

They had no effective role for Tom Cavanagh and Dr. Wells was replaced by another double who provided empty comic relief and served as a sacrificial decoy. The season-long mystery of Savitar didn't connect with the mythos of the Flash and the revelation that Savitar was Barry was diluted by insisting that a time remnant Barry wasn't really Barry, and Savitar became the third evil speedster and because the show didn't emphasize him as Barry's alternate and opposite, he became a faded photocopy of the Season 1 - 2 villains.

Season 4 was a massive improvement by having the team fight a non-speedster, but the longevity of the series began to cause problems. After three seasons, the Flash had learned pretty much all the Speed Force flourishes there were to learn; the spirit of exploring the Flash's powers were gone. The Flash mythos had largely been resolved by Season 2. The characters had settled into grooves. THE FLASH was still a capable, professional show, but it had lost the wonder and ingenuity of Season 1 and hadn't found anything to replace it. The Season 4 finale was also a bit weak; the show failed to really rationalize how the team outmaneuvered the all-knowing villain, relying on the random element of Jessica Parker Kennedy's character who was too much of a cipher to have earned it.

And so now we're at Season 5. We've explored all the Flash's powers now, so there won't be much that's new. We've settled into a criminal procedural format and lost the sense of STAR Labs as disgraced underdogs because the cast have grown competent. We're going to have Tom Cavanagh whether he has anything worthwhile to do or not. Every episode has a supervillain whether that's necessary or not. Season 5 is trying to use Nora to make it seem a bit fresher. It's a shame the show has gotten so locked into its weekly format of one superpowered antagonist per episode and one for the season.


(603 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

My Moto G5 Plus with Android Nougat its 2 GB of RAM had been struggling lately. It kept lagging and freezing and this was a serious problem when driving with Google Maps where the navigation would be unable to tell me I was coming up on an exit until I'd driven right past it. The Chrome browser kept freezing. I disabled the Google app, removed Chrome and took out the Assistant app and the phone returned to adequate function, but it'd still freeze up from time to time.

It became clear that apps were calling for more RAM than the G5 Plus had to offer and I wondered if I ought to buy a new phone, but it seemed insane to replace this one when it's only nine months old. However, I downloaded the Oreo update and now the performance is back to where it was even with Google apps re-enabled. Oreo seems to be more aggressive in preventing background apps from using system resources for too long. The device feels new again.

Apple seems to be having a good year as well with iOS updates. I'd prevented OS updates on my iPad 5, but the reports came in that iOS 12 has improved performance on all older devices, so I updated before restoring the update block. The iPad 5 is running just the same as the day I bought it.

I have not seen VENOM yet, but, my favourite reviewing site, reviewed it and had some spoiler-free Thoughts. … ore-102708

The M0vie Blog wrote:

Trying to make a Venom movie without Spider-Man is like trying to make a Sabretooth movie without Wolverine, a Man-Bat movie without Batman, a Bizarro movie with Superman, an Abomination movie without the Hulk. It doesn’t make sense.

Brushing aside any continuity or shared history, Venom is the archetypal “obvious evil doppelganger” to Spider-Man. His character simply does not work without Spider-Man as a point of inspiration or contrast. Visually speaking, Venom makes no sense outside the context of “what if Spider-Man, but dark?”

The prospect of a Venom movie without Spider-Man is inherently absurd. The punchline here might be to suggest it’s like making two Joker movies without Batman, but that’s not entirely accurate. Despite their long association, there’s nothing about “killer clown” that requires “man dressed as a bat” in order to work. Venom is defined by his relationship to Spider-Man. Removing Spider-Man from Venom’s origin story essentially removes the spine of the character, in a way that creates an appreciable absence.

Even audience members without any appreciation of the long-standing association between the two characters might wonder why Venom’s eyes look like that or why he swings around like that or why he climbs up walls. VENOM cannot possibly answer these questions.

This is something I pondered in the Random Thoughts thread. I read every single NINJA TURTLES comic from the original Mirage publishers and I found that in the end, none of it was all that good because despite being the original source material, it was dated, out of touch, unrefined, raw and none of it really deepened my appreciation for the 90s NINJA TURTLES film and the 2012 NINJA TURTLES series. I enjoyed the Wally West run on THE FLASH, but I can't see it being a necessity to appreciating the TV show today. But it's case by case -- there has never been a truly great BATMAN TV show with ongoing arcs and a progressive mythology. If you want a modern rendition of Batman beyond the film noir of the Nolan series, you'll have to go to the comics. If you want a twenty-first century SPIDER-MAN series that reflects twenty-first century concerns and the 60s iconography, you'll have to go to the comics.

But THE FLASH, ARROW and SUPERGIRL as TV shows have made the Flash and Supergirl comics a bit redundant. Only GREEN ARROW comics still have something unique from the show because they're not anything like the ARROW series and more like the Justin Hartley Green Arrow of SMALLVILLE.

I'm really excited for the shows to come back. I used to read superhero comics religiously, but now that they're on the CW and in movie theatres, I don't read comics anymore. Every few years, I catch up on Comixology. I guess it's superheroes that I loved rather than the medium.


(203 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

How essential is it to watch the classics when it comes to television?

My niece was intrigued by THE X-FILES and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, both of which were important and vital fantasy shows. But is there anything either show has to offer in terms of storytelling (ongoing mythology, progressive character development) that isn't done with a more skillful touch in SUPERNATURAL and SHADOWHUNTERS? It's not because TXF and BVS were poor; later shows learned from where previous shows stumbled while growing from their strengths. I adore THE FLASH TV series on the CW but have only ever been able to struggle through two episodes of the 90s show.

Shows like THE PRISONER, BABYLON 5 and the 60s STAR TREK and DOCTOR WHO are a fascinating form of televised theatre and stand the test of time as a compelling artifact, but it is really hard to get through MACGYVER or MATLOCK in a post-CSI era.

NINJA TURTLES has had so many incarnations -- but I really can't recommend that a potential new fan read the unreadable Mirage comics or delve into the childish and repetitive and clumsy 80s - 90s animated series and the 2003 series is rather dour and slow and the movies are extremely mixed. Really, the best incarnation to watch is the 2012 Nickelodeon CG series which is visually up to date and picks the strongest elements of all previous versions.

What are the classics we can't miss and the classics we should feel free to skip? It's hard to recommend that anyone watch SLIDERS when FRINGE is available and on blu-ray; it's tough to send anyone to DAWSON'S CREEK when we've got RIVERDALE -- newer isn't always better, but older isn't always relevant.

Well, I hope they schedule it like CRISIS ON EARTH X where they shut down each show in turn to devote their full resources to the crossover rather than like INVASION where they tried to shoot the entire crossover in a week which led to the stars appearing prominently in the first episode and then being reduced to cameos until the second half of the last episode. I also hope it has lots of Nazi-punching because Nazis are in dire need of being punched.


(851 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I don't think the divide between MAN OF STEEL and SUPERGIRL is in terms of the amount of effects but rather how elaborate the process is. MAN OF STEEL spent a year or two preparing conceptual work for how it would look when Superman lifted things, punched enemies or flew; SUPERGIRL took maybe a month. MAN OF STEEL's fights unfolded across an entire town and then a city; SUPERGIRL's fights are isolated to a single space. The TV scale is more minimalistic, and maybe movies need to start doing the same thing in process and visualization too.

MAN OF STEEL, BVS and JUSTICE LEAGUE were filmed all around the globe; SUPERGIRL and THE FLASH are filmed entirely in Vancouver these days.

So, if you were to have done MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN and JUSTICE LEAGUE on a closer to TV budget, you wouldn't have Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne or any other movie star performers with their movie star quotes. You wouldn't have non-Vancouver location filming, so any non-urban environments like Smallville, Africa or the Arctic would be natural Vancouver areas without buildings, stock footage, greenscreen work and sets. Superman and Zod would fight in the sewers, not across a whole city. There would be an emphasis on superheroes using their powers in one specific way in one powerful slow motion shot rather than lengthy sequences of them using their powers in different ways.

Whatever their faults, MAN OF STEEL, BVS and JUSTICE LEAGUE showed superheroes at full power without SMALLVILLE's offscreen power usage, without THE FLASH and SUPERGIRL's reliance on standing sets and a generic city background and without single-room fights. Can an audience that's seen MAN OF STEEL level supeheroics accept stepping back to a superhero film that's closer to ARROW than BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN? I do not know.


(603 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Informant wrote:

I've been reading up on the new IPhone X, just to see what they're doing with it. Everyone is referring to it as being completely bezel-less. What am I missing here? The design is fine. It seems like something that Apple fans will like. I think it's cheating to include the notch in the official screen size (that whole section of the screen is now useless for everything except battery status, wifi, etc. It isn't a functional part of the display), but that's just me.

However... The phone has a pretty substantial bezel. It is far from being the bezel-less wonder that some are reporting... It looks like it already has a case on it! Like I said, I'm sure Apple users will love the phone. It's fine. But are we all supposed to pretend that we don't see the bezel?

I had a look at the iPhone X recently. A guy at work has one. The look is great -- a black frame around a front surface that is entirely a screen -- as opposed to a conventional phone where the screen is a rectangle in a rectangle. Samsung's curved screens also eliminate the rectangle look.

But these cost at least a thousand dollars without adding much function. I don't see myself spending more than a couple hundred bucks on a phone because they're easily lost and broken. Despite a reputation for destroying phones (two Samsung S3s, a Samsung S5), I've been good for the last two and a half years. The Moto G4 I had was randomly rebooting; I switched to a G5 Plus that's going eight months and counting. But I'd still rather buy a phone that, if destroyed, could be replaced once a year at a reasonable cost.

If I needed a new phone, I'd want a minimum 5-inch screen, octa-core processor, 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, a microSD slot, a 3.5mm audio jack -- a bezeless look is not a priority. I'm also not all that fussed about a camera: I'm fine with using a flash in dark situations, I have no interest in dual-camera setups -- I just want something to photograph documents (receipts, business cards).


(851 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Well, I'm looking forward to AQUAMAN. I've never read a single issue of his comic, but I really enjoyed Jason Momoa in JUSTICE LEAGUE. I'm excited for the next WONDER WOMAN and SHAZAM features Zachary Levi from CHUCK, so I'm eager for that. BIRDS OF PREY has a 2020 release date and I love the old TV show although it wasn't actually good.

... as for the swirling fog that is DC after these three films -- whatever. There's not much to discuss in terms of specifics.

When it comes to generalities, though -- what we're looking at is that the bubble has burst on the blockbuster feature film extravaganza which is globally successful to audiences who don't speak English, see subtitled versions and enjoy computer generated lunacy. TRANSFORMERS really tapped into this subliterate, visual-seeking market.

Since then, the cost of movie tickets and the rise of streaming services has more of the audience staying home. Movies like JUSTICE LEAGUE simply cost too much and profit too little and I think Warner Bros. is going to have to seriously rethink how much they spend and on what they spend it.

SUPERGIRL presents Superman-powers on a TV budget and while its effects would most definitely not pass muster on the big screen (and struggle already for the small), there's got to be some mid-point between two million an episode (a guess) and 300 million for a two hour JUSTICE LEAGUE movie at which a 660 million dollar gross for movies like JL is a success instead of a failure.

There is probably a way to make good, modern, $80 million dollar SUPERMAN and BATMAN movies -- but I suspect that you can't make them with Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck as their current contracts were designed with the TRANSFORMERS-style model in mind. You could probably make SUPERGIRL and ARROW movies for $80 million as Melissa Benoist and Stephen Amell charge a lot less.

I remember, maybe 10 years ago, I said that the best medium for superhero movies was animation. The technology has advanced; the days of SMALLVILLE restricting Clark's powers to the budgetary minimum is over and even on a CW budget, Supergirl can fly in every episode, but currently, the most profitable medium for superheroes is the TV model and market. Maybe it's time to bring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Green Lantern to the Arrowverse -- and let them rise from there to the big screen, but on a budget closer to TV. I suppose that's the DC streaming service?

There's no real rhyme or reason to it; Bell's character is just drunk and spouting nonsense and I thought it would be funny to present a scant mention of Jerry's last lead role in a feature film as his most significant 'appearance' in decades which is not remotely true or fair and merely a reflection of my residual frustration with what he was like 20 years ago and yet another instance of me bearing a grudge against someone with whom I have no actual relationship whatsoever.

You are absolutely right. I was being snarky.

I was watching the Season 2 finale of THE GOOD PLACE and there's a scene where Kristen Bell's character is drunk and recounts the plot of KANGAROO JACK and mentions Jerry O'Connell for no apparent reason. Possibly the high point of Jerry's career in recent years.

Spoilers for IRON FIST Season 2 --

IRON FIST's second season is getting mixed reviews. The highest praise it's received is that it's not as much a disaster as the first season. Even the worst reviews noted that Season 2 was less boring than Season 1 and demonstrated basic competence.

My view: the show suffers from its inability to explore the mythology of the Iron Fist. All the Netflix shows are street level crimefighting stories, but DARDEVIL has courtroom drama mixed with crime noir, JESSICA JONES has female empowerment, LUKE CAGE has reappropriated blaxploitation, PUNISHER is militaristic -- IRON FIST should have dragon-punching mystic spectacle, but it can't afford it on a Netflix budget. As a result, IRON FIST lacks a distinct identity to justify its existence.

I still really enjoyed Season 2, but I confess -- I enjoyed it more as a writing exercise in repairing a troubled series. IRON FIST's first season had a ton of problems. It had Danny Rand as the heroic Iron Fist, sworn enemy of the Hand, protector of the city of K'un Lun.

However, his foster brother, Davos, declared that Danny, in returning to New York, had abandoned his post, stolen the Iron Fist power and left the city defenseless. Danny protested that (a) as the Iron Fist, it was up to him to define the role and (b) Davos was only upset that Danny left their friendship and that protecting K'un Lun was not an issue. This didn't address the accusation that Danny had robbed K'un Lun of its heritage and protection. 

Another conflict: Danny spent Season 1 regaining control of the Rand corporation. At no point did Danny articulate any intentions for his company beyond regaining his identity. This claim on the company, while valid, suggested his winning the Iron Fist and taking it to New York City was the same sense of entitlement. The show's only real response was to show Danny was an incompetent businessman before dismissing the plot.

This left the show's moral position confused: was Davos correct to call Danny a thief or was it Danny's right to leave K'un Lun? Davos was written to be violent, petty and cruel towards innocent people, effectively dismissing his criticisms. Yet, the ending of Season 1 showed K'un Lun destroyed, indicating that Davos was correct and that Danny had no right to take the Iron Fist and return to New York.

But the immediate follow-up was DEFENDERS which didn't explore the issue, switching the focus to defeating the Hand. The show couldn't seem to articulate any position, offering conflict but unwilling to commit to any defense or criticism of Danny's choices.

Showrunner Scott Buck would later take his clumsy grasp of moral judgment to INHUMANS (which is about a brutal monarchy of slavers as the heroes and their slaves as the villains and I don't even want to imagine how Buck would handle that one).

Anyway. IRON FIST's Season 2 had a new showrunner, M. Raven Metzner, who had inherited quite a mess. The premiere makes a number of immediate shifts: Danny has exited the corporate world and works as a mover, no longer using the Rand Corporation's money. This effectively declares that he only pursued his company as part of regaining his identity.

In this premiere, Davos confronts Danny over K'un Lun being left unprotected and now destroyed. Danny doesn't dispute this but notes that the Iron Fist is also sworn to fight the Hand which he helped destroy in DEFENDERS. Davos declares Danny unworthy of the Iron Fist and where Danny in Season 1 dismissed this, Danny is now deeply shaken.

Season 2 also shows some flashbacks to K'un Lun where Danny and Davos were regularly tortured to prepare them to compete for the Iron Fist. It shows that their final competition was rigged: both are evenly matched with Davos initially superior, Danny getting the upper hand at which point the judges (one of whom is Davos' father) declare Danny the winner when they could just have easily ruled in Davos' favour earlier or waited for the fight to turn Davos' way again.

This doesn't exonerate Danny from taking the Iron Fist from the city it was meant to defend. But it was the Iron Fist judges who steered a traumatized and dislocated orphan into a violently abusive competition and then rigged the match to assign him their most powerful weapon. It was the judges who abused Danny and then gave him the job of defending their home despite knowing he'd try to get home the first chance he got.

Season 2 also shows: Danny didn't 'win' the Iron Fist for being the best fighter; Davos was beating him. Davos' father saw Davos' psychopathy and preferred the Fist go to the weaker candidate, someone less volatile and supposedly easier to control.

Where Scott Buck introduced ambiguity that was confusing and frustrating, M. Raven Metzner offers clear definition. Danny Rand concedes the truth: Davos is too unstable to wield the Iron Fist, but Danny only pursued it for the power and prestige it held in K'un Lun. There is only one person in IRON FIST thus far who has shown the compassion, responsibility and commitment needed to bear the Iron Fist and wield it well. It isn't Danny. It isn't Davos. It's Colleen Wing.

Colleen is a teacher, not a soldier. Colleen seeks to protect, not to fight. Colleen had the strength to realize her commitment to the Hand was based on a lie and to turn against them. Colleen is worthy. And when Danny comes to this realization, IRON FIST shows Danny to be a hero in the true Marvel position where his strength is not in wielding power, but in his willingness to give it up.

It's strong writing. It doesn't come off as strong writing. IRON FIST in Season 1 was terrible. Season 2 is so focused on repairing Season 1 that the terrible and excellent collide to produce a Season 2 that is extremely average. Season 2 is so busy retrofitting itself into the show it wants to be – Colleen Wing as the Immortal Iron Fist – that by the time the job is done, Season 2 is over.

At the same time, deciding to replace your leading man is an extremely difficult proposition. It has to be earned over time and Season 2 is quite determined to earn it over its 10 episodes.

IRON FIST's second season is a quantum leap forward from the first series. Season 1's inexplicable obsession with corporate politics is gone. Season 1's fixation on multiple and conflicting renditions of the Hand is gone (as is the Hand organization). Season 1's inability to stage effective martial arts sequences with Finn Jones is gone. Season 1's baffling scripting where it wasn't clear if characters were ineffective and stupid or if the writers were ineffective and stupid is also gone. Best of all, Danny Rand's childish impulsivity and cultural appropriation (the latter of which was a flaw in the original source material) is central to the season's arc.

Also, for most of Season 1, I would watch Colleen Wing, the capable martial artist played by the splendid Jessica Henwick and constantly feel like she was too good for IRON FIST. Amidst Finn Jones being unable to convincingly throw punches or kicks, Ramon Rodriguez's clumsily insincere performance as the supposedly charismatic Bakuto and the bizarre fetish for boardroom conversations dominating a kung fu action show was Henwick.

She had a gentle yet sardonic take on her dialogue, her face was a beautiful canvas for serenity and melancholy, her fight scenes showed a stunningly graceful ferocity and she could alternatively convey warmth or animalistic savagery in a single look. She was so instantly endearing that Colleen being exposed as an agent of the Hand was heartbreaking and the performance was so strong that the ridiculousness of Colleen immediately turning against them was convincing onscreen.

I imagined in future decades that Henwick would lead a sci-fi action film, headline a few romantic comedies, feature in a five season courtroom drama as the star, perform some successful sitcoms, take on a number of critically acclaimed indies -- and then, in interviews, when asked about IRON FIST, she'd smile self-effacingly and say that IRON FIST paid the rent and was a stepping stone to better roles. Colleen was likable, sympathetic and played by an actress who could perform fights -- why wasn't she the star of IRON FIST?

The writers of the DEFENDERS seemed to be asking the same question as throughout those eight episodes, Finn Jones was repeatedly knocked unconscious or tied to a stretcher while other characters dismissed him and Stick described him as the stupidest Iron Fist in the history of the role. Throughout DEFENDERS, it was Colleen who performed what would presumably be Danny's role among the Defenders, even providing the means to blow up the Hand's headquarters in the climactic finale.

Why wasn't she the lead character of IRON FIST? Why wasn't an Asian-American female lead put into place to buttress the white saviour narrative that's always been at the heart of Iron Fist's story about a Caucasian man taking an American approximation of an Asian cultural form for himself? In retrofitting IRON FIST from its unworkable Season 1 situation, Season 2 dives fully into what DEFENDERS advised and suggests that Colleen is the star of IRON FIST and that she has always been the star of IRON FIST. The first season of the show is recontextualized as Colleen's story rather than Danny's and I'm really intrigued to know how the audience will react.


(310 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Very interesting. It's neat to hear that the supernaturalless/science fiction-free I WANT TO BELIEVE was the way it was because the studio wanted a minimal budget. Spotnitz graciously opted out of talking about the Revival aside from saying he would, like any writer, have told different stories.

Spotnitz was frank that the mythology of THE X-FILES suffered because there were certain stories they only wanted to tell to end the show and they never felt quite certain whether or not the show was ending. Except shows like BUFFY and SUPERNATURAL suggest it's best to wrap up your arcs after a reasonable time and eagerly create new ones rather than hoarding your stories and delaying your resolutions endlessly.


(248 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Earlier in this thread, somebody shared a video from the Midnight's Edge YouTube that supposedly had news about how Season 2 of DISCOVERY would go forward. This video consisted of a robotic voiceover offering empty, vague conjecture based on personal dislike of DISCOVERY while making even vaguer claims of having inside knowledge. Midnight's Edge has since released a new and even more ridiculous video claiming that the Picard series is going to destroy the original STAR TREK timeline and replace it with the Kelvin movie timeline so that Viacom (which owns the film rights) can receive all future STAR TREK profits as the Kelvin timeline is under the movie license while CBS (which owns the TV rights) can be cast aside.

This is so fundamentally incoherent and willfully ignorant of how the STAR TREK rights are held or how licensing rights even work. CBS owns the STAR TREK intellectual property and TV rights, Viacom owns the film rights to CBS' IP. DISCOVERY and the Picard series are being produced by CBS -- why would CBS seek to sabotage *themselves* to benefit Viacom? Furthermore, the Midnight's Edge video claims DISCOVERY is going to reveal itself to be in the Kelvin movie timeline along with the Picard series so that Viacom can claim all the profits. Even if this happened narratively within the TV shows, it would not suddenly redistribute all profits from CBS to reflow into Viacom because a CBS TV show would still be owned by CBS regardless of whatever timeline the content occupies.

The CBS TV department could make a Kelvin timeline TV show if they wanted to; Viacom could make prime timeline films if they wished and revealing one timeline or the other within the scripts would not force one to give up their earnings to the other. CBS and Viacom have full access to the STAR TREK intellectual property; there were some bizarre and inaccurate stories claiming DISCOVERY didn't have the rights for using the Enterprise's original design -- that's nonsense and so is Midnight's Edge.

Midnight's Edge is not a legitimate news source, simply a YouTube editorial account that refers to unidentified and likely non-existent 'sources' in order to bolster what is nothing more than personal opinion matched with uninformed theorizing.

No one should be misrepresenting grossly misinformed fan theory as news.


(32 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

The well-received X-MEN movies fit into the comic book film landscape just fine; they just don't fit into the Worlds of DC and Marvel Cinematic Universe being set in heightened, exaggerated superhero realities. Most comic book movies are larger than life like SMALLVILLE. The Bryan Singer and Matthew Vaughn X-MEN films put the X-Men in our world -- but our world with mutants. Every fantasy element added to our world, whether technological or paranormal, existed in relation to mutants. Christopher Nolan would take this real-world-except-for-a-specific-element aesthetic and apply it to his Batman trilogy, but it started with X-MEN.

The X-MEN series has lapsed in this approach. After Singer left the series with X2, FOX's Tom Rothman was the steward for X-MEN: THE LAST STAND and X-MEN ORIGINS WOLVERINE (actual title) which weren't concerned with depicting the real world with mutants only becoming prominent in the 2000s, and those became garish B-movie action thrillers.

Vaughn restored the original style when he merged the X-Men with the 60s and the Cuban Missile Crisis in FIRST CLASS, Singer returned and merged the X-Men with Watergate, James Mangold focused on quiet character study in his two Wolverine features -- but then Singer's APOCALYPSE, strangely, tried to jump on the mass-destruction summer blockbuster bandwagon and lost all realism. Simon Kinberg, directing the upcoming DARK PHOENIX, says he thinks this was a mistake and wants DARK PHOENIX to return to the real-world approach.

The Marvel Netflix shows have tried to capture a real-world look similar to Singer's first three movies through filming and dialogue and locations, but the writing is decidedly set in a crazy superhero universe. FOX's best X-MEN movies were set in our universe. There's something worthwhile there if Marvel wants to retain that.


(32 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I just realized I haven't gotten around to watching LEGION or THE GIFTED, either. I am a bad superhero fan. FOX's output shouldn't be ignored. I just merged the X-MEN and DEADPOOL threads and now I wonder if we'll end up having to merge this thread with the Marvel Cinematic Universe thread given the Disney acquisition.


I haven't seen LOGAN. I don't know if I will. I'm sure it's very good, but I've read the script and -- I just don't agree with it. I don't agree with a sequel to DAYS OF FUTURE PAST declaring that mutants are nearly extinct. After all the heavy lifting to restore Professor Xavier, Scott Summers, Jean Grey and Magneto, it is truly insulting to have a sequel saying that Xavier follows up on this by killing all the X-Men off camera.

I don't agree with a film that presents itself as the sequel to DAYS OF FUTURE PAST but has Wolverine and Xavier making reference to battling Magneto in X-MEN and Logan killing Jean in X-MEN: THE LAST STAND when DAYS OF FUTURE PAST overwrote those events. I don't agree with a film declaring that the X-MEN franchise is ultimately a dead-end when it was followed by a DEADPOOL II and now a DARK PHOENIX movie is coming next.

It makes no sense for this film to be any kind of conclusion to the first three X-MEN films (in which Xavier died and couldn't have appeared in LOGAN) or to the new world of DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (as LOGAN undermines that film).

And I don't want to see it. So long as it's just a screenplay, it's conceptual and hypothetical, a mere possibility. I don't want to see Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart perform it. I don't want to see LOGAN. I'm glad it did well and that Hugh Jackman got a finale he was happy with and that people enjoyed it, but it's not what I'm looking for in an X-MEN story. Thanks but no thanks.


(203 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I haven't seen SENSE8 yet, but I'll get to it. I'm a big fan of writer J. Michael Straczynski's comic books (SPIDER-MAN, THOR, MIDNIGHT NATION, RISING STARS, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, SUPERMAN EARTH ONE) and I liked BABYLON 5. I miss his comic book work; his output had slowed to a crawl for many years and then he admitted that he'd been going blind, making it hard to write, but an experimental surgery restored his sight and then he felt the need to move on from comics and film and move into prose. I'm not clear if he's staying in movies or TV.


I like to watch XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and Nickelodeon's NINJA TURTLES on my iPad in the gym. The intense physicality of those shows gets me energized. I also liked watching TOMB RAIDER (2018).

Michael Rosenbaum intervewed Stephen Amell on Inside of You:

No word on whether Rosenbaum will finally get his interview with Allison Mack who is no longer under house arrest but still wearing an ankle monitor and banned from using the internet.


(603 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Matt, I would appreciate it if you would take your mockery of anything and everything you find absurd about me and apply it to critiquing:

a) My obsessive comparisons regarding Tom Cruise/Jerry O'Connell/Ethan Hunt/Quinn Mallory

b) My nervousness over a SLIDERS REBORN website and that it could be a backwards step

c) My inability to stop talking about SLIDERS even on dates

And if you wanted to just pick out sentences and write "lol" after them, that'd be fine. Thank you.


(603 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

To be fair, dress shirts and dress pants are a pretty uniform and narrow range of clothing for me; I just found two labels with shirts and trousers that suit my body type and have enough shirts, pants and jackets to rotate so that I can wear something different each day of the week. If you want to dress well, it's less about trends and more about finding items that have a shape and colour that suit your body and complexion -- and having the lengths and widths tailored to your size whether it's sweaters and jeans from Wal-Mart or a high-end suit.

The other side is having enough items to rotate (so that each article of clothing has a few days to hang and regain shape after a wearing) and being able to maintain them. I didn't wear formal wear until this past year because, even though my sister bought me some suits, I didn't want to spend the time and money constantly getting jackets and dress pants dry cleaned. I hated spending hours ironing shirts each week.

But I bought a steam cleaner to sanitize my stuffed animal collection and I discovered that it also did a great job of cleaning jackets, shirts and pants, and not only did the steam kill bacteria and loosen dirt to be brushed off, it removed wrinkles and left garments smooth and clean with 4 - 5 minutes of steaming and brushing per item. And a local dry cleaner now offered supercreasing -- in which a line of resin creates a permanent center crease in dress pants that will survive washing and dry cleaning, eliminating the need for an iron. I only need to spend a half hour every three days steaming what I've worn, and easy maintenance was the main reason I finally changed my look.

I'm told that this subject is extremely tiring and a total snooze to hear me talk about, and the universe seemed to agree with me because I wanted to get a few new shirts on the weekend and went to my favourite menswear shop and found it was now a mattress store.


(603 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

As far as I know, Tom has no children and also as far as I know, Tom doesn't dress like Clark in any season of SMALLVILLE. He seems to alternate between sweatshirts and T-shirts and either shorts or jeans. He always looks like he's going jogging. I imagine that having spent most of his life being coiffed and primped for modelling or TV, he prefers to keep it casual. I recently met Erin's dad and it was hilarious to observe that we were both wearing the same red dress shirt, black trousers, formal shoes and a sport jacket.

I like formal menswear. Or at least I like mine; it's all been altered to fit how I sit, stand, walk and move, so these clothes always feel like my second skin.


(603 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Coffee with a new lady friend:

ERIN: " -- and my dream's to become a rich dental hygenist and then a really big name stand-up comedian and then move somewhere warm but cheap. Do you have a dream?"

ME: "Hmm. No."

ERIN: "What? You have no dreams?"

ME: "Uh. I had one. But... I mean... I achieved it."

ERIN: "You achieved your dream?!? What was your dream!?"

ME: "When I was a kid, my favourite TV show was SLIDERS and it had a really troubled production history where by the fifth season, three-quarters of the original cast had been fired and killed off and the original creator had fled the series after the second season and the show ended on an unresolved cliffhanger. And my dream was always to bring the show back somehow -- and I wrote six screenplays that resurrected the original characters and gave them a new adventure and a happy ending and I put it all online and now I'm happy."

ERIN: "SLIDERS -- that's that time travel show, right?"

ME: "Sure."

ERIN: "So -- you have no more dreams. That was your one dream and you did it. And now you have nothing to live for any more."

ME: "Nothing at all! It's why I thought I'd start dating again. I seem to have a thing for stand-up comedians. I've been trying to date a stand-up comedian or two."

ERIN: "Oh, I don't see us dating. You're nice and honest and easy to laugh with, but you're like ten years older than me and you dress like my dad."

ME: "Well, that is heartbreaking, but I really like talking about SLIDERS, so I'm pretty satisfied with this outing."

ERIN: "We can still, like, hang out and be acquaintances if you don't try to hit on me after this."

ME: "I'd take that deal. You're very funny. I'm a fan. I'd like us to see each other socially; I'm not concerned with the details. My clothes are based on Tom Welling in Season 8 of SMALLVILLE. Do I really dress like your father?"

ERIN: "Yes."


(32 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Just got around to seeing DEADPOOL II and it occurred to me that Deadpool's time travel antics may account for the discrepancies between X-MEN I-III and the FIRST CLASS trilogy as well as why LOGAN is totally at odds with DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.

I can't wrap my head around what Sony is trying to do with their portion of the SPIDER-MAN cinematic rights. They've agreed to a sharing arrangement with Marvel Film: Marvel can use Spider-Man in their films and provides consultation and creative guidance on Sony's Spider-Man features. Sony receives no money for Spider-Man's appearances in Marvel movies and Marvel will receive no payment for Sony's Spider-Man movies.

But Sony is also producing a feature films with Spider-Man's rogues gallery: a feature film starring VENOM is coming and there are plans for movies starring Silver Sable, Black Cat, possibly the Sinister Six and Jackpot -- and according to Kevin Feige, neither the upcoming VENOM nor any subsequent spin-off films take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Marvel isn't involved with them.

According to Sony, VENOM and Sony spin-offs will neither contradict nor tie in to MCU films or Spider-Man films, nor will they feature Tom Holland's Spider-Man -- which has me wondering how these films can qualify as Spider-Man spin-offs if they don't originate in an actual Spider-Man film.

It'd be fair to note that DAREDEVIL, JESSICA JONES, LUKE CAGE, IRON FIST, PUNISHER and DEFENDERS have never been acknowledged by the MCU feature films nor did they spin out off the Avengers' movies. But Sony is producing films with characters who, in the source material, were introduced as antagonists to Spider-Man; the Netflix properties existed alongside Avengers in the comics as opposed to originating from them. The Black Cat and Silver Sable are conceivably fascinating standalone characters, but Venom and the Sinister Six always existed in opposition to Spider-Man and Sony is trying to sell Venom based on its connection to the Spider-Man brand from which Venom will be isolated.

I don't get it.

... I don't think Informant should pay to watch INFINITY WAR. We all know he would not enjoy it.


(603 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

My Moto G5 Plus started freezing up and crashing and I got really excited -- I thought I'd have an excuse to buy a new phone! But then, it turned out that the Google app was being a memory hog and ripping it out of the phone freed up about half a gig of RAM, so it's all fine now.


I feel the need to build a website to prove that I can do it. Except -- there's only one thing I can think to build a website around right now. I could build a website for SLIDERS REBORN -- a site that presents the content in a format that is suited to reading on the webpage itself without needing to download PDFs (although you could). Plus a side blog in which I'd present all the behind the scenes discussions that Transmodiar, Nigel Mitchell, Slider_Quinn21 and I had regarding the project.

I just wonder if I *should*. I've made no secret of how I often feel like SLIDERS REBORN is the crowning -- and only -- accomplishment in my life to the point of writing faux-web articles and pastiches of real-life reviewers reviewing the series and writing imaginary podcast transcripts and even roping REWATCH PODCAST into performing a REWATCH segment where they presented the REBORN storyline in their review format. I don't know if I should sink any more time into it. Except... I guess, since all the content is written, it would merely be building the structure of the website. Is that okay, or is it a backwards step when I should really be moving onto newer (if not better) things?

I think LUKE CAGE is good, but I confess that I'm only halfway through the season and have taken a break. The series does not appeal to my personal sensibilities in that it's less about plot and the characterization is presented through mood, atmosphere, deliberate pacing and presenting the texture and experiences of Harlem and black people in New York City. It's not *for* me, but I can see and appreciate the quality of the writing, characters, cinematography, locations, music and performances. LUKE CAGE is primarily about different forms of masculinity -- and that's not something I relate to. Also, LUKE CAGE is an extremely serious show like JESSICA JONES and DAREDEVIL and PUNISHER and... I prefer my Marvel adventures to be more in terms of heightened escapism like AGENTS OF SHIELD or AGE OF ULTRON or IRON MAN III. I think I took months to finish DAREDEVIL and JESSICA JONES in their second seasons.  Also, I tend to identify more with women than men which is why, when Claire left LUKE CAGE, I felt the need to take a breather.

Jessica Henwick is splendid and I have high hopes for IRON FIST in its second season... although I would finish watching LUKE CAGE first.

I haven't seen RUNAWAYS or CLOAK AND DAGGER yet. I haven't even seen ANT MAN II. I generally only go to the cinema for special events like MISSION IMPOSSIBLE. The only reason I saw INFINITY WAR in theatres was because I was expecting AGENTS OF SHIELD to tie into it.

TemporalFlux wrote:

Free speech has nothing to do with getting or keeping your job; it doesn’t even get you to the head of the line at the soup kitchen.  But if Gunn truly wasn’t worried about it, then more power to him.  Personally, I don’t buy it.  I believe he thought he was protected and there could be no consequences; and I just have zero sympathy for those attitudes when it blows up in someone’s face.

I don't think it's that Gunn wasn't worried; it's that he knew what he was doing would have blowback, especially with his past history.

TemporalFlux wrote:

There’s a thing called tact; and there are far too many people these days who have no understanding of what that means (including and especially Trump).

We can agree on that.

Informant wrote:

Here is a question though: if you were the parent of a child actor, would your kid be working on a James Gunn movie? There is no evidence to suggest that he ever did anything to a kid... And yet, he associated himself with those who do. So, if you're a parent and you see those comments, or the pictures, do you shrug it off and sign on, or do you walk away, just in case?

I have a niece. I would have no problem with her working on a Gunn project, but that's a very personal thing. I understand why Gunn said and did the things he did about pedophilia. He wanted to be funny and he thought the way to achieve that was to provoke people through insensitive remarks about sensitive subjects. The party photos are *not* photos of a party celebrating pedophilia; they are photos of a party celebrating the TO CATCH A PREDATOR TV series which is, as the title indicates, about exposing pedophiles and getting them arrested. The party is mocking pedophiles.

The problem is that this mockery and mock-celebratory atmosphere and the jokes have absolutely no concern whatsoever for the victims. No consideration for the grief and loss and broken lives and shattered spirits that result from being sexually assaulted when one is most vulnerable. No thought to how someone who has been raped as a child would feel from seeing those words and photos. It's unacceptable. It's disgusting.

Gunn's brother, Sean, said that those jokes (and presumably the photos) came from a time when Gunn was finding his voice. He found a bad one. He set it aside and found a good one. He has changed a lot. His later humour indicates he realized that intimacy and connection were better sources of laughs than empty provocation. He clearly regrets those jokes and those parties -- which is why, when Disney fired him, he didn't protest. I do not think Disney was wrong to fire him. It was impossible to retain him; he was making family movies, not DEADPOOL or RICK AND MORTY.


(203 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I found this neat essay about Tom Cruise in M:I6 that made me think about Quinn:

Cinema Sangha wrote:

Acting isn’t about pretending. Acting is about truth, and it’s about discovering the truth in yourself and presenting it through a fictionalized lens.

Tom Cruise inhabits a world very different from our own. His truth is not our truth. And I don’t mean this in some hacky class war way. I mean it in a spiritual way, he exists on a different wavelength than the rest of us. Tom Cruise could have been President – his tragic flaw is that he fell in with a bunch of hucksters and scumbags and ended up being the only person to benefit from their scam system.

When he walks into the room he brings with him this energy that is palpable and exhilarating, and it isn’t a messy ball of energy, randomly bouncing about. The energy that Cruise carries with him is focused and disciplined. Tom Cruise doesn’t not know how to do things. Tom Cruise just hasn’t learned something yet, and there’s a huge mental difference between those two concepts.

No actor has ever run with such truth and honesty.

Tom Cruise is ambition in human form. He’s the anthropomorphic embodiment of achievement. He’s work ethic made flesh. It’s not that things come easy to Tom Cruise, it’s that working for things comes easy to Tom Cruise.

In the moments when he runs, Tom Cruise is clearly in a state of singular focus, with all of his attention – all of that intense energy that swirls about him like electrical storms around a mountain top – beamed in at one spot ahead of him. This is the truest moment for Cruise, when he is all about achieving the next step, and then the next, and then the next. This is his soul on screen, a man aimed forward, launched like a missile, existing only for each pump of the leg, for each arm gracefully knifing through the air. … om-cruise/

There is nothing that Quinn Mallory doesn't know how to do -- just things he hasn't learned how to do. Yet. There is a huge mental difference between those two concepts. I think this is as true for Quinn as it is for Ethan Hunt, and I do see the mid-50s Tom Cruise character as a representation of who Quinn would be today. And this essay had me wondering, what's the difference between the two characters?

Looking at the actors, Tom Cruise's confidence is cocksure yet scrambling; he's perpetually emphasizing the strain it takes for his Ethan Hunt to pull off the impossible feat that he must in order to disable a nuclear missile or fry a bomb injected into his skull. It's not that Ethan is destined to win; it's that he's prepared to endure insane physical distress and suffering like a human crash dummy until he staggers towards victory and from MI:4 - 6, Cruise has played Ethan with a certain weary resignation to the next beating he'll have to go through.

In contrast, Jerry O'Connell's confidence is unsteady and nervous. Jerry's hypercaffeinated twitches and gesticulating indicate that Quinn isn't entirely sure he can muddle through, is less-than-sure he can survive the next round of lunacy and he takes on Sid and tries to save Daelin and wins over the Oakland Raiders with a low-key astonishment that his crazy gambit actually paid off. When Jerry runs, it's with a panicked desperation aiming at whatever direction is away from danger.

Ethan Hunt is never running away. Even if someone's chasing him, he's running to something -- a trap, a friend, a plan. His fleeing is methodical and strategic. Ethan Hunt is a secret agent. Quinn Mallory is a college dropout who can occasionally ascend to being Ethan, but even if Quinn is Ethan, Quinn is a fundamentally dysfunctional Ethan Hunt, much as Jerry O'Connell's career trajectory was a shabby Tom Cruise impersonation.

Tom Cruise's truth is in running, in his willingness to commit and plow through each step towards his goal. What is Jerry O'Connell's truth? I have no idea, maybe that's why he never became a leading man film star. What is Quinn Mallory's truth?

To me, there are two definitive Quinn-scenes: "Gillian of the Spirits" where he sits quietly with Gillian and looks at this flawed, troubled, broken, lost little girl and tells her with earnest sincerity and full honesty that that she has a gift and a purpose. On one level, he's heartening a desperately needed ally; on another, he is simply calling it as he sees it; there is no false sentiment or comfort in his words. He means it.

Then there's "In Dino Veritas" where after being absent for most of the episode, Quinn reappears and starts looking around the cave the sliders have been trapped in. The sliders regarded the cave with helplessness and fear. Quinn looks around and sees points of egress and opportunity to escape, each look granting him new information to put together a solution and a plan with Jerry performing Quinn's calculation and problem solving in silent perfection.

Quinn's truth is in looking at people and their surroundings and seeing their meaning, value, purpose and importance -- and I suspect that this is not Jerry's truth as much as it's John Rhys-Davies' truth which he imparted to Jerry as his unofficial acting coach.

I don't see what is remotely arrogant about a citizen criticizing the job performance of a civil servant. I mean, Gunn lives in America, right? Why should any one be afraid to be critical of any elected official in the US? Why should we want anyone in a supposedly democratic nation of liberty and free speech to be afraid to criticize those in power?

Slider_Quinn21's already run through how Gunn became a very different person. I have nothing to add. I think Gunn knew there would be consequences for speaking out and he has accepted them and will continue to work as a director, just not a Disney director. In his public remarks, he blamed no one, accepted responsibility and accepted the situation.


(248 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

Grizzlor wrote:

Info, but they remastered MacGyver!  MacGyyyyyyyyyyverrrrrrrrrrrr.

I've only ever been able to struggle through the first episode of MACGYVER, but it was shot on film and while it was edited on video, nothing I saw in that pilot indicated there would be any kind of complex optical effects in this show. It'd be primarily practical. An HD version could be made by (a) converting master tapes to digital and upscaling or (b) reassembling the episodes from the original film elements to match the final masters.

The first option wouldn't be true high definition, but it could take advantage of high capacity blu-ray format making it unnecessary to compress the episodes to low bit-rates. SLIDERS suffers terribly from the disc compression in its DVD sets, but the Pilot was, for whatever reason, not subject to this and it looks fine when upscaled to HD whereas the other episodes don't. I suspect that a low-budget MACGYVER blu-ray release will simply be using blu-ray to avoid overcompressing an upscaled HD file.

But even if MACGYVER went with the second option -- reassembly with the original film -- it is unlikely that MACGYVER needs to have all the model shots and background composites and post-filming effects to be rebuilt and re-edited into the HD version because MACGYVER was not a space opera and wouldn't have any such effects.

In contrast, DS9 and VOY were converted to a low-resolution SD format before editing. This way, the visual effects would only need to be produced in low-resolution SD format before editing them into the episodes. The finished episodes exist only as low-res masters and cannot be rescanned into HD; the detail isn't there. TNG was rebuilt and all the effects remade for its blu-ray release and its sales did not recoup the expense of the rebuild.


(248 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

It's unlikely DS9 and VOY will ever get HD upgrades. TOS and TNG were remastered because, at the time, there was a market for DVD and blu-ray with the remasters aimed at this home video market. But with the streaming, the days of people buying physical media to watch TV and films are gone. The TOS sets sold well; the TNG sets came out during the rise of streaming and didn't sell in sufficient numbers to justify the expense of the upgrade, hence DS9 and VOY remaining in SD. … lu-ray-hd/

I dunno. I think it's charming to watch 480p, 4:3 video. I enjoy it. TOS suffers from even standard definition because Shatner's stuntman is too obvious; it was filmed to be seen on a flickering, often black and white cathode ray tube.

Informant wrote:

By the time TNG came along, some of TOS technology already was already becoming a reality and seemed dated for a show set so far in the future. People shrugged it off because TOS was an old show, and TNG presented a more modern look at what the "future" looked like. Now, TNG-era technology is a reality. I'm using it to type this comment right now.

TemporalFlux wrote:

Back in 2011, I went to a convention where most of the TNG cast was there.  During the big panel, Michael Dorn (Worf) began talking about Trek technology.  Dorn mentioned how one day, not long before that panel, he was at his home reading something on his iPad, and he had a sudden realization.  He was now holding in his hand a real version of the fake pads they used to pass around on the Enterprise.  The future happened.

Trek just used to be more thoughtful about things; it gave people something to aspire to (which directly or indirectly led to innovation in the real world).  I think that’s one of the big things missing.  It takes visionaries to pull that off, though; and I don’t think we’ve had many of those connected with Trek in a long time.  Creators have been following technology instead of blazing ahead of it.

I think Informant and TF have really nailed the problem with modern TREK. THE NEXT GENERATION lacked the classic STAR TREK's conflict, drama, creativity, passion or excitement. But it presented a fascinating future world that the viewer longed to live in; a world of holodecks, artificial intelligences, androids, replicators, tablet computers, mobile communications.

As a child, I loved exploring some facet of the Enterprise-D for an hour at a time -- but now we mostly live in that world and STAR TREK writers are unable imagine our technological future. (Can anyone? I am not a world-builder.)

Informant wrote:

I could see Picard coming closer to the end of his life, with no ship and all of his friends still out there doing what they do. Maybe Q comes to visit Picard and really sees the sadness and beauty of the human experience as he watches his closest friend move toward death. But that sounds more like a two man play than it does a Star Trek series, so it probably isn't that. New pitch: Picard and Q start a YouTube channel where they review movies.

You might enjoy the SPOCK VS. Q audioplays as a two-man play. But going back to the question of the future: can Patrick Stewart's return move TREK forward, or is it staying on the treadmill? And it's great for Patrick Stewart to return to STAR TREK, but there have actually been three Picards. Which one will return?

The STAR TREK was not the aspirational utopia some remember. It was, however, a charismatic, funny adventure series with *characters* who were aspirational icons. After it went into reruns, fans developed this pseudo-religion around Spock's values of logic, compassion and consideration for all life that Gene Roddenberry bought into.

With THE NEXT GENERATION, Roddenberry demanded that every writer script every character and all Starfleet and the entire Federation as reflecting Spock's values -- when the original series had always presented Spock as merely one person. Everyone on TNG was to be a slightly more human Spock; Picard was the head Spock and written as strict, humourless, dour and a bit passive.

Stewart played against that, softening Picard's attitude, and by the third season, the writers had found ways to create drama that still respected Roddenberry's rules. And they wrote Picard more in terms of Stewart's performance, presenting Picard's emphasis on conference and delegating as heroic and he became unique in a landscape of 90s action heroes. And they made the Enterprise-D a compelling wonderland so full of intrigue and curiosity that it could bypass the muted conflicts.

The TNG movies took Picard in a strangely conventional direction: he was wrestling with Malcolm McDowell on bridges, getting in gunfights with Borg, shooting away at drones and racing all-terrain vehicles. The TNG movies took the moral, heroic philosopher and tactician of TNG and made him like any other action hero.

If Picard is to return, I think the writers should capitalize on what makes Stewart playing Picard so interesting: he is a peacemaker. Kirk tricks bad guys into blowing themselves up, Picard tricks bad guys into coming over for coffee and realizing nobody has to be the bad guy. That's a character worth bringing back.


(4 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

ireactions wrote:

Long-winded, rambling, hilariously obsessive, mildly antagonistic rant against Slider_Quinn21 and Informant for refusing to devote the entirety of their lives to a fan fiction project for a TV show in the 1990s and demanding that they answer for their sensible lack of interest

Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

I don't remember this project at all.


(Thought I'd save Transmodiar the trouble.)

Grizzlor wrote:

I always felt Sliders was one of the toughest franchises to write it for.  At least if you were to try to hold to Tracy Torme's vision for the show.  Frankly a good chuck of season 3 was literally BAD fan fiction.  Torme had the characters visit different Earths.  Some had slight differences, others had clearly obvious ones.  Regardless, the best Sliders episodes often were the ones where the crazy worlds forced the team to take on roles or even personas they never expected to.  In a sense, they became actors.  Those were so entertaining.  Also good were the ones where they were forced to examine choices they made, better or worse, that their double may have done differently.  I felt those were the strength of the show, and of Torme's guidance.  Often the Sci-Fi seasons would come close, simply for budgetary reasons.  I guess my point is that too often over the years, Sliders fanfics have focused too much energy into the worlds, the politics, and whatnot.  Does that make for good fanfic?  Maybe not, but it would (if ever rebooted) make for good television.

I don't think I entirely understand what you are saying, but I am hazarding a guess: you are saying that it was the characters that made SLIDERS fun and the way the parallel worlds put them into one insane situation after another that messed with their identities and morals and convictions -- and SLIDERS was at its best less about the world-building and the alternate histories.

If that's what you are saying -- it's interesting because I disagree, but I don't have the ability to produce material in opposition to your opinions. Alternate histories and world-building, to me, are essential to SLIDERS. To me, a good SLIDERS writer will look at SLIDERS' five seasons and have ideas for a world where energy instead of gold is the dominant currency, where human speech is seen as archaic compared to writing, where the War on Terror never ended, where government spy agencies bought social media, where environmental legislation wound technology backwards to the 30s, where 3D printing made all copyright laws unenforceable.

And to me, a bad SLIDERS writer will look at SLIDERS and come up with a storyline to split the Quinns, resurrect Wade, retrieve the Professor from the Azure Gate Bridge world, finish off the Kromagg Prime arc as per Marc Scott Zicree's original specifications, bring back Logan St. Clair, revisit the FBI agents, etc..

And finally, there are the mediocre SLIDERS writers. The middling ones. The ones who aren't very good at any of the world-building and can see the unresolved plots as a mess that even a resurrected Ernest Hemingway would fail to construct into something readable -- but who have a loving, sincere adoration for the actors and the characters they played and seek to summon the presence of the performers to the page and write script pages so vivid that you can hear Jerry, Sabrina, Cleavant and John saying every single line. Such writers, if particularly obsessed, will then hire a good SLIDERS writer for the princely sum of eighty dollars American to come up with the alt-histories.

Anyway. I'd like to think you're right, Grizzlor, because it would validate the life I've lived, but I personally think you're wrong.


(21 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

I'm going to respectfully ask Grizzlor to take it to the politics thread. Thank you.


(310 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

The final issue of SEASON 11 -- #8 does have an ending. However, I felt that it was really rushed. SEASON 10 and SEASON 11 were all about creating a vast sense of mystery around the X-FILES mythology, delving into the past as well as exploring how the Syndicate, destroyed in Season 6, had reformed through clones seeking to continue the original project. Meanwhile, a new faction, the Believers, had stepped into the Colonization plot and somehow delayed the 2012 invasion. It was perpetually a middle chapter of intrigue and uncertainty that needed a grand finale. Instead, the finale was cut short: due to the Revival, SEASON 11's plan for 22 issues was cut to eight issues and a Christmas special. The final issue of SEASON 11 and the IDW continuity is low-key and muted rather than the big finish one would hope for.

And it's really sad because the IDW comic book line did so much good for THE X-FILES creatively. In addition to having Mulder and Scully as a couple working at the X-Files again, it resurrected the Lone Gunmen. It sidestepped the 2012 date while showing how the mythology could still be relevant and meaningful in the twenty-first century. It provided the YEAR ZERO mini-series which told the origin story of the X-Files Division. It gave the Lone Gunmen a spin-off series. It led to a MILLENNIUM series that featured Mulder with gave a big finish to this also incomplete Chris Carter show.

It was a golden age that could have continued indefinitely had the Revival not knocked them into irrelevancy and the Revival is clearly not continuing anywhere now.

And yet... SEASON 11 #8 does offer a complete and total finale to Colonization and the myth-arc while finding a way to let the comic book SEASON 10 and SEASON 11 co-exist with the finale. It's quite clever, too.


(203 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)


Ethan Hunt's a curious character. I find him fascinating and full of depth and points of interest and M:I6 added a new layer: he is mentally incapable of sacrificing others to save more. In the opening sequence, Ethan's trying to retrieve stolen plutonium cores, but his teammate, Luther (Ving Rhames) is captured.

Ethan can give up the plutonium in exchange for Luther or grab it and run. Ethan shoots Luther in the chest (and vest) and uses the ensuing confusion in the firefight to save his friend -- but he loses the cores and the world is threatened with a nuclear cataclysm. The CIA declares that Ethan is no longer a workable asset and his superiors chastise him for his unwillingness to let his teammate die.

Later in the film, Ethan is undercover as a villain and the other villains shoot and wound a police officer and prepare to execute her. Ethan absolutely must allow this murder to maintain his false identity to retrieve the plutonium; Ethan draws his gun, shoots the villains, blows his cover and is able to radio for medical assistance.

The film is cautiously ambiguous and refuses to declare Ethan's decision correct and in fact has every character declaring he was wrong. And it's arguably wrong except as rendered onscreen, Ethan Hunt is a genius who can pull wins out of these impossible odds and is willing to endure the insane beatings and physical assailments that these decisions force him to go through. Ethan believes in trickery, cleverness, strategy, subterfuge and improvisation; to kill innocents and sacrifice lives is going against the very reason why he's a secret agent: he's out to save lives.

It draws on elements in M:I5 where Solomon Lane, an evil secret agent, starts using Mission: Impossible tactics to create mass casualties and attack civilization. Lane tells Ethan that Ethan is an agent of the establishment upholding a corrupt system through violence and bloodshed just as Lane once did.

Ethan replies that Lane is blaming the system when the truth is we are all complicit and it's how we respond to the system that reveals who we are, Lane through murder and cruelty and Ethan with making every effort to save whoever he can wherever he can. It's an extremely common thread in all my favourite heroes: Clark Kent, Chuck Bartowski, Ethan Hunt -- and of course, Quinn Mallory.

But the weird thing is -- I strongly doubt any of this depth and meaning is all that intentional. Ethan Hunt isn't really a character; he's an avatar for Tom Cruise and how Tom Cruise wants to present himself to the world. In M:I1, Tom Cruise's onscreen persona was that of a slick, smug pretty boy and Ethan was the same. In M:I2, Cruise wanted to present his relentless physicality and Ethan became a John Woo action hero engaged in martial arts ballet and motorcycle parkour.

During M:I3, Cruise was trying to play construction workers and deadbeat dads at the time. Ethan became a man with a civilian life. By M:I4, Cruise's three divorces and public standing as a crazy cultist had set in stone, so Ethan became a crazy daredevil.

And by M:I5, Cruise was seen as Hollywood royalty who made movies that he generally produced himself with him selecting writers and directors that put his work slightly opposed to the Hollywood mainstream while still being inside it, and Ethan settled into being a rogue within the establishment. And the values professed by Hunt in M:I5 and M:I6 are designed to justify the Ethan character never doing anything too political or controversial by reducing his mission to saving people.

It's the same with Quinn Mallory. I see so much depth and wisdom and philosophical humanity within Quinn -- but it's mostly there because Torme wrote Quinn as a toned down Steve Urkel but Universal and FOX preferred that he hire a heartthrob actor. Quinn and Ethan are two people I'd like to be, but I would never try; you could only ever fail to try to become a fictional character.


(310 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

So... the X-FILES comics are pretty much over too. The once canonical SEASON 10 - 11 comics were unfortunately sidelined by the Revival removing SEASON 10 - 11 from continuity. IDW published a tie-in X-FILES comic set in the Revival continuity, but without the cache of being canonical, sales sank like a stone. The series was cancelled (with an ending) on #17 and replaced by some two-issue mini-serieses: X-FILES - JFK DISCLOSURE, then X-FILES: FLORIDA MAN, and some novels and comics in the ORIGIN line featuring Mulder and Scully as children (who never meet). The next is two issues of X-FILES: HOOT GOES THERE... and then IDW doesn't plan on doing any more comics. They wouldn't stop if the sales were there.

It's strange how the show's resurgence on live action TV not only killed THE X-FILES as an ongoing TV franchise but also killed a series of comics and novels. Usually, a TV revival raises the profile of the tie-ins instead of crushing them flat.


(203 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)

So, I just got home from MISSION IMPOSSIBLE VI. While I found the first four M:I films a mixed bag, ROGUE NATION and now FALLOUT have been fascinating to me because secret agent Ethan Hunt, played by Tom Cruise, has seemed to me like a vision of what Quinn Mallory would be in his forties and fifties. As redefined by writer-director Christopher McQuarrie from M:I4 - 6, Ethan is an independent operator of boundless experience who is augmented by technology and the ability to improvise to become a superhuman spy just as Quinn was augmented by the opportunities of technology to become a science hero.

And then there's the performance. Jerry O'Connell viewed himself as the next Tom Cruise; I think Ethan is what Quinn ultimately became (assuming Quinn was somehow restored after Season 5 and resumed his adventures and travels). Cruise's characterization exudes urgency and charisma but also tremendous weight. He makes Ethan a man who is constantly looking around the world, assessing situations and solving problems -- it's very much like Quinn in Seasons 1 - 2, especially in "In Dino Veritas" when Quinn is looking around the cave and plotting an escape from the dinosaur.

Quinn's genius is presented more scientifically than Ethan's, but both Quinn and Ethan have a tactical brilliance that allows them to survive anything (other than contentious contract negotiations between actor and studio). And Cruise gives Ethan a near-identical intensity to Quinn's except Ethan in ROGUE NATION and FALLOUT has more exasperation along with a slightly dulled resignation to the insanity that is his life -- something I imagine Quinn would have from his forties onward.

The writing also strikes me as very Quinn-esque -- partially in Ethan's cleverness for escaping one tight situation after another. Ethan is matched with and against August Walker, an assassin played by Henry Cavill. FALLOUT makes it very clear: Cruise is not a better fighter than Cavill. Cruise is older than Cavill, has more injuries, less endurance. Physically, Ethan is simply outmatched against Walker. But Ethan can improvise, react to surprises, work with his team whereas Walker is ultimately just a fighter and while Ethan can fight, his cleverness is what keeps him and others alive.

The other half of Ethan is his concern for human life. FALLOUT repeatedly has Ethan punished for choosing to save one life even if it potentially endangers many more down the line. The entire plot of the film is based on Ethan choosing to save one person which allows the villains to secure a weapon of mass destruction. Throughout the film, Ethan is forced to consider allowing individual innocents to be killed to stop a larger cataclysm; Ethan repeatedly declares that the individual person matters just as much as the billions endangered.

This is an attitude I gave Quinn in writing the 44-year-old version of him in SLIDERS REBORN: his travels through the multiverse gave him the belief that each person and their choices matter greatly and individuals are just as important as everyone collectively. Quinn voices this view in the final REBORN script when Smarter Quinn declares that it's alright to destroy the multiverse and replace it because the dead will live on through doubles in a new reality, a measure Quinn rejects on the grounds that each individual iteration of a person is important in their own right.

Every movie has had Ethan choosing trickery over violence and concerned with human life, but it's only with the sixth film now that Ethan's presented as someone who rejects the idea of sacrificing one person to save more. I based SLIDERS REBORN's Quinn mostly on the fifth M:I movie highlighting Ethan's improvisational insanity, but it's weird how REBORN's extrapolation of Ethan's character in ROGUE NATION, used for Quinn Mallory, turned out to be dead on accurate for Ethan too in FALLOUT.

Maybe *I* should write the next MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movie... except my disdain for cults and Scientology probably makes me untenable for Tom Cruise.