Topic: Random Thoughts

I realized we don't really have a post for random thoughts.  We have different posts for different specific subjects and the status updates post for personal items.  But I wanted to make a post for stuff that is just random and probably not worthy of its own post.

I've been watching some old Voyager episodes on BBC America and H&I (a network I'd never heard of), and I stumbled upon "Before and After" - where Kes is time-travelling backwards.  I had some random thoughts on this.

1. This is a really well-done episode.  Between teasing the Year of Hell (which ended up being done, with some major changes, in season four), I thought it was a great character study for Kes.  And I thought a lot of the performances were pretty solid.

2. I understand that Ocampans age pretty quickly and, thus, mature pretty quickly.  But isn't it a bit weird that Harry marries Tom and Kes' daughter?  How old could Linnis actually be?  She's four....maybe five?  It just seemed bizarre.

And a more broad Star Trek question.

3. I had an odd thought when Neelix was singing "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow" at Kes' birthday party.  With the universal translator, do people ever learn other languages anymore?  For example, does Neelix ever actually learn English, or is he always just speaking Talaxian and the translator is doing all the work.

I'd think that they'd always try and teach whatever the dominant language on the ship is to everyone, just in case.  And I think it'd be really interesting to have a sort of Tower of Babel episode of Star Trek where a diverse crew has been depending on the Universal Translator and it breaks....causing no one to be able to communicate with each other.

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H&I used to be military focused, but they revamped. Would be nice if we got Sliders reruns on it.

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Yeah, it seems creepy that Neelix or Tom would be into someone who was probably around 3-5 years old, or that Harry would be into someone who was probably around that age or younger. But then again, was it creepy for Sarek to be married to Amanda or Perrin?

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Ocampa only live to age nine.  Very little about that race makes sense, however.

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Yeah but do they mature insanely quick?  Even if a toddler had the body of an adult....she'd still only have a year's worth of knowledge.  Just seems really creepy.

And is there any precedent about the language thing?  I can't remember.

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I don't think they really went into the language thing. They probably didn't want to draw attention to it. I think the closest we came is Hoshi working to translate things.

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Yeah, I feel like Enterprise touched on it.  I mean, I understand not playing it up, but it'd just be confusing at times.  Why learn a language if technology readily exists that makes language so easy?  Particularly since it seemed to work on basically any language (as evidenced by Voyager....another example of a handicap they could've given Voyager and they didn't use - "what if Voyager couldn't communicate with anyone?")  I figure learning a language would end up being like calligraphy, where it's a niche hobby that most people don't even worry about anymore because so little is handwritten now.

The translator was in the comm badge, right?  They had combadges taken away at times, and they were still able to communicate.  I'm also now trying to picture what it'd look like for the other party.  Would it look like a bizarrely dubbed movie?

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I always assumed that it was an implant of some sort, which was never fried or stolen or anything like that.

I guess Darmok kinda went there, in a way. But they could have done more with the idea.

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The languages and the translator thing were very inconsistent.  Picard would sometimes throw in a French phrase or even Qapla' when speaking to a Klingon and it somehow knew he didn't want it translated.  It was also advanced enough to translate figures of speech without turning them into "The wine is good but the meat is spoiled" or some such.  Luckily none of the aliens we ran into had sayings that got mangled in a literal translation.

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I read the Memory Alpha article on it.  It apparently had issues with certain terms of phrase and certain species (like the Breen).  It apparently worked off brain waves....which is a technobabble way of explaining how it would know whether or not to translate.  Maybe.

There are apparently some DS9 episodes I don't remember that dealt with language, but it seems to be a sort of "swept under the rug" idea.

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There was a DS9 episode where people suffered from aphasia, but that isn't really the same thing. The words still got translated, but the brain provided the wrong words.

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I like when a show is telling a flashback and ends an act with the hero (in flashback) in danger.  Arrow does it quite a bit, but I'm watching an episode of Agents of SHIELD where they just did it.  They're flashing back to a Coulson mission from the past, and one act ends with a bunch of Russians taking him hostage.  I'm sure it was super dangerous at the time, but we know he survives.

Flashbacks are cool for character development and action in flashbacks/prequels can still be fun.  But don't pretend like you're gonna trick me into thinking someone is dead when I'm seeing them in the present.

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Don't we kinda know that these characters are safe, even in the present? I think that if it's done properly, the story can be compellin. The hook can't be "He might die!", it should be "How does he survive this?!"

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On the NINJA TURTLES:

This black and white creator owned comic book series shifted to Image Comics for its third volume in the 1990s. The original creators, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, were busy with TV shows and merchandising and films at the time and were quite hands off.

Also, Image Comics was quite keen on bloody hyperviolence during this time and they took this approach to the Ninja Turtles: Leonardo's hand got cut off, Raphael's face was mutilated and he lost an eye, Donatello became half-cyborg, Splinter became a bat, and while Ninja Turtles was always much more serious than the cartoons, this savage miseryfest was toxic to fans who didn't enjoy seeing their favourite characters brutalized. Sales were pathetic and the series was cancelled in mid-storyline.

In 2001, one of the original creators, Peter Laird, announced that Volume 4 of NINJA TURTLES would come out under his stewardship. Fans imagined that the original creator wouldn't want to deal with these savaged, twisted versions of his creations and wondered: how would Laird undo all these changes? How would he resurrect Quinn, Wade and the Professor -- I mean, fix the Turtles and Splinter?

Volume 4 opens with the Turtles and Splinter, 15 years after Volume 3 -- and Volume 4 simply acts like Volume 3 never happened. It's not referred to. It's not spoken of. It is not addressed at all. And while some fans were relieved to be able to forget Volume 3 like a bad dream, others were irked that they bought 23 issues that they might as well have never bought.

A fan, Andrew Modeen, felt sad that Volume 3 had no conclusion. He reached out to the Volume 3 writer, Gary Carlson, and discovered that the Volume 3 had been meant to turn away from all the ultraviolent savagery it had fallen into, but the ending had never been published.

Modeen was able to gather a number of artists and get the Carlson to provide his story notes, and Modeen shepherded an unofficial, fan-published two-issue conclusion to Volume 3 with art from veteran NINJA TURTLE artists who donated their labour.

This illustrated fanfic comic sees Splinter restored, Raphael, Donatello and Leonardo healed -- and the ending proceeds to set up the events of Volume 4, transitioning into the subsequent volume seamlessly. These completed issues were put online for free to give the fans an ending and a bridge from Volume 3 to Volume 4. These two issues received rave reviews and are considered two of the best installments of NINJA TURTLES ever made -- and they're not even official.

... wow. Just wow.

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I was a big fan of the TMNT comics and enjoyed volume 3 when it came out. Im a huge fan of Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon and thought he and his team were a perfect match for the TMNT at the time. Anyone familiar with Savage Dragon knows that Erik likes change (which works very well in SD). Erik had had the TMNT and SD cross over prior to the TMNT volume 3 (which is how I got interested in SD incidentally).

At the time, TMNT's volume 3 comic was really the only TMNT product on the market at all, so that can be attributed to TMNT's volume 3's comic sales being so low (apparently Eastman and/or Laird, the TMNT's creators, were donating their own money to volume 3 to keep the TMNT alive in some form). Remember the TMNT disappeared for quite some time before making their highly successful comeback.

The comics were decent in their own Savage Dragon-y way. But I'm glad it didn't stay that way forever.

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Also, how do you find those fan made issues online? I've never heard of that being a thing and would love to read them.

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http://www.thegreenlanterncorps.com/tmnt/vol3.html

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I've never read a TMNT comic....which is odd because I still have a soft spot for the Turtles.  When I read about Volume 3, I sorta loved the ambition.  I don't know how "hyperviolent" it was, but if these guys are running up against ninjas....they probably would be pretty brutalized.  They'd lose limbs and be seriously injured.  Wasn't this also the segment of the comics where Raphael became the Shredder?  Was it also the one where aliens came and the Turtles were free to walk around New York freely?

I like when writers get the free reign to take characters to dark places.  Where you genuinely don't know what will happen next, and any fight could have serious consequences.

I'll have to check that out.

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Wait.....are the King Kong / Godzilla / Mothra / Rodan / etc cinematic universe and the Mummy / Wolfman / Invisible Man / etc cinematic universe both called the "MonsterVerse"?

Because that won't be confusing....

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Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

I've never read a TMNT comic....which is odd because I still have a soft spot for the Turtles.  When I read about Volume 3, I sorta loved the ambition.  I don't know how "hyperviolent" it was, but if these guys are running up against ninjas....they probably would be pretty brutalized.  They'd lose limbs and be seriously injured.  Wasn't this also the segment of the comics where Raphael became the Shredder?  Was it also the one where aliens came and the Turtles were free to walk around New York freely?

I like when writers get the free reign to take characters to dark places.  Where you genuinely don't know what will happen next, and any fight could have serious consequences.

Volume 4 is where the Turtles are now in their 30s and known to the public. Volume 4 ignores Volume 3, although, as I said, the unofficial comics created through the participation of the official writer and artists managed to weld Volume 3 and 4 together. It's that eternal question: does the absence of official sanction from a corporate copyright holder negate the canonicity of material that has been approved by the creators of the property? (Well. It's my eternal question.)

**

I'm all for taking risks with characters and putting them in situations of risk and jeopardy. Even Raphael becoming the new Shredder in Volume 3 is a neat idea. Where I draw the line is changing characters to the point where they're no longer suited to their original purpose because they've been so severely damaged.

NINJA TURTLES is not as lightweight a property as the 1987 cartoon would indicate; the comics can be bloody and violent, but there's also an inherently comedic absurdity in the ridiculous imagery of biped turtles wielding ninja weapons. The design of the Turtles is brilliant because they can be eerily menacing or adorably cuddly. They alternate between the two and it's the same for their stories.

Volume 3 removed this versatility by injuring Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael to the point where you couldn't look at them without being informed of how they'd been mutilated. This alters the Turtles to the point where you don't have the option of doing lightweight comedy with them, you can only do the dark and serious stories now, and the Turtles have become tormented, angsty messes. And the Image comic left the Turtles in this situation with its cancellation, giving the impression that this was permanent.

In truth, Carlson had every intention of walking back from all these changes. If the unofficially official finale to Volume 3 had been published during the original run, it's possible that Volume 3 would have been seen as a disturbing but interesting and well-told experiment that focused on the grimmer Turtles  stories before bringing comedy back to the table.

It's a bit like SLIDERS where, if the Kromagg invasion of Earth and the loss of Quinn and the Professor had been story arcs that ended with the status quo restored, it would have been effective and compelling. But presented as the new normal, it just didn't work because it crippled the series. Ongoing series, for better or worse, have a status quo that needs to be maintained. Change needs to be more in terms of incorporating new variations that exist alongside the original rather than removing previously existing possibilities and replacing them with nothing.

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That's really cool analysis.  And, yeah, I get it.  I struggle with certain shows/stories sometimes because I feel protagonists have it too easy.  Shows that tell us that the world is dangerous but the main characters always escape at the right moment.  It makes something like Supernatural feel good because the show openly says that the brothers die all the time, but another force keeps them alive until they get it right.  That's awesome....we're seeing the perfect version of all events where the boys get away with it.

By all means, the Turtles should have miserable lives in mutilated forms.  But, yeah, once you go down that road, there's not joy in it.  It becomes a story of survival with no hope of peace - it becomes the Walking Dead where you no longer care about any of them.

It's an odd dynamic.  We want the danger to feel real, but we want our characters to survive.  We don't like it when there's a ton of death but the main characters always survive (Walking Dead), but we get mad when there's a ton of death and our main characters die (Sliders).  We don't like it when the characters have it too easy, either (Star Trek: Voyager)

Not having ever read any of the comics, I can't say how I'd feel to read Volume 3.  But as someone who enjoys creative risk, I'm glad it exists.

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There is something funny about the desire to add more realism to a series about talking humanoid turtles trained in ninjitsu by the giant rat who adopted them as his sons. Fiction isn't realistic; realism is more of an illusion. Some fans think that SLIDERS is more realistic by having so many characters die horribly and that it reflects our reality, but SLIDERS should reflect SLIDERS' reality, not our own.

On SLIDERS' loss of Quinn and the Professor and the Season 4 invasion arc: it came to the forefront of my mind recently because I've been helping with the LOIS AND CLARK REWATCH PODCAST and there's a similar arc. The Season 3 finale is a two-parter that ends with Superman forced to leave Earth to stop an interstellar war. Season 4 opens with another two-parter has Superman absent from Earth when it's invaded by aliens.

If SLIDERS had done something similar with its cast exits and the Kromagg invasion -- Season 3 ends in a two-parter where the Professor is killed, Quinn is lost, Wade and Rembrandt make it home to find it's been invaded by the Kromaggs -- and then Season 4 started with a two-parter where Quinn returns with the Azure Gate Bridge Professor and they successfully liberate home but are lost in the multiverse again in doing so -- it would've worked.

One of the darkest CAPTAIN AMERICA stories was THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA where a hypnotized Sharon Carter shoots Cap to death with a special gun from the Red Skull. As Cap is buried, a resurrected Bucky steals Cap's shield and becomes the new Captain America, trying to uncover the Red Skull's plot and identify Cap's killer as civil and political turmoil in America lead to what seems like inevitable destruction.

It was two years of extremely dark storytelling with a few notes of hope as Bucky realizes he can redeem his past as the Winter Soldier by continuing Steve's legacy and he develops a bond with the Falcon. And finally, Steve Rogers comes back.

Steve's death scene didn't have a back door to reverse it as much as a clearly marked fire exit: Sharon was armed with a special gun and not a standard firearm. The big finale, CAPTAIN AMERICA: REBORN (hunnh) reveals that the gun actually ripped Cap out of time and left him unstuck (hunnh) and his friends eventually recover him just in time to stop the Red Skull. Barack Obama pardons Cap for his CIVIL WAR actions. And then Cap declares that he's proud of Bucky and encourages him to remain the new Captain America while Steve decides he can still be a superhero who'll just call himself Steve Rogers.

The death of Captain America was a way to explore what Steve meant to the series through his absence. And the way it ended, it brought back the status quo but gave us a new variation: Bucky as Cap with Steve still active, wearing a new costume (his WINTER SOLDIER outfit with no mask) and using an energy shield while Bucky had the real one. Cap's death left a vacuum in which the Bucky character could truly come into his own. Later, Bucky returned to being the Winter Soldier and the shield returned to Steve, but Bucky's role in the Marvel Universe was now a fixture.

That, to me, is the way to handle this sort of story: the Captain America concept was taken apart, but it wasn't done just to grab attention and for empty shock value, it was so that Cap could be reconstructed with Bucky as part of the regular status quo. Deconstruction is only meaningful if it's followed by rebuilding stronger and better.

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Well, I always wonder how Sliders would've recovered if Torme had successfully reclaimed the series on Sci-Fi.  After watching the end of season 3, would we be happy to get anything featuring the original sliders?  Or would Torme's Season 4 feel a little like Supernatural Seasons 6+ without Kripke...a cheap copy of the original (because of the network shift and the smaller budget, not a different creative staff, but you get my point).

I also wonder how Torme would've handled Sci-Fi's meddling.  If Jerry had pulled the same kind of stunts, would John have been able to talk him down?  Would Torme have caved to Jerry's demands?  Allowed him to walk like the Season 5 crew did?

Would Torme, having fought so hard with FOX, have made a similar "statement" and ended his probably-final season with a cliffhanger, hoping to make some sort of point?

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Man, that Obama would pardon anyone, wouldn't he? smile

I don't know that "realism" is the right word for it, but I get what people want. They want laws of reality within fiction. They want something that they can hold onto and relate to while all of the really crazy stuff happens. Once that "reality" is broken, the story falls apart, because it was a violation of the trust between writers and audience. So with Sliders, the "reality" is that Earth Prime is essentially our Earth and we are what they want to get back to. Not because we're super normal and make total sense, but because the real world has to be the jumping-off point for such fantastical storytelling. We can only judge other worlds based on what we have here, so the Sliders represent us.

Over the years, our representatives in that weird world were taken away and replaced by people who came from worlds that aren't "ours" and are therefore harder to relate to. Add to that the fact that the writers took away the jumping-off point of Earth Prime essentially being our world, and the audience had very little to hold onto anymore. Even Rembrandt was no longer from "our" Earth.

Star Trek Voyager asked us to believe in a world where being lost decades from home was scary and isolating, and the crew had to band together with former enemies in order to survive this trip... but they violated the trust of the audience by not following through on the promise of the series. Voyager was always perfectly neat and clean. The former enemies blended seamlessly into the crew. There was no real struggle to repair damage to the ship or keep food on the table. Being decades from home felt an awful lot like the Enterprise being in Federation space.


Then again, we have Fringe where reality was constantly altered and their world was always changing, yet we believed in it because the core relationships shined through... even when those relationships were wiped from history.

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Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Well, I always wonder how Sliders would've recovered if Torme had successfully reclaimed the series on Sci-Fi.  After watching the end of season 3, would we be happy to get anything featuring the original sliders?  Or would Torme's Season 4 feel a little like Supernatural Seasons 6+ without Kripke...a cheap copy of the original (because of the network shift and the smaller budget, not a different creative staff, but you get my point). I also wonder how Torme would've handled Sci-Fi's meddling.  If Jerry had pulled the same kind of stunts, would John have been able to talk him down?  Would Torme have caved to Jerry's demands?  Allowed him to walk like the Season 5 crew did?

This isn't really a hypothetical. Tormé's Season 4 premiere would have been "Slide Effects": Quinn wakes up to find himself home. Time has been rewound to the Pilot: Wade is working at Doppler Computers, Rembrandt is rebuilding his career, the Professor is teaching and the only person who remembers sliding is Quinn.

The scenario is revealed to be a Kromagg trick; the sliders were abducted shortly after the events of "The Guardian" (or "Murder Most Foul" if Tormé is in an especially good mood when writing this script) and put in a dream state experiment. The sliders escape the simulation, find the timer and slide off to new adventures.

If Tormé had been faced with Jerry's contract expiring before Season 5 was ordered -- well, I don't think Jerry would have left; John would have made Jerry stay. That said, Tormé would have been totally capable of writing Quinn out in six episodes and letting the Professor become the new lead character. I can't see Tormé hiring Charlie as a regular nor can I see John permitting Jerry to make that sort of power play, but I can see Charlie being hired as Jerry's photodouble for distance shots, over the shoulder filming and lighting setups.

In terms of writing, I imagine we would have instantly reverted to the Season 1 playbook: highly comedic episodes of satirical charm with a few horror-oriented episodes thrown into the mix. A KKK episode where the Klan is composed of black people. A world where freedom of the press has been obliterated. Worlds where the South won the Civil War, where McCarthyism never ended -- but the budget would have necessitated certain production measures.

Likely, there would have been less location shooting matched with a return to the Vancouver style approach where rather than standing sets, there'd be a studio space where walls, furniture, props and set dressing could be wheeled in and out to make it whatever indoor or outdoor location was called for in the story.

For outdoor locations, the camera angles would be tighter so that there'd be less visible background around the actors and therefore less money spent on building or dressing the location. It's the approach seen in most Season 5 episodes of FRINGE.

Would Tormé's SLIDERS have ended on a cliffhanger? He had lots of ideas for a series finale. One idea he was keen on was to end the show with the sliders rigging the timer to send themselves backwards through the interdimension, encountering the results of their interference on all the Earths they'd seen, running into old friends and enemies, all in the hope that home would be at the end of the trail.

Tormé left it open for himself to decide when the time came if all the sliders would make it home, if some of them would make it. The one idea he was keen on at the time of our discussion: he liked the idea of Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo making it home without Quinn and then giving up home in order to save Quinn and finding themselves all lost once again, and ending the show with the sliders declaring that so long as they are together, they are home.

My favourite ending is the Mike Truman ending of Earth 317 where it's revealed that every decision causes our sliders to split into a parallel version of themselves, and sliders make it home with the timer still counting down. Quinn says even if they choose to leave, they also choose to stay, and with every choice they make, a new universe is born and a new adventure begins.

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I've been reading GREEN ARROW comics, another iconic figure who went through an awkward age.

Green Arrow is amusing in that, like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, he was strictly a B-list character for most of his lifetime and in fact, considering Oliver Queen a B-lister may have been overly generous. He was a Golden Age Robin Hood knockoff whose gimmick was trick arrows -- boxing glove arrows, net arrows, etc. -- he was simply an interchangeable back row member of the Justice League. He didn't even get his own title until 1987 and it's only at this point that Green Arrow became an A-list character thanks to writer/artist Mike Grell.

Mike Grell reinvented Green Arrow as an urban hunter of criminals and carefully sidestepped all the fantasy elements of the DC Universe, instead having Oliver fight street gangs and corporate villains and corrupt government officials. Grell's 83 issues kept Oliver strictly in the real world and avoided any crossover interaction, building a universe of shady espionage agents and assassins and defining Oliver as a street level character who was significantly more human than other comic book vigilantes. At the start of Grell's run, Oliver is over-40 and the aches and pains of his career are starting to wear down on him. He's settled into a relationship with Black Canary. He's lost his fortune and expects to wind down and run a flower shop with the Canary -- except the world keeps calling on him to battle injustice and Oliver thrives on hunting.

This hard-boiled, ripped from the headlines approach to Oliver created a template where he could be the star rather than a superhero with no superpowers who was always overshadowed by the rest of the Justice League. A lot of what made it work was Mike Grell's writing style where he scripted silence, space and devised layouts for artists to make the GA comics a stunning work of visual art. Grell became synonymous with GREEN ARROW -- which was a problem when he decided to move on after a six year run of 83 issues in addition to annuals and a mini-series.

The post-Grell issues reflect a terrible confusion. DC editorial promoted from within, hiring editor Kevin Dooley to become the new writer, and Dooley's writing came off as amateur and unprofessional compared to Grell's. Where Grell's every image and moment was infused with meaning, Dooley wrote interchangeable fight scenes guest-starring the superheroes and supervillains that Grell had locked out of his own run. Dooley accomplished little beyond plunging Green Arrow back into the fantasy superhero adventures and made it quite clear why Grell had avoided them. This ghastly follow-up to a seminal and beautiful run was a critical and financial disaster.

At this point, DC apparently decided that Oliver Queen didn't work. The idea of hiring a more competent, visually oriented writer who understood the medium was apparently not considered; DC had a strange attitude of blaming characters for the creators' lack of ability at the time.

While they did hire more capable writers anyway in Kelley Puckett and Chuck Dixon who immediately raised GREEN ARROW's writing quality from awkwardly incompetent to professional, DC wanted sharper measures. Puckett and Dixon successfully blended a version of Grell's hard-boiled approach with some fantasy elements -- but DC felt it would be best to kill off Oliver Queen and replace him with his son, Connor Hawke, create some buzz, bring in new readers and keep the Green Arrow brand going with a character they felt might be an improvement.

The Chuck Dixon written issues in which Oliver dies are very well-written: Oliver goes undercover to join some eco-terrorists, is sympathetic to their cause but then turns on them when they want to drop a bomb over Metropolis. Superman flies onto the plane and discovers Oliver has re-directed the plane and sabotaged the trigger mechanism, but gotten his arm stuck. Removing his arm will destroy the city.

And then Superman decides he'll cut off Oliver's arm. Free him from the bomb. Fly him away from the plane and save him. But Oliver, refusing to lose the archer's arm that gives his life meaning, makes sure the plane is clear of the city and triggers the explosion, dying to save Metropolis and Superman floats helplessly in the explosion, unable to save his friend.

It's perfect. It's beautiful. It's also unbelievable stupid on DC's part. The egotistical, small-minded thinking there is just shocking: this Kevin Dooley guy, a mediocre to terrible writer, has written mediocre to terrible Oliver Queen comics! Clearly, Oliver Queen sucks and we should get rid of him. The fact that they actually got some decent writers after Dooley makes it even sadder and more unnecessary.

Oliver Queen was dead and... to be honest, it wasn't really a big deal. Mike Grell had been the selling point of GREEN ARROW, not Green Arrow, so a new guy with the same name didn't exactly irritate the readers as much as you'd think. It was a pre-ARROW age, after all.

Oliver was absent from 1994 - 2002 and those eight years may have been a good thing where a character DC didn't know how to handle took a long rest and when he came back, he came back with A-list writer Kevin Smith resurrecting Oliver with fanfare and excitement and a clear role in the DCU as a straightman surrounded by the insanity of a superhero universe. Oliver's appearances on SMALLVILLE exposed him to a wider public, and retroactively, those eight years feel like an epic finish to Ollie's story matched with a period of rest and reconsideration.

But, like I said -- they could have just hired a good writer and a good artist in the first place.

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So, the first year of Oliver Queen dead and Connor Hawke as the lead of GREEN ARROW -- it's good. Writer Chuck Dixon and artists Rodolfo Damaggio and Will Rosado have achieved a similar hard-boiled action tone to Mike Grell, but with slightly more fantasy elements and the setup is simply Connor travelling the world encountering deadly situations while trying to figure out how to follow in his father's footsteps. Terrific action sequences, a fun sidekick in Connor travelling with Eddie Fyers, an Oliver Queen villain who eventually became a frenemy and who, in the aftermath of Oliver's death, has become a friend. It's funny and action packed. It's a great exploration of Oliver Queen's legacy.

But one wonders why they killed Oliver at all. If they were looking for a break from the Mike Grell era, why not have Oliver wander the world with his son Connor? If they wanted a mentor figure for Connor, why not have Oliver in that role? Why not use the father-son dynamic to give the series a new angle that would be a development on the urban-hunter of Seattle era? Why would you kill off your lead character just because you had a year of bad issues from a bad writer?

Did they seriously think Oliver Queen wouldn't come back? This is comics, for God's sake. These Connor Hawke comics are a great writer executing a baffling editorial mandate.

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How did they explain his resurrection?

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From http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Green_Arrow_(Oliver_Queen)

This wasn't Oliver's end, however, as Hal Jordan (during his time as Parallax) returned to save the earth during the Final Night and used his godlike powers to bring his old friend back from the dead. Unfortunately, the reanimated hero was an empty vessel with no soul, whose memories were replicated from his earlier days when he had a stronger liberal conscience. Ollie's more experienced soul remained in a Heaven-like place for a time, until it was reunited with his body in order to defeat an evil warlock named Stanley Dover. Now, the original Green Arrow was back in action with a rare second chance at life to make up for previous mistakes with his loved ones, all while renewing his vows to be a defender of the downtrodden.

It came off a lot better than it sounds.

--Chaser9

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ireactions wrote:
Slider_Quinn21 wrote:

Well, I always wonder how Sliders would've recovered if Torme had successfully reclaimed the series on Sci-Fi.  After watching the end of season 3, would we be happy to get anything featuring the original sliders?  Or would Torme's Season 4 feel a little like Supernatural Seasons 6+ without Kripke...a cheap copy of the original (because of the network shift and the smaller budget, not a different creative staff, but you get my point). I also wonder how Torme would've handled Sci-Fi's meddling.  If Jerry had pulled the same kind of stunts, would John have been able to talk him down?  Would Torme have caved to Jerry's demands?  Allowed him to walk like the Season 5 crew did?

This isn't really a hypothetical. Tormé's Season 4 premiere would have been "Slide Effects": Quinn wakes up to find himself home. Time has been rewound to the Pilot: Wade is working at Doppler Computers, Rembrandt is rebuilding his career, the Professor is teaching and the only person who remembers sliding is Quinn.

The scenario is revealed to be a Kromagg trick; the sliders were abducted shortly after the events of "The Guardian" (or "Murder Most Foul" if Tormé is in an especially good mood when writing this script) and put in a dream state experiment. The sliders escape the simulation, find the timer and slide off to new adventures.

If Tormé had been faced with Jerry's contract expiring before Season 5 was ordered -- well, I don't think Jerry would have left; John would have made Jerry stay. That said, Tormé would have been totally capable of writing Quinn out in six episodes and letting the Professor become the new lead character. I can't see Tormé hiring Charlie as a regular nor can I see John permitting Jerry to make that sort of power play, but I can see Charlie being hired as Jerry's photodouble for distance shots, over the shoulder filming and lighting setups.

In terms of writing, I imagine we would have instantly reverted to the Season 1 playbook: highly comedic episodes of satirical charm with a few horror-oriented episodes thrown into the mix. A KKK episode where the Klan is composed of black people. A world where freedom of the press has been obliterated. Worlds where the South won the Civil War, where McCarthyism never ended -- but the budget would have necessitated certain production measures.

Likely, there would have been less location shooting matched with a return to the Vancouver style approach where rather than standing sets, there'd be a studio space where walls, furniture, props and set dressing could be wheeled in and out to make it whatever indoor or outdoor location was called for in the story.

For outdoor locations, the camera angles would be tighter so that there'd be less visible background around the actors and therefore less money spent on building or dressing the location. It's the approach seen in most Season 5 episodes of FRINGE.

Would Tormé's SLIDERS have ended on a cliffhanger? He had lots of ideas for a series finale. One idea he was keen on was to end the show with the sliders rigging the timer to send themselves backwards through the interdimension, encountering the results of their interference on all the Earths they'd seen, running into old friends and enemies, all in the hope that home would be at the end of the trail.

Tormé left it open for himself to decide when the time came if all the sliders would make it home, if some of them would make it. The one idea he was keen on at the time of our discussion: he liked the idea of Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo making it home without Quinn and then giving up home in order to save Quinn and finding themselves all lost once again, and ending the show with the sliders declaring that so long as they are together, they are home.

My favourite ending is the Mike Truman ending of Earth 317 where it's revealed that every decision causes our sliders to split into a parallel version of themselves, and sliders make it home with the timer still counting down. Quinn says even if they choose to leave, they also choose to stay, and with every choice they make, a new universe is born and a new adventure begins.

Wow, I never heard of or thought about the rigging the timer so they go back to all the worlds they had visited in order to get back to earth prime possibility. That sounds like a great "last season"!

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Surf Dance Chris wrote:

Wow, I never heard of or thought about the rigging the timer so they go back to all the worlds they had visited in order to get back to earth prime possibility. That sounds like a great "last season"!

It wasn't a final season - it was a story Torme was working on for Earth Prime that never materialized. He references it in the final lines of this interview:

https://earthprime.com/interviews/tracy-torme-2009

Earth Prime | The Definitive Source for Sliders™

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Transmodiar wrote:
Surf Dance Chris wrote:

Wow, I never heard of or thought about the rigging the timer so they go back to all the worlds they had visited in order to get back to earth prime possibility. That sounds like a great "last season"!

It wasn't a final season - it was a story Torme was working on for Earth Prime that never materialized. He references it in the final lines of this interview:https://earthprime.com/interviews/tracy-torme-2009

And yet, curiously, the interview ends with linking to a completely different Tracy Tormé story in a rather misleading fashion! Bwahahahahahahahahah!

chaser9 wrote:

From http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Green_Arrow_(Oliver_Queen)
Hal Jordan (during his time as Parallax) returned to save the earth during the Final Night and used his godlike powers to bring his old friend back from the dead.

I haven't read the Oliver Queen resurrection issues yet, but I find it amusing to observe that the FINAL NIGHT storyline took place thirteen months after GREEN ARROW #100 - 101, meaning Oliver Queen was retroactively resurrected about a year after he was killed off. I also find it quite funny to note that Oliver's death was in a massive explosion from which no body could be recovered -- which strikes me as writer Chuck Dixon knowing Oliver wouldn't stay dead and helpfully making sure there's no body.

I wonder why Smith felt the need to go the route he did of having Hal Jordan revive a corpse given that the simplest explanation would've been that Oliver was somehow extracted from the plane before it exploded.

But it's also funny -- Oliver was supposed to have been resurrected in 1998 at the end of Connor's run as the lead in GREEN ARROW. By that, I mean that the GREEN ARROW series ended on the cast discovering that Oliver Queen, thought dead, is somehow alive. But Kevin Smith is such a slow and lazy writer that DC refused to start having his scripts drawn and printed until they had received multiple scripts and Oliver's resurrection was delayed to 2001, meaning that for three years, Oliver wasn't dead -- just late.

SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED #18 isn't a great comic, but it has a hilarious scene where the Daily Bugle's obituary writer grumbles at how he is constantly writing retractions due to the constant resurrections.

Anyway. Readers of SLIDERS REBORN will know that I love Comic Book Death and shamelessly ripped off the death and resurrection of Jason Todd to resurrect Wade.

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Now I'm picturing a DC series called "Afterlife" that takes place in some form of purgatory.  Once a hero dies, he joins the fight in the afterlife.  No resurrections....just a continuation of their story fighting alongside other fallen heroes while they await judgment.

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My random thought that has been on so many minds since Sunday night:
The Oscars screw up

My thoughts and feelings are this:  Warren Beatty was confused when he opened the duplicate card for "Actress in a Leading Role" and not the envelope for "Best Picture".
Confused he made the mistake of showing it to his co presenter Faye Dunaway (who I think was drunk when she came out on stage)  who promptly read "La La Land"  she didn't notice "Emma Stone" above the title in Big Letters...
Anyway I think Beatty was a stand up guy and stayed out there and took the abuse and the flak while Dunaway just ran off the stage never to be seen or heard from again.
Why does Warren have to get all the negative attention when it was she, who  (1) failed to understand the card as well and (2) stupidly made the wrong announcement.

Just my random thoughts ....

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I think the whole thing was staged.

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The Oscars are a sham anyway. Most of the people who won awards aren't really the best, or even the most outstanding of the year. For all we know, La La Land really won but they decided to change it at the last minute for whatever reason. I have no faith in, nor respect for the award. I wouldn't want one if you paid me to take it.


Buy I do agree that it wasn't Beatty's fault. He shouldn't get the blame.

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So, I read the Kevin Smith issues of GREEN ARROW. They're good and reflect an interesting approach: Smith doesn't attempt to write an entry-level story. Most 90s era comics were impenetrably linked to previous continuity with every story a sequel and with superfluous references to issues from years and decades past. Most modern superhero comics try to restrict continuity references to joking references and focus on doing new stories unconnected to old ones, allowing for self-contained trade paperback sales.

Kevin Smith found a strange middle ground where he's constantly referring to the past, but doing so in a way that suggests a vast and labyrinth sense of history to Green Arrow that the reader doesn't need to know in order to appreciate. A bit like how the first STAR WARS film suggests a vast interstellar tapestry that wasn't shown onscreen.

Smith resurrects Oliver Queen -- but this is the Oliver Queen of the 70s who is completely confused by the 2001-DC Universe and is baffled by a Flash and Green Lantern who aren't the ones he knew. Smith uses Oliver's confusion to justify expository dialogue and make him as much a newcomer as any new reader might be, allowing the storyline to build from past storylines like CRISIS, ZERO HOUR and FINAL NIGHT, and since Oliver has lost his memory of those stories, readers who don't know them won't be confused either.

Smith also finds a neat way to do a reversal of the definitive Grell-era: Smith's GREEN ARROW is a crazy superhero comic with Oliver feeling like he's awakened in a universe that's completely insane and he's trying to deal with it on a street-crime level. In Smith's hands, GREEN ARROW is an absurdist superhero comedy and it really works.

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Slider_Quinn21 says he has never read a NINJA TURTLES comic. I have recently (re)read a ton of the original Mirage-published ones and I suggest that he never start. The Mirage-published TMNT comics are some of the most incompetent comic books I've ever read.

NINJA TURTLES begins as a deadly serious story of bloody vengeance where the Turtles hunt down and murder their father's sworn enemy, the Shredder -- and all this is clearly a mockery of (a) Frank Miller's grim and gritty style on DAREDEVIL and RONIN (b) the emotional antics of the X-MEN spinoff title, THE NEW MUTANTS and (c) the anthropomorphic pig of CERBERUS. It's a joyless exercise in grimdark -- or it would be except the lead characters were highly skilled ninjas who were giant-sized turtles and this whole thing is clearly a joke.

It was designed as a single-issue gag comic and I can only imagine how writer-artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird reacted when their creation became a bestselling independent comic that led to merchandising deals, toys, appareil and a children's cartoon as well as the need for more issues.

Reading the comics after #1, there's a lot of problems here. There's tension between the two co-creators in that Eastman likes intense action and fast pacing whereas Peter Laird likes sedate conversation and moody contemplation and there's an awkward contrast between the two.

There's desperation: in the need to do more issues of a single joke, Eastman and Laird start throwing in random ideas and have the Turtles confronting evil robots, kidnapped to alien planets, meeting time travellers -- none of which speak to the Turtles as characters or find any central themes for the series.

There's also serious visual and scripting problems: it's almost impossible to tell the Turtles apart. They're drawn identically. They have no distinct characterization in these comics. Outside of a one-issue joke, Eastman and Laird don't know who the Turtles are.

The interesting thing is that the cartoon addressed all of these problems: the cartoon universe is a superhero reality of crazy and offbeat concepts where robots and aliens fit right in with the Turtles. The cartoon Turtles are broadly characterized with one core trait for each (the strategist, the tech wizard, the combative one and the prankster). The Turtles each wear a different colour bandana so you can tell them apart. And the different characterizations let you do both the intense action (not that the cartoon could get as bloody as the comics) and the contemplative philosophical stories (not that the cartoon could attempt mood and atmosphere like the comics) as well as the comedy tales.

With the comics, there seems to be (one-sided) conflict against the cartoon. The comics, a noir-exercise in savage intensity and philosophical ponderings seems enraged by the lighthearted cartoon series. The comics coldly refuse to integrate any of the cartoon's solutions nor do they attempt alternative methods.

As a result, the comics are actually the weakest incarnation of the Turtles because Eastman and Laird have a severely undercooked concept that they refuse to develop in order to serve an ongoing series. Their artistry is beautiful, their action sequences are riveting, but without clear characterization, reading these comics is like examining rough storyboards for an animated series.

I've read 75 issues of NINJA TURTLES (volume 1 - 2) and the comic Turtles remain ciphers. I still can't tell them apart and as much as I enjoy the ninja action and the stunning atmosphere, the lack of relatable characters is a crippling flaw.

In the issues I haven't gotten to re-reading yet, poor consideration is matched with the failure to finish stories. Volume 3 was cancelled incomplete: TMNT fan Andrew Modeen had to commission writers and artists to engineer a fan-made conclusion.

Eastman will quit the franchise after this, robbing the comics of his action sensibilities and leaving us with Peter Laird's slow, monotonous pacing and apparent inability to wrap anything up. Despite retaining the rights to publish 18 NINJA TURTLES comics a year after selling the franchise to Viacom, Laird has allowed Volume 4 of TMNT to stall at #32. The anthology series, TALES OF THE TMNT, has also languished incomplete. And once again, Andrew Modeen commissioned a graphic novel, TMNT: ODYSSEY, to serve as a distant finale to the unfinished Volume 4 arc. That's right -- TMNT needed an unpaid fan wrap it all up for them not once but twice.

The incompetence of the Mirage TMNT comics is staggering: they can't develop their series beyond a one-issue joke despite numerous adaptations blazing that trail. They can't design their lead characters so that you can distinguish one from the other. They can't complete their own comic book storylines and need the fans to do it for them.

I'd say that the best incarnation of TMNT is the Nickoledeon CG series which ably captures both the goofy humour of the 80s cartoon and the capacity for hyperactive action and thoughtful contemplation as seen in the comics, but the original comics are a witless exercise in ineptitude and at best historical curiosities.

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I do not intend this to be a response to ireactions' post in any way, really. It's just that his use of the word "grimdark" reminded me of something that has been on my mind for a while now.

One of the issues that people seem to have with the DC movies is the idea that they're too "emo" or "whiny" or, yes, "grimdark". I see these comments coming not only from casual movie watchers, but also from other writers that I know. I find the simplification to be really disappointing. I'm posting about this here and not the DC threat because it doesn't just apply to the DC movies. It's something that I'm seeing a lot of across the board. People have commented on my dystopian book by saying that it's too depressing and not hopeful enough. I don't mind that criticism, since it's what they feel, but I'm left wondering how hopeful book one of a six-book dystopian series should really look.

For me, it's not a matter of whether a story is happy or sad, or inspiring or depressing. It's a matter of how well it's told and how much thought and effort is put into the world building. For the DC movies, I found the criticism baffling, because Man of Steel was the first time that I ever really connected to the character on the big screen. He wasn't the icon, he was flesh an blood. To me, that's what a live action version of these stories should be. We have comic books and cartoons for the silly action. Live action should be meant to bring these characters to life, and life isn't always happy.

Man of Steel, to me, was inspiring and hopeful. It was the story of someone overcoming their paralyzing fear and the struggle between who he is and where he comes from. It's a very human, relatable story. But because they didn't push the colors enough and Superman didn't stand with his hands on his hips enough, people decided that it's grim and depressing.

Have we moved past an age where people will actually look at the story and think about it? In this age of Twitter, are writers supposed to just spell everything out as bluntly as possible and make it as sparklie as possible, so they can draw as much attention as they can get?

The recent Gilmore Girls revival is an example of how this works. Some of the characters (Rory in particular) have the mental capacity of children. Selfish, needy, arrogant... very little redeeming qualities about them, really. But it's brightly colored and presented with snappy dialogue, so people praise the revival (many of these problems also existed in the original series). I've only been able to get through two of the four revival episodes so far, because I can't stomach too much of it at a time.

Maybe Veronica Mars did it right. The show was a dark, complex noir story, but it was presented with enough pretty faces and snappy dialogue that you almost forget about the rape, possible incest (at one point), mass murder, etc. The story didn't really suffer by making it light and fun. So is that the way to do things properly?


All I know is that when I write, I have to think about who my characters are and what they've been through. I have to think about what is happening to them. Sometimes that allows for jokes and fun, but in a story like Freedom/Hate or Strange Fall, there isn't a lot of room for slapstick comedy. If you actually take the character of Superman and break him down the way that you should break down any flesh and blood character, Man of Steel is closer to what you'd expect to see than Superman: The Movie.

I don't want to turn this into a Marvel vs DC discussion. I just think that the rise of intolerance toward character depth and emotion an hardship is disappointing to me. I don't see things as "grimdark", the way other people seem to. If a story is sad or dark in an honest way, I still enjoy it. If it makes me feel something, that's a mission accomplished. Why is that a bad thing these days? Why should everything be bright colors and comedy? Why are characters dismissed as whiny just because they're not doing tap dance routines?

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To me, it isn't so much about being "grim" or "dark" - it's how the characters relate to me and how I relate to them.  When I look at Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne, I look at people who are braver than me.  Who are stronger than me.  Who are better versions than I could possibly hope to be.  I want to make myself more like them...I don't necessarily want to see myself in them.

I know his ideas on Clark are controversial (American Alien is still sitting on my bedside table unopened), but Max Landis had a little rant after Man of Steel that really helped me understand why Superman is such a fascinating character.  The guy has all the powers, and people see that as boring.  But, to him, it's not his powers that make him interesting or notso....it's the way he reacts to his powers.  That he basically has two options in life - save the world or rule it.  And that he decides "why not" try and save it.  That, instead of absolute power corrupting him absolutely, absolute power absolved him of all the petty crap that we deal with.

So, yeah, Clark would have problems, but at the end of the day, I think he'd understand how freakin' lucky he is to be who he is.  How much fun he'd get to have on a daily basis.  He might've lost his whole family, but he's had a great family his whole life.  He might be alone, but he doesn't even necessarily identify as Kryptonian.

That's why I liked Smallville's Clark.  He has normal human problems (relationships, school, purpose, etc), but at the end of the day, the guy is a beacon that brings a lot of people to the light.  At the end of the day, he can run off to Europe with Bart or super-basketball with Pete.  My lasting memory of Clark in Smallville isn't him brooding over Lana or wearing the black suit that one season.  It's him smiling on the farm.  Clark has a great life, and he knows it.  Even on the CW.

Even Batman is a similar type.  Yeah, he's dark.  He's brooding.  But even he seems to understand that he has it better than most.  That's why he's willing to take punishment to save people - he can and they can't.  There's a weird dichotomy between the Batman who is alone and the Batman who keeps rescuing kids and putting them in colorful costumes, but I think it's a natural evolution of the character.  Like the boxing gym down the street, some kids need to channel their violence in a healthy way.  Bruce knows this as well as anyone.

I don't like the Christopher Reeve Superman, and I don't like the Henry Cavill Superman.  To me, they both get it wrong.  Superman can't be all happy, but he shouldn't be too challenged either.  I don't want to see myself in him.  He should be better.

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But no matter how happy a person is or how much they enjoy life, it is unreasonable to expect them to not have some issues. Everyone has issues. Man of Steel was about Clark learning to embrace his differences and his humanity at the same time. It was freeing, it was inspiring, it was well thought out. So maybe you don't like that version... But it isn't whiny or grimdark. It is just a more "realistic" way to approach the character.

I can't relate to someone who is simply meant to be better than me. I can relate to someone who overcomes. To me, that is what is inspiring. Clark isn't above silly human problems or emotions, and no amount of superpowers will solve every problem. I think he needs to be balanced, which is what he was in the movie.

I'm just tired of people jumping on the back of any writer who dares to consider honest emotional reactions to situations. The term "grimdark" is very dismissive most of the time, in my experience. It is another way to avoid discussing character development or motivation. That's not to say that you have to love Superman or whatever, but if someone wants to discuss the character, they should have an actual opinion to discuss.

The funny thing is, everyone used to call Smallville too "emo" and whiny.

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I still think SMALLVILLE was too emo and whiny, albeit in an emo and whiny era of TV shows that were all about pretty white people looking sad about their miniscule emotional problems.

**

How old should Angel from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER look? How old should the artists draw him in the current in-continuity comics? I realized today that the artists are all over the place, using reference photos from a vast span of time in which David Boreanaz changed a lot.

It's impossible to stop an actor from aging even if David Boreanaz was playing an immortal vampire. From an in-universe standpoint, Angel should look like a 27-year-old Boreanaz and shouldn't ever age. In actuality, Boreanaz seemed to have aged 20 years over the course of his nine years on television as Angel. In-universe, the show doesn't acknowledge that Angel looks older and he gets older even in flashbacks. The lean, fresh-faced youth of BUFFY's first season had become a middle-aged and physically bloated figure by the final episode of ANGEL.

None of this is Boreanaz' fault. He looks consistent enough in his first three years on BUFFY and the first season of ANGEL. In Season 2 of ANGEL, he starts to fill out; the lines in his face are deepening and he's putting on weight. However, that weight is primarily muscle and Boreanaz in Seasons 2 - 3 has gone from lean and cadaverous to buff and ripped; it doesn't look like Angel's getting older, it looks like he's been working out a lot. And it looks terrific in the absurd superhuman action sequences; Angel has become a seemingly unstoppable warrior.

In Season 4, Boreanaz' muscle definition is suddenly gone and he looks fat. Boreanaz' wife had given birth and he wasn't working out because he was up all night with his baby. In-universe, it sort of works in that much of Angel's persona -- the long coat, the convertible car, the spiked hair -- is a constructed image to conceal his insecurities, so as Angel adapted to a more familial environment, he might have become less concerned with his appearance and the character, having become the father figure of the series, is starting to look like one too.

Where it doesn't work, however, is in the action sequences: Boreanaz is simply unable to sell the superhuman side of Angel and it's only when he gets back in shape in the middle of the season does it become visually convincing again that Boreanaz is a superhuman vampire.

In Season 5, Boreanaz starts out in shape, but the makeup artists have stopped smoothing out his complexion and you can see the weathering of his skin where it used to be hidden under concealer. It's fine in that Angel's character is feeling somewhat worn down by circumstances, but in the middle of Season 5, Boreanaz starts to get fat again. The reason: he hurt his knee and needed surgery. This led to many episodes where Boreanaz had to be filmed sitting in a chair and also, he couldn't exercise. As a result, Angel looks hopelessly out of shape in his series finale.

There's not a lot Boreanaz could have done about the situation. The comics seem to primarily draw upon the ANGEL in Season 3 publicity photos as reference, although occasionally, I see a cover that's using Season 1 photos and it's shocking to see Angel looking so young and trim when most artists use a mid-point average.

From a writing standpoint -- I think ANGEL should have written in an explanation for Angel aging by Season 3 once they realized the show was going to continue and that Boreanaz wasn't someone who will physically stay the same. I think I would have liked Season 3 to have an arc where Angel discovers he isn't healing instantly the way he used to. Meanwhile, Fred notices that Angel looks much younger in some old photos even though he shouldn't age. It's revealed: Angel's time in hell damaged his physiology and caused him to start aging and the trip to Pylea where he transformed back and forth between a human and purely vampiral state has worsened his condition. He's now aging faster, using his powers will hasten his degeneration and even if he didn't, he has about a year left to live.

I would probably make this a short arc where Angel becomes desperate to tie up every loose end in his life before he dies, racing the clock, getting weaker (and older) with each adventure, urgently trying to achieve every bit of redemption he can before he dies -- and I would end the arc with Angel being healed through some magic that, however, leaves him aging at a human rate and allows David Boreanaz to age in the role. We would have to give up the flashbacks, though.

When the ANGEL comics started, it was revealed that Angel had become human and was using magic to fake his vampire powers. But eventually, Angel regains his vampire powers. If it had still been a TV show, it probably would've been best to let Angel stay human-ish.

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Yeah, I think they had the same problem with James Masters. He was 35 or so when cast for season 2 of Buffy, right? Then you add years of staying very thin for the role, plus smoking... By the end, he was definitely aging. This is why vampires are better in books and movies than in TV shows. I guess we are supposed to play along and pretend that they look the same as when we first saw them.


By the way, was there ever a time when Buffy hooking up with either of these dudes was anything but gross?

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On NINJA TURTLES, retroactive continuity and what TV Tropes called Arc Welding (declaring stories intended to be separate to have been linked the entire time):

Volume 3 of NINJA TURTLES isn't bad. The artwork is way too busy for a black and white comic and physically mutilating three-quarters of the cast gets pretty over the top when after Donatello's become a cyborg and Raphael's lost an eye, it's followed up with Leonardo losing a hand.

Raphael becoming the Shredder and trying to steer the Foot into a heroic direction is a pretty cool storytelling decision. But then the series abruptly cuts off with #23 and a truckload of unfinished plots: a mysterious Lady Shredder beats Raphael in a duel and takes control of the Foot Clan while Leonardo finds himself struggling to use a prosthetic hand in combat. A lady Foot soldier has joined the Turtles, a villain is attacking Splinter psychically. Casey Jones' daughter is being targeted by a mob boss. Michelangelo has started dating a Chicago police officer.

And then Volume 3 got cancelled and when the series came back with Volume 4 and TURTLES co-creator Peter Laird, Laird ignored Volume 3 completely. So, when the fan-writer Andrew Modeen decided to do his fan-published issues of #24 - 25, he wanted to (a) resolve all these plots and (b) transition smoothly into the already underway Volume 4. This left him with a massive task list to fulfill in two issues.

In order to resolve all this stuff, #24 - 25 refers to stories that were published *after* Volume 3 but are chronologically before Volume 3. Volume 4 of NINJA TURTLES was set 20 years after the original series, but there was an anthology title, TALES OF THE TMNT, which had stories set at various points in the Turtles' timeline. There was also a mini-series called DONATELLO: THE BRAIN THIEF and #24 - 25 draws upon both to conclude Volume 3.

TALES OF THE TMNT had a number of issues where the Turtles were menaced by different female ninjas of unknown origins. #24 - 25 reveals that these different ninjas were all the same woman; they were all the Lady Shredder who attacked Raphael and took over the Foot in #23, and stitches together all these different characters into one role, sparing #24 - 25 the need to create a whole new character from scratch in presenting its central villain who turns out to be the original Shredder's consort. As a result, what could have felt rushed and random in #24 - 25 now feels prepared and considered.

There's a hilarious level of improvisation here in that the TALES writer had no intention of the different lady ninjas all being the same character or the Lady Shredder of Volume 3 -- but it works.

THE BRAIN THIEF, published during Volume 4 and set before Volume 3, had Donatello fighting the cybernetic villain, Baxter Stockman, and imprisoning the Stockman cyborg in a secret lab. In #24 - 25, Donatello, now a cyborg himself, has started to malfunction and he goes to this secret lab to see Stockman for help.

Stockman, intrigued by Donatello's technology, explains that all the Turtles have a healing factor that will allow them to repair any injury but the cyborg machinery is suppressing Donatello's regenerative capacities and the conflict is causing the malfunctions. Stockman helps remove the cybernetic implants to learn more about the tech and Donatello's body, having been trying to heal itself for a year, finally reforms completely.

This sets up the Turtles' healing factor. And then in the final battle with Lady Shredder, the Turtles are on the ropes until a restored Donatello comes to their rescue and during the fight, Leonardo's hand regrows (which is why the prosthetic kept falling off) and it turns out Raphael's eye has also been healed for some time under the eyepatch/Shredder helmet he'd been wearing and he didn't realize it until now.

This, again, is a very effective use of a different story to resolve a present story. #24 - 25 use the BRAIN THIEF mini-series bring Baxter Stockman into the story to explain how the Turtles have regenerative powers (which is actually supported by how they healed up from so many injuries in Volumes 1 - 2). The Turtles all being shown to recover from their mutilations inside the same issue at the same time is ridiculously convenient yet strangely heartfelt and emotionally convincing.

I should really track down this Andrew Modeen figure; we'd have so much to talk about.

45 (edited by Slider_Quinn21 2017-03-13 14:44:44)

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How does Donatello become a cyborg?  Is it voluntary?  The result of injuries?

Who cuts off Leonardo's arm?  Random bad guy or major villain?

Mikey's dating a human?

I'm enjoying reading the stories through your recaps smile

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In the first issue of Volume 3, Raphael gets shot in the face and is hideously scarred on one side and loses an eye while Splinter and Donatello are abducted by a crime boss seeking to create mutagen-enhanced soldiers. The, Go Komodo, also has cyborg henchmen and in a helicopter fight, Donatello and one of the cyborgs fall. The cyborg is killed, Donatello's shell is cracked and he's dying, and the cyborg, made of living metal, shifts to Donatello in an attempt to preserve its own life, in the process saving Donatello's life as well, although he's now half-robot. It's explained that the mutagen in Donatello's blood has caused the living metal to mutate as well.

... it occurs to me typing this now that there appeared to be no explanation for where this technology came from, although there'd been quite a few visits from aliens in Volumes 1 - 2 and people were always trying to reverse-engineer the tech. Ah, comics. As for Leonardo, one of Go Komodo's komodo dragons is mutated and bites Leonardo's hand off.

Michelangelo isn't dating a human, he's dating an alien-human hybrid named Horridus who works on the Chicago police force. Horridus was a character in Image's SAVAGE DRAGON and when Mirage reclaimed the NINJA TURTLES rights, SAVAGE DRAGON couldn't wrap up the Michelangelo/Horridus romance and it seemed forgotten. Volume 4 didn't acknowledge it.

#24 - 25 have an interesting way to wrap up this unfinished plot: #24 notes that Michelangelo is in New York dealing with all the mutilations of his brothers while writing a romance novel based on his story with Horridus, but Horridus is in Chicago and their long distance relationship, while important to Mikey, is fading out for Horridus. #25 has Horridus say she's in love with the Savage Dragon and Mikey, heartbroken, throws out his typewriter. This neatly addresses why Mikey's writing ambitions, developed in Volumes 1 - 3, aren't mentioned in Volume 4 at all.

Re: Random Thoughts

#24-25 sounds fascinating from a writing perspective.  Connecting two dots that were never intended to be connected in a way that's both creative but true to both stories.

Re: Random Thoughts

#24 - 25 are shockingly good comics. You'd kind of expect them to be like pretty much every SLIDERS in Season 6 fanfic ever written where resurrections are being pulled out of thin air with contrivances and grand threats are wiped away due to authorial fiat with no sense of cause and effect. But in this case, it would be a bit like first writing 'missing adventures' set during Seasons 1 -5 to seed plot devices needed for a Season 6 that would then have a foundation for resurrecting Quinn, Wade and Arturo and reuniting them with Rembrandt.

A similar approach was taken with the ENTERPRISE novels, which picked up after the fourth and final season killed off an apparently popular character, the engineer, Trip Tucker. (I found him kind of bland like most of the cast, but it seems the actor was popular?)

A post-show novel, LAST FULL MEASURE, was set during Season 3, but the ending is set after Season 4 and reveals that Trip is alive. THE GOOD THAT MEN DO then provides the full story on Trip's resurrection and it could have come off as unconvincing, but LAST FULL MEASURE hits you really hard with the shocking and joyful reveal of Trip being alive and that creates sufficient build-up for THE GOOD THAT MEN DO to sell you on the character's return.

That said, those two novels were official publications. It reflects terribly on the NINJA TURTLES comics that they had an unpaid fan commission artists and writers to finish what the publisher abandoned. I'm starting on Volume 4 of the series and it too is incomplete and finished by this same Andrew Modeen fellow, which strikes me as crassly unprofessional. And it's also amusing that Modeen was not satisfied with finishing NINJA TURTLES on his own time and money once; he felt compelled to do it twice.

Re: Random Thoughts

See, because Enterprise ended with the reveal that what we were seeing was just Riker in the holodeck, I've always wondered how much of it was real and how much was just a writer making a holodeck story.

And how much of the show took place on the holodeck, since Riker was playing the role of a Chef that we heard references too, but never saw on the show?

Re: Random Thoughts

I think it was supposed to be that the chef was just a guy, and Riker was "playing" him.  So everything that happened happened (accounting for any issues with the records from the time), but they were just watching a recreation.

That ending was weird, though.