Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Doctor, Great Batman: Brave and the Bold, Fabulous Easter Weekend!

Sorry for the week off, but things have been incredibly hectic and stressful at work, and between that and trying to fight off a horrible spring cold, I've had to keep a low profile.

However, despite all the coughing and snottin' around, this Easter weekend has started off brilliantly.

First off, last Friday's Batman: The Brave and the Bold was one I've been looking forward to all this season, and it did not disappoint. "The Power of Shazam!" may challenge "Mayhem of the Music Meister" as the best episode of the series, as it is a love letter to fans of one of the greatest (and most abused) classic super-heroes of all time. Captain Marvel, who once rivaled Superman as the number one comic book hero throughout the 1940's, has really suffered under DC Comics since he was revived under the title SHAZAM! After the original run of the comic failed, the good Captain has been relentlessly rebooted, revised, turned grim and gritty, meshed half-hazardly into the DC Universe, been the subject of a TV series that dropped nearly everything that made CM wonderful, and was recently revived as part of a children's comic where any resemblance to the original character and the abstract version that now passes for the World's Mightiest Mortal is purely coincidental.

I'd almost completely given up on ever seeing a decent version of Captain Marvel... until last Friday.

This is exactly how Captain Marvel should be portrayed... light-hearted, a great sense of fun for both kids and adults, and faithfulness to the original designs by C.C. Beck, Pete Costanza, and Otto Binder. Every moment that passed had an Easter egg that made me squeal like a school girl. The only thing that would have completely knocked me out would have been an appearance by a certain wicked worm...

Still, it was great to see the Sivana family in full evil mode, the deadly Black Adam, the ancient wizard Shazam, and a great wrap-up that gave us hope that eventually the entire Marvel Family could show up in the future.

Saturday night kicked my two-days off just right... through secret sources of my own, I got to see the opening salvo of the new Doctor Who series, "The Eleventh Hour". Hugo Award-winning writer Steven Moffat is now producing the series, and wrote this episode, and he's certainly putting his distinctive stamp on the show... dark, witty, macabre, with an awful lot of the "Creep Factor" thrown in. And he certainly does not disappoint.

The inspired choice of Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor is a masterstroke. In fact, in many ways both in physicality and mannerisms, Smith reminds us of a much taller and leaner version of Patrick Troughton's second Doctor.

But even more so is the choice of Karen Gillan as the new companion Amy Pond, who may be as different a traveling pal as the Doctor has ever had. She's been a gal who has had to do certain unsavory things to make her way in the world in between waiting, waiting, waiting for the strange man and the even stranger blue box to take her away, and always running late... years late.

You can already see the subplots being developed concerning this new addition to the TARDIS crew, and by the end, we just wonder how much someone will give up to travel with the Doctor, and what the ultimate consequences may be.

Another great move is a new opening title sequence that mirrors the new dangers that this new Doctor will face. Now instead of a mere tumbling through the time vortex, the tunnel now seems to resemble the eye of a tornado, with the hapless police box being buffeted and tossed and struck by dangerous lightning bolts. Murray Gold's rescoring of the classic theme is perfectly in line with a new tone the series is taking on.

Anyway, April 17th, BBC America. Miss it at your own risk.

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