WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew learns about the seedy underbelly of LEGO knock-offs while Dan preps for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie by watching the 2009 animated film.
DOCTOR WHO KNEW?: Dan and Andrew discuss their skeptical praise for the current series of Doctor Who. Five episodes in and all episodes have been undeniably good so far. Should they be waiting with baited breath for the show to stumble as it has done for the last five series? Or should they let their freak flag fly once again?
WAKING LIFE: Remedy Entertainment’s 2010 sleeper hit, Alan Wake, was summarily pulled from all digital storefronts last weekend due to the lapsing of the licenses paid for music featured in the game. It’s a strange situation considering exactly how many games––even those released before Alan Wake––use licensed music and are still available for purchase.
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Batman: The Animated Series has become a show whose perennial place in nerd culture is all but assumed and revered. Andrew and I discussed the show, albeit briefly, back in Episode 59 – BTAS, as a segue to talk about dreams and dreaming in fiction, but the show, obviously, has done a lot more than that throughout its 110 episodes across seven years of airing (I’m including The New Batman Adventures in the tally). When talking about the show, one conversation that must surface is its diversity of storytelling and the risks it took. What set the show apart from not only every other animated series on American television may also have set it apart from nearly any other television that aired at the time of its release. Namely, it’s willingness to have strange, experimental episodes that challenged the expectations of superhero fans and television viewers.
Sure, it will be remembered for its strong, more traditional, Batman stories like “Heart of Ice”, “The Demon’s Quest”, and “Robin’s Reckoning (Parts 1 and 2)”––the last of which won an Emmy––but it will also be remembered for its non-traditional, esoteric stories like “Perchance to Dream”, “Legends of the Dark Knight”, “Over the Edge”, and “Almost Got ‘Im.” It was a show that learned to take risks, and what’s fascinating is that, apparently, a lot of that ethos was there from the start.
One of my prized possessions, creatively, is a book written by Paul Dini and Chip Kidd called Batman: Animated which covers the history of the show and is filled with amazing photos of everything from concept art to marketing photos for Batman-branded soap. But a bit of space is devoted to the development of the idea of what Batman: The Animated Series would be, hinting at the thorough show bible that Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, and Mitch Brian put together. Basically, a show bible is a treatise on the characters, stories, tone, and plan for a tv show used to keep the studio on track as well as acting as a set of guidelines for artists and writers hired to work for the show. Somehow––and thankfully so––the show bible has gotten out there in pdf form and it is as glorious as I was hoping it would be.
Whitbrook points out in his article (which also has a link to the pdf) that the show bible takes firm stances in how the creators saw the show. Even if the show wiggled its way out of those chains a bit as it went on (you can’t not have a bat signal), its overall view of the character himself was carved from stone and rooted in change from the status quo:
One big emphasis throughout the bible is an ardent desire to tell darker Batman stories; after all, the last solo Batman TV series before this one was Batman ‘66. Like Tim Burton’s 1989 movie, The Animated Series sought to distance itself from that interpretation. Sometimes it did so subtly, with mentions like “no Bat Signal or hotline” to keep him separate from the Gotham police, or by making Robin an occasional partner rather than a full-time companion.
While the show worked its hardest to separate Batman from his previous televised iterations to make him into the brooding loner we all know and love, what Whitbrook’s article and its attached copy of the Batman: The Animated Series show bible illustrate (pardon the pun) is how something as important and groundbreaking as this show actually came together through an almost supernatural synchronicity of passionate, creative people who were willing to break the rules every now and then and try something new with, at the time, a forty year-old medium and a sixty year-old character.
Although I court a lot of pushback as soon as I say it, I feel pretty lucky to have grown up reading comic books when I did, in the early 1990s. For those with vehement dissenting positions to this opinion, I offer a truce by completely agreeing with you when you say the content of this point in comics history was rather lacking as creators felt the need to push good taste to its limits in many different ways. However, these comics were connecting with kids––with me––and while I can’t say their influence was all beneficial, they certainly stirred the imagination. With that in mind, a lot of choices made both narratively and, especially, artistically at the time are nigh inexcusable when held up against modern criteria.
In light of the speculator market and the inflated sense of worth the industry had of itself at the time, for a fan the early ’90s were quite exciting in spite of all of that. It was this excitement for not only the characters, stories (what there were of those, at least), and creators that drove us back to the shops every week, but it was also the industry as a whole during this time, especially during the flashpoint formation of Image Comics. I remember the creation of Image Comics happening. I remember thinking it was really weird. I remember being really excited for it, as well. (A good documentary about the formation of Image Comics exists, called Image Revolution, that is well worth the viewing.)
As the ’90s faded away and the market crashed and Marvel went bankrupt and the industry and its fans actually had some time for critical self-reflection, Image Comics, as it had started out, became the pennant we could all point to and say, “That, right there, is what was wrong with comics in the ’90s.” In some ways, such assertions are very true. Fast-forward twenty years, though, and the “worst” in industry has become the outstanding front runner for thoughtful, challenging, and earnest comics above almost all other publishers. The about-face is astounding and couldn’t have been written better for fear of being too cliché and feel-good. But it all comes down to the principles that formed the bedrock (or badrock, harhar) of the company, as iterated by Jensen in his article:
Image had two rules: all comics were owned by their creators, and no Image creator would interfere with another’s business.
As it stands today, Image Comics is a beacon in the industry and is at the top of its game. I’m sure many people lament the 180-degree turn from its superheroic start––I experience light pangs as I think about it but shrug them off––but there’s no doubt that what Image is doing today aligns (at least in theory) with the concept that founded the company: complete independence. Because of that, Image books are bringing more attention to creators, more good to the industry, and better comics for readers, and I wouldn’t trade that for the gun-toting, veiny-muscled, blood-soaked comics of yore any day of the week.
Fans of classic Doctor Who already know about tonight’s US premier of the newly re-constituted (or, more appropriately, regenerated) story, “The Power of the Daleks,” first aired in November and December of 1966. Lost in the infamous archive purge that the BBC went through in the early 1970s, the story was targeted for an animated form after several other stories received animated supplements (e.g., “The Invasion,” “The Reign of Terror“). The big difference with this story is that (a) the entire story had to be animated due to the loss of any complete episodes; and (b) this was Patrick Troughton’s first story as the Doctor, taking over after William Hartnell’s departure. In that regard, this is a pivotal story in the history of Doctor Who because it presents the audience with “regeneration” (or, as described in the story, “renewal”) for the first time.
More recently, the BBC announced that this story will also be done with a separate color-animated version, to be included as a separate digital download or as an added feature to the DVD release. One can assume that they based the animation’s colors on production stills from the episode. It can even be seen in the color choice for the Daleks, who sport the classic 1960s white/gray and blue exterior.
This is unexpected, as all of the previous black-and-white Doctor Who stories had been released without any color added. It probably more represents a feature of the animation process and less a desire to colorize old episodes. Previously, a number of Third Doctor stories have been re-colorized by the Doctor Who Restoration Team; only black-and-white versions of color episodes had been retained, so the team used relatively sophisticated methods to restore color to the footage. But there had been no discussion (until now, at least) of adding color to the historically black-and-white episodes.
The question remains to be seen as to whether or not this will be attempted for other episodes. The Restoration Team has done “special editions” and re-cuts of some of the later episodes, including a substantively re-worked rendition of “Enlightenment” and a re-cut “movie version” of “The Curse of Fenric.” It may be simply that “The Power of the Daleks” was a big enough episode to warrant special treatment. Maybe “The Unearthly Child” or “The War Games” will warrant a special colorized version as well. Only time will tell.
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew watches the season 3 premiere of Star Wars: Rebels (as well as talks about the extended edition of Ghostbusters aka Ghostbusters: Answer the Call) while Dan talks about going to a heavy metal show to see the band, High Spirits.
BULLETPROOF BLACK MAN: Dan and Andrew talk about their first impressions of Marvel/Netflix’s Luke Cage, the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though neither had finished the season by the time of this recording, they talk about the general conversation about the show and what it brings to the superhero cinematic genre that others haven’t really done before. Dan published some interesting links this week about Luke Cage, specifically.
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For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Theme” by Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad (from Luke Cage)
-“Up and Overture” by High Spirits
WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew spent his week diving deeper into the Lego muck and mire, watching a bit of the Lego Ninjago animated series in order to get some more context to the more esoteric Lego Dimensions levels he has encountered.. Dan didn’t stray to far, playing Resident Evil 7: Beginning Hour, the proof-of-concept demo for Capcom’s sequel Resident Evil 7: Biohazard (or Biohazard 7: Resident Evil in Japan).
MAKING UP WORDS: In the first look at mobile gaming this week, Dan and Andrew talk about a game that seems to be made just for them, Square Enix and A-Lim’s Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and how it scratches certain itches while causing others.
POKE MONGO: Pokémon Go is just about the biggest thing in the world right now, topping the charts of the iTunes free apps and is, purportedly, even bigger than porn with Google searches. It’s a veritable point-counterpoint discussion as Andrew relates his experience playing the game while Dan remains in ignorance while discussing the world-wide phenomenon that is Nintendo’s latest genius move.
-Help local Sacramento comic shop, Big Brother Comics, recover from a dreadful fire that ravaged the store by contributing at the GoFundMe page.
-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Cayenne (Cyan)” by Nobuo Uematsu (from Final Fantasy VI)
-“The Chase is Better Than the Catch” by Motörhead
-“Through the Fire and Flames” by Dragonforce
Week in Geek: Andrew simulates walking in Gone Homewhereby he ponders how this mechanic has future ludic applicability; he also starts playing the strange but intriguing indie game, The Bridge. Dan reads volume 1 of the manga, Akira, upon which the classic animated film is based.
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For all intents and purposes, that was a Shortcast recap.
Seventeen episodes in and For All Intents and Purposes continues to hone its stride with discussion about very recent news as well as larger topics of concern within the realm of nerds and geeks. Before we get started, we must mention here that, as of this episode, For All Intents and Purposes will be releasing on Fridays rather than Thursdays; adjust your schedule accordingly.
The Week in Geek: Dan reads a book about (and kind of by) Japanese animation guru, Hayao Miyazaki, titled Starting Point: 1979-1996. Andrew participates in Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: The Role-Playing Game event, “Rebellion Day.” He also got back into playing Star Trek Online.
Breaking News: With the announcement that Microsoft purchased Minecraft studio, Mojang, for a lean $2.5 billion, Andrew and Dan examine what that means for Minecraft, what that means for Microsoft, and what that means for gaming in general.
Discussion: Despite continuously asking for comments, Dan and Andrew pick apart the phenomenon of internet commenting––specifically how it’s often done under an assumed name, hinting at anonymity. But is it actually just a magnifying glass to a person’s true nature? Is it a vestige of once-idealistic egalitarian goals? What does this have to do with Harry Potter?
Star Trek: In this new segment, Andrew assigned Dan to watch the Original Series episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever”––a veritable classic written by Harlan Ellison.
Question: After reviewing the previous week’s listener answers, Dan and Andrew change gears completely to ask:
With the upcoming Netflix shows, the movies, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. about to start its second season, which Marvel property would you like to see added to the fold?
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For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.
-“Stayin’ In Black” by Wax Audio
-“Money for Nothing” by Dire Straights
-“Star Trek (Original Series Main Title)” by Alexander Courage
A new episode of For All Intents and Purposes is here in true episodic fashion! Though PAX may be done and no huge events seem to be around the corner, it’s back to business as usual.
The Week in Geek: Andrew plays the Battlestar Galactica board game and actually keeps his friends this time, while Dan watches Academy Award-nominated animated short films––specifically, “Adam and Dog” by Minkyu Lee. Also, Dan will be an exhibitor at this year’s Crocker-Con in Sacramento at the Crocker Art Museum. It happens on Thursday, 11 September, from 5-9pm. Be there!
Boasts of Bethel: Close-reading the second episode of Doctor Who‘s 8th series, “Into the Dalek,” Dan investigates the most prominent question on Whovians’ minds: Is Clara actually a good English teacher?
Discussion: Since Dan started watching Supernatural this week, he remembers the good old days of episodic nerdy drama and he and Andrew ponder why so much television has become serialized and whether it has helped or hurt the medium.
Love the Craft: Andrew and Dan look at another story by H. P. Lovecraft. This time, it’s one Andrew hasn’t read before, an exciting, frightening, and…funny (?) short called, “The Hound.”
Question: Hot off the presses of Apple’s press conference and their announcement of the Apple Watch, Dan and Andrew wonder:
What are your thoughts on the rise of “smart”, on-your-body peripherals for your phones?
Leave your answers on the page for this episode at forall.libsyn.com, or join and leave a comment at the For All Intents and Purposes Facebook and/or Google+ pages. You may also send us your answers, questions, or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.