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Shortcast 27 – Clap ‘n Go

Shortcast 27 – Clap ‘n Go

Since they had so much to discuss, an entire “Shortcast” (despite it being basically the length of an entire episode) was dedicated to talking about the finale of the latest season of Doctor Who. SPOILERS BEWARE. NON-DOCTOR WHO FANS BEWARE (come back next week). Much talk is made about Stephen Moffat’s tenure as showrunner, the themes of the finale, and what Andrew and D. want out of the teased Christmas special.

NOTICE:

Click the image for more information.

D. Bethel will be exhibiting at the inaugural Sac Indie Expo in Sacramento this weekend. He’s looking forward to it not only because he gets to chat and hang out with fans and other local creators, but also due to the fact that the event is being held a phenomenal local brewery, Big Sexy Brewing Company. SIE will be on Saturday, July 15 from 12-5pm. It’s free to get in, so if you’re in the area, you have no excuse to not go.

Here is a silly video Dan made for the event.

LINKS:

For all intents and purposes, that was a Shortcast recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Thunder Busters” by Wax Audio

News Blast: Star Wars Celebration 2017!

News Blast: Star Wars Celebration 2017!

This weekend was Star Wars Celebration Orlando, the twelfth instance of the Star Wars Celebration experience. Star Wars Celebration is usually an opportunity for fans to get together and talk about their love of Star Wars. Of course, it’s also a great opportunity for the people that make Star Wars to unleash new content onto the world. This year was no different.

Perhaps the biggest news is the revelation of a trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi:

The Internet is already abuzz over the release of the first trailer for Star Wars: Episode 8: The Last Jedi. Mark Hamill drives the trailer as Luke Skywalker, providing the overall narration and a lot of heavy context to the “Last Jedi” aspect of the title. It sounds like the film will address the “balance of the Force” theme that first appeared in The Phantom Menace and has been further explored in Season 3 of Star Wars: Rebels. I’ve already spent an undue amount of time trying to determine if Tom Baker found his way on to the cast list, given his role as the Bendu in Star Wars: Rebels. With a release expected this December, there’s already a lot of fan excitement developing for this title.

“Jedi and Sith wield the Ashla and Bogan. The light and the dark. I’m the one in the middle. The Bendu.”

In addition to the Episode VIII trailer, a preview for the upcoming fourth (and final!) season of Star Wars: Rebels was also released:

For those not following Star Wars: Rebels, it is the story of a cell of rebels fighting the Empire that become an essential part of the Rebel Alliance. The show has continued to provide a background for the formative years of the Rebel Alliance, and this final year appears to be no different. Season 3 villain Admiral Thrawn makes an appearance in the trailer (with what appears to be a silly General Veers style helmet) as does Katee Sackhoff’s character Bo-Katan, who was previously seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Forest Whitaker’s character Saw Gerrera also appeared briefly. With regard to thematic content, it appears that they will be addressing both the “balance of the Force” theme and the battle for Mandalore (which was an element of Sabine’s storyline from Season 3).

Probably the only character not featured (despite claims that her fate would be addressed) was Ahsoka Tano. As /Film’s Peter Sciretta points out, showrunner Dave Filoni seemed to tease the audience with a clever t-shirt swap during the Rebels event last weekend.

For not saying anything about Ahsoka during the event, he certainly seems to have said a bunch.

Given everything Star Wars that was unleashed in Orlando, it looks like 2017-18 will be a relatively big year for the franchise.

 

News Blast: Iron Fist Roundup

News Blast: Iron Fist Roundup

With Iron Fist set to come out on Friday of this week, it seemed appropriate to do a quick round up of all the news and reviews that have been circulating in the previous week. For those who have been distracted by other news, Netflix has released the first six episodes of Iron Fist to a number of reviewers and critics. The response has been … less than was perhaps expected.

“He’s not a human. He’s like a piece of iron.” -Ivan Drago. Image by John Gallagher

From Polygon‘s Susana Polo:

Iron Fist’s problems with its portrayal of Asian cultures and Asian-Americans are embedded throughout every episode. It’s just that its problems with delivering exposition, crafting consistent characters, and even basic dialogue writing run right alongside.

From The Onion A.V. Club‘s Danette Chavez:

Had Netflix rolled out Iron Fist first, its unsteadiness would be forgivable; this is a process, after all. But it’s actually the final step before a huge showdown, so it can’t afford to buckle under the pressure. And yet, with all that riding on it, the first half of the season is just a checked box. Filler episodes are one thing, but right now Iron Fist looks like a filler season.

From The Hollywood Reporter‘s Daniel Fienberg:

Iron Fist feels like a step backward on every level, a major disappointment that already suffers from storytelling issues through the first six episodes made available to critics and would probably be mercifully skippable in its entirety if it weren’t the bridge into the long-awaited Defenders crossover series.

From Business Insider‘s Jethro Nededog:

First, it doesn’t live up to the quality of storytelling found in “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” and “Luke Cage.” Plainly stated, “Iron Fist” is boring.

Of course, it is worth remembering that this is based entirely on the first six episodes. Rumors abound that the seventh episode of the series will be extremely violent. The episode has been rated 18 for “Strong Bloody Violence.” Given the stagnant impressions of the first six episodes, it remains to be seen if episode 7 (titled “Felling With Tree Routes”) is as much a dramatic turn as the portended graphically violent turn.

Given that the Defenders mini-series is already slated for a 2017 release, it’s clear that Iron Fist‘s poor initial reception will not stop the Marvel/Netflix hybrid from moving forward. That being said, it’s unfortunate that the same studio partnership that produced Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Daredevil has hit a slump with their most recent offering; whether this should be viewed as a bump in the road or an image of what’s to come is uncertain.

News Blast: The (Colorful) Power of the Daleks

News Blast: The (Colorful) Power of the Daleks

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.

The newly regenerated Doctor in his animated form.
The newly regenerated Doctor in his animated form, baggy pants and all.

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.

1966 Daleks in full color. Or, colour, I guess. The original 1960s color scheme, as well.
1966 Daleks in full color. Or, colour, I guess. The original 1960s color scheme, as well.

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.

 

News Blast: Super Heroes at San Diego Comic-Con

News Blast: Super Heroes at San Diego Comic-Con

Last weekend was San Diego Comic-Con, and although lots of news filtered out of the event, super heroes were an important element of that story. Marvel and DC both showed up ready to spill with trailers, news, and all sorts of superheroic nonsense up in the air for fans to ingest.

DC Comics has a lot of ground to makeup for, with 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice leaving a lot of eager fans less than thrilled. Probably one of the biggest things they had to present was the trailer for next year’s big superhero movie, Wonder Woman:

There’s been a lot scuttlebutt around the DC Cinematic Universe in the last six months, but the one thing that seems to still be on track is the stand-alone Wonder Woman. Set in the era of World War I, it looks like this movie brings a lot of what  you’d expect from Wonder Woman: some weird quasi-Greek stuff, some lasso action, and punching. And kicking in wedges, let’s be honest. Swords and shields, and the rest.

Of course, not one to disappoint, DC and WB also provided a look at the other big movie coming out next year: Justice League. This is less a trailer and more a bunch of “footage,” but it does provide a little look at what’s going on. We get to see Bruce Wayne and Wonder Woman talk about stuff. Bruce Wayne tries to recruit Aquaman and Flash, with varying levels of success. If anything, it provides a look at the different relationships the characters will have with each other in the movie.

Apparently, there’s still some confusion as to whether or not this is going to be one part of two, or a stand-alone movie. I suspect a lot of the future of the DC Cinematic Universe rests on the shoulders of Wonder Woman and this first Justice League offering.

In the TV department, DC Comics seems to be dominated by the “Arrow-verse,” the series of television shows airing on the CW. The unexpected ending of last season’s Flash will be addressed in the upcoming season, although the extent to which we will be living in a Flashpoint world is still uncertain. In the flagship show, Arrow assembles a new team of crime-busting vigilantes, although it’s clear that the old team isn’t going anywhere. Also, Legends of Tomorrow marches forward, with Captain Rip Hunter and his crew of “legends” working to preserve the timeline (or something). It’s hard to say if Rip Hunter’s first mission will be to stop Barry Allen from saving his mother’s life, but only time will tell. Unfortunately, newcomer to the Arrow-verse (and, more specifically, the CW), Supergirl, hasn’t begun filming yet, so there’s no neat video to show; however, it does promise to bring Superman into the mix. Furthermore, a four show crossover episode is apparently also in the cards.

On the other side of the aisle, Marvel had its fair share of dazzling videos to put forth. With respect to movies, Marvel put out a new trailer for the upcoming Doctor Strange film. In an effort to prove that this movie has no respect for conventional notions of reality and geometry, it features some of the most bizarre cityscapes in recent cinematic history:

It was also announced that actor Brie Larson will be taking on the role of Major Carol Danvers, the superhero (eventually) known as Captain Marvel. Although not scheduled for release until 2019, Captain Marvel is currently the first Marvel movie headlined by a female character.

On the television side, Marvel surprised a lot of people (or, at least me) when they announced the arrival of Ghost Rider in Agents of SHIELD, Season 4. Probably bigger news, though, is the newly released trailer for Luke Cage, the third show produced from the Marvel-Netflix alliance and part of their Defenders storyline.

Although fans of the Netflix-Marvel collaboration have already seen Luke Cage appear in Jessica Jones, this series has already established a very different tone than its predecessors. A teaser trailer for the NEXT series, Iron Fist, was also released, reminding people that there will be an ongoing onslaught of Marvel characters pouring through your television screens. Of course, in an effort to flood the bitstreams with even more Marvel excitement, they also released a teaser trailer for the upcoming Defenders mini-series, featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist together.

Of course, there’s even more news out there for super hero movie and television fans. This is just the tip of the iceberg. From all of the television and film being produced, it looks like the age of the superhero has at least a few more years of kick left in it.

News Blast: Star Wars Trailers

News Blast: Star Wars Trailers

Folks that are not attuned to the media Force may have missed the fact that this last weekend was Star Wars Celebration, a giant Star Wars convention that happens every year. Well, technically, it was Star Wars Celebration Europe III, but that’s an unimportant detail.

People may not realize that Star Wars is formally entrenched in the Disney production machine. Quite a lot of news leaked out of the convention concerning a variety of Star Wars properties. Of course, people that have followed us for a while know that my first loyalty in Star Wars fandom are the CGI animated television shows (Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels). This weekend featured the release of the trailer for the upcoming Season Three of Rebels [Warning: Spoilers abound for people that missed the end of Season 2]:

The trailer seems to throw a lot out there. Probably the biggest revelation is the introduction of Grand Admiral Thrawn, first introduced in Timothy Zahn’s non-canonical Heir to the Empire. Thrawn, the only non-human in the Empire to be promoted to Grand Admiral, has been a subject of fan question ever since the House of Mouse exploded the Expanded Universe. A fan favorite, he might represent the most competent Imperial Officer ever introduced in Star Wars (given the propensity for most of the other ones to die rather unfortunately). Other revelations include the return of Maul and some new revelations as to the nature of the Force.

Truth be told, I missed it, but Dan pointed out that the voice of the Bendu, the peculiar creature claiming to be the “middle ground” of the Force, is voiced by none other than Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker. Although not the first Doctor to appear in a Star Wars series, as that honor would belong to David Tennant in his portrayal of the droid professor Huyang, it does say something about the reach of the animated Star Wars content. Between Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, the CGI animated series is becoming the place for notable actors to go (George Takei, Seth GreenClancy Brown, Simon Pegg, Katee SackhoffJon Favreau, Sarah Michelle GellarJim Cummings, and even Mark Hamill in a different role).

With a lot of serious story going on in Rebels, it’s easy to forget that 2016 will also bring something new to the Star Wars continuity: a live-action “side story” (or what Dan and I like to call a “Gaiden”) film in the form of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Although a new trailer was featured at the event, it hasn’t been officially released as of this writing. However, a production trailer combined with the original was released:

I will admit that the closer it gets to release, the more excited I get about this new movie. A departure from the Skywalker-centric stories of Episodes I-VIII, this new “Star Wars Gaiden” looks to be expanding the Star Wars universe in new, cinematic directions. From what little has been released, it feels like this movie (and, potentially, the rest of these Gaiden stories) will create compelling characters and stories within the iconic Star Wars universe that are tangentially related to the Skywalker Magnum Opus we got with Episodes I-VI, which should be a nice change.

Additional information about the next Star Wars Gaiden, popularly referred to as “the Han Solo movie,” was also provided: Alden Ehrenreich has been confirmed as the man playing the galaxy’s favorite scoundrel (although I’ll admit to being more of a Lando man, myself). With filming beginning sometime in 2017, it will be interesting to see where the directors of The LEGO Movie will take the character of Han Solo and the Star Wars universe.

Overall, Star Wars Celebration dribbled just enough Star Wars fun to keep everybody excited for the Fall. If you’re interested in all of the details, I recommend checking out Gizmodo’s coverage spread of articles here.