Archive for September, 2012

There were three reasons I did not – DID NOT – want to like Elementary, CBS’s new “Modern Day Sherlock Holmes in New York City” crime drama:

1) Obviously, I was concerned that it was basically ripping off BBC’s Sherlock, and while “modern-day Sherlock Holmes” isn’t exactly fresh ground, this is the only one that stars a man so British that his name is Benedict Cumberbatch, so yes, I was worried CBS would stomp on something that did a great job the first time over.

2) CBS already HAS a “Sherlock-type solving murders” series, it’s called The Mentalist and I enjoy it – so I’m a little protective, when I see the same network trotting out a similar premise with a higher-profile title, and

3) Even though the Sherlock Holmes books were essentially eccentric-lead-in-a-crime-procedural stories when they were originally written, I still felt like literally using the Sherlock character was cheating, in a way, or at least being kind of lazy about introducing a new detective character.

So imagine my shock at quite liking Elementary.   (more…)

I’m trying to figure out which of NBC’s new comedies is weirder – the one where there’s a monkey walking around in a lab coat, or the one where everyone is incredibly, overwhelmingly sad.

I think I’m gonna give it to Go On, but that’s just because, in addition to being a pretty odd damn premise for NBC to sign off on, it’s also not bad, at least for the first few episodes I’ve seen.

And I’m not sure I totally understand the deeper layers of Monkey Doctor Annie’s Boobs’ character yet, anyway.  (more…)

AKA, “The Comic Where Batman Doesn’t Know How To Use Similes”

Detective Comics, Vol. 1: Faces of Death

I’m glad I waited to read Tony Daniel’s Detective Comics before writing up a full review of the Batman books, because initially I was going to include a section on some of the awkward dialogue found in Peter Tomasi’s over-earnest but generally entertaining Batman & Robin. But then I got through Daniels’ opening run, and…hoo-boy.

Let’s start with the positive. I’m always impressed by how much Daniels strives to improve his art. Since he debuted in the mid-90’s, he’s worked steadily, first at Image and then at DC, and you can really see him taking on different influences and trying to incorporate them into his own style. Here, he’s developed a hybrid of Frank Miller, Neil Adams and Jim Lee, and it mostly works (even though, as with most of the New 52, he’s done no favors by the overly busy costume redesign).

But as a writer, he’s far less adept. Clearly, he’s trying to channel both the tough-guy Miller narration AND the goofy thrills of Grant Morrison’s “All versions of Batman are valid” interpretation, but he lacks the requisite skill and it ends up coming off like bad karaoke.  (more…)

It’s nice when a TV pilot lets you know early in its runtime that there’s practically no way you can recommend it to anyone.

For The Mob Doctor, that moment came 10 minutes in. The Mob Doctor, Grace, has just been briefed on her new heart patient, who is in the witness protection program. She then receives flowers from a “boyfriend,” with a card that reads – in GIANT BLOCK SHARPY LETTERS – “KILL HIM”.

Look, you can tell me a lot of lies about how gangsters send their messages, but I’m pretty sure greeting cards with “KILL HIM” are a liiiiittle hard to believe.  (more…)

I am getting married tomorrow. Fun is encouraged, obviously, but we have to set some ground rules.

If you are attending, the following celebratory dances are allowed:

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Let’s dive into the next batch,

Green Arrow Vol. 1: The Midas Touch

This was actually what I feared most when the reboot started taking shape and it became clear that some characters’ histories were essentially being jettisoned in favor of a movie-ready high concept pitch.

Green Arrow as a character is someone who benefits from having a long, entrenched history within the DC universe – his growth from a Batman knock-off to that of a social crusader; his friendship with Green Lantern; his hot-and-cold relationship with Black Canary; his complicated mentoring of Speedy/Arsenal; his Mike Grell urban-hunter period, etc.

These milestones greatly inform and enrich his character, so if you cut them out, you damn well better have something solid to replace them with.

Unfortunately, J.T. Krul managed none of that, instead sticking the newly en-young-ened Oliver Queen (who would now be way too young to have mentored the Roy Harper currently starring in Red Hood and the Outlaws, but nevermind that for now) in a status quo that probably sounded clever at the outset: Oliver is essentially Steve Jobs, globe-trotting manhunter.  (more…)

I am performing Dramaturgery on NBC’s pilot Revolution.  In order to make this show interesting to me, I’ve made some kind of small but important changes to the backstory (detailed in this post here).  That post is pretty extensive (and, to be fair, maybe misleading in terms of a criticism of Revolution — my backstory looks like it’s got a lot of stuff in it, but it could very well be that the current writers have just as much stuff in their story bible, obviously we just haven’t seen it yet), but you can probably skip if for now unless you’re really interested.

Holland doesn’t like me to do this stuff because he thinks it’s pointless, but I don’t think it’s pointless — I think if I get really good at this sort of thing, maybe one day someone will hire me to do Dramaturgery BEFORE they film the pilot, and then we’ll avoid this whole mess.  Now.  To work!

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There are two ways to go with a story like Revolution, and I think Moff is right in one sense, in that just how a society breaks down in the sudden absence of electricity could be pretty interesting, and I think the other sense is how a society builds itself up after the apocalypse, and in the absence of electricity. There are a lot of pretty neat questions to be asked: what is the individual’s responsibility to the state? How much security is worth sacrificing for the sake of stability? Should civilization be about building bigger states, or should we be content with small agrarian communities? What exactly IS civilization – the material well-being of its people, art, culture, roads, what is it? What is the value of science – is it inevitably good? Should it be controlled? By whom? What about kings? Democracy? What about religion – how can it benefit a society’s build? How can it be a hindrance? How exactly do all these things come together, and what is the purpose of them?

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Revolution, According to Braak

Posted: September 6, 2012 in Braak
Tags: , , ,

Holland is making me write about Revolution, because he felt that my many questions about it was worryjimmering, or something, I dunno.  The pilot is on Hulu now, and I have watched it, and I have assembled some thoughts on it.  I’ve placed them in a rough order as follows.

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The pilot for Revolution is available onDemand and on Hulu, so go ahead and watch it when you get the chance since there will be SPOILERS for it in this review. Unless you’re not uptight about that kind of thing (or had no plans to watch the show and just wanted to hear whether it was at all worthwhile), in which case read on.

There are problems with this show.

Not the BS science stuff, Braak took care of that business. I don’t really care about the fake science involved in all electricity going away and how exactly that makes planes fall straight down from the sky – and neither does the show, apparently, based on the one character’s dismissed complaint that “Physics went crazy” that day – it’s just a means of getting to the low-tech, agrarian, post-government-collapse future setting it wants to play in, so okay, fine.

My problem with the show is it’s paced at a trudge. (more…)