From the time I can remember until, say, my mid 20s I was a serious television addict – I could have told you, generally anyway, what was on prime time network TV on every night of the week and my schedule for watching it. Plus, in the years when I had cable I usually had a syndicated show or two that I was dedicated to (my seventh grade self pretty much planned her life around the twice daily showings of Airwolf on the USA network – I wish I was kidding.)
Then I grew up a little and the tv landscaped changed. I still had my shows – things like Gilmore Girls, and Lost, and Castle – but nothing that really made me cross the line from reasonable adult fan to tv fangirl addict. Plus, viewership changed with Hulu and DVR and Netflix. So I thought I was past all that.
But maybe not.
This television season I will have six shows that are must watch for me every week – yep, six. And five of the six? They are, of course, superhero shows.
Thank goodness I have a DVR – or I’d never leave the house.
So this post comes a little early but my clock says it’s been Saturday for the last two minutes. Friday I was lucky enough to go to my local geek convention and I had a great day. I went with my good friend/cousin who gets as excited about this stuff as I do. So that made it extra special. There were lots of great cos-players, friendly vendors and artists, and so much wonderful geek stuff on display it was hard to know where to look.
For instance – I don’t hang a lot of posters anymore, but the above vendor had a pretty epic selection if I suddenly decided to change up my artwork – especially liked the row of superhero posters above. They were also the only place that really had anything related to the DCTV Supergirl, something we were both on the hunt for – but a poster wasn’t quite the right fit.
I did come home with a new Green Arrow shirt and also had one genuine superhero encounter. I met Rip Hunter of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow in the form of a very polite and friendly Arthur Darvill (who was also Rory Williams from Doctor Who, it was a double fangirl moment) and came home with a great new autograph for my geek wall. It really was a true superhero day.
Tonight my husband and I went to see Jason Bourne – and we sat in the second row – and by the time it was over I was literally motion sick.
To be fair, I love Bourne Identity. It’s one of the best action movies out there, and I think it changed the landscape of action hero films and even superhero films to some degree. For example, I think Daniel Craig’s “blunt instrument” Bond is as much a descendant of Jason Bourne as he is of the previous iterations of 007.
But in terms of stunts and action the Bourne film I saw tonight was a shaky cam letdown. I’ve gotten picky about my stunt sequences in the last few years, and it isn’t because of a movie – it’s because of a TV show.
Arrow has truly fabulous stunts and action sequences, and they’ve kind of spoiled me for anything that’s not done well.
Of course it helps that Arrow has a lead actor willing to do a lot of his own stunts (apparently to the tune of a real life broken nose recently), and is set in a world where fantastical fight sequences are the bread and butter. Not every show can have a crew of arrow and bo staff wielding heroes fighting an army of super soldiers in their season finale.
That aside though, every single of episode of Arrow is full of crisp fight sequences in which you get to “see” the punches and kicks being landed. And they aren’t just well-filmed and choreographed they are inventive – Oliver jumping between floors of a building on the outside of a fire escape, Canary descending into a fight on the industrial version of aerial silks, Thea fighting the bad guy into and back out of a moving elevator – memorable and fun to watch.
So be warned other shows – the bar has been set pretty high by the Green Arrow and friends – and of course, by the crew that makes them look good.
I’ve been on vacation this week, and as a result I don’t have any awesome thoughts about superheroes to share. But don’t worry, I’ve left two fluffy members of the Justice League here to keep you company until I return.
Happy Saturday everyone!
Last week I wrote about my struggle with reading comic books, so I’m particularly delighted whenever I find a novelization of a superhero character, especially a really interesting one like Margaret Stohl’s Black Widow: Forever Red.
When I first read the jacket copy of the book I was a little skeptical – the plot seemed like a bait and switch. Yes, Black Widow is a character, but the protagonist is someone named Ava Orlova. And it’s true that Natasha remains a secondary character – however, the shared history between Natasha and Ava is what binds the whole story together and provides insight into Black Widow’s twisted childhood and adolescence in a fresh way.
This felt like a novelized superhero comic story – fast paced, lots of action, lots of plot twists, and it was a very enjoyable ride. I do wish that the characters would have been a little more developed, and I did find the initial setup of Ava being on her own and yet somehow a competitive fencer a smidge on the unbelievable side, but overall I thought it was a strong, enjoyable book with two powerful dynamic females at the helm.
There’s also a sequel on the way – and I hope this bodes well for more novelized versions of both Marvel and DC characters.
Today I read this article about a copy of the first issue of the Superman comic selling for nearly 1 million dollars. Of course, I agree that it’s an iconic piece of American culture worth the price tag, but it got me thinking about my relationship with comic books.
So true confession time….it’s a struggle for me to read comic books.
Especially reading them a single issue at a time. For a person who can read nearly 100 pages an hour of a novel, the 10 seconds of story line you get in a single issue of a comic book is a little frustrating. It feels more like a really cool uber-specific art exhibit than a story. I do better with graphic novels and comic compilations and have read some really good ones, honestly in part to keep up some level of superhero geek cred, but a single issue of a comic is tough.
I have huge respect for comics as a medium for story telling and artistic expression. I think they can be especially great for reluctant readers and visual learners. And every time I find myself interested in a character that started out in the comics I always do some research so I understand a little bit about the origins and history of that character. My way in to comics has almost always been through something else – I started reading Superman and Green Arrow comic compilations because of movies and TV.
There’s also the fact that, until recently, I was not the target audience for most superhero comic books – and sometimes the overpowering aura of male fantasy interfered a bit with my ability to enjoy the stories and art.
I definitely think that’s changing – and I’m constantly hearing about Batgirl, or Squirrel Girl, or some great early Superman story line that I’d love to read – so maybe there’s hope for me yet. Or maybe, someday, if I’m lucky they’ll make a movie out of it for comic book slackers like me.
Several times over the last few years when I’ve told people either how much I like superhero TV or how much I like The Avengers some version of this conversation has gone down:
Them: Oh, so do you watch Agents of SHIELD?
Me: No, I’ve tried several times to get into it and it just wasn’t …
Them: Yeah, the first few episodes aren’t very good, but it gets better
Me: When does it get better? Could I just skip to that episode?
They then proceeded (and I’m not kidding, this has literally happened four or five times) to give a complicated explanation of how the first season of SHIELD had to build up to Captain America: Winter Soldier and there were several things they didn’t want to spoil that made the show better….and honestly, I’d kinda tuned out by then.
But one day last week the show was in my recommended list on Netflix (again) and I randomly chose an episode from later in Season 1. That first episode was kind of blah…but it was okay….so a few days later I watched another one…and then another one…and now, well I’m a few episodes into Season 2 and willing to admit it’s pretty enjoyable. (I think a solid 80% of the credit goes to Clark Gregg – Can I vote for Phil Coulson for President?)
It’s still not as dear to my heart as Arrow or Supergirl, but it’s a fairly fun summer binge-watching choice. And I admit I’m pretty happy that I’ll never have to have the above conversation again.