Archive for TV shows

The debut of new Western podcast Hellbent for Letterbox

Posted in Genres, movies, podcast, pop culture, Western with tags , , , , , , on February 11, 2016 by Paxton

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My good friend (and Nerd Lunch Fourth Chair Army officer) Mr Michael May asked me to co-host a podcast with him.  And I must be crazy because I said, “Sure, why not?”  And let me tell you why I said that.  First, Michael is awesome.  We love him on Nerd Lunch, in fact, we just recently finished up several episodes in a row with him (Janu-May-ary).  Second, Michael and I have a similar love for the Western genre.  So, Michael asked if I wanted to start an all-Westerns podcast.  There was no way I could say “no” to that.

So, this podcast is going to watch and review a different Western every month.  We will probably also watch and review certain Western TV shows as well as discuss a few Western books.  But the focus will be mostly movies.  I’m really looking forward to it because I have a few holes in my Western viewing that need to be filled.

Which, for this first episode, Michael and I set the table for the podcast.  We talk about our introduction to the Western genre.  We talk about some of our favorite Western movies, stars and directors.  We talk about what we hope to accomplish with this show and what types of movies and stars we want to “catch up” on.  And, at the very end, Michael reveals what our first movie review will be in our second episode.

So come check out the beginning of Hell Bent for Letterbox.  I don’t know if you can get it on iTunes just yet. but if not, it will be there soon.  Maybe even Stitcher at some point.

Regardless, you can listen to the show right here.

If you’re super excited about subscribing in iTunes and it’s not showing up, here’s the RSS feed you can drop into iTunes to subscribe manually.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Flash vs an invisible man (1991)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2015 by Paxton

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The Flash TV series debuted in September 1990.

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In episode 10, which aired January 1991, The Flash would come up against a villain who had invented a personal cloaking device, essentially turning him into an invisible man. That episode was titled Sight Unseen.

It’s a pretty cool episode. The pre-credit opening shows us a burglary, but it’s being done by someone invisible. We see keyboard keys depress and doors opening without seeing anybody onscreen. Then, after the alarms go off, we see the door open on it’s own and then the thief appears as if out of thin air.

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He looks very Shadow-like in the below shot as he dictates to what looks like a mini-recorder device about his plans.  .

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Not sure why he does this right outside the crime scene.  Stay invisible, dude, get to your hideout THEN do your “notes to self”

We get the weekly appearance of officers Bellows and Murphy.

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Bellows is the believer (right) and Murphy is the skeptic (left). However, while Murphy doesn’t believe The Flash exists, he spends most of his time trying to monetize the fact that other people do think he exists.  Here he tries to convince Bellows to sell $6 shirts to people for $20 a pop.

This show is clearly set-designed by the same team that did Burton’s Batman in 1989. Check out Central City Police Headquarters.

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In the stairwell that leads up to the crime lab where Barry Allen works, there’s a weird “science-y” mural painted on the wall.

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In this episode we get the debut of federal agent Quinn. And he’s clearly an a-hole.  He’s very driven and is obsessed with capturing the cloaking device used by the invisible man. He reminds me a lot of agent Milton Dammers in The Frighteners (right) as played by Jeffrey Combs about five years later.

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Several times in the episode we get to see invisible-to-visible reveals of the villain. Here’s a cool one where The Flash confronts the guy’s lair.

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And here’s one where the villain is thrown on the hood of a car and it turns the cloaking device off.

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Finally Barry figures out that he can see the invisible man with specially developed contact lenses with thermal vision.

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Honestly, I thought any invisible man’s downfall would be thermal vision. You may be invisible to light, but you’ll always give off a heat signature.

It’s a pretty good episode. No overt Wells-ian easter eggs. The scientist who develops the cloaking device is called Gideon. Which sounds kind of like Griffen, the protagonist from Wells’ novel. Also like Griffen, he’s British. He’s played by Christopher Neame who has been in a ton of stuff from this to Ghostbusters II, License to Kill and The Prestige. Coincidentally enough, he also would appear in one episode of Sci-Fi Channel’s 2000 TV series, The Invisible Man.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Invisible Mouse (1947)

Posted in books, cartoons, Halloween, holiday, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , on October 19, 2015 by Paxton

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The Invisible Mouse was an episode of Tom and Jerry directed by Hanna and Barbera and was released in 1947.

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It was a parody of the Invisible Man concept from both the HG Wells novel and the Universal Studios movie (which was released 14 years prior to the cartoon).

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As usual the cartoon starts with the rampant chasing and violence between Tom and Jerry. They chase each other up a flight of stairs, jump on the banister and start sliding down. Then Jerry shifts to a second banister to avoid….wait, WHAT?! I don’t think banisters work that way. What the hell is going on there?

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Jerry jumps on the counter, finds a “chemo set” and jumps in a random bottle to evade Tom. However, it seems that Jerry accidentally jumped into a bottle of “invisible ink”. And it’s turning him invisible.

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Interesting.  Jerry’s invisibility is not hampered by seeing your food through your stomach. Whatever he eats seems to immediately turn invisible.

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But he still apparently casts a shadow.  Wait, what?!  What is the light reflecting around to cause that shadow?!

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Jerry has lots of fun with his new invisibility. He gives Tom the classic “hot foot” and tees off on Tom’s backside with what looks like a 3 Wood.

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The short ends with Jerry banishing Tom from the house by getting Spike the dog to chase after him and then laying on Tom’s pillow drinking his chocolate milk. Which seems to restore Jerry back to visible?!  Okay.

Well, this particular version of invisible has some goofy rules but what can you expect from a Tom and Jerry cartoon?  It’s still a fairly enjoyable watch for fans of the show.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Invisible Man TV series (2000)

Posted in pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2015 by Paxton

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There have been a surprising number of invisible man series here and over in Britain. Instead of covering all of them, I decided to look at one that I was the most familiar with.

In the summer of 2000 a TV show premiered featuring a sci-fi based modern interpretation of an invisible man. It was called, oddly enough, The Invisible Man.

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The show would last for two seasons on the fledgling Sci-Fi channel.

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I vaguely remember this show airing. If only for the “quicksilver” effect of the guy turning invisible.  It’s a more science-y update of the invisible man story.

Darien Fawkes (as in Dumbledore’s pet phoenix) is a thief.  And not a particularly good one.  He is caught and sent to prison for his third strike.  His scientist brother bails him out and promises him freedom if he’ll participate in an experiment for a few weeks.

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That experiment involves an artificial gland that is surgically inserted into Darien’s head that excretes a special substance called Quicksilver that coats Darien’s body and turns him invisible.  At first he can’t control it, it can only be triggered by adrenaline.  Darien, at first eager to remove the gland, is just beginning to learn to control the Quicksilver through Tai-Chi when one of the lead scientists on the team double crosses everyone, kills them and attempts to trap Darien.  In the process, he kills Darien’s brother.

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Darien barely escapes but is forced to go on the run from the rogue scientist.  He is approached by The Agency, the covert government division that funded his brother’s experiments.  It seems the rogue scientist also tampered with the Quicksilver gland so it’ll cause Darien to slowly go mad with rage the more he uses his invisibility and the longer he goes without a special serum.  The Agency offers their help and access to the serum if Darien works for them.

And that’s mostly the setup of the show.  There are some interesting ideas.  The effects aren’t that bad.  My main problem is with the actor who plays Darien, Vincent Ventresca.  He’s kind of a douche bag.  He’s supposed to be, but he does it too well.  I can’t root for the guy because he’s a dick.  And they try to make him rogue-ish and likeable, but that actually works against him.  He’s a two-bit crook who robs from elderly old men (as you see in the beginning and it’s actually what he’s put in jail for) yet he quotes Mark f**king Twain to one of the scientists.  Annoying.

The concept is interesting enough, that I did wind up watching a few episodes of the show hoping Darien’s edge would be dulled a bit as the show progressed.  I watched the 2 hour pilot and a few of the “gimmick” shows like the one with the “evil invisible man” and the possible return of the dead brother.  There’s also one with an invisible woman, but I didn’t make it quite that far.  But I did read far enough ahead on Wikipedia to discover where the government got the Quicksilver…but that’s a tale for another day.

The show isn’t bad, even if the lead is a bit unlikable.

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This is funny. At one point Darien goes to an out of the way taco place to meet a government agent. As he walks in, hanging just over the cook’s left shoulder, oh so subtle-like, is the poster for the original Universal The Invisible Man.  Well played, Sci-Fi.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Starlog’s pop culture history of invisibility (1992)

Posted in magazine, movies, pop culture, Starlog, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on October 15, 2015 by Paxton

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In issue 177 of Starlog magazine, which showcases an interview with John Carpenter about his upcoming Memoirs of an Invisible Man, there is an article by Michael Wolff on the pop culture history of invisibility. It’s written as if invisibility exists and is recounting the many different ways one would make oneself invisible. And throughout the article Wolff peppers in movies and TV shows that featured some form of invisibility.

Here’s the article, click to make the images BIGGER.

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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

5 Classic cartoons that were ruined by the addition of a child character

Posted in cartoons, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , on August 25, 2015 by Paxton

This week on Nerd Lunch, episode 193, we are talking about things we think have gotten a bad rap. We discuss things like The Spice Girls, Star Trek Enterprise, the Keanu Reeves Constantine movie and the Robert Patrick character from X-Files.  We are joined by William Bruce West and Kirk Howle for a pretty good discussion.

During the fourth chair carryover question, we all discuss lists that we’d like to write. I mentioned that I had written a list about cartoons that I had sitting in my drafts for YEARS (it was originally written in 2012) that I wanted to get posted.  This is that list.

I love cartoons, but there was a rash of poor decisions by studios in the 80s wherein they added baby or child characters to their shows.  Here are five cartoons that were ruined by that practice.

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Scooby-Doo (Scrappy) – Scrappy-Doo is the poster child for bad “youth” characters. He’s so universally hated that in the recent (and AWESOME) 2012 Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc series from Cartoon Network Scrappy shows up stuffed in an exhibit at the Mystery Museum featuring Scooby villains from the past. The Mystery gang promises each other that they’d never talk about it again. Bravo.  As we’ll see, Scrappy turned out, unfortunately, to be very popular and would create a trend in cartoons to add baby or child characters to popular cartoon shows.

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Fangface (Baby Fang)I LOVED FANGFACE. Anytime you could get a cartoon featuring classic monsters, I was ALL IN (Drak Pack, Gravedale High, Teen Wolf, etc, etc).  However, in season 2, based on the apparent “success” of Scrappy-Doo, Fangface gets a baby nephew that is also a werewolf despite not making any sense based on the opening narration that states only one werewolf is born EVERY 400 YEARS.

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The Plastic Man and Baby Plas Super Hour (Baby Plas) – The Ruby Spears Plastic Man cartoon is GREAT. I loved it. However, during the second season, Plas is saddled with Baby Plas. Usually these children are nephews, but Baby Plas was actually the result of Plastic Man and Penny marrying.  And then he was the cause of me hating the show.

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Captain Caveman (and Son) – Again I LOVE CAPT CAVEMAN.  My son loves Capt Caveman who appeared on an episode of that aforementioned 2012 Scooby Doo Mystery Inc show.  Like Plastic Man, Capt Caveman was given a son in the mid 80s when he appeared in segments of the much younger kid focused TV show, The Flintstone Kids.  This particular entry may be the worst after Scrappy.  I mean, Baby Plas is pretty awful, but Cavey Jr was a disaster.

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Godzilla (Godzooky) – This is the only entry in the list where the child character actually started out on the show from the very beginning.  Godzooky is so bad that he even ruins the awesome Godzilla cartoon intro as soon as he shows up.

A plethora of podcasting!

Posted in comic books, movies, podcast, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2015 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Lots of podcasting goodness to get you through this week.

First off, check out the latest episode of Nerd Lunch with returning guests Shawn Robare and Reilly from ReillyGeek who makes her celebrated return to the show after a two year absence. This episode we are doing the Summer Preview episode in which we all reveal things we are looking forward to doing over the summer. We discuss movies, TV and even food items. Check it out.

Download this episode from iTunes, Stitcher or listen to it on Feedburner or online right here.

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Also, the nerds and I make TWO appearances on the Atomic Geeks this week. Check out CT, Jeeg and I on episode 30 of The Atomic Geeks which was recorded LIVE in Chicago during C2E2!  The group of us take on a giant episode of Versus in which we pit pop culture things together in a giant battle royal.  Check out Swamp Thing vs Groot, Angry Whopper vs Big Mac and The Duke Boys vs Miami Vice.  It’s an action packed episode that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

While in Chicago with the Geeks, we all recorded an extra special Supplementary episode.  Check it out on The Atomic Geek’s feed.  It’s all of us talking about C2E2, the stuff we saw, toys, celebrities and cosplay.  Lots  and lots of fun discussions.

All of this is waiting for you to drop in your ears.