Close The X-Files

Everything that lives, eventually dies.

And that’s okay because it’s the fear of death, of Thanatos, that drives all animals, of which we are, to procreate (so that our genes–and what are we if not the genetic material that literally makes us up–live on in our children).

Immortality of a sort.

What does the above idea have to do with The X-Files, a series that aired from 1993 to 2002 on Fox, and spawned two movies, The X-Files: Fight the Future in 1998 and The X-Files: I Want to Believe in 2008?

Well, there’s talk of another ‘event series’ of The X-Files, following the last six-episode series that aired in 2016.

And I wish they’d just stop.  The original series started promisingly, with two FBI agents working to uncover secrets that our government denied ever existed, with an emphasis on UFO mythology, combined with stand-alone stories that existed outside the aforementioned overarching mythos.

And that was good, till it became so entangled in that ungainly mythology that it literally collapsed under it (and I’m not being hyperbolic.  The series literally became incomprehensible and nonsensical, sometime with job a single episode).

If it had just gone away longer it would acted as a breather, a palate cleanser, to remove the bitter, ash-like taste of a show that just.  Refuses.  To.  Die.

And maybe David Ducovny and Jillian Anderson would be unable (or unwilling) to return.

If so then just recast, creating a world that would be both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time to those who remembered the original series with fondness.

As it stands, these X-Files event series remind me less of the original show than The Walkind Dead, which is the true face of immortality.

Discovering A Relic Within A Cabinet Of Curiosities

Peter Hyams’ 1997’s creature-feature, The Relic, was a pretty good movie.  It featured Tom Sizemore (despite his personal foibles, the man’s a damn good actor) as Lt. Vincent D’Agosta, who had to stop a mysterious killer who’s MO was beheading.

He follows the bodies to–if I recall–The Museum of Natural History, where something monstrous has returned home.

And it’s a good movie, but there’s one detail that’s a bit problematic.  And that is that  Agent Aloysius Pendergast was written out entirely.

Which is a shame because Agent Pendergast is one of the most interesting characters in the novels.  Visualize a thin man of average hight, who’s an albino.  This is an important detail because he’s a very natty dresser, and is occasionally described as a very well-dressed cadaver.

In terms of abilities, he’s what you might get if you crossed Sherlock Holmes (or maybe Solar Pons), with Indiana Jones and a ninja.

Luckily it appears this little oversight is about to be corrected because Gale Anne Hurd–of The Terminator, The Walking Dead, and many others–is developing a series based on the novels that will feature Pendergast for Spike TV, which is a very good thing indeed.

The Punisher We Need

For some reason Marvel Comics’ Punisher has been a difficult nut to crack–despite the fact that the character is essentially Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) from 1974’s Death Wish, a movie that went on to do pretty well at the box office.

His first appearance was in New World Pictures 1984 movie The Punisher, and despite the criticism that surrounds that movie, wasn’t terrible–which isn’t to imply that it was great, though it was enjoyable in its own way–and Dolph Lindgren (and his ever-present Swedish accent) interpreted the material pretty well.

Unfortunately, not even the Punisher couldn’t get people into theaters, and the movie flopped.

The character was revisited again in LionsGate’s 2004 movie The Punisher, this time starring Thomas Jane.

Jane does pretty well in the role, despite not being as physically similar to the character as Lundgren.

And it once again underperforms–despite that if you move forward ten years to 2014 Denzel Washington starred in the successful movie interpretation of The Equalizer (based on a 1985 CBS television series) who essentially IS the Punisher.

Lionsgate tried again in 2008 with Punisher: War Zone which was similar in tone to the 1984 movie (with its violence intact and intensified, if nothing else).

And it too didn’t do that well, and since you’d be lucky to get one chance at success, never mind three, you’d be safe in assuming that the Punisher had killed his last opponent. Continue reading

Colony, Ep. 1 – Review

Screenshot 2015-12-23 21.34.30.pngWhen we first meet Will Bowman (Josh Halloway) he’s preparing breakfast–or at least attempting to–for his family, that consists of his wife Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies, most recently of The Walking Dead) and three children, before he heads out to work.

Though one of his sons is missing, and Will is doing all he can to put on a brave face for his family.

The feeling that things aren’t quite right not only with the Bowman family, but the world they live in, permeates Colony.  People barter for the most basic goods and Los Angeles is under martial law, and is surrounded by a huge wall evocative of John Carpenter’s underrated Escape From L.A.

And if that weren’t bad enough, order is maintained by a mysterious black-suited military force of unknown origin.

The how’s and why’s are revealed grudgingly so, while there isn’t yet enough information to understand what’s happened and why things are as they are, it adds an extra level of interest beyond people making do the  best they can in what amounts to a police state.

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Carlton Cuse, the prolific producer of The Strain and Lost, has created a future that visually resembles our own (though the technology in some instances is a bit more advanced) but with the addition of an unknown threat that has turned the place where dreams are made into a nightmare.

Colony premiers January 14 on USA.

Preacher – Teaser Trailer

Vertigo’s Hellraiser was a groundbreaker of sorts for DC Comics, which despite being adapted as a movie starring Keanu Reeves in 2005 and a television show in 2014 was never quite as successful as fans of the character would have wanted it to be.

Garth Ennis’–who also wrote Hellraiser for eight years–created Preacher, which was published in 1995.   Perhaps not surprisingly, it was of a similar vein to Hellraiser in many ways and also dealt with demons, angels and what it meant to be human.

And while it never quite–in comic form, at any rate–had the success of John Constantine, AMC apparently has enough faith in it that they’re willing to build a series around it.

It’s worth mentioning that there’s some validity to the perspective that, while cable series also have to deal with ratings, the threshold for success or failure isn’t quite the same as it is for network television.

Luckily for AMC they also have The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead, which are two of the most successful series on television on either regular television or cable, so even if Preacher isn’t all that they want it to be, they may have a bigger window for it to build an audience, unlike Constantine (which for some reason I refer to as Hellraiser, which is a Clive Barker-directed movie, as opposed to Hellblazer) which lasted only one year.

I actually have the first few issues of Preacher, but truth be told it was never one of my favorites (that honor goes to Shade: The Changing Man and Hellraiser, so I can’t tell how faithful the trailer is to the comic off the top of my head.

Why Superhero Fatigue Is Nonsense (With Zombies!)

Superhero fatigue” seems all the rage among some, but it’s a dubious concept at best, and easily disproven.  Reason being, if superhero fatigue were a thing, it would have been proceeded by ‘zombie fatigue.’

Look at the 2013’s World War Z, the Brad Pitt-starrer that was for awhile looking like the Fantastic Four of its time.

Except that it wasn’t, and despite a $190 million budget it went on to earn over $500 million and spawn a sequel.  And zombies haven’t only been successful in movies.

And speaking of zombies, whether or not they shamble (as God and Romero intended) or run despite the fact that their muscles should have atrophied as much as their bodies have, they clearly aren’t going anywhere.

AMC’s The Walking Dead has not only spawned a spinoff, Fear The WalkIng Dead, but the show continues to be a ratings behemoth for the cable network.

And for the life of me, I don’t quite understand it.  Where I used to work I was the first person to sing its praises (I didn’t have cable, so I purchased the first season via iTunes) and introduced it to anyone that would listen.  The fifth season has recently turned up on Netflix, and I have been watching that too, and its pretty good.

Though what it’s also, is relatively one-note in that while the cast may change, very little about the series itself does.  Not really,

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The scene above, from season 5, episode 10, Them possessed a bit of gallows humor the series sorely misses on a regular basis.

Though there are relatively rare instances when it rises above its humble origins, like in the picture above, though that’s the exception because, except in relatively rare situations, the series refuses to embrace the absurdity of the situation.  It’s as if the writers and directors have a mandate (like the one DC Entertainment supposedly has toward humor), and that mandate is that things will be as grim, as relentlessly bleak, as possible.

And I understand that.  After all, the series exists in a world were dying isn’t quite what it used to be.  The thing is, what the series misses–a lot–is that there’s humor to be found in the bleakest situations.

So, The Walking Dead has lasted over six seasons and shows no sign of slowing down and consistently remains one of the highest rated shows on television, while also being, sometimes literally, a pretty grim slog.

So if a series as repetitive–though admittedly enjoyable (in a end-of-the-world hopeless kind of way) as The Walking Dead–can not only grow, but thrive, then I expect that superheroes, be they in movies or on television, will as well.

Official Comic-Con Trailer – Fear The Walking Dead

Ah, that’s the way they’re going to go!  For awhile I was wondering how AMC brass were going to approach the upcoming AMC partner series to their critical and ratings darling, The Walking Dead.

Now I get it.  It seems that the upcoming spinoff will spend most of its time dealing with the beginning of the zombie threat, when it was in its nascent stages, and could have possibly been averted.

You can almost call it a prequel, in the sense that what takes place in the Fear The Walking Dead are the happenings that Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was in a coma for.

In other words, think of The Walking Dead as The Road Warrior, and Fear The Walking Dead as Mad Max.  That being said, I am still not sure that there’s enough there to differentiate it from the series that animates it (at least not for long), though it’s a bit more clever than I though it would be.