This Episode Of The World’s Best Podcast has been available for a few days to all of our listeners, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to post it on the site yet. So thank you for your patience! This was a really fun episode that I recorded with Ryan McDonald. We do a full spoiler review of The Incredibles 2, we talk about Shymalan’s Unbreakable Universe and the upcoming movie, Glass, we discuss Jordan Peele’s desire to make a film adaptation of the Gargoyles animated series (a personal favorite TV show of mine), & much more! Listen here at the link below or on The Boston Podcast Network ( pod617.com ), and subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
I don’t have any comic series that I read consistently, but I do like picking up stories that are either getting a lot of buzz, or are going to be the basis for some adaptation. I’ve been seeing a lot about the “Flash War” event which will pit Barry Allen against Wally West. Last week the first issue came out, and I picked it up, along with the ‘prelude’ which was in the annual.
Hey Everybody, Paul here. As the resident comic book expert I thought I’d help fill in some of the blanks in the background with ‘Flash War”. Mike not quite having his comic book super nerd powers yet. So anytime in this article you see italics text like this pop up, that’s me putting in my two cents. It’s two authors for the price of one!
Now, I’ve read Flashpoint, and Flash: Savage World, a couple of the Justice League trade paperbacks, as well as being a fan of the TV show, so take my opinion as that of someone who’s not an expert, but also not diving in for the first time. If you’re interested in this story, I do suggest picking up the annual with the prelude, because I found that it makes things a bit clearer in the first issue.
Besides the Flash Annual that Mike mentioned earlier, the storyline that is most important to understanding Flash War is a story that goes back to Geoff John’s original run on The Flash BEFORE The New 52 and even before Barry Allen came back from the dead. At this point in DC history Barry Allen had died in the classic mega-event Crisis on Infinite Earths. For the nearly three decades after, Barry’s sidekick Wally West aka Kid Flash became The Flash full time. For a whole generation of readers (or if you even just knew The Flash from the Justice League animated series) Wally West WAS The Flash. Anyway, this super important story was called BLITZ and it was all about how former FBI criminal profiler Hunter Zolomon, who was a good friend of The Flash, became the super villain Zoom and initiated a devastating attack on Wally West and his family.
I’m not going to review the individual parts, but now that I have an idea of what the story is, I’m going to write about it, and then when the series concludes, I’ll write a review of it as a whole.
So, if you’re familiar with DC’s recent history, they had the “New 52” runs, and then there was Flashpoint which I believe allowed them to reset somethings after that, to try the “Rebirth” runs. Well, there were some consequences to all of these resets and reboots, and one major one, which apparently directly stems from Flashpoint, is that the Wally West (the third Flash) from pre-“New 52” no longer exists as he did. He is still around, but he has no history, much of his memory is cloudy due to being lost in the ever-changing timeline, and almost no one remembers him.
Ok so there’s actually another super important story that you need to read called DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH, also written by Geoff John’s. When Barry created Flashpoint and created The New 52 as we know it, “classic” Wally West had seemingly been erased from history. This story partially shows how he escaped from The Speed Force and why there are 2 very different Wally West’s in The New 52 continuity. It also, tells us that Barry creating Flashpoint was not the only person responsible for this altered universe… Just read the story, it’s a huge reveal.
*Some minor spoilers from this point out*
As Mike goes into here, there are now 2 Wally West’s in this reality. The adult, white, pre-The New 52, FLASH Wally West who escaped The Speed Force in DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH and teenage, African-American, KID FLASH Wally West. Now Wally is a white red haired guy, still operating under the title of Flash (although Iris West-Allen, Barry’s wife and Wally’s aunt who doesn’t know who he is, refers to him as the new Flash because Barry is still the Flash as well.) Wallace on the other hand, is a younger, black teenager (not sure how old he’s supposed to be, but he’s shorter which I’m pretty sure equals younger) Paul chiming in here, he’s roughly in his mid-teens and is Kid-Flash, but is also Iris’s nephew.
So, they’re the same person but different people. It’s a little confusing, but I like it, because I’m a big fan of time-travel and the idea that if anything were done differently in a time-line individuals could be genetically different people from one to another.
At this point in the article, bless his heart, Mike sort of misinterpreted the chain of events. Basically, Time Agents from the 25th Century (kind of like Minority Report) all dressed like good versions of classic Flash villains, The Rogues, show up at try to arrest Iris for supposedly killing Eodard Thawne (Classic Flash villain The Reverse Flash) at some point… in the future… I guess? Even I’m a little confused on this on, guys. These Time Agents could be full of shit, but adult Wally freaks out at the idea of these assholes taking Iris, where Barry wants to let cooler heads prevail and calmly go with The Time Agents to figure out what’s going on. Some fighting and time travel ensues… One of The Time Agents has a really cool and surprising power source I won’t spoil here.
As the first issue comes to a close, we see that Wally has been transported to a future in which he did exist, while Barry, Iris, and Wallace were transported to the alternate future, and Hunter Zolomon aka Zoom tells Wally he’s going to help him change the past and save his children who were erased in Flashpoint.
This issue is kind of framed by Hunter Zolomon and his POV. To the best of my knowledge, the first time we’ve seen this version of Zoom and Wally’s kids since before Flashpoint, because they’re all pre- The New 52 characters.
I’m really excited, because as I said before I really enjoy time-travel and time line stories, I also really enjoy stories in which protagonists conflict with each other, sometimes I find it more interesting than when there is a clear protagonist. I’m not sure to what level Zoom will participate, my only familiarity with him is from season 2 of the Flash on CW, but I’m really looking forward to what’s coming up.
The Hunter Zolomon/Zoom of this comic is VASTLY different from the Zoom from The Flash CW series. I like Mike’s enthusiasm, but I think this isn’t a great comic for new readers. It’s really more for people who’ve been following The Flash and DC Comics in general for the past decade or so. I recommend new readers check out, as an alternative, the mini-series The Man of Steel by Brian Michael Bendis currently in it’s 3rd issue. You can get at your local comic book store or on your tablet on the ComiXology app. It’s very new reader friendly and all you really need to know is who Superman is and the bare minimum about his world. I hope you guys enjoyed our different takes on Flash War part 1. Thanks for reading, everyone!
On this week’s episode of “The World’s Best Podcast”, Paul Sr. and I discuss the new trailers for Halloween, Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse, & Predator, The opening of Ocean’s 8 and the other films in the franchise, the death of Anthony Bourdain, and much more! Listen here, on The Boston Podcast Network pod617.com , or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
Spider-Man reached a historic milestone this week with the publication of Amazing Spider-Man #800. This was also the penultimate chapter of writer Dan Slott’s celebrated run on the series. For the finale, Slott pulled out all the stops and gave Peter Parker a truly monumental threat to face for his last story arc on the book. Slott’s story has been building to an epic confrontation with Norman Osborn, unquestionably Peter’s greatest adversary.
Though memorably played by Willem Dafoe in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film series, I always hated Dafoe’s campy and cartoonish performance as one of comics’ best villains. But that’s an article for another day. In the above mentioned comic book story arc, Osborn has returned to once again torment Peter Parker and everyone around him, but this time not only has he regained his abilities that made him so dangerous as The Green Goblin, he’s also bonded with the alien symbiote worn by Carnage, creating the seemingly unstoppable: RED GOBLIN!
Osborn has never been so deadly and his new persona as THE RED GOBLIN is a terrifying, unstoppable monster. To use a cliché: All the strengths of The Green Goblin and Carnage, but none of their weaknesses. It takes everything Peter has, including the aid of everyone from all the other Spider themed heroes like Miles Morales to semi-reformed villains Venom and Otto Octavius, to bring down The Red Goblin. Hell, even MJ and Aunt May get some licks in. Ultimately, Flash Thompson, Peter’s former high school bully, turned good friend, turns the tide of the battle. Now the military war vet/super hero Anti-Venom; Flash sacrifices himself to give Peter the chance to defeat Osborn.
With Osborn beaten, Peter takes a moment to appreciate his victory and take in the destruction caused by their fight. When J. Jonah Jameson walks out of the smoke with a gun, intending to finally put an end to the death and misery caused by Osborn. It was far too close this time, Peter didn’t even come close to beating Osborn on his own. It took unprecedented amounts of help and a whole lot of luck to just barely defeat this monster.
JJ has known Peter is Spider-Man for awhile at this point
Jameson knows Norman will be back like he has so many times before to bring death and horror into their lives. Osborn has killed thousands of innocents, used a U.S. Intelligence agency as his personal kill squad when he became head of SHIELD, started a war with Asgard, and finally he was responsible for one of comic books’ most iconic and heartbreaking deaths: the love of Peter’s life Gwen Stacy.
Not to mention the countless other innocent victims that have been caught in the crossfire between Osborn and Spider-Man over the years. He knows Peter can’t and wont do what needs to be done: kill Osborn. But this is a burden Jonah is willing to bear for the young man he once saw as a menace. So, doing what needs to be done, what he believes is right, he pulls the trigger to kill Norman Osborn….
…. And Peter dives in front of the bullet to save Osborn. Taking a slug in the shoulder for the man who juts killed one of his best friends. …..Wait… …Um.. …Hold on a second… ….Ummmm… WHAT?!…. WHAT THE FUCK?!!!!….. WHY?!!!!!!
Because Peter Parker isn’t a hero, he’s a coward. With great power comes great responsibility. Flash Thompson understood that and gave his life for it. Jameson understood by the making the choice to take on the burden Peter didn’t have the strength to. When Peter took that bullet he spat on Flash’s sacrifice. Every death caused by Osborn from this moment on is Peter’s responsibility. Trust me, this is Comics. Osborn WILL be back to kill and maim again, in some form or another.
Police and their use of firearms is a very touchy subject in this country right now, so I’m speaking hypothetically here. I understand that police using their firearms inappropriately is a serious problem in this county at the moment and I take that very seriously. But stay with me here for a second while I make a quick point, hypothetically in a world where police officers use their weapon in the line of duty only in the situations where it’s absolutely necessary or if a psychopath is killing people, isn’t it their responsibility to save lives? Even if it means killing the perpetrator? Or what if an officer were defending themselves from an armed and dangerous individual? How is this different than the many times Norman Osborn has murdered people, put lives in danger, and terrorized people over and over again. If the police had encountered Osborn in almost ANY of the senario’s that Peter has, they would have killed him (if they could of course, Osborn is probably impossible for a normal human cop to take down). Peter should have put Osborn down for good a long time ago. If he really believed in dedicating his life to being a hero, he’d have realized that so many of the lives Osborn has taken are on him.
I think this is a good time to point out that Peter Parker is a superpowered, masked vigilante whose identity isn’t known to the general public. You and I cant go around taking the law into our hands, but he can. In fact, he does it all the time. That’s what being Spider-Man is. He just doesnt have the guts to kill Osborn and because of his abilities and persona as Spider-Man, this is a crime he could very likely get away with, in a way normal people couldn’t.
This isn’t the first time Peter has pulled something like this. A few years ago through a convoluted set of circumstances, Norman Osborn became head of SHILED and the Avengers instantly became outlaws. Hawkeye argues that Osborn is insane, homicidal, and cannot under any circumstances be allowed to keep control of SHIELD. Hawkeye thinks the only thing to do, the thing they need to do, have a responsibility to do is kill Osborn. The public doesn’t know that he’s a madman and potentially millions of lives are in danger with Osborn controlling the weapons at SHIELD’s disposal.
At which point Spider-Man argues that HAWKEYE is the one who’s crazy for even suggesting they kill Osborn and tells the rest of the Avengers that Osborn will inevitably shoot himself in the foot and the public will see him for the monster he really is. Well, how many people will die while you just sit around waiting for this to happen, Peter? In a world where individuals can be classified as a “Person Of Mass Destruction” isn’t it dangerously negligent for Spider-Man to have this attitude? Isn’t this the very definition of “With great power, comes great responsibility”?
This is why I think Spider-Man only works as a character when he’s a teenager. I only read Amazing Spider-Man #800 because it was a milestone issue. The only Spider-Man book I currently read on a monthly basis is Spider-Man which stars the other younger Spider-Man, high schooler Miles Morales. When a teenager sees the world in such morally black and white terms… well, they’re teenagers. What the fuck do they know? I remember when I was 16 I thought good and evil were clear lines and I’d never see the world as a place where thing like “necessary evils” must exist. But of course as I grew up, I changed and so did my view of the world. It almost seems like Peter Parker never grew up. It seems as if he never matured past his childish and naive sense of morality. So when you read a Spider-Man book or see a Spider-Man movie, they tend to be at their best when Peter is a teenager. It’s no coincidence that my personal favorite Spider-Man stories ever told were part of Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man run, which chronicled Peter as he navigated the dangers of super villains and his New York City high school.
Tony Stark and Steve Rogers debate morality all the time, but they’ve never debated the morality of killing murderous, super-powered lunatics. Spider-Man is always talking about how “with great power, comes great responsibility”. But I say Peter Parker is a coward who doesn’t have the courage of his own convictions. Heroes do what needs to be done, they don’t hide behind some bullshit code. SPIDER-MAN IS NOT A HERO. SPIDER-MAN IS A COWARD. Let online onslaught of hate begin…
In all honesty, I’d love to hear your opinions on the points I bring up in this article. Please write you comments below or on our Facebook Page and maybe we’ll read your question or comment on an upcoming episode of The World’s Best Podcast.
On this Episode, I bring in the old man, Paul Sr. to discuss the season finales of Arrow, The Flash, Supernatural, and Gotham. We discuss the big moments of each finale, the quality of the preceding seasons, and where the shows go from here. A few of these shows we really love and have suffered from a dip in quality lately. So we have a lot of hot takes in this one! Including some inside info on how the shows connect to some other interesting projects like the Green Arrow movie that almost was called Supermax, the upcoming annual CW superhero crossover event involving Gotham City and Batwoman, the classic Batman stories “No Man’s Land” “Zero Year”, and more! Also, take a look below the link at some cool new images put out to promote the upcoming seasons of the show’s we talk about in this episode. Enjoy! Listen here, on The Boston Podcast Network pod617.com , or subscribe on Stitcher and ITunes:
I know enough about how television shows work behind the scenes to know when a show is saving its money for something big. You think those dragons on Game of Thrones are fucking cheap?! Well, they ain’t! AND Krypton doesn’t have a fraction of the budget that GoT does. Episode 9 of Krypton’s 10 episode first season had a lot of scenes “in the tunnels” or “in a hidden bunker”, basically sets they already built, dressed up to look like different locations, so they could save all the big bucks for a grand, epic ending. So, I knew this week’s season finale of Krypton was going to be big. I must say the show did not really disappoint.
I’ve often lamented how DC characters can be done so well on TV and so very, very shitty on the big screen. Krypton is another sad reminder of this.On paper, Krypton sounds awful. I really thought the concept was terrible: “A prequel set on Krypton focusing on Superman’s grandfather.” WHO GIVES A FUCK?! RIGHT? Sometimes it’s great to be so wrong. The show was so much more than the above synopsis and ended up being one of the most pleasant surprises of the first part of 2018.
The Big Bad of the show’s first season has been Brainiac, who’s been handled extremely well. The casting, actor Blake Ritson (Da Vinci’s Demons), and character design were damn near perfect. When your biggest complaint is that you want to see more of a character, they’re doing something right.
As the finale begins, Brainiac has descended on the Kryptonian city of Kandor. The end is fucking nigh. The main character, our hero, Seg-El (played by the oh so man pretty Cameron Cuffe) or just Seg, is doing whatever he can to stop Brainiac. To make matters worse, classic DC space adventurer Adam Strange isn’t the only one to travel from to the past to save the future, so has General Zod (Yes. THAT General Zod!) played by Colin Salmon from Arrow and the Bronson James Bond flicks.
Zod wants to prevent the destruction of Krypton and with all the knowledge of the universe, different alien races, and the abilities that Kryptonian ‘s can you develop under a yellow sun under his belt, he wants to usher in a Kryptonian dynasty that will rule the galaxy. This guy is just a fuckwit. Adam Strange had the right idea when he straight up tried to kill Zod the second he saw him earlier in the season. Speaking of Adam Strange…
Adam Strange is just trying to keep the timeline on track. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a great pitch to the his allies currently living on Krypton. After all, their world has to die for Superman to become the greatest hero in the universe. Adam brought Superman‘s Cape with him from the future to give to Seg a little bit of tangible evidence he wasn’t some nutcase. The Cape has been a lot like Marty McFly’s picture of his family from Back to the Future: the more the timeline changes, the more Superman‘s Cape begins to deteriorate and eventually disappear completely. If the past isn’t protected there may be no Man of Steel! Oh, and Zod wants to release Doomsday to stop Brainiac. The shit it hitting the fan here, people!
For the most part the characters, both hero and villain, have worked pretty well. The villains in particular have been great. The whole cast is perfectly fine for the first season of a show like this, but there’s definitely room to improve in season 2. Both the heroes and villains are interesting in their own way and certain classic DC characters are adapted very well for the series. Both General Zod and Brainiac are excellent villains in completely different ways. They’re both perfectly casted and I’m hard pressed to decide which of them is more dangerous in the long run. Brainiac is a force of nature, but Zod is… insidious. Don’t get me wrong, Brainiac is scary as fuck. But he’s kind of like trying to use a gunfight to stop a hurricane.
Zod is scary because of his humanity (even though Kryptonian’s aren’t technically humans). He never lies, but he chooses to leave out some pretty important details about his past. By “hiding the truth” he’s able to get the good guys to work with him despite the fact that they don’t completely trust him. Adam Strange is the only one who knows just how dangerous this fucking guy is because Adam knows how deadly and destructive he was on Earth. As I said before, the looks the show has decided on for Zod, Brainiac, and Doomsday are all excellent. The character design and make up work are phenomenal especially for Brainiac. We don’t see a lot of Doomsday in season one. Most likely because they’re setting up Doomsday to be a major threat in Season 2.
The best part of the series is really how they use the Superman mythology and put their own spin on it. I was pleasantly surprised when certain classic DC characters and stories elements that I didn’t expect, popped up in the series. If they can get the characters as strong as the mythology in season 2, the show could be excellent.
Seg is a solid hero for the show. You can see pieces of Clark Kent in him. You can see parts of the man that his grandson will eventually become. He has that same selflessness and heroism. Of course he looks like him a little bit as well. But he’s still his own character, I would definitely say he’s willing to do more morally questionable things than his grandson probably would. It’ll be interesting to see where they take Seg’s character in season 2.
The episode end’s on one hell of a cliffhanger. A really phenomenal set up for season 2. The genius of this show is that it’s NOT a prequel, it’s really a time travel show. So the series isn’t bound by the existing Superman mythology and can blaze its own trail. All in all, I think this was an excellent finale to a surprisingly strong first season and I can’t wait for Season 2! As always, thanks for reading !
As the man behind blockbuster juggernauts like Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon rocketed to Hollywood’s A-List with two of Marvel’s biggest films under his belt. With his recent success on the big screen it can be easy to forget that Whedon’s largest impact on pop culture arguably came from his work in television. He’s worked on multiple television shows over the years, but series like the cult classic series Firefly, which was gone far too soon, and of course the game changing masterpiece Buffy the Vampire Slayer, have had a massive cultural impact. Joss Whedon’s influence on the golden age of television cannot be understated. However, I think Whedon’s work of true genius is the criminally underrated Buffy spinoff, Angel.
It took a little while for Angel to step out of Buffy’s shadow. Though still very good, Angel took a season or two to find it’s legs and become it’s own unique and brilliant show. I would say Season 3 is when Angel really comes into its own. Which brings me to the point I’ll be trying to make in this article, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most groundbreaking works of fiction in any medium and will be remembered alongside I Love Lucy and The Wire as one of the best television shows of all time. I’m here to tell you: Angel is better.
Before I get into what makes this show so excellent and brilliant, I have to give you the show’s basic setup and how the show came to be. Angel (played by David Boreanaz, you know that guy from Bones) was a character first introduced on Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer. He was Buffy’s main love interest for the first 3 season’s of the show before getting a series of his own. Angel was a tragic figure right from his introduction and his romance with Buffy was heartbreaking because by it’s very nature it was destined to end in tragedy. Angel was an over 200 year old vampire in love with The Slayer, a girl whose cosmic mission was to kill things just like him. It was poetic in a doomed sort of way.
It’s very important to understand how vampires worked in this universe. Every movie, TV show, piece of folklore has it’s own mythology or “set of rules” on the nature of vampires. In the “Buffyverse” as it’s commonly referred to, people become vampires by being fed on by another vampire, who drinks their blood until they die. But the human also has to ingest the blood of the same vampire during the draining to raise from the dead (so if you just get bit by a vampire you’re not going to turn into one). Once the new vampire raises from the dead, they retain all the memories and certain personality traits of the person they were before. However, they may believe they’re that same person they were before, but their “soul”, their essence, passed on when they died. The thing that rose from the dead is a monster, a soulless demon wearing that person’s face. They have enhanced strength, speed, and senses, but they weren’t so formidable that a well trained human couldn’t kill them. The key word here is SOUL, but I’ll get back to that in a minuet.
When Angel turned into a vampire, he wasn’t just any vampire, he was the Hannibal Lecter of vampires. Killing was an art for him. Sometimes he would toy with his victims for months to drive them insane before killing them. Or kill their whole family and leave them alive to suffer. Most vampires just fed on humans, but Angel or Angelus as he was known back in the day, was one of the most evil and vicious creatures to stalk the Earth. For almost 200 hundred years, anyone who crossed paths with him met a brutal death as he walked the world. Until one day he killed the wrong girl and seriously pissed off some gypsies. That’s really a good rule for anyone: DON’T FUCK WITH GYPSIES! Angel killed the most beloved member of their tribe and her people wanted revenge. So they cursed him by restoring his SOUL (remember when I said souls were important?). Now he felt the weight and the guilt of every brutal, evil act he committed and being more or less immortal he had to live with this guilt for eternity. He still had the thirst of a vampire, but now he had the conscience of a human being.
After wallowing in a gutter of guilt and despair for a hundred years (look I’m not really sure how old Angel is, ok?), he was approached by a demon, but ya’ know the good kind. This demon named Whistler said Angel could keep being a useless piece of shit or he could stand up and help fight the good fight, start trying to making up for all the evil shit he did for all those years. That’s what set him on his path to seek out The Slayer and help her in any way he could, he just didn’t know he’d fall in love with her. The rub is that the curse the gypsies put on Angel fails if he achieves a moment of true profound peace and happiness. At which point he loses his soul again and goes back to eating babies. This and other factors eventually make Angel realize he and Buffy can never really be together, so he moves to LA and becomes a private detective who helps the helpless. That’s the set up for the Angel series.
Buffy was a show that was all about metaphor. The monsters and vampires Buffy fought were metaphors for the experiences and hurdles of growing up. The physical demons were an outward manifestation of what people go through in high school, into college, and finally adulthood. Buffy was always the righteous, deep blue hero fighting a very clear evil. If Buffy was Spider-Man, Angel was Daredevil. Angel existed in a world where there weren’t always easy answers and life isn’t a simple, cut and dry choice between good and evil. It was about the grey that most people live in.
Angel’s supporting cast reflected these ideas very well. The most important people that in Angel’s life are all fundamentally changed as characters from their first appearance to the end of the series. That is of course, if they made it to the end of the series. We all know how Whedon loves to kill off characters and Angel is no exception. Angel’s supporting cast included Cordelia, a vapid aspiring actress who becomes spiritually enlightened with visions that “The Powers That Be…” send her to guide Angel on his hero’s journey.
Two characters who join the show a little bit later are: Gunn a former gang member who grew up fighting vampires that preyed on his poor and predominantly African-American neighborhood because the cops didn’t give a shit about people dying in neighborhoods like his.
Fred a girl Angel and his crew save from a hell dimension who’s also a genius mathematician, Lorne a psychic demon (the good kind) who just wanted to run his lounge that catered to humans and demons alike. Buffyverse fan favorite, sometimes villain/sometimes hero vampire, and Angel’s frenemy Spike also makes reoccurring appreances on the show.
All of these characters change significantly throughout the series as they endure the death, loss, and corruption that comes with trying to change the world for the better in a LA run by demons and really, really shitty humans. Like Angel, they all learn in their own way that you don’t wake up one day to find the battle has been won, good guys don’t always win and bad guys far too often are the ones that come out on top. You can’t stop the machine, it’s war that can never be truly won. But that doesn’t mean you stop fighting. There are always small victories and sometimes the smallest kindness can be a profound source of hope.
All of the characters are interesting in their own way, but no character represents what Angel is all about better than Wesley Wyndham-Pryce (played by Alexis Denisof). Wesley was originally a character that was mostly played for laughs. He was an academic expert in supernatural lore who was useful, but often portrayed as a coward and comic relief. But over time he became one the most badass characters on TV. Through torture, heartbreak, betrayal, and learning to hunt monsters from the most deadly vampire with a soul around, Wesley became one of the show’s coolest and darkest characters. He embodied one of the shows biggest themes, personal and emotional transformation through trials and suffering.
The things he’s been through and the people around him highlight why Angel is such a unique, compelling character. Angel has such a fascinating and unusual motivation for being a hero and it’s at the heart of why I found Angel to be such an excellent series. Angel helps people and fights the good fight because he’s seeking redemption and forgiveness. He knows he’s damned, but he keeps struggling to be better anyway and he doesn’t always succeed. Can acts of good ever really outweigh or make up for evil of the past? Or is that evil always there? A stain on your soul that can never be wiped away or forgotten no matter how much good you do? It’s a timeless philosophical question. Genre’s like fantasy and science fiction allow us to ask these questions in a direct way. Behind the otherworldly and fantastical window dressing of every good science fiction or fantasy story lies a very real tale about what it means to be human.
Running for five seasons on what’s now The CW, Angel was another Whedon show that felt like it ended too soon. Many cancelled shows, especially at the time, ended on a season finale expecting to come back for another season. So their stories are left without an ending, character arcs and storylines still in play never reached their conclusion. With Angel, each season was better than the one before and Season Five was when the show went from great to extraordinary. It felt like they were just getting started. Fortunately, even though Whedon and his writers were unhappy with the cancellation, they were given the opportunity to end the show on their terms and to give the characters, the story, and the audience the closure they deserved. And what an ending it was… It’s fitting that a show of this caliber should end on such a high note, but the writers crafted the perfect ending in the episodes leading up to the finale. To this day, The Series Finale of Angel is without question the best series finale I’ve ever seen to a TV series. And I’m not alone, everyone I know who’s familiar with the show talks about how incredible the finale was. It would be criminal to spoil the series finale in this article. However, It perfectly encapsulates all the ideas and themes of the show: Sacrifice, the idea that you can’t win the war against evil, but sometimes you can win the battle, and that evil prevails when good (or at least decent men trying to be good) do nothing. All while sending the characters out on a fantastic note. That finale stayed with me for a long time. It’s still with me even today. There’s a lot of truth in the ideas presented on Angel and the finale in particular without question effected how I see the world.
Unfortunately, Angel used to be available on both Netflix and Amazon Prime, but it’s no longer available on either platform. You can get the show on iTunes and DVD, for some insane reason the show hasn’t been released on Blu-ray yet, but I’ve heard they may release A Blu-ray set this fall. Regardless of how you watch it, I can’t recommend this show enough. Even if you’re not a fan of Buffy, you can still love this show. In fact, I don’t think you really need to see Buffy at all to fully appreciate Angel. I really hope you give Angel a try. As I said before, season three is really with the show becomes great, but the first two seasons have some excellent episodes in there. If the show connects with you the way it did with me, you’re in for a hell of a ride. I revisit Angel every few years and it always remains one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article!
UPDATE(6/16/18): Awhile back, Tim, who used to be one of our co-hosts, did a solo mini-podcast episode of “The World’s Best Podcast” focused specifically on the Buffy & Angel character: Spike. He had I done a podcast about Buffy The Vampire Slayer and I felt we didn’t give Spike enough attention, so I had Tim do a mini-sode follow up. Spike is one of Tim’s favorite characters of all time in ANY medium. Considering how Spike is such an important character both on the show and in Angel’s life, I thought it would be fun to re-post the mini-sode here as a supplement/bonus to this article. It’s a really fun listen, so enjoy!
Before you get to hear Part 2 of our EPIC Quentin Tarantino discussion, here’s an new episode of “The World’s Best Podcast” where I discuss some cool news in the world of movies, comics, TV, and a BOOK REVIEW! In this episode I discuss Avengers Infinity War SMASHING box office records, this year’s Free Comic Book Day, the new season of Westworld on HBO, and much more.
I also give a review/recommendation for an excellent trilogy of books that are collectively called The Themis Files by author Sylvain Nuevel. The series consists of Sleeping Giants, Waking Gods, and the latest and final book in the trilogy Only Human. Below the podcast links I’ve posted links to each book on Amazon if you want to give them a try. But this is one of my favorite sci-fi series in recent memory, so I highly recommend these books. As always, I really appreciate you guys using the Amazon links, because going through those links helps support the website and get great content out to all of you. Listen to the podcast at the links below
Despite the dip in quality towards the second half of the first season, Luke Cage has definitely been one of Marvel’s stronger shows on Netflix. It doesn’t quite reach the excellence of the first two seasons of Daredevil and the first season of Jessica Jones, but it’s still a great show. It was really the villain that they introduced half way through season one that hurt the series a lot. Especially when Mahershala Ali’s Cottonmouth was such a charismatic villain already. Even Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard and Shades were more interesting characters than the cartoonish Diamondback. I just hope the show doesn’t have the same sophomore slump that Jessica Jones had. Despite all the negativity I’m throwing around, I’m really looking forward to Luke Cage Season 2, which begins streaming on Netflix 6/22. The latest trailer is right here and below that I also posted a fun video of Luke breaking some records with his superhuman athletic prowess. Check them both out below:
Also, it’s cool to see Misty Knight with her trademark badass robot arm like she has in the comics that can do all kinds of cool shit.
Even though he can be annoying at times, Luke and Danny Rand AKA The Immortal Iron Fist, definitely had chemistry in The Defenders. Hopefully his presence in Luke Cage Season 2 brings us closer to a Heroes For Hire series!
Over the past few years I began to notice a big shift in how people consume their entertainment content. For awhile now I have believed that streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are going to be one of, perhaps even the most common, ways people will be watching TV shows and films.
Netflix specifically has been one of the most successful and game changing companies in the entertainment business. They’re shaping the future so radically that we need to invent new ways to describe what we watch. We’re slowly going from watching TV shows and movies to “consuming content”. Is the TV show still a TV show, if it’s not on TV? I think the real turning point was when Netflix became more of a streaming service then a provider of physical DVDs and Blu-ray’s. In the beginning, Netflix was the new way to rent movies. It’s why Blockbuster Video is gone, Hell all video stores. Having your movies delivered to you in your mail, at your doorstep is something that video stores couldn’t compete with.
I think another big turning point was when TV show seasons started to come out on DVD. It was the first step away from watching a TV show when it’s actually being broadcast. People forget that it wasn’t long ago that the only thing that you would be able to rent or buy a physical copy of was a MOVIE. Seasons of television shows becoming something that you could own, re-visit, discover a show that was no longer on the air, or catch up on past seasons of existing shows. On Demand, DVR, iTunes, and digital downloads weren’t “a thing” yet. But that was the future, movie away from physical copies to streaming. Streaming, streaming, streaming. THAT is going to become the main way we consume our entertainment. saw the writing on the wall and realized that streaming was what Netflix should lean into as a company, changed the entertainment industry.
When Amazon Prime started to become a large competitor of Netflix, the end of the age of conventional television and film watching was here. Very few people, in fact I don’t know a single one, watch their favorite show when it’s actually AIRING. They have it DVR’d, or are they’re waiting it for it to come out on Netflix, or Blu-ray. When Netflix and then Amazon Prime started producing their own shows they essentially became Networks liked HBO, ABC, NBC, or any other. Some of the most popular shows being produced are on streaming services: Stranger Things, Orange Is The New Black, Daredevil, Luke Cage, House Of Cards… well that last one probably doesn’t have as much prestige anymore.
Last year, CBS decided to revive one of the most iconic franchises in television and film history when they created a streaming service and premiered a new Star Trek series. Netflix is putting out major films with A-list Hollywood filmmakers and stars. First a TV network now a movie studio. Now the big dogs are getting into the fighting pit. Later this year both Warner Bros. and Disney will be launching major streaming services. Which brings me to reason for writing this article.
DC Entertainment (which is owned by Warner Bros.) is launching their big streaming service later this year. It’s basically the DC Comics Network and what self respecting comic fan wouldn’t love something like this, I know I’m excited to check it out. So, it’s fitting that DC Entertainment (where Geoff Johns works as one of the big bosses, when he isn’t writing some of the best superhero comics in the industry) finally announced the name of this new streaming service: DC Universe.
I like it. It’s simple and it tells you what it is and what you’re gonna get. They also announced some of the original content that would be part of the launch: a live action Teen Titans show called Titans, Young Justice: Outsiders, Harley Quinn, and Swamp Thing.
Two of these shows had already been announced Young Justice: Outsider and Titans. Titans looks like it’s pretty much a Teen Titans show. The members include Dick Grayson as Robin (there were conflicting reports early on that he’d actually be Nightwing instead of Robin), Starfire, Beast Boy, Raven, Hawk, and Dove. There may be more members, but those are the names that’ve been confirmed. I was really excited for this because all the promotional images of the characters looked really cool, but some recent set photos of other characters have me a little concerned. I guess we’ll see.
Young Justice: Outsiders and Swamp Thing are the big deal for me. The long overdue and highly anticipated resurrection of Young Justice is picking up right where Season 2 left off, with Season 3. This show has a big cult following, myself included, that really pushed to get more seasons of this excellent show. I LOVED the first 2 seasons and when the show was canceled by Cartoon Network for bullshit reasons, I was very disappointed. It’s the same creative team, so it’s a safe bet that this will be a really solid series that builds on the success of the first 2 seasons.
The big surprises were Harley Quinn and Swamp Thing. Fans had no idea those shows were in development. Harley Quinn is apparently going to be another animated series. Swamp Thing seems like it’s going to be a live action show. Which is awesome because Swamp Thing is such cool, underrated character. There’s so much potential there for great stories. If this show is done the right way, it could be fucking incredible. Unfortunately, no more details about the Swamp Thing Show were given.
Like I said before, Disney is also launching a streaming service with original content. So, we should definitely expect Star Wars and Marvel shows. New live action and animated Star Wars shows have been confirmed. The animated series is going to be called Star Wars: Resistance and take place between Episodes 6 and 7. I heard from a few sources that characters like Poe Dameron, Captain Phasma, and maybe even Luke Skywalker and Ben Solo will be featured in this series.
Anyway, it looks like there’s a lot of cool stuff coming up to get excited about. As always, thanks for reading!