X-Men: The Complete Animated Series Now On Disney+!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

X-Men: The Animated Series Now Streaming on Disney+! Watch the trailer below!

A picture of X-Men Cyclops, Beast, and Wolverine looking at something while Jubilee points at it. The X-Men logo and Disney+ logos covering the bottom half of the image.

As a child of the 90s, there were really only three superhero cartoons that defined the era for most kids. The best, was of course, the absolute classic Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man, and X-Men: The Animated Series. Batman: The Animated Series aired on Kid’s WB, while Spider-Man, and X-Men: The Animated Series were both on Fox Kids or Fox (Though there may have been some overlap at some point). I was a Batman and Spider-Man kid all the way, I loved both of the shows. Those shows were the reason I started reading comic books. When I went to my local comic book store, while I was in middle school, I asked the owner to set me up with the Spider-Man and Batman comic books.

Spider-Man crouching on a building ledge looking down, from the Spider-Man animated series.

While Spider-Man has its charms, it doesn’t hold a candle to Batman: The Animated Series, which still holds up as one of the best television shows of all time. It may surprise you to hear that, despite my love for superhero comics and my love of the X-Men in general, for some reason I never got into X-Men: The Animated Series. It was a big deal for all the kids I went to school with, but something about just turned me off and I never got into it. As time went on and I started to get into actual comic books and I became a huge X-Men comic book fan I would check out random episodes here and there, but I hadn’t seen very much of the show. At that point X-Men: Evolution had begun to coincide with the X-Men live action films that were being released. However, to many people who grew up in that era, X-Men: The Animated Series is the definitive take on the characters. I knew a lot of people who based their expectations of the X-Men films on what was done on the animated series. Like I said, I haven’t seen more than a few episodes, but from what I understand they took on classic stories like The Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, and Age of Apocalypse. 

A collage of the X-Men team, showing Jean Grey (alongside both her light and dark Phoenix personas), Cable, Storm, Cyclops, Beast, Rogue, Mystique, Gambit, Wolverine and Jubilee.

  The one problem I will really always have with an X-Men cartoon that’s aimed at kids, is that I think the subject matter just doesn’t translate well to a heavily censored audience. One of the biggest issues I‘ll always have is the fact that everyone’s favorite character from that series is Wolverine. I’ve viewed Wolverine as a perfect example of main stream popular culture’s fundamental misunderstanding of comic book superheroes. Let me see right away, this is something that has hugely improved over the last few years. I think that as a culture, we have become more understanding that superhero stories run the gamut from something that’s appropriate for young children to stories that are only appropriate for adults. The example I love give is, when Batman Returns came out, McDonald’s had toys for that film in their happy meals as part of a promotional deal. Yet that is one of the most fucked up, dark, superhero movies that exists. The Penguin bites a guy’s nose off at one point. Which brings me back to X-Men: The Animated Series and the man called Logan. When Wolverine, one of the main protagonists of an animated show aimed at children, whose defining ability are the razor sharp adamantium claws that shoot out from his hands, there’s a disconnect between content and audience. I mean, there’s only so many times someone can throw a chair at him and he cuts it in half with his claws, with the pieces knocking the assailant out. Or Wolverine cuts a door or weapon. Come on, those things were created for one thing and one thing only and that is to take chunks out of people and stab them until they’re dead. But obviously you can’t do that on a kids show. I always felt like there was extra silliness to the character because it was so obvious that he was being toned down just by the very nature of his powers. His powers revolve around his excellence at murdering people, it’s just right there. Anyway that’s my nitpick.

Wolverine out of his X-Men uniform, with his claws extended, and some kind of energy circling the tips of them.

The point is that, up untill now, X-Men: The Complete Animated Series was never available easily on any streaming service or even some of the major digital purchasers. And there’s never been a DVD or Blu-ray release for The Complete Animated Series or even season by season. Well, that has all changed with Disney+, for the first time X-Men: The Animated Series is available in it’s entirety on Disney+. I think they know that they have an asset with this series, not only will all the original fans go out of their way to watch and enjoy the show, but many of those original fans will share the series with their own children. So Disney+ has putout a special trailer to commemorate the X-Men: The Complete Animated Series becoming fully available on their streaming service. It’s actually pretty cool. Check it out here:

Unfortunately they missed the opportunity to include the iconic X-Men opening theme song. If they put out this trailer, with the X-Men theme song playing at some point in the background, people would be running to their tablets and computers to sign up for Disney+. Even though it isn’t in this pretty cool trailer, the theme song is so goddamn catchy I wanted to make sure I included here for your viewing and listening pleasure…

It’s always worth noting that Disney+ may be promoting the show to gauge audience interest in producing a new season. That’s just conjecture, but it’s worth asking the question. Disney+ actually has a fantastic back catalogue of TV shows, especially when it comes to great cartoons from the 90s and early 2000s. You can find Spiderman: The Complete Animated Series, the aforementioned X-Men: Evolution, and a lot more to discover and explore. My personal favorite is the classic 90s Disney Afternoon series, Gargoyles, which is available in its entirety streaming on Disney+. This show is ridiculously fucking good. It is amazing the shit they got away with for a late 90s cartoon on Disney Afternoon. It is extremely dark, there are on screen murders, they even swear a few times, which is crazy for any animated series that is directed at children. The show is so fucking cool, deep, with characters that are compelling and fascinating, along with a rich and complex mythology that sucks you in. I will definitely write a much longer article about why you need to go out of your way to watch Gargoyles, because it’s fucking awesome. In fact, rumor has it for a while now that Jordan Peele actually wants to make a live action Gargoyles movie, which would be fucking amazing. I really hope that one comes through. Anyway I thought you guys might be interested in these trailers and the info about what is available over on Disney+. Enjoy your binge watching and bring your kids if you have them, I guess. Or screw your kids, go enjoy yourself, pawn your kid off on your spouse or just let them walk around in the yard or some thing. Lock yourself in a room for a few hours and kick back to a time when you were the kid instead of worrying about your goddamn kid. That’s pretty good advice right? All you need is a leash attached to one of those runners that goes across the yard, so kid can just run back and forth and tire itself out. Set out a bowl of water, watch your cartoons, and you’re good to go.

Three panel images, the first of Gambit sitting, the middle of Wolverine punching Cyclops in the stomach, and the third of Jean Grey looking worried or sad.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

SUPERNATURAL: The Final Season (UPDATED!)

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

(UPDATED: WITH NEW VIDEOS AND PHOTOS!)

Hey After 15 Seasons, more than than 1 apocalypse, and a shitload of dead monsters, Supernatural will be riding it’s ‘67 Chevy Impala off into the sunset…

With only a few episodes of Supernatural left, The CW has been sending off the long running and beloved series with the respect it deserves. TV GUIDE even put out a special edition of the magazine, commemorating the end of the fan favorite series…

This Special Edition Issue is now available on stands and online.

The CW has put together some excellent promotional material to psych up fans for the grand finale of one of the most successful shows in the history of The CW network. In particular, some fantastic behind-the-scenes videos have been released and I posted my personal favorites below.They put a spotlight on the show’s legacy, we get a look at how some of the most iconic running jokes and quirks on the show came to be, and the making of the final few episodes. Check them out:

Next up, I loved this new trailer that was released to get people hyped up for the two-hour series finale event. As an avid fan of the series, who’s been watching the show since Season 2, the nostalgia really hard. I’m certainly going to miss The Winchesters, Castiel, Bobby, Crowley and all the rest. However, as much as I’ll miss the show, I think it’s better that they’re going out on a relative high. Even in the later seasons they’ve been able to deliver some phenomenal episodes of television. How many shows with a 15 season run, are able to pull off consistently unique, entertaining, and engaging episodes? I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but Supernatural has been able to sustain its quality and I’m happy to see the series go out on a high note. Check out the trailer below…

They’ve released interesting images from the upcoming final episodes, including the return of some fan favorite characters

This behind-the-image features (L) Lisa Berry who plays the current incarnation of
speaking with episode director, (R) Richard Speight Jr. In addition to playing The Trickster AKA Archangel Gabriel, Speight Jr has directed 11 episodes of the series.


After this week’s gut wrenching episode, I honestly have no idea where things are going in the final 2 episodes. I do know that the next episode has been described as the “Season Finale”, wrapping up the season’s central conflict, while the final episode serves more as an overall “Series Finale”. Here are some cool images from nexts week’s episode, 15×19 “Inherit The Earth” (The “Season Finale” Episode), which shows the return of a major familiar face. This character’s presence could be the edge the boy’s need in their fight against Chuck. Take a look:

Yes, that is indeed Archangel Michael in his vessel Adam, Sam and Dean’s younger half brother. The fact that Adam and Michael have a seemingly symbiotic relationship that almost seems like a friendship, which is very rare for Archangels. This unique relationship has led many fans to dub character “Aichael”. Judging from the photos, he appears to be there to help, but I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to see. So what do you guys think are you excited for the final two episodes of Supernatural? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. We’re on Instagram @worldsbestmedia2017. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again! Stay healthy and stay safe!

-Paul

MUST WATCH: The Flash “Time Bomb”

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

For the first two Seasons of The Flash, it was one of my top shows. I loved The Flash and The Arrowverse in general as much as shows like Game of Thrones or Netflix’s Daredevil (before you freak out, I’m not saying that The Flash, at its best, was as good as those shows. I’m just saying I enjoyed The Flash almost as much as those series). The first two Seasons are among the best live action superhero stories brought to any screen. Things started to get dicey in the 3rd Season, it wasn’t reaching the heights of what had come before. However, because the way the story in Season 3 is told, the audience doesn’t have the full picture of what’s been going on until much later in the season. Giving Season 3 a rewatch reveals a flawed, but very good/great season. Sadly, after the Season 3 finale, the show had it’s best days behind it. Season 4 sucked and Season 5 (the current season) has me barely interested in the show anymore. However, despite my waning interest, I was really looking forward to Tuesday night’s episode, “Time Bomb”, for reasons I’ll explain below. Imagine my surprise when The Flash put out it’s best episode (non-crossover) episode in a few years with this heartbreaking installment.

   The over arcing story of the season revolves around, Nora Allen, Barry and Iris’s speedster daughter from roughly 30 years in the future, who has come back in time to correct a mistake she made by messing with the timeline. According to Nora, basically Team Flash has to stop a super villain called Cicada (a very dangerous man named Orlin Dwyer), which will somehow correct the timeline, and Nora will return to her own time period. I feel like this show doesn’t do a good job of explaining why Nora needs to fix the timeline in the first place. I get that a dangerous villain called Cicada has become even more dangerous due to the change in the timeline, but beyond that the plans for Nora’s return home are unclear. To me, with time travel being so dangerous in this universe the longer she stays in the past the more damage she would be doing. By hanging around with her parents decades before she was born, seems far more dangerous than stopping any villain. So I haven’t been that invested in the show until the mid season finale when they reveal that 30 years in the future Nora‘s mentor, the person who is giving her instructions on how to properly manipulate the timeline and use the Speed Force is none other than Eobard Thawne! He’s being held in a Supermax version of Iron Heights Prison In 2049 and he seems to genuinely want to help Nora. As we learn from the very first episode of the series, in Thawne’s Timevault there’s a futuristic front page hologram newspapers from the year 2024 that reads “THE FLASH VANISHES IN CRISIS“. So, Nora was a little girl who grew up without her legendary, hero father and then develops the superspeed she inherited from him. She needed a mentor to instructor her in how to use the Speed Force. In Nora’s defense, it’s clear that she didn’t understand just how much damage The Reverse-Flash had done to Barry and his life. Even though I am certain Thawne has an ulterior motive that benefits himself, he seems to truly care about Nora and almost views her as a surrogate daughter. 

       But time has run out, the shit has hit the fan, their plan has fallen apart. A desperate Nora runs into the future to find a despondent Thawne who says there’s nothing else they can do. Thawne tells Nora to do something that terrifies her: tell her father everything. Tell him about working with Thawne, Tell him about their attempts to change the timeline, and tell him the painful reality that she has been lying to him about working with his greatest enemy.

    What really fucked up the timeline was that Dwyer’s niece, Grace, who is comatose young girl in the present. Grace, all grown up and from the future, has come back in time using the Time Sphere the Team Flash built in Season 1. Grace has become the new Cicada in her time and she plans to continue, what she saw as, her Uncle’s “Mission” to kill all meta humans. In many ways, she’s even more psychotic and dangerous than her uncle. She remarks that in her time, about 30 years from now, that meta humans have has grown at an exponential rate. Which makes sense because there are a shitload of other super heroes and super villains in the future.

Grace, all grown up and a complete fucking psychopath. The new Cicada from 30 years in the future

    Dwyer killed Metas as Cicada to protect and avenge his niece. He wanted to make the world a safer for a place for her when she comes out of her coma. He just wanted her to have a happy life. He is somewhat horrified that his beloved niece is so filled with the same hate and anger that led to him down his path to being Cicada. Grace becoming Cicada is the last thing he wants for her. So during her battle with Team Flash. Dwyer shows up, without his powers because he’s been cured, and tries to talk her down. He tells her that she needs to let go of her anger and move on. I saw this coming a mile away, but just as it looks like he might be getting through to her, she kills him with the meta dampening dagger that now belongs to her. This is where we really see just how much more of a psychopath she is compared to her uncle. As her dies in The Flash’s arms, Dwyer’s touching last words to Barry are “Save my Grace.” Even though she just murdered him, she’s the only thing he’s truly loved. Even if he’s dying all he really cares about is his niece Grace. When he asks Barry to save her I think he means save her from the path to Cicada. From one father to another, Dwyer asks Barry to save his child’s soul.

    Team flash manages to track down Cicada’s next target, a woman named Vickie Bolen. Several years ago, without quite understanding how her powers worked, she accidentally blew up an ATM, seemingly killing Grace’s parents. Because at the time of the explosion meta-humans were being kept under wraps in Central City, so Bolen remarks that she takes blame for the ATM explosion but “Thanks  God that no one was hurt”. She was blissfully ignorant to the fact that she’s probably the person who killed Grace’s parents. I say “probably” because who the fuck knows on a show like this sometimes. CCPD/Team Flash, which is essentially the same thing for all intents and purposes on this mission because everyone involved works for CCPD and Team Flash, realize the incident wasn’t her fault and the team insist on protecting her and her family from this very dangerous new Cicada. Bolen’s daughter was slightly injured, so they wait for the attack at Central City Hospital.

    This leads to an excellent action sequence that relied on special FX, when Grace shows up to kill this woman Team Flash is protecting. Standing outside the hospital, Grace unleashes the Dagger with Barry realizing a split second before anybody that the dagger is coming, which will take away their powers and it’s headed right at the woman they’re trying to protect. In a really cool piece of special FX, everything slows way down to flash time the dagger crashes through the window of the hospital. Nora’s powers start to drain away in the presence of the dagger as she and Barry take off in the other direction to try to save Bolen. However, Barry is a little bit ahead of Nora and he’s able to get around the corner, get his Flash suit on as it blows out of his ring, and get to Bolen just before she’s about to be killed by the dagger. Nora super speeds Bolen out of there with the dagger flying behind them like a heat seeking missile close behind. Meanwhile Barry goes to face off with Grace. It was a really cool scene and I liked seeing Nora try to out run this weapon and save this woman, while Team Flash comes up with a plan to save them. It seems that lately the special Fx haven’t lived up to the amazing standard set by the show’s first three seasons. Their FX is usually great, especially for a network show. Even though I think the FX has dipped a little recently, this was a very cool action sequence.

   And then we come to the end of things…. The team has saved the day, for now, and are looking to head out to grab a well deserved drink together. This is when Cecile picks up on the fact that Nora wants to tell them all something and everything from this moment on in the episode is pretty brutal.

Grant Gustin, Jessica Parker Kennedy, and Tom Cavanuogh each give Excellent performances in this episode. Stand outs include: Barry’s look of utter betrayal and horror when he finds out his daughter was working with Thawne. Nora’s opening scene with Thawne; everything they’ve risked, everything they’ve been working towards has been completely fucked. Nora’s panic and terror that the plan failed and Thawne’s crushed acceptance made for a memorable scene. Jessica Parker Kennedy knocked it out of the park throughout the entire episode; portraying the utter terror and desperation Nora feels at the prospect of her secret coming to light. Especially in the first scene with Thawne and the final scene with Sherloque, (two very different men with the same face,  intense scenes that bookend the episode) she wanted to to tell her family the truth about working with Thawne, she even tried to confess to Barry a few times only to be interrupted. But she waited to long and Sherloque had finally put all the pieces together, which leads to Sherloque’s big speech telling the team how he followed the trail and solved this mystery (It’s a classic troupe of great detective stories, where the brilliant detective like Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot lays out all the facts in front of the characters in the story. Sherloque is definitely more Poirot than Holmes, especially in this scene. I LOVE the “Detective Solved The Mystery And Gives His Speech About What’s Really Going On” scene in any story with a master detective. Tom Cavanough does a great job in this scene.

   There were a couple of times that almost got me a little misty in this episode. Like the wires dying words and the look of a hot air but trail on Barry‘s face when he realizes that Nora and Sean are working together. The final few seconds of nor is it breaking down in one of the pipeline cells was one of the most downbeat endings to a flash episode ever. Like I said before, I don’t think the Flash has had such a strong episode in a few seasons. I look forward to watching the next episode which won’t be airing again until April where we find out the back story of how Nora and Thawne got together in the first place, but this does not mean I’m back on The Flash bandwagon. This was just one excellent episode in a sea of mediocrity over the last several years. If you’re like me and you’ve liked The Flash in the past and maybe have given up on it a little bit, watch this episode. However, It’s so well done that the episode deserved appreciation on its own merits. 

   Anyway, thank you so much for reading as always I appreciate it! I’d love to hear your thoughts about this episode or about The Flash in general, you can leave your comments below or send me a message on Facebook or Twitter.

The Flash (S5, Ep17) “Time Bomb”: 9/10

-Paul

3Below Season 1: Reviewed

 

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Earlier this year, Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia ended after their third season.  As far as I know, they completed the story and ended according to the schedule that creator Guillermo Del Toro had envisioned.  I loved the series, and I was sad to see it go.  Then about a month ago or so, I saw on one of those “Everything new coming to Netflix in December” articles, something called “3Below: Tales of Arcadia,” and the article had an image, and it was clear that the animation was similar style to Trollhunters, but the article itself didn’t mention whether or not the two were related, so a quick IMDb check confirmed that his was a spinoff series, and a brief conversation with Paul, he informed me that this was the second in a planned 3 part series.

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Anyway, the show has been out for about three weeks, and I just finished watching the first season, and I’ve got to say it’s pretty good.  It’s not as good as Trollhunters, (my 2 year-old would give up about thirty seconds into every episode and say “we watch real Trollhunters now?”) but it’s good.

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Above: Krel, guardian Varvatos Vex, & Aja in their natural form.  Below: In their human disguises.

First off, even though the two main characters Aja and Krel, extra-terrestrial (they don’t like the term aliens!) siblings living in Arcadia were featured briefly in Trollhunters, the show had a little more work to setting it up than Trollhunters did.  Trollhunters starts out on Earth, on a pretty standard version we would all recognize, and then reveals that there is a secret underworld of trolls, and other magical creatures; they start with the default and add.  3Below however starts on a planet known as Acaridian 5 and tells the story of Princess Aja and Prince Krel on the day they are to become the King and Queen in waiting, and are attacked by enemies and have to go on the run.  We don’t see Earth until the end of the episode.  This doesn’t make it a worse show that Trollhunters, but certainly it gives it a different set of challenges to overcome.  They do so pretty well, but it takes just a little longer to really get invested.

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I’m not going to get too into spoilers, but I will say that one of the things I really like about this show, is that they create a lot of new mythology within this universe, and they aren’t just applying the same formula as Trollhunters to this, meaning it’s not an Madlibs style situation where they’re like alright we need this role because Trollhunters had it.  Trollhunters is largely about Jim and his friends going after something, and this is definitely more of Aja and Krell running from something, and not necessarily in a cowardly way, but in order to protect their kingdom.

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Another thing that I really like about this show, is that they manage to pull in characters we’ve gotten to know through Trollhunters, and build upon them.  We get to see Jim, Toby, and Claire, but we also get to see Steve, who’ a bully on Trollhuntersgiven some fleshing out, fully realized on this show, as he quickly has a crush on Aja after she kicks his ass.  We get to see Senor Uhl, less as the authority figure to be thwarted or avoided, but more as the protector when other humans seem to target the twins in their human forms.

 

                                           (Steve & Aja. Steve’s come a long way…)

All in all, I really liked this show, and I hope that we get to see another season or two (whatever Guillermo Del Toro has envisioned) and now that I’ve seen how aliens and magic have played with each other in this setting, I’m really interested in seeing what he has in mind for the 3rd series he’s planning.

DreamWorks Animation's 3Below

Written by Michael Cole

MUST WATCH: Titans

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

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I have some pretty surprising news to share with you good folks today, Titans, on the DC UNIVERSE streaming service, is pretty fucking great. Of course, like many of you, I was skeptical going into this show. It seemed like the negative buzz began when the first trailer dropped (I kind of dug it). I really don’t mind dark and gritty, I also know that you can’t judge a project by it’s trailer. So, a lot of people hated this show before it even premiered, based on what they saw in promotional material and trailers. Many felt it seemed reminiscent of the overly serious and violent DCEU, excuse me, The Worlds of DC (good luck getting that to stick). Personally, I don’t dislike the recent DC superhero films nearly as much as most fans do. Besides their only real critical and commercial success, Wonder Woman, I really like Man of Steel and though it’s hugely flawed, I kind of love Batman V Superman.

Titans CR: DC
Dick Grayson AKA Robin/Nightwing

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Rachel AKA Raven

           So why was I skeptical about the Titans series? Despite my excitement at the prospect of an adult oriented live action Titans series, the word behind the scenes was that the show wasn’t very good. Then there were the costumes. If you’re a comic book fan and you’ve ever read Teen Titans, you would know that they have very distinct styles, with colorful and bright costumes. Some of the set photos had leaked online and the pictures I saw of Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy in costume looked absolutely horrendous. Especially Starfire, who is one of my favorite Titans. The pictures of her costume made her like a hooker from the 1970’s. With all of that in mind, things didn’t look good for Titans.

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Beast Boy

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Starfire

Now Robin, on the other hand, was a different story. I love the Robin costume on this series. It isn’t an easy superhero uniform to pull off in live action. Just look at Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Besides the atrocious version of Robin played by Chris O’Donnell in those films, this is the first time we’ve really seen Robin on screen in the golden age of superhero storytelling. It looked like Titans nailed the Robin uniform in my opinion. It looked functional, not too bright, not too dark, and frankly it was just cool. Plus, I thought Brenton Thwaites was a perfect pick for Dick Grayson/Robin/Nightwing. At the very least I liked what I’d seen from Dick Grayson in the show’s trailers. Which was a big deal for me because Dick has always been one of my favorite superheroes. So I was still holding out some hope that Titans could be a great show.

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  It certainly didn’t help that when I signed up for a 15 month subscription to the DC UNIVERSE streaming service, the app was terrible. It felt like it wasn’t nearly ready to be launched. I couldn’t log into my account, there wasn’t nearly enough content, the whole thing was a shit show. Even now, months later, I can’t log into DC UNIVERSE on any other device except for my tablet. That’s a big problem. I had to contact the team that handles customer service multiple times. As much as I hated the app, I still really wanted to see Titans. More importantly, Young Justice Season 3 premieres early next year on DC UNIVERSE after Titans Season 1 wraps up.

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  In spite of all the problems, I enjoyed the first episode of Titans. It didn’t blow me away, but I liked it. It certainly is not your classic version of the Teen Titans by any means, but it had enough going on to keep me interested. 

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Dick just beat the living hell out of these guys

   The over arcing story of the season is about the Titans coming together to protect Raven from a cult, that is trying to unleash her demon father, Trigon, upon the Earth. The Raven stuff, especially in the early episodes, had a real Rosemary’s Baby/The Exorcist kind of vibe that worked really well. Raven is the character that really brings the team together in the story.

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Raven in full demon mode

  In the series, Dick Grayson left Gotham City to become a cop in Detroit after a massive falling out with Batman. The show manages to explore Dick‘s complicated relationship with Bruce Wayne, without actually having Batman present as a character. Seeing why Dick went out on his own and his character arc in general is by far my favorite part of the show. 

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    You see how Batman was an incredibly violent and negative influence on Dick. Early on some people were concerned that the show seemed needlessly graphic. While Titans is an extremely brutal show, arguably even more so than something like Daredevil, the violence isn’t gratuitously used for shock value or edginess. The brutality is important to Dick Grayson’s story arc because you see just how close he came to losing himself under Bruce’s influence. Being Batman’s Robin brought out all of his worst instincts. This is most apparent in episode 6, “Jason Todd”, fittingly where we’re introduced to the new Robin, Jason Todd. 

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Dick meets his replacement, the new Robin: Jason Todd

 

 

   At this point, Dick certainly doesn’t have a very high opinion of Bruce. He more or less feels like Bruce Wayne just used him as a weapon, or tool in his war on crime. Meeting Jason just seems to confirm those beliefs. Despite the amount of time that’s passed, it’s still very raw emotionally for Dick. You can tell he hasn’t gotten over his issues from his time working with Batman. Meeting his replacement certainly doesn’t help. It’s one of several great passive aggressive “fuck you”s Batman throws at Dick. Which is impressive considering, again, we don’t actually see Batman. Brenton Thwaites is damn near perfect casting. Thwaites is very believable both physically and in the more dramatic aspects of the performance. Though Raven is the big through line of the season, Dick is really the main character. As a long time fan, it’s a lot of fun seeing how well Dick Grayson is handled.

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Jason and Dick

   Episode 6, “Jason Todd”, is also a good example of how the season has been structured. One episode will serve to further the main story and continue to build up the Titans coming together as team, while the next episode shifts the focus to showcasing and introducing new DC Comics characters into the narrative. The episodes switch from one to the other each week. For example, so far we’ve had episodes featuring Hawk and Dove, Doom Patrol, Jason Todd, and Donna Troy AKA Wonder Girl. The DC character episodes tend to be the stronger ones because so far each new character introduced from the DC cannon have been really fun and interesting.

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Things get a little intense when Dick realizes that Jason, the new Robin, is kind of a fucking psycho

   I spent the bulk of this article talking about Dick Grayson, mainly because I like the character so much and he’s the most well developed on the show. I like the other Titans well enough. Certainly more than I thought I would when the series began. Starfire or Kory as she’s referred to on the show, has really grown on me. Even with very little time being given to her backstory, she’s probably my second favorite Titan so far. She’s basically an exiled alien princess, but the show hasn’t taken the time to get into any of that yet and it remains to be seen how the series will tie her origin into the Raven storyline.

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Unless you’re a hardcore comic book fan like me, there isn’t a lot of incentive for even a moderate comic book fan or superhero geek to subscribe to DC UNIVERSE. Which is a shame because Titans is turning out to be a fun and unique look at the DC Comics Universe. I’ve heard rumors that eventually the show will become available on Netflix, but it’s not clear when that would happen. Regardless, if and when you have the opportunity to watch Titans, I highly recommended giving this series a shot. The show has already been renewed for Season 2 and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the show wraps up it’s first season. 

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    Titans is by no means a perfect show, but there’s some great stuff in here despite it’s flaws. The big thing the show has going for it is that even with all the superhero movies and TV shows out there, Titans is showcasing characters and stories that have never been seen in live action. Although I’m sure very few of you are running out to subscribe to DC UNIVERSE, Titans is definitely a show to keep on your radar. If you go into it with your expectations in check, you may be surprised how much you enjoy this fun, new series.

Thanks for reading!

-Paul

 

PODCAST: Hulu’s Castle Rock and Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger

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Hey Everybody,

Paul here…

We’re deep into the dog days of summer and what better why to beat the heat than to sit back and watch a couple of great TV shows! In this episode, I recommend 2 great shows to watch while waiting for all your favorite series to return in the Fall! Hulu’s Castle Rock and Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger! Castle Rock is supernatural mystery/thriller that takes place in the universe of Stephen King’s novels. Cloak & Dagger is superhero, coming of age series, about 2 classic Marvel superheroes. These are 2 very different shows, but both are a blast to watch! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:

https://www.spreaker.com/episode/15429967

iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?mt=2&i=1000417278055
Stitcher:
https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=55651220&autoplay=1

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As always, thanks for listening!

LUKE CAGE Season 2 Review!

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I was ecstatic when Marvel and Netflix announced they’d partnered up to produce multiple TV shows that would be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, focusing on the gritty, street level heroes of the MCU. The original plan was to start with five series. Four focusing on the individual heroes, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, with the fifth series culminating in an epic superhero crossover, called The Defenders. These are probably my 4 personal favorite Marvel characters, so it’s always been exciting when one of these new shows premiere.

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Each series ended up being much more successful than Netflix expected. Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage in particular were big hits with audiences and critics. As a result this already ambitious undertaking grew larger. What was originally a 5 series model, added second seasons for Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, as well as a spinoff series for The Punisher (with more seasons to come including Daredevil Season 3 later this year).  The first two season of Daredevil and the first season of Jessica Jones are among the best pieces of fiction to come out of the MCU PERIOD and that includes the movies. Luke Cage Season 1 was excellent as well, but a terrible villain who popped up in the second half of the season, really brought down the show’s average. Fortunately, the creators seemed to have learned from that particular mistake, but I’ll get back to that in a minute…

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Like Hell’s Kitchen on Daredevil, Harlem feels very like much a character on Luke Cage

It was the kind of superhero storytelling I was always looking for. These stories aren’t about saving the world, they’re about saving a neighborhood. With fantastic character work and mature content that we’d never see on the big screen in the MCU. When these shows are firing on all cylinders they are spectacular. Sadly, there’s been a dip in quality in the last few Marvel/Netflix outings. However, I’m very happy to say that Luke Cage has returned with a phenomenal second season that surpasses the first and reminds us just how good these shows can be.

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First of all, as I said before, this is just better than Season One. Luke’s arc in Season Two is complex and interesting in the best way. He’s more or less accepted his roll as the “Hero of Harlem”, but he carries a rage inside of him because of everything he’s seen and been through. Luke’s struggle to find out how to channel that anger in a healthy way is a big part of his journey in Season 2. With characters like Claire Temple, Danny Rand, and the late, great Reg E. Cathy as Luke’s father, helping him deal with that anger along the way. Luke is right up there with Matt Murdock as one of the most morally interesting characters on the Netflix shows. His rage, the responsibility he feels to Harlem, his growing lack of faith in the justice system, how race affects how he views himself as a hero, and more all add up to one of the most unique protagonists on TV.

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Speaking of Danny Rand, this is probably the best use of The Immortal Iron First we’ve seen in the MCU so far. Even though he doesn’t have as much screen time as I would have liked, his presence is felt throughout the season. I wish we saw him more in the season, his big team up episode with Luke is everything you’d hope for. Of course, I was very happy to see the writers planting the seeds for “Heroes For Hire” in a big way.

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While we’re on the topic of cool stuff from the comics making their way to the show. After losing her right arm in The Defender’s, we finally see Misty Knight get her badass robot arm like she has in the comics (though in this version the arm is provided by Rand Industries instead of Tony Stark). The arm gives Misty a degree of super-strength and it’s just enough to bump her up into superhero territory. She also has a few great scenes with Colleen Wing, who’s always a delight to see, setting up “Daughters of The Dragon” much like “Heroes For Hire” is teased with Danny and Luke.

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As fun all the Marvel Easter Eggs are and as great a hero Luke is, it’s the so called “villains” that bring this series to the next level. Mustafa Shakir as Bushmaster, Theo Rossi as Shades, and the legendary Alfre Woodard as Mariah Dillard elevate the show to another level as the so called antagonists. Each of them are layered and anchored in very real, human emotions. One of the biggest strengths of this series is that each of these villains have done evil, horrible things, yet at certain points you’ll find yourself sympathize with them and maybe even root for them. At times the lines between hero and villain are blurred, with cops that don’t follow the rules and villains that genuinely want to help their community, it can be hard to decide who to root for. There simply isn’t any other show right now that has such complex villains and it’s one of the best things about the series.

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Bushmaster: The new Big Bad in Harlem

A58E547F-204D-4D62-B12C-73B3D2993962Bushmaster is a force of nature, who more than makes up for Diamondback, the Season One villain that really hurt the quality of the second part of the first season. It was great to see a new villain who could go toe to toe with Luke and was also as strong a character as Bushmaster. His motivations are very personal. He’s not looking to become a Kingpin, he just REALLY, REALLY wants to kill Mariah Stokes as he insists on calling her. His history with Mariah and her family is revealed throughout the season and I wont spoil it hear.

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One of the greatest aspects of this series is the fantastic music. Live musicians perform live at Harlem’s Paradise, a club owned by Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard), the music is used beautifully to enhance the story and bring style to the show.

Alfre Woodard is fantastic in pretty much anything, but I don’t think she’s ever played a character like Mariah Dillard. She’s magnetic in the role. She terrifying, vulnerable, fierce, sexy, charming, brutal, manipulative, and more. Sometimes you’re not even sure which side of Mariah you’re seeing in any given moment. Is she being genuine or is this a manipulation? She is absolutely one of the MCU’s best villains.

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Her relationship with Shades is complex and layered in it’s own right. These two mix business and pleasure. Their on screen chemistry is fantastic and adds something big to both of the characters. Shades, like Mariah, has continued to grow as a character from Season One. I’ve been a big fan of Theo Rossi since his days playing Juice on Sons of Anarchy and his Shades is someone you’ll find yourself love and hate in equal measure.

762BE0CE-9665-4ADA-BF2B-5647E9A9CBA8Lastly, one of the biggest things people will talk about after watching Season Two is how the season ends and where it leaves Luke as a character. SLIGHT SPOILERS HERE The show did a fantastic job of making this turn for the character feel earned. It wasn’t some twist that came out of nowhere. You can see over the course of the season, after everything he’s been through, why Luke would make a decision like this. In the comics, Matt Murdock does a very similar thing when declares himself Kingpin of Hell’s Kitchen during Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Daredevil. It was something I always hoped they’d get to on Daredevil’s series, but in the context of the universe Netflix has built, it makes more sense for Luke to be going down this path. I really like the idea whether it’s Matt Murdock or Luke Cage because it’s a unique direction for Luke’s journey as a hero. END SPOILERS

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So, Luke Cage Season Two is real return to form for the Marvel/Netflix shows. Season Two improves upon it’s already strong first season with its rich mix of music and setting, unique and compelling hero, and captivating villains. Finally, the end of the season leaves the show in an exciting place with the potential to go in a number of cool directions. If you thought the Marvel/Netflix shows were beginning to lose a step, watch Luke Cage Season Two and you’ll see there’s still some great stories to be told through this format.

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Luke Cage Season 2: 9/10

Review by Paul Wright

 

 

Review: KRYPTON Season 1 Finale

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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.

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Our hero, a Seg-El. Superman’s grandpappy.

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.

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Brainiac’s gigantic ship descending on Kandor

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.

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Brainiac gazing out onto the latest piece in his “collection”

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.

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KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!

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…

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Adam Strange tries to kill Zod as soon as he sees him, which is a very smart call. On the left is Lyta, Seg’s on/off girlfriend and high ranking military officer.

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Adam Strange giving Superman’s Cape to Seg in the Krypton version of The a Fortress of Solitude

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!

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Doomsday. Dormant… FOR NOW! DUN,DUN, DUUUUN!

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.

 

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Though it looks like Brainiac, it’s really a vessel he built for his mind to enter and interact on Krypton. The true Brainiac never leaves his ship. He operates almost like a hive mind.

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.

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OH FUUUUUUUCK, IT’S AWAKE! DOOMSDAY’S AWAKE! WE’RE FUCKED!

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.

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Van-El, Seg’s grandfather in the family Fortress of Solitude. Van tried to warn Kandor that Brainiac was coming years before, but was considered a heretic and condemned for claiming to have found evidence of alien life.

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.

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Seg and his maybe new girlfriend Nyssa

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 !

Krypton – Episode 10 (Season 1 Finale): 8.5/10

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MUST WATCH: Gargoyles

 

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I’m sure I’m not alone when I sometimes look back at things that I loved as a kid and wonder if they hold up. Unfortunately many don’t. Some people look back at the X-Men Animated series or Spider-Man The Animated Series fondly, but there are only two show that I know of that are as good as you remember and hold up to this day: Batman The Animated Series and Gargoyles. We’ve talked and written about Batman The Animated Series A LOT  here at World’s Best Media, because it fucking rules. Probably the best animated series ever produced. But believe it or not, Gargoyles May be damn worthy second.

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Fan art of the characters from the show’s massive cult following

This show has enjoyed a cult following for years and I’ve always been a big fan. But what prompted me to write about the show, was the entire series recently became available on iTunes. When the show was released on DVD years ago, Disney never released the whole show. This was at least 10 -15 years ago and due to demand from the cult following of the show, the final season was finally given a barebones DVD release a year or two ago. I think Disney put the show on iTunes because they’re thinking of using the property in some way and this one way to gauge audience interest. They’ve been remaking a lot of their animated catalogue into live action films lately and the show certainly lends itself to live action adaptation. It would make a pretty cool franchise if they skew adult. Or they could be doing another animated show? Or it’s just an iTunes release. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear some talk from Disney about a movie or something. As I said, done the right way it would make very cool franchise. It’s dark, complex, thought provoking show with great characters and an excellent mythology.

 

Allow me to refresh your memory on this excellent TV show and then I’m going to tell you why it’s still so good and groundbreaking: On the series, Gargoyles , like the stone statues you see in castles and churches, are a noble and intelligent race of warrior beings that turn to stones by day (almost like hibernating in a cocoon) and come alive at night. Though they cant outright fly, they have strong claws and wings that allow them to glide if they get high enough. Though mostly feared by the humans who see them as monsters, their nature is to protect life. I always thought the really cool monologue that played over the opening credits explained it well: One thousand years ago. Superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was the age of Gargoyles. Stone by day. Warriors by night. Betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect. That gives you gist of it more or less.

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Castle Wyvern

Gargoyles begins in Scotland in 994 A.D Following a particular clan of Gargoyles that protect Castle Wyvern on the Scottish coast. Led by Goliath (voiced by Keith David) the story’s protagonist, the Gargoyles have an uneasy alliance with the humans they live alongside. In exchange for protection while they sleep during the day, vulnerable in stone form, the Gargoyles protect the castle from any attackers, including the that Vikings have begun to invade Scotland.

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Hakkon: The Viking leader

 

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Goliath makes Hakkon his bitch.

After one Viking attack is easily repelled by the Gargoyles, the humans (including the castle ruler, Princess Katherine) still look down on them as nothing but unnatural beasts. Princess Katherine’s chief adviser is The Magus, a young sorcerer who distrusts the Gargoyles. Demona (Marina Sirtis, Troia from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Goliath’s second in command and the human Captain of the castle guard (I don’t think he’s called anything but Captain) are disgusted at the way they were treated. After all, without the help of the Gargoyles, everyone in the castle would have been captured or killed by the Vikings. Goliath sees that it’s in the nature of humans to fear what they don’t understand and though bothered by it, shrugs the incident off.

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Princess Katherine

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The Magus

Demona is also Goliath’s lover (they don’t really have marriage) and though she loves him, her hatred for humans has festered over the years. Demona and The Captain strike a deal with the Vikings, attack during the day and sack they castle taking their spoils and killing whoever they want. When the Gargoyles wake up, the humans will be gone and they’ll have the castle all to themselves. But the plan goes tragically wrong. Demona tries to get Goliath to take the entire clan and hunt down the Vikings and their leader Hakon, in the woods. Goliath thinks a small sneak attack with his old mentor, the battle hardened gargoyle Hudson, is a better idea. Despite Demona’s protesting, almost the entire clan is left vulnerable when the Vikings attack the next morning. Far too late Goliath, backing him up, realizes something is very wrong, but the sun rises and they’re far away from the castle during the attack. Though The Captain tries to stop him, saying this wasn’t part of the plan, helpless in their stone form Hakkon and the Vikings slaughter the entire clan.

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The Captain

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Demona scaring the shit out of a Viking

The next night Goliath heads back to find the castle burning and his clan dead. Besides Goliath and Demona, only five other gargoyles from the clan survived. Three young, male Gargoyles, Brooklyn, Broadway, and Lexington, Bronx a different breed of gargoyle that’s more like a dog, and Hudson (The modern names are explained later in the film length first episode). Demona, ashamed and horrified at what she’s done, allows Goliath to believe she died in the massacre. The Vikings kidnaped the Princess, The Magus, and some of the villagers. Hakkon plans to ransom the Princess to her Uncle, The King. But Goliath is out for blood.

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Hakkon beginning to massacre the Gargoyles

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Goliath finding what’s left of his slaughtered Clan

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Holding the pieces of a dead Gargoyle, Goliath contemplates bloody vengeance

The Gargoyles find the Viking camp and Hakkon and The Captain run off with the Princess. While the other Gargoyles finish off the Vikings and save the villagers, Goliath goes after Hakkon. When he finds them near cliff overlooking the ocean, Goliath is horrified that The Captain, a man he believed to be his friend, betrayed him. A fight ensues and Hakkon and The Captain fall to their deaths, but even after all he’s been through Goliath saves the Princess from falling as well, robbing him from a more satisfying revenge.

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Hakkon and The Captain about fall to their deaths

Back at the Viking camp, the Vikings defeated and the villagers free, The Magus mistakenly believes that Princess Katherine was killed in the conflict between Goliath, Hakkon, and The Captain. In his grief, he casts a spell on the Gargoyles that turns them to stone permanently, day and night, seemingly forever. When Goliath returns with The Princess, The Magus sees that he’s made a horrifying mistake. The book that could reverse the spell was burned by the Vikings and the spell was designed so the Gargoyles would “Sleep until the castle rises above the clouds…

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Goliath is horrified to find his fellow Gargoyles stone at night

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After bringing each of his remaining stone Gargoyle friends back to the castle, Goliath does not want to live in a world where he is truly alone. He asks The Magus to cast his spell one more time and Goliath joins his surviving fiends in a never ending stone sleep. As for Demona, well you’ll just have to watch the show…

 

One Thousand Years Later…

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The Gargoyles still intact at Castle Wyvern

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David Xanatos sees Goliath in his stone sleep for the first time

Castle Wyvern. Present Day. The Castle and everything inside (including the still intact stone Gargoyles) have been bought by American billionaire David Xanatos, voiced perfectly by Jonathan Frakes AKA Ryker from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In fact one of the best things about the show is the phenomenal voice work and the excellent talent they managed to attract. The people who wrote the show must have been big Star Trek: The Next Generation fans because a lot of actor from that series play characters on Gargoyles. In fact, this would be a great time to point out the incredible voice talent the show attracted. Well known voice performers, fantastic character, actors and few bigger names make up the cast that includes: Keith David, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Ed Asner, Brent Spiner, Matt Frewer, Bill Fagerbakke, Jonathan Rhys-Davies, Tim Curry, David Warner, Thomas F. Wilson, Kate Mulgrew, and Jim Belushi just to name a few. That’s a hell of a cast and that isn’t even all of the notable voice actors.

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Anyway, Xanatos is definitely one of the most interesting characters on the show. He’s kind of a mix of Lex Luthor, Tony Stark, and a little bit of Doctor Doom. He’s extremely intelligent, machiavellian, and charming. He’s the guy who’s 10 steps ahead of everybody else in the room. He may not be completely trustworthy , but he’s such a cool, likable character that you can’t help rooting for this guy a little bit, despite how shady he is. He’s one of the richest and most powerful men in the world. A self made man, who built one of the largest corporations in the world. With defense contracts, cutting edge robotics, genetics, and much more.

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Goliath is a Force to be reckoned with so Xanatos where’s Iron Man-like armor to fight him when he has to.

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He’s kinda, sorta the “villain”, but things aren’t that black-and-white. Which is another excellent thing about this show. It doesn’t talk down to its audience with characters that are clearly all good and clearly all evil. The entire cast includes well-rounded, interesting individuals with complex personalities and motivations. None of the characters are all good or all bad. This kind of moral complexity shows the maturity of the storytelling.

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Castle Wyvern atop Xanatos’ skyscraper above the clouds

The New York City skyscraper that’s both his home and company headquarters is tallest building in the world. As part of an astronomically massive project, Xanatos has Castle Wyvern taken apart piece by piece and reassembled atop his New York skyscraper. Which just so happens to be high enough that it’s above the New York clouds. As the spell says the Gargoyles will “Sleep until the castle rises above the clouds…”

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You’re probably asking yourself exactly why he’s doing this. Why would he want to break the spell? What does he have to gain? He has multiple reasons that play out across the series, so I don’t want to say too much, but it’s not out of sheer curiosity. You’d have to be 100% certain that magic and all kinds of other crazy shit is real before even thinking about doing this. Let’s just say you don’t fly a castle from Scotland halfway across the world and rebuild it onto a skyscraper without a pretty fucking good reason.

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I should take this time to point out that a Scottish castle atop a cutting-edge New York skyscraper could be the coolest fucking headquarters of any villain or hero in all of fictIon. That’s some badass shit. Once the castle is completely reassembled back in New York, the Gargoyles are brought back to their posts on the castle towers and Xanatos waits for nightfall. He is not disappointed. The spell is broken and the Gargoyles awaken. Xanatos tries to explain what’s happened and how long it’s been, even though Goliath knows that by the very nature of his situation the world he’s woken up to will probably be a different one, nothing can compare prepare him in the other Gargoyles for seeing New York City below them instead of the Scottish coast. Adding to an already bad situation is the realization that people of the modern world have almost completely forgotten about magical and supernatural creatures. Xanatos tells them they’re the last of their kind, Gargoyles are essentially extinct except for Goliath and his Clan (fortunately, we find out later in the series, that may not be true).

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Shortly after the Gargoyles have awakened into this strange new world, we meet police detective Elisa Maza. Goliath and the other Gargoyles meet Elisa after some crazy shit goes down at the castle. After everything that went down a thousand years ago with The Captain, Goliath is reluctant to put his trust in any human again. But he knows he’ll need to trust someone in this modern world for his clan to survive and he’s smart enough to know he’s better off with Elisa than Xanatos. As the series unfolds, she becomes like family to the Gargoyles and develops a profound and deep bond with Goliath in particular.

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NYPD Det. Elisa Maza

Eventually when it’s clear that living in the castle with Xanatos isn’t safe, the move to a closed clock tower above the police station Elisa works out of (conivently the night shift). From their new home in the clock tower the Gargoyles view New York City as their new castle. It’s in a Gargoyle’s nature to protect and they intend to do just that in their new home. As time goes on, Elias’ part of the Clan for all intents and purposes. As the rest of Gargoyles begin to acclimate to life in 20th Century New York, we begin to get to know them a bit more.  Goliath was unusual  when it comes to Gargoyles, the humans of the Castle gave him a name, but typically Gargoyles don’t have names. In keeping with this new life, in this new world they live in the rest of the gargoyles all pick modern names. Like the 3 young Gargoyles: Brooklyn: a natural leader, Broadway: friendly and loving the different foods of the modern world, Lexington: who becomes fascinated with computers and electronics. As well as their experienced, but past his prime mentor Hudson, and their guard dog Bronx. I wanted to give a deeper exploration of the rest of Goliath’s clan, but if I take the time to describe each one this article would be way too long. So for now, at least you have the bare bones of who the rest of the Goliath’s clan consist of.

 

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Hudson

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Brooklyn

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Lexington

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Broadway

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Bronx

Probably the most important relationship on the show is between Goliath and Elisa. The show has a great ensemble of characters, like the other Gargoyles, villains, and allies, but Goliath and Elisa are the heart of the show. They’re kindred spirits. Their values are the same, but just like real people, they waver at times. I would be so easy for either of them, and all of the Gargoyles for that matter, to be consumed by the darkness and death that has been such a large part of their lives. Ultimately, they believe in fighting for justice in a world that they know is broken, but they continue the good fight every day (or night) anyway. They may seem different on the outside, but they’re both protectors at their core and the bond that grows between them goes beyond the physical. Also, Elisa is another great example of how this show was ahead of it’s time. She’s a smart, tough, interesting character. Even though she find herself constantly in situations where she’s fighting WAY out of her weight class, she’s never a damsel in distress. She’s also mixed race, her mother is African American and her father is Native American. Though her cultural heritage is touched upon in important ways several times in the show, her race doesn’t define her. We don’t have enough of these types of characters in our pop culture today, it’s even more impressive her character existed almost 25 years ago. I think the fact that she wasn’t just another stock white, cookie cutter, female protagonist isn’t only more compelling to watch, but it also informs her relationship with Goliath and the other Gargoyles. Hating someone just because of who and what they are is a big theme in the series. Racism and sexism are both very real problems in American today and it would have been much worse 25 years ago. From their very first meeting forward, the relationship between Goliath and Elisa deepens because they see so much of themselves in each other.

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Goliath and Elisa meet for the first time when he saves her from falling off the Castle

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But she’s no damsel in distress

What makes Goliath a hero isn’t that he fights bad guys. It’s the fact that he’s face genocide, betrayal, and loss on a scale that would be hard to imagine, but in spite of all that he still fights to do good, to protect. The darkness of the story is never swept under the rug. Goliath and the rest of his clan are forever haunted by the massacre at Castle Wyvern and it informs many of the choices Goliath makes throughout the series. This certainly isn’t the type of deep material you’d expect on the old Disney Afternoon. In a Season 2 episode, Xanatos comes to Goliath asking for help when Fox, a woman Xanatos is truly in love with, is in mortal danger. Goliath and Elisa consider are very reluctant to help because they know how untrustworthy Xanatos is, after all this could be some kind of con. But Goliath ultimately decides to help, saying “If Xanatos is telling the truth… If someone like him can love, perhaps there still is some hope for this world.”. That’s one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite episodes of the show. It tells you a lot about Goliath, how he sees the world, and his belief in the power of love and redemption.

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Gradually, Goliath and Elisa clearly fall in love with one another. Out of all the Gargoyles, he looks the most human. Almost like a muscular man, it reminds me of Hellboy and Liz Sherman. They may be different species, but anatomically I get this sense that Goliath and Elisa could have sex, but definitely not biological children. The fact that show goes there at all is another testament to the quality of this incredible story. By the end of the series, they move past their physical differences that they felt kept them from being together. Though it’s not explicitly spelled out for us, they share a moment together toward the end of the show that tells the audience that their relationship has fundamentally changed. They seem to acknowledge their love for each other and it’s strongly implied that moving forward they’re together as a couple.

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Goliath is just worried about the massive hard on he had while just wearing a loin cloth

Watching this show as a kid, I was blown away. It goes in so many interesting directions, incorporating mythology, folklore, sci-fi, and even Shakespeare to build a universe unlike anything else I’d seen before or since. So many of the things that I love today are concepts I was first introduced to by watching Gargoyles. If you do check out the show (and you should), I cant even begin to describe how the world and mythology of the show becomes so much bigger that what I’ve written about here. Any given episode could have the Gargoyles facing Cyborgs, Artificial Intelligences, Aliens, Hybrid monsters created through genetic engineering another episode could find them facing Odin and other pagan gods, The Loch Ness Monster, Dark Elves, and even King Arthur. It may sound crazy, but it all works in the best way. Probably my favorite creation of the show is the concept of “Oberon’s Children”, “The Third Race” of the planet after Gargoyles and Humans. They’re dangerous beings of pure magic that play an intricate part in the series.

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Puck, a trickster and one of “Oberon’s Children”

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The Weird Sisters from the play Macbeth, more of “Oberon’s Children” that manipulate people and events throughout the series

Much like Batman: The Animated Series, it’s hard to think of exactly who the audience for this show was. In fact, Gargoyles gets away with WAY more than any animated show I can think of that wasn’t explicitly made for adults. For example, the characters get the occasional minor swear in. In one of the first few episodes, when Xanatos is having the castle taken apart in Scotland, his assistant comments that it was difficult to find workers for this project because the locals believe the castle to be haunted. Xanatos replies “Pay a man enough and he’ll walk barefoot through Hell”, “that may not seem like particularly strong language, but even that is extremely unusual for a show like this.

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In this picture, The Loch Ness Monster, as well as a gallery below of some interesting friends and foes The Gargoyles and Elisa contend with on the show

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A Clan of Gargoyle’s found by Goliath and Elisa in the present day Amazon Rain Forrest. Gargoyles may not be as extinct as Goliath’s Clan believes…

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Goliath fighting an immortal Macbeth

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King Arthur

The level of violence shown on screen is much higher than you would expect as well. Most cartoons never show anyone actually dying, but people get killed left and right on Gargoyles. Pretty brutally in fact. Full on medieval battles are shown. People get stabbed and shot. One guy has his face set on fire followed immediately with his head exploding. It’s not just the deaths that were brutal either. In one episode Demona maims a kid’s face with her claws just because he gets in her way. All of this adds up to a very unique and captivating show that is absolutely worth revisiting.

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Some of the various villains our heroes face in the show,

While the first season is a strong set up for things to come, it’s really the second season where the show becomes something incredible and the narrative becomes incredibly ambitious. Regardless, definitely give Gargoyles a try if you’re curious. If you liked it as a kid, it absolutely holds up and it’s very cheap on iTunes. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this look back at Gargoyles!

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-Paul

Don’t forget to check out our Amazon Affiliate link below if you want pick up Gargoyle’s on DVD! (no Blu-Ray yet, sadly).

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Time Travel in the Show Travelers on Netflix

I want to tell you all about a show that I’ve literally heard no one talking about, but I don’t want to spoil it.  So please bare with me.

The Netflix show Travelers, has some of the most compelling time-travel I’ve seen in a long time.  The premise, is that people are coming back from some far off, terrible future, in hopes of fixing it.  In that regard it’s pretty standard, but everything else really stands out for me.

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The travelers have their consciousness placed in the heads of ordinary people in 2016-2017 (there have been 2 seasons so far), at the moments before they were going to die.  The point of this being, that they’re not killing someone to make room, they’re just borrowing what would otherwise be an empty shell.  Without getting too into spoiler territory, this process doesn’t always workout for them, and that creates a lot of the interesting aspects of the show.  (I really want to tell you, but if I do I’ll be doing you a disservice).

The plot about saving the future, really takes a back seat, to the stories of the characters, who have to adapt not only to a world that they don’t recognize, but to roles and relationships they are thrust into by means of their “host’s” previous life.  One thing I will tell you, is that these characters come from a future in which famine has ravaged their food supply, and so any time a new ‘Traveler’ is brought into the show, they really explore their relationship with food.  It might not sound that interesting, but food, both the experience of tasting, as well as all of the addictive nature of modern food and sugar, show how they aren’t ready for, or able to adjust while eating in front of non-travelers.  It’s a small weakness in their ‘act’ that they all have to perform.

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The show focuses on one team of ‘travelers,’ who work toward individual missions as they are assigned.  One of the things that I find really cool about the team, is that you have a leader, an engineer, a weapons expert, a medic, but also a historian, who has one of the coolest functions.  Essentially, the historian is in charge of remembering all the deaths and events in the area, so that they can go help new traveler’s transition, or look for differences that they may make in the time-line.  Philip, the historian, also has to face the idea that as they change the time-line he becomes less essential, and less helpful to their missions, which creates something of an existential crisis for him.

Ultimately, the characters learning that they can’t just travel back and accomplish their missions without lives interfering becomes the meat of the show.  Each character ends up with a particular set of challenges that were unforeseen from the future, and they have to adjust and keep going.

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I’m only a few episodes into season 2, but the show remains really interesting in this perfect fusion of character and device. What I would suggest to you, is that you watch the first episode, which I consider to be one of the best first episodes I’ve ever seen.  It had me instantly hooked and wanting more.  That being said, I can’t really tell you anything about why I was hooked from the start without spoiling it for you.  I hope you enjoy.

Also, as a side note, and a shameless plug, if you’re looking for time-travel fiction, check out my new time-travel blog, which I’ve been working on since October.