In August, the Adaptation staff have been keeping busy with these great shows and books!
Category Archives: Comic/Graphic Novel
Adaptation #135: Fallible Four and the Fantastic Flop
The Adaptation hosts were not too happy with Fantastic Four (2015). This probably doesn’t surprise you. Bad balance and pacing, no character development, and awkward moments consisting of “Hey! I noticed you look different than your familial relations! What’s that about?” all led to a movie they were really upset they spent money on.
Adaptation #134: Ant-Man Is Watching You
Our hosts find a lot of tropey things in Ant-Man (2015). But despite the issues, they still enjoyed the humor and the action.
Adaptation #128: The Causal Flarrow of Time
Once again fitting two seasons into an episode, Jess and Jenn discuss season 1 of The Flash and season 4 of Arrow. Time travel, secret identities and character relationships all give the twins some feelings that may or may not be shared by the fandom at large. Listen and let us know how you felt about DC’s foray into crossover television!
Vlog: Five Worst Superhero Incarnations
Adaptation #126: Perfect Peggy and the Agents of SHIELD
Full up with hosts and content this week, the Adaptation team takes on the monumental task of covering season 1 of Agent Carter and season 2 of Agents of SHIELD all in one episode. They can’t think of anything to criticize about Carter and think SHIELD has finally hit it’s stride, so they’re all looking forward to the future of both shows.
Vlog: Daredevil Spotlight
Gotham: the Gritty City with the Bright Future
As far as first seasons go, I would say that Gotham was really strong overall. It brought to light backstories of characters that had not had them before and was able to keep its audience gripped. It is, so far, an excellent prequel to the Batman story.
The reason may be that in the stories of Batman, we have never gotten to see the cop drama that took place in this dirty and broken city in the years before James Gordon became commissioner. This includes his partner at the GCPD, Harvey Bullock, who previously—like in Batman: The Animated Series—is nothing more than one of the commissioner’s underlings. We have never seen him be Detective James Gordon’s partner or friend in the past.
Nor had we ever really seen the immediate aftermath and aftershocks of the catalyst that makes the child Bruce Wayne into Batman. In past incarnations we have seen the catalyst—the murder of his parents–but then jump here and there with Bruce as he seeks out the best magicians and martial artists to round out his training as a young adult. But we’ve seen never his childhood before that. In many incarnations the murderer is never found, but with this first season we are led to believe that Bruce will not stop searching to find the truth, so an answer may be had in future seasons.
We are also privy to the backstories of many of our known super-villains—though for now they are just people—which is a fabulous twist. Especially Selina Kyle (played by Camren Bicondova), who goes by Cat. She is an adolescent, around the age of Bruce, and for now she is just a very sneaky and wise street kid. I had my reservations about her at first, but she is becoming a fantastic character.
Further Character Highlights:
Alfred (played by Sean Pertwee): He is an interesting character so far, being a bit uptight and rough around the edges and also being new to guardianship of a child. He could use—and deserves more—fleshing out, but I have grown to like him. It is only fitting that the son of a doctor (played by Jon Pertwee) would raise Batman.
The Riddler (played by Cory Michael Smith): For now in the series he is just plain old, Edward Nygma, but his slow and steady descent into the Riddler persona and his overall character is the best so far. He works in the GCPD as fact checker/finder, self-proclaimed assistant medical examiner, and all around quirk with his riddles.
Gertrud and Oswald Kapelput [Cobblepot] (played by Carol Kane and Robin Lord Taylor): Mrs. Cobblepot, Oswald’s mother, is over the top and could be considered a folly on the series, but she provides such a fantastic backstory, one that is so different from the originals. Even at his young age, Oswald has already been nicknamed Penguin among the mobsters of Gotham for his walk. In the original incarnations of Penguin, he was such a horrid child that his parents tossed him away—which people may remember in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Instead, in this series he is such a momma’s boy, and she is so naïve and in denial of her sons activities. He wants to keep that way, which in turn makes him do very villainous things as he tries to climb the crime ladder to become the king of Gotham.
The Joker (???) and the Graysons: The actor Cameron Monaghan appeared in episode 16, The Blind Fortune Teller, as the son of a circus performer, who happened to be a bit of a prostitute. This was his first stint as what I assume will become the Joker. He was the greatest kind of creepy, where he so easily feigned innocence and then the psychopath emerged. It shook me to the core and all without clown makeup. This episode also gave us a glimpse into the Graysons, parents of Dick Grayson, who in this episode like each other but are on opposite sides of two warring families.
As mentioned before, I need to highlight the partnership between Det. James Gordon (played by Ben McKenzie) and Det. Harvey Bullock (played by Donal Logue). They are very contrasting and yet they gel so well together. I think it is because James Gordon is the white knight that Harvey once was and still wants to be. Harvey has let the city and its issues tarnish his armor, but he knows how the city runs and is the voice of caution to James Gordon’s over-zealousness. At the same time, James Gordon is the light in the darkness that has become Harvey’s world, and is bringing out the best in him. I could watch seasons and seasons of just the two of them doing their thing.
The relationship between Cat and Bruce Wayne (played by David Mazouz) is a confused one that has developed and, as us fans of Batman know, will continue. They are friends and they even like each other to the point that kids of their age can, but it is strained and unsure. This is mainly because Bruce has a stronger moral compass, where as Cat will kill if she has to, but Bruce would not.
Barbara Kean’s (played by Erin Richards) story is very interesting. She starts out as James Gordon’s fiancée, but things go awry and we see that Barbara may have secrets in her past. We know she has had an on again off again relationship with female Internal Affairs officer Renee Montoya and she also gets wrapped up in a villains plot to get at Det. James Gordon near the end of the season. So far, we have only seen a small glimpse of how that has really affected her. It does raise the question—is she or isn’t she the Barbara that becomes James Gordon’s wife?
There are only two missteps that I have noticed in this first season.
First, Fish Mooney. She is a character that was created just for this show. The actress playing her, Jada Pinkett Smith, once said, “It is pretty cool to play a new character that might one day become cannon.” That was just before she suddenly decided that she would be leaving the show. Fish was an odd character and for at least the first half of the season, stuck out like a sore thumb. She was over the top and a bit too close to being a wacky super-villainess with her style and actions. In this toned down world of real human-beings and mostly normal crime, she just didn’t gel.
She seemed like she was only there to introduce Penguin, who was once one of her lackeys, and the mob-bosses/hierarchy of the city’s crime lords. At a certain point, she was forced out of her position and Gotham, which led to a side-story of great annoyance and little importance, other than it calmed her over-acting and smoothed out her character. Upon her short-lived return to Gotham and the amazing battle for Gotham that ensued, I actually started to like her as a character—which makes me a little sorry that she will not be returning, but it is easy to say that when you know that she really isn’t. Still, it was cool on the writer’s part to have left it open for her to return (again). As they say, if you don’t see the body, they ain’t dead.
Second—and this is a small thing—is an issue with Hollywood in general. The villain that got hold of Barbara Kean was called The Ogre, played by Milo Ventimiglia. He had a three-episode storyline where we meet his father (played by Daniel Davis), a butler for a rich old lady, where he claims that his son has a face that not even his mother could love. He had a deformity that he had gotten fixed, and we get to see his original face—which was really not that bad. I don’t mean to sound morbid or anything, but it just made everyone look so shallow for getting down on this guys slight facial deformity.
But, I get it. Milo Ventimiglia is a very handsome actor, so they only wanted to skew his face slightly in that particular photo. Or they thought we were stupid and we wouldn’t realize it was the same guy. Either way, Milo as the Ogre got enough screen time with his delicious regular face that they could have made his deformity more severe and taken the idea seriously, rather than being afraid that what they could show would be too unlovable for the viewers. With crazy shows like Helix out there, I don’t think they should worry.
If you ask me, the future of Gotham as a series is a bright one, if they can maintain the remaining characters without going over the top again, especially as we get more into the super-villains. This first season has been a success in its great character building and interesting storylines and overall story arch.
In the future, I would like to see what they do with Harvey Dent (played by Nicholas D’Agosto) as well as Ivy Pepper (played by Clare Foley). I see potential in both of them.
I can’t wait for the next season to see what secrets Bruce discovers about his father after the very last scene of the season finale.
Will you be watching it this coming fall? I know I will.
Vlog: Lesser-Known Female Superheroes
Adaptation #124: Avengers, Age of Cameos
Despite the internet uproar, our hosts liked Age of Ultron overall. They wished some things had been set up better, but they discuss the character layers in depth and get excited about the future in this episode.
iTunes – Twitter – Facebook – Tumblr – YouTube – Listen Online
For a similar discussions, check out our episodes on Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Big Hero 6.
Vlog: Best Superhero Incarnations
Vlog: Comic Character Inspirations
Commentary #4: Batman (1989)
This time, we’re sitting down to watch the 1989 version of Batman, talking through the fun, the dark and the slightly unbelievable.
iTunes – Twitter – Facebook – Tumblr – YouTube – Download This Episode
For a similar discussions, check out our episodes on Kingsman, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Other commentaries: The Lion King and The Princess Bride and Annie (1982)
Adaptation #115: Ever the Kingsman
If you couldn’t tell by the length of the episode, Dorin and Kendyl have a lot to say about Kingsman: The Secret Service and the original comics by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons. They discuss the improved themes, the interesting characters and, of course, the annoying sexism.
iTunes – Twitter – Facebook – Tumblr – YouTube – Listen Online
For a similar discussions, check out our episodes on Kick-Ass 2, Big Hero 6, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Vlog: Most Anticipated Adaptations in 2015
Vlog: Favorite Adaptations of 2014
Commentary #3: Annie (1982)
The team sits down to watch and dissect the 1982 film version of Annie to prep for the upcoming remake. Pop in your DVD and watch with us!
iTunes – Twitter – Facebook – Tumblr – YouTube – Download This Episode
For a similar discussions, check out our episodes on The Boxtrolls, Maleficent, Once Upon a Time season 3, Frozen, and Snow White.
Other commentaries: The Lion King and The Princess Bride
Staff Recommendations – November 2014
The Adaptation staff have some recommendations for you from their November exploits!
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Concluded after 1 Season
I’ve been watching through Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, starring Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Bradley Whitford, and many more. It’s a show about a sketch comedy show (think Saturday Night Live) that is in a bit of trouble in its prime-time slot. The executive producer had a bit of a meltdown on air, and the network is trying to recover from its downfall by bringing in the wonder team: new producer Danny and writer Matt, not to mention an ambitious and liberal new network president, Jordan. They’ve got their work cut out for them though, with a eclectic and opinionated cast and the media set against them! It’s a really clever and entertaining show. Set primarily as a drama, but with plenty of comedy thrown in, the characters are endearing and three-dimensional. I still can’t believe it was cancelled after only one season! It’s like Firefly all over again!
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
For NaNOWriMo, I’m writing a fantasy story that is an adaptation and combination of two lesser-known fairy tales (as you can tell, I’m a sucker for this genre) and since I haven’t been able to read much this month, I figured I would recommend something I’ve read before that is similar to what I’ve been writing. One of my favorite adaptations that also combines multiple fairy tales into one story is Wildwood Dancing, by Juliet Marillier. This book takes and expands on the tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, told from the point of view of Jena, the second eldest of five princesses. Wildwood Dancing also successfully weaves in certain elements from The Frog Prince as well, in the guise of Jena’s constant amphibious companion, Gogu. For years on the full moon, Jena and her sisters–and Gogu–have been able to travel to the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom through a secret portal in their castle–a portal that only they know about. But their idyllic existence is threatened after their father falls ill and their controlling cousin, Cezar, is put in charge of their care. It’s a story of magic and love and trust and–you guessed it–‘once upon a times’ and ‘happily ever afters’. I guarantee that you will be hooked by this story within the first couple of pages. And if you don’t want your own Gogu by the end of it…well, then we’re clearly not reading the same book.
Constantine, Thursdays on NBC
I wasn’t sure about Constantine at first because I loved the film version with Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz and in the TV version Weisz’s character left after the first episode. Maybe we will see her again, but I don’t know. However, after allowing the show to progress with a new girl companion, who is clairvoyant and not as easily scared away, I have realized that it is an amazing show. Instead of Keanu’s own brand of snark, we get Matt Ryan, a Welsh actor, who gives us an even snarkier, “I work alone” type, smoking, drinking, guilt-ridden Liverpudlian (i.e. from Liverpool, England) and Master of- or as he likes to say “dabbler” in- the Dark Arts. He’s a bit of a sorry excuse for a man, but that’s why the character is so great! It has really great writing and lines that make you giggle in the middle of it all, much like Supernatural, and honestly, if you liked the film version with Keanu Reeves, you will LOVE this! And if you didn’t like the film, you will STILL LOVE this.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Tuesdays on ABC
So far this fall television season, the standout favorite for me has been Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is a bit of a surprise since last season I would only begrudgingly watch if I was caught up on all my other shows. But the show has really hit it’s stride now and I’m always eager to watch the new episode. Agents follows a team put together by Phil Coulson, of Marvel Cinematic Universe fame, as they track down advanced, often alien technology (and sometimes humans infused with the tech) to keep it out of the hands of those who are up to no good and protect humanity. The end of season 1 coincided with the events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which (without spoiling) gave the team a whole new dynamic that has really worked in season 2. Coulson is simultaneously always good for a one-liner and to make you feel all the feelings, May is possibly the best kick-ass female character I’ve ever seen, and scientists Fitz and Simmons are awkward, fast-talking and brilliantly lovable. If you’re into Marvel, or just the MCU, I don’t know why you haven’t already been watching, but trust me, the world-building of having a show coincide with the films will make you giddy. And if you’re not into Marvel, this show will still appeal to you if you’re into action, weird alien tech and great characters.
That’s it for us this month, but be sure to leave your own recommendations in the comments!
Vlog: Worst Friendship Chemistry in Film
Adaptation #106: Big Hiro 6
The gang discusses the film Big Hero 6, wondering why it wasn’t set in Japan, wanting their own Baymax, and loving the range of characters and emotional depth in the storyline. Dorin evens comes up with a storyline for the sequel.