Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Mad Science: Over-Saturation and Polonium Poisoning

Word hit the street yesterday that Marvel is putting together a bunch of new TV series for Netflix, including the long-awaited small-screen adaptation of Daredevil (DD).  I'm assuming that this means they're gonna adapt my favorite comic series of all time, the Bendis/Maleev Daredevil because in addition to adapting DD, Marvel is also putting series featuring Jessica JonesLuke Cage, and Iron Fist, all of whom are Bendis favorites from series that ran concurrently with (or shortly after) his DD run and occasionally appeared in each other's books.  Jessica Jones’ book Alias was supposed to be particularly good, so although I’ve never read it, that’s an adaptation that I’m looking forward to seeing.  Anyway, each of these series is gonna run thirteen episodes (i.e. the House of Cards formula), culminating in a mini-series that Marvel has called The Defenders.

What’s weird about this is that Jones, Cage, Fist, and sometimes even DD are all part of a semi-regular super-team, only that team isn’t the Defenders.  It’s Heroes for Hire.  However, the Defenders concept may well work here because the Defenders are the team that’s not a team.  The idea of the Defenders is that they’re a bunch of super-powered acquaintances who occasionally get together to save the world, usually from the really weird threats.  That’s not so much DD’s gig, but for the rest of these guys, weird is kind of the stock-in-trade.  But the Defenders are also traditionally led by Dr. Strange, and nothing in this suggests that he’s going to be part of the story.  He might, but I thought they were gonna make a Dr. Strange movie, and it’s hard to see how this would fit into that timeline.
In any event, it’s a good thing that they’re adapting this thing to Netflix and not one of the regular broadcast or cable networks.  The Bendis/Maleev DD was a Marvel Knights (i.e. PG-13) book, and that rating was well deserved.  It was bloody crime fiction, featuring more than a few gratuitous gangland beat-downs and assassinations, and I very much doubt they could’ve adapted it to regular TV without watering it down beyond recognition.  And it seems like Alias was even worse.  Alias might’ve even been aMAX (i.e. mature readers) title, which in comics usually means that they say the F-word a lot, and you typically see a booby or two every issue.  It also means that nothing is off-limits subject-wise.  Usually, that means that the comic is gonna get into some heavy political/social criticism, but subjects like sexual violence, human trafficking, and drug use/abuse are also common.
You have to realize, comics have come a long way since the 70s and 80s.  The move to specialty stores--and away from bookstores and convenience store spinner racks--has made the medium less accessible to casual and/or new fans.  So, bottom line, most comic readers have been fans since back in the day.  But we’re in our thirties, forties, or even fifties now, and we’re still into the medium.  The medium has moved with us, and the stories they’re telling now are stories aimed at over-aged fanboys.  Sometimes that means boobies, and sometimes it means hyper-violent crime fiction tinged with social commentary.  Like a lot of adult comic fans, both things appeal to me.
So.  Later in the day yesterday, Marvel/Disney held a press conference, and at least one reporter asked why they were developing the new properties for Netflix rather than forABC, the TV network that they already own.  The answer turned out to be two-fold.  First, Netflix outbid the other contenders, which may or may not have included ABC in competitive bidding, and second, ABC is already developing another comic-related TV series.  The new series wasn’t named, but the rumors are that it’s another SHIELD thing,Agent Sharon Carter, presumably starring Emily Van Camp in an extension of the role she’s playing in next year’s Captain America 2.
To that, let me just say, argh.  I am definitely NOT watching that shit.
This may well be a good move for Van Camp, whose current show Revenge is essentially Batman, reimagined for the female audience.  My wife likes it; I do not.  It also seems like Revenge may well be coming to an end with the current season, so I can I see Van Camp being ready/available for another TV gig.  But yuck!  Agent Sharon Carter?  I mean, I suppose there must be a less interesting character in the Marvel Universe somewhere, but off the top of my head, I sure as Hell don’t know who it is.  Plus, isn’t this entirely too much SHIELD?  Let me answer that:
It definitely is, at least for me.
On top of all of this, the CW already has a hit show with Arrow, and they’re developing a new show around the DC Universe character The Flash.  I can’t imagine that show working, but what do I know?  Still, my personal opinion is that you have to be a super-hardcore comic fan to care about the Flash, and I myself do not.  At all.  Granted, the CW did a nice job with the early seasons of Smallville, and they’ve done even better with Arrow, but I just don’t see the masses rallying around the Flash when there are already gonna be so many other comic-shows on TV.  And if that’s not enough, they CW is also supposedly developing a show around the Hour-Man concept--even I don’t know who that is--and Fox has announced plans to develop a cop-drama set in pre-Batman Gotham City.  How that’s gonna be different from any other cop show set in New York is an open question.
And there’s all the movies.  Thor 2 premiers today.  Captain America 2 is scheduled for early summer 2014, and the Guardians of the Galaxy are coming in August.  Hallelujah, the Guardians are gonna rock!  And then Avengers 2 is some time after that, Avengers 3 is even later, and there’s supposed to be an Ant-Man movie running around out there.  You ask me, all of that looks pretty good except Ant-Man.  They’re gonna have to convince me that this Ant-Man thing is a good idea.  But then there’s alsoZack Snyder’s Superman/Batman, which may be good but is a little more likely to suck.  Not because I’m against Ben Affleck as Batman but because I don’t think Snyder understands Superman based on his treatment in Man of Steel--which sucked, upon further review.  And now they’re talking about putting together a Justice League movie, and I’m just sayin’...  
If Green Lantern sucked and underperformed, and Man of Steel sucked--and underperformed compared to Iron Man 3--and then Superman/Batman turns out to suck and underperform, then at what point is Warner Brothers just throwing good money after bad?  Granted, these are iconic characters, but eventually, one assumes they’ll use up all that good will.  And more to the point we’ve got to be getting close to market saturation.  I mean, the Flash and Sharon fucking Carter are both gonna be on TV?  Wow.  And I haven’t even mentioned the X-Men movies or Spider-Man.
Look, I love comics.  Really.  But this is a lot, even for me.
What the Hell is up with the mainstream media giving coverage to the so-called conspiracy around Arafat’s alleged polonium poisoning?  
Look, for those who’ve forgotten, polonium is what the Russians use to hit expats outside their borders, so that everyone knows they did it afterwards without them having to actually leave physical evidence.  The last attack was in London, executed with an old-school umbrella-knife, and the dude they hit spent three or so weeks in the hospital afterwards dying of radiation poisoning.  It made the news.
Why bring that up?  Because Arafat did not die of radiation poisoning!
Shit.  I know people are stupid, but this is ridiculous.  And it’s getting covered by the BBC!  I don’t get it, seriously.
People, if the Israelis wanted to hit Arafat, they wouldn’t use polonium.  They’d use rockets--and achieve the exact same effect.  “What do you mean his car blew up?  We don’t know anything about that?”  See how that works?  Plus, it’s easier and involves exponentially (logarithmically?) less risk.
Alright.  Sorry I don’t have time to put in all the links and other supporting documentation (and pictures) to support today’s post.  You can either take my word for it, or hit Google and look all this crap up yourselves.  Or leave comments, and maybe I'll edit this mess a little tomorrow.
Have a good weekend.

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