Category Archives: tv

Star Wars Rebels Heroes of Mandalore Parts 1 and 2 Review

        Being the Star Wars fan that I am and this being the final season of Star Wars Rebels I have decided to review each individual episode (well episodes since they’re being released two episodes a night) for the final season of Star Wars Rebels. There will be spoilers.

        This week’s season premiere of Star Wars Rebels kicked off with the continuation of the Mandalorian Liberation arc from the previous season. Sabine and the Wren clan fight not only to free Sabine’s father, but to also destroy the weapon of mass destruction designed and created by Sabine known as the Dutchess. Also there’s the return of Bo Katan from Star Wars the Clone Wars.

        The episode itself is primarily action packed with much attention devoted to Sabine and her allies rescuing her father from Imperial forces as he is about to be executed in Part 1. As mentioned above Bo Katan does return to the series, but only gets a few lines and proceeds to aid the other Mandalorians in kicking ass and taking names and to say “a Mandalorian with a jetpack is a weapon.” Outside of Ezra having trouble with using a Mandalorian jetpack (how do those work anyways?) there is little to no comedy present in the episode along with the episode ending in a cliffhanger.

        Part 2 focuses on Sabine’s efforts to destroy the weapon ironically named as the Dutchess (Dutchess Satine was a devout pacifist, you can imagine how pissed Bo Katan must be gaining this knowledge). The weapon is designed specifically to affect Mandalorian armor so that it literally bakes the individual inside of it and causes them to be incinerated and reduced to ash. Of course the Rebels succeed and Mandalore is liberated.

Despite my enjoyment of the episodes I was a little disappointed that Sabine’s arc in the show has been wrapped up so quickly. I also didn’t like that Bo Katan didn’t really have development in the episode, but we can blame that on the fact that Clone Wars was cancelled before her own story with Mandalore could be animated and recorded.

We do also meet Sabine’s father who is an artist and actually critiques Sabine’s artistic abilities shortly after he is rescued rather than concentrating on her abilities as a warrior. I have a feeling Sabine’s father was a supporter of Duchess Satine since he isn’t as combat ready as the rest of his family (that we see).

Despite the episode being Sabine centered we actually don’t get too much development out of her as a character outside of rejecting the opportunity to get revenge on someone who hurt her family and betray Mandalore. I still enjoyed the episode for the action sequences and the score for Sabine’s theme.

I give Star Wars Rebels Heroes of Mandalore Parts 1 and 2 three Mandalorian jetpacks out of five (seriously how do those work?)

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Batman and Harley Quinn Review

        In her twenty fifth year in existence of Harley Quinn and the seventy-something year of existence for Batman, DC Entertainment released Batman and Harley Quinn. I was very excited when I saw the announcement and trailer for Batman and Harley Quinn while my older brother groaned and said “seriously, more Harley Quinn?” And upon watching Batman and Harley Quinn I will say I was disappointed in a sense. I didn’t hate the movie, but I feel that things could have been done better.

The Good Things

        One of the things fans of DC Comics will notice off the bat is that the movie is animated in the same style as the Batman The Animated Series using the same character models for the characters of Batman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, a few background henchmen, and Nightwing (minus fugly 90’s mullet). The movie gave a very strong nostalgic feeling for me as someone who grew up with the DC Animated Universe from the beginning of Batman TAS in 1993 to the end of Justice League Unlimited in 2006.

        One of the neat things about the film is that the character models for a scene that takes place in a bar for henchmen used character models for nearly all the henchmen featured in Batman TAS and fans of the series can have fun trying to identify what episode each henchmen was in. There’s also a really fun musical number of Harley singing Hanging on the Telephone that even causes both Batman and Nightwing to briefly break out of their normal characterization.

        One of the best things of the movie I really liked was that it was a Harley Quinn movie without the Joker. Rather than rely on the constant conflict between Harley and Joker, this movie focused on the genuine friendship between Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. For those that don’t know in the comics after getting thrown out by the Joker one time too many Poison Ivy takes in Harley Quinn and the two start a friendship that at times is a little romantic. This friendship plays a key role in the movie for both Poison Ivy and Harley as the former begins to question if what she is doing really good for the earth and is going to far for the greater good.

        In this film Harley Quinn is recruited from her attempt to live a clean life by Batman and Nightwing to save the world from Poison Ivy and Floronic Man who want to turn all living creatures on earth into animal/plant hybrids in order to save the earth from climate change. Initially Harley is only recruited for the sake of finding out the location of Poison Ivy, but Harley joins along because she enjoys being alive and a human.

The Bad Parts

        Despite what I mentioned above about the film using the same animation models of Batman TAS for both the setting and character, the movie is not meant for kids and I can’t guarantee all viewers will get the same nostalgic feeling I got. There is swearing and a scene where Harley shoots the finger at a friend of hers which some parents who purchased the movie in hopes of bonding with their kids over Harley might not be so comfortable with. There’s also a fair amount of PG13 level gore present, another thing parents might not be so comfortable with. Particularly if their daughter was exposed to Harley via DC Superhero Girls.

        Harley Quinn is also very sexualized for the first third of the movie until she gets her Harley Quinn attire on. She can be seen in a ‘sexy Harley Quinn’ costume as part of her job, strips down to her underwear in front of Nightwing (and possibly has consensual sex with him). I’m not really sure if the goal was for Harley to celebrate her sexuality, to be objectified, or a strange mockery of sexualization while just having fun with the character.

        Sadly, there are moments where the movie is a little dull and even relied on potty humor (okay fine, Harley Quinn producing farts so foul smelling that even Batman pulled over at a gas station is pretty damn funny).

Some fans have complained over Melissa Rauch voicing Harley instead of Terra Strong, and while Rauch does kinda sound like Velma Dinkly with a brooklyn accent, you overlook it after a while.

Not all fans of Batman TAS or Harley Quinn will love this movie, but I enjoyed it enough to write a review on it.

I give Batman and Harley Quinn three and a half sudden musical numbers out of five.

        

Once Upon a Time Near Series Fauxnalie Review

In an alternate universe tonight was the series finale of Once Upon a Time. I loved the series, through awesome first halves of seasons followed by boring second halves of seasons, to amazing seasons with crappy season finales, and through all the tear jerkers, talks of hope, forgiveness, and love.

I won’t review the whole series, because that would take too much typing and I wouldn’t be done for a good eleven hours. I will be concentrating on this episode and any episodes I associate with it will be because of character development.

blah blah blah, spoilers beyond this point, blah blah

As I mentioned earlier there have been seasons that have been good with crappy season finales, and there have been boring arcs with a good season finale to follow. This season gave us a genuinely good and satisfying season finale. Many plots were tied up from Charming and Snow’s life (lets be honest their plot more or less wrapped up around the end of the Queens of Darkness arc), to Regina fighting her inner demons, to Rumple fighting his inner thoughts as The Dark One.

My only complaint is that this isn’t the actual series finale. Rather than giving us two hours of dramatic confrontation between good and evil, we’re given an alternative to one huge fight between light and darkness (don’t worry there is one). The finale was a nice reflection of the events of the first episode of Once Upon a Time where Emma is living a life without faith or belief, but through the events of the episode manages to regain her faith in everything.

I rather like that the final confrontation was not on Emma alone, but also with Rumple. I was happy that Emma took her position as the savior properly and didn’t resort to violence to save the day and (as I predicted in 2011 when the show first aired) died saving the day (don’t worry she came back to life too). It was interesting to see that Rumple was the one to kill the Black Fairy, and that it helped actually save the day.

I like that all the past events of the show were referenced one last time by reminding us that the cast of the Frozen arc, the Wonderland spin off, and other world’s visited were also playing a role in the events happening in the episode. I would have liked it more if the actors and actresses had been able to return for this episode, hopefully they can return for the actual series finale.

Speaking of which, it appears that the seventh season will have to do with Henry regaining his memories about Storybrook and his family because that’s how crappy Disney sequels set things.

I liked that essentially everyone in the series got a happy life, and that the morals of love, forgiveness, faith, and hope were able to aid in this episode and will probably aid the cast in the future.

Let’s hope next season is the last season.

 

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Review

Another season of Star Wars Rebels wrapped up tonight with Zero Hour where the rebel alliance literally got it’s ass kicked by the Empire. I really enjoyed this episode and most of season 3 of Star Wars Rebels. There were some filler episodes I didn’t (Iron Squadron…)

Sorta Spoilers from this point on, I’ll kind of be conversing with this blog post. For reviews for each episode individually, please watch the reviews on Star Wars Explained. I really like this channel and find it very informative for both new and old fans of Star Wars.

Characters

So this season was advertised as Ezra being tempted by the dark side, Kanan discovering new powers in the force despite being blind, Maul being a big threat, Sabine having her own character arc, Kallus taking Ahsoka’s position as Fulcrum, and so much more.

The season brought more of Star Wars Legends back into canon with the characters Thrawn and Wedge. Thrawn poses as a major threat by allowing minor victories with the rebel alliance to happen in order to better study them and defeat them. I can’t speak too much about my opinion of Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels because I didn’t know of the character or his book series because the old expanded universe was too large for me to handle.

The season kicked ass in so many ways; the first thing fans noticed was that characters besides Sabine got new models to be used with Ezra and Kanan getting the most dramatic changes and Hera and Zeb getting the least changes in design. Ezra’s physical puberty finally caught up with his voice! It was nice to see all the characters given a redesign sooner in the series since the events of the season 2 finale left it’s marking on the main cast both physically and mentally.

Ezra’s journey this season starts off with him being seduced by the darkside; Ezra had been studying from the Sith holocron and through it gained some impressive battle tactics through it. At the start of the season Ezra has confidence and arrogance that concerns his friends since he willingly kills Stormtroopers in very dark ways and was reckless on missions leading him to almost getting killed. As soon as Maul came into the picture, he more or less snapped away from the dark side and the rest of the season is Ezra just being himself.

Kanan has issues at the start of the season due to losing his eyesight and feels incompetent as a person, Jedi, teacher, and soldier. It is after meeting and learning some wisdom from a force sensitive known as the Bendu does Kanan return to his normal self.

Hera is a slightly more stressed out version of herself, Zeb is more relaxed and brudes less, and Chopper continues to stir shit up in a comical way for fun. Sabine got her own character arc and I am very happy for that. Sabine’s past of working with the empire is slowly brought up again until she gets her hands on the dark saber from Maul. I liked her journey this season and how we learn of her backstory and the pain she had to live with knowing that she could never return home without the traitor brand being lifted from her.

I liked seeing Sabine wield a lightsaber, I actually had her wield one in Disney Infinity a few times so there was definitely something cool about having her actually use one in canon. My only complaint is that Sabine’s character arc was about three episodes in total this season, but with news that there will be a season 4 of Rebels and the Mandalore plotline still open I’m very confident that her story will continue on.

Maul’s arc this season actually got on my nerves a bit; I felt he just popped up to annoy Ezra and Kanan because they were the only force users left for him to annoy since all the other jedi that he knew of were dead and because he knew Palpatine would destroy him with ease. This led up to Maul meeting Obiwan one last time and the two having a duel with obvious results. All I can say is, that’s what he gets for killing Satine.

I was very excited to see the Bendu in the show since he is voiced by Tom Baker and I am a very big fan of Doctor Who. I was satisfied with the character of the Bendu because he was a neutral in terms of the light and darkside of the force choosing to be like nature. Instead of taking a particular side the Bendu chose to let let things fall as they may and help Kanan and Ezra (and maybe even Sabine) in their emotional journeys providing wisdom. In the series finale he is pissed at both the rebels and the empire for messing around with his sleeping patterns. After Kanan pisses him off further, the Bendu takes his anger out on both sides with Thrawn barely being able to guess a weakspot to defeat the being…or not.

Finally as mentioned above Kallus took on the position of being Fulcrum; at the start of the season he is pretty incognito about being a double agent with even the rebels not knowing who he was. It was interesting to see how he would continue to throw off suspicion that he was the spy for the rebels and staying clear of Thrawn’s suspicion of who he was. He gets discovered in the end, complete with a physical beating and being held hostage (oh how I wish he had been shirtless with his unkempt hair in that scene…), and at the end of the season he finally joins up with the Rebel alliance.

Favorite Episodes

My three favorite episodes would be Double Agent Droid, Secret Cargo, and Trials of the Darksaber. Double Agent Droid brought focus towards Chopper, AP-5, and Wedge. I thought it was a nice episode at how it was finally acknowledged that Chopper frequently went into Empire territory with nothing more but a paintjob and no one ever noticing it. Then in this episode, IT BACKFIRED! It also showed that AP-5 is significantly more observant and a more valued part of the rebellion than most of the rebels are giving him credit for. Also, WE GET AP-5 SINGING! I swear I fell off my chair laughing at the tragilarious sight. We also get to see what happens when someone truly pisses off Hera, and how she probably has the highest headcount of the Ghost crew. Also there’s space toilets!

Secret Cargo and Trials of the Darksaber were two emotionally driven episodes on two opposite spectrums. Trials of the Darksaber showed Kanan and Ezra training Sabine to use a lightsaber since she would have people coming after her because of her possession of the darksaber. The acting from Tiya Sicar and Freddie Prince Jr. really got to me leading me to relate more to the character of Sabine.

Secret Cargo was an interesting episode to watch, particularly considering the current time political situation we live in and how Mon Mothma was able to unite all the rebel cells into the rebel alliance.

The Season as a Whole

I will admit I wasn’t feeling it this seasons as much as I was last season, I think it’s because the mystery of the fate of Ahsoka Tano interested me significantly, I do have my favorite moments and episodes though. There are some concerns that next season will be the last for Star Wars Rebels and I wouldn’t be shocked if that were true. I was hoping the series would end with the Rogue One storyline, except through the perspective of the Ghost crew.

I liked the development of the characters, the voice acting, the fact that not all fallen allies are forgotten too. I look forward to the next season of Star Wars Rebels, hopefully I’ll be in graduate school then.

I give Star Wars Rebels season 3, three and a half space toilets out of five.

 

Toonami Twenty Years

Like some kids who grew up in the 1990’s I watched Toonami. It wasn’t my introduction to anime (that was Sailor Moon), but it had a major influence on my life. It exposed me to anime and the unique form of story telling that it brings.

As I’ve mentioned before I learned to draw and became an armature artist because of anime, so I have Toonami to thank for gaining these skills and abilities. Anime was unique to me; before anime the only cartoons I had were either comedy based which wasn’t artistically appealing at times to me (hey look at that, I was a kid who couldn’t draw for shit critiquing the artistic abilities of others!) or they were Disney. Alot of the times unless the animation was a movie, there was no closure to a story. In the 90’s you were lucky if you got a season 2 to your animated show. Anime and Toonami changed that for me, the first anime that I saw in completion within twenty six episodes was Outlaw Star.

It was intense to me because characters fought pretty violent fights and when someone died, they died for good. There was alot of attention to detail in the animation too. I stayed a loyal fan to Toonami because I slowly began to like anime more and more and all of the variety provided to me through Toonami exposed me to genres like Mecha, Magical Girl, Harem, etc. I also indirectly discovered my favorite anime and manga CardCaptor Sakura through Toonami.

When Toonami was cancelled I was a little shocked, but not terribly surprised since all they showed Naruto (I don’t care for Naruto). I was a little annoyed that I missed the final airing, but i accepted that it was time to move on with life since I was going to start college at the end of the month anyways.

THen on April 1st 2012, Toonami came back bitches. I remember the night that I just had the tv on in the background as I listened to what was happening. At the time and even now alot of my tv watching is me listening to what’s happening while reading an article or chatting with a friend unless I particularly like something. Then I heard Steve Blum’s voice. And that Voice saying “bitches”. It was kind of like hearing one of your parents swear for the first time. I stayed up the whole night watching anime and loving it.

You’re all probably thinking that this strange adult in his late twenties now spends his saturday nights watching Toonami. Sadly no because I now have a social life, okay not as much of a social life as I once had in the past few years, but I don’t watch Toonami anymore. But I’m happy it’s on.

These days I’m probably asleep Saturday night because old people just fall asleep the second they’re in a comfortable position in bed. And sleep is awesome, I try to get as much as I can (this might explain how I can function without coffee at my age). I’m happy Toonami is twenty years old and I hope it stays on for a few more years.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix Review

On September 30th 1999 the first book in a tragic tale concerning the three Baudelaire orphans was published, five years later on a cool November morning a bored teenager unsure of what to read while waiting for the sixth Harry Potter book discovered them. In these books was a dark story filled with shout outs, a phrase which means to pay tribute to or to give reference to another piece of work, and dark, dark humor which although entertaining through the first reading of these books would lead to utter depression rereading said books knowing that yes, things got worse and worse. Oh and various descriptions of food and possibly some morals based from the Jewish faith and tradition.

The series that I speak of is A Series of Unfortunate Events by a man named Lemony Snicket and not at all associated with an individual named Daniel Handler. It is mere coincidence that along with my discovery of the series in the year 2004 there was a movie from the company known as Nickelodeon based on these books with what looked like a promising film series to rival the likes of J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers, and Harry Potter. There are various words that can be used to describe this film and somewhere on the internet there is a forum where a young fifteen year old fan used a variety of words and vulgarity, a word which here means inappropriate and unpleasant, to describe his distaste and lack of satisfaction with the film to put it lightly.

The boy in this blog post enjoyed the books released since the fateful day he discovered A Series of Unfortunate Events, reading through each book within a day learning many things from these books despite the target audience being significantly for absolutely no one ever. And during a year when this boy felt sad, reading the last book gave him hope. Since that day there had been silence from Lemony Snicket until 2012 where a prequel series known as All the Wrong Questions was announced and as of 2015 has concluded.

In the fall of 2015 though it was announced A Series of Unfortunate Events would be adapted to a television show on the internet streaming service known as Netflix. Fans were overjoyed that a more faithful, a word which here means sticks closer to the source material in terms of what happens in the books and the tone of said books as well. A former but successful child star known as Neil Patrick Harris would be replacing a washed up comedian, but talented painter as the villainous Count Olaf. And finally as of last January, Friday the thirteenth this series premiered on Netflix. This is the review of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the tv show.

Spoilers, a term which here means a highly detailed synopsis of what takes place during the story, will be present after this bold text. As homage to Mr.Snicket I would rather you slam your computer shut, place your phone in airplane mode, and toss your tablet outside of a moving vehicle hoping it doesn’t kill a pelican, and find something better to do like donate money to MyASPCA, Puppies Behind Bars, The Trevor Project, or read a book by Cody Wagner, or read a book review by a very nice woman with three cute puppies. 

I must admit watching the televised adaption of the beloved books of my youth was very enjoyable. One of the benefits of adapting books to television is the opportunity to have the book accurately transformed into a form of viewing for the audience. However, like most things in life even when a book is adapted to television isn’t always enjoyable. With the participation of Daniel Handler (whom I’m not too sure why he is so heavily associated with Lemony Snicket), events and plots that were not present or known to the reader of the first four books in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

As mentioned in the above text, Neil Patrick Harris would be portraying the villainous Count Olaf, and was dark, fearsome, and even at times, funny. The cast of the series was diverse, a word which means to have different people represented, averting having a prominently Caucasian cast of actors in a television show thus giving a wider world view to the poor children brave enough to watch each tragic episode and telling producers and talent agents that you can hire any race or ethnicity to play a role.

The expansion of each book per episode was enjoyable, it gave the opportunity to explore the depths of side characters in each story beyond their original intended purpose and foreshadowing future travesties that would affect the Baudelaire orphans. Characters like Justice Strauss, Dr.Montgomery Montgomery, Josephine Anwhistle (who is not played by her dame Meryl Streep in this adaption) are now more fleshed out beyond a neighbor, a herpetologist, and a scary cat.

The tone of the television show followed the books closer than any film adaption ever could. However at times I couldn’t help but be reminded of a television show created by Bryan Fuller that premiered in the fall of 2007 and because of a writer’s strike was cancelled by the ABC network. The artistic direction of each set was wonderful and interesting to look at for both fans of the book series, fans of art, and people who need the internet and social media to dictate to them what to watch on Netflix rather than deciding for themselves what they should and shouldn’t watch. I’d rather they watch something with strong female characters overcoming challenges presented to them in their life, but then again this show also has that.

There are a few shocking twists and turns in the television adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events, even for those who have read A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Beautrice Letters, and All the Wrong Questions complete with a Red Herring, a phrase which here means something that appears to be of importance, but is a distraction from the main story, within this adaption.

I will give the Netflix Adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events one mansion on fire out of five, because I can’t fathom why people would want multiple mansions on fire.

The Green Aesop

In celebration of my degree in Environmental Science I figured I’d dedicate a whole blog post to The Green Aesop. The Green Aesop is a trope that has to do with the environment. Said tvshow, movie, book, or any form of entertainment will have a message concerning the environment and how it must be protected. Most of the time it doesn’t quite work out so well; while it is easy to point fingers and say “hey this is bad for our earth, let’s create a story with a lesson,” it’s hard to make it entertaining, likable, and not frak up the message (let alone be accurate in staying true to your message).

It would be too easy and too lengthy to say “these movies/books/tv shows that try to preach about being environmentally friendly suck and are awful for this reason,” so I’m going to list a few forms of media that do a decent job of keeping the environmentally friendly message. Here is a list of shitty movies/tv episodes/seasons that are just awful. Ferngully 1 and 2 (the later does educate children a little more about how circuses mistreat animals though), The Lorax (2012 film), The Day After Tomorrow, season five of The Winx Club, and Power Rangers Wild Force (kudos for being balsy enough to kill off a kid on screen though). I’d include Epic on this list, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t exactly pass judgment on it properly.

Captain Planet

Let’s get the biggest green cartoon out of the way; Captain Planet was created by Ted Turner from Turner broadcasting and featured five teenagers with the powers of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart. These powers were given to them by Gaia the spirit of earth, and they were all different nationalities (with one of them from the Soviet Union of all places). I will admit it’s kind of hard to not want to mock the show for taking it’s save the earth message and shoving it down your throat, even as an adult.

The series was smarter and more thoughtful than viewers gave it credit for covering topics that had to do with the extinction of an entire species in a bad future, basic human rights and needs, nukes, and just about any environment message you can think of. They even have an episode concerning over population advising all the kids watching to limit themselves to having two children.

There were a few good episodes though; the extinct species as mentioned above had to deal with a future where all gorillas just died. I caught it by chance as a kid and it was fairly meaningful to me then and still is. The possibility of existing in a future where my child asks me “what happened to all the ____” is a pretty depressing thought. There’s also an episode where the subject of technology is addressed; Dr.Blight, one of the major villains, switches bodies with the physical god Gaia because she’s a mad scientist and why not. While Dr.Blight is causing all kinds of chaos through the form of natural disasters, Gaia spends the episode trying to figure out a way to convince the planateers that her body has been stolen. It is through this experience that Gaia learns that technology can be used to help reduce and clean up pollution.

In terms of characters, three fifth’s of the planateers are pretty dull and only seem to have personalities once in a blue moon. Wheeler (who the hell names their kid Wheeler?) and Mati have the most personality with the former being a total douchebag who needs to learn a lesson most of the time and the latter being the heart of the group and the key power to forming Captain Planet. Captain Planet himself is a half naked blue man with a green mullet who makes puns while doing the dirty work for the planateers when things get a little too tough for them to handle. Gaia is their mentor and is kind of dull. All their villains are kind of weird, but they seem to fall under “let’s pollute this shit for the evuls!” and “let’s save millions by polluting in this area!” and crazy ass Dr.Blight.

The show was pretty well animated though, action packed enough to keep kids fairly entertained. The story itself can range between too cheesy, too preachy, and actually entertaining.

Humans are Not so Bad

In alot of these shows there is some emphasis from the side of the animals/nature that humans are to blame for any environmental issue and don’t care to fix the problem. In the 1939 animated feature Peace on Earth, all humans are dead and cute woodland creatures have rebuilt society on their graves. The short functions more as a warning about what war can do to our species and how we can easily be the cause of our own demise with war obviously being the main source of pollution with just a sprinkle of propaganda for Christianity. This short was created between World War I and II and could be relevant today, but someone would be offended about that little sprinkle of Christianity in there (nothing against any other religion or atheism, but seriously this modern day society would literally cry over spilled milk, being offended by that statement is proof that I am correct).

However, there are some films that show humans not being such bad people. Once Upon a Forest is one of these movies that shows that although humans are responsible for a gas leak in a forest killing some of the population, including the parents from one of the protagonists (and they stay dead too), humans did put the effort into cleaning up the mess caused by the gas leak.

The Simpsons Movie (and probably some of the 600+ episodes), does feature the citizens of Springfield put an effort to clean up their pollution thanks to one of Lisa’s more successful warnings. Some episodes do involve animal rights and it’s a fifty/fifty chance at the outcome to what happens.

As mentioned above with Captain Planet the planateers do have their elemental powers, but rather than use violence to solve anything (the most violent they got was maybe melting a door down), they provided solutions to problems presented to them. It was their job to solve the actual problem rather than kick the ass of the villain of that particular week.

Corporations (Wall-E vs The Lorax)

It’s funny how two films on complete opposite sides of good and awful sort of have the same message. Before I go on, the book of The Lorax and the first cartoon are actually really good. The 2012 film should have everyone involved with writing banished from civilization.

What Wall-E and The Lorax have in common is that all the problems are caused by big business with Wall-E literally causing the end of the world and The Lorax just having a ecosystem just totally destroyed.

I think what makes Wall-E the better film is that the primary story is a love story between two robots. True there are heavy references to the Bible (Eva is the name of Eve in some countries and one of the few named humans is Mary). The fact Earth got messed up is background noise and when the humans return to earth, rather than regret coming back to the planet, they fix things up using science and technology (and are even successful at it too.)

The problem with the Lorax film is that it doesn’t give a flying fuck about the original message. If you want a more detailed reasoning for this belief, please click the link above to a woman who reviewed and compared the book and film of The Lorax, I swear it’s just coincidental that we share many of the same views on the topic of the film. Just to list a few issues, many of the important scenes of the book are glossed over during the How Bad can I Be musical number, the film cares more on developing the character of the Onceler, the film is constantly saying “big business bad!” and we’re supposed to believe it, Zac Efron having a crush on Taylor Swift, and the fact someone thought it was a good idea to turn forest creatures into clones of the god damned minions!

The book version of The Lorax is of course darker with the Onceler giving a warning to an unnamed boy about how he destroyed the land by not listening to The Lorax. When the topic of business is brought up, the Onceler does defend himself (admitting in a ‘I don’t care’ way) he tells the Lorax that if he were to close up shop, he’d have to lay off countless workers. The book also does not have a happy ending with Dr.Seuss choosing to end the book open ended.

We Dun Fraked Up

Similar to Peace on Earth there are some sources of media where things are too messed up to recover from, a bad example being The Day After Tomorrow insisting that all of this crazy weather will pop up out of nowhere (mass extinction and an ice age don’t work like that). A good example of this would be the series finale to the Jim Henson sitcom Dinosaurs.

What starts off as accidentally destroying a habitat for native bugs for semi big business, the lead character Earl accidentally causes the end of the world with nukes, volcanoes. It’s the darkest episode of the series where the last few moments feature the Dinosaur family slowly being trapped in their home by a combination of ash and snow with Baby asking what’s going to happen to everyone. Earl say’s he doesn’t know, but is hopeful they will survive this predicament. Sadly it is heavily hinted that things will not get better and that the family, friends, and many others will perish during the events of mass extinction.

Earth Maiden Arjuna and X/1999

This thirteen episode anime Earth Maiden Arjuna is sort of like Captain Planet meets Sailor Moon, minus the fun parts of Sailor Moon, and going to dark places Captain Planet was not willing to go. After dying a teenage girl named Juna is offered the chance to return to life after being given a future of current and future travesties to befall the earth. Juna becomes a magical guardian of Earth. Topics of climate change and humanity is brought up, and in the trailer for this anime it’s even mentioned that humans are just temporary parts of life on earth and will one day die with the earth living on without humanity.

X/1999 is the total opposite of Captain Planet with Earth being a living entity and having the Dragons of Earth act to destroy humanity for the sake of Earth living on because humans have caused so much pollution and waste. To counter this, the Dragons of Heaven counter attack the Dragons of Earth and argue that humanity can change it’s ways and that it is possible for earth and humanity to co-exist and recover. Instead of concentrating on “hey let’s recycle these coke bottles because it allows us to reuse them in a new way” X/1999 focuses more on the humanity part of the subject with the members of the dragons of heaven being from various faith backgrounds and life backgrounds giving reasons on why human life is worth saving to the dragons of earth.

Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli is an animation company out of Japan that makes amazing movies, sometimes with an environmental message subtle (like pulling a bike out of a polluted river in Spirited Away) to being the main theme of the story (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Princess Mononoke). The studio may be successful in these endeavors because both the message and the story are taken into consideration and are properly prioritized without one overtaking the other.

Instead of repeating the same story over and over, different approaches are made to each story. Nausicaa has more to do with survival in a world where a toxic jungle is slowly spreading over the land and giant bugs run around. The movie is based off a manga and covers the first two volumes with interesting views. Princess Mononoke has more to do with the expansion industrialization causing the destruction of nature and finding a balance between humanity and nature.

Honorable Mentions

Before I finish this up, I’d like to have some honorable mentions on tv episodes and books that did a decent job with an environmental message; the Futurama movie Into the Wild Green Yonder, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe from Doctor Who, Extras by Scott Westerfeld, Zanzibar from Rocko’s Modern Life, and episode 23 of Animaniacs.

How do you write a good Green Aesop

I don’t know; it’s a topic where one has to intake many sides to a conflict humanity faces to fully understand, and then actually make it entertaining. I can say that keeping things fairly real and honest is a good approach. Sure songs about wanting a tree to live, cute critters running around, and using magic for the sake of sparing the feelings of a child sounds like a good idea, but it’s not a good thing to say. It is the responsibility of humanity to monitor the current situation we are in, educate ourselves on what other people on this planet are facing, find out WHY big business is considered a villain in all of this and how to reduce the waste we produce, how to to re-use as much as we can, and how to recycle things we don’t use. (oh gosh I have no idea if my professors would frown upon this or love it.)

My Problem With “Coming Out” Stories

I’ve said many times that I am not fond of coming out stories. They aren’t bad stories, and when I was younger I read a few of them and enjoyed them. I understand why lgbt youth would like these stories because it gives them something to relate to. Having a secret that must be kept out of fear of alienation from loved ones and peers is a big deal and can end with family and loved ones accepting you as you are, learning to love your difference, or downright throwing you out of the house.

Good Golly, This Shit Again?

It makes sense to me that whenever the main protagonist in mainstream media is gay that this is the primary conflict of the story since it allows readers/watchers who aren’t part of the lgbt community to get an idea of what it is like to be in the shoes of someone who isn’t straight.

However this brings the problem that I have mentioned and danced around in many blog posts/essays. It becomes a gimmick; while lgbt fiction and culture can still have a coming out part of a story, it wouldn’t take up the whole story or series. It would be one portion the protagonists life, then the protagonist will move on and do other things. In mainstream media outside of the lgbt category this is not the case.

An example I will use is the movie Gay Best Friend; I watched it on Netflix, thought it was hilarious, and I was pleased that the movie went deeper than what I expected out of a teen comedy. There was still the main conflict of coming out of the closet and how that action had waves of chain reactions because the main protagonist was accidentally and unwillingly outed as gay. Although the main protagonist does claim get over the fact his peers know he is gay, it is the primary source of conflict between him and those responsible for his outing towards the end of the second act and even after is only fully resolved at the end of the film.

The Proper Way to Handle a Coming out Story (your mileage may vary)

I feel this type of story works out better on tv rather than movies or books; my two main examples will be the shows Ugly Betty and Glee. On Ugly Betty there were quite a few lgbt characters on the show; Marc St.James, Justin Suarez, Alexis Mead (behold a trans character no one made a big deal about in the year 2006!), and a few more. At the time of it’s premier only Marc and his love interests could officially be slated as gay since it was still a taboo for someone as young as Justin’s character to be officially stated as gay so the topic of his sexuality was danced around, but never confirmed until season 4. My guess is since Justin was in highschool things became more fair game for the character.

At first Justin states he isn’t gay with Marc (he’s kind of his mentor and a close friend despite being much older than Justin) understanding Justin’s situation and being patient with Justin as he talked about his feelings towards both genders and his friendships with characters that are barely ever mentioned. When it was announced Ugly Betty was cancelled it was pretty obvious the writers decided to stop giving shits about people in the audience getting offended and had Justin make out with a boy. Bonus points for everyone in Justin’s family knowing the whole time and very excitedly willingly to throw him a coming out party (even Marc is happy to see the Suarez family is so loving of Justin and proud of him despite being pissed off with them more or less wanting Justin to confirm his sexuality).

With Glee, we had Kurt, goodness he is gayer than Christmas. He was sarcastic, wore clothes that ranged from cool to ‘wha’ regularly and had an easier time “coming out” on television thanks to Ugly Betty. While Glee did premier during the last season of Ugly Betty, the later show did lay some groundwork that would make things Glee did easier to do on tv (do you REALLY think Glee would/could have had Kurt and Blaine’s intense makeout session had Justin and Austin not had theirs one year before?)

I admit there were times I found Kurt very annoying primarily because at the start of the show he was more or less the gay stereotype that viewers are supposed to see and say “oh, they’re gay! I didn’t have to think about it.” His coming out to his dad in the first season was very touching though. With Kurt’s dad behaving very loving unconditionally towards his son from that point onward to the end of the series even sticking up for Kurt when Kurt was doing something inappropriate (not cool pushing yourself on Finn when he has politely stated he is not gay and not interested countless times, thank goodness that gets addressed too.)

Like in Gay Best Friend there are waves of side affects that result in Kurt coming out of the closet that lead to bullying, harassment, and other characters growing and developing complete with Kurt more or less ditching the gay stereotype he started out as by the end of the series.

There’s also the character Santana’s own coming out story that started out as a throwaway gag of her having sex with her best friend. Not much detail is given concerning how her parents react outside of “yeah, they’re cool with it,” but she was outed by accident and things more or less go ok for her outside of her grandmother having very strict religious beliefs that “girls belong with boys, not other girls”.

I’d like to make special mention to the ABC Family show Greek; I didn’t see much of it (I just didn’t care to watch it) but there was a gay character with no gay traits who did have a very well handled coming out arc and developed past coming out from that point on. Feel free to correct me on this internet.

Other Media

My reasoning for saying television is the best way to have a coming out story is because it allows the character to stay in main focus and have the coming out arc then move past said arc and grow as a character without said conflict being the whole purpose of the character.

While this is possible in books, I have read few mainstream books where the main protagonist is gay, comes out, and does something other than come out as gay. Movies are even harder because more than likely you only have ninety to a hundred and twenty minutes of story to go through and having the protagonist “come out” can take up more time than expected with the possibility that said action can become the main conflict of a movie.

I’ve reviewed the books The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren and Will Grayson Will Grayson and I was very happy with how it was handled. In Will Grayson Will Grayson ‘coming out’ as an arc is treated like taking off a bandaid, quick. It allowed Will to move beyond that conflict and for other conflicts to be explored concerning love and relationships in terms of romance, friendship, and agape.

As I said in my review of The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren after the main character is outed as gay and goes to sanctuary prep and neat shenanigans happen from that point on. Although I dreaded the coming out portion it was there as the main plot point to set the story in motion and yes echos are felt from the protagonist coming out as gay.

 

If You’re so Knowledgeable then Why Don’t YOU do a Coming Out Story?

I have said previously that the book I am working on right now will not have a coming out plot. In the process of writing this blog post I have realized that really is an asshole thing of me to say I won’t do a coming out story. No I won’t add a coming out part to the story I am working on, but that doesn’t mean I will never do a coming out story.

Maybe later on I will find a way for myself to write a story where coming out is just one event in a protagonist’s tale and move on past it with the character able to grow beyond that event.

Once again please look up and purchase The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren, it is a great story, I have met the author and have had fun facebook conversations with him.

Fandoms, do we Know What we Want? What we Really, Really Want?

Before the iPhone the internet was a simpler time; we had MySpace teaching us html code, no one posted intense political rants every four years, you could upload, stream, and watch anime on YouTube without having to go through the trouble of torrenting new episodes, we all used AIM instead of skype, there sadly were the origins of cyber bullying, and yes there were also complete a**holes who spoiled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to fans who didn’t realize what they were getting themselves into.

We didn’t have tumblr to show us the fanart and crafts we didn’t know that we wanted to see, we didn’t have facebook to search for our favorite books, movies, and tv shows and follow them in a convenient way, and we definitely still had to buy dvds since Netflix wasn’t what it was today. Cosplay was harder to do, and I could continue to go on and on how in nearly ten years being in a fandom has changed significantly.

We Need Things That Make Sense

Today I’m going to talk about questioning what we want from what we are a fan of. My reasoning for this is the recent rumor of there being a possibility of a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go being made based on the success of the later and fans losing their minds over it saying “yaaas, I need dis nao!” And although it does sound nice, the truth is no, we don’t really need it.

I agree maybe there does need to be a Harry Potter app for Pottermore since the website has been re-hauled completely making it hard to find specific information than in the previous version. But we don’t need a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go works for the Pokemon franchise because the whole point of the video games, anime, and manga is to travel around catching, training, and battling with your pocket monsters while fighting whatever evil organization is trying to take over the world with little to no adult supervision, however please make sure your child has adult supervision if they are playing Pokemon Go and always play with w friend to avoid stranger danger. Harry Potter on the other hand is different from Pokemon with deeper themes concerning love, life and death, racism, and much more. It took Pokemon up to the sixth game to come up with a meaningful plot.

While it is possible to create a tie in with the spin off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them consisting of the magical creatures of the Harry Potter universe, it would probably be sloppy at best in comparison to the time dedicated and spent to developing Pokemon Go.

The same applies to cross overs of series; a good example was a proposed episode of Doctor Who where JK Rowling’s Harry Potter universe would have crossed over into the Doctor’s world and dark wizards would be running around. At the time David Tennant demanded the idea be shot down to Russel T. Davis because “it would be jumping the shark for both franchises,” I’m not saying crossovers are bad and can’t happen, but they need to be done very carefully.

Also please stop saying either Danielle Radcliffe or Rupert Grint should be the next Doctor with Emma Watson as the companion just because “it’s them” they need to be able to add more to their resume first to become the next Doctor (however I wouldn’t mind Emma Watson or Tom Felton as the Doctor one day ).

What Happens if we get What we Want?

Sometimes what we want is given to us; case in point, the Star Wars series. After Revenge of the Sith it looked like the Star Wars franchise was going to be dead with fans buying as much merchandise as possible to see how much it would be worth in the future. Big fans of the franchise had novels of the expanded universe to enjoy, some of them going beyond the events of Return of the Jedi.

Then fans were given, The Clone Wars tv series with a movie to kick it off. Fans hated it (initionally), I think it’s because the art style was a little weird and the fact many fans did not want a fourteen year old girl to be the padawan to Anakin Skywalker. Little did we know we’d all come to like her. Then came the purchasing of Star Wars by Disney with the promise of new movies and destroying the library of the old expanded universe. Fans who followed the expanded universe were rightfully pissed that their established universe was labeled as an alternate universe and all ongoing stories were cancelled as a result. Some enjoyed the recent Force Awakens movie, some didn’t. My point is that sometimes if we’re given what we want we probably won’t like it like we thought we would.

Same goes for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, some fans loved it, some fans despise its existence and condemn JK Rowling even though she just provided an outline. I intentionally feared what would become of the franchise with the announcement of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film trilogy since, let’s be honest with ourselves, it was turned into a spin off for the sake of continuing the franchise in the eyes of Warner Brothers. Seeing the work and effort JK Rowling has placed into setting up the world of FBaWtFT after stating she needed a ten year vacation from Harry Potter I’m confident to say this won’t (entirely) be a soulless attempt to continue to cash in on the franchise.

Also sometimes getting what we want is a good thing; let’s look at how Netflix and Hulu have saved some of our favorite tv shows like Longmire and The Mindy Project from being cancelled for good. Fans rejoiced and are happy at these turn of events. Now if only we knew how not to binge watch a whole season and realize we have nothing to watch for a whole year. Still waiting on the return of Firefly though…

How do we Know Anything Anymore?

I can’t tell anyone how to be a good fan, or what they want in a fandom, but I’ve been around long enough to know what’s a good idea or bad idea. It’s fine to cosplay, buy merchandise, write your self insert fanfiction, and create fanart. It’s fine to love everything that comes out of a franchise, and it’s fine to enjoy something and still critique what you love. “To be a fan is to have hope.”

 

I am not Obligated to like Game of Thrones (and neither are you)

In the summer of 2012 after a break up with my boyfriend and still remaining friends with him he gave me copies of books from the series A Song of Ice and Fire since his best friend liked them and wanted Game of Thrones to be a wonderful surprise to me. He also wanted to talk about something else besides Doctor Who and Big Brother.

So I read the first ten percent of the book and watched the first episode of Game of Thrones and I gave him my honest thought on the franchise. I was bored out of my mind. He was a little heart broken because he really hoped I would like it and out of guilt I continued to read the series.

I read up to the end of A Storm of Swords and stopped reading the series because a close friend of mine had passed away from lupus and I couldn’t bear to continue reading about so much violence and bloodshed at the time.

Spoilers concerning A Song of Ice and Fire and the first season of Game of Thrones from this point on. Sort of. Oh and lots of bitching.

I get why people like Game of Thrones because it’s HBO, surely they are the perfection of creating awesome television shows (and porn). Granted I am kind of biased against HBO since I’m not one for raunchy tv. But I do have to admit I liked that they were fairly accurate to the first book and because it airs on a cable network they can get away with more.

I tried to like the series, I really did. I even made an awesome friend because she was reading A Clash of Kings and I literally had no friends in that class during that semester. I DO NOT HATE THE SERIES, but if I had the option of choosing between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter, I’d go for Harry Potter.

I’d say my complaints from the subject is from friends of mine and the internet. The internet isn’t so bad since I follow my own advice that I give people when they don’t like something. If you don’t like or care for it, then leave it alone. However, it’s not the easiest thing to do with people and friends.

As mentioned above I actually met an awesome friend of mine through the series and we have fun exchanging and suggesting fandoms with each other. Our friendship started because of A Song of Ice and Fire and became solidified because of Doctor Who and mutual hatred of an English professor at our school. But I also have normal friends who have frequently suggested the series over, and over, and over again because, “you like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Kill Bill. You will love this!”And I will admit that since most of these friends don’t read books (those poor unfortunate souls…) I had fun teasing them with the knowledge of who will live and who will die and how long they had to wait for Joffrey to die (the joke was on all of us when book three was split into two seasons).

I won’t bash on the series and say it’s a steaming pile of crap, or as my mother would say “it’s just legal porn,” because it’s not a steaming pile of crap. It’s not the most amazing thing I’ve ever read or seen, but it’s not a steaming pile of crap (George RR Martin sure can write some kinky shit though).

One day I will finish the books (unless George RR Martin croaks), mainly because the plot of Lady Stone Heart interests me significantly. I probably won’t finish the tv show for one reason alone. They diverted from the books; yeah I’m an elitist book nazi who believes if a book is being adapted to a movie or tv show it should be done to every exact detail. I can understand the diversion from movies since you have three hours at best to cram a whole story in, but it’s a fucking tv show, you have plenty of time to get things into exact detail! There was the issue of running out of stuff from the source material at the end of season five, but that wouldn’t have happened if they had stuck closer tot he source material.

I could go on about the flaws I see in the show, but then that’s just bashing the show (which I technically already did), and I don’t want to be that person on the internet who bashes stuff he just doesn’t like. If you like Game of Thrones, that’s fine, If you haven’t read the books that’s not fine, you need to read them, don’t talk to me until you’ve read them.