Doomed Patrol

This past week, HBO Max announced that their streaming series, Doom Patrol and Titans, were ending once their fourth seasons conclude later this year. These two TV shows are based on the DC Comics and originally streamed on the now-defunct DC Universe app before they were carried over to HBO Max.

The news of the series concluding has upset many fans, especially those of Doom Patrol. With its four season, Doom Patrol will surely go down as one of the most bizarre DC TV shows or movies to come out. It centers on a groups of superhero misfits who were given their “powers” if you want to call it that by scientist Niles Calder (Timothy Dalton) in his quest to protect his daughter Dorothy (Abi Monterey), who can bring her imaginary friends to life. His tampering resulted in certain damaged individuals who gained strange abilities. 

This includes Cliff Steele aka Robotman (Brendan Fraser), a man whose brain was placed in a robot body that is not very maneuverable. His background as an absentee father shows him trying to make amends by bonding with his daughter and grandson with mixed results. Rita Farr (April Bowlby), a movie star from the past whose exposure to toxic gas changes her molecular structure to that of gelatin giving her the name Elasti-woman, also has emotional issues with regards to her mother and her failed movie career. This is a common theme in the show with the characters all having issues with their pasts and trying to overcome this. Larry Trainor (Riley Shanahan), Negative Man, is no exception who was a former fighter pilot who bonded with a negative energy entity after a plane crash disfigured him. He also deals with child abandonment issues with his own child and his father, as well. Vic Stone (Joivan Wade), Cyborg, was turned into a half-man, half-machine colossus by his scientist father after a car crash, and has to come to terms with his new life. Vic is alienated from his family and friends while finding a new family in the Doom Patrol. Perhaps the most damaged character is Kay Challis (Diane Guerrero), Crazy Jane, who suffers from multiple personalities that were created to protect a little girl that was abused. These different personas are shown as a group of women living in an underground area connected by a subway station, when at certain times, one of them comes to the surface to display a completely different aspect of Jane’s life, and a different super power, too.

The plots of the episodes are strange to say the least and the flashbacks to each character’s respective pasts are a frequent occurrence. We see them thinking about their traumas, struggling to get past it and become heroes to fight against whatever threats they are facing today. These threats include Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk), an old enemy of Niles, or the Candlemaker, a creature from Dorothy’s subconscious, as well as Madame Rouge (Michelle Gomez), a time traveling agent of the Bureau of Normalcy, who captured Rita and forced her to become a weapon. Later on, Rouge actually joins the Doom Patrol to lead them after the departure of Niles. The series can seem somewhat chaotic with so many different ideas thrown around. Such things like a sentient street that talks to people via signs, zombie versions of the characters going to the afterlife, and magical creatures coming from a girl’s imagination all make the show very distinctive in DC lore.

Doom Patrol is supposed to have a proper ending as the producers had a hint that cancellation was coming so hopefully the last batch of episodes coming out later this year will give this odd group the sendoff they deserve and hopefully they will finally get some peace of mind. Regardless of how it ends however, this series has cemented its place as the most unique property to come out of the DC universe and will most likely stay that way.

C. S. Link

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

This month thirty years ago, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the second Star Trek spinoff (not counting the 1970s animated series) premiered on independent TV stations. Right from its pilot episode “Emissary” viewers saw that this was a decidedly different Star Trek show. Its main character was not a white starship captain, it did not take place onboard a starship, and its ensemble cast of characters was very diverse for its time. More than that the stories were more grounded and tackled headier topics like religion and politics, while the characters were not clean-cut explorers who got along well with everyone. Instead they exhibited shades of grey and were quite flawed.

Many fans at that time were put off by Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because it did not follow the typical Star Trek formula and was deemed to be too dark in tone. They wanted the loftier or swashbuckling tone of earlier Star Trek shows that took place on starships that met new aliens every week. With Deep Space Nine, the setting was stationary, pardon the pun, as it took place on an alien space station that was run by the human-centric Starfleet.

While Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was a success, it did not reach the level of adoration that earlier Star Treks had. Before it had time to build an audience, Star Trek: Voyager was launched a couple of years after Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and conusmed a lot of attention away as it returned to the trusted formula of a starship crew exploring space with a twist. However, in recent years, many have discovered for themselves what they initially missed or disregarded and saw its groundbreaking merits.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine starred Avery Brooks as Commander Ben Sisko, an emotionally fragile and jaded Starfleet officer, who was mourning the death of his wife. He is assigned to command the Deep Space Nine space station orbitting the war-torn planet Bajor that wants to be part of the United Federation of Planets. After their arrival, Sisko and his young son meet an eclectic group of characters including Sisko’s second-in-command Major Kira Nerys, a strong-willed former freedom fighter, Quark, a greedy alien bar owner, Odo, a gruff shape-shifting alien security chief, and more. In the pilot episode, Sisko was seriously considering leaving Starfleet, but soon discovers a nearby stable wormhole that transforms Bajor and Deep Space Nine into a major gateway destination in the known galaxy. After an encounter with non-corporeal aliens in the wormhole, Sisko gains a deeper understanding of his life and moves on past his wife’s death with a renewed vigor as an officer. At the same time, he becomes a religious figure to the people of Bajor, who see his wormhole discovery as part of a prophecy about their salvation. This development, naturally, causes discomfort for Sisko, who is has his hands full keeping the peace, raising his son and running the station.

Thanks to its newfound importance, Bajor and the station becomes the centerpoint for intrigue and machinations from various parties throughout the galaxy and is so valued that before long a war breaks out for control of Deep Space Nine and the wormhole. When war breaks out, which was a first for Star Trek, its brutal horrors test our characters in relatable ways never seen before in a Star Trek show.

One thing that the show accomplished was that it embraced the now-common story arcs that continue from one episode to the next. Previous Star Trek shows followed an episodic formula with standalone stories. But by ditching that format, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gave its characters and situations room to breath and develop. One example was the war arc that took place over several seasons, and culminated in an epic final season that was a fully engrossing and rewarding viewing experience.

Thankfully, the show has found a second life as more and more fans have discovered it and appreciated it. Even though there have been numerous Star Trek shows since, many consider Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to be the best Star Trek show of all time and they have a point. It stands out today because it did not follow the conventional Star Trek formula. It took risks and struck storytelling gold. It’s unfortunate that we have not had any followups or reunions with the show, but it is rumored that the new season of Star Trek: Picard will feature some kind of reunion related to Deep Space Nine, so we’ll find out soon. it is comforting to know that with the current slate of numerous Star Trek shows, not only has Star Trek: Deep Space Nine withstood the test of time but it has propered.

José Soto

The DCEU: How It Should Have Launched

Whether we’re excited for what James Gunn and Peter Safran have planned for their relaunched films based on DC Comics properties or lamenting the demise of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), it is clear by now that the DCEU has lost its way.

There are many reasons why the DCEU ultimately faltered and a common factor that many point to has to do with the schedule of its early films and who they were centered on. Many fans have griped that there never was a proper sequel to Man of Steel or that Batman never had a solo film, while other announced films have yet to materialize.

So, could the DCEU have succeeded early on? It is possible and there are many avenues the films could have taken. Some have suggested that the DCEU films should have taken a gradual approach in introducing the heroes before releasing Justice League in the same way Marvel Studios led up to the release of The Avengers. There were many reasons why Warner Bros. did not take this approach with their reps publicly stating they did not want to copy the formula used by Marvel Studios. But if they did try to emulate the formula, how would the DCEU have turned out? Let’s look further.

The first film of the DCEU, Man of Steel, is released in 2013 as it happened in real life. Except, this time the film would have more Easter eggs to a greater DCEU instead of a quick glimpse of a satellite belonging to Bruce Wayne. The film would have a post-credits scene which would show a news montage about the Kryptonian invasion of Earth and the revelation of Superman. As the talking heads would debate about an alien being walking among us, the images would pull back to show they are coming from a TV screen or monitor and we would see that this scene is taking place in the Batcave or in S.T.A.R. Labs.

2015

Instead of waiting until 2016 to release the next DCEU film, Warner Bros. would release two films in 2015. A proper sequel to Man of Steel called Man of Tomorrow, which would be a solo Superman film, and a solo Batman film called The Caped Crusader.

Man of Tomorrow would have been very similar to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice except that Lex Luthor would have been recast and Batman/Bruce Wayne would only make brief appearances. He never would have fought or even met Superman. That opening in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice where Bruce Wayne personally witnesses the destruction in Metropolis from Superman’s fight with the Kryptonians would swap out Wayne with Luthor. This gives Luthor more of a reason to hate Superman because he saw firsthand the danger of this superpowered alien. The rest of the film would have explored the ramifications of Superman’s presence in the world with Luthor trying to discredit him. The film could have had references to other DC heroes who at this time are operating in the shadows or have not become superheroes yet.

Like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Man of Tomorrow would have concluded with Superman confronting by himself a genetic monstrosity that Luthor created but instead of Doomsday it would have been an evil Superman clone, who we would know was a malevolent version of Bizarro. The film would include two post-credits scenes. One would show that Luthor had created another genetic opponent for Superman that was locked up. This creature would have been revealed to be Doomsday. The other scene would take place in another world and reveal that the recent superhuman activities have caught the attention of Darkseid.

The Caped Crusader film would be a proper solo film for Batman and it would have shown Batman to be coming out of semi-retirement. It also would have shown that Batman is largely considered to be an urban myth but by the end of the film, Batman would be revealed to be an actual person who fights crime. The Joker would not appear in the film or even be hinted at. Instead the villain would be Deathstroke as The Caped Crusader would have been based on Ben Affleck’s script for the scrapped Batman solo film where Deathstroke blamed Batman for the death of his son and tried to get revenge on Batman. As with Man of Tomorrow, the Batman film would have had references to the greater DCEU and possibly featured Superman in a cameo, probably as part of a newscast. It possibly could have introduced Diana Prince as a mysterious and potential love interest for Wayne. The film also would have post-credits scenes that set up a sequel and have Prince revealed to be Wonder Woman.

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Top Ten Most Anticipated Films & TV Shows

It’s 2023! A new year means listing which are the most anticipated upcoming films and TV shows. Keep in mind that several of the entries on this list will probably be delayed to next year or so. Also, note that not everything on the list will turn out to be any good (Transcendence anyone?), and some properties that don’t make the lists will be among this year’s best offerings. So with that…

2023 Films

10. Evil Dead Rise

The newest Evil Dead film has a new and interesting twist with its setting in an urban environment instead of the usual remote woods as seen with the previous films.

9. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

One of the first of many films delayed from last year will also be the final film of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Jason Momoa reprises his role of the Atlantean ruler and superhero for the last time.

8. The Super Mario Bros. Movie

The trailers blew away many fans of the beloved video game franchise with its dazzling visuals that accurately adapted the fantasy world of the Mario Brothers. Let’s hope the actual film delivers an epic animated fantasy as promised by the trailers.

7. The Flash

Long delayed and hampered by behind-the-scenes calamities, The Flash will bring back Michael Keaton as Batman and probably set up a new cinematic universe thanks to the time traveling antics of the title hero.

6. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) kicks off with the third Ant-Man film that will be a huge event as it introduces the next big MCU uber foe, Kang the Conqueror.

5. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

It’s the final outing for the great Harrison Ford as the legendary archaeologist. Taking place in the 1960s and featuring Nazis and mystical MacGuffins, this film looks like an exciting conclusion to the Indy Jones saga. However, without Steven Spielberg or George Lucas, the film has to deliver, but it probably will.  

4. 65

Adam Driver stars as a space explorer who crash lands on a primordial world and struggles to survive. The catch is he is on Earth 65 million years ago and dealing with deadly dinosaurs and the incoming doomsday comet that wiped out all dinosaurs. It’s a great concept for a film that promises lots of thrills and adventure.

3. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

The sequel to the classic animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse looks like an even wilder journey into the multiverse. The recent trailer had Miles Morales meeting more and fantastic versions of Spider-Man, including Spider-Man 2099. If it can match the groundbreaking nature of the original then we’ll have another animated classic.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 3

Director James Gunn bids farewell to the MCU with his conclusion to the Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy. The trailer had many viewers reaching for their hankies as they beheld the final shots of the beloved and goofy Guardians. The film will close chapters with the Guardians while potentially opening up new ones with new heroes and villains.

1. Dune, Part Two

Visionary director Denis Villeneuve concludes his two-part adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert novel about Paul Atreides and his ascendance into a spiritual warrior and savior in the far future. Dune, Part One was instantly recognized as a groundbreaking and immersive sci-fi epic that properly captured the scope and nuance of the novel. We can only expect more of this with Dune, Part Two.

Other Upcoming Films:

Beau is Afraid; Blue Beetle; Distant; Elemental; Ghostbusters: Afterlife sequel; Haunted Mansion;The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes; Knock at the Cabin; The Marvels; Shazam! Fury of the Gods; True Love

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Top Ten Films & TV Shows Of 2022

2022 is done and it is time to briefly look back at the best genre films and television shows that came out in 2022. Of course, every reader’s preference and ranking will be different and everyone will have their opinions about these lists and are entitled to them. Drop a comment if you agree with the rankings or have different ones.

TV Shows

It is clear that we are in the middle of a Golden Age of genre TV shows given there so many high-quality shows that came out in just one year. Many of the streamed or aired TV shows are genuine classics with the top three shows being virtually tied for first place and their ranks can be interchanged.

10. The Peripheral

Loosely based on William Gibson’s book, this was one sci-fi show worth watching. Chloë Moretz Grace stars as a VR gamer in the near future caught up in a mind-bending conspiracy involving time travel and alternate realities.

9. The Sandman

This turned out to be a remarkably faithful adaptation of the classic DC/Vertigo dark fantasy comic book. More like a traditional episodic show with standalone stories, The Sandman was inventive, colorful, disturbing and brilliant.

8. Peacemaker

James Gunn sojourn into the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) took a hysterical turn with the first (and possibly final) DCEU TV show. It took one of the least likeable anti-heroes from The Suicide Squad and turned him into a relatable and emotionally complex character.

7. The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Director James Gunn delivered an awesome, heartfelt and funny holiday special starring the Guardians of the Galaxy. In between the gooey holiday scenes were moments of pure laughter as the alien Guardians went to Earth to kidnap the actor Kevin Bacon to present as a Christmas present. The songs were great, too.

6. The Boys

With the introduction of Soldier Boy, The Boys took a turn at satirizing the Marvel Comics heroes with his clear similarities to Captain America. Meanwhile, the series continued to be outrageously violent with gross-out humor and in-your-face commentary about our times.

5. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Ewan McGregor reprised the role he made his own in the Star Wars prequels. The series served as both a sequel to those films and a prequel to the original Star Wars. Despite some flaws, McGregor elevated the show with his brilliant performance as a fallen Jedi who has to rediscover his faith.

4. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Despite some Star Trek shows that faltered in 2022, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds breathed new life in the franchise. This was due to smart scripts that emulated the original Star Trek, a charming cast, and a back-to-basics approach with its storytelling that favored standalone episodes.

3. Andor

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

This Star Wars show was the ultimate slow burn as the prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story centered on the anti-hero Rebel agent, Cassian Andor. Separate arcs thoroughly examined Andor’s personal growth and the people around him. It also realistically depicted of how a rebellion grows in an authoritarian society.

2. House of the Dragon

Many who were disappointed by the final season of Game of Thrones were pleasantly surprised by this fascinating prequel that focused on the dragon-worshiping Targaryen royal family. Despite its prequel limitations, the show quickly captivated audiences who were drawn back to the fantasy world of George R.R. Martin.

1. Stranger Things 4

The fourth season of Stranger Things managed to reinvigorate the series with fascinating origin stories and situations, and new and memorable characters. At the same time, this season focused on the core characters that were so beloved and who were allowed to grow as they faced terrifying new threats from the Upside Down dimension.

Honorable Mentions:

Doom Patrol; For All Mankind; Halo; The Handmaid’s Tale; Love, Death + Robots; Moon Knight; The Orville; Raised By Wolves; Severance; She-Hulk: Attorney At Law; Snowpiercer, Star Trek: Picard; Star Trek: Prodigy; Superman & Lois; Tales of the Jedi; Titans; Werewolf By Night; The Umbrella Academy; Undone

Films

Surprisingly, the genre offerings for 2022 were not as plentiful as in previous years. Superhero films still dominate the release schedule though many other genre films (horror, animated, sci-fi, fantasy) have made their presence felt as well in a solid year for genre films.

10. Sonic the Hedgehog 2

The sequel film delivered the best family film of the year. It was also an exciting, colorful and largely faithful live-action adaptation of the classic Sega video game hero and his expanded roster of friends and foes.

9. The Black Phone

This film by Scott Derrickson proved why he is one of the best visionary horror directors today with The Black Phone. He cleverly combined classic horror elements from serial killers to psychic phenomenon to ghosts.

8. Nope

Director Jordan Peele’s latest genre offering was an intriguing and original take on the U.F.O. phenomenon. Nope had its fair share of suspense, horror and the contemplative character studies Peele is known for, as well as elements of a neo-Western.

7. Prey

The Predator franchise was unexpectedly revived with the latest film that took the franchise in a new and fresh direction. Placing the film centuries ago, Prey amped up the thrills as the human characters had to rely on their wits and skills instead of technology against the inhuman Predator hunting them.

6. Everything Everywhere All at Once

Michelle Yeoh turned in a fantastic performance as several variations of the same character in this film that gave us a true multiverse of madness. The film truly went out there with its sometimes bizarre depictions of colliding parallel universes.

5. Jurassic World: Dominion

The conclusion to the second Jurassic Park film trilogy ended on a high note full of dinosaurs rampaging in modern-day society. However, the film’s true high note was when it had the main heroes from both trilogies meeting and teaming up to save the world from extinction.

4 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Director Ryan Coogler pulled off the impossible with a sequel that does not feature the star or main character from the original film. This film was full of depth as it explored grief and loss, while expanding the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with the introduction of one of Marvel’s best anti-heroes, Namor.

3. The Batman

We actually got to see the Dark Knight Detective do some actual detective work in this grounded and gritty version of Batman. The dark and brooding film delivered intense action, intrigue and a horrifying version of the Riddler that rivaled classic cinematic serial killers.

2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

While the year’s top MCU film did not exactly deliver a multiverse of madness, it was a fun deep dive into the MCU with chilling horror elements and wild visuals. Sam Raimi was an inspired choice of a director who utilized his horror and comic book film background to full effect.

1. Avatar: The Way of Water

The sequel to Avatar, the biggest box office hit of all time, surprised many who dismissed it for being an empty special effects-heavy sequel. However, director James Cameron’s breathtaking vision of an alien world and its solid world building and characters helped propel Avatar: The Way of Water into a must-see event.

Honorable Mentions:

Barbarian; Beavis and Butthead Do the Universe; Black Crab; Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers; DC League of Super Pets; Lighthyear; Moonfall; Puss in Boots: The Last Wish; Smile; Strange World; Thor: Love and Thunder; Turning Red