Assorted TV/Comics thoughts

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Several opinions on various shows from the young TV season, plus some quick hits on some comics, including New Mutants, X-23, my upcoming PROJECT post, and since I’m here, this week’s new releases.

TELEVISION

I was going to do a season premieres post, but kept putting it off and now we’re into the third week of new fall TV. Oh well. Here are some thoughts;

How I Met Your Mother had an OK but unremarkable premiere. Yet another fakeout on the mother’s identity, but I was glad to see a fakeout instead of what would have been a very boring climax for the series. It also presents, again, the problem of too much buildup making the eventual unveiling of the mother a likely disappointment. The Marshall/Lily baby stuff was mediocre. The second episode was much better, with Wayne Brady reprising his role as Barney’s half-brother. Tonight’s episode seemed so-so at best, but to be fair, I missed the first few minutes and was distracted at times while watching. I’ll re-watch tomorrow to see if it holds up better than I realize. I’m hopeful the show doesn’t have a more noticeable decline this season, but I have a bad feeling. Rules of Engagement is a decent show; I never seem to watch it all the way through because of Monday Night Football, but Patrick Warburton is great and David Spade is not.

Glee is off to a great start, following up a strong premiere with a Brittany Spears special. Rachel’s possessive/crazy/annoying personality is already wearing thin as we’re barely into Season 2, but the show is a fun watch anyway. Family Guy had the funniest premiere of any show, with an hour-long murder mystery. Last night’s episode wasn’t as epic, but Rush Limbaugh played himself in a solid show. The Simpsons actually had a really good premiere, though last night’s was nothing special. The Cleveland Show sucks, and American Dad is only marginally better. Modern Family has certainly been good, but hasn’t quite hit the high notes that made it so perfect last year.

Although Family Guy was funnier, Community had the best overall premiere with such good story to go with its comedy. Then it followed it up with an excellent second episode with one scene that seems a near-lock for a Femmy. 30 Rock had a so-so premiere, but a much better second episode. The Office had the same pattern. Outscourced had a weak pilot, and I haven’t bothered to watch the second episode, though I probably still will. Other new shows? Raising Hope isn’t great through two episodes, but definitely watchable. Running Wilde didn’t blow me away with the pilot, but the second one was a little better. I’ll give it a very long leash, given that it’s from the creator of Arrested Development and stars the lovable Will Arnett (featuring David Cross in the first two episodes).

COMICS

I bought the first two trades of Zeb Wells’ New Mutants and it turned out to be one of the best uninformed trade decisions I’ve made, at least in a long time. The first 11 issues are just killer. Very retro, with the first stories involving the returns of Legion, Warlock, and Doug Ramsey. Very addictive storytelling, too. Looking forward to catching up and getting into this on a monthly basis.

The Atlas series was a nice read, though it got canceled after just five issues. The last two were a little rushed as they had to wrap everything up ahead of plan. Fables is nearing its 100th issue (I feel old), and I’m very excited for the big showdown in #100. Jack of Fables, meanwhile, is about to hit 50, and there’s apparently going to be something big there, too, though it’s hard to tell what yet.

X-Factor is on yet another upward swing the past couple issues, and there’s an interesting new X-book to keep an eye on: I gave the first issue X-23 a shot, largely because it came out on a small week. But it was a fairly great read, and this is coming from someone who never really cared about the character. It’s written by Marjorie Liu, who is fresh off an impressive (and much too brief) run to kick off Black Widow — which, by the way, is still enjoyable under new writer Duane Swierczynski, though new artist Manuel Garcia is a very weak replacement for Daniel Acuna. Liu is the person to watch; she looks like someone with superstar writer potential.

PROJECT: X-MEN — CHRIS CLAREMONT will debut on Oct. 15.

I’m probably not going to resume weekly recommendations until we can somehow scrounge up some more activity around here (a years-long quest), but since I’m typing away as is, here’s a quick look at what’s coming out Wednesday.

DC

Brightest Day #11: I’ll buy this week, but I’m increasingly on the verge of dropping this once-promising series. Too little happening too slowly to characters I care too little about.

Fables Covers by James Jean: No, I’m not going to be pay 50 bucks for a collection of covers. But if I ever did, it would be for this. Jean’s covers were fairly legendary. Amazingly, Joao Ruas has lived up to that standard since Jean left.

The Green Woman tpb: I’ve been told this is a Vertigo must-buy. I don’t think I will, at least yet, but it sounds like it might be very cool.

JSA All-Stars #11: I said I would keep reading through the end of the current storyline, but even though this issue is the conclusion, I’m not sure I have it in me.

Marvel

Chaos War #1 (of 5): By far the most important book coming out this week, this mini continues Pak and Van Lente’s epic Hercules run.

Klaws of the Panther #1 (of 4): Jonathan Maeberry rocked the DoomWar mini, and he’s back to pit Black Panther against Klaw. Unclear how much T’Challa will be in this, but I dug the new BP quite a bit in DoomWar.

Spider-Man: Back in Quack #1: I’ve read this solit a couple times and still have no idea what one should expect from this comic. Tempting to buy it and find out.

Uncanny X-Force #1: I wish Yost/Kyle were still writing for this relaunch, as I know nothing about Rick Remender, but I’m still going to try at least the first issue. A new team of Wolverine, Fantomex, Archangel, Psylocke, and Deadpool? Weird/awesome. And Apocalypse as the villain either sweetens the plot or destroys it by re-treading familiar ground, depending on how good Remender is. Worth a shot.

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4 Responses to “Assorted TV/Comics thoughts”

  1. Gokitalo Says:

    PROJECT: X-MEN — CHRIS CLAREMONT will debut on Oct. 15.

    Wooooooooo!! You heard it here first, True Believers! Where else would you hear it, right?

    I’m hearing Blackest Night #11 is going to be a doozy. Five words: “Return of the Black Lanterns.” Oh, and let’s not forget Aquaman vs. Black Manta.

    I feel a little bad about not picking up Wells’ stuff, because I can tell from the previews of the comics he’s written that he’s got a keen visual eye. Like here:
    http://www.comixology.com/previews/APR090467/

    Last page especially. He’s good with pacing, too; I remember the first few pages of New Mutants #1 unfolded like a movie.

    Little behind on my comics reading, but I’m looking forward to X-Factor. And Howard the Duck? YES (I can only hope Steve Gerber, rest in peace, would approve).

    And I completely forgot to watch new TV. I did catch some of tonight’s Glee, though. Fairly poignant stuff.

  2. spiffyithaca Says:

    –I agree 100% on HIMYM. So far this year, it’s tried to deal with important stages in the lives of these characters, and while I love them, for some reason, I haven’t really gave a shit that Marshall and Lily are trying to have kids, that someone’s getting married (my money is on Barney and Robin in that premiere), and that Ted is BACK to designing the GNB building. I’m very optimistic that the show will turn around, and we will get some epic laughfests before the year is up, after all, it was #1-2 for me in terms of comedic shows since its inception, and is the only show I’ve ever written a spec script of for a reason: I love it. But that doesn’t change the fact that last year was a down year for the show, and that the Mother clincher is dragging, and like you said, may never reach the hype at this point. But at least last year had some of the best eps of the show or of any show, like the Perfect Week and the Playbook, classics I’ll remember for the rest of my life. This year, none of that. I can’t begrudge the “Mother” shtick, because after all, it’s allowed for 5 awesome seasons before we had to worry that it’s been lagging. But it’s time to get going on it. Or give me more Jim Nantz.

    -Rules of Engagement has two Dawson’s Creek alums (from it’s underrated college years), but neither of them were great characters, but yeah, I’ve seen one episode of this show (the season premiere), and hated it, and I HATE David Spade. Ugh. No thank you on this show.

    -I’m loving Glee more than last year. Maybe I just couldn’t admit how much I liked it last year, or maybe it took a few months off to get me to appreciate it more, but I’m loving the music and even the plot this year. But I’ve always hated Rachel, and really wish she would just change, because we all know she’s too damn good of a singer to ever leave the show.

    -I’m over the FOX animated comedy block (and have been since 2005), but something tells me Goki is one of the only people left to watch The Simpsons.

    -Agreed on Modern Family, but it hasn’t lost it, so I’m sure it’ll be a Best Comedy show again this year. But Community is affirming our pick as THE best on TV so far. And btw, how skinny was Drew Carey? Good for him. Owning the Sounders and hosting the Price is Right is making his life awesome.

    -Outsourced hasn’t been horrible, and I can begrudgingly admit that it has potential to be an okay-good show, but so far the humor is based entirely on shoddy stereostypes and most of it just ain’t funny and it’s on the line of racism, and has certainly been disrespectful to Indian culture. I want Parks & Rec back NOW, so I hope this fails miserably.

    -Raising Hope is actually my favorite new comedy of the year so far (though the Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margret, ANOTHER SHOW starring David Cross and Will Arnett, a show that premiered on IFC last Friday, will easily eclipse it by episode 2). I thought I’d hate it, but aside from the really lame Cloris Leachman stuff, I really like the parents and the son, and think it has some good potential. It’s by Greg Garcia, who made My Name is Earl oftentimes funny and great for awhile before I lost interest, so good for it.

    -As you stated on Running Wilde, Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) is involved on the show, which begs us to wonder why Mitch wanted to do something else on FOX after the fiasco of the last show, but still, this show hasn’t been that good or funny, and has one of the flimsiest sitcom setups ever, though I love the girl’s name is Puddle. Keri Russell is a cutey pie, and obviously Arnett and Cross are worth waiting on, so I will.

    -Bored to Death is another show that keeps getting better and is justifying your hype of it. Thank God for Ted Danson. And Weeds has rebounded from some crappy couple of seasons. A shame it’ll never die.

    COMICS
    -The Green Woman sounds intriguing. But I didn’t read the article, I’m just judging by the title.

    -I’m glad Zeb Wells still has a career in comics (because I think he won a contest from Wizard to write for Marvel), and it’s awesome he’s doing so well.

    -I hate the name “Uncanny X-Force” but that team is really badass. If it had Nightcrawler too, I’d buy it.

  3. spiffyithaca Says:

    Oh, and Cougar Town is actually quite funny. Honestly, it’s been equal to Modern Family the first two weeks. Give it a shot this week.

  4. Gokitalo Says:

    I’m over the FOX animated comedy block (and have been since 2005), but something tells me Goki is one of the only people left to watch The Simpsons.

    Who’re the others? You and your left hand? (OH SNAP)

    Seriously, though, I wish I had a reason watch The Simpsons regularly again (outside of reruns). But the quality’s going to have to get a lot better, first. Dave liked the premiere, though, and the first few minutes of it I saw weren’t bad. They even managed to sort of justify why Lisa has a “MyPod,” which I always thought seemed a little out of character.

    And “Uncanny X-Force” IS a bad name. It’s like mixing chocolate with salsa, or… actually, I kind of want to try that now. Chocolate with salsa. Mmmm.

    And btw, how skinny was Drew Carey? Good for him.

    Ryan Stiles: “Wait, we… can’t make Drew Carey fat jokes anymore?”

    *and that’s how Whose Line got cancelled*

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