Sometimes there just isn’t a column’s worth of things to say about anything. Sometimes there’s just a paragraph or two. So here are several of those, hooked together to make a column.
Actors That Got Robbed. The internet is aflutter this week with the news that Henry Cavill is out as Superman.
I don’t really have a horse in the race except to point out that it strikes me as a little unfair, since Mr. Cavill didn’t really get to PLAY Superman in the first place.
Seriously. The guy running around in the current crop of DC movies isn’t the character anyone recognizes as the guy in the comics. He’s regarded by humanity as suspicious and scary. That right there is a deal-breaker, or it ought to be. Moreover, he has fewer lines in his own solo movie than anyone else, it feels like, and Superman is not taciturn and surly any more than he should be suspicious and scary. And so on. Anyone who feels like making a list where Warner’s blew it with their DC movies could. (And many already have.) But this is not that.
No, my gripe is that you can tell that Cavill could have been a brilliant Superman if he’d been given the material. In a scene like, say, this one…
I think Cavill is good enough to make that work. He could have sold it. But you won’t see a scene like that in a DC movie anytime soon. Too uncool. Too “corny.”
Instead, Cavill joins a long list of actors being punished because they were betrayed by their scripts. Like Jason Momoa, a wonderful Conan in a crappy Conan movie.
Or James Brolin, who demonstrated that he could have knocked it out of the park as Jonah Hex if he’d been in, you know, an actual Hex movie.
But the most heartbreaking one for me is still Gene Hackman who got to be Lex Luthor in THREE movies and still was never Lex Luthor, not really.
Yeah, yeah, I know, everyone loved the first Superman movie, Reeve was wonderful, the Daily Planet scenes were perfect, etc. I don’t care. That guy Hackman is playing is not Luthor. This is Luthor.
I don’t care which version it is. Golden Age, Silver Age, modern, whatever, the one thing about Lex Luthor is the engine that drives him is that he hates Superman. HATES HIM.
You miss that and you don’t have Luthor. And I maintain that the Luthor Gene Hackman was playing is not that guy. Hackman’s Luthor sees Superman as an annoying obstacle, but he doesn’t hate him. Not like Clancy Brown’s did in the cartoon, or John Shea’s did in Lois and Clark. Say what you will about that show, they nailed that aspect of Luthor.
Imagine what Gene Hackman could have done with that, given a chance. Or middle-aged Hackman beating the shit out of handsome Christopher Reeve on a red-sun planet. Or Gene Hackman laughing his ass off, gloating at a Superman helpless to prosecute him because there’s no proof. Or, hell, Gene Hackman doing any script from the Dini-Timm animated series. I’m telling you, as beloved as the Reeve Superman is, Gene Hackman was robbed.
I could go on. But now I’m depressed.
On the Radio. We’ve been so busy here the last few weeks, I forgot to mention that I was recently on Radio Vs. the Martians a couple of times.
The first was a discussion of Highlander, the franchise, which left me as something of an outlier; I don’t really care for the original movie that much, let alone its various sequels and spin-offs. Still not sure why the guys asked me to be on that one, except I know they like it better when not everyone on the panel agrees on something.
Even so, I enjoyed the discussion a lot, though I don’t think David Gutierrez is ever going to forgive me.
The second one was the “Fun Size” episode Mike put together from our various ancillary discussions… mostly just Casey and I finishing the argument we started at the “Captain Picard Day” party the previous December about Star Trek: Discovery.
I doubt anyone’s mind got changed in the course of that conversation either, but it was still fun. Check ’em both out.
Timeless Plea Pays Off! and other TV stuff. Well, kind of. Though Timeless wasn’t officially renewed, there’s going to be a special two-part finale wrapping everything up.
A little weekend reading… See you in December. pic.twitter.com/4IkEtnVXSU
— Timeless Writers (@TheTimelessRoom) September 15, 2018
Unfortunately, it’s not going to be included in the Season 2 DVD set, because that just went on sale.
We are in for that set, of course. I just hope the finale gets a DVD release of some kind as well.
I’m okay with this outcome. I think, on the whole, I approve of TV shows that get to END. I much prefer a finite well-designed arc to the endless episodic model; sooner or later, with the latter, you reach a point of diminishing returns.
The only downside is when the show has a cliffhanger but doesn’t actually get to end. There are a few examples out there but the one that is on my mind at the moment is Take Two.
Julie and I accidentally stumbled across this fluffball of a detective show a couple of weeks ago and thought it was cute fun, although after about ten minutes I said, “Oh, for crying out loud, this is just Castle with the genders reversed. It’s good, sure, but it’s all stolen.”
But then I saw the credits. It was written by Andrew Marlowe and Terri Edda Miller, the creators of Castle. At that point I just had to shake my head and laugh. Is it really plagiarizing when it’s your own show you are lifting everything from?
But here’s the thing. We just finished watching all thirteen episodes and we realized that it’s not a retread of Castle, but rather, it’s the second draft of Castle.
The flaws in the original have been addressed and fixed here: The setup is funnier (a hot-mess actress fresh out of rehab is inherently funnier than an arrested-adolescent best-selling author) and the cast overall is better. The private-eye premise is more flexible than a homicide-detective premise. The reason the two leads end up together, and the romantic tension between them, is MUCH more plausible. And so on.
The bottom line is, at least so far, we like it better than we did Castle, and we liked Castle quite a bit. (At least until it went to hell somewhere in the fifth season; see my earlier remarks about diminishing returns.)
The trouble is, I don’t think Take Two is doing that well in the ratings and the season ended on a real nail-biter of a cliffhanger. So we get news of one finale resolving everything and in the same week we are denied another. Such is the life of a genre fan, I guess. We don’t feel nearly as strongly about Take Two as we did Timeless, but we do have our fingers crossed for it to succeed, at least long enough to finish what they started.
And there you go. Back next week with something– or maybe another set of smaller somethings– cool.
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