I was going to do something more challenging than another viewing/reading recap the alumni event kept us hopping this weekend too, and I’m wiped.
Courtesy of Netflix, I just finished the sixth season of the new DOCTOR WHO, wherein we learn River Song’s history and parentage, the Doctor dies and we learn the goal of the Silence (I hope we eventually get a fuller explanation of why that goal is important). While some episodes were only fair (Curse of the Black Spot, for instance), it’s hard not to enjoy the big finish (which includes Churchill riding to 10 Downing Street on his personal mammoth) and Matt Smith and his companions are a joy to watch.
Some months back I bought myself the MIDDLEMAN complete DVD set, and I finally finished it this past week. This ABC family series centers on Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales), a young artist who gets recruited by the eponymouse operative (Matt Keeslar) that deals with the supernatural, super-science, super-villains and alien invasions. Not a unique concept, even for TV, but this has strong leads, incredibly fun stories (variously involving boy bands, zombie-creating trout, cursed tubas, luchadores and bodyhopping sorority girls) and lots of in-jokes (the parallel world final episode has multiple characters in goatees as a reference to Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror). A show that ended much too soon.
MIDNIGHT is an e-book collection of the first dozen Midnight stories by Jack Cole. Cole, who would later find more fame with Plastic Man, created Midnight for the publisher of Will Eisner’s Spirit, who worried he might someday lose the latter character. What makes Midnight stand out among Spirit knockoffs is Cole’s visual style and his off-the-wall approach to stories. While not up to Plastic Man, Cole’s stories acquire more style and eccentricity as the strip went along. Interesting to see.
SUPERMAN: The Return of Doomsday probably sounded like a good idea——let’s bring back the creature that destroyed Superman!——but Doomsday, for all his unstoppability, isn’t a character I can give a damn about; while I know he has some sort of agenda here, having him smash everyone in his path isn’t as entertaining as it was the first time (a possibility I broached here). It is interesting to see characters in the middle of plotlines I have no idea about, but they don’t seem like terribly good plotlines (such as the Outsiders allying with the resurrected planet Krypton).
SPIDERMAN: Matters of Life and Death works much better, as an attack on the Jameson family by one of Spidey’s old foes culminates in Jameson’s wife dying. This leaves Peter Parker grappling with memories of all the deaths he’s witnessed and failed to prevent over the years, and a new resolution that it ain’t happening again on his watch. I’ve no idea where the Spider-books went after this, but good in its own right.
KING LEAR (1974) is a video recording of James Earl Jones’ turn as the aging monarch (I was surprised to realize this took place when Jones was in his prime, rather than when he was closer to Lear’s age), with Jones perhaps the most enfeebled of Lears that I’ve seen, his bouts of fury alternating with weak, petulant whining at the way his daughters’ treat him. Well done and well cast, with Raul Julia as a malevolent Edmund, Rene Auberjonois as Edgar, Paul Sorvino as Gloucester and Rosalind Cash as Goneril. “I shall do such things—what they are I do not know, but they shall be the terrors of the earth!”