Gods, clones, superheroes and flappers: this weeks reading

After the disappointing filler of Wicked and the Divine V3 the series gets back to form with THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE: Rising Action by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McElvie. It turns out Ananke’s murder of Laura, the groupie recently turned into Persephone, didn’t take; Persephone’s back but can she convince the other gods that Ananke has an agenda they need to stop? As odd and absorbing as always — though it suddenly struck me how odd it is one of the deities is Baphomet, as he wasn’t any sort of a god (confused crusaders identified him as the god worshipped by Muslims, but he was never actually worshipped by anyone).

X-23: Family Album by Mariko Tamaki and Juann Cabal was an exercise in frustration: the character bits are good, the action scenes are good and the creators are capable but the whole thing is less than the sum of its parts. Partly that’s because the plot (pitting X23 and her clone sister Gaby against the Stepford Cuckoo Clones of Doom) never made a lot of sense (it’s also really hard to sort out one Stepford clone from another), partly because clone angst is just as annoying as mutant angst; as one clone in DC’s Power Company put it, nobody in the world ever chose to be born so just suck it up.

ASTRO CITY: Aftermaths by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson wraps up the long-running series not by resolving the plotlines in Broken Melody (I presume that will in one of the planned graphic novels) but with three stories dealing with loss, and what happens afterwards. A two-parter spotlighting the man-Corgi superhero G-Dog made me cry (admittedly that’s no great accomplishment when it comes to stories with dogs); a three-parter catches us up on Michael, the protagonist of The Nearness of You in which he learned the wife he loved had been erased from history as collateral damage a cosmic time war. He’s running a support group for people who have similar losses, but how will they react if they learn his story — especially when there’s no way to prove Miranda ever existed. The one part story dealing with a woman learning her father’s final fate was minor, though I do like the idea of a superhuman whose response to police brutality or government overreach is purely defensive (as opposed to Magneto like militarism).

FLAPPERS: Six Women of a Dangerous Generation by Judith Mackrell is not the book I thought it was (my fault for just going by title and not reading the flyleaf) — rather than an overview of the flapper generation, it’s six biographies of prominent artistes of the era, from Zelda Fitzgerald to Josephine Baker to Russian emigre painter Tamara de Lempicka. As a collection of biographies it’s good, as an exploration of flappers in general it isn’t (though it does have a lot of general cultural perspective in the early chapters). And while I agree Zelda and Brit party girl Diana Cooper could reasonably qualify as flappers, I can’t see Baker or de Lempicka making the cut.

Oh, and over on Atomic Junkshop I have a post up about my fondness for DC’s largely ignored 1990s superhero Gunfire.

#SFWApro. Cover by Alex Ross, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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From the Wild West to Ireland and Beyond: Movies and TV

The third season of WILD WILD WEST dropped in quality from S2, probably due to the death of series creator and producer Michael Garrison. Without him, this really seemed to lack spark, with too many episodes that weren’t much beyond a stock Western (it doesn’t help that health issues kept Michael Dunn from making more than one appearance).  The show still boasted some good episodes, including the strange, elaborate trap in The Night of the Death-Masks, the horror episode Night of the Undead and Night of the Simian Terror and Ed Asner’s understated turn as a mass murderer in Night of the Amnesiac. Overall, though, not up to the first two years.

THE PRIVATE LIVES OF PIPPA LEE (2009) is an excellent indie drama alternating between Robin Wright Penn, who’s cracking from her role as Alan Arkin’s Perfect Wife and younger self Blake Lively who runs wild after fleeing her speed-freak mother Maria Bello. The cast includes Julianne Moore as a kinkster, Winona Ryder as Penn’s bestie, Monica Belluci as Arkin’s ex and Keanu Reaves as the younger man who sparks something in Penn; I’d suggest doubling with All That Heaven Allows for another film about a woman falling for a younger man as she pushes back against her staid existence. “You’ve been burying me for years — I can feel the dirt in my mouth.”

Brendan Gleeson is THE GUARD (2011), a foulmouthed, sharp-tongued cop investigating a murder in Ireland’s Gaeltach when he finds himself reluctantly forced to ally with FBI agent Don Cheadle, who’s crossed the Atlantic in pursuit of the drug-dealers now operating out of Gleeson’s patch. A mix of character study and buddy cop film, very well played by the leads. “You’re just reeling off movie titles with numbers in them — I could do that!”

Reading Hollywood’s Copyright Wars got me interested in checking out SCORPIO RISING (1964), which was an inspiration to Martin Scorsese and others. The avant-garde half-hour short shows a couple of bikers getting ready for a wild night, using clips of comic books and background music built of copyrighted songs. This convinced Scorsese that “fair use” allowed for much more music than he’d thought, something that influenced his own films — even though it wasn’t true, the director having paid for the rights to all the music. Other than historical interest, this didn’t do anything for me.

I’ve never really cared for THE INCREDIBLES (2004) as a superhero spoof, mostly because the “clever” ideas (how do superhero suits work? Superheroes getting sued! What happens to ordinary people in superhero battles?) were the kind of thing Marvel was doing four decades earlier. As a somewhat oddball superhero adventure, though, it holds up well as mild-mannered claims adjuster (Craig Nelson) and his stay-at-home wife (Holly Hunter) find themselves forced back into the game by former wannabe sidekick Syndrome (Jason Lee) who claims to represent the triumph of the ordinary person (as one acquaintance put it, it’s hard to see such a Luthor-class genius as “ordinary”).

The film also got some flack because it was seen as a kind of Ayn Randian endorsement of the elite, exceptional individual not to be dragged down by society’s rules — why should the Incredible family have to pretend to be ordinary? I always thought it was more “why try to fit in when you were born to stand out?” (in the words of What A Girl Wants), the time-honored movie message that you should never be afraid to be yourself. Though that said, Dash at the end winning a race with superpowers raised my eyebrows (is that fair when no ordinary human has a chance against him?). Overall, though, fun. “These bad guys aren’t like the ones on those shows you watch Saturday mornings.”

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Caffeine couldn’t stop me but canines did!

So after last week’s insomnia-fest I stopped using my decaf tea in the afternoons and sure enough, I slept better Sunday and Wednesday night. The other nights? Pull up a chair, I’ve got a story …

So Monday night, Trixie had this very loud hacking cough for a few minutes, loud enough to wake me up (admittedly it doesn’t take much to do that). By the time I’d checked whether she was okay, I was wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep. Tuesday night, first Trixie demanded to go out and poop after we’d all settled into bed. Even after that she was fidgeting, or lying against me while chewing on her feet, which didn’t lend itself to sleep. So another night down.

Last night, it felt like everything would be fine. But just as I was drifting off, TYG noticed Plushie was getting restless and checked him out closely. Turns out he had some sort of swelling in his eye, so it was up and off to the 24-hour emergency vet. We brought Trixie along rather than leave her alone but oh, the alarmed whimpers when she saw them taking Plushie away without her! She did not like it at all. We finally got back a little after midnight, with medicine for the eye (it was just an inflammation). To my surprise, I slept soundly after that, but the window before I got up again was … small.

Turns out gettting up at my regular hour was a wasted effort. Plushie’s in the cone of shame and not happy about it. Dealing with him and working proved … impractical shall we say? For example I can’t use my lap desk because it bumps into his cone too easily when he’s in the lap. Fortunately the two nights of insomnia meant I’d put in some extra hours, so I only lost a little writing time.

Pretty much everything I got done was either Leaf articles or work on Undead Sexist Cliches. I’ve almost completed this draft (two or three more yet to come) and I figured out the right breakdown to chapters two and three. Chapter two will cover antifeminist arguments about why giving women equality is pointless (they don’t need it, and they aren’t actually equal) while chapter three will focus on claims feminism is not only pointless, it’s destructive. I can feel how much better it flows now.

One reason I didn’t get more done is that I took Thursday off to deal with the mundane matters. North Carolina’s Department of Revenue had sent our return back (for what I found absurdly technical reasons) so I had to print out a fresh copy of the paperwork, then redo the whole thing. Plus get my estimated taxes for the year to date in.  Plus a few minor tasks including getting a free credit report from the Annual Credit Report website (it’s legit. And actually free), an electrician appointment, bicycling for one hour (highlight of the day) and going over our emergency kit in case we have evacuate fast (not that I expect it, but it’s possible). That took up the day nicely.

Today? Work just didn’t happen.

However I did find a dead shrew in the driveway —

And removed it before Trixie or Plushie could rub themselves on its gloriously stink flesh.

So that’s something accomplished, right?

#SFWApro. All photos are mine.

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So recently I made a sandwich, but I didn’t photograph it

Because while it was tasty, a sandwich on a baguette just looks like every other sandwich on a baguette (the photograph below is from Wikimedia). But it got me thinking about the way I change recipes when I cook.

I found this one in an issue of Vegetarian Times. It looked tasty but it included three ingredients I hate: olive tapenade, eggplant and green beans (okay, I don’t hate them, but I’m kind of “meh” on them). So I substituted, respectively, mango chutney, portobello and peas (the vinegar-based marinade, garlic powder, hard-boiled eggs and red peppers in the recipe stayed the same). Obviously the taste was very different than the original concept, but it was still tasty. And I liked it a lot, as did TYG.

Mushroom for eggplant is a standard change in my cooking. So is swapping either peas or some sort of bean for corn, because I loathe corn. As TYG hates yogurt, I find substitutes for that, too, which is trickier; if it’s just a topping rather than a sauce, I’ll use goat cheese, which we both like.

The thing is I don’t need to do any of that. As I’ve mentioned before, I have a lot of cookbooks. There’s more than enough recipes with no “problem” ingredients that I could save myself any efforts to swap stuff out this way (the exception being when I run out of ingredient A and have to dig up something that will work as an alternative). Yet some recipes just click with me when I read them in the cookbook or recipe magazine or wherever, even though they have an ingredient that makes me go “yuck!” Not all recipes; some just don’t substitute naturally. I can’t stand sauerkraut but I can’t think of a good substitute, so vegetarian Reuben recipes are a no go.

I honestly don’t know why I can look at a recipe and see it as something different that I’ll like better (not that it is better — it’s a matter of personal taste, nothing more). But it expands my range of options and gives me some delicious meals, like the baguette. So why not?

#SFWApro. Image by Nicola taken from Wikimedia under Creative Commons license

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The most sensational news you’ll read today! Or at least in this post.

So McFarland, which publishes my four movie books and dozens of others, is having a 40th anniversary sale. Everything 25 percent off, including my four movie books. It’s a great opportunity to buy one, two or collect the entire set! It’s always cool to have the entire set, right?

My books are:

Cyborgs, Santa Claus and Satan, a book on made for TV specfic films of the 20th century.

The Wizard of Oz Catalog, an encyclopedic look at Oz books, movies, TV shows, radio shows and stage plays. A lot of oddball material such as a 1930s women’s college film and a sales-training video, The Wizard of Sales.

Screen Enemies of the American Way looks at American fears of the enemy within — subversion by Nazis, Japanese, Commies, pod people, Stepford Wives and extraterrestrials.

Now And Then We Time Travel lists and reviews time-travel television and film stories from around the world.

The sale runs through the end of the month. I’ll be buying a couple of books (maybe more) myself, though I haven’t completely settled on which ones yet. Prime contenders are one on The Saint in his many fictional forms and a book on witches in films and TV, Bell, Book and Camera.

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Writing about the Unwritten

So it occurred to me a while back that reviewing long-running comics series TPB by TPB doesn’t really convey the overall effect. So as I recently finished rereading the 2009-13 Vertigo series Unwritten, I thought I’d try doing a whole-series review (with spoilers, be warned)

Created by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, the first issue introduces us to Tom Taylor, son of legendary children’s author Wilson Taylor. Wilson’s masterwork is the Tommy Taylor series about a boy wizard (yes, Harry Potter is the template, though not the only one) which has made his son’s life hell. Just imagine if JK Rowling had a son named Harold Potter: the jokes, the fans who want to jump him just for his name, the crazies who insist Harold is no mere boy — he is the real Harry made flesh! That’s Tom’s life.

Then at one con, a young woman named Lizzie Hexam challenges Tom, claiming he’s not Wilson’s son at all. This sets off ripples in fandom, accelerating when Tom, retreating from the fuss, is framed for a series of murders. Oh, and he also meets the Frankenstein monster, who identifies him as a fellow artificial creation, neglected by his father. Tom, Lizzie and reporter Savoy begin investigating what’s going on, and who framed Tommy. Weirdness continues to multiply, such as one man getting transformed into Tommy Taylor’s archfoe, the vampire Ambrosius.

It turns out there’s a secret organization, the Cabal, that has been shaping humanity’s storytelling for centuries. Which stories are remembered? Which are forgotten? Do they teach us war and heroism? That greed is good? That self-sacrifice is good, or a waste of our potential? Inconvenient storytellers are broken, or dispatched by the Cabal’s enforcer, Pullman. And Wilson, a former Cabal agent, is telling stories the Cabal doesn’t like at all. Killing Wilson would only make the stories more popular, so Pullman went out to frame Tom; when that doesn’t work the Cabal launches a scheme to discredit the series with a really horrible book.

It turns out there’s much more going on. The Cabal is an unwitting front for Pullman, who belongs to one of the oldest stories ever created, that of Cain and Abel (which he says was a distortion of true events). The legend that grew around his fight with his brother attracted the attention of Leviathan, an entity that lives on human imagination; because of that, Pullman can’t die, as Leviathan preserves him in story (the relationship between Leviathan and human fiction is symbiotic). Pullman’s goal is to kill the Leviathan so he can die, even though humanity may die with the great cosmic whale.

Wilson, meanwhile, created Tom (who is his son) as a weapon against the Cabal. As belief that Tom=Tommy Taylor grows in fandom, Tom becomes able to tap his counterpart’s magic. Because of the way Wilson raised him, Tom is able to slip in and out of stories, understanding them at fundamental level. He fails to stop Pullman wounding Leviathan but is it possible he can put the whale back together?

It’s a strange epic journey, but it works. Carey and Gross do a great job playing with stories and how they influence us, though the idea we’re all stories to someone else never quite came across. They throw in some great characters such as Pauly Bruckner, a horrible human being Tom accidentally trapped in the Hundred Acre Wood (sans serial numbers) and willing to do anything to get out. They also make effective use of the way the Internet plays such a big role in fandom.

I wasn’t entirely happy with the ending on first read, but it worked better on this go-round. Tom’s fate isn’t quite as dark as I thought and he never does forgive Wilson for using him as a means to an end (I’d remembered some sort of warm hug that never happens).

There are 11 volumes collectiong the series plus Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice, depicting the first Tommy Taylor novel with cuts to show Wilson formulating his master plan. I recommend them all.

#SFWApro. Covers by Yuko Shimizu, all rights remain with current holders.


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Is Our Writers Learning? A Cathedral of Myth and Bone by Kat Howard

Howard says in the introduction that she wrote A CATHEDRAL OF MYTH AND BONE as a way to reinvent the stories she grew up with — myth, fairytale and saints’ lives — for a new era. Howard says hagiographies fascinated her with their “glorious impossibility” and their ties into something bigger and more cosmic; at the same time she didn’t want to replicate the moral preaching that came with them. So we get stories in which ..

  • A woman gets written into her lover’s fiction to the point she stops existing outside it (A Life in Fictions)
  • A woman becomes a saint only to discover it’s damn hard work (The Saint of the Sidewalks).
  • The legend of Camelot is re-enacted on a college campus, with Vivian and Morgan both trying to change the outcome in different ways (Once, Future).
  • Getting answers from oracles requires a painful sacrifice (The Speaking Bone).
  • The Green Knight’s wife gets tired of her husband using her as a pain in his game (The Green Knight’s Wife)
  • In a world where science is part of religious faith, a duelist fights to defend them (The Calendar of Saints).

Speaking Bone was particularly instructive because there really isn’t a plot or a central character; it’s just telling us how this strange, grotesque oracle works. I’ve written stories that were similarly unfocused, but they didn’t sell, so it’s encouraging to see someone do it and sell it (that Howard has a lot more style to her writing than I do didn’t hurt I’m sure).

More generally I find it inspiring to read a story where the magic is believable without making logical sense. As I’ve said before, I hate magical systems so it’s good to see stories where the magic is wild and irrational, without much explanation. It makes me want to write more of them.

The flip side is that sometimes I wanted explanations. Saints Tide is an absorbing story about a dying girl and the way the sea creates saints, but the magical logic of the other stories was lacking; the ending left me feeling there was no connection between the magical events. Which is instructive too.

Overall, though, an excellent collection.

#SFWApro. Cover by Amy Haslehurst, all rights to image remain with current holders.

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The rage over Kavanaugh

Last week I linked to a post on LGM, about the views of one well-connected Republican. Said Republican told the blogger that conservative rage is fueled by liberals criticizing Trump, resentment over Nixon leaving office (I’m strongly suspicious that he does not feel the same about Republicans trying to remove Clinton from office); and “the entire conservative establishment remains outraged about the attempt to block Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, which its members almost unanimously see as a weaponization of metoo# for purely partisan aims. He insisted that it was almost impossible to overstate how deeply held this view is. ”

Another LGM post concludes the interviewee was right: they are indeed still furious about Kavanaugh. Right-wingers Josh Hammer and Sohrab Ahmari have tweeted about how it radicalized them; Hammer describes it on Twitter as a “civilizational wake-up call.” He does not mean he woke up and realized a number of conservatives said that even if Kavanaugh had done the things he was accused of (including exposing himself to a woman, groping and assaulting Christine Blasey Ford and participating in drugging women for gang rapes) it was no big deal. Boys will be boys, everybody does this stuff (e.g., business professor Mitchell Langbert).  It’s just rough horseplay.  No the wakeup call was the opposition to Kavanaugh.

As LGM says, it’s no surprise right-wingers were furious at the time. A lot of them want to see liberals, Democrats, feminists all crushed and humiliated; that’s part of why they like Trump (I’ve had people on FB say “triggering libs” is the main reason they support the Shit-Gibbon). Our resistance pissed them off, even though Trump would have someone just as conservative and right-to-life if Kavanaugh hadn’t made the cut. But even though they won the fight, they remain enraged.

I doubt they’re really pissed about the supposed politics of it. As others have pointed out, nobody made rape accusations against Neal Gorsuch, and he was the Justice who took the seat Obama was entitled to fill. That would have been a logical place to try a smear campaign, but it didn’t happen. And it’s not as if they object to political hatchet jobs or even actual attempts to fake a rape charge (by inept right-winger Jacob Wohl).

True, I still see some conservatives pissed off by the Senate rejecting Reagan’s Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, even though Reagan went on to fill the seat. Resentment’s what right-wingers do. But they lost that one, just like Nixon’s defeat was a loss for them. Kavanaugh was a victory.

My theory? I suspect a lot of the anger is because they really do think the things he’s accused of were no big: being raped, groped or assaulted is something men, in general, have a right to do. Hammer didn’t think politician Roy Moore’s alleged interest in underage girls was disqualifying, and he wasn’t alone.

And some of them are undoubtedly thinking about what they might have done themselves. As one right-wing lawyer put it, “If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried. We can all be accused of something.”  Actually those of us who didn’t do anything needn’t be worried. Fake rape accusations are rare.The only people who have to worry that accusations of sexual assault are a time bomb ticking under their careers are the people who’ve actually committed assault. And now look at someone like Ford and feel righteous rage at the thought they, or someone like them, would actually be held accountable for such a trivial act.

I don’t like thinking the worst of people, but in this case, I certainly do think it.

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Mars, monsters, black hair and copyright: books read

Leigh Brackett’s THE NEMESIS FROM TERRA reads like a mash-up of Brackett’s Martian adventures with her hardboiled movie scripts (she worked on both The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye). It’s set in an era when a powerful Earth corporation has taken over Mars, press ganging lower-class Martians and Earthers to work in the mines (reminding me of Diana Wynn Jones’ joke about how miners in fantasy novels are always slaves, never actual miners). Tough-as-nails protagonist Rick is on the run from the press gang when a Martian seer tells him he’s destined to rule. To succeed, though, he’s got to defeat the corporation, it’s ruthless leader and deal with their mutual interest in an attractive revolutionary (the Bacall to Rick’s Bogart). Plus, of course, a lost city.

This is a grimmer, tougher yarn than most of Brackett’s Mars stories (people smoke a lot more than they do in her other stories too), but it also fits what Edmond Hamilton (Brackett’s husband) saw as the theme of her work: a man who pursues a great dream only to find it hollow. A good story, in any case.

HAIR STORY: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America by Ayana D. Byrd and Lori L. Tharps does an excellent job tracing the history of African-American hair and hairstyles from Africa (where elaborate hairstyles were as much a status marker as a bespoke suit today) through slavery to post-Civil War segregation. In both freedom and slavery, straight “white” style hair became the marker of a superior person (and also more acceptable to the white world); later in the 20th century, the popularity of the Afro (and later dredlocks) led to debate whether this represented True Blackness, meaningless fashion or was just tacky. There’s a lot more stuff covered in the book; while I know some of these issues exist, the authors did a great job making me understand them.

TwoMorrows Publishing’s MONSTER MASH: The Creepy, Kooky Monster Craze in America, 1957-1972 by Mark Voger looks back to the late 1950s when Universal released its Shock Theater package to TV, containing its classic monster films (and a lot that weren’t so classic), introducing Frankenstein, Dracula and others to a generation of kids who’d never seen them (the last film in the cycle was 1948’s Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein). Kids were blown away (so was I when I encountered the films in syndication a dozen years later), leading to an explosion of marketing (sweat shirts, Aurora models, Count Chocula cereal, board games) and TV spinoffs such as The Munsters (surprisingly Voger never mentions the film version, Munsters Go Home), The Addams Family and Dark Shadows. Voger argues that while the classic horrors and their spinoffs are still around this era of film horror ended in 1972 as The Exorcist took the genre in another direction. A good job.

HOLLYWOOD’S COPYRIGHT WARS: From Edison to the Internet by Peter Decherney, shows how copyright struggles were part of the movie industry from the early days, when it wasn’t clear if copyright applied to photography (if you just photographed real life, what creativity was there to protect?), let alone to films, which were seen as collections of photographs. Following that debate would come battles over pirating other studios’ films (a common problem in the early years), adapting books and plays for the screen, whether TV editing movies violated creator rights (the Monty Python were one of the few who won that fight, when they sued ABC for butchering their skits for a late-night showing), then into the age of the VCR, DVD and Internet (while I’m more familiar with the issues of this period, Decherney still told me a lot I didn’t know). An excellent job.

#SFWApro. Brackett cover art is uncredited; all rights to images remain with current holders.

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Superheroes on big and small screens (with spoilers)

I finally found the time to catch AVENGERS: End-Game (2019) and while I think it could have been trimmed from its three hour length (and I don’t know it’s worth the big box office take), I don’t think it actually sagged at any point. We open with the Avengers and Captain Marvel hunting down Thanos only to discover he’s destroyed the Infinity Stones to secure his triumph. Five years later, however, Ant-Man emerges from the quantum realm where time flows differently — while they can’t change the past, could they take the stones temporarily from various points in time, then use them to restore all the dead?

This is a better concept than just using the timestone to fix things, which a lot of people expected (unfortunately we never get an answer for why Dr. Strange gave Thanos the stone in Infinity War) and it allows us a last look at several characters (Ancient One, Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, Happy Hogan). Good, though not flawless (e.g., Jim C. Hines’ thoughts on Thor’s character arc). “It’s never been personal for me, but destroying your infuriating little mudball — I’m going to take pleasure in it.”

UMBRELLA ACADEMY is Netflix’s adaptation of Gerard Way’s bizarro superhero series, as the dysfunctional foster children of a British eccentric reunite after years apart when their father dies. And the timing is good because the apocalypse is looming — but can the combined talents of Spaceboy, Seance, Kraken, Rumor and Number Five turn the tide? Not as weird as the comic book series, but gloriously weird even so, with some excellent performances, particularly Ellen Page as the tragic violinist Vanya (though the climax of her arc did get a little too Dark Phoenix). “If the benchmark is ‘extraordinary,’ what do you do when you’re not?”

The fourth season of DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW had a disappointing finish — a bit too comedic, and too much mutie-hating (or a reasonable facsimile). That said, it was overall a gloriously oddball season as the Legends join forces with John Constantine, battle the Fairy Godmother of Salem and Gary’s hypnotic nipple and Sarah and Ava work out their relationship in the Ikea store of the damned.  Not to mention the mid-season cliffhanger, which gave us multiple alt.versions of the team (Ava, Gideon and Sarah as the Sirens of Space Time!). Uneven but still worth the time.

I had no particular interest in the CHARMED reboot on the CW but when I gave it a try, I found it still worked, and improved as it went along. This time the sisters are Latinas Maggie and Mel Vaughn (Mel is a lesbian, happy and out) and their half-sister Macy, who’s black. Their adventures are much in the urban fantasy vein of the original, but with some flashes of feminism (the demon in the opener is a sexually harassing professor) and a season finish that went in different directions than I expected. Looks like I’ve added another series to my Keep Watching list. “I need this job — it’s not like being a necromancer pays the bills, you know.”

#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders; Avengers cover by Jack Kirby.

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