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Apr 13 2016 4:00pm

Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 Review: Episodes 11-13

Hello, and welcome back to the final installment of this edition of Binge-Worthy, where I'll look at the final three episodes of Daredevil Season 2 from my perspective as a longtime comic fan. We'll talk character arcs and choices, take a look at some of the many lingering questions that the finale raised, and I'll share some clues and Easter eggs you may have missed.

So let's get to it! These final three episodes: Episode 11, “.380”; Episode 12, “The Dark at the End of the Tunnel”; and Episode 13, “A Cold Day in Hell's Kitchen” bring an epic Season 2 to a close and really hammer home some of this season's underlying themes—like the inevitability of change, the cost of fighting wars and how they can change you, and how who you are is forged not by where you came from, but the choices you make.

[Heavy stuff for a superhero show...]

Apr 6 2016 3:30pm

Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 Review: Episodes 8-10

Hello, and welcome back to the penultimate installment of this latest edition of Binge-Worthy. If you've been following my reviews, you know that the episodes I'm going to talk about here made me very happy. Not only did we get the emergence of the Hand as I had hoped, but we also get Frank Castle embracing his destiny and the triumphant return of Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk! For me, these three episodes—Episode 8, “Guilty As Sin”; Episode 9, “Seven Minutes in Heaven”; and Episode 10, “The Man in the Box”—were my favorites, so far. So, let's dive into them from my perspective as a comic fan and chat about characters, comic Easter Eggs, and where I think things might go next.

[Binge-read this review of Episodes 8-10]

Apr 5 2016 3:00pm

Powers 1.10: “F@#K the Big Chiller” Episode Review

So, where are we left at the end of Powers? Where has the journey led, and what have we discovered from this hard-to-categorize show? What, exactly, did we watch?

A little evaluation of the series, before I get to the episode summary: the reason why I said, at the outset, that Powers was a sci-fi drama more than anything else is because all of the cop-show elements provided some structure, but never really any tension (closing the case and putting the bad guys behind bars wasn't the resolution we were looking for). The superhero set-pieces made for some cool fight scenes, but the cosmic battle between good and evil wasn't exactly what we were witnessing either. Powers' most effective moments were the revelations of what life is like in a world where a handful of people have unimaginable abilities, and those abilities tend to skew destructive.

[Read Hector's review of “F@#K the Big Chiller” here...]

Apr 4 2016 2:30pm

Powers 1.09: “Level 13” Episode Review

Episode 9's official title is “Level 13,” but for a show that favors music-related titles, a fitting one here would be “Who's Zooming Who?” Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley) has agreed to join Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor) on his excursion back to the prison known as The Shaft to kill Wolfe (Eddie Izzard), before Wolfe becomes too powerful to ever be stopped.

Obviously, sneaking into a prison to shoot someone isn't the kind of activity we would hope for from our law enforcement personnel; but wait a sec, maybe Walker hasn't gone completely rogue.

[I mean, he doesn't have a white streak in his hair yet...]

Mar 29 2016 3:00pm

Powers 1.08: “Aha Shake Heartbreak” Episode Review

We were wrong about Johnny.

So, remember that drug Sway that Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor) was making from DNA he stole from Wolfe (Eddie Izzard)? The drug that he was peddling to “Powers Kids” all over the place? The drug that killed Olympia (Adam Boyer)? The drug that Walker took, which allowed him to temporarily become superpowered again? The drug that Calista (Olesya Rulin) just took, even though she was warned that it would be fatal to any non-Power? That Sway?

[Do you!? Do you remember!?]

Mar 29 2016 2:30pm

Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 Review: Episodes 5-7

Hello again! Welcome back to my look at Season 2 of Marvel's Daredevil series, which just keeps getting better and better as it unfolds more twists and turns. Last time, I took a look at the series’ first four episodes, which introduced viewers to John Bernthal's Frank Castle (AKA the Punisher)—the vengeance-hungry vigilante that turned the lives of Matt Murdock, Foggy Nelson, and Karen Page upside down. In today's installment, I'll continue my look at the character arcs, Easter eggs, and events from my perspective as a comic fan, as I dive into Episode 5, “Kinbaku”; Episode 6, “Regrets Only”; and Episode 7, “Semper Fidelis.”

[Binge read this article on Daredevil Season 2]

Mar 28 2016 3:30pm

Powers 1.07: “You’re Not It” Episode Review

The direction of this series hasn't always been clear—the way it jumps in and out of various genres can make it tricky to anticipate—but at this point, there's a definite shape to the ten episodes: Setup (Episodes 1 & 2), engagement (3), initial conflict centerpiece (4 & 5), and, in a moment of downtime, reassessment (6). Episode 7 feels like the beginning of the grand finale.

Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor), as we learned from the previous episode, needs to see Wolfe (Eddie Izzard); we don't know why, but Johnny's little Sway enterprise—manufacturing and distributing a drug made from Wolfe's cells—has apparently set in motion something widespread and ominous.

[Who would have guessed that wouldn't turn out successful?]

Mar 23 2016 3:45pm

Marvel’s Daredevil Season 2 Review: Episodes 1-4

Hello! Welcome back to Hell's Kitchen!

My name is Dave Richards—I was your guide through Marvel's Netflix series Jessica Jones, discussing the show from my perspective as a comic fan. Now, I'm back for a look at Season 2 of Marvel's Daredevil.

See also: Jessica Jones Review: Season 1, Episodes 1-4

I'm especially excited to be returning to the small screen, fictionalized version of the Kitchen because it means catching up with some of the great characters introduced and established in Season 1 of the show, and getting to meet some new ones—including the Marvel Cinematic Universe incarnations of the Punisher and Elektra, two characters I really enjoy from the comics.

So let's get started! In this initial installment, I'll be examining Episode 1, “Bang”; Episode 2, “Dogs to a Gunfight”; Episode 3, “New York's Finest”; and Episode 4, “Penny and Dime.” I'll look at some of the major events, offer my thoughts on characters, and point out some of the Easter Eggs for comic book fans like myself.

[Read Dave Richards recap of Daredevil Season 2: Episodes 1-4]

Mar 22 2016 2:30pm

Powers 1.06: “Raconteur of the Funeral Circuit” Episode Review"

If Episodes 4 and 5 headed into Aliens territory, Episode 6 opens like a tribute to Silence of the Lambs; Wolfe (Eddie Izzard) is back in his cell, which now has a drainer to keep his powers repressed so he doesn't need a daily icepick to the brain anymore.

The drainer's inventor, Triphammer (Andrew Sensenig), pays a visit to Wolfe, who wears a restraining harness that keeps him underneath the drainer's light. Wolfe sees that this drainer technology is intended for a larger purpose than just tamping down his destructing abilities.

[Wolfe is circling the drainer...]

Mar 21 2016 2:30pm

Powers 1.05: “Paint it Black” Episode Review

Although Episode 4 ended with viewers smack in the middle of Wolfe’s (Eddie Izzard) rampage through his prison, Episode 5 opens in the 90s, at a nightclub where young Christian Walker (Sterling Beaumon) and Johnny Royalle (Sasha Feldman) are buddies scoping out the ladies—one of whom is a sultry Retro Girl (still Michelle Forbes).

This is only the second time in this series when the show has cut to a flashback to show what happened, rather than have characters recount everything. Wolfe is well-dressed, suave, gregarious, and for once, not covered in blood; Johnny is studious-looking rather than sleazy; Retro Girl is, well, pretty much the same as always; and Walker is an honest-to-goodness superhero, his training wheels still attached.

[Read Hector DeJean's recap of Episode 5 of Powers...]

Mar 15 2016 3:00pm

Powers 1.04: “Devil in a Garbage Bag”

Having dished out a lot of glitz and glamour in Episode 3—and presented a lot of confusing character interactions (Character A meets B, C meets D, A runs into D, C speaks with E, who goes back to B, etc.)—Episode 4 of Powers gets gritty, bleak, and direct. Wolfe, who seemed like a supporting character before and the key to a few of the show's mysteries, is now front and center, and Eddie Izzard's performance seems based upon some of the more hard to read parts of the Old Testament.

The deepest levels of the prison known as the Shaft, which used to hold Wolfe, are now his hunting grounds. Various attendants and guards are shredded, or rather shop-vac’ed (it's kind of hard to tell), by Wolfe, leaving him covered in their gore and with a dazed expression on his face.

Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor), having teleported into the Shaft to collect more of Wolfe's fluids for his street drug Sway, gets to witness all of this, and hear Wolfe's confession that he's sorry—he never meant to hurt anyone.

[A Wolfe in sheep's clothing...]

Mar 14 2016 3:30pm

Powers 1.03: “Mickey Rooney Cries No More” Episode Review

With the third episode, Powers gets a little messy—the various character arcs are all contrived to get the players into one of the loud nightclubs that the series seems to love (Calista met Olympia in one in the first episode, Walker ran into Zora in a different one, and in a flashback, we learn that Walker met Retro Girl in one when he was still part of Wolfe's entourage).

But before we get to the nightclub, the episode opens with one of Walker's old teammates, Triphammer (Andrew Sensenig), in the prison where Wolfe and various other bad Powers are kept, known as the Shaft. Triphammer, frankly, is one of the weaker elements of the show, played by a dead-eyed actor with a monotone delivery in a terrible costume. He looks less like a super crime fighter and more like someone's dad who gave up on the Halloween outfit he was putting together halfway through to get started on another twelve-pack.

[Sounds like a typical Tuesday to me...]

Mar 14 2016 2:45pm

10 Comics That Could Become the next Hit TV Show

At this point, it's probably only a matter of time until every superhero on the books gets their own movie or Netflix series. Some feel we're hitting saturation levels, and that's true to an extent.

But, the real issue with “Comic Adaptation Fatigue” isn't that we're necessarily tired of superheroes—we're just tired of seeing the same superheroes every five years. Truly, there are only so many Spider-man origin stories, so many gritty, grim-dark Batman epics we need OR want.

What Hollywood needs to remember is that variety is the spice of life. Rather than constantly playing it safe by incessantly rebooting the same ten characters, what audiences really want is brand new takes on brand new characters.

Delve into the underdogs and cult classics, screenwriters! Stretch yourselves and think outside the box. Adapt a comic series that isn't already a household name; turn it into a household name instead!

Netflix/Marvel is already way ahead of the game here—the Average Joe on the street didn't know who Jessica Jones was last year, and only serious comic fans knew about Luke Cage, Iron Fist, or—hell—the Guardians of the Galaxy.

I know it's a serious fight to get a chance-y pitch picked up by a studio. Movies are expensive, awash with red tape, and exceedingly more difficult to get made and distributed—which is why TV needs to become the great bastion for comic adaptations.

It's on TV (or Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime) where lesser-known properties could get a chance to shine and stretch out. The episodic nature allows for greater depth of world and character building—just the thing for a rich, complex comic story. Not to mention, it's way more likely to get a pilot season than a summer blockbuster.

Which is why I'm going to spotlight 10 comic series over the next 10 months that I think would make smashing television shows. I'll cover the gamut from classic superheroes to fantasy and sci-fi, both smaller-scale stories and sweeping epics, a couple series you've definitely heard of and a few I'm sure you haven't.

Here's a taste of what's to come...

[Take a peak at what might become your new favorite show...]

Mar 10 2016 3:00pm

Marvel’s Daredevil Season One Recap: Episodes 1-7

Daredevil is the new gold standard in superhero television shows. Hell, it's even better than some of the bloated big-screen films (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Fantastic Four reboot) that are beginning to water down the Marvel universe.

Here’s the reason for its achievement: old fashion character development. Show creator Drew Goddard wisely knows that all that running around and punching amounts to nothing if we don’t care about the person behind the mask.

So, through well-inserted flashbacks, we learn of Matthew “Matt” Murdock’s (Charlie Cox) early accident that led to his blindness, burgeoning mutant powers, and his relationship with his father who was a boxer in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s just enough to not bog down the show for old fans like me (because superhero origin fatigue is a real thing) and just the right amount for new recruits to introduce the man with no fear.

[Read a recap of Episodes 1-7 from Season 1 of Daredevil]

Mar 8 2016 12:45pm

Powers 1.02: “Like a Power”

So who is up to no good on Powers?

Is it Calista (Olesya Rulin), the runaway who wants to be part of the super-powered community? Is it Zora (Logan Browning), the attractive “Powers Kid” hoping to turn her abilities into celebrity cred? Is it Krispin (Max Fowler), the son of Walker's (Sharlto Copley) dead partner?

See also: Powers 1.01: “Pilot”

The correct answer is: it's Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor)—Walker's old buddy and teammate who faked his death years ago and has been running nightclubs and selling a drug called Sway in the interim. Johnny reintroduces himself to the world of the living in Episode Two, “Like a Power,” even registering himself at Walker's Powers Division HQ, causing a melee with his old teammate in the process.

[Read the review of Episode 2, “Like a Power”]

Mar 7 2016 2:00pm

Powers 1.01: “Pilot”

Debuting on Sony's Playstation Network as their first original scripted show, Powers is an odd bird; a lot of labels could be applied to it, but none of them really fit.

It was based, loosely, on a comic book series, but it's not a comic book show like The Flash or Supergirl; its protagonists are a cop and his partner, but it's not a cop show; it's got nothing to do with video games, despite its network; and it's not exactly psychological suspense or horror, though it brings elements of both into the mix. If I had to label it anything, I'd call it a sci-fi drama.

Comparing it to the printed source material from which it was derived is a loser's game; creator Brian Michael Bendis handed his creations to Charlie Huston, who remixed and recut the pieces to create something unique. Weighed on its own merits, the show does some things right and botches others—ending up as something that surprises, for all of the genre conventions it borrows, and delivers on at least a few fronts.

The first episode, imaginatively titled “Pilot,” does about half the work it's supposed to do, introducing us to the world and its players.

[Read Hector DeJean's review of the first episode, “Pilot”]

Jan 22 2016 12:30pm

Heroes Reborn 1.13: “Project Reborn”

Heroes traveling through time to save the world from destruction! Go!           

No, not the premiere of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.

I’m talking about the finale of the Heroes Reborn miniseries, which aired in the same time slot as DC’s newest superhero show. There has been a lot of hype about Legends and little about Heroes Reborn, which may explain why there are no plans for another season of the Heroes reboot. In the real world, Project Reborn has been a failure.

And yet, despite the show’s flaws—the uneven pacing, the shallow villain, the numerous plot holes—the show brought home the ending in style. That was one enjoyable hour of television.

[Like a phoenix from the ashes, it was Reborn...]

Jan 20 2016 2:00pm

Suicide Squad: New Trailer Released

Not to be outdone by the titans of industry that Marvel Studios has become, DC Comics is set to release two blockbuster films this year, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.

While I'll reserve judgment for the Bahstan Ben Affleck Batman for when it actually comes out, the star-studded antihero/supervillain movie, Suicide Squad, looks like a homerun straight off the baseball bat of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.

[Back, back, back, back, back, GONE...]

Jan 15 2016 3:30pm

Heroes Reborn 1.12: “Company Woman”

All season, Erica Kravid (Rya Kihlstedt) has been a mustache-twirling, one-dimensional villain convinced that her plan to rescue a chosen few from the End of the World™ is morally justifiable.

I’ve gotten used to that.

But instead of using the show’s penultimate episode to show how our heroes gather to save the world, Erica’s backstory takes center stage.  In a callback to one of the original series’ best episodes, “Company Man,” this one is called “Company Woman.”


All the callback to “Company Man” did was remind me how good the first season of Heroes was and how meandering this miniseries has been.

[From Heroes to zeros...]