Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NBC and Dan Harmon May Kiss and Make Up.....There's An Image, Huh?

Dan Harmon
News is emerging that Dan Harmon is in talks with Sony Pictures Television to return to Community.

The absurd postmodern sitcom created by Harmon has always struggled with low ratings, but has garnered a devoted following and critical acclaim. While its numbers are bad, they're not bad for NBC, who can't seem to find a hit with both hands and a flashlight.

Harmon created the show, and was the driving creative influence. After the third season, he was fired by Sony, who cited his continual lateness delivering scripts, amongst other creative differences. He had a public and ugly feud with cast member Chevy Chase (Chase himself left the show mid way through the fourth season) and according to Harmon, Sony never even fired him in person (he was told via an executive producer on Community that he was done).

A 13 episode fourth season was greenlit and shot, with David Guarascio and Moses Port as producers. Many long time fans of the show (including this writer) felt that fourth season was nowhere near as strong as the previous three.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Write Fan Fic? Amazon Wants to Help You Get Paid, Dawg

Yeah, you can't unsee this.
So, yeah, first off, let's get something out of the way here. I've written fan fic. I'm not proud of it, I didn't write very much, and it was a long time ago. If you know anything about me, you'll probably know what it was for. That's right, The Waltons. You can't know the thrill I got typing the words, "Goodnight, John Boy."

Up until recently, fan fic was the absolute literary gutter, just slightly above its more disreputable cousin, slash fic. The good fan fic was written by people that were talented writers, but fan fic really led nowhere, so one got the sense they were wasting their time. All the other kinds of fan fic are basically fan wank. That's where you get all that Star Wars meets Star Trek fan fic. Or Doctor Who meets The Dukes of Hazzard, etc.

But now, Amazon is taking things to the next level. They just announced Kindle Worlds, "a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games." Basically, they're starting a platform where people will be able to write fan fiction, submit it to Amazon, who will offer it for sale. They've gotten the license for properties owned by Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment. They produce shows like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries. I'm thinking that last one will get the bulk of the submissions, all of them dealing with suppressed sexual desire and intense longing stares. The brooding. Oh, the brooding.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Star Trek Into Darkness" Review, Or Set Phasers To F@#*ing Awesome

When Star Trek was released in 2009, the JJ Abrams directed reboot of Gene Roddenberry's landmark series was given a new lease on life. After years of diminishing returns on TV and in theatres, many had thought that the franchise was all but dead.

But the reboot was accomplished with style and verve, the new cast managed to evoke the spirit of the originals without being impersonations. And JJ Abrams wowed with his confident handling of the material, managing to capture Star Trek's inherent adventurous qualities, but updating them for 21st century audiences.

Still, some Trekkers hated the film. It was criticized for bad science and a plot driven largely by coincidence and convenience (all those charges are true by the way, but most space opera is driven by those very same things, and I'd argue that most original Trek is driven by those things too). Finally, they really disliked what they called the Star Wars-ification of Trek. That Roddenberry's saga of peaceful exploration had been replaced by more action, more space battles and less of the "vision" that defined Star Trek.

Well, those people may not like Star Trek Into Darkness any better, but that is certainly their loss, because the sequel betters the 2009 film in almost every regard, delivering a film that is funny, thrilling, emotional, and action-packed.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Will We Learn "The Name of the Doctor" This Weekend?

This Saturday brings the 50th anniversary season of Doctor Who to a close with the airing of The Name of the Doctor. If you aren't excited by that sentence then I don't know what you're even doing on this site. Seriously. Doctor Who is incredible.

While the show runners have hinted that the finale will solve the mystery surrounding new companion Clara Oswald, the title also suggests that the viewers may learn the answer to the show's longest running mystery; Doctor Who? It's a plot point that has been set up by show runner Steven Moffat for a long time, most explicitly at the conclusion of the previous series.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

That Funke Is Some Kind of Something

Arrested Development's new season begins on Netflix this month. I could not be more excited. And Mitch Hurwitz and co. certainly know how to use the interwebs.

Case in point, this little viral video of Tobias Funke's "Sizzling Reel":

You can also go to Tobias' web page. It has the best title of all time, and you can see all of the range and versatility that the world's only analrapist can bring to your project.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Ordered to Full Series

In the no-brainer decision category, ABC has ordered Marvel Studios' first TV project, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., to full series.

Taking place after the events of The Avengers, and tying into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the series follows a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, led by Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who investigate "unclassified" cases. The series was developed by Marvel's current creative mastermind (and Avengers writer/director) Joss Whedon, who also directed the pilot episode. The pilot was written by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

The series will also star Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge. You can see the 30 second promo for the series below:

So, that looks pretty epic. Obviously this is a no-brainer for ABC, I mean who wouldn't want to tie themselves into probably the biggest franchise going right now? And for Marvel, it's another platform for them to integrate into. Although Whedon has said that the series will focus on the periphery of the Marvel Universe, I'm sure Marvel is looking at this as a cheap way and lower risk way to introduce characters that could conceivably launch new film franchise or bolt into existing ones.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Trailer Park - Grumpy General, Magic Butler, Not Bob Dylan and Gump vs. Pirates

Starting a new feature here on the Nerd Report that I'm calling Trailer Park. If you're like me, and you love watching trailers, even bad ones, you'll hopefully enjoy. So, let's dive right in!

First up is Ender's Game:

So, I've never read Ender's Game or any of the novels in that series. There's a few reasons for that, and only some of them have to do with Orson Scott Card's homophobia, which has cost him a number of things, inlcuding a job with DC writing some Superman stories. I will say that this trailer made me somwhat interested in the film, and as my interest level prior to this was absolutely zero, that's an effective trailer. It's very nice to see that someone has slipped Harrison Ford the Geritol he sorely needed. He still looks grumpy, but at least he no longer resembles the other dwarf; Sleepy. Also, man, they are pimping the Acadmey Award nominations in the cast, huh? Pretty shameless attempt to scream, "We're classy!"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

RIP - Ray Harryhausen

The film world lost a visionary today with the passing of Ray Harryhausen, visual effects pioneer whose legendary work included effects for films like Mighty Joe Young, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and the original Clash of the Titans. He was 92 years old.

Harryhausen's love of effects began in 1933, when, at the age of 13, he saw King Kong. He fell in love with the film, coinciding with the simultaneous beginning of a life-long love of science fiction, and he began experimenting with making short films that focused on the then nascent filed of visual effects.

After having managed to meet Willis O'Brien, the man behind the landmark effect in King Kong, O'Brien began mentoring the young Harryhausen. Following WWII, where he served with Frank Capra, Harryhausen was hired to work as an animator on Mighty Joe Young. O'Brien trusted Harryhausen enough at this point, that most of the animating chores fell to him.

"Iron Man 3" Review, or God Help Marvel if RDJ Ever Decides to Quit Being Tony Stark

Tony Stark and friend
Iron Man 3 marks the end of Robert Downey Jr's current contract with Marvel Studios, and when one leaves the theatre at its conclusion, you can't help thinking that they need to back a Brinks truck full of money, or yoga mats, or camels, or whatever weird stuff RDJ is into in order to keep him in the iron suit. Because, at this point, Downey IS this franchise, able to make scenes come alive with snarky one-liner or witty aside.

Which isn't to say that Iron Man 3 isn't enjoyable, or that it isn't a vast improvement over the second installment. As directed and co-written by action icon Shane Black, Iron Man 3 is a great time at the movies, delivering all the thrills, laughs and fun you expect from these types of films. But Black and Downey also deliver something a little more, which is an examination of Tony Stark in the aftermath of the world-shaking events of The Avengers. Granted, it doesn't go much beyond a rather shallow depiction of PTSD, but that's still more depth than the customary summer blockbuster provides, and Downey owns Stark so much by this point, that he gives the character enough subtlety to communicate a lot without saying much.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

More Marvel Movie News....

A couple odd rumours have popped up recently surrounding two Marvel movie properties, both of which could stir up some controversy.

Michael B. Jordan
First, the rumour going around is that Michael B. Jordan is up for the role of Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot being directed by Josh Trank for Fox. The FF is still, like Spider-Man and the X-Men, a licensed property, meaning Marvel Studios is not making the film.

Jordan is an up and coming actor in Hollywood. He made his mark in the final few seasons of Friday Night Lights and the first couple seasons of Parenthood, before appearing in Trank's film Chronicle, which was a big hit. As a huge Friday Night Lights and Parenthood fan, I can tell you he is the real deal. I could easily see him becoming a movie star.

But, he's African-American, and here's where the controversy might spring from. Personally, I think you get the right guy for the part, who cares what ethnicity he is.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" Set Photos Emerge!

A whole bunch of set photos have been popping up all over the place lately for Marvel's Captain America sequel, and they are pretty cool.

First, over at Spinoff Online, they released some shots of Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in action. The cool thing is that it seems to indicate both that Natasha will have a larger role than what was originally supposed to be a cameo, and that Cap will be sporting a variation of the Steve Rogers Super Soldier outfit he wore for a while a few years ago.

While I think it's a cool suit, I also think it's not the one I want to see Cap in all the time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yeah, the Stars and Stripes are a little hokey, but it's part of what makes Cap such an iconic character. As Coulson so memorably put it in The Avengers, we could use a little old-fashioned.

Back in the Saddle

Bravestarr's relationship with his bionic horse is oddly homoerotic.
Did everyone enjoy that little break?

Obviously, you probably thought that The Nerd Report was dead and buried.  But like a zombie, or Madonna, or that hobo you hit with your car late that night and could have sworn was dead, some things won't stay buried.

You may be asking what kept the Nerdlinger from posting for almost two years, and the answer is too complicated to get into here. Let's just say it involves Bath Salts, a Mexican prison, and Burt Reynolds.

In all seriousness, it's been a busy couple of years. I can't say that I deliberately took a step away from the blog with anything resembling forethought. I simply ran out of time in my day due to many  factors, including a heavier work load at my job, Mrs. Nerdlinger's second pregnancy and the birth of our second spawn, etc. At a certain point, I decided that it was better to stop posting than to only post once a month. Things have calmed considerably since then. So, many apologies, and I hope you'll come back and continue to read the blog.

The important thing is that I'm back in the saddle again, ready to continue posting about all things nerd related. We've got a hell of a summer coming up, with Iron Man 3 about to open, followed by nerd heaven movies like Man of Steel, The Wolverine, Star Trek Into Darkness and Pacific Rim. It's Doctor Who's 50th anniversary this year, so you know I'll have lots to say about that. And there's always tons of comic news, TV news, and assorted geekiness just begging for my brand of half-baked commentary and pithy observations.

Let the hilarity ensue! Hope you all will come along for the ride with me!