Comics Creators

What Are You Watching? Infinite Season


Just out of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Better than I expected!

The early stuff setting up the characters pre-jungle falls completely flat, but once they got to Johnson, Hart, Gillan, and Black I really enjoyed it.

The actual plot is fairly weak, but that’s somewhat excusable as it’s supposed to be the plot to a video game from 1996. Bobby Cannavale doesn’t get much to do, but he seems to be having fun hamming it up as the villain.

It’s not a classic, but it’s much more enjoyable than most of Kasdan, Johnson, Black, and Hart’s other recent movies. The main cast are all great, I laughed a bunch, and it didn’t feel too long.


So, the season finale of The Orville - overall, it’s alright. I don’t think it ever got further than just alright. Good concepts, some good premises, but some misses as well. I’ll tune in again for the second season though.


HAPPY! was entertaining. Can’t say that it is great, but it is a good start. It is missing something and I think it is mainly missing good timing. The punchlines and gags are landing pretty sloppily.


I agree. I thought the last part of the hospital sequence was good timing wise though as he was leaving. I belly laughed three times in a row.


I agree. It’s nice to look at and has fun moments and is nice to switch off too and just coast along watching.

Bortus is a stand out for me though, most scenes with him have had me laughing, the finale opening was no different.


It starts out pretty rough but won me over by the end. It’s biggest strength is Meloni and his commitment to playing the character as a living cartoon.


Yeah, I would agree with that assessment. It’s a show with a lot of potential but Seth MacFarlane desperately needs to bring in some new writing talent. I know he wrote most of the episodes but the transitions between comedy and drama can be quite jarring. A lot of the “funny” stuff could probably stand a fresh set of eyes on it.

Bortus, though, is comedy platinum. Peter Macon can do the serious stuff very well but his deadpan delivery in the comedy bits are perfect.


I’d love a Die Hard style holosuite story where Bortus is John McClane!


God, the Karaoke bit was instant gold. Overall, of the cast Bortus and Isaac was the best.


I just finished my first rewatch of Kill Bill v.1 in quite a few years. It’s never been my favourite Tarantino film (or even my favourite Kill Bill) but I’ve come to appreciate it a little more with a bit of distance. This was the third or fourth time for me I think.

There are some beautiful shots and scenes in it, and some great action choreography with some fun setpieces. I have always enjoyed the anime interlude, and the use of music is great throughout (it might even be my favourite Tarantino soundtrack).

But it’s fairly shallow, and the whole thing has the feel of a collection of sketches rather than a particularly coherent or engaging story. And the structure doesn’t really contribute much either way in terms of helping it all hang together.

From memory, volume two pulls things together quite nicely and adds a lot more depth to the story, so I’m planning to give that another look soon.


Yeah, same here.
I wonder if the Chronological cut that Tarantino used to talk about flowed better.


The interrogation and fight scene was the best part of the show. The running through the halls later was sloppy and they really haven’t done a great job framing the shots for Happy when he is not right in front of the camera. In some scenes, they manage the Roger Rabbit level of integration - mostly when it is just Meloni in the scene - but other times it’s Cool World with Happy looking like they just fit him in where they could. There was a lot of filler - basically bits of business to stretch scenes out - that didn’t add much for the time they took.

However, that’s mainly what we have to put up with in low-budget television, and the stuff that works works well enough to keep people watching.

Now, what it really makes me think about is the idea of a THE MASK television series. HAPPY! is just dark with a really malevolent view of the city and human nature. THE MASK is set in the same sort of world, but has a much more positive protagonist and keeps a lot of light comic touches to the crime story. I think something like that would be a welcome alternative to the generally dark and violent fantasy and adventure series filling up the channels these days.


I’ve watched the first 6 eps of snowfall

It ranges from brilliant to mediocre

Anything involving Frankin, and the extended cast in ‘the good’ is superb.
It’s funny, I felt it evoked Boyz in the Hood as I was watching and when I got to the end credits of the first episode I see John Singleton is heavily involved

Makes sense

The storyline with the ex-CIA guy is one of the most unconvincing characters I’ve seen on tv - I actually can’t bear to watch those scenes now, I just pick up a magazine. I grown to hate the character and the actor who plays him. His whole ‘I’m tired’ schtick is awful, it’s like a mix between a cliched child who is up past his bedtime rubbing his wee eyes, a withdrawn teenager hi thinks he’s too school for school and a cynical hipster
The storyline with the Mexicans is also pretty boring

My advice for them for season 2 is dump the other two storylines and focus on Franklin etc

The whole thing is worth it for those likeable characters and performances alone not to mention that those scenes always look great.


Oh, and the music is incredible


The Middleman

So, cast your mind back six or seven years. One of the network guys based out of the UK was over in Dublin, we were talking about cult TV, and he mentioned this short-lived show he really liked, put on a youtube compilation of funny bits and I quite liked it. Then the AV Club ran an article about it shortly thereafter which put it back in my head and I - achem - acquired it, and loved it.

Then, a week or two ago it popped back into my head, so I decided to schedule in a rewatch, and loved it all over again.

The show has a spotted history. Created by Javier Grillo-Marxauch, a veteran cult TV writer/producer who worked on Lost, Charmed, and seaQuest DSV amongst others. He shopped around a pilot script for a while, got nowhere, and so turned it into a comic which did quite well - well enough to get the TV concept another look-in, in fact.

And so, the TV show: It revolves around Wendy Watson, an abstract expressionist painter who works as a temp to make ends meet and try and afford the rent on the illegal sublet she shares with an equally photogenic artist named Lacey. One day, while working as a receptionist at AND Laboratories (we scramble your DNA), a tentacle hentai monster gets loose, and she’s in the middle of fighting if off when this guy in an Eisenhower jacket and tie shows up and zaps it. A fruitless day of trying to get a new temp jobs winds up with her at the Jolly Fats Wehawkin temp agency - which happens to be a front for her rescuer’s activities. Wendy is quickly recruited to be the sidekick and successor to The Middleman, and adventure follows.

If I was asked to describe the show briefly, I’d say it’s the old 60s Batman show, but contemporary and more self aware. The Middleman is a total cheeseball, very similar in tone and delivery to Adam West’s Batman, but in the modern world, so he’s contrasted primarily against Wendy’s modern sensibilities.

But it’s also a show written by nerds, for nerds. The writers had instructions to pick something related to the A plot’s main theme, and include as many references to it as possible in the the episode. So an episode about ghosts is set at Reitman university, Wendy and the Middleman pose as doctors Stantz and Zeddemore when they visit a site on Ray Parker Jr. Avenue. Later in the same epsiode they call each other Keymaster and Gatekeeper on the radio, and someone is referred to as having won the Egon Spengler and Ivo Shandor physics prizes. The gags are mostly background things, so they never overpower the show - they’re fun easter eggs.

There’s a lot of humour from insanely long dialogue chains, which are often repeated to the point you know there’s lengthy blooper reels out there. A hooters-style restaurant is always referred to as “The pirate-themed sports bar with scantily-clad waitresses”, usually followed by a “Yarr”, and sometimes “A den for middle-aged gropers and fratboys”. The show is fond of captioning everything for comedic effect - establishing shots are sarcastic or use even more catchphrases, when someone wakes up they say “Where am I, how long was I out?”. There’s an episode with a countdown to an inevitable explosion, and after there’s another explosion when the countdown comes back it says (that last one wasn’t it)

And beyond that, the game is incredibly positive and kind-hearted. Wendy and Lacey, the equally photogenic artist with whom she shares an illegal sublet have one of the most natural and wonderful friendships on TV, helped by the fact that Natalie Morales and Brit Morgan formed a fast friendship while shooting the show, and they still hang out all the time almost 10 years later, and their relationships with the Middleman (Wendy seeing him as something between an older brother and a surrogate father, while he and Lacey share a love they dare not consummate) work very well.

Of course, no show is perfect and the Middleman falls down a bit in the technical execution - there’s no elaborate action scenes, and the effects are quaintly low-budget, but these are minor complaints. It’s an amazingly fun show that’s well worth checking out.

have some clips:


Did he ever come out with another volume of the comic or was the third volume just it?


I only every got to see 2 (or 1 maybe it may have been a split pilot episode). I forgot all about it, thank you for reminding me, I must check out more!


They did a comic of what would have been the season finale if they hadn’t been cancelled.


They also crowdfunded a special crossover where the TV versions of Wendy and the Middleman met up with the comic versions. Both of those have table reads with the cast on YouTube.


Yeah, I know about the season finale comic for the show, @PaulF. Was mainly talking about the regular comic.

And oh right I remember hearing about the crossover. I just remember being disappointed in the third volume because it leaves off on another cliffhanger.