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Category “Getting My Geek On”

Fox’s Version of “Broadchurch” Looks Just as Good as the Original

One of the best police procedurals to come on television last year was actually in the U.K.  ITV, a competitor of the BBC, gave the world the first “series” of “Broadchurch.”  The show was an eight-episode serial focusing on the death of a 10-year old boy and the effect it had on a small seaside tourist town and the families which lived there.

It starred “The 10th Doctor,” David Tennant as the lead detective on the case and was a critical and ratings success.  So much so that not only did the BBC buy it for its American channel — BBC America — but the U.S. networks reached out to the showrunner Chris Chibnall and asked for a remake.

That show is now known as “Gracepoint,” still will star Tennant (notice the American accent from the Scottish actor below) and “Breaking Bad” alum Anna Gunn as his partner.  Instead of being eight episodes, the here is for the series to be 10.

Check it out the preview.  Will probably be a critic’s choice just as the one in the U.K was.


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Comic Book Themed TV Shows Taking Over Network Upfronts

As one season of TV wraps up next week, another is slowly being prepared.  In that new year, there will be count them five (so far) new dramas that base their source material in comic books just on broadcast networks.

The CW, owned by Warner Bros. which owns DC Comics, is already the home of “Arrow,” a take on the Green Arrow.  Next season, they introduce “The Flash,” (essentially an Arrow spin-off) and “iZombie,” based on a short-lived series from DC Comics’ Veritgo imprint.

NBC is joining in the fray with “Constantine,” based on DC Comics “occult investigator” John Constantine of “Hellblazer” fame (Yes, the same one Keanu Reeves played in the movie.).  Rumors are the series will be put on Fridays to piggyback off the success of its sci-fi / monster series “Grimm.”

FOX has given the green light to “Gotham,” a take on the Batman mythology directly after the days of the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, with a specific focus being on Jim Gordon before he becomes police commissioner.  Pretty much, the idea is to provide “prequel” ideas to “Bruce Wayne, the years before he becomes Batman,” with a mix of the acclaimed “Gotham Central” series which focused on the city’s police department.

(Batman as the backdrop of a police procedural in itself, is an interesting idea for television.)

Not to be left behind, ABC — owned by Disney, which also owns Marvel Comics — has given the go ahead to “Agent Carter,” the continuation of the story of Peggy Carter from the films “Captain America: The First Avenger” played by the beautiful Hayley Atwell.

Agent Carter follows the story of Peggy Carter (Atwell). It’s 1946, and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark, all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life – Steve Rogers. Reaper creators Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters serve as executive producers/showrunners, Captain America: The First Avenger‘s Steve McFeely & Christopher Marcus wrote the script and also executive produce, along with Marvel’s Jeph Loeb. The script was finished more than four months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Atwell had to be extended as it came up three months ago.

ABC also renewed “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” for a sophomore season and has seen a ratings spike since April thanks in large part to a huge tie-in to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”  The rumored plan for the two series is to use “Agent Carter” as a bridge of new episodes over the winter months (roughly 10 weeks) as “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” splits its season essentially into two.

Times and which days of the week these series will air should be announced next week.  Network upfronts (when ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the CW) are the traditional times advertisers get to see newly-minted programing for the fall season.

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LeVar Burton: Comic Books Started My Love of Reading

As a kid, I used to love watching “Reading Rainbow.”  Though the show no longer airs on PBS since 2009, it does live on.

In 2012, the production team created an iPod and Kindle app which airs new episodes and relates new books for kids. It also shows “video field trips” and is the #1 educational or Kids app on both machines.

Saturday is the annual “Free Comic Book Day,” where shops across the nation will offer up to 60 free titles to anyone who enters their stores.  Marvel is giving out a book tied to their upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie while DC Comics has one tied to a company-wide crossover slated for this fall.

Burton takes a bit of his day to not only promote “Free Comic Book Day,” but gives a little insight into what got him reading in the first place and how comic books kept this army brat in touch with U.S. culture while his dad served in Germany.


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Warner Bros. Wants a “Justice League” film by 2018

Honestly, the more I read about moves like this, the more I get inclined not to see it when it comes out.  In my mind, Warner Bros. is only seeing these properties as something they can make money off of, not respect the source material or the longtime fans of the comics.

It’s not a well-kept secret that since the end of the movies revolving around the Harry Potter books, Warner has been scrambling for a franchise to get butts in the seats of movie theaters every summer or so.  And watching Disney makes billions hand-over-fist with its various Marvel Studios films has them seeing green — both in envy and in dollar signs.

Confirming the studio’s plans for a movie based on its iconic super-team for the first time, Warner Bros. president of worldwide production Greg Silverman said the studio has set plans to make a “Justice League” movie.

Like “Man of Steel” and its follow-up, which starts production next month, “Justice League” will be directed by Zack Snyder. Henry Cavill is expected to return as Superman, along with Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot, who play Batman and Wonder Woman, respectively, in 2016’s “Man of Steel” sequel tentatively titled “Batman vs. Superman.”

“It will be a further expansion of this universe,” said Mr. Silverman. “’Superman vs Batman’ will lead into ‘Justice League.’”

A script is still in development and Warner has not set a release date, though the movie is unlikely to come out before 2018. Mr. Silverman would not comment on what other heroes might join Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman in the movie. However the studio has recently been casting the role of Cyborg, a half-robotic hero who is expected to have a cameo in “Batman vs. Superman” and then appear in “Justice League.” Other DC heroes who have been in Justice League comic books include Aquaman, Flash and Green Lantern.

The plans for three superhero movies in relatively quick succession show how intent Warner is on catching up with rival Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios in building a cinematic superhero universe after years lagging behind.

Although the “Dark Knight” trilogy was a hit, Warner’s other efforts such as “Green Lantern” and “Jonah Hex” have flopped. A “Justice League” movie with a young cast that was to be directed by George Miller of “Mad Max” fame nearly went into production in 2008 but was killed at the last minute.

What worries me about a “Justice League” movie isn’t that it might threaten Marvel’s dominance.  If anything, it will lead to competition which will only drive Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige and Joe Quesada (Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer) harder.  It’s that Warner is showing why Marvel was smart to do what they did (build their universe through characters first, then the team) in the first place.

Prior to Marvel’s first “Iron Man” movie, the Hollywood thinking was “introduce the team, then build the players into franchises.”  Marvel inverted that.  Clearly, that is why they did “Hulk,” then “Thor,” then “Captain America” mixed in with “Iron Man 2” along the way before we finally got to “The Avengers.”   The point was, “origin story for each of them, get the masses knowing who these characters are, then have them team-up.”

Warner’s clearly has no intention of doing that.  Already behind in both years (and billions in revenue) of getting their comic book films off the ground — Superman and Batman films not included — they feel they have to jump head first into getting “Justice League” up and running.  Honestly, while the geek in me might be thrilled to see it finally happening, I have real worries that suddenly these film become origin story train wrecks and exposition dialogue dumps as characters tell the audience who they are, how they got their powers, and why they’ve suddenly shown up in Metropolis or Gotham City, or any of the other fake cities throughout the DC Universe.

Already the unnamed, already delayed “Batman / Superman” film is going to have appearances by “Wonder Woman” and “Cyborg” — two current Justice Leaguers in DC Comics — in it.  Will these characters be cameos, or will they be given subplot arcs which will only drag down the movie?  Nobody knows because reports and rumors keep coming out saying the script is constantly being rewritten.

At this rate, I’m half-expecting Aquaman in a post-credits scene which takes place at an aquarium.

As for sticking with Zach Snyder as director, honestly, after the mess he made of “Man of Steel,” I can’t think of what drugs the suits at Warner Bros. are on to consider him “Their Guy” when it comes to comic book movies.


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Cartoon of the Day


Here’s a news article on the study.

As barbecue season approaches, researchers have discovered an unlikely ingredient that could improve the safety of your meat – letting it swill in beer.

They say that letting meat marindade in pilsner can help reduce the formation of potentially harmful cancer-causing substances in grilled meats.

They say pilsner and black beer are most effective, halving the amount of Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which have been linked to colorectal cancer.

The researchers are reporting that the very same beer that many people enjoy at backyard barbeques could, when used as a marinade, help reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats.

The researchers grilled samples of pork marinated for four hours in Pilsner beer, non-alcoholic Pilsner beer or a black beer ale, to well-done on a charcoal grill.

Black beer had the strongest effect, reducing the levels of eight major PAHs by more than half compared with unmarinated pork.

“Thus, the intake of beer marinated meat can be a suitable mitigation strategy,” say the researchers.

The study appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

My personal favorite is to marinade with a Leinie’s Creamy Dark.  Add that to some McCormick’s ready-made seasoning or marinade mix and it’s great.

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Rosetta Stone to Release Klingon Edition


It’s about time.

(H/T “The Nerdist” Channel on YouTube and April Fool’s everyone.)


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75 Years of the House of Ideas

Batman’s not the only one celebrating a landmark this year.  Marvel Comics — originally as Timely Comics — launched in 1939 with the release of “Marvel Comics #1.”

The comic introduced two characters still around today: Namor, the Sub-Mariner, and Jim Hammond, otherwise known as “the Original Human Torch.” (Not to be confused with Johnny Storm, “the Human Torch” who’s been with the Fantastic Four for over 50 years.)

Marvel has a planned a huge celebration for the year ahead, and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso — there since January 2011 — narrates a video montage of Marvel at 75.



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Nimoy Announces Diagnosis of COPD

As a fan of “Star Trek” over “Star Wars,” I obviously have a love for all things “Spock.”  Sadly, (and Nimoy admits it himself, his own doing) a very real reality of smoking can do to you.

Then again, Nimoy is 82, and currently the 2nd oldest member of the original cast of “Star Trek,” (Shatner is four days older than him according to Wikipedia while George Takei is the youngest of the original seven at age 76.) so he will likely be entering “The Final Frontier” in not too long a time anyway.

“Star Trek” star Leonard Nimoy has revealed that he has lung disease, even though he stopped smoking three decades ago.

“I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP,” the actor tweeted, ending his post with an abbreviation of the famed Vulcan salute “Live long and prosper.”

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a progressive disease that makes it difficult to breathe. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, which can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Nimoy, 82, assured followers, “I’m doing OK. Just can’t walk distances.”

To overcome this bumming, I’ve reduced myself to watching this over and over again.


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The House Continues to Win

Early reports have it that Vegas sportsbooks — despite losing on “Prop Bets” involving safeties for the third-straight year — have made nearly $20 million in profits off of Super Bowl XLVIII bets. 

Note this figure does not include “off-Vegas” and non-casino bets.  You know, the illegal ones (which might include your office pool, but hey, I ain’t snitching).

Gamblers wagered a record $119.4 million at Nevada casinos on the Super Bowl, allowing sportsbooks to reap an unprecedented profit as the betting public lost out in Seattle’s rout of the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos.

Unaudited tallies showed sportsbooks made an unprecedented profit of $19.7 million on the action, the Gaming Control Board announced Monday. That’s millions more than the past three Super Bowl wins combined.

The Denver Broncos were a 2.5-point favorite, but the Seattle Seahawks took the championship 43-8.

Oddsmakers said Peyton Manning fans drove the unprecedented handle, flooding Las Vegas and northern Nevada with wagers on the favored team and its veteran quarterback, who was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player for the 2013 season the day before the game. Many believed Manning was primed for a big game after his record-setting year.

The previous record for the amount of bets placed, or the handle, was set last year, when gamblers wagered $98.9 million on the Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.

The last record for casino win was set in 2005, when sportsbooks won $15.4 million.

As for the “First Score – Safety” prop bet, it was paying at odds on two levels:

Some oddsmakers said they lost out on proposition bets, including whether a safety would be the first score of the game. Casinos paid out at 8-to-1 for the safety. Fans who bet that the first score would be on a safety cashed in at 60-to-1. It was the third year in a row that sportsbooks have been hit on the safety bet.

“The safety is no longer in my vocabulary,” said Johnny Avello, who runs the luxurious sportsbook at Wynn.

The last time Vegas lost on the Super Bowl was in 2008.  At the time, casinos lost $2.6 million.

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Marvel Releases 2nd “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Trailer during Super Bowl

Took me until my third viewing before I caught it myself, but there’s a special man shown literally building the Winter Soldier around the 0:17 – 0:18 second mark.

Major props to Marvel and Marvel Studios — especially since he just went exclusive to Image Comics for the next five years and also work on some TV pilots / projects in Hollywood — for giving Ed Brubaker, who wrote the issues of “Captain America” where the “Winter Soldier” storyline takes place, an appearance in the film.

Another cameo for a creator not named Stan Lee to look for in a Marvel Studios films, is Walter Simonson’s.  Simonson wrote and drew an iconic run on the character from the mid-80s, bringing him back to his mythological routes as well as introducing characters such as “Beta Ray Bill.”

He is in the final scene of the first “Thor,” during the celebration banquet.  He’s the elder gentlemen seated between Thor and the Lady Sif, a well-deserved place of honor.

One last cameo to look for in “Thor” is the creator of “Babylon 5.”  He too wrote once wrote a run on the thunder god, and trust me, he’s in there.

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