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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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TV Shows Taking Over Network Upfronts">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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COPD">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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