Friday, January 31, 2014

iZombie on the CW

The CW network has officially ordered a pilot for iZombie, based on the award winning comic series, created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred. The series follows Gwen, a zombie, trying to forge a new life as a member of the undead. She takes a job as a gravedigger in order to find fresh brains to feed on so she doesn’t have to prey on the living. This has the side affect of Gwen being visited by memories of those whose brain she ate and sometimes has to finished the unfinished business of the dead in order to get any peace. She lives with a ghost from the 1960s, Ellie, and a were-terrier, they nickname Spot. He is a were-terrier because he turns into a terrier instead of a wolf.

The comic series is quirky in that way and is very good and entertaining. But if you ar thinking it sounds kind of similar to Being Human (U.S. or UK version) you are right. The comic also has vampires. So, yeah, it is similar character wise, and humor wise. There are even geek references.

There are even secret groups of supernatural beings trying to gain control of things at one level or another. All the similarities might be the reason why the CW is taking a slightly different spin on the series. Right now, iZombie the TV series looks like it will have a more serious tone as it is taking more of the form of a police procedural. Think CSI crossed with Supernatural. Gwen will be a med student who takes a job in the coroners office to get her brain fix and shell be solving murders with the help of the medical examiner and another detective. Just as in the comic, this will be to quiet the voices of the dead after she eats their brains. So far there is nothing to indicate what other characters or events from the comic will appear. As the only news so far is that a pilot has been ordered, and what direction the story may take, anything about iZombie is pure speculation. I know some fans are worried just on the basis that the CW is involved, but no one will know for sure until the pilot airs. And I know I am worried about the spin the series is going to take on Gwen's story, but hopefully the CW and showrunners Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero (Veronica Mars) can deliver a great new series.

iZombie was published by DC's Vertigo imprint and you can find the complete run of the series in trade paperback form. There are only 4 TPB books so it's an easy story to pick up and collect. I recommend checking it out.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why Y will not be a movie

A little while ago I wrote about why I think Y: The Last Man would be great if adapted as a television series. That was not going to happen because New Line Cinema owned the rights to Y and had every intention of making a movie and no doubt a trilogy. However the film has not moved beyond the script phase and if New Line does not put a film into production within the next few months, the rights to the property will revert back to writer and creator Brian K. Vaughn.

There is the chance that New Line could rush a film into production, but so far that does not seem like it will happen and honestly, who wants to see this story get rushed into anything. The news does seem bad in that Y: The Last Man will soon not be in the hands of a studio and we will be no closer to seeing a live action version of the story, but to me things are not so grim. For one, the creator of the series will be in full control of his creation, which is always a good thing. But this also gives a television studio the chance to pick up the rights and make a series. Comic book properties are popular and profitable right now and Y is similar in some ways to The Walking Dead. It’s not as grim as TWD but it is as gripping and can be as gritty.

In another important fact, it will give actresses a chance to shine as there is literally only one man in the world. While Yorick is the main character, he admittedly can’t survive without the strong women around him in this would where the males of every species are no longer alive. It’s a very interesting opportunity for a network to put up a female dominated series with a fantastic story that has an existing fanbase. (And yes I appreciate the irony in that I have no inages of the female characters here. At the time of this writing good ones are hard to find.)

The question is, will any network or studio step up and give Y: The Last Man a chance.

You can read my previous article on Y HERE.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Almost Human and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Yet again I have to it for two of my new favorite shows to come back from a hiatus. With both shows not living up to ratings expectations I have fears that network executives will treat them like they were created by Joss Whedon. (You know, because Joss created Firefly and Dollhouse) But for now Almost Human and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are not in trouble. One show shows signs of improvement and the other just needs its network and viewers to wake up.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D started with lots of promise but has had its ratings seemingly with every episode. The people behind the scenes have said that the show is starting to find its legs and that might just be true. Personally, I think it tried to emulate the lighthearted dynamic that the Avengers film had without having any of the Avengers in it. I would have liked to have seen the series a little darker and grittier like Fringe was and Almost Human is. All three series deal with science out of control and strange phenomenon. Almost Human manages this while having light hearted moments and be funny. I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D also suffered from having too many main characters and I never felt too fond of Skye (Chloe Bennet). She just seemed annoying to me. I understand the purpose of her character is to be the outsider that we identify with, but that could have been better done by having Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) or Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge)being a rookie fresh out of the academy. At this point we all know what S.H.I.E.L.D is. We don’t need that much more of an introduction. For that matter there isn’t really a need for more than one hard core ass kicking agent on board. Things have picked up, however, and it seems as though the producers are finding a way to make all the pieced work and shape up to what we expected Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D to be in the first place. Particularly I’m looking forward to Thor's friend who happens to be a woman, Sif (Jaimie Alexander) making an appearance and tying the tv series into the movie universe a little more. There is also a probably going to be awesome cameo by Stan Lee coming up. No, I'm not going to link anything to Stan's name because you really should know who he is. Okay, fine: Stan Lee

For fans of Fringe that wanted more Fringe, this is kinda Fringe except with more jokes. And I mean that in a good way. I really don’t have too many issues with this show except for an obvious “will they/won’t they” type love interest for Detective Kennex (Karl Urban) that feels a little forced. The story of a cop and his machine partner is not new. Asimov wrote stuff like that a while ago. And Dorian (Michael Ealy) is not the first self-aware artificial intelligence that is trying to become more. Star Trek did that rather well with Data and even the Doctor on Voyager. So far the series, to me anyway, has not bogged down and has kept up a good pace. The humor is fantastic. The many gifs on Tumblr can attest to that. In contrast to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, there isn't going to be as huge of a world that has already been established. But that also gives this show more room to take risks. My issue comes with the network that hosts Almost Human, FOX. It’s a network that has a well-documented history of killing sci-fi too soon and seeming not to understand a sci-fi show. There is also a surprising lack of people watching. Well, not a lack, but not as many as I thought there would be. It’s hard to tell what people will and won’t tune in for sometimes. But then again, maybe FOX could do a better job of promoting the show.

If you have not seen either of these shows you might be wondering why I say Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has to many characters when Almost Human has the same amount in the cast photo. The difference is that Kennex and Dorian are the focus and the other characters are in supporting roles. While Skye and Agent Coulson (Clark Gegg) are focused more often than not, the story load is spread more evenly among the characters. While that can be good, it has the problem of diluting the stories or neglecting some characters for the sake of whatever backstory the creators want to tell. Both series are only in their first season so there is still hope for life beyond season 1. I hope viewers increase and the fandoms build and we'll see where these shows take us.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oh, Hell

A couple is at their wit’s end in dealing with their adopted daughter. She is disrespectful, rebellious, ungrateful… What more could parents want? They are backed into a corner and see no other choice than to hand their daughter over to a reform school known as The Academy. It promises that it can turn their daughter around. For Zoel, the teen who was abandoned in a dumpster as a newborn, she is being abandoned again. Little do these desperate parents and their daughter know, the school will literally be Hell.

Oh, Hell follows the journey of Zoel and the friends and enemies she makes at The Academy. In a way, it’s just like any other school in that you find every high school archetype. The princess, the jock, the nerd, the basket case… well, maybe in this case they are all kind of crazy in one way or another and in some cases more than one are criminals. They are all just stuck together in Hell. They also have to learn how to barter and steal souls for hell. If they fail, Hell will just be satisfied with their souls.

The concept of Oh, Hell is based on a twenty year old screenplay by writers George Wassil and Michael Connell. While people were impressed with the work and world that they created, like many screenplays, it never made enough traction to go anywhere. It needed a voice. Two years ago, Wassil was taking a sequential arts writing class at UCLA and received an assignment out of a hat to write a story about a fifteen year old girl. Unable to come up with a story, a solution presented itself. Put a fifteen year old girl into the world of hell that Wassil created with Connell. Zoel would become the voice and face of Oh, Hell. The other teen characters come from Wassil’s experiences working in schools and alternative incarceration for at risk youths. None of the characters are based on real people. They are more mashups of personalities he has encountered over the years.

The plan is to bring the pages of Oh, Hell to graphic novel form, but for now it will remain as a free online comic. All art and pages are on pace to be completed just before Christmas or by January\February of 2014 at the latest. A Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of the graphic novel will begin during Emerald City Comic Con and close during C2E2. That is of course if a publisher does not pick it up before then which is entirely possible considering the quality of the writing and art.

Look for Oh Hell on shelves in the future and enjoy it for free right now at