Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 8 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 8 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Superman #423, Action Comics #583, Crisis on Infinite Earths #11, Amethyst #13, and Green Lantern #197
Written by Alan Moore, Marv Wolfman, Robert Loren Fleming, Keith Giffen, and Steve Englehart
Art by Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, George Perez, Ernie Colon, and Joe Staton

One of the major conventions of the Superman comics during the Silver Age was “Imaginary Stories,” these were “what if?” style scenarios revolving around changing some essential aspect of Superman’s lore and seeing how it plays out. For example, a typical story might be about Superman getting married, having children, being killed by one of his enemies, or vice versa. To wrap up this era of Superman, writer Alan Moore penned a two-point narrative that brings the story of the Man of Steel to a clear finale. It doesn’t necessarily fit with the continuity of what was happening in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, but it was written because of what Crisis was bringing to the DC Universe.

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TV Review – Loki Season 1, Episode 6

Loki Season 1, Episode 6 (Disney+)
Written by Michael Waldron and Eric Martin
Directed by Kate Herron

Well, I’ll be damned. A theory about a Marvel show’s conclusion actually turned out right for once. When Disney first announced these three shows a couple of years ago, I ranked Loki as one I was least interested in. Now that the premiere shows have concluded, I’m walking away with Loki ranked at the top of my list. It was the most satisfying, and The Falcon and Winter Soldier sits at the bottom, likely to stay there if the shows coming down the pike are decent. Loki managed to deliver a good story and actually feel like what happened will matter in the greater MCU. It had me excited for what comes next, hoping upcoming films touch on the Multiverse more. I’m not expecting Shang-Chi or Eternals to do so, but Spider-Man sounds like it may be based on the casting rumors being leaked.

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TV Review – When Was SNL Funny? – Part 4 (of 9)

Lorne Michaels apparently saw it was time to inject new blood into Saturday Night Live, starting with the sixteenth season. He’d had a fantastic four years of a consistent cast; many performers are absolute icons when the show is discussed. This is the moment where SNL begins to become a brand. I don’t think it fully realizes that until the end of the 1990s, but it’s clear NBC sees this as a critical piece of their late-night line-up instead of what the show was like through most of the 1980s, a deadweight.

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Weekly Wonderings – July 12th, 2021

So our house is currently in the process of having things fixed and being prettied up to sell. We’re very fluid on a departure date in August; such is life with selling a house. However, the housing market certainly looks good for sellers. We saw a house sold just a street over for a good amount of money last month. From what I gather in just reading the news, the materials needed to build new houses have increased in price due to some trade decisions made during the Trump administration. As a result, prebuilt homes have much more value, so I think we picked a good time to do this. If we can get what we’re asking for (or maybe higher?), we’ll walk away with a more than comfortable amount of money to set up a new life in a new country. I am looking forward to when we reach departure day and just relax a bit, and experience a society where people are shown more value.

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TV Review – When Was SNL Funny? Part 3 (of 9)

Saturday Night Live was at a crossroads by 1985. Dick Ebersol’s four-year run had ended in shambles with a constant reshuffling and discarding of cast members. The 1984-85 season was actually Ebersol’s most successful, but it wasn’t a ratings winner. In preparation for the next year, Ebersol proposed making the majority of the show’s content pre-taped segments sort of undermining the whole Live part of the title. NBC said no, and the show was on the verge of cancellation. Lorne Michaels was brought back along with Al Franken and Tom Davis as producers. Jim Downey (the debate moderator from Billy Madison) was made head writer.

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PopCult Podcast Episode 8

Summer is in full swing so Ariana and I thought it was a great time to share our Top 5 Summer Movies. Then, with Black Widow hearkening the return of the MCU to the movies, we talk about the franchise’s past, future, and how we feel about the whole thing.

We’d love to know what you thought of this episode so leave your comments here or leave a voice message on our Anchor page. We might share your comment on an upcoming episode of the show.

You can listen to the podcast here or on Spotify or Google Podcasts.

TV Review – Loki Season 1, Episode 5

Loki Season 1, Episode 5 (Disney+)
Written by Tom Kaufmann
Directed by Kate Herron

Loki continues to be the Marvel series I’m warm up to the most. While Wandavision was good, I particularly appreciate the silly fun of Loki. This particular episode plays a lot with the potential fun of having a Multiverse, which is a welcome addition. The plot doesn’t slow down for this slight detour and ends up developing our protagonists by framing them against versions of themselves. I think time travel stories always benefit from a balance of the serious and the humorous (see Back to the Future). When dealing with those types of science fiction narratives, you can’t take yourself too seriously.

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Movie Review – Black Widow

Black Widow (2021)
Written by Jac Schaeffer & Ned Benson
Directed by Cate Shortland

Initially set to be released in 2020, Black Widow was delayed over a year and finally saw its theatrical & streaming release yesterday. It’s been quite a while since we had a Marvel movie, 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, to be exact. So, with this period of palette cleansing, the Marvel shows on Disney+ being the only new things, and that was just this year; how is Black Widow? I think the MCU is undoubtedly in a new phase but not one I am very excited about. Despite having a top to bottom fantastic cast, Black Widow delivers a lackluster script and some genuinely shocking bad special effects. They seem intent on proving Martin Scorsese right.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 7 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 7 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #9-10, Green Lantern #196, Justice League of America #245, The Fury of Firestorm #42, and The Omega Men #33
Written by Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, Todd Klein
Art by George Perez, Joe Staton, Luke McDonnell, Rafael Kayanan, Shawn McManus

I recently read an interview from Comics Interview (issue 26) with Marv Wolfman & Bob Greenberger about Crisis on Infinite Earths after issue eight was published. It’s an incredibly insightful piece into the thinking behind the scenes, how Wolfman worked with DC’s writers to integrate elements of the event into ongoing titles. My biggest takeaway was that Wolfman was incredibly tired from the logistics of the event. There was so much coordination needed, but it also required a light touch to not feel like blatant editorial changes happening in books. There still needed to be stories and engaging character arcs, not just plot beats. What’s interesting is how neutral he is about killing off characters. From his point of view, he was given a list of changes to make, including deaths by writers and editors. Yet, he managed to make Barry Allen’s death such a beautifully heroic moment regardless of the mandate put on him.

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TV Review – When Was SNL Funny? Part 2 (of 9)

1980 began an extraordinarily difficult period for Saturday Night Live. The plan was for showrunner Lorne Michaels to step away from the program and promote writer Al Franken into the top spot. However, NBC President Fred Silverman passed on this after Franken delivered a monologue on Weekend Update near the end of the fifth season titled “A Limo for a Lame-O.” This piece involved Franken cracking jokes about Silverman being responsible for poor ratings on NBC programs during his tenure, and people were actually very shocked at how mean Franken was. I don’t know if this was intentional self-sabotage, but it basically sealed the deal that Franken was out. Silverman gave the job to Jean Doumanian, who had been an associate producer under Michaels. But things were not settled in any way, and the next five years would be chaotic.

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