Tag Archives: Gotham

Playing Television Catch-Up

We’ve made it to another day-after Thanksgiving, and folks, I am beat. I mean, no offense to the wild turkeys that roam our neighborhood, but this past week, I’ve been running around like a no-headed turkey doing this, that, and everything in between. Now that turkey day is over (and I hope you all enjoyed a good one), I’m relaxing in my warm, comfortable recliner and catching up on a number of TV shows that I’ve lost track of over the past couple months. I’ve seen the stray show here and there, but can now, with a little time off, indulge in a moderate amount of binge-watching to fully get back in the television game. Here’s what’s on my viewing plate at the moment.

Gotham © DC Entertainment, Primrose Hill Productions, Warner Bros. Television (2014)

Gotham just completed the first half of its first season, and have to say that I…I just don’t know. I want so badly to like it more than I do, but more often than not after watching, I find myself puzzled and confused. In what the show has given the world so far, I see shades of Almost Human (displaced buddy cop elements), the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (nonsensical boredom), and early Heroes (a few stand-out roles). Thankfully, the show has eliminated much of the camp that strained some of its early episodes. (If you’re going to be campy then be campy. Don’t half-ass it in favor misleading everyone.) Unfortunately, the camp seems to have been replaced by blatant overacting, so I’m not sure which is worse. I remain hopeful that the show will find its stride, because when it’s good, Gotham is very good. But when it’s bad, it’s horrible. At this point, I could live with Gotham focusing completely on the Bruce Wayne/Alfred dynamic, as they are both pretty phenomenal characters (and actors). Maybe that’s what it should have done in the first place.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. © ABC, Disney (2013)
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. © ABC, Disney (2013)

Meanwhile, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to make me happy. The show ran like a beautifully-controlled freight train through its second season with the culmination of a massive storyline around Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s move to the underground. The fact that’s it has rounded into its third season with similar momentum is great. (Although I simply cannot abide Skye’s new bangs.) While I like the somewhat slower pace in storytelling surrounding the obelisk, its World War II origins, and a mysterious city, I’m not quite as engaged. Maybe it’s the lack of nail-biting action, or the change in the relationship between Fitz and Simmons (the show’s true highlight), or that Coulson’s not been his witty self of late. Whatever it is, it’s not enough to make me give up on the show, and I’m glad that it survived its initial growing pains.

Scorpion © CBS Television Studios (2014)

Do I dare admit that I kinda like Scorpion? I can hardly believe it myself because the shows rides hard a number of smart-people stereotypes, but goodness is it bizarrely entertaining at times. Without getting to bogged down in all the (bad) details, Scorpion bands together yet another rag-tag team of highly intelligent people who help (and “help”) the FBI solve tech-related crimes. Collectively, and unfortunately, the folks in the group all fall under the Hollywood umbrella of “geeks and/or nerds.” But individually, the cast is quirky, smart, and is as chemically balanced as a tech-based dramady needs to be. Plus, it tackles, if awkwardly, the question of social aptitude when things like autism, introvertedness, disability, and even depression are involved. The show never goes so far as to become an after-school special, but those of us in the geek/nerd realm instantly recognize and identify with the issues that arise. The fact that the show has incorporated a character that “helps the others connect properly with the real world,” doesn’t make for the perfect equation, but as long as that function doesn’t veer into parody, it’s a step in a direction that I’m okay with.

The Flash © Bonanza Productions, Berlanti Productions, Warner Bros. Television, DC Entertainment (2014)

In other news, The Flash has been added to the watching rotation, and I don’t have much to say about it…yet. I like the overall story that’s been presented, and I enjoy watching the young Barry Allen play around with his status as a “meta-human,” but not much else is catching my full attention. Then again, I have a pretty short attention span, soooo… Anyhow, that’s sorta how its big brother Arrow started out. It took a good season and a bit for that show to find its footing. Despite some considerable missteps (Felicity was a great character until they took away much of her backbone in favor of becoming the “pretty one” this season), Arrow remains a very solid and entertaining (if soapy) show.


That should be TV enough for one weekend. And frankly, just about everything seems like filler until (1) I can get around to new episodes of The Walking Dead and (2) the start of the third season of Hannibal some time next year.

What shows have been filling your television coffers lately?

Like what you’ve just read? Cary posts to Geek Force Network every Friday; and you can also find more words that she put together in paragraphs at Recollections of Play, United We Game, and 8bit Kitchen.


Geek Purchase: The Dark Knight Manual!

dark-knight-manual-newsFor the past couple of months, every time I walked into Barnes and Noble, my eye was immediately drawn to The Dark Knight Manual in the sci-fi and fantasy section. It’s a hefty black book promising to detail the “tools, weapons, vehicles, and documents from the Batcave” in Christopher Nolan’s Batman movie trilogy. It’s laid out to look like a manual put together by Bruce Wayne himself, so you’re totally immersed in that world while you read it. In reality, it’s written by Brandon T. Snider — an actor, writer, and comic book fan — and designed by Jon Glick. Yesterday, I finally caved to its $40 price sticker (it’s cheaper on Amazon.com, I later discovered), and it was worth it.

The book is filled with sticky notes, sketches, correspondence from Lucius and Alfred, and movie stills. Many of the images in the document have a different texture than the rest of the page, and there are fake clips or fake tape pretending to hold them in place, so the manual looks hand-made by Bruce.

dark knight manual

Some of my favorite parts are the case files. Throughout the book are official-looking Gotham Police Department files on the Wayne murder, Harvey Dent, and the Joker, as well as an Arkham Asylum file belonging to Dr. Crane. There are also “taped-in” notes about Crane, Miranda Tate, John Blake, Carmine Falcone, Rachel Dawes, Bane, and Selina Kyle. Although the information provided about them is basic — nothing new, except possibly inaccurate heights and weights for them, etc.  — it’s fun to flip through the pages and pretend like you’re really reading Bruce’s notes.

But the manual is mostly crammed with awesome info about all of Batman’s gear — everything from the Batsuit to batarangs. There are pages devoted to the grappling gun, utility belt, cowl, built-in transmitter, and sticky-bomb gun. There are tons of details about the Tumbler if you’re a Batmobile fan. There are diagrams and specifications and sketches and notes that look hand-written from Lucius. A love of Batman means a love of technology and gadgets, and this manual really digs into that passion.

Joker cardsThe book also has goodies for readers to take away. I’m leaving mine safely tucked into the manual for now, but the goodies include stickers, several different Joker cards (from the Joker himself, of course), blueprints for the Batcave and the flying Bat, and my favorite thing of all: a big, gorgeous, realistic map of Gotham City.

It’s the kind of book you might only flip through once or twice, but it looks sexy on a coffee table. And honestly, looking through this manual with all of its pull-out blueprints and textured case files made me feel like a kid again; every page has a new surprise. Some of the details are probably new to fans of the Nolan trilogy — they were to me — but the real joy is feeling like you’re in Batman’s world, reading the details from a firsthand account.

It might be a tad pricey, but it’s the best geek purchase I’ve made in a long time.

— Ashley