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Not exactly defying tropes, but maybe that’s a good thing.

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on April 16, 2013 by Karan Seraph

One might wonder how many people are going to watch a premiere airing on the same day as a tragic terrorist act receiving national attention. In the case of Defiance: 2.7 million, near half of which are over 18. And, that’s not bad in the world of Syfy Original Series. (I watched it Tuesday on the DVR.)

Not that everything about it is original, considering the plot of the pilot has been seen in ‘x’ number of western genre stories. A motley assortment of characters must band together and put aside past differences when a new threat endangers the town. But, given that Star Wars was originally pretty much a Space-Pirate-Western-Samurai movie, we’re in the Science Fiction/Action comfort zone with this one. It’s got the Ninja-Pirate-Zombie-Robot thing going for it. Cool + cool = 20% cooler. Defiance has lots of comfy, familiar characters and themes: a reluctant town sheriff with a dark past in the war, a plucky orphan, a brothel madame with a heart of gold, a determined new mayor, a deputy, the town mining family, the opposing underworld family, star-crossed lovers, a tribe riding without the town, and a ‘Doc’ that can fix anything (complete with crotchety bedside manner).

Yet, it is original in that Defiance throws a new skin over our familiar genre tropes. OK, a skin not altogether different than Alien Nation, or Farscape (both of which Rockne S. O’Bannon also created), but not altogether the same. Oh, did I mention there are aliens? That’s the thing: a bunch of different aliens came to Earth from their home system, which was destroyed, which lead to bureaucracy, war, space junk falling from the sky, and accidental terra-forming (should it really be “not-Terra” forming? Whatever, it works if we just translate it as changing lands). So now, 33 years into our near future, it’s pioneer times again, with everyone running into hazards along the trails  (dysentery, again?!), and isolated towns fending for themselves in the absence of reliable (or well-intentioned) federal governments. [Insert political joke about aliens and the federal government.]

Of course, this being a series with Canadians, Americans, O’Bannon, and Syfy involved, there are plenty of interesting (and sure to inspire fan-art you may or may not want to see) make-up and costumes used in portraying the various aliens. There’s nothing like the “we need a third person” thing in the Alien Nation television series (yet?), but the pilot’s already presented us with an intimate bathing scene and multiple counts of implied inter-species sex. (It worked for Mass Effect.)

But seriously, the show looks good. It gives us a fair blend of practical effects and props, with CG interfaces and mecha. (Some of the latter kinda do look like they’re probably from Japan.) The acting is solid, with appropriate subtlety from those characters which are meant to be concealing some of their feelings, or deceiving their fellows. Which leads me to believe the writing is also solid. I predict there must be one episode at least about a new drug, and one in which everyone is suddenly under the influence and fights over crackers, or something. (No, seriously, this means I like it.)

So, look forward to seeing an explosion of steam-punk-western-space-fetish-military cosplay at all your conventions, and runs on custom contacts! Defiance looks good enough to last for at least one season less than its fans should want.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a game. You too can run around facing virtual hazards of the twisted-future-midwest!

Saturday Cartoon Report, Part…lemme explain

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on June 23, 2012 by Karan Seraph

With some series having dramatic finales that require a lot of writing about surprise tweests, while other series are in repeats, I’m going to go with an alternate format for writing these reports.

As anyone on the Internet has seen, Legend of Korra has caused as much screaming and flailing this week, as Thundercats did last week.

So, the finale three episodes of Legend of Korra, aired either on the 16th or 23rd will be in one review posted after this. Probably, I will then follow with a separate review of the recent Transformers Rescue Bots episodes.

Here, are the summaries that don’t requires as detailed reviews – Summer repeats, blah – to, hopefully, tide over readers until I get this epic Korra review written.

(Yes, there will also be one for the Tron: Uprising episode that aired this past Thursday, but it really ended with unresolved plotlines, and felt rushed, so I’m wondering if it isn’t better to cover it with the episode to air next week.)

Saturday the 16th: Continue reading

Saturday Cartoon Report – Part 1: Thundercats

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2012 by Karan Seraph

ThunderCats: “What Lies Above, Part 2” The epic conclusion of the two-part season finale, in which the Thundercats aren’t the only other party interested in the tech stone within the floating Avista City.

Avista City

Avista City: Just like Atlantis, only Bespin.

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Tron: Uprising “The Renegade, Part 2” Review

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by Karan Seraph

In the continuation of The Renegade, Beck and Cutler must choose whether or not they are willing to fight each other, while Mara helps Zed track down the missing ENCOM-786. There’s somewhat less of the repetitive cutting back and forth between of subplots,  than in the previous episode. And, there’s still beautiful grid scenery and plenty of action scenes, including a chase on light boats.

Argon City port

Within easy driving distance from the grid snow-capped mountains of the Outlands, quaint Argon City is tucked away in a corner of the grid, and known for its park, coliseum, thriving nightlife, and bustling port.

Review contains SPOILERS
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Tron:Uprising The Renegade, Part 1

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by Karan Seraph

The first episode, after the special preview episode that is, of Tron: Uprising aired on Disney XD this past Thursday. It was available somewhat earlier, for purchase, on iTunes. In this episode, The Renegade, Part 1, Beck meets Iso War veteran Culter in the Coliseum, who believes he knows the identity of the Renegade. Meanwhile, fellow mechanics Mara and Zed go to the club, and fall in with a bad crowd.

Cutler flashes the Tron sign with his hands

The Uprising has its own gang sign.

Review contains SPOILERS
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World’s Finest #2

Posted in Comic Book Reviews, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2012 by Karan Seraph

World’s Finest #2 continues Huntress and Powergirl’s fight against Hakkou. The issue uses two art teams, Perez and Koblush for the action-packed present battle, and Maguire and Cheetham for the enlightening flashback portions. Both are well-matched to their content in this reviewer’s opinion, with the flashback coming in during a lull in battle as Hakkou moves from Starr Enterprises Laboratory to a new battlefield.
Cover of World's Finest #2: Hakkou hits Powergirl with radiation, as Huntress takes aim at him.


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Saturday Cartoon Report

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , on June 11, 2012 by Karan Seraph

Ben 10 Ultimate Alien: repeat of ep.19 “Absolute Power Part 1” Um, yeah. Someone was half asleep when this aired. But, it was more Ultimate Kevin.

ThunderCats: “What Lies Above, Part 1” The Thundercats take their new ride to Avista City in search of the tech stone.

Green Lantern the Animated Series: Repeat of ep. 2 “Beware My Power: Green Lantern’s Light, Part 2″ Enter Atrocitus, vague, suspicious conversation by Guardians, Razer actually has a lot of strategy and forethought for someone full of wrath, and yet he blows up a planet and gets himself captured. Oh, and as in old school G.I. Joe, the planet’s inhabitants are shown to have escape.

Sword of the Atom short: 03 Ray and some guy Taran get thrown in the Rancor pit, I mean in a rat hole, and use prison-mate teamwork to defeat the rat, until evil looking dude decidies they’ll be more entertaining elsewhere, and gasses them.

Young Justice: Invasion: “Depths” Ferris Aircraft is launching a new Earth-Mars communication satellite, but not everyone on Earth thinks teamwork between Earth and Mars a good thing.

New Teen Titans short:12 “Taped Before A Live Studio Audience” Summed up in the dialogue: ‘You can’t divide tape with tape; you created a paradox!’

The Legend of Korra: “Out of the Past” Korra was abducted in the previous episode, and now her friends have to try to find her.

Transformers Rescue Bots: “Small Blessings” It’s like the G1 episode “Child’s Play”, except almost completely not.

Transformers Prime: Repeat of episode “Orion Pax, Part 2” More Amnesiac Prime, slowly figuring out what’s going on.

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