Retro Flash – Episodes 4 – 7

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Honor Among Thieves

Recap: Due to a TV budget, Ocean’s 11 is now 5.  Except it’s hard to escape when up against someone that’s faster than any getaway car.

Review: Ah the “long lost connection” plot, such a staple of TV shows.  Not that tropes are bad or anything, but exactly how well this works out depends on both the writers and the actors.  In this case, that Barry had a long lost surrogate father is… weird.  Oh John Wesley Shipp and Paul Linke have good chemistry, but so did JWS and M. Emmet Walsh so it’s somewhat hard to believe that Barry has that much conflict with his dad.  UNTIL two episodes later where we get to see Barry and Papa together for a period of time at which point it gets more believable.  Had the schedule been changed (and Sins of the Father aired before this) I think it would have worked a lot better.  I also wish they had done more to reinforce the feeling of “long lost parent”.  For example, at once point the professor mentions having lost track of all the cataloging in the museum.  Given that Barry admits he studied archeology, I kept expecting him to use his super speed to catch up all the professor’s paperwork as a way of saying thank you.

This episode also has probably the DUMBEST moment by the flash.  So the villains are in a getaway car.  Flash glances inside, then grabs a blanket from a window.  He then hops onto the back of the car and drapes the blanket over it so the villains drive blind into a crash, ALL WHILE FLASH IS HANGING ONTO THE CAR, RIDING IT!  I’ll chalk it up to him still being new at the hero game but still this seemed too stupid.  Why not just keep pace with the car and drape the blanket over it?  Why not reach in and grab the steering wheel?  Why not drape the blanket then get off the car?  No, the Flash has to stay on board until the car slams into a barrier and the Flash goes flying.  True he later gets hit in the shoulder with a THROWN spear, but I’m still awarding most embarrassing moment to the car thing.

Side-kick Sighting: Biggs & Wedge Bellows & Murphy get to work on night detail at the museum where they flirt with someone with the last name of “Wayne”.  I hope she’s not related to Batman.

SFX Win: The bit where the Flash steals a whole turkey and eats it.  That amused me.

SFX Fail: Would a guy really be that trapped behind a wall of bricks?  Even a weakling like that guy?

Conclusion: One can tell the writers were really struggling with trying to make what should have been a fifteen minute plot, stretch out to forty-five.  The comedy in this one is pretty unintentional but I think from here on out they realized that just regular crooks aren’t going to cut it.

Double Vision

Recap: The Flash gets mind controlled with what he first thinks if voodoo but turns out to be mad science.  No I’m not making that up.

Review: This episode is so crazy and fun it’s hard not to love it.  Yet even the places where it eschews craziness are masterfully done.  For example the opening is an incredible bit of mini art, taking a long slow cut to show us the city, coming to rest on a “Help” painted on a building… beautiful.  The entire episode is best represented by the gang members which appear dressed in the manner of 50s era gangsters.  At first glance it’s goofy and upon reflection seems silly, but damn if they don’t look sharp and inspire a bit of respect.

This is also the episode that, in my opinion, John Wesley Shipp and Amanda Pays really start gelling as a pair; the moment their relationship went from “meh, the spark’s there” to “just kiss already!”  I also like that we got to see Barry interact more with the citizens of Central City.  It opens up the city and enforces the feeling that this is a real place where people, especially our protagonists, actually live.  It certainly helps that JWS gets along great with the guest stars and they all play off each other like one would imagine members of a community.  Hell we got to see Barry’s dog again which seems to vanish every other episode.

Still, the best part is that this is the moment where the show really feels like it’s embracing the silver age roots of its source.  Even episode 2, with mad-Hulk-scientist was played quite straight and serious with a heavy sense of realism (like why the guy is doing what he’s doing).  Here we have things like a man has figured out how to control people with microchips, AND USES IT FOR PETTY CRIMES!  Never mind the revolutions he could bring to neuroscience, just imagine the money he could make creating treatments for paralyzed people.  He doesn’t make a government official cater to his needs or have a CEO wire him millions, he uses this tech TO FORCE THE FLASH TO PUNK SOME FOLKS!  That’s just comic book logic that you can’t help but giggle and embrace. (heck the villains should know Flash’s secret identity too, but nothing seems to come of it)  Though I do wonder how the villain can not only process what the Flash is doing at superspeed, but that his signal to the microchip is able to relay that fast.

I’m curious (and maybe JWS will answer this for us) what’s different with the suit this episode.  Up until now it’s been pretty “stiff” on screen with the Flash’s movements (at regular speeds anyway) seemingly restrained.  In this episode, we get a dream sequence where the Flash acts like a puppet showing more articulation than he had done in all previous episodes before, as well as throw a convincing punch at the climax! (previously his punches didn’t look like they’d have any power behind them)  Was the suit redesigned by now or was it just “broke in” enough that the actor and stunt doubles could finally move?

Finally, I like the revelation that Barry was into Mexican wrestling.  It gives the viewer an idea on how he was inspired to design the costume.

Side-kick Sighting: After the Flash carried some Catholic statues out on his own, Biggs & Wedge Bellows & Murphy must work together just to carry ONE back into the church building.  Did the writers forget that Barry isn’t supposed to be super-strong?

SFX Win: The bad-guy’s control glove is so obviously a painted Nintendo power glove.  It’s so rad.

SFX Fail: Camera shows us a clock at 3:15.  Cut a few seconds later to it reading 12:03. Barry then says, “I’ve lost eight hours.”  Uh.. more like 9 man.  Silly prop department.

Conclusion: Sheer insanity and fun that charms the viewer and earns the spot as “best episode” of the series (so far).

Sins of the Father

Recap: Something happens to give us an excuse to see John Wesley Shipp and M. Emmet Walsh to play off each other for an hour.  Nobody minds.

Review: The main plot of the episode is so by-the-numbers I’m falling asleep trying to relate it.  A criminal whom Papa Allen once caught escapes his confinement and comes looking for revenge.  Barry must try working with, and protecting, his old man.  Meh.  The real selling point of this episode is a chance to watch Mr. Walsh (a veteran, excellent character actor, who reminds me a bit too much of my own dad) act opposite of JWS which we didn’t get to see much from in the pilot.  Still both of them do a great job here.  The sad part is that the writing on this episode fails the actors.

Throughout the episode we are supposed to see Barry coming unraveled by the threat to his father until it culminates in him almost losing control on the criminal.  While he accomplishes the latter, the former is not sold.  To explain, a bit of explanation is in order.  See in the DCU, heck with comics in general, Batman is THE superhero for interrogating.  He can pull it off because of two main factors besides his appearance.  First: he’s crazy and he cultivates a reputation for being crazy.  So when he catches you, your imagination starts working on everything he might do to you, and then some since – well he’s crazy, you can’t get inside the head of a man like that.  Second: while he has his rule (as pointed out in the Dark Knight), in principle there’s always that concern, that doubt among criminals that just because he USUALLY doesn’t kill, doesn’t mean he never will.  Maybe this time he will.  Maybe you are the one he finally snaps on and executes.  Because, relating back to point 1) he’s crazy.  In order to accomplish what he does, Batman must cultivate a sense of uncertainty.  In the show, the Flash interrogates several people much like Batman (especially in that first Tim Burton movie) does, particularly by grabbing their lapels and holding them up.  Except that doesn’t work as well when you’re looking at a big red dude.  The Flash should use his super-speed to interrogate in any number of ways (and no, changing a die face does NOT count).  The writers should have shown Barry engaging in more than two interrogations with each one escalating in what Barry does to the target. (the ultimate, in my opinion, would be what I call a “yo-yo” – Barry drops a guy from a high-rise, then, using matching velocity, runs the guy back up the side of the building and does it again over and over…)  Instead the two scenes we get are no worse than any other time Barry’s “roughed up” a few punks for info.  Several points (like the dinner scene with Dad & Tina) could have been cut or trimmed to make room for these.  I would also have cut out most of the scenes with the escaped convict as they also eat up time that could have gone to our leads.  Let the guy remain off screen.  Let the audience remain in the dark like the characters do so we get a sense of the unknown and dread that they do trying to track this guy down.  Instead we watch the villain go through the same difficulties a small business owner must endure (hiring employees – in this case: henchmen, getting office supplies – in this case: guns, etc).

Another instance of the writing failing in this episode is that we see the Flash engage in two fights (midpoint and finale).  In the midpoint fight he engages in outright trolling.  Instead of taking out a guy right away, he stands there and takes away the pool cues the thug is trying to get one by one before the guy can get them.  Now this I chuckled at and enjoyed.  When you are the Flash, it must seem boring having to fight some people since you’re guaranteed to win, so I can see Barry trying to keep crime fighting “interesting” with little touches like that.  However he still fights in a semi-silly manner at the finale when we are SUPPOSED to be seeing the stress Barry is under come to head (especially as his father is being shot at).  The Flash’s attacks should be rather brutal and quick so we, can see – and know- that something is different this time, that it is personal for Barry.  Instead it all just kind of… falls apart.

Side-kick Sighting: Show up to help out the parents.

SFX Win: Where Barry gets so frustrated that he shatters a glass of water is not only well done, but also had good Foley work.

SFX Fail: I’m awarding it to Barry’s pole vaulting.  It didn’t look THAT bad, but one wonders if the pole would really be able to function at that velocity.

Conclusion: It’s a testament to Walsh’s & JWS’ skill and charisma that they can make what should have been a complete failing actually watchable.

Child’s Play

Recap: An outbreak of hippies strike Central City.  Unable to reach Eric Cartman, the citizens must instead rely upon the Flash to solve the problem.

Review: I remember this episode freaking me out when I first saw it, probably because my youthful brain couldn’t understand half of what was going on.  What a difference a few dozen years make…

Right off the bat the episode starts by showing us a theater in Central City showing the movies of both Superman AND Batman.  Which pretty much tells you everything you need to know: just hang on and enjoy the ride.  Evil, crazy, scene chewing drug dealer!  A purse dog that prevents kidnappings!  Flash mastering the power to rock!  Adam West.  ADAM – FREAKING – WEST!  If the writers weren’t on drugs when they wrote this episode they’re lying.  I mean you have an adult woman threatening an underage boy with “about to get turned on”.  Later that boy socks the gal to her face.  And yes, just like on South Park the Flash defeats the hippies by playing loud rock music.

Likewise the acting is all over this episode, often with just one person.  JWS goes from some brilliant, subtle moments to having to spew lines that you can almost spot him choking on (I’d kill to have outtakes of this episode).  Probably my favorite moment is near the beginning after someone’s died from a car bomb.  Barry gets a look in his eye and JWS plays the scene as… See, while I do sometimes give the character of Barry Allen a hard time, one thing I’ll give him credit for is that he was a police officer before becoming a superhero; meaning he doesn’t really need a motivation to do good, he was already fighting crime.  The lightning bolt just gave him a new way to apply his life’s work (which sort of bugs me with the premiere, I don’t think it was necessary to kill the brother right away).  That look JWS gives Barry in the beginning is one that you can imagine Barry having many times before it feels like a real part of his character.  The kids were ok and JWS had good chemistry with them, though the girl at times felt like she was trying a bit too hard to be precocious and adorable.

This episode though does highlight how out of sync the show still is.  Most of the scenes – especially the dramatic ones all take place at night or in very dark locations befitting Batman.  As I’ve pointed out before, the Flash is a bright and colorful hero, he should be about during the day.  With some of the really goofy parts of this episode, several scenes should especially be brighter lit as well.

We at least see signs that Flash is learning, this time by having him anchor an escaping van instead of trying to ride it like he did with the car 3 episodes back.  This is also the episode where Flash discovers he can vibrate his molecules, which should make him invincible now.  I mean, with the way he should be able to perceive the world, the dart that hit him two episodes back should have been so slow from his perspective that he could start vibrating and letting it pass through him as soon as he felt a slight prick of the skin.  Maybe we should institute a drinking game for every time the writers “forget” this to stretch out drama.

Side-kick Sighting: Hanging out in the station filling out paperwork.

SFX Win: Removing the undercarriage of the hippie van.  I wonder if they wrecked a real vehicle for that or a model.  Though an honorable mention towards making Brutus seem like a vicious attack dog.

SFX Fail: Kid on the skateboard.  Some of the greenscreen and composite shots didn’t survive the decades.

Conclusion: What once was terrifying is now a delight to watch and probably the funniest, and most insane, episode to date.

Retro Flash – Out of Control & Watching the Detectives

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Out of Control

Recap: A mad scientist shows up in town and decides to experiment on homeless people before Clinton’s election gets rid of them.  Later the Hulk breaks out of the CBS vault and invades the show.

Review: While I do like him, I wouldn’t ever want to write for the Flash.  Sure Superman can do almost anything but since his set up is “space alien” it’s easy enough to just invent “bigger, stronger alien” and throw it at the protagonist.  The Flash, however, is pretty ordinary save for his speed.  So how does one build a challenge for that?  How are drug dealers a threat to the city when the Flash could check every house for drugs in an afternoon?

So this episode they stretch the boundaries of the show by introducing the mad scientist character who not only gets a monstrous creation in one scene but ends up monsterizing himself at one point.  In fact the process by which he “hulks out” takes so many cues from the original Hulk TV show that I legitimately wonder whether it was a deliberate homage or “take that” or what the behind the scenes deal was.  Between that effect and the brief wolfman, this seemed like a heavy budget episode and a promising sign at the time that CBS must have believed in it.

Side-Kick sighting: This episode our lovable Biggs & Wedge Bellows & Murphy end up coming face to face with a werewolf!  Yet Murphy STILL refuses to believe in the Flash.

SFX Win: The “bubbling” skin and morph effects were incredibly well done.

SFX Fail: When the gun is taken away from the bum in the police station it’s too obvious it’s a spliced frame.

Conclusion: Not a bad second outing though I was disappointed that the villain of the week (VotW) showed up because of a connection he had to Tina and not because he thought studying the Flash would help his research.  The question of “am I helping or am I attracting trouble?” is one many superheroes struggle with and is a worthwhile question to study, so I’m somewhat disappointed that wasn’t examined here.

Watching the Detectives

Recap: Today the Flash teaches us that stalking is OK as long as you’re paid for it or the parties involved are really really hot.  Also he proves that he does his job just because he enjoys it.

Review: Usually with TV supes shows it’s a later episode in the first season that considers, “What if protagonist’s identity was found?”  Here we are at episode 3 and already Barry’s having ident issues.  Also since Tina had someone competing for her affections previous episode, Barry gets to be the one tempted by not-Sandra Bullock to forsake the love-interest.

John’s acting is much more solid in this episode getting to work with a wider range (such as when in the casino he has to act as Barry acting).  He also proves that it’s good to be good looking as I never a chance to turn down babes as hot as those.  Though while I’ll admit I might be biased since I find Judith more attractive, I do think it would have been funny to have her stumble onto the truth with her mumbo jumbo while Mega (the PI) had to struggle with the old fashioned ways.

This also demonstrates how episodic this show is when a corrupt DA and mob boss seem like people that would have been involved with the biker problems from the pilot.  I mean the mob boss at minimum seems like he would have had a beef with the bikers.  He could have hired them to wreck the properties he was trying to buy up (only to have to resort to arson after the Flash messed them up) but no, it’s easy to forget that episode 1 and 3 are supposed to take place in the same city.

Sidekick sighting: In keeping with this episode’s theme about gambling, Biggs & Wedge Bellows & Murphy talk about a police betting pool on when the Flash will show up next.  Though later forced to cheat, Barry proves he’s a stand-up guy by not participating at all.

SFX Win: I like the bit with the card trick (another foreshadowing of Barry’s later cheating).  Even though easy to set up, it’s the subtle set ups and selling of the heroes’ abilities I like.

SFX Fail: Flash fighting the mob at superspeed.  A composite shot that does NOT work well in this high-def age.

Conclusion: This is kind of a mixed bag.  If you want to believe the show has any continuity, this episode just stomps all over that belief.  But if you like JWS and want to laugh at the Flash using his powers for maximum profit, it is pretty enjoyable.

Retro Flash – Pilot

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(My lovely “boss” at Winchester Family Business had put out the call for someone to write up Flash reviews on TV for the Rest of Us.  I volunteered and, for the lead up to the premiere, decided to review all the old episodes as well.)

Background

You know the day I realized I was old?  The moment it dawned on me that I’ve lived through TWO Batman reboots, TWO Spider-man reboots and now TWO attempts to put the Flash on TV.

Not that I’m complaining (about the Flash, anyway).  I am a DC fanboy though I don’t begrudge Marvel their success at the movies (I mean the Avengers was freaking awesome).  Of the comics, besides the “big 3″ that all comic lovers love (Superman, Batman, Spider-man), Flash is what I would call a soft sell.  No one has to tell me twice, “read this flash story!”  (A hard sell – like Green Arrow – would require a plethora of recommendations – hence a sign of how good the TV show, “Arrow” is, it actually won me over.)  Heck my favorite moment from the Justice League cartoon show involves the Flash (bet you can guess what it is).  So yes, in the ancient past of 1990, I was pretty pumped that Flash would be on TV and I remember watching several episodes (even if some things flew over my young head at the time).  How does it hold up today?

the Pilot

Recap: Police crime lab tech, Barry Allen, gets struck by lightning.  It hurts so much he practices dodging until fast enough.  Meanwhile a biker gang terrorizes the city with their balls.

Review: I don’t blame some people for complaining about Batman because his shadow always seems to cast a pal over the other heroes.  I don’t mean in story, I mean in the real world.  Nolan’s trilogy was popular enough that many blamed it for the tone in Man of Steel (a not unfair charge).  Likewise it’s pretty obvious in this pilot, first aired Sept ’90, was plenty influenced by Tim Burton’s Batman which had just aired in June ’89.  They even got Danny Elfman (composer for Batman) to do the show’s theme music.  While the look of Central City doesn’t have the gothic or art deco look of Gotham, it still has a dark tone to it, with most of the action taking place at night.  If you haven’t ever read a Flash comic, here’s a hint: he’s a pretty bright hero, not just literally (in the case of the red suit) but setting wise as well with adventures happening frequently in the daytime.  They also have the villains trying to be intimidated by him (calling him things like “a ghost” – like if he was Batman) which is kind of funny because the Flash doesn’t really NEED to be intimidating.

Typically the story arc in the superhero story is that a menace arises which the normal forces of society just can’t handle, hence the need for someone to go “above and beyond.”  The Pilot’s threat is… a motorcycle gang.  True they seem to have extra gear to make them more of a threat than normal (including glowing green explosive balls) and a leader that “knows all the police moves” but it’s still hard to take them that seriously when a single steel cable or a stick in the spokes (which the Flash later uses!) could take them out.  At times it seems almost comical that the police can’t handle this threat especially as, being on CBS at the time, we’re not allowed to see REAL brutality and ruthlessness from the bikers.  They also establish that he can heal quickly but try to keep him somewhat limited by requiring vast amounts of food and having dizzy spells.

Despite being 24 years old now, I admit the special effects hold up pretty well.  This was still in the early days when computer graphics were still too expensive for wide use (the most we see of them are, in fact, the computer screens running what has to be Windows 3.1) so there’s a lot of practical effects and animation.  The worst of it is when Barry is running head on at the camera.  The best is when they let camera tricks and our imagination do the work like when Barry dismantles a bike in the one second it’s off screen.  I also have to compliment the suit.  It’s not quite the armor or spandex look of comic movies at the time or even today but an odd felt-like mix of the two.  Of everything from this series that sticks out the most as it was really original and still nothing seems like it out there.  At times, however, I do wonder if it hindered the actor any as quite a few times in it he seems unable to throw much of a punch – at times it’s hard to believe anybody was hurt (or maybe John just isn’t much one for fisticuffs).  Also the stunt man who flew through the air after the lightning strike has my sympathy as the way his hip hits that one shelf looks like it must have hurt.

Still it’s not all just plot and special effects in this extravaganza, but a pilot is also supposed to set up the characters.

  • The two officers, Biggs and Wedge Bellows and Murphy do well enough as comedy supporting cast.  They’re not on screen much but we can already tell that they’ll be our “grounding” characters, often serving as audience proxies on viewing the goings ons.
  • The family was solid with several classic character actors though I admit at first I thought it was a grandfather-father-son between the Allens rather than father-brother-son it turned out to be.  Ah the days when actual adults were cast and on screen.
  • Iris West wasn’t too bad, though she didn’t have a lot to work with beyond “put upon-significant other”.  Still kudos to the show for throwing us a curve ball by having the canonical love interest end up dumping the lead.  Also, is it just me or does Paula Marshal look a LOT like Demi Moore in some shots?

    Henceforth I shall call her: not-Demi.
  • I’ll admit that at first I thought Tina McGee was an invention for the sake of the show but no, it turns out she was from the comic, just not Barry Allen’s run (pun intended) but Wally West’s.  Amanda Pays does well and her lovely accent makes all the exposition easier on the ears.  Though… is it me or does she look a little like Linda Hamilton?
  • Last we have the start of the series, Barry Allen.  While the broad character strokes of Batman, Superman, and Spider-man are generally known in popular consciousness Barry not so much beyond “good guy” making him practically a blank slate for both the writers and John Wesley Shipp to interpret as they wish.  Heck, in the comics Barry is blond!

    (blond hair is a rarity among male superheroes)
    So between Iris and his hair, the show’s clued us in that while they’re inspired by the comics, they’ll be putting their own spin on it.  John does a pretty good job of being a likable chap and he brings a lot of classic charm to the screen.  Still his acting does trip up a bit when he finds his brother’s dead body.  I’m not sure what went wrong there but I had a stronger reaction to his later relating and talking with his nephew than what should have been the show’s dramatic height.  The guy does cheerful very well, sorry not so much.

Conclusion: It’s strange looking back at just how much TV has changed in my lifetime and I don’t just mean tech changes like cell phones.  The camera shots are all very static without much in the way of artsy angles or dynamic close ups.  The Foley work is practically nonexistent with the sound consisting only of dialog or the soundtrack.  You know something plot relevant is happening when it gets a sound like a police siren or telephone ringing.  When the shootout happens at the jail you’ll probably feel like something is weird before you realize that gunshots are being heard in far fewer numbers than guns present (i.e. you only hear 1 or 2 bangs when there’s clearly 4+ guns being shot on screen).  There’s also no arc set up, the shows at this time preferring an episodic structure.

All in all it’s not a bad start and at 94 minutes it’s almost a superhero movie on it’s own.

So now what do I do?

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So apparently I have a reader!  (I know, nobody’s more shocked than me.)  After pitching a pretty kickass idea they say:

And really, that’s about all I got. All I have so far is the setting and not really an idea for what to do with it in terms of plot/character arcs for my three main protagonists.

Whoa, asking me for help?  Well if I was pretend to be a writer…

So first question you always have to ask yourself is: what medium do I want this to go on?  Long or short form?  Long form would be like an ongoing TV series or comic book or short story series or 12+ novels.  You don’t need to have a plot or character arc ready, just start writing situations out and let the world breathe and have fun.  “I want to ask Suzie to the dance but she might learn my secret!”  “Hey let’s try out that new coffee shop that just opened!”  Monsters of the week!  Don’t be afraid to invent a situation and run with it no matter how silly or mundane it might be, the key is to try and tell the story in a way that it can ONLY happen in your world, not any other (even if they’re very similar).  After a few runs you should hopefully have figured enough out about the world and your characters that a proper plot & character arc will jump out and be so obvious you’ll wonder how you didn’t see it before.

But maybe you’re aiming more for a short form like a limited run TV or comic book series, a single novel or trilogy.  What then?  You can’t just mess around on meaningless stuff!  (Well don’t be afraid to run a short story or two – who knows if you get popular enough you might be able to release them as tie-in material in the future.)  Well forget the whole “3 types of stories [man vs ___]” deal, ultimately every story (setting aside experimental bullshit) revolves around 1 factor: Change.  You have a setting and all that, great!  That’s how the story world is today.  What could be different about it tomorrow?  It doesn’t mean it will be different, just what could be.  It’s the same with characters.  You know who they are today, who could they be tomorrow?  I think once you start asking yourself that question, the rest of it starts falling into place:

  • This change, would it be for the better or worse?
  • Would the antagonist(s) want to bring about or prevent this change?
  • Would the protagonist(s) want to bring about or prevent this change?
  • How are outside groups (if any) involved?
  • Does the change happen or not?
  • Any particular reason the change (or attempt) happened now and not before?  Later?
  • Why this protagonist or this antagonist?

The other key to remember is to always answer the questions within the logic of the story itself – don’t let your meta knowledge as author/creator infect it.  “It just can/can’t” should almost never be answer given to questions.  Sure, you the author may know that you can’t cross the streams, but how or why would the characters know?  Can they try it out?  Maybe that’s where you get your antagonist, somebody that just wants to see what happens if you do something and the protagonists have to prevent a total protonic reversal.

Hopefully these question will get you over that writer’s block and entice the muses to visit your dreams.

MLP:ER – Rainbow Falls, Pinkie Pride, & Three’s a Crowd

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(Yep, apparently Netflix puts these in production order.)

Rainbow Falls

Once again we see how rampant racism is in Equestria!  You’ll notice in the background the token team of griffons (which we previously established as the conquered people).  Then we have Rainbow Dash refusing to even consider her friend Twilight as a team member even though she’s clearly a better physical match for the contest than Bulk Biceps!  Clearly alecorns are totally discriminated here!

Actually it does make you wonder about the big BB.  Does he have small wings because of steroid use, or are his small wings a birth defect and he became obsessed with fitness to compensate?  RD might be encouraging his ongoing depression and self esteem issues!  Bad Rainbow Dash!  What kind of lessons are we teaching our kids in this animated show about completely fictional animals?  Griffons today… they’ll be mistreating their roc’s before you know it!

Pinkie Pride

Weird Al showing up as a major guest in a musical episode?  Done.  Perfection!  Humanity has reached our apex (at least until James Farr does a super-smash up of the star wars prequels).  Pack it in everyone, Jesus will be coming again to pick up His copy when it’s on disc. (Because you know Jesus don’t pirate.)

Also nice to get a glimpse at how Discord’s church recruits adherents.  And we see Cheese Sandwich traveling the world… making disciples of all towns we might say…

Three’s a Crowd

I wasn’t sure how well the whole “Discord reformed” story was going to work out but I’ll admit this passive-aggressive fighting is getting downright entertaining.  Like consider some of these comic panels from MLP:Friends Forever issue #2:

mlpff2a

mlpff2b

Yep, Discord joins the CMC to help them out and we get a stupendous meta joke as well as a nice fandom shoutout. (yes I am confirming that I watched Friendship is Witchcraft)  That issue was actually really really good and I recommend any fan to get themselves a copy even if they don’t care much about the rest of the comic.  The CMC & Discord teaming up is so brilliant I wonder they haven’t devoted an entire season to it!

Where was I…

So there’s further proof of Pinkie Pie’s devotion to her chaotic lord (notice how eager she is to help him yet he has to brush her off lest the others get suspicious).  Instead he targets the two allied most strongly with Fluttershy before moving on to tormenting Celestia’s chief supporter with the next probable in line to boot!  At best he eliminates two more of the best soldiers his rival has.  At worst he’s dug his claws in a little deeper, drawing them to his fold.  Yes… the Game of Saddles continues to play out in tense political struggles week after week…

There’s also some lesson about how quality time IS quantity time when it comes to our loved ones or something but who cares about that.

Still Alive Report – Sept 2014

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Yes, yes doctors have confirmed that I am still living.  I pointed out my blogging activity but they said that was of less health concern than something called a “pulse”.

What is up with all these ponies on the blog?  It’s like I was babysitting my niece and she logged onto my wordpress account when I wasn’t looking.  Yes that’s what I’ll say under oath.  No I don’t see how my being an only child is relevant.

Elsewhere on the web:

Reviews of the Serenity comics issues 3 and 4, 5 and 6.

(that is my copy of the latest Firefly RPG – those interested in adventuring drop me a line somewhere)

If my H-Day fic was a little too much to digest all at once, I put it up on WFB in smaller pieces.  Part 1 is here and at the end of each part is a link to the next.  By all means, drop a comment even if it’s harsh, I won’t get any better otherwise.

There were some cons in Louisville I attended and I wrote up SPN-specific accounts of them at WFB as well.

Hunting at DerbyCity Comic Con.

Hunting at Fandomfest.

2 vids from the later are also up on my youtube page.

Now pardon me, I need to see if I can finally get something resembling a rough draft of episode 5 hacked out.  Have a happy labor day weekend everyone!