Whilst 2013 has seen some brilliant original drama on both the small screen and the big, several key announcements, most notably from Disney/Marvel, have seen the line between TV and film blur more than ever before. This of course isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. In the past we’ve seen movies like Terminator and Stargate spawn TV shows (The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Stargate:SG1 etc…) that expand the universe, or spin-off shows like Parenthood or Teen Wolf, that ‘re-imagine’ the movie’s premise.
We’ve also seen TV shows that spin out into movies, such as our beloved Firefly rounding up the story with Serenity, or Channel 4′s The Inbetweeners, which created a massively popular movie version. What tends to happen is these shows are either there to extend the life of a tv show brand after they are off air, or take a popular film, and milk it for a tv audience, with no direct relation back to the movie from whence it spawned. What we’re seeing with the Disney/Marvel deal is something rather different…
Late last year it was announced that there would be a Marvel TV series based around the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with Clark Gregg reprising his role as Phil Coulson from the various Marvel movies. However, unlike other spin-offs, this show exists within the ongoing existing film franchise, with story-lines blurring across from tv to film, and back. They have now also announced a deal with Netflix to bring 4 new live action TV shows - Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage - to the small screen, who can then be fed back into the movie franchise. In this case the definitive separation of the small and big screen has become extremely blurred, and I think there are a number of reasons for this.
Firstly, the technology. It’s easier now than it’s ever been to create mind-blowing special effects on a tv budget than it ever has been before, meaning you can attain a level of quality much closer to it’s movie counterpart. Secondly, there has been a marked shift in how movies are made in the USA. Over recent years, Hollywood has changed from being a film town to a tv town. This is partly to do with the massive tax breaks movies get from filming outside L.A., which happens less with TV shows. But also to do with the growing number of US states with ‘right to work’ laws, meaning their is less red tape in having to deal with writing and acting unions. L.A. however, does still have some of the best studio facilities in the world, and an awful lot of actors, writers and production staff are based there. It’s become a balancing act for people trying to finance TV and film projects between the convenience of shooting in Hollywood verses the financial benefit of shooting somewhere else.
Whilst this isn’t great news for L.A., it does mean you’ve got a lot of extremely talented California based writers and actors who no longer see TV as the poor relation to movies. High quality writing is attracting bigger named stars, with movie actors happy to make the move into TV. Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Robin Williams, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Spacey & Don Cheadle are all established movie actors that have recently made the shift into TV. We’ve always seen TV stars make the shift the other way into movies, but that seems to be happening far quicker these days, and they also seem perfectly happy bouncing back and forth between small and big screens.
It’s not just the actors and writers happily working both sides of the tv/film fence. J.J. Abrams regularly has 2 or 3 TV pilots each year whilst also handling the Star Trek (and now Star Wars) franchises. Spielberg (Band of Brothers, Falling Skies, SMASH), Neil Jordan (The Borgias), and Martin Scorsese (Boardwalk Empire) have all bounce between the 2 mediums in recent years. Now, even the shows themselves are doing it. Unless you have a 3DTV at home (if your looking to buy one for Christmas, there are some voucher codes here), the only place to watch The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special in 3D was your local cinema, which pushed it to number 3 in the UK movie box office! As cinemas look for inventive ways to draw people in, it would surprise me to see more and more of this sort of crossover.
I think it’s fair to say, there is less and less distinction between the small and big screen, and it’s a trend that looks to continue.
With Man Of Steel released this week on DVD, Blu-ray 3D, and Digital Download this week, this was a nice opportunity to re-watch the movie in 2D (not having a swanky 3D TV at home), and to see if my opinion had changed in the intervening months since my original review.
Using a similar approach exec producer Chris Nolan and writer David S. Goyer took with Batman, they take the origin story we know, but mix it up adding a modern twist. Although they do start with Krypton exploding, we get far more of Jor-El’s (Russell Crowe) back story, and his conflict with General Zod (Michael Shannon). If you’re a fan of the more recent Superman comic books, this should be a world your more comfortable in than previous big screen outings for the man in red, yellow and blue, and I think a lot of that is down to director Zack Snyder.
As much as I love Nolan’s take on Batman, it wasn’t really ‘my’ Batman. By that, I mean, I’ve still not seen a good on screen representation of the current Batman comic book world. For me, Nolan pushed a little too far away from the comics, making the movies a brilliant, but rather serious affair. Snyder seems to have much more of a comic book sensibility about him. He’s a fan of the source material, as much as he is a movie director. I’m not sure how Nolan would have coped with the rather more fantastical world Superman, by his very nature, has to inhabit. Having said that, i’m also not sure Snyder, left to his own devices, would have created the movie he did. What makes it work is the team of Nolan, Goyer, and Snyder, who seem to have found a reasonable balance of comic book and realism, and come out with an interesting movie that still retains a lot of it’s comic book roots. It’s not perfect – Superman could still could do with lightening up a little… I can’t help feeling that it’s missing the zinginess that Whedon brings to the script of that ‘other superhero franchise’. The realism does help the DC movies stand apart from Marvel, but… I would like just a few more laughs in there… To quote the Joker, “Why So Serious?”
What has become rather more apparent since Man Of Steel’s cinematic release, is that DC’s seem to be prepping their own ‘phase 1′, and, like many fans, i’m really hoping DC are finally getting their act together and heading towards a Justice League movie. We already know that Batman Vs. Superman will be the follow up, with Ben Affleck donning the cape and cowl. That film will also introduce Dick Grayson/Nightwing (as yet uncast), and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. With DC’s Trinity (Superman, Batman & Wonder Woman) now all getting big screen time, and Green Arrow, and The Flash appearing on the small screen, it does look like things are finally coming together.
Affleck has taken some flack for taking on Batman, but personally I’m looking forward to seeing him in the role, and it seems Henry is too…
He also goes on to talk about his thoughts on Batman Vs. Superman…
Overall, Man of Steel is a good solid reboot of the Superman mythos, and also a great starting point for future DC movies. Roll on 2015!
- Strong Characters, Legendary Roles - Explore the legendary characters of the Superman mythology and how they have evolved in this new iteration of the Superman story.
- All-Out-Action - Go inside the intense training regimen that sculpted Henry Cavill into the Man of Steel and Michael Shannon and Antje Traue into his Kyptonian nemeses. Includes interviews with cast and crew.
- Krypton Decoded – Dylan Sprayberry (Clark Kent, age 13) gives the lowdown on all the amazing Krypton tech, weapons and spaceships featured in “Man of Steel.”
- Exclusive to UltraViolet – Journey of Discovery: Creating “Man of Steel” – This immersive feature-length experience allows you to watch the movie with director Zack Snyder and stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane and others as they share the incredible journey to re-imagine Superman.
9/10 – Great, if a little too serious superhero movie.
Hello all. Just wanted to pop up a little post to say Geektown hit it’s 7th Birthday today, and to give a massive THANK YOU, to all the people out there that have helped contribute to the site over the years.
What started out as a little hobby site for myself and a few friend to post random stuff that entertained us, has grown exponentially over the past few years, and we couldn’t have done it without the wonderful community of regular visitors that comment on posts, and help with info on the massively popular tv air dates section of the site.
I’d also like to say a huge thank you to Andrew (our TV Editor), and Scar (our Film Reviewer), for the amazing work they’ve done this year, along with the many other guest writers that have written for the site over the past 12 months.
I should also pass on a thank you to Jo, Craig and the other guys at Kualo Web Hosting, who’ve been amazing in helping deal with the increased traffic.
In anticipation for the holidays, the release of the eagerly awaited PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One has buyers rushing to get their hands on them. Along with the consoles, people are also looking for the best games to go with their new systems. One of the ways these hot new titles are increasing the appeal is by adding companion apps to go with both the games and their respective consoles.
Close-Knit Console Community
Before the PlayStation 4 was even released, the companion app was released for both iOS and Android. The app is available for free and allows you to use your phone or tablet as a second screen for supported games, chat with your friends from the PSN, use it as a keyboard, receive game invites and even make purchases for your system. This companion app only works with the PS4, not other PS systems.
The Xbox One has a new companion app to match it as well. The updated version of SmartGlass will only work with the new system. While it has many of the same features of the older version of SmartGlass, it also allows you to customize your dashboard, find more game information, make purchases and more. The app is free and is available for both the iOS and Android.
Upping the Fun Factor
Not to be left out, gamers are adding the fun of companion apps to match these hot new releases. Some of the best games with companion apps for both systems include the following.
Need For Speed Rivals – with the latest release of Need for Speed Rivals, the Need for Speed Most Wanted companion app is receiving a complete overhaul. The new app will no longer support Most Wanted, but will focus on Rivals and future games. The new app, Need for Speed Network, will add support for all the titles, making it one complete app for users.
Madden NFL 25 – this newly released sports game has a whole new app to go with it. CoachGlass is an Xbox One exclusive that connects with the game and allows players to take over the role of defensive coordinator. It heightens the gaming experience by searching data collected from the Madden community to help you decide the best plays. It also tracks statistics to help you beat your opponent. As more players use the app, the recommendations will improve.
Battlefield 4 – one of the most popular new games to hit the market this year. When games purchase the game for their systems and get the Battlefield 4 download for PC, they are also adding the Battlelog app to their phones and tablets. The app is available for both iOS and Android and allows you to keep up on all the latest news, customize your soldier’s weapons, change your vehicle load-outs and check stats. You can create new missions and compete against your friends, analyze performance reports and compare weapons, all on the go.
i should preface this review by saying, if you’re looking for an unbiased review, this isn’t it… I’ve been a huge fan of Barenaked Ladies for over 20 years, so, they really would have to severely screwed something up for me not to have liked this gig. Having said that, this is the first time i’d seen them as a 4 piece band (after the departure of co-lead singer Steven Page), so there was a little bit of trepidation… not that I need to be worried…
It’s been a few years since i’ve seen Canadian alt/rock band Barenaked Ladies perform, so when I saw they were touring to promote their latest album Grinning Streak this side of the pond, I jumped at the chance to see them live once more. However, this time around they were also offering VIP packages, giving you a number of exclusive goodies, plus the option to meet & greet the band, have a chat, photos taken, and things signed, all for a fairly reasonable price… VIP option it is then!
The Meet & Greet / Sound Check
I turned up at The Institute in Birmingham, just before 4pm, and joined a number of other fans. Some already queueing for the 7pm show, but most (about 30 of us) there for the VIP package. Once the doors opened, we were let inside and taken upstairs to main venue hall. If you get a chance to see someone at The Institute, then go. It’s a beautiful and imitate venue, and a superb place to see an gig.
We hung around the room for 5 mins or so, when one by one the band emerged and started mingling and chatting with the gathered crowd. After a few photos were taken, they went back to chatting with people and signing whatever they’d brought along. I’d taken my original copy of Gordon (their first album) to be signed. I handed it to keyboard player Kevin Hearn, commenting that I felt a bit guilty handing it to him to sign (he wasn’t actually in the band at the time), to which he replied “Oh don’t worry, everyone says that when they had me this!” and smiled. People had bought all sorts of things to sign. Posters, CDs (or in one ladies case, a stack of 8!), and one guy even brought his ukulele, which of course, Jim proceeded to play…
After the signing and chatting was done, the guys got up on stage and worked through a few tunes for their sound check. Overall they played for around 40 mins, which included getting one very happy fan up on stage to play keyboards whilst Kev switched to guitar, and a rendition of These Apples for another fan who had requested it, but as it wasn’t on the set list for the evening, they obliged them with by performing it in the sound check!
All in all, totally worth the price of the ticket, and if you are a fan, and ever get a chance to by a VIP pass to one of their gigs, I suggest you do it. Thoroughly nice guys, and a great experience. Once the guys where done, we were kicked out of the venue for an hour or so before the actual gig started – thankfully the VIP wristbands also give you priority access back in, meaning no need to queue to get to the front.
Doors opened about 7pm, and we went in and settled on a place right up front by the barrier. After about an hour of people arriving, the room was full, and the support act Boothby Graffoe arrived on stage and started playing a few tunes, mixed in with a lot of jokes, messing around and being highly entertaining. Then the looming figure of Jim Creeggan bounded onto the stage behind him (to massive cheers from the crowd), and joined him on bass for a couple more tracks, intermixed with some audience participation… Only then to be joined by Ed Robertson, and Kevin (Kevin is also on Boothby’s Album NOMAD), who joined in with Kev on guitar and Ed on side drum (I’m assuming Tyler was backstage with his feet up at this point. ). The whole thing turned into Boothby Graffoe with backing from BnL! After about 40 mins of excellent music and joking around, they finish the set, and there’s another 30 min wait before the main event…
The lights dim, and the boys bounce out onto the stage, launching into an excellent rendition of Limits from the new album, followed by Never Is Enough, and Pinch Me - which of course resulted bras, pants and other clothing items being thrown on stage (see video at the top of the post) ;). What I love about BnL gigs is, even though they are plugging a new album, they have such a large back-catalog of songs to pick from now, they tend to keep a good mix of old and new. After a bit of chat from Ed, plus an awesome spontaneous rap about Birmingham and the slightly odd leveling of the balconies in The Institute…
(Ed did go on to say that really should be a real song, and i totally agree ) They next go into Who Needs Sleep, and Gonna Walk, and then Kev’s lead vocal on the very sweet All In Good Time. One of the things that’s very apparent from this performance is they’ve really found their feet again after Steve’s departure. A lot of the songs they did were predominately Ed led vocals, but when they reached Be My Yoko Ono, Boothby popped back on stage and performed a brilliant and hilarious version of the song (video below).
Moving towards the middle of the gig, the four guys move together around 1 mic for their acoustic set consisting of Smile from the new album, I Can Sing, from the brilliant kids album Snacktime, Maybe Katie, and one of my favorite classic BnL tracks, Blame It On Me.
Breaking back into their usual positions, they continue on with the classics as they launch into Brian Wilson (video above), followed by Did I Say That Out Loud? from Grinning Streak, which is about as BnL sounding as a track can get. This portion of the show also included the theme to the awesome Big Bang Theory, before rounding up with One Week (their biggest UK hit to date), and of course the legendary If I Had A Million Dollars, which resulted in Kev wearing a green dress, whilst he and Ed played baseball with cuddly toys (video below)…
After the guys said their thank you’s and good nights, there was time for one awesome final encore, in which Ed and Ty switched places, with Ed on drums and Ty belting out a very awesomely energetic version of Alcohol. The more i see of Ty, I can’t help but think he’s modeled his entire persona on Animal from the Muppets… At with that, it was over… If there’s one think to say about seeing BnL live, you can’t complain about not getting your money’s worth. A 2 and half hour gig, plus appearing with the support, you have yourself over 3hrs of Barenaked Ladies goodness, and that’s not including the extra VIP stuff. A truly brilliant live band, still on top form after 25 years together. If they come to a town near you, go and see them, you won’t be disappointing!
I just wanted to say a thank you to some of the other BnL fans who have uploaded some of the videos used here to YouTube, as the battery died in my phone halfway through the gig!
With the Denzel Washington/Mark Wahlberg movie 2 Guns out on DVD & Blu-ray on 9 December, we had a chance to ask a few questions of Steve Grant, author of the the original 2 Guns graphic novel (available from Boom! Studios).
Are there any mainstream (DC/Marvel) characters you’d like to get your hands on which you haven’t worked with yet?
Not really. I’ve done so many of them already that the novelty has pretty much worn off. Not that I think nothing can be done with them – I still have a juvenile affection for the John Broome/Gil Kane version of Green Lantern, my favourite comic when I was a kid, and I’d always be tempted to try that character again if the opportunity came up – but my main thrust at the moment is creating original comics for Boom! Other people deserve a chance to try their hand at the old stuff.
Which of your, or other comics do you think would make good tv shows rather than movies?
A series I did at Dark Horse called Enemy almost was a TV show once, done by David Goyer. The pilot got made for Fox, I was told it was on the schedule for three or four days but I’ve never gotten that verified, and ultimately it didn’t get picked up. I’d say it still has potential, but I would. Whisper might make a good TV series, and given the interest in superheroes some interesting things could be done with Edge, a superhero book Gil Kane and I created for Malibu, in a cable TV format like The Walking Dead or Justified. My Flesh Is Cool, a really strange book I created at Avatar, has been bandied as a TV series, and that may happen yet. Pretty much anything that can be serialized as a monthly comic book can be serialized as a TV series. Virtually any of Ed Brubaker’s comics would make very contemporary TV, and I’ve always wished someone would so something with Matt Howarth’s Those Annoying Post Bros. But the issue really isn’t whether something would work for TV or movies, but the extent to which the people on that side of the aisle are willing to share your vision. I wouldn’t, for instance, want someone to pick up Whisper then try to turn it into an Alias or Buffy The Vampire Slayer knockoff. I got very lucky with 2 Guns, but that kind of luck isn’t all that common in Hollywood.
Do you prefer working for smaller indy publishers or the big boys?
Both have their faults and virtues. As I said, these days I’m mainly creating new comics like 2 Guns and Deceivers, and that’s just not something The Big Boys have much sympathy for. When you’re a comics freelancer trying to keep the bills paid, it’s rarely your choice who you work with, it’s theirs. Fortunately, I have a decent situation at Boom! where aside from encouragement, I’m as good as left to my own devices to do the books I want the way I want. So right now that’s where my heart is. But we’re all migrant workers. Unless you get lucky enough that you don’t have to take finances into consideration, you try to go where the paychecks are.
You had a very popular run on Marvel’s Punisher. Why do you think that character has never seems to cross over to the screen particularly well?
The character was almost perfectly suited to deal with things I wanted to talk about, but he’s really too complicated a character for the screen and too simple a character at the same time. He’s all nuance and no depth. Film and TV have a secret mandate to humanize their characters. Done right, there’s nothing in the character to humanize. You can’t plumb his emotional depths. He’s dead emotionally. There are ways to deal with that, but none that are generally considered acceptable by Hollywood. It probably doesn’t help that when it all comes down to dust he’s really a villain, a clinical psychopath in the sense that he’s incapable of an emotional connection to anything. He’s not a homicidal maniac but he is a psychopath, and he feels no compulsion to explain himself. It’s just not something they’re familiar with. I do think Thomas Jane got the character across in his movie and understood how The Punisher ticks, but no one else connected with the film did.