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  1. #391
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Past Tense - Not A Blown Fuse Part II

    Author S.M Sterling had his book "Dies The Fire" published (by Penguin) in 2004 ($7.99, paperback). The hero here is Mike Havel, ex-military who embarks on a mission to save the world. One of the folks he saves is a teenage girl, who is an expert archer. Sound familiar?

    Here Mike is Miles Matheson (Burke) and the young woman, Eilir Mackenzie is Charlotte "Charlie" Matheson (Spiridakos), Miles' niece. Set in a world where the power went out, more extreme - gunpowder also fails to work. No steam power either; the laws of physics have changed. Just like the series, weapons are swords and the bow.

    Anyhow, "Dies The Fire" is part of the Emberverse book series; still on ongoing novel series. The cause? Magic.

    - - -

    The story?

    It is the year 2027.

    We are now experiencing a world that has survived a major global event which has rendered all technology dead. As I wrote there is no electricity and it can not be generated. This is not supernatural based. It was an Department Of Defense tool which was used by a disgruntled employee to bring down the planet, a terrorist act.

    One word - 'nanites'; energy disrupting nanites. The idea is to use this as a weapon, set them loose on a city or town and zap all electronics, send in troops to capture/gain control. You see, the troops will carry these pendants which neutralize the effects within a few feet of their proximity.

    They are programmed to have location limiters (GPS). What our terrorist did was remove those parameters and the whole world was plunged into darkness. As they had two commands; disrupt power and replicate.

    Who has these pendants - as only a few were made? This was a test run that went wrong. The pendants were not massed produced for the military. This also upset viewers as the pendants are revealed to be self-powered USB sticks. Yeah, I know.

    And now.

    The United States is a memory. What remains is California Common Wealth, Texas, Plains Nation, Georgia Federation and outland area known as the Wastelands. A good chunk of what was America is now owned...

    By self-made emperor, Sebastian "Bass" Monroe (David Lyons). His nation is the Monroe Republic.

    Monroe is a tyrant. Well - beloved by some since he made order from chaos. Brought back faster than his rivals - his land, into a functional society, early industrial.

    But it came with a high price.

    This is also a world where guns are not used since resources are limited. You have swords and arrows. Only in extreme situations are firearms used.

    His army is draft based. They kidnap/recruit from surrounding areas (older teens) and branded (old school) as property of the Republic. Slaves which earn privileges with their deeds.

    Here is the jump point.

    Charlie and her family, farmers are visited by group of soldiers, lead by Captain Tom Neville (Esposito) who becomes our boogyman, the relentless right hand man of Monroe. A true believer.

    He has come here to take her father Ben (Tim Guinee) away - he knows something valuable. Sebastian wants information about an object. This isn't working, so he might as well recruit the kid, Danny (Graham Rogers) for leverage.

    The dad tries to stop Neville from taking his son and ends with Ben getting shot in front of Charlie. The boy still could still be beneficial for another scheme and is taken.

    Danny is abducted into bondage.

    We end up learning he has one of those pendants, not knowing... I won't spoil that. This was an excellent plot twist, tragic.

    They leave Charlie to her despair; before dying, Ben tells her to seek out someone who could help - her uncle, Miles - a former soldier. She goes on a quest.

    Traveling to Chicago she is joined by Aaron Pittman (Zak Orth); a different life, he was a computer programmer and a former Google executive. And accompanied by Maggie Foster (Anna Lise Phillips), a British doctor who got stuck in America when the blackout occurred; Maggie is Ben's girlfriend. As close to a mom Charlie has.

    The four is later joined by Rachel Matheson, Charlie mom - not dead as Ben claimed. And there is a solid reason why Rachel was dead to him. But that would be spoiling a good twist. She's very complicated; friend - foe? Her morality can slide easily.

    Together they uncover a conspiracy to change the world - in the worst way. Monroe knows about the existence of the power pendants. And wished to amplify them beyond a few feet. He's been, slowly in secret, accumulating military gear, including a gunship.

    He plans to attack the Georgia Federation, not with the helicopter (Neville pictured above), but with an acquired nuke; gotten from another group with their own plans - to detonate in the capital, Atlanta.

    But what he needs first is a pendant.

    Before you ask - no I haven't ruined it for you. So much more happens. I gave you a taste.

    The series was born from Kripke desire to create a voyage show, a trek. A journey our characters need to transverse. Inspired by the odyssey that was the "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy movies.

    Walking from location to location, helping where they can and having grand adventures.

    The series was pretty good, not great. No. But a solid show. I enjoyed it. Need to get season two.

    Season two changed their Big Bad to what remains of America which had set up shop in Guantanamo Bay - "The Patriots". This was decent enough, but lacked the gravitas that the first year had. Less about nanites than stopping a take over - that is until the end when a much larger foe emerges, the result of our gang trying to turn back the power.

    A game changer that would've taken the series into dark sci-fi territory. No, not aliens, the nanites gained conscience. Think SkyNet, but no robots... well not the metal kind.

    I suppose we're lucky to have season two since 'one' didn't do that great in the ratings and that season two even had twenty episodes. The second did worse than the first. It could've been thirteen or less.

    Anyhow, the mystery, explanation for the blackout was handled okay. I don't have issue with the tech, I accept that. But like many others was baffled by how humanity reverted. Making bullets isn't that hard. And why so much of the cities covered in overgrowth? And so much rubble, did folks just loose their mind when they couldn't Tweet?

    "How can I get my 'Likes'? HOW!?!" Riot!!!!!!!!!!

    One of the gripes that kept coming up is actress Tracy Spiridakos can't act. Okay, she's appropriate for the role. She is suppose to be awkward, pretty much most of Charlie's life was on a farm, not a warrior. Her character isn't all that sure of herself.

    The casting of Spiridakos was good. She's not too pretty, reality based. A normal young woman, caught up in an extraordinary events with momentous consequences. All she wants is to save her brother, not the planet.

    One last quote about the series. A nasty one...

    This show is AIDS. To clarify my point - This is what you get when you **** a monkey in Africa for the fun of it, then come back to the United States and **** as many dudes in the asshole as possible. Wait three years, then die a painful, pitiful death. Revolution is EXACTLY like that.
    - Metroid_Fetish

    He's not a fan.

    One last thing.

    This almost happened - for real. Not nanites, but a massive EMP (electromagnetic pulse). The world could've gone dark on July 23rd, 2012; fried electronics, everything with a computer chip. On that date, not one but two huge solar flares almost hit Earth. Want it worse?

    NASA knew in advance, but didn't tell the public what was about to happen. This only came to light on March 19th, 2014 when Forbes published a story about the almost world changing disaster. Let that sink in...

    If this were to happen again, that scale - you, would not be told. Welcome to the Dark Ages 2.0. Hope you can sword fight.

    Come back here February 15th, 2018 for another example of a young woman who unlike Charlotte Matheson wants retribution to punish those who did her wrong - pain. See you then.

  2. #392
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Best Buy - February 6th, 2018

    Batman: Gotham By Gaslight
    Exclusive graphic novel; BD/DVD/DC combo $22.99

  3. #393
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Target - February 13th, 2018

    Exclusive bonus disc (format unknown); BD/DVD/DC combo $19.99

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    CD available now

    "Justin Timberlake - Man Of The Woods" with exclusive album cover and free poster $11.99

  4. #394
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Best Buy - February 13th, 2018

    Blade Of The Immortal
    Exclusive steelbook; BD only $17.99

  5. #395
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Past Tense - A Woman Scorn Part I

    [An earlier version of this PT was originally posted on March 20th, 2014 on JoBlo's "DVD, Blu-Ray & Home Theater Discussion" forum.]

    A life lesson; don't tick off a girl with lots of money to burn in "Revenge"...

    "Revenge: The Complete First Season" was released on home video on August 21st, 2012.

    It streeted against "The Dictator: Banned & Unrated", "House, M.D.: Season Eight" and "Disney's The Aristocats".

    This release originally came with an embossed cardboard slipcover which mirrored the wraparound. There was one insert; a folded (small size) advertisement for ABC series on DVD/Blu-Ray along with a $10.00 off coupon. When did it expire? Can't say, I used mine (in September '12) to purchase season six of "Desperate Housewives". Best Buy had it at the time for twenty bucks, so it became ten. The insert included ads for four novels from author Richard Castle and the ABC Family series, "Switched At Birth". As well as "Once Upon A Time" hardback book, a collection of fairy tales that inspired the show (illustrated by Kevin Tong).

    The DVD case is transparent (five discs) - underneath is the episode listing per disc and special features. No air dates given. *shakes head*

    - - -

    There was a single exclusive from Target, a bonus disc. This came in a printed sleeve - underneath their exclusive slipcover; DVD only. It sold for $34.99.

    The extra disc is a panel event at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills (CA) for the William S. Paley Television Festival (March 11th, 2012). The program is moderated by Debra Birnbaum from TV Guide magazine. Guests include stars Emily VanCamp, Madeleine Stowe, Gabriel Mann, Nick Wechsler, Henry Czerny, Ashley Madekwe, Christa B. Allen, Joshua Bowman and Connor Paolo. Along with series creator/executive producer, Mike Kelley with executive producer Marty Bowen.

    It has a run time of 31:16 minutes (with six chapters). There is no menu screen, it just plays.

    Something I noticed. The back of the sleeve reads:

    Exclusive DVD bonus disc with bonus content
    So you're saying there can be a bonus disc that's... blank?

    Before you ask. Didn't do that. The sleeve cover is way too air brushed - they turned VanCamp into a cartoon figure.

    - - -

    Above is the regular edition for contrast.

    - - -

    This should tell you how committed I am - this exclusive you're reading...

    I was sick that morning. So sick I was considering going to the Emergency Room. As it turns out I got food poisoning from a bad watermelon. Don't laugh, it was painful and scary. I woke up in pain in the middle of the night and did not go back to sleep since I was afraid I wouldn't wake up.

    Went to the living room and sat for the rest of the night, pondering my fate, next decision.

    Man, one of the longest nights of my life. On the same level of having a kidney stone, which at the time I didn't know what was wrong with me. My dad had kidney issues, so I was super nervous. Anyhow, I rode the toxins out. The pain subsided, it became dawn.

    Go to bed, rest - OR wait a couple more hours and go to Target for "Revenge"? Was it the right choice?


    Yes, it was.

    Now 9:30ish AM, I go to their media center and look about. Squat. I don't see any exclusive copies. I ask for help and the woman looks at her cart with the new releases (hadn't noticed), pulls one out - hands it to me. I look inside... there were only two copies! And I had the other. If I waited until after I slept, I would not have gotten it. Sway.

    The icing on this cake was price matching Best Buy's better deal for season one at Guest Services for $27.99. No problem, unlike the one I had for season eight of "Weeds" - I did get that better deal, but they gave me grief.

    - - - - - - - - - -


    "Revenge" is addictive with strong continuity (I like). Bought season two in November of last year (2017), off Ebay - complete with slipcover, all discs mint.

    Two more seasons to go.

    A rundown...

    This is the story of Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) who has come to The Hamptons, Long Island to work out some issue she has.

    Her father was framed for treason by who he thought was a friend, the Graysons family. He died in prison, murdered to keep his mouth shut. Leaving at the time, a child - Amanda Clarke in foster care and juvenile correctional facilities.

    Before the all this occurred, her dad was good buddies with the Graysons and took advice on an investment in a upstart tech company. This was not touched by the investigation since he did it in secret.

    Flash forward to the present, that investment has paid off in millions, Amanda the recipient of the fortune. Money isn't enough. Seeing what could be, Amanda Clarke reinvents herself as Emily Thorne. A socialite who has moved next door to the Graysons.

    Her plan is to destroy everyone who gutted her childhood and life. All the people who testified against her dad with her main target Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), the matriarch of the family.

    A cat and mouse game as Victoria suspect something is off about their new neighbor. Stakes are high and complex, as Amanda starts dating Victoria's son, Daniel (Josh Bowman) to get closer to the family.

    He's not a bad person.

    And is oblivious of his mom's doings.

    Is she willing to demolish innocent folks for her... revenge?

    The show ended with conclusion, justice. Emily got what she wanted - but the cost was so much collateral damage.

  6. #396
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Past Tense - A Woman Scorn Part II


    Since this became a brief Past Tense, I thought about what I could write - give it some meat. Don't think of it as filler, think of it as...


    Call it filler. But the good kind. *wink*

    So what popped in my head were dead shows which were not given a DVD release. All of this can be blamed on low ratings and falling out of the public's attention. But they are fondly remembered - if just by a few folks like myself.

    I have more titles and may write about them in a future post. All of these are hour long programs. Lets begin...

    "Once A Hero" - This was a high concept show from ABC in 1987. It told the story of Captain Justice (Jeff Lester), the Crimson Crusader. A comic book hero from Pleasantville. While saving the mayor from the villainous Max Mayhem, he starts to fade along with everyone around him. They are dying - people must have them in their hearts for them to live. Pleasantville is one of many towns, cities and metropolitan locales in this other dimension filled with literary characters. As soon as people/fans no longer care, they disappear into oblivion.

    Realizing what is starting to happen, Captain Justice, "CJ" decide to cross over, through the Forbidden Zone into the real world; make folks interested once again in the comic - save his town and friends. One big catch; all of his powers are stripped, he's mortal here.

    The Powers That Be believe that CJ's efforts will be fruitless and send another to our world, a nameless detective, sometimes called Gumshoe (Robert Forster) to bring him back; allow him to fade away with dignity. CJ refuses and through mishaps and failed efforts is actually doing the impossible - increasing readership. Deciding that remaining would do more good than harm, so does Gumshoe - keeping Captain Justice alive.

    Seven episodes were made, three aired. In those shows, Justice makes contact with his creator Abner Bevis (Milo O'Shea - known to fanboys as Dr. Durand Durand from "Barbarella: Queen Of The Galaxy" [1968]). Befriends a trouble kid (Josh Blake) and his newspaper reporter mom (Caitlin Clarke). Convincing all three that the improbable has happened. He also does battle with his print brother, Lazarus. The series injected real world situations to comic book sensibilities (such as Justice's girlfriend is based on Bevis' late wife and the woes that her appearance causes). Had it aired today, would've been a hit. Though never said, but implied - Gumshoe may be literary private investigator, Sam Spade.

    There's a great moment when Emma (Clarke) goes on a dinner date with Lazarus (played by Richard Lynch). He's been making secret jumps to the real world for years. He's wealthy, owning a successful construction company among others. Lazarus is not evil, he was just written that way; doing things he didn't want to do because Captain Justice needed a heel. The episode had an awesome moment when it is learned that Lazarus bought Pizazz Comics; he doesn't have to defeat CJ...

    He owns him.

    The opening credits hinted a something more on the way. An entity crossed the Forbidden Zone, but retained its powers; one of the unaired episodes.

    Marvel Comics had two comic issues based on the show, "Captain Justice" in 1988. There is a history of behind the scenes tomfoolery/drama that aided in the show's demise; creators, producers, ABC and Stan Lee too. It's quite sad. There was a home video release, but only on VHS in 1991, the pilot episode from Starmaker Entertainment Inc. (ISBN# 1-56068-272-8).

    This is something I didn't know until researching.

    I knew the pilot was re-filmed with a different actor as Captain Justice, it happens. But the VHS release is the original pilot with Jim Turner as the lead and has a run time is seventy-four minutes! Damn it, now I want this video. I'll be on the lookout.

    Saw the tape long ago at a couple video rental shops. I recall wondering why CJ on the cover did not look like the actor in the series. I had guessed they made up art for the release. I never rented it.

    I recorded the show off the air and had no need to see this. I was wrong. Seventy-four minutes; was the series premiere suppose to be a two hour event?

    - - -

    "Outlaws" - This fantasy series aired on CBS in 1986. Houston, Texas - 1899, lawman Jonathan Grail (Rod Taylor) has tracked down the Pike Gang who are now pinned; cornered inside an indian graveyard. Grail used to run with the bandits before changing his ways. A storm is raging as the men are confronted. Weapons are drawn, but before a single shot is made, lightning strikes the grave markers, spiking from one to the next, circling the men, knocking them out.

    They awaken in a different location, weapons damaged and hear the deafening roar that not even a hundred men posse could muster - the sound of jet approaching its airport. It is now 1986. Believing this as a second chance, the men with their loot (gold coins), remake themselves as private investigators and start, the Double-Eagle Detective Agency; bringing the code of the Old West to the present.

    It starred William Lucking, Patrick Houser, Richard Roundtree, Charles Napier and Christine Belford. All the episodes aired; two hour pilot and eleven programs. A pre-famous Shannen Doherty had a bit part in the pilot.

    This was smiles in a jar. A great show with solid actors doing what they do best.

    My favorite episode was "Potboiler" (February 7th, 1987). An Old West historian and author has made the connection - these men have traveled through time. The guys tires to cover their backs and end up battling a crime lord (not the historian). It was a colorful program that hinted at more; these men ARE living history. A connection to a life that no longer exist. I wish that was explored more, but the show got axed.

    - - -

    "Skin" - A former Fox 2003 show. It starred a pre-famous Olivia Wilde along with the late Ron Silver, Kristanna Loken and Pamela Gidley to name a few. It was a modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet; Adam (D.J. Cotrona) and Jewel (Wilde). The different families at war is the Los Angeles District Attorney and the city's prominent pornographer. Eight episodes were made, only three aired. And yes, Jewel's dad was the porno maker.

    Man, there was a lot of pressure by family group advocates who just hated this show - demanded it off the air.

    What sucks is that there is a more adult version of the episodes; the intent was to have an unrated/uncensored DVD release, but that never happened. The situation repeated with NBC's "The Playboy Club" (2011), man both of these should've been on cable, definitely.

    - - -

    "Drive" - This final offering aired on Fox in 2007. It was about an underground, illegal continental car race. The stakes are high, thirty-two million. We follow the various contestants and their motives for this dangerous venture. In order to participate, you must be sponsored, paid serious money for the privilege to drive.

    Some know their sponsors, others are in the dark and a few have been blackmailed into enlisting (the threat of death and worse). It starred a pre-famous Emma Stone along with Nathan Fillion, Kristin Lehman, Melanie Lynskey, Taryn Manning, Kevin Alejandro, J.D. Pardo, Dylan Baker, Michael Hyatt, Rochelle Aytes, Riley Smith and Mircea Monroe.

    The plan was for one season - one race. The finale would have a winner. Had a second season occurred, new race with new contestants along with some old players. Six episodes were made, but only four aired. Think of it like the television version of "The Fast And The Furious" (2001) mashed with "Cannonball Run" (1981). It was good while it lasted.

    And there you go. Now it feels proper.

    By the way, "Revenge" ended with the hint of a spin-off that never happened. One of the people who had been helping Amanda is approached by another in need of resolution, this time - a young man. Too bad this didn't happen.

    Come back here on March 8th, 2018 for Spring Break month. One series, two entries with a Southern California flavor.

  7. #397
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Target - February 20th, 2018

    Daddy's Home 2
    Exclusive bonus BD; BD/DVD/DC combo $19.99

    - - - - - - - - - -

    CD available now

    "Justin Timberlake - Man Of The Woods" with exclusive album cover and free poster $11.99

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