Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Flashing Light

So Doctor Light made her appearance on The Flash and I have somewhat mixed feelings. I mean yay, Doctor Light appeared on TV, but boo for just about everything else.

Now obviously they had to find some way of simplifying the character's tangled history, but they did so by simply conflating the two Doctor Lights as one character (which is all kinds of squick if you think about it at all) by making her a female villain. They also changed her civilian identity from Japanese Kimiyo Hoshi to Linda Park (played by Chinese American Malese Jow), Barry Allen's blink-and-you'll-miss-it girlfriend from last year, and Iris West's collegue at Central City Picture News. She's given no backstory, and she's basically just a villain of the week in an episode where fighting the bad guy was distinctly the B-plot.

Also undeveloped to the point of whatever-was-required-by-the-plot-and-no-more was Doctor Light's powerset. "Something something powered by star-light" translated into throwing big light flashes and occasionally doing some kind of blowtorch effect.

Even Flash's final confrontation with her seemed very forced. They made a big deal about him working out how to distract her with visual echoes, but A) she'd already shown she could beat that with a big area effect zap that she'd used twice before but somehow forgot about here, and B) the only reason he did this was so that he could get behind her and bop her on the head, which he could have done at any time by running really fast, which is kind of his core skill.

This isn't the first time the show has taken the name of a character from the DC universe and applied it to a disposable, virtually generic villain, and it's always a little disappointing, particularly on a show that does so well when it does make an effort. I don't think I'll mind if this rather poor copy of Doctor Light doesn't recur.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Supergirl and me

Or I was a Supergirl Fan Before it was Cool

So apparently the premiere of the Supergirl TV show last night was a massive success. I'm so glad because I loved it to bits, and that's usually enough to give anything the kiss of death.

I've been a Supergirl fan since way back. I mean so far back that I remember liking her before I could read. I haven't much liked her in the comics for some time. DC don't seem to know what to do with her and the writers haven't been able to make up their mind, and they've never stuck around for long, so it's been a bit like bronze age Wonder Woman where each new writer seems to be trying to reinvent the character so the first thing they do is dump everything that the previous writers have done, so the result has been disjointed at best.

But then I thought Supergirl's second solo series was kinda dumb, too. With characters like Supergirl you know they are going to outlast any wrongheaded editorial or idiot writer, and eventually you'll get back the character you liked. In this case it's not even a matter of waiting for the comic. That was cancelled six months ago and with the sort of marketing that gets someone fired, DC don't actually have a Supergirl comic being published at a time when she's on a live network TV show and appearing in the animated DC Super Hero Girls.

But I love the show. I mean I enjoy the Flash TV show, but Supergirl is better. And Flash has been my favourite of all the live action superhero shows in the last couple of years. It's somehow managed to escape the grimdark grey misery that has stunk up so much of DC's output in recent years. It's bright and it's fun and OMG it's a successful superhero show with a female lead. And not just female but unequivocally feminist. And what's more, it's being watched by boys. You know, those boys that toy manufacturers are so afraid of being put off by girl cooties that they erase female characters from toys for The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. They are watching a girl show. So hopefully we are at least done with that idiocy.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Girl Superheroes for Girls

DC Superhero Girls (or possibly Super Hero Girls) is a new web animation series, book series, and any other type of merchandising they can possibly squeeze out of it. The setting is a school for superheroes, which doesn't seem that fussy about the "hero" part, since they seem to have let in several villains too. Basically it's attempting to do Monster High, only for superhero comic characters, and judging by the costume designs, skewing a little younger.

I've seen some criticism that, since the school is co-ed, they should have made it more inclusive by calling it Superhero Kids or something else less gender-specific. But you know what? No. They shouldn't. On the one hand it's a superhero show for girls, which is a big thing in itself in an age where Black Widow is ignored in Avengers merchandising and female-led superhero movies are decidedly at the back of the queue.

But beyond that, if the series had a non-gender-specific title everyone would have assumed it was for boys, and that the majority of the characters would be male. Because that's what non-gender-specific means in our society. Men and boys have been pandered to for so long at the expense of women and girls that if you have a group that has an equal number of male and female characters it is considered female-biased, simply because the vast majority of "non-gender-specific" shows feature a primary cast that is four guys and one girl, or three guys and two girls. Even where the female character is nominally the protagonist, the supporting cast is predominantly male. So yes, the only way of having a show that isn't male dominated is by making it a specifically female show. And I am fine with that.

And, oh look. Who's that in the background...?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Be careful what you wish for

I was just reading about a guy who was in the Guinness Book of Records for having the world's largest Dalek collection, and my first thought was "I bet he just mentioned to some friends one day that he liked Daleks, and it just stuck."

It's inevitable really. Let it ever be known that you have an interest in a particular thing, be it Daleks or cheese-graters, and immediately everyone will sieze on it and assume that this is your thing. Every birthday, x-mas, or other gift-related occasion will bring more of the sodding things because it saves anyone from making any effort to think about what you might like. It's one step up from the completely random generic present, and it does give the illusion that they actually put some effort into getting something you might like, but actually it just means that they grabbed the first Dalek (or cheese-grater) related thing they saw and called it done.

And the trouble is that once it starts it's almost impossible to stop. Even a person who has no idea about your supposed cheese-grater obsession will assume it's your thing as soon as they see the shelf full of the damn things that others have already stuck you with. And you can't just throw them out because then you'd be hurting the feelings of the friends who put all that effort into bringing you back that Dalek-shaped cheese-grater from their holiday in Wales, and before you know it, you're in the Guinness Book of Records and you can barely move for colourful and oddly shaped, novelty cheese graters from the far corners of the world.

No, the only way to stop yourself being forever saddled with the unwanted obsession is to kill it before it takes root. Your best bet is to somehow link the despised object with some tragedy: "I can't even look at a cheese-grater since my pet rabbit died." not only makes anyone who attempts to give you yet another tawdry variation on the theme feel guilty about opening old wounds, but gives you an excuse to be rid of those which you have already accumulated.

Either that, or let it be known that you are into something so obscure (or expensive) that it defeats the laziness factor by requiring more effort on the part of the gift-giver than a regular present. I mean everyone knows I'm a big fan of Doctor Light, but I've already got both action figures that were made of her and the trading card. At this point the only option is hunting through back issue bins or searching online for comics that don't have her name in the title, and that's way too much like effort.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Flash of Light

Can you imagine how delighted I am to hear that Kimiyo Hoshi will be appearing on The Flash TV show? Either I'm not her only fan, or the Flash producers were desperate to find a female character in DC's archive who wasn't a blonde.

More info at The Mary Sue.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Hobbit Princess

A rather... loose adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit produced in 1966 for the sole purpose of fulfilling Rembrandt Films' licensing contract and retaining rights to the book.

I have to say I'm disappointed that the princess was cut from Thorin's band of adventurers in Peter Jackson's version. It makes the movie such a sausage fest.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Difference in Doctor Who

There are countless opinions on the difference between classic Doctor Who and new Doctor Who, but once you get past all the technical aspects, the period specific stuff, and the differences in the society it was created for, it seems to me that the main difference is that old Who was about people in crisis, with the Doctor acting as a catalyst to change the situation, where as new Who, specifically Moffat Who, is all about the Doctor.

I think it's fair to say that a lot of the time in the original series there was too little Doctor, with virtually no background given to the character until the series had been running for ten seasons, and the TARDIS, that wonderful place, often serving no function other than transporting the characters from story to story. But in Moffat Who it seems like everything is about the Doctor. The tedious season-long story arcs are all focussed on the Doctor, seemingly intent on probing mysteries to which nobody really wants to know the answer. There was even an episode that consisted of little more than characters wandering around the TARDIS, which, apart from a few nice moments, served to make it less interesting than it had been when it was all a mystery.

New Who has now reached the opposite extreme from the early days of old Who, when what would work so much better is a lot closer to the mid-point between the two. Neither a complete absence of Doctor stuff, nor a total fetishistic obsession with the character. I only hope that the next person who is put in charge of the show has some understanding of this.