Throwback Thursday: Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971)

In Beautiful Stalag 13

A POW camp in Nazi Germany during World War II hardly seems like the place to set a sitcom, but Hogan’s Heroes did just that…..and it worked. Starring Bob Crane as Colonel Robert Hogan, the series focuses on the actions of a group of POW’s led by Hogan that use their imprisonment as a means to spy on Nazi forces, assist prisoners from other camps in escaping to freedom, and to thwart the plans of the Nazis in general. They do this using a series of underground tunnels, a network of allies (including some Germans) scattered throughout the local area, and the skills of a core group of prisoners.

The core cast for all but the final season of Hogan’s Heroes (L to R): Werner Klemperer, John Banner, Cynthia Lynn (1965-66), Bob Crane, Larry Hovis, Robert Clary, Ivan Dixon (replaced by Kenneth Washington in the final season), and Richard Dawson.

Crane’s Hogan is an extremely likeable and persuasive man. He often convinces Colonel Klink (Werner Klemperer) to believe some of the most absurd ideas. He also tells Klink, Sergeant Schultz (John Banner), and other Nazis exactly what his plans are to help others escape and then smirks as his words are blown off as jokes.

Klink and Schultz are portrayed as buffoons (as are most of the Nazis in the series), but despite being part of Hitler’s regime, they manage to win over the audience. Schultz in particular became quite popular and his famous lines, “I see nothing. I know nothing.” have become embedded in pop culture.

While Hogan is the leader, each member of his team has specific jobs and specialties that keep the group active and successful in Stalag 13. Newkirk (Richard Dawson) takes care of disguises, tailoring, and imitates a number of different people on the phone and radio. LeBeau (Robert Clary) is a chef and uses his cooking skills to bribe Schultz for information. He also appears in disguise and is extremely good at hiding in small spaces to listen in on Nazi talks. He has also trained the camp’s German Shepherds to be friendly with the prisoners.

Carter (Larry Hovis) is the group’s explosives expert and occasionally dons a disguise as well. He does a wonderful job as Hitler, and fools a number of high ranking Nazis portraying him. The team’s communications expert for the first five seasons was Kinchloe (Ivan Dixon). He was the point of contact for Hogan to the outside world, in particular an Allied Forces submarine hiding off of the German coast. Dixon was Hogan’s second in command and much like Star Trek (1966) with Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), was one of the earliest shows to ever have an African American in a prominent role. Dixon left the series after the fifth season and was replaced by Kenneth Washington as Sgt. Baker in the final season.

A photo from the final season featuring Kenneth Washington, second from left, as Sgt. Baker, who replaced Ivan Dixon’s SSG Kinchloe.

Recurring characters in the series included General Burkhalter (Leon Askin), Fraulein Helga (Cynthia Lynn), Fraulein Hilda (Sigrid Valdis), and Major Hochstetter (Howard Caine). Notable guest stars included Gavin MacLeod, James Sikking, Victor French, and William Christopher.

Leon Askin (L) and Werner Klemperer.

I only recently rediscovered this series. I remember watching the series as a child and recognizing Richard Dawson from Family Feud. Schultz was my favorite character and pretty much still is to this day. I started watching it again on MeTV ever since Hurricane Laura forced my family to move into a temporary home. Hogan’s Heroes has become one of the familiar memories of my past that I’ve become attached to since the hurricane.

Howard Caine (L) and Klemperer.

One thing that I recently found out about the series is that all of the major cast members that portrayed Nazis and many of the recurring Nazi characters all have some sort of connection with the war. Klemperer, Caine, Banner, and Askin were all Jewish and portrayed Nazi characters. Klemperer, Askin, Banner, and Robert Clary (LeBeau) all fled the Nazis during the war. Clary and Banner were both held in concentration camps with many of their family members being murdered as a result. Banner went on to join the U.S. Army as did the three other primary Nazi characters.

I love this series. It’s become a tradition for me to watch it every night since the hurricane and I do so with my son and daughter. My son, who loves history, listens to everything said by the characters and then looks up the things that interest him to see if they are real or fabricated for the series. My daughter is drawn to LeBeau and all four of the primary German characters due to the fact that they were directly touched by the evil of the Nazi forces.

I hope that you enjoyed this trip down memory lane and thank you for reading my post. See you again soon!

Thirty-One Days O’Horror: Wizards Of Waverly Place Halloween

“Boo! I got you, babe. I’m Cher.”

2009 gave us the third season of the wildly popular Wizards of Waverly Place. The second episode of that season, Halloween, sees the Russo family attempt to save their annual Haunted House by enlisting the help of three ghosts from the wizard world. In typical Russo fashion, however, things fall apart.

In the episode, Justin (David Henrie) and Harper (Jennifer Stone) team up to create a “peer pressure” house of horrors that proves to be too lame for Mr. Evans (Daniel Roebuck) and the rest of the Halloween committee. Mr. Evans tells the Russo’s father, Jerry (David DeLuise), that if the haunted house isn’t scary enough, the family will end up losing the opportunity to host the haunted house again.

Against his better judgement, Jerry allows Alex (Selena Gomez) and Harper to go to the wizarding world in order to fetch three ghosts in order to make the haunted house scarier. He gives her specific instructions to pick three ghosts that are scary, but not too scary.

While in the wizarding world, Alex and Harper run into Mantooth (Sean Whalen), a ghost known to be extremely scary and a frequent haunter of Justin. Deemed too scary, though, Alex and Harper pick three other ghosts who fail to miserably.

With no other options in sight, the Russo’s go ahead with their own haunted house that include Theresa (Maria Canals-Barrera) as Cher and Max (Jake T. Austin) as a moustachioed ghost. Still unimpressed, the Halloween committee decides that the Russo’s have lost their right to run the annual haunted house until Mantooth shows up to hopefully save the day. Does he? You’ll have to check out the episode in order to find out! It’s available on Disney+ and on home media.

The episode features all of the humor that is standard for the series and all of the cast do a great job as usual. Wizards was always one of my favorite shows to watch along with my daughter. There are plenty of episodes that feature monsters and ghosts across the entire series including werewolves, vampires, and even a Franken-girl, so be sure to check out more of the show’s spooky episodes.

Not only do I recommend this episode, I recommend the entire series. It’s great family fun. Thanks for checking out my post. More spooky goodness coming tomorrow!

Throwback Thursday: That 70’s Show (1998-2006)

“Hanging out……down the street….”

It’s hard to believe that a show about the 1970’s is over twenty years old. That 70’s Show is the second longest running live action sitcom for the Fox Network (Married…With Children is the longest). It’s successful run ended fourteen years ago in 2006 after eight seasons, but the series is still extremely popular in both syndication and on streaming services such as Netflix.

The core cast:

  • Topher Grace as Eric Forman
  • Laura Prepon as Donna Pinciotti
  • Danny Masterson as Steven Hyde
  • Ashton Kutcher as Michael Kelso
  • Wilmer Valderrama as Fez
  • Mila Kunis as Jackie Burkhart
  • Debra Jo Rupp as Kitty Forman, Eric’s Mom
  • Kurtwood Smith as Red Forman, Eric’s Dad
  • Don Stark as Bob Pinciotti, Donna’s Dad
  • Tanya Roberts as Midge Pinciotti, Donna’s Mom

The cast also included Lisa Robin Kelly as Laurie Forman, Eric’s sister, who appeared in a recurring role. In Season Six, Laurie was portrayed by Christina Moore due to Kelly’s battle with alcoholism. Tommy Chong portrayed Leo, manager of the local Foto Hut and the resident pothead.

Many of the show’s stars would go on to have massive careers. Both Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher (who eventually married in real life) have become established stars on both the big screen and on television. Laura Prepon starred in Netflix’ highly successful Orange Is The New Black. Wilmer Valderrama continues to have success as part of the cast of NCIS, but he has also appeared in a number of successful films and voiced Manny on Disney Channel’s Handy Manny. Danny Masterson co-starred with Kutcher on Netflix’ The Ranch until accusations of rape surfaced against him. His career is currently up in the air. Topher Grace has appeared in numerous films and television shows over the years, most notably Spider-Man 3 and BlacKkKlansmen. Tanya Roberts left the series after the third season to tend to her terminally ill husband, Barry. She returned as a guest star in seasons six and seven. Lisa Robin Kelly would eventually succumb to her battle with alcoholism and passed away and the young age of 43.

Many of the episodes centered on the relationship between Donna and Eric, with the rest of the characters having their own subplots over the course of the series. Kelso, Hyde, and Jackie ended up in a love triangle and Fez spent most of the series looking for love, sex, and candy. He failed almost every time with love and sex, but his candy addiction escalated as the series continued.

One of my favorite things about this series was the many parodies and musical numbers that were inserted into the show. The show parodied everything from Reefer Madness to The Super Friends and featured musical numbers inspired by Westside Story, Grease, and more. There were also a ton of guest stars including a number of 1970’s actors and musicians like Alice Cooper, KISS, Mary Tyler Moore, and many contemporary stars like Bruce Willis, Melissa Joan Hart, and the Rock (Dwayne Johnson). Other notable guest stars included Betty White, Don Knotts, Billy Dee Williams, and Gloria Gaynor.

A number of future stars and established young stars also had guest roles over the course of the series. Amy Adams, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eliza Dushku, Justin Long, Shannon Elizabeth, Jenna Fischer, and Luke Wilson are just a few of the many guest stars who would go on to bigger and better things or were already popular when they made their appearance on the show.

A lot of the series took place in the Forman’s basement and one of the most popular elements of the show was “the Circle” where Eric, Hyde, and the rest of the cast would often “solve” problems and discuss issues while under the influence of marijuana.

I really enjoyed watching this show. Hearing Red call Eric a “dumbass” or watching Kelso get hit in the eye by Hyde never got old and still draws laughs out of me to this day. If you enjoyed That 70’s Show, tell me about your favorite moment in the series in the comments section.

As always, thanks for reading my post. Netflix currently has all eight seasons of That 70’s Show available for streaming and it’s also available on Blu-ray and DVD. Keep on rockin’, folks, and I’ll see you again real soon!

Dracula Drains In Third Act

The BBC and Netflix Almost Had A Winner

I was excited to see that the story of Dracula was going to be getting its own series on Netflix. I became less excited whenever I heard that Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat were involved. While I’m fully aware that both of these men worked on highly successful runs of Doctor Who and Sherlock, I’m also aware that they have a tendency to run out of ideas, reuse old ones, and ultimately fall flat by the end of their runs. I personally witnessed Moffat run Doctor Who into the ground and cheered along with other Whovians when he announced his exit. I prayed that Dracula wouldn’t meet the same fate as the good Doctor.

The BBC gave the mini-series the green light and released the final product on both BBC One and on Netflix. As I suspected, the mini-series had two solid episodes and one terrible one.

The first episode, The Rules of the Beast, was told from the perspective of an undead Jonathan Harker (John Heffernan). He recounts his tale to a nun, Sister Agatha Van Helsing (Dolly Wells), who also happens to be an atheist (that bit gets explained during the episode). She asks him numerous questions, many of which are extremely personal, in order to get an idea of who exactly Count Dracula is and what he is attempting to achieve.

She then has to square off against the count himself. Played with buckets of scene-chewing (or perhaps that should be scene-draining) charisma by Claes Bang, the count tricks his way into the convent and battles the nuns, all of whom have been trained by Sister Van Helsing to protect themselves and defeat the count.

The episode has some genuinely scary moments. During Harker’s exploration of Castle Dracula, a sense of claustrophobia invaded my mind as he walked deeper and deeper into the dark recesses of the castle. The viewer never knows what might turn up at any time. The episode also recalls a few classic episodes of Doctor Who, particularly Tooth & Claw, in my opinion and also references the classic Hammer Productions film, Dracula/Horror of Dracula (1958) that starred Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. In fact, there’s one scene in which Bang’s count looks exactly like Lee’s count as he drinks his fill of a victim.

The second episode, Blood Vessel, expands upon Dracula’s trip across the sea to England. In the book, this particular story is covered in just a few pages. Moffat and Gatiss expand the trip to a full ninety-minute episode. It works quite well, in my opinion, as it develops members of the Demeter’s crew and puts a Sherlock-like spin on the reasoning behind all of the crew members’ and passengers’ reasons for being on the vessel.

This episode plays out more like a murder mystery than a true horror story as the crew attempt to uncover the identity of the murderer on the ship. Sister Agatha shows up in the story eventually, and she teams up with the remaining crew and passengers in order to snuff out the count.

I’ve read reviews that said that this episode was entirely too long and that too much focus was placed on the crew and passengers of the Demeter. I personally enjoyed how Gatiss and Moffat fleshed out this particular part of the tale. Oh, and be on the lookout for a certain Russian scientist from Season 3 of Stranger Things as a member of the crew!

As brilliant and fun as the first two episodes were, things start to derail at the end of Episode 2 with a teaser for the final installment in the mini-series. Without explaining anything, let’s just say that Count Dracula finds himself stranded in England in the year 2020. Yep, that’s right. There’s a massive time jump in the series. Things do not go well….at all.

Dracula finds himself at the mercy of the Jonathan Harker Foundation in the third and final episode of Dracula entitled The Dark Compass. Gone are the Gothic horror elements and mystery, replaced instead by a self-centered society that puts everything on social media and tries to “live its best life” in front of anyone willing to look at it.

In the episode, Dolly Wells takes on the role of Dr. Zoe Van Helsing, great great niece of Sister Agatha Van Helsing. She heads up the aforementioned Jonathan Harker Foundation who captures Dracula and locks him away to study him and his blood. She happens to be dying from cancer and is hopeful that Dracula’s blood could lead to a possible cure. Along for the ride are Lydia West as Lucy Westenra and two of her suitors from the original Bram Stoker tale, Jack Seward (Matthew Beard) and Quincy Morris (Phil Dunster). There’s no mention of Arthur Holmwood, although Zev, Lucy’s best friend portrayed by John McCrea in the series, might have been designed with Holmwood in mind.

Sister Agatha does eventually show up (although not in the way you might think) and she continues her quest to find out exactly what makes Count Dracula tick. Along with Zoe, she eventually discovers what it is that Dracula fears the most…and it’s pretty lame. The reasoning behind Count Dracula becoming enamored with Lucy is also extremely lame. It also reveals just how shallow modern society has become. Everything is tied up with a very convenient bow at the end of the episode and while things might not look to good for everybody’s favorite bloodsucker, I wouldn’t count hims out just yet!

Bang does a great job as Count Dracula. It’s sad that the third act is so terrible, as I would love to see Bang receive a better swansong. Perhaps Gatiss and Moffat will explore more of the Count’s life prior to meeting Jonathan Harker in a later series. Dolly Wells is extremely likeable as Sister Agatha, but her performance as Zoe is greatly hindered by poor writing and direction. There are a few moments of brilliance in the final episode, particularly whenever Count Dracula teaches Lucy about the children of the night. Speaking of those children, fans of the classic Bela Lugosi film from 1931 will be glad to hear a couple of quotes from that film and even a couple of shots done in homage (at least to my eyes) to the legendary film.

Two great episodes out of three isn’t all that bad. I highly recommend watching the first two installments of this mini-series, but viewing the third one is entirely up to you. I didn’t like it very much, and in my opinion it doesn’t add anything new to the Dracula mythos.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be posting about upcoming conventions in the near future AND I’ll also get everyone up to speed on this weekend’s upcoming Hurricane Pro Wrestling Queens of the Ring 2 event!

Powerrr Up!

On The Web And In The Ring

I grew up in the 80’s watching Mid-South Wrestling. Mid-South was just one of the many territorial professional wrestling promotions organized under the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) banner. The NWA experienced multiple highs and lows over its existence and until the late 1980’s, it was the top promotion in North America. Without going too deep into the NWA’s history, many of its member promotions succumbed to the popularity of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) and it was eventually purchased by Billy Corgan (yes, of the Smashing Pumpkins) in 2017.

NWA owner Billy Corgan.

Corgan has steadily expanded the NWA brand, bringing in a mixture of established talent and young, hungry newcomers. He cross promoted with Ring of Honor, Championship Wrestling of Hollywood, and other promotions and continued to grow the brand. Beginning in October of 2019, the promotion began showing NWA Powerrr on YouTube and FITE TV.

David Marquez, Nick Aldis, and Kamille.

The series is a throwback to classic NWA television programming. It features matches recorded before a live studio audience and includes interviews, comedic segments during commercial breaks, and has featured tweets from the general public and popular wrestlers such as Adam Copeland (Edge) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Thunder Rosa, Melina, and Marti Belle.

The program usually features four or five matches including the occasional championship defense. Commentary is handled by Joe Galli and, at least until last week, Jim Cornette. Cornette resigned after fans complained about remarks that he made during the 11/19 episode. The remarks have since been edited out of the episode. David Marquez is the announcer and an interviewer as well.

Marquez, Mr. Anderson, and Eli Drake.

There is a lot of banter between the audience and the wrestlers. The constant back-and-forth between the crowd and the stars is reminiscent of the loud and raucous episodes of Mid-South and other old promotions prior to the breaking of kayfabe. Kayfabe has lost a lot of its magic thanks to the internet, but NWA somehow manages to maintain some of that old school feel where everything was real and not staged. (Not sure what “kayfabe” is? Check out a detailed description here.)

Kamille and Nick Aldis.

NWA Powerrr has brought fun back to mainstream professional wrestling. It’s something that has been sorely missed in my opinion. I actually laugh out loud multiple times during the show. That, at least to me, shows just how excellent the roster is for NWA. All of the wrestlers can work the mic and work in the ring. Even though I’ve seen many of these wrestlers live at independent events and on television and have talked on numerous occasions to some of them in person, I buy into their characters while I’m watching the show.

Allysin Kay.

Specifically, I’ve had conversations at events with Ricky Starks and Thunder Rosa. Starks might be a cocky and brash wrestler with some of the best mic skills that I’ve ever seen in my forty-plus years, but in person, he’s one of the friendliest guys you could ever meet. Thunder Rosa is straight up sinister on NWA Powerrr, but I’ve rarely found a wrestler that is as loyal to their fans as she is to her followers. I’ve also seen Trevor Murdoch, Mr. Anderson, the Rock N’ Roll Express, James Storm, and Homicide in live action, and all of these guys have what it takes to keep NWA going for a long time.

Ricky Starks.

The rest of the roster is simply amazing. Nick Aldis, who is almost always seen with Kamille by his side, looks like a throwback NWA champion. While I won’t say that he’s Ric Flair, I will say that he has the same chiseled physique that Flair had in his NWA prime. The Wildcards (Royce Isaacs and Thomas Latimer) draw major heat from the crowd. The only other tag team in NWA’s lineup that might draw more heat, heel heat, would be the Dawsons (Dave and Zane). Much like Aldis, the Dawsons have a classic look to them that reminds me of some of the old school tag teams. Tim Storm, who had a legendary 400-plus day reign as the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion, serves as a bridge between the classic NWA and the new look NWA. Storm is big and strong, and knows how to work extremely well.

Tim Storm.

The Women’s division is headed up by the capable Allysin Kay, the current NWA World Women’s Champion. She’s met a massively popular foe in Thunder Rosa. Despite having watched Thunder Rosa for a few years now, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen be as mean as she is in NWA. With Thunder Rosa is Marti Belle. Belle used to be Kay’s friend, but she quickly turned heel whenever Thunder Rosa arrived on the scene. I look forward to the feud between Thunder Rosa, Belle, and Kay, who appears to have formed a friendship with Ashley Vox, a scrappy wrestler that I remember as being a part of the Sea Stars tag team.

Ashley Vox.

Other stars on the roster include Eli Drake, Jocephus, Colt Cabana, Crystal Rose, the legendary Rock N’ Roll Express, Eddie Kingston, the Question Mark, Melina, and more.

Colt Cabana, Joe Galli, and Mr. Anderson.

If you haven’t checked out NWA Powerrr yet, do so. You won’t regret it. I actually prefer NWA Powerrr over all of the WWE, AEW, and ROH shows. It’s fun, action-packed, and brings me back to Sunday afternoons watching the Rock N’ Roll Express whip up on the Midnight Express.

As always, thanks for reading. Here’s a list of the current NWA champions as of 11/26/19 and prior to the release of the newest episode of NWA Powerrr:

  • Worlds Heavyweight Champion: Nick Aldis
  • World Women’s Champion: Allysin Kay
  • World Tag Team Champions: The Wildcards
  • National Heavyweight Champion: Colt Cabana

Doom Patrol Episode #8

Danny Patrol

In what is quite possibly the happiest episode of the season so far, Doom Patrol finally manages to put a smile on Larry’s face. All of the characters have progressed to some point over the season, but Larry/Negative Man (Matt Bomer, Matthew Zuk) has basically been fighting the same demons the entire time.

Spoilers Ahead!!!

This episode finds Larry and Victor (Joivan Wade) on a mission to connect with one of the most unique characters in the Doom Patrol canon: Danny The Street. No, Danny The Street isn’t a mob-style nickname, Danny is literally a street that survives off of the happiness of those that live on him. He’s also a genderqueer being with the power to teleport to any location in the world. This is a handy power considering the fact that the Bureau of Normalcy is after him and all of his inhabitants. One particular citizen, Maura Lee Karupt (Alan Mingo, Jr.) is fighting a losing battle keeping the rest of the citizens happy. Having been on the run for years, teleporting has become a strain on Danny and it’s becoming harder for him to do so and thus evade the Bureau. Hoping that Niles (Timothy Dalton) can help, Danny calls on the Doom Patrol for assistance.

Victor and Larry inform Danny about Niles’ kidnapping and Danny begins to fear for his citizens. It is this dilemma that forces Larry to open up about himself. He actually SMILES in this episode and there’s a brilliant musical number that features Larry to boot. We get the best glimpse at a happy version of Larry than we’ve ever had in the entire season. He and Cyborg help Danny and Maura Lee battle the Bureau, and it’s a brilliant, heart-tugging confrontation.

The secondary plot features one of Jane’s (Diane Guerrero) most sadistic personalities. On the surface, “Karen” appears to be your standard domesticated sorority girl, but her true self is revealed whenever she forces the “love of her life,” a man that she has dumped numerous times, to marry her. Karen’s power is the ability to make anyone fall in love with her whether they want to or not. She uses this power to trick not only her beau, but his family and Rita (April Bowlby) as well. It’s up to Cliff (Brendan Fraser, Riley Shanahan) to stop the madness.

While Karen is putting her plan into action, there’s a touching side story featuring Cliff and a young boy (Jay Amir). The duo bond with one another in one of the best moments in the show. Soon enough, Cliff has to face off with Karen and in one of the toughest moments of the episode, Karen flies off the handle and her future and the future of all of Jane’s other personalities are left in limbo. Hopefully we’ll learn more about her situation on Friday when the new episode is released.

With the exception of Karen’s grim fate, this episode was a much needed dose of happiness in an otherwise depressing and dark series. While humor has been injected perfectly throughout the season, this episode helped lighten things, especially after the events that happened in the last two episodes. I’m sure that the show will go back to being a bit darker with the next episode, but Danny Patrol was just the type of fun that we (and the Patrol) needed to give us all a break from the norm. This is one of the best episodes of the season by far.

Thank you for reading my post. I can’t wait for Friday’s episode to see what happens next with the Patrol. This series is my favorite DC Universe original by far.

For those of you who happen to be attending CyPhaCon this weekend, I’ll be hosting a panel about the Doom Patrol in Room 5 at 2 P.M. Come say hello and let me know what you think about the show and the streaming service as a whole in person! I might have some goodies to give out as well!

Doom Patrol Episode #7

Therapy Patrol

The seventh episode of Doom Patrol shifts the focus away from the search for the Chief and plants it squarely on the individual members of the group. It opens up with Cyborg making the rounds, waking everyone up and telling everyone that a group meeting will take place in fifteen minutes. After thirty plus minutes of watching flashbacks and internal struggles of each individual as they prep for the meeting, everyone finally makes it downstairs and Cliff (freshly recovered from a violent spell) suggests talking about each other’s problems.

The session is a mix of humor, heartbreak, and yelling and ultimately the team makes a few steps forward and just as many back. Mr. Nobody is in their heads and is using their own shortcomings and doubts against them. In one case, he literally has an operative at work inside someone’s head.

We get to learn a little bit more about each member of the team as they talk about their issues. Cliff is pretty much an open book. Larry remains somewhat distant (at least with the group, but he’s making progress on his own). Rita and Vic also make some headway with their own individual problems. We only see a brief flashback of Jane and then watch as she battles her other personalities. She is then dealt a harsh dose of reality by Cliff. It’s one of the most serious and sobering moments of the episode.

With all of the talk going on, you’d believe that this might be a boring episode. You’d be wrong, as the character development is strong and full of violent spats between individuals and the group as a whole. This is a solid episode that gives us a nice break from the depressing revelations uncovered last week.

At the end of the episode, Mr. Nobody’s plant is revealed and in true Mr. Nobody fashion, it’s an absurd revelation. Heck, there’s even a Princess Bride reference that’s adds just a touch more humor to the reveal.

Once again Doom Patrol has proven that it’s a unique superhero series. It doesn’t rely on standard comic book devices to build its story. The heroes are multi-dimensional and the villain is interesting. If you haven’t checked this series out yet, I highly recommend giving it a chance.

As always, thanks for reading. Look forward to more Doom Patrol coverage next week and I’ll be posting about the upcoming CyPhaCon convention in just over two weeks!

Doom Patrol Episode #6

Doom Patrol Patrol

No, I didn’t make a mistake when I typed that header. The latest episode of Doom Patrol, released on Friday, is entitled Doom Patrol Patrol and it certainly lives up to its name.

Minor Spoilers Ahead!

Still recovering from the events of the previous episode, our heroes find themselves broken up once again. This time, Cliff and Jane aren’t together as they have been in every other episode. Instead, Jane, Larry, and Rita head out to find the Doom Patrol…..the original Doom Patrol, as part of a plan placed into motion by Mr. Nobody. Rita doesn’t believe that working with Mr. Nobody is a good idea, but Jane’s teleporting personality, Flit, whisks the trio away to a school that is being run by the original team of Mento, Celsius, and Lodestone. Also at the school is its director, Joshua Clay.

While at the school, Jane uncovers a dark secret about the original Doom Patrol. She also learns about her potential future at the school. Rita attempts to heal herself emotionally by rekindling her relationship with Mento and Larry makes a discovery of his own while befriending Celsius.

Victor’s father arrives at Doom Manor to reboot him after his arm cannon exploded and Cliff set off his safety protocols in order to keep Victor alive. When he arrives there are a few tense moments between Cliff, Victor, and Dr. Silas Stone. We get to learn a little bit more about the relationship between Victor and his father, and Cliff seeks out more information about his daughter.

Things start to unravel at the Doom School once Mento begins losing control of himself while talking with Rita. Jane learns what is really going on and she, Larry, and Rita all face off against their own darkest fears. While this part of the show chips away at all three characters, it only hints at what made them who they are in the present. The episode ends with the revelation of a dark secret, Jane questioning her loyalty to the Chief, and a bond slowly growing between Cliff and Victor. We also see the sad fate of the original Doom Patrol and watch as all of the current members tackle their own inner demons.

This was a sad episode in many ways. Cliff’s heart is broken by information he discovers about his daughter. Victor and his father are still estranged, but someone gives Silas a heavy dose of reality that softens the tension between he and Victor. Rita begins to see herself as perhaps uglier on the inside than the outside. Jane is crushed by what she learns at the school. Larry has issues as well, but we aren’t given enough information about his problem to know what is really going on inside of his mind. The most painful thing about the episode is seeing what happened to the original Doom Patrol. All of these moments were played out with a tender hand. This was an excellent episode.

Cast members for this episode included:

  • Brendan Fraser/Riley Shanahan as Robotman/Cliff Steele
  • Diane Guerrero as Crazy Jane/Kay Challis
  • Joivan Wade as Cyborg/Victor Stone
  • April Bowlby as Elasti-Woman/Rita Farr
  • Matt Bomer/Matthew Zuk as Negative Man/Larry Trainor
  • Timothy Dalton as Dr. Niles Caulder/Chief
  • Phil Morris as Dr. Silas Stone
  • Will Kemp as Mento/Steve Dayton
  • Jasmine Kaur as Celsius/Arani Desai
  • Lesa Wilson as Lodestone/Rhea Jones
  • Alimi Ballard as Joshua Clay

As always, thank you for reading my post. I plan on making one or two more posts this week, so keep an eye out for them! Doom Patrol is seriously one of the best shows that I’ve come across in a long time. It’s thought-provoking, humorous, and does an excellent job at making the viewer feel for the characters. Give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

Doom Patrol Episode #5

Paw Patrol

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

Picking up where the previous episode left off, Paw Patrol finds our heroes split up into two groups. Rita, Victor, and Larry are in Cloverton with Willoughby Kipling attempting to find a way to stop the Decreator. Cliff and Jane are in Nurnheim (although they aren’t sure exactly where it physically is) and are struggling with their own identities at the foot of the Archons’ thrones. We also get to do a tad bit of time traveling with Mr. Nobody and the Chief as they join forces to pull off a wacky scheme in order to defeat the Decreator. Sounds kind of insane, right? Well, it all works together perfectly as it has with every other episode of Doom Patrol.

As the episode plays out, the actions of each group quickly adds to Mr. Nobody and the Chief’s plan against the Decreator. The groups aren’t even aware that their plans are actually being manipulated from the past (and for good reason) but it all eventually leads up to a movement (or possibly another cult) that was born from one of Jane’s personalities in the seventies becoming the catalyst for fighting the Decreator in modern times. The final battle is just as absurd as every other battle in the series so far and works out with just as much perfection in the end. I won’t reveal anything else, but know that the episode ends on a cliffhanger that changes everything.

This series has consistently managed to take completely insane situations and turn them into one brilliant moment after another. The show’s writing, acting, comedic timing, and character development have been nearly flawless. As soon as we think that we’ve figured out a character, they take an entirely different turn into darker territory. I could attempt to pick one character that hasn’t developed in some way with each episode, but it would be a fruitless endeavor. All of the characters, from Robotman to Mr. Nobody, have undergone changes and/or backstory reveals that add more and more layers to their personal stories. Those layers are then blended together to make the larger plot points even more interesting.

It has even become difficult to choose a favorite character. All of them are interesting and all for different reasons. Definitely check this series out if you’re interested in character development laced with perfect amounts of action and humor. I’ll keep giving reviews of episodes, but I’m getting to a point where it will be hard to cover too much of the story without giving anything away!

As always, thanks for reading. I’ll be giving a rundown of what went down over the weekend at Louisiana Comic Con either this afternoon or tomorrow.

Shazam! 1974-76

Talking With The Elders

DC Universe made a lot of us old folks happy yesterday with the release of all three seasons of the classic 1974-76 series Shazam! starring Michael Gray as Billy Batson, Les Tremayne as Mentor, Jackson Bostwick as Captain Marvel during season one and partially in season two and John Davey as Captain Marvel to finish out seasons two and three. The series followed Billy and Mentor as they drove around in a motorhome looking for people to help.

I was just a baby when the original series aired, but caught up with the reruns of the show on weekday afternoons when I was a bit older. I decided to start re-watch the series last night, and am currently seven episodes into the first season.

The show has been completely remastered in HD and it looks extremely good on my television and my phone. I’ve found the audio to be a bit off at times, so I’ve been watching episodes with subtitles. I’m sure that anyone too young to remember television shows like Shazam! will probably laugh at the special effects, but the stories hold up surprisingly well. Issues like drug abuse, bullying, and discrimination are addressed and still need to be addressed to this day. The series takes a lighter approach with each issue, but still manages to drive home the point of each message.

Both Bostwick and Davey give excellent performances as Captain Marvel, and I can definitely see youngsters looking up to them and hanging on every word they say. Gray gives a solid performance as Billy Batson. His comedic timing was excellent when called upon, and he played well against Les Tremayne’s caring performance as Mentor. Both Gray and Tremayne are likeable in their roles, and while the script wasn’t always necessarily deep, they always delivered a great performance.

If you’ve never watched this series, I recommend giving it a look, especially if you have youngsters in your home. It’s warmhearted, funny, and has a good amount of light action. It also features the voice of Adam West as Hercules. He’s one of the Elders that grants his powers (and offers up wisdom) to Billy and Captain Marvel. The series also features Isis (JoAnna Cameron) in a few episodes, who had her own show entitled Isis that played back-to-back with Shazam! in the Shazam/Isis Hour.

I plan on finishing the series over the next few days and hope to see DC Universe release Isis as well. Also, DC will be releasing the Shazam film starring Zachary Levi in April of this year, and I’m definitely going to check that out. If you’re a fan of the classic series, you’ll get the chance to meet both Michael Gray and John Davey at the Lake Charles Film Festival in October of this year. I’ve already met Jackson Bostwick and I can’t wait to meet two more members of the cast of such a fun show.

As always, thanks for reading. I plan on seeing Marvel’s version of Captain Marvel on the big screen this weekend. I’ll be sure to post a review as soon as I can.