Welcome to Level 7

Here’s a question for you. What do you get when you combine Marvel superheroes, fan-favorite special agents, Joss Whedon, and Buffy/Angel alum?

Why, you get my new reason to keep my cable subscription till the fall:

This longer trailer gives us more of a feel of how the show is going to play out (in the early eps at least). And for all of you who were worried that Joss had lost his TV edge, you’ll be happily disproven in the first 45 seconds of this trailer (I do love snarky banter).

Getting to see more of J. August Richards in action is a nice bonus as well. He’s heavily channeling Gunn here (but then Gunn was basically a nice, semi-superhero, so the comparison isn’t exactly surprising). The real question is who he’s playing. Sadly, African-American heroes are somewhat sparse in the Marvel Universe. Rage of the New Warriors is the popular choice right now: he’s decidedly third tier (which Joss loves to mine for diamonds), the powerset fits with what we see in the preview, and he has a history with the Avengers. I’m hoping that his identity won’t be uncovered until the pilot; but the fall season is a long way off and the network will need to drum up more press as summer wears on, so I’m not holding out hope for that. Still, if I wasn’t onboard with “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” yet, this trailer does the job and then some.


Friday Diversion: Much Ado About Whedon

Back in 1993 Kenneth Branagh made Shakespeare cool. Well, to me he did. “Much Ado About Nothing” was the first truly “accessible” Shakespeare movie I had seen. Not sure if that was Branagh or the Bard, but “Much Ado” remains one of my favorite films.

As such, the Whedon remake intrigues and scares me. I rather he covered ground I didn’t find sacred. Do “Taming of the Shrew” or “12th Night.” But, I’ll live. Especially as I love how/why this film was made. Whedon and friends sit around every weekend drinking and reading Shakespeare. Why not film it?

First, onto the Diversion and the trailer:

First, before people calling me a Whedon Hater, I love, LOVE 95% of this trailer. I love the look. I love the music. I love the Black and White with hints of color. I love the arrangement of Whedon cast. I love hearing the dialogue I heard in the Branagh version. If someone new can crack humorous Shakespearean dialogue it should be Joss. And, even though he doesn’t speak in the trailer, Nathan Fillion should KILL as Dogberry (he’d be a better Benedict  but I’ll take what I can get).

What I didn’t like…don’t kill me Internet world but…

1) I’m not a fan of Amy Acker. Thus her being Beatrice doesn’t excite me. HOWEVER, she does pretty well in the trailer. So, right now this is a “pass.” I’ll hold judgement but not count anything against it.

2) The big problem is watching Alexis Denisof chew Shakespearean dialogue like a kid in my High School drama class. He doesn’t deliver any line (in the trailer) with any naturalism  It is all clunky. Nothing seems fluid. NOW, that might be fault of the trailer. “Much Ado” features rapid-fire dialogue  Chopping it up for the trailer may take it so out of context that it loses all ebb and flow. I hope so. I loved Denisof in “Angel” and have always been shocked he didn’t break into anything more after it (I assume his stints on “How I Met Your Mother” were gained by sleeping with a star).

On the double plus side, it’ll be nice to finally see Fred and Wes get together.

Movie Quote Monday

We are back! A long hiatus of Movie Quote Monday. I could blame Anthony or Janie, but this is really my bag. I’ll start back up with an easy one. You know the rules, you know the film throw in another quote in the comments.

I aim to misbehave.

See ya in the comments.

The Threeway: Top 3 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Couples (Adam’s Take)

3smallIt’s Valentine’s Day. That means we need to roll out the romance. What’s a geek site to do, that publishes lists every Thursday, when Thursday and Valentine’s Day intersect? We populate with Geeky Couples of course!

First, there are some couple that I think are iconic, but don’t make the list. Lois and Clark being the most notable (I just never, ever, really buy into their relationship). Or Riker and Troi (just because you are Imazadi doesn’t mean you have chemistry). Or…whatever their names are in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (wonderful love story, but if I can’t remember the character names, they can’t make the list).

buffy_angel1#3) Buffy and Angel: I was tempted to put them at #1. But, honestly,the Buffy/Spike fiasco of the later seasons diminishes this couple for me. Like Anthony said, I could make an entire list of Whedon characters: Buffy/Angel, Fred/Gunn, and Wash/Zoe are just a few. Angel/Cordelia, Wes/Lilah, Willow/Oz, Angelus/Darla,  etc., they are all great. I buy into their relationships every time I watch any episode and I’m immediately torn when, inevitably, Joss stabs us with an emotional dagger. The Season 2 finale of “Buffy” (where Angelus turns back to Angel, and now Buffy must send her lover, literally, to hell) was emotionally gut wrenching. Even re-watching it a few years ago it was amazing. TV rarely gets better. Continue reading

The Threeway: Top 3 ThinkGeek T-Shirts (Adam’s Take)

Way back last month (last week, as it were) we did our Threeway on ThinkGreek products. We had a blast but thought that we need to dive deeper. The ThinkGeek products are great. But we barely scratched the t-shirts. The t-shirts are where it’s at. So we thought we’d take another go at it this week, focusing on the shirts.

electronic_rock_guitar#3 – Electric Guitar. I love this entire line from the TG crew. The idea of shirts with electronic interactivity on them delights me to no end. The strumming guitar shirt is my favorite of the bunch (with the drum kit a close second). To bad these didn’t exist when I was growing up. I would have added them to my arsenal of weapons used to annoy my sisters. (Ed note: And to further repel potential mates) Continue reading

Friday Diversion (Election Edition): Joss Whedon For Romney

Here at Sweep-the-Leg we know that work time is precious. A time to put your head down and get be productive. Work harder, get ahead.

Well…then there’s Friday afternoon. We all need a diversion on Friday afternoons. So, here’s your Friday Diversion (and, as always, we can’t promise that these are all SFW, but we’ll try).

Today’s diversion…the one thing you thought would never happen. The thing you figured would take some sort of horrific event to even make possible. I’d say more; but I think it best to leave it to the master himself what you should be considering before hitting the polls next week.

The Threeway: Things We Want to See from Disney/Lucasfilm Merger (Adam’s Take)

I’ve been giddy for a few days now. The Disney/Lucasfilm announcement…it’s like Christmas and Halloween had a baby. I’m a big Disney fan and grew up on a steady diet of “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” I’m the kid that obsessed over that giant ILM book back in the day. I bought a LaserDisc player just to have the original Trilogy in unedited, digital form.

Thus, I have some thoughts on this buyout. I have a list of desires longer than a Wookie’s arm. Here are the Top 3:

1) Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. This was part of the announcement and I am totally on board. Even more, I’m OK with Lucas serving as a creative consultant. The problem with the Prequels wasn’t Lucas, it was that no one said “no” to Lucas. No one was there to keep him in check. He isn’t a writer. He isn’t a director. He is a storyteller though. The story, the concept, that was his gift (that and business management, apparently). Allow him to breath some life into the idea and then PASS IT OFF.

I want a solid core creative team involved (NOTE: Not Seth Green). A team that can do the story design, writing, etc., and then team with solid directors to bring it to life. It’s too bad that Joss Whedon is tied up (at Disney, oddly) with Marvel Phase 2, because he would be perfect. I don’t want Nolan either. Or Bryan Singer (who just signed back onto “X-Men”). I don’t think I want Favreau either.

There a few people I’d be OK with, but the top of the list is Spielberg. I know, I’m a devoted worshiper and I’m blinded. But Disney just made his one of his long time producers, Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm and he was BFF with George. Announcing him as director…I’d explode like the Death Star in the Special Edition.

2) Some “Indiana Jones” love. Whereas “Star Wars” has stayed alive and become commonplace in theaters (new movies, re-releases), TV (“Clone Wars”), game, action figures, etc., Indy is regulated to pretty much the back room. I’m not saying I need another film. But, a “Clone Wars” style cartoon could be interesting. An Indy ride at Disney World would be nice. Something.

1) “Star Wars” Land at Disney World. Last year when Disney announced “Avatar”-land for the Animal Kingdom I was confused. I guess Pandora can fit into the Animal Kingdom, but it seems like a waste of money. Disney is grasping at a straw to combat Universal expanding the incredibly popular “Harry Potter” world. Then it dawned on me – Disney should make a “Star Wars” land. But, putting that much money into something they didn’t own doesn’t fit their M.O.

Now, however, they can. Licensing fees would be easy to arrange. They already have Star Tours at the Studios. Plus, they blow that place up for “Star Wars” Weekends every May/June; Hollywood Studios gets overrun with fans every year. So, obviously, there is demand. They could easily retrofit some parts of the Studios while creating new attractions. Some free food for thought for the Imagineers:

  1. Turn the SciFi Diner into Mos Eisley.
  2. Retrofit Pizza Planet for a “Star Wars” theme.
  3. Use the space for the “Muppets” to create a new “Star Wars” attraction (NOTE – I love the MuppetVision 4D show – but its time has gone).
  4. Take out the “Pearl Harbor” esque opening of the backlot tour and replace with something “Star Wars” or ILM focused.
  5. Have a “Star Wars” themed character breakfast.
  6. Replace “Once Upon a Toy” (at Downtown Disney) with a “Star Wars” store

Essentially, use the assets to bring new experiences to the Parks. This was a great start:

PSA: Dr. Horrible to Air TONIGHT!

If somehow you missed the best web series ever (shut up, Adam) or failed to catch it on DVD or streaming (again, Adam, no comments), or haven’t found yourself humming “A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do” whilst taking out the garbage on Sunday night (Adam…SHOOSH); then you, my friend have a date with your TV tonight.

The CW (sigh) is giving “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” it’s first national TV airing at 9:00 PM! While I try not to advocate anything that CW puts on the airwaves (hence, why there’s been zero mention on this site of the sure-to-be-execrable “Arrow”); “Dr. Horrible” is the greatest thing to come out of the writer’s strike of a few years ago (with “Transformers 2: Michael Bay Thinks Balls and Racism Are Funny” being the worst). If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

The Threeway: Best Post-Buffy/Angel Roles (Adam’s Take)

Ok, ok, ok; I know, I know, I know. I’m late. Like 3 days late. 3 days, threeway…coincidence? Yes. I’ve been busy. Thankfully Anthony and Janie held down the fort.

The bigger problem is that I had this all queued up. I knew exactly my Three. Then, I read Anthony’s column. And…apparently he and I do share the same brain. It was the exact same. Exactly (except his was better written than mine would have been). Thus, I went back to the drawing board. I couldn’t post the same stuff. No way! Back to the fight (“every single night, the same arrangement, I go out and fight the fight”):

3) Anthony Head – Giles got lost in the scenery toward the end of his time on “Buffy.” So much so they just wrote him off the series. Goodbye. He was “standing in the way.” But there was promise. He was going to be on “Ripper!” A BBC-show centered around the Giles character. It was going to be gritty. It was going to be a short-series with a self-contained plot. It was…the first of Joss’ pipe dream projects that weren’t meant to be.

2) James Marsters – Speaking of Joss pipe dreams…where’s that “Spike” show/movie/mini-series that was often discussed? Oddly, this was one that even Joss rarely mentioned. Marsters mentions it every time he can. Which makes sense, the guy just wants a job. This project never coming together is actually great. There was no character who was neutered, changed, altered and lost than Spike. Go back and watch the first few seasons of “Buffy” and then go watch the end. Then the “Angel” season. That character went all over the map in a bad, bad way. It’s better to let this “rest in peace.”

Ya gotta have Faith.

1) Eliza Dushku – The last of the rumor mill of death knell projects was Dushku in some Joss-helmed project where she’d be a high price escort whose memory/personality could be wiped clean and re-done every episode. There was going to be some series long plot line about the fall of humanity stemming from the technology used to wipe people. It’s an interesting premise, but combine that with Fox wanting it…it’s probably best that it never got made. Odds are it would have been completely dumbed down to a bad “Alias” rip-off and die with a whimper after two seasons.

The Threeway: Top Fictional Bands (Anthony’s Take)

You know ’em, you love ’em, you wish they actually existed! While it’s possible that I know nothing about Hair Metal, I do know plenty of imaginary bands!

3) Dingoes Ate My Baby might have only played a handful of times in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” but they get a bye here; because how many bands have a lead guitarist who turns into a werewolf once a month? Oz was the wolfy badboy (back when wolfy badboy meant gawky redheaded nerd rather than oiled-up shirtless dude) and paramour of Willow. One of the best characters on the show, the fact that he was in a band was almost a given. Besides, they have one of the greatest band names of all time (and darkly ironic, considering Oz was always one bad night away from making it literal).

So, so very 90s

2) “Singles” is one of those 90s movies that anyone born after 1980-something will look upon with disdain. It was Cameron Crowe’s love letter to the Seattle music scene (as much as it was a standard Rom-Com); but I loved it. Matt Dillon’s band in the movie, Citizen Dick, was full of winks and nods to popular Seattle bands (“Touch Me I’m Dick” was a play on Mudhoney’s “Touch Me I’m Sick;” the band name itself was a nod to Citizen Sane; and so on). I was deep into the grunge scene my first year of college, so I flipped over seeing Pearl Jam and Soundgarden sitting in as band mates of Dillon. Chris Cornell of Soundgarden even recorded a couple of songs based off a set list that Jeff Ament (of Pearl Jam) had created for Citizen Dick. “Seasons” appears on the soundtrack (and is fairly forgettable); but the other, “Spoonman,” became one of Soundgarden’s biggest hits. Continue reading