Archive for May, 2013

26
May
13

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 290: The Doctor’s Name, the Trek Into Darkness

showcase logo small

Kenny makes his triumphant and long-awaited return to the microphone this week, as he and Blake get into some recent TV and movie madness. In highly spoilery fashion, the guys discuss the Doctor Who season seven finale, The Name of the Doctor, then proceed to dig into Star Trek Into Darkness, as well as the real “Avengers Vs. X-Men” moment brewing between Fox and Disney over who’s going to use Quicksilver on screen, X-Men: Days of Future Past or Avengers 2. In the picks, Kenny goes with the non-graphic novel Spice and Wolf Vol. 1, and Blake bids adieu to the Geoff Johns era with Green Lantern #20. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 290: The Doctor’s Name, the Trek Into Darkness

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14
May
13

How We Met The Mother

Spoiler Warning: I’m about to talk extensively about the season 8 finale of How I Met Your Mother, so if you haven’t seen it yet and want to remain-spoiler free, don’t read the rest of this post. Also avoid Facebook, Reddit, Imgur, IMDB, McClaren’s Bar, and Shoney’s. That last one has nothing to do with HIMYM, I just don’t like Shoney’s.

In the season 8 finale, after literally years of buildup, we’ve reached an apex of sorts. We end the episode 56 hours before the wedding of Barney Stintson and Robin Sherbatsky, and all of our heroes are at something of a crossroads. Barney and Robin, of course, are about to get married. Lily is preparing to leave New York City for a year to take a job in Rome. She doesn’t know, though, that her husband Marshall has been accepted for the judge’s position he applied for long before the Rome gig was even in the picture, nor does she know that (if the “your honor” Marshall’s brother tossed at him at the end is any indication) he’s accepting the job. And the “I” in How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby, is at the cusp of the biggest decision of his life. Still hung up on Robin but unwilling to disrupt the marriage of his best friend and the girl of his dreams, Ted is planning to move to Chicago after the wedding is over, something nobody knows except for Lily.

And as this all takes place, in the last seconds of the episode, we saw a new face — a pretty girl with a bass guitar and a yellow umbrella — walk up to a clerk in a train station and request a ticket to scenic Farhampton, location of Barney and Robin’s wedding.

First of all, let’s debunk some of the folks I hear trying to argue that maybe this actress, Cristin Milioti, is just another red herring, that she’s not the mother at all. Frankly, if that was true it would be the cruelest tease this already tease-heavy show had ever pulled. She fits every single bit of evidence about the mother that we’ve been given so far: that she and Ted will meet at the wedding, that she will be the bass player in the wedding band, that she carries a yellow umbrella, and most importantly, that the show’s creators confirmed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that she is, in fact, the friggin’ mother.

That said, many of the fans have had reactions on rather different sides of the spectrum. On the one hand, there’s the “that’s it?” crowd, the ones who expected to see her face and have the clouds open up and light shine down from the Heavens and everything suddenly become clear and perfect and music to play and the Israeli and Palestinians to lay down their arms and DirecTV and AMC to finally come to an arrangement that would allow them to show Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead and for everyone in the world to suddenly find room in their hearts to tolerate lactose and me to find the button I lost off that shirt last week. On the other side, we have the fans who are screaming, “We know who the mother is!” and running around having pillow fights and popping champagne corks and writing their acceptance speeches for “best internet meme ever” and poking each other in the bellies and giggling like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

And to those people who belong to either of these categories, my message is the same:

For the love of God, you people are still completely missing the point.

For those of you who were expecting a life-changing revelation, why? As I pointed out months ago, the revelation of the mother isn’t actually what this series is about. The story, from day one, has been about the events in Ted Mosby’s life that led to him –both physically and emotionally — being in a place where he could find his true soulmate. I must admit, I’ve been slightly annoyed with the last several episodes as they seemed to be backsliding — yet again — to the Ted/Robin connection that we’ve known since the first episode of the series would never pan out. It felt far too much like we were retreading familiar ground and not really progressing the characters emotionally. The season finale changed my mind about that, though. At this point, the impression I get is that we’ve finally brought Ted to rock-bottom. He’s fallen as far as he possibly can — he’s about to unravel his entire life just to get away from the situation that’s caused him so much pain. And strictly from a narrative standpoint, you need to get the character to that low point if you really want the climb back into the light to be satisfying. I hope that’s what we’ll see in season 9. But more about that in a minute.

For the people shouting with joy because — and I quote — “we know who the mother is,” I’ve got something to point out to you. No. You don’t. You don’t know squat about the mother, at least nothing you didn’t already know about her prior to last night’s episode — she’s Cindy’s ex-roommate, she plays bass in a band, she carries a yellow umbrella. The only thing you know about Mom that you didn’t know before the season finale is what she looks like, and frankly, that’s the least important thing about her. No disrespect intended to Cristin Milioti, she seems cute as a button, but what she looks like isn’t nearly as important as what kind of person she is, what her hopes and goals are, what eventually led to her playing the wedding… hell, what her name is. That moment where we finally got to see her face was a satisfying moment, but not because it was revelatory (as the people in Group A expected), but because it’s a symbolic promise of a final season that will draw this story to a close.

And as for that final season, let’s talk about that for a moment. Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, the show’s creators, have made it clear that the narrative structure of the final season is going to be different from the previous eight. They declined, of course, to explain just how it would be different, but I think they gave us the clue in the final moments of the finale. As the episode drew to a close, before a montage of where each of our characters was and the flash of Mom at the train station, we got a title card that read “56 hours before the wedding.” I think it’s possible — maybe even likely — that the final season of this series may actually go for an almost realtime structure, using the whole season to tell the story of Robin and Barney’s wedding weekend. (It won’t be exactly realtime, that would require 112 episodes as opposed to the standard 22, and that would be insane, but it may be close enough.)

Could there possibly be enough in those 56 hours to encompass 11 hours of television, give or take time for commercials or any double-length episodes they decide to drop in the mix? Maybe. There’s an awful lot going on with each of our five stars, and it certainly seems like Milioti is going to be at least a semi-regular character in the ninth season, not somebody we’ve gotten a glimpse of now only for her to fall away until the final episode. What’s more, this series has never shied away from non-linear storytelling. Flashbacks and flash-forwards in the story have been common from the beginning, and may be even more so in this final run. It would be too much, I think, for Ted and Mom’s fateful encounter at the train station following the wedding to actually wait until the final episode… that is, unless the rest of the season includes glimpses of them together in the future. That’s what we need at this point — we need to see Ted with his wife, we need to believe that their love can wipe out all of the pain and frustration Ted’s gone through in the past eight seasons. We need to recognize in this girl somebody who can make Ted Mosby forget about Robin Sherbatsky once and for all, yet still remain a part of her and Barney’s life (his kids call them “Aunt Robin” and “Uncle Barney,” hardly likely if these were friends who he walked away from before they were even born).

This, I think, is what we need. This, I think, is where the last season of How I Met Your Mother needs to take us.

If there’s anything else we can count on, I think it’s this: in the last episode, when Ted finally finishes telling the story to his kids, when we as the audience have finally reached the final emotional satisfaction of nearly a decade of storytelling, we’ll see Luke and Leia calmly get up off the couch and wander off, unimpressed by Dad’s long story, because that reaction out of a pair of teenagers would be the most emotionally honest ending of them all.

UPDATE: Looks like Bays and Thomas aren’t done giving interviews, and this one seems to indicate some of my thoughts about the season nine format are pretty much on the money…

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/05/14/how-i-met-your-mother-season-9-plans-the-final-season-will-take-place-over-one-weekend

 

12
May
13

2 in 1 Shot: #8: Coming This Fall

showcase logo smallIn this week’s 2 in 1 Shot, Blake takes a look at this week’s announcements from TV land! S.H.I.E.L.D. officially picked up as a series! Community gets season five! And he reads an e-mail about the demise of Young Justice, offering a little commentary about the state of animation. In the picks, it’s G-Man: Coming Home. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

2 in 1 Shot #8: Coming This Fall

08
May
13

Last chance to get ASSOCIATED PRESSURE for free!

AssociatedPressure_HiLast chance to get ASSOCIATED PRESSURE for free on your Amazon Kindle! This new Siegel City story, set in the world of OTHER PEOPLE’S HEROES, is a great introduction to a new cast of characters. The eBook edition also contains a special bonus — the first chapter of the upcoming Siegel City novel THE PYRITE WAR. Tomorrow the price goes back to 99 cents, so grab it now!

02
May
13

On Saturday, get ASSOCIATED PRESSURE!

AssociatedPressure_HiYou fans of Siegel City have waited a long time between visits to that town, and I really do appreciate your patience. As we speak, I’m working on the final draft of the new book, The Pyrite War, which I hope to have out later this year. But before that, I’ve got one more taste of the city, the last Siegel City short story before the next Siegel City novel, a very short piece called Associated Pressure.

This story is a quick visit with Copycat and company in the days immediately following the Battle of Simon Tower. With so much changing in town, the new LightCorps holds a press conference to explain what’s happening to the public. Problem is, one of them (guess who?) has some trouble keeping his story straight.

There will be two ways for you to get this new story. You see, I wrote Associated Pressure specifically for a special edition comic book put together by the fantastic folks of the New Orleans Drink ‘n Draw Society — a group of local writers and artists that I’m very proud to be even tangentially associated with. This Saturday, as you may know, is Free Comic Book Day in North America, the annual event when comic book publishers and stores give away thousands of special edition comics to their customers, old and new. This year, the Drink ‘n Draw guys thought it would be fun to put together a book of stories by the local talent for us to give out at the FCBD events. If you’re in the New Orleans area, I’ll be at BSI Comics in Metairie giving away copies of the book, as well as recording a Showcase podcast and selling paperback editions of Other People’s HeroesThe Beginner, and Opening Night of the Dead.

“But Blake,” you say, “I don’t live in New Orleans. I don’t live anywhere near New Orleans? As a devoted Siegel City completist, how can I possibly obtain this new story for my electronic book collection?” Funny you should ask that, friends. Even if you’re in New York, Cucamonga or Walla-Walla, Washington, from May 4 through May 8, you’ll be able to download Associated Pressure from the Amazon Kindle store absolutely free. Got a Kindle? An iPad? A smartphone? A computer? (If you don’t have any of these things, please tell me how you’re reading this blog, I’m intensely curious.) Then you can download the free Kindle App and buy any and all of my books, and snare this newest story for nothing at all.

Sure, you could go there now and plunk down 99 cents for it, but I’m asking that you don’t do that. I want Saturday, Free Comic Book Day, to be the big download day, the day everybody gets it and bumps it up the sales list. The higher its place on the list, the more people will see it, which will lead to more downloads, which will hopefully lead to more downloads of the paid books, which will eventually get me featured on Oprah’s Book Club, which will make me stupidly wealthy and allow me to achieve my lifelong dream of taking a bath in silver dollars.

You, friends, can make that happen.

Oh — and did I mention that the eBook edition of Associated Pressure also happens to include the first chapter of The Pyrite War? That’s right, guys, I’m sneak previewing you.

So on Saturday, if you can, come on down and get the book from BSI. If you can’t — or even if you can, for that matter — download Associated Pressure on Saturday, May 4. And as always, the best way you can help is to write a review on Amazon or your own blog.

And thanks, as always, to the enormously talented Jacob Bascle for providing the cover art!




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