Tuesday, November 24, 2015

‘Supergirl’ soars into midseason form

Fans of the Man of Steel’s spirited Kryptonian cousin have had to wait thirty-one years to see Supergirl flying back into action. After five new impressive episodes, it is time to issue an updated report on the series. And that report is filled with nothing but rave reviews from this long-time Kara Zor-El fan.

Executive Producer Greg Berlanti, (currently, the superhero TV king mogul, if such a thing exists), and his talented team, have managed to strike the perfect sweet spot between humor, action, science fiction, and millennial soap opera angst with a light touch. If you are going to have a show with a love triangle, (“Supergirl” actually has two overlapping ones), this is how you handle it.

Every episode had been pitch perfect in tone, nicely paced, and impeccably acted by the talented cast. Never was this more on display than in the best episode so far, “Livewire”, a Thanksgiving show that aired on November 16th with a major storyline featuring Kara’s human stepmother Eliza Danvers, played by the 1984 “Supergirl” Helen Slater. The scenes featuring the two Supergirls is the legendary stuff of fevered fan imaginations. It was absolutely priceless and proof once again that Greg Berlanti gets it. This guy knows what the fuck he is doing.

Not enough Helen Slater was one of my minor beefs with the pilot. That has obviously been corrected, and hopefully there will more Eliza Danvers to come. 

My other fear about the pilot was the Otis/Jar Jar binks potential of the over-the-top Cat Grant. Well, I was wrong on that one too. Thank God! It turns out that Cat Grant is actually an interesting character and being played quite skillfully by Calista Flockhart.

On top of all this we have a formidable, emerging new super villain with a modern twist, (Maxwell Lord), and an intriguing conspiracy arc. What is Henshaw up too? And what did happen to Kara and Alex’s father?

This is stating the obvious, but is worth repeating again...

Of course, the greatest strength of the show, and what makes it all work, is Supergirl herself, Melissa Benoist. She is utterly charming, projecting an effortless earnestness—funny and touching as Kara Danvers—charismatic, strong, and fierce as Supergirl. Her approach reminds me so much of the Christopher Reeve “Superman” films. And I love it!

Bottom line: **** (out of four)

This show is absolutely irresistible. I have a crush on “Supergirl”. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Timeline for the 'Caitlin Star' trilogy

Here are the some of the key events taking place in the “Caitlin Star” universe.

7880 B.C. — Some of the events in “Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians”

1983 – A mysterious muscle-bound vigilante makes his first appearance defending a homeless man against a gang of bullies.  It is the first documented appearance of the man known as “Gunner Star”.

1985 – Gunner Star takes on his first protégé, a stock trader genius named Zahn. Gunner teaches him the “Bull Mongoni philosophy”, a credo of beliefs based on the teachings of a mythic race of hominids who vanished long ago.

1985 – 1990 – Gunner and Zahn become the Batman and Robin of Pittsburgh. They operate out of the shadows, dispensing social justice and defending those who have no voice or power to fight back. They are fearless, never hesitating to take on sadistic agents of evil, no matter how powerful and influential they are. Thus, they become heroes to those in need, but enemies many of those in power.

1990 – Zahn becomes increasingly aggressive and fanatical, wanting to go beyond the mission parameters of enacting vigilante justice. “All humans are evil. This mistake of history must be reversed. Only then can the Bull Mongoni rise again.” Gunner believes there are still worthy humans who will have a place in the new world. While Gunner wants to change the world, Zahn wants to blow it up and start over.

1991 - The disagreement between Gunner and Zahn leads to a falling out and a physical showdown. Zahn vanishes from Gunner Star’s Lair of Doom.

1992 – Gunner Star goes dark.

1999 – Gunner Star re-emerges as he takes on a new protégé named Joe Fenton.

2003 – Gunner Star rescues a thirteen year-old girl from a group of would-be rapists and begins to train her in the ways of the Bull Mongoni. That girl is Caitlin Star.

2004 – Joe Fenton publishes the book, “The Sacred Scrolls of Tarmok”. It is the first time knowledge of the Bull Mongoni has been made public. The book becomes an instant sensation and soon there is a world-wide movement of Bull Mongoni disciples.

2005 - Gunner Star begins recruiting and training an elite band of warriors to build an underground army for the dark days of revolution that lay ahead.

2012 – A new recruit arrives at Gunner’s Lair and is to be trained by Caitlin. His name is Tyrone Fulton.

2016 – The escalating culture wars result in the rigged election of a President Perkins and his new Moral Authority. Soon, any talk of an earth older than 6000 years is a felony and the bodies of all women of reproductive age are declared property of the state.

2018 – Perkins dissolves the Supreme Court and declares all of North America under the Moral Authority rule. Led by Caitlin Star, the Bull Mongoni, revolution begins!

2020Senator Ben Cross of Texas revives the Moral Authority, under the guise of a para-military gang known as the White Hand in Central Africa, and is intent on destroying the only remaining patch of pristine rain forest on Earth. Caitlin springs into action.

2020 -2021 —  A World War III apocalypse event takes place.

2025 — The events of “Caitlin Star and the Rise of theBarbarians”