What We’re Watching: Wednesday & Thursday

As it turns out, our Wednesdays and Thursdays are mixed between longtime favorites and brand new shows that are tickling our fancies these days. This batch includes mostly half hour comedies as well as my personal favorite comic book TV show Arrow. My wife also enjoyed this season of Cover Affairs, but I usually read or watching the other TV when it’s on because it just never quite grabbed me. If you’re interested, I covered Mondays and Tuesdays in a post last week.

WEDNESDAY

Arrow (8:00 PM, The CW)

arrow season 2 banner

Arrow is one of my favorite shows on TV and probably one of the ones I look forward to the most in any given week. I was cautiously optimistic when it kicked off last season, but got sucked in with the story of spoiled rich kid Oliver Queen trying to make things right in his city while also flashing back to his time on a crazy island. Sure there’s a ton of melodrama involved in the proceedings (it is a CW show after all), but I love the solid mix of action, fun stories and deep cuts when it comes to comic book references. I couldn’t help but compare Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Arrow and in nearly every way, Arrow came off better.

Modern Family (9:00 PM, ABC)Modern Family - Season 5

I’m not really sure what to say about Modern Family that hasn’t been said a million times. It’s so intricately written and perfectly acted that it’s impossible not to fall in love. We’ve been watching the reruns on Fox at 7:30 every day after Jeopardy and even though there aren’t a ton of episodes, it’s a welcome addition to the syndication rotation.

Super Fun Night (9:30 PM, ABC)super fun night

I wanted to like Super Fun Night, but the first episode just killed all the excitement I had going in. The basic concept of the show is cool: three 30 somethings put a bunch of ideas for ladies night in a hat, pull one out and that’s what they do that evening. The problem? Star Rebel Wilson puts on a terrible American accent throughout the entire thing. There are pretty much three things everyone knows about Wilson after watching Pitch Perfect: she’s not America, she’s super funny and she can sing incredibly well. The first episode of this series tried to get you to forget two of these things as her character is nervous about karaoke. I was pretty much done at that point and tend to flip around or read during this time slot. I really think I would be back in if they just had her speak in her regular voice.

THURSDAY

The Big Bang Theory (8:00 PM, CBS)big bang theory season 7

We’re still big Big Bang Theory fans. I love how they’ve expanded the group to fully include Bernadette and Amy. It does kind of seem like the writers aren’t quite sure what to do with Penny lately. She and Sheldon work so well together, but they seem to be writing her a bit dumber than before. It’s a minor problem and I think they’re probably ramping up for something big at the end of the season, but we’ll see.

The Millers (8:30 PM, CBS)the millers

The Millers was a big surprise for me. We’ve liked previous Greg Garcia shows like My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope, but got burned out on the latter. I also didn’t much like Will Arnett’s two previous shows, Running Wilde and Up All Night. But I think this is enough of a departure for Garcia — it’s not about dumdums in a mysterious western town — and it allows Arnett to play awkward and put-upon in a way we haven’t quite seen before. I think it’s funny that last season saw all kinds of “adult kids moving back in with their parents” shows and this seasons has the reverse. Even though it’s not super original, I’m still enjoying two shows like that this season between Millers and Dads. As a nice bonus, the show features Jayma Mays who deserves a show better than Glee and Nelson Franklin who I’ve enjoyed on Traffic Light and his brief stint on New Girl. I hope the show succeeds just so I can keep seeing them all!

The Crazy Ones (9:00 PM, CBS)?????????????????????????

I’ll be honest, I wish Parks & Rec was on at 9:00 PM on Thursdays. I love that show and really miss it, but since we’re full-on into BBT, that’s the show we watch. Plus, it sounds like the schedule’s going to be all over the place. Anyway, since NBC doesn’t have much to offer, we’re watching The Crazy Ones, an ad agency comedy starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar as well as the guy who played Bob Benson on Mad Men and the former secretary from The Mindy Project. The dynamics on this show are a ton of fun and really carry it through. This is one of two shows that I could probably just watch the outtakes of and have a great time. New Girl is the other for what it’s worth. Still, as enjoyable as the show has been, I’d drop it in a heartbeat if it meant I could watch Parks & Rec.

The Michael J. Fox Show (9:30 PM, NBC)MichaelJFoxShow1

I think The Michael J. Fox Show is the only show we watch on NBC these days which is crazy because it used to one of the main stops for us, especially on Thursdays. As a dyed in the wool child of the 80s, I have an almost inborn love for all things Fox going back to the days of Family Ties on through Spin City. The fact that the show puts his Parkinsons right on front street and just deals with it as part of the ongoing story is an ingenious move that brings everyone in on what’s going on and deals with it honestly.

Casting Internets

I haven’t read the Panels on Pages Wizard Alumni Where Are They Now interviews featuring Ben Morse, Chris Ward, Jim Gibbons, Brian Cunningham and Rick Marshall just yet because it looks pretty long, but I did skim it and yes, I did get mentioned and do appear in a photo or two, so it’s worth looking at.

Speaking of Wizard buddies, Josh Wigler has loosed himself upon the world of freelance again! I assume this will mean fewer jobs for myself, but he’s a good dude, so that’s okay.

One last plug for my friends, but world renowned toy animator and my number one walking-around-NYC-post-NYCC companion Alex Kropinak now has a blog. Go read it, fool!

There’s an “Avengers of horror” in the works starring Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, Mr. Hyde and  seven other horror icons. Could be interesting. (via THR)

Justin Timberlake’s records have never been as appealing to me as his SNL hosting gigs, but Jody Rosen’s Rolling Stone review of his new album The 20/20 Experience sounds more up my alley.

BTM-Budget-Travel-Mag-10t

I love me some eboy. His cityscapes are amazing and somewhere in the depths of my ToyFare-acquired toy collection I have a Hugh Hefner figure based on his artwork as well as a poster. I literally said, “Whoooaaaa,” when I saw this cruise ship image of his. Super neat!

Jack White talked to Rolling Stone about new solo tracks, new Dead Weather and the rad sounding blue Reissue series from Third Man Records. Give it a look.

THR says that Kurt Sutter of Sons of Anarchy fame is creating a horror/timetravel series at FX called Lucas Stand. I haven’t seen SOA yet, but have only heard good things. This sounds like an interesting concept and FX hasn’t steered my wrong yet, so I’ll give it a watch if it actually happens.

THR also made a list of 15 interesting bits of information discussed by the Big Bang Theory cast and creators at Paley Fest. There’s some fun stuff in there for fans.

beetlejuicevarlayered

I’m actually kind of happy these days when I see Mondo posters I’m not into because I know I probably wouldn’t be able to get one and don’t have the scratch to spend on one anyway. However, this Beetlejuice one by Ken Taylor as shown over on Bad Ass Digest is spectacular.

Sylvester Stallone tweeted that he wants more humor in Expendables 3. Not sure how I feel about that considering the hackie jokes were the worst part of 2. I’m still in, though, even more so if Jackie Chan’s involved. (via Collider)

Have you tried Nicolas Cage Roulette? It’s a website you can go to with many Nic Cage faces. You click whether you want it to chose any movie from the actor’s filmography (at least what’s on Netflix Instant) or just the action movies. I tried “All” four times and got Face/Off twice, Season of the Witch and  Adaptation. Fun stuff!

An album of Elvis Costello recording with The Roots sounds rad. Maybe THAT record will get me to finally get back to writing Supergroup Showcases. (via Rolling Stone)

superman silver age dailies

IDW’s collection of Silver Age Superman comic strips looks pretty neat. Looks like they’re also doing Batman and Wonder Woman strips. I didn’t even know there WAS a WW comic strip! (via Robot 6)

I’ve had this Boing Boing link about 22 Pixar storytelling rules saved for a while, but only recently read through them. It’s interesting how many of them I wound up following in my recent comic script.

This Toledo Blade article about some of the fancier restaurants from my home town’s past was incredibly interesting.

Esquire‘s right, Dubai’s weird you guys.

Ron Marz’s latest Shelf Life column over on CBR is about his one experience with comic writing stage fright, but he also talks about some behind the scenes stuff when it came to DC Versus Marvel and Amalgam, two ideas that captured my imagination when I was kid.

mignola tusken raider

My buddy Jim Gibbons reposted this rad piece of Star Wars Mike Mignola art over on his Pizza Party! Tumblr. So rad.

Blogging Big Bang Theory S5 “The Rhinitis Revelation”

Like a lot of TV from the end of last week, I missed out on last week’s Big Bang Theory. I just remembered that it had Wil Wheaton, so I’m hoping I can catch it on a rerun later in the season. Anyway, I did catch tonight’s and it was quite a doozy. I think it’s interesting that both this and last season, as the cast of characters has grown, there always seems to be at least one episode that makes me worry the writers can’t handle so many of them. There’s always one episode that just feels unbalanced and a little too silly for my view of what the show should be. And then, right after that, they mostly kill the rest of the season.

This season’s third episode, “The Pulled Groin Extrapolation,” really bummed me out by not feeling really unbalanced, but then “The Pulled Groin Extrapolation” came along and I was back on board. I’m not sure how last week’s episode was, but tonight’s was pretty amazing, made even more impressive by the fact that Sheldon’s mom guested (Roseanne‘s Laurie Metcalf) and not only stole the show as the most interesting Christian on television, but also by scoring the funniest one-liners in an episode so packed with them that I had trouble keeping up. Sheldon’s mom is visiting because she’s either on her way to or back from a Born Again cruise featuring such activities as Jonah and the Whale Watch and has stopped in to see her Shelly. Sheldon’s plans for her to cook him fried chicken and pie get thwarted when she winds up getting sushi and doing a tour of the area with Raj, Howard, Penny and Leonard. A real tentpole in the episode for me was when Mrs. Cooper had each of them pray for something out loud in the church. Penny asked for her brother to stop making meth, but without cops getting involved, Leonard first asked for height and then some help with Priya, Howard passed trying not to burst into flames and Raj (through Howard) asked to loose some weight before Sheldon’s mom suggested he should ask about that whole “not talking to girls” thing. Great stuff all around. Meanwhile, Sheldon’s on his own, it starts to rain and he gets sick. After comparing himself to a man next to him waiting for a bus, saying the other guy is average and unremarkable, he winds up at home sick and his mom takes good care of him. I thought I saw on Twitter that Bill Prady has written another verse to “Soft Kitty” for this week’s episode, but I’m either mistaken or it got cut out of tonight’s episode. Oh, there was also a scene where Sheldon goes over to Amy’s apartment and she explains to him that, when it comes to emotions, every human is pretty much the same, regardless of intelligence level. It’s a quick, but effective scene (and one that puts him on the bus stop I mentioned above). It’s a great example of using a character effectively, without feeling the need to keep them around for the entire episode. There’s a great split of characters, bouncing pretty much everyone off of Mrs. Cooper except the one person you expect to see her with. They also didn’t try to shoehorn in Bernadette, Priya or Raj’s parents, which I think shows a maturing writer’s room. I hope they can keep it up!

QUOTES!

“My mom’s fried chicken is why we had to buy my dad an extra large coffin.” – Sheldon

“There’s a lot of harm in trying something new, that’s why we test drugs and cosmetics on bunny rabbits.” Sheldon regarding his mom wanting to try sushi.

“I bought six new friends, unfortunately three of them are dead.” – drunken Raj outside Sheldon & Leonard’s door with a 6-pack

“I thought it was OUR Indians that have the occasional drinking problem.” – Mrs. Cooper

“Penny has a lot of money tied up in promiscuity futures.” – Sheldon to his mom with Penny in the room.

“They don’t always get to ride the rollercoaster, sometimes they just get to spin the tea cups.” – Penny

“When I was your age, you could have me for a car ride and a bottle of strawberry wine.” – Mrs. Cooper

“Hey, they have wine here, don’t they?” – Penny in the church

“That’s the last Jew who did sit ups…and look where it got him.” – Howard to Raj looking at a crucifix

“I’m good, but it would be a big help to my family if you could make my brother stop cooking meth.” – Penny praying

“I guess it’s a little late to ask you to make me taller.” – Leonard in church

Blogging Big Bang Theory S5 “The Wiggly Finger Catalyst”

Wow, what a difference a week can make. While last week’s episode felt really unbalanced and not overly good, I think tonight’s Raj-centric one was pretty darn great. I think the difference is that the writers kept the story focused instead of spreading it around too much. In this case, Raj is the main attraction–like Gladys Knight–and everyone else is singing back-up Pips style.

The episode kicks off with the dudes sitting around playing Dungeons & Dragons where they actually encounter both a dungeon and a dragon. Howard complains about wedding prep stuff while Raj wishes he had a girlfriend. Meanwhile the ladies are at Penny’s house waxing their hands and Amy not-so-subtly put it out there that she wouldn’t mind being one of Bernadette’s bridesmaids. I originally thought that they were going to focus on Howard and Bernadette this episode, but they zigged when I thought they were zagging and had the ladies decide to set Raj up with someone. Later, the guys are eating at the Cheesecake Factory. Sheldon has decided to let dice decide the more trivial decisions in life, which winds up ordering succotash, a pitcher of margaritas and Sunday for him. This is a fun recurring joke for the rest of the episode, but it makes me wonder if these are the performances worthy of an award winner.

Anyway, Penny and Howard introduce Raj to a deaf girl who he starts dating. At first he has to do so with Howard’s help because Howard is the only one who knows sign language. I thought this was actually a pretty clever way around his inability to talk to women, but the problem I had was that, if she’s been deaf her whole life, why doesn’t she read lips? I mean, I’m sure not every single deaf person in the world knows how, but Raj is saying all kinds of extra stuff to Howard, like adding subtly to signs that I assume isn’t possible (though those were really, really funny moments). Turns out that Raj winds up buying his new girl all kinds stuff, like a car and a ruby necklace. The others start worrying that she might be a gold digger or that she’s taking advantage of him, except for Penny who thinks handicapped people can’t be bad. Sheldon (who now has a mustache thanks to the dice) reveals to them that Raj’s parents are roughly Richie Rich rich, which lands between Bruce Wayne and Scrooge McDuck on the scale. This new knowledge makes Raj more attractive to Penny.

For some reason, Penny decides to call Raj’s parents who inform their son that they won’t be supporting him if he continues to date this girl instead of an Indian girl. He tells the girl this, she hugs him and makes a face. Cut to Raj crying on Penny’s shoulder because he got dumped. Poor Raj. The episode ends with everyone leaving Raj with the check because they all know he’s rich. In addition to having a much more solid and balanced story, tonight’s ep also sported a ton of great lines, like such:

“Eat another pie, you’ll have your own bazongas.” Howard to Raj who was eating a whole pie.

“Because you don’t have a girlfriend? If that becomes a reason not to play Dungeons & Dragons, this game is in trouble.” – Sheldon

“Does she really mean that or did she sign that sarcastically.” Raj to Howard.

“What else can I tell you about me that would make you like me?” Raj to his date.

“Get signing, hand-monkey.” Raj to Howard.

“Handicapped women are not gold diggers.”Penny, but I think i screwed that one up.

“I’m a gynecologist, I know exactly what she’s giving you.” – Raj’s dad.

“Sometimes I put the TV on mute just to pretend she’s still with me…but I can’t watch the closed captioning without crying.” Raj to Penny.

“Oh cheesecake, you’re just as good as a woman even if I can’t have sex with you” Raj “Just throw it in the microwave for a few seconds.” Howard

Blogging Big Bang Theory S5 “The Pulled Groin Extrapolation”

As I mentioned in my gigantic TV post for last week, I caught the first two Big Bang Theory episodes of the fifth season while on vacation, but didn’t take any notes or blog about them. Here’s how the story broke down: Sheldon gets obsessed with toy trains especially the small ones, Bernadette tries living with Howard at his mother’s house and Leonard and Amy wind up hanging out and going to a wedding together.I gotta say, I wasn’t really a fan of tonight’s episode because I think they went a little too broad and goofy with most of the characters. The Sheldon stuff started off fairly normal–normal for Sheldon at least–but got a little obsessive and weird. However, he saved the episode for himself when he karate chopped Leonard. The Howard and Bernadette stuff was the worst for me, which I hate saying because I really like them together and as their own characters. See, Howard assumed he and Bernadette would move in with his mother after they got married. After arguing about this, Bernadette agrees to a trial weekend staying there. I could buy into the idea for a little while, but when Howard says his mom cuts his meat for him I was out. I know that it’s a comedy and they’re going for hyperbole to get laughs, but you lose me when it gets super lame. Plus, I have a thing about people who aren’t independent. Even so, there was a moment towards the end of their arc where Bernadette and Howard’s mother are talk-yelling to each other that’s hauntingly funny. On the other hand, I did like seeing Amy and Leonard hanging out. It’s not nearly as funny as the early episodes when just Penny and Sheldon were alone, but fun enough. There’s a whole different dynamic with these characters, yet it’s familiar because Amy’s not too far off from Sheldon. Seeing them together at a wedding together and doing the funky chicken was a nice treat. Even better was seeing Sheldon get threatened by Leonard after he mentioned his injured groin obliquely and its relation to Amy and karate chop his roommate in the neck. From the nerd side of things, you got to see some new or at least not regularly seen angles of Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment as well as a few new things in Howard’s room. I think I saw a DC New Frontier poster in the apartment and a bunch of posters and statues I hadn’t noticed before in Howard’s place like a movie Silk Spectre bust and a Mirror’s Edge poster among other things. The one thing that really stumped me though was Leonard’s shirt in the beginning of the episode. It’s yellow with what looks like a superhero wearing a red costume of some kind. It looked almost like Captain Marvel or Magnus Robot Fighter, but I couldn’t get a good look at it. So, overall it wasn’t a great episode, though anyone that relegates Sheldon and Penny to B and C plots tends to get that way for me. Even in the plots I thought were too much there were moments that had me laughing pretty hard, so they’re doing something right, I’d just like to see things a little more focused.

Casting Internets

Wow, it has been way too long since I went through my reading material and shared them with you guys. Here’s what I’ve got, please excuse some of the older links.

First off, huge super congrats to my pal Megan for graduating nursing school! (via CKT)

I chatted with Joshua Williamson about his upcoming Image book Xenoholics and Ron Marz about all his upcoming Top Cow projects for CBR.

I also wrote about the Williams-Sonoma free comic by CB Cebulski and Todd Nauck to help benefit Share Our Strength AND took a look at Luke Cage’s costumes throughout the years.

Jim Shooter went on a storytelling rant I quite enjoyed, especially the part about how comic writers don’t introduce characters anymore. I also agree that too many comics now are derivative of old ones. So, so true.
Wynn Ryder did Leonard from Big Bang Theory over on his sketchblog The Daily Sketchjam.

/Film passed along a rumor that Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme might be in Expendables 2. That is amazing. Also, John Travolta. Eh.

HBO’s Tales From The Crypt series holds a very special place in my heart, so I’m definitely curious about a new version that will be less of an anthology and more of an ongoing series. (/Film)

Anyone who reads this blog on the regular will know that I’m a sucker for honest, behind-the-scenes stories and 1989 Captain America director Albert Pyun talking to CBR about his movie fits the bill absolutely.
Chris Sinderson mashed up Jack Kirby’s Kamandi with the Peanuts over on Drawbridge.

Tim Seeley’s writing Masters of the Universe minicomics through Dark Horse? Very cool. (via CBR)

I haven’t read GQ‘s oral history of The Dana Carvey Show yet because it’s 7 pages, but I’m excited to.

Brian Truitt wrote a great piece about MASK for USA Today. Good stuff. If you wonder what I thought about the new DVDs, click here.

As a big Hong Kong Phooey fan, I’m less concerned about the possibility of Eddie Murphy voicing the title character than I am of the movie being live action with a CGI HKP. Let’s go full on CGI with this one! (via /Film)If you haven’t yet, do yourself a favor and check out Phil Noto‘s blog where he’s doing a series of drawings in a late 60s style supposedly from Hank Pyn’s Photo Archives.

I’m a big fan of Alice Cooper, so I’m jazzed to hear that he’s got a new record coming out on September 13th called Welcome 2 My Nightmare. (via Rolling Stone)

/Film told me that Roseanne’s working on a new sitcom called Downwardly Mobile. I will absolutely, positively watch that.

Did you know that only Storm appeared in the 90s Spider-Man Secret Wars cartoon arc because of plane tickets? I didn’t either until I read last week’s Comic Book Legends Revealed.

Casting Internets

I talked to Tim Seeley about taking over Witchblade, Jonathan Hickman about Feel Better Now, Erik Larsen about resurrecting Osama bin Laden in Savage Dragon and showed off some exclusive Walking Dead Board Game art by Charlie Adlard over on CBR.

Meanwhile, I wrote a piece about a Captain America comic for servicemen and women at Marvel.com. Just writing about it made me feel patriotic!

I even had time to write about a bunch of toys and collectibles for the latest issue of Wizard World.

Congrats to Janet Lee on being nominated for the Manning Award Spotlight. She’s the most interesting new comic artist around and everyone should read Return of the Dapper Men! (via The Beat)

Big Bang Theory fans should check out the full video for the Barenaked Ladies’ video for the show. Fun side fact, I’ve interviewed two people in said video! (via Pop Candy)
In other BBT news, Dean at Springfield Punx just drew Sheldon!

For some reason I thought David Browne’s Rolling Stone piece about the Beatles’ last day was super long. It was only two pages and pretty damn interesting.

I also finally read my first Cameron Crowe article from Rolling Stone. It’s an interview with Neil Young from the 70s and pretty damn good. This one’s been sitting around in the to-read queue for quite a while.

A Black Keys record inspired by the Clash? Hell yeah! (via Rolling Stone)

I really enjoyed reading James Floyd Kelly’s Geek Dad post about building his own video game cabinet. I hope to join his ranks some day when I have the time, space and money!

James Robinson is writing a 12-issue Shade series. Huh. Starman is in my top three all time favorite comic book runs, but Robinson has not been super impressive lately. Besides, how is the Shade–a JSA villains–supposed to exist in this new DC Universe that doesn’t seem to have a JSA? Eh I might still give it a shot. (via CBR)Matt Kaufenberg’s been doing some awesome toy entries over at An Illustration-A-Day Blog lately, I especially like the recent Kid-Vid one, based on the Burger King Kid’s Club leader!

Finally, did you know that character actor Stephen Tobolowsky recorded music with Stevie Ray Vaughan when he was in high school? You can check out proof and the songs here. I found out about this on Marc Maron’s amazing podcast, which you can check out here or on iTunes by search for WTF Podcast.