Brainiac On Banjo #033: Stream On, It’s A Crazy Feeling!

Brainiac On Banjo #033: Stream On, It’s A Crazy Feeling!

Most likely you have noticed the shift from static broadcast and cable television and movies to streaming services such as Netflix and DC Universe… to name but two. This stuff is growing like amoebas on steroids. In the relatively few years since this all began, it has knocked the poo out of the free media industries.

Unlike their cohorts in cable and terrestrial broadcasting, theater owners saw this coming and, in order to protect their investments, started offering new experiences such as larger, more comfortable and more adjustable seating, a wider range of unhealthy overpriced foods and snacks, new screens that can be viewed from the International Space Station, and sound systems that will deafen you. Great fun!

For the moment, at least.

The American comic book industry jumped on this concept out of the same cultural-shift that affected these other entertainment industries. Peculiarly, American comic book publishers have not shown much in the way of innovation over the past 86 years; the last huge improvement came when Major Wheeler-Nicholson decided to commission new work instead of relying upon newspaper strip reprints. That happened a mere 84 years ago.

When comixology came along offering comics new and old to their subscribers to be read (but not stored) on computers and tablets, as well as on cellphones for those who enjoy squinting, most publishers were quick to embrace this new means of distribution. Since then, the quantity of such material has skyrocketed and now DC’s stream-liner, DC Universe, is claiming they will be offering damn near every DC-owned comic online as part of that service. It’s also available on your television set, assuming you enjoy squinting but doing so on your smartphone requires too much effort.

That’s cool. Technology marches on, and the side benefit is that we’re saving a lot of trees, creating more oxygen and using fewer fossil fuels to distribute pretty colors printed on the corpses of saplings. Some people, not all of whom are nostalgia-soaked geriatrics, don’t like this and that is completely understandable. Just wait until they must move their comic book collection to a new abode. With two-terabyte thumb-drives available and heading towards affordability, you can put a copy of every comic book ever published in America on maybe four such drives and drop them in your purse or pocket.

So, last week Apple announced their new Apple News+ program which will stream more than 240 newspapers and magazines into the ethersphere for $10 a month. Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, Vogue… lots of stuff, with the promise of more to come. Well, that sounds convenient, particularly to those of us with tablets, and even more so to my fellow geriatrics with growing vision issues. That 13” iPad is looking better to me all the time, and I haven’t subscribed to this new service – at least not yet. Several more daily newspapers of note would be nice.

Immediately and quite predictably, the naysayers started screaming nay. “This will kill magazines and newspapers,” they say. Oh, yeah? If you live within a convenient walk of a retailer who offers more than 240 magazines and newspapers, consider yourself very lucky. Most people do not. If you want to choose from a variety of publications, you better be ready to drive out to one of the rapidly-dwindling big box stores such as Barnes and Noble and then pray for the best. This distribution method, pioneered by Apple with iTunes, saved the music industry. Is FYI still around? How about Borders? Ya wanna get this stuff somewhere.

If there’s but one rule that pervades Earth history, it’s that change is constant. Maintaining access to editorial content must adapt. If you lust for the smell of old paper – and I kinda do myself – pull apart one of those CGC clamshells and take a good snort.

(A tip of the hoodie to Buddy Holly for our headline this week)

Brainiac On Banjo #026: The Doom Patrol – For Misfits Who Rock

Brainiac On Banjo #026: The Doom Patrol – For Misfits Who Rock

“Embargo.” That sounds like an old person’s muscular issue.

It’s also a word imposed upon us overwrought critics that means “here’s something really cool but you can’t tell anybody about it for a couple weeks.” Most of the people who have access to this stuff want to shout to all those within reading distance, particularly if the material either really impresses us or really pisses us off. But a deal is a deal. The embargo on coverage of the new Doom Patrol series premiering later this week on DC Universe was lifted at 9 AM Pacific this morning, so it’s off to the races for those of us who had been professionally tongue-tied.

I appreciated one of the first lines uttered in the first episode: “More teevee superheroes. Just what the world needs.” I can dig it. But the Doom Patrol wasn’t a typical superhero comic book in any of its various incarnations since its launch by DC Comics in the spring of 1963. And several of its more recent incarnations raised the bar on weird. The question is, how to you port all of that over to the small screen?

Perhaps a better question is “since the DC Universe service really upped the ante with Robin screaming ‘Fuck Batman!’ in the first episode of their Titans series, does The Doom Patrol continue this trend?”

Yup. It sure does. Nudity ­– slightly more than that which Janet Jackson offered us some time ago that blinded hordes of small children forevermore – enters the show a mere five minutes into the first episode. The first fuck (I’m referring to the word used in dialog and not the act) comes in around the 15-minute mark. The tone for the show is set rather dark and very weird.  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #026: The Doom Patrol – For Misfits Who Rock”

Continued After the Next Page 006: Why Do We Need to Relive Bad Decisions in Comics?

Continued After the Next Page 006: Why Do We Need to Relive Bad Decisions in Comics?

OK Folks. We are not all about spoilers here at PCS, but there is definitely some spoilery information in this post. If you have not seen the first six episodes of Young Justice: Outsiders, and you are planning to, there will be spoilery information below.

After a long break, one of the best animated shows ever has returned. Young Justice is now producing new episodes, and they are airing on the DC Universe streaming platform. This show has always been a favorite of mine, and I have urged as many people as I could to go and watch this fantastic series.. The new season is absolutely incredible. It is inventive and respectful to canon while telling a unique story. The voice acting is superb, the dialogue is witty and engaging, and the animation is excellent. However, I have an issue. It is the “respect for canon” thing with which I think the show-runners went a little too far.

Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page 006: Why Do We Need to Relive Bad Decisions in Comics?”

“Young Justice: Outsiders” Is Now Available on DC Universe

“Young Justice: Outsiders” Is Now Available on DC Universe

Today is the day!

For longtime fans of the Young Justice animated series, that phrase brings back good memories. It was the way the youthful heroes anticipated their graduation from sidekick status to full heroes.

Over the two previous seasons of this series, the group of four has changed, grown, and suffered loss. This series has been inarguably one of the best animated action series ever. The quality of the story telling and characterization has always been extremely high. When it was cancelled for spurious reasons, fans were devastated. However, it is back.

Continue reading ““Young Justice: Outsiders” Is Now Available on DC Universe”

Doom Patrol Teaser Ad & Promo Images

DC Universe recently released a teaser ad for the upcoming Doom Patrol series, as well as cool retro look character promo art

 

Brainiac on Banjo #017: Post-Reality Credits

Brainiac on Banjo #017: Post-Reality Credits

This might sound kind of bitchy, but then again regular readers of Brainiac On Banjo will note that my default writing style is set to “bitchy.” Hey, it’s a living.

If you watch superhero movies, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the plethora of post-credits teaser scenes. Don’t get me wrong: I love these post-credits teaser scenes. They were pioneered by Marvel Studios over a decade ago. I enjoy the fact that, recently, Marvel added a mid-credits sequence to most of their releases as well. I understand why those Marvel character movies that aren’t produced by Marvel Studios now have them as well – most of the current Spider-Man movies, the ever-widening X-Men cluster and, brilliantly, the Deadpool movies.

I like how Warner Bros imitates this in many of their DC movies, as have other franchises. To be fair, Marvel Studios “borrowed” the stunt from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, released 22 years prior to Iron Man I.I think there should be a law passed that each and every movie produced today and in the future – including documentaries – be compelled to have a post-credits sequence, preferably featuring Samuel L. Jackson and/or Robert Downey Jr. To lighten the budget, Sam can push a few credit cards if he so desires. But the last episode if the first season of DC’s Titans, lawfully available only on DC’s DC Universe streaming site, has an end-credits teaser that will most definitely screw you up.  Continue reading “Brainiac on Banjo #017: Post-Reality Credits”

YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS Release Date Revealed

YOUNG JUSTICE: OUTSIDERS Release Date Revealed

Via a teaser video, DC Universe has revealed the launch date of the next season of the Young Justice animated series. According to the teaser, it will debut on January 4. 2018.

Along with the Titans live action series, this was one of the early enticing pieces of original content that the the fledgling streaming service touted. The new season, which is the third for the series,  of this fan favorite is subtitled “Outsiders”.  The labeling of the season with a tag is in keeping with the previous season which was titled “Invasion”.

We here at PCS are looking forward to this series, which is continuing to be shepherded by the original showrunning team of Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman.

You can see the teaser trailer below.

 

Brainiac On Banjo #012: Streaming The Universe

Brainiac On Banjo #012: Streaming The Universe

The streaming service called DC Universe is up and running. Sort of. If you’re looking to discover why Robin angrily said “Fuck Batman!” you’re going to have to wait about a month, or fly to New York City, sneak into the New York Comic-Con (by all means, do not give those bastards your money), stand at the back of a cramped overstuffed under-air conditioned room and watch Titans about a week early.

Wow. I actually digressed in the lead paragraph. I’ll get back to my intended rant now.

The world of “television” changes every day, and where it’s heading right now seems to be an environment where you are getting a lot more entertainment and a lot more choice of where you want to get it. You also have a lot more hassle, signing up for Crom-knows how many streaming services. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Sling, HBO Now, DirecTV Now, Showtime When, Playstation Vue, Acorn, WatchTV, CBS All Access, ESPN+, Cinephiles, YouTube TV, NuMedia, Mubi, Fandor, Sundance, and now DC Universe… I’m sure I missed a few. Hell, before I did my research I hadn’t even heard of six of them. But even if you have, do not relax: there are plenty more coming your way, including Disney, which may or may not include Marvel and/or Star Wars and/or Pixar and/or Fox.

Each of these services run between about $5 to $50 a month and while there is some overlap, you’ve got to join – and pay for – each one separately. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that we’ll see mergers and washouts and aggregating services to lighten the load. But it’s unlikely there will be a service that lets you triple your available viewing time.

OK. “It’s a brave new world, yadda yadda yadda.” Every day it’s a goddamned brave new world. No wonder our attention spans have been reduced to that of kittens.  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #012: Streaming The Universe”

[Deadline] Brendan Fraser Cast As Robotman In Doom Patrol Series

[Deadline] Brendan Fraser Cast As Robotman In Doom Patrol Series

Brendan Fraser has been cast as one of the leads, Robotman/Cliff Steele, in DC Universe’s upcoming live-action series Doom Patrol, from Greg Berlanti and Warner Bros TV

Source: ‘Doom Patrol’: Brendan Fraser Cast As Robotman In DC Universe Series | Deadline

Fraser will voice Robotman & play Steele in flashbacks. Doom Patrol will be a spin-off of DC Universe’s first live action series, Titans. Jake Michaels played Cliff Steele/Robotman in the first season of Titans, so the (re)casting breaks continuity.

The steaming service’s series will also feature Cyborg, played by Joivan Wade, who is not Ray Fisher the guy who plays Cyborg in the movies. However, it is unclear if the DC Universe universe is yet another separate universe, I have a sinking feeling it is.

Brainiac On Banjo #004: Do WHAT To Batman?

Brainiac On Banjo #004: Do WHAT To Batman?

One of the least surprising announcements made at the just-concluded San Diego Comic Con was the detailed debut of the forthcoming DC Universe streaming service.

The short reveal: this service will deliver a bunch of brand-new superhero teevee shows (Titans, The Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, Young Justice: Outsiders, Harley Quinn, and Stargirl), evidently dumping most of an entire “season” at once in Netflix-like action. They’ll also offer much of their massive library feature-length movies, both animated and live action, and television shows, both animated and live action. You’ll be able to read various DC Comics right there on the screen, participate in discussions, look-up stuff in their encyclopedia, take a shot at a contest or two, and, surprise, buy all sorts of exclusive crap.

All of this happens for a mere $7.95 a month, or the cost of about two DC superhero comics. If you’re my age that probably seems high, but your mileage may vary. You get a 20% discount if you order a year in advance. There’s an even better deal going if you give them your money right now, trusting them to provide sufficient bang for your buck.

They showed a couple of trailers at SDCC because that’s what you do at SDCC. The big takeaway last week – their Titans trailer is 1:52 minutes of violent quick-cuts built around Robin’s verbalized oath “Fuck Batman!”

Well, the trailer is TV-MA. I guess that stands for “Mature Adults,” which is funny because such language often is perceived as immature. To me, a TV-MA is Barbara Billingsley. But (Hi, Peter!) I digress.

You might think Robin would never say “Fuck Batman.” Holy euphemism, Bat-fan! I find that impossible to believe. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #004: Do WHAT To Batman?”