Greetings from the Odinson,
When it comes to entertainment, right now, comic book fans are really living in a Golden Age. TV shows and movies we could only dream about twenty years ago are now becoming reality. As a child of the eighties, the Odinson will always (and with good reason) tout that decade as the greatest explosion of imagination of all time (more on that at a future date). But present day is making a good run at the title.
From Batman Begins to Iron Man, comic books are making a splash on the Big Screen. From the good (Thor) to the bad (Wanted) to the ugly (Kick Ass), comic book movies are drawing in the audiences, and with films like The Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, and Man of Steel still to come, they are showing no signs of slowing down. This past week, I finally got around to watching X-Men: First Class. I have never been a huge X-Men fan, and the fact that this project was straying away from comic continuity (i.e., Beast and Havok being contemporaries of Xavier and Magneto) didn’t help its case. But I went into it with an open mind and to my surprise found myself really enjoying the film. I really love the way the movie portrayed the Beast. His look, both human and blue-furred, was spectacular. They really captured that character for me. When I read the comics, that’s how I envision the Beast. Plus, a certain cigar-chomping mutant’s cameo was priceless.
But the Big Screen isn’t the only area where fanboys and girls are being treated to some gold. The Small Screen is really stepping up to the plate and producing some really great shows. The Walking Dead is absolutely riveting television. It stays true and close enough to the source material so as not to upset the apple cart, but at the same time adds its own elements and surprises to keep the viewers on their toes. Such a great achievement, the show can be enjoyed by those that have never read the comics and by longtime fans that have been on board since Walking Dead #1 was released back in 2003. The best thing about the show is the people. It’s the end of the world and how these normal people, not super heroes, but average everyday people deal with it and interact with each other is the driving force behind the series. Pathos and drama are words I would use to describe this show. Oh yeah, and there are zombies as well. If a show can make the viewer audibly gasp once in a season, then it has done its job. From the mid-season finale to the final three episodes of Season 2, The Walking Dead has delivered shocking moment after shocking moment. Just like the graphic novel it’s based on, it allows you to catch your breath and feel safe, but just for a moment before all hell breaks loose.
Another example of fantastic television is the HBO series Game of Thrones. To say that I like this show would be an extreme understatement. I had heard about it for sure, but I had yet to actually watch an episode, that was until last weekend. I had a day to kill, so around 10:30 AM I pulled up On Demand and watched the first episode, then proceeded for the next ten hours to watch the entire first season in one sitting. The show was absolutely amazing. Game of Thrones is based on the novel by the same name and is the first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series. Set in a fantasy world where summer can last years and winter can last for a life time, Thrones is about seven kingdoms vying for position and control. Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell is asked by King Roberts, his longtime friend and ally, to come back to the capital Kings’ Landing and serve as the King’s Right Hand. Reluctantly Stark agrees, but a series of tragedies and betrayals besiege him and his family as the story unfolds. Meanwhile, across the sea, a white-haired disenfranchised prince and his beautiful sister have allied with a barbarian horde and threaten war with King’s Landing and the Seven Kingdoms. But even more ominous is the unseen threat which begins to gather to the far north beyond the great Wall. An ancient evil is stirring and it has the Night Watch nervous. The Night Watch is an order of rangers stationed at the Wall to protect the Seven Kingdoms from what lies beyond. Again the driving force for this series is the characters and their interaction with each other. The acting is top notch and, like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones really keeps the viewer on his toes. Dynamite Entertainment has even begun a graphic novel adaptation of Game of Thrones. If you haven’t seen this show yet, do yourself a favor and pick up the DVDs or pull it up on your On Demand. You will not be sorry. It’s like watching a live action Dungeons and Dragons show, for adults.
I’ve never been a cop show or courtroom drama person so shows like Bones and CSI have never been my cup of tea, but I will go on record and say that The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones are two of the best television dramas of the last twenty years. They now have a place on the list next to other must see shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Doctor Who and Twin Peaks. Watching the Game of Thrones has made me want to read the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series, so I picked up the first book and I’m ready to dive in. The second season of Thrones starts in April. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell