Category: TV

The growing power of the Idiot’s Lantern…

Constantine: The Original Sins of Adaptation

John Constantine on screen

 

Vanquisher of demons, careless of friends, it’s the irresistible pull of film and television that’s posed John Constantine’s biggest challenge. Three episodes into his televisions series, a look at the celluloid past, present and future.

CONSTANTINE. JOHN CONSTANTINE. IT’S BEEN WELL DOCUMENTED ON JOKERSIDE THAT HE’S ONE OF THE GREATEST FICTIONAL CREATIONS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. FACT. Inspired by Sting, hailing from Liverpool. So compelling, so real, that he appeared to his creator twice, seized the crown as Vertigo comic’s greatest son before making a fully formed attack on the House of Batman and Superman…

As he nears his 30th birthday, Constantine’s profile is stronger than ever. Now a cornerstone of the main DC Comic universe, he’s a major reason that Justice League Dark is one of the publisher’s New 52 revelations, let alone his own title Constantine. Hellblazer was the cost, an incredible 300 issue run over 25 years, from an incredible roster of writers. But while the age-rating may have dropped as he literally hit the mainstream, that’s surely an indication that it’s time he made a successful leap to new media. Like uttering a spell with a demon’s fingers around your neck: Easier said than done. He’s already been there before of course. And now, following the moderately successful 2005 film, could the mage’s brightest future lie with the NBC’s new Constantine series or Guillermo del Toro’s long gestating Justice League Dark adaptation?

Hellblazer stakes a claim

Director Francis Lawrence is currently enjoying the glow of ending the Hunger Games saga on the big screen. But in 2005, following a string of high-profile music videos, his film debut was the much anticipated adaptation of Constantine’s comic adventures. And who was that Constantine?  Well to quote Jokerside, “John Constantine, the Liverpudlian wizard, working class chain smoker and all round sarcastic bastard”.

Continue reading “Constantine: The Original Sins of Adaptation”

Doctor Who: Slitheen – The Green, the Good and the Ugly (Whovember #9)

Ninth Doctor Whovember Jokertoon

9d 

The first retrospective of the new series finds the lonely Ninth Doctor on his short travels. In particular, a look at his complete adventures involving the new series first recurring villains. Bold and unforgettable maybe, but were they any good: The family Slitheen.

New-Whovember, the sequel to Whovember as Doctor Who Series Eight returns…

#9: The Return of the Returning Monster: Aliens of London, World War III and Boom Town

IT’S APRIL 2005 AND THE DOCTOR’S ADVENTURES HAD PROVED AN UPROARIOUS SUCCESS. Four episodes in, after visiting the past and far future with new companion Rose, he returns to London for the first time. We’d already learned about the Time War, the TARDIS, the Time Lords, met old rogues in the Autons and new villains in the Gelth. But now there was something more crucial. Episodes four and five formed a two-parter. The first two-parter of the New Series. This wasn’t just show runner Russell T Davies’ chance to create a feature film for Sunday afternoons (ahem, still not happened BBC…) but also the return of the one giant and so far missing Who staple… The Cliff-hanger. Continue reading “Doctor Who: Slitheen – The Green, the Good and the Ugly (Whovember #9)”

Doctor Who: Countdown to New-Whovember – The Classic Whovember Recap!

Whovember - classic Doctor Who retrospective

Whovember - classic Doctor Who retrospective

AKA. A warm-up to…  New Whovember: Three Doctors, Two show runners and War Doctor in a right state…

The sequel to the classic Whovember is brewing like the Oncoming Storm…While New Whovember will bring us bang up to date with the 21st century adventures of the Mad Man in a Box, a recap of Classic Whovember’s delves into that happy time before the Great Time War.

WHOVEMBER WAS A MONTH-LONG LOOK AT CLASSIC DOCTOR WHO. THE MONUMENTAL 26-YEAR RUN STRETCHING FROM TOTTER’S LANE IN EAST LONDON ON A  FOG-BOUND NIGHT IN 1963 TO…  THE SUN-DRENCHED, CAT-STALKED STREETS OF PERIVALE.  Though that may be preferable to the Albert Square of, er, the East End that popped up (so-un canonically) in 1993, those original, halcyon years covered far more ground than those eight or so miles suggest.  It almost seems a shame to consider the show’s Millennial trip to San Francisco. But in the midst of the show’s hugely successful 21st century relaunch, the Eighth Doctor can’t be allowed to sit in the middle.

With more than a few highs and lows over the years, as you might expect from a show designed to test the limits of what television formats can do, Who managed to retain some form of stiff upper lip throughout its run at least.  And #Whovember wasn’t just a retrospective.  In the anniversary month of 2013, it was a series that set out to take an individual Doctor and a different, crucial aspect of the show’s myth, and look at them through the prism of a plot arc or set of serials.  As usual with these things, much like piloting a TARDIS, it wasn’t an exact art. The original series was issued unchronologically, ensuring that no Doctor sat adjacent to another. For this summary, we’ll straighten out the time stream… Let’s start at the beginning.

#1 – “We’re trying to defeat the Daleks, not start a jumble sale” 

 Serials that mark one of the definitive actions of the classic run1

The First Doctor provided the perfect opportunity to look at the show’s  legacy through two successive serials, 1965’s The Space Museum and the Dalek romp of the same year, The Chase.  These could also be considered the serial with far too much ambition and the serial with absolutely no plot.  But one strong element in the defense of both is that they do both feature Daleks. And a young Boba Fett – young Jeremy Bulloch as part of a revolution so pathetic it probably triggered the Time War in disgust.  Yes, coming two years into the show’s early, heavy schedule, both serials receive their fair share of negative criticism it’s fair to say. But both also throw up some interesting ideas and not just in terms of their production.  Perhaps their stand-out role in shaping Who’s legacy is that they they stage a show first, a definitive action of the classic run that remains a challenge and opportunity for the show today: the loss of the last two original companions, Ian and Barbara.  Undoubtedly important, could it be, as remarked in Whovember #1, that… Continue reading “Doctor Who: Countdown to New-Whovember – The Classic Whovember Recap!”

Batman at 75: Gotham City on Film II – Cracked Actor in the 21st Century

Batman's Gotham City on film Jokertoon

Gotham II Bane

The tale of a paved and cracked actor. As Gotham turns one of the most the famous fictional cities into a television character, a look at how the city that has Batman as its guardian has fared on screen since the tun of the century…

THE FIRST PART OF THIS RETROSPECTIVE TOOK A LOOK AT THE FICTIONAL CITY AS IT WAS PORTRAYED ON THE BIG SCREEN THROUGHOUT THE 20TH CENTURY. With a new century the hero was fast entering his seventh decade, so what could that mean for one of America’s oldest cities? Well, the cinematic adventures of the previous decade had forced the bat glove, with a need to reboot and retune. It was time for something darker, edgier and less comic book. So, Warner Brothers turned to Christopher Nolan.

Batman Begins (2005)

Bruce Wayne couldn’t simply be a creation of his home town

It would be wrong to simply describe Batman Begins as more realistic, but its palette was instantly expanded to include it. No film had really touched the origins of Batman; the nearest stabs being 1989’s freshly minted suit and Forever’s trawling through childhood trauma. Starting with the discovery of the Bat Cave in the grounds of Wayne Manor, on the outskirts of Gotham’s Palisades, Begins then takes us out of Gotham for long swathes. Bruce Wayne couldn’t simply be a creation of his home town.
Continue reading “Batman at 75: Gotham City on Film II – Cracked Actor in the 21st Century”

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