Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Premiere (Spoilers)

5 things you need to know about the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series premiere:

1.       Agent Phil Coulson is most likely a Life Model Decoy. (It’s okay, don’t dwell.) LMDs are S.H.I.E.L.D. designed androids that have appeared in various Marvel comic books. There are many LMDs of S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury himself. During a scene where Agent Coulson recounts his peaceful, yet unfulfilling time away from the field, Agent Hill and Dr. Streiten exchange discreet words about Agent Coulson being under the impression he spent his recovery in Tahiti, when really he has no idea about his previous whereabouts. If you saw The Avengers then you know that Agent Coulson got, as he put it, “shanked by the Asgardian Mussolini.” It was pretty brutal, he clearly had internal bleeding, and he seemingly died, but now Agent Coulson’s “death” is only referenced as a ruse; the catalyst the Avengers needed to band together and take down Loki and his minions.
2.       Agent Coulson’s team is a well-balanced mix of brain and brawn (with three strong, intelligent women!) Agent May is an ace pilot, weapons expert, and trained combat fighter; Agent Ward is a black ops specialist; Agent Fitz and Agent Simmons (initially referred to as Fitzsimmons, which reinforces their closeness) specialize in weapons technology and human/alien life sciences, respectively. New recruit Skye is an advanced computer hacker. They all bring charm, wit, intelligence, warmth, and goofiness to the table, which makes them a formidable and appealing team.
3.       In regards to canon, the pilot takes place after the events of The Avengers, and most likely either before or during the events of Iron Man 3.  Both the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode 1.1 and IM3 plots revolve around the Extremis Virus (an experimental regenerative treatment intended to allow recovery from crippling injuries).
4.       Did you notice Ron Glass from Firefly and Serenity as Dr. Streiten? How about J. August Richards from Angel as Mike Peterson? My guess is that we will be seeing a lot more actors from some of Joss Whedon’s other stellar works like Buffy, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, and of course, hopefully, The Avengers.
5.       Agent Coulson’s red 1962 C1 series Corvette convertible, Lola, is fitted with Tony Stark hover technology. That baby purrs and flies! So definitely, “Don’t touch Lola!”

*I think Joss could also tap into the Marvel animated universe a bit. If you watch, or have kids who watch, Ultimate Spider-Man, Agent Phil Coulson is acting principal of Midtown High School where some superheroes, like Iron Fist, attend. I think that would be a cool way to incorporate new superheroes and some undercover type work from Agent Coulson and/or his team.

What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiere? Will you be tuning in for the rest of the season? Sound off in the comment section below!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lucas Black Returns to Fast and Furious

Maybe it’s the rush I’m still on after watching Fast and Furious 6 for the first time this past weekend (I know, I know I’m late) but upon (finally) reading confirmation that Lucas Black will be returning to the F&F series, I literally busted out a dance move at my cubicle. Sean Boswell’s return would be the logical step for the next film which chronologically follows his starring role in 2006’s Tokyo Drift. There has been much hype about other new casting choices such as Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Kurt Russell, Djimon Hounsou, and Ronda Rousey, but I, and many other fans I’m sure, have been waiting to hear about Black. I have been checking his Wikipedia page incessantly since the spring to see if his filmography would be updated with Fast & Furious 7, even if they were attempting to keep it hush-hush in the entertainment news. Tokyo Drift wasn’t necessarily my favorite film in the series, but it had Black as Boswell, along with Han, and introduced Drifting. I have been a fan of Black’s since American Gothic. That little boy could act! I’m sure his onscreen chemistry with Tyrese and Ludacris will be hilarious. I can’t wait to see what the next installment has in store for fans!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sleepy Hollow Comes Out Ahead

Sleepy Hollow premiered with over 10 million viewers, chopping down the Monday night competition and becoming Fox's highest-rated fall opener in seven seasons.

If you merged Jason Vorhees and Ghost Rider together during the Revolutionary War, I’m pretty sure the result would be Sleepy Hollow’s menacing Headless Horseman. (Especially after you witness the Horseman rise out of the lake and stride over to his horse like a GQ model, sans skull.) The premiere of the new FOX show had me hooked for its witty and charming characters, stellar camera work, and unique, original storyline. Initially, I wasn’t too impressed with the previews and thought the show might be cheesy but chose to watch because, though FOX doesn’t always know how to keep great shows on, the network has had its share of gems that didn’t get the time they deserved to shine: Tru Calling, Dollhouse, Lie to Me, Dark Angel, Night Visions, Millennium, The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Firefly, and M.A.N.T.I.S. I was thoroughly entertained with Sleepy Hollow. The fact that there is a diverse cast with a strong, tough, beautiful leading African American lady in the form of Nicole Beharie was just icing on the cake. (She went total Tyson on a thumb.) Ichabod Crane and Abbie have a chemistry that cannot be ignored, highlighted by their tête à tête conversations on slavery emancipation, women wearing trousers, and Starbucks. Ichabod and Abbie also have an inherently deeper connection which will continue to emerge as the season progresses, primarily due to the fact that they are the two witnesses who must face seven years of tribulation in order to save the world. Welp, that’s one way to get to know someone.

Another interesting piece of the puzzle is that Ichabod’s wife, burned at the stake for being a witch after she cast the spell which sent him 200+ years into the future, remains stuck in an alternate plane, reaching out to warn and advise Ichabod through his dreams. Then there is the Headless Horseman who turns out to be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; a truly formidable opponent, I’d say. When we first see the Horseman, as he prepares to battle Ichabod pre head loss, he has a mask covering half of his face and eerie, glassy blue eyes. In the present, the Horseman decapitates his victims with a heated broad axe blade, and some color guard style embellishments, leaving no messy cleanup. However, the Horseman quickly and proficiently begins using a shotgun and automatic rifle because…why not? If I could function without a head, I’d be pretty bad-ass, too, using Post-Its as throwing stars.

In a Harry Potter type twist, Ichabob and the Horseman are oddly connected after some icky co-mingling of their blood following their first altercation. Moreover, now that Abbie has discovered a mysterious key in Sheriff Corbin’s office, there is sure to be more evil creatures, bad guys posing as good guys within the police department, and more of Clancy Brown’s notable narration as Abbie uncovers additional secrets and answers from his research into the mysterious town. Because only a town named Sleepy Hollow could have unsolved cases; mysterious, supernatural occurrences; and remain in a perpetual state of autumn. Hopefully the creative juices will continue to flow as writers embark on what looks to be a great first season to a new hit show.