Goodbye, Ol’ Chum!

He wasn’t the first on-screen Batman, nor the richest, nor the muscley-est, nor many other things. But, Adam West was perhaps the “funnest” and certainly the most inspirational for my generation. Of course, his show was well into syndication by the time I was old enough to watch. But, campy as it was, it was a favorite of this young superhero/comics fan. From all accounts, he was a really nice guy and fun to work with, too.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the memories, Caped Crusader!

 

 

 

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Top 20 TV Theme Songs from Genre Series, part 1 of 2

I think you will agree…

Sometimes, the music in a TV series can make a good series great or a great series even better. (Or, even a bad series tolerable.) This is especially true with the opening theme, which sets the mood for what the audience is about to watch. In fact, beyond the opening and closing credits, you might only ever notice any real music during transitional shots. But, those few times can make all the difference.

In this post and the next, I want to focus on the theme music from some of my favorite shows — from stuff already in syndication during my early childhood to new stuff currently airing. My first criterion was, of course, that the series had to fall under the sci-fi/fantasy and action/adventure banner that this blog is about. The theme couldn’t be taken from a movie (e.g., “The Highlander” series borrowed Queen’s “Princes of the Universe” from the original movie). And, the theme had to be — to my mind, at least — particularly catchy or otherwise memorable.

How many of these can you remember before playing the video clips? I have likely left out some of your favorites, but you’ll probably agree that these are among the best of genre theme songs. Moving in chronological order…

1) The Lone Ranger (1949-1957)

2) Peter Gunn (1958-1961)

3) Star Trek: TOS (1966-1969)

4) Mission: Impossible (1966-1973)

5) Batman (1966-1968)

6) Hawaii Five-O (1968-1980)

7) The Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1978)

8) Wonder Woman (1975-1979)

9) The Bionic Woman (1976-1978)

10) Battlestar Galactica (1978-1979)

That was fun! Did I get to your faves, yet? I hear you humming something….

Stay tuned until next week, when we continue the nostalgia trip into the 1980s and beyond!

P.S.  Just for the record, #s 1 & 2 were before my time, and #s 3 thru 6 I only ever saw in re-runs. I’m not that old!

Bits-n-Pieces II

To be honest, I wasn’t able to focus on a regular post this week. So, as I’ve done on a couple past occasions, I’m going to make relatively brief comments on a handful of recent genre announcements & developments….

Small Screen

star-trek-discovery-1920Item #1: A few things have developed re the upcoming ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ series since I last blogged about it in August, but even then I didn’t comment on everything we knew. For example, producer Bryan Fuller had said that the show’s primary protagonist will be a female Lt. Commander (a la Majel Barrett’s “Number One” in the original TOS pilot). There will be more “diversity” in the ship’s crew, particularly in terms of one or more LGBT characters. I’m not thrilled about this, though I’m not surprised for a number of reasons — e.g., the “progressive” nature of the franchise, Hollywood’s push for LGBT characters, Fuller is a part of that community, etc. He also indicated that they will push the Star Trek boundaries by possibly having a bit of nudity and more profanity. I’m not thrilled with this, either. I guess they can get away with it, since it won’t be on network TV; but, it also flies in the face of one “rule” Paramount/CBS has always had about keeping all Star Trek productions — including fan-made — “family friendly”. If they do proceed with this, I hope it is quite limited. Fortunately, Fuller did say,

“Star Trek’s not necessarily a universe where I want to hear a lot of profanity, either.”

In September, it was announced that STDisc’s debut was being pushed from January to May 2017. I had mixed feelings about this, but I’m not mad; if they need the extra time to make a great show, they should take it. Then Variety broke the story that Fuller had stepped down as showrunner, due to scheduling conflicts. Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (and Alex Kurtzman?) stepped up as co-showrunners, while Fuller remained as executive producer. This caused a lot of hubbub re the show’s direction, but Fuller remains the chief architect.

“Fuller has penned the first two scripts for “Discovery” and has hammered out the broader story arc and mythology for the new “Trek” realm.” — Variety

Given his intentions, I obviously have mixed feelings about this. (I like his idea of making it less episodic and having a multi-episode story arc, and I’m intrigued with the concept of making the ship’s captain merely a supporting player.) It was also indicated that Romulans may be the primary villains in the series, and that would seem to work for the era in which it will be taking place (i.e., 10 years prior to ST:TOS).

Item #2: Just a couple days ago, Marvel announced that it is teaming up with Disney|ABC Television Group and IMAX to develop a “Marvel’s The Inhumans” TV series. It will actually debut the first two episodes in IMAX theaters in September 2017. (That’s fast!) Not only is IMAX co-financing the project, but the IMAX cameras/tech will provide enhanced imagery and visual effects. Cool! Oh,… after the debut in theaters, the full 8 episodes will show on ABC starting in the Fall, “with additional exclusive content that can only be seen on the network.” Very cool!

1173129-inhumansThis show will not be connected to “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (This likely also means there will not be an Inhumans movie connected to the MCU.) So, the “inhuman” characters we have seen in the S.H.I.E.L.D. series will not be involved in this one. In fact, the new show will be centered on the Inhumans’ Royal Family that fans know from the comics and animated series (see pic).

I was always a fan of the Inhumans, with their unique society and ties to the Fantastic Four and X-Men (and the Kree race, of course). I look forward to seeing the city of Attilan and its odd denizens. If they do this right, I will be a very happy camper! (I feel a multi-part fan-casting coming on….)

Item #3: Another very recent announcement came from HBO — namely, there are official talks with author/creator George R.R. Martin about a “Game of Thrones” prequel show to follow the fan-favorite series. No details, as yet. As per HBO programming president Casey Bloys,

“[I]t’s still kind of preliminary ongoing talks. There are [time periods within GoT history] we are exploring, but I wouldn’t point to any one and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’”

Big Screen

Item #4: OK, part of this has been known for a few months, but stick with me…. For quite awhile, there was some question about whether or not we would see a new Batman solo movie or a proper sequel to Man of Steel. Now, the answer to both is “Yes!” Actually, it was back in Spring of this year (2016) that we found out Ben Affleck would be co-writing (with DC Entertainment CCO Geoff Johns) and starring in a Batman solo movie. Affleck was determined to complete a script he was happy with before he would begin filming. He also said he wanted to create an original story, borrowing familiar things from the comics, and that he wants to showcase Batman’s detective skills. (Amen to that!)

In the Summer it was confirmed that Affleck would be directing, and the tentative title is “The Batman”. More recently, Joe Manganiello signed on to play Deathstroke — presumably the main villain. The film is currently scheduled for release in Oct. 2018.

As for the Man of Steel 2, in August 2015 we got conflicting reports that George Miller would be directing and that the film was on “permanent hold”. But, a year later TheWrap announced that a Man of Steel sequel was finally in active development at Warner Bros. and “a top priority for the studio”. Henry Cavill’s agent, Dany Garcia, confirmed this in an interview with Newsweek in September, saying:

“[Cavill and I have] been in a five-month period of time where he’s re-strategizing, acquiring property [for his production company Promethean], he’s filming [Justice League] now, he’s in development for the Superman standalone… he’s beginning to expand that world.”

Man of Steel 2 likely won’t arrive in theaters until late 2019.

I have to say, I am psyched for both of these. Yes, I know: “It’s Batfleck!”… “Man of Steel and DvJ were too dark!”… “They changed too much stuff.”… yada, yada. I have already explained in previous posts that I share some of these concerns and also why I’m OK with other aspects. My hope is that the respective creative teams will respect the fans’ input and address those “problems” in the new films. For example, I am fine with a darker, more violent and cynical Batman at this stage in his career. But, I want the Superman film to have a more positive, brighter tone, both visually and thematically speaking.

negasonic-teenage-warhead-ego-the-living-planetItem #5: Only a couple days ago, it was reported that Marvel and Fox had worked out a “backroom deal” to trade characters. Well, not “trade” exactly, and this actually happened a couple years ago….

You may or may not remember — I always get this stuff confused — that 20th Century Fox owns the cinematic rights to all things X-Men related (including Deadpool), among other things, while Marvel Studios owns the cinematic rights to Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers. While developing Deadpool, the writers decided they really wanted the Negasonic Teenage Warhead character — or, at least, a differently-powered character with that name — but Marvel owned it. Marvel agreed to it but on the condition that they get to use Ego, the Living Planet, (owned by Fox) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Thus, the deal was struck.

This is big, because it shows that these two studios, who don’t always get along, can negotiate agreements to trade/loan characters to each other. All it takes is a mutually beneficial trade, and (hopefully) everybody — including the fans — wins. I hope this is a sign of things to come, so that other beloved characters can show up cross-studios, as it were.

Item #6: Finally, speaking of Deadpool… You probably already know that a sequel is already in pre-production and scheduled for a March 2, 2018, release. (Of course, first they need to replace the now-departed director, Tim Miller.) It is rumored to co-star Rich Sands as Nathan Summers / Cable. But, the studio is so confident in the franchise that it has already greenlit Deadpool 3. This one is rumored to include some version of the mutant team known as X-Force. (No idea what this means for Jeff Wadlow’s planned X-Force movie. Could be a jumping off point, I suppose.) Could be great news for Deadpool and X-Force fans!

Fin.

Notes on *Batman v Superman*

rsz_batman-v-superman-minYep, I finally watched Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. (Never got a chance to at the theaters.) In fact, I saw the 3-hour, Ultimate Edition. I’m not sure what parts were added that were not in the theatrical release, but I do remember reading that a couple extra scenes helped make certain things clearer to audiences who saw both. In any case, I figured I’d make some notes of a few of my thoughts, observations, and wishes — no in-depth analysis — and share them with you. Maybe you’ll agree with me, maybe you’ll think I’m too picky or not nearly critical enough. (Let me know in the comments.)

I think I’ll start with the villains, for a change….

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

Main Characters

Luthor: I was *very* disappointed. I hated him. Not like “He was such a great villain! I love to hate him!” More like, “What the *#%@! did they do to Lex Luthor?!” The Luthor I expect and want to see is an impeccably-dressed, arrogant businessman/scientist with megalomaniacal tendencies, exhibiting a cool malevolence punctuated by occasional fits of rage at “the alien”! What we got was a faux-slacker/manchild — clearly amoral, slightly nutty, and a bit stuck on himself — who’s trying to outdo Daddy’s legacy. (At least, they finally shaved his head.) Then there are those wild rantings at the very end. It’s like they wanted him to be part-Joker. Pitiful.

Doomsday: This version of Doomsday is more typical of film adaptations — part original concept from the comics, part “new ideas” that some writer thought would make it better. Well, it was OK, and I even understand why they tweaked his origins. But,… for one thing, he was too dang big — like 15 feet tall or more. (DC wiki has the original at 8’10”.) And, his head/face looked like, well, some have compared it to a turtle (TMNT?) or a cave troll (LOTR). Then there was the lack of boney protuberances (at least, at first) and the new, weird powers (e.g., energy absorption, electrokinesis, heat blasts). Just not necessary. I would have preferred something closer to the juggernaut bonehead from the comics — a cross between the Hulk and a T-800 Terminator, going on a rampage through downtown Metropolis. Sigh! C’est la guerre!

Batman: Despite previous misgivings, I thought Affleck did a decent job as 40-something Wayne/Batman. Not perfect, no, but good enough that I look forward to a Batman solo flick, possibly as early as Nov. 2018. He looked pretty beefed up, though he could use a little more mass and definition. I seem to recall some people complaining that this Batman was too violent, especially using guns (on his vehicles). But, I have no problem with that, especially given the frustrated, angry, and jaded mindset of the character at this point in his career. (Strangely reflected in relatively new hero, Superman, btw.) His hand-to-hand combat scenes were exactly as I thought they should be, with a brutality comparable to those in Netflix’s “Daredevil” series. On the other hand, a few more “graceful” martial arts moves would be nice to see. (See “More Bat-stuff” below.)

Superman: Cavill’s acting was fine, but I’m torn about the way Kent/Supes was written. I’m not saying he isn’t a complex guy. But, there’s too much personal angst for my taste. I know I’m not the only one complaining about DC’s current handling of their flagship character, so I hope they inject more joy and humor in subsequent films. (Once he resurrects/recovers, that is.)

luthor-doomsday-how-did-he-do-itWhat was the deal with Clark talking with “Jonathan” up on that mountain? Are we supposed to assume he was hallucinating due to thin air? (Not likely, since he operates just fine flying at high speeds and/or at high altitudes.) There was also the (typical) inconsistency with the kryptonite. For example, Superman couldn’t even get the spear to the surface of the water before he passed out, yet a couple minutes later (and after being separated from it for less than that), he picked it up, flew straight at Doomsday, impaling him, and had enough strength to keep it there. I realize he was supposed to be extremely determined, desperate, perhaps on a bit of adrenaline, etc., but….

Wonder Woman: This character was, I have to say, a delightful surprise. As the mysterious Diana Prince (about whom nothing is told), she is not just an exotic beauty but a strong, confident, independent woman. Just as she should be. As the Amazon warrior who shows up for the ending battle, she was AWESOME! (Superman and Batman obviously would have lost without her.) I was already looking forward to her WWI-era solo movie in 2017, but now I am *highly* anticipating it! (Note: I didn’t even mind that her costume wasn’t very colorful, but I think the blues and reds will be more vivid in her own movie, which might be considered a prequel to this one.)

Alfred: I was willing to keep an open mind re Jeremy Irons as Alfred. I will say that his acting was terrific, as expected. But, the character just… wasn’t… Alfred. Sure, there was occasion where he did or said what Alfred might have. But, most of the time, he neither looked nor acted like the Alfred we know & love from the comics. (Of course, neither does the one in “Gotham”.) While I do appreciate it when Alfred occasionally speaks up, when he thinks his employer needs a piece of his mind, I didn’t feel that this version of Alfred exhibited the appropriate deference to “Master Bruce”. Nor did he do much butlering or acting as chauffeur/manservant.

Lois Lane: Hmmm, what to say about (this) Lois…? She’s a plucky, feisty, stubborn, brave-yet-vulnerable, investigative journalist. And yet… she doesn’t feel right to me. It’s not just the fact that they’ve kept Adams’ red hair instead of going with Lois’ traditional brunette locks. (Though, no surprise, that does bug me.) I can’t quite put my finger on it, but she hasn’t quite captured the essence of the character… or something. Actually, I blame the writers at least as much as the actress. Still, I guess she’s better than Kate Bosworth’s version (2006). I do like the fact that they established Clark and Lois as a serious couple, though, and their mutual love and concern are evident.

Misc. supporting cast: It was good to get some continuity with the Perry White and Jenny characters at the Daily Planet, as well as Gen. Swanwick and Maj. Farris from the Army. However, I much prefer Perry when he is less hard-nosed and more of a friend to Clark and Lois. (Maybe he’ll mellow come sequel-time?) Not sure what to think of Jenna Malone’s “Jenet Klyburn”. (Totally new character? Stand-in for Oracle?) There wasn’t much to her. Scoot McNairy and Holly Hunter as Wallace Keefe and Sen. Finch, respectively, seemed to have promise, but there just wasn’t enough to flesh them out prior to their demise. (And why the heck was Finch stammering so much at the end, there?) As for Martha Kent, I wanted to like her, but some of the things she said seemed rather out of character from how she has been portrayed elsewhere. (Plus, she hardly looks old enough to be Clark’s mother.) Just sayin’…

Other

batman-v-superman-dc-trinity-wonder-womanPlot: I’m not going to analyze the plot much. It was OK but, as usual, had its problems. I already mentioned the dark tone, though that can work when done well. I am unclear about if Bruce’s post-apocalyptic dream is supposed to be prophetic, and I’m not sure if the Flash thing was a dream or an actual encounter. (Nor did I understand everything Flash said, so that’s frustrating.) Maybe things will become clearer in the Justice League movies? I did, however, enjoy the revelation of Luthor’s intel re the other metas. Cameos by Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman were great, too!

I just don’t understand why Superman was so lax about his public reputation. I’m sure he noticed the mercs at the guerrilla camp in Nairomi, and he could easily have mentioned their presence just prior to his arrival. Was he apathetic, ignorant (which would be difficult for a reporter/globe-spanning adventurer), or just naive?

I had been under the impression from some early reports that Luthor would try to enlist Wayne’s help in turning the public against Superman. But, I don’t remember that happening in the movie. At least, there weren’t any such meetings at one or the other’s home or office. (I presume, however, that the mysterious messages sent to Wayne, which turned out to be from Luthor, were an attempt to rile him up against Supes.) On the contrary, Luthor ended up coercing Superman to eliminate his Batman “problem”. (Though, as we know, things didn’t go quite as Luthor planned.)

Btw, I thought the action scenes were pretty darn good overall! I already mentioned Batman’s fights against criminals. As expected, he held his own against an overly self-assured Superman, and he later managed to stay alive long enough to maneuver Doomsday to where WW could “capture” him with her lasso. (I hope Superman learns some battle tactics from his two new friends.) Again, I was rather impressed with Wonder Woman. That whole final battle was a lot of fun!

Music: The music was the usual “heroic”, orchestral stuff. I guess. I really didn’t take note of much of it, except… The more edgy stuff that played during the battle with Doomsday was terrific, in that I thought it somehow enhanced the heroic mood of the battle. Great choice!

More Bat-stuff: I thought the Batwing looked great. Having Alfred operate it remotely was a nice touch, too. As for the Batmobile, I understand the “urban warfare” rationale for its look in this movie and the Nolan/Bale trilogy. Still, I hope Batfleck opts for a sleeker version in the next film. I would also like to see him renovate and move back into Wayne Manor. The lakeside place is nice, but it just doesn’t feel right. (I mean, how does Alfred keep busy w/o dusting and puttering around the mansion? 😉 ) Also, I liked the “normal” costume, but the armored version was pretty good, too, and fairly true to the Frank Miller-inspired original. I hope the solo film has a few more gadgets from the trusty utility-belt.

F/X: Looked great to me!

Final Judgment

There was a lot of good stuff in this movie (e.g., Batman, Wonder Woman, battle music), but there was a good bit of disappointing and smh/facepalm stuff (e.g., Luthor, Doomsday, confusing “visions”, moody/apathetic Superman), too. It just didn’t live up to the hype, let alone the hopes and expectations of loyal, long-time fans. I’d like to give it a ‘B’ for effort alone, but a ‘B-‘ is probably being generous.

Recasting in “Gotham”

“It wasn’t Hell; only fools and drama queens throw that word around about a place like Gotham. It was worse, in a way, because it was manmade. There wasn’t any timeless malevolence behind it all, it was just… what human beings can descend to when they let themselves forget they can be heroes.”  — Chris Dee, Cattitude

With “Gotham” scheduled to return on Sep. 19, 2016, we are getting a few details about the upcoming season. Possibly one of the most significant is the re-casting of the “Ivy” character.

I never did understand why they named the character “Ivy Pepper”, when the comic version is “Pamela Isley”. This assumes, of course, that Miss Pepper is the TV version of the girl who becomes supervillain “Poison Ivy”. The strong affinity for plant-life and horticulture has already been established, and, although she has only appeared a handful of times, everything points to her eventual evolution into the unpredictable, ecologically-minded, leafy-garbed, redheaded Bat-villain we are familiar with from the comics. On the other hand, the “Gotham” versions of characters often go in quite different directions from their comic book counterparts.

Maggie Geha as "Ivy"

Maggie Geha as “Ivy”

But, now we have learned that the 14-year-old Clare Foley has been replaced by the 28-year-old Maggie Geha. (Great casting, btw!) Apparently, “Ivy” is set to be artificially aged — well, her body, anyway, ‘cuz you can’t implant life experiences or emotional maturation — to look like she is in her late teens to early twenties. While the character didn’t have a large role in previous seasons, I hope she gets a little more to do in Season 3. It would be nice to see the character fleshed out a bit more. (Hah, that was punny!) But, I also hope they are able to keep continuity with the way Ivy acted before, as well as give a believable portrayal of a slightly-odd, orphaned, 14-year-old girl dealing psychologically and physically with her sudden transformation into a beautiful adult woman. That will take just the right combination of writing, directing, and (obviously) acting. Here’s hopin’….

Some fans have also begun to wonder about the “Bruce Wayne” character. When considering the future of the show, is 15-year-old David Mazouz able to continue portraying the young man who will become the Batman? As Moviepilot’s Kerry Cepero noted,

“To become Batman, there needs to be a physical change as well. David looks so young and is built the same way, and eventually he will have to start looking like a young man able to bear the mantle of the bat. Which begs the question: Can he do it? Will it happen in an acceptable television timeline for the show?”

If they intend to have Bruce evolve into the Batman on the show, there are a few ways to go about this.

1) They could keep Mazouz on in the character and hope he grows into it. An intensive workout routine and appropriate diet would be in order, though, to get the slender Mazouz in shape. (Problem: He may not get any taller than his current 5’7″.) This, of course, assumes that the series will remain on the air long enough for this to be an issue.

2) They could recast the part beginning with Season 4, which would have a roughly 16-year-old Bruce beginning his physical training in earnest and perhaps toying with ideas about how he might influence the city for the better — both via Wayne Industries and through some more… personal, extracurricular activities. The new actor shouldn’t be too buff to start but should have the right look nonetheless. He could be in his 20s, too. (Cepero suggests Tyler Posey from “Teen Wolf”. I’m not familiar with him, but he looks like a good choice.)

3) Beginning with Season 4 or 5, they could time-jump the series by 5 or 10 years. This would give them the opportunity to cast an older “Bruce” who has gone through much or all of his advanced training and education. He could then begin his Bat-exploits. It would probably also mean re-casting Selina (who is about the same age as Bruce), and I would hate to see young Camren Bicondova go. In some ways, it would be like starting a new series, since many people and things in Gotham City would have changed in the intervening years. This could be good or bad.

Gotham-TitlePersonally, I’m not a huge fan of David Mazouz. He’s done an OK job, I guess. But, I never felt he was a good casting choice, either in appearance or demeanor. That said, I don’t think he should be recast for two reasons. First, if they are at all faithful to the source material in regards to Bruce’s general education and extensive, specialized training, most of it happens over a roughly 10 year period — spanning from his mid- to late-teens to his mid- to late-20s — and not in Gotham City. He essentially becomes a world traveler, which would not work for this show.

Second, the series is not “Young Batman”, it’s “Gotham”. The emphasis has been and should remain not just on Bruce (and Alfred) but on the cops, criminals, future villains, and others that live in the city of Gotham. It is the early evolution of the city that will become so twisted as to require a Dark Knight to emerge to protect it from itself. Introducing a nascent Batman would take away the focus. (However, I think I have mentioned before that I would have preferred a series that followed young Bruce through his training, as he mastered various skills and learned life-lessons. Perhaps a sequel to “Gotham” should be pursued…?)

So, in the end, I don’t think “Bruce Wayne” should ever become the Batman on the “Gotham” series, and Mazouz should stay on for however long the series lasts, which probably won’t be more than another couple seasons.

Fan-Cast: Batman, part 9.1

Addendum to last post…

Montoya and Allen

Montoya and Allen

As I was getting ready to go to press with last Wednesday’s post, I thought of another good candidate for the part of Crispus Allen. But, I was pressed for time, so I opted not to include him. Later that night, I was watching a movie (Death Race) and saw an actress who would make a great candidate for Renee Montoya. So, rather than add them to an already long post, I figured I’d write a separate post….

Natalie Martinez in "Detroit 1-8-7"

Natalie Martinez in “Detroit 1-8-7”

Martinez in "Under the Dome"

Martinez in “Under the Dome”

There are plenty of pics of Natalie Martinez (5’6.5″,b.1984) that show off her beauty & figure, but I included a couple here that better fit Montoya’s occupation. In addition to “Under the Dome” and “Detroit 1-8-7” (see pics), she has been in Broken City, “CSI: NY” (where I first remember seeing her, and in which she also played a detective), and the recent “Secrets and Lies”. She fits our height and age parameters, has played multiple police roles, and I think should would make a stunning Officer/Detective Renee Montoya.

 

DB Woodside in "Suits"

DB Woodside in “Suits”

Woodside in "24"

Woodside in “24”

Probably best known to TV audiences for his role on “24”, D.B. Woodside (6’3″,b.1969) has also been in “Murder One”, Romeo Must Die, “The Division”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, The Inheritance. Later this year, he will again play a detective in the mystery The Man in 3B. Woodside is slightly taller and older than my preferred parameters for the character, but as long as Allen was written well and true to the source material, I could overlook that. Give him some glasses and a cigarette, and I can definitely see him as Det. Crispus Allen.

Comments?

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Batman, part 9: Montoya and Allen

Renee_Montoya_(Injustice_The_Regime)

Renee Montoya

This week, I was finally able to resume my fan-casting of the major Gotham City Police Dept. characters — well, two of the top four, anyway. One of these days, I may get around to Sarah Essen, “Hardback” Bock, Josie MacDonald, and “Slam” Bradley. (I’ll probably include Maggie Sawyer with my Superman-related fan-casting, since I still think of her primarily as part of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit.) For now, though, I’ll finish with Renee Montoya and Crispus Allen.

Det. Renee Montoya

Originally created for the Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Renee Montoya’s first appearance was actually a bit earlier in Batman #475 (Mar. 1992). Montoya began as a bright, eager young police officer assigned as Commissioner Gordon’s assistant. I wasn’t long before she was promoted to Detective and partnered with Harvey Bullock. They made a good team. When Bullock was promoted following “No Man’s Land”, Montoya was reassigned to work with Det. Crispus Allen. This was another good partnership, but various events — including being framed for murder and outed as a lesbian by Two-Face — caused Montoya to become more frustrated with her job and life, irascible, and violent. She began drinking heavily to cope. After the events surrounding Allen’s death (see below), Montoya quit the police force in disgust.

448px-Renee_Montoya_0006 - hammeredDuring the “52” storyline, Montoya was contacted by and (reluctantly) joined forces with The Question, looking into some things having to do with Intergang. Amidst their investigations, The Question (i.e., Vic Sage) revealed that he was dying and was recruiting Montoya to replace him as The Question. He passed away a few weeks later, and she honored his wish. But, I don’t foresee getting into any of that in a Batman TV or movie series. I would stick to her years as a police officer/detective.

If a Batman TV/movie series begins with Batman’s debut, Montoya should not be there. In fact, I would prefer to not add her into the mix until roughly Year 8, which is about when I think her comics debut fits into the comics Bat-timeline. But, a slightly sooner appearance would be acceptable. By my calculations, she is maybe 5 or 6 years younger than Bruce Wayne, which makes her about 27 or so when she debuted. She is an attractive Latina of Dominican descent with characteristically dark hair. DC’s wiki lists her at 5’8″, 144lbs. So, I think she would best be played by a Latina (or someone who can easily pass as one) in her mid-20s to early 30s, between 5’6″ & 5’10”, with an athletic build.

As I usually do, I considered more than just the three finalists I settled on below. Rosario Dawson (5’7″,b.1979) might be a good choice, if not for her being a little too old for Montoya during her GCPD career. Same goes for Michelle Rodriguez (5’5″,1978), who is also a tad under our height parameters. Speaking of too short, Alice Braga (5’4″,b.1983), Floriana Lima (5’4″,?), and Ilza Rosario (5’3″,b.1985) all look great and are in the right age range, but they are just too short, and no police officer or detective is going to wear 3-inch heels on duty, unless she’s undercover. (I have seen Dawson, Rodriguez, and Braga suggested by others, too.) Thus, I present to you my Montoya finalists…

Alyssa Diaz

Alyssa Diaz

Alyssa Diaz (5’6″,b.1985) has been in Ben 10: Alien Swarm, “The Nine Lives of Chloe King”, the Red Dawn remake, “Revolution”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “The Last Ship”, and “Grimm”, so she is definitely familiar with the genre. She barely meets our height requirement, is almost 30 (as of this writing), and reminds me of a slightly younger Michelle Rodriguez. She could fill Montoya’s shoes quite well.

 

 

Genesis Rodriguez

Genesis Rodriguez

You may remember that I recommended Genesis Rodriguez (5’7″,b.1987) for another Bat-family role: Helena Bertinelli, aka The Huntress. She has appeared in “Entourage”, Man on a Ledge, The Last Stand, Big Hero 6 (voicing Honey Lemon), and the recent Run All Night. I think she needs a regular role in a crime/adventure series, and Det. Renee Montoya could just be that breakout role.

Mercedes Masohn

Mercedes Masohn

Finally, I recommend Mercedes Masohn (5’9″,b.1982or3). She is of mixed heritage but can pass for a Latina, as she often does on-screen. I remember noticing her on “The Finder”, “Chuck”, and “NCIS: Los Angeles”. She has also been in “666 Park Avenue”, Sniper: Legacy, and will be a regular in the new “Fear the Walking Dead”. She often plays tough “chicks”, and Renee Montoya is definitely that. She’s a tad older than I’d prefer for the part, but I’m sure Masohn would be great!

Det. Crispus Allen

Crispus Allen

Crispus Allen

Crispus Allen’s first appearance was in Detective Comics #742 (March, 2000). Gordon had just returned to duty after grieving his wife’s death during the events of “No Man’s Land”, and he was staffing up the GCPD after losing several personnel in the preceding months. Detective Allen transferred in from Metropolis, and he would prove to be a great asset to the Major Crimes Unit. Partnered with Montoya, Allen was an excellent detective who helped take down a lot of bad guys, from average skels to corrupt cops to “super-villains”. He was always a serious, analytical, “straight arrow” type, if a bit arrogant. As such, it is not surprising that he reluctantly accepted Batman as a “necessary evil” for fighting crime in a place like Gotham City. He was also a happily-married father of two.

In one incident, Allen shot and killed the Black Spider, who was about to murder Montoya. This began a course of events that led to Allen being killed by a corrupt crime scene tech named Jim Corrigan. Allen later became the new host for the Spectre, but those events are beyond anything I want to see in a Batman series.

allen - you're my partnerAs with Montoya, if a Batman TV/movie series began with Batman’s debut, the Allen character should not be included. However, I don’t expect the events of “Knightfall/Knightquest” and “Cataclysm/No Man’s Land” to be adapted, so they could transfer him from Metropolis sooner in the Bat-timeline. I would prefer to see him introduced after Montoya has spent some time (as a Detective) partnered with Harvey Bullock, first. That said, he should be 40ish and, therefore, roughly 10 or so years older than Montoya. DC’s wiki entry for Allen does not give a height or weight, but I would say he’s roughly 6′, give or take, and in (very?) good shape. Appearance-wise, Allen is a Black man, bald with a trim “goatee”, and he wears rimless glasses. He is a sharp dresser — earning him the nickname “Peacock” by Harvey bullock — and is always seen wearing a suit, often a three-piece. He is sometimes seen smoking a cigarette, too. Obviously, any actor to be considered should be Black, early 40s, athletic build, look good with a bald head and “goatee”, and probably be between 5’10” and 6’2″.

Many Bat-fans have suggested Idris Elba (6’2.75″,b.1972) (“Luther”, “The Wire”, Thor) for the role. He’s a little taller than I’d like, but he’s the right age and build, and I agree he would be terrific. Still, I wanted to look into a few others. I’ve been noticing another “The Wire” alum lately, Gbenga Akinnagbe (5’10”,b.1978), particularly in “24: Live Another Day” and “The Following”, where he plays a federal agent in both. But, he is a little young for the part, and I’m not sure he has quite the right look. I also considered “The Blacklist”‘s Hisham Tawfiq (?,b.?). Again, not sure he’s old enough or has quite the right look. So, that leaves the following three:

Richard T. Jones

Richard T. Jones

I think Richard T. Jones (6’2″,b.1972) could play a great Crispus Allen. I mostly remember him from “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” and more recently on “Hawaii Five-O”, but he was also a regular on “Brooklyn South” and “Judging Amy”, appeared in “Nikita” and “Revolution”, and he has popped up in movies (e.g., Event Horizon, Godzilla) and series for many years. He fits the appearance and age parameters, and I’m sure he would have no problem portraying the by-the-book Detective Allen.

 

 

Lamonica Garrett

LaMonica Garrett

Slamball champ-turned-actor LaMonica Garrett (6’2″,b.1975) often plays firefighters, military, or law enforcement roles. He has appeared in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, “NCIS”, “The Game”, “Justified”, etc., but he may be best known as Deputy Sheriff Cane on “Sons of Anarchy”. Garrett is barely 40 and is probably the most athletic of our candidates. He doesn’t have as much acting experience as the others, as many of his parts are minor, but I think he could be a convincing Crispus Allen.

 

 

Brian White

Brian White

I’m not positive the first thing I saw Brian White (6’2″,b.1975) in, but what I remember him for are his roles on “Beauty and the Beast” and “Hostages”. He has also appeared in such genre fare as DOA: Dead or Alive, “Ghost Whisperer”, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, “Moonlight”, and “The Shield”. Like Garrett, White is barely 40 and in great shape. He would make a fine Det. Allen, especially since he has played police detectives before, so I can totally see him in the role.

 

 
As usual, I’d love to know what you think of my choices and if you have anyone else in mind that you think fits the bill(s)….

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Batman, part 8: Harvey Bullock

Last week’s fan-casting for Commissioner Jim Gordon worked out pretty well. We’ll see how my attempts to find a Harvey Bullock pan out….

Det. Harvey Bullock

88096-128164-harvey-bullockDespite being a gruff, crude, slovenly, wise-ass pain-in-the-butt, Detective Harvey Bullock is another beloved(?) and integral member of the GCPD cast within the Bat-mythos. The pre-Crisis version of Bullock was thoroughly corrupt and often sabotaged investigations, but the post-Crisis/pre-52 character is generally clean, ethically speaking. Even so, he is often accused of taking bribes and other infractions. Couple this with his willingness to “do what it takes”, including roughing up perps, plus his general demeanor, and Bullock often finds himself under suspicion — even by his friends. When Officer Renee Montoya was promoted to Detective, she was partnered with Bullock. They remained together until an Internal Affairs investigation prompted Bullock to quit the force. Bullock spent some time as a Private Investigator, and, at one point, he even worked in some capacity for the governmental intelligence agency known as Checkmate.

Initially even more strongly against costumed crimefighters than Gordon, Bullock, too, developed a grudging respect for Batman et al. (Some more than others, of course.) Following the events of “Infinite Crisis”, he returned to the GCPD and was partnered with Det. Josie MacDonald. Bullock’s attitude toward Batman & co. has softened a little, and he now even assists them on some cases, however reluctantly.

Harvey_Bullock_0006Though trim and fairly muscular in his early days on the force (seen in rare flashbacks and back-up stories), the thick-necked, round-faced Bullock is usually drawn as anywhere from slightly pudgy to obese. The DC wiki entry lists him as 5’10”, 248lbs. For our purposes, a height range of 5’8″ to maybe a max of 6’2″ seems reasonable, with a weight anywhere from 200-300 lbs. (Though, an obese cop, especially one that might need to chase the occasional suspect on foot, is not a good idea.) Appearance wise, he has a signature hat, cigar, black hair & scruff, and usually a little food and/or drink dripped on his (usually bright/tacky) tie or other article(s) of clothing. Besides being a slob, he has also been known to hit the bottle — usually, but not exclusively, during his off-hours.

Bullock’s age presents us with a bit of a problem. From all appearances and indications over the years, I would say that Harvey Bullock is several years older than Renee Montoya and probably older than Crispus Allen, but (unlike in the TV series) he is still several years younger than Jim Gordon — say, maybe 5 years or so. Therefore, if a Batman TV/movie series began with Batman’s debut, Bullock might be in his mid-30s and possibly still a sergeant. Extrapolate out from there…. But, as I said regarding Gordon in the last post, it wouldn’t do too much “damage” to the character to adjust his age a bit for the movies (or a different TV series). That said, here are the actors I considered for the role….

One of my favorite choices was Jim Belushi (5’11”,b.1954), but he just turned 61 and is a bit too old. After that, we get into the same age-range as my fan-cast candidates for Jim Gordon. My next faves, then, are Bruce Campbell (6’1″,b.1958) and Michael Madsen (6’2″,b.1958). (I think I saw another fan cast Madsen for the part, too.) I looked at a few others but rejected them for various reasons (e.g., too tall, too “pretty”). On the shorter side, Pruitt Taylor Vince (5’9″,b.1960) and Michael Chiklis (5’8.5″,b.1963) are two very talented actors, each of whom might be an interesting choice for Bullock — assuming they don’t mind wearing a hairpiece. Finally, I thought supporting actor Bodie Newcomb (????,b.1963?), who appeared briefly in an episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, could fill Bullock’s shoes nicely. But, for various reasons, I rejected all of the above — except for Campbell and Madsen under certain conditions — and came up with these three.

Mark Addy

Mark Addy

Everyone is familiar with Mark Addy (5’11”,b.1964) from his many comedic performances (e.g., Jack Frost, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, “Still Standing”). But, he has had many serious roles, including playing cops (e.g., “Band of Gold”), kings (Robert Baratheon in “Game of Thrones”), and legends (Hercules in “Atlantis”). I haven’t seen most of them, but I was impressed with his acting in GoT, plus he is definitely the right body type. If producers decided to go with a 50ish Harvey Bullock, Addy pretty much fits the bill.

 

 

Jeremy Sisto

Jeremy Sisto

Jeremy Sisto (6’2″,b.1974) probably got his first notable role in Clueless. Over the next 20 years, he has appeared in everything from Suicide Kings to starring in the TV movie Jesus and “Six Feet Under”. His genre work includes Takedown, “The Outer Limits”, “The Twilight Zone”, One Point O, voice work for “Justice League: The New Frontier” and “Batman vs. Robin”, and currently starring in “The Returned”. Sisto is a tad on the tall side and perhaps a little too handsome. But, he has kind of a full face, and if he put on a few pounds to round out the rest of him, he could be a great, 40ish Harvey Bullock.

Matt Berry

Matt Berry

Matt Berry (5’10”,b.1974) is sort of a last-minute find. But, I think you will agree that he looks the most like Bullock of these three finalists and possibly of any others I mentioned. I don’t think I’ve actually seen him perform, but he’s a British actor/writer who has been acting on-screen for a little over a decade. He was in genre movies Braincell and Snow White and the Huntsman, did a little voice work for “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Major Lazer”, and appears mostly in sitcoms for the U.S. and UK. Assuming he chunks out a bit and can play a convincingly gruff & obnoxious (yet competent) American city cop, he just might be an even better 40-ish Bullock than Sisto.

 

How did I do? Can you picture any of these guys as Det. Harvey Bullock? Let me know who you would cast. I’ll leave you with another cool pic of a bad@$$ Bullock….

Harvey_Bullock_0001

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

Fan-Cast: Batman, part 7: Jim Gordon

Can you believe it? It has been an entire year since I last fan-cast for a Batman small- or large-screen series. (Lucius Fox and Dr. Leslie Thompkins, to be precise.) I figured it was about time I addressed the primary characters from the Gotham City Police Department, so this week I’ll cast for Jim Gordon, and in the next couple weeks I’ll follow up with Harvey Bullock, Renee Montoya, and Crispus Allen. I have to be honest, I am not quite as satisfied as I’d like to be with who I came up with, so I’m still on the lookout. But, in the meantime…

Commissioner James Gordon

40-something Lt. Jim Gordon

40-something Lt. Jim Gordon

Jim Gordon is, of course, a central and beloved character in the Batman mythos. When Batman first shows up in Gotham, Gordon is a lieutenant in the GCPD. Though he sometimes likes to put on a somewhat gruff exterior, Gordon is generally known for being even-handed, fair, even compassionate. He is extremely competent at his job, despite dealing with all of the horror, crime, & corruption that Gotham City is infamous for. Recognizing him as a crusader for justice and one of the few cops in Gotham who hasn’t been corrupted, Batman establishes a professional relationship and, eventually, a mutual trust with Gordon that would serve them both well for many years to come. They have saved each others’ necks on several occasions, and Gordon has come to a measure of peace about allowing — even aiding — the Dark Knight’s vigilante-ish methods. Gordon’s rise to the position of Police Commissioner gave him even more freedom to cooperate with Batman (and other masked heroes).

Of course, Gordon is the uncle and adopted father of Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl, who was crippled by the Joker and later became Oracle. Gordon’s second marriage was to his former partner, Sarah Essen, who temporarily succeeded Gordon as Police Commissioner and was killed by the Joker during the events of “No Man’s Land”.

50-something Commissioner Gordon

50-something Commissioner Gordon

Physically, Gordon is fairly trim and in good shape. DC’s wiki lists him as 6′ tall and about 168 lbs., though I’m sure the weight varied a little over the years. A height between 5’10” and 6’2″ is probably a reasonable requirement. Gordon has reddish hair that turned white in middle-age, as well as a bushy mustache, glasses, is often seen smoking a cigar or cigarette, and he typically wears a trenchcoat while “in the field”. By my calculations, Gordon is ~15 years older than Bruce Wayne, give or take, making him about 40 when the Batman debuts. If a TV or movie series begins around this time, then obviously the actor to play Gordon should be roughly 40 years old. Unfortunately, the youngest candidate I’ve come up with so far is already 54. So, assuming such a production sticks to post-Crisis/pre-52 continuity, these actors would be better cast for much later in Gordon’s life & career. (In fact, I think the events immediately preceding the “new 52” reboot would make Bruce Wayne about or almost 40, putting Gordon in his mid-50s.) BUT,… the writers/producers could simply make Gordon about 10 years older than his comicbook counterpart without changing much of significance about the character, which would make the actors below within acceptable age parameters.

First, a few that I rejected. With the possible exceptions of Sam Elliott and Tom Selleck (both of whom would’ve been in the running several years ago) and Burt Reynolds, nobody rocks a full mustache better than Alex Cord (6′,b.1933), who you might remember as “Archangel” in the ’80s TV series “Airwolf”. But, he’s over 80 now, so he’s obviously out of the running. I also think Kent McCord (6’2″,b.1942) — from “Adam 12”, “SeaQuest 2032”, & “Farscape” — could’ve made a great James Gordon… 20 or 30 years ago. I really like James Remar (5’10”,b.1953) for the part, too. (Remember him from “Dexter”? He’s also done a lot of genre voicework.) But, I’d like to limit it to those under 60 — at the moment, anyway. Kevin Bacon (5’10”,b.1958) fits this parameter and he even has red hair, but something about him keeps me from seeing him as Gordon. (I thought Gary Oldman was fantastic, btw.) So, we’re down to my favorite three (for now):

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

I’m not the first to suggest him for the role, but Bryan Cranston (5’10.5″,b.1956) would be great! I mean, look at this image from Trumbo. The hair may be a little dark, but that’s Jim Gordon! Cranston has been around for quite awhile, including playing the dad on “Malcolm in the Middle”. But, he has done a lot of genre stuff, too, including the recent Godzilla, which I finally saw the other night. Of course, he became most widely recognized with his starring role in the hugely popular “Breaking Bad” series.

Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen

Can you imagine Viggo Mortensen (5’11”,b.1958) — Aragorn/Strider himself — as Commissioner Gordon? I can (obviously). He always brings such an intensity to his roles, and I think he would do great as a frustrated and weary Gordon. He’s also played lawmen before. There are older pics of him with a bigger mustache (and longer hair and/or a beard), but I wanted a fairly recent one. Just imagine the mustache bushier… and glasses.

 

 

Elias Koteas

Elias Koteas

The youngest of my trio is Elias Koteas (5’10.5″,b.1961). Besides playing Casey Jones in two Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies in the ’90s, you might have seen him in Cyborg 2, Gattaca, Skinwalkers, “The Killing”, or any number of other things. Koteas is a wonderful, underrated actor, who I think could play a terrific Jim Gordon. He’d need to wear a toupee, of course, but that’s not a big deal.

 

The more I think of it, the more I like these candidates — assuming, of course, that the character is written to be about 10 years older than he is in the comics. Bullock, on the other hand, is a bit tougher. You’ll have to wait until next week to see my potential candidates for ol’ Harve, but here’s a nice pic with him and the Commish to hold you over….

James Gordon and Harvey Bullock

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.