Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Lynda Carter was on Supergirl Last Night, and it was THE BEST

October 25, 2016

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The second season of Supergirl has been off to a great start on The CW, continuing all of the joy and brightness of its first season. There’s nothing I love more than happy superheroes, and having Supergirl and The Flash on back-to-back nights is such a delightful way to start the week. The move to The CW hasn’t been entirely painless, though; Calista Flockhart is no longer a regular cast member, and her Cat Grant was a key part of the first season. But Supergirl has been working hard to counter her absence with an array of new, rad female characters, including the President of the United States, played by television’s first Wonder Woman. Lynda Carter.

It’s always great to see Lynda Carter, and having her on a female-led superhero show is just perfect. Even more perfect: Her character’s name is Olivia Marsdin, in what has to be a subtle shout out to William Moulton Marston and Olive Byrne, the creator of Wonder Woman and his live-in partner who influenced Wonder Woman’s creation. It’s a nice nod to Wonder Woman’s roots, and the first of several such references.

Also, a female president is timely given the current American election. Doubly so given that Supergirl observes, “How did anyone even vote for that other guy?” It seems that in both our world and the world of Supergirl, a woman ran against some dude who couldn’t hold a candle to her.

President Marsdin comes off well throughout the episode, and she definitely espouses the kindness and acceptance we’d expect from a former Wonder Woman, particularly in her Alien Amnesty Act. Earth is lousy with aliens on Supergirl, and the President wants to give them the same rights that humanity enjoys. And she’s got a big fan in Supergirl, who loves her from the get-go. Her excitement before meeting the President is straight up the cutest, and her affection for the President only grows after they meet. When Supergirl is excited about someone, you can’t help but like them even more.

Wonder Woman fun was sprinkled throughout the episode. When President Marsdin talked to Hank about her Amnesty Act and said, “I can think of no better time than the present to extend our hand in friendship,” my mind immediately leaped to this panel from Wonder Woman #25 in which Gail Simone penned what’s become a classic Wonder Woman line:

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I might be reading too much into the line, but it sprang to my mind instantaneously when I heard Lynda Carter say it.

We also get a classic spin move! When an angry alien bent on attacking the President lit Supergirl on fire, she put herself out with a spin:

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In what is clearly a reference to Wonder Woman’s iconic quick change spin move:

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And, in my very favourite moment of the entire show, after Supergirl mentions how cool it was to see Air Force One, the president replied:

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I mean, come on. How great is that?

Now, it wasn’t all fun and games with President Marsdin. But first:

SPOILER ALERT!!!

The end of the episode revealed a hidden side to the President. Namely, it looks like she’s an alien, with some shapeshifting abilities; her entire face distorted for a second into a distinctly non-human guise. She could be an alien double impersonating the President, or maybe the President’s been a deep cover alien all along! Either way, that’s definitely going to spell trouble. I’m curious to see where this startling reveal goes.

END SPOILERS!!!

President Marsdin wasn’t the only fun new character on tonight’s Supergirl. It was a cavalcade of awesomeness throughout the entire show: Mon-El finally woke up, Detective Maggie Sawyer popped in and had INSTANT chemistry with Alex, and Miss Martian revealed herself at the end of the episode. This season of Supergirl is adding a slew of fun new supporting characters, and I love the direction it’s going in.

I’m not sure when we’ll see Lynda Carter back on the program again. So far, I don’t think a return date has been announced, but given that reveal at the end of the show, I think it’s a safe bet that she’ll be back. Hopefully they’ll fit even more fun Wonder Woman references into that episode, too.

A Celebration Of Noel Neill, The First Live Action Lois Lane, To Be Held Nov. 5 In Metropolis, Ill.

September 6, 2016

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The superhero world lost an icon when Noel Neill passed away in July. She was the first live action Lois Lane, portraying the character alongside Kirk Alyn’s Man of Steel in the big screen Superman serial in 1948 and reprising the role in Atom Man vs. Superman two years later. Superman moved to television in the 1950s with George Reeves in the lead role, and Neill returned to play Lois Lane when Phyllis Coates left after the first season, staying with the show for the remainder of its run. For a generation of fans who grew up watching the Adventures of Superman TV show in its first run and then in syndication, Noel Neill WAS Lois Lane.

Neill led a long and fascinating life, and on November 5, 2016, many of her friends and admirers are gathering at the First United Methodist Church in Metropolis, Illinois, to remember and celebrate her life. It’s a fitting locale; Metropolis is the home of the annual Superman Celebration, and there’s a Lois Lane statue modeled after her likeness in the town. The three hour event will feature rare footage of Neill, along with presentations from several speakers, including:

  • Dr. Pam Munter, author of Almost Famous and When Teens Were Keen
  • Jim Nolt, editor of The Adventures Continue
  • Jim Bowers, editor of CapedWonder.com
  • Steve Younis, editor of supermanhomepage.com
  • Larry Blankley
  • John Field
  • Lisa Gower & Karla Ogle of the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce
  • Terry Ryan
  • Stephanie Perrin
  • Angie Sivori
  • Larry Thomas Ward, author of Truth, Justice, & The American Way: The Life & Times of Noel Neill and Beyond Lois Lane

There will also by music from The Melungeons.

The event is open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend, so if you’re in the area you should definitely mark it on your calendar. Noel Neill was both a wonderful Lois Lane and a fantastic ambassador for the character for decades, and hearing about her life from those who knew her well should make for a fascinating afternoon. Such events always have a note of sadness, of course, but I’m sure it will also be infused with the joy that characterized Noel Neill throughout her 95 years.

The poster above appears in the October 2016 edition of Classics Images magazine.

The Already Great Supergirl TV Show Just Got More Wonderful With Lynda Carter

August 19, 2016

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As if Supergirl wasn’t already fantastic enough. We’ve got a hilarious Cat Grant. The dang Martian Manhunter. Melissa Benoist just IS Supergirl. And this upcoming season on The CW sounds amazing: Miss Martian and Mon-El are going to show up, there’s going to be a huge crossover with Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow, and in a separate team-up Supergirl is pairing with The Flash for a musical episode crossover. Oh, also Superman is going to be on the show and he looks rad. It’s an embarrassment of riches, really. It’s just too much delightfulness.

And yet, it gets even better. A few months back, when Supergirl was still on CBS, it was announced that Lynda Carter, i.e. Wonder Woman herself, would be guest starring in the show’s next season as the president of the United States. Then Supergirl‘s renewal got iffy and it ended up moving to The CW and we didn’t hear much about this obviously brilliant casting choice. But, thank Hera, it’s still on! Melissa Benoist posted the above image on her Instagram account and it’s just the best.

We don’t yet know when Lynda Carter will show up. Just guessing from the production photos, it seems like the first couple of episodes will be the Superman stuff since we got those shots a few weeks back, and with this photo now that would put her at maybe three or four episodes in? It depends how they’re shooting, too; with everything moved to Vancouver now, they might be filming scenes with notable guest stars for a bunch of episodes all at once. She may show up even sooner. And hopefully often. What with all of the alien craziness going on as of late, the president way want to involve herself in things a bit more, and perhaps develop a closer relationship with the Maiden of Might.

Supergirl returns on The CW on October 10, and I can’t wait. The first season was a blast. Nothing makes me happier than smiling superheroes having awesome adventures. Oh dang, you guys, Lynda Carter sings too! Could she part of the musical episode as well? A Supergirl, Flash, and President Wonder Woman trio doing a number or two together would be the most enjoyable thing. Get on it, Greg Berlanti!

Remembering Noel Neill, The First Live Action Lois Lane

July 5, 2016

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Noel Neill passed away last Sunday at the age of 95, having lived a long and fascinating life. She wore a number of hats during her time in show business; she was a model, a singer, and an actress in both film and television, but she was best known as Lois Lane. Neill was the first live action Lois, playing the character alongside Kirk Alyn’s Man of Steel in the 1948 serial film Superman and reprising the role in its 1950 sequel, Atom Man vs. Superman. After Phyllis Coates left the Adventures of Superman television series after one season in 1952, the producers immediately reached out to the original Lois, and Neill played Lois next to George Reeves’ Superman for the next five seasons of the program until it ended in 1958.

Neill was Lois Lane during the bulk of the run of the Adventures of Superman, making her the person that an entire generation of fans associated with the character. The show was a hit in its initial run, and remained popular in syndication for a long time as well. Until Margot Kidder took over the role in Superman: The Movie in 1978, Noel Neill WAS Lois Lane.

Neill’s Lois was pleasant and kind-hearted, a stark contrast to the no nonsense brashness that Coates and later Kidder imbued in the character. Neill brought a warmth and friendliness to the role, which fit the part; the program was aimed primarily at children from its second season on, and Neill’s Lois was a good match for its fun, sometimes silly tone. She often found herself in goofy adventures alongside Jimmy Olsen, caught up in a zany plan that required Superman to come save them.

But Neill’s Lois wasn’t all damsel in distress hijinks; in one notable episode, she wrote an editorial that encouraged women to come out and vote in order to get rid of a corrupt politician, leveraging her position at the Daily Planet to try to make a difference. Moreover, she was a constant presence at the newspaper, always chasing down leads and trying to land front page scoops. She was a respected career woman at a time when most of the women on television were homemakers, serving as a role model for young girls in the 1950s and offering them an alternative future to aspire to.

After the Adventures of Superman ended, Neill remained closely associated with Lois Lane and the Superman franchise. She cameoed as Lois’ mother in an early scene in Superman: The Movie, appeared in the Superboy TV show in 1991, and had a small role in Superman Returns in 2006. Neill was also a regular presence at comic book conventions over the decades, representing the show alongside Jack Larson long after most of the original cast had passed. By all accounts, she was delightful, kind, and encouraging to everyone she encountered at conventions, and was a wonderful ambassador for Lois Lane.

I was so sad to hear about her passing yesterday, but wow, what a life. She got to be Lois Lane, TWICE, and seemed to love every minute of it. As a young girl growing up in Minnesota, her father ran a newspaper and she dreamed of being a reporter; she even wrote some articles for Women’s Wear Daily before turning to show business. Then as Lois, she got to live her dream on the big screen and the small screen, and wholeheartedly embraced her association with the character from then on. She will be remembered and missed by legions of fans, young and old.

Finally, here’s a bio of Noel Neill that first appeared in Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #7 in February 1959. When Lois’ new series began, many of the letters from young fans asked about Neill and wanted to know more about her, so DC put together this piece for them. Fans continued to ask about her even after the article ran, so DC reprinted it a few more times throughout the 1960s:

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Lucy Lane Perfectly Embodied Her Silver Age Self In Last Night’s Supergirl, In Just Seconds

November 10, 2015

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I am loving Supergirl. It’s funny and action packed and upbeat and just blatantly feminist, all in a very sincere, almost corny way that could be terrible if everyone wasn’t selling the heck out of it. But they do sell the heck out of it, especially Melissa Benoist as Supergirl, and as Kara Danvers too; she kills it in both identities. There’s an earnestness to her, and to the show in general, that makes everything work like gangbusters. Tonally, it’s a lot like The Flash, which I also love, but with even less angst. It’s just superhero fun! I am all over it.

Last night’s episode saw the first appearance of one of my favourite comic book characters, Lucy Lane, played by Jenna Dewan Tatum. Lucy is Lois Lane’s sister, and has appeared intermittently in Superman comics over the years. When they announced that Lucy was going to be on the show a while back, I wrote a post about how I hoped that the show would go with her early 1990s riot grrrl incarnation, but instead they went even further back. This Lucy Lane was her Silver Age self to a tee, right from the get-go.

Before Lucy showed up, there were some romantic sparks flying between Kara and Jimmy, er, I mean James Olsen. The show seemed to be building up to some kind of moment between the two of them. Then Lucy showed up, and that went completely off the rails. In just a few seconds, Lucy quickly established herself as James’ ex-girlfriend and had him roped into a dinner date to talk about their relationship, squashing what he had going with Kara.

This is CLASSIC Lucy Lane. Starting in the 1950s, Jimmy Olsen had his own comic book series called Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, in which he had all sorts of whacky adventures. Lois Lane had a series as well, Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane, but Lucy rarely appeared in her sister’s book. Instead, she was a regular guest star in Jimmy’s series as his fickle girlfriend. Jimmy was constantly trying to woo Lucy, but she always put him down and ended up spurning him repeatedly. In short, Lucy was always screwing with his love life.

And now, decades later, she’s doing it again in a whole different medium. Poor Jimmy/James can’t catch a break. I’m willing to bet a lot of money that this arc with Lucy ends with her ditching James yet again.

(I should point out that there was an arc in the Super-books in the early 1990s where Lucy and Jimmy were dating and Jimmy got fired and ultimately became homeless. Lucy stuck with him, and got him help, and was a generally great girlfriend. Jimmy, on the other hand, was a terrible boyfriend and took on the fickle role, even after he got back on his feet. He ignored her and only called her when he wanted something. After her riot grrrl phase, Lucy wised up and dumped his sorry butt.)

Lucy seems to be enjoying a bit of a renaissance right now, though not in the comics. She’s in Gwenda Bond’s Lois Lane: Fallout YA novel, as well as its upcoming sequel, Lois Lane: Double Down, and now she’s on Supergirl. I’m excited to tune in next week to see what she and James get up to, as well as what villain Supergirl is taking on next. It’s just a rad show all around, gang. Check it out if you haven’t yet!

Lucy Lane Will Be On CBS’s Supergirl, And I Hope She’s A Riot Grrrl

August 4, 2015

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CBS’s new Supergirl show is set to debut this fall, and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s already got several comic book stalwarts in the main cast, including Jimmy Olsen, Cat Grant, and Hank Henshaw, and now they’ve added another one with the addition of Jenna Dewan-Tatum as Lucy Lane, Lois’ younger sister.

Lucy is probably best known for her Silver Age exploits as Jimmy Olsen’s fickle girlfriend in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen. She was kind of the worst, always jerking that poor boy around. It sounds like the show is going to pick up on that romantic angle and have Lucy be Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend, in Metropolis to right an old wrong.

But the Lucy Lane I’d really like to see is the one from the mid-1990s. Throughout the decade, Lucy had a running storyline through all of the Super-books. She dated Jimmy for a bit, then dated Daily Planet reporter Ron Troupe, got pregnant, and married him. Her best storyline came between these two relationships, when Lucy got involved in the riot grrrl movement. Riot grrrls came out of the underground punk scene, and they dealt with feminist issues through art, zines, and music, including notable bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. They were brash and direct, speaking their minds on issues ranging from sexuality to rape to politics.

The riot grrrls of Metropolis were somewhat less hardcore, what with them appearing in a comic book for kids and all. Nonetheless, they tackled the issues of sexism in superhero narratives from their very first appearance. Here’s a scene from their debut in Adventures of Superman #515 from August 1994, where Lucy stumbled upon them salvaging some instruments from a music store that was razed by an attack from Lex Luthor:

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These gals didn’t give a hoot about Superman because they knew full well the limiting roles that getting wrapped up with a male superhero entailed. Instead, they preferred to do their own thing, in this case starting a band literally called the Riot Grrrls. Their confidence in their future success despite none of them knowing how to play any instruments was reminiscent of Bratmobile, who talked up their band in their zines before any of them ever picked up an instrument.

Lucy hung out with the Riot Grrrls for a year or so across sporadic appearances. They often critiqued the sexism of their superhero world, and Lucy’s time with them marked a real turning point for the character. She moved beyond Jimmy Olsen, who never treated her well, and became a voice for more grounded storylines. Lois was always busy with Superman and his superhero adventures, so Lucy became a sort of woman on the street, dealing with real issues like interracial dating, poverty, and unexpected pregnancy.

It didn’t last, of course. Lucy disappeared after the Super-books became a cycle of crossover events starting in the 2000s, and then came back as Superwoman a decade later only to be killed (sort of) in the “World of New Krypton” event before the whole universe got rebooted.

I’m hoping that we get more of the riot grrrl, relevant Lucy instead of another superhero or a fickle ex-girlfriend. Lucy’s been depicted in a variety of ways over the years, and her riot grrrl incarnation is probably the least well known, but I think it’s the most interesting by far. Greg Berlanti, the producer of Supergirl, has done a good job in general with his other superhero shows, including Arrow and The Flash, but when it comes to female characters their roles have often been what the Riot Grrrls critiqued in their first appearance: cheerleader, girlfriend, or victim. Here’s hoping that on a show with a female lead, the women in the supporting cast will have more to do, and that Lucy can be an interesting, relevant character.

The Trailer For CBS’ New Supergirl Show Is Delightful And Action-Packed

May 14, 2015

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Supergirl can never catch a break. She’s constantly overshadowed by Superman, of course, what with him being the originator of the entire superhero genre and all. Her 1984 film didn’t go over terribly well, and is regularly cited as an example of why there are so few superhero films starring women these days (even though Superman IV: The Quest for Peace made only a million dollars more than Supergirl three years later; and yet male-led superhero movies remain the norm and Superman’s been back to the big screen several times since). Her comic book series over the past couple of decades have been generally unremarkable, and the one major bright spot, Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade by Landry Q. Walker and Eric Jones, never caught on like it should have.

But now, Supergirl has a new showcase with her own hour-long television show. The show premieres this fall on CBS, where it will air on Monday nights, and the network has released a six minute trailer:

I am very excited for this show. One thing that DC’s television division understands (and that their film division seems to not understand at all) is that diversity of tone is a good thing. There are lots of DC properties across a variety of channels, and they’re all different. Arrow is dark and moody, Flash is light and fun, iZombie is weird and quirky, Gotham is… well, Gotham kind of sucks. But the point remains: They’re all different.

Supergirl seems to be going for a mix of Superman: The Movie and The Devil Wears Prada, which is an interesting combination. While most superhero shows have romantic elements, few tread too far into the realm of romantic comedy. Supergirl appears to be embracing that genre in a cool way that looks like it will work well with all of the superheroics. It’s a smart angle that should appeal to viewers who aren’t interested in DC’s other superhero shows. A lot of the internet commentary thus far has praised (or chastised) Supergirl for courting a female audience, and women are stereotypically rom-com fans, but I think a lot of guys will be into it too. Who doesn’t like a good romantic comedy? It’s got comedy AND romance. That’s double the fun. Plus Supergirl is a superhero romance comedy, which means THREE times the fun.

Melissa Benoist seems like she’ll be a great Supergirl, and the rest of the cast looks like a lot of fun too. Calista Flockhart seems to have the mean boss thing down pat, Mehcad Brooks looks to be a surprisingly suave and charming Jimmy Olsen, and everyone else is suitably enjoyable. Plus, as Wilfredo Torres (@mightyfineline) pointed out on Twitter last night, Supergirl saves more people in this trailer than Superman did in all of Man of Steel. That’s all I want out of my Super-entertainment, someone who saves people who need help, be it from accidents, natural disasters, or bad guys.

So yeah, I’m pretty excited to check out the show! It’s great to see a superhero property with a female lead, and I’m glad it’s something different tonally. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.


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