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Monday, May 30, 2016

Archie Comics Needs to Watch The Big Picture on Reboots

From a business perspective Archie Reboot was a textbook example of how to make an established character fresh for the 21st century. Great redesigns that stayed true to the spirit of the characters and a team of top talent working on the new titles. However, Archie’s editors must understand one business principle: Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.

What makes or breaks relaunches is how a publisher plans for the next five to ten years, not how they work in the first two or three. And from what I’ve seen from comic relaunches from Marvel in 1998 and DC in 2011, the editors focused on the short-term sales at the expense of their long term growth. Sure the reboots got a lot of attention in the beginning and even lots of sales. However, that was followed by a steady decline in sales. Archie’s editors have to watch that pattern to avoid making the same mistakes.

Archie’s editors also have to watch is long term talent development. Yes, an A-list talent Mark Waid is writing Archie now. But what happens around issue #12, #24 or #36 when Waid finishes his run? What happens when the artist decides to leave? Too many editors at comic publishing houses launch their rebooted books with A-list teams but don’t focus on building up new talent to take their place at the end of their runs. And that causes their books’ sales to flounder when the B creative team takes over.

 It’s the declines in sales when the B creative team takes over that can make or break a relaunch like they did with Iron Man and Captain America’s titles in 2000. If the audience can’t connect with the second creative team of artists and writers the book won’t be able to go the distance. Again, publishing is a marathon, not a sprint.

And too many comic publishers today sprint for short-term sales spikes from relaunches instead of focusing on a plan that helps them build a long-term audience with readers. A smart publishing professional is making plans for the departure of top talent 36 months before they leave. Having them work on second and third tier books to cut their teeth and get the audience familiar with their work. That way the transition between A and B talent isn’t felt by the reader when they pick up a comic.

Unfortunately too many comic publishers don’t focus on building up the secondary creative team to take the baton from the celebrity writers like Waid. That’s been what has impeded Marvel’s growth after relaunching with Heroes Return in 1998. Because editorial no plan for what to do after the A talent like Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek, George Perez and Sean Chens left, Most of Marvel’s relaunched books wound up lost and directionless.

Archie’s editors have to focus on the bigger picture or else they can wind up in the same predicament as Marvel’s editors ran into in 2000 and DC is right now after their new 52 relaunch collapsed and Convergence fell flat with readers. Developing new talent right alongside the veteran celebrity talent will enable readers to get to know the new writers and artists and lead to a smooth transition when they take over for veterans.

 So far no comic publishing house since the 1990’s has developed a strategy to maintain their growth after a relaunch. I’m hoping Archie can buck the trend and create a business model that other comic publishing houses can use to expand their growth.

Archie had an amazingly executed relaunch. But maintaining that success will be the challenge. Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. Keeping the positive momentum going will require their editors to have the vision to focus on the big picture of building the brand not just a few issues of an acclaimed creators’ run.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Captain America An Angent of HYDRA WTF?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Flash Season 2 Finale-Is there a Berlanti Curse?

I’m noticing a pattern with these Berlanti Production DC TV shows. Around Season 2 the writing starts to fall apart. After Watching The Flash’s head scratching Season 2 finale I’m left wondering if there’s a Berlanti Curse on their productions.

I saw a similar decline in the quality on Arrow on Season 2 right after Deathstroke killed Ollie’s Mommy. The Flash was running right along into the finale until that proposal for a race from Zoom. So Zoom’s gonna cause all this terror on two or possibly three earths, kill a bunch of people, take Barry’s powers, Kidnap an Earth 3 Jay Garrick, Kill’s Barry’s dad all in an effort to get Barry Allen to race him.

What the Fuck?

Oh yeah, Zoom made this magnetron or whatever to destroy the universe. But the whole season’s storyline just collapsed with that climax. All setup with next to no payoff. The Flash spends 22 episodes building up Zoom into a superbad who’s supposed to be feared, kills a bunch of people including Barry’s Dad and all he wants is a race against a superhero from another earth?

Damn. Just Damn. He coulda did all that in one fuckin’ episode. Then we could have moved on to some of the more important rogues like Mirror Master or Mr. Element.

As The Flash built into the lackluster climax of the finale we have Barry splitting in two, The Speed force ghosts Ex Machina coming to get Zoom (Nice CGI) after Barry beats them and the revelation that Jay Garrick on Earth 3 looks like Barry’s Dad. I’ll have to say The Golden Age Flash costume was pretty odd looking. And the explanation for Jay wearing the tin cap was just crap. Then after everyone goes back to their earth Barry gets so EMO that he decides to run back in time and stop Reverse Flash from killing his mother.

Setting up a time paradox for Season 3 and another run around the vicious cycle of bad writing.

Again. Damn. Just Damn.

Er…Barry couldn’t have done that in Season 1? Then we could have built into Jay Garrick & Earth 2 in a nice organic fashion with a crisis on Earth’s 1 and 2 needing Arrow, Supergirl and the Legends of Tomorrow to face it in a 4-part crossover. But Death angst, and drama had to be padded out for an entire season with a LAME of a villain who paid off like a $5 food stamp without the book in 2016.  

For me, The Flash lost a lot of momentum after Tuesday’s Finale. An entire season worth of build fell into a Black hole of absolutely terrible writing. It seems like the show’s story model is running around in a circle that’s turning into a vicious cycle. Time travel is turning into a Deus ex machina for Flash writers to get themselves out of a jam and the storytelling is just going around and around instead of moving ahead. What started out as a promising sci-fi show is starting to head right off the rails creatively.

Seriously, I’m starting to think there’s there a Berlanti Curse. Because these Berlanti Productions crumble into dust in their sophomore seasons. They start out strong in the first season setting things up, but around the second season the writing starts falling apart. Arrow fell apart around season 2.5 and the Flash started slowing down around Season 2.75. With the way things are going Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow will start a similar decline as well. Can a Berlanti Production get to Season 3 without collapsing? I’m still waiting to see if it’s possible.

If Flash starts running down Arrow’s road of declining quality, I have a feeling we’re in for a shittacular season 3 that will make Arrow’s season 3 look like one of the best things ever produced on television.

Here’s some advice for the Flash producers: Less time travel, More Rogues. And get Wentworth Miller back on this show so he can chill out as Captain Cold. He’s chewing scenery on Legends of Tomorrow. 

Berlanti Productions has good production values and they know how to cast an actor for a role. But the big problem for all four of their shows has been the inconsistent, and sometimes AWFUL scripts being pumped out by their writers. It’s clear to me that they need new showrunners and new writers because the scripts being produced on all four of their shows just aren’t GOOD in most cases. That Flash finale and a couple of episodes leading up to it needed another polish, Many episodes in Supergirl needed a serious rewrite. Legends should have NEVER been greenlit, and Arrow just be cancelled The Season 4 finale was literally shit on a plate.

If Berlanti productions could just get its writing together they could make some classic superhero TV shows. But as it stands now the stories just aren’t compelling enough to be must see superhero TV. Berlanti productions needs new writers and they need them NOW.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Archie Comics: A Reboot Done Right

Archie Comics has been on a roll over the last decade. These days Archie has been producing some of the freshest and original comics in the industry. I can’t say a bad thing about Archie, the comics being published there today are all top quality.

Archie Comics has been taking creative risks over the past decade. And they’ve all been paying off. All the revamps from Archie to Sabrina to, put fresh take on old characters and make them relatable to a new audience of readers.

Why do Archie’s revamped concepts work? Plain and simple they don’t change the heart and soul of the original concept of who Archie is. While there are cosmetic changes to the designs of some of the newer publications, they’re still Archie at heart. The characters may look more humanized in more recent publications, but they’re still easily recognizable as Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie and still act like Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Reggie.

Moreover, Archie’s publishers didn’t take their old designs and chuck them in the garbage like DC Comics did with the New 52 when they rebooted the DC Universe. In the Archie world there’s room for BOTH old and new look versions of Archie. You can still get the classic Dan DeCarlo styled Archie in reprints right along with stories the New Look versions. Thanks to the lack of continuity baggage Readers don’t have to deal with the headaches of reboots at Archie. They can just pick up a comic and start reading. 

The launch of Kevin Keller a few years ago was a clinic on how a publishing house introduces a new character to readers. A great character design, rock solid character development, and strong push, lots of support from the publisher in regular Archie comics and his own ongoing series helped him find an audience. 

And the revamped Sabrina has consistently been one of the best horror comics out there. Robert Hack has done an amazing job of taking the Teenage Witch and making her fresh for new readers. Again, you can still find the classic version right along with the new one.

Even the new Jinx kicks ass. When a publisher can take an obscure character like Lil’ Jinx and make it fresh and new for readers it shows how talented the creators are working there. 

And that’s what’s so great about Archie these days. The new versions capture so much of the spirit of the original you want to buy them and give them a shot. And with talent like Mark Waid, Fiona Staples, Anne Wu, Robert Hack and great talent working on Archie books the quality has gotten so high that you can’t help but give them a second look. In the cases of the new revamp Archie books they give Marvel and DC books a run for their money.

I’ve been loving most of the new stuff from Archie, but I’d love to see a revamped Josie from Archie in the style of the new books. And PLEASE bring back Pepper this time! I know she’d work well with today’s readership. I think it’d work well. And maybe they could even transition it to PussyCats Josie later on. C’mon Archie make this happen!

If I ever got to write comics I’d love to work at Archie at some point in my career. I like the direction the house is going in and I think my style of action and humor would be a good fit there. And I think I’d be able to make a contribution to their catalog on a run of comics, maybe even revamp Chuck Clayton into something like oh, John Haynes. Come to think of it, Archie could use a Goth character in their revamped lineup. I’d love to create one…

Friday, May 20, 2016

Ghostbusters 2016 & Black female Stereotypes

NO.....Just NO!
I’m not a fan of the new Ghostbusters reboot. The Original 1984 Ghostbusters was a major part of my childhood. I not only watched the movie, but watched the cartoon every weekday afternoon on Channel 5 and Saturday morning on ABC. And even though I was 15, I had ALL the Real Ghostbusters toys. And I still have them to this day.

1984’s Ghostbusters was also one of the major influences on my writing. Much of the dark humor in The Temptation of John Haynes is partially inspired by the film.

When I look at the 2016 reboot it disgusts me. It looks like a poorly done Saturday Night Live sketch filled with feminist claptrap and girl power clich├ęs. It’s a shallow film that doesn’t capture the spirit of the original film nor does it understand the nuances of the story or the commentary made in between the lines of the comedy of the original.

The four female Ghostbusters are poor caricatures of the original quad. There’s a nerdy one, a fat one, a stupid one and a Black one. Not to mention a Mangina version of Janine Melnitz, the secretary. And while the three white girls are an insult, the Black female they chose for the role of Winston Zeddmore’s female counterpart is extremely offensive. This hulking Black woman is practically the size of Ernie Hudson (who is over six feet tall himself) and her voice is about two octaves lower than his.

Damn. Just Damn. If this isn’t cooning I don’t know what is.

Worse, this Black female is a loud obnoxious neck-rolling eye snapping Lawd Jesus mammy stereotype. Yeah, I know Ghostbusters is comedy. But this female’s portrayal is not funny. It’s a slap in the face to the subtle and subdued portrayal Ernie Hudson gave in the 1984 Ghostbusters.

What most people don’t know is that the portrayal of Black women as unattractive is subtle form of racism that Hollywood Movie studios use to make white women appear more appealing to viewers. Hollywood movie studios don’t want Americans thinking of Black women as beautiful. So they make efforts to minimize a Black woman’s beauty so the White women will appear to be more attractive than they are.

This is why the movie studios push the fat mammies, loudmouth ball-busting sapphires, and jezebels as the standard for Black females in their movies and TV shows. And why they make black women appear to be hard and masculine. The whole idea of an attractive, soft, feminine Black woman makes White liberals in Hollywood uncomfortable because it’s bad for business. If Black women are following their own beauty standard they won’t be buying products made by White and nonblack companies like Korean hair weaves, bleaching creams, and hair care products.

In contrast to the fat, ugly, and pathetic looking White women in Sony’s 2016 Ghostbusters the Black female looks like the ugliest person in the room. She looks like a she-beast, a chick with a dick.

And along with her grotesque appearance is her even uglier attitude. Her Lawd Jesus over-the-top mammy behavior pretty much repulses anyone and prevents the viewer from seeing her as likeable. She’s a minstrel in a comedy of errors that shows the world how incompetent most feminist girl power types are onscreen and how racist they are in real life.  

Unfortunately this isn’t the first time this stereotype about Black women has been perpetuated. In Captain America: Civil War There’s a scene where the Black Widow is confronted by one of the Panther’s aggressive masculine acting female bodyguards. Not to mention the scene early the movie when Tony Stark is confronted by a Skrong Independent Black female.

When it comes to Black women on film White Liberal Hollywood has no interest in presenting our softest, most feminine and attractive sistas to the forefront as a standard of beauty. No, the idea of a truly beautiful Black woman makes White women insecure. And the idea of a strong woman who has the strength of character to stand by her Black man makes them terrified. So they trot out big fat black mammies like the one featured in Ghostbusters reboot and Gabourney Sidbe and say they’re making efforts to present a positive image of Black women in the media. It’s no different than what Hollywood did in the 1930s when they passed over our most beautiful women like Nina Mae Mckinney, Fredi Washington, and countless other Black beauties and put them in a second best category while pushing big fat Black mammies like Louise Beavers and Hattie McDaniel as the standard for Black women.

Yeah, Sony is launching an All-Female Ghostbusters. But I won’t be going to see it. The portrayals of Black women in this film set the race back a hundred years. The only way to stop Hollywood from presenting these negative images of Black people is to vote with my wallet and that’s just what I’m going to do.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Supergirl Moving to the CW…Damn….Just Damn

Supergirl got a second season.

But it’s on the CW.

Damn. Just Damn.

I’ll go on record as saying CBS fumbled the football on this one. Focusing on short-term things like production budgets vs. a long-term strategy of rebuilding their schedule. But this par for the course with executives today. They just can’t see the big picture.

Someone needs to tell CBS’ executives Michael Weatherly just left NCIS. And the way things are going that show is nearing the end of its 17 o so year run. CBS also cancels every one of its aging CSI shows and Mike & Molly. So instead of leaving new better performing shows on the schedule or moving it to a night to fill in a hole or two in the schedule they move it to a netlet like the CW.


Some would be happy that Supergirl got a second season. But I’m not. Moving to the CW could be the single worst thing to happen to this show.

Yeah, moving Supergirl means it’ll skew a younger demographic. But that comes at a cost. The show is on a smaller netlet with a smaller audience. A network that’s a pale shadow of its predecessor the WB. In some parts of the country you can’t even get the CW. Yeah, you can watch episodes online, but that doesn’t help with ratings.

With the CW being a netlet, and not a network that means the budget is gonna be half of what it was on CBS. That’s BAD for a sci-fi show like Supergirl. That means the special effects are going to go from the near Marvel Studios quality to 1980s Salkinds level. Or we may just get Kara running around like Clark did on Smallville. And J’onn stuck in human form. Viewers are gonna notice the jarring changes in production and get turned off.

And the stories….Yeah, they’re headed for LAMESVILLE if the show is headed to the CW. Instead of the sci-fi comic book type stories we had on CBS may get more of the meandering syrupy soapy plots that are a staple on shows like Arrow and The Flash. Stories that have made Arrow unwatchable over the last two seasons. Can this Damien Dork season END already?

On the CW Black James Olson will probably have his role minimized.  Or he’ll be revealed as an Earth-3 doppleganger who hid the real Jimmy Olson in a pod. Andto appease the mostly white female CW audience, some hunky twentysomething White guy will be made the new love interest. And we’ll probably get a meandering storyline regarding Kara’s quest to find her father.


The sad part about this move is that CBS and Warner Brothers will have blown a major opportunity to reach families and children with a superhero property. Supergirl was doing well with family audiences, something Warner Brothers and CBS desperately needs to build its reputation with. That was money in the bank for both long term in terms of licensing, merchandising and building a DC Universe on television. But executives at CBS and Warner Brothers can’t see it because they have tunnel vision.

Man, it’s like we DC fans can’t get a break. The program that best represents DC Comics and shows that DC characters can work onscreen just like Marvel Studios gets put on a netlet by CBS executives and gets its budget cut.

Damn. Just Damn.

When Supergirl premiered this September it was the first time in five years I actually got excited for a DC Comics property. The show was literally a DC Comic come to life onscreen, and a program that showed a DC Comic property could be made to compete with Marvel Studios superhero properties. Unfortunately, the same old gremlins at WB and CBS that sabotaged DC Comics properties in the past came to throw a Kryptonite monkeywrench in Supergirl’s production like they did with The Flash(1990) Birds of Prey, Smallville, Arrow, Gotham, and Legends of Tomorrow. The way I see it the greatest nemesis to DC Superheroes aren’t DC super-villains, they’re the executives running things at CBS and Warner Brothers.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Shawn Reviews Captain America: Civil War

I went to see Captain America: Civil War this weekend. And I’d have to say it’s the best Marvel Studios film to date. Captain America: Civil War brings a Marvel comic to life in an action packed film that does not disappoint. Just like a great oldschool comic, Captain America Civil War leaves the viewer counting down the days anticipating the next film.  

Watching Captain America: Civil War it’s clear to me that Marvel Studios learned their lessons from the clunky and uneven Avengers: Age of Ultron. Cinematically Captain America Civil War has a slower pace, tighter story, easier to follow visual effects and much better character development. Instead of trying to cram 200 issues of comics into one film, Marvel Studios tells one story set in a cinematic universe of superheroes. This storytelling approach makes the film easier to watch and a much more enjoyable movie experience.   

What did I love about this film? The fact that Marvel studios wasn’t afraid to take risks. Instead of adapting the dreary, depressing and divisive Civil War story from the Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios decides go in a different direction for its cinematic universe. While the story crafted for the screen was original it captured the spirit of Classic Marvel comics from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and made it fresh for 21st Century viewers. Because Captain America Civil War is NOT an adaptation of a comic, it tells fresh exciting story filled with twists turns and surprises. Just when you think you have this movie figured out, it’ll throw you a curveball.

I really liked the story in this film, it evoked memories of 2004’s The Incredibles. Just like that film, mankind fears the violence and destruction that The Avengers participate in when they stop the bad guys. So they propose the Slovenia Accords to control The Avengers. Tony wracked with guilt from the creation of Ultron is for it, While Captain America is against it. The conflict is about the ideals and values of superheroes until it gets personal for both Tony and Cap.

However, what makes Captain America: Civil War compelling is the fact that it’s humans not superhumans that are the greatest danger to the Marvel Cinematic Earth. Like Syndrome in The Incredibles, Men like Tony Stark, Thunderbolt Ross and Helmut Zemo show us that but ordinary people who lose control of themselves are more dangerous than any super villian. And in their quest to try to get control over situations beyond their control they wind up crossing moral and ethical lines without regard to the cost of the lives and livelihoods of others. And the damage they do to intangibles like trust and integrity actually do more damage to society than all the death and destruction they do in any of the epic battles in Civil War.

It’ll be interesting to see how all of this is reconciled over the next few Marvel Studios movies. Does Tony work towards reclaiming the trust of his friends? Or does he keep making compromises to his core values that send him into a bottle? I’m thinking Infinity War makes the world realize how much worse things can be without the Avengers there to protect them.

Another thing I liked about this film is how humanized the characters are. There’s a lot of subtlety and nuance to the characters in this story and a lot of depth and dimension on them. No one is perfect in this story, and no one makes easy decisions. Viewers really see how tough it is to be a superhero and the how they have to deal with the consequences of their actions. In this story you come to understand sometimes doing the right thing doesn’t end up with a happily ever after like in the comic books, but a hero has to do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do. No major characters die, but you truly see the human cost of the war between both sides in this story.

The writing on this film is rock solid and the characterizations spot on. All the old characters act just like their comic book counterparts, but the new ones stand out prominently. Black Panther is a BOSS onscreen. His adapted origin is changed quite a bit, but when he’s onscreen he commands the screen. Chadwick Boseman disappears into the character and brings him to life with regalness, nobility and intelligence. If there’s a Black Panther Movie coming, I’ll be first in line to see it. Boseman will carry that one to number one at the box office easily.  

Spider-Man’s story is different too, but still great. Even though Aunt May is now a MILF, this is the best adaptation of Spider-Man to ever come to film. This is the awkward, geeky kid we all grew up reading in the comics struggling to find out what kind of hero he wants to be. Spidey steals almost every scene he’s in. I love the fact that he’s a great contrast to the more seasoned and experienced heroes and in awe of them. I can’t wait to see more of him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The fight scenes are absolutely spectacular in this film. The battles are big and look and feel like a comic book come to life. The scenes of Cap fighting Crossbones in the inciting incident looked like they were was ripped from a 1989 Mark Gruenwald Keiron Dwyer comic. And a scene of Cap and the Falcon in the bar looked like a panel taken from a 1970s comic. There’s a scene of Iron Man firing repulsors at Cap holding his shield taken straight from a cover of Civil War comics, and the battle at the airport evokes the big rubble filled battles John Byrne and George Perez used to draw at Marvel. I never thought we’d live in an age where a comic book can come to life, but here we are.  

I only have a couple of gripes about this movie The first is that Negro woman who pulled the guilt trip on Tony Stark at MIT. That scene pretty much reinforced a stereotype about fat Black single moms. The fact that she stated she was a government HR worker who came all the way to an MIT use shaming tactics on Tony and emasculate him was a scene that really annoyed me. With all the positive portayals of Black men in this film, this was the one that made me say to myself:

Damn. Just Damn.

 I know Marvel desperately needs diversity in its superhero movies, but did we really need the Skrong Independent Black woman coming into a movie and using the superpower of her big mouth? That scene needed to be rewritten or just cut out of the movie altogether. I’d rather have a scene of pre Spectrum Monica Rambeau talking to Stark than the mammy they stuck in that scene.

The second gripe is about the inconsistently invincible Iron Man. In the Avengers: Iron Man Mark 6 can take on Thor and Captain America in a fight, and in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hulkbuster is shown beating up the Hulk, but Mark 46 which is more advanced than both the Mark 44 and Mark 6 is getting wrecked beyond repair by the far less powerful Captain America and Winter Soldier in the final battle. Seriously, Stark needs to get on his quality control. Right now the older Mark 6 looks stronger than ANY of his more advanced upgrade suits onscreen.

The final gripe is the handling of Zemo. Yeah, The Russos were trying to show that a mere man was able to manipulate superheroes like puppets on a string and get them to fight each other. And that he was a villain that used a more subtle psychological approach to achieve his means. But his story kind of got lost because he was so behind the scenes. I get the fact that his subtlety was a contrast to all the dynamic superheroes onscreen, but I’d like to see a villain I’d love to hate in a Marvel Studios movie again. The last great villain who had a good time while he was kicking superhero ass was Loki, and that was years ago. Marvel needs another villain we love to hate in their movies and they need him NOW.

Captain America: Civil War is the must see movie of the year. To truly appreciate it you have to go see it on the big screen at your local movie theater. I highly recommend you go out and see this one, you will definitely enjoy it.

Friday, May 13, 2016

If Shawn Wrote TV shows: Supergirl

I’m a big fan of CBS’ Supergirl. And I’m a novelist and a screenwriter. My specialty in both areas are stories featuring strong heroines and bad girls. From my work in novels like Spinsterella, traditional screenplays like All About Marilyn and All AboutNikki, and my work in fantasy stories like the Isis series I’d like to think I’d be a good fit working on a show like CBS’ Supergirl.

If I were the showrunner for Supergirl, I’d be working on building on the solid foundation of Season 2. What’s in that pod? Streaky the Super Cat. Hey, even a Supergirl needs a pet. And the show needs to move past all those alien menaces from beyond and go a bit more local.

The way I see it Season 2 for Supergirl needs to have a stronger focus on Kara’s life in National City. The DEO would be downplayed to the background and the focus would be on Kara protecting National City from local menaces. And while Kara made her efforts to protect National City there’d be more of a focus on relationship with the residents of the city and the heroes and villains of the DC Universe.

There’d be more Kara at Catco, more running around National City and less chasing alien menaces for the DEO. Why should she do that when J’onn can? Besides, that stuff just slows the show down. I’d focus more on building the rogues gallery a bit more organically, with an emphasis on the interpersonal relationships between Kara and her bad guys. The bad girls of the DC Universe would get a big focus if I were writing the show.

Kara got a promotion and I’d apply a trick or two from my E’steem series stories regarding it. Having her trying to balance work and crime fighting.

James Olson got lost in the shuffle of Season 1 and he needs to be pushed back to the forefront. Kara’s sister got the push and that really slowed the show down, especially when she became a Mary Sue. People wanted to see the chemistry build between James and Kara. With a heavier focus on local menaces and Kara and Jimmy have to work together fighting local rogues instead of alien ones that romance can build.

Moreover, they wanted to see the manlier James going out on his own. Trying to establish his name as a world-class writer and photographer. Trying to balance his objectivity for journalistic integrity with his feelings for Kara as he’s creating media for Cat Grant.

Win Schott is underdeveloped and I’d love to make him a bit more tormented by his legacy connection to the Toyman. After last season’s rejection by Kara, he’d be a will he or won’t he bad guy? He’d be getting an offer from this season’s big bad that would tempt him to join the dark side and follow in his father’s footsteps.

Max Lord would still be dicking around, but Compared to this year’s big bad, he’d look like he’d be out of his league.

DC’s bad girls would get a big push If I were writing the show. The main villain I’d love to use is Dr. Cyber. While she’s a Wonder Woman villain, I think she’d work well here. The way I’d write her she’d be Kara’s Lex, a corporate diva, who just enjoys making Kara miserable. While Max Lord is a dick, Kara needs that villain we love to hate. And Dr. Cyber is just enough of a BITCH to make viewers love to hate her. I’d love to put her on a quest to learn more about Kryptonian DNA similar to the story I wrote in Isis: The Beauty Myth. I think Cyber and Kara could have great chemistry together and have the kind of feud that would build into Must See TV.

Rampage would also get an episode. Kitty Faulkner would work well on Supergirl and I think she’d be the kind of nerd girl who could make the dry DEO stuff a bit more fun to watch. Rampage was an underrated character from the Byrne run on Superman and I think she’d be easy to adapt to the screen.

For guest spots, I’d love to do a Zatanna episode. Zee popped up on Smallville, and she’d be great in a story dealing with magic and Kara’s vulnerability to it. With Tala as the villain and it’d be a magically fun team-up episode.  I could even use a Grown up Yellow Peri for those Superman Purists to make it work. 

I’d also love to write an episode featuring Nightwing. In the episode Dick would be in hot pursuit of Lady Vic, who is in town to do some merc work for Cyber. There’d be references to Bludhaven, and some character development for James Olson. I think James and Dick would work well in a story, both being men trying to get out of the shadow of their former mentors.

I’d love to do a Batgirl/Supergirl Crossover, but Dick allows for James’ character development.  

I’d also love to write something with Mary Marvel. Her sugary sweetness would make for a very funny episode. Plus it’d be great to see Supergirl Vs. Mary Marvel before they take on the episode baddie.

J’onn and the DEO would focus on a story arc regarding Kara’s father if I wrote it. While I’d downplay the DEO I’d love to tie up all the loose ends regarding his disappearance.

I definitely would love to do an episode where Kara takes on Lashina, Stompa and Mad Harriet or at least one of the three who are undercover and get caught doing some spy work for Darkseid. For this story I’d take another page from my E’steem series stories where of social media has some unforeseen impact on superhero battles. Hard to have a fight stopping a menace when there’s thousands of cell phones on. Even harder when you’re having a wardrobe malfunction while in the middle of one. How Kara deals with the bad publicity from this would make for quite an interesting story.

This is just me brainstorming, but If I were the head writer for Supergirl viewers would probably get a lot of action packed episodes with great stories that capture the spirit of the DC Universe. Sure it’d cost a bundle, but viewers would see that $3 million dollars on the screen every week. The way I see it with good stories there’s no place for Supergirl to go but up, up and away in the ratings.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The CW Just Needs to Cancel Arrow Already

There’s a point where a TV show has run its course. Where it just needs to be put out of its misery by a network. And the CW’s Arrow is at that point right now.

The CW’s Arrow was one of the more promising superhero shows when it started. A great premise, A rock solid cast of actors, great fight choreography, and spectacular set design. It had all the elements to go down in history as a classic DC Superhero show like Adventures of Superman, Batman 1966, 1977’sWonder Woman and 1990’s Flash.  

Unfortunately, the show’s writing has never been its strong point. And because the writers just couldn’t hit a stride, Arrow has never been able to consistently hit the mark for great television. Thanks to the uneven storytelling Arrow has never has been that one bad guy we’ve loved to hate or that one feud that became must see TV. Instead the show has been bogged down by meandering storylines featuring lies, secrets, deception, and syrupy sappy CW style romance.

Thanks to the inconsistent writing, The CW’s Arrow started a steady decline ever since the middle of the Deathstroke storyline in Season 2 when Slade killed Ollie’s Mommy. And Season 3 with Ra’s Al Ghul was an absolute disaster. Now I knew going in that Season 4 was going to be a train wreck, but-

 Damn….Just Damn.

What makes Arrow Season 4 a train wreck is the fact that this year’s storyline takes the show completely away from the source material. Instead of a focus on the romance between Oliver Queen and his comic book love, Black Canary, we get Oliver Queen finally deciding to get with his IT specialist Felicty Smoak.

I’m gonna go on record stating I fuckin’ hate Ollicity. They have no chemistry and I’d rather see Amell jump the Salmon ladder than Felicity’s bones. Every episode that focused on Ollicity was absolutely PAINFUL to watch. Felicity’s a cool character in small doses, like Abby Scuito on NCIS. And she works best when she can be cute and quirky at her computer terminal. But over the last two seasons she was given a huge push. Unfortunately, it all feels forced and convoluted.

It’s clear to me someone on Arrow’s writing team has too much of a fixation on this character. Because she went from being a great supporting character into Mary Sue territory. In some episodes over the last two seasons Felicity could do everything Ollie and Ray Palmer could. Heck, she even got herself walking after being shot and paralyzed! After the Queen Bee episode this season I had to wonder if this show was called Arrow or Felicity Smoak? Anyway, it’s just a sign of bad writing. A writer is supposed to remain objective and focus on the main character, not the one they like. And Arrow’s writers have shown that they can’t remain objective and stay true to the source material they’re adapting.

I spent four years waiting for the prickly liberal who fights for the little guy to show up on Arrow. Unfortunately all I’ve seen over four seasons is Bruce Wayne Lite taking on fifth tier Batman villains not fit to job for Jim Gordon on FOX’s Gotham. And now that Black Canary has been murdered by Damian Dork (Yeah I meant to spell it that way because he’s that ANNOYING), this show has collapsed beyond the point where any writer like myself could fix it.

It’s clear we’re not going to see the REAL Oliver Queen on Batman, I mean Arrow. Taking on his mission of fighting for the little guy. Taking on his bad guys. And having a relationship with HIS woman Black Canary. So instead of letting this LAME TV show limp on for another painful season the CW needs to put it out of its misery once and for all.

It’s a shame Arrow never actualized its potential as a TV Show. Stephen Amell is a great actor and he deserved better than the garbage scripts he was given. Amell was to Green Arrow what the late Christopher Reeve was to Superman. I wish someone at Berlanti Productions could have written him a script that would have allowed him to show how well the Real Oliver Queen would work onscreen. As it stands now Arrow is one big misfire of a TV show.

Monday, May 9, 2016

CBS Needs To See the Big Picture With Supergirl

Last September Supergirl premiered on CBS to a record audience of 19 million viewers. And with numbers like that one would think CBS would be signing for an automatic second season. However, instead of renewing Supergirl and pushing it hard, executives at the network are considering cutting the show’s budget and moving it to the CW.

CBS executives just don’t know when they has a good thing. And they’re about to make one of the biggest mistakes since their grandfathers cancelled Gilligan’s Island.

 CBS says that the shows $3 million budget per episode is just too expensive. And they say that the audience shrank drastically from the premiere. However as I see it the show deserves a second chance.

Supergirl is a fun, bright show that’s a breath of fresh air from the dark angry DC superhero shows like Gotham and Arrow. It captures the spirit of the DC Universe and literally is like watching a DC Comic book come to life. A fun show that families and children can watch together. The kind of show that can build an audience long term for CBS.

The kind of show a guy like the late Brandon Tartikoff would have stood behind back in the 1980s. Back in the 1980s when NBC was struggling, Tartikoff wouldn’t be talking about cancelling a Show like Supergirl. Instead he’d be pushing it like other shows that struggled when they started like Cheers and Seinfeld.

Shows that went on to become hits in their later seasons. Shows that are now considered television classics. The $3 million CBS spends on an episode of Supergirl will pay off in the long term. Especially when they’ll have huge holes in their schedule in the next few years. Seriously, how long can a 16-year-old show like NCIS carry CBS?

CBS’ executives aren’t looking at the big picture with Supergirl. Right now they have an aging fleet of shows and no real replacements for them. Shows like NCIS are on their 16th or so seasons, The Big Bang Theory is on its 8th Season, 2 Broke Girls is on its 5th Season and Mom and Hawaii Five-O is on its third season. And a slew of shows like Mike & Molly and Person of Interest are leaving the CBS Schedule. CBS really needs to focus on the future of its network before it winds up in like last place NBC.

Yes, Supergirl has its crreative issues. As I see it, the show really does need to focus on moving the DEO to the background and more on building up Kara’s life in National City as the primary story. The Kryptonian overreaching arc really slowed the show down. Personally, I’d rather see some more home grown villains like Silver Banshee and Live Wire instead of alien menaces from far away.

Moreover, I’d love to see more relationships developed between Kara and her rogues. One of the best things about Buffy and Xena were the relationships that both heroines had with their villains every season. Kara really needs that big archenemy that everyone loves to hate. Astra fell kinda flat, and Non I didn’t really care about. And while Maxwell Lord is a dick, but this show really needs its Callisto or its Spike and Drusilla to get the audience energized.

The way I see it, DC bad girls like Dr.Cyber or Maxima need to pop in for a feud or two. While she’s a Wonder Woman Villian, Dr. Cyber would be awesome as the season arc villain for Season 2. She’s just such a diva she’d give Kara a real run for her money onscreen.

And it really needs to bring in some of the other heroes for a guest spot. I loved seeing J’onn this season as a supporting cast member. And the episode where The Flash guest starred was one of the best episodes of the year. I’d love to see more of those kinds of episodes in the second season. They really captured the spirit of DC Comics on film. Zatanna, Nightwing, Ted Kord, Miss Martian, Mary Mavel, or Donna Troy popping in would be awesome and show the world that there’s a larger world of heroes outside of National City.

But in order for a show like Supergirl to develop creatively, it needs a home on a competitive network. And the CW just isn’t competitive. Right now The CW isn’t on most of the TV stations across the country. And the ones its on sometimes get pre-empted for local sports like Yankee games and the shows get rescheduled for the weekends in death slots like Saturday at 6 PM.

Worse, the reception is absolute shit on some of them. Here in New York It’s a bitch for me to get Channel 11 with a rabbit ear antenna so I can watch iZombie, The Flash and…Good Gravy…The abomination of a TV show calling itself Arrow.

So while the CW skews younger viewers, the network itself isn’t going to be a place the show can build a larger audience. The CW is nowhere the network it was when it was The WB in its prime. Back in the 1990’s The WB was competitive, with a strong broadcast signal, full weeknight lineup, Saturday morning cartoons, and a Sunday schedule. While the CW today is just a netlet with a  two-hour weeknight schedule bogged down with superhero shows and fantasy. With the schedule already crowded with Flash, Arrow, iZombie and Legends of Tomorrow Supergirl would get lost in the shuffle.

CBS really needs to stand behind Supergirl. It’s the kind of show that will find an audience long term. With the right stories and network support Supergirl can be the kind of show that builds a following over 3-5 seasons. However, CBS executives have to learn how to play the long game instead of the short one. Most of the hit shows that went on to become classics like Cheers, and Seinfeld didn’t do it in the first season. It was the third season that was their breakout.  If CBS played its cards right by the time NCIS or Big Bang Theory is planning its series finale Supergirl could be ready to take its place on the schedule and keeping the network competitive.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Nickel And Dimed for bags in New York City

This Week the New York City Council is planning on passing a bill to charge residents a nickel for every paper or plastic bag they get at a store when they go shopping.

And all those profits go to the store.

Let me get this straight: The City Council wants shoppers to pay for the bags they get from a store. In one of the most expensive cities in the world. Where rent is $3500 for a studio apartment. And people pay some of the highest taxes and electric rates in the country.

And now The City Council wants to charge them five cents for bags


The New York City Council says this will lead to a cleaner environment. Yeah, it’ll get cleaner when people start leaving the city due to the high cost of living. There’s only so much people can take. And nickel and diming them at the stores they shop at over a bag may be the straw that breaks New Yorker’s backs.

Not to mention the customer service nightmare at retail. Want to slow down traffic at the front end of a store at the registers during busy periods? Have cashiers counting up bags to see how much they should charge for them. That’ll turn a 20-minute trip to a supermarket into a one-hour ordeal.

It’ll be hard to make profits on those bags when people are frustrated about getting out of a store due to dealing with this nightmare. I can only imagine the losses from shrink stores will have as angry people leave merchandise on the sales floor after they walk out because they’re tired of waiting for a cashier to add up how many bags an order used.

And this policy will practically put stores that have bag checks out of business. If people are getting charged extra for bags, and they feel forced to take one in these kinds of establishments, they just won’t shop there.

The Democrats in the City Council don’t understand how it was policies like this that led to the decline of New York City 40 years ago. It was little nickel and dime taxes like this that had people getting on buses to go shopping in New Jersey and Connecticut at their malls.

Taking revenue out of the city. And making it less attractive to residents, travelers, and tourists. When people get nickeled and dimed over things like bags they tell their families and friends not to come to the City to visit. That it’s too expensive. And it’s cheaper to just go someplace else.

But the Democrats say they care so much about the environment. By giving more money to businesses a nickel at a time. Again, the only people profiting from this policy will be businesses themselves. So how does that help the environment?

What the Democrats in the City Council doesn’t understand is that these are the kinds of policies that kill a city’s revenue long-term. Yeah, you want a cleaner environment, but not at the expense of citizens. The fastest way to destroy the revenue coming into a city is to go around nickel and diming people for doing everyday business like shopping.  That just drives people out of the city into competing cities and states and when they see how much cheaper it is to live over there, they just move there permanently taking jobs and revenue right out of the city.

New York City was on its way to becoming one of the greatest cities in the world again. But with nickel and dime policies like charging five cents for a plastic or paper bag it’s headed back down the road that turned the city into a cesspool from the 1970s to the early 1990s. It was little taxes like this that drove businesses and residents out of the city and made it virtually uninhabitable. In a city with one of the highest costs of living, you’d think the City Council would be focused on ways to improve the quality of life for its residents, not making it worse.