Sorry about last week! Your not-very-approachable neighbourhood post-apocalyptic fake mailman caught… I don't know, the space flu or something. Short version, I had more phlegm than mail, and I had a lot of mail— so let's get to it! This week: The best '90s cartoon intro, why nerds argue so much, and whether it's worth watching a TV adaptation you know won't be complete.
Graze the Green Lantern
It's good to hear that you have yet to be devoured by the Cheeto-coloured, large handed bipeds that I understand have grown strong on the nuclear radiation of your wasteland of the future.
With the CW "verse" going from strength to strength I am left wondering when we might see a full appearance of a Green Lantern.
I know that one has been teased before but with some of the effects we have seen on Flash and Supergirl this year do you think it is likely one will be coming to screen soon? With Batman and Wonder Woman presumably off the cards, for now, do you think we might see the emerald knight on screen soon?
Bonus question - which DC character would you like to see come to screen next? I would love to see Dr Fate but would imagine after last season of Arrow magic is off the table for a while.
Since WB/DC flubbed Green Lantern so badly with the movie, I would think that they would be extra careful with the character (or, more specifically, the brand). Of course, I also assumed that Warner Bros. would be careful enough that they wouldn't dream of putting Ryan Reynolds back in the role, which is something that's apparently maybe happening, so it's become clear to me that they have all gone insane and who knows what anyone is approving or shooting down there on any given day.
Right now, I don't think there's much of a narrative need for Green Lantern on any of the DC/CW shows. Whichever incarnation you pick, Green Lantern is more of a scifi hero, bringing lots of aliens, SFX needs, and mythos baggage with him. Add the issues with the 2011 movie, and Green Lantern is almost certainly more trouble than he'd be worth to add.
However, the DC/CW keeps surprising me with the comics stuff it's pulling off; the fact that we just got Gorilla City on The Flash makes me think nothing is totally impossible. So if he does come, I think it will have to be for a short, special event — maybe next year's crossover, which I still maintain will be called "Crisis on Infinite Earths." I could easily see John Stewart coming to Earth to warn everybody about the Anti-Monitor. A Crisis would also be a reasonable (well, reasonable for comics) way to somehow shoehorn Supergirl's National City in the DC/CW-verse proper.
All this said, I really wouldn't mind if John Stewart dropped into Star City for an old-fashioned Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up. And as for other DC heroes I'd like to see, there are a few. I want Batwoman on Supergirl post-haste. I've always had a soft-spot for the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, and was bummed when that show never materialised (although the test footage was created even before Arrow, so maybe there's still a chance in the future). Etrigan the Demon would be fun, but I'll be shocked if he doesn't end up on Legends of Tomorrow before the end of season three (probably not as a full team member, though). And, of course, I'll never stop wanting more of Matt Ryan's Constantine. Damn the dark gods who put that show on NBC instead of the CW, where it always belonged!
Expanse Your Mind
I have been enjoying The Expanse series (both the books and show), but one question keeps bugging me. The book series just released its 6th in a 9 book series and the TV show is currently in its 2nd season but still hasn't finished events from the 1st book. Assuming the remaining books come out on time (they currently come out with one book a year), what does that mean for the show? I cant imagine the show running nine seasons minimum on Syfy which means the show ending will be quite different and shorter from the books.
I feel this would be like ending Game of Thrones with last year's finale (surprise cancellation!) and allowing book readers to be smug and everyone else pissed off. My question is should I keep telling people to watch the show and hope for the best or quietly enjoy both the show and the books and accept that the show's ending will not really satisfy anyone.
Well, aren't you a negative Nelly! I don't think you've presented me with two irreconcilable options here, either: You should definitely keep watching the show and reading the books, and I think you can keep on telling people to watch the show, but give them a warning that you're not sure how the ending will shake out. Unless you speak exclusively to small children, they can probably make their own informed choices.
As for the show not having a good ending, well, that's certainly possible but it's not inevitable. It's not out of the question that Syfy could actually give the showrunners a heads-up that the next season will be its last, whether that's season three or season seven. I think Syfy recognises that The Expanse is the closest thing it's had to a prestige scifi show since Battlestar Galactica went off the air, and thus it's at least a little less likely to kill it brazenly off than it would be otherwise.
But even if The Expanse sets up a huge cliffhanger at the end of season two and then gets canceled, so what? Would you rather have seen the two seasons of The Expanse come to life, or none at all? To use your Game of Thrones example, had HBO canceled it after season six, it would be maddening, but I'd much rather have six seasons of a fantastic, unfinished Thrones adaptation than none at all. Wouldn't you?
Hello postman, I hope you're well in the wasteland. I'm writing from a wasteland in the far south (but in the present which is your past) so I sympathize with your troubles and apologies in advance (you know: sorry for bad english)
I just need you to settle an old dispute my significant other and I have: which '90s cartoon has the best intro? Batman: TAS (that's what I say) or the X-Men Cartoon (that's what she says)
Help us! this dispute could end our relationship!
I can see why; this is a tough call! They're both trying to do something completely different from the other, so it's apples and oranges. BTAS uses light and shadow and its orchestral music to give Batman a moody, serious, noir feel; the X-Men intro is non-stop action and neon colours, trying to flood you with action and characters and info. They each do these things well, too.
If I have to pick, though — and I do, it's in the Postman's Code of Ethics — I gotta say Batman: The Animated Series. Its somber, spartan, reasonably mature intro was incredibly unique when it came out, but there have been plenty of cartoons that used the X-Men style of throwing everything at the viewer — characters, colours, blocks of text, everything. But BTAS is more unique and thus more likely to stand the test of time, But they're both excellent in different ways.
Also: Anyone who has read any of my articles knows no one, especially people whose first language isn't English, ever need to apologise to me for their grammar or spelling.
[Note: The Google image search for "nerds arguing" is immensely depressing, so I just ran the '90s X-Men cartoon intro instead. I hope you understand.]
Up for Debate
We get very passionate about the media we consume - but why do we have the need to argue or "prove" that our slice of fandom is objectively better than anyone else's? Even when we consume and enjoy both sides. Why do we get caught up in debates of Marvel vs DC, Star Trek vs Star Wars, Subtitled Anime versus Dubbed Anime etc?
It's about passion. We love something so much we want others to see it and love it too. We want it to be recognised for what we love about it, and we want to be seen as smart and cool for loving something so smart and cool.
It's also about pride and doubt and self-worth. If I say one thing is great, and someone disagrees, am I not smart or cool? If someone says something else is great, who's right? Do I have bad taste or does he? Am I too stupid to understand what's better, or does she? If I convince them to agree with me, it will prove I'm smart and right!
And when your argument doesn't work and you devolve into insulting someone who is going through the exact same process as you are, it just continues to escalate.
People don't work like this. You can't argue someone into liking something. They like what they like. Maybe you can get them to also like what you like, but you aren't going to suddenly convince them the thing they liked earlier is somehow bad.
Side note: Are people still arguing about anime subs vs. dubs? Because that argument seemed to be dying out when I was running Anime Insider magazine back in 2003. If it's still around, that makes me feel just devastatingly ancient.
Parsecs and Candy
Dear Mr. Postman,
I'm writing this as I'm assuming that from where you stand in the future, you have much more knowledge than we currently do on this subject. (You know, more Star Wars movies, George Lucas making confessions of his death bed, etc). I was watching The Force Awakens the other night and the part stuck out to me where Rey asks Han Solo about making the Kessel Run in 14 parsecs, to which he responds it was 12 parsecs, not 14.
I've heard some people make fun of this as the word 'parsec' is, from what I understand, an obscure astrophysics term for a lengthy distance, which makes Han's statement in Episode VII incorrect. But, he seems to use it as a time measurement, implying that in the Star Wars universe, Parsec is a unit of time, not distance. Would you be able to clear this up with your superior knowledge?
Ah, this is an old question that has been answered many times, but it's always worth repeating, especially for new Star Wars fans who watch The Force Awakens and suddenly realise, "Wait. What the hell is Han talking about?!"
So this has not been confirmed in the new canon, but I'd be thoroughly shocked if this wasn't one of the old Expanded Universe elements Star Wars didn't add back in. The Kessel Run is — er, was a route from the Kessel spice mines that was normally 18 parsecs long, but full of asteroids and a nebula that somehow messed up sensors. Ships could cut the distance, but only by flying closer to a pile of black holes that bordered the cluster, which is of course even more dangerous. Solo made the run with the shortest route, i.e. fastest and most dangerous route, which is why Han Solo is the coolest and daringest and bestest pilot in the galaxy.
Alternate theory, based on the fourth edition of the Star Wars novelization: Han Solo made up some shit to sound cool. Stupid farm kid Luke bought it, Ben Kenobi did not.
Image: Marvel Studios.
Breaking the Grade
It's well known that the DCEU has been universally panned, but it seems like lately whenever a new MCU movie comes out, it gets reviews like "There's Marvel putting out another Marvel movie" or "Iron Man with magic". Then the review ends with "B+, but not as good as Avengers, but definitely better than BvS". What is the reasoning for this? Is it a ploy to try to edge Marvel into changing their formula?
When I'm watching Doctor Strange, I'm not thinking "ahh another jerk with a goatee, I've seen this before". I'm thinking "holy cow look at him fly through other dimensions, Am I on acid." Each new movie has a different feel, and wraps together the larger universe.
Guess I'm just not sure what the complaints are about. Perfect movies? Not all of them but they almost always guarantee two hours of fun.
It's not that the Marvel movies are bad — and let's be clear here, the issue is more with the bevy of origin movies, not sequels like Civil War, which everyone agrees was pretty awesome — but there's definitely a formula Marvel has been using to introduce its heroes, from Iron Man to Cap to Thor to Guardians of the Galaxy to Ant-Man to Doctor Strange: Hero gets powers, must search for an object, makes some bad calls, but becomes a true hero at the end, plus a theme (i.e., armour, World War II, mythology, shrinking, magic). Sure, there's some variation — Captain America is actually never a jerk, the Guardians are a team instead of one hero — but that's pretty close.
Even then, it's a formula that works. Iron Man was great, Captain America was great, Thor was arguably a little less great but no real issues. Guardians of the Galaxy goosed the formula a bit by adding a lot more humour and panache than we've seen from Marvel movies, but then that made Ant-Man and Doctor Strange seem even more rote by comparison. That's the complaint. They're enjoyable, but there aren't any surprises. Doctor Strange may have been filmed through a kaleidoscope, but those are just the visuals. The movie is still basically the same.
So when you say there's a "ploy," I admit to being a bit baffled. People aren't trying to trick Marvel into shaking up their formula; they just genuinely want them to shake it up. Guardians of the Galaxy was comparatively very different from what had come before, and people really loved it. Same with Civil War. I imagine the same will be true with Infinity War, if only because it's going to be the first movie that features a bajillion superheroes. And hopefully the same will be true with Black Panther and whenever the hell Marvel gets around to making Captain Marvel.
Dear Radiated Postal Employee,
In the latter Harry Potter films, our heroes frequently battle with Death Eaters, the villainous cult of Voldemort that explicitly states its desire to kill Harry Potter and his friends and all muggles by use of lethal spells (ie, wand bullets). In fact the Eaters are successful in murdering Sirius Black, Mad Eye Moody, Dobby, One of the Weasley Twins, etc.
Why do Harry and his friends always fight back with the lame and frustratingly short-lasting stunning curse Stupefy? I know the killing curse is illegal and they're trying to abide by their moral code, but times of war call for emergency measures no? Plus isn't it self-defence? At least use a longer lasting paralysis curse! This would have prevented many more deaths at the end of Deathly Hollows, no?
According to io9's in-house Pottermore Katharine Trendacosta, the killing curse requires its caster actually want to kill the intended target. That's easy for bad guys; not so easy for kids and/or people with good hearts who maybe don't really want to have blood on their hands. Also, as dark as the Harry Potter books got, I doubt J.K. Rowling really wanted kids to read about their peers murdering people, even in self-defence.
But you're right in that there's a much better stun spell in the Full-Body Bind Curse, which is used sporadically but not often. There's not a clear reason why people don't use it more. My theory is that Hogwarts is a terrible school where Harry and his schoolmates spent most of their time trying not to get murdered instead of receiving a proper education.
Again, sorry about last week's absence (I really was sick, though). If you can find it in your heart to forgive my human frailty, please send your queries, mysteries, disputes that need resolving, advice that needs to be given, etc. to [email protected]!