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Super Visions: Spies I espouse

? ?? Image ? ? ?

  • Courtesy MGM? ?
  • SNOW JOB: Daniel Craig brings a superb mix of damage and danger to his portrayal of 007.? ?

? ?? ?? ?

I’m into Bondage. ?? ?

That’s big-B Bondage, by the way, fandom that has James Bond and friends (and enemies) as its fetishes. Much in the way that I grew up reading comics, I also grew up watching James Bond movies and later read a bunch of the Ian Fleming novels that inspired the films. ?? ?

A huge part of my Bondage profile has musical roots, thanks to composer John Barry. I imagine I’ve spent at least as much time listening to his film scores for Thunderball (we wore the grooves off that record; I’m hearing “Death of Fiona” as I tap the keys), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (mainly its chase theme, which I never tire of), and Diamonds Are Forever (for which even the music was cheesy) as I have watching Bond movies. There’d have to be an underlier for my fetish to endure as strongly as it has because, bluntly put, the early Bond films are, by and large, awful. Unwatchably so. You Only Live Twice easily makes my list of the worst films I’ve ever sat through entirely. I can liken it only to a Toho Godzilla movie minus the polished special effects and plus sides of ham-fisted “intrigue” and hammier acting. Yes, From Russia With Love is a fine thriller, and Goldfinger has its moments, but overall? Junk. ?? ?

But I’m not here hammer old James Bond. Much. Instead, I’m staggering under the weight of cinematic espionage tonnage. Know how there’s nothing coming from Hollywood anymore but superheroes? Well, bullshit: Clearly, half of what’s coming from Hollyweird is super spies. In theaters now: Kingsman: The Secret Service, based on Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ comic The Secret Service. In the trailer park: director Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation. Of this incoming stealth barrage I’m most excited by the prospect of Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo in U.N.C.L.E., given how much I enjoyed him as Clark Kent in Man of Steel. Plus: Guy Ritchie! Mr. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels himself! Yeah, I know, too frenetic for some folks. And just my speed. ?? ?

But let’s get back to Commander Bond for a moment. As I’ve already written in this blog, I’m ever so pleased to see Ernst Stavro Blofeld back in the hands of the Bond franchise after years of legal entanglements, and doubly pleased that Christoph Waltz might be playing him in SPECTRE. One reason I’m so harsh in my estimation of the pre-Daniel Craig Bonds is my conviction that they finally perfected the character onscreen once they adapted Casino Royale for the third time. Craig communicates an ideal mix of damage and danger that puts him in a league of extraordinary gentlemen agents all his own. And the tough-minded realpolitik of the most recent Bonds rinses the preposterous lows of the Roger Moore years right out of my head. ?? ?

As for why we might be getting this surfeit of secret operatives, coincidence is the likely culprit … but conspiracy theories and spies go together like hand and fingerprint-concealing glove. Know how some people point to electronic war games as an especially insidious form of recruitment? Well, consider that Hollywould usually needs the cooperation of the government to portray our military convincingly. Consider further that our of-late embattled friends at No Such Agency have a black budget, one whose dollar amounts themselves are secret. ?? ?

I always took the sinister covert organization in Brian DePalma’s The Fury to be a cartoon version of the Fort George Meade gang — one of whose operatives flashes his credentials in that film, gets a that-does-not-compute response, and says*, “We don’t spend a dime on public relations.” But what if the real No Such Agency spends many dimes on normalizing the covert aspects of our government? What if part of that black budget goes toward Hollywood productions that cement our notions of the rectitude of spies? ?? ?

Stranger things have proved to be true. ?? ?

*More or less, anyway.??



More By This Writer

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*COURTESY ARCHIE COMICS    
*THAT WITCH: Archie Comics stylishly revives its Sabrina character in the new version of Chilling Adventures.   
 
  Until this week I had never seen more than a few seconds of the mid-1990s sitcom “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch.” My general allergy involving sitcoms (which may spring in part from sharing laughter with the dead) surely accounts for part of my avoidance. The bit of the show’s pilot that I did manage to sit through served as explanation enough for me: It was comedically inert and Mack truck subtle. Once I’ve recovered from these traumatic banalities I’ll sample a later ep, just because the rule of thumb in television is that shows often get retooled between their pilots and what follows.

 
  I self-administered this minor torment because Sabrina has returned — not to the screen, but to her birthplace, the comic book page.

 
  Possibly she never left, but Archie comics, whence sprang the teen witch, had grown harder to find for comics shop devotees like me. Largely the company’s products seem to have found a different niche as digest editions hovering along grocery checkout lanes. There, I have trained myself to avert my eyes, because the not-so-minor torments of tabloid headlines can inflict damage disproportionate to their brevity.

 
  Imagine my surprise, then, to recently find Sabrina staring at me from the cover of a not-at-all cartoony, standard-size comics cover. Above her unfamiliarly realistic rendering was a dimly recognized title: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I read the first iteration of this comic during the early 1970s, when it was called Chilling Adventures in Sorcery (as Told by Sabrina). It made quite an impression, as I tried to remember that unwieldy title many times in the subsequent years.

 
  Sorcery combined the unshaded, bouncy cartooning style of Dan DeCarlo (who created Sabrina, among other characters) with some damn dark horror stories. The format lasted only a few issues before the corporate Archie Comics entity decided to retool it into something far more conventionally drawn — and I either lost interest or stopped “seeing” the book, as conventional horror comics in those days were cookie-cutter productions that struggled against the bonds of the now-vanished Comics Code Authority.

 
  What I know now is that some of the code’s restrictions had just been relaxed in those days, leading to, so to speak, a flowering in the graveyard: Monster comics appeared from Marvel, DC, and — yes — Archie. My love of monsters predated my love of superheroes, so I was in hog heaven then. But, again, for many years I tried to recall the name of that Archie book with the poignant beast-saves-blind-beauty tale I had enjoyed so much. Finding Sabrina was like balm to an ancient and periodically (no pun intended) recurring ache.

 
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  Archie Comics seems poised to capitalize on what feels like an industry resurgence amid steady interest from Hollywood. I anticipate revisiting the company and its shiny new wares soon. Meantime, enjoy a few (good) bad dreams of your own, courtesy of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina creative team, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and illustrator Robert Hack.
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*COURTESY ARCHIE COMICS    
*THAT WITCH: Archie Comics stylishly revives its Sabrina character in the new version of ''Chilling Adventures''.   
 
  Until this week I had never seen more than a few seconds of the mid-1990s sitcom “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch.” My general allergy involving sitcoms (which may spring in part from [http://nymag.com/arts/tv/features/laughtracks-2011-12/|sharing laughter with the dead]) surely accounts for part of my avoidance. The bit of the show’s pilot that I did manage to sit through served as explanation enough for me: It was comedically inert and Mack truck subtle. Once I’ve recovered from these traumatic banalities I’ll sample a later ep, just because the rule of thumb in television is that shows often get retooled between their pilots and what follows.

 
  I self-administered this minor torment because Sabrina has returned — not to the screen, but to her birthplace, the comic book page.

 
  Possibly she never left, but Archie comics, whence sprang the teen witch, had grown harder to find for comics shop devotees like me. Largely the company’s products seem to have found a different niche as digest editions hovering along grocery checkout lanes. There, I have trained myself to avert my eyes, because the not-so-minor torments of tabloid headlines can inflict damage disproportionate to their brevity.

 
  Imagine my surprise, then, to recently find Sabrina staring at me from the cover of a not-at-all cartoony, standard-size comics cover. Above her unfamiliarly realistic rendering was a dimly recognized title: ''Chilling Adventures of Sabrina''. I read the first iteration of this comic during the early 1970s, when it was called ''[http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/archiecomics/images/7/70/Chilling_Adventures_In_Sorcery_As_Told_By_Sabrina_Vol_1_1.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20121025013325|Chilling Adventures in Sorcery (as Told by Sabrina)]''. It made quite an impression, as I tried to remember that unwieldy title many times in the subsequent years.

 
  ''Sorcery'' combined the unshaded, bouncy cartooning style of [http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/23/nyregion/dan-decarlo-archie-artist-and-creator-of-josie-and-the-pussycats-is-dead-at-82.html|Dan DeCarlo] (who created Sabrina, among other characters) with some damn dark horror stories. The format lasted only a few issues before the corporate Archie Comics entity decided to retool it into something far more conventionally drawn — and I either lost interest or stopped “seeing” the book, as conventional horror comics in those days were cookie-cutter productions that struggled against the bonds of the [http://cbldf.org/comics-code-history-the-seal-of-approval/|now-vanished] [http://www.comicartville.com/comicscode.htm|Comics Code Authority].

 
  What I know now is that some of the code’s restrictions had just been relaxed in those days, leading to, so to speak, a flowering in the graveyard: Monster comics appeared from Marvel, DC, and — yes — Archie. My love of monsters predated my love of superheroes, so I was in hog heaven then. But, again, for many years I tried to recall the name of that Archie book with the poignant beast-saves-blind-beauty tale I had enjoyed so much. Finding ''Sabrina'' was like balm to an ancient and periodically (no pun intended) recurring ache.

 
  And, bonus, it lives up to its title. The melding, this time, involves elements that may stem from the comics but are just as likely to come from the old sitcom: a hidden society of witches dwelling among us mortals, a talking cat, guardian aunts who are also sorcerous but definitely not teenaged. A whiff of [http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/aug/20/ten-things-you-should-know-about-hp-lovecraft|H.P. Lovecraft] lingers hereabouts, though, and that’s a good thing. Plus, there’s a character design in the comic so disturbing that I won’t be surprised to find it invading my (bad) dreams.

 
  Archie Comics seems poised to capitalize on what feels like an industry resurgence amid steady interest from Hollywood. I anticipate revisiting the company and its shiny new wares soon. Meantime, enjoy a few (good) bad dreams of your own, courtesy of the ''Chilling Adventures of Sabrina'' creative team, writer [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2630745/|Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa] and illustrator [http://roberthackstudios.com/|Robert Hack].
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*COURTESY ARCHIE COMICS    
*THAT WITCH: Archie Comics stylishly revives its Sabrina character in the new version of Chilling Adventures.   
 
  Until this week I had never seen more than a few seconds of the mid-1990s sitcom “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch.” My general allergy involving sitcoms (which may spring in part from sharing laughter with the dead) surely accounts for part of my avoidance. The bit of the show’s pilot that I did manage to sit through served as explanation enough for me: It was comedically inert and Mack truck subtle. Once I’ve recovered from these traumatic banalities I’ll sample a later ep, just because the rule of thumb in television is that shows often get retooled between their pilots and what follows.

 
  I self-administered this minor torment because Sabrina has returned — not to the screen, but to her birthplace, the comic book page.

 
  Possibly she never left, but Archie comics, whence sprang the teen witch, had grown harder to find for comics shop devotees like me. Largely the company’s products seem to have found a different niche as digest editions hovering along grocery checkout lanes. There, I have trained myself to avert my eyes, because the not-so-minor torments of tabloid headlines can inflict damage disproportionate to their brevity.

 
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  Sorcery combined the unshaded, bouncy cartooning style of Dan DeCarlo (who created Sabrina, among other characters) with some damn dark horror stories. The format lasted only a few issues before the corporate Archie Comics entity decided to retool it into something far more conventionally drawn — and I either lost interest or stopped “seeing” the book, as conventional horror comics in those days were cookie-cutter productions that struggled against the bonds of the now-vanished Comics Code Authority.

 
  What I know now is that some of the code’s restrictions had just been relaxed in those days, leading to, so to speak, a flowering in the graveyard: Monster comics appeared from Marvel, DC, and — yes — Archie. My love of monsters predated my love of superheroes, so I was in hog heaven then. But, again, for many years I tried to recall the name of that Archie book with the poignant beast-saves-blind-beauty tale I had enjoyed so much. Finding Sabrina was like balm to an ancient and periodically (no pun intended) recurring ache.

 
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Article

Friday April 3, 2015 01:30 pm EDT

  • COURTESY ARCHIE COMICS
  • THAT WITCH: Archie Comics stylishly revives its Sabrina character in the new version of Chilling Adventures.


Until this week I had never seen more than a few seconds of the mid-1990s sitcom “Sabrina: The Teenage Witch.” My general allergy involving sitcoms (which may spring in part from sharing laughter with the dead) surely accounts for part of my...

| more...
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  string(791) "Bounded by Lee Street, Langford Parkway, I-85, and avenues including Deckner and Arden, Sylvan Hills manages to be all about the porousness of borders. In the days when Fort McPherson still held a military presence, the sounds of “Taps” would sometimes drift east, across Lee Street and the southern line of MARTA and multiple freight train tracks, at sunset. From within the neighborhood, the Nabisco plant that fronts on Murphy Avenue often suffuses the area with the scent of toasting sugar. In typical Atlanta fashion, an area with the most pastoral of names has homes on one street and light industry on the next. Alas, many examples of both such inhabitants seem derelict — perhaps none more picturesquely so than an old RC Cola facility near the southwestern corner. — Ed Hall"
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Thursday March 26, 2015 04:00 am EDT
Bounded by Lee Street, Langford Parkway, I-85, and avenues including Deckner and Arden, Sylvan Hills manages to be all about the porousness of borders. In the days when Fort McPherson still held a military presence, the sounds of “Taps” would sometimes drift east, across Lee Street and the southern line of MARTA and multiple freight train tracks, at sunset. From within the neighborhood, the... | more...
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Thursday March 26, 2015 04:00 am EDT
At the seemingly verdant heart of Argonne Forest, just east of Northside Drive near Buckhead, is sports. You might have driven past what hides this all-winter green: Sutton Middle School. Venture uphill, into a neighborhood that could be called Mansion City, though, and you can look down at the playing field from one stretch of Argonne Drive. In the middle distance are homes, some vast, in... | more...
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*COURTESY CW
*PLAYING DEAD: Rose McIver (from left) and Rahuli Kohli show good chemistry as fellow medical examiners in "iZombie."


“What’s the worst that could happen?”

When someone asks the main character that question bare minutes into a new show, amid a flashback literally subtitled “LIFE BEFORE DEATH,” you can expect some dire shit to follow the inevitable smash cut. And the CW’s “iZombie” does not disappoint. This Rose McIver-starring comedic procedural follows that line with mayhem, flames, and a wee outbreak of undead cerebellum-gobbling.

Thereafter we get a credit sequence incorporating illustrations by Michael Allred, who alongside Chris Roberson co-created the like-named Vertigo comic that inspired the show. I’ve been meaning to read the comic for years but still haven’t, so I can’t outline the differences (which I understand are significant) for you. But I can tell you that the series’ pilot made for diverting viewing.

Olivia “Liv” Moore comes through that aforementioned mayhem pasty, unsleeping, and hungry for — you guessed it. Where do you go to satisfy a craving for human brains when you have a past as an emergency room worker? In Liv’s case, she takes a job at the morgue, which brings her the gray matter she needs and the friendship of medical examiner Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahuli Kohli) and Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin).

The set-up is clever enough, especially the wrinkle that brain ingestion gives Liv both memories and behaviors of the deceased people whose organs she eats. The trio of actors has admirable chemistry, with Goodwin being something of a revelation for his vocal gifts and blithe presence. Kohli has enviable comedic timing. My favorite bit of McIver’s comes early in the ep as she gives a nervous cashier that spooky restless-eye stare characteristic of some cats. She’s likable enough, though, so I’m happy to give her time to grow on me.

For folks who have read the comic and seen the pilot, which version did you prefer?"
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*COURTESY CW
*PLAYING DEAD: Rose McIver (from left) and Rahuli Kohli show good chemistry as fellow medical examiners in "iZombie."


“What’s the worst that could happen?”

When someone asks the main character ''that'' question bare minutes into a new show, amid a flashback literally subtitled “LIFE BEFORE DEATH,” you can expect some dire shit to follow the inevitable smash cut. And the CW’s “[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3501584/?ref_=ttmd_ql|iZombie]” does not disappoint. This [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0570860/?ref_=tt_ov_st|Rose McIver]-starring comedic procedural follows that line with mayhem, flames, and a wee outbreak of undead cerebellum-gobbling.

Thereafter we get a credit sequence incorporating illustrations by [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0021615/?ref_=ttfc_fc_wr1|Michael Allred], who alongside [http://www.amazon.com/Chris-Roberson/e/B001JOUGVO|Chris Roberson] co-created the like-named [http://www.dccomics.com/blog/2015/03/12/vertigo-for-the-dc-fan-izombie-by-chris-roberson-and-mike-allred|Vertigo comic] that inspired the show. I’ve been meaning to read the comic for years but still haven’t, so I can’t outline the differences (which I understand are significant) for you. But I can tell you that the series’ pilot made for diverting viewing.

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For folks who ''have'' read the comic and seen the pilot, which version did you prefer?"
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*COURTESY CW
*PLAYING DEAD: Rose McIver (from left) and Rahuli Kohli show good chemistry as fellow medical examiners in "iZombie."


“What’s the worst that could happen?”

When someone asks the main character that question bare minutes into a new show, amid a flashback literally subtitled “LIFE BEFORE DEATH,” you can expect some dire shit to follow the inevitable smash cut. And the CW’s “iZombie” does not disappoint. This Rose McIver-starring comedic procedural follows that line with mayhem, flames, and a wee outbreak of undead cerebellum-gobbling.

Thereafter we get a credit sequence incorporating illustrations by Michael Allred, who alongside Chris Roberson co-created the like-named Vertigo comic that inspired the show. I’ve been meaning to read the comic for years but still haven’t, so I can’t outline the differences (which I understand are significant) for you. But I can tell you that the series’ pilot made for diverting viewing.

Olivia “Liv” Moore comes through that aforementioned mayhem pasty, unsleeping, and hungry for — you guessed it. Where do you go to satisfy a craving for human brains when you have a past as an emergency room worker? In Liv’s case, she takes a job at the morgue, which brings her the gray matter she needs and the friendship of medical examiner Ravi Chakrabarti (Rahuli Kohli) and Detective Clive Babineaux (Malcolm Goodwin).

The set-up is clever enough, especially the wrinkle that brain ingestion gives Liv both memories and behaviors of the deceased people whose organs she eats. The trio of actors has admirable chemistry, with Goodwin being something of a revelation for his vocal gifts and blithe presence. Kohli has enviable comedic timing. My favorite bit of McIver’s comes early in the ep as she gives a nervous cashier that spooky restless-eye stare characteristic of some cats. She’s likable enough, though, so I’m happy to give her time to grow on me.

For folks who have read the comic and seen the pilot, which version did you prefer?             13082259 13812944                          Super Visions: Brain food and other delectables "
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Article

Friday March 20, 2015 10:03 am EDT

  • COURTESY CW
  • PLAYING DEAD: Rose McIver (from left) and Rahuli Kohli show good chemistry as fellow medical examiners in "iZombie."



“What’s the worst that could happen?”

When someone asks the main character that question bare minutes into a new show, amid a flashback literally subtitled “LIFE BEFORE DEATH,” you can expect some dire shit to follow the inevitable smash cut. And the CW’s...

| more...
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*http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1223504??    
*STREAM OF BAT'S PISS: Jessica Walter's voice portrayal of Malory Archer (right) is caustic gold, even as all else on the tube right now is benighted.?  
?? ?
?  Jadedness may be setting in for me, I fear.?

? ?
?  Shows that have been relative or steady sources of pleasure now annoy me. “Agents of SHIELD,” even as it upends the predictable amid yet another escape during prisoner transport, also catches a dose of the Creeping Secrecies, a terminal inflammation that has long afflicted “Arrow.” Its symptoms: Characters conceal the essential from one another for no reason better than to fuel melodrama.?

? ?
?  Yes, granted, spies populate “AoS,” as the title tells us, so perhaps they’re likelier vectors for the malady than … whatever the hell Oliver Queen and company are these days. And yes, if the dread CS were the sole impairment for “Arrow,” how improved that show would be! Instead, it’s backtracking into the indifferent staging and shoddy stunt work that marked this season’s early eps, clinging to the absurd reversals that have remained the series’ stale bread and questionable butter (I’m looking at you, Malcolm Merlyn), and wallowing in pout-fests of forgettable misbehavior. Yet despite its manifold deficiencies, its makers managed to leave Oliver in a relatively interesting place, one the characters of “Angel” came to face in their final season: sticking around long enough to, perhaps, become the villain. “Angel” executed that particular entrechat superbly, however, so “Arrow” has set itself a real challenge.?

? ?
?  The truest measure that the spring of my discontent has sprung, though? The general grumpiness I feel during my belated viewing of the most recent “Archer” season to reach Netflix. “Archer Vice,” which forcibly dragged the animated spies of ISIS away from that now politically tainted name for cocaine-powered hijinks, has led me to some serious laughter and beyond. Jessica Walter’s delivery of the line “Baffling” provided a deliciously subtle acid, for example.?

? ?
?  For a season that was supposed to be transformative, to remake the show and rescue creator Adam Reed from a sense of creative boredom, however, much here feels dreadfully familiar. What used to be smilthy now seems merely filthy (Pam mistaking thermometer graphs for cocks? Low-hanging orchids, gang.), and the characters’ tensile strength has grown disturbingly variable, even for a comedy. Most annoying of all, though, is the show’s ongoing devotion to Burt Reynolds' cinematic Smokey-ness. I get that it stems from nostalgia, I sense that it recognizes the cheesiness of the love object (personally, I prefer the far less cheesy “Sharky’s Machine”), and I enjoy the season 3 ep with Burt Reynolds as a character. But to end not one but two “Archer” eps with "comedic" freeze-frame chases in the offing? Pure Limburger.?

? ?
?  Maybe the full onset of spring will put me in a better mood. Here’s hoping.?"
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*[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4206020352/tt1849255?ref_=nmmd_rg_md1#|STREAM OF BAT'S PISS:] Jessica Walter's voice portrayal of Malory Archer (right) is caustic gold, even as all else on the tube right now is benighted.?  
?? ?
?  Jadedness may be setting in for me, I fear.?

? ?
?  Shows that have been relative or steady sources of pleasure now annoy me. “Agents of SHIELD,” even as it upends the predictable amid [http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2014/11/07/super-visions-presentiments-and-predictabilities|yet another escape during prisoner transport], also catches a dose of the Creeping Secrecies, a terminal inflammation that has long afflicted “Arrow.” Its symptoms: Characters conceal the essential from one another for no reason better than to fuel melodrama.?

? ?
?  Yes, granted, spies populate “AoS,” as the title tells us, so perhaps they’re likelier vectors for the malady than … whatever the hell Oliver Queen and company are these days. And yes, if the dread CS were the sole impairment for “Arrow,” how improved that show would be! Instead, it’s backtracking into the indifferent staging and shoddy stunt work that marked this season’s early eps, clinging to the absurd reversals that have remained the series’ stale bread and questionable butter (I’m looking at you, [http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0359951/|Malcolm Merlyn]), and wallowing in pout-fests of forgettable misbehavior. Yet despite its manifold deficiencies, its makers managed to leave Oliver in a relatively interesting place, one the characters of “Angel” came to face in their final season: sticking around long enough to, perhaps, become the villain. “Angel” executed that particular [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VhxpHgPTy8|entrechat] superbly, however, so “Arrow” has set itself a real challenge.?

? ?
?  The truest measure that the spring of my discontent has sprung, though? The general grumpiness I feel during my belated viewing of the most recent “Archer” season to reach Netflix. “Archer Vice,” which forcibly dragged the animated spies of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isis_(disambiguation)|ISIS] away from that now politically tainted name for cocaine-powered hijinks, has led me to some serious laughter and beyond. [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0910055/?ref_=fn_al_nm_4#actress|Jessica Walter]’s delivery of the line “Baffling” provided a deliciously subtle acid, for example.?

? ?
?  For a season that was supposed to be transformative, to remake the show and rescue creator Adam Reed from a sense of creative boredom, however, much here feels dreadfully familiar. What used to be [http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/09/05/aisha-tyler-archer-interview_n_3875687.html|smilthy] now seems merely filthy (Pam mistaking thermometer graphs for cocks? Low-hanging orchids, gang.), and the characters’ tensile strength has grown disturbingly variable, even for a comedy. Most annoying of all, though, is the show’s ongoing devotion to Burt Reynolds' cinematic [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076729/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_121|Smokey]-ness. I get that it stems from nostalgia, I sense that it recognizes the cheesiness of the love object (personally, I prefer the far less cheesy “[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083064/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1|Sharky’s Machine]”), and I enjoy the season 3 ep with Burt Reynolds as a character. But to end not one but two “Archer” eps with "comedic" freeze-frame chases in the offing? Pure [http://www.cheese.com/limburger/|Limburger].?

? ?
?  Maybe the full onset of spring will put me in a better mood. Here’s hoping.?"
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*http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1223504??    
*STREAM OF BAT'S PISS: Jessica Walter's voice portrayal of Malory Archer (right) is caustic gold, even as all else on the tube right now is benighted.?  
?? ?
?  Jadedness may be setting in for me, I fear.?

? ?
?  Shows that have been relative or steady sources of pleasure now annoy me. “Agents of SHIELD,” even as it upends the predictable amid yet another escape during prisoner transport, also catches a dose of the Creeping Secrecies, a terminal inflammation that has long afflicted “Arrow.” Its symptoms: Characters conceal the essential from one another for no reason better than to fuel melodrama.?

? ?
?  Yes, granted, spies populate “AoS,” as the title tells us, so perhaps they’re likelier vectors for the malady than … whatever the hell Oliver Queen and company are these days. And yes, if the dread CS were the sole impairment for “Arrow,” how improved that show would be! Instead, it’s backtracking into the indifferent staging and shoddy stunt work that marked this season’s early eps, clinging to the absurd reversals that have remained the series’ stale bread and questionable butter (I’m looking at you, Malcolm Merlyn), and wallowing in pout-fests of forgettable misbehavior. Yet despite its manifold deficiencies, its makers managed to leave Oliver in a relatively interesting place, one the characters of “Angel” came to face in their final season: sticking around long enough to, perhaps, become the villain. “Angel” executed that particular entrechat superbly, however, so “Arrow” has set itself a real challenge.?

? ?
?  The truest measure that the spring of my discontent has sprung, though? The general grumpiness I feel during my belated viewing of the most recent “Archer” season to reach Netflix. “Archer Vice,” which forcibly dragged the animated spies of ISIS away from that now politically tainted name for cocaine-powered hijinks, has led me to some serious laughter and beyond. Jessica Walter’s delivery of the line “Baffling” provided a deliciously subtle acid, for example.?

? ?
?  For a season that was supposed to be transformative, to remake the show and rescue creator Adam Reed from a sense of creative boredom, however, much here feels dreadfully familiar. What used to be smilthy now seems merely filthy (Pam mistaking thermometer graphs for cocks? Low-hanging orchids, gang.), and the characters’ tensile strength has grown disturbingly variable, even for a comedy. Most annoying of all, though, is the show’s ongoing devotion to Burt Reynolds' cinematic Smokey-ness. I get that it stems from nostalgia, I sense that it recognizes the cheesiness of the love object (personally, I prefer the far less cheesy “Sharky’s Machine”), and I enjoy the season 3 ep with Burt Reynolds as a character. But to end not one but two “Archer” eps with "comedic" freeze-frame chases in the offing? Pure Limburger.?

? ?
?  Maybe the full onset of spring will put me in a better mood. Here’s hoping.?             13082186 13745178                          Super Visions: Now is the spring of my discontent "
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Article

Friday March 13, 2015 12:30 pm EDT

??? ? ?

  • http://clatl.com/atlanta/ImageArchives?by=1223504??
  • STREAM OF BAT'S PISS: Jessica Walter's voice portrayal of Malory Archer (right) is caustic gold, even as all else on the tube right now is benighted.?

?? ?
? Jadedness may be setting in for me, I fear.?

? ?
? Shows that have been relative or steady sources of pleasure now annoy me. “Agents of SHIELD,” even as it upends...

| more...
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[Admin link: Super Visions: Spies I espouse]