Tag Archives: Fan Expo Toronto

A Very Super(Hero) Year on Television

Gotham - Another Great Imagine (C) CW, this one found on Facebook

Gotham – Another Great Image (c) CW, this one found on Facebook

There are a LOT of potentially great shows coming out on television this season.  Part of me wants to write about each and every one of them, and in time I hope to.  Another part of me is trying to figure out the how and when to cover each.  Tonight another episode of Gotham will air, tomorrow the Flash will zip onto the air with it’s first solo episode (if you missed Barry Allen’s many appearances on Arrow last season I do not anticipate you will feel you missed anything, that being said, I do recommend them as the show did more than merely give the Flash a backdoor pilot, but rather took the time to give a sense of the man and his personality so he would be a familiar persona when his own series hit the air) and Wednesday Arrow will launch it’s third season on the CW.

One of the truly great things about Arrow, is not just that the show sparkles on the screen, with the hero taking down those who have “failed” his city, but the lead actor Stephen Amell has a passionate and good heart, and is helping his fans find a way to fight for what they believe in — helping people with Cancer and Cancer research currently being the primary beneficiary of all that good intent.

Stephen Amell wearing Represent shirt raising money for Cancer Charity.

Stephen Amell wearing Represent shirt raising money for Cancer Charity.

Many actors talk a good game, and put on a good face — but Stephen Amell, during the month leading up to the Season 3 return of Arrow, raised, with the help of his fans, roughly one quarter of a million dollars (yes, as in $250,000) for a Cancer charity by selling shirts, hoodies and other items featuring a design Amell had challenged his fans to design and vote on.    According to the site 21354 items were sold, with 100% of the funds raised going to the charity.

At Fan Expo in Toronto when talking about a Raffle Stephen Amell had run to raise money for a family whose young daughter is battling cancer, Amell was very clear about the fact it is his fans raising the money, his fans doing this good deed, his fans who deserve the thanks, and that he feels very fortunate to be a part of all this good work — but he is aware that without the fans none of this would be possible.

Amell’s mother went through Breast Cancer, I believe while the actor has been on Arrow, and after her experience this is clearly a very personal cause to him, but he also has a very clear understanding that people dealing with Cancer want to take back some power in their life, want to embrace their victories, and he is rapidly becoming a fierce champion and Hero to those with Cancer in their lives, or those of their loved ones.

Superheros have long been near and dear to the hearts of those who needed a champion, someone to help them fight the battles that seemed impossible, or more than they could handle alone.  With these raffles, and the Represent.com campaign Stephen Amell has embraced some of the best qualities of his hero character and brought them out into the real world.

For two seasons we have watched Amell play a publicly irresponsible playboy who was privately fighting for what was right, and along the way learning a great many lessons about what it means to be a hero, and in the process he was as an individual coming out of a dark place.

The Flash is a show that, from the beginning, looks like it will be following an idealistic man who believes in doing the right thing, in wanting to be more than he is and using it for good, which as a show may serve as a counterpoint to Gotham which seems to feature a great many villains and what, based on the behinds-the-scenes and first look materials released before the show, appears to be an almost Al Capone-ish era of Gotham City.

Don’t mistake me, I believe Gotham and The Flash will be equally entertaining shows, but with vastly different color pallets and feels to them, showing different periods and aspects of life DC Universe, and the three shows combined may well remind audiences that while Marvel is currently dominating on the big screen, the DC Characters have more to them than many recall when put on the spot and first asked to talk about them.

Gotham airs Mondays, 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT on Fox
The Flash airs Tuesdays 8:00-9:00 pm ET/PT on The CW
Arrow airs Wednesdays 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW

Flash CW sml

The Flash features: Grant Gustin as Barry Allen/The Flash, Candice Patton as Iris West, Rick Cosnett as Eddie Thawne, Danielle Panabaker as Caitlin Snow, Carlos Valdes as Cisco Ramon, with Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells, and Jesse L. Martin as Detective Joe West.


Arrow features: Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Arrow, Katie Cassidy as Dinah “Laurel” Lance, David Ramsey as John Diggle, Willa Holland as Thea Queen, Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak, Colton Haynes as Roy Harper, John Barrowman as Malcom Merlyn, and Paul Blackthorne as Detective Lance.

chronicle_gotham_carousel-carousel-1400x386Gotham features: Ben McKenzie as Detective James Gordon, Donal Logue as Detective Harvey Bullock, Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney, Sean Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, Robin Lord Taylor as Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin, Erin Richards as Barbara Kean, David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne, Camren Bicondova as Selina Kyle/the future Catwoman, Zabryna Guevara as Captain Sarah Essen, Cory Michael Smith as Edward Nygma/the future Riddler, Victoria Cartagena as Renee Montoya, Andrew Stewart Jones as Crispus Allen, and John Doman as Carmine Falcone.

Check out the facebook page for the Cancer Charity Stephen Amell and his fans raised so much money and awareness for:

Stephen Amell raised funds, and awareness, for a Cancer Charity throughout September of 2014

Stephen Amell raised funds, and awareness, for a Cancer Charity throughout September of 2014

Make sure to give a listen to the joint PopArtsPlace.com and ComicBookPage.com podcasts for Season 1 and Season 2 of Arrow, and let us know what you think, and if you are interested in podcasts about Gotham, The Flash, or any other shows or movies.

Outlander – The Wedding

Chapters 14 and 15 of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander cover the wedding of Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp (Caitriona Balfeand James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser (Sam Heughan) known to one and all by the nickname Jamie.

The wedding in the book was similar in many ways to the wedding on the show, though there were a few differences, such as the show choosing to present the events out of order as the couple discusses the day they have just been through.

In the book the greater difference was in the marriage of Claire and Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) and this is a case where I was glad the show chose to make not just minor changes, but major ones.  I understood why the author chose to write the book the way she did, and the emotions she was putting her character Claire through, but when I first read it, the passages struck me as a bit much.  I agreed that her wedding to Jamie would undoubtedly remind her at every turn about Frank, about her desire to return to 1945, and this is a tremendous fork or turning point in her life.

Is Claire giving up hope of returning to 1945?
Is Claire now accepting her life in the 1700s?
Is this a marriage of convenience or emotion?
Is this Claire simply doing what she must to make it through another day, or week, or does this marriage to Jamie mean something more?

The wedding is given an entire episode and I feel rightfully so because it means so much for Claire, and coming out of this day Claire is in a new position figuratively speaking.  Not because she is Mrs. Fraser so much as because she has made a permanent move in this time-frame instead of just treading water in an effort to find her way back to Frank.  That is a decision that should have emotional ramifications.

Sam Hueghan shows his acting abilities quite well in several of these scenes with Claire.  As she is reacting to her own thoughts and emotions in the wake of what she has done he is clearly noticing them, observing her and realizing there is something going on with this beautiful lass he has married.  The nuances to both his performance, and that of Caitriona Balfe were quite nice as they took the audience on an emotional roller coaster with them.

With only one more episode before a mid-season break that will take us into the new year, it will be interesting to see how much further into the novel the show carries us.  My hope when they first announced the divided season was that the show would take us to Part IV of the novel before the winter break… but we shall have to wait a week to find out, especially since the commercial for this coming week appeared to show some 1945 scenes that I do not recall from the book.


Outlander @ IMDB
Outlander @ Starz
Outlander @ Showcase

Outlander – The Garrison Commander

Lt. Foster, Claire and Dougal

Lt. Foster, Claire and Dougal

The sixth episode of Starz Outlander, The Garrison Commander, covers more of the events in Chapters 10 through 21, again changing a lot of the story line, adding characters, and recrafting events in intriguing and fascinating ways.

From the moment I first started reading the book the character Dougal MacKenzie (Graham McTavish) fascinated me.  In most current Romance novels his alpha character introduction would have signaled his being a major player, and male interest for our female lead.  Because I knew I was reading the book in anticipation of the television series, and at the recommendation of a friend, I had opted not to read the back cover text about the novel.  As a result I entered the story blind, not knowing who was a major player in the story, and who was minor.

As a result, when Claire (Caitriona Balfe) first met Dougal (Graham McTavish) I was both intrigued and curious.  Who was this man, and what role would he play in Claire’s attempt to survive life in the 1700s?  Dougal (Graham McTavish), as portrayed in the telvision show, is slightly different than in the book, the nuances to his character fascinate me.  His loyalty to clan and country and never in question, but his motivations, and what he is seeing and how he will act on it is constantly of interest.

I assumed Black Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) would be the Garrison Commander for whom this episode was named, in part because he was the highest ranking Red Coat we were familiar with thus far.  I expected him to be the predominant face of the British troops, and thought I understood a great deal about the scenes that would unfold in this weeks episode.

As has happened so often in this series, the episode contained some scenes directly from the book, and portions from the book shifted to other characters and other positions.

I said last week that it was best to have read up through Chapter 21, and while I now realize that does cover into the next episode (The Wedding), I think some of those scenes have been merged and shifted into this week’s episode, and last week’s.  For instance, one character from this week’s episode is at the very end of chapter 20 (Corporal Hawkins).

Where the first episode of Outlander felt almost like an abridged presentation of the book, each episode since has felt less and less bound to the novel, and yet they have maintained the spirit and spark of the prose so well, that it can be difficult to fully recognize while you are watching the show which parts are created from scratch for the series, and where dialogue has been pulled from Dougal speaking to Claire beside the spring in Chapter 13 and given to Black Jack Randall in episode 6.  Hard to believe, and yet, so well done that each scene plays well, conveys the same scene with great power, and presents two different perspectives on the same scene and gives Claire very important knowledge about the world she is now surviving in, and the people around her.

Starz Outlander Wedding Invite

Z Nation – Premiering Sept 12 on SyFy and Space

Z Nation - on SyFy and Space

Z Nation – on SyFy and Space

In Z Nation, three years have passed since the zombie virus has gutted the country, and a team of everyday heroes must transport the only known survivor of the plague from New York to California, where the last functioning viral lab waits for his blood. Although the antibodies he carries are the world’s last, best hope for a vaccine, he hides a dark secret that threatens them all. With humankind’s survival at stake, the ragtag band embarks on a journey of survival across three thousand miles of rusted-out post-apocalyptic America. Z Nation stars Harold Perrineau (“Oz,” “Lost”) Tom Everett Scott (“Southland,” “Beauty and the Beast”), DJ Qualls (“Supernatural” “Memphis Beat”, “Perception”), Michael Welch (“Twilight” trilogy), Kellita Smith (“The Bernie Mac Show”) Anastasia Baranova (“The Darkness II”), Russell Hodgkinson (“Big Fish”) and Keith Allan (“Rise of the Zombies”).

One of the Space panels I enjoyed greatly at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto was the Z Nation panel with actor Tom Everett Scott and writer/producer Craig Engler.

The panel included a brief trailer for the show, which was more graphic than most shows I tune into.  As tempted as I have been to try watching the Walking Dead, for instance, zombies and gore are not in my wheelhouse, but listening to them talk about the show, I found myself wanting to tune in, even if I do spend portions of the episodes covering my eyes.

This is planned to be a show about travelling across the country, and by the sounds of it, they will not have a slow plodding journey.  They described a plot intensive show, with well thought out details for the Zombies, the virus that creates the Zombies, how the Zombies exist, and how those who are not Zombies are surviving in this new world.  In short, by the end of the panel someone who does not normally watch this genre of show but had come out of curiosity was ready to tune in.

As an added bit of fun, one of the characters, Citizen Z, has a twitter account up and running, and among other things he is giving advice (and taking advice) for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.  You can tweet with @CitizenZNation.  Citizen Z is alone, in the arctic, with enough food to feed a hundred people for a year, and plenty of power, and access to satellites, giving him a global perspective on the Apocalypse… but who does he have to talk to??