Tuesday, September 1, 2015

THE FANDOM ZONE 021: "The Odyssey" is Up!

"Wow, everything about you just became so unbelievably clear."
-- Felicity Smoak to Oliver Queen, Arrow: "The Odyssey"

We know, it's been far too long, but Karen Lindsay and I are finally back with another new episode of The Fandom Zone Podcast!  

This week's reviews of comics on television include:

Birds of Prey 1x08 -- "Lady Shiva"
Arrow 1x14 -- "The Odyssey"

We talk about things like our final episode of The Fandom Zone Season 1, some background on DC Comics' Lady Shiva, how to identify a dead body, the importance of knowing someone to get into a metahuman bar, trying to avoid looking like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, how to completely forget about Batman in less than eight years, girls changing themselves to attract a guy, the first-ever LGBTQ moment on a superhero TV show, wondering why Arrow and The Flash always put their costume on a mannequin between fights, The Power of Three, Oracle's selfishness with her walking and thought-activated wheelchair tech, remembering 2002 PDA technology, how Arrow can tell a flashback story effectively, the duplicitous Moira Queen, Felicity joining Team Arrow, Arrow's love of Teen Titans mythology, wondering how the hell Oliver Queen can remember a specific quote from high school Mythology class, Homer's The Odyssey, why it's easier to be a supervillain than a superhero, fan fiction involving Felicity and Oliver's salmon ladder, some comics on TV news, hyping Season 2, and more!

You can check out the episode HERE and for those of you who use iTunes, we're already available HERE, so please subscribe and rate us! If direct download MP3s are more your thing, you can find those HERE as well. In addition, we have The Fandom Zone show page on Facebook, which you can check out HERE. And we're also on Twitter using the account @FandomZoneCast.

Be sure to come back in just a couple of days for our big Season 2 premiere as we review the Fear The Walking Dead pilot and the ninth episode of the 2002-03 WB series Birds of Prey, right here on The Fandom Zone Podcast!

Monday, August 31, 2015

THE FLASH Casts Tony Todd as the Voice of Zoom

The Flash's Season 2 Big Bad has found his voice.

Variety reports that the CW series The Flash has cast Tony Todd as the voice of DC Comics supervillain Zoom.  Zoom will first encounter The Flash in the second episode this season, "Flash of Two Worlds."

"Last year, with the Reverse-Flash, we just modulated Tom Cavanagh’s voice, and this year we wanted to do something a little bit different," said executive producer Andrew Kreisberg. "Part of the mystery of the season is who or what is underneath the Zoom outfit, and so we wanted to do something like James Earl Jones as Darth Vader — this iconic voice coming out of this mask.  Last year, we thought of the Reverse-Flash as a speed warrior; this year, Zoom is like a speed demon, and no one does demon-voice better than Tony Todd."

Todd, 60, is best known as Daniel Robataille in the Candyman movies, as Ben in the 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake, and as Worf's brother Kurn on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  He's appeared in numerous horror and science-fiction roles, including the adult Jake Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Grange in The Crow, Augustus Cole on The X-Files, and Vyasa on Angel.

He's also appeared in a number of comic book projects, including Young Justice as Icon, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Smallville, and as Darkseid in two Lego DC Comics Super-Heroes: Justice League direct to home video movies.

As for Zoom, Kreisberg compared Zoom’s appearance to Marvel supervillain Venom, remarking, "The Zoom outfit is much more organic than the Reverse-Flash suit.  In a way, it’s hard to tell if it is a suit or alive…There’s no skin showing, for all you know there’s a robot underneath, or dark energy."

In addition, Kreisberg commented on what drives the character.  "For us, the best villains are the ones who don’t have megalomaniacal ‘I want to rule the world’ motivations.  Last year, the Reverse-Flash had a very simple goal which was ‘I just want to go home, and if people need to die or cities need to get wasted for me to get that, so be it.’  And Zoom has a very similar, personal goal this season…simple and easy to understand, and very primal. And just as with Wells last year, Zoom doesn’t care who gets hurt or what gets destroyed in the service of him getting his goal."

And unlike last season, Zoom's true identity will be Eddie Thawne drawn out as a mystery.  "We have to service the entire audience, both the fans and the non-fans, and I think we’ve shown up until this point a great deal of respect and reverence for the source material, so that we always feel like we’re fulfilling the comic book fans’ expectations while also not spoon-feeding them stuff directly from the comics.  So the story of Zoom and who and what he is…hopefully comic book fans will be happy because we’ve come up with a clever way to spin the tale, but that also makes it exciting for the people who aren’t as familiar with the comics and are just enjoying the show on its own terms."

The Flash returns to The CW for Season 2 on October 6, 2015.

Arthur Darvill Wants a DOCTOR WHO Companion Reunion...Someday

Believe it or not, It's been three years already since Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan's characters Rory Williams and Amy Pond/Williams were stranded decades into the past at the end of the Doctor Who Series Seven episode "The Angels Take Manhattan."

According to a new Radio Times article, however, Darvill is up for a reunion.  It just might take...well...another 37 years.

"We should come back in forty years," the actor said.  "We could all come back and do a sort of geriatric reunion."

It seems Darvill has been doing some thinking about a story idea for a companion reunion, whenever it actually happens.  "I’ve got written an episode in my head where all the companions go into therapy together, and do like a big group therapy session," added Darvill.  "It’s a really sort of dark, depressing episode of Doctor Who, but I think it’d help them out a lot."

It's not a bad premise, considering all the near-death (or occasional death and resurrection) experiences the Doctor's various companions have had during his thirteen incarnations. And of course, actors returning to their Doctor Who companions roles after decades away is certainly nothing new, considering Elisabeth Sladen returned to Doctor Who in 2006 as Sarah Jane Smith after leaving the TARDIS in 1976's "The Hand of Fear."  Not to mention all the Classic Who actors reprising their roles for Big Finish audios these days...

In the meantime though, Darvill will be traveling through time in a different way, playing DC Comics time master Rip Hunter on the CW series Legends of Tomorrow.  "There are gonna be comparisons, because it’s a show about time travel, and we do go to different periods in time," remarked Darvill.  "And when I got offered it, that was a big concern.  But because my role in it is so different to the role I played in Doctor Who, it doesn’t feel like repeating anything.  It’s a totally different challenge to me."

"I don’t think you can do a time-travelling thing without referencing Doctor Who or Back to the Future," he added.  "This definitely puts a new spin on it."

Bryan Fuller Describes HANNIBAL's Version of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS

It's enough to make you want to have some NBC programming execs with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.

With the third and apparently final season of the NBC series Hannibal having concluded, CraveOnline spoke with showrunner Bryan Fuller in a Q&A interview about how the show would've handled the Thomas Harris novel The Silence of the Lambs if they had the rights to adapt it.

In the interview, Fuller reveals his dream casting for the book's Buffalo Bill, how Anna Chlumsky's Miriam Lass might factor in, and how to make his version of Clarice Starling different from Jodie Foster's take.  Here's the rundown...

CraveOnline: One of the things a lot of the fans wanted to see in Hannibal was The Silence of the Lambs. Obviously it never panned out in time. Do you still have any hope that you can adapt it someday, down the road, or will your plans lead you elsewhere?

Bryan Fuller: I absolutely do hope and would love to tell Silence of the Lambs with this cast. I love that novel and I think there’s fantastic ways to reimagine it for thirty years later, and… yes. Period. [Laughs.]

Crave: How would that have worked? You introduced Miriam Lass [in Season One]. Would you have brought her back in or would there just be a new character, a lot like Miriam Lass, named “Clarice Starling?”

Fuller: I adore Anna Chlumsky, and we talked about where Miriam Lass is now and what she would be doing, so yes, Miriam Lass would be - depending on Anna’s availability - as big a part as Anna’s availability would allow in a Silence of the Lambs arc.

Crave: But she would be separate from Clarice Starling?

Fuller: Yes.

Crave: I imagine, since you adapted Red Dragon by tweaking it and shifting certain plot points around, you would have to do the same with The Silence of the Lambs. What are your initial thoughts on how The Silence of the Lambs would work in a serialized format, since everyone knows the story already?

Fuller: I am imagining a parallel structure of Hannibal in the institution, with a severely scarred Chilton, now having returned to his post, and juxtaposing that, back in the heyday of Hannibal as a psychiatrist, perhaps even earlier than we met him the first time, when he had Benjamin Raspail as a patient, and weave that story in and around the modern day Silence of the Lambs tale as we know it.

Crave: We saw a dark version of Barney [Lecter’s guard] in Season Two. Would there be other plans for Barney’s character?

Fuller: If we got Silence of the Lambs we would be hitting Barney, we would be hitting Benjamin Raspail, we would be hitting Buffalo Bill… there would be the same kind of voracious need to fan fictionalize all of those characters [laughs] and reimagine certain specific scenarios that caused them to cross paths, or uncross paths as their stories were unfolding.

Crave: What about Ardelia Mapp [Clarice Starling’s roommate]? Would she have a role as well?

Fuller: Major. Major.

Crave: You’ve made excellent casting decisions so far… what would you have looked for in a Buffalo Bill?

Fuller: I would love to cast Lee Pace as Buffalo Bill. His first, most notable, award-winning career move was playing a transgendered person [in 2003’s A Soldier’s Girl], and I think it would be fascinating to return him to that side of his acting skill.

Crave: You’ve worked with him before [in Pushing Daisies]. Had Lee Pace ever come close to being in Hannibal before, in another capacity, or would you have reserved that role for him?

Fuller: Many, many, many times. Every season. We constantly asked Lee but he was always so busy, because he was making Guardians of the Galaxy and Halt and Catch Fire and the Hobbit films. So his dance card was full but we kept on asking. We had talked about him playing Francis Dolarhyde, and it was something that we were sort of hanging in the balance, to see if Halt and Catch Fire would have another season. So he wasn’t available. But I think it worked out amazingly well for us. [Laughs.]

Crave: What about Clarice? Do you have any dream casting for Clarice Starling in your version of The Silence of the Lambs?

Fuller: Well, there’s a couple of ways to go. There’s the Ellen Page way, which I think would be fantastic and more kind of in line with the Clarice that we all know. But I know I would also like to explore who Clarice would be from a different racial background. There’s something about being poor and white in the South but there’s something else about being poor and black in the South, and I think it could be the necessary gateway into the character, to make Clarice as much our own signature character as we tried to make Will Graham.

Crave: In The Silence of the Lambs and throughout the other books, Hannibal’s interest in Clarice becomes romantic. You’ve already done that with Will Graham in the show. Would Will be in that season or would Hannibal be moving on to a new romantic conquest?

Fuller: Well, I think that all depends on how Season 4 would have ended. [Laughs.]

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Casts Matt Willig as Lash

And for their pick in the 2015 Marvel Supervillain Draft, the Inhumans have selected...Matt Willig.

Marvel has released a new synopsis for Season 3 of the ABC series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which revealed that Matt Willig has been cast as the Inhuman known as Lash.  Lash is described in the synopsis as "a monstrous Inhuman whose loyalties remain ambiguous."

Willig, 46, is a former NFL offensive tackle who won a Super Bowl XXXIV ring playing for the St. Louis Rams and also played in Super Bowl XXXVIII with the Carolina Panthers. After playing in the NFL for 14 years, Willig turned to acting and has appeared on the television series NCIS, Chuck, Grimm, Dexter, My Name is Earl, Malcolm in the Middle, Terriers, and The Young and the Restless.  He also voiced The Juggernaut for the Marvel videogame Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and appeared in the Michael Cera movie Year One.

Created in 2014 by Charles Soule and Joe Maduriera, Lash first appeared in Inhuman #1  Born in the hidden Inhuman city of Orollan, Greenland, Lash was one of the few chosen among his generation to receive the gift of Terrigenesis, an honor he believed only select members of his race were due.  When Black Bolt activated a Terrigen Bomb above New York, flooding the world with Terrigen Mists and awakening the powers of Inhuman descendants living among humanity, Lash embarked on a mission to find all the individuals affected, and judge for himself whether they were worthy to live with their new abilities. 
Making his way to Illinois, he encountered a new Inhuman named Dante, whom he attempted to persuade to join him in Orollan until he was stopped by Medusa.

Lash has the ability to convert energy from various sources and subsequently emit it from his palms.  His powers are capable of disintegrating a living being. 

And here's the full synopsis for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3...

"Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." returns for an action-packed third season, with Director Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Agent Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) leading the charge as S.H.I.E.L.D. searches the world for more powered people in the aftermath of their epic battle with Jiaying and her army of Inhumans. However, Coulson and the team soon find out that they are not the only group looking for these new Inhumans.

Many months after their war with a rogue group of Inhumans, the team is still reeling. Coulson is again trying to put the pieces of his once revered organization back together while also dealing with the loss of his hand. His confidante and second in command, Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), has yet to return from an impromptu vacation with ex-husband Andrew (Blair Underwood); deadly superspy Agent Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) is recovering from her traumatic torture at the hands of Grant Ward (Brett Dalton); Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) is obsessed with discovering the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge); and all are on high-alert for the next move from Ward and Hydra.

Ever since the existence of Super Heroes and aliens became public knowledge after the Battle of New York, the world has been trying to come to grips with this new reality. Coulson assembled a small, highly select group of Agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division). S.H.I.E.L.D.’s mission: to protect those who cannot protect themselves from threats they cannot conceive.

But bigger threats loom ahead, setting the stakes even higher for the Agents, including the spread of Terrigen, an alien substance that unlocks superhuman abilities in select individuals; the emergence of new Inhumans who cannot yet control nor understand their powers; the rise of a new government organization that will go toe-to-toe with S.H.I.E.L.D.; the unknown properties of the massive alien Kree monolith, which has taken one of their own; and the constant threat of a rebuilt Hydra terrorist organization under S.H.I.E.L.D. traitor Grant Ward, who is making it his personal mission to take down Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D.

New faces, both friend and foe, will join the series, including the no-nonsense, highly-skilled and somewhat mysterious leader (Constance Zimmer) of the ATCU (Advanced Threat Containment Unit), her intimidating partner, Banks (Andrew Howard), Lash (Matthew Willig), a monstrous Inhuman whose loyalties remain ambiguous, and new Inhuman Joey (Juan Pablo Raba), who is struggling to harness his newfound abilities, among other surprising characters.

Coulson, with the help of Daisy and Mack (Henry Simmons), will work to slowly assemble a team that is stronger than ever before, combining the highly skilled Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with powered individuals in the hopes of protecting the innocent in a world where the balance of power is ever-shifting, and new dangers are constantly emerging.

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” stars Clark Gregg as Director Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as Agent Melinda May, Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Agent Daisy Johnson, Iain De Caestecker as Agent Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Agent Jemma Simmons, Nick Blood as Agent Lance Hunter, Adrianne Palicki as Agent Bobbi Morse, Henry Simmons as Agent Alphonso “Mack” MacKenzie and Luke Mitchell as Lincoln Campbell.

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” was co-created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen, who also serve as executive producers along with Jeph Loeb and Jeffrey Bell. “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is produced by ABC Studios and Marvel Television, and is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with 5.1-channel surround sound.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 premieres September 29th at 9:00 on ABC.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

THE FLASH Casts Violett Beane as Jesse Quick

Something tells me Jesse Quick cosplay is going to be big by the end of the year.

TVLine has word that the CW series The Flash has cast newcomer Violett Beane in the role of Jesse Chambers, better known to DC Comics fans as the superspeedster Jesse Quick.

According to the article, Jesse will appear in multiple episodes of the show's second season and is described as "a brilliant but quirky college student who gets caught up in the battle between The Flash and Season 2 Big Bad (the not-yet-cast) Zoom."

Beane's two credits listed on IMDb show her appearing in the films Flay (currently in post-production) and Slash (currently filming).

Created in 1992 by Len Strazewski and Mike Parobeck, Jesse Quick first appeared in Justice Society of America (vol.2) #1 as Jesse Chambers, the daughter of superheroes Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle and a student at Gotham University.  After the superhero team her parents had been colleagues with, the Justice Society of America, reemerged following a long absence, her thesis topic became "The Impact of Superheroes on Society" and she began to follow the returned heroes, taking notes on their adventures. When her father asked her to deliver some documents to the Society, the encounter would result in her aiding the team as Jesse Quick, finally living up to her father's dream of her being a costumed crimefighter.

Just like her father, Jesse has powers of flight and accelerated speed, resulting from the state of mind achieved from the visualization of the speed-formula: 3X2(9YZ)4A and a link to the Speed Force.  She also has her mother's super-strength, enabling her to lift great weights, such as a car, with ease. As with her mother, the mechanism of her super-strength remains unexplained, which irritated her father.  She attributes her powers to a "mantra" like the formula used by her father to unlock his speed.

She soon met Wally West, the third Flash, who would later ask her to be his replacement if something were to happen to him.  It was all an elaborate plan on his part, trying to force Bart Allen, Impulse, to take his role in the legacy of the Flash more seriously, and be Wally's successor.  Although she felt betrayed, she would end up saving Wally's life, although her leg was hurt in the process.  When Wally returned from the Speed Force, he healed her leg, and the earlier deception was largely forgiven, but not forgotten.  Jesse lost her enhanced speed shortly after, and the person she blamed was Wally, who had been directly using the Speed Force energies instead of simply tapping them like the other speedsters did.  In fact, it turned out to be the villain Savitar who was the cause, having severed her connection to the Speed Force, as well as multiple other speedsters.  Nonetheless, Wally chose the depowered Jesse to accompany him to Savitar's lair, where she succeeded in regaining her powers.  During the following battle with Savitar, her father gave his life in order to protect his daughter from one of Savitar's forces and merged with the Speed Force.  Although Wally would ultimately triumph over the villain, Jesse was left to mourn her father.

Jesse accepted the reins of managing her father's corporation, Quickstart Enterprises, while also operating as Jesse Quick, even joining the members of the New Titans to stop a nuclear threat.  When the Titans were later going through a reorganization, Wally, a founding member, selected Jesse to join the roster, hoping to soothe their old wounds. After initially declining the offer, she ultimately joined the Titans, but was only on the team for a short time.  She later became a member of the Justice Society, carrying on her mother's legacy as the new Liberty Belle and married fellow second-generation hero Rick Tyler, also known as Hourman.

The Flash returns to The CW for Season 2 on October 6, 2015.

THE FLASH Casts Demore Barnes as Tokamak

Seriously, can Firestorm just get his own show already?

ComicBook.com has revealed that the CW series The Flash has cast Demore Barnes as Henry Hewitt, better known to DC Comics fans as the Firestorm villain Tokamak.

According to the article, Hewitt is described by The CW as "a charming, but cocky scientist who was affected by the same Particle Accelerator explosion that created the Flash.  When Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) recruits him to join the team at S.T.A.R. Labs, Hewitt jumps at the opportunity to fulfill his destiny as a powerful metahuman."

Barnes, 38, is probably best known as Hector "Hammerhead" Williams on The Unit, and as Tobias Budge on Hannibal.  Barnes has also had roles on episodes of Fringe, Supernatural, Covert Affairs, Hemlock Grove, Transporter: The Series, Flashpoint, XIII: The Series, and The Associates.

Created in 1983 by Gerry Conway and Pat Broderick, Tokamak first appeared in The Fury of Firestorm (Vol.1) #15 as Henry Hewitt, the Chief Executive Officer of the Hewitt Corporation and a high level director in the 2000 Committee.  He attempted to pressure U.S. Senator Walter Reilly into voting in favor of the Hewitt Industries Bill, which would effectively allow Hewitt Industries unequaled control of the energy market.  When Reilly refused Hewitt's demands, Hewitt kidnapped the senator's daughter Lorraine and experimented on her to duplicate the nuclear accident that created Firestorm.  This experiment transformed Lorraine into Firehawk, whom Hewitt brainwashed her to eliminate Firestorm.

Hewitt then performed the same experiment on himself and forged a atomic containment suit, calling himself Tokamak, a Russian term referring to a magnetic confinement device that is one of the most-researched candidates for producing controlled thermonuclear fusion power.  He fought Firestorm and Firehawk, apparently dying when his suit was breached and caused a build-up of energy to explode.

The Flash returns to The CW for Season 2 on October 6, 2015.