The Walking Dead

GH64: Telltale – YOU’RE FIRED

GH64: Telltale – YOU’RE FIRED
Gamer Heroes

 
 
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In this episode, the GGKC crew talk about the interesting and creepy storytelling of What Remains of Edith Finch, layoffs at Telltale Games, past gaming disappointments with Warhammer Online, new questionable updates to World of Warships, The Reaper expansion for the Talisman board game, and much more. Hear some responses to last weeks Question of the Week “What gaming world would you NOT want to be an NPC in?”, and find out this week’s questions!

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A Heroes Podcast Network Production

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Derreck Mayer

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GH64: Telltale – YOU’RE FIRED

SH S5E14: Favorite TV Pilots

What are your favorite TV Pilots? What are TV Pilots? Join Screen Heroes for some movie and TV news including our continuing segment, Shazam Watch, among other things. Then we’re off to our main topic, our favorite pilots from television shows. These are our favorites. Some of these were stellar episodes, others maybe launched a series of significant importance. Either way, we love these episodes and want to talk about why! We also discuss what constitutes a pilot and why some shows just don’t count in this discussion.

Do you have a favorite TV pilot? Do you disagree with our definition of TV pilots? Any news you’re excited about? Let us know!

Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

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SH S5E14: Favorite TV Pilots

SH S4E03: SDCC 2017 Recap

SDCC, the biggest comic con of the year, is over and we’re here to talk about our favorite moments, trailers, and announcements. We’ll be covering major franchises like Marvel and Infinity War, DC Comics and Justice League, plus Netflix’s Stranger Things, and even more.

What was your favorite SDCC moment?

Also, go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

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Derreck Mayer
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Derreck Mayer

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Derreck Mayer

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SH S4E03: SDCC 2017 Recap

The Walking Dead and All The Fake Deaths

It’s about time The Walking Dead stops with the fake deaths already. Setting it up to have a character look like they died just before a long break to keep viewers interested. It’s like crying wolf and starts to lose its emotional impact after awhile. Worse is that the viewers start to second guess everything you show them. If you’re not up to date on The Walking Dead and insist everything must be a surprise to you, then you may want stop reading now as there are some spoilers. Not that some big spoilers are to be had here but it may detract from some of the things that are revealed in the show. Not that I think any of the fake deaths are that great anyways. But here lately The Walking Dead has been trending more and more towards the soap opera variety of entertainment of suggesting a character has died towards the end of a mid or regular season final and then bringing them back. It’s lame story telling.


 

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The Walking Dead: Fake Deaths

First Fake Death, Merle
I guess it could be argued that it all began in season one, with Merle being chained to the roof of a building in downtown Atlanta for being too much of a prick. Though he probably deserved being left to die, it set up his return with the Governor a couple seasons later. His toughness and determination are what allowed him to make it out of this dire situation and it added to the character and it added depth to every scene he was in when he came back. It was actually pretty good. The tension later on between Rick and others because of it was excellent, it made watching it exciting. Not to mention we never really saw him die on the roof and it’s believable that he could’ve chopped his hand off to escape, people have actually done this before. Ever hear of a wolf caught in a bare trap? Merle is the same kinda animal. This is an example of some good story telling.

With-Myrl_themodernmage-com

2nd Fake Death, Judith
It wasn’t until season 3 when Rick and the others were routed from the prison that another fake death happened, this time with Rick’s daughter Judith. In the chaos she was left unguarded. Tragic yes but in the chaos this is understandable. I mean in a world of constantly fighting off the undead and contending with rival groups of survivors, anyone who can’t take care of themselves doesn’t have good chances. I imagine there wouldn’t be many elderly, injured, or slow people left after the zombies took over. This is a very difficult world to live in after all.

Rule Number 1

Babies suck at cardio

And when I saw the empty baby carrier, bloodied and abandoned, I was like wow. They actually stuck to the brutality of the comic books. I was impressed, sure they didn’t actually show it on camera but I don’t think anyone wanted to see a baby get mauled by walkers. It was a necessary touchstone in Rick’s development from the comics and was glad it made it into the show.

Baby Carrier

Hardly a snack

When Rick’s daughter looked like she died it really hit home with viewers. The thing that drew audiences in was Rick’s loss, he was crushed. In the comics the rout from the prison is what broke him, changed him. It was a watershed event in the story and for the character. Rick became a lot more harsh, a stone cold stare was often apart of his character.

Walking Dead Gif

Unfortunately, it was just another fake death. She made it out of the prison after all. Even a helpless baby is apparently capable of faking its own death in the way that both Elvis and Hitler would be envious, at least if any of those tabloids are to believed. Sure, it was a bit of a let down. I mean I’m not rooting for baby killing or anything like that, I’m definitely pro-baby. Now there’s a political bumper sticker for ya, I’m not pro-choice or pro-life, just pro-zombies not eating babies. It’s just that the scene set it up to make the viewers think that the baby died. I mean come on, absent baby, bloodied carrier, satiated walkers nearby, I guess the babies gone and they just didn’t want to show the gore. What were we supposed to think? I was cool with that.

hitler-is-alive

Instead when the new season starts the baby is fine. Nothing was gained from it, no character growth, no development. Nothing was learned, it was flat. It may have not been the best death on television but it made sense that in the difficult post-apocalyptic zombie world in which they lived in. There probably isn’t many babies left because life is hard, tragedies happen. Babies are tasty, Jonathan Swift jokes not withstanding

Jonathan Swift

3rd Fake Death, Glenn
This ended up not being a tragedy after all. So later on when Glenn, one of the show favorites, falls off dumpster with one of his dead weight companions into a crowd of zombies, he looks to be a goner. From a trick angle the scene is shot from above looking down on the horde, who are apparently tearing into a Glenn. Who has a very sad look on his face, not to be confused with the “Ahhhh, walkers are tearing into my guts” kinda faces, it was one of those sad faces 🙁 It’s revealed several episodes later that his friend fell on top of him, buying him time by distracting the walkers. Glenn makes is way under an nearby dumpster, kills the scant few dedicated walkers who try to chase him and just calls it a day. He decides to wait the walkers out. I mean that works with zombies right?

Horde one

I mean come on walkers are busy people, they have things to do, people to eat. They can’t just wait around for someone to come out of hiding and they do get distracted easily. That’s the problem with the undead, short attention spans. I mean think of all the time walkers surround a prison or something else like or tank and just give up and left. That’s what they do, right?

the_walking_dead_rick_tank_scene

The real kicker of it is that in the comics Glenn does die. And a sign of any good zombie show is that everyone’s survivability eventually drops to zero, no one lives for ever. It’s what the genre is about. So when they showed Glenn apparently dying I was like, it sucks but I understand it. It was a good death after all, he did his best, fought to keep his friend alive, never once showing cowardice and selfishness. He looked death in the eye and didn’t blink. It was a good death, it was a shame it was fake though. It rang hollow.

3rd Death, Daryl??

Aside from the cheapness of it, pretending a character dies just to bring characters back ends up biting you in the end. And that’s where we are, about to enter the finale for season six, with Daryl and friends at the mercy of some real nasty baddies. Just at the end of the episode you see Daryl apparently get shot. Well it’s suggested, but not shown explicitly. This will be the forth time an apparent death has happened and it’s starting to lose all impact. They’ve cried wolf too much. We’re not buying it anymore.

Darryl Death 2

Over the span of the show The Walking Dead has overused this fake death plot device way too much, it has become tired. They need to move on to better story telling. It may be interesting to see them kill off a big character that the fan girls love ( cough, cough, Daryl) and have them do it in an undeniable way. Point blank shot to the head. No cheat angles, no deus ex machina dumpsters, just plain dead. Seeing the forum board light up in the anger would be worth it alone. But more importantly it would be good story telling, something The Walking Dead needs to get back to.

The show can’t go on forever and they are starting to catch up with the comics. They’ll have decide how the show will end eventually. Just as with the zombie classic model, no one lives forever, all things must come to an end. It’s not saying that a lot of people have to die but faking out the audience into thinking that characters die in a finale before a break and bringing them back is a amateurish way to do it.

the-walking-dead-alexandria-safe-zone-image

What are your thoughts? Have the fake deaths helped or hurt The Walking Dead in your eye? Do you think Daryl is really dead? Sound off the in the comments below and don’t forget to catch The Walking Dead Season 6 finale tomorrow night on AMC!

The Walking Dead and All The Fake Deaths

Into the Badlands – Review

It pains me to say it but Into the Badlands is flawed. It’s not that great to put things mildly. The plot is irrational and borderline moronic, to be a little more harsh. As a long time martial arts fan, I hate to say it, but with only 6 episodes in its first season, I can’t recommend it to anyone just yet. But don’t take my word for it, you can watch it for free on AMC’s site.
It’s not to say it is without hope. I mean a lot of shows suck early as they struggle to find their footing. And the show does have some excellent elements that I admire but it’s not enough to tip the scales in its favor. At best I could only recommend waiting for it to come to Netflix or at least letting it finish out another season (well, if it lasts that long). I’ll cut to the quick for you.

Stance Bad Lands

Plot Synopsis
Taking place in Louisiana, a head body guard by the name of Sunny goes about doing his despotic leader’s bidding. In what  may be a NRA members worst nightmare, guns are outlawed and martial arts reigns supreme. Sunny as head clipper and regent of his Baron is the best fighter in the region. All except for a young boy Sunny finds named M.K. who has supernatural abilities that are released when he is cut. Sunny, slowly learning the depravity of his leader’s ways and the desperation of his situation, plots escape, forgoing the prestige and trust this despot bestows on him for his great skills in combat. Planning to take his romantic interest with him along with his new fighter in training, M.K, Sunny plans escape Into The Badlands. Sadly as my disappointment with the show grew, I kept thinking of South Park’s Mr. Mackey every time they mentioned M.K.

Mkay-song-300x174



 

Badlands: The Good

Fight Scene Episode One Badlands

Fight Scenes
The action is crisp and excellent. Seeing Daniel Wu, who is an experienced martial arts actor, is what sets Into the Badlands apart from any other action show out there. This Hong Kong style action isn’t seen much on the Western television, if at all. Unlike a lot of other Western copies of kung fu, Into the Badlands films it so much better making the moves the star of the action and not the actor’s faces. Usually when Western movies try these they zoom way too close because of the star power of the actor and because the aforementioned star’s lack of martial arts skill.  Casting Daniel Wu for the fight scenes was an excellent choice. Each punch and kick he throws looks authentic because actor and stunt man are one and the same. All the fight scenes choreographed well and the pacing is just right.

Rain Scene One Badlands

Rain Scene Three Badlands

Acting

Surprisingly the acting is much better than any kung fu show has any right to be. Wu does a great job as a clean cut, straight forward hero who is unmistakably on the good side of morality. Contrasted by the Baron (Marton Coskas), who is played so oily and paranoid that he will make you squirm with loathing for him. Csokas, a New Zealander, pulls off an incredible Southern gentlemen’s accent (just think Val Kilmer Doc Holliday from Tombstone and you have the idea.) A hero is defined by a villain and, as a foil for Sunny, Csokas is remarkable.
The rest of the supporting cast is incredibly talented as well. The deadly sexy Emily Beecham as up and coming baroness. The gorgeous Orla Brady as the outgoing baroness, and the smart and sexy Sarah Bolger as the new baroness all do an excellent job of bringing this new world into focus. The young Aramis Knight and Ally Ioannides as star crossed lovers round out the cast excellently. An important part of story telling is character’s and Into the Badlands gets this right.

dan wu badlandsinto-the-badlands-quinn-csokas-700x1000

 

Visuals
The show is pretty. It really is easy on the eyes. It makes excellent use of Southern Culture and settings, one moment showing the regal flair of a Baron’s home and castle, while at another showing the gritty urban look of the French Quarter of New Orleans. All the while interspersing stunning vistas flowers in bloom and weeping willows. At no time could this be mistaken for Southern California like every other show out there; this is the natural beauty of the South. All of this is shot expertly using some great cinematography. Seeing a long shot of Sunny ridding down a road laden with southern flowers is incredible. And you can’t escape the nod to the Samurai flicks of old.

Badlands Field
Costuming is another more subtle force. True to form of classic Kung Fu shows, each domain has its own look and feel to it. Where Sunny’s side has sleeveless soldiers in red leather Chinese style clothes other lords are visually distinguished. One group wields Scottish basket-hilted swords and Celtic plaid clothing, while another group further north sports loose baggy pants and Indian kukri short swords. Lords and lieutenants dress apart from the soldiers but are still bound to the fashion style of their domain. It’s an easy way to see stark clan lines that is a hallmark of kung fu films of feudal China. It’s a subtle but superb touch.AMC_ITB_S1_Inside_Characters_TheBarons

 

Showdown Badlands

Tension With Out Words



 

Badlands: The Bad

Plot
Well there is only one real bad thing of the show but it’s by far the most important: the plot. It could be said that pure kung fu shows don’t really need plot, it’s all about the action after all. The bad thing is that Into The Badlands is actually trying really hard at the plot and failing at it miserably, often times laughably so. Each episode averages out to maybe one fight scene and a half with drama making up the rest. I’m reminded of complaints about The Walking Dead not having enough zombies and too much drama. Consider this and realize that Into The Badland’s drama not nearly being as good.
The characters and interactions are awesome, which is an integral part of any plot driven show, but when you zoom out just a little and ask yourself why am I watching this? It’s as if they know where they want the show to go but the steps they make the characters take to get there are lame.

A good example of this, and perhaps low hanging fruit for plot making, is building up for a confrontation. Something even Hong Kong action shows can easily get right, Into The Badlands stumbles into. Take for example 2008’s Ip Man film. It slowly builds up animosity and tension between the Wing Chun master and the evil Japanese general. The whole time you know there will be a show down between the two. It’s inevitable. It takes time to show the hero and his friends suffering and when the fight scene happens the audience is rooting for the hero to win. The confrontation is savored and has purpose.
It’s not like this is the only option for a simple kung fu story.

IpMan ffight

Netflix’s Daredevil show handles the relationship between fight scenes and plot much better. Though Into the Badlands is a much more sophisticated kind of fight, Daredevil’s fights always have purpose. The epic long shot fight  in the green hallway from the second episode isn’t fancy, it’s a knockdown, dragged out, brawl. It shows Daredevil’s drive bordering on obsession and it ends with the characters perseverance wining the day, not his fighting skill.

DD FightInto the Badlands on the other hand bungles even this simple element in action shows. Though technically very good it is “with out emotional content” as Bruce Lee would say. It’s as though they sprinkled fight scenes at random into a mediocre show with minimal cause and little purpose. An example of this let down would be the major confrontation with Sunny’s greatest enemy, It ends in a couple seconds with a stabbing and is quickly glossed over.

Emotional Content

Emotional Content

And later on when the other rival baron’s come to fight and Sunny’s apprentice and he release his long anticipated supernatural abilities its not really shown, nor are the consequences. Many of the other fight scenes happen without much purpose and have little consequence either. You could just as easily substitute the fights with verbal arguments and it would be same before and after. A bad sign for any show, let alone one emphasizing martial arts. Even the simplest of Kung Fu shows know how to make fights matter! In even the most typical fight scenes you have to root for the protagonist on some level, the fight scene although technically good lack in any relevance, any umph. There really is no excuse for not having this minimal level of fights with some purpose in the plot.

Lady Badlands

Conclusion

I’m not sure AMC is willing to venture out of its comfort zone of drama driven shows to give an honest Kung fu one a shot. And Into The Badlands plot just isn’t good enough to stand on its own. Though the fight scenes are technically some of the best, there are still better fights with much better purpose. The fight scenes on Into The Badlands are hallow and meaningless despite stunning visuals and excellent acting. As it is I can’t really recommend it to anyone either as a drama or an action show.
The best case scenario would be for someone like Daniel Wu and his stunt team coming over to another show like Netflix’s up and coming Iron Fist. At the very least though it demonstrates how good fight scenes can be done on television and that it is possible after all. And that the producers shouldn’t shy away from some really technical kung fu. Yea that’s it, maybe cut and paste the fight scenes from Into the Badlands onto another show and we’ll be all set. I’ll give a generous 2.5 out of 5, but just because I have a soft spot in my heart for some kung fu.

The Grid Rating Saucer 2.5

Into the Badlands – Review

Fear The Walking Dead – Review

Fear the Walking Dead has some things different going for it from the start. Set in the West Coast, it brings a much different experience from The Walking Dead. In regards to post apocalyptic genre it has a more of a “bug in” approach to dealing with it, as apposed to the more “bug out”,  migrating approach of doing things found in The Walking Dead. Ethnic makeup of the group and society at large also has some great potential for drama that the writers can make good use of. But most interesting is how the show can handle the outbreak’s critical phase, the part where it goes from a mild epidemic to a full fledged pandemic with mass extinction consequences. This is what Fear the Walking Dead has going for it, at least on paper.

Much as with The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead is a character driven story. Many world wide problems take a back seat to the character relationships. The story starts out with three families grouping together to weather out the storm. Bonds thicker than blood are strained when families fight to stay together and people deal with this crisis differently. They all have different ideals, learning curves, and worries that they deal with during this crisis. Fortunately there are a few characters that think quick on their feet and are far from helpless.

Fear the Walking Dead - Kim Dickens The leading lady and head of one of the families in the show is a great relief from the damsel in distress cliché that The Walking Dead often finds itself in. Kim Dickens brings real street smarts, grit, and strength to the role of Madison Clark. Her character’s social skills, wisdom, and compassion give her all the makings of a great leader. Contrasting her character to the women in The Walking Dead’s first season, she looks to take charge of her own destiny much more quickly. Where the first season of The Walking Dead female characters seemed helpless at first, she is independently strong. This is a great thing to see in a show as it’s never enjoyable to have a main character seem helpless. 

Her foil would be her boyfriend, Travis Manawa. He’s an idealist who looks to be slow to adjust to the Fear the Walking Dead - Travis Manawanew world that they live in. Hopefully he’ll become the glue of the group, binding people together with his strong morals and compassion. But his strong dedication to ideals are a source of great drama for the show as his former marriage constantly strains on the group’s survival with his new family. He often has to balance his needs to protect his own with that of the groups greater good. This is one of the shows main sources of drama. Regrettably though, it comes off more as trivial, especially considering the situation that they find themselves in. This may change as the show goes on but there is nothing worse than seeing two families squabble when the world is falling down around their ears.

Fear the Walking Dead - Daniel SalazarThe third family in the group is headed by the veteran actor Rubén Blades. His character brings great experience and Blades in this role is fantastic. He plays a father of an immigrant family that has been through a lot. He has risked many things coming to this country and he knows the true face of humanity when life is on the line , when the chips are down. From the original show he is most like Dale but is much more jaded, far less idealistic, saving his compassion for his family. Rounding out the adult characters with Blades was an excellent choice and pleasure to watch.

Fear the Walking Dead - Nick Clark

 

Another fantastic actor, channeling a young Johhny Depp, is Frank Dillane. He has a great charm and innocence
that other actors would have a hard time even attempting. Intriguingly enough, Dillane makes it look easy. He plays the troubled, drug addict, who has found himself in trouble so often that he never flinches when finding a lucky way out of it. A maverick who always plays it cool, his character looks most to fill the role of Glenn in the new show. He may even become more like Daryl, given enough lessens learned. That is if his luck doesn’t run out.

Fear the Walking Dead - Riot PoliceEssentially both shows are character driven dramas, spending little time concerning the viewer with larger world in which they live. It was hoped that more light would’ve been shed on how the pandemic happened and what were other people’s reactions outside the main group.

At first the show does a decent job of this, tying modern concerns of police brutality and riots, all while the virus spreads. All done on the side with snid bits of news clips and circumstantial accounts. But the critical tipping point is glossed over when people hunker down and close their eyes to the world. This would’ve been great to have seen fleshed out.

Many zombie films and shows take the safe way out. The Walking Dead and 28 Days later, for example,  have the protagonist in a comma, thereby skipping out on the explanation. In Fear the Walking Dead the community is quartered off and its citizens are shielded from what is actually going on outside and instead the narrative focuses on interpersonal drama. In the show so far, most conflict is internal, between family members. It can’t be helped to wonder if this was a lost opportunity.The Walking Dead Comic - Rick Grimes

           Unfortunately this inter-family arguing comes of as petty squabbling and trivial. Family members arguing, families rubbing each other the wrong way, all of this is uninteresting. In The Walking Dead the conflicts, such as between Rick and the Dixon brothers, was explosive. It could go off any second and you had to watch. The struggle between Shane and Rick, doubly so. But with Fear the Walking Dead more often than not, it’s one naive family member’s bad idea that people have to deal with. Little sis is going to go off and visit her infected boyfriend, druggy brother better stop her because she’s too smart for her own good. Not great television.

The Walking Dead - Rick and Daryl

           Ultimately the show feels like they copied and pasted the idea from The Walking Dead and haven’t really added much new to it, only shuffled things around a bit. Being in a much larger city with not as many guns would’ve been interesting. Resolving conflicts from various ethnic groups and other cultures in the locale would’ve been a more interesting source of drama than family pains. So far it feels like The Walking Dead has done this better.

           Having the scope be a little larger may have helped Fear the Walking Dead as well. Nothing too extreme, something like having one of the parents work for the government instead of both parents working for the school would’ve been interesting. Having the children and parents all tied to school is a fairly flat approach. It actually very all too ’80s. Not only is most drama caused internally, it revolves around one focal point too much. Odd for such a big city.

However The Walking Dead did pull this off with a much smaller focus, at least in the beginning. Following Rick around, slowly introducing the web of drama from his family. What is lacking may be the focus of a father returning and protecting his family. Where as in Fear the Walking Dead it’s much more diffused, splitting attention among three squabbling families. Maybe when things come to a climax and the dust settles things will come together for the show.

           The prognosis for the Fear the Walking Dead would be: wait and see. Signs are not great for it just yet but there may still be some entertainment to be found here. They may venture into explaining more about what actually happened in the world during Rick’s coma.  But it looks like they are still laying the foundation for a character driven drama and this takes time. The start is a little shaky but they have some talent on the show that could make things work. It may have stumbled a bit out of the gate but it may find its stride. 

What do you think of Fear the Walking Dead? Is it a must-watch? Does The Walking Dead still reign as champion of the zombie drama? Comment below!

 

Fear The Walking Dead – Review