Thursday, November 10, 2016

Superhero Shows Recap (11/7/2016 - 11/10/2016)

The Flash and Agents of SHIELD took a break this week, not least of reasons being that their usual night was election night and people would be more likely to watch election results.

Supergirl - "Crossfire": Kara attempts to help Mon-El enter normal society by helping him get a job at Cat Co. Except there's a culture clash going on. Alex makes a major personal decision. Project Cadmus equips a gang with anti-gravity and disintegration rifles. James Olsen decides he needs to step up as a hero.

Gotham - "Blood Rush": Commissioner Barnes begins to give into the blood lust given him by Alice's blood. Oswald decides to deal with Eddie's new girlfriend, who sets him off with her resemblance to the ex he murdered back in Season 1. Jim settles back into the GCPD.

Lucifer - "My Little Monkey": Lucifer attempts to try a new style by shadowing another detective on the force. Mazikeen finds new employment.

Arrow - "So It Begins": Prometheus begins a series of murders that serve as a coded message to Oliver. The new Team Arrow is finally beginning to operate as a group. Thea discovers that Quentin has become an alcoholic. Felicity steals evidence from the police department (and her new boyfriend) in an attempt to discover the identity of Prometheus.

Legends of Tomorrow - "Compromised": Traveling to the 1980s, the Legends have to face off against Damian Darhk again as he tries to interrupt a peace treaty being signed at the White House. Martin Stein has yet another encounter with his younger self as both Vixen and Ray try to figure out their identities as heroes.

As the review bonus is a Doctor Strange double feature. While Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme may have only just hit theaters, the character has already been a star of two other productions and was going to lead a feature film in the early 1990s. I'm not reviewing that last one, but I'll speak about it. Doctor Mordrid (1992) was initially going to be a Doctor Strange movie, and would have joined The Punisher, Captain America, and Roger Corman's Fantastic Four (if it had been released) in an attempt to bring the Marvel heroes to the big screen and make them household names. As it turned out, Fox's Saturday morning cartoons were more effective for doing that.

Full Moon Features produced Doctor Mordrid, reworking their plans for a Doctor Strange film after their option for such a film expired. Doctor Strange would have aimed for PG, but without a license from Marvel, the resulting movie went for a hard R with a reported overuse of profanity and an inexplicable nude female scene. There are entertaining scenes with animated animal skeletons fighting. The end result wound up being unlike Doctor Strange with a mystical sorcerer who crosses to our dimension to fight an evil wizard. Anyone interested can check out video reviews that use clips from the movie, and it's also available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

The first solo Doctor Strange project was a television movie released in 1978. At this time, it seems CBS was attempting a live action Marvel TV universe with their famous Incredible Hulk TV show, the short-lived Amazing Spider-Man TV show, a pair of Captain America movies, and this Dr. Strange TV movie, recently released to DVD by Shout Factory with a handsome remaster.

The CBS/Marvel TV universe would later expand with Daredevil and Thor appearing in Hulk reunion movies, although these were aired by NBC. Apparently, CBS planned live action movies featuring The Human Torch and The Sub-Mariner, but these never came to pass. All of these TV movies were basically test pilots for TV shows. I'll repeat myself and say that only The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk became shows.

Dr. Strange is one of those adaptations that are loosely based on the original source material. Stephen Strange (Peter Hooten) is a doctor here, and we see him working with patients, but no indication that he's a great surgeon. Furthermore, he's never in an accident that forces him to leave the work he does. The plot follows Morgan LeFay (Jessica Walter) coming to do away with the Sorcerer Supreme Lindmer (John Mills) or his successor. Lindmer knows his time is coming to a close and tasks his assistant Wong (Clyde Kusatsu) to find Stephen Strange. The movie is all about how Stephen becomes a sorcerer, with very little time of him in an iconic costume for comic fans to enjoy.

Interesting one for the diehard fans of live action Marvel, but casual fans, give it a pass.

There have been several animated versions of Doctor Strange, but the only one to have him as the lead character, 2007's direct to video animated movie, Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme. This one is considered the best of that bunch of animated Marvel films.

It serves as an origin story, but now with several sorcerers appearing in New York chasing monsters that have escaped the Dark Dimension. Strange's story focuses mainly on how he's humbled, then grows into a sorcerer as he learns from the Ancient One, facing Mordo and Dormammu.

The movie has that simplified, anime-flavored animation style, and a bit of that good old dialogue stilt. Otherwise, it's a very fine film. It's available on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital video.

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