Monday, April 23, 2018

Episode 62: Jessica Jones now on YouTube.




It's Episode 62: Jessica Jones on YouTube! If you haven't listened to it yet, then you totally should! Listen to Frank and John while seeing their magnificent beards.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Episode 63: The Punisher

Episode 63: The Punisher Season 1
Produced by Relevant to Our Interests
Hosts: John R. Belliston and Frank Shaw
Scripting by: Frank Shaw and John Belliston
Edited by: Frank Shaw

Graphic Design by: Nathan Newell and Frank Shaw
Intro Music: Morning Activities by F.G. Shaw
Outro Music: Morning Activities by F.G. Shaw


Man! The Punisher! If you haven't watched it yet, and you're a fan of the Marvel series, you need to do that right now! It's amazing! I've used a lot of exclamation points in this first paragraph so far to make my point, but I mean it. The series is well paced, well thought out, brutal as fuck, and it has some fairly thoughtful moments. It's the least comic-y of the Netflix Marvel series. Don't get me wrong, it still has that comic-book vibe in spots, but I could easily see it as a completely unrelated series and doing well, even if the Punisher didn't exist as a character.

The series hints at social commentary with-out ever fully taking a side or becoming overtly political. Which honestly I think works. The main focus of the series is grief and PTSD neither of which should have any political side. The series never uses the "PTSD" through out it's 12 1/2 hour run. It doesn't need to. We see men haunted by things that they'd done, things that were done to them, and things that they still have an itch to do. 


It doesn't handle PTSD without fully delving into film cliches however: The radicalization of Lewis was a massive misfire in my opinion, and I agree with Michael Rougeau from Gamespot: this was a large "misfire". I think it could have been handled better, and perhaps been true of the actual real dilemma if Lewis had killed the older vet O'Connor and had to deal with the ramifications of just that. Frank Castle didn't need another analogue to his character. A "bad cop" to his "good cop." I think there was potential to deal with Lewis' tragic and all too real story (to a point) without denigrating it into the homegrown terrorist cliche we see in action films. It's not that these individuals don't exist, they do. Unfortunately. But that this is something that a series like 24 would try and do, and the Punisher is quite honestly a better thought out series than that.

The other elephant in the room is the gun-debate. Yes it does come up in the show, mostly around Lewis' character and his actions with a senator that is very pro gun control. The debate itself is... well I feel it's a non-starter. It's there to provide some fodder for Lewis' radicalization and that's all. The show stays fairly neutral in its stance* and the debate itself is a plot device. It was chosen I'm fairly sure, because it is such a topical issue right now. So while it is there, and it is front and center later on in the series, it's not something that be taken as a theme of the series, and it's not either for or against. And here's the thing: It shouldn't be a big focus of the series. The Punisher isn't here to decide the gun debate one way or the other, nor is it here to bring the debate to the table to serious discussion. The two episodes that feature the debate are quite honestly there to provide motivation and an end to Lewis' character while inching Frank Castle's plot forward. 

Now John and I did talk about a couple of charities during the episode, and we want to make sure they get a mention again: I talk a little about The Wounded Warrior Project, which is a fantastic charity helping vets and their families. If you're a veteran and you're not a member you can check out the website and see what they do. You can also donate, which I encourage you to do. The other charity is Pet's for Vets. I love he idea of this one as it gives animals a new friend and family member and it gives the vet a loyal companion as well. I love getting pet's into peoples lives so this is another one I highly endorse. 


All that said, The Punisher is fantastic. If you can handle the brutal violence that the series has to offer, and the emotional violence as well, then perhaps binge it in a weekend. If you're like John and I however, take your time with it. Watch a few episodes in a sitting and let things gel. But whatever you do, give it a watch, especially if you're a Marvel fan, it's worth watching.

*It's very much worth arguing that Frank Castle, the character would be very pro-gun, and because of that the show itself is pro-gun. The thing is, it's never really preachy, even when the gun debate comes to the front of the series. HOWEVER, I feel if the debate ever did come up in the serious it would be considerably nuanced, at least until it wasn't any more. The show, when dealing with gun-violence, is very much still a "Hollywood" affair. It may treat the subject more seriously than say, John Wick, but it's still very much grounded in that language of cinema. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Episode 61: Black Panther now on Youtube!

We don't have a new episode this week, John and I were both down with different sickness. I had lost my voice, and John took a trip to one of his favorite places: The Hospital.

Ok. Maybe not.

But we do have a new Youtube video for you. It's Ep. 61: Black Panther. If you haven't listened to it, you should. It's definitely worth a listen I think. Moreover check it out to see what sort of shenanigans our video editor catalia did with it. She's been super busy, but she'll be getting back into the full swing of things again here in the next week or so, you'll see more content both old and new uploaded.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Episode 62: Jessica Jones Season 2


Episode 62: Jessica Jones Season 2
Produced by Relevant to Our Interests
Hosts: John R. Belliston and Frank Shaw
Scripting by: Frank Shaw and John Belliston
Edited by: Frank Shaw

Graphic Design by: Nathan Newell and Frank Shaw
Intro Music: Morning Activities by F.G. Shaw
Outro Music: Morning Activities by F.G. Shaw


It's our discussion about Jessica Jones season 2. Overall we liked it. Well, to be fair I really liked it. John had a few issues: namely Jerri Hogarth. Now he does like the character, he just feels like she'd fit in better... someplace else. In another series. He's a lot clearer during the episode, and it's something that we disagree on.

We struggle to find a theme to this season. Season one is concretely about abuse, with Killgrave being the primary villain. This season is about... learning that you can move on. Jessica Jones mother is a force to be reckoned with in the season, and is a bad guy, in the sense that she has a negative impact on Jessica's life, but she's not evil. Nobody is really (except Jerri). Selfish? Sure. Idealistic? Maybe. But evil. Nope. None of the villains are really villains. 


But I think that's going to change next season. I honestly think the central conflicts will come from Jerri, who manipulates Chen and Malcolm against Jessica, and from Trish who is going to come out swinging with her own powers. What will be the reasoning for it be? I have no idea. But I'm excited to watch it. 

Speaking of next season: still no announcement about it from Netflix or ABC Studios. I'm optimistic and hopeful we'll hear something soon. I'm loving what Marvel and Netflix has done so far (with one notable exception) and I can't wait to see more of Miss Jones. There are folks who are as optimistic as I am

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Episode 61: Black Panther

Episode 61: Black Panther
Produced by Relevant to Our Interests
Hosts: John R. Belliston and Frank Shaw
Scripting by: Frank Shaw and John Belliston
Edited by: Frank Shaw

Graphic Design by: Nathan Newell and Frank Shaw
Intro Music: Morning Activities by F.G. Shaw
Outro Music: Morning Activities by F.G. Shaw


Black Panther! This movie is fantastic, and we spill that opinion right off the bat going in. I manage to mangle the characters as I do, which, let's be honest was stupid of me, but that doesn't change our opinion of this film. 

John and I both feel, like many other critics and commentators (I'm not sure if we fit into either one of those categories) that this is important. Being written, directed, and having an almost entirely black cast and reaching the height of popularity that this film has is an important milestone in cinema. But...

John and I aren't qualified to speak about black identity politics, are the black experience. Neither of us are people of color, just two white guys from Utah, so we can't speak from a position of experience, but despite the topic of our podcast we do watch the news, we can see what's happening. Black Panther is not going to solve any of the problems that the black community faces in the United States. I could and perhaps should go into a tirade about mass incarceration, police brutality and income inequality of POC, but I'll save that for my personal blog and instead end with John's thought about Killmonger: "He's not wrong." No, he's not, his solution might not be the right way to solve the issue, but Killmonger isn't wrong. 

I'll leave it at that. I may personally write more on this on my personal blog, but until then please be in touch. Let us know you're thoughts we'd love to hear from you!

-Frank

Thursday, March 29, 2018

IT'S THROWBACK THURSDAY!






We're going back to our review of Luke Cage on Episode 29. We're joined by our friend D'Artagnon Wells where the conversations meanders from Pandemic Cthulhu, the Arrowverse, nihilistic children, and to video games before getting to the meat of the episode on Luke Cage. If you missed back then, listen now! It was a fun conversation and we want to have D'Artagnon back on the show again soon.


Episode 29: Luke Cage
Hosts: Frank Shaw and John Belliston
Special Guest: D'Artagnon Wells
Produced by Hobos in the Back Row
Scripting by Frank Shaw and John Belliston
Edited by: Frank Shaw
Graphic Design by: Nathan Newell
Intro Music: Piano Sonata mvnt 1 by F.G. Shaw
Outro Music: Piano Sonata mvnt 3 by F.G. Shaw

Friday, March 23, 2018

Episode 60: Castlevania the Animated Series

Episode 60: Castlevania the Animated Series
Produced by Relevant to Our Interests
Hosts: John R. Belliston and Frank Shaw
Scripting by: John Belliston
Edited by: Frank Shaw

Graphic Design by: Nathan Newell and Frank Shaw
Intro Music: Morning Activities by F.G. Shaw
Outro Music: Morning Activities by F.G. Shaw


John and I have a lot to say about this four episode series (so far). I liked it. John had some major issues, and he's complaints are not unfounded. The series, written by Warren Ellis has a tone of anti-religion to it, and that's not surprising given Warren Ellis' personal philosophy (which is heavily Humanist). I think the biggest sticking point for John is the mistreatment of the source material. The series is heavily based off Castlevania 3, and the series ignores some of the established lore of that game. 

One way to make the series more approachable, and make more logical sense for the narrative is to treat the first episode like a flashback episode and postpone it till last, or between episode 3 and 4. This helps the narrative flow, and puts less emphasis on Dracula, who is the focal point of that first episode. It's a recommendation, and one of the reasons I liked the series so much can likely be attributed to watching it in this manner.

That said, how do you feel about the series? Did you like series? Or did you feel like it was too ignorant of the source material. Let us know, we'd love your thoughts.