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WonderCon 2017: Class Pilot Review, by David Bax

1 Apr

Before the opening titles of the new Doctor Who spinoff series, Class, a high school student has already been killed. Immediately after the titles, two fellow students remark that “everyone knows” how often teenagers at Coal Hill Academy go missing but “they just pretend” not to notice. For fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this will only be the first wolf whistle indicating that the two series have much in common. There are so many similarities, in fact, that in a later scene, a character comes right out and says that Coal Hill, which is a “beacon” for interdimensional baddies, is like the “Hellmouth.” Ultimately, the new show (or at least its pilot) mostly lives up to the challenge of such lofty comparisons. And it’s a whole lot bloodier than Buffy ever was, too.

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WonderCon 2017: Warner Brothers Panel, by Tyler Smith

1 Apr

Much of the Warner Brothers presentation here at WonderCon was exactly what one would expect. A moderator whose forced enthusiasm for all the films being discussed was borderline nauseating, an excited and forgiving audience, and clips and trailers of varying quality. I tend not to enjoy these large panels, because they are so focused on publicity. I don’t blame them; that’s what they’re meant to be. I just don’t have a great deal of patience for them.

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WonderCon 2017: Midnight, Texas Pilot Review, by Tyler Smith

1 Apr

To refer to Midnight, Texas as “Twin Peaks-lite” wouldn’t be particularly insightful. This isn’t because it’s unfair, but because  the comparison – and inevitable shortfall – is so obvious that to even use that as a shorthand could be considered lazy. Yes, the show is similar in structure and sensibility, but it definitely wants to be its own thing, rather than just a Twin Peaks clone. Unfortunately, the other elements of the show are also derived from other sources, such as the X-Men comics. By combining these elements – to make a show about a small town of supernaturally gifted people – the creators of Midnight, Texas try to distinguish themselves through tone and a unique Western setting, but the similarities to other properties are just too great and we can’t help but compare the show – unfavorably – to the countless other books, movies, and TV shows that came before.

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WonderCon 2017: The 18th Annual Animation Show of Shows, by David Bax

1 Apr

The Animation Show of Shows is an annual collection of notable recent short animated films from around the world. As my headline suggests, it’s been around for eighteen years and can be seen this week in theaters in Cary, NC, Toronto, Sandpoint, ID, Omaha and Littleton, CO. This year’s selection is top-notch, ranging from familiar studio fare from the likes of Pixar to an elemental and touching student film from Russia.

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WonderCon 2017: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Review, by David Bax

31 Mar

At ten years and 29 movies, the animated DC comics universe predates both the Marvel and DC live-action ones that get so much press, for good and for ill. It’s an impressive body of work but, for casual fans like myself, it’s also an exceedingly daunting one. Sam Liu’s Teen Titans: The Judas Contract makes no attempt to ease that burden, often assuming an advanced level of familiarity with the subject matter and history on the part of its audience. Nevertheless, The Judas Contract is, like many of its predecessors, largely an enjoyable and action-packed experience.

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