In which I waste a whole bunch of my time: a #review of IRON FIST

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I have said this before, both on this blog and elsewhere: if you are ever compelled, as a writer in any medium, to create a scenario where your characters are complaining about how dumb your plot is, it is probably time to stop and think very carefully about what you are doing.  If you are writing a show called Iron Fist, about a man whose job it is to be the Iron Fist, and the very first line a character says upon meeting him is “You are the worst Iron Fist ever,” you may be doing something wrong.  It is possible to write a good story about a hero who is terrible at being a hero.  But if you do that, then that’s what your story needs to be about.  You can’t have a hero who is terrible at being a hero and have your story be about something else.  The fact that he or she is terrible is going to take center stage and ruin everything else.

Enter Iron Fist, whose writers clearly do not read my blog.  This post is unnecessary in a whole lot of ways; it took me a while to get through all thirteen episodes– mostly because, again, the show’s awful– and everyone who binged it right away has already weighed in on how bad it is.  They’re all right.  But maybe there’s someone out there who isn’t attuned to the geek press all that much, but reads me for some reason.  Someone who might be saved.

Please don’t watch this show.

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And this doofy shit is the main reason why.  Now, let’s be clear about a few things:  there was a lot of fooferal when the show hadn’t quite come out yet about the fact that Marvel cast a white guy as Iron Fist instead of racebending the character and casting an Asian person instead.  I am sympathetic to those concerns, to say the least.  But even if you’re going to cast a white guy as Iron Fist, because the comic book character is white, Finn Jones is just about the worst possible choice to play the role.  He is awful; awful in every way, he is written to be awful, and the man himself does nothing to corral or channel(*) his character’s intrinsic awfulness.  There is nothing Finn Jones does in this show at any point that is convincing.  He cannot do kung fu, he cannot emote beyond an infantile shaking rage, he absolutely cannot spout anything even vaguely resembling Buddhist philosophy (and I choose the word “resembling” quite deliberately) without sounding like a hipster doofus, and he never once comes off as heroic.  Iron Fist is a sulky hipster doofus with PTSD and all the emotional stability of a ten-year-old.  He is awful.

So is every other white man on the show, by the way.  The show can’t have anyone keep a personality or a set of motivations straight for more than an episode at a time, and there are never ever ever any consequences for anyone’s actions, to the point where there are giant holes blown in one character’s dojo’s ceiling at one point so that machine-gun ninjas can drop through (don’t ask) and those giant holes and broken windows and such are never mentioned again.  Characters display magical powers in one episode and then forget they have them.  Characters are killed, thrown into fish tanks in someone’s home, then never mentioned again.

You could cut every white male character completely out of the show and nothing of any significance would change, at all.  They are, all of them, awful.

Let’s talk about these three:
tmg-article_default_mobileMadame_Gao.jpgI’m having a hell of a time getting the HTML to cooperate, so forgive me, but these three are the only thing that makes the show even vaguely watchable.  Jessica Henwick, who plays Colleen Wing, should have been playing Dani Rand.  Or, alternatively, you could grab this drunken-master badass here– his name is Lewis Tan and he actually auditioned for the park– and have him play Danny Rand.  Between the two of them they are responsible for 100% of the interesting fight scenes in the show.  Every single one.  They are also both maxresdefault.jpgbetter actors than Finn Jones. Wai Ching Ho also returns as Madame Gao, and she’s amazing for every second she’s on screen even if her character’s motivations (and abilities) are more than a little bit of a mess.  The fact that the show had these three people in it and more or less ignored them so that Jones could whine about how tough it is to be white and immensely wealthy and oh also one of the best martial artists in the world but MY PARENTS ARE DEAAADD!!!!
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It’s terrible.  But I think I said that.  I think the only thing that could redeem it is if I watched it again, liveblogged every episode, and then turned it into a chapbook to sell on Amazon and made a million dollars.

(*) So, Iron Fist’s powers come from channeling the power of his “chi” into his fist, making it Like Unto a Thing of Iron, as the comic books used to say all the time and the TV show never does.  TV Danny can’t do that.  I have quite a few Iron Fist comic books, and even more where Iron Fist isn’t the main character but shows up, and I swear to you that Finn Jones does more wanking about his chi in this thirteen hours of show than Iron Fist has done in his entire forty-year history as a comic book character previous to the show coming up.  Comic book Danny Rand’s powers just work, basically whenever he wants them to.  TV Danny Rand’s chi must be balanced, charged, recharged, harnessed, centered, purified, unblocked, hell, every verb in the English language gets applied to Danny’s chi at some point or another; I’m surprised he never has to Smurf the fucking thing.  And hearing him talk about it never stops being ridiculous.  Mostly his powers just don’t work, and mostly his powers don’t work because, in one way or another, he’s an embarrassment to his order and to his job.  He’s the worst Iron Fist ever.  Really.

I hated this damn show.

Creepy Children’s Programming Reviews: ZIG & SHARKO

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So.  ZIG & SHARKO.  See if you can figure out the premise of the show from that top image there; it ain’t complicated.  Getting a strong Wile E. Coyote vibe?  Yeah, that’s not too far off.

There is a mermaid.  Her name is Marina.  There is a shark named Sharko.  There is a… hell, I have no idea what Zig is supposed to be.  Some sort of canine variant?  A hyena?  A Tasmanian devil?  I dunno, but he lives on a volcanic island in the middle of nowhere, and the volcanic island is host to basically every animal that exists when the show calls for it, including– in the episode currently airing on my TV right now, a cheetah (or maybe a leopard?) which is an animal also not generally expected on volcanic islands.

Anyway, Zig wants to eat Marina.  Sharko is Marina’s protector and doesn’t want him to.  Marina is either extraordinarily bubbleheaded or actually special needs in some way and doesn’t generally notice the competition for her bloody death that takes place around her in every episode.

The hermit crab is named Bernie, and he is generally irrelevant.

The show is French, but that doesn’t really matter as there is never any actual speech, just lots of grunting and giggles and random noises.  Much like the aforementioned Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote cartoons, here’s the plot of every episode: Zig wants to eat Marina.  He concocts some complicated plan to do so.  Sharko stops him, generally administering a vicious beating along the way.  But it’s way more creepy than RR/WEC ever got, because Marina looks human— well, mostly– and plus she dresses like a mermaid, and is therefore half naked all the time, with bouncy girl parts and such, and… yeah, it makes it weird.  Generally harmless, but definitely a bit weird.

Oh, and then there’s that one super racist episode.  In one episode, shark hunters find Sharko.  They’re Chinese.  They wanna make shark fin soup out of him.  When they see him, they look like this:

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And this happens:

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This show aired in 2011, and not, say, 1943.  I had to take pictures of the TV screen, because I couldn’t find any screencaps online.  How in the fuck?  This is some 1870’s-level Yellow Peril shit right here, with a nice dose of “they all look the same” mixed in for good measure.  The six fishermen in the red literally all move and act exactly the same for the entire episode, and the only noises they make are creepy giggling.

Maybe lose this episode, Netflix.  I doubt anyone will notice.

Anyone watching this?

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I haven’t heard any buzz about this program at all, and only found out about it because I was scrolling through Netflix menus pretty much at random– any of you Netflix folks watching 3%?   We’re only three episodes in, so consider this a conditional recommendation, but so far my lovely wife and I are both finding the show to be pretty compelling science fiction.  The disadvantage: it’s dubbed from Portuguese, so when I say things like “the acting is good,” which is a thing I’d say about this show, what I basically mean is that the actors look like they’re acting well, and the English speakers they’ve hired to overdub their voices usually don’t suck that much.

The premise, so far:  it is The Future, and The Future appears to really suck for everyone who lives in what I assume is still called Brazil.  Each year everyone who turns 20 is eligible to take a series of tests that only the titular 3% will pass.  Those who pass are able to go to “the Offshore,” which…

…well, none of them seem to know what the Offshore is, they just really really hope it’s better than the shit dystopia they live in now, and no scenes have been set in the Offshore yet, so the viewers don’t have any idea either.  So, really Hunger Gamesy, but done pretty well.  Three episodes in, we’re still all testing, and the tests have been varied and interesting enough to keep us watching.  If this is what the entire first season is about, it might be a problem, but so far?  So good.

Anybody else watching this?  If not, anybody want to start so I have someone to talk to about it?

Let’s do this again

hip-replacement-implantsThis is going to be another one of those posts where my mother and my aunt call me the next day to make sure I haven’t died since the last time I wrote anything.  It happens about once a week, maybe.  I don’t know what the hell the deal is, whether it’s the change in the weather or maybe I tweaked something while unloading the sofa truck this morning (I can recall one particular insanely heavy power sofa where  I felt like I was hitting my knees pretty hard on way down the ramp) or what, but every attempt to stand up from a seated position today resulted in crippling fucking pain in my right hip and right leg.  Like, sitting for a minute meant two minutes of standing before I was able to walk.  Godfuckingawful.  The weird thing is that so long as I’m still there’s no pain at all; I kind of want to take a thousand pain pills before I go to bed tonight but right now as I’m sitting on the couch typing this I’m fine.  I’m going to have to bite my tongue to keep from screaming when I stand up in a bit, mind you, but right now I’m fine.

It would probably help if I wasn’t as heavy as I am.  Then again, my knees have been screwed up my entire life– comparing my footprints to other people’s in the snow has always been funny, because mine are the ones at a much wider angle than anyone else’s– and sooner or later the fact is the fuckers are getting replaced.  I just wish that was a surgery that could be done electively rather than in fifteen years when my patellas have ground to dust and my joints are in splinters.

But, hey.  Something to look forward to.


I talked about this briefly last night, but at this point there’s no longer any doubt: I think I’m over The Walking Dead as a franchise.  We’ve pretty much entirely bailed on Fear the Walking Dead, having not watched a single episode of the second season, and I watched the Season 7 of the main show premiere last night, and I think it probably should have kicked my ass.  That show’s sent my heartrate through the roof on any number of occasions and not a single thing that happened in that episode did anything for me at all.  The comic book hasn’t been interesting in months either.  I’ll definitely finish out the current storyline just in case it gets better but I may have to be done after that.


I may write a longer post about this tomorrow or during my weekend sometime, but: I liked the Fox remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show quite a bit.  I kind of feel like making that a longer post, though, so more on it later.