Saturday, April 23, 2016


I've been away from here too long! Between 60 hours on the job, writing for Popshifter, trying to get my next book going, trying to sell my four current books, and prepping to move halfway across the country Stranger With Friction has been sorely neglected. I'm not going to announce a return to regular features, because honestly, it will probably be sometime in June before I'm back to running on any sort of consistent schedule. I will, however try to get at least one post up a week. And you can always catch me once or twice a week over at!

Tonight I wanted to just do a quick run down of some the shows of been following. I don't have cable, instead I have internet running through my Playstation so I can run Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. So, the most current I get is the night after a show airs. In some cases though, a show either doesn't show up or it only shows up on Amazon for $1.99 an episode. I'll pay that for say Walking Dead, but not for Supergirl. After the way Season 6 of WD ended though, I'm feeling like a chump for not having that the other way around. So for some shows it might be a year or more after they aired before I see them. I just watched True Detective Season 1 and started True Blood Season 1. 

For the sake of this review I'll only list shows that are currently running.

Gotham I have dug my heels in and stood up for this show on social media and I'll do it here as well. Of all the super hero properties that have come to the small screen, Gotham was the one I was least excited about. I saw the show having great potential, but my expectations were low going into Season 1. Fortunately, after a the first few episodes, Gotham found its footing and then continued to improve straight through the season finale and then hit the ground running in Season 2. Watching villains like Penguin, The Riddler, and Mr Freeze develop has been really fun. The portrayals of young Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle have been spot on. The show's anchor, Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie) has been a solid hero, even through his personal flaws and missteps as he fights to keep his moral center from shattering as he's constantly being forced to bend or even break the rules to bring justice to Gotham-which explains why he's so sympathetic and willing to take help from a certain pointy eared vigilante in his near future. Yes, Gotham is Batman without Batman, but it is still a great Batman show. It's unrelentingly dark and violent, it's been freely embracing the sci-fi and horror aspects of the Batman stories, and it has laid a rock solid foundation for the day David Mazouz's Bruce Wayne finally dons the cowl. Gotham is Noir-Punk with elements of Clockwork Orange and The Island Of Doctor Moreau. Well written, well directed, awesome cast, and some great taste in music. I love this show and hope it stays around for years (as long as it doesn't pull a Smallville and pull the plug as Batman emerges!).

Bates Motel If this show was just Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore playing off each other it would still be worth watching. The show takes us back to the roots of Psycho while mixing in a really fascinating small town crime drama and modernizing the story. Some people balked at the very notion of anyone else playing Norman besides the legendary Anthony Perkins, but Freddie Highmore is actually a blast to watch, especially when he becomes 'mother'. Like Gotham, there is a built in prejudice against this show and that's really too bad, because like Gotham you have top notch writing, directing and an all around great cast. It's hard to take your eyes off Farmiga and Highmore. Also like Gotham, we know where the story winds up, but we're on new ground story wise. Like they say about vacations; half the fun is getting there.

Arrow/The Flash/Legends Of Tomorrow I'm a DC guy, always have been. My earliest memories involve sitting on various living room floors (we moved around a lot) with my Mego Caped crusaders watching Adam West and Burt Ward kick the crap out of a cavalcade of colorful criminals. When Arrow debuted I was pretty excited, but I mainly stuck around through Season 1 out of duty; I wanted the show to succeed and continue and possibly spawn more DC shows, but I wasn't totally in love with it. At least not until Season 2, where the show really found it's legs and got interesting. Season 4 though has felt a bit meandering to me, which sucks, because I like the characters and the actors, but Arrow is being lapped by it's sister shows The Flash and Legends Of Tomorrow. I appreciate each show having it's own flavor, but Arrow needs to step up it's game to stay relevant. The Flash has been consistent since episode 1 as have Legends Of Tomorrow. The villains and cameos have been a lot of fun, hell last week Legends guest starred Jonah Hex and it was so good I've started hoping for a Hex series. I want to see Arrow become a little more colorful and take on more super villains. I think it's time he met up with Green Lantern and have the show start to mine those classic Denny O'Neill/Neal Adams stories of the 1970s.

Supernatural As a long time horror fan and gore hound and considering that my favorite directors are David Cronenberg, Dario Argento, John Carpenter, and David Lynch, the last show I ever expected to like was one about two pretty boys hunting monsters on the CW, but I'll be damned if I didn't binge watch six seasons and then keep up with every episode from the Season 7 premiere. I really like the show's take on vampires and werewolves and how it digs into monster lore from around the world. It does a good job of building dread and horror and mixing in some (by TV standards) gruesome violence and still bringing legitimate laughs. Ten seasons and it still finds ways to keep going and keep the formula fresh. 

I'm looking forward to October when I'll get to see American Horror Story; Hotel and I'm only looking forward to the next season of Walking Dead for Jeffery Dean Morgan. In the last few minutes of the season finale he literally stole the show. "Give me your shit or I'll kill you." Indeed.