DC Comics has long been an afterthought when it comes to comic books in pop culture. With the exception of staple characters like Batman and Superman, DC superheroes have been known to take a backseat to the more popular characters of Marvel Comics. While Marvel has seemingly cornered the market on superhero movies, DC has found a way to sneak their lesser known characters into homes with a series of compelling television dramas. Shows like Arrow and the Flash, have garnered massive critical acclaim and huge fan bases due to their solid writing and overall accessibility. Both of these television shows have turned characters that few people actually cared about into weekly water cooler conversation, and they may have even surpassed the popularity of some of DC’s most recent cinematic releases. It is pretty clear that DC has struck gold with these television shows, but it seems like they don’t exactly want to go “all in” on their television productions. The company has already planned to make an expanded movie realm that will include some of the same characters as the tv shows, however the realms will be completely separate. While the DC movies are already well into production, I think it is a terrible idea to cast new characters to play a role that is already being shown on the tv screen. I understand that the company made these tv shows to spark an interest in their future cinematic plans, but I feel the separation of the two entities will just cause confusion and alienate fans of the television shows from the cinematic universe DC is trying to create.
In honor of my 151st post, I will write about my favorite childhood television show, Pokemon. Pokemon are those funny looking little Japanese critters with magical powers, who happen to resemble everyday creatures that inhabit our real world. I have been told that there are now over 600 of these little creatures on the show and in the video games, but when I was a child the number was limited to 151 creatures that needed to be captured and trained. The Pokemon franchise was huge in the late nineties, as the creatures graced almost every setting, when I look back on it I realize that Pokemon was more of a pop culture phenomenon than just a children’s game. I was just a kid when the series was first introduced in America so I only saw it as a fun game, but it was often referenced in comedy shows, and was also in the news for several different reasons. I have to admit, I was somewhat obsessed with these things as a child, I was always talking about the game, and looking for ways to “catch em all,” as the slogan stated, it is funny just how much I have grown out of something that I was so entrenched in as a child. The Pokemon series has lost much of its popularity in the years since its release, due to repetition, but it has shown the power marketing and visibility has on advancing a brand. Before Pokemon was introduced many product makers worked on selling their merchandise through television and radio advertisements, but Pokemon spread its footprint by being an advertisement. The television show was secondary to the games and products, which were already pushing sales by advertising the need to get all of the creatures. Pokemon changed the way people market products to children, and it was memorable enough to create a generation of adults who will never forget the hours of fun spent playing. I would love to see a new product make this kind of impact, but after Pokemon everything else seems like an imitation.
Jeopardy is probably my favorite trivia show, the show has been around for years and it has succeeded in keeping viewers and contestants consistently stumped by its ingenious questions. Jeopardy is a bit different from the standard trivia fare, as this show gives contestants answers and asks for the question as a response. Host, Alex Trebek, has done a fantastic job over the years, giving the answers to questions, and smugly correcting contestants for their incorrect responses. I have always wondered how and if the show could go on without Alex as the host, he has been a fixture on the show since before my birth, and I have grown to love his reactions to an absurd response by a contestant. We will all soon have to learn how the show goes on, as Trebek has announced that this will be his final season hosting. Over the past decade many long running television game shows have chosen a comedian to fill the role as the new host, and while I love the injection of comedy into an “old person’s” show, Jeopardy has an air about it that must be maintained. The new host of Jeopardy must be the kind of person who can be arrogant about his or her intelligence, without insulting the intelligence of the contestants. I can actually think of a few comedians who can fit the role held by Trebek, but in my opinion, the next host of jeopardy must be likable, intelligent, and a bit cocky. Jeopardy is a show that has no star, the show makes stars out of its contestants, I hope the new host can keep the focus on the show, and I hope the show stays the same in spite of the impending changes.
Media of today is changing rapidly, and it is something I welcome for the most part, but it is drawing the ire of many long time fans of effected series. When I say media, I am generally referring to recent adaptations of old television shows, movies, comic books, and in some cases literary books. If you walk over to a comic book stand you may notice something different about Thor and Spider-Man, which is that there are different versions of these famous characters gracing the covers of their respective publication. In the case of Thor you may notice there is now a female Thor, and for Spider-Man you will see an African American teenager portraying the hero. Many long time fans of these comics would immediately have an issue with the changes, but given the trajectory of our culture, these small changes are necessary to maintain relevancy. In recent years it seems the world has become increasingly divided by the notion that change is always bad, and while change isn’t always pleasant, it is almost always necessary to make progress. These new look characters are not being developed for the long time fans of the past, they are being developed for the child who looks like the new character, so all children can see themselves as this character in the future. Marvel, the company behind these comics, has created multiple comic book universes in order to facilitate both the old and the new versions of the characters, and while both comics are still sold, new reports have shown that the female Thor is outselling her more traditional counterpart by 30 percent. The fact that these comic books are selling shows that it is important for media to change, at least a little bit, with the times. It is impossible to please every fan, and with social media the audience displeasure will be extremely loud and clear, but it is better to appeal to the audience who will help you thrive in the future, than to die in the past.
Post apocalyptic fiction is very popular these days, from stories about zombies to random diseases wiping out most of the population, there are many different forms of media related to this genre. I find post apocalyptic fiction intriguing, I love watching the shows and reading the literature related to it, but it is far too unlikely to ever actually happen. I understand that it is fiction so I should really take it with a grain or two of salt, but it is so unlikely that I have to explain my qualms with the genre. The first issue I have with post apocalyptic fiction is the fact that the infrastructure of the cities and countries in which they are based is largely intact. I am not a civil engineer, but from what I know about cities like New York and Chicago, the infrastructure needs almost constant maintenance. If anything like the events of shows such as The Walking Dead, and the Last Man on Earth, ever happened there would be numerous manhole explosions, water main breaks, gas leaks, and power outages. Another issue I have is the total lack of faith in humanity many of these shows portray, humans are very resilient, and if there are more than two in any setting they will use their skills to help each other out, and learn the skills necessary to survive. Many of the titles in this genre exist under a premise that humans are blood thirsty barbarians, only set on survival, completely disregarding the fact that survival takes cooperation in most instances. Post apocalyptic fiction is and always will be a popular genre for storytelling and entertainment, I am just happy that I never have to live in a world where I would have to deal with the reality of a zombie outbreak.
It’s good to get unplugged from time to time, and by that I mean pulling yourself away from television and the Internet, especially social media. The amount of personal growth you can go through when you take time to read and do other non digital tasks is amazing. Over this weekend I had a chance to do just that, and I am thankful I had the opportunity. Unplugging yourself gives you the chance to legitimately think about things that matter, things that matter to you. When you are constantly bombarded by external stimuli from television and social media you are actually becoming less sociable. Think about it, sure you will be able to talk about that last episode of a drama or that news story but you will have nothing to say about yourself. I would like to challenge a reader to take the time to unplug yourself for a weekend, and do something you usually would not do. You may find out you like it and end up enriching your life beyond expectation.