“Sleepy Hollow” 9/29/2014 (spoilers): Poor Richard’s Avenger

Ichabod Crane!

Sleepy Hollow DVD set: $50. Ichabod Crane T-shirt: $25. Watching Crane tear new holes in the credit card industry on network TV: priceless.

Previously on Sleepy Hollow: Crane and Abbie escaped from Purgatory with assistance from her sister Jenny, stymied Jeremy/Henry’s plans to aid Moloch in leading a zombie invasion into our dimension, and taught us all how Benjamin Franklin could be an annoying old perv.

This week’s new episode, “The Kindred”, sees an old friend returning, a new monster birthing, a new supporting character ruining things, and our man Crane denouncing not one but two modern industries for their dehumanizing practices. If you think your grandparents complain too much about things these days, just imagine how cranky they’d be after a two-century nap.

For those who missed out, my attempt to streamline the basic events follows after this courtesy spoiler alert for the sake of time-shifted viewers…

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MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #10: “NCIS: New Orleans”

NCIS New Orleans!

I’d never seen a single episode of any previous NCIS products, but I was bound to encounter one sooner or later. In the fine tradition of Law & Order: Trial by Jury and CSI: New York and Here’s Lucy, NCIS: New Orleans is the third in the dynasty and presumably goes through the same motions as its predecessors, except with differently likeable actors and, I’m guessing based on location, a whole lot more local color, by which I mean the kind of Southern accents Hollywood flat-out dislikes. In most movies and TV shows, anyone with a Southern accent is evil, stupid, both, or Academy Award Winners Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey. Our NCIS:NO Heroes are appreciably none of the above, though I confess Louisiana is one of several states my wife and I haven’t road-tripped to yet, so I have no idea if there’s a single authentic Cajun, Creole, French-American, or Mardi Gras partygoer in the entire bunch.

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MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #9: “Forever”

Forever!

The only new fantasy/sci-fi series of the Fall 2014 season that’s not based on a comic book, the hero of Forever, a Manhattan medical examiner who’s also a 200-year-old immortal, could’ve been adapted from the medium, using either DC Comics’ Immortal Man or Vandal Savage, or Marvel’s Mr. Immortal from the Great Lakes Avengers. Instead this mash-up derived from the crossed bones of the much more popular Sleepy Hollow and Sherlock will have to rise or fall on the strength of some added flourishes and the charms of star Ioan Gruffudd, who’s much more at ease here than he was as the uptight Reed Richards in the two Fantastic Four films.

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MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #8: “Scorpion”

Scorpion!

Midlife Crisis Crossover calls Scorpion the Best New Series on TV!

That’s my honest assessment based purely on how its pilot stacked up against the nine others I’ve watched so far in my ongoing marathon. When I first read about the premise — the short version is, our government pays wacky hackers to save the world every week — my initial impression was a CSI: Big Bang Theory that would have depressing things in store for me. I feared the limited plot possibilities that would be solved every episode with some combination of “Let’s Enhance!” zooms and frenetic compute-offs in which Our Heroes must TYPE FASTER OR ELSE THINGS EXPLODE, all while we point and laugh at their personal defects. The first twenty minutes of the pilot saw my prophecy fulfilled for the benefit of CBS viewers who prefer that their shows look exactly like other CBS shows.

Then a strange thing happened during the back half of the premiere. This time, things got personal for me.

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Nighttime in Rosemont Between the Panels

Nighttime in Rosemont.

Pictured: the view from our hotel room at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, IL, during the weekend of this year’s Wizard World Chicago. It’s nestled next to I-190 and minutes away from the large, famous airport you may have heard name-checked in all the headline news today. Between the airport traffic and the stream of endless events at the Stephens Center, Rosemont is a sparkly yet reserved town, wired for entertainment and insomnia.

Most convention attendees spend their evenings indulging in the after-dark events such as film screenings or NSFW panels, networking, fraternizing, carousing, generally partying to the break of dawn. Meanwhile for us sensible, old-time squares, nighttime is our signal to retreat from the hubbub, skip all the alcohol that everyone else cherishes, settle into the plush confines of our accommodations, exploit all the amenities that don’t incur surprise room charges, and recharge all manner of batteries.

I took this shot on a whim while standing between the curtain panels and the windows, letting the cooler air near the glass creep around me and waft away the day’s tensions, worries, and cumulative physical strains. It was an oasis of momentary serenity in a bustling, bristling weekend.

Then my wife turned on the TV. Because all those basic-cable channels weren’t gonna inventory themselves. Meditative tranquility gave way to the screeching cacophony of a thousand know-it-all talking heads, upon whom I wished immediate whooping cough.

I’m revisiting this moment (the sedate part, not the screeching part) during a week when multi-tasking has stretched me thin, morale has been shakier than usual, and feedback signals of doubt and indifference have obscured my concentration. I could use another few minutes like these to stare through the dark horizons, seek the pinpoints of light, pause for an ethereal refresher, and remind myself of the dawns yet to come, the brighter lights ahead, and the promises behind why we do what we do.

MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #7: “Gotham”

Penguin!Sorry to join the party so late! Everyone else already watched the premiere of Gotham days ago on Fox and blogged, tweeted, Tumblr’d, or tin-can-on-a-stringed about it to all their circles, right? If everyone else is already over it, that means I can write whatever I want without fear of anyone reading it, right? Okay, cool. The way my week has gone, I’m considering using this space to update our grocery list and gauge its effect on site traffic.

For those who spent this week focusing on other things, or who don’t care about shows based on comics: Gotham tells the story of a young, stringy, ineffective toady named Oswald Cobblepot who spends his life groveling for a notorious crime lord and wishing people would stop bullying him. The ending has already been spoiled because fans of comics or old TV know Cobblepot will someday outgrow his ineptitude and mature into the formidable businessman known as the Penguin. Gotham, then, is his origin story, plus a half-dozen irrelevant subplots about far less interesting people.

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