Speed and Superheroes

I haven’t been much aware of a good number of superheroes during my childhood, most of these people being popular ones these days – it was mostly the game of four at that time, with the four people with names ending with “man”; Spider-Man, He-Man, Batman and Superman along with some regular dose from The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician. Due to Defenders of the Earth cartoon, the one Flash whom I came to know later was Flash Gordon and I never really liked him.

The Flash became known to me more with those animated movies having Justice League of America as the centre of attraction. But the first version of him which was not animated, came to me with the television series called Arrow about which I have mentioned before on this blog. The episode featuring him as the superhero was not that interesting, but he surely caught some attention with that one. Then there was this television series with him as the central character, more like a spin-off from Arrow.

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The television series has been a pretty interesting one; The Flash is without doubt another nice superhero stuff for us to watch. I have felt that a movie would do just fine with this superhero and the stories of lightning speed. As you would guess, I had my doubts about this superhero, but they were erased in a flash. Grant Gustin rightly makes the character enjoyable here. My favourite one here would be Danielle Panabaker as Dr. Caitlin Snow whom I surely remember from a number of horror movies – Friday the 13th, The Crazies, The Ward and Piranha 3DD; that is a nice list even though not exactly the ones to be rated very highly as individual movies.

Tom Cavanagh as Dr. Harrison Wells and Jesse L. Martin as Joe West are two others whom I have felt to be deserving the mention – I have felt something special about these characters too. Carlos Valdes provides the humour here as Cisco Ramon. Well, the characters work really well with this television series, and there are some episodes which really make us want to watch the next – I have only watched the first season, and all my thoughts about the series came from there. With how that season ended and from what I have heard about the next season, I am surely looking forward to watching season two soon.

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Even though I like both Arrow and The Flash, I have been more attached to Arrow than the latter as it is darker, and has the super-powers kept to minimum – there is just the presence of some vaccines rather than the meta-human, super-villain, superhero collection in The Flash. I have also felt that all the characters in Arrow have something more – the love angle of The Flash remains a let-down too, with the two main characters. Emily Bett Rickards as Felicity Smoak is the best possible factor in both the series combined, and the hardworking hero also makes Arrow closer to the heart.

You know that the action sequences are better with Arrow too; but The Flash uses the special effects to its advantage, and this difference between the two has been more like the same between Batman and Superman – I used to like that latter more when I was a kid, and now I prefer the former. There is one is the grand hero with those special powers and the other, a millionaire who has changed to become the vigilante who fights in the darkness. The world itself has changed, and so the change of preference was to come at some point.

The suspense factor also has Arrow edging ahead, and the tension in both series remains pretty much high, even though The Flash has the terrible romance between the two main characters making things go wrong. The love triangle of The Flash is the one thing that stretches the series and brings it down. Romantic melodrama should be the least of one’s concern in a superhero flick or series, if you ask me. But in the end, you will love this television series too. Well, The Flash has some very nice villains, and that is a strong point there – the series also remains steady, unlike Arrow which has its ups and downs.

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook Page of the television series, The Flash.

TeNy

Saving the Idiot Box

Even though television has managed to become the big star of entertainment overtaking its predecessors like radio, the internet hasn’t really become the substitute of television – not completely, and not yet. Even though some channels come up with the most pathetic programmes, television continues to survive, as it has become part of life. But this television, which is more of an idiot box, will need better programmes to survive, and I am coming up with such an idea here to save it.

During this season of terrible serials showing pathetic humans who hate each other, what people need is a regular dose of goodness and kindness. In each and every popular television serial, there is too much foolishness in store, and so much of hate is in store, and the same thing repeats for so many episodes. To remove this abomination, there has to be light, as it is the only thing that can get rid of this highest level of darkness. So removing the pitch-black will require new and a lot better programmes.

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We need a new sunrise to make television better, by a long way!

The complete annihilation of the fake reality shows have to happen first, because on the ruins of the same, should the new programme be built. The ruins of such pathetic shows will make us remember how terrible these were, and it will serve as inspiration for new and better things. Reality shows and serials remain the big curse for the idiot box, and make sure that they remain the great idiot box. So, the new television programme which will replace these should just have good men and women; those who have made a difference.

There is no shortage of such people in India, and so running the show for an hour every day from Monday to Saturday won’t be a problem at all – we will only have more and more of such amazing people because there is such potential, as long as the whole new generation is not consumed by the evil of modernity in such a way that they are not lost forever. But in any situation, there will be one person or the other, making some difference, and we will be looking for such people to base our television shows on.

There are people who work for the poor without asking anything in return. The friends of the rich might not like them that much, and will brand them as having some other hidden agenda – they will abuse these people for their religion, caste or community, but it is the kind of people whom we should be focusing on. We should give absolutely no importance to the celebrities who feed on the blind affection and love of the common man – they are not heroes at all; the one who does his or her duty to fellow beings is the true hero.

We take any person who has worked for the upliftment of the poor – his or her religion and other details won’t matter, and the mistakes are of less significance, because that person is doing something which most of us won’t do. We are going through with our own lives and these people are doing something for the lives of others – it is a beautiful thing, which is why we will need an episode for one such person each and every day, except for maybe Sunday which can be left for the special programmes – ours is not special, but real and of daily life.

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We should go on a new path with television; take a big turn!

An hour a day for six days at a time between eight and nine will be appropriate tribute to these people who spend their time and energy for the others, as they are the real heroes. They should be seen at the representation of India in the right way, and not the selfish ones – no actor, actress, model, politician, businessman, cricketer or anyone else who keeps earning so much money and appreciation from the nation, but provides nothing in return deserve a chance. We need television shows on the real great people!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

***The images used in this blog post were taken by me on my Sony Cybershot DSC-W310.

TeNy

Angels, Demons and Humans

There was a certain supernatural action-thriller released in 2005 which became my instant favourite at that time. With Keanu Reeves playing the protagonist, I ended up knowing more as John Constantine rather than being part of Speed and The Matrix. Constantine was a movie which created such a huge impact on my mind. It redefined my ideas about this world and the other. There was even a game based on the movie, and it also helped; that one was an interesting third person shooter.

Along with being the shooting game, Constantine reflected the movie and had those spells too. The weapons were interesting and there were some captivating cutscenes. The darkness was something even more interesting, and it was my second favourite action game featuring the slaying of demons after Undying. Coming back to the movie, it even had Rachel Weisz in a double role. I loved the depiction of hell in that movie, the shot of a particular cat, the special mixed qualities of the movie, and how the story developed.

The movie and the game are exactly the big reasons why I wanted to watch the television series following the same story and one of the most interesting protagonists in a movie featuring the supernatural. I did have my doubts about this one in the absence of Keanu Reeves who has been the true Constantine for long. But that one never had the sequel it deserved, and here we get used to Matt Ryan as the titular character, and by the half of first season, we are over the film and take him as Constantine.

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I had loved Lucy Griffiths as Liv Aberdine, but that character disappeared after the first episode. She seemed to be the one who was going to assist the protagonist, but that was not to be. But there was Angélica Celaya as Zed Martin, the psychic who assisted Constantine for the rest of his missions. I have felt that she did an amazing job there; this character is mysterious, and becomes the best thing about this television series. I would still love to see a few appearances from Lucy Griffiths at some point.

So, Constantine as the television series brings the adventures of the demon hunter, exorcist and master of the dark arts back to the scene. Here, he starts at a mental institution after a failed exorcism from where he immediately gets out, and starts saving the souls and sending the demons to their own worlds. As the worlds get closer, more paranormal activities occur, and investigations become necessary. After leaving Liv Aberdine and meeting Zed Martin, things get a lot better from the fifth episode, if you ask me. I have actually found the seventh one, “Blessed Are the Damned” to be the best of them all.

So, even if you are not going to be impressed by the first episode which losses its main lady character by the end after wasting too much of its ideas on her, you can keep going, because things are only going to get more interesting. You get the demons, angels, strange humans, fallen angels, and so many kinds of creatures from the other world that you will wish to keep the whole thing going. Even though it started in a rather funny way, things do get more serious later, and also more complex.

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The types of evil has rather increased here and the creatures catch our interest in an easier way, but compared to the movie, I have found the television series lighter. There are some moments and dialogues which are rather memorable, and will keep us wishing to return to the series. What this television series has left me more though, is a desire to watch a sequel to the Constantine movie, but that is not going to come anytime soon, I guess. But as I have nothing to do, and have been keeping my patience level high, I shall still wait. I have read that this series will see no more light, and so what other choice do we really have?

***The images used in this blog post are from the Official Facebook of the television series, Constantine.

TeNy

Celebrities and their Fans

I was watching an episode of Vellanakalude Naadu (The Land of White Elephants) on Asianet channel on last Sunday, and I found the idea talked about to be a very interesting one and more valid than anything else for the present time. The satirical tv series has been doing a good job every weekend, but this one can be considered the one episode more close to life than any other. They have come up with an idenity separate from the big satire program Marimayam on Mazhavil Manorama and it feels good.

The episode dealt with the blind fans and their great role-model celebrities. It showed us how ridiculous the celebrity worship and the fan clubs happen to be. There is absolutely no point in these as the fans are never really the admirers as they should be. There are only two kinds of fans who are usually seen during a movie release; one is the type which got no ability to think for themselves and blindly worship a person for some strange reason, and another is the kind of fan who stick to this for material benefits.

Yes, there are fans who are not part of these two groups, but they are rare and as they don’t hate and abuse others, their voices are less heard. The other groups of fans whose lives are based on hate will make them heard because they are intolerant. What they do in the name of their favourite celebrities happen to be the curse of the movie industry. I have always believed that a movie should be watched and appreciated without caring about who acted in the flick.

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We know the most significant work which these fans do. They go around telling everyone and posting on the Facebook media that a terrible, average or above average movie of their favourite actor or actress is awesome. They abuse people who say that the movie is not that good. They also degrade the movies of other celebrities telling everyone that they are pathetic. Some do it because they are blind followers and others for some material benefits. But both types of fans are such pain on the social media.

What they do in the theatres happen to be even more ridiculous. They make sounds in the darkness and clap and scream so much for their favourite actors that listening to the dialogues is impossible. The howling which they do for the movies of other actors make sure that listening to dialogues is hard otherwise too. They try their best to make the theatre experience hell of the common man and make it even worse for the family audience. According to them, the world belongs to them only.

The fans also do pour milk over the giant flex hoarding of their favourite actors. Well, wastage of food when children are in need of nutrition comes easy, doesn’t it? Earlier, there was an incident in which a fan climbed over a flex hoarding of their favourite actor at Thiruvananthapuram and fell down while trying to give the huge thing a shower in milk. What did he earn other than the loss of his own life? It is a strange thing about life, that you make the people who love cry for you in the name of a person who doesn’t know or care.

The celebrities need their fans to make them popular and the fans need money while some fans are just dumb. The celebrities will surely make advantage of this, creating fake campaigns about their greatness, simplicity, skills, social work and everything else. If you see a lot of such posts from fans about “simplicity”, “social work” and the rest of the qualities, there is a big chance that these situations are created and paid for. It is not the media and fans that need the celebrities, but it is the other way around; otherwise, we would have seen the celebrities talking against the fan clubs – do we see such a thing? Not at all. Vellanakalude Naadu on Sunday showed how disgusting this hero worship is, in a clear manner.

***The image used in this blog post is a screenshot of the first screen of a video of the television series shared by Asianet.

TeNy

Satire of White Elephants

Even though Marimayam of Mazhavil Manorama is the better known satire on Malayalam television channels, there is another program which is aired at 10:30 PM every Saturday and Sunday, keeping a high standard for itself too. Vellanakalude Nadu, the satire shown on Asianet has its name inspired from the 1988 drama satire directed by Priyadarshan, scripted by Sreenivasan and produced by Maniyanpilla Raju. It had Mohanlal and Shobhana in the leading roles supported by a fine group of popular names of that time.

With its memorable comic scenes and its work as a political satire on the system as well as the people who were around it, the movie is often considered as a classic even though its Hindi remake Khatta Meeta with Akshay Kumar and Trisha Krishnan in the lead roles didn’t do that much. Translated as “The Land of White Elephants” with its title, this television series deals with the random situations that a common household come against, and it usually has someone from outside trying to interfere with their lives.

The last week’s episode had the protagonists, Sivadasan and Kunjumol being fooled in the name of providing visa to work in the Middle East. It is a commonly used idea, and the episode actually added an addition layer to it along with creating some more funny situations with the neighbours and the relatives. Cheating related to visa has been quite common with agents making fools of the people who are in need of an urgent job. Such characters are also common, making an appearance also in the recently released realistic flick, Pathemari.

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All the stories revolve around the two protagonists, and the rest of the cast actually changes their personalities. Susu is the neighbour and friend of Kunjumol, but both friends are jealous of each other. Susu’s husband is played by two actors, one playing the character called Vinod and another Jimmy. Both characters are part of the television series in one role or the other, with one who doesn’t play the husband role plays another person in the locality. Another character is Manjulan who comes up with something new every episode.

The rest of the characters include the sister and brother-in-law of Sivadasan along with two other characters from the locality. The need for them arises according to the story of the episode. There are times when the story is almost fully shot inside one house only. Sometimes there will be more focus on the different offices. The episode usually starts with Sivadasan and Kunjumol, ending it also with them, with other characters dropping in between. There have been a few exceptions about it though.

There have been a good number of interesting episodes in Vellanakalude Nadu, and almost all of them have left some nice and valuable messages on the society. There was one episode which dealt with the mobile tower related issue and another one with the phenomenon of fake certificates. The issue of companies making false promises towards its customers, was one of the best taken episodes. They could even take the common problem of alcoholism and bring the message in a very interesting way.

The advantage of this program is that the cast is not just very good, but they are also a lot suitable for the characters which they play here. The earlier episodes were different though, set more in the offices than anywhere else in the Marimayam style, and the characters were also somewhat different, even with the core remaining the same. The change of the focus to houses instead of the offices has helped the program to bring an identity of its own, different from Marimayam, and it has been a good positive thing which will make sure that the program does better!

***The image used in this blog post is a screenshot of the first screen of a video shared by Asianet.

TeNy

The Weekend Satire

There is a certain amount of difficulty in finding the interesting satires these days. As far as the movies are concerned, the last big one goes a long way back to Pranchiyettan and the Saint as a full satire, even though there were others with some qualities of the genre. Bringing effective full satire to the audience needs a lot of skill and understanding the viewers as well as the society in a critical way. It is clear that most of the television programs never really understands what the viewers want. But there are surely exception in the same field.

There are two programs which successfully brings the satire to the next level though. One of them is Marimayam which deals with the corruption in government offices and other institutions, and makes fun of the situations. Broadcasted on Mazhavil Manorama on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:00 PM, it is one of the longest running satires ever in a Malayalam channel. Meanwhile, the second one is Vellanakalude Nadu which is broadcasted on Asianet at 10:30 PM every Sunday, bringing the satire related mainly to two families and their surroundings.

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Existing since the time we remember Mazhavil Manorama has come to the viewers, Marimayam still continues its awesome journey. Even with its major actors S. P. Sreekumar and Rachana Narayanankutty not being part of the program, the rest does manage to hold things together. This Saturday had the funny version of how KSEB had decided to charge extra money if people are not at home when the employees come home to take the electricity meter reading. It was another fun episode to watch, and proves to be very interesting to the audience.

The Sunday version was even funnier with the episode dealing with dogs, dog lovers, common people and the government authorities, taking the satire in the right direction concerning the recent events. Another program in Mazhavil Manorama, the family comedy serial, Thatteem Mutteem also had the same theme this weekend, and Marimayam successfully takes it to the next level. We are given some idea about how it is going to be on Saturday itself. This is more of an episode which understands the pulse of the audience.

It is difficult to watch anything else when Badai Bunglaw is running on Asianet, but Marimayam has the worthy episodes which make us do the channel change in its direction. The last week’s flex episode was one of them; the same can be said about the episode on how people fall victim to money lending firms, and now this one is there for the week. This episode has one of the characters being bitten by a dog and in retaliation, the person beats the dog, and all of a sudden, the dog lovers appear.

What follows this incident is a series of funny situations which lead to an even funnier finish with the message that we can take to heart. There is the talk about how co-existence is something which is not forced, but has to come from mutual understanding and respect, and with respect for the life of the other – it is not hate that brings co-existence to life, for situations are not always the same. It is also the two hundredth episode of the same program.

Marimayam is the political and social satire which you have been looking for!

Lets get to the other program. Vellanakalude Nadu had a nice weekend earlier with a simple story. But this weekend’s show had a higher level of comedy. Beginning the episode at a police station, this one starts and ends with full fun, even though a message is less conveyed. The two programs made sure that this weekend was more fun than it was expected to be, at least the nights. Add the episodes of Badai Bunglaw and Onnum Onnum Moonu and that finishes the interesting weekend!

***The images used in this blog post are from the official Facebook Page of Marimayam.

TeNy