Category Archives: television

Is DC Universe worth the price?

Doom Patrol DC Universe

Marvel rules the world folks, but that doesn’t mean others don’t want a piece of the comic book world pie. DC, the home of Superman, Batman, and the rest of the Justice League, recently launched their own streaming service ahead of Disney/Marvel called DC Universe. $7.99 a month doesn’t seem like a terrible deal, but what is actually available currently at that price?

Exclusive programming: Two brand new series are being produced for DC Universe. Titans has aired 11 episodes so far, while Doom Patrol just premiered over the weekend. The trailer for Titans looked amateurish, but Doom Patrol‘s trailer looked good and has some talent in the cast with Brendan Fraser and Timothy Dalton.

Live-action television: Wonder Woman (starring Lynda Carter), The Flash (with John Wesley Shipp, not Grant Gustin), the old Superman series (with George Reeves), and Lois and Clark are probably the most well-known programs being offered. DC Universe also offers Superman Serials, The Adventures of Superboy, Birds of Prey, Constantine, and Human Target. What’s missing? Adam West’s Batman, Smallville (which is currently on Hulu), and the various CW programs (most of which can be seen on Netflix).

Movies: There are quite a few animated Batman and Superman animated movies, as well as some Justice League cartoon titles. As for live-action, you can see Michael Keaton, George Clooney, and Val Kilmer all dressed up as the Bat, and the first Superman film starring Christopher Reeve is there, as well as the 1974 pre-Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. What’s missing? The rest of the Reeve films, Superman Returns, The Dark Knight trilogy, Green Lantern, Supergirl and the current Justice League-related films.

Animated Series: Eighteen different titles here, new and old. The one I am most interested in is the nine seasons of Super Friends. I couldn’t begin to tell you what’s missing here.

So, is it worth $7.99 a month? I’m going to say no at this point. Marvel will have the advantage of partnering with Disney, and will likely have many more titles to choose from. I can only hope the price is not astronomical.

Advertisements

Former Pirates pitching great (and his baseball card) appears on “This Is Us”

I love it when the hobby and pop culture collide. On last night’s episode of This Is Us, the mega-popular tear-jerker of a TV show, former Pirates pitching great John Smiley and his 1987 Topps Traded card made an appearance.

Sort of.

I know John Smiley is hardly considered a “great” today, but in 1992, coming off a 20-win season, an All-Star appearance, and a third-place finish in Cy Young Award voting, “great” is not a stretch. And it wasn’t actually Smiley on the show, but actor Troy Doherty portraying Smiley at a baseball card signing.

Not Smiley

Young Kevin Pearson wanted to get Smiley’s rookie card signed so it would double in value. In the screengrab below, we see that the card in question is from the 1987 Topps Traded set with the iconic wooden border and white cardstock.

Mandy Moore holding a baseball card

Zoom in…

Smiley reverse

And flip it over…

Smiley front

Compare it to the real thing…

Real Smiley

It seems that the actor’s face was Photoshopped over Smiley’s face, but the rest of the card is legit. Look at the logo placement on the jersey, the treeline in the background…there is no way they recreated the whole scene for a fake card but that is clearly not John Smiley’s face on the card in the show.

There is no doubt, though, that the writers were familiar with the original card. During the scene, the pitcher said Kevin wanted to tell him about the best pool places in Minneapolis. Smiley was the subject of many trade rumors prior to the ’92 season and was eventually traded to the Twins. It seems that young Kevin spent a lot of time reading the backs of baseball cards; his 1987 Topps Traded card talks about some of Smiley’s hobbies, including “shooting pool.” This led the thoughtful 11-year old to research the pitcher’s likely new home and offer some suggestions tailored to his interests.

Smiley reverse

I confess I’m a huge This Is Us fan so seeing a baseball card connection made my day.

Christmas gift ideas for Thundercats fans

ThundercatsI mentioned Thundercats yesterday, so I might as well throw a few ideas out there that the Thundercats fan in your life will love.

Visual Media

Music

Thundercats Superman comicBooks

Toys and Collectibles

Feline Rhapsody Queen parody ThundercatsAttire

Other odds & ends

Coming Soon…

Thunderbrats Garbage Pail Kids parody

Christmas gift ideas for fans of old-school Hanna-Barbera cartoons

Today’s cartoons just don’t have the same soul. I loved Saturday mornings as a kid, filled with cartoons before heading to the park to play baseball. While He-Man and Thundercats were some of my favorite shows growing up (and still today, to be honest), neither came from the powerhouse of kids’ cartoons Hanna-Barbera. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were responsible for some of the most memorable animated shows, from Scooby-Doo to the first ever primetime cartoon, the Flintstones. But there were so many others that don’t receive the recognition they deserve. Here are a few that filled me with nostalgia as I scrolled through Amazon.com:
Herculoids

Scooby-Doo has had a number of reboots through the years, so many that the gang warrants its own separate list:

If you want something that is specifically geared toward the holidays, consider Yogi Christmas these Christmas specials:

If you don’t feel like gluing yourself to a television set for all those cartoons, maybe you would like to read instead. DC Comics did a special crossover featuring some of their biggest superheroes teaming up with the likes of Dyno-Mutt and Space Ghost. DC Meets Hanna-Barbera was released last year, and Volume Two will be available on Christmas Eve this year!

So you don’t want to watch, and you don’t want to read… Huckleberry Hound you just want to play? Funko has you covered! Check out all these Funko POP Hanna-Barbera figures available:

Christmas gift ideas for your He-Fans and She-Ravers

By the Power of Grayskull! He-Man has one of the strongest fan bases of any 1980s cartoon series, and the merchandise available to choose from is insane. Here are just He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Speciala handful of suggestions for the He-Fan or She-Raver in your life.

Visual Media

He-Man minicomics

Books

Comic Books
He-Man Thundercats

Toys and Collectibles

AttireShe-Ra shirt

P.S. — If anyone wants to get me something for Christmas (because I’m not spending this type of money on a CD), I would love the Filmation Original Soundtrack. $45 just seems a little steep to me.

Masters of the Universe soundtrack

Fun Cards: 1982 Topps Ralph Hinkley, Mike Kelly, and Hayden Finch

Our third installment of Greatest American Hero “fun cards,” this time with 1982 Topps.

Hinkley

It’s the bottom of the ninth inning. Shorty Robinson has just been fired, with coach Manny Garcia delivering the news. While Robinson and Garcia yell at each other in the dugout, Ralph Hinkley slips into the game, pinch hitting for…

Kelly

Mike Kelly. I’m not sure that Kelly was an outfielder. His position is never identified in the episode. In any case, he relinquishes the bat to Hinkley. Two outs, the bases are loaded, and Hinkley faces off against…

Finch

Hayden Finch. Actually, his name might is probably something else. He is never identified in the episode. I’m not even sure who the actor is. He’s a pitcher for the Oakland Mets, and that’s all we really know about the mustachioed fireballer. He racks up three balls and two strikes against Hinkley, but that sixth pitch is nailed by our caped Californian. (The cape is hidden by the uniform, but it’s there.)

Announcer Don Drysdale‘s words tell the story best:

“It’s a high drive hit to straightaway center field. This ball hit well. It is going, going—it is gone into the upper deck! No, wait, the ball is flying out of the ballpark. It’s goin’ into the parking lot. I never saw a ball hit that far before. Hinkley knocked the cover off of the ball!”

With that walk-off homer, Hinkley won the National League pennant for the California Stars, and they were on their way to the World Series.

Okay, so the writers of The Greatest American Hero didn’t have a firm grasp on the ins and outs of the greatest American pastime, but they tried. It’s an entertaining show, and remains one of my favorites from my childhood. Now if Funko would just make a Ralph Hinkley Pop!

Fun Cards: 1982 Fleer Ralph Hinkley, Shorty Robinson, and Don Drysdale

Day two of The Greatest American Hero “fun cards,” and we’re focusing on 1982 Fleer today.

Hinkley

As I mentioned yesterday, Ralph Hinkley took the bat from another Stars player and pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth inning in the last game of the season. But we’re not going to talk about that at-bat just yet. It would be silly to go into detail about that when there is another day of “fun cards” tomorrow. Let’s just say that Shohei Ohtani is not the first pitcher who can hit.

Robinson

Manager Shorty Robinson had trouble hiding his disgust at the idea of a high school teacher trying out for his major league team.

Drysdale

Hinkley’s biggest fan may have been in the broadcast booth. Only a former major leaguer could truly appreciate Hinkley’s talent, and Don Drysdale was not only a former major leaguer, but a Hall of Fame pitcher who played with one of the greatest, Sandy Koufax.

Tomorrow we will look at the final at-bat of the 1981 regular season for the California Stars.

Fun Cards: 1982 Donruss Ralph Hinkley, Shorty Robinson, and Manny Garcia

One of my favorite television shows growing up was The Greatest American Hero, featuring the bumbling superhero Ralph Hinkley. The series is currently available to stream on Hulu. While watching a few weeks ago, I came across a second-season episode called “The Two-Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Fast Ball,” which originally aired November 4, 1981. As you might guess from the title, it is the “baseball episode” of the series.

I checked one of my new favorite blogs, Phantom Cardboard, which mashes up pop culture with trading cards. He has created some awesome cards for The Karate Kid, Harry and the Hendersons, Who’s The Boss?, Ronald Reagan, and more. But he hasn’t tackled The Greatest American Hero yet.

As the show aired in late 1981, I decided to go with 1982 designs. I’m going to stretch this over three days, and day one will feature the 1982 Donruss design.

Hinkley

Ralph Hinkley (William Katt), high school teacher by day, major league pitcher by later-in-the-day-but-not-quite-night. Hinkley impressed California Stars team owner Deborah Dante (played by Markie Post of Night Court fame) in a tryout arranged by FBI agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp). In his only pitching appearance, Hinkley struck out the single batter he faced, throwing the ball at over 200 miles per hour. The Stars announcer, Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale, was amazed by Hinkley’s fastball which destroyed the catcher’s mitt. “Baseball has just found a new legend,” Drysdale exclaimed. “With three pitches, this unknown named Ralph Hinkley has possibly changed the sport forever. I don’t believe it!”

Robinson

Stars manager Shorty Robinson (Bruce Kirby), however, was not trying to win ballgames. He was in league with a couple of gun runners, and throwing the games was going to erase their debt with some nefarious criminal. Or something like that. By the end of the episode, Robinson had been relieved of his duties and replaced by…

Garcia

Manny Garcia (William Marquez). Garcia and Robisnon began arguing in the dugout during the last game of the season, which allowed Hinkley to slip in and pinch hit. What happened when the “new legend” came to the plate? Go watch the episode and find out!

We’ll be back tomorrow with more “fun cards” from The Greatest American Hero!

Fun Cards: 1978 Topps Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence

Danny Daniel Larusso Cobra Kai Karate Kid Netflix 1978 Topps

If you are a Karate Kid fan and haven’t had a chance to catch the new YouTube series Cobra Kai yet, make plans to do it this weekend. Set thirty-four years after the first movie ended, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprise their roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, and their chemistry on the small screen is just as strong as it was in the theaters.

Johnny Lawrence Cobra Kai Karate Kid Netflix 1978 Topps

No spoilers here, as there were some pleasant surprises throughout the ten-episode series that will thrill fans of the franchise. Do yourself a favor and watch the entire series before reading any reviews. The only thing that disappointed me personally was the foul language throughout the series. Other than that, it was perfectly executed, and I am looking forward to season two.

Goodbye, Harry Anderson (1952-2018)

(October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018)

Harry Anderson 1952-2018

Harry Anderson, best known for his role as Judge Harry Stone on the 1980s and 1990s sitcom Night Court, passed away today. The public defender, prosecutor, and one of the baliffs took to Twitter to express their sorrow.

%d bloggers like this: