CUT TO: Twenty Years Later...

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Twenty years ago yesterday, a 14 year old boy went on his first date with a girl. They went to see Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner then they walked to the local mall and ate at Hardee's. Seven years later, that boy and girl would get married. And thirteen years after that, that boy would decide to write a blog post about it. My wife and I decided to relive our first date as best we could while balancing schedules and kids. First up was a trip to Hardee's. Then later in the evening, we decided to watch Robin Hood for the first time in 20 years.

Hardee's
I grew up enjoying Hardee's. In fact, I recently referenced getting a few novelty cups from there. When I talk about enjoying Hardee's, I'm talking the old Hardee's with the orange and brown color scheme. I liked their burgers, including the specialty ones they offered. And I enjoyed their breakfast and thought it superior to McDonald's fast food breakfast. By the early 90s, they seemed to begin straying from what I liked about them by offering fried chicken. Then, it all went downhill when Carl's Jr. came along and bought them out.

On paper, Hardee's seems like a place I should like. The commercials, promotional photos, and offerings seem right up my alley. Big, thick hamburgers including a "Monster Burger" with 8 strips of bacon. But of all fast food places, Hardee's may be the biggest offender of showing you this awesome picture and then delivering disappointment on a bun. My one experience with a Monster Burger is a testament to that. There were barely four strips of bacon on what they slapped together. I'm willing to overlook single experiences at one location, but since the conversion, every time I have gone, I would have been better served going to Barth's Burgery. (Yes, you heard that.)

Six years ago, my wife and I had a particularly bad experience that caused us to enact a personal boycott of Hardee's that we held true to until last night. For nostalgia (although not really since this isn't the Hardee's that we remember), we lifted the ban and took a trip to Hardee's. We replicated what we remembered our order to be 20 years ago. My wife got a hot ham and cheese and I ordered a burger. We paid nearly twice the price we paid 20 years ago and got food that I would say was only half as good. A ham and cheese sandwich that looked to be piled high with ham in the menu picture cost $3.50 and when it came out on the tray, it was like a bad joke.

Add to that a horrible, squeaking grinding noise coming from the back that never stopped the entire time we were there, we felt fine reenacting our ban on Hardee's and let this blog be a testament to never toying with the idea of lifting it again. If we're going to spend that much money on fast food, we'd be better off going to Chick-fil-A or Whataburger.

Robin Hood

Story
I hadn't watched this movie in 20 years. I remember it being hugely popular in 1991, but remembered little else. This is a weak telling of the Robin Hood story. It makes an attempt to be an epic telling of the origin, but lacks the grandness needed. I admire their attempt to begin well before the interesting action started, but in showing how Robin Hood got where he did, they failed to deliver on the true heart of the story. They would have been better served to begin in the middle and try to establish a few things with expository dialogue or flashbacks. The story didn't always progress in a believable way and things sometimes happened simply because they needed to happen.

Presentation
The direction was weak. Shots they chose were trite and uninspired. The fight scenes lacked the flair that Robin Hood deserved. The cast had some good actors, but no one was given exceptional dialogue. Alan Rickman forced a decent performance, but even he seemed to be overacting. The best actor they had might have been Brian Blessed who was criminally underused in the story. Kevin Costner himself seemed to have gotten acting lessons from a high school thespian. Maybe 1991 couldn't have delivered a better Robin Hood movie than this, but I had hoped for better.

STORY
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PRESENTATION
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REWATCHABLE
Maybe in another 20 years...



Maybe it seems silly to celebrate this milestone anniversary with a lousy meal and a mediocre movie. Or maybe it's oddly appropriate. Throughout life, we're presented with situations we don't necessarily like. I know that in the past 20 years, we've had our share of them and will continue to. And sure, I've complained about things and wondered why certain things had to happen the way they did. But through it all, for 20 years, I've had someone by my side that has made it all worth living and helped me get through it. It really doesn't matter where we went, it matters that we went together and what we made of it.

Okay...now no one share this blog post with my daughter. She doesn't need to know her parents dated so young.

Shadowmasters: Rebooted

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We've been winding down our series of Reboot articles, but I just saw Captain America: The First Avenger over the weekend. Soooo good. For the longtime Marvel fan, one of the real treats was seeing the Howling Commandos on the big screen. Lots of the details were changed --- most notably, taking Sgt. Fury out entirely and making the Howlers Captain America's squad --- but the spirit of the group was preserved: a multiethnic (and later multinational) team of grunts, with one boot in "Band of Brothers" territory and the other kicking Nazi supervillain butt, Lee / Kirby - style. They made a big impact in just a few scenes, and I hope they return for a sequel.

One interesting change was the inclusion of Jim Morita as a Howler. I just happened to have the old Sgt. Fury comic where Morita made one of his very few appearances --- not as a full-fledged Howler, but as a young Japanese-American solider overcame prejudice within the ranks and joined an all-Nisei Ranger squad, also commanded by Howlers C.O. Captain "Happy Sam" Sawyer. Unlike the Howlers, who had enough adventures to fill every day of the war, the Nisei Squad's missions have gone largely undocumented.

My reboot idea? Same thing, more ninjas. I'm borrowing the name "Shadowmasters" from an equally obscure Marvel miniseries from the late 1980s, about a family of ninjas in Japan from WWII onward. Truthfully, it was a pretty weak comic, but there was an early scene of a white-clad ninja with a demon mask taking out enemy soldiers that has stayed with me all this time.

So the rebooted Nisei Squad were recruited because the OSS had secured the services of a genuine ninja grandmaster, who moved to America after a falling out with Imperial Japan. Ezaki-San is a cranky, bigoted old killing machine (a la Chuin from the Remo Williams franchise), but he has developed a certain fondness for the Andrews Sisters and Gene Kelly, and he really hates Nazis.

Despite all being Japanese-American (maybe with an Okinawan thrown in for flavor), the recruits are a diverse bunch, with combat specialties ranging from ancient kenjitsu to state-of-the-art SAS close-combat training. Ezaki made them ninjas, Sawyer made them Rangers, and the Nazis never knew what hit them.

As a bonus, this reboot leaves the door open to develop Marvel's secret 70 year history of American ninja special forces. It writes itself, people.

Smurf your whole day long

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As a child of the 80s, I was fortunate to grow up in a time of Saturday morning cartoons. And there were some great ones. But the downside to having a younger sister is that I sometimes had to share the television and watch something she wanted to watch. Smurfs was one of those shows that I initially watched begrudgingly. I can't recall now what I wanted to watch instead, but I do know we watched Smurfs for several years. And, despite my initial opposition to it, I eventually came to like the Smurfs enough. At least enough to keep up with who the characters were and get a few laughs. And looking back now, it certainly earns a spot in the 1980s Pantheon of Properties.

Cut to several years later. The children of the 80s are making marketing decisions at toy companies. Properties that boys and girls my age loved have been continually returning in a parade of nostalgia. They've remade tons of other cartoons from our youth into movies. It was only a matter of time that another property from our childhood returned in movie form, too.

Except, the Smurfs aren't really from the 80s anymore than Spider-Man is from the 80s since he was in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The Smurfs have roots that go back much farther than the 1982 cartoon and it's a history that I was not all that intimately familiar with. I recently discovered the Retroist podcast and have been devouring these episodes including ones focused on properties that are not in my usual wheelhouse. The Smurfs episode of the Retroist enlightened me about some details I was not really aware of. I had no idea that the Smurfs appeared 24 years before I first watched them on some unsuspecting Saturday morning. And somehow knowing that makes them instantly cooler.

So, when I was presented with the opportunity to review The World of SMURFS by Matt. Murray, I said, "yes!" But our friend Smurfwreck over at Branded in the 80s as well as the aforementioned Retroist blog have already both reviewed the book and done great jobs with those reviews. My seven-year-old daughter has begun showing an interest in the Smurfs due to a resurgence in marketing thanks to the upcoming Smurfs movie. In wondering what could I do differently with this review, I decided to sit down with her one evening and look at the book with her.

The book begins with a thorough look at Peyo, the artist who created the Smurfs and covers the history from their early comic appearances, to their toys, to the cartoon, and where they've been since 1990. It is a well designed book offering several extras in the form of foldout posters, sticker sheets, and excerpts from the original comics. The folks at Abrams put together a very impressive package that not only satisfied my desire to learn a bit more about these characters formerly known as Les Schtroumpfs, but opened up my daughter's eyes to the expansive world of the Smurfs.

She thoroughly enjoyed looking at the book and getting the backstory on Smurfette, seeing pictures of the old and new toys, and learning about the various characters. Her favorite chapter was "Who the Smurf?!" which gave bios on several characters. Although second to that was a chapter about the upcoming movie which showed stills and promo art. One excellent piece of art was a guide to the Smurf characters who will be in the movie.

Many properties have come along over the years creating characters based solely on personality traits or emotions. But the Smurfs had to have been among the first. In doing so, they tell a story about a community that almost resembles the internal struggles that just one person goes through. The Smurfs will continue to be around for a long time and I imagine a day when my daughter will be sharing the Smurfs with her children and will be able to share with them that the Smurfs were around long before even their grandparents were born.

The World of SMURFS is available at Amazon and directly from Abrams website.

Nerd Cavalcade of Lunch Awesome, part 2

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Between Paxton Holley over at The Cavalcade of Awesome and myself, it's possible we've written more about our visit to the Tallahassee Antique Auto Museum than any visitors have ever written before. I could be wrong though. On Monday, Paxton gave a thorough review of the cars in the museum. I followed up on Tuesday with a general overview of the entire museum. Then yesterday, Paxton returned with some thoughts about the non-auto stuff in the museum. Since my overview was less detailed, I thought I would follow up today with just a few photos that didn't make the cut for Tuesday's article.

"Uh oh, I hope I have insurance," thought Paxton.

The Walmart edition of the giant Arthur doll was on display.

The museum held the hearse that allegedly carried Lincoln to his tomb.

The museum was home to several guns including this U.S. Post Office sidearm.

I feel better knowing that NASA gives these knives to their astronauts. I assume in case of alien attacks and whatnot.

There were a lot, and I mean hundreds (or more) knives in this museu. This was the closest thing to a Klingon knife in the place. Disappointing.

This made me nostalgic for KayBee toys, the only reason I ever really liked going to the mall.

For NightMan, Jr.

I don't know what this was, but it was nice and steampunkish.

I'd be more inclined to mow my lawn more often if I owned this lawnmower.


Tomorrow, Paxton wraps up the series where he talks about his "Showdown with the Double Down." And, look for a Facebook and/or Google+ album of these photos and more soon.

Nerd Cavalcade of Lunch Awesome

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Awesome.

That's the word that I would use to describe my Saturday, July 9. And it's an appropriate word to use since I got to hang out with Paxton Holley from the Cavalcade of Awesome blog. I've referenced Paxton before. We were awarded a "Versatile Blogger Award" from him last September.

Followers of this blog or Nerd Lunch: The Web Series are probably aware that I live in Tallahassee, Florida. Paxton is located just a couple hours away in Jacksonville, FL. For a few months now, we've been talking about setting up an epic blog crossover. In the style of Marvel Team-up, this finally happened. Actually, it wasn't really in the style of Marvel Team-Up. Most of those issues began with the heroes fighting followed by them uniting against a common foe. We had the common foes, but not so much the initial fighting. I guess we did it wrong.

For this adventure, Paxton visited me in my city. As host, I felt it appropriate that we do both nerdin' and hossin' as to hit the two key components of "Nerd Lunch."

One of the main attractions in Tallahassee, though overshadowed by the Capitol and FSU football, is the Tallahassee Antique Auto Museum. It's owned by a local eccentric who has collected a plethora of items. The focus of the museum is the autos, but there is much, much more in this place. Some of it has merit, some of it…maybe not so much. I've been in Tallahassee for six years and had never been to the museum. I really had no excuse because for about two years of my time here, I lived just down the street from it. With Paxton coming to visit, I saw this as an opportunity to rectify a six-year-old mistake. And since this museum houses three Batmobiles, it immediately gains status as "nerd" location.

The Museum has been around for years, but moved into its current facility in 2008. It is a rather large facility, although, in spite of that it can seem like it's awfully cramped. That speaks to the amount of items featured in the museum, but also to the organization of it. Or maybe lack thereof. While it is often referred to as just the "Auto Museum" by Tallahassee natives, this contains much, much…much more.

And I'll be honest, I've never been much of a car guy so that works against me right off the bat. I don't already know the history of the individual cars and what engines they have and what their competitors were, and so on. While lacking that knowledge took away from the enjoyment some, what that building houses was not completely lost on me. I still respect the history and beauty of what was crafted in days of old. I can tell that these cars from the 50s were finely crafted with their heft and chrome.

From my standpoint, I had hoped for more cars from film and television. Three Batmobiles is cool. Seeing a Delorean--also cool. When my next auto that I'm glomming onto is a 1997 Plymouth Prowler because it was in NightMan, you could say that I might have been coming at this with the wrong mindset. I wanted to see the General Lee, K.I.T.T., or the car that Jim Rockford drove. For that, I went to the wrong museum.

That's alright though. As a collector of things, I can admire the collection, whatever it is. The sheer number of cars alone is impressive. Add to that the eclectic mix of other items and the sheer quantities of those things, it was actually a bit overwhelming.
The museum contained thousands of knives, hundreds of golf clubs, dozens of boat motors, and countless dolls, comic books, and other trinkets. Unfortunately, these things were just peppered throughout with no real explanation or order. And some items, such as teddy bears and dolls, were placed all over the museum, even on or in cars. To me, this took away from the cars, and I suppose the teddy bears as well. Don't misunderstand, I like teddy bears, but I'd like to admire a 100-year-old car without the distraction of one.

As a whole, I'd recommend a one-time visit if you have any interest in seeing old things. The admission price seemed steep and I got a substantial student discount. I can't see going back on my own, but I can see my dad enjoying it so maybe I'll go with him someday. I definitely recommend going with someone. The trip was much more enjoyable having a buddy to chat with.

Once we left, it was time for hossin'. Paxton made the request to chow down on Double Downs at KFC. I've covered them before, but I was up for one again. Although I suggested that we replicate the hot dog tour from episode 1 of "Nerd Lunch: The Web Series" should he ever return.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Paxton and I'm looking forward to our next "Marvel Team-Up."

Paxton and I are both making this an entire week of posts. Check out his very thorough post about the autos from the museum yesterday. He'll return tomorrow with more about the other odds and ends in the museum. I will be posting some additional pics on Thursday, and on Friday, Paxton will be talking about his lunch. It's going to be a great week.

Thundarr, The Barbarian: Rebooted

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When PLee threw down the challenge, one of the first shows I thought of was Thundarr and how it needs to be brought back. The fact is, when thinking about a reboot, I personally wouldn't change much. The Alex Toth designs for the three main characters are perfect. I like the general style of animation they used and wouldn't want to deviate too much from that (like the 2002 He-Man did from it's 1982 predecessor).

With the reboot, I would want to fully explore the origins of the story and better trace how Earth got the way it was between the time of the meteor and the time of Thundarr. Some back story for the original series was written and a prequel movie was at one time rumored to be in the works. This never happened, but some story details were released. In essence, Thundarr and Ookla were prisoners and Princess Ariel gave up her status to rescue them. It seems like it would be a relatively simple story to set things up.

An element I would add is that this trio is not only wandering the devastated world to find humans and aid them against mutants, monsters and magicians, but they are on the run from a recurring villain who rules over much of what was once know as North America. Other villains from the original series would show up as well, including the only villain to appear more than once, Gemini.

It seems like there should be some goal in mind. Humans are oppressed and no longer rule the world. What caused the fall of humans? Where did magic come from? How can they ever defeat these powerful beings? Perhaps there is a "source" of all magic powers. Before the meteor, this source was sealed off from humans and only certain people in the history of time could access it. When the meteor devastated the world, the source was opened and tainted. During the series, Thundarr learns of the source and makes it his quest to seal it once again. This causes conflict between him and Ariel as she feels that she has proven that not all magicians are evil. As they grow closer to the source, Ariel's power grows, and so does her inclination for evil.

The finale sees Thundarr face off against Ariel. The final battle culminates in Thundarr using his Sun Sword to seal off the source (say that ten times fast). Along the way, the humans they have liberated began banding together and declare Thundarr their king. He turns it down and the three adventurers go riding off into the distance looking for more adventures.

From a behind the scenes perspective, I'd get Phil Noto on board to do some character designs. He's done some nice Thundarr drawings and seems to have an affinity for the character.

Doc Savage: Rebooted

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Any nerd worth the name has at least a passing familiarity with Doc Savage --- proto-superhero (right down to the Fortress of Solitude and the first name "Clark"), pulp crusader of the 30s and 40s, and reprint paperback superstar of the 70s. I've previously suggested bronze giant Dwayne Johnson as the star of a big-budget movie franchise, and I stand by that suggestion. In fact, DC just did a run of Doc comics set in a modern day pulp world --- cell phones and zeppelins --- which would be a great starting point for that franchise.

But this is my other Doc Savage pitch . . . the Smallville version. A live action TV series, sort of a portrait of the superhero as a young man. Doc Savage doesn't have the same kind of pop culture ubiquity as Superman, obviously, nor the same sort of well-developed universe to draw from (only one recurring baddy, and he only appeared twice, and in general little attention to continuity from one novel to the next), so this show wouldn't rely so much on riffing on the established universe (i.e., let's do a red kryptonite episode) like "Smallville" seems to do.

Basic premise is that twenty-something Clark "Doc" Savage, Jr. is a young surgeon who has been leading a Spec Ops rescue team in Afghanistan for the past couple of years. When his dad, CEO and founder of the Hidalgo Corporation, dies under mysterious circumstances, Clark inherits a billion dollars and some change and a mission --- protect the world from threats that cannot be understood by conventional science or stopped by conventional law enforcement.

The core team assisting him are a couple of Army buddies --- sharp-dressed lawyer Theo "Ham" Brooks and slovenly roughneck chemist Andrew "Monk" Mayfair. Doc's three other assistants --- engineer Renny, archeologist Johnny, and technologist Long Tom --- could be recurring characters brought in on a case-by-case basis (as they were in the novels). All were originally portrayed as vaguely WASP, vaguely 40ish, and high-ranking officers in WWI . . . I would be all for mixing it up and making Renny a youngish Michael Clark Duncan and Long Tom a spunky little Korean gal.

Cousin Patricia from the novels would be a good addition, too --- she could be revamped as either a sharp MBA who manages Hidalgo and insists on tagging along on adventures, or a youngish socialite who starts devoting her fame and money to Clark's mission.

As a TV series, this would actually be trying to hit a spot somewhere between MacGyver (old-school 80s adventure with a smart hero who won't kill) and Alias (larger cast, more ongoing storylines, a few fantastic elements mixed in with Bondian pulp action espionage).

I'm casting Daniel Cudmore from the last couple of X-Men movies as Doc . . . he's about 6'9" and appears to eat a lot of meat, and that's a good start. Give him a tan and some gold contacts and you're good to go.

Black Jack: Rebooted

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Once again, we are visited by Christian Nielsen from The Atomic Geeks. He has answered the "Nerd Lunch Reboot Challenge." Let's see what he chose...

When Nerd Lunch proposed this reboot challenge, a lot of possibilities crossed my mind both from the big screen and the small screen.  Small WonderRemo Williams: The Adventure Begins.  Breaker High. Well maybe not the last one.  But just for the heck of it I decided to type “old TV shows” into my Google search engine and see what would come up. I clicked on the first link and scanned a huge alphabetical list of television shows. I had just started looking when one title smacked me between the eyes.


If that title doesn’t create interest I don’t know what will.  The premise of the very short lived Stephen J. Cannell show from 1991 is this: Barry Tarberry is a Wall Street con artist who escapes government prosecution and flees to the Caribbean. In the Caribbean he meets up with a ghost pirate called Black Jack. They both discover that they are eternally damned to hell unless they save 100 souls to compensate for their evil ways. Also Barry drives a black spy speedboat around the islands to help fight crime. I know, totally awesome.

I think the basic premise of the show is fantastic. I like shows that have a specific goal and hint that the existence of the show is finite, so jump aboard and watch every episode! I do think that almost everything else needs to change. If anything I think this show needs to be a bit more street level and a whole lot darker. Here is what I propose.

First of all the title of the show would be changed from “100 Lives of Black Jack Savage” to just Black Jack. The new title would be named after the main character, Jack Smith a career criminal known on the streets of New York City as “Jack” or “Black Jack.” I see Jack as pretty much a carbon copy of Mel Gibson’s character Porter from the movie Payback. A badass criminal who generally doesn’t take no for an answer and has the hint of a heart of gold somewhere within his chest cavity.

The setting of the show will take place primarily in the dark under belly of New York City instead of the colourful Caribbean.  Jack will be involved in some sort of “sacrilegious” criminal endeavour that evolves into a mysterious white light moment with commanding voices that will inform Jack of his situation regarding the saving of 100 souls and how he will be contacted by his partner in his quest for the salvation of his soul. Obviously Jack will initially dismiss this event as poppycock until he is contacted by his ethereal partner who will remove all doubt of his situation.

Now as much as I would love for Jack’s ghostly partner to be a pirate I don’t think that this modern take on the show would make sense. I see “The Ghost” as being more of a mysterious grifter type personality. A kind of sneaky Steve Buscemi character called Max or Gus or something. It’s not exactly clear what Gus (ok Gus it is.) has done in his previous life that needs redeeming but what is clear to Jack is that he knows much, much more about their situation that he is currently willing to reveal. Essentially Gus is to Jack much like Al was to Sam in the TV show Quantum Leap. Gus knows who they have to help but it’s up to Jack expedite the solution however he seems fit.

Essentially I see this show as the odd couple trying to save their own bacon one soul at a time. Gus the Ghost wants to get the ball rolling on the soul saving as quickly as possible while Jack wants to find out more about the mystery his situation while solving their problems in his own special way. Besides the fact he’s a career criminal suddenly trying to do the right thing while trying to maintain his street cred can be a bit difficult.

Obviously there should be a myriad of recurring characters that appear. Jack’s former business associates. The local law enforcement. The pretty female do-gooder would be obvious. More importantly the real theme of the show would be the relationship between Jack and Gus. Jack is trying to figure out what the real story behind Gus and their whole situation is while Gus just wants to save his behind. Many adventures abound that dwell in both the supernatural realm and the gritty streets of New York City. Sadly, without a black spy speedboat.

Quantum Leap: Rebooted

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The original concept for Quantum Leap is brilliant. Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime and pressured to prove his theory or lose funding, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the quantum accelerator and vanished.

Beckett successfully time travels, but finds that he is living the life of someone else in the past. Able to communicate through time via brainwaves, Beckett and his holographic companion Al determine that Beckett has been intercepted by an "unknown force to change history for the better."

In the reboot, these things are still in place, but Sam makes more of an effort to gain control over the leaps and in doing so, he is continually put in his place by the "unknown force." Initially wanting to make it back to his own time, Beckett accepts his mission to positively influence history with the hopes of meeting the entity sending him on these missions. The series would be episodic for the most part as was it's successor, but would have an over-arcing story showing Sam struggle with accepting his fate.

The original series introduced the concept of "evil leapers" and the reboot would eventually get around to that culminating in the big reveal that Sam's quantum leap experiment actually killed him and there is no returning home ever. He is, in essence, stuck between life and death being used as an agent of change for a good force combating agents of change operating on behalf of an evil force.

The original series focused on the 50s, 60s, and 70s with occasional visits to the 80s. Since Scott Bakula was born in the mid-50s, it made sense that his Beckett's lifetime would cover that era. For this show, I propose casting someone younger and setting the show in "the near future." Jon Hamm, born in 1971, would take the lead role giving the rebooted Dr. Beckett a lifetime that begins in the mid-70s. The time period would focus on the Gen X years rather than the Baby Boomer years (70s, 80s, 90s).

Again, Beckett is joined by an observer from his own time who is initially known only as "Al." In the original series, Al was an admiral in the Navy who somehow ends up working as a lackey for a civilian scientist. That doesn't make sense. In fact, I'm not sure how the Navy really has anything to do with this project so I'd drop that whole angle. I'd also want to do more with the "present day" stories and expand the operations of Project: Quantum Leap. In Dr. Beckett's absence, the government has sent someone in to take over. Al must continually keep the project from getting shut down. My castling choice for Al would be Benicio del Toro, although, that might be a tough guy to get.

The original show was rather pricey, not just because of special effects, but because of it being a period piece every week. I'd not want to lose any production value and would rather this reboot be done in shorter seasons with greater focus given to each episode.

MacGyver: Rebooted [A Mullet Shall Rise]

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Have you nerds watched "Human Target"? Oh, they messed up that show in the second season . . . but that's a topic for a different post. The first season was a throwback to the sort of action shows that made Stephen J. Cannell a bearded multi-billionaire space pope back in the 80s. Cool guy goes somewhere new every week and solves someone's problem. Different pretty girl every week. A little colorful sidekickery. Yep, to this day, that is how I try to live my life. And you just don't see much of this genre anymore.

And in particular, there just aren't any guys like MacGyver on TV right now. And the world needs him . . . a smart, socially conscious troubleshooter for the 21st century. So what are the main ingredients for the reboot?

1. Keep the Phoenix Foundation as good guys, for one. It would be easy to make them morally ambiguous and even black-opsy . . . it's some sort of vast think tank with unlimited resources and ties to U.S. intelligence, after all. Don't do it. Good guys.

2. Work some real-world social issues in there. MacGyver used to outwit Russian spies in one episode and then spend a week teaching kids to stay in school or fight pollution or whatnot. I don't think a modern audience requires that same sense of resolution you got at the end of the old shows. I mean, when MacGyver tackled illiteracy, by the end it seemed like everyone in the world could read now. But mix some current affairs in with the ticking timebombs.

3. Casting, as always, is key. One thing you'll notice on this blog is that when we get down to casting ideas, we tend to use genre veterans because, well, that's what we watch. [I don't know, maybe Jeeg watches "NCIS" and just doesn't advertise it.] So I'm open to suggestions. Has to be something nice for the ladies, but also believable as an action hero who can improvise.

And I'll admit, although I like the idea of Jack Dalton, recurring pilot buddy who drags Mac into trouble (on the weekends, I guess), I never liked the guy who played Jack.

4. What's the real advantage of MacGyver 2.0? DVD and Hulu and other opportunities to watch episodes over and over, or knock out a season over a lazy weekend. This lends itself more toward continuity rather than a strictly episodic approach. You can build the universe, play with the recurring characters, put some foreshadowing in there and let it pay off slowly.

Nerd Lunch Reboot Challenge

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We had a good time a few months back proposing inexpensive SyFy genre timekillers, so we here at Nerd Lunch decided to shine the Nerd Signal onto a passing cloud once more and see who goes to their cave and puts on their tights . . .

Reboots and reimaginings have become synonymous in recent years with flat-out Hollywood laziness and creative bankruptcy. Now we're not going to argue that every single classic TV show merits a remake ("SWAT"?), and sometimes a solid premise can be botched in the execution ("Clash of the Titans," I would like my 90 minutes back) . . . but those of us who read Joseph Campbell when we were young and impressionable know that a myth can be retold, generation after generation, keeping the essence even as the details change.

Our challenge is a simple one: take a nerd property and pitch the reboot. Any medium will do --- TV, movie, cartoon, puppet show, etc. We're inviting some special guest nerds to join in.

Be watching for answers to the Challenge over the next few days.

My Cup of Cups Runneth Over

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Having just purchased "The Thirst Avenger" aka Captain America Tri-Cup Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts, I decided to dig out all the super hero-themed novelty plastic cups I have. (Focusing on plastic here, not glass. Glass might be another post.) Much to my surprise, they were all from places I never/rarely frequent these days.

Most of them are Marvel cups and except my new Cap cup, all the Marvel cups are from Hardee's, a place I haven't gone in almost six years. But I'll save my history with Hardee's for yet another post.

Up first, this cup is "The Showdown" from the first Spider-Man movie in 2002. It features Spider-Man and Green Goblin. Of all my super hero cups, this one is the flimsiest plastic. Sturdy enough to keep and use, but isnt' as thick as I'd like. It's also the largest cup.

Next up, is this X-Men cup from 1995. It features Cyclops in a struggle with Commando (?) and Storm and Beast are coming in for backup. This was just one of four cups, I believe. I did not collect them all.

The following two cups are from 1990. One cup starred Spider-Man and Captain America as they took on Doctor Octopus. The other starred Hulk and cousin She-Hulk as they foiled Doctor Doom's plans. The "cool" thing about these cups is that they featured stories rather than just a single image. The bad thing about these cups is that the stories stink.

Finally, my favorite of the cups is this one from Subway. Picked this up in 1998. It Features Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash and the great thing about this is that the art is by one of my all-time comic artists, Glen Orbick.



I actually use all my cups. These are not on display. In fact, in rare cases, I don't think cups display all that well since you don't get to see the full image on the cup.
 
Super heroes on plastic cups is nothing new and my collection pales in comparison to others out there. Most impressive is probably this collection. This guy on Flickr has pictures of a large run of 7-Eleven Slurpee cups featuring several obscure characters. I should have reviewed these cups before doing my Marvel 52 post. I would have remembered to include Shang Chi as one of my titles.
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