Monday, June 29, 2015

Miami Vice Mondays: “Payback”


Episode: Season Two, Episode Nineteen: “Payback”
Original airdate: March 14, 1986
Directed by: Aaron Lipstadt
Written by: Robert Crais, now a bestselling author of detective fiction.

Summary:
An incarcerated small-time criminal named Moroto (boxing legend Roberto Durán, whose line deliveries are very… odd), who once stole three million dollars from eccentric yacht-dwelling drug lord Mario Fuente (Frank Zappa!), summons Crockett to the prison for a mysterious tête-à-tête, then shoots himself in the head.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Roundup: Lonely Satellite, Duran Duran, Dope, and more Glitter Princes

First up: Free stuff! My book Lonely Satellite is free today (and for the next few days) at Amazon. I like this one a lot. It takes place in an alternate timeline in which the world was nearly destroyed in a nuclear war in 1984; thirty years later, American society is in the process of rebuilding, but everything’s still plenty crappy and dangerous. One of last year’s ABNA quarter-finalists (review from an ABNA judge: “Great voice for Laurie, very likeable and believable. Terrific language usage, word choice and sentence structure variety. Great dialogue. Really, this is fantastic”), Lonely Satellite is essentially a Bizarro-world retelling of my book Bias Cut, which was an ABNA semi-finalist and winner of an IPPY silver medal in the Mystery category. Lonely Satellite is chock full of all of my favorite things in life: champagne, unconventional gender roles, post-apocalyptic mayhem, hot gay boys zipping around on motorcycles, and gratuitous eighties references.

I’ve got a few spare copies of the paperback edition on hand. Want one? For, like, free? Leave me a comment here, or hit me up on Twitter, and we’ll work something out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ten Common-Sense Ways To Fix "Arrow"


Over the course of season three, my opinion on The CW’s Arrow drifted from “Well, this show is problematic, but there’s tons of potential here, and I sure do like this cast” to “This is half-assed and sloppy, and I’m wasting my time.” Is it a hopeless case? Yeah, probably; I’m not going to bother watching it (or doing my illustrated recaps) any more, because I don’t have any faith it’ll improve. Still, here are my suggestions for what the show would need to do to claw its way back up into the general realm of “watchable”.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Miami Vice Mondays: "Evan"


New feature! I’m going to be taking a quick look at a classic Miami Vice episode here every Monday, because Miami Vice is the greatest show ever, that’s all. First up: “Evan”. While the entire five-season run of Miami Vice is streaming on Netflix, "Evan" is mysteriously missing, probably due to some kind of numbering snafu. That's a shame, as this episode is one of the greats.

Episode: Season One, Episode Twenty-Two: “Evan”
Original airdate: May 3, 1985
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Written by: Paul Diamond

Summary:
While trying to take down a weapons dealer named Guzman (Scarface’s Al Israel), Crockett and Tubbs tangle with Crockett’s volatile and dangerous former partner, loose-cannon undercover ATF agent Evan Freed, who is played with charismatic scenery-chewing brio by the nice dad from Boy Meets World (William Russ). Crockett’s increasingly frantic refusals to address the nature of his feud with Evan cause a deep, jagged schism in his friendship with Tubbs (Tubbs to Crockett, “Don’t be coppin’ no attitude, man.” Tubbs, my love, you just keep being you), which lasts almost all the way through a commercial break. Meanwhile, the entire undercover operation goes horribly, tragically, cataclysmically wrong, as everything on this show is wont to do. Look, if somebody’s not hemorrhaging in Crockett’s arms from multiple bullet wounds by the end of the episode, you’re probably not watching Miami Vice.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summertime, and the living is sleazy.

Every year around this time, I start making excuses here for how my blog output dramatically slows down in the summer. I usually have a steep and worrisome drop-off from my usual breakneck pace of, oh, significantly less than one post per week. This summer is… absolutely no different. I’m going to try very, very hard to create some actual worthwhile content here between now and September (there are hundreds of cheeseball eighties videos and old Jem! episodes just crying out to be analyzed in depth!), but I promise nothing.

Site news! First up: If you’re Johnny-on-the-spot enough to read this post today or tomorrow, you can head over to Amazon and snatch up a few e-books published by my publishing company, Luft Books, for free. Among the offered books is my supernatural thriller DEMON CITY, which the very kind Sharon Hood at the Masquerade Crew reviewed thusly: “This book was gripping. There's no other word for it. ... This is a great supernatural fantasy. I loved it. It's intelligent without the need to check the dictionary for unfamiliar terms, witty without being stupid or low-brow in nature. Altogether a great read.” I am tremendously biased, but I agree with Hood’s expert opinion 100%.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Arrow 3-23: “My Name Is Oliver Queen”

Well.

A messy and unpleasant season of Arrow reached a messy and unpleasant end. It's hard to single out one key element responsible for the show's crashing failure, though Felicity's devolution from a quirky, fun, smart character into a weepy, self-involved mess sure didn't help. Nor did the show's inability to elevate the season's main villain, Ra's al Ghul, into anything but a spiteful, capricious enigma. Ditto for Amanda Waller in the Hong Kong flashbacks. In the end, the positive developments--Thea, Malcolm, Roy, and Ray Palmer were all delightful this season, and Laurel finally, finally became downright awesome--weren't enough to compensate for the disgracefully sloppy writing (those Hong Kong flashbacks were pointless and incomprehensible from beginning to end).

Here's my final recap. As ever, click the links for larger images.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Arrow 3-22: "This Is Your Sword"


Hey, last night's Arrow was... kinda good! Yeah, that surprised me, too. Great to see Roy back, albeit for the (probable) final time.

Click on the links for larger images: