‘Riverdale’ Pilot Screens At SDCC And Betty Is The MVP


Fans of the long running Archie Comics (founded in 1939) were surprised and ecstatic to discover a series was in development at CW, but nobody could have prepared themselves for the direction it is headed. Announced as a midseason show, it has remained very discreet about details of the upcoming adaptation until fans at San Diego Comic Con received a special treat with the first look at the pilot episode for Riverdale.

Many of the major characters were brought into the story with the most noteworthy being Archie, Betty, Veronica, and, of course, Jughead — all necessary roles that have become the faces of the Archie Comics world, but some stood out more than others. While Jughead will undoubtedly be an interesting character (and it’s Cole Sprouse!), he was placed as a backburner narrator role for the time being. Archie has his goofy uncertainty about life, girls, friends, and everything you can expect him to waver on with Veronica being the new girl with sass that catches nearly everyone’s eye. Despite having a plethora of characters, it’s Betty who stands out from the rest as the most captivating character in Riverdale.

From the moment we meet Betty, she’s the sweet adorable blonde girl who has a meek side to her that others are fully aware of. Her interest in Archie is very much present in Riverdale as expected, but, unlike others in young love stories, she has so much more to offer than a lovesick demeanor. I don’t want to spoil too much before the series airs later this season, but Betty is doing her best to cope with severe family issues, an Adderall prescription, and coming out of her shell to find out who she is aside from what everyone wants or expects her to be. That’s not to say Betty is a victim (because she may have been in the past), but, when we meet her, she’s on the cusp of personal breakthroughs that will serve as major plot points in Riverdale — ones I’m most excited to see play out.

Riverdale takes a darker approach from the comics, opening with a murder mystery that will carry us through the season (and we were promised answers by the end of Season 1!). Everyone has secrets in Riverdale, so it doesn’t set up your typical youth-skewing series — making you want to know who’s hiding what and who can or can’t be trusted. With the concept pulling me in as a viewer, the series is only enhanced with such a complex pivotal character like Betty (played by the young and talented Lili Reinhart) facing coming of age struggles and a compassionate characterization that makes it impossible not to root for Betty as Riverdale progresses. The pilot could be described as a definitive strong contribution for the network, but, with someone as well rounded as Betty, it pushed Riverdale to a series worth watching when it airs in early 2017.

Samurai Jack Creator Drops Hints About Season 5 At SDCC (Exclusive)

samurai jack

Samurai Jack is closer to being back!

After four seasons of pure entertainment and spectacular storytelling in animated form, Samurai Jack will be returning to Toonami/Adult Swim for a fifth season to conclude the unfinished story of the time leaping warrior. At San Diego Comic Con, series creator Genndy Tartakovsky graced the press room with his presence to discuss a few of everyone’s burning questions about the series return after 12 years.

When asked why he wanted to return to the series, Tartakovsky admitted he had hoped to create a film for years but the idea came to him while in the bathroom of all places, which led him to send a few emails about the new tales. “I got the email right back” adding, “and after two weeks we started.” Of course one thing everyone can’t help but ponder is if we will be seeing the last of Samurai Jack after the upcoming fifth season, and Tartakovsky proved he already has something final in mind. “It’s the final journey – whatever happens at the end is the end.”

We additionally learned that the season will be compacted into 10 episodes to tell the story he intended on with the same duration of the proposed films from years prior. When asked about the budget for Samurai Jack season 5 Tartakovsky made it known that they stepped up their game. “I think it’s better!” Tartakovsky continues, “They’ve [Cartoon Network] been really great, they gave us everything we could really want.” Of course, knowing that the series is now coming to an end after years of ambiguity, the ultimate conclusion is something fans of the franchise can’t help but question – and according to the creator himself, it’s going to be a rough one that he knew about awhile back. “It’s something that I’ve wanted to do in animation for a long time and it’s super challenging but if we get it right it’s going to leave people in tears.”

Tartakovsky made it known that he isn’t sure of a certain release date but suggested we could be seeing our favorite time traveling samurai in early 2017. After learning the end is coming and it may be a tearjerker, I’m going to be anxiously awaiting the final bow next year. If you haven’t seen the series in awhile or just never got around to it, now’s the perfect time to binge watch the first four seasons before Samurai Jack returns for his final battles!

SDCC Debuts “The Killing Joke” And Here’s Why It Disappoints

killing joke

Over the course of the years, DC has presented a plethora of successful animated feature films that illicit a generally favorable reaction from fans – so when DC announced The Killing Joke would be included next, fans went crazy. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “celebrated” graphic novel, it includes the character of Batgirl being shot and paralyzed by the Joker and pushed into the background until eventually becoming Birds of Prey leader, Oracle. The films creators stated beforehand that they really wanted to give Barbara Gordon a storyline as opposed to the lack of plot for her in the comic, but the film left me with a bad taste in my mouth and here’s a few reasons why:

Batgirl is merely used as a plot device.

In Batman The Killing Joke, they try to add character depth to Batgirl, but as it progresses you realize her main purpose is to fuel the feud between the Joker and Batman. After the major event of the plot occurs involving Barbara, she becomes a ghost in the film and her inclusion quickly dwindles which further proves her trauma wasn’t going to truly take her down a different path other than making Batman more gritty and angry, which we’ve all seen plenty of times before.

The film feels overtly sexist.

During the film’s duration, they add an extremely forced sex scene between Batgirl and Batman, completely tainting the mentor-like relationship they’ve always had. The sex scene didn’t act alone, but it’s the doe eyed Barbara Gordon and the rather cavalier Batman that fulfills cliches of media depicted relationships. Batgirl can’t just be a badass, she has to be distracted with her adoration for Batman (that shouldn’t even exist) and all of her scenes are focused on that unlike methods used for male comic book characters. It’s okay to care, it’s not okay for female heroes to only be portrayed as lovesick damsels who can’t function to the capabilities of their male counterparts.

Fascination with sexual violence.

Fans of the film and graphic novel are die-hard fans of The Killing Joke in a world with thousands of comics and truly moving tales, but what plot earns itself a film? Well that would be the one that deliberately suggests rape after a gruesome shooting and paralysis to a character who already fits the unfortunate tragedy stricken female. Having an audience become privy to the unbuttoning of a blouse after being shot in the spinal column serves no purpose other than twisted shock value.

Aside from my obvious major complaints, the character of Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) is one that deserves to be told, but there is no doubt in my mind that she deserves better. As I tried to find the positives out of Batman: The Killing Joke, I was often reminded of why I can never find a justified reason to back the original (or even new) creative material – and when a few audience members around me applauded after the most unsettling moments of the movie, I couldn’t fathom what was viewed as acceptable by those who enjoyed the film.