Come On, Let's Go.
22Feb/110

All Those Moments

I have been absolutely obsessed with Law and Order: Criminal Intent. One night, a few weeks ago, my girlfriend suggested we watch some actual television -- most of our viewing is via Hulu or Netflix -- and we caught an episode of Criminal Intent. I was hooked immediately. While I'm fond of mysteries and crime fiction, I never got into the franchise before. What got me was that unlike vanilla Law and Order, CI doesn't feature the courtroom scenes which, in my opinion , detract from the pace of the plot. SVU, meanwhile, isn't really an option as I actively avoid reading/watching anything involving rape and sex crimes. But this show hit all the right notes.

Detective Robert Goren's character is what really got me involved. His investigative and interrogation styles are a perfect sweet spot between old-school, Holmsian detection and aggressive Chandlerian interrogation. Goren sees patterns, makes deductive connections, and uses all those other detective skills I feel has been lost in modern mystery dramas -- replaced, at least in part, by unrealistic technology. When faced with an individual, he unbalances, annoys and lies to them in order to get them to slip up, to tear a hole in their own cover story. He also regularly violates the rules which former-cop P.I.s in noir fiction usually attribute to making them leave the force and go into business for themselves. Goren comes off almost as a family-friendly, less sociopathic prelude of Hammett's Continental Op.

Anyway, this post isn't going to be about gushing over Criminal Intent. Rather, it's about set design minutia, a topic which I've previously revealed to be an interest. For instance, in Season 1, Episode 2: "Art", there's the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Crass poster (for some reason disguised as one for a band called "Pocket.") Appropriately enough, it's on an art student's dorm-room wall.:


Next, in Season 2, Episode 22: "Zoonotic", a man appears wearing a Vash the Stampede shirt, from the anime series Trigun. These sorts of shirts, although worn much looser and untucked, were rather popular around this time this episode was filmed. It was always strange seeing kids walk around school wearing shirts with characters from anime they've never watched and video games they've never played. The knock-off ones were even better, featuring near approximations -- just near enough to be uninfringing -- of said characters. (As an aside, the actor on the righthand side is James Urbaniak who, among other roles voices Dr. Venture on The Venture Bros.):


Finally, from Season 4, Episode 12: "Collective", is a Bruce Timm framed painting (?) of Two-Face, as he appeared in Batman: The Animated Series. The scene takes place in, from what I could tell, is an actual collectibles store, so it may not have been a conscious choice to put the object there. However, the brief shot was intentional, so I can only imagine it was a momentary thumbs-up to Timm:


This is all I could find in the first few seasons, or at least all that really stuck out at me. I went through Netflix's entire Instant Watch CI archive, so once I get my hands on some more, I may follow this up.

23Sep/102

In Praise of Decency

You know All-Star Superman, that absolutely amazing Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely Superman Comic I've touted the virtues at least on two separate occasions? Well, hot on the heels of the Jason Todd-unearthing, Watchmen-referencing Batman: Under the Red Hood (which I have not yet seen) Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, which is partially based on a different Morrison/Quitely story is All-Star Superman ...the movie!

Like all the other post-DCAU films, the film has a modified DCAU style and, once again, all new voices. I'm not quite sure why this keeps happening, but, hey, Christina Hendricks is Lois Lane and that's a good enough fit for me. It seems like they're going to take out all the storylines that don't directly involve Superman and Lex Luthor -- I somehow doubt any of the Bizarro stuff, which is really the icing on that series' cake, will make it in -- but hopefully it will be better than nothing. I'm trying to stay positive, although I have to agree with CJ when he said that he "can't wait for this to be decent but not amazing and therefore awful." All-Star Superman is just that sort of a book and unlike other adaptations which can stand beside the original material, this movie will have to prove itself worthy to stand in its shadows. Fingers crossed.

Thanks to Arthur Wyatt for the heads-up.

   

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