If you’re a woman of a certain age living in the District and receiving Medicaid benefits, don’t be surprised if AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia reminds you that it’s time for a mammogram.AmeriHealth, one of four Medicaid-managed care organizations, is ratcheting up its efforts to ensure all women due — or overdue — for a mammogram undergo breast-cancer screenings, Keith Maccannon, director of marketing, community relations and outreach for AmeriHealth Caritas in the District, told the AFRO.Victorianne Russell Walton is a breast cancer survivor and founder of It’s in the Genes. (Courtesy photo)One of the ways AmeriHealth reaches out to those women is by partnering with It’s In the Genes, a nonprofit, breast-cancer advocacy group based in Southwest D.C., to hold “PINKIE” parties at all of the major hospitals in the District and surrounding areas. PINKIE stands for “Purposely Involved N Keeping Individuals Educated.” At the events women chat with breast cancer survivors and get mammograms in a fun, festive environment complete with spa services, a deejay, swag bags and more.“Even though they know they’re due for a mammogram, they may need a little extra support to go out and get that done,” Maccannon said of women.Typically, between 25 and 35 women at the parties get mammograms on the spot, Maccannon said. If the women don’t want them done at the parties, they can sign up to get one at another time for free or at a reduced price. According to costhelper.com, a privately-held Internet startup located in Silicon Valley that provides consumer information about thousands of goods and services, the average cost of a mammogram is about $102. As part of its ongoing outreach, AmeriHealth plans to hold more “PINKIE” parties this year. AmeriHealth is focused on getting women aged 40 and above in for mammograms. Women between ages 50 and 54 are supposed to get mammograms annually, while women 55 and above should have them every two years, MacCannon said. “Our goal as a managed care organization is to make sure that all of the members enrolled in our plan get those screenings and those healthcare exams that they are supposed to get according to their age and gender,” Maccannon said.Mammograms, which allow doctors to help see when there’s a change in the breast can be a powerful tool in the fight against breast cancer. Besides the PINKIE parties, AmeriHealth also gets the word out about mammograms by way of phone calls, targeted mailings, automated phone reminders, text messages, the George Washington University Mobile Mammography Van, and sponsorships from local groups that emphasize the importance of mammograms.In 2016, AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia had roughly 4,047 members meeting the criteria for a breast cancer screening exam, MacCannon said. Of those members, AmeriHealth’s outreach efforts led to nearly 63 percent of them getting the exam in 2017, he said. The District appears to be ground zero for breast cancer. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the District has the eighth highest mortality rate from breast cancer in the U.S. Nationwide, Black women are also most likely to die from the disease than any other group, statistics show. Victorianne Russell Walton, 52, founder of It’s in the Genes, is a breast cancer survivor who had health insurance at the time of her 2007 diagnosis. She alleges that in her case, her doctor was at fault for misdiagnosing her four times. “If you can’t trust your doctor and if your doctor of years is misdiagnosing you, who can you trust?” Walton asked.She was convinced she had breast cancer because it ran in her family, so she kept persisting. “They didn’t analyze the tumor, they were analyzing fatty tissue,” Walton said. “Each time they said, ‘It’s benign.’ I said, ‘No, it’s not.’”She was up against a doctor who initially thought her health problems had to do with her being an overweight Black woman who ate a lot of salt. Walton said she cut back her salt intake years before. She declined to name the doctor, citing ongoing litigation. “We have these stereotypes against us before we even walk in the room. I think it’s a form of same old, same old,” she said.By the time Walton was finally diagnosed in May 2007, she had a 50 percent chance of living. Today, she encourages women to be just as pushy as she was with her doctor. They should also take the initiative and get their scheduled mammograms“Superman is not coming; Superwoman is not coming,” Walton said.
Sony Pictures Television is folding the Crackle Latin America subscription VOD service, which has 400,000 subscribers across 17 countries, after concluding the business isn’t economically viable.Crackle Latin America first launched in April 2012 as an ad-supported streaming service — like the U.S. version of Crackle — before switching in 2016 to a subscription video-on-demand model, distributed through pay-TV partners. Crackle Latin America will shut down effective April 30, 2019, the result of Sony Pictures’ company-wide strategic review of its portfolio to prune underperforming divisions.“After much consideration, we have decided that Crackle Latin America is not sustainable in the present highly competitive local environment,” Keith Le Goy, Sony Pictures’ president of worldwide TV distribution, wrote in a memo to staff Thursday, a copy of which was obtained by Variety. With the shutdown, 17 employees will be let go. Crackle Latin America has been operated out of Miami with staff spread across offices in L.A., Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia.Sony’s Crackle Latin America was run separately from Crackle in the United States. Last summer, SPT revealed plans try to sell a stake in the Crackle U.S. business to a strategic partner, after years of mulling various options — including a possible sale — for the ad-supported VOD streaming network. Meanwhile, Sony shut down the Crackle Canada AVOD service in June 2018. SPT still operates a free, ad-supported Crackle service in Australia.In the Latin American markets, the Crackle SVOD service carried Crackle original series produced out of the U.S. as well as in-language versions of Sony movies like “Hotel Transylvania” and Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy,” “Grown Ups 2” and “Click.” Third-party content on the service has included “Captain America,” “Finding Nemo” and TV series “Scorpion.”Some Crackle originals will find a home on Sony’s Canal Sony and AXN channels in the region, which Le Goy described in the memo as “strong brands achieving solid growth” that “among the top cable channels in Latin America.” Pricing for Crackle Latin America services was around $5 per month but varied across the region, with cable operators and other affiliates setting the retail price.Read Le Goy’s full memo:SPT team –I wanted to make you all aware of an important upcoming change in our networks business in Latin America. As of April 30, we will discontinue the Crackle Latin America SVOD service.As you know, an important part of our reimagine efforts has been a top-down review of our current businesses to determine their strength and growth potential in today’s marketplace. After much consideration, we have decided that Crackle Latin America is not sustainable in the present highly competitive local environment.The decision to close Crackle Latin America is unrelated to the U.S. Crackle business, which is operated independently as an ad-supported AVOD service. We continue to explore potential strategic partnerships for Crackle in the U.S. and will share more information when possible. While we are closing the Crackle Latin America service, OTT/direct-to-consumer remains an incredibly important area for our evolving industry and we will persist in exploring other opportunities in the space. We also remain focused on our existing core business and channels in the region, Canal Sony and AXN. They are strong brands achieving solid growth and are among the top cable channels in Latin America. We will continue to think big, innovate and invest in these assets and other new prospects that we believe have great potential for our business and our viewers.We are proud of the accomplishments achieved in building Crackle Latin America into a service with more than 65 MSO affiliates across 17 countries and a loyal subscriber base from the ground up. I would like to personally thank our dedicated colleagues who have worked on Crackle Latin America over the past almost seven years. We greatly appreciate your hard work and contribution to SPT’s overall growth in the region.– Keith Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15
Under a reorg at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, will now lead the development of the forthcoming WarnerMedia direct-to-consumer service.In addition, Andy Forssell, most recently COO of Otter Media and former CEO of Hulu, will move into the role of EVP and GM of the new, as-yet-unnamed streaming service, reporting to Goncalves.With the changes, Brad Bentley is exiting WarnerMedia Entertainment group as EVP and GM for direct-to-consumer development after six months in the role.The executive reshuffling comes as WarnerMedia has moved Otter Media under the oversight of the WarnerMedia Entertainment group, headed by Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer. Goncalves, who continues to oversee Otter’s existing brands and services, now reports to Greenblatt; previously he reported up to WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey, a longtime AT&T exec who took over the reins at the former Time Warner. How an Economic Downturn Could Ravage Hollywood Related Kevin Reilly, president of TBS, TNT and TruTV and chief content officer for the direct-to-consumer service, will remain in that position, reporting to Greenblatt.Last November, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey had appointed Bentley, previously a longtime DirecTV exec, into the GM role overseeing all aspects of the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service. The exit of Bentley, who played a similar role in the launch of DirecTV Now, suggests the WarnerMedia subscription VOD product may have been missing deadlines or other targets.WarrnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer SVOD service will pull together content from HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner cable networks as well as original programming. It’s slated to debut in the U.S. in a beta form in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a full launch in Q1 2020.“I’m confident that with Tony and Andy leading our product and operations, Kevin and HBO’s Casey Bloys guiding our content strategy, and with Bob at the helm, we have a formidable team creating a curated streaming service with a winning combination of content and features,” Stankey said in a statement.About Bentley, Stankey added, “I also want to thank Brad for his leadership in bringing the project to this point in record time.”AT&T has set big expectations for the new WarnerMedia SVOD service, which will vie against not only Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video but also Disney Plus, slated for a Nov. 12 launch. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, at an investment conference this month, said it will “become a significant driver of our growth over the next few years as we stand this product up… We think this is in the tens of millions of subscribers that we will have on this.”Otter Media’s business comprises Fullscreen, focused on branded content and influencer marketing; anime streaming service Crunchyroll; Rooster Teeth, focused on sci-fi, gamer and anime-style content; and VRV, a subscription VOD aggregation service.Greenblatt, in a statement, said, “The thriving Otter Media businesses are important to this company and I’m happy to welcome Tony and Andy to our direct-to-consumer team. This group’s expertise will be invaluable to our new streaming service as we aim to bring content from the best storytellers in the world to an audience that expects the highest quality digital experience.” Popular on Variety Goncalves joined Otter Media as CEO last year, when it was still a joint venture between AT&T and Chernin Group. (AT&T announced the deal to buy out Chernin Group’s stake in the venture in August 2018.) Previously, Goncalves was CEO of AT&T’s Digital Brands and head of strategy and business development. He came to AT&T with the telco’s acquisition of DirecTV, where he had held various management roles, most recently as SVP of the digital entertainment products group.Forssell came to Otter from Fullscreen, where he had served as COO since 2015. He previously served as CEO of social-video startup ShowYou (acquired by Vevo), after stepping into the CEO role at Hulu with the exit of founding CEO Jason Kilar in 2013. Forssell had been at Hulu since 2007, shortly after its formation.WarnerMedia had already taken several steps to restructure Otter Media. The changes included shifting Machinima from Warner Bros.’s aegis to Otter Media — which then effectively shut down Machinima and folded some remaining staff into groups at Fullscreen and Rooster Teeth. Otter Media also folded the Fullscreen Live in-person tour group and the Fullscreen Direct fan-engagement service.In addition to its operating business units, Otter Media’s portfolio includes a majority stake in digital-first studio Gunpowder & Sky and minority stakes in Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine content company for women and Mars Reel high school athletes. Style Icon Jenna Lyons on Launching New Unscripted Series on Turner TV ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15
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Rockstar likes to skirt controversy with its Grand Theft Auto series. Although that controversy can sometimes bite them on the posterior — Hot Coffee anoyone? — for the most part, sales of the Grand Theft Auto games tend to be helped along by all of the free publicity handed the titles by outraged moral crusaders like Jack Thompson. One wonders, though, if Rockstar and Take-Two might be taking things a little too far in the next Grand Theft Auto game. According to a casting call currently open for publisher Take-Two, Rockstar is currently looking for somebody to play the role of James Pedeaston in a new game, presumably the next in the Grand Theft Auto series.AdChoices广告So what, I hear you ask? Well, James Pedeaston was a radio show host in Grand Theft Auto IV who, in that game, was wanted for child molestation in Malaysia, and was under investigation by the FBI. In the current casting call, Pedeaston is described as a “man-boy love activist who just got released from an Indonesian prison.”In other words, it seems like Rockstar is looking to go further with one of their more tasteless jokes in Grand Theft Auto IV. In the first game, the Pedeaston references were easy to miss, since his story was told in the rarely listened to talk radio stations, but in the new game, it looks like they want to flesh Pedeaston out into an on-screen side character.Rockstar’s tastelessness is more subversive than endorsement, so I have no doubt that the Pedeaston character will be handled with full acknowledgement of how loathsome the character is supposed to be. That said, it seems like child rape is just one of those things you don’t want to laugh about too much in a modern video game, don’t you think?Read more at Kotaku
I don’t think anyone can deny that the idea behind the Valve game Portal is a very clever one that translated well into video game form. If you’d asked me if it could be improved upon before today I’d have ummd and ahhed. But now I believe it can, or at least, there’s a more clever version in development.Game designer and artist Arthur Lee, otherwise known as Mr Podunkian, has put together a proof of concept that takes the idea of Portal‘s portals, but ties it together with taking a snapshot like you do with a camera.The result is very cool and makes my mind boggle as to the gameplay possibilities it presents. Thankfully there’s a video to help explain exactly what Lee has done, which you can watch below:Lee hasn’t thought of a name for the game yet, but admits he has basically done a “rip off [of] Portal and Snapshot.” I’d suggest that although it may rip off those games, it does so in a way few others would have thought to do so, which makes it unique.The proof of concept was created using the game development tool Unity which is free to download and use. I for one hope Lee takes this past just proof of concept stage and turns it into a fully-fledged game. There’s certainly a lot of fun to be had with the possibilities the game mechanic presents. I don’t doubt there’s people at Valve looking over this video with interest, too.via Rock, Paper Shotgun
When Tim Schafer and his company Double Fine Productions decided to find funding independent of a publisher for their next project, they turned to Kickstarter. It was worth a shot, and they only needed $400,000. Little did they know that Double Fine Adventure would set a record and draw an unprecedented number of backers.After just 24 hours not only had the $400,000 goal been reached (that happened in just 8 hours), the funds pledged had surpassed $1 million. Two days later the total went past $1.6 million. Yesterday, the Kickstarter project ended, and the final total has reached an incredible $3,336,371 through the backing of 87,142 people.The additional money raised is certainly not going to waste. Double Fine continued to add new rewards for backing the project as time went by. The funds means that Double Fine Adventure can appear on more platforms, and has been confirmed for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Plus there will be no DRM accompanying the game and multiple language translations (French, Italian, German, and Spanish).On top of shipping to multiple platforms, there’s a documentary in development with a soundtrack created by Terrence Lee. The budget and scope of the documentary also seems to have increased due to the funds available.To say that using Kickstarter has been a success story for Double Fine is a bit of an understatement. Not only does it mean the team is well funded, it potentially sets them up to repeat the same formula again in the future and continue to develop independent games entirely through crowdfunding. Of course, it all depends on how good Double Fine Adventures turns out to be, but does anyone think it will be anything less than awesome?We should also expect other studios to follow Double Fine and start trying to fund games in this way. For example, Obsidian Entertainment is considering a Kickstarter project for a game that could end up being a sequel to Planescape: Torment.Read more at Kickstarter
Stay on target 11 Other Old-School Nick Shows That Should Get Netflix MoviesWatch These Movies Before ‘Dora and the Lost City of Gold’ Growing up in the late eighties and early nineties in America, a cable channel devoted to kids was right up my ally. I enjoyed Halloween and all things spooky a bit too much, but my parents were not about to show me R-Rated horror just yet. Luckily Nickelodeon answered the call to all the creepy kids out there and aired some of the best Halloween specials I’d ever seen. From the “Zeke the Plumber” episode of Salute Your Shorts; to the (then) banned Ren & Stimpy episode entitled “Haunted House.” But once Halloween was over, the channel went right back to its normal programming. Luckily the Canadian television station YTV was pitching its “kids only spooky campfire anthology series” to networks in other countries including America, thus Are You Afraid of the Dark? was born!The series aired from 1990 to 2000 and went through quite a few stories and different Midnight Society members. The series even made a come back in 2014 bringing back story teller Tucker and eventually his brother Gary to round out the series.I revisit the series every so often. Especially now that it’s available to purchase/rent both on DVD and digitally. Here are my picks for the most hair-raising episodes…seriously they still give me chills.THE TALE OF THE DEAD MANS FLOATVol. 1, Episode 7This is one of those tales that struck fear in a lot of adolescence hearts when it aired. The fear of swimming is something that lurks deep within a lot of us. Luckily for our water fearing hero Zeke, he manages to gain a little help from Clorice, the swim team captain who is lousy at Chemistry. The two make a pact to help each other out. Zeke takes Clorice to a forgotten pool on the school campus, not knowing about the burial ground the pool was built on. Because of course! In this episode, we get to see one of the most terrifying creatures in the series. A red skeleton of sorts with hair and skin hanging from his body. It was a vision I could not get out of my head for some time. This episode echoes the final scene of the original Friday the 13th where Jason pulls Alice into Camp Crystal Lake. Zeke in the beginning was petrified of being splashed. Now he’s being pulled into the pool by an undead spirit (this kid is never getting back in the water!) With quick thinking and the power of science, Clorice and Zeke defeat the ghoul, and all is right with the school. I’d just like to know who has been keeping up with the maintenance all these years? That pool looked immaculate for being abandoned decades.Midnight Society Bookend: Tucker tries to get his friend into The Midnight Society. After telling the pretty decent Dead Mans Float tale, TMS deny his request due to being greasy and overweight. What a bunch of purists!Purchase the episode here.THE TALE OF LAUGHING IN THE DARKVol. 1, Episode 1A common Are You Afraid of the Dark trope is redheads are pegged to be asses. From the start of this episode, we are already trained to hate our lead, Josh. He is not afraid of anything! Give him any challenge, and he will sail through. But since Josh is the jerky kid that he is, he always has a bet to wager. In this tale, it’s going to an amusement park’s haunted house and stealing the red nose off a dummy clown named Zeebo.Side Note: I’d just like to take this moment and point out that this haunted house includes a dragon that blows fire across the hallway. This is an afterthought in the episode, but it completely baffles me that we’re supposed to be afraid of Zeebo the dummy clown when there is a legit safety hazard.With the clown nose in hand, Josh now makes his friend wear the stolen item the next day at school to prove he lost the bet. Before the hazing occurs, Josh is called late at night and on the other end the faint words “Give it baaaack….Give it baaack” are echoed. You see, Zeebo used the old haunted house to hide out in after robbing the carnival. The clumsy clown ended up burning himself alive with a lit cigar. Needless to say, the red clown nose Josh stole is indeed haunted by Zeebo. Josh gets the clown nose back to its owner, and he is safe for another day.Midnight Society Bookend: Kristen is deathly afraid of clowns. The second Zeebo is mentioned she is OUT! But is quickly persuaded to stay and listen to the tale. She makes it all the way through before David (who has a crush on her) breaks out a clown mask and makes her run for the hills screaming. Why ya gotta be so mean David?Purchase the episode here.THE TALE OF THE NIGHT SHIFTVol. 2, Episode 7There are a few vampire tales within the decade of the show’s existence. Night Shift definitely sticks out as one of the more spooky vampiric episodes. The story follows Amanda, an honors student who is looking to get all the credits she can before going off to college. She decides to help out at the local hospital and gets stuck working the graveyard shift. Her co-worker Felix, who is on maintenance duties, sadly is lured away by an attractive woman in the basement only to be quickly turned into a vamp himself along with most of the night staff. Meanwhile, a candy corn obsessed classmate of Amanda’s checked himself into the hospital to get his tonsils looked at. But really he just wants to hang with Amanda, (not creepy at all.)The two later stumble across the head vampire. Who by the way, is beyond frightening looking! Most head vampires resemble Vlad the Impaler or Dracula. This head vampires wet green skin, stark white hair and blood red eyes are indeed nightmare fuel for any child under the age of twelve watching.The two teens discover the vampire’s coffin and learn that if destroyed, everyone in the hospital will go back to normal. In a chase that leads to the hospital roof the head vampire holds Amanda over the roof and proclaims “I should drop you and lick up what’s left!” This stuck with me for years, making vampires truly haunting in my opinion. In classic AYAotD fashion, the young teens reign triumphant by burning the coffin and saving Amanda.Midnight Society Bookend: Gary finally made some moves and has a possible date. Good for you Gary!Purchase the episode here.THE TALE OF THE GHASTLY GRINNERVol. 4, Episode 5This is easily my favorite episode of the series. The story follows Ethan, a young aspiring comic artist. He sends his work out to all the major publishers, only to receive nothing but rejection letters. I found this pretty impressive due to Ethan only being in middle school. Within his pile of rejection letters, he finds an invite to a new comic book store opening in his area. He attends and meets a woman named Frankie. She reveals to Ethan that her father is Sylvester Unkus, a famed comic artist who created one of the creepiest comic characters of all time, The Ghastly Grinner. Only one issue was ever made after the creator (Frankie’s father) disappeared shortly after its release. Anyone watching this episode today can tell that The Ghastly Grinner is easily a knock-off of DC Comics The Joker. He renders his victims powerless by having them laugh uncontrollably until their ultimate demise. Still, a pretty creepy horror villain if you ask me. The ill-fated Unkus’s art resembles Ethan’s; this is why Frankie contacts him in the first place and wants him to check out the issue.This episode is like lightning in a bottle for 90’s comic book fans. Walking through the store is like a trip down memory lane. We see past AYAotD cut outs, Superman next to Wolverine before copyright laws. To me, this episode holds something special. I don’t want to go too much into the episode, but we are introduced to Ethan’s classmate, Hooper Picalarro (think Tina from Bob’s Burgers.) The two teens try and work together in defeating the Ghastly Grinner and freeing Sylvester Unkus. Spookiness is afoot all over this episode, especially the scene involving a bus that resembles Nightmare on Elm Street II with a little Exorcist thrown in. The Ghastly Grinner is a formidable foe and one for the books.Midnight Society Bookend: Betty Ann sees comics as “Guide books to other dimensions”… She’s not wrong.Purchase the episode here.I hope you enjoyed these four entries of spine tingling terror and this look back at one of Nickelodeon’s most ambitious ventures into scaring children into…well and adults still. The series has many duds, but these four are strong entries for a dark and stormy night. I promise you’ll have a great time with them. Unpleasant dreams.
Top Movies and TV Panels to Keep on Your Radar for SDCC 2019’The Flash’ Season 5 Finale Recap: 2 Big Bads and 1 Pre-Crisis Stay on target When The Flash first premiered just under three years ago, it was the happier and more upbeat Arrowverse show. Compared to the brooding and serious Arrow, Barry Allen was positive, funny and cool in an awkward, geeky way. We haven’t seen a whole lot of that Barry this season. The focus on stopping Savitar from killing Iris in the future has put a damper on things. Thankfully, last night’s episode felt mostly like a return to the format that made us fall for The Flash in the first place. All they needed to do was give Barry a factory reset.Part of what made last night’s episode, so fun was that Savitar was barely in it. His only significant scene comes at the beginning, where he tells Barry how he was created. Surprise, it involves Barry messing with time. After Flashpoint messed everything up, it appears this current timeline is a closed loop. Barry created time copies of himself to defeat Savitar. Savitar killed all of them but left one alive. After Iris’s death, the rest of the crew ignored that time copy, who then became Savitar. As Savitar, he went back in time to convince everyone that he was the original speedster. You got all that? …Just go with it, the season’s almost done.That bit of exposition and the stinger at the end are the only two scenes that move the story forward. This episode is filler, but that’s OK. Even as filler, it’s the most The Flash this show has been in a long time. To stop Savitar, Team Flash has the brilliant idea of inhibiting Barry’s ability to form new memories. That way, Savitar won’t remember any plan they come up with. Basically, Cisco and Julian watched Memento, and their only takeaway was “what a great idea!” Of course, the plan doesn’t quite work out the way they want. Instead of blocking his short term memory, they give him amnesia.Candice Patton as Iris West (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)That leads to the kind of comedy we don’t see much on this show anymore. It’s enough to remind us how much we’ve missed it. Barry stumbles around, trying to figure out who he is. He decides he doesn’t like being called Barry and prefers Bart. He still loves Iris, because some things don’t change, and they have fun together. There’s a scene of them talking and laughing over coffee, which gives off the sense that Iris feels the same way we do. She’s so happy to have this version of Barry back but knows it can’t last.It’s a little frustrating that it can’t because this is the one plan that actually stops Savitar. Just like Barry, Savitar has no idea who he is. Unfortunately, Barry needs his memories to be effective as The Flash. He can’t even defeat a minor villain, much less the God of Speed (amnesiac though he may be) unless he relearns how to be a speedster. There must have been a better way to communicate this though. The thing that gets them working on a cure is Barry messing up an expert testimony. Cisco and Julian give him glasses through which they can tell him what to say. There’s one flaw: if any water gets on them, even a drop of sweat, they break. Couldn’t they put some rubber around the frames or something? In any case, Barry… er, Bart botches the testimony, and because Central City has the worst court system in America, an arsonist goes free.Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West, Danielle Panabaker as Killer Frost and Tom Felton as Julian Albert (Photo: Jeff Weddell /The CW)As flimsy as the reasoning is, it does set up a couple of great character moments. First is when Killer Frost is forced to work with Cisco and Julian on a cure for Barry. She wants Savitar back, and Central City needs Barry back. As their working, Cisco shares a memory of Caitlin, him and Ronnie. The memory gets to Killer Frost, and for a second she starts reminiscing with them. Danielle Panabaker plays this part especially well, barely managing to bottle up her emotions. Later, after Julian tells her he loves her, and she insists she doesn’t love any of them, Killer Frost has a moment to herself in the elevator. We don’t even need the special effect of Frost’s eyes flashing brown. Somewhere inside, she still loves Team Flash. I wonder if that will come into play in the upcoming battle.The other great character moment came from Iris. Candice Patton carried this episode, making the moment she had to bring Barry’s memories back painful. We’d seen them have fun together for the first time in I don’t know how long. Now, she has to bring back memories of the night of Barry’s mom’s murder. After the barrier blocking Barry’s memories is broken, she reminds him of the night he came to live with the Wests. She brings up how she held him while he cried, and that was the moment they fell in love. It could have come off as saccharine and cheesy, but Patton delivers the lines in a way that feels genuine.Anne Dudek as Tracy Brand and Tom Cavanagh as Harrison Wells (Photo: Katie Yu/The CW)The love story between H.R. and Tracy isn’t entirely working for me. It was fun watching him be an awkward flirt last week, but now it’s leaking into the main plot and getting obnoxious. They have chemistry, and it’s still fun to watch them dance around each other, but… why? Does every character have to have a love interest?Aside from a couple of minor annoyances, this hour of what was filler turned out to be one of the better episodes of the season. It remembers that The Flash is supposed to be fun. Plus, even though there were only minor developments in the main plot, they were significant enough that the episode didn’t feel completely like filler. Besides, the episode ended with a fantastic reveal that promises the fun will continue next week. In order to use Tracy’s speedforce bazooka against Savitar, they’ll need a power source greater than the sun. And who has one of those? King Shark. He’s coming back!
NYCC 18: The Cast of Gotham On Bane, Batman and Saying GoodbyeDC TV Comes to NYCC, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Grin & More DC News Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. It’s been a long time since we last visited the pre-Batman Gotham City, but the show does a decent enough job reminding us of the current state of things. Jim Gordon is captain of the GCPD, Bruce fired Alfred, Lee is ruling the Narrows and Sofia Falcone is building an empire. When we get into the episode proper, we’re introduced to the new Poison Ivy. This is the third actor to play the supervillain so far, and already the show is taking a much less comedic route. The way she emerges from her plant cocoon and stares at the criminals who broke into her apartment sure is unsettling. Oh, and she can poison dudes just by touching them now. More than that, we learn later that her victims have actual poison ivy growing in their dead bodies. There’s a wonderfully disturbing scene where the forensic pathologist cuts open Ivy’s victim and vines start growing out of the hole. That’s the gross-out violence I come to Gotham for.For her part, Ivy still needs to figure out what to do. With a new actor in the role, the show needs to find a way to reintegrate her into the story, and yeah, it’s a little clumsy. Ivy sees a TV commercial for Barbara’s club and decides to go mess with them. It’s not the strongest motivation, but it gets her back into things. She causes some trouble at the club and gets kicked out. But not before Selina figures out who she is… thanks to a mean comment from obnoxious bad boy tryhard Bruce Wayne. At least it ends in an exciting way. Selina breaks into the apartment Ivy’s staying in, and Ivy attacks her. For a second it really looks like the Poison Ivy infection is going to kill Selina, but Ivy pulls out an antidote just in time. Then she makes an offer. The Sirens are already splintering. Now, Selina will join Ivy to take over Gotham. That’ll be fun to watch.Erin Richards, Jessica Lucas and Camren Bicondova (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX)For the most part, things aren’t going great in Gotham. Gordon is looking for Bullock, who clearly doesn’t want to be found. Lee is trying to inspire the citizens of the Narrows to better themselves and their neighborhood when someone sends a small airplane with a bomb at her. Fortunately, Grundy is there to knock it away. And Alfred is down on his luck, moving from flat to flat in the Narrows when Gordon randomly runs into him fending off a mugger. It’s far from the worst state Gotham City has been in, but on an individual character level, it really feels like ‘everyone saves Ivy’ has hit bottom.Gordon and Alfred see the explosion rush over to help. Gordon tries to interview a couple of witnesses, but nobody in The Narrows is all that keen on talking to a cop. It’s a good thing Lucius Fox is there to analyze what’s left of the bomb. Given the level of detail and the size of the explosive, they conclude it was an assassination attempt. They trace the airplane to a toy shop that has supervillain lair written all over it. A very nervous shop worker says he’ll go get his father, and then one of the creepier toy soldiers turns into an automated turret. Yes, this is very clearly the source of the assassin’s bomb. It would seem the nervous worker’s father is the culprit. Gordon and Lucius avoid being shot and blown up and give chase, but the killer gets away. The son is still here, though.Ben McKenzie and Erin Richards (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX)He gives them some useful information. He seems like he really had no idea his father was building weapons. He also remembers hearing his father talking to a strange man. They mentioned something about “the Doc.” Hey, we knew it was only a matter of time before the show got Lee and Gordon back in a room together. Gordon finds out where to look for the Doc from Barbara, because this show can’t resist putting Jim Gordon in awkward rooms with his exes. As strange as flirtations from Barbara are, things get even weirder for Jim when he finds out exactly who The Doc is. He’s shocked to find her all gothed out, giving a rousing speech about the power of a united Narrows. I also love his interaction with Nygma. Gordon mentions that the assassin is also a toy builder, and Nygma says “That’s so Gotham.” This show knows exactly what it is. It’s honestly its best quality.Gordon leaves to take a look around, and Gordon catches a glimpse of the terrorist toymaker. He chases him into an alley only to find the toymaker waiting for him. Nygma’s personality is splitting again. It turns out he hired the toymaker to kill the Doc… as The Riddler. The Riddler thinks Lee is holding Nygma back. Before anything more can happen though, Gordon finds the two and shoots the Toymaker. Nygma makes up a story to cover up what really happened because that’s obviously the healthy thing to do. We all know Nygma is going to snap and The Riddler will return. The season has set itself a nice ticking time bomb, and it’ll be fun to watch it blow.Cory Michael Smith and Morena Baccarin (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX)For its first episode back from a long hiatus, this week’s edition of Gotham is a little light on the action. It’s setting everything up for the rest of the season. The stories all felt very light and low-stakes. The villain wasn’t all that compelling and we only got one Bruce Wayne scene that told us nothing new. Despite that, it still made for a fun return. Like I said, this show knows exactly what it is. What it lacked in action or a real villain, it made up for in big character moments. Gotham is the superhero TV equivalent of pro wrestling. Even when it’s lacking in action, you keep coming back for the entrances, promo speeches and heel turns. This episode was entirely composed of set-up, but it was very good set-up.Alfred had the most complete, satisfying story of the night. After befriending a waitress at is a local diner, he starts to notice signs of abuse. While walking her home, he meets her boyfriend and puts two and two together. Alfred loses his temper and starts beating up the guy, but his new friend calls him off. She can handle him, she says. The next time we see her, she’s been beaten to death. And the boyfriend stole Alfred’s ring to make it look like he did it. Gordon believes Alfred’s story, but it’s going to take more than that to get Alfred off the hook.David Mazouz (Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX)With so much going on in this episode, this story didn’t quite get the attention it deserved. Alfred’s framing was solved as soon as it was established. I was left wishing the show had forced us to worry about Alfred more. In the end, it did have a satisfying conclusion. Alfred tracks the boyfriend to a bar, and is just about to be stabbed, but it turns out the bartender is Harvey Bullock. After beating Alfred’s attackers with a bat, he makes sure the record is set straight. He also has the best entrance line of the night. “Sorry I’m late, I was in the john.” This show knows exactly what it’s doing. Bullock’s return puts a huge smile on my face. It was the best moment of an episode made entirely of strong moments. Sadly, Bullock isn’t interested in joining the GCPD again. He knows Gordon is compromised, and he is not interested in being the one to absolve him again.Gotham’s return may not have had the best story we’ve ever seen from this show. It may not have had those scary villain moments the promos had promised. It’s a little disappointing, but I don’t mind all that much. It needed to get us back into the world of Gotham City after a long break, and it did its job very well. It built hype for the rest of the season, and I can’t wait to see some of these storylines pay off later down the road. And hey, it looks like we’ll get those moments next week with the long-awaited return of Jerome. And now there will be far less set-up to distract from that.