Choose Your Own HALLOWEEN Adventure

Earlier this month, the trailer for the latest film in the long-running HALLOWEEN franchise had its unveiling, and along with that came the information that it would be serving as a direct sequel to the original HALLOWEEN (1978).

Now, long-running franchises will often have “non-canon” installments. Sometimes they’re meant as an intentional new direction, sometimes they come as a result being disregarded by a subsequent film (for example, Superman Returns wisely side-stepped the existence of Superman III and Superman IV), but either way, it usually just means that if you were to sit down to watch the whole franchise, you could skip over an installment or two and not have it affect the main storyline.

But the HALLOWEEN franchise takes it one step further. As of right now, it has managed to create multiple divergent storylines within its franchise. Indeed, you can easily say that HALLOWEEN has now become the Choose Your Own Adventure of film franchises.

Partly due to original HALLOWEEN heroine, Jamie Lee Curtis’s unexpected agreement to return on multiple occasions to her most iconic role, selections from the 11 films in the HALLOWEEN franchise can be viewed in such a way that you can have up to 6 possible storylines based purely on what direction you want the story to go…just like the much cherished CYOA books of many of our youths.

How so, you ask?

Well, you give a [SPOILER WARNING] and then you start just like this…

(Tip: follow the orange path you choose by jumping to it’s matching green heading)*

It is a dark and foreboding night. An owl hoots in the distance. The only other sound is from the wind’s occasional rustling of the fall foliage. In other words, it’s a perfect time for a HALLOWEEN marathon! But now you must decide: Do you want your film experience featuring the masked killer Michael Myers to be…

…launched under the ground-breaking, atmospheric and skillful direction of John Carpenter? If so, then start with HALLOWEEN (1978).

…seen through the grubby and gory eyes of director Rob Zombie? If so, then start with HALLOWEEN (2007).

…a one-and-done film free of any appearance, reference or relation to Michael Myers? If so, then skip to HALLOWEEN III: Season of the Witch.

*NOTE—if you were one of those people who just always skipped to the end of Choose Your Own Adventures, then do what you know and skip to the TL;DR section below for a round-up of the films in each storyline.

HALLOWEEN (1978): Michael Myers, imprisoned in a mental institution since he was 6 years old for the brutal murder of his sister, escapes on the eve of the 15th anniversary of her death – Halloween, 1978. He heads back to his hometown of Haddonfield where he begins stalking a small group of teens and eventually kills three of them. One survivor, babysitter Laurie Strode, fights off his repeated attacks until he is shot six times by his psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis, and plummets off a second story balcony.

If you want Michael to escape and continue his night of terror in Haddonfield, move on to HALLOWEEN II (1981)

or

If you want Michael to get caught, skip to HALLOWEEN (2018)

HALLOWEEN II (1981): continuing from HALLOWEEN (1978): Michael Myers, having survived being impaled with a knitting needle, poked in the eye with a hanger, stabbed with a butcher knife, six gunshots to the chest and a two-story fall off a balcony, shakes it off and casually makes his way to Haddonfield Memorial, where his only surviving victim, Laurie Strode has been taken. While Michael slices through the hospital’s graveyard crew, Dr. Loomis learns that Laurie Strode is Michael’s baby sister (who was adopted after Michael’s parents were killed shortly after Michael was incarcerated for killing his sister). Realizing that Michael has returned to Haddonfield specifically to kill Laurie, he races to the hospital, managing to save Laurie once again before it’s too late. This time around, he fills an operating room with flammable gas, flicks a lighter and blows him and Michael right the hell up. Michael, fully on fire, stumbles out of the room and then falls to ground, motionless.

If you want Michael and Dr. Loomis to both survive, then follow their saga through HALLOWEEN 4: The Return of Michael Myers, HALLOWEEN 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and HALLOWEEN: The Curse of Michael Myers

or

If want Dr. Loomis to survive the fire and Michael to be presumed dead, jump to HALLOWEEN H20: Twenty Years Later

HALLOWEEN (2007): Sit in on the story of Michael Myers’ childhood and watch as this cherub faced moppet develops an interest in torture and brutal violence that reaches its apex when he kills a bully, then his sister, her boyfriend and his stepfather all on one Halloween night. Incarcerated in a juvie loony bin, Michael manages to kill a nurse, which finally drives his Mom to suicide. Michael then grows up to be human giant Tyler Mane and makes a bloody breakout on Halloween Eve to return to Haddonfield. Determined to find his baby sister Boo, (who now goes by the name her adoptive parents gave her, Laurie Strode) Michael extracts gory, rage-fueled carnage on anyone who even glances his way. He is ultimately shot by Laurie herself, since his psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis, is not much of a reliable nor noble person.

Still alive, Michael is taken away in an ambulance to HALLOWEEN II (2009), where he escapes when the ambulance hits a cow. We then go to the hospital where Laurie has been taken for what is obviously a dream, because it’s a quite-well executed and suspenseful sequence where Michael stalks Laurie through the hospital corridors, stairwells and outside grounds. But then Laurie wakes up and is now permanently grumpy and whiney. Michael spends a year as a killer hobo before he returns to his quest of reclaiming his sister Laurie-Boo. As Michael is driven on by visions of his dead mother and a white horse to brutally massacre an assortment of redneck stereotypes and other unlikable people, you only have yourself to blame for watching this ugly mess. THE END

HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH: A doctor uncovers a sinister plot by an evil Halloween mask maker that involves a ritual requiring the sacrifice of thousands of children. To execute his plot, his company’s top-selling Halloween masks (“The Halloween Three”) each have a built-in death device to be triggered by a special TV signal on Halloween night. The doctor joins forces with a missing mask retailer’s daughter and they struggle to prevent the Halloween carnage from happening. Do they succeed? Unclear. THE END

HALLOWEEN 4,5,6 (Return, Revenge, Curse) continuing from HALLOWEEN II (1981): It’s 10 years after that fateful Halloween night that ended with a hospital fire that crippled Dr. Loomis and put Michael Myers into a coma. In that time, survivor Laurie Strode got married, had a daughter (Jamie), then died in a car crash with her husband. During a patient transfer, Michael wakes from his coma, makes a bloody escape, and returns to Haddonfield to kill his niece, 9 year-old Jamie.

He is pursued yet again by Dr. Loomis as he slices his way through Haddonfield but is ultimately unsuccessful in killing Jamie, so he returns the following year (HALLOWEEN 5) to do it all over again. He is briefly caught and taken into custody before a mysterious man in black ambushes the police station, releases Michael and kidnaps Jamie.

Seven years later (HALLOWEEN 6) we find out that Jamie was kidnapped by a cult that protects Michael and we also learn that the method to Michael’s madness all has to do with some Celtic ritual that has ties to his bloodline. Dr. Loomis and Tommy Doyle (Laurie’s babysitting charge from 1978) team up, track down the cult and finally, if not ambiguously, put an end to Michael’s reign of terror. THE END

HALLOWEEN H20: Twenty Years Later continuing from HALLOWEEN II (1981): It’s 20 years after that fateful Halloween night that ended with a hospital fire that crippled Dr. Loomis. Michael Myers was presumed dead as his body was never recovered, but that didn’t stop Laurie Strode from going into hiding. In fact, she faked her death, changed her name and moved to California, where she had a son and became headmistress of a secluded private school. But now, Michael—alive and well all these years—finds this information out by breaking into the house of the now-deceased Dr. Loomis, stealing his files and killing his former live-in nurse (the same nurse who was there with him when Michael escaped in 1978!). Michael then makes his way across the country to the private school, kills some students and faculty and attacks Laurie and her son. Laurie, who has had ENOUGH, takes charge of things, goes head-to-head with Michael and eventually beheads him, ending the terror once and for all.

If you want Michael to really be dead so Laurie can finally have closure, then this is THE END

or

If you want Michael to escape death (because of the worst case of mistaken identity ever) and then tie up loose ends before gaining a new motive for murder, go watch HALLOWEEN Resurrection

HALLOWEEN Resurrection continuing from HALLOWEEN H20: Laurie has been hospitalized due the trauma from her realizing the man she beheaded was not her serial killer brother, but an EMT who Michael attacked and then placed, unconscious, in his mask and coveralls. Eventually, Laurie is found once again by Michael. But she’s prepared for him this time and has an elaborate trap waiting for him on the hospital roof. Unfortunately, a moment’s hesitation proves to be fatal for Laurie as Michael stabs her, sending her swan diving off the roof. Michael then returns to live like a squatter in his now-condemned childhood home until a live webcast featuring college students investigating the “mystery of America’s most brutal mass murderer” sets up shop at chez Myers, giving Michael a new reason – and victims – for some bloody Halloween havoc. THE END

HALLOWEEN (2018) continued from HALLOWEEN (1978): Michael Myers has been imprisoned since 1978, having been caught shortly after killing three teens in Haddonfield on Halloween night. 40 years later, he escapes to take up where he left off, by going after “the victim who got away”, Laurie Strode. But Laurie—now a grandmother—has been prepping herself all these years, survivalist-style, for just this moment. How will the confrontation end? Find out this October. THE END…?

 

TL;DR

Choose Your Own HALLOWEEN Adventure! 11 films…

…six possible storylines!

 

 

 

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Billboard’s Hot 100 Problems

Since the mid 1950s, Billboard has been providing a weekly tally of the top 100 pop singles in the United States. Over the years, the chart has undergone name changes, used various methods of data collection and adjusted the criteria used to formulate this list when needed—all in a bid to stay relevant and be the most reflective of the state of music consumption across the United States at any given time. 

For the most part, this has worked. And throughout all these changes, the charts did manage to stay more or less relevant. They could still be used as bars of reasonable comparison across the years, even when marketing trends affected chart trends (for example, the very quick turnover of hit singles at retail and radio during the 50s and 60s, compared to the longer, more natural chart runs of the hits of the 90s and 00s). 

Then along came iTunes, YouTube, and music streaming services, and in its frenzied attempt to accurately reflect how music is being consumed in the digital era, Billboard dropped the ball. Not because they drastically changed the criteria for ranking the top 100 songs (they had to do something) but because after they made such drastic changes, they still maintained that the new-methodology-based Hot 100 chart could still be used as a bar of comparison for all previous eras of the Hot 100 (which it cannot). 

To explain, for decades the Billboard Hot 100 singles were calculated based on a combination of radio airplay and sales figures. So essentially, only songs that were being promoted as singles to radio or at retail could chart. Then, the business model introduced via iTunes, where consumers could purchase any individual tracks from an album that they wanted (and not just the tracks being promoted as singles), increased the potential for tracks that were not and were never meant to be singles to make the Hot 100. And now, Billboard factors in free streaming and subscription-based streaming data along with the airplay and sales figures.

And what this has resulted in are situations like what happened on May 12 when Post Malone had all 18 tracks of his latest album beerbongs & bentleys chart on the Hot 100. A seemingly unheard of feat in the history of the Hot 100, it’s one that has now already happened to multiple artists in recent years. But that’s not the most troublesome part. That would be the part where Billboard then touted this feat as “breaking the Beatles’ record for most simultaneous singles in the top 20” (which was “6”, a record that had, in fact, held for 50+ years, until it was “matched” just a week prior to Post Malone, by J. Cole, who had just released HIS latest album that saw a bunch of his tracks all land on the Hot 100 as well).  

I mean, COME ON, Billboard. The Beatles accomplished their feat with 6 individual singles that were pressed and issued individually, bought by consumers AND received radio airplay. And you’re trying to say that a bunch of album tracks downloaded and streamed by J. Cole and Post Malone fans, using a content and delivery system that didn’t even exist over a decade ago) be used as a proper comparison. No.  A Hot 100 ranking used to mean the average music listener would be more familiar with a song the higher in the charts it was placed. Not so much anymore. 

It’s one thing to try and make the charts relevant to today’s manner of music consumption, it’s another to try and do so while maintaining that the chart feats of today are still comparable to those of the past.  

Sure, it’s a great way to drive site traffic and page clicks by announcing what latest long-standing record has just been broken, but it’s not an honest comparison, it minimizes the feats of the artists who established the chart records in the first place and it exaggerates the relevance of the newer artists. 

The solution though, is simple. Billboard needs to bite the bullet and “retire” the pre-download/streaming era of the Hot 100, and establish that this is now a new chart era and begin referring to any record-breaking chart feats with an asterisk indicating as such (I would actually go so far as to relegating tracks that were not being promoted as singles to a “Top Downloaded Album Tracks” chart, keeping them off the Hot 100 completely, but I’m sure that would cause a whole mess of other problems). It will mean there will be less attention-grabbing, click-baity headlines, but on the upside, it might just restore some integrity back to the charts. 

 

Carrie: The Musical

Recently, Riverdale, the CW’s edgy take on the Archie Comics characters, explored that time-honoured trope of the “musical episode”. Most musical episodes tend to either present original songs, well-known covers or Broadway standards (or sometimes a mix of all three). But those kids from Riverdale High always like to shake things up, so for an episode revolving around the annual high school musical, which production did they choose to mount? Only a show inspired by one of the biggest, most infamous Broadway flops of all time – Carrie: The Musical.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Broadway’s Carrie, but are familiar with the works of Stephen King, then the first thing that popped into your mind is correct. Once upon a time, some people convinced some other people that if they took Stephen King’s horror novel about a telekinetic teen who gets bloody revenge on her tyrannical mother and tormenting peers and turned it into a full-blown musical, it would be the biggest thing to hit Broadway. And soon they had millions of dollars invested in their ambitious nightmare.

How was it a nightmare?  

Here’s a quick “highlight reel” of the ill-fated initial run of Carrie:

  • Workshopped in 1984, announced for Broadway in 1986, funding not raised until 1987, finally mounted in 1988.
  • A four-week trial run in Stratford-upon-Avon receives mixed reviews, show undergoes numerous script revisions and is plagued by technical problems.
  • Barbara Cook (playing Carrie’s mother, Margaret White), after almost being decapitated by a set piece on opening night, announces she’s quitting the show and only stays on until the end the trial run.
  • Carrie moves to Broadway with a then-outrageous (and still hefty today) price tag of $8 million dollars. Betty Buckley replaces Barbara Cook and the show begins previews (of which there will be 16).
  • Throughout previews the show is met with equal parts cheers and jeers, receiving standing ovations for Buckley and star Linzi Hateley some nights, “boos” and hoots on others—and sometimes a combination of both.
  • Opening night is well-received but the reviews are devastating, prompting the financial backers to cut their losses and withdraw their support. Even though the initial shows were selling out, Carrie closes after only 5 official performances, cementing its place in Broadway flop infamy (so much so, that Ken Mandelbaum titled his definitive history of Broadway flops Not Since Carrie: 40 Years of Broadway Musical Flops)

So, what made it so disastrous? 

You could cite many reasons: inconsistency in theme, varying quality of material or that the special effects ran from cheesy (a “Disney Princess” moment where Carrie’s telekinesis-powered hairbrush and hand mirror swirl about her) to ineffective (the climatic pig’s blood dousing scene goes from being delivered via a rope-pulled bucket high in the rafters to Chris just tossing the bucket of blood in Carrie’s face, like she’s PETA’s Public Enemy #1) to dangerously unsafe (did we mention how Barbara Cook was almost decapitated?).

The original production can be viewed in bits and pieces in all its low-res glory on the internet, and from what I could tell, confounding set design and questionable costume choices and characterization were a big part of the problem. The novel and the subsequent movie starring Sissy Spacek both served up depictions of typical 1970s teens – how they talked, how they acted, how they dressed. However, the teen scene in Broadway’s Carrie is presented like some avant-garde take on an 80s teen flick wrapped within a gothic jazzercise fever dream.

For example, one moment the high school teens are singing and dancing in a very Bye Bye Birdie-esque set up at a drive-in movie. Next, they’re all geared up in head-to-toe spandex and leather, slinking and gyrating around in the darkness of an underground afterhours club. As one does. When you’re in high school.

 

However, there are some redeeming qualities – the performances were strong and some of the musical numbers at their core were very good (the bare-bones workshopped recording of “Do Me A Favour”, profiled by Broadway deconstruction master Seth Rudetsky here, is so much better than the oh-so-80s synthed version that eventually made it into the actual production (see above), but ultimately, they were brought down by the problems with the overall production.

Back from the dead 

Turns out many people still saw the promise in Carrie, and were convinced she could rise from the grave and be redeemed. And in 2012 that’s exactly what happened when a revamped Off-Broadway production was mounted. With a handful of new songs and a more traditional staging and styling (welcome back, normal-looking teens!), this new version—Carrie: The Musical—was given a welcome reception during its limited run, garnering 5 Drama Desk Award nominations in the process. Redemption at last.

And it’s this version that the gang from Riverdale mounts, 70s-style, for the Spring musical (and really, if there ever was a more appropriate musical for Riverdale to do, I’ve never heard of it). But choosing the better Carrie doesn’t prevent it from being a disaster (minor spoiler alert if you’re behind on Riverdale).

While the high school’s production is tight and it doesn’t get slayed by the critics, Midge, the production’s understudy-made-star, unfortunately does get slayed—by the Black Hood killer. Which is dramatically revealed center stage when the spotlight shines on her bloody, crucified corpse.

Alas, poor Carrie White—even fictional productions of her musical quickly get the ax one way or another.

 

A Tale Of Two DYNASTYs

With Nicollette Sheridan’s sly entrance as Alexis in episode 16 of the CW’s Dynasty redux, all the major players of the original series are now in place. Therefore, I thought it would be the perfect time to do a little comparison to see just what changes have been made to the line-up and storyline of the original 80s version to make them more relevant to the world of the 2010s.

What makes these two versions great for comparison is that the new Dynasty isn’t a continuation or reboot of the original. It’s a straight-up remake that, so far, has pretty much followed the trajectory and hit the same major plot beats of the original (although not without adding some original tweaks of its own—as any good remake should!), so…let’s dig in!

 

THEN (Blake, Krystle, Fallon)

Blake Carrington (John Forsythe) oversees his oil empire, Denver Carrington, from his 48-room Colorado mansion. He marries his second, and much younger, wife Krystle Jennings (Linda Evans). His former secretary, Krystle finds it hard to fit in the opulent world of the Carringtons. Also living at the mansion is Blake’s daughter, Fallon (Pamela Sue Martin). Headstrong and spirited, Fallon has no interest in following in her dad’s footsteps (although she eventually ends up running his La Mirage resort for a while).

NOW (Blake, Cristal, Fallon)

Blake Carrington (Grant Show),  oversees his global energy empire, Carrington Atlantic from its headquarters in Atlanta. His younger, second wife is Cristal Flores (Nathalie Kelley), a Venezuelan who works for Carrington Atlantic. But instead of leaving her job after they marry, she gets promoted—to COO. This does not sit will with Blake’s ambitious daughter, Fallon (Elizabeth Gillies), who had her eyes on that position. She eventually decides to leave Carrington Atlantic to start her own energy company, Morell Corp.

THEN (Steven, Sammy Jo, Alexis, Culhane)

Perpetually confused about his sexuality, Blake’s son Steven (Al Corley) mourns the death of his boyfriend by hooking up with Krystle’s niece, Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear)—who had basically moved herself into the Carrington mansion. They eventually wed and have a son, but divorce soon after. Alexis (Joan Collins), Fallon and Steven’s mother, has been out of their lives ever since she and Blake divorced. Suddenly, she swoops back into Denver when she is named as witness for the prosecution—in the trying of Blake for the murder of Ted (Steven’s aforementioned boyfriend). Michael Culhane (Wayne Northrup) is the Carrington’s chauffer, who also includes bedding Fallon among his driverly duties.

NOW (Steven, Sam, Alexis, Culhane)

Steven (James Mackay) is among other things, a confident gay man, an activist, a former drug addict, and is also in love with Sammy Jo (Rafael de la Fuente), who this time around is Cristal’s nephew, also from Venezuela. Sam also sets up house at the Carrington manse, much to the chagrin of practically everyone there except Cristal. Alexis (Nicollette Sheridan), the former Mrs. Blake Carrington, swoops back into Atlanta to attend the funeral of Blake’s father, after being driven out by Blake years earlier so he could keep custody of Fallon and Steven after their divorce. Michael Culhane (Robert Christopher Riley) is the Carrington’s chauffer who breaks off his years-long affair with Fallon when he’s tired of just being her plaything.

THEN (Jeff, Monica, Cecil)

ColbyCo is Denver Carrington’s business rival.  Cecil Colby (Lloyd Bochner) runs the show while son Jeff Colby (John James) is a junior executive who falls in love with Fallon (and would eventually marry and have a son with her). Monica Colby (Tracy Scoggins) is Jeff’s cousin from California (who was not an original Dynasty character, since she was created for its spin-off, The Colbys, some 5 years after Dynasty originally premiered). Jeff and Monica are eventually revealed to be half-siblings when it is discovered that her father (Cecil’s brother, Jason) also fathered Jeff as a result of an affair with his mother.

NOW (Jeff, Monica, Cecil)

Jeff Colby (Sam Adegoke) is a self-made billionaire who runs ColbyCo and a variety of other holdings in Atlanta and elsewhere. He becomes partners with Fallon in her Morell Corp company and starts to pursue her romantically. His sister Monica (Wakeema Hollis) is Fallon’s BFF from high school and she eventually takes up with Culhane while Jeff and Fallon get more involved professionally and personally. But all is not rosy, as its revealed to be Jeff`s scheme to marry Fallon so he can take down Blake and Carrington Atlantic from the inside. Jeff believes Blake framed his father Cecil (Hakeem Kae-Kazim) for a crime he didn’t commit, which resulted in their father being taken away from Jeff and Monica and incarcerated for the past 11 years.

So there’s your general player-by-player comparison. Pretty interesting to see what’s the same and what’s changed—and how it’s been changed (including some big and welcome strides for diversity). But perhaps the most welcome thing about the new Dynasty is the most-honoured of all traditions that it has upheld. The catfights.

From the lily pond lashing of the old to the Christmas tree crashing of the new, Dynasty then and now always delivers the goods.

Sick Leave

After returning from a much-needed vacation, I got slammed by an end-of-winter cold. And try as I might, my runny-nosed self is just not up to coughing and sneezing my way through this month’s post. So in it’s stead, allow me to present the spirit animal of cold sufferers everywhere, Sick Monica Gellar (Courteney Cox).

Stay healthy, everyone!

 

So Many Supergirls

With the current cross-platform appeal of superheroes, it’s quite common to see two or three different iterations of popular characters appearing concurrently in different mediums. And while it may get confusing for some, at least it’s easy to visually distinguish them due to their medium. For example, you know just by looking at an image of Wonder Woman if she is the comic book, movie or animated version of the Amazing Amazon.

Then there are cases like Supergirl. DC Comics’ Girl of Steel has not only had multiple iterations spread across comics, film, television and more – she’s had multiple iterations within DC’s comic book line alone (and that’s without even counting the ones from DC’s non-continuity comics aimed at younger readers). And these iterations have been so distinctive from one another that when a fanboy talks about  “Supergirl from the comics”, she will most definitely be given an era-specific tag. And then add to that mix the various other Supergirls you’ve got floating around pop culture and things can start to get real confusing, real quick.

So let’s just break ‘em all down right here and now, shall we?

The Current Line-Up

These are the Supergirls regularly appearing in currently-produced content:

Supergirl (DC Comics) 

AKA the “Rebirth Supergirl”. The current comic book version of Kara Zor-El, last daughter of Krypton and cousin to Superman was recently given a soft reboot to bring her more in line with the other high-profile Supergirl currently appearing on television in…

Supergirl (The CW) 

Melissa Benoist flies high as part of Greg Berlanti’s superpowered “Arrow-verse” line-up of connected CW shows that include The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. As Linda Danvers, she works for CatCo Media and as Supergirl, she fights superhuman threats alongside her special agent adoptive sister and the D.E.O (Department of Extra-Normal Operations).

DC Super Hero Girls (multi-platform) 

As part of DC Entertainment’s animated/graphic novel/toy line aimed at young girls, Supergirl here is a neophyte hero sent to Super Hero High to hone her skills alongside super-powered classmates that include teen versions of Wonder Woman and Batgirl.

Previous/other versions 

The “Pre-Crisis” Supergirl 

This was the first (and for many people), most definitive Supergirl. For her first 26 years as a comic book character, it was smooth sailing for Supergirl. She was introduced to the world as Kara Zor-El, cousin to Superman, whose family lived on a fragment of Krypton that had survived that planet’s destruction. Eventually the city was threatened by a cataclysmic meteor shower and her parents sent her to safety in a rocket to Earth, much like her cousin Kal-El, years before.

Placed in an orphanage under the alias “Linda Lee” and keeping her identity as Supergirl hidden from the world, she was eventually adopted by the Danvers, went public as Supergirl and was an admired heroine from her teens into her twenties.

Then came the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where DC Comics decided they needed to tidy up all their multiple-earth continuity by rebooting their whole universe and starting fresh. And to signal that they meant business, they killed off some of their biggest names, the first of which being Supergirl.

The Post-Crisis Supergirl(s) 

Now here’s where it starts to get a little crazy. Shortly after killing off Supergirl and rebooting their universe, there was talk around DC about bringing Supergirl back somehow (in the post-Crisis DCU “Supergirl” never existed, so no one was aware there had ever been a “Supergirl” and that she died saving the universe in the Crisis). So here’s what DC did next.

Matrix Supergirl 

A shape-shifting blob of protoplasm (really), Matrix was from an alternate Earth and she took the guise of “Supergirl” when she came to seek Superman’s help in saving her Earth. She eventually stayed on the Earth of the DCU proper and permanently adopted the role of Supergirl.

Supergirl (Linda Danvers) 

To save a dying woman, Matrix Supergirl merged with her (remember, she’s really just a blob of protoplasm). The woman, one Linda Danvers, and Matrix Supergirl then permanently become one being, “Supergirl”. After having a number of adventures (and modifying her costume to look similar to the animated version of Supergirl that was currently appearing on television), she eventually retired from being Supergirl, which paved the way for DC to bring in the new…

Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) 

The classic Supergirl was finally properly reintroduced to the post-Crisis DC Universe, as Kara Zor-El, long-lost cousin of Superman, crash landed to Earth in a meteorite that was once part of Krypton. The teen super-heroine was eager to learn about her new home and eventually worked alongside the Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes and the Justice League. All seemed well, until…

The “New 52” Supergirl 

The “New 52” was DC’s attention-grabbing but poorly-thought out and hastily-executed attempt to gain exposure, sales and general interest for their comic book lineup. They rebooted their universe (again) and relaunched all of their titles with new #1 issues. Supergirl, here again, was a refugee from Krypton, arriving to Earth as an teen, albeit one who was prone to bursts of anger and was, dare I say, not very likeable. And she also had a very questionable costume – thigh-high boots with knee cut-outs and a bathing-suit like outfit with a very unfortunate placement of red paneling. She did, however, manage to make friends with others long enough to briefly join the Justice League United (it was this Supergirl who was given the soft reboot to become the “Rebirth” Supergirl mentioned above).

But wait, there’s more! 

Remember, this all came about because we were talking about different iterations of heroes across different mediums, so I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention:

  • Kara, as portrayed by Helen Slater in the 1984 film Supergirl.
  • Kara, as portrayed by Laura Vandervoort (in the television series Smallville)
  • Supergirl from the DC Animated Universe (Superman Adventures and Justice League Unlimited)
  • Supergirl from the Lego Batman video game franchise
  • Supergirl from the Injustice video games and tie-in comics

As well as these other (non DCU) comic versions:

  • Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures In The 8th Grade
  • Tiny Titans

…and there you have it!

Although there’s bound to be some outliers I missed here and there…just be glad I didn’t fold Power Girl into the mix (aka the Supergirl of Earth 2), because she’s a whole ‘nother ball of confusion!

Entertainment High Points of 2017

I don’t consume nearly enough content of any one form of entertainment to properly do a 2017 “Top 10” for it. However, I do consume enough content across all forms of entertainment to compile a list of those that were some of the definite high points of 2017…and here they are.

Wonder Woman 

She came, she saw, and she conquered. Three movies in, and DC Entertainment’s attempt to grab a piece of the cinematic universe pie that Marvel has been gorging on for close to a decade now was still less than well-received by both fans and critics. The dour, gritty and grim DC “extended universe” trifecta of Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad did well enough at the box office, but weren’t getting movie-goers hyped up to see any more doom-and-gloom adventures from their favourite DC icons. Enter Diana of Themyscria—princess of the Amazons, in a tale filled of hope, triumph, and yes, wonder (not to mention one that was far removed from the era of previous DCEU films, by about nearly 100 years). Gal Godot brought charisma, honesty, strength and humour to her portrayal of the Amazing Amazon and the world responded. With a global take higher than even the most optimistic predictions ($821 million), Wonder Woman bested all other DCEU films at the box office, including the surprisingly under-performing, Justice League (which exceeded meager expectations and deserved better than to have made less than Suicide Squad).

Will & Grace 

When rebooting a series, the key to capturing the magic of the original is simple: Don’t change a thing. Will & Grace reappeared after an 11-year absence and it was like they’ve just been here all along. Welcome back, gang.

Dynasty 

File this remake under “guilty pleasures”. The 80s smash that brought to the masses shoulder pads, catfights and royal wedding massacres well before Game of Thrones, was given a fresh start with this deliciously enjoyable CW makeover. Still focusing on the uber-rich Carrington clan, the action has moved from Denver to Atlanta, the cast is more diverse, and mogul Blake Carrington is now years away from becoming a silver fox (but is still a fox nonetheless, as he’s played by Melrose Place alum, Grant Show). Unfortunately, it’s ratings have it languishing near the bottom of CW’s current roster. Here’s hoping Nicolette Sheridan will help pull in some more viewers when she arrives on the scene as the new Alexis (aka the role that shot Joan Collins into the celebrity stratosphere).

Astonishing X-Men 

Years ago, Marvel was miffed that they didn’t own the film rights for the X-Men and Fantastic Four (which they sold when they were in the throes of bankruptcy) and decided if they can’t play with their toys on the big screen, then they aren’t going to play with them at all. They effectively slid the X-Men and Fantastic Four to the back burners of the Marvel Universe while they tried upping the profiles of their lesser-known, but wholly-owned entities (namely, The Inhumans and Guardians of the Galaxy). So, it was a bit of a surprise when they recently re-launched their mutant comic book line-up with 8 new titles. The line-up is a mixed bag in both quality and content, but the clear standout is Astonishing X-Men.  This 12-issue limited series is a welcome return to form that features a classic, throwback cast consisting of Rogue, Psylocke, Gambit, Archangel and Bishop (along with wild cards Fantomex, Mystique and Old Man Logan) who join forces with their deceased mentor Charles Xavier to wage battle in the otherworldly realm of the Shadow King, with nothing less than the fate of the whole world as we know it at stake (or in other words, just another Tuesday in the MU).

“Bad Liar” – Selena Gomez 

I’ve been pretty indifferent when it comes to the musical output of Selena Gomez. It’s there, I don’t mind it, but I’m certainly not going out of my way to listen to any of it. That all changed with “Bad Liar”. Mature and hypnotic, this brought a new side of Gomez to the forefront – I had actually heard it a few times before finding out it was her, and was pleasantly surprised when I did. The only drawback? The accompanying 70s suburbia slice-of-life video, which places Selena in multiple roles that range from sublime (her ultra Farrah-esque gym teacher is a joy to watch) to downright skeevy (babyfaced Selena in full crotch-grabbing male drag, porn-stache and all, is just unconvincing and unsettling). Thankfully, the music has enough merit to stand on its own.

Now before I wrap this up, I’d like to give a shout-out to a couple of podcasts. While both of these actually premiered prior to 2017, they nonetheless brought such joy to me throughout this year that they couldn’t go unmentioned.

Who? Weekly 

Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber keeps the chuckles coming with this twice-a-week podcast where they dish about the pseudo-famous (and Rita Ora) by giving you “everything you need to know about the celebrities you don’t”.

Bitch Sesh 

Casey Wilson and Danielle Schneider’s humourous podcast where they, along with a bevy of brilliant guests, examine all things Real Housewives (with a hilarious helping of all things Casey and Danielle as well).

And now for my highest high point of 2017…

“Cut To The Feeling” – Carly Rae Jepsen 

It’s an injustice that Jepsen’s post-“Call Me Maybe” output hasn’t been embraced even half as much as her career-making #1 smash (although I place a big part of that blame on the video for what should have been the big hit lead single off her sophomore album. Having Tom Hanks lip-sync nearly the entirety of “I Really Like You” while riding in a cab and doing other mundane things is definitely not something that encourages multiple views on YouTube). However, this track, originally left off said sophomore album only to find a home in Leap!, the little-seen animated ballerina flick featuring the voice of C-Rae Jeps herself, is something that demands attention. Energetic, exuberant and contagious, it was the perfect counterpoint to all the things that made you go “ugh” in 2017.

 

Happy New Year everyone!