There are at least three moments in Shazam! that made my inner-nerd do a little leap of delight.
We’ll get to them in a moment. First though, I want to reflect upon the film’s general strengths and weaknesses, beyond it’s obscure comic book appeal.
Shazam! is the latest film based on a DC Comics character to hit the big screen. It’s arrived with much critical and financial success, and carries with it the reputation of being the kind of light-hearted whimsical escapist superhero fantasy film that the DC Extended Universe has thus far been famous for not making.
And this reputation is sort of deserved. Sort of, but not quite.
Incidentally, there are spoilers ahead. Big spoilers. Big Big Spoilers!
Continue reading Say My Name…Shazam!
Sam leaps into a college party-loving frat boy named Knut “Wild Thing” Wileton, shortly before some of his anti-war classmates get in trouble for going too far with their protests. Sam must overcome prejudices against him from one in particular, an attractive girl named Elisabeth, in order to convince her that her actions are misguided.
Written by Chris Ruppenthal. Directed by Gilbert Shilton
Previous Episode: Portrait for Troian • Next Episode: Another Mommy Continue reading Quantum Leap – Animal Frat [2.12]
Sam leaps into Dr. Timothy Mintz, a parapsychologist hired by Troian Claridge to prove that her home is haunted by the ghost of her dead husband Julian. Sam of course does not believe in ghosts or supernatural phenomenon, while Al is more easily spooked. Eventually, Sam discovers that the culprit is Troian’s brother Jimmy, who is attempting to goad his sister into suicide for financial reasons. But even with his malicious intent exposed, a final twist reveals that a ghost has played a role in the story after all.
Story by John Hill & Scott Shepherd. Teleplay by Scott Shepherd & Donald P. Bellisario. Directed by Michael Zinberg
Previous Episode: Catch a Falling Star • Next Episode: Animal Frat Continue reading Quantum Leap – Portrait for Troian [2.11]
Sam becomes Ray Hutton, a stage actor currently cast as an understudy to a famous but unpleasant actor in the lead role in Man of La Mancha. When he realizes that a fellow understudy is a woman he was smitten with in the past who is romantically involved with his current host, Sam becomes conflicted about completing his mission.
Written by Paul Brown. Directed by Donald P. Bellisario
Previous Episode: So Help Me God • Next Episode: A Portrait for Troian Continue reading Quantum Leap – Catch a Falling Star [2.10]
Sam leaps into young lawyer Leonard Dancey in the 1950’s, and makes the decision to defy convention by defending a black woman on trial for murdering the son of the leading citizen of a small southern town. Sam must overcome prejudice from all sides and his defendant’s own unwillingness to speak to find out what really happened, and save his client from the electric chair.
Written by Deborah Pratt. Directed by Andy Cadiff.
Previous Episode: Jimmy • Next Episode: Catch a Falling Star Continue reading Quantum Leap – So Help Me God [2.9]
Brain in jars? How long has that been a thing?
I’m not sure, but it’s been a while. Incidentally, I’m not just talking about regular (or Abby Normal) brains in jars, like in James Whales’ Frankenstein or Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein…I’m talking about sentient brains in jars. Brains in jars that are still thinking and still talking…and usually still plotting eeeeevil.
Continue reading Brains in Jars
Sam leaps into Jimmy LaMotta, a mentally handicapped man who is attempting to enter mainstream society with the help of his loving older brother Frank. Sam faces prejudice and rejection from all sides as he attempts to help Jimmy succeed both at work and at home.
Written by Paul M. Belous & Robert Wolterstorff. Directed by James Whitmore jr
Previous Episode: Thou Shalt Not… • Next Episode: So Help Me God Continue reading Quantum Leap – Jimmy [2.8]
This story originally appeared on another blog as part of a contest to tell a short story about a spy cat. I wrote about the story and about the cat that inspired it here. However, since then it seems that that website has disappeared, so I decided to republish the story here, for completionist’s sake.
Continue reading Patience (Short Fiction)
We continue to look at Thriller, the out-of-continuity experimental comic that DC Comics produced in the early-mid 1980’s. Thriller #6 has a publishing date of May 1984 (a two month gap from the previous issue). Thriller is one of the more dense and oblique mainstream comics I have read, so this series is really me journalling my own attempts to understand it.
Continue reading Thriller #6
Sam leaps into Rabbi David Basch, whose brother Joe is struggling to deal with the death of his teenaged son a year earlier. Sam must act to prevent Joe’s wife Irene from having an affair, and find a way to help Joe and Irene begin to process their grief, and to help their daughter Karen to do the same.
Written by Tammy Ader . Directed by Randy Roberts.
Previous Episode: Good Morning, Peoria • Next Episode: Jimmy Continue reading Quantum Leap – Thou Shalt Not… [2.7]