Return of the Go-Bots

Return of the Go-Bots by Jerry Whitworth

In 1991, the transforming robot wars were officially over. Hasbro acquired Tonka and, by extension, the GoBots. While often criticized for the general cheap quality of its toys’ design as well as the cheap animation quality of its ongoing Hanna-Barbera animated series, GoBots nonetheless had some potential as part of the Transformers (at least for the more well known characters of the line). Leader-1, Cy-Kill, Turbo, Scooter, Crasher, Cop-Tur, Fitor, Path Finder… these characters were known quantities to the audience that could do well in the Transformers universe. There was just one problem: while Hasbro acquired their names and stories, they did not get their likenesses. Just as Transformers was generally an American adaptation of the Takara Diaclone and Microman toylines, GoBots founds its roots in Popy’s Machine Robo toyline (owned by Bandai). Tonka’s hastily assembled agreement with Popy saw that while they could reproduce the toys, they were only licensing the likeness which reverted back to the Japanese manufacturer. However, Hasbro has tried to capitalize on owning the GoBots property but it just didn’t work without those iconic images of the classic series. It seemed the brand would simply fade away… that is, until the latest San Diego Comic-Con International.

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DC Television Universe: SDCC 2018

DC Television Universe: SDCC 2018 by Jerry Whitworth

Starting out as an almost Batman Begins (2005) television series that instead featured a murderous Green Arrow, Arrow is going into its seventh season as spin-offs The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow enter their respective seasons five and four this fall on the CW Network (while animated spin-off Freedom Fighters: The Ray just debuted its second season online). The DC Television Universe, or Arrowverse, would incorporate Supergirl and Constantine as the former enters its fourth season and latter returned as an animated online series (City of Demons) and its eponymous protagonist has become a series regular for Legends‘ coming season (previously, Legends incorporated the ancestor of the animated series Vixen‘s eponymous protagonist). It was just learned at the latest San Diego Comic-Con International that the character Batwoman will get her own television series on the CW and she will be introduced in a five-part crossover event this December that will also incorporate the series Black Lightning (entering its second season) into the DCTVU. Two years ago, it was rumored Batwoman was sought for the second season of Supergirl but rumor also had it the idea was nixed due to Gotham on Fox (where Arrow writers have pushed for more Batman content since Gotham‘s emergence with occasional small victories). As Gotham enters its final season sometime next year with reportedly only ten episodes (which appears to fall three short of being eligible for syndication), it seems the time has come for the DCTVU to bring Gotham City to its viewers (while reportedly Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred will be getting his own television series on Epix and Dick Grayson is leading the Teen Titans on the DC Universe’s Titans series). Lets take a look at what characters are coming to the DCTVU shows this fall.

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Power Rangers Comes to Toys That Made Us

Power Rangers Comes to Toys That Made Us by Jerry Whitworth

When the documentary series The Toys That Made Us about toy brands and properties was renewed by Netflix, speculation immediately arose about what future episodes would emerge. Fans did not have to wait long as the first four episodes were announced at San Diego Comic-Con International and the Nerdfect Strangers accurately predicted at least three of those selections. It was revealed the next four episodes will focus on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, wrestling, and Power Rangers. Having already gone into detail with the former three previously (although, the ambiguous descriptor for wrestling has lead to speculation the Kinnikuman keshi, or Kinkeshi, better known in America as M.U.S.C.L.E., maybe included), we’re going to discuss the history of Power Rangers and its toys.

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Metalshark Bro: Interview with Bob Frantz, Kevin Cuffe, and Walter Ostlie

Metalshark Bro: Interview with Bob Frantz, Kevin Cuffe, and Walter Ostlie by Jerry Whitworth

Creators Bob Frantz (Monty the Dinosaur, “The Chase”) and Kevin Cuffe (Oathbound, “Iron Skull”) are no strangers to each other having worked on Elvis Adventures together and co-host the podcast Word Bros. The pair have come together again to produce Metalshark Bro, the story of a shark turned hitman for the devil. Joining them is artist Walter Ostlie (Shiver Bureau, Cubicles), letterer/editor Shawn Greenleaf (Escape from Jesus Island, Oathbound), and editor Chas Pangburn (Spider King, Wretches) as the project is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. Nerdfect Strangers had the opportunity to speak with Bob, Kevin, and Walter to discuss their campaign.

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Top 10: Episodes of Nerdfect Strangers

Top 10: Episodes of Nerdfect Strangers by Jerry Whitworth

Recently, Nerdfect Strangers founder Bobby Fisher appeared on the PVDcast where host John Orlando mentioned that on average, most podcasts last ten to twelve episodes. To put that in perspective, Nerdfect Strangers has just published its 65th episode across just over four years with five co-hosts. Over that time, the Nerdfect Strangers has experienced triumphs such as Bobby marrying the love of his life Evette and tragedy with the loss of our co-host and dear friend Glenn Walker. The podcast has had nearly two dozen guests, three real-time comical film criticism Halloween specials, been downloaded over 4,700 times, and averages 73 downloads an episode. Of course, some episodes have proven to be more popular than others. And so, we present to you, the Nerdfect Strangers‘ ten most downloaded episodes.

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The Toys That Made Us: Interview with Brian Volk-Weiss

The Toys That Made Us: Interview with Brian Volk-Weiss by Jerry Whitworth

An eight episode series whose first half debuted in late 2017 and second half May of this year, The Toys That Made Us is a Netflix-exclusive documentary series on the history of popular toylines and properties. Thus far covering Star Wars, Barbie, Masters of the Universe, GI Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, Lego, and Hello Kitty, TTMU was renewed shortly after its second half went live. Nerdfect Strangers had the opportunity to interview Brian Volk-Weiss, creator and executive producer for TTMU, about the first eight episodes and the series’ future.

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Review – Luke Cage: Season Two

Review – Luke Cage: Season Two by Jerry Whitworth

Last week, Netflix released the second season for Luke Cage, the third entry in the streaming service’s Defenders series that includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and The Punisher. Following the events of last season where Cage (Mike Colter) was drawn into conflict with Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes (Mahershala Ali) and his cousin “Black” Mariah Dillard (Alfre Woodard) only to be hunted by his crazed half-brother Willis “Diamondback” Stryker (Erik LaRay Harvey), the eponymous series’ hero must combat John “Bushmaster” McIver (Mustafa Shakir) who seeks revenge against Mariah for the crimes of her kin. The first season of the show was critically acclaimed for its exploration of challenging topics of race in America, an integrated soundtrack making the piece something of a visual album, and the remarkable performances of its cast (in particular, its actresses). Lets see if the second season matches up. Fair warning: there will be SPOILERS.

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Make It So: Green Lantern Corps the Movie

Make It So: Green Lantern Corps the Movie by Jerry Whitworth

2010 was a transition period for DC Comics film adaptations. Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008) were massive box office hits and by 2010, Christopher Nolan was developing the final film for his Dark Knight trilogy. Alternatively, Superman Returns (2006), which was intended to be the Man of Steel’s big return to theaters, under performed and its sequel intended to be released in 2009 was scrapped. Development of a Wonder Woman movie was in limbo as Joss Whedon spent two years trying to get his picture made while in 2010 it looked like the Amazonian princess was going to become a television series from David E. Kelley that didn’t pan out. Writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, and Marc Guggenheim were tasked with bringing Green Lantern and the Flash to the big screen, the former for 2011 and latter soon after. But then, Green Lantern (2011) bombed at box office. Terribly rendered CGI (especially the Green Lantern’s uniform), a poorly written script that was overly goofy, and just an overall joyless viewing endeavor, the film was a financial and critical failure (though, Berlanti would later get to tackle the Flash, just on the small screen). The stink of the film remained for years, Ryan Reynolds trying to revive his poorly received portrayal of Deadpool in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine for a featured film only to carry another albatross around his neck while development of Man of Steel (2013), intended to create a DC Extended Universe similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, virtually abandoned all mention of Green Lantern for the burgeoning brand. It wouldn’t be until 2017 that the Green Lantern earned so much as a brief cameo and mention in the film Justice League that there existed any hope of its return. Recently, it was announced the DC Extended Universe will finally produce a new Green Lantern movie reportedly set to premier in 2020. Lets take a look at what such a film might entail.

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The Wrestling Time Machine: June of 1995

Hear ye, hear ye!!!

That’s right, plebeians!

It’s the latest installment of The Wrestling Time Machine!!!

(Content Warning: Blood, Violence, Weapons)

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Casting Gargoyles

Casting Gargoyles by Jerry Whitworth

Recently, Richard Rushfield of the entertainment newsletter The Ankler reported actor/director Jordan Peele approached Disney about producing a live action adaptation of its critically-acclaimed, cult classic animated series Gargoyles. The report went on to say, however, that given Peele’s momentum from his blockbuster hit Get Out (2017), the studio did not want to turn him down but was unwilling to greenlight the project and likely hopes Peele will take on another film and forget about the pitch. The news of the pitch though has spread like wildfire generating a lot of buzz online which could give Disney pause to genuinely consider the film (not unlike the impetus leading to 2016’s hit Deadpool). Gargoyles was a 1994 animated series created for the Disney Afternoon programming block to spotlight the company’s burgeoning animated television division. Created by Greg Weisman, known better today for Young Justice, Gargoyles ran for two seasons and featured a clan of magical guardian gargoyles in tenth century Scotland that were stone by day and flesh by night put to sleep in stone for a thousand years until awoken for a malevolent purpose by wealthy genius David Xanatos. Living in modern day Manhattan, the gargoyles combated Xanatos, rogue gargoyle Demona, unaging Scottish king Macbeth, mercenary band the Pack, ancient magician Archmage, and all manner of magical beings like Puck, Oberon, and the Weird Sisters of Shakespearean lore. The show failed to attain the level of massive ratings of competing series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Batman: The Animated Series, and X-Men leading to its cancellation. A second animated series created largely without input from Weisman emerged called Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles in 1996 but was so reviled, future printed installments of the franchise treated it as non-canonical. In 2006, Gargoyles found second life as a comic book series written by Weisman for Slave Labor Graphics and Creature Comics continuing the show’s narrative until 2009 when Disney raised its licensing fee and the publisher abandoned it. Joe Books, who currently has the license to produce many Disney properties, planned on releasing a cinestory based on the first five episodes of the television series in 2016 but lack of pre-orders led to its delay and eventual cancellation. If the the buzz surrounding Gargoyles‘ adaptation into a major motion picture pan out, lets take a look as to who could portray its characters.

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Global Expansion: The WWE Invades the World

Global Expansion: The WWE Invades the World by Jerry Whitworth

In less than a couple of weeks, this year’s WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament will air on the WWE Network as the company is reportedly moving forward with a UK-based ongoing series to air on its streaming service. While WWE’s aggressive expansion into the UK market was seemingly due to the return of World of Sport on ITV last year (which stalled only to recently get back on track), the UK scene has exploded of late (as has the wrestling industry in general). This is clearly evident by New Japan’s recent announcement of Strong Style Evolved UK N1 which happens only days after WWE airs its UK tournament. New Japan has already expanded its territory into the US in the last year and the UK is its latest bid to become a global brand like WWE. This has led to battle lines being drawn as WWE has made arrangements with UK promotions Insane Championship Wrestling and PROGRESS as well as snagging several of World of Sports’ stars while New Japan has formed an alliance with Revolution Pro Wrestling and prominently features Zack Sabre Jr (who participated in WWE’s inaugural Cruiserweight Classic), Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll, and “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith Jr. in its promotion (Ospreay and Smith are also both featured in upcoming episodes of World of Sport). However, these moves could very well only be the opening salvo for a much larger confrontation as WWE tries to bring its Network to every corner of the world and New Japan has been emboldened by its consistent significant growth to try and offer some semblance of competition since WWE consumed WCW and ECW to become the undisputed king of sports entertainment. The question then becomes what country will enter WWE and New Japan’s optics next.

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Top 10: Toys for TTMU Season Three

Top 10: Toys for TTMU Season Three by Jerry Whitworth

On May 25th, the second season of The Toys That Made Us debuted on Netflix bringing an end to the eight-part documentary series about toylines that helped define the generations that grew up with them. Covering Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man, G.I. Joe, Star Trek, Transformers, Lego, and Hello Kitty, TTMU went over each toyline’s broad history while touching base with the effect they had on the people who collected them, at times weaving in celebrities whose lives’ were impacted by the toys. Stated within the opening sequence of each episode, TTMU was created as an eight-episode series however the concept could easily be expanded much further. Should Netflix order future seasons of TTMU, lets see what toys could be featured next.

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The Wrestling Time Machine: May of 1995

The phone’s ringing, better pick it up.Because it’s the latest installment of The Wrestling Time Machine!!! Continue reading

Wrestling Time Machine: April of 1995

That’s right Wrestling Fans, I’m back from the Not-Too-Distant Past with another installment of The Wrestling Time Machine, and you know what that means? That’s RIGHT! We’ve got Wrestle Sign!

Call your Cable Operator today, tell them that you want Wrestling Time Machine, and that you won’t be disappointed!

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Wrestling Time Machine: March of 1995

We’ve got Wrestle Sign here on Wrestling Time Machine, and don’t worry about sending the kids to bed, because it’s Uncensored in name only!

I Do Not Think That Word Means What WCW Thinks It Means

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