Posts filed under TV

Enter the Time Vortex

TARDIS_Two_Time_Vortex.jpg

My parents insist that after the birth of a child, time speeds up. And, in part, I think they’re right. It seems like it’s been the blink of an eye since the meeting my daughter in the fall of 2017 to her walking, talking, and spinning around like Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman in the living room.

On the other hand, I also have non-scientific belief that we are caught in a time vortex. One where the laws of time and space have completely been defied. Time, as we perceive it, has been forever altered because of the current landscape of popular culture and how we’re consuming media as a whole.

In short, binge-watching culture has put us into timey-wimey-wibbly-wabbly territory that would make even The Doctor’s head spin.

Here’s why:

In August of 2014, on this very blog, I laid out all of the pop culture goodness that was to come from 2015 through the year 2020. Much of that has been shuffled around, cancelled, finally defined or did indeed happen. In fact, I had no idea at the writing of that particular article that a new Ghostbusters film was right around the corner in 2016. Let alone that a second Ghostbusters film would be entering pre-production as I write this now. Both of which would have been shocking revelations to that schedule.

But what I didn’t anticipate was what an abundance of riches would do to my consumption of popular culture. Not only that, but how I would perceive the passage of time. Let me take a few steps back. Sitting here in March of 2019, it’s difficult to believe that Marvel Studios released Black Panther just over a little than a year ago. It’s even more difficult to recollect that Thanos snapped half of the MCU out of existence a little less than a year ago in Avengers: Infinity War. Further still, Ant-Man and the Wasp feels like it was released ages ago. When in reality, it’s only been about seven months ago. Three movies in the same serialized storyline released in the same year was absolutely unheard of. I remember as a kid sitting and calculating the time between Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 and Batman Returns in 1992 and hypothesizing that it would be at least another three to four years before we’d find out what happened to Batman in a third film. And it turned out, I was right. As, for better or worse, Batman Forever was released in 1995.

That was seemingly the norm for what felt like my entire childhood and adolescence. Movie comes out. Wait a few years, follow-up movie may or may not be behind it.

That’s completely changed.

Captain Marvel hits theaters this Friday. Avengers: Endgame is a little over a month away from being released. Though it’s felt like forever since the cliffhanger last year, the wait has relatively been small. Hell, I feel like the wait for the next chapter in the Skywalker Saga, Episode IX has been excruciatingly long. But, as I mentioned at the top of this article, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was released just a month after my daughter was born. Remember how I said that felt like the blink of an eye?

We’re living in a renaissance age that would have blown ten-year-old Troy’s mind. Marvel, Star Wars, Ghostbusters movies hitting one right after the other. The time in between films and television shows (not to mention streaming media where you get ten episodes plus at a time) has been reduced to nearly microscopic levels. In the scheme of things, waiting five years from 1984’s release of the original Ghostbusters to 1989’s release of Ghostbusters II didn’t feel like that much time at all. But having to wait a whole year from the announcement of Jason Reitman’s new film since having just seen a Ghostbusters film in 2016 feels like an eternity. We want everything. And we want it now.

If we’re not in some sort of time warp, it means we’ve all transformed into Violet Beauregarde. And I’m not sure I’m cool with that.

Posted on March 5, 2019 and filed under Movies, TV.

Comet: The Best Television Channel You Probably Aren't Watching

Hey there, SPTers. Long time, no speak? Apologies for the lack of updates recently. Your ol' pal Troy has been slammed as of late with a variety of projects, including a couple documentaries, a couple book projects, and an exciting prospect or two. An unexpected window in the schedule seems to have popped up, so I figured what the heck, send out a quick blog to sing the praises of a newfound obsession.

This holiday season, I was visiting the family back home. My old childhood room still has a small TV with rabbit ears and my wife and I were flipping through channels late at night on New Year's Eve. We stumbled across one of the most bizarre b-movies. It was one of those films that you see 12 frames of in passing and immediately yell, "What the hell was that?" and flip back to the channel it occupied.

The film was New Year's Evil, and it was just exactly what the doctor ordered for a 3am post New Year celebration viewing. But with the discovery of the old 1980 horror film also came the discovery of a new over-the-air network called Comet.

According to the most-reliable resource, the internet, Comet was founded a couple years ago in 2015 but I've just now discovered it. The broadcast channel is airing across the country and their daily programming includes (but is not limited to) cult classic films, b-movies, episodes of The Outer Limits, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and the various Stargate television series. Essentially, it's the modern nerd's dream come true. Since New Year's, my wife and I have watched horrible science fiction films. We've endured several takes on Dracula including The Return of Count Yorga and Blacula and its sequels. And of course, every Sunday night, we partake in at least one episode of MST3K like clockwork.

This is the television channel I would have been tuned into religiously as a thirteen-year old. And especially in this day in age, where adolescence is perpetual and nostalgic nerds are being catered to by the millions, it's turned into a station that I'm tuned to religiously as an adult.

And chances are, it's already broadcasting in the airwaves above you at this very moment. Only one way to find it: grab a set of bunny ears to hook into that 4K UHD flatscreen of yours, check the listings here for a channel number, and get ready for grainy 4x3 b-movie glory.

Posted on February 22, 2017 and filed under TV.

Get Declassified Once Again with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Three Declassified!

Now available at online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, local comic shops, or wherever fine publications are sold - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Three Declassified by Troy Benjamin! This 248 page hardcover continues the tradition of providing an excellent resource to fans of the series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe by giving you a full and detailed episode guide along with analysis from the writers, producers, and cast of the show, as well as looks behind the scenes on the stunts, visual effects, costumes, props, even the sounds required on a weekly basis for ABC's hit series!

Among the features of this season's book:

- A foreword penned by Daisy Johnson herself, Chloe Bennet talking about her experiences on the show.

- "The Sound of S.H.I.E.L.D." a top to bottom look behind how sound factors into each and every episode of the series, from what is recorded during production (and what is not) to what is added later in post-production. What does Daisy's "Quake" ability sound like? Do they smash a lot of car windows to get that sound? Find out in the book!

- A changed Director Coulson, Clark Gregg on love found and love lost - and what the tragedy he experiences in Season Three does to forever change his character.

- A look back on the evolution of Grant Ward into Hive, including conceptual artwork and commentary from the show runners and Brett Dalton himself!

- L.O.V.E. on S.H.I.E.L.D. - just why are relationships so difficult in the modern spy workplace? And how and why was this the right time for two "cursed" lovers to come together in the series? Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker give you their thoughts in this year's book!

As always, these behind the scenes tomes are such a joy to write - hopefully you'll enjoy reading this season's book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

In a Store Near You: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two Declassified!

About this time last year, I had the incredible experience of writing my first behind the scenes book for the amazing television show Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its first season. I consider myself so thankful and lucky that they asked me back to write a follow-up for the second season, and didn't want to let them down (nor fans of the first) by not making the second book bigger and better than the last.

Once again, there's so many people to thank that helped me out, dedicating their time and providing assets and amazing conversations that make the book what they are. And the problem is that once you start naming names, you inevitably always leave someone incredibly crucial out. So a very heartfelt thank you to anyone and everyone at Marvel, in front of and behind the camera on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and to all those that have supported both books.

Thanks to everyone that contributed, there isn't a doubt in my mind that Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Two Declassified is a definitive look behind the scenes of the show's second season: episode synopsis and analysis, behind the scenes anecdotes and details, artwork, storyboards, visual effects breakdowns, and incredible photography from some of the best unit photographers in the business. Even if you aren't a fan of the show (which you should be, but it's okay, I'll forgive you) hopefully the book is a great look into what it takes to create such an elaborate show on a week-to-week basis.

Once again, I kind of felt like Young William from Almost Famous - I was the uncool kid getting to hang with the super-cool rock stars and getting to tell their story. But where William's mandate was just to "make the band look cool," I didn't have to work too hard in order to convey the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s coolness. 

You can order the book here through Amazon, head to your local bookstore like Barnes and Noble or comic shop and purchase it, or buy it from that creepy guy with the gym bag that always offers you watches and "new movies." Wait, on second thought - scratch that, don't buy it from that last guy, it'll probably have the Declassified cover but be a bunch of takeout menus inside or something.