Archive | April 2013

Oh Mad Men, What are you Doing?

MMS6

Mad Men’s sixth season two-hour premiere was Sunday night.

I fell asleep twice. It was boring, stilted, and over-indulging itself, ladies and gentlemen. My better half and I turned to each other several times during the premiere and said out loud, “What is going on with that? This is bad.”

Season Five came out with a bang! Zou Bisou Bisou!

Season Six? Not so much.

Don Draper seems medicated with the way he interacts with his world. They’ve changed the self-introspective star into an indifferent sot who half the time doesn’t answer direct questions. I counted three distinct moments in which Don was asked a question and instead of replying, he just ignored it completely. That’s not great writing, as the show wants us to think, that’s sloppy! It’s drek! I know the show’s creator wants me to think, “Ooo, Don Draper is ignoring the concerns of lesser people around him and he’s still struggling with the issues of his past.” NO! If he’s struggling with his issues, make him interesting and fire witty comebacks or snarky remarks at people. His silence isn’t interesting. It makes you look like you forgot how to write your main character.

Betty Draper is back on the creepy-wagon. I’m not exactly sure why we’re watching her. Betty’s fallen in love with another lost adolescent now and I wish that revealed something about her character or Don or her current relationship, or was even mildly interesting, but it’s not. Watching Betty talk to drifters and squatters while searching for some lost girl was predictable and dull.

Roger Sterling is keeping things sharp and snappy, at least. I like his therapy sessions, they remind me of Tony Soprano sharpening his mental teeth. But Roger’s reactions to events like his mother’s funeral are growing unbelievable. Did anyone buy his fake over-the-top rage at seeing his ex-wife’s husband? We all know he just wants to sleep with Mona again, that’s been true at every point in the show about every woman Roger’s ever met. His mother’s funeral isn’t a realistic time to dwell on that again, is it?. Plus, there was the crying scene. Everyone watching called out how he’d break down as soon as he was alone in his office with his former shoe shiner’s kit. Too predictable again, guys.

Is it me, or was the dialogue repetitive? Megan tells Don to get some sleep, she has to go out and be an actress, Don – get some sleep, she loves her job, Don – get some sleep, tell Roger I’m sorry I couldn’t be at the funeral, and Don, get some goddamn sleep.

In addition to the dialogue woes, did everyone on the cast visit the January Jones seminar on line delivery during their time off? It’s all well and good if we have just one person on the cast who regularly reacts within a scene like this: “Um,     well,      I’m going to say my line now.” Think about Betty saying exactly that, then think about the premiere. Yeah, I thought so.

Really, Mad Men’s main problem is this (and I’m stealing this from the greatest morning show ever, the Tony Kornheiser Show), show creator Matthew Weiner would like to stand atop the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and shout to the world, “See, David Chase! I’m smarter than youuuuuuuu!” He’d like to invade your home and say that to all of us, too, and Mad Men is his vehicle for doing so. It’s great!

But after five seasons the show is leaving some of its best and integral stuff behind: the office. Mad Men is about Madison Avenue, advertising, and the men that ran that world. It needs to stay on Madison Avenue to keep its heart and soul. I want to see less of Betty and her husband and hear more pitches and people working on ideas. It’s fine that they’re trying to push Peggy as the new Don Draper. We all see it, we all like Peggy, we know what you’re doing with her, but she’s going to be Don Draper Lite until she steals a client out from under him with an amazing idea. I don’t care about Don’s Hawaiian revelations about giving a bride away to a fellow GI, let’s see his next brilliant counter to a client’s short-sighted demands.

What I am trying to say really comes down to this:

Stay in the office, Mad Men, that is only place where the show remains interesting.

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Heroes vs. Monsters Duel Deck Speculation

Heroes vs. Monsters, eh?

The announcement of the next Magic: the Gathering Duel Deck product in September comes on the heels of the next block, Theros, which lands exactly 3 weeks later. Theros, we have learned, is Greek & Roman inspired, so the Heroes vs. Monsters theme is only natural with all the stories, legends, and mythology that comes from those cultures. Also, we can expect to see 6 cards from the Theros block in Heroes vs. Monsters, which is neat. I expect the tone of the decks to match that of Knights vs. Dragons prettyclosely, but at the same time trying to define and differentiate itself from that product.

What can we expect to see, then, in Heroes vs. Monsters?

THEROS

Theros Block – coming September, 2013

I think it’s way too soon to know, really, and my baseless speculation on the Sorin vs. Tibalt Duel Decks at least came after knowing what those two planeswalkers looked like. What I have to present to you, then, are some awesome and nearly essential cards for a Heroes vs. Monsters duel.

To at least get things started, I think the Heroes deck contains the traditional white and green colors to represent law, bravery, and strength, while the Monsters deck will be Jund colors (green, red, black) to represent nature, destruction, and malice. The Heroes deck could open all the way to Bant to include blue in the color pie, too.

First off, I’ll be rather disappointed if we don’t see both of these:

Intrepid Hero

Intrepid Hero – For the Heroes

Hero's Demise

Hero’s Demise – For the Monsters

Those are perfect starters. Intrepid Hero takes down any big monsters and then Hero’s Demise immediately destroys any jumped-up joe making a name for himself slaying monsters. The Heroes deck is going to need some equipment. What tale doesn’t involve some hero who has to seek out some magic weapon before facing the dreaded beast of so-and-so? A helmet, a shield, and a sword should do.

Helm of Champions, Accorder's Shield, Sword of Vengeance - for the Heroes

Helm of Champions, Accorder’s Shield, Sword of Vengeance – for the Heroes

There should be some fitting support, too. Equipment enablers like Brass Squire or Kor Outfitter belong in the deck, but also some green buffs and anti-flying like an Oakenform or Hurricane. Like the Knights deck, the Heroes will have to get a strong start and curve out ahead of the Monsters using equipment to match their power – if the run of the mill Hero looks like a 2/2 Glory Seeker, expect the average Monster to be a 3/3 Canyon Minotaur. Also expect a legendary creature or two, since these are supposed to be Heroes and all. Maybe Crovax, Ascendant Hero or Tolsimir Wolfblood?

And, as fitting for a Greek & Roman themed mythos, there need to be appropriate foes for the Heroes to face. How about these?

Xathrid Gorgon, Conquering Manticore, Protean Hydra, Madrush Cyclops - for the Monsters

Xathrid Gorgon, Conquering Manticore, Protean Hydra, Madrush Cyclops – for the Monsters

It would be fun to see some other Jund staples from Alara block slip in to the Monsters deck like Sprouting Thrinax, Putrid Leech, or possibly some Blightnings! I mean, Jund was/is kinda a monster we all face, isn’t it? If it’s not a Jund kind of deck, then look for some punchy creatures of myth like Gorgon Recluse, Stone Giant, Fiery Hellhounds, and maybe even another Thragtusk (jk).

Mark Rosewater let slip that Theros will contain a returning mechanic. That got some pulses excited for a moment, but what possible mechanic could that be? And better yet, does that tell us what to expect or what is coming in Theros block or Heroes vs. Monsters?

Looking back, the Zendikar block got Kicker from the Invasion block,  Scars of Mirrodin got Poison counters from as far back as 1994’s Legends block and the Imprint mechanic from the original Mirrodin, and Innistrad got Flashback from Odyssey block. While the popular answer on some forums has been that we’ll see the Level-Up cards from Rise of the Eldrazi again, I say that’s too soon. My best guess would be that we’ll either see Cycling again or the Champion mechanic.

Changeling Champion - for Theros?

Changeling Champion – for Theros?

Now, the Changeling itself has no bearing on the Theros block, but I sense some important tribal vibes coming on here (Innistrad’s tribal themes weren’t implicit, so a Tribal block could rise again). With the Greco-Roman theme come lots of Centaurs & Dryads(green),  Minotaurs(red), Gorgons, Hapries, & Witches(black), Seers & Sphinxes(blue), and Humans, Eagles, & Pegasi(white). Champion is a perfect mechanic to fit into all of that, plus it’s not half-bad.

This is all baseless speculation at this point, but it’s fun and this is the internet.

Hey – I might even get one right! RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!

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