The Middle is coming to its end

ABC’s The Middle is ending its run with season 9 this year, and while my initial reaction was undeniable shock and disappointment, something kept me from being really sad. It began in 2009 — right next to ABC’s juggernaut Modern Family — but it never got the acclaim its neighbor did, and for a year I’ve been struggling with a post comparing the two.

But there is no comparison. The Middle is a show that’s done pretty much everything right, and knowledge of it’s final season feels more like a graduation than a going away.

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2017 Movie Challenge – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

atlantis posterFor my third entry in the 2017 Movie Challenge, I decided to fulfill #12, “Second Childhood – an animated movie you didn’t watch as a child,” with Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001).

It’s obvious this movie was made right about the time Disney was abandoning the 2D animation that sustained it for so long. While some scenes were very impressive, in general, the art of Atlantis had more in common with a Saturday morning cartoon than the house that gave us The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast and Bambi. That combined with a few stolen faces from other properties led to some major distractions that Atlantis couldn’t really afford.

It’s not a bad movie, by any means. It covers a lot of ground in its 90-minute runtime, from history to theology, mysticism and of course good, old-fashioned greed, but it was a difficult movie to really get into. The first 20 minutes felt like an hour — and not in a good way — as Michael J. Fox’s nerdy linguist Milo Thatch struggles to gain respect first from his superiors at the museum where he works in the boiler room and then from the crew of people on an expedition led by James Garner’s Gen. Roarke to find the lost city of Atlantis.

But once the expedition got underway, the film really picked up, fueled mostly on the strength of its cast of side characters. Milo was a fun character that Fox imbued with plenty of personality, but the others — like Audrey Ramirez, the teenage engineer; Vinny, the demolitions expert with a flowery past; Sweet, the kindhearted muscle-man of a medic; and the ever-colorful chef Cookie voiced by Jim Varney in his last role before his death — were colorful additions bursting with possibility but given limited opportunity to shine.

And while many adults may be irritated by what is ultimately another story of a white man leading the charge to save the native people of Atlantis with his plucky band of minority sidekicks, at its heart, Atlantis is still a cartoon action-adventure meant for kids but with a tremendous cast that most people can enjoy if they’re able to overlook the rough spots.

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Red alert: Teen Wolf is back tomorrow!

This Sunday, Teen Wolf will air the first of its final 10 episodes, and if the trailer is anything to go by, it just might be a return to form. It looks like characters that have been gone for years are re-appearing and villains with ever-increasing levels of ridiculousness are being traded for a much more human threat.

Of course, I’ve been burned by Teen Wolf before. Frequently and recently

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Luke Skywalker: Not the hope you’re looking for

As I was tweeting the link to my MacGyver post today, I stumbled across this bit of truth:

I don’t know if it was just because Mark Hamill’s role was abysmally small in The Force Awakens, but it took this tweet for it to really hit home for me that in a few short months, Luke Skywalker will really be back.

And as I looked at the above image, I immediately got the urge to compare it to another.

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Who knew a MacGyver reboot would actually work?

While today’s political climate may feel kind of 1980s-esque, the technology of today is so different, I didn’t reallly think a modern MacGyver was long for the world. And yet, this week, I finished season one of CBS’s reboot, and I have to say, overall it was a great experience. The cast is charismatic with great chemistry, the stories were exciting, and while Mac’s improvising seemed to move a little too fast to catch all of it, it was still fun.

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