Sunday, November 12, 2006

Episode 1.05: Champions

Update 11/13: Added Jeffrey Bridges' and Reed Solomon's reviews at the bottom

Another fun episode. This was Matt Wayne's second episode (he also wrote "Timber Wolf", episode 1.02). Lots of nice visual touches, from the use of interlac to Jo Nah's wink at the end to Validus being disguised as a dwarf.

Speaking of interlac, for those of us TiVoing the show so we can pause on those shots to translate, we had a sign reading "bat man lives" during one scene. After the Filament Jump podrace, the leader board read "Lightning Lad, Mekt Ranzz, Tarl, Jo Nah, Drake Burroughs, Mota, Tenzil Kem". Now it's clear who Tenzil was supposed to be, but why did they call him Camden Mismullion several times? Left unclear was whether Jo, Tenzil, and Zzok are now affiliated with the Legion, but we'll see.

Update Sunday night: OK, I'm an idiot. "Camden Mismullion" is bad closed-captioning for "Kem the Bismollian".

Continuity: last week's show was production #1.06, but it aired as 1.04. After seeing this week, it makes sense now to do it that way since in "Phantoms" the Science Police didn't like the Legion, and this week the UP President proclaims how helpful they are.

Oh, and the closed captioning referred to the "Khuns" (misspelled or deliberate?). Were the Fatal Five working with them to destroy the UP dignitaries? I guess we'll see.

I loved the commercial for Little Deepzorg, and I loved how the announcers worked it in to the action. "And Lightning Lad's down! That's another notch on the Persuader's axe. Waiting for Lightning Lad to get up, our coverage of this attack is brought to you by Little Deepzorg Snack Cakes. Little Deepzorg, the snack that made Deepzorg famous."

Best line of the show: Superman (looking at buffet table): "Mmm. Hey, crab legs!" Ambassador (who looks like a plate of crab legs): "Hey, monkey face!"

Here are the torrents for the normal and hi-def versions of the episode.

For a full detailed review, see my LegionWiki episode writeup.

On to the reviews...
  • Matthew at the Legion Abstract:
    Perfectly good episode. Continues the pattern of having a *lot* of action packed into a short period of time, and yet still getting a lot of story handled. ... The most important thing about this episode was how it put Lightning Lad on display. ... One thing I didn't like was the subplot about Phantom Girl not getting along with her mother. It was cliche from start to finish, it wasn't funny, it was all over the place in terms of characterization and I would rather it had been left out entirely.

    As I mentioned in a comment there, I didn't see it as Tinya not getting along with her mom. I saw it as a typical teenager with a mom who keeps embarrassing their kid (like every teenager's parents) and making sure her daughter meets a nice boy (like every teenage girl's parents). That would be keeping more in line with the tone of the show.

  • Rokk's Comic Book Revolution liveblogged it again.
    What has really impressed me about this animated series has been the creative team’s knowledge and appreciation for the Legion’s history. In fact, it seems the animated series creative team seems to have more respect for the Legion’s history than the comic book creative team. (Damn it, I took another shot at the comic. Sorry. Sometime I can’t help myself.)

    All in all Episode #5 was another great episode. The creative team is doing an excellent job and I thought that “Champions” was a fun story. You had plenty of action and adventure for the young viewers and several nice references in the story for the older long time Legion fans. This Legion of Super Hero Animated Series continues to impress me with each and every episode. It is rare that I find a cartoon superior to its comic book counterpart, but that is certainly the case in this situation.

  • Commenters at the ToonZone message board were all over the place:
    One person wrote
    I did'nt like it. This was a waste of an episode. I hate "cliche" episodes...something dating back all the way the "Superfriends/Wonder-Twins" hour. It was an episode designed to teach kiddies good sportsmanship. BORING/TIRED. Its been done 12849815387125871256 times already in the toon world, we didn't need another one.

    While another wrote:
    I liked this episode... yeah, we've seen "the characters get involved in an Olypmic games" stuff before, but this was still entertaining. Plus it's a followup to last week's throwaway line about Phantom Girl's mom being the president...

    Best parts for me:
    - the bits between Phantom Girl and her mother, and with the crowd
    - seeing some DC comic references (the Khunds, etc.), including seeing Matter Eater Lad showing up.
    - seeing Ultra Boy show up... because, well, Ultra Boy's handsome. (Hey, if I get to see a zillion posts commenting on how "hot" Catwoman/Lois Lane/Harley Quinn/etc. are, I figure stating this is fair game... ) :-) Though seemed kind of vague about whether or not he'll become a Legionnaire from the ending...

  • Over at the tivocommunity message board:
    I like how they've made Phantom Girl a very skilled fighter, phasing in and out and giving the Persuader a tough time as well as rescuing her mother the President. So far she's the female character with the most personality. The writers must be fond of her.

  • Jeffrey Bridges at Superman Homepage:
    This episode felt mostly like a jumble. Until the Fatal Five showed up it had no real lasting bearing on anything, and I surmise the only reason the Fatal Five is going to prison is so that they can meet up with Alexis Luthor.
    On the whole, the writing here was the weakest of the season, just barely above the second episode only because it somewhat advanced the story with the Fatal Five.

    The action scenes are still the highlight of the show, however. I've never found super-powered battles so much fun to watch on any show before.

    But really guys, try a little harder with the writing unless you only want the very youngest of your audience to stick around for the whole season.

  • Reed Solomon's Zone of Surly Geekery:
    This episode could easily have fallen into cliche, but a few things kept that from happening. The fact that this was not only an olympics type event but also included aliens prominently made it amusing. I liked the announcers who managed to comment on everything that happened and even worked the commercials into the story (I need to get some Little Deepzorg snack cakes..) The episode was watchable all the way through. And had a lot of nice touches (Like Tinya and Jo Nah's first meeting) .. plus you can't go wrong with having a bismollian in an episode.
    You know, if the remaining episodes turn out like this or better I might just buy the DVD's.

I'll be adding more as they show up in my searches (or leave comments).


Anonymous said...

Er... actually, I'm pretty sure "Camden Mismullion" was in fact "Kem, the Bismollian". Though admittedly, I didn't catch that the first time they said it.

"Camden Mismullion" is a pretty cool name, though.

Anonymous said...

Much, much better episode than last week's, IMO.

I would really like to see Zzok become a Legionnaire. I always liked the non-humanoid ones like Tellus and Quislet and Gates so it would be cool to see this Legion have one. Plus, he's got his own merchandise! (How cute was that hat that Tinya tried on?)

I haven't rewatched to catch all the Interlac so I'm glad that "Tenzil Kem" was on a sign. The closed captioning did call him "Camden Mismollian", which annoyed me immensely. Jo announcing what power he was switching to also bugged, but I suppose in a cartoon we just can't get a thought balloon with him thinking "Now a quick switch to super-strength and this villain's out of commission!" or whatever. This will have to do, I suppose, and I'll just have to live with it.

So I guess Mekt doesn't have lightning powers (yet) in this continuity? I figure he'd have used them to burst the dome instead of that mechanical device if he did. Though he did have that bolt-looking eyebrow.

All in all, a great episode. (Though I still can't get used to Clark being called "Superman".)

Anonymous said...

The close captioner may have been in error.

How often is the term "Kem, the Bismollian" used in normal speech?

Not often.

I think it's likely the captioner misinterpreted what they heard.

Terence Chua said...

What's interesting, though, is that Winema Wazzo (assuming that's still her name in this continuity) doesn't seem to have phantom powers like Tinya. Does this mean her power's not race-based?

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

I would venture to guess that they're trying not to confuse the kids watching the show by not showing anybody but the legion members or villains with powers. If Mekt becomes Lightning Lord, or if we see Garth's sister Ayla in some capacity, I suppose they will then give more detail. Although It would've been nice to have her phase to try to get away from her mother and have her mother phase to grab her somehow.

Anonymous said...

You really shouldn't bother with Toonzone's reviews. Even their official reviewers are irritatingly biased. To them, superhero cartoons should be either "Batman:TAS" dramatic or "Teen Titans" goofy, with no in-betweens or allowances for individual style. It's what has effectively turned me off from doing more than skimming their boards in the last year.