Let’s Talk About Bleach

26 Nov

Bleach is a hit popular manga series created by Tite Kubo in 2001. In centres around the new world that is opened to Ichigo Kurosaki after he gains the powers of a Soul Reaper from Rukia Kuchiki. What follows is a story that has grown in size dramatically from what was originally called a YuYu Hakusho rip-off to a series that is arguably more popular than any in the modern day. Bleach is the subject of a number of films (animated, though a live action one is in development…whatever that truly, actually means), an incredibly popular anime series and a range of other merchandise associated in one way or another with the series (t-shirts, stuffed toys, CD’s etc…). It has a borad appeal and what really sells it is it’s huge supporting cast. One of the flaws that the legendary Dragon Ball series was often called out on was the constant reliance on Goku to save the Earth (even when Gohan did it vs. Cell, it was Goku who made the big sacrifice). Bleach is a series that actually features a central protagonist that enters as the underdog…and sometimes doesn’t win. That alone is something that makes it stand out.

The supporting cast I mentioned prior have at least some backstory in one way or another. Take for example the character of Chad. We know he and Ichigo met early in high school. We know he’s got a Mexican grandfather who used to look after him and we know he’s a man of few words and large fists. We know very little, but we know enough, and that’s pretty much what all the supporting cast, no matter how large or little their impact is, have. It’s something I hold great respect for as Kubo has actually taken the time to explain where he’s coming from and help us understand. Bleach also does a tremendous job of laying the seeds of later plots early, allowing them to blossom. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but others it does and pays off handsomely. The biggest twist in the series is planted early in the second arc, and I doubt anyone sees it coming. It makes sense, but it’s so beautifully disguised that I doubt you’ll realise it.

But in the end, what is Bleach? Bleach to me is something that symbolises a turning point in my life. My world changed rather dramatically in 2009 for a number of reasons, particularly in the summer of that year. One could say that I did a lot of growing up in that summer, and Bleach made that process easier on me. It was a fantasy world ripped with both light and dark touches as well as a real world feel. It was something that could be so childish, but was always adult and complex. It may evolve past it’s original real world confines, but you go with it because you love it. Bleach is powerful to me and it helped me open my eyes to an even wider world of anime, manga, and even helped me get back into comic books and gain an interest in Japanese culture. And I owe Tite Kubo one for that. Thanks man.

The Good, The Bad and the Indifferent – Survivor Series 2011

22 Nov

It was a night to remember in New York City, at the world’s most famous arena; Madison Square Garden. There was a new WWE Champion, an elbow drop from a 500 pounder and of course, the one and only Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returned to action for the first time in 7 long years in the same building he had last wrestled. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get to breaking it down!

It may well have been a once in a lifetime team.

The Good

How could I not start with anywhere other than the red hot New York crowd? Knowing several people in attendance (including some of you who have left comments. You know who you are), I was of course intrigued to see just which way the crowd would swing. Naturally, as it’s New York, the smart mark capital of the world, there was indiscriminate shows of support for those who they loved and boos for those they hated. It mattered not if you were heel or face, if they like you, they’ll cheer you (as Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes can attribute) and if they don’t like you, they’ll make sure you know (John Cena says hi by the way). Hot crowd that made an event even greater than it already was.

Moving along and mentioning Mr. Ziggler like I did earlier, I have to give props to both matches in which he was involved. The opening United States Championship contest may have been dominated with “We Want Ryder” chants, but both Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison showed a great deal of ability and talent in the ring. I’m not JoMo’s biggest fan,. but I can’t deny that he’s got a lot of talent in the ring, and his style meshes very well with that of Ziggler’s. Dolph’s post match antics were fun too despite his incredibly generic promo. Seeing Ryder get a measure of revenge and a lot of attention was great to see. Ziggler’s other outing of the night was in the Traditional Survivor Series contest that featured Team Orton (Orton himself, Sin Cara, Sheamus, Mason Ryan and Kofi Kingston) take on Team Barrett (Wade of course, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Hunico and Ziggler). It wasn’t the greatest match in the world, and Sin Cara’s injury certainly didn’t help matters (here’s hoping for a swift recovery and wishing him well), but it was very entertaining with the two men standing tall being completely justified. It’s nice to see Orton, who’s been my wrester of the year, continue to put young and talented superstars like Barrett and Rhodes over. A very well booked contest (sans the injury obviously) and wildly entertaining. Oh, and I’m not 100% sold on Cody’s kneepads.

 

Ziggler continues to impress.

Another great back-and-forth contest was most certainly the WWE Championship match between Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk. It’s sad to see that Ricardo Rodriguez has more heat than the man he’s announcing for, but thems the breaks if you can’t cut a promo without using the word destiny every 16 seconds (that’s an estimate by the way, not an official figure). The Howard Finkel touch was lovely and even if he did struggle a little to introduce Punk, it was justified completely due to the sheer emotion he must have been feeling (we could all see he was pretty much in tears) as he announced one more time in his old stomping grounds. Punk and Del Rio’s feud has been fairly uninteresting, but this match wasn’t at all. With the capacity crowd behind him, Punk managed to capture his second WWE Championship to great fanfare. The contest was exciting and vastly entertaining with some tremendous counters when it came to the duo’s respective submission holds.

And finally for this section, we address the white elephant in the room; The Rock & John Cena vs. Awesome Truth. I want to start by applauding the way WWE has booked the Cena/Rock feud thus far. They made a huge deal about the Rock returning, did Mania, announced the match and then left it to simmer for awhile before laying the groundwork to push it into overdrive from this point onwards. Onto the match, and while it was a fairly generic contest, it was still a spectacle as the Rock proved that even after 7 years away he could still go. He brought it and was incredibly entertaining. Bravo Rock. I want to also address the Miz and R-Truth quickly here. They weren’t the mega-heels that perhaps the WWE was hoping for, but really, that wasn’t there job and the MSG crowd showed that with the incredible contrast between Cena and Rock’s reactions. Entertaining contest.

The Rock was simply electrifying in the ring.

The Indifferent

The Big Show vs. Mark Henry has to go here. It was a tale of two halves really with the first being an incredibly dull cat and mouse battle. It was very poorly booked and it didn’t do Mark Henry any favours to be booked as some sort of cowardly heel. This man is a tank and a monster, he should be prepared to steamroll his way throguh his opponents, not cower from them. The second half saw things pick up though and I was hooked even before Henry was spearing Show through the barricade and the Big Show was using a freaking elbow drop from the top rope. I have to say well done to Show for doing that because he looked nervous as hell whilst doing that. The finish wasn’t the best at all, though in reality, Henry kicking Show in the nuts would hurt like hell so it was good to see Show sell that one like a champ. The Henry injury development is an odd one. I guess we’ll see what happens on SmackDown with big Mizark.

 

Show looked terrified as he ascended the turnbuckle. Props to him for going through with the spot.

The Bad

I hate to be the generic WWE fan, but the Divas match was poor. Eve and Beth had put on a very solid match last month at Vengeance and I was expecting Something similar, but what we got instead was dull and very mundane. The finish was extraordinary however and Eve’s got bigger balls than most for taking that Glam Slam at the finish. Also, I know he should be praised for his work, but Rocky’s promo was incredibly samey as almost every other one he’s done this year. They are entertaining, but they’re just so repetitive and it drives me a wee bit nuts when people call Del Rio out for using destiny every 16 seconds (again, an estimate), but fail to recognise the Rock is doing almost exactly the same thing. When he cuts a promo that doesn’t contain a catchphrase every other sentence, then maybe he’ll look as good as Cena has on the stick during this feud.

Overall

Survivor Series was a money well spent show. It wasn’t groundbreaking but it was well worth watching for it’s solid in-ring action and a return few would have seen one year ago. It was the Rock’s night. It was the People’s Night. Hopefully we’re slamming the foot on the ignition and going full steam ahead into WrestleMania season.

The Good, The Bad and the Indifferent – Hell in a Cell 2011

3 Oct

Cena didn't quite go to hell...but others may have.

We come fresh off of a night in hell as WWE put on it’s annual Hell in a Cell PPV. There was clever booking, sneaky tactics and violence throughout this PPV which was better than most would’ve expected. But was it really all that good? Well, let’s examine the facts and you can decide for yourselves.

 

The Good

Once again WWE put the right match on first. Sheamus vs. Christian was a match that the fans could care about with some great face reactions for Sheamus and decent heel heat for Christian. The pair told a good story with Sheamus trying time and time again to end Christian with that one big move and just not being able to catch him until Christian himself made an error. Good back-and-forth action and a great way to wake up the crowd. One has to wonder where both these men go next, but I can certainly foresee a fatal fourway for the big gold belt heading into WWE’s next PPV offering in three weeks (3 PPV’s in 5 weeks certainly isn’t overkill at all). The tag team championship match served its purpose and delivered an exciting contest whilst furthering an angle. Air Boom continue to look good while Swiggler keep coming up short due to Triple H’s “miss-management”.

Miz and Truth would be a recurring theme for the night.

Onto everyone’s new favourite; Mark Henry! Earlier in the show Henry cut a solid promo where he pulled off a hilarious impression of Matt Striker, and also seemed monstrous. Leading into their Hell in a Cell match, we were all fairly uncertain if WWE would give Henry the win, especially after they took the WWE Championship away from Alberto Del Rio after a mere five weeks, but to their credit, they continued to book Henry strong as he even kicked out of the RKO en-route to victory. Henry continues to dominate the WWE and while Orton may have gotten the better of him in the post-match afters, Henry remains the World’s Strongest Champion, and in convincing fashion. Personally I hope we see Henry hold the championship for a long time, possibly even into WrestleMania with Daniel Bryan cashing-in and ending the reign there.

It should also be noted that there wasn’t a truly bad match on this card at all and the matches were at the very least watchable. The most watchable though, had to be the main event. John Cena, Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk worked a stiff, violent brawl inside the “demonic structure”. It was a genius piece of booking that solved the conundrum of how would the match end. With his man in trouble, Ricardo Rodriguez stole the key to the Cell from the referee placed on the outside and handed Del Rio a metal pipe. Del Rio also managed to get his hands on the key and when he sent Cena tumbling out of the Cell door, he locked himself inside with CM Punk, ending the match with a number of pipe shots to the ribs and head. Once more Alberto Del Rio is the new WWE Champion.

The post-match fracas that was Miz and Truth storming the ring was also well booked. The entire roster wanted to save those trapped inside, but ultimately it would be Miz and Truth themselves who would give up to the police. Triple H’s frustrations continued to boil and it makes for some very interesting television heading into Monday. One can only imagine that David WhoTunga (Because bow ties are cool) will have something to do with getting Awesome Truth out of jail.

Del Rio looked legitimately evil when trapped inside with Punk.

The Bad

Very little I can put here. It truly was a solid as hell PPV, but I do have one or two complaints. First off, Sin Cara vs. Sin Cara was a wee bit of a disappointment. In their attempt to keep the botch count down as low as possible, the match was worked at a methodical pace with flurry’s of exciting moves rather than the back-and-forth lucha-libre contest we were hoping for. There were some great highlight reel esc moves, but ultimately this didn’t quite live up to it’s billing as the Negro-Cara came down on the sweet sunset-flip finish. The other problem I had was Michael Cole’s incessant prattling on about Triple H. Cole remains a tweener despite the death of his real heel character many months ago, and yet he remains even more annoying now than he did for the majority of his heel run. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss face Michael Cole.

The Indifferent

Quite possibly the only person on the planet who wasn’t that pleased to see the old IC title make a return was me. There was a good reaction when Rhodes pulled the old belt out of the velvet bag, and the crowd reigned down some fierce heat on Rhodes following his discrediting of past champions. I liked the segment, but I don’t see what this will achieve as the belt design isn’t really something that’s bothered me, and I don’t quite understand what it adds to Rhodes’ character. The ensuing match with JoMo was a relatively meh affair too, though I was delighted by Cody picking up the win.

The belt looks lovely, but what does it brign to the table?

And finally, the Divas Championship. Simply put, WWE should’ve put the belt on Beth two weeks ago, and instead they waited until here for no real reason. Beth looked dominant, but it seems that there is a distinct lack of interest in the Divas division. At least Natalya screaming at Kelly was incredibly sexy in a weird, perverse way. At least it was to me.

Overall

I would say better than Night of Champions, and a very solid affair all round. Not a bad match in sight and with storylines moved forward, I can hardly complain at all. Thumbs up from me.

Tuesday Countdowns (Yeah It’s Wednesday, What of it?) – John Cena’s Twelve World Title Reigns

21 Sep

So, Chavo Guerrero was ranting on twitter about how much he hates John Cena’s 12 world title reigns, and bitching about how he’s tired of seeing Cena as champion (not something Chavo’s really qualified to talk about, but I digress), so to celebrate this, I thought I’d leave Chavo this little gift. We’re going to count down Cena’s top title reigns in order of greatness. So, on with it!

 

#12: February 21st 2010

Cena was champion for all of about 5 minutes as Dave Batista cashed-in on his opportunity for a championship match at anytime, anywhere thanks to his assistance to Vince McMahon. While it was incredibly short, it gets point for leading to the great Batista/Cena feud.

 

Cena's 10th WWE Championship. First to hit double figures

#11: September 18th 2011-Present

He’s been champion for all of three days here an now, and still it’s better than at least one run. Not really much to say apart from I’m not a huge fan of him holding the belt at the present time, and I highly suspect that when the next PPV is over, he’ll no longer be champion.

 

#10: July 25th 2011-August 15th 2011

Cena wasn’t the only WWE Champion during this time frame either as Punk had just returned (like you didn’t know that seeing as it happened all of about two months ago). Cena’s victory was a sweet one, claiming the championship from Rey Mysterio in a good match, only to be overshadowed by Punk with his return moments later. Cena would fail to even defend or unify the belts successfully before defeat to Punk unified the belt…until Alberto Del Rio cashed-in to become champion that is.

 

#9: September 13th 2009-October 4th 2009

Kind of a weird one, it seemed this was given to Cena simply to make sure that Orton didn’t beat him for three consecutive PPV’s heading into their Iron Man Match at Bragging Rights (which is worth checking out). Cena’s victory was tremendous though as he triumphed over the devious Orton in a violent I-Quit match. The way he lost it was less impressive however as Orton toppled him inside Hell in a Cell at just over the 20 minute mark. Not really anything impressive, but at least he got to AA Orton on the top of the Cell on RAW one week.

 

#8:April 5th 2009-April 26th 2009

The final chapter in the pretty epic Edge/Cena feud that spanned the course of several years (though in reality it was 2006 and a bit in 2009). Cena’s claiming of the championship came at the 24th anniversary of WrestleMania (not 25th WWE) with a double AA to Edge and Big Show. A mighty impressive feat to be sure. Unfortunately for John, his reign was cut short when the Big Show through him into a light during a Last Man Standing match with Edge at Backlash later in the month. Just in case you didn’t know, electricity could not stop Cena and he would topple Show in their subsequent feud.

 

#7: March 28th 2010-June 20th 2010

Cena became champion at WrestleMania once more, only this time it came at the expense of Dave Batista, a former friend of Cena’s and a man who had a very similar rise to power as John’s. Cena’s title reign was filled with great defences against Batista and Batista…and Batista again (okay, he only defended it twice against him, but still…). Cena’s reign would end at the hands of the mighty Sheamus at the once in a forever PPV Fatal 4 Way, though it was really the Nexus that did the damage and helped Sheamus defeat Cena for the gold a second time. The first time that happened was…

 

Sheamus is Cena's unlucky opponenet.

#6: October 25th 2009-December 13th 2009

…at TLC. See what I did there? Anyway, in what was probably the shock of the decade, Sheamus, at the time a relative unknown, came, saw, and put Cena through a table to claim the WWE Championship. It kicked off what would become the youth movement of 2010 (which co-incidentally lead to the rise of The Nexus, The Miz and Alberto Del Rio, some of Cena’s top foes in recent memory). The reign however was filled with strong showings as Cena captured the belt by coming back from the brink of defeat to conquer Randy Orton once and for all as well as beating Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a Triple Threat match at Survivor Series that year. Not too bad.

 

#5: November 23rd 2008-February 15th 2009

Cena’s first of two World Heavyweight Championship reigns saw him return from neck surgery and pretty much annihilate Chris Jericho at Survivor Series in Boston. While a good match, the winner was never truly in doubt. The same could be said the following month when Cena again beat Jericho in another solid outing. Cena however was far from invincible and was bested by Shawn Michaels on RAW in the New Year and nearly again by JBL at the Royal Rumble. It was in fact Edge who would eventually de-rail Cena’s reign at No Way Out inside the Elimination Chamber in a shock move.

 

#4: April 3rd 2005-January 8th 2006

Seems odd for me to stick this reign so low, no? Well really, it was a fairly mediocre reign in the end of the day. With a number of victories of JBL, Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle, it was reasonably impressive, no doubt, but let’s be realistic, many have defeated Jericho, Cena beat JBL about 400 times (and in fact lost to him years later) and he Angle traded victories. It was impressive unquestionably, just not as impressive as some other points he’d achieve elsewhere.

 

#3: May 1st 2011-July 17th 2011

Ah yes, this was a deceptively good run. Cena was able to end the longest WWE Championship run of the last few years against the Miz, overcome Miz and Alex Riley at the same time, trounce R-Truth and have a genuinely classic match vs. CM Punk. John Cena proved earlier this year, without a shadow of a doubt that he’s a damn fine wrestler and deserves a lot of credit for making a lot of people look damn good. And to think, all of this happened a mere four or five months ago. How time flies.

 

Punk is yet another of Cena's bogeymen.

#2: January 29th 2006-June 11th 2006

John Cena’s second run at the top was one that saw him go into WrestleMania’s main event, and for the first time in six years, and only the second time ever, leave with the same championship he entered with. It also saw him take down Triple H in a forgotten match in Chicago, best remembered for it’s hokey entrances and mixed crowd. This run also saw John take out Edge and HHH at the same time and of course featured perhaps the most contrasting crowds ever at One Night Stand as he fought Rob Van Dam, and while Cena was shaken, he wasn’t stirred, still constructing a good match.

 

#1: September 17th 2006-October 2nd 2007

And of course, #1 has to be the longest WWE Championship reign this side of Hulk Hogan. With good-to-great match with the likes of Umaga, Edge, Orton, Khali, Michaels and Lashley all under his belt, was it ever in doubt that John Cena was the greatest wrestler of 2006 and 2007? This reign was amazing for many reasons. It was amazing that he lasted so long. It was amazing he got a good match out of the Great Khali. It was really amazing that he got the amazing backlash from the IWC that he did, but what really makes it amazing is how most have actually forgotten it, and it’s almost fallen into the cracks of time that plague Doctor Who. Great run, shame it’s forgotten.

The Good, the Bad and the Indifferent: Night of Champions 2011

19 Sep

Not a night I'll forget for the moment.

Last night was a historic one on many fronts. We saw one man finally become the World Heavyweight Champion for the first time while another captured his 10th WWE Championship. On top of that, CM Punk vs. Triple H broke John Cena’s 11 month PPV main event streak and was the only non championship match on a card filled to the top with championship action. Let’s look back at a night of action, surprises and some bad calls.

The Good

First off, the opening tag team contest was a great opener. While maybe not as exciting as SummerSlam’s multi-man curtain jerker, this Tag Team Championship tussle was filled with fun moves and clever booking. The role-reversal of Bourne & Kingston using dirty tactics to secure the win was great to see and helped extend the Awesome Truth’s conspiracy gimmick. Miz and Truth’s chemistry is insane and they work so well together it’s scary. Throw that in with the exciting Air Boom (still a terrible name), and this was a fine match. The other multi-man match on this card was another fun affair with Dolph Ziggler using his brain rather than his brawn to secure his successful championship defence. As a Ziggler fan, I’m pleased to see him being booked strongly, but I can’t help but hope that bigger things wait for the former male cheerleader. Everyone looked good throughout this match with Morrison using his unique style to counter the raw power of Swagger and Riley. The Divas Championship match will be addressed elsewhere, but for what it’s worth, it was quite possibly the best Divas match of the last few years.

Perfect timing from Ziggler saved his skin.

Next we come to the ultimate victory of Mark Henry. Now, I’ll fully admit I would have laughed in your face if you’d said one year ago that Mark Henry was going to be a world champion, but he’s been booked so well, and delivered everything brilliantly that he fully deserved his opportunity at the very top. I’ll also admit that I’ve jumped on this bandwagon, but it’s been a great ride so far with Mark, and we can only hope that he, and whoever it is who ultimately dethrones him, will continue to be made to look like gold. It was also a fine outing from Randy Orton who sold Henry’s offence very well and did the job, clean, to allow the former Olympian to become champion. Orton has proved once more why he is one of the best in wrestling today.

Somebody...Got Their Wig Split!

And finally for this section, the main event. Completely bonkers would be the easiest way to sum it up. Starting as more of an Attitude Era brawl, this one spiralled out of control in a hurry with garbage, chairs and an amazing looking Randy Savage/Shawn Michaels/Shane McMahon elbow drop onto HHH through the Spanish announce table. It was at that moment that things began to break down though as Awesome Truth made their presence known and beat down both men, but allowing CM Punk to get the cover. It was to be in vein though as HHH kicked-out leading us to Truth and Miz ganging up on their second referee of the night. This one fought back though that didn’t last long. Johnny Ace was soon at ringside, flanked by another referee and things broke down even more as both the Pedigree(s, there were two) and GTS failed to amount to the desired three count. It was of course Kevin Nash though who played a key role in the end result as Johnny Ace sent a mysterious text message mere moments before the former Oz showed up to practically kill Punk with a Jacknife Powerbomb. Nash would fail to do the same to HHH who responded in kind with his trademark sledgehammer before polishing Punk off with a third Pedigree and a win. It was a mad, but thoroughly entertaining brawl with a lot of storyline progression.

The Bad

Some of the booking was questionable for me. Most notable perhaps was Beth Phoenix, in her home town, after being built-up as the heir-apparent to the Divas thrown, losing in a similar finish to her match with Kelly Kelly at SummerSlam. It was an underwhelming and disappointing finish to what had been a very good Divas collision. Also under the questionable banner was the WWE Championship match. John Cena became a twelve time world champion to little fanfare as it seemed very few cared that Cena had dispatched Alberto Del Rio. You have to wonder why WWE would give Cena the belt just before the Mexican tour which seemed to be the driving force behind Del Rio’s win. I’m heavily leaning towards Del Rio capturing the gold once again at Hell in a Cell in two weeks, but it’s still a mystery as to why the change was made. Still, at least the match was entertaining with some funny pre-match mind games.

Kelly winning was...a tad odd.

The Indifferent

Cody Rhodes’ successful defence of his championship against Ted DiBiase was a passable match, but Buffalo, New York could not care less. I enjoy Rhodes myself, and I found myself not really caring that much as it seemed there was little in the way of Rhodes retaining. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as DiBiase needs more build before capturing his championship, but I really wasn’t that interested. Also lumped in here was the highly predictable (if not somewhat fun) Christian/Sheamus segment. Both are highly entertaining and it’s great to see them get some face time, but really, after Sheamus’ chasing of Christian in recent weeks, you’d think he’d have done more than Brogue Kick the Wile E. Coyote of wrestling.

Overall

A solid show that gets a thumbs up from me for key moments like HHH vs. Punk and Henry’s win. Good show, but some questionable decisions.

Tuesday Countdowns – Top 5 Lightsaber Fights

13 Sep

Yesterday the Star Wars Saga was released in full on Blu Ray. To commemorate this, we’re going to talk about the top five battles between the Jedi & the Sith (or other Jedi’s). Let’s get on with it:

#5: Yoda vs. Count Dooku: Attack of the Clones:

Christopher Lee: Probably the best part of Episode II.

It’s a great novelty to see Christopher Lee, an old, respected and experienced actor be the antagonist of Attack of the Clones and execute a series of acrobatic manoeuvres and stunts. But it was an even bigger one to see Yoda, the little green puppet voiced by Frank Oz, finally launch into battle. To see this thing that once been a joker on a swamp planet (or is that would become?) fight with Count Dracula and the Man with the Golden Gun in a stiff war featuring lightning, force pushes and an even battle with lightsaber’s.

#4: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader: Return of the Jedi

Vader suffered a similar fate to the one he inflicted upon his son on Cloud City.

After a titanic battle filled with revelations, the sequel to it was always going to be a mouth-watering possibility, and it didn’t disappoint. We saw Luke fight to prove that he was not only a Jedi, but the son of the chosen one. As the father and the son collided in front of the puppet-master, you had to get a sense that this was going to be a clash for the ages. It was a Greek tragedy combined with a science-fiction phenomenon and it all boiled down to one epic battle. Simply put, it doesn’t get more important than that.

#3: Obi-Wan Kenobi vs.  Anakin Skywalker: Revenge of the Sith

Obi-Wan would be victorious, but at a price.

Revenge of the Sith was the final film in the series and marked perhaps the darkest day in the whole of the galaxy as the Jedi were all but whipped out and Darth Sidious rose to power alongside his apprentice Darth Vader. However, Vader also had unfinished business with his own master; Obi-Wan Kenobi and so, on the edge of a volcanic planet, the two skilled warriors duelled with Obi-Wan’s life at stake. The emotion of this one is immense also as the boiling lava reflects the hatred and rage burning within the young Skywalker.

#2: Qui Gon Jinn & Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul: The Phantom Menace

A Kind German, A Drug Addled Scotsman and a mutant fight it out.

When The Phantom Menace came out in cinema’s worldwide, most were disappointed, but the one thing pretty much everyone agreed on was that Darth Maul, and this fight were bad-ass. Maul was portrayed by Ray Park, a skilled martial artist and a man who could do his own stunts. They put his talents to good use as he flipped, slashed and stabbed his way into cinema history as the brightest spot in the first instalment of the science fiction prequel saga. To top it all off, only one combatant would survive the battle on Naboo.

#1: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader: The Empire Strikes Back

James Earl Jones made cinema history.

There could only really be one winner on the list though, and it had to be this clash on Cloud City as Darth Vader collided with the man that would be his son…and revealed his true self to Luke. It was a fight we had been waiting for ever since Darth cut down Obi-Wan one film earlier, and it did not disappoint. Luke was powerful, passionate and surprisingly resourceful whereas Vader was strong, determined and powerful. Needless to say it was going to be historic. However, the moment that makes it historic is truly Vader’s immortal line “No, I am your father!”

Tuesday Countdowns – Fave 5 (Thanks Booker) T.V. Shows Currently On the Air

6 Sep

Welcome to the first Tuesday Countdown. I hope this becomes a regular occurrence to go along with other posts I hope to make along the way too. Anyway, I wanted to start the countdown with a list of my favourite five T.V. shows that currently are airing.  South Park is missing on the list mainly due to the fact that I haven’t seen any of the current season with the exception of the final episode of the Spring half. Wrestling and sports shows do not apply.

#5: Doctor Who:

Usually Consistent, and Never Truly Dull

Essentially the BBC’s current crown jewel. It’s the show that gets them the largest ratings and has even been wheeled out for the Autumn this year to see if it can combat the X-Factor. However, I don’t love it because of it’s ratings power. I love it because it tells a great story of a lovable renegade from a dead species of intergalactic overlords. It’s a continuing story about a man who is both dark and light. Since the series was taken over by Steven Moffat in 2010, it’s been a fairly mixed bag. It’s been a fair bit darker and still rather enjoyable, but for me the large arcs have been a fair notch below what the Russell T. Davies era produced. Those stories gave us little clues throughout the entire 13 episode run and then unloaded the entire plot in the final two or three episodes. Some didn’t like it, but I preferred it to the slow burn method of Moffat (River Song’s big revelation was obvious by the point they got around to it). Still a fantastic way to spend your Saturday evening’s though.

#4: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation:

Fishburne's apparent departure saddens me.

One of the largest franchises in US television, CSI all started with it’s Las Vegas based show, which proved to be compelling TV. To this day, it remains one of the best crime shows on television and is a top show all round. The show had new life breathed into it in 2009 when Laurence Fishburne joined the show and his reported departure heading into the latest season will no doubt hurt the show, but Ted Danson’s taking over things and it should at least be intriguing to see how the former Sam of Cheers handles the roll of top dog in the forensics lab. It’s also fairly well established that while CSI is excellent, CSI: Miami is hilariously awful. It’s over-the-top acting, it’s plots that swerve in the middle for no reasons and it’s lack of emotion make it a horrible show, but it’s still decent TV from a comedy point of view. New York is almost a non-event and is a stale show that suffers from 2D characters and plots.

#3: The Mentalist:

Jane's struggles with Red John make for excellent T.V.

The Mentalist is one of the rare shows that manages to mix a variety of comedic ideas into a serious drama. There are great slapstick moments along with dark and dry humour littered throughout a series which is built on a very dark foundation. The most recent season had a compelling arc working within it, but the conclusion to it was fairly obvious and pretty bad actually. However there was an added bonus as we had a shocking development close the season as Patrick Jane came face-to-face with his own demons. It was a thrilling conclusion to the season and offers a great point to start the next season. This show also showcases one of the best acting performances in all of television at the moment in Simon Baker’s Patrick Jane, an underrated performance that’s due some reward sometime soon.

#2: Breaking Bad:

Emmy Award Winner and Underpants King; Mr. Bryan Cranston

Only the first two seasons have aired in the UK due to low ratings (Channel 5 stuck it on at 11:00 at night so I’ve no idea what they were expecting), but the third is on the way on DVD and I’m very much looking forward to that release. Breaking Bad see’s one of my favourite actors get to showcase all his acting talents from great comedy to tragedy, Bryan Cranston is an outstanding actor and his performance(s) as Walter White are some of the greatest in modern television. There’s always something going on in Walter White’s life for good or for bad and it’s always a phenomenal performance from Cranston regardless. The popular masses have noticed too however and Cranston is the recipient of three Emmy wins for Best Actor and will probably be in contention once more at next year’s ceremonies if the fourth season is anywhere near as good as some are suggesting.

#1: The Venture Bros.:

Such a diverse cast of characters.

Yes, my favourite show currently on the air is none other than an animated comedy. The Venture Bros. is truly a unique experience and a memorable one. Where else can you see a glorious parody of the super-science classics such as Johnny Quest and at the same time get times for quality jokes related to pop culture and some excellent 70’s style music? The venture Bros. also offers a variety of colourful characters, many of whom you’ll remember for a long time whether it’s the “Swedish Murder Machine ” himself Brock Samson, a parody of a former politician like Dr. Henry Killinger or even an actual character lifted from a separate series like Johnny Quest, the Venture Bros. has it all. The story arcs are over the top and great fun, but also offer some decent food for thought and it’s a nonstop thrill ride with jokes being churned out at a rapid pace.

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