27 April 2007

Superheroes on Screen - Retrospective 1996

If you like second rate heroes, 1996 was the year for you.


Based on a Dark Horse Comics bounty hunter, Barb Wire earned less than $4 million, but did earn several nominations for Raspberry Awards including the nomination for Worst Picture.

The Crow: City of Angels was the first Crow sequel and pulled in $18 million, less than half of the original. Similar to the Catwoman's resurrection in Batman Returns, the hero of this film is revived by a supernatural crow, and if you saw the first one, you can pretty much figure out how this one ends.

Vampirella was a direct to video movie based on a comic character that is now almost 40 years old. Right now this sits with a 3.0/10 on imdb.com which is one of the worst scores I have ever seen.

Fox aired a live action made-for-television movie based on the Marvel Comics series Generation X. The film featured Banshee and Emma Frost as the headmasters of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. M, Skin, Mondo, Jubilee (Non-Asian) and two made-for-film characters Buff and Refrax were featured as students (Chamber and Husk were not included because the budget didn't allow for the special effects their powers required). The team face a mad scientist named Russel Tresh and his machine that developed psychic powers. The film was poorly received and plans for a series were abandoned. Seriously, this could have been cool, and still could be today if they would do it right, but alas.

Here is a glimpse of this gem of TV programming:

UPN gave us the Marvel Comics' animated Hulk show. Lou Ferrigno returned to voice the Hulk (after portraying him on the live-action TV series). Ghost Rider, Iron Man, Thor, and The Fantastic Four all guest starred. After the "too dark" first season, UPN decided to give "female viewers a chance". She-Hulk became a regular co-star. As a result, the series was officially renamed The Incredible Hulk and She-Hulk. The second season also featured the Grey Hulk. Overall, season 2 was less popular with fans. After 21 episodes the series was cancelled.

Superman was a superb follow up series to the remarkable Batman:The Animated Series. Superman was a bit more light hearted, and the color palate was brighter to demonstrate the change in mood. The series also featured a great theme.. though it may have been a tad over used. Superman is every bit as good as Batman, which is remarkable considering how few people have really been able to get Superman right in TV and movies. He is strong, but not invincible, and there is a great cast of villains... not just Lex Luthor every time. Superman really has a great cast of opponents including the Toyman, Bizarro, Mr Mxyzptlk (awesomely done here), Livewire, the Parasite, and of course Darkseid. This series also introduced other DC heroes Supergirl, the New Gods, Aquaman, Green Lantern and Dr. Fate. Superman also featured a 3-parter with Batman and Superman teaming against The Joker and Lex. The series went out strong with a 2-parter featuring Superman leading an Earth invasion after being brainwashed by Darkseid. When Supes realized he was being controlled he unleashed on Mr. Seid in epic fashion. This is quintessential Superman!

While 1996 treated us to a couple of good animated series, everything else that came out this year was pretty much second string or lower.

Previous Retrospectives

2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997

1 comment:

finky the kid said...

Holy jebus, that Generation X show was terrible. Thanks for the bad memories, Chief! ;)