Greetings, ladies and gentlemen! It’s another fine day here in my vague post-apocalypse, although any day I can sit and answer your mail instead of running from plague-ridden puppy-scorpions is all right in my book. Today we’re talking about the new Joker, why Daredevil can’t curse, Kryptonian sex taboos, and more!


Trick Shot

Darnell S.:

Lately, I’ve been dealing with friends and family who just can’t get over their preconceived biases in order to embrace shows I know they would like. Three quick examples.

1) My wife loves Six Feet Under, is a psychologist and can’t get enough of cop and conspiracy shows yet I can’t get her to watch Orphan Black because I said the word “clones” in the description. She’d love the domestic drama of Allison, the science girl power of Cosima and on-the-run Sarah and she’d marvel at Tatiana Maslany’s performance.

2) A friend who loves Battlestar Galatica and Game of Thrones for their multiple characters, epic world building and fake-world politics. She can’t bring herself to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because she used to make fun of Trekkies in high school. “In the Pale Moonlight” would blow her freaking mind.

3) Another friend who loves moody crime dramas, like Michael Mann films. He “hates superheroes” so he refused to believe me when I recommended Daredevil, which hits right in that sweet spot. After a ton of cajoling, he watched it and turns out, I was right! He loves it.

Have you ever faced genre bias? How do you get people on board genre shows you know they would love? What method has works best?

Most of my family members are not nerdy, and I married a lovely woman who is significantly less nerdy than me (which admittedly is not actually saying much), so I’ve had to overcome a ton of genre bias in my time.

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Here’s my first bit of advice for you: First, determine if you think they’ll genuinely like it, or if you just want them to like it. There’s a major difference between the two. The first is something you’re trying to do for them, and the second is something you’re doing for yourself. More importantly, the second option is doomed to fail. If they don’t like scifi at all, then all the Star Wars and Star Trek and BSG marathons in the world won’t matter. They’ll be bored, you’ll be disappointed, and everyone’s time will have been wasted. Seriously, it’s not worth bothering.

But if you have something you think they’d like but can’t bring themselves to give a try to — and it sounds like this is the case for you — then it’s worth giving a shot. Your best bet is to show them that you’re not the only one who thinks things like Orphan Black or Daredevil are awesome. There are plenty of mainstream reviewers and writers who love both of these series, and their opinions will likely have more weight than yours, because they’re coming from the same place of non-nerdiness as your friends. Then there’s always fair trade: Your friend agrees to watch one episode of Deep Space Nine, you agree to watch an episode or movie of his/her choosing in return — and with an open mind as well.

The most obvious tactic is to find specific things they enjoy that are similar to what you want them to watch, and start making comparisons. Unfortunately, this is always a case-by-case basis. Michael Mann movies and Daredevil is a very apt comparison. Battlestar Galatica and Deep Space Nine are similar in many ways, but aren’t exactly identical. You need to remember your target audience — does your friend who loved BSG also tend to prefer newer TV series? Well, then, the oldness of Deep Space 9 may be too off-putting for her to bother with. Does your Orphan Black-phobic friend refuse to watch things as weird as Lost? Well, then Orphan Black might still be too out there for her, even if it is an excellent show.

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If anyone has any specific questions about getting people into specific movies, shows, genres or whatever, well, hit me up. That’s what the Postman is for.


The Joke’s on Us

Adam H.:

So I grew up watching the Batman animated TV show and loved it. I had never really read any comics till the last couple years where I have dove off the deep end and I have been cruising through lots of series. Admittedly there is a lot I have missed but the most recent material I have gone through was “The Killing Joke” and “The Dark Knight Returns.” The Joker that is portrayed in those two series that of a total psychopathic killer and, as far as I can tell, the Joker is way more evil in print than in TV or movies. Isn’t Leto’s depiction(aesthetically) more indicative of that than any Joker previously? I think a lot of people are not happy with the Leto depiction as being too “Hot Topic” but come on?!? He is terrifyingly crazy in that photo in my opinion. That guy looks like he is willing to snap his own neck to prove a point. I get that this Joker is not like the beloved animated series but DC clearly isn’t trying to go that direction. Say what you want about DC’s direction (doom & gloom) but if they are trying to emulate TDKR then this is it. Right? Or did I miss judge the reaction to this image?

I think the biggest resistance to the new Joker has been his tattoos, mainly because they make him look like the long-lost third member of the Insane Clown Posse (I promise I’m not saying this as a joke, since it’s been made by everyone already; I actually mean it factually). To be fair, it’s hard to be intimidated by anyone who reminds you of those knuckleknobs.

But a lot of these people are forgetting that the Joker has been interpreted in a crazy amount of ways over the years. Seriously, we just did an article on it. He’s been a goofball, a bad comedian with a dark streak, a psychopath, a nihilist, David Bowie, whatever the hell is happening in Scott Snyder’s comic run right now, and more. And you’re 100% correct — tattoos aside, that single picture of Leto’s Joker indicates he’s going to accurately representation of Joker at his craziest. That’s not a Joker we’ve seen in live-action before, and I’m actually excited to see it.

I think half of the problem here is that Leto’s Joker is new and different, and there’s always someone appalled and pissed when something changes. Remember how upset people were when they first saw Heath Ledger’s long-haired Joker? That turned out pretty well, I’d say. The other half of the problem is the tattoos, which are silly, but it’s already been hinted they were part of the promo picture and won’ be featured in the film. Even if they do show up, I don’t think they’re going to prevent Leto’s Joker from being terrifying.

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Actually, let me specify: Leto’s Joker may suck, but if he does, it won’t be the tattoos’ fault.


Jedi Another Day

Francis:

Dear Postman,

At the end of RotJ, Yoda told Luke he’s the last Jedi, but the words and actions of other Jedi Masters (such as Qui-Gon Jinn & Obi Wan Kenobi) have shown them to be manipulative and pathological liars. Now that Ahsoka Tano is a recurring character in Star Wars: Rebels, which of the three Jedi (Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus, and Ahsoka Tano) do you think will be dead by the end of SW: Rebels (or will all three die or survive) and give odds also please?

Ahsoka is Clone Wars and Rebels’ director Dave Filoni’s favorite. As compelling and powerful as it would be to see Ahsoka die in a duel with her former Jedi master, I can’t imagine Filoni would allow her to be killed onscreen, just in case he ends up having more stories to tell about her later on. One in 20.

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Ezra is the star of Rebels and a kid. It would be way too traumatic for Rebels’ target audience to have the similarly aged star of the show die during the show’s run. And I doubt Disney would want to get rid of Rebels’ most marketable character, either. One in 50.

Kanan is a Jedi teacher. Jedi teachers have almost a 100% mortality rate in Star Wars — Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Yoda, etc. I’m not sure if Rebels is “mature” enough to include the death of one of its main characters, but if it does Kanan’s a dead man. One in 2.


Curses

Yitzy P.:

Just finished watching Netflix/Marvel’s Daredevil and thoroughly enjoyed it through and through. I liked the “gritty” take they did while still keeping it campy enough that you realized that this takes place in the Marvel MCU especially with the easter eggs toward The Guardian etc. The one thing that sort of got to me is that there’s all this intense and sometimes grotesque violence but the language doesn’t equal it. We get a few shits and dicks but never once is there a fuck given! Seeing as the first panel in Jessica Jones’ Alias was “fuck!” I was sort of hoping this Marvel Max-esque take on these stories wouldn’t mind throwing around some course language to match the violence. Thoughts?

There’s one of two things going on here, but you can point to/blame Marvel for either of them. The first is that even though Daredevil is in the “dark” “gritty” “grown-up” corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the studio is concerned about their brand and don’t want to have anything too off-putting in the TV series. After all, it’s still a superhero show, and there are going to be some kids watching it, one way or another.

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Thanks to the bizarre, puritanical nature of modern American culture, this means it’s acceptable for Marvel in general and Daredevil in specific to show the most horrific violence imaginable and curse constantly, as long as they don’t say “fuck” and don’t show a female nipple. Kids can watch a dude graphically stab someone to death or even crush their head into a pulp with a car door, and that’s fine. But human female mammary glands? IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD.

Now, I should clarify that Netflix isn’t beholden to the FCC, which has determined these utterly bizarre rules for television; Marvel could stack Daredevil will topless prostitutes if they wanted (and Frank Miller was somehow in charge). But even if Marvel and Netflix slapped a big “FOR MATURE VIEWERS ONLY” at the front of every episode, someone would go insane that a superhero show had boobs in it, and freak out, and even if there were no actual legal problems it would be a huge kerfluffle, and one that Marvel is happy to avoid.

There’s also the possibility that Marvel and Netflix are thinking about the future, and the syndication possibilities of Daredevil and their other shows. Say, if USA or Syfy got the rerun rights to Daredevil, this rebroadcast would be subject to the FCC’s standards, and they’d have to cut out the “fucks” and the boobs anyways. Might as well leave them out from the beginning, because the chances of some channel paying good money for Daredevil reruns are pretty high.

America is so weird.


Bay Side

Collex:

Hi, Mr. Postman.

So, this last month I’ve have to write tons of academic paper on various subject. In order to keep my brain stimulated and avoid productivity-killing boredom, I put movies as background noise. I always choose loud and energetic movies that I’ve seen 10 times already, which led me this week to put in The Rock.

I had to turn it off after 30 minutes because I could not get my eyes off of it. It was so engrossing and well-paced. And this got me thinking - what happened to that Michael Bay? What happened to the Michael Bay who was able to direct great actors like Ed Harris and Sean Connery? What happened to the Michael Bay who was able to create a sympathetic villain and tell his entire backstory in one perfectly somber opening scene? The Michael Bay who could create characters you actually gave a damn about? The Michael Bay who was able to have a woman in a scene and not automatically zoom on her ass?

I haven’t seen this Michael Bay in a while - the last time was probably Bad Boys II. Where has he been since then? And what would it take to get that guy back instead of the Bay we have right now?

I hate to break it to you, but it’s the same Michael Bay. It’s very kind of you to believe that there’s some kind of incarnation of Bay that has quality storytelling skills and the ability to work with skilled actors, but really the only difference between The Rock’s Michael Bay and Transformers 4’s Michael Bay is that now Bay’s had enough successes no one can keep from indulging his worst instincts. But they were there all along.

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For instance, in The Rock, Bay actually followed a real script — a script full of action scenes, but one that still had dialogue and character moments and Bay didn’t have the autonomy to cut them out. The Rock was a success, so he had a little more freedom with his next movie, Armageddon. He trimmed some of the dimension of the characters, dumbed down the dialogue, worried less about things making sense, and it was still a huge hit. So then he made Pearl Harbor as loud and dumb as he wanted to, but the American public caught on and the movie oh-so-deservedly tanked.

So he had to step back, and and tell something resembling a story for Bad Boys II, but then he was back on top. He was handed the reins to the Transformers franchise, where he quickly made the discovery that he could make these movies as big and dumb as he wanted as long as giant robots were tangentially involved. Frankly, Michael Bay could make another movie like The Rock now if he wanted to, but he doesn’t want to, and he certainly doesn’t have to.

Let me put it more simply: Michael Bay used to shoot people’s scripts. Now people write scripts specifically for Michael Bay, and they know what he likes — explosions, the U.S. military, incoherence, and stupidity. As long as these movies continue to make money no one will ever try to make him stop.


Post Office

Brian L.:

Dear Postman,

Since you live in the Post-Apocalypse I got to ask, at what point does the words Post-Apocalypse stop being an accurate description of the world around you?

I was reading Tank Girl and I thought to myself “well the Apocalypse happened but the world seems to have gotten back alright” and it got me thinking if other Post-Apocalypses need a title update.

Like Adventure Time takes place after a nuclear war and while there is a lot of weird stuff in the world now, they have gotten everything pretty under control, with different nations,

Warm Bodies showed Humanity wasn’t doing too bad and now they have a cure for Zombies so there goes the whole Apocalypse problem.

Like we don’t say we live in the post-Dark Ages, so when do we stop calling things Post-Apocalypse when they clearly have gotten over the whole world ending part?

When something else major happens to replace the apocalypse.

See, the unspoken rule is that you should use the most recent event to describe the era you’re living in. So while you could accurately say that you readers living in 2015 are living in the “post-Dark Ages,” that sounds insane, because a lot of major cultural developments have happened since then that are far more relevant that the end of the Dark Ages. “Post-Industrial Revolution” is closer, but too unspecific to be of much use. “Post-Cold War” is better . Seeing as most of the 1900s was obnoxiously titled “the modern age” there’s something to be said for calling your time “the post-modern age”, as ridiculous as it sounds.

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But since I live in the time immediately following a very unspecified apocalypse, and nothing impactful enough has occurred to dethrone the apocalypse’s significance in my society, “post-apocalyptic” is still the most accurate term to describe my era. Now, if sentient cyborg unicorns suddenly take over the remnant of human civilization, chances are we’ll be calling it “The Post-Cyborg Unicorn Reformation” or something.


Just Cousin

Ken P.:

Does Superman have a moral imperative to procreate with his cousin in order to continue his species? I guess it would be potentially dangerous If he created super babies from a less diverse gene pool. However, with his unwavering morality towards the safety of the inhabitants of Earth, isn’t he betraying his Kryptonian ancestry in the worst possible way, by letting his species go extinct?

That’s a good question, Ken P… or should I say, GENERAL ZOD. Oh, like your obsession with continuing the Kryptonian race by any means possible isn’t completely obvious.

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I’m going to assume you’re talking about comic Superman, because Supergirl isn’t in the DC Cinematic Universe and because then we get into the Kryptonians’ weird baby trees and all that nonsense. But in the comics, there’s plenty of options for Superman to make Kryptonian babies without boinking his first cousin.

1) Artificial babies. I’m talking cloning, fertilizing eggs in labs (or trees), building other baby-making devices… look, Superman is super-smart. These are all valid possibilities.

2) There are several Kryptonians running around besides Supergirl. If he really feels like he has to impregnate a Kryptonian the fun way, then he should probably take up with Zod’s female companion, as opposed to someone he’s directly related to.

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3) There’s actually a ton of Kryptonians living in the city of Kandor, which just happens to be shrunk in a bottle on Superman’s desk. They’re presumably having tiny Kryptonian babies regularly. Eventually, when Superman figures out how to unshrink them, he’ll have the genetic pool of an entire city to work with. No cosuin’-lovin’ needed.

Or he can just let the Kryptonian race die out. It’s not his fault his parents stuck him in a rocket that landed on a planet where the family who adopted him imparted strong Midwestern values such as not laying pipe with first cousins. Them’s the breaks, Zod.


Contact the author at rob@io9.com.