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Showing posts from March, 2017

An end to 'Grimm'

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"And now you know what I am." - Nick, "Grimm"

We're at that time of year when shows begin to end. Sometimes it is just the end of the season. Other times, it's the end of the series run. We had that earlier this week when "Bones" called it after more than 200 episodes and 12 seasons.

Tonight we bid farewell to another series, "Grimm," after six years on the air. The series began in the fall of 2011, and I didn't see how it would work. Fairytales were big that year, with ABC launching "Once Upon A Time." But "Grimm" was something different.

It was pitched as a darker take on "Grimm's Fairytales." And it was. It was set in Portland, centered on cops and had a case-of-the-week formula that worked. But it also was a take off on the "Grimm's Fairytales" in that the titular hero, Nick, a "Grimm," had the ability to see these creatures hiding in plain sight and protect our world.

Bu…

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

CHiPS
Starring: Dax Shepherd, Michael Pena, Kristen Bell, Ryan Hansen, Jessica McNamee, and Vincent D'Onofrio
Synopsis: This is another film that's a re-boot of a popular TV series, this time the drama that began in the 1970s about officers with the California Highway Patrol. Aside from a cameo by Erik Estrada — the star of the original series — there is no connection between this film and the show. The film, written, directed and starring Shepherd, isn't trying to re-make the show. Instead, it's using the iconic characters and idea to create something completely new — a hard R-rated comedy that's meant to be, in part, a send up of the original. This time officer Baker (Shepherd) is a washed up motocross rider whose body is broken and marriage is in shambles. And Ponch (Pena) is an under cover FBI Agent, and sex addict, who's trying to uncover corruption in the Highway Patrol. There's plenty of funny moment…

Best of the Small Screen, Limited Run Series No. 2

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Over the next 22 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today the countdown continues with one of the best cult series of all time.

Firefly (2002-2003)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 1/14
Network: FOX
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite, Adam Baldwin, Morena Baccarin, Ron Glass, Sean Maher, and Summer Glau
Creator: Joss Whedon
Favorite Season/Episode: 1.08, "Out of Gas"
About: In the fall of 2002, FOX aired this new series from Joss Whedon, the mega producer who created "Buffy The Vampire Slayer." It was, simply, one of the best shows of all time. But it was a series that defied description and understa…

Spring TV Roundup, Week 1

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Spring is here, and it brings with it a flood of new series. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this Spring. Don't see a new show listed below? You can check previous weeks.

Wednesday Nights:
Shots Fired, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on FOX (Premiered March 22)
About: FOX is looking to get into the anthology series game with "Shots Fired," a series whose first season focuses on a police shooting in a small southern town. The twist here is the officer is African American and the victim is a white man looking to make a drug deal. Soon a special prosecutor (Stephan James) and investigator (Sanaa Lathan) are brought in at the behest of the governor (Helen Hunt) to try and get to the truth. That quickly leads them to the death of a young African American man, one whose case is getting no publicity. And it leads them to the suspicion there is more going on with the Sheriff's department than it first appeared. This is a timely and inte…

The Final Four

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Gonzaga
North Carolina
Oregon
South Carolina

Be honest, who had those four in the Final Four in their bracket? I didn't. Well, I didn't have all of them. I did pick North Carolina to get there and to win the whole thing. So, in a sense, I'm still alive.

But Gonzaga, Oregon and South Carolina? Not so much. That's the magic of March and the magic of the NCAA Tournament. You never know what's going to happen. And this year a pair of one seeds, a three seed and a seven seed made it all the way to the Final Four.

Of the four that made it, Gonzaga might be the most surprising. Sure, they were a No. 1 seed and one of the most talented teams in men's college basketball this season. But their tournament history made me leery. Many times they've had great teams and high seeds but fell short of the goal.

Not this year. The Zags made the Final Four for the first time in school history and, facing off against South Carolina in the semi-finals, I think they can make the…

The End Draws Near

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"We made it. We can make it. We can. We're the ones who live." — Michonne, "The Walking Dead"

Those who frequent this blog know that I have, in the past, loved to dissect the deeper issues in "The Walking Dead" each week. Sure, it's a zombie show, and that can be fun. But for me, it was always so much more. At least until this season.

The season began with one of the most brutal scenes in the show's history, and much of the first eight episodes were a reaction to that. And I found myself disengaged in the narrative. But when the mid-season finale arrived, a funny kind of hope came with it.

But the road to redemption hasn't been an easy on for "The Walking Dead." Its seen its ratings drop to five year lows in the Spring as many have been turned off by the characters and the narrative. I've also been disappointed, though not yet to the point of leaving the show.

And now, with 15 episodes in the books and the finale looming lar…

2017 Broncos Season, Draft Prospects

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The NFL Draft is a month away, which means it's time to speculate about who and what the Broncos might target.

Broncos' Draft Needs:
* Help on the line. It's no secret the Broncos need some help on the offensive and defensive line. There's still not a great choice at left tackle on the roster, though it's a stretch to think a rookie can come in and be that person. Similarly, there's room for improvement along the Broncos' defensive line, too.

* Depth for the No Fly Zone. The Broncos lost Kayvon Webster. That's not a crippling loss, but it does hinder the Broncos' depth. Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Jr., TJ Ward and Darian Stewart aren't getting any younger. Bradley Roby is a great piece at corner, and Justin Simmons and Will Parks are the future. But the Broncos would do well to beef up that group.

* A playmaker on offense. Be it a running back, slot receiver, tight end or some combination of them all, the Broncos need to add to the stable of weapo…

'Homeland' Bounces Back

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"[Quinn] nearly died last year in Berlin and I managed to save him. But… [getting emotional] the way he’s been acting the past few months, it’s as if he wants to finish the job. So I brought him into our home because I can’t go through that again. I can’t lose another one." — Carrie, "Homeland"

When "Homeland" debuted in season one, it was a revelation. It was one of the best shows on TV, possibly of all time. But it was a standard that wasn't possible to replicate. Especially given the interference show runners faced.

It's well known now that the original plan was for Brody (Damian Lewis) to die at the end of season one. Everything built toward that. That made the most sense. I want to see that show. But that's not our reality.

Brody lived, and his character limped on for two seasons. That cast a shadow on the show as it slipped in quality and narrative. By the time he was gone at the end of season three, the show had changed. So had its rep…

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.
Beauty and the Beast Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Josh Gad, Kevin Kline, Emma Thompson, Ian McKellen, and Ewan McGreggor Synopsis: “Beauty and The Beast” was a unique accomplishment when it was released in 1991. The animated film – which introduced audiences to Belle – has endured as one of the most popular animated films, and it was also the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards total, and took home Oscars for its score and Best Original Song. For Disney, what was old is new again. Beginning a few years ago, the company began transforming its classic animated films into live action films. “Cinderella” got the live action treatment in 2015, though it dropped its classic musical numbers. “The Jungle Book” roared into theaters last spring, albeit with just a couple of its classical music numbers. But for the adaptation of “Beauty and The Beast,” it only mak…

Best of the Small Screen, Limited Run Series No. 3

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Over the next 23 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today the countdown continues with an early 1990s dramedy.

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. (1993-1994)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 1/27
Network: FOX
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Julius Carry, Christian Clemenson, and Kelly Rutherford
Creator: Jeffrey Boam and Carlton Cuse
Favorite Season/Episode: 1.04, "Brisco in Jalisco"
About: In the fall of 1993, on FOX a pair of shows debuted as part of the new Friday night. The first was a delightful dramedy set in the Old West starring Bruce Campbell. The second was a little sci-fi drama called "The X-Files." One went on to become …

Winter TV Roundup, Week 12

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Spring sprung on Monday, but before it did we got a few more new shows this winter. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this winter. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Tuesday Nights:
Trial & Error, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC (Premiered March 14)
About: This is the latest comedy from NBC. It got a two-episode premier after the finale of the NBC hit "This Is Us" last Tuesday, and now it will be airing two episodes a week in that timeslot. So it's a compressed season. The comedy stars John Lithgow as a poet accused of killing his wife. Nicholas D'Agosto is the junior lawyer attached to his case and Jayma Mays is the upward clawing DA aiming to put him away. The whole season will follow the trial documentary style. Consider this the comedic version of "Making a Murderer." The pilot was uneven, but the second episode made me smile quite a bit. Not too many people tuned into the show, and…

Amazon Pilot Season

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Amazon has renewed an annual tradition — Pilot Season. They produce a crop of new pilots then open them up for the public to watch and vote on. This year's pilot season features two 60-minute series and three 30-minute offerings (due to the fluid nature of TV it's impossible to classify series as drama or comedy based on run times). Below is my take on all five. Be sure to check them out and vote for yourself!

60-Minute Series:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
About: This show hails from Amy Sherman-Palladino ("Gilmore Girls"), who wrote and directed the pilot. It boasts a strong cast led by Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shaloub, Marin Hinkle and Alex Borstein. It's set in the 1950s and kicks off at the wedding for Miriam "Midge" Maisel (Brosnahan). The opening gives you a feel for Midge and her personality, as well as the template for the style of the series. Flash forward four years, and Midge is happily married with two kids and a husband who dabbles in stand up com…

Different Points of View

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“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’" — Luke 15:28-30

We're in the midst of a series on the Prodigal Son. Often, when we look at this story we focus on the Prodigal Son. That's natural. There is plenty to learn from his actions, arc and story. And there's a rich narrative on God's forgiveness to be considered with the story.

But what about the other characters? One of the most compelling, and probably most apt for us, is the older brother. We might not all fave a story like the Prodigal, but we can all identify with the older brother more than we'd care to admit.

The beauty of grace is that…

2017 Broncos Season, Free Agency Check In

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We're 10 days into Free Agency, but there have been few splashes for the Broncos. We're a month from the draft, Tony Romo is still a Cowboy and there's plenty of question marks. But it's time to look at the Broncos' two biggest areas of need, and how things have gone so far.

The Broncos' biggest areas of need are the offensive and defensive lines. While the media likes to speculate about quarterback, and that's fair, the lines are where games are won and lost. The Broncos needed work. Let's see how we're doing.

Offensive Line:
Departures: Russell Okung, LT, to the Chargers
Additions: Ronald Leary, OG, and Menelik Watson, RT
Thoughts: The signing of Leary is great. Presuming center Matt Paradis returns fully healthy, the Broncos interior could be fierce with Leary, Paradis and Max Garcia across the front. The tackles remain a work in progress. The biggest work is left tackle since the Broncos don't really have one. Conventional wisdom heading into t…

Race for the Oscars Begins

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There's this stigma to Awards season that the most important movies of the year come in the final quarter. If you're released in late October, November or, especially, December, you've got a shot at Oscar's biggest prize. If not, well, better luck next year.

And while that seems to have been the case in recent years, it wasn't always this way. And it might not be that way going forward. March, 10 months before the end of the year, has seen some early Oscar buzz. You heard that right, Oscar buzz before the official end of winter.

Last year we saw "Deadpool," released in mid-February, generate serious consideration for Oscars. It was a Golden Globe nominee, but didn't make the Oscar pool. Well, this year there's two films that have already been released in March that could both make a play.

"Logan," which was released on March 3, is a film many feel could be a Best Picture contender. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are also earning buzz …

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

Kong: Skull Island
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and Corey Hawkins
Synopsis: It’s been more than 80 years since King Kong, the giant, powerful gorilla first swung into our lives. He famously made his debut in 1933 in a feature film, and has been part of the cultural landscape ever since. King Kong has been on the stage, a part of the studio tour for Universal Studios, in the comics, in video games and a featured player in subsequent films in 1962, 1967, 1976 and 2005. Each time the stories have changed but the basic essence of King Kong has remained the same. And he’s remained a vibrant cultural symbol since his first appearance in 1933. Now, Kong is back in another feature film — “Kong: Skull Island,” which opened last Friday. The film, set in 1973 at the tail end of the Vietnam War, takes a group of soldiers, scientists and explorers to a previously unknown island where they find more than t…

Best of the Small Screen, Limited Run Series No. 4

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Over the next 24 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today the countdown continues with another Bryan Fuller series.

Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 2/22
Network: ABC
Starring: Lee Pace, Anna Friel, Chi McBride, Kristen Chenoweth, Swoosie Kurtz, Ellen Greene, and Jim Dale
Creator: Bryan Fuller
Favorite Season/Episode: 1/1.01, Pilot
About: I said last week Fuller's whole career could almost end up on this list. He was the co-creator of last week's entry, "Wonderfalls." In between he managed to be one of the few people to get a show on Showtime that wasn't renewed past two seasons, in "Dead Like …

Winter TV Roundup, Week 11

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We're speeding through March and Spring is on the way, but there's still a flood of new shows hitting the air. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted shows this winter. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Sunday Nights:
Making History, Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on FOX (Premiered March 5)
About: Awards season and football season are over, so most networks launched new Sunday nights the past few weeks. One of those was "Making History" on FOX, which is a sitcom involving time travel. That sounds great in theory, but the first two episodes were dumb and dull, a killer combination. In fact, the second episode seemed to be about making a political statement about Americans and guns. I'm sure it was meant to be funny, but it wasn't. The first couple episodes showed little interest in history as anything more than a quick joke. This show had its episode order cut before it aired, and now we know why. It's n…

DeMarcus Hangs it up

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"I'm hanging up my cleats and beginning my journey to my next destination." — DeMarcus Ware.

Doubtless everyone will have a different memory of DeMarcus Ware, who on Monday decided to call it a career. The 34-year-old retires after 12 seasons, nine Pro Bowls and 138.5 sacks. He was a fierce player on the field and a fierce leader off it. He will be missed.

This is the second major retirement for the Denver Broncos in two seasons. Of course, Cowboys fans hold a claim to Ware, too, for his nine incredible seasons there. But it was those last three seasons in Denver that saw Ware claim his most important prize — a Super Bowl ring.

As a life-long Broncos fan, I remember the agony that followed the weeks and months after losing to the Seahawks in embarrassing fashion in Super Bowl XLVIII. It was over from the opening snap, which sailed over Peyton Manning's head. It was a 43-8 route that saw the Seahawks crowned world champions. The Broncos entered that Super Bowl with a…

The Art of Forgiveness

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"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:44-45

This Lenten season we've been looking at the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Along with that we're hosting an art exhibition, "The Father & His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness," which features a number of interpretations of the parable by different artists from different cultures and eras. One of the things that the collector, Larry Gerbens, said draws people to the collection is the rich themes of grace and forgiveness.

Grace and forgiveness are things we often consider during the Lenten season. In a staff meeting this week we were asked a question, what in our modern culture keeps people from embracing the truth of the Gospel. One of the first ideas that came to my mind was other Christians. Believers who claim …

The Fun on TGIT

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"You know what I wanna do? I wanna run away." — Benjamin,  "The Catch"

The latest iteration of TGIT — Thank God It's Thursday — debuted two nights ago. It's become ABC's signature night courtesy of producer Shonda Rhimes. The regulars include "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal." In the fall, the night includes "How To Get Away With Murder," which offers the better pedigree.

But if you're looking for the most fun, I turn to "The Catch," which bowed last spring and is back now for its second season. It has the one thing missing from the rest of the TGIT lineup — fun.

The series, which stars Mirelle Enos and Peter Krause, is about a private security company head who falls for a con man. In the first season she nearly lost everything, but her con-man fiance actually fell for her. As the season progressed, the characters got better defined and the show pulled me in.

It feels like something a little lighter and diff…

Free Agent Frenzy

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“I’ll say this: We’re going to look at all the options. Once they become available, we’re going to look at all the options. … Because it’s not only about winning next year; it’s also about what it does to the future, too.” - John Elway

In Elway We Trust. That's been the mantra for six years. Ever since he swooped in, like a Savior, in the wake of the Josh McDaniels disaster. Since then he's brought us Von Miller, Peyton Manning, five AFC West titles, two Super Bowl births and one Super Bowl title.

Elway is the architect of the team, and it's been a heck of a run. The Broncos missed the playoffs last season, but even in a "down" year the team finished 9-7 and was probably one of the best six in the AFC.

Heading into the off-season, with a new coaching staff in tow, the Broncos' brass promised they'd make a splash and address the team's needs. Those needs begin and end on the line, primarily, as the offensive tackle spots and the defensive tackle posit…

Now Playing

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Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

Logan
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Stephen Merchant, and Boyd Holbrook
Synopsis: It’s easy to forget now, but “X-Men” was the forerunner of the modern superhero movie movement. In the summer of 2000 the movie bowed at a time when superhero films were a rarity. The leads were Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who were joined by little-known Hugh Jackman in the iconic role of Wolverine. Seventeen years and nine films later, it’s hard to imagine anyone by Jackman playing the part. And it’s hard to remember there was ever a time when people didn’t know him. The landscape of superhero movies has also changed. There have been six “X-Men” films and now three stand alone films focused on Wolverine. There’s half a dozen superhero movies at the Box Office each year, and everyone is vying to up the stakes and do something different. Jackman is ready to retire his Wolverine, as Stewart is with Professor X. And both wanted …

Best of the Small Screen, Limited Run Series No.5

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Over the next 25 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today I begin my countdown of my five favorite Limited Run Series with a classic from the early 2000s.

Wonderfalls (2004)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 1/13
Network: FOX
Starring: Caroline Dhavernas, Tracie Thoms, Katie Finneran, Tyron Leitso, Lee Pace, William Sadler, and Diana Scarwid
Creator: Bryan Fuller and Todd Holland
Favorite Season/Episode: 1.04, "Pink Flamingos"
About: Bryan Fuller's whole career could almost end up on this list for me. He's given us some delightful series that just haven't gotten great ratings. This was one of his first. After writing for "…

Winter TV Roundup, Week 10

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We're into March, and now we're starting to get a new flood of network releases held to "spring." In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episodes of new scripted series this winter/spring. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Taken, Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC (Premiered February 27)
About: Based on the film franchise featuring Liam Neeson, this series is a prequel of sorts, trying to show how Bryan Mills became the badass we see in the movies. I mentioned this last week, but the reason the films work is the simple plot and, Neeson. Neeson isn't here, and the plot is anything but simple. Now he's working for some kind of government agency, he's got a case of PTSD, he's still seeking revenge, and there's the case-of-the-week format. They've taken everything that made the "Taken" movies a good 90-minute escape and turned it into a 60-minute trap each week. No thanks.
Pilot Grade: C-
Second…

TV's Best Bet

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"I read every draft of every episode of every series produced at FX." - John Landgraf

Over the years there's been a lot of competition for which network would be at the top of the heap when it comes to quality. In the late 1990s HBO held the belt, then AMC seemed to snatch it for a while in the 2000s with shows like "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" dominating the awards landscape.

But, quietly, John Landgraf was building something over at FX. He had a vision for what their network could be, and that meant attaching FX to some great content creators, like Noah Hawley and Ryan Murphy.

FX may not dominate the awards, but it's certainly been a place to go for quality. And they've seeming perfected the anthology series in many different forms. "American Horror Story" has been going strong for six seasons. "Fargo" will be back for its third season in April. "American Crime Story" is working on its next two installments, wh…

A different kind of hero

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"Everyone here says I'm sane. What if they're wrong?" - David, "Legion"

A man suffering from schizophrenia in a mental hospital. An aging, broken down past-their-prime heroes on one last mission. A mentally battered hero with a breaking down body dragged into conflict with a superhuman marvel that can't get past the guilt and raging self doubt cast upon him by society.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think the above description was part of the plot to "Watchmen," the classic graphic novel that offered a dark, dystopic take on superheroes. But, no, this is simply reflective of a new era.

I couldn't help but reflect on this while watching "Logan" this weekend. It soared to the top of the Box Office, churning up more than $80 million. But it was decidedly different. We've seen Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and Patrick Stewart's Professor X in many movies the last 17 years. But it's fair to say we've neve…

The Quest for Tony Romo

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NFL Free Agency begins on Thursday, and there's a lot happening between now and then. The legal tampering period begins on Tuesday, and we'll know even more then. But it seems the biggest prize out there right now might be Tony Romo, and the Broncos seem to be the top suitor.

But is it a good idea? Can it work. Let's look at the pros and cons.

Pros:
* Tony Romo is better than what the Broncos have now. Sure, Trevor Siemian had a decent season, but he's not a seasoned pro. The Broncos feel like they have all the pieces to win a Super Bowl now, and the key parts are there from a Super Bowl 50 win. The biggest difference last year was no Peyton Manning, a veteran quarterback who could give the offense the little edge it was missing.

* It's worked before. John Elway was the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl... until Peyton Manning did it in Super Bowl 50. The connection? Both were Broncos. And Elway is the one that recruited Manning and saw what it could mean, and…