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"The Zeta Project: Season Two" DVD Talkback (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'The DC Comics Animation Forum' started by James Harvey, Mar 14, 2017.

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  1. James Harvey

    James Harvey The World's Finest
    Staff Member Administrator Moderator Reporter

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    The long-awaited home video release of The Zeta Project's second season is here in a new two-disc collection!

    [​IMG]
    The Zeta Project: Season Two
    Studio:
    Warner Archive
    Available to Order: March 14th, 2017

    Synopsis: Renegade "synthoid" Zeta (voice of Diedrich Bader, Batman: The Brave and the Bold), marked for reprogramming after developing a conscience and defying his evil orders, flees from a ruthless government agent. Capable of transforming himself at will into any human shape and possessing amazing cybernetic resources, Zeta joins Ro (voice of Julie Nathanson, Beverly Hills 90210) a 15-year-old street kid in her own kind of trouble with the law. In this spin-off from the blockbuster animated series Batman Beyond, futuristic vehicles, weapons and technology meld with the touching and humorous story of two misfits who need each other to survive in a dangerous world.

    Discuss This DVD!

    This thread is only for actual discussion of the DVD release. Please check out the The DC Animation Forum Talkback Collection Thread to access talkbacks for every episode of The Zeta Project and Batman Beyond, and also check out the related links below.

    Related Discussion:
    -The Zeta Project: Season One DVD Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman Beyond: The Complete Series DVD Talkback (Spoilers)

    Note: We appreciate and encourage discussion. Please keep your posts the thoughtful, relevant and insightful. Please do not post any improper or inflammatory material. We will issue warnings if we believe it necessary. Please keep discussion ON-TOPIC!
     
  2. Kirben

    Kirben Member

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    Could anyone who ordered direct from Warner Archive confirm whether the discs are pressed or not?

    Also are subtitles included or not?
     
  3. Dallas Kinard

    Dallas Kinard Active Member

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    The disc's are not pressed. They are DVD-R (Purple/Blue). The artwork is bland and kinda low-res and the case is VERY cheap. I actually switched the case out with one that has a flipper because of how hard the discs are to remove. I'm so glad they finally put this out, but the quality of the packaging is sub-par. I have not watched any of it yet though so I can't speak to the audio/video.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  4. Jon T

    Jon T Friendless Spidey

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    Thanks for the information Dallas! I'm not surprised that the discs aren't pressed; Warner Archive seem to have cut back on pressing early release batches in late 2015. Still, I'm very grateful to them that the series was finally completed on DVD at all!
     
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  5. Wonder Woman

    Wonder Woman Well-Known Member

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    How are the menu screens and the quality of the episodes themselves? My copy won't be arriving for a little while yet and I'm really curious to see how the whole package looks. There are a lot of second season episodes I haven't seen and I'm looking forward to seeing them for the first time here.
     
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  6. A Brisk Autumn Day

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    Haven't gotten my copy yet, but I noted somewhere else how bad the cover looks. If someone told me they just went to worldsfinestonline.com or something for a screenshot of an episode and blew it up so it was big enough, I would only be 50% sure they were joking. I might design my own thing for it eventually. But at this point, it's like, I don't even really care. I find it more humorous. xD

    Wait, so are you saying they may be pressed eventually?
     
  7. Jon T

    Jon T Friendless Spidey

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    No, I'm saying that Warner Archive look to have stopped manufacturing pressed discs of early shipments of their titles - at least, in all of my experiences since late 2015.

    I've heard mention that they were still pressing a few DVD titles after that, but certainly all the animation titles I've purchased on release date since late 2015 have exclusively been DVD-Rs rather than pressed DVDs. They've never made a formal announcement or anything, but it really looks like their practice of pressing early shipments of their DVD archive titles came to an end over a year ago, so Zeta didn't get a pressed disc version now, and will almost certainly not get pressed discs in the future through the archive program.

    Static will be the same when it gets released at the end of the month; it will only available on DVD-Rs and there will be no pressed disc version.
     
  8. Dallas Kinard

    Dallas Kinard Active Member

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    Ok so I've watched about 4 episodes so far and the video quality is actually slightly lesser than the original Season 1 DVD set. Aliasing is pretty bad in some scenes and line art is VERY choppy and stair-steppy. All-in-all, it's still decent quality. Not Blu Ray quality by any means, but decent. It all depends on your home theater as well. If you have a blu ray player with up-conversion capability, it should help smooth some of those issues out. I've been reading about problems with DVD-R vs pressed discs and apparently DVD-R has a lower lifespan. On the Warner Archive site they address this:


    Q: What is the durability of a DVD-R vs. a stamped or replicated DVD? I've heard that recordable DVDs are less durable than stamped DVDs. Is that true?

    A: Recorded DVD-Rs and stamped (or replicated) DVDs are actually very similar. The difference is really just how the data is recorded on the media. DVD-Rs burn data patterns on an ink layer of the DVD. With stamped DVDs data patterns are molded within a texture layer of the DVD. While DVDs have only been prevalent for the past 10-12 years, independent laboratories have used stress testing to evaluate both types for playability over time, resistance to effects of aging, etc. These test show that DVD-Rs can be expected to last many years, just as stamped DVDs.

    As a "real-world" testament to this – consider the CD-R. These have been in wide spread use for 15-20 years with no evidence of any systemic deterioration over that time. DVD-Rs use similar ink pattern technology to CD-R.

    Note, though, as with any product, the key to longevity is proper care and maintenance. The surface of the DVD should be protected from scratches, finger prints, high heat sources and direct sunlight as noted earlier. The ink layer of a DVD-R is more sensitive to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, so no leaving the DVD upside down on the dash board of your car.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  9. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.
    Staff Member Moderator

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    In terms of watching it, looks great! Happy to throw away my old recordings. Show still holds up, imo.

    I hope Mr. Goodman teases some more of his plans for season 3 such as
    *The 6th scientist involved in the Zeta project
    *Did Bennet believe what Selg said about Zeta having a conscience
    *More of Agent Lee's unit
    *More of Brother's Day
    *Selig's plan for Zeta
    *The advanced synthoids
    *Ro's search for her mother and father
    *Help from Casey and Bucky and maybe more of the 'underground'
    *Maybe more crossover - not just Batman but others in the JLU like Static

    No subtitles.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    #9 Yojimbo, Mar 31, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  10. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    For what it's worth, WHV DVD-R's have a lifetime guarantee from the WB Archive, even if you bought them from Amazon. When your copy wears out, email or call them, and they'll send you a mailing label to ship back your old copy while they send you a new one. This fact means I am MUCH more comfortable buying these things than I would from a different studio.

    For the record, I do not have the email addresses or phone numbers handy for the Archive or Home Video departments, but you should be able to easily find them on Google or the WB website.
     
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  11. A Brisk Autumn Day

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    Wait... Like, some of his ideas for what he wanted in season 3, or what he wants in season 3? Like, is a season 3 in the works or something? O_O
     
  12. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.
    Staff Member Moderator

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    Some were ideas of his for the next season back when the series was airing. It's in one or two interviews he did with World's Finest. No, not in the works.
     
  13. iammattie

    iammattie Member

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    I finally got around to popping in my copy after finishing off screen capping subbed Static Shock episodes off the recent season one release.

    While I'm glad to finally have a home release of these episodes, I'm extremely bummed that subtitles didn't come standard on this set. I've been working on a comprehensive DCAU timeline for years now, screencapping all my DVDs to link back to for evidence as to why things are places where they are so I was looking forward to getting to do that for TZP 2. I guess I can always go back and add captions to the screenshots in a photo editing software, but I'm not looking forward to the additional work and less legit methodology.

    This doesn't bode well for my hopes on the rest of the Static Shock season releases :/
     
  14. Fone Bone

    Fone Bone Matt Zimmer

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    The Zeta Project: The Complete Second Season

    Here is something that I wish was true for most TV shows I watched and enjoyed back in the day. I wish they held up. But they don't. At all. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was my top fandom at one point, and now it just disgusts me in hindsight, as does Firefly. I loved watching Russell T Davies' run of Doctor Who over the air, but looking back on it, it is absolutely abhorrent. And the less said about Quantum Leap or The X-Files, the better.

    The only real fandoms of mine that still hold up to scrutiny decades later are Twin Peaks, Farscape, and yes, the DC Animated Universe. I will concede that Batman: The Animated Series is a FAR suckier series years later than it seemed twenty years ago. But all of the rest of the shows hold up, particularly JLU. But The Zeta Project? For some reason, it's WAY better and cooler now than it was when it first aired. Just because it is still singularly unique for a DC Superhero related series.

    It doesn't have a central location, and the characters visit a different place every week. Actual villains are rare, and the main antagonists are actually good guys. And there is MUCH less dialogue and explaining what is going on than any other DC show I've ever seen. The second season also phased out the recaps, so you know that this is not only the rare kids show that trusted the kid audience, but the rare show, period, that did that. And Zeta is pretty much the role of Diedrich Bader's career, live-action or animated. The fact that he hasn't had a dramatic role since borders on the criminal.

    For the record, the show has the best character development of any DCAU show. The characters all grow and change during the two seasons, and I can't think of many cartoons where that is true, much less superhero cartoons. The characters, even the ostensible bad guys, learn from each otther, and grow as people every episode. Which is kind of amazing.

    So yeah, I always knew this was a special show, and that all of the haters were off base. I just didn't realize how off-base they were, considering no DC series since JLU besides Justice League Action are actually better than it or Static Shock. When the only modern DC Animation you have to compare the show to is Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, and Batman Beyond, maybe the show isn't quite as good in some respects. But NO DC toons since then have been. Zeta and Static still kick the [tar] outta Teen Titans Go!, The Batman, and Young Justice, at any rate.

    Best episodes of the year are the season one finale (Absolute Zero), the two part season premiere (Wired, Parts 1 and 2), and the cliffhanger series finale (The Hologram Man). Worst episodes are the lost episode (The Wrong Morph), and the creepy Handmaid's Tale one (The River Rising). Season Overall: ****1/2. Series Overall: ****1/2.

    Absolute Zero:

    Wow. I was amazed by that. I haven't seen this show in years (the last episodes I watched were when the first season was released on DVD in 2010) but I get exactly why I loved this show so much. After seeing that, if you asked me to sum up the show in one word, it would be "Quiet." I'm not saying it's boring, or that the action scenes aren't exciting. It's that the producers took the extraordinary tack to let the story and animation speak for itself. JLU is widely considered the best DCAU series. Even it always had characters explaining what was going on to the kids (and adults) in the audience. I only realize how unusual that opening is upon not having seen the series for years, and having to take a couple of minutes to get back into the swing of things. There is no recap for this episode. It assumes the kid has seen all of the previous episodes, and explains nothing through dialogue at the beginning about Ro and Zee's complex con involving switching identities with random people. It trusts it plays. And it's right to do that because it does. The reason that amazes me so, is that isn't even true for most series aimed at grown-ups. Recaps and technobabble are so overdone on most adult oriented series, that to see a CHILDREN'S program that trusts the audience so much is a truly rare thing. I get a similar vibe from rewatching Samurai Jack. But the difference there is that there IS no explanation for that show's weirdness. Zeta actually has a complex science fiction serialized plot whose details the audience is trusted to remember. And for some crazy reason, it works. The other thing that amazes me is Diedrich Bader's performance. I have always thought the guy was amazing here, but in hindsight what is SO amazing is that Bader hasn't had a similar role since. Zeta is quiet, and kind, gentle, and soulful, and that is NOT Batman, Guy Gardner, or Booster Gold. Bader now gets cast exclusively as funny versions of tough guys, or tough guys who are secretly losers. Zeta is the ONLY dramatic role of his I have seen in animation. Heck, that goes for his live-action career too. And it surprises me that since Bader is so good at it, cartoon producers might have wanted to do that again. I now think his current talents are being absolutely wasted in the projects he's done since Brave and the Bold. Wasted. There is a moment I love. First off, it is hilarious that Bennet is a secret computer hacker. But when the computer says "Access denied," Bennet's exact words at that are "Yeah, right," which is the EXACT same thing Bucky said in the exact same situation in his first appearance. What is so great about it in hindsight (that I didn't quite get over the air) is that reference was probably deliberate, and an actual callback before shows like this DID actual obscure callbacks, so I didn't recognize it for what it was at the time, as I had no point of reference for it. I also love the moment where Bennet questions if Lee is actually concerned he's disobeying orders, or if she's more concerned with the idea that Zeta could be caught. What is interesting is that I think it's actually the second thing, and I saw her ratting Bennet out to the director and then quitting coming. Well, of course I did, since I've seen it before. But it makes a logical narrative sense and was set up perfectly, like ALL of the character development on this show. When Selig says "A shame about that," I really wanted to know what he meant. This show teased all of the right things with lines of dialogue that were both ambiguous and specific at the same time, which was one of the biggest appeals of David Lynch and Twin Peaks. Wondering what the shame is about that is the kind of dialogue riddle Lynch would have constructed, that fans would have spent 25 years going crazy trying to figure out what he meant. And that is a gift of a good writer, who can create a riddle that is both mysterious, but also sounds like it has a definite answer that we are never privy to. And that's "A shame about that." Rewatching Static Shock made me realize that the hatas were bashing an awesome kids show that holds up after time in a way some other DC series do not. But when they were bashing The Zeta Project, they weren't just insulting a great kids show. They were insulting great television. This show is even better than I remembered. *****.

    Wired: Part One:

    What amazes me about The Zeta Project, is that for an action toon related to a superhero franchise, it doesn't really traffic in villains. You got your IU7, you got your Krick. And that's pretty much it. Except for this episode. With the most loathsome and damaging group of villains our heroes have ever faced. It's the fact that they suck so much personally, which is why I am offended they are as successful as they are. Where to start? Okay, I love Zeta's new design. The gray is richer and the colors have more texture. But I was never crazy about Ro's new look. Her black and white T-shirt from the first season is so eye-popping and iconic, that I'm a little saddened they went for something blander and more traditional. But what I love about the show is that they give a good reason Ro never wants to wear the shirt again. She sees it on a fat, pathetic loser, and it's suddenly lame and uncool. There is no appeal there anymore. And rewatching this kid's actions reminds me unpleasantly that there is a budding [creep] buried beneath him, which is probably why he is as grabby with Ro as he is. And suddenly, maybe the shirt isn't just lame, but a trigger for a certain kind of trauma. And that actually sickens me. Speaking of sickening, watching Zeta run out of the house with a box full of his body parts is like the most gruesome idea ever. The show gets away with it because he's a robot, but week by week, we've been seeing the humanity in the character, and suddenly it's torture [removed], and one of Jigsaw's victims being forced to carry his own severed foot as he hobbles out of the torture cabin. And it is appalling. I have a slam about the series. West is TOO bad at his job. Rush says she'll be faster without him, and Bennet quips so will the rest of them. West should have been fired ages ago. No person as bad at the specifically dangerous and precise job he has would never be fired for being such a obtuse menace. What amazes me, is that in hindsight, this bit of terrible writing is almost fortuitous. It's not just that The Zeta Project is DCAU which is why its cool. It's that it may be even more DCAU than the writers intended, through pure dumb luck. What if the reason Bennet never fires West is because he can't? What if West is a Legacy hire? What if he's the grandson of Wally West, and the NSA director would get his butt chewed out by firing the grandson of the freaking Flash? It's not just the "West" thing that makes this idea perfect. It's the red hair and the fact that he's voiced by Michael Freaking Rosenbaum! What are the odds? It's like you can pick the biggest hole in the writing of this show, and bash it for being worse than it usually is (and you'd be right). But maybe, just MAYBE it works, because the DC Animated Universe provides, and always has. Maybe with a little random coincidence, bad writing seems deeper and better thought out than it actually is. Love the new, spiffed up main title too. *****.

    Wired: Part Two:

    I kind of resent the show for having Ro say about Buss at the beginning of the episode, "He turned out all right." And I know why they said that. Last week was so horrific, that you want to reassure the children in the audience, that those mean, nasty teenagers are no longer a threat, and not to worry about them anymore. And that played well enough over the air. But when you binge watch the show on DVD, it no longer plays. At all. I JUST saw what Buss did to Zeta and Ro, and he was NOT all right, and had to be dragged into doing the right thing kicking and screaming. The problem is that the Ro from the last episode would agree with me about that. It seems like the Ro who is so forgiving here does not actually have a good reason to exist, when you watch the episodes one right after the other. Batman Beyond Watch: The video phone operator has an identical design to the TV newscasters always present on the mothershow. Also, Zeta morphs into the fat female schoolteacher from his first Batman Beyond episode, "Zeta", which is not only the first disguise we ever saw, it was literally the first time we'd ever seen the character, period. Agent Bennett is a great and truly unique villain, and frankly I don't know any others exactly like him besides Philip Michael Gerard from The Fugitive. Listen to him with Zeta. He tries to calm him and comfort him. He is literally trying to help him. He is a good man trying to do his job, whose only major sin is operating under a false assumption. The show isn't even ham-fisted enough to say that Bennett is unreasonable to think the way he does. He literally still has the high ground in every episode of this series (if not the lousy Batman Beyond crossovers). You think Bennett is the most heartless [guys] when Zeta begs him not to erase his memories. Except, he genuinely believes there is something wrong with Zeta, and that he is helping. It is NOT a black and white issue, which not something you ever see on ADULT superhero shows, much less ones aimed at grade-schoolers. Villains always seem to Have Their Reasons. Always. What makes Bennett amazing is that he isn't actually a villain. And that's all the reason he needs. I love Ro's full throated defense of Zeta over the intercom. And even if Bennet's heart is in the right place, he probably should be questioning the scenario more than he does. Granted, unlike Ro, Zeta has not been saving his life every week, and giving him a place to stay and a sense of family. But Zeta HAS been rushing into danger to save random strangers. That could potentially be a part of his corrupted program. Stipulated. But if Bennet were wiser, he'd see that if that were true, it wouldn't happen as often (and seemingly randomly) as it does. Bucky is funny in that he disconnected his phone line that quickly. It's played as a joke, but the real-world implication is that Bucky is a genius when it comes to that stuff, and is even better than we'd been led to believe. I cannot tell if I like or dislike Ro watching Infiltration Unit assassination camp, similar to the plotline of The Americans. I personally love the idea that the robots are being trained by humans to be this cold-blooded and horrible, and think that would be a REALLY cool and insightful thing for Ro to witness. Except, the show plays her reaction as a joke, which I think is a mistake. Maybe it would have been better to skip the moment entirely. I love the moment at the end where Ro tells Zee he didn't have to agree with her so fast, and he instantly apologizes. These two are like non-sexual soul mates at this point. ****.

    Resume Mission:

    Love Agent Lee's new look and her letting Zeta and Ro go at the end. Batman Beyond Watch: More of the TV News Reporter designs, this time for a tech support operating system. Also, Jace says "Shway." I kind of rolled my eyes at the fact that Zeta should have told Jace to run at several points and didn't. I liked Zeta using a frying pan as a weapon. Rapunzel would approve. I liked Ro's "Don't do that" Groucho Marx joke, and loved her suggesting for Zeta to take the shoulder piece he needed from IU7's scraps. Not a great episode, but not a bad one either. ***.

    Hunt In The Hub:

    This is one of those episodes that pretty much highlights all of the strengths of the shows (and it's one major weakness. We'll get to that.) I freaking LOVE the Hub. It's like the future in Futurama: It's wonderful and horrible at the exact same time. It's the bustling Metropolis Of Tomorrow... but if you don't have any money, you get arrested. It's flying cars and suicide booths all over again. The weakness of the show continues to be Agent West, and I'd be far angrier that he still has a job, if they didn't make his characterization so downright fascinating. Agent West is confident. Agent West is self-possessed. He truly believes he knows what he's doing. And this is something that is true for MANY stupid people: They think they are smarter than they are. That's the premise behind The Office. Michael Scott is sort of Agent West, if Agent West caused much more actual damage and was a total [jerk] to everyone to boot. But self-possessed stupidity is always fascinating to watch, at least if the character isn't outright horrible (which cannot be said of Michael Scott or Peggy Hill). Dabney Coleman was great as the con artist scientist, Dr. Boyle. He had a REALLY good suggestion at one point, that I'm amazed nobody ever thinks of. If Zeta and Ro have such a problem stealing clothes, they can just put them back when they are done. And that is totally true. I wouldn't like it if a stranger wore my clothes at the gym, but if they returned them, I'd probably never know. I like the idea that security alerts over the intercom use code words so as not to freak out the civilians. Whatever else we think of Rush, she is much more put together than Lee and gets [stuff] done. Lee spends all of the episodes bailing out West, while Rush can actually freaking multitask. Which is fabulous. The way Ro and Zee tricked Boyle at the end was great. He should NOT have kept pointing out that he didn't want to be seen with them. Because that fact just became a weapon by him doing so. Not very smart. I like that Zeta actually puts forth the idea that as an infiltration unit, if the scientist was TRULY bugging him, he could assassinate him. And we know that isn't something Zeta will ever do. But he don't know that! But he's such a creep who covered all of the bases that that isn't even a fear. What a scumbag. I kind of think the way Boyle crippled Zeta in the first place was totally out of line. Zeta's biggest weapon isn't the laser arm cannons, or the extendable limbs, or even the ability to infiltrate. It's that he has unlimited money. And the guy just totally took away the ONLY thing that made this a footrace with Bennet, so he'd be force to bend to his knee. It strikes me as the dirtiest of dirty pool ever. I was glad to see Boyle walked away in handcuffs. He deserved it. This was one of the better episodes of the season. ****.

    Ro's Gift:

    This is the only actual Batman Beyond crossover of the season. And it's a WEIRD thing to cross over. The Brain Trust, as seen in the episode "Mind Games", are not the most memorable or toyetic of villains, but it does make some interesting DCAU connections. The roster is slightly different here, but both Bombshell and Edgar are present, even if they have different designs (which is standard on different DCAU shows). Kate Jackson still voices Bombshell, although Edgar is now John-Rhys Davies and doesn't appear to be an Albino. Fun fact: The Justice League Unlimited episode "Double Date" had a cameo of Edgar as a small boy as mob boss Stephen Mandragora's albino son. So this episode has a JLU connection too, which is cooler to me than if they had simply nabbed Inque or Stalker. I love Ro's reaction to seeing Zeta turn into her. It's "Eyaugh!" then "Wait, turn around". Zeta is handy in ways you wouldn't even think of. I like when the kids seem unsure of themselves of breaking free with Ro's help, she is silly enough to say, "I'm the one who disarmed the bomb". A joke like that can bond a kid to an adult pretty quickly. It's funny and genuine at the same time. I love that once Zeta tries on the lederhosen, Ro's all "I'm outta here." Can you blame her? Part of me thinks Zeta is doing this on purpose. Nobody is that dumb and goofy. Not even a robot. I like that the sheriff let Zeta and Ro go at the end with no problems, so you knew it was a "Fugitive" episode this week. My biggest problem with the episode, is the idea that that punk went to the sheriff to report Zeta. Didn't that dude JUST kidnap Ro earlier in the episode? It seems to me that if there is ANY type of person who deliberately steers clear of cops, it's a human traffickers. I do not believe someone in that line of work believes in Officer Friendly. At all. Also, I hate to say it, but the Brain Trust doesn't quite work with Zeta's animation style. It's cool when it's dark and weird and nightmarish, and in the shadows in Gotham, but Zeta's visuals are all bright and sunny, and it doesn't play as well. And that's my opinion about that. ***1/2.

    Lost And Found:

    Whoa! Krick is now Richard Moll? I don't actually MIND, since I LIKE Richard Moll, but that sort of says the writers are taking the character more seriously. Another Batman: The Animated Series staple was Robert Costanza as the terrorist Sweete in the flashback. About Zeta's flashback: It amazes me how thorough it is. It got everything right (with the notable annoying exception of the character design) and all of the stuff from Brother's Day, and Zeta watching Dolan's daughter ride a bike for the first time was explicitly detailed in the first Zeta episode. It's amazing that's it's pretty much Gary Cole's monologue verbatim. I have a question that the series never answered. The street tough, Slam, that takes a runaway Ro in the flashback has the exact same color scheme as Kric (orange hair, purple outfit) and nearly identical facial structures. If he is NOT an earlier version of Kric as a kid, he's at least related to him. My question is how does Ro not recognize the similarities herself? If I picked up on this watching this over the air, you figure a character who LIVED this would have been able to too. I love Ro saying "Talk to me as if I'm stupid", and Bucky saying the [wiseacre] one-liner to that that a friend should never say to the other. And Bucky wonders why he's on Ro's poop list? The flashbacks were the best part of the episode. ****.

    Eye Of The Storm:

    This is a Fugitive episode! Okay, the TV version of "The Fugitive" back in the 1960's was nothing like the movie from the 90's. It had the daring escapes from Lieutenant Gerard, and the search for the One-Armed Man, yada yada yada, but those were the rare episodes. More often than not, the TV show involved David Janssen coming to a town for awhile, the audience meeting a new guest cast they'd never see again, and the problem of the episode wouldn't actually revolve around Richard Kimble getting caught. Instead Kimble would save the town and his new friends, and make the world a better place for being in it. And that's this episode and a few others. The Zeta Project is truly DC Animation's only "Road Show", which is possible since there is no central location or headquarters, and the characters can literally show up wherever the writers think there could be a story. Stormbusters (a variation of the Storm Chasers TV shows that are for some reason STILL popular nearly 20 years later) isn't a great story. But it's a story that they would have done on The Fugitive. And that's the show using it's unique premise to its full potential. Which is a fantastic thing. Rosalie Rowan does seem to attract her share of admirers, doesn't she? And they all have one thing in common: She ain't interested. And that's kind of rare, and cool. Usually the young female her age on a given show is always falling in and out of love with the wrong people. Not Ro. She knows a [jerk] when she sees it, and isn't starved enough for affection to waste her game on total losers. And I love that about her. Technically, this is not a great episode. But I'm giving it a high grade because it knew precisely how to use the show's unique assets to their fullest potential. ****.

    Quality Time:

    Oooh! This episode screws up the DCAU Timeline! Okay, the Kids WB network executives pretty much unilaterally decided that Batman Beyond takes place 40 years in the future. I guess 80 year old Bruce Wayne is totally sexy, while 90 year old Bruce Wayne is totally gross. Again, it doesn't make sense, but then neither does the idea of creating a Batman show where Batman is in high school. But I digress. Wrong rant, wrong time. I don't know WHY they insisted on the 40 years thing, but producer Bruce Timm has been pretty adamant since then that the actual timeframe for Batman Beyond is 50 years. At the time both The Zeta Project and Static Shock were made, Timm didn't have the creative freedom to put his foot down in this matter, and both Robert Goodman and Dwayne McDuffie were operating under false assumptions for both the spin-off and the crossover, respectively. This is why Future Static has black hair in the Static Shock crossover "Future Shock", and gray hair in the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Once And Future Thing". Timm told McDuffie the real timeframe, and McDuffie and Timm adjusted Future Static's design accordingly. Considering that character designs in the DCAU have always varied from show to show, that still fits. But this episode is another conundrum entirely. It states that Zeta went on the run in August 2041, which was 40 years after the episode was broadcast. So that means Batman Beyond takes place in the same timeframe. Not so fast! My explanation for this hinges on Bruce Timm's insistence that the DCAU (minus Batman Beyond and JLU's "Epilogue") runs on "Peanuts Time", which is the idea that the franchise can run for 14 years on television, and nobody actually ages. That's how Charlie Brown works (and The Simpsons!), and that's how the DCAU works too. But let's assume that Zeta has been on the run for a year, as of this episode. If we use Peanuts Time, and work backwards, that sets Justice League Unlimited back in 1992, the same year Batman: The Animated Series debuted. This is not a PERFECT explanation, but it's the best one I got. Batman: The Animated Series, The New Batman / Superman Adventures, and Justice League Unlimited seem to have all occurred within a year or two of each other. So we'll say BTAS occurred in 1991, TNBA 1992, and JLU less than a year (more like six months) into 1993. This explanation does NOT fit flawlessly as we have been led to believe there has been a passage of at least several months between BTAS and TNBA, and Justice League's finale "Starcrossed" and JLU's "Initiation". And the "65 Years Later" thing in "Epilogue" is a stubbornly precise thing too. But that fits. Another reason this idea doesn't entirely work is that JLU often dealt with modern technology that nobody would have known about in 1992, such as internet message boards and troll flame wars. My explanation is "Does the idea that the DCAU has an internet in 1992 actually seem implausible?" Because they had spaceships, nanotech, and teleporters on JLU when the show aired in the mid-aughts, and we still don't have those today. If we assume the DCAU has say, a 30 plus years or so jump on technology in our Universe, it almost makes sense. Almost. Fun Fact: This mean The Near-Apocalypse Of '09 occurred when Batman was in his fifties. Maybe that's the DCAU version of "The Dark Knight Returns". Another way it doesn't fit is that Batman Beyond claims we've had all of the same Presidents up to Clinton, (followed by a boring one) and we have fictionalized Bush stand-ins in Justice League's "A Better World" and JLU's "Flashpoint" over the Watchtower screen and over the phone, respectively. We don't see the design of the President in "Flashpoint", but he is played by a different voice actor, so may be someone else entirely. Is that the one true unexplainable inconsistency about this whole thing? Or could we explain it by saying that DCAU Poppy Bush and Clinton actually look and sound more like the DCAU versions of Dubya? It's not like DCAU characters don't often look radically different in different incarnations. Could the same be true for real-life people in the DC Multiverse? It's also possible both characters are the same in "A Better World" and "Flashpoint", and the actor is just different, which is another thing that happens quite frequently in the DCAU. Or it may be the same person with a different voice because the Universes are different. Hmmm. How was the episode? I'm glad you asked. This tells me something very good about Bennet, which gives me high hopes about what his secret opinion on Zeta actually was after the series finale. Bennet is reasonable. Zeta talks him into doing stuff that sounds absolutely crazy to a person who believes the things about Zeta that Bennet does. And he still does them, because they are actually the most logical solutions. He puts saving his son over his incredulity about Zeta's actual motives, and what his son and Ro were coincidently doing on the same sub, which by the way, IS a crazy coincidence with no rational explanation. Here is something interesting about Bennet's "I'll get him next time," line. It is far more rational that Batman's "10 minute head start" at the end of JLU's series finale "Destroyer". It's a great moment for Batman, as it says Batman thinks crime fighting is fun deep down, and believes 100% he and the League are going to immediately catch the remaining members of the Legion of Doom. But the thing is, a BUNCH of the Legionnaires are sociopathic serial killers, which aren't the types of people you should be giving fun and games head starts to. Bennet deciding to get Zeta another time, isn't done for the same reason Batman gives the head start. Batman does that because the surviving Legionnaires helped to save the Earth from Darkseid. Bennet is far less forgiving of Zeta, and I love that his opinion of him not only doesn't change, but the show doesn't even give him a REASON to have it change, which would be the first instinct of a show trying to say Bennet is an unreasonable villain. Bennet's "next time" line isn't done as a favor to Zeta the way Batman did a favor to the Legion. It's because Bennet realizes he's been neglecting his son, and after his son has been through a life-threatening situation, he wants to be there for him, and spend time with him. His redemption does not actually involve Zeta at all. Which is another amazing and refreshing thing about the series. I also like that when James Jr. tells Ro that she must hate him for what his father has put her through, she pretty much assures him that she doesn't blame him for the situation at all, which suggests to me, that even SHE doesn't take Bennet's actions personally. Her saying that she probably sees his dad more than he does is probably untrue too. Bennet is not in every episode, and his actual encounters with Zeta and Ro don't actually last very long. There was one thing about the episode I didn't like. Why were Ro and Bennet so rude and mean to the sub driver? Ro pretty much treats him as useless after he gets a legitimate injury and gets knocked out, and Bennet calls him a loser for it too. He didn't even faint out of fear, he got a legit head injury. And it's not like the driver is a jerk creepily macking on Ro either, so her disgust makes no sense whatsoever. Do you know what you should usually call somebody who gets a life-threatening injury doing his job, and trying to save the people underneath him? A hero. That's how people get Purple Hearts. The fact that both Ro AND James Jr. survived that, suggests to me the sub pilot is nowhere NEAR as useless as he is billed as. ****.

    On The Wire:

    Mostly successful. I have no real complaints. Well, one. When Casey tells Bennet Zeta saved a trainful of people, Bennet says, "Zeta saved himself. He's good at that". That strikes me as out of character, at least at this stage of the game. Bennet doesn't need to think Zeta is selfish or unwilling to help strangers to want to bring him in. He's malfunctioning and dangerous in his mind. The writers don't need to have Bennet downplay Zeta's heroics to make his mission seem righteous. But this was great. Casting Murphy Brown's Charles Kimbrough as the venerated, bloated, old news hound shows why Andrea Romano is a national treasure. She is to animation, what Molly Ivins was to politics. The news hound talking about "the money shot" is almost as bad as Spider-Man talking about "sloppy seconds". Batman Beyond Watch: Ro calls Bucky a "twip". I especially love that the show is smart enough to realize that Casey's profession as a reporter could be a VERY useful asset to Zeta and Ro as time goes on in helping shape public opinion. The show seems to run in place a bit as far as Zeta achieving his goals goes. Having a reporter on his side strikes me as one of Zee's few actual wins, and moving forward for once. The Squirrel Girl thing amazes me because Marvel actually has that character. Robert Goodman thought he was doing a parody of comic books, and instead, mistakenly engaged in copyright infringement. I think it was very clever that when Ro asks Casey what happened to their grandparents he simply replies "They were old." What a wonderful G-rated way to get across what really happened on a Saturday morning cartoon. The DC cartoons on Fox and Kids WB! always knew how to work around the censors to get what they wanted across to the audience. I love me some Agent Rush. She instantly, (I mean instantly, no thought or warning) shoots Zeta with a destabilizer, and is the one who rescues Bennet at the end. Had the show continued, she would have been a MAJOR thorn. I like that Casey gave himself plausible deniability for his actions at the end, and pretended to be incompetent, because otherwise Bennet should want to arrest him for helping fugitives escape. But to be perfectly frank, that should have happened anyways, even if a jury might only be 50/50 on a conviction. The fact that Bennet simply lets him off after warning him "I'm watching you," shows another way Bennet is a decent person. A more obsessed, cold-blooded NSA agent would have instantly arrested Casey, and told Ro he would be spending the rest of his life in a secret prison for high treason, unless she delivers Zeta to him. And the idea probably occurred to him, as Bennet is not stupid. But the fact that he didn't do it, shows that he is also not bad. ***1/2.

    Cabin Pressure:

    This show has the best character development in the DCAU. At first, we are annoyed with Bucky earlier in the season for not wanting to help Zeta and Ro when he realized they were not contacting him on a secure line. But this is why. Now he is a fugitive and a criminal. Bennet stating to Bucky that he was headed towards a life of crime, and that he could probably use a powerful friend one day, is him understanding the situation. And I think that's what Bucky has always feared. That his friendship with Zeta would actually turn him into the criminal that he was heading towards at such a young age. And that's what happened. Were I Bennet, and after spouting all of those conspiracy theories about terrorist groups to try and suss out Bucky's actual role on this, I wouldn't have instantly dismissed Bucky's answer of "Would you believe we're friends?" Because just based upon Occam's Razor, that is FAR more of a likely scenario than a kid that young being involved with Brother's Day, and all of those terrorist groups. Batman Beyond Watch: The videogame "Sentries Of The Last Cosmos" is referenced by Bucky, and West is also a fan. Bucky says the word "Shway" and West the unheard-of before simile "Shwawesome". Bucky is, depending on your perspective of the series, a good or a bad character based upon how you view the larger picture. If you hate this show, Bucky sucks. I get that perspective. He's an annoying Wesley Crusher-level Mary Sue of suck. But if you dig the show, Bucky works, despite that fact. Because he's one of the rare people who unnerves Agent Bennet. He instantly sizes up the equipment aboard the NSA ship, and questions why Bennet would allow that in plain sight of a civilian, much less one considered a terrorist. And Agent Bennet starts barking the orders to shut off the computers, and Bucky's all, "Nah, nah, nah, Don't yell at your boys. They're just doing what you tell them. This mistake is YOURS, not theirs." And stuff like that is why the character works if you appreciate the show. Superficially, the character is outright obnoxious. The fact that Bucky spends his free time writing cereal companies hate mail says that the kid is secretly useless when no-one else is looking, which is something that is true of ALL internet trolls. Another interesting thing about Bucky (that is a bad thing) is that he still has the remote. Granted, that's the thing that pushes Ro to agree to rescue him (it is seriously game over for both of them if Bennet realizes what it is and how to use it). But the fact that he hasn't destroyed it yet says one of two things: He cherishes his inventions and refuses to get rid of any part of his progress. Maybe he's a hoarder, but of tech. Unfortunately, that explanation doesn't fit with Bucky's cavalier attitude. He left all of his stuff behind on the NSA ship with few problems, after all. The more logical explanation is that he still doesn't trust Zeta, and thinks there may come a time when he will NEED to control him. He changes his mind by the end of this episode, but I think that is the most likely explanation as to why he had it before that happened. I love Bucky saying he didn't know how to fly the ship, Ro saying, "Do you know what would be nice right now? A lie," him then saying "Piece of cake," and her finishing with "Good boy." I also liked her telling Bucky to shut up with his regrets and recriminations as they are crashing, because if she dies, she doesn't want the last thing she hears to be him. And that's just perfect. A better person than Ro would be wanting to comfort a kid that young in that situation, but Ro is not that better person. I noticed a plot-hole. In real-life, if someone rushed a CIA agent or an FBI agent the way Ro does Bennet here, they'd be shot dead instantly. And it would probably be considered a clean shooting. Even Ro's cute white girl privilege would not save her for a cop bullet in that scenario. Although, who knows? It might. Cute white girl privilege IS pretty powerful. I love Bennet telling the agents to bag and tag everything, and West picking up Bucky's sock, and saying, "Everything?". I love that because it once again, shows Bucky's biggest weakness, and probably the real reason Ro hates him so: He's gross and disgusting. And I like that this is still true in his last appearance. Good episode. ****.

    The Wrong Morph:

    It is ironic that the Lost Episode is the worst episode of the season! Where to begin? To start with, the entire premise is faulty. The reason the kid Zeta accidentally framed is in a wheelchair, is so that the audience will understand why Zee is going through such extreme lengths, including offering to turn himself in, to make things right. It's just that the fact that he's in a wheelchair means he is a REALLY weak suspect, eyewitness or no. It is not the open and shut case the characters say it is. A bumbling public defender could probably cast enough reasonable doubt to get this kid off. If he supposedly stole the pack for himself, where is it? How can they prove he stole it if it is still missing? And if he DID steal it, why is he hanging around like a chump to get caught? How would he plan to use it if he didn't take off, with no-one realizing it? What actual use is it to him now that he could only use it when nobody else he knew was looking? That's even less mobility than he has NOW! He'd actually have to use it less if he stole it and didn't take off. And what if they think he just sold it? Where is the money? Where is the paper trail that leads to that conclusion? They had nothing substantial on the kid, and the entire case falls apart with even the tiniest bit of logic. Even dopier is the fact that Zeta and Ro give the kid the pack on the sly at the end. Which means he DID steal it after all, and the entire point of the episode is null and void. Another aggravating moment for me was Zeta telling Ro that she was very good in her outburst in pretending to be a shoplifter. Because, no, she's not. She sucks at it. "I only wanted to see if it would fit in my bag," sounds like a funny quip in the writer's room, but someone who would say something that dumb is probably shoplifting for the first time ever. Of which Rosalie Rowan most assuredly is not. If she were truly trying to be convincing, she'd say that she had no idea how that got into her bag. But since that's a realistic excuse, it's not funny, and therefore Ro is less spunky and cute. But she'd also be much less stupid if she said that. I did like Julie Nathanson's fake voice at the beginning (who exactly is she disguising it for?) and her saying that Zeta is lucky that his disguise doesn't itch. Wigs are the worst. And I love that she doesn't even believe Zeta's off-handed insult that the dark hair brings out the paleness of her skin is even worth a response. Because I truly believe he's goading her then, and I thinking she probably gets that, and is refusing to play along, the same way she did when he dressed up in lederhosen and like a cowboy. At this point, I think Zeta knows exactly what he's doing, and loves driving Ro crazy. He's never had a little sister before, and is relishing the experience. Did I mention this episode otherwise sucked? *.

    The River Rising:

    I never had much of a problem with this boring episode back in the day, but now it just sticks in my craw. Maybe it's because real-world events have made the scenario more plausible. That isn't the actual show's fault, but it sure makes this week a LOT less fun than usual. And I resent the moral that tech isn't so bad after all. That should not be the lesson, and it never should have been the lesson. Plenty of societies have gotten along fine without technology, and having John repent at the end and saying Zeta had a soul, and maybe not all tech is bad, is the wrong message for what the episode showed. John's problem is NOT that he is too narrow-minded when it comes to technology. That ain't it. At all. His problem is that he's bigoted, surprisingly violent, and he treats women like chattel. Those were the actual problems that needed fixing, and they weren't even addressed. I resent the episode for having the foresight to say we'd be dealing with religious zealots 40 years in the future, and that nothing about that mindset ever really changes. And I resent that they were right. I resent that over 15 years later that message is still timely, and actually more relevant than when it first aired. It really should not be. But we are currently living in a society where TV can make an adaption of The Handmaid's Tale, set it in the present day, and STILL have it be totally plausible. I resent that we are still fighting these battles, and seem to be going in the wrong direction. Again, not Robert Goodman's fault. But this episode is a MUCH more unpleasant experience than it was 15 years ago. Speaking of which, out of all of Ro's many stalkers she's drawn to her over the course of the series, Muley is by far the creepiest. And I know the power of that statement. He is outright repulsive. I feel Agent Bennet's pain about West. Listening to him saying that West passed his Pilot's test, and that he was ordered to give him actual flying time, is an order that would be handed down to a Legacy. He is totally the Flash's red-headed step-child. When Bennet says to shoot West out of the sky, and Rush tells him not to tease her, I'm like, "That wasn't a tease." He sounded genuinely angry and upset when he said it, and was frustrated, rather than joking. I cannot imagine having to work with someone like West, and there are several hints in this very episode, that Bennet is pretty much forced to do it by someone higher up the chain of command than he is. I didn't much care for this upon a second glance. *1/2.

    The Hologram Man:

    How is the series finale to The Zeta Project? Devastating. Frustrating. Tantalizing. Maddening. And it raises all of the right questions. Is Dr. Selig a Synthoid? Or was that a Synthoid's hand rising out of the ocean that was merely pretending to be Dr. Selig? Like I said. Frustrating. Fortunately, I've gotten enough distance from the series to realize that even IF Zeta believes Selig is dead, that doesn't mean he can't ever be free. It just means he is going to have to go about it in a different manner. Zeta's first mission was to get people to accept that he's here, he's synthetic, and to get used to it. I think clearing his name is partly done out of pride. And I get that. But just because the mission to clear his name seems to be over, that doesn't mean he will always be on the run. It's just that he doesn't have that mission anymore. But if Zeta really wanted to, he'd take Ro to far away tropical country with no extradition treaty, and have him and Ro live out her life in comfort and luxury under assumed identities. And there is no reason to think they'd ever be caught, if they kept a low-profile. The precise reason Bennet was always on Zeta's trail was because he was always on the move to find Selig. What if Zeta simply decides to stop running and giving Bennet a trail to follow? And that idea makes me wonder if a third season was even necessary if that's true. Sadly, if it IS, that also means that Ro will never have the means to find her family again, but I think this is the kind of girl who hooked up with Zee in the first place, knowing full well there would be sacrifices involved. Perhaps she would be insightful enough to realize that if Zeta doesn't get his happy ending, maybe she shouldn't either. Maybe she should be there for him instead. Or have them both be there for each other to give each other strength. And I like that idea too. It always rankled me a bit that Selig was like Dr. Soong in trying to build a robot with free will, because that's the dumbest thing ever to give a robot who assassinates people. That goes against the entire purpose of giving the robot sentience. But upon second glance, that's why Selig did it. He wasn't doing it as a favor to Zeta, and to show that robots are as human as people to prove a philosophical point. He was trying to sabotage the entire Zeta Project because he found it abhorrent. Which is a MUCH more interesting idea in my mind. Dr. Selig isn't the well-meaning saint. He's the secret hippie traitor who hates puppies and America. And I love that. I would have liked to have believed Bennet might have become more open minded to Zeta about hearing what "Selig" said, but I'm not so sure now. Just because Selig claimed that the chip never activated, and that the experiment failed. While the idea gives Zeta's story credibility, it doesn't actually prove anything, or give Bennet a reason to change his beliefs. Speaking of which, I love that Zeta is wigged out at the idea that Bennet is gonna catch him on a ship with Brother's Day, which would pretty much prove to Bennet that he was right about Zeta all along. I like Zeta's alarm about this, because it states that even Zeta understands that Bennet is totally operating under good faith. Zeta believes he can still convince Bennet with the right evidence. But no amount of evidence will fix him being seen palling around with Brother Sweete. Ro's Robot design was unbearably cute, and I kind of squeed at it. This episode was SO big, that for the first and only time, they attached a teaser before the main titles, and over the end credits put a picture of Selig on a computer screen instead of the still of Zee and Ro running. Watching that again was totally seeing Laura Palmer vanishing in the coffee cup in the last episode of Twin Peaks. It MUST mean somethin'. But danged if I can figure out what it does. I love this episode much more than I did a few years ago. Just because I see several ways for Zeta to get a happy ending, and my lack of imagination before now made me think that was impossible. But I'm cool with that "Screw you!" ending now. *****.

    Mod Note: Edited for language. Words replaced with [ ].
     
    #14 Fone Bone, May 23, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2017

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