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Tag Archive: Matthew Southworth


Review by C.J. Bunce

Cobie Smulders has enough street cred playing badass leads, including co-starring opposite Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, serving as the most powerful non-superheroine of the Marvel movies as Maria Hill, and she’s the perfect Wonder Woman, although we only hear her voice as the character in The Lego Movie series.  So why head back to television?  Maybe after 200 episodes of being part of a hit ensemble cast on How I Met Your Mother, she wanted her own series?  Whatever the reason, it’s a win for TV viewers.  Her new project is Stumptown, and the first episode aired this week on ABC.

Smulders is promising as Dex Parios, an army vet with PTSD, who takes care of her brother and has a gambling problem.  Happily for her, everyone, including the head of the gambling house, seems to be on her side.  In her first case, she’s trying to locate the missing daughter of her deceased college boyfriend, in exchange for having a five-figure tab written off at the local Portland casino (yes, evidently Portland has had casinos since 1988).  Initially she fails, but before she’s totally written off by everyone except her brother (played by the engaging Cole Sibus), the writers skillfully show viewers why she might be a character to return to each week.  Dex is a fighter, while also a mess and a bit snarky, but hopefully that’s not all she is.  Her old red Ford Mustang and its broken cassette tape deck that offers up the right song at the right time is a nice throwback to Philip Glenister and his red Audi Quattro on the classic detective series Ashes to Ashes.

Along with good writing in its opener, Stumptown boasts a supporting cast that brings plenty to the show.  Jake Johnson (New Girl, Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Jurassic World) as bartender pal Grey demonstrates again why he’s the best at playing the best friend.  If you missed Michael Ealy as a great cop on Almost Human (or as Slap Jack in 2 Fast 2 Furious) you’ll appreciate him back with a badge on this series.  Even better, it looks like Donal Logue (Gotham, Vikings, Life, Zodiac, Sneakers) will join the cast in next week’s episode.  The only thing the series could benefit from is tapping all those local Portland actors like NBC’s Grimm did so well.  Unfortunately, other than some establishing shots, it doesn’t look like the series will be filmed there.

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X-Files X-mas Special cover A

Review by C.J. Bunce

The X-Files Season 10 is one of IDW Publishing’s best series, following Mulder and Scully and friends in their ongoing exploits following the TV series and two films.  The spin-off mini-series The X-Files: Year Zero followed Mulder and Scully in the present day as they pursue a case first investigated by the original keepers of the FBI’s X-Files, Bing Ellinson and Minnie Ohio.  This year both of these series shared a combination of good storytelling, evocative imagery, and familiarity of the well-loved characters that made for required reading for genre fans.

This week IDW is releasing a rare, prestige format holiday one-shot: The X-Files X-mas Special.  It includes two unrelated stories, one about Mulder and Scully in the present day, and a second about the 1940s’ duo and their encounter with a creepy character that very well could be the vile holiday elf Krampus.

X-Files X-mas Special cover B

The first story, “Season 10 Greetings,” comes from the creative team of writer Joe Harris, artist Matthew Dow Smith, and colorist Jordie Bellaire.  The 1940s FBI team story “Merry Christmas, Comrade!” was written by Karl Kesel, with art by Matthew Southworth, and colors by Matheus Lopes.

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