The guys paid their respects to Vin Scully and David Ortiz and discussed the return of Tom Brady.
In hour three Gerry, Pete and Kirk talked about the play of Jacoby Brissett and the health of JImmy Garoppolo with Tim Hasselbeck. And Kirk is not a fan of Dave O'Brien.
Gerry thinks that the goodbye ceremonies at Fenway hurt the Red Sox on the field and Kim Kardashian says she was robbed.
Gerry, Kirk and Pete discussed the Patriots bad loss at home and the Ortiz ceremony at Fenway. Josh McDaniels called in to talk about the return of Tom Brady and the health of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Westworld (HBO)

James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood star in “Westworld.”  (HBO)

My favorite video game of all time is “Red Dead Redemption,” a 2010 PS3 game overlaid “open world” gameplay onto a cowboy movie. When it came time to upgrade to a PS4, I held off for six months longer than I should have largely in part because PS4 can’t play PS3 games and I wasn’t ready to hang up my digital spurs yet.

As “Red Dead Redemption” was an open world concept, you could go anywhere and do anything. It featured hundreds of extra missions you could play based on the characters you interacted with. You couldn’t help but wonder what happened to the storylines you didn’t engage in or the missions you chose to skip. “Westworld” answered that question in its premiere and the answer is when “newcomers” (real people) don’t engage the “hosts” (robots/AI/characters at the theme park), they get woke.

Based on the 1970s movie written and directed by “Jurassic Park” author Michael Crichton, “Westworld” arrives on HBO just as the endgame has been announced for “Game of Thrones.” Whether “Westworld” is the successor to Westeros remains to be seen. If not, it won’t be for lack of trying. This world is HUGE. The possibilities extend as far as the eye can see, or at least as far as the meticulously crafted landscape have been designed to go.

Despite being a high-concept sci-fi show, “Westworld” opens — not surprisingly — like a western. The first 15 minutes of the show looks like an homage to John Ford’s technicolor classic “The Searchers” right down to the do-gooder audience proxy, Teddy (James Marsden) and wide-eyed, optimistic, dusty rose of the old West, Delores (Evan Rachel Wood). It’s obvious we’re watching a fantasy be played out in front of us in all of its classic Western trope gloriousness, but it isn’t until the end of the first act that we’re sure whose fantasy it is. What is set up to be a completely immersive experience for some guests is a chance for others to explore the darkest fantasies they can dream up. Regardless of which camp is occupying “Westworld,” our “hosts” deal with the consequences. It’s a real TV funhouse mirror type of realization once we meet the other half of the cast, lead by Jeffrey Wright and Anthony Hopkins, as we watch them reset all of their walking, talking set pieces for another day of making the dreams of “newcomers” come true.

“Westworld” feels more realized and cinematic than its HBO contemporaries, and maybe that’s because there is just so much history and recognizable stereotypes to pull from given the genres on display. The performances — specifically by Marsden and Wood — are so good, but given that we know we’re watching a play-within-a-play, they seem almost over the top. This is no mistake, either; it’s a genre-bending gift. It’s a very clear signal for the audience to look for glitches in the matrix and to start to wonder just how deep in trouble the creators and patrons of this park will be when the programs they have designed start to do their job too well.

Given that this is the pilot episode and we’re dealing with a ton of world-building here, the expositional dialogue that explains just how the gears fit together is handled by Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright, who I’m pretty sure are the Dr. John Hammond and Ian Malcolm of “Westworld” insomuch that there’s a philosophical debate going on as to what “Westworld” is and what it could be. The longing in Hopkins’ Dr. Ford’s eyes tells more than half the story here — a creator marveling at his life’s work and also disappointed that this is all it is. Bernard Lowe (Wright) presents the other side of the coin as a man who sees the genius in the binary code and asks how can we fine tune the inward experience of the world we’ve built, because haven’t we outwardly expanded enough?

“Westworld” aims to close out 2016 like a Now That’s What I Call Premium Cable Drama compilation pulling together some HBO “best of”s: The size and scope of “Game of Thrones,” the marvelous set pieces and aesthetic of “Deadwood,” and the benign and optimistic naivety of the subjects as seen on the always heart wrenching “Hard Knocks,” starring one of the largest and most accomplished casts on television.

Regardless of what it looks and feels like, “Westworld” is a sci-fi show, not that it is running from that distinction. The best type of sci-fi asks big questions and explores the limitless variations of the answers. 2015’s “Ex Machina” did so as well as did 2016’s “Stranger Things.” The focus is entirely on asking great questions and not worrying about outsmarting the audience with an answer. There doesn’t need to be a ship’s wheel at the center of the island in order for me to wonder why there are polar bears running around on the surface — just show me as many polar bears as possible and let my mind expand.

To paraphrase Ed Harris’ Man in Black, the creator of this world had something specific in mind. It is clear to see that the creator of this world does.

ROGUE THEORY: The Man in Black discloses to Teddy and Delores that he has been coming to Westworld for 30 years. Meanwhile, Bernie Lowe discloses that there hasn’t been a massive issue in the world they’ve created for 30 years. My guess is that Ed Harris is either the cause of the problem or has been lost in Westworld for that amount of time. He’s a real person, but he is also the malware in the program.

Blog Author: 
Padraic O'Connor
Josh McDaniels joined Gerry, Kirk and Pete to discuss the return of Tom Brady and the health of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Marvel's next man up, Luke Cage (Photo Courtesy: Netflix)

Marvel’s next man up, Luke Cage (Photo Courtesy: Netflix)

Starting this weekend, Marvel’s latest superhero to capture pop culture curiosity, Luke Cage, hits Netflix with his own self-titled series. Luke Cage, a superhero inspired by the 1970’s wave of blaxploitation movies, is the story of a bulletproof resident of Harlem, New York who returns home to protect his neighborhood in a similar vein to how Daredevil hovers over Hell’s Kitchen. While it is a Marvel property and part of a much larger expanded universe, “Luke Cage” is about as far as you can get from what Marvel fans are used to seeing every few summers. The Avengers aren’t swooping in to save Harlem from being taken over by crooked politicians and gangsters in three-piece suits, but it has to be done. Luke Cage is about the guy who steps up to that plate.

In November of 2013, Marvel and Netflix announced that they’d be forming a tag team to bring more comic book style content into the world by producing four 13-episode series over the next four years culminating with an “Avengers”-for-the-small-screen limited series called “The Defenders.” For all my non comic book heads out there, in the 70’s and 80’s, The Defenders were the Marvel practice squad – the home of such household name brand superheroes like Valkyrie, Nighthawk, and Gargoyle. Opting not to push their luck, Marvel shuffled the deck a bit and went with a cast of known but not over blown Ready for Binge Time Players in “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Iron Fist,” and “Luke Cage.”

Since launching Marvel Studios in 2008, anything with the word Marvel attached to it has yet to catch as much as a glimpse of pop cultural side eye. They take the most ridiculous premises, seldom read properties, and on the cusp actors and turn them into mega stars. Robert Downey, Jr. couldn’t get a movie studio to insure him on set, Jeremy Renner was making more money flipping houses than he was from acting roles, and Chris Pratt was a doughy goofball on the best NBC show nobody watched before they each got a spin through the Marvel Machine. Now they all carry movie franchises that make more money than the Gross National Product of entire nations.

Seeing that the entertainment model was moving out of cinemas and into living rooms, Marvel investing time, money, and creative resources into new ways to deliver their content which has brought the same kind of success they’re seeing on the big screen to any device their audience can hold in their hands. Marvel’s deal with Netflix has allowed them branch out into a medium much closer to what brought them to prominence in the first place – long form episodic storytelling.

To mirror what has worked on TV, they opted to go with some tattered capes as opposed to gloriously flowing ones. What works on TV is grit; people want to see the cracks in the armor and how they got there, and to paraphrase my man Patrick Kinsey in Gone Baby Gone, Marvel chose the characters that started in the cracks and then fell through.

The characters included in their Netflix deal around aren’t the costumed superheroes people shell out cash to see at the movies, but characters that are trying to get by living in the wake of what happens after heroes and villains do battle in New York City. When Captain America is feeling a little run down after a battle with The Winter Solider, he can take a few days off if he wants. Such is the benefit of being super soldier who was frozen in ice and thawed out to battle whomever or whatever threatens our way of life. When Jessica Jones or Daredevil are licking the wounds of last night’s attempt to clean up the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, they have to do it at their day job because in the world of Netflix’s Marvel, rent is due on the first of the month.

The first three series produced thus far – two seasons of “Daredevil” and one of “Jessica Jones” – has done wonders for both sides of this deal. Netflix keeps growing their content library and Marvel keeps getting to make stories in interesting ways. Starting today, September 30th, the third of the four planned series, “Luke Cage,” looks to push the Marvel Streaming Universe forward much like “Guardians of the Galaxy” did at the movies a few summers ago. Where “Guardians of the Galaxy” introduced new fans to characters they didn’t yet know they cared about, “Luke Cage” is going to introduce fans to a character they definitely should.

With the model so repeatedly proven successful, Marvel has the chance to stretch a little bit, and the entire superhero genre is going to be better for it. So much of the origin stories and subtext for anything comic book related – especially for Cage’s Netflix teammates Daredevil and Jessica Jones – is based on a person with extraordinary powers spiraling downward while trying to keep their city from turning into rubble. Luke Cage is the exact opposite in that this is a story about a character rebuilding the world around him as he rises up.

Strip all the superhero nonsense away – Cage has unbreakable skin; an unfortunate side effect to a governmental experiment gone wrong – and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker still has more than enough to work with in bringing a black superhero to television. His x-factor here is in the neighborhood – Harlem, New York. Like Boston did for movies like “Mystic River, “The Town,” and “Gone Baby Gone,” Harlem plays just as big of a role in “Luke Cage” as the costumed vigilantes scurrying across the rooftops. Every street, every corner, every crack in the sidewalk has a story behind it. The weight of history meeeeeeans something. Every action, decision, and alliance adds much more depth to the plot when environment has seeped into the bones of every aspect of the story. It’s not just about the choices Cage makes in his superhero story, but what those choices mean this version of Harlem.

In describing his pitch to Netflix, Coker opted to focus on the neighborhood noir aspect of the source material as opposed to Power Man / Hero for Hire origin story of the character. In his interview with Time, Coker described his vision of the role that Harlem would play in “Luke Cage” as being, “like what The Wire did for Baltimore.” Imagine Omar Little impact in “The Wire” and ask if he hadn’t decided to Robin Hood it out in West Baltimore what that would have meant for McNulty, Kima, Bunk, or the kids from season four.

Are you in on this yet?

What is so engaging about the superhero mythos is the process protagonists have to go through in order to become their true selves; constantly having to take off one skin to wear another. Ironically, Luke Cage’s superpower is his skin, and because of that, he just “is.” His only costume (Marvel thankfully retired the look Cage came in with) is a black hoodie and occasionally bullet hole ridden clothes. Like “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” and the upcoming “Iron Fist,” “Luke Cage” takes place in the same universe that houses a giant green rage monster and a Norse God of Thunder that carries a magic unliftable hammer, but he is not a superhero in the same way. The rest of the Marvel Universe uses their powers as a way to deal with the unfortunate happenings that made them ‘super.’ For characters like Iron Man and The Hulk, being a superhero is like therapy with laser beams and Hulk Smash sonic claps with the ‘breakthroughs’ being bad guys going through walls. Luke Cage is different; his powers aren’t a way for him to push back against his issues, they are a way for him to push through them.

“Luke Cage” has the benefit of being the third of the Marvel Netflix projects to launch. With the success of both seasons of “Daredevil” and the critical attention and leeway earned by “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” makes his entrance in front of an audience already sold on the concept of gritty superhero TV shows; the creators don’t have to spend one minute setting up the pulley system needed to suspend the audience’s disbelief. With that being the case, “Cage” hits Netflix as a much more realized experience from the visual storytelling to the background music.

The soundtrack of “Luke Cage” – expertly crafted by Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge from A Tribe Called Quest – does a lot to build out the environment and tell the audience where this series sits in contrast to the rest of the Marvel Universe. The Harlem surrounding our hero borders the boroughs we grew up hearing Nas, Biggie, and The Wu-Tang Clan rap about.

Just like on albums like “Illmatic,” “Ready to Die,” and “36 Chambers,” once you strip away the scene painting of what these characters had to do survive, we’re left with stories of how good life will be once they make it out of their surroundings with a promise to come back to fix it. That’s a different type of superpower that is so seldom seen and so worthy of exploration.

Blog Author: 
Padraic O'Connor
Pete, Gerry and Kirk talked with Mike Lombardi and Kirk loves John Krasinski more than Curtis.

[0:00:03] ... And by Putnam Investments Putnam Investments is a proud partner wrote that New England Patriots pursuing performance excellence through the power of teamwork. You can skirt and Callahan. I'm Zander for any length of time you're gonna ...
[0:22:39] ... though let's just say. It's a Mark Sanchez or Taylor he's had Aaron Rodgers is quarterback for ten years to reward about him is distraction then you suddenly get Smart. Well I think it would still ...

Chris Russo on Tom Brady's suspension and Tony Mazz wrote a love letter to David Ortiz.
Pete "randomly" takes callers who think he is doing a great job and Headlines with Kirk.