Tag Archives: atheism

BibleMan: A Light In The Darkness

BibleMan: A Light In The Darkness

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“A Light In The Darkness” was originally released in January of 2003, and was the tenth entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which was the second incarnation of the show after the short-lived “The Bibleman Show.”

“A Light in the Darkness” was written and directed by former sitcom star Willie Aames, who once again takes top billing as the central hero of Bibleman.

The central villain of “A Light in the Darkness” is again played by Jef Scott (who was previously Primordious Drool in “Jesus Our Savior”), but this time under the moniker of “The Wacky Protestor,” who can best be summed up as an evil Jewish scientist atheist clown. Oddly, he doesn’t really have any qualities of a protestor, not does he particularly do any protesting of anything. The evil computer, “L.U.C.I.,” also pops up once again as his support.

lightdarkness5Bibleman’s allies in “A Light in the Darkness” are his trusty sidekick, Cypher, his supercomputer, U.N.I.C.E. (who receives an upgrade in this episode), and Biblegirl, who was actually a bit of mystery for me here. At first I thought that she had been re-cast again, because the credit on the episode is “Introducing Heather McSmith,” whereas she has previously been credited as Heather Hazelwood. ‘Hazelwood’ is also listed on the DVD credit, and after some research, it appears that the same actress has used both names. However, that doesn’t really explain why they continued using the ‘introducing’ credit after her first episode. Bibleman’s first sidekick, Coats, briefly appears at the beginning of the episode as a robot assassin sent into Bibleman’s headquarters.

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The Coates robot doesn’t last long

The story of “Light in the Darkness” kicks off with a robotic version of Coats, Bibleman’s former sidekick, attacking Bibleman in his home. The assault damages U.N.I.C.E., prompting a repair and dramatic upgrade. The bible team, rightly assuming that the robot attack was planned by The Wacky Protestor, prepare for a battle. Meanwhile, the Protestor develops some sort of atheism gas that makes people depressed, with the intention of using it to prevent people from going to church. He ultimately decides to use it on Biblegirl, which causes problems for Bibleman’s team.

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Atheism: seen here in pink test tubes

“A Light in the Darkness” stoops to one of the lowest stereotypes about people who lose their faith or leave religion: that the only reason they do so is because they are depressed, and that mentally healthy people would never leave their church of their own will. That’s pretty shitty, to say the least. Even more shitty is insinuating that depression is the result of evil, vaguely Jewish, clown-like forces acting on people, rather than noting the fact that it is a treatable chemical imbalance that people of any religious tradition deal with every day. At no point does anyone say to the depressed folks, “Hey, you aren’t alone in dealing with this, you can see a doctor for help! Maybe they can identify this weird fog on your face?” Instead, they are just sort of pushed to be more involved with their fellowship, and told to pray more. After all, sadness is apparently the result of evil demon clowns with bad teeth, so prayer should clear that right up!

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Depression often presents as a reddish fog in front of your face, which can mildly impair your vision.

“A Light in the Darkness” also features one of the worst child actors / characters who has been on the show since its initial incarnation. The character is essentially the protestor’s boos, and is likewise a perplexing mix of stereotypes: he speaks like a bad impersonation of an Italian mobster, dresses like a dork, and wears what looks like a biker hat. It doesn’t make even the slightest bit of sense, and the child who plays him is infuriatingly obnoxious.

lightdarkness8“A Light in the Darkness” doesn’t feature any gratuitous deaths outside of Robot Coates, but to be fair, that one is pretty great. Overall, this is a pretty entertaining episode, but isn’t quite in the top tier of my list. As always, the comedy is bad, but the presence of Jef Scott doing his over-the-top schtick gives it a leg up on most of the other episodes. I think this episode also marks the first appearance of the unexplained guy in a white monkey suit, who lives in a cage in Wacky Protestor’s hideout. That certainly counts for something.

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BibleMan: Jesus Our Savior (Part 2)

BibleMan: Jesus Our Savior (Part 2)

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“Jesus Our Savior” was the first and only two-part Bibleman story, with the first part originally airing in October of 2002, and the second appearing in February of 2003. It comprises the eighth and ninth entries into “The Bibleman Adventure,” respectively. Both parts of “Jesus Our Savior” were written, produced, and directed by Bibleman himself, Willie Aames.

After a whopping 8 minute recap of the previous episode, the story of “Jesus Our Savior” finally continues with Bibleman on the brink of defeat at the hands of the new villain, Primordius Drool. However, instead of finishing him off, Drool captures Bibleman and brings him back to his lair, where Biblegirl and Cypher ultimately track him. Of course, they are able to temporarily defeat Drool by attacking his shiny tooth, and rescue Bibleman from his lair.

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After the team is reunited, they manage to piece together Drool’s plan: to use the public’s dependence on Bibleman to draw them away from depending on God. So, they decided to pray, and clarify that they should never take credit for what they see as God’s work. Speaking of which, check out the BibleMan branded bible in stores near you!

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The episode’s plot ends quickly, with Drool ultimately being dispatched pretty easily through teamwork between Cypher and Bibleman, with the green clown-man exploding into lightning and pixels. However, the last seven minutes is essentially dedicated to a sermon from Bibleman about the importance of Jesus, who concludes by all but explicitly stating his retirement, and Cypher’s takeover of the Bibleman role.

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However, another sequence appears after the apparent conclusion of the episode that creates yet another cliffhanger: Bibleman’s former sidekick, Coates, appears unexpectedly and attempts to assassinate the hero. This leads into the real last episode for Willie Aames: “A Light In The Darkness.”

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There isn’t a whole lot of content to this episode, and I can’t help but feel like they should have consolidated the two parts of “Jesus Our Savior” into one, slightly longer story. Not only does it start with an 8 minute recap, but there is also more than one point where characters just watch clips of the previous episode on a computer monitor. All in all, probably a solid third of the episode in total is made of recycled footage from the previous entry.

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If the two parts of “Jesus Our Savior” had been condensed into one, it might have made a pretty good sendoff for Willie Aames from the series. However, the team clearly wasn’t prepared to deal with a two part story, and the second half is a boring wreck. The fact that it ends with another cliffhanger cheapens the entire emotional conclusion as well, and nullifies the feeling that this episode marked the end of an era. I’m a little curious if the last segment was filmed later, after an agreement was made for Aames to stick around for one more episode. Honestly, if you cut that and “A Light in the Darkness” out of the series, the overall story doesn’t skip a beat. It is also pretty disappointing to see the allusion to Cypher taking over, given how the transition is actually handled in “A Fight For Faith.” Overall, this is a really boring episode, and doesn’t live up at all to the setup of the first part. For being roughly 45 minutes long, nothing much actually happens in this episode.

 

BibleMan: Jesus Our Savior (Part 1)

BibleMan: Jesus Our Savior (Part 1)

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“Jesus Our Savior” was the first and only two-part Bibleman story, with the first part originally airing in October of 2002. It is the eighth entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is the second incarnation of the franchise.

“Jesus Our Savior” was written, produced, and directed by Bibleman himself, Willie Aames. The biggest change for the episode is the absence of series regular Brian Lemmons, who had been on board since the beginning of “The Bibleman Adventure.”

The biggest revelation in “Jesus Our Savior” is that Luxor Spawndroth, the villain from the previous episodes “Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience” and “Lead Us Not Into Temptation,” is actually dead, after appearing (in one form or another) in seven consecutive episodes. The new villain goes by the name of Primordious Drool, played by Jef Scott, and becomes the central antagonist of “The Bibleman Adventure” going forward. The key things to know about drool are that he is vaguely Jewish, vaguely effeminate, very green, and immensely overacted. L.U.C.I., the evil computer that worked under Luxor, carries on with Drool, but it is assumed that Ludicrous was also actually killed in “Lead Us Not Into Temptation.”

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The fact that death is suddenly a real and consequential thing in the Bibleman universe is actually kind of eerie, particularly with how violently and gruesomely Bibleman and company had dispatched of foes in the past. The point is glossed, but it definitely leaves a creepy sense of unease over the episode, much like the tensions left over after Coats disappeared with minimal explanation. I’m curious what the situation was that led to Brian Lemmons (Luxor) to leave the show, and if it was an amicable split. Something I have noticed from watching the series in sequence is that it feels like a number of bridges were burned behind the scenes.

Bibleman’s team once again includes his computer, U.N.I.C.E., his sidekick, Cypher, and a new incarnation of Bible Girl. Theoretically, it is the same character as before, though played by a new actress who looks nothing like the previous one.

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The story of “Jesus Our Savior” primarily serves as a transition, marking the end of Luxor and the introduction of the more powerful, more ridiculous villain of Primordious Drool. Most of the episode is dedicated to Bibleman and the team learning about Drool’s style, but it eventually gets into Drool’s evil plot, which is actually kind of interesting. His plan is to benefit off of Bibleman’s celebrity, and confuse people into raising him as an icon above God, only to tear him down publicly and shatter the public’s faith. Of course, he does this by luring Bibleman onto a particularly anti-Semitic Jerry Springer analogue, which is a clip that is now particularly nefarious online.

“Jesus Our Savior” introduces yet another new armor for Bibleman. This time, it is a shiny, chrome monstrosity, that I personally think is a bit of a downgrade from the previous incarnation.

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Jef Scott as Primordious Drool is, overall, a massive improvement for the show. The guy chews scenery like nobody’s business, and absolutely steals every scene he shows up in. In this episode, he at one point calls Bibleman “bib-LEE-man,” which never fails to crack me up. He also randomly breaks out into song without provocation, and contributes the sort of zany comedic presence that the show previously lacked. Some of his humor is low, stereotypical, and lazy, but he has an undeniable presence and charisma that adds something of distinct value to the show. His musical numbers are even almost bearable to listen to, which is a notable improvement.

Given that “Jesus Our Savior, Part One” is only the first part of a two-installment story, it of course ends on a cliffhanger. I’m not a big fan of cliffhangers in general, and this is no exception: I would have vastly preferred an extended episode / movie rather than a two part extravaganza, but I suppose they decided to break it up so that it could air in television slots more easily.

 

BibleMan: Lead Us Not Into Temptation

BibleMan: Lead Us Not Into Temptation

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“Lead Us Not Into Temptation” was released in February of 2001, and is the seventh entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is the second incarnation of the franchise.

Willie Aames once again plays the role of Bibleman in “Lead Us Not Into Temptation,” while also directing, producing, and co-writing the episode. His co-writer was Greg Perkins, who also collaborated with Aames on the screenplay for the earlier episode, “Conquering the Wrath of Rage.”

The villain in “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” is again Luxor Spawndroth, who previously appeared in “Breaking The Bonds of Disobedience,” in which he was notably exploded into many pieces. He is played by Brian Lemmons, who makes his seventh straight appearance as the villain in the show. However, the is the first time in that run that he has reprised the same role. The evil computer L.U.C.I. and his primary henchman Ludicrous also feature alongside him.

In “Lead Us Not Into Temptation,” Biblegirl makes her first appearance as an official member of the team after joining at the end of “Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience.” U.N.I.C.E., the supercomputer, and Cypher, Bibleman’s other sidekick, also appear, rounding out the bible team.

The plot starts off as BibleMan tries to save a young, newly-converted Christian child by helping her overcome the bullying she faces from her non-Christian friends. Because, in our Christian-dominated society, that is totally a thing that actually happens. In any case, she becomes tempted by the evil magic of computers and the internet via peer pressure. Satanic forces take over her mind via the internet (a website called “Hackemup.com”) and try to make her to leave her new religion and hang out with her non-Christian bullies. It is…amazing.

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The amount of luddite, imaginary computer magic going on in this episode is hilarious, and the misunderstanding of how computers and the internet function is baffling. Go figure that the folks behind “BibleMan” wouldn’t totally grasp the latest technology, given their top-notch mastery of computer generated effects. There are a lot of computer-ish terms thrown around without context in this episode, like this line in reference to the demonic website / game / vaguely evil internet thing (HackEmUp.com):

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“I went to the site. It was pretty cool. Well designed, lots of fail-safes and duplicate firewalls. Very high security for something like this…”

-Cypher, on HackEmUp.com

That sounds like they read the back of the box for Norton Antivirus, and figured that’s all they needed to know to write this episode about the evil internet. As you would expect with any BibleMan episode, the special effects are hilariously pathetic. None of the websites look like anything that is actually on the internet, and the sets are as colorfully cartoonish as ever. There are predictably a lot of lasers and vaguely technological effects going on, including a bizarre force-field effect used to indicate that someone’s mind is being controlled by satanic computer magic.

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The offensive portrayals of non-Christians in this episode are really over the top: essentially, the lesson of the episode is to not associate with any non-Christians in any capacity, because they are corrupting influences. Also, apparently all non-Christians in Bibleman’s fantasy universe are massive dickheads, which is frankly the real reason someone wouldn’t want to associate with those people. The fact that this is a lesson taught to children who watch this show is just backwards and hazardous. Among other things, this lesson is designed to stunt children’s social growth, and deliberate encourages them to have a less diverse social network. The goal is to try to make children shut out any alternate viewpoints and perspectives about the world, which is just…bad. It is just plain bad.

This episode features one of my favorite scripture-related exchanges in the show that I have seen so far, which goes as follows:

Biblegirl: I’m worried about him (Cypher), and Riley

Bibleman: Me too.

Biblegirl: What can we do?

Bibleman: Well, the Bible says that we shouldn’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for anything you need.

Biblegirl: I know this one! Phillipians 4:6!

Bibleman: That’s right! Then, we need to find out who is really behind this website!

Just to recap that dialogue, BibleMan says to pray about the issue and do nothing else. Then, he says to specifically do something about it. Was that scripture even sort of necessary or relevant there? Even better, the very next scene is BibleGirl spying on Cypher and reporting his activities to BibleMan, after which they confront him. Is that not the opposite of what he (and the bible) said to do in that situation?

Unsurprisingly, “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” features another brutal death for Luxor Spawndroth, who is this time evaporated by a deflected laser blast.

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This is one of the few episodes that I had actually covered previously on the blog. I absolutely love this episode, and typically refer to it as “BibleMan vs. The Internet” due to the ridiculous plot. This is one of the first episodes of the show I ever saw, and it made a pretty significant impression on me, though not in the way that the creators intended. I definitely recommend giving it a watch if you can dig up a copy of it.

BibleMan: Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience

BibleMan: Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience” was released in January of 2001, and is the sixth entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is the second incarnation of the franchise.

“Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience” was directed, produced, and co-written by Bibleman himself, Willie Aames. His co-writer was once again Marion Wells, who also helped pen “Shattering the Prince of Pride” and “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear.”

The villain for this episode is Luxor Spawndroth, who is played by Brian Lemmons for his sixth straight lead villain role. L.U.C.I., the evil computer, and Ludicrous, his henchman, appear as well, but the latter is this time dramatically re-cast.

Bibleman’s allies for “Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience” include Cypher, the supercomputer U.N.I.C.E., and the introduction of the first Biblegirl as a secondary sidekick.

The story of “Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience” centers on a play based on Bibleman, which the team is frantically trying to plan and execute. However, this cuts into their praying time, and leaves them susceptible to a new engineered rebellion disease created by the villain Luxon Spawndroth. Bibleman and company have to resist the disease, find a cure, pull off the play, and finally defeat Luxor before he can spread the disease any further.

The episode kicks off with a dayglo laser nightmare, which is apparently a rehearsal for a Bibleman musical about temptation, that would ironically require a significant intake of drugs to sit through.

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One of the key assumptions of the episode’s plot is that rebellion can be caused by an infection or disease, which strikes me as more than a little silly. I think it plays into the idea that children only rebel because of some outside influence, rather than being just a natural part of growing up, and the folks behind Bibleman are clearly terrified of the thought of children growing into rebellious teens. In any case, the plot pretty blatantly involves biological warfare, even if it is nonsense and fictitious. That’s not particularly anything new for a show that has featured mind control drugs and hypnotism, but biological warfare is still pretty dark for for a children’s show.

“Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience” features an updated introduction song and title sequence, which works with the increasing pseudo-technological aesthetic of the show. Personally, I find this particular version of the song incredibly grating, and almost makes me miss the old theme to “The Bibleman Show.”

The title of this episode, “Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience,” strikes me as a tad bit ridiculous. When I think of disobedience, the first thing I think of is not bonds. Speaking of which, why not use the word ‘rebellion’ in the title? That is what the story is really about when it comes down to it, and it just seems like a more apt and obvious word than ‘disobedience.’

This is the first episode where I have spotted a “BibleMan” branded bible on set, which is something that I have always found kind of hilarious. For a show that has an entire episode dedicated to the folly of pride and how God should have more glory than any individual, that’s a gutsy move.

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One of my favorite parts of this episode occurs after Bibleman has been infected with the disease of rebelliousness. For some reason, the only effect it seems to have is to make him ornery and forgetful of his bible verses. A young girl walks up to him, and asks him if cheating on homework is bad, and he literally cannot answer because he can’t remember his scripture. That is a level of inept that is hard for me to even fathom: to have your moral code so tied to a book that without it, you can’t even perform basic though processes. If that is the case, why don’t the bad guys just mess with his memory? Theoretically, if he can’t remember passages from the bible, he’ll be off the rails snorting cocaine and murdering passers-by with his laser sword in no time.

In keeping with truest and most time-honored of Bibleman traditions, the villains of the episode once again die miserably. This time, U.N.I.C.E. causes L.U.C.I.’s remote drone to explode, which somehow causes a chain reaction that results in Luxor and Ludicrous shattering into of pieces in the midst of a fireball. Not too shabby as far as villain deaths go.

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For some reason, I kind of love this episode. I think it is mostly because of the dayglo stage production and Bibleman’s utter helplessness and unhinged fury throughout the story, but I also kind of like the new version of Ludacris. There is also a segment where Luxor fools Bibleman with what I am pretty sure is a shitty Dr. Phil impression that slowly turns into Forrest Gump, which is just amazing to watch. This one is a solid and hardy recommendation from me: it is just the right amount of nonsense that makes for an enjoyable Bibleman experience.

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BibleMan: Shattering the Prince of Pride

BibleMan: Shattering the Prince of Pride

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“Shattering the Prince of Pride” is the fifth entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is the second incarnation of the franchise.

“Shattering the Prince of Pride” was co-written, directed, and produced by Willie Aames, who once again stars as Bibleman. The other credited writer was Marion Rose Wells, who also wrote the Bibleman episode “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear.”

The villain of “Shattering the Prince of Pride” is, of course, the eponymous Prince of Pride, who is played by Brian Lemmons, who appears as the primary villain in his fifth-straight Bibleman episode here. He is once again joined by his henchman, Ludicrous, and the evil computer, L.U.C.I..

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Bibleman is once again joined by his trusty computer U.N.I.C.E., as well as his sidekick, Cypher. However, in this episode, they are at each other’s throats more than usual, which is explained over the course of the story.

The plot of “Shattering the Prince of Pride” follows BibleMan as he is making preparations for a new nationally published comic strip based on his image. Cypher and U.N.I.C.E. bicker over who should be featured as his sidekick, and Bibleman struggles to maintain his humility in the limelight. The new villain, the Prince of Pride, further complicates matters  through the use of a ray gun that excessively boosts people’s egos.

The story actually pulls an interesting fake-out with Bibleman, in that the Prince of Pride claims that he starts becoming prideful about his own humility after being hit by his pride ray, which is an interesting and complicated notion to portray in a television show for kids. However, it is mostly played for a joke, and the ray ultimately just makes him garden-variety prideful.

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The comedy in “Shattering the Prince of Pride” really gets to the point where it is trying to hard, focusing on being self-referential and generally comedic, which makes it lose some of the charm of being earnestly made. It is also pretty clear that humor is there to try to mask the incompetence that is still very much present, which never comes off well.

Once again, the villain dies an exceptionally terrible death, but the Prince of Pride gets the most graphic one so far. Bibleman manages to back him up into an electrical grid, which causes him to fry for a number of seconds before exploding into a mass of green fluid. It is actually pretty dark and gory, even for Bibleman’s Old Testament standards.

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“Shattering the Prince of Pride” is uneven episode, but the highlights of it are pretty great. A lot of the humor totally misses, but some of it works, and the over-the-top villain death pushes it into the realm of being a recommendation from me.  I mostly just wish that The Prince of Pride was a little more distinctive, and that he got more interesting screen time. The most boring part of the episode is his musical number, which seems to drag on indefinitely in an episode that is already almost 45 minutes long. This isn’t the episode I would introduce someone to the show with, but again, the highlights are pretty solid.

BibleMan: Conquering the Wrath of Rage

BibleMan: Conquering the Wrath of Rage

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“Conquering the Wrath of Rage” marks the fourth entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is the second incarnation of the franchise.

“Conquering the Wrath of Rage” was directed, produced, and co-written by Willie Aames, who once again stars as Bibleman. The other credited writer is one Greg Perkins, who I wasn’t able to dig up any information on.

The villain of “Conquering the Wrath of Rage” is El Furioso, who is yet another antagonist portrayed by Brian Lemmons, marking his fourth straight appearance on the show. He is once again accompanied by his self-aware, possibly stoned henchman, Ludicrous. The evil computer, L.U.C.I., also pops up again as a supporting villain.

Bibleman has a new partner for “Conquering the Wrath of Rage” in the rookie Cypher, who is introduced as a bit of a tech wizard, and is credited with designing the new Bibleman armor. He winds up hanging around for a long time in the series as I recall, becoming a bit of a staple.  I’m not really sure what happens to Coats, the previous sidekick, as the point is glossed over pretty quickly. It is actually somewhat implied that the split wasn’t exactly pleasant, which might allude to some tensions behind the scenes.

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The story of “Conquering the Wrath of Rage” focuses on a new villain named El Furioso, who comes up with a chemical that causes uncontrollable fits of rage. This is used both on local children and on Bibleman to disastrous effect. Bibleman must confront his own anger and learn to trust the people around him in order to win the day and defeat El Furioso.

The episode begins with Bibleman fighting a group of really racist caricature villains, whose lines are subtitled despite the fact that they are speaking clear English. If the exaggerated, generic Asian accents don’t get the point across, the reference to Jackie Chan certainly does. Bibleman also, in keeping with tradition, straight murders one of them in a fit of rage after they corner Cypher. However, this time his actions are actually addressed, as the theme of the episode deals with rage and violence.

“Violence never got anyone anywhere”

-Bibleman, noted vigilante murderer

 

“Conquering the Wrath of Rage” features another notable upgrade for the Bibleman outfit, and introduces what is probably the most recognizable version of the cowl. This version is far more musclebound than the previous versions, and sets the precedent for future changes to the outfit as the series goes on.

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“A man in spandex is no laughing matter”

-Bibleman

“Conquering the Wrath of Rage” also introduces the use of lower third text gags, which continues throughout the rest of the series. These are usually a bit funnier than the comedy in the dialogue, because they don’t rely on the actors having any kind of comedic timing.

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El Furioso is probably the most amusing performance from Brian Lemmons so far in the show. He feels like he must be offensive somehow, but I’m not really sure to who? His name would make you think of some sort of Mexican stereotype, but it doesn’t really play that way, apart from using the occasional Spanish phrase. He is somewhat effeminate, but also occasionally drifts into what sounds like a bad imitation of a Jewish person, making for a really perplexing mixture of stereotypes.

As is tradition for the series, El Furioso suffers an awful demise in the conclusion. Bibleman uses some sort of divine force field that forces Furioso’s beam weapon to backfire, which leaves him dissolved into a nasty, green, gooey mess. In keeping with the theme of the episode, Bibleman doesn’t directly strike him down, but he certainly gets very dead. Bibleman’s reaction to this horrific loss of life is, quote:

“Jeepers, what a mess.”

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human remains

Overall, “Conquering the Wrath of Rage” is a solid recommendation from me as an entertainingly awful entry into the saga of Bibleman. It makes for a pretty good introduction into the series: the cheese factor is to the max, and the comedic writing is actually entertaining at times, and completely baffling and tone deaf at others.

BibleMan: The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear

BibleMan: The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” marks the third entry into “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is the second incarnation of the franchise.

“The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” is once again directed by Eric J. Smith, who also took the reins on the previous episode, “The Incredible Force of Joy.” Willie Aames, who also plays Bibleman, co-directs, and the writing for the episode is credited to Marion Rose Wells.

The central villain of “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” is, of course, Dr. Fear. However, the character is once again played by the same actor, Brian Lemmons, who portrayed the previous two villains: The Master of Misery and The Shadow of Doubt, a fact that is pointed out once again by his self-aware sidekick, Ludicrous. This time, Dr. Fear appears to be partially cybernetic, which gives him a little more interesting appearance. The evil computer program, “L.U.C.I.,” who appeared in the live version of “The Incredible Force of Joy,” also shows up as an accessory villain.

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Both the intelligent computer, U.N.I.C.E., and a sidekick, Coats, appear alongside Bibleman in “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear,” just as they did in the previous two “Bibleman Adventure” installments.

The story of “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” follows Bibleman as he leads the “Clean is Cool” campaign to keep kids off of drugs (or something like that). Meanwhile, a new villain named Dr. Fear plots to fill people with anxieties and destroy their self confidence, even taking aim at Bibleman himself. I assume that also has something to do with drugs, but I wasn’t entirely clear on that point. Bibleman, as per usual, has to figure out the villain’s plan and overcome his own fears to win the day.

“The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” shockingly kicks off with Bibleman dancing to a swing number with lyrics about saying ‘no’ to drugs. I can’t even make this kind of ridiculous thing up, that is actually how the episode starts.

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This episode also features the first (but not the last) time that Bibleman appears on a televised talk show. Of course, Dr. Fear uses this opportunity to strike Bibleman with some sort of fear ray, which sets off his anxieties about appearing on camera, leading him to briefly botch the interview.

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For once, Bibleman actually takes a fair amount of damage in the combat sequences, particularly thanks to Dr. Fear’s ranged attack. Speaking of which, why exactly doesn’t Bibleman have a way of fighting from a distance? You would think that with the amount of technology at his disposal, he would have some sort of plan for this kind of thing. He ultimately figures out a way around it, but it wouldn’t have been as much of an issue if he just had some sort of bible-themed projectile for combat.

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The humor here is still cringe-inducingly awful, and bows to a number of lazy stereotypes for no discernible reason. The plot also isn’t as entertainingly cheesy as other episodes, which, combined with yet another lackluster villain, makes for a pretty dull watch on the whole. The most amusingly terrible thing in the episode is the swing dance in the opening sequence, which passes pretty quickly. “The Fiendish Works of Dr. Fear” definitely isn’t on the top of my list for Bibleman episodes, but it is also far from the worst. It also features a brutal villain death for Dr. Fear, but it generally pales in comparison to most of the other episodes.

BibleMan: The Incredible Force of Joy

BibleMan: The Incredible Force of Joy

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

“Incredible Force of Joy” is the second installment in “The Bibleman Adventure,” which is itself the second incarnation of the show.

“The Incredible Force of Joy” was directed by Eric J. Smith, and written by Albert Upton and Cory Edwards. This marks the first time that star Willie Aames was not involved in either the writing or direction of the episode, at least as far as the listed credits go.

The villain in “The Incredible Force of Joy” is basically just the return of Shadow of Doubt from the previous episode, but now under the name of Master of Misery. His henchman, Ludicrous, is also back, and a second supporter is introduced in the form of an evil computer named L.U.C.I.. L.U.C.I. is essentially the counter-balance to Bibleman’s computer, U.N.I.C.E., and continues to appear throughout the series. This practice of re-using villains under new monikers also continues throughout the rest of the Bibleman franchise.

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Bibleman once again has a couple of allies present in the form of Coats and U.N.I.C.E., who were both introduced in the previous episode, “Defeating the Shadow of Doubt.”

The story of “The Incredible Force of Joy” centers on this new villain called the Master of Misery, who has developed some sort of weapon and computer program that can make people sad. He manages to infiltrate Bibleman’s lair, and corrupts his computer with the program, creating chaos for the team. Meanwhile, the Master of Misery launches his evil plan to corrupt children by making a young child miss a science fair. Bibleman, as always, has to figure out a way to foil the villain’s plans, and help the young boy make the science fair. This also marks perhaps the only time that Bibleman has supported science in any way.

“The Incredible Force of Joy” marks some notable improvements to the Bibleman costume. The appearance is more streamlined than the previous incarnation, and the cowl is pretty dramatically altered as well, with a gradient of purple and yellow.

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Once again, the villain knows the location of Bibleman’s lair for no stated reason, which raises some questions for me as to whether theere might be a mole within Bibleman’s inner circle. However, Bibleman doesn’t seem particularly alarmed by that fact, which struck me as kind of odd.

“The Incredible Force of Joy” features the first iconic full armor sequence for Bibleman, and is also the first episode to have a live performance incarnation. The audio of the full armor sequence takes over for the old “The Bibleman Show” theme song in the introductory credits, completing the transition into “The Bibleman Adventure” series.

The plot of “The Incredible Force of Joy” features an awful lot of jargon-packed computer hacking magic that doesn’t make even a shred of sense, particularly on the part of the bad guys. The astounding misunderstanding of technology pops up a few more times in the series going forward, at least in some of the episodes that I have already seen.

The episode starts with the murder via laser evaporation of an unnamed villain (who resembles The Fibbler) by Coats, which isn’t treated with much seriousness by either character. Bibleman even offers a classic one-liner for the situation:

“Don’t you hate it when guys smoke?”

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The smoking remain of a human being

Once again, this shows just how callous, unforgiving, and violent Bibleman and his crew can be, making him more like a comic book antihero (The Punisher) than a traditional superhero (Superman, Captain America). Interestingly, U.N.I.C.E., Bibleman’s computer, is the one who ultimately kills the Mastery of Misery, which sets a dangerous precedent in my mind about artificial intelligence committing murder.

Overall, “The Incredible Force of Joy” is another middling episode in the series, but the quality of the show from a production standpoint is clearly steadily improving. The villain here is once again a bit forgettable, but the techno-magic provides some entertainment value to the episode. The attempts at humor of course still fall flat, but there are some unintentional laughs to be had here.

BibleMan: Defeating the Shadow of Doubt

BibleMan: Defeating the Shadow of Doubt

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Today, I’m continuing my week-long marathon of the Bibleman franchise as part of Secular Students Week. If you make a donation to the Secular Student Alliance this week, and I’ll cover a movie of your choice.

In 1998, two years after the conclusion of “The Bibleman Show,” “Defeating the Shadow of Doubt” marked the first episode of “The Bibleman Adventure,” the second and longest-running incarnation of the show.

For “Defeating the Shadow of Doubt,” Willie Aames takes sole writing and directing credits, and continues to star as the crusading eponymous hero, Bibleman. Chris Fann, who was previously co-director on “The Bibleman Show,” is now relegated to director of photography, I assume for the purpose of giving Aames sole credit. Notably, Tony Salerno’s creation credit for the Bibleman character is absent from both the ending and opening, which makes me wonder how much internal turbulence there was over the change of direction for the show.

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The villain of the episode is Shadow of Doubt, who is overall a pretty generic antagonist for Bibleman. He uses a sort of chemical to inspire doubt in people, which reminded me a bit of the mind control used by previous villains. His performance is certainly over the top, but the character still comes off as pretty dull on the whole. He does have a fourth wall breaking henchman named Ludicrous, who is somewhat self-aware about his position, and steals the show from Shadow of Doubt in most of the villain scenes. However, Shadow does get his time to shine with his frenetic dancing musical number.

“Who is both a verb and a noun!”

“Shadow of Doubt!”

For the first time in the franchise, Bibleman has allies in the form U.N.I.C.E. and Coats. U.N.I.C.E. is an intelligent, speaking computer that runs the Bibleman headquarters, and continues to appear throughout the rest of the series. Coats is a pretty generic assistant / sidekick, who has a vague sort of military aesthetic to him.

The story of “Defeating the Shadow of Doubt” centers on a young girl, Kyla, who has lost her faith, which is initially assumed to be due to her parents arguing. However, there are also sinister forces at play in the form of a Pandora’s box of doubt, planted by a new villain called Shadow of Doubt. Bibleman has to overcome his own insecurities and find a way to defeat the shadow, and help restore Kyla’s faith.

Kyla: “You don’t know how I feel! Nobody does! Not even God!”

Bibleman: “Kyla, that’s just not true. God does care…I mean, he must?”

“Defeating the Shadow of Doubt” features a new introduction that focuses more on action, and also introduces the more familiar BibleMan logo. The old theme song is still around, but it plays over the credits as opposed to the introduction sequence. Honestly, it is a bit strange tone-wise to have both styles present, but I am guessing that will only be the case for a few of these transition episodes.

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There is still a children’s musical number at the beginning of the episode, but it is cut into semi-digestible small chunks. I’m curious if this was initially intended as part of an episode of “The Bibleman Show,” and was repurposed for “Defeating the Shadow of Doubt.”

“Defeating the Shadow of Doubt” features more deliberate attempts at humor than previous episodes, most of which awkwardly fall flat. As the series goes on, the amount of tongue in cheek self-awareness seems to increase, which adds a whole new dimension of cringe-inducing awkwardness to the show.

The entire episode of “Defeating the Shadow of Doubt” reinforces a stereotype that the only reason people leave religion is due to some trauma or sinister influence, which just isn’t true by a long shot. The Bibleman version of questioning faith is also kind of hilarious in its lack of sincerity.

“In my mind I know all the right scriptures. I just don’t feel like they are real. One thing is for certain: whoever this [villain] is, he has affected my ability to reason.”

-Bibleman

I was a little surprised when Shadow of Doubt survived the episode, especially given the show’s pattern for giving villains violent and tortuous ends. I assume this was done to make a statement about how doubt never totally goes away, or something to that effect.

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“Defeating the Shadow of Doubt” is more or less middle-of-the-road as far as entertainment value for Bibleman goes. The villain could certainly have been better, but there are still some entertainingly awful child acting and dialogue moments that help it out. It is certainly easier to sit through than the first two episodes of “The Bibleman Show,” and features a lot more cheesy action and fighting, if that is what you are looking for.