The League of Quality Superhero Animation plugs “Crisis on Two Earths” at Paley Center

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It’s an old story. You’re a superhero minding your own business and then you bump into someone who looks very familiar but, well, something’s just not right. Gee whiz but this person looks a lot like you and is even wearing similar clothes, but then you notice your new acquaintance looks like he or she is made from rocks, uses terrible grammar and does everything the opposite of you. (“Me want to not save world!”) Or the newcomer looks like one of your deadliest enemies, but turns out to be no Bizaaro, but as heroic as you are. What’s a superhero to do?

It’s an old superhero comic story that has yet to find its way into a big-time costumed-hero flicks — but at least it’s finally been used in a solidly entertaining and often slyly funny direct-to-DVD animated production. Rated a mild PG-13 for non-deadly “action violence,” Warner Home Video’s “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths” shows us the fall-out of an alternate universe where the equivalents of our most famed superheros are essentially costumed Mafioso, while a bald guy named Luthor and a joker named the Jester vainly fight the power of organized caped crime.

When the alternate Luthor (Chris Noth) manages a reality jump into the original DC Comics Universe, he enlists the aid of  most of the Justice League. And so, Superman (Mark Harmon), Wonder Woman (Vanessa Marshall), and a less than cooperative Batman (William Baldwin), become involved in a desperate quest to free Good Luthor’s universe from super-powered criminal domination by the vicious Crime Syndicate and it’s Jersey-thug-like leader, Ultraman (Brian Bloom) — and also to stave off the possible destruction of all existence by an off-his-evil meds Dark Knight of the Soul, Owlman (James Woods), and his only slightly more sane GF, Super Woman (Gina Torres).

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The 72 minute direct-to-video feature was premiered at both of the coastal outlets of the Paley Center, and I attended the one located on Earth Prime’s Beverly Hills. Us members of the local geek press were allowed to commune with members of the cast and crew and, in my case, that started with the extremely busy animation casting and voice director, Andrea Romano. The loquacious performer and voice director, whose work includes everything from “Animaniacs” to “Spongebob Squarepants” and “Ben Ten,” is held in as high esteem by super-animation fans as any actor, writer, or director. Her work on DC superhero projects goes back to the early nineties and “Batman: The Animated Series,” which revolutionized superhero cartoons with quality writing from creators like Bruce Timm and Paul Dini, animation, and, thanks to her efforts, acting.

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Hell’s Kitchen: No winning team

Last night on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” they recapped last week and Charlie getting the heave-ho. Giovanni was pissed at Seth and thought Seth should have been sent packing, but Seth argued that he was going to fight in the “game.” Yikes. Robert then did a hilarious Ramsay impersonation for his fellow chefs.

They then had a Hell’s Kitchen breakfast, where the teams had to feed a hungry group of kid football players and cheerleaders. Seth vowed that he could make great eggs Ramsay-style but he was horribly slow in the kitchen, slowing his whole team. The red team won by delivering more meals and were rewarded with a day at a posh Beverly Hills hotel pool. The guys, meanwhile, had to clean up the dining room and prep both teams’ food for the dinner service.

Ben and Danny were fighting because Danny had claimed he was the team’s best chef and the guys didn’t finish the prep work in time. That pissed off both the red team and Ramsay, but both teams performed horribly at the dinner service, especially Giovanni, Coi, Seth, and Ben. Oh, and J left a lettuce “butt” in someone’s salad..yuck. Ramsay was so pissed off he shut down the kitchen and declared no winners last night. He asked each team to nominate two chefs for elimination. The red team chose Colleen and Lacey, and Lacey was annoyed and said Coi should have been the other one on the chopping block. Seth and Ben were nominated from the men, and Ben was pissed about it.

In the end, it was Seth sent home, because Ramsay just couldn’t take his lack of experience anymore, and the guys breathed a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, Ramsay then sent Lacey to the blue team to even things out, which then made the ladies all breathe a sigh of relief as well. It should be interesting to see how that all works out. Lacey for Seth? Not a great trade-off.

See you all next week…

  

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