- Booster Gold
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Monday, July 10, 2017
I'm about to do something I never do. I'm going to gush about something I saw on television this past weekend, specifically the Justice League Action episode "Time Out."
"Time Out" gives us possibly the greatest on-screen Booster Gold ever.
Episode writer Jonathan Callan channeled Booster Gold perfectly. Like our hero, he stole from his past to make a better present. Sci-fi geeks may recognize that the primary antagonists in "Time Out" were lifted from old Doctor Who episodes. (And that doorway at Vanishing Point sure looked like something from Stargate.) I'm not complaining. Using familiar ideas like this allows "Time Out" to squeeze some high concept time travel shenanigans into a brief eleven minutes of action.
[UPDATE: On Twitter, Callan admits that in addition to Who, the time antibodies were also inspired by Stephen King's Langoliers and the chronovore to be a "lift from Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman".]
Callan makes another theft that is much more important. The plot of "Time Out" comes from another television show you've probably heard of, specifically Justice League Unlimited episode "The Greatest Story Never Told." Once again, Booster Gold is initially presented as an incompetent dudebro who only plays at heroism for fame. Once again, Booster Gold is the only hero who can save the world when an unexpected crisis develops, and once again, no one else gets to know about it. It's the small changes to this formula that make this episode greater than its predecessor.
Whereas "Greatest Story" dropped the crisis into the lap of an ill-prepared Booster, here the problem is a job a more mature Booster has accepted, trained for, and completed many times before without any hope of reward. "Time Out" really sells Booster's inherent goodness and loneliness, personality traits commonly obscured by his more obvious desperate need for attention. In this episode, Booster is fully aware of his faults and doesn't care to hide them because how others see him isn't as important as doing the right thing.
That's some good stuff right there.
I probably don't need to mention that the episode is greatly enhanced by voice acting from former Batman Diedrich Bader and current (and all-time best) Batman Kevin Conroy. They manage to convey a lot of humor and pathos in a very short period of time. Great job done by all.
If I have any quibble, it's that Skeets doesn't have any speaking lines. But given how much good stuff we did get ("Booster cave," Vanishing Point, Booster getting the last word over Batman), I'm more than willing to let that go. That Skeets was in here at all is good enough for me.
I hope any Booster boosters who missed the broadcast will have a chance to discover this gem in reruns. I look forward to many repeat viewings myself.
Monday, December 19, 2016
Justice League Action debuted on Cartoon Network on Friday in a four-part "Shazam Slam" special. Unexpectedly, Booster Gold got in on the action!
Booster played a small role in episode 3, "Night of the Bat," where he is used exclusively as comic relief. (There's even a quick "Gold's Gym" visual pun.) Diedrich Bader's portrayal of Booster sounds a little more Californian than Boosters past. It's very in keeping with Booster's public image as an idiot.
Although Booster doesn't have much to do in this episode, JLA writer Jonathan Callan called the character "a breakout star" on Twitter.com. Booster voice actor Diedrich Bader responded by saying how much he loves playing the character.
Hopefully, this love fest will translate into bigger roles for Booster in future episodes. We'll be watching.
(Special thanks to Bob in Friday's comments for catching Booster's appearance.)
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