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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, December 3

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Video Sun Jul 21 2013

We Can Be Heroes: Platoon of Power Squadron Returns

Flight, super strength, or invisibility? Everyone wonders how extraordinary their lives would be with a super power. But what would that be like, really?

Platoon of Power Squadron (PoPS) is a web series where four twentysomething roommates suddenly find they can stop time, control electricity, read minds and multiply themselves.

It's an earnest take on the superhero genre, trading epic battles for Whedonesque realism and banter. The Platoon members are less "superheros" and more "people who happen to have super powers."

"It's very much about these four people who have these powers that they aren't using," said writer-director Jake Jarvi. "They feel like they're worth so much more than they're letting themselves be."

This theme of untapped potential and an uncertain future is a common thread among many shows about twentysomethings today, but PoPS explores it in a funny, unique way. "Girls" hasn't branched out into time-traveling wormholes or disobedient clones quite yet.

Jarvi assembled the platoon back in 2009 after returning from LA, where he found some success as an actor and filmmaker, including a role as one of the pledges in the movie Old School.

This team of friends includes Jarvi and his wife Eliza Toser, Carlyn Janus, and Craig Benzine, who has gained notoriety as YouTube vlogger Wheezy Waiter since the show began.

They filmed the first episode of PoPS in their Logan Square apartment, and every episode since has been an all-volunteer affair, produced with a bare-bones crew during epic 10-hour-long shoots.

Raising money through Indiegogo campaigns- and to a lesser extent, YouTube ads- the show delivers a very high level of quality in spite of its barely-existent budget. This is thanks to the months that Jarvi spends on editing and special effects work at his home in the north suburbs.

The show has been well-received online, as a global community on YouTube has tuned in to the first six episodes and kept in touch with Jarvi's progress on the latest installment through weekly blog updates.

"It never occurred to me that you could have an international audience in the tens of thousands," Jarvi said. "I don't know if we'd be on episode seven right now if they hadn't turned up."

Just released today, the latest episode of Platoon of Power Squadron continues a new chapter in the story: a villain has entered the picture. This mysterious evil is seeking power by any means necessary, and only the Platoon of Power Squadron can stop it- unless it finds them first.

Check out the latest episode of PoPS below:

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Victoria / July 22, 2013 6:29 PM

I've watched PoPS since Ep2 and I LOVE it. It really is that honest approach. I love how Jonas' character is possibly the most volatile but appears the most apathetic. Seeing each of their reactions to opportunities to use their powers is captivating and I can't WAIT to see where it all ends up!!!

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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