First Trailer!: Doctor Sleep

We seem to be going through a Stephen King film adaptation renaissance right now. Movies like IT and Pet Cemetery fucking ruled. Even last year’s TV series Castle Rock tapped into the “shared Multiverse” that King’s books exist in to great effect. Now, later this year, we have IT:Chapter Two and Doctor Sleep. Both look fantastic. What really sold me on Doctor Sleep was Ewan McGregor and the film’s very solid and intriguing trailer, it pulls you in right away. It gives you a set up without giving you the full picture of what’s going on. It was the perfect first trailer, the mood was fantastic and it just made me want to see more. I think Ewan McGregor is an incredibly underrated actor and his presence in this movie really sold it for me. But I really love the idea of McGregor playing Danny Torrance the boy with “The Shining” (or psychic powers) from the book and film The Shinning. You know the one where Jack Nicholson lost his mind at The Overlook Hotel and he had a psychic son, this is the same character all grown up. I love the idea that after encountering a fucked up supernatural horror as a young man and now he’s encountering something supernatural, but completely different as an adult. This is just a great trailer and this definitely made my list of highly anticipated movies to see in the back half of 2019!

PODCAST: Dark PhoeniX! We Watched It So You Don’t Have To! You’re Welcome.

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

2000’s X-Men, directed by Bryan Singer was the first REAL comic book superhero of the modern age. Some people say Blade should get some credit in that department, but most people at the time (myself included) didn’t even realize it’s was based on a comic book. However, X-Men had all of the trappings and troupes of a classic comic book: the team of heroes, colorful costumes, SUPER-VILLAINS!, and of course very, very cool super powers. What story from the team’s 40 year history would the filmmakers choose to tell? 

     Sure, we’d seen Superman and Batman on the big screen, but they’re fairly simple compared to something like X-Men. Superman and Batman are seemingly much easier and less complicated to adapt to the big screen. (You guys can debate amongst yourselves if you that’s actually true or not). 

    Wolverine alone has one of the most complicated and intricate back stories in Marvel Comics history and that doesn’t even take into account telling the story of the rest of the X-Men. Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, and Rogue would all needs their place to shine in this tale. Then there’s perhaps the most interesting characters relationship in the film: Xavier and Magneto! 

     Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and the films portrayal of Charles Xavier and Magneto’s frenemy relationship were the highlights of the first X-Men film. Logan, Charles, and Eric were the center of almost all the other future X-Men films in one way or another.

    Anyway, back to July 2000, they pulled it off in the end! The first X-Men was a bona fide hit and proved that comic book superheroes that weren’t household names, with their silly costumes and childish powers could translate into big bucks at the box office. However, It wasn’t until Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man debuted to the bigggest opening weekend ever at the time. Hollywood realized there was golden them there hills and every movie studio with the rights to a comic book superhero property had a movie in development and the superher movie boom again. 

      It wasn’t perfected until 2008 which saw the release of Iron Man starting off Marvel Cinematic Universe and The Dark Knight; a neo-crime epic classic. Since the first X-Men film hit theaters, there has been more than a dozen movies taking place within the X-Universe, some have been good, some have been terrible. 

    Now the X-Men are moving on to greener pastures. To the Elysium, that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a shame the final film in Fox’s X-Men franchise will be Dark Phoenix because it’s such a poor way to end the series. If the studio had any sense they would’ve ended it with Logan, a true masterpiece and a perfect ending to the X-Men story. Unfortunately that’s how you roll the dice with an X-Men movie. You never know if the creative people trying to tell a great X-Men story, will occasionally have their film ruined by the movie studio trying to fuck it up. So even though there have been masterpieces and pieces of shit in the Men films, we should still be great-full that this series blazed a trail for superhero movies over the last 20 years! 

So on this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast we watched the final X-Men film of the FOX era and… it sure is… a movie! We review DARK PHOENIX, so you don’t have to! This weeks podcast may be all about shitting on the new and final X-Men movie for quite some time, but we still love the X-Men! We also discuss our thoughts on Robert Pattinson’s casting as the new Batman! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, iTunes, and more: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18229983

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.spreaker.com%2Fepisode%2F18229983

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=61816601&autoplay=1

Thanks for listening!

-Paul

The Dark Phoenix Blues

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

It’s crazy that not too long ago I was lamenting the lost art of movie posters. I singled out the beautiful work of artist Drew Struzan’s iconic posters for Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Harry Potter, among others. With his incredible sketch and paint style, working both artistically beautiful and ultra realistic, he’s crafted some of cinema’s most iconic imagery. It’s ironic that one of the worst genre films to come along in quite a while, Dark Phoenix, actually has a pretty beautiful poster in the vein of Drew Struzan, which you can see at the top of the article. Below that is another incredible poster from one of the best artist in the world right now, BossLogic. To be clear: the Srtuzan inspired poster is on top, BossLogic’s poster is below.

While Dark Phoenix may be disappointing fans all over the world. I found this wonderful video online that does a great job of talking about why The Dark Phoenix Saga is so special in the first place. If you’re feeling bummed out that one of your favorite, iconic, comic book story lines has once again been butchered by an incompetent movie studio, this video should definitely get your spirits up.The video comes to us from NowThisNerd, you can subscribe to their channel on YouTube. Its the perfect antidote to your Dark Phoenix blues. Watch it here:

Thank!

-Paul

FIRST LOOK! Jessica Jones: The Final Season

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Jessica Jones Season 3 is coming to Netflix very soon and today I have everything you need to get ready for Season 3! New trailer! Posters! Plot Synopsis! Season 3 photos! and more! But before we dive in, Jessica Jones Season 3 marks the end of the Marvel/Netflix partnership. This season will be the final piece of original Marvel content produced with Netflix. So I wanted to take a minuet to talk about the Marvel/Netflix shows as a whole, as well as their impact and legacy within The MCU.

I was so excited when this was first announced. Netflix and Marvel doing a set of TV series’ focusing on the street level heroes of The MCU was, and still is, a fantastic idea. To top it all off, the shows would feature Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, some of my favorite Marvel characters of all time (Daredevil is #2on my list of Greatest Superheroes of All Time). All three Seasons of Daredevil and the First Season of Jessica Jones stand up with movies like The Dark Knight, Logan, and Captain America: Civil War as live action masterpieces of super hero story telling. Not all of the shows were as successful as DD and Jessica Jones. Luke Cage Season 1 started out fantastic, but lost it’s way towards the end of the season. I’m not certain about the critical and public perception on Luke Cage Season 2, but I thought it was a little better than Season One. Iron Fist was ripped apart when it premiered, as the weakest show in the franchise by far, but made a massive improvement in quality, acting, fight choreography, and storytelling in Season 2. Even The Punisher received 2 successful seasons coming off his memorable debut in Daredevil Season 2. Unfortunately, the team up miniseries The Defenders, was no small screen Avengers. The series largely disappointed critics and fans alike. Going into Jessica Jones Season 3 the enthusiasm for the franchise isn’t where it once was.

To be fair the quality of some of the shows could be inconsistent. None of the Marvel/Netflix series’ suffered from a decline in quality between seasons more than Jessica Jones. Daredevil stayed consistently excellent throughout its 3 season run, Luke Cage followed up it’s first season with an equally solid Season 2, and Iron Fist (the red headed step child of the Marvel/Netflix shows) massively improved between seasons 1 & 2, Jessica Jones was the only Marvel/Netflix show to show large drop in quality.

As we look at the overall place of the Marvel/Netflix shows in the greater context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a shame that Marvel/Netflix characters didn’t have a larger role in The MCU, especially considering how most of the characters were handled so well. Millions of fans wanted to see Daredevil, The Punisher and more of the street level characters show up in an Avengers movie or a film with a large cast of heroes, like Civil War. When asked by journalists, the creative people involved in the MCU films like the directors, writers, and actors, loved the possibility of the Marvel/Netflix characters showing up in one of their movies. However, the higher ups at Marvel weren’t as optimistic. Kevin Feige would say things like “We don’t have any plans for the characters at the moment. But anything’s possible.”. That’s basically a very nice way of saying, it ain’t gonna fucking happen. Fans were never even given a cameo or reference to the TV heroes on the big screen.

Kevin Feige the man behind The MCU (this guy could have a child slavery ring going and get into heaven on that alone.)

Unfortunately, this policy didn’t have anything to do with the quality of the shows, but behind the scenes drama between producers working for a Marvel Studios. This was mainly due to the fact that Marvel’s film and television division were run by different people, Kevin Feige and Jeph Loeb, respectively. The rumor was that the relationship between the two divisions wasn’t good. This just made the idea of The Defenders or The Punisher making appearances on the big screen much less likely. This is just speculation, but I’d bet Jeph Loeb was the asshole of this situation. Kevin Feige did and continues to do the impossible by building the MCU. He has a reputation for being down to earth and very measured. Jeph Loeb, on the other hand, is well-known for being egotistical, without having much respect for the fans. Loeb has also written a lot of comics at DC and Marvel over the last 30 years. A few of them are admittedly great, but for the most part he’s a complete hack of a writer, behind such atrocities as Marvel’s Ultimatum. Oh well, if only the stars had aligned properly… At the end of the day we’ve received some mind blowing movies and TV shows from Marvel. So, sometimes this stuff can sound like nitpicking, but I do hope Marvel figures out a way to work these characters into their films in the future. I just hope if they make a Daredevil movie, they keep Charlie Cox as Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio as The Kingpin because they are the PERFECT FUCKING DAREDEVIL AND KINGPIN! Let’s hope Jessica Jones rallies in Season 3 and ends the Marvel/Netflix run on a high note.

With all of that out of the way, back to Jessica Jones Season 3. Now, here’s what’s been released for the upcoming season…

First off, here’s the official synopsis of Jessica Jones Season 3 from Marvel and Netflix:

“When Jessica crosses paths with a highly intelligent psychopath, she and Trish (Rachael Taylor) must repair their fractured relationship and team up to take him down. But a devastating loss reveals their conflicting ideas of heroism and sets them on a collision course that will forever change them both.”

We have more photos from Season 3 below and you can watch the new full trailer right here. This trailer is the first indication of what type of story season three is it telling and what direction it may go in. I think it looks pretty damn interesting, take a look:

Based on the trailer, it looks like the series is attempting to return to that intense, thriller vibe that made season one so great. It’s also nice to a genuinely creepy villain, the trailer has a real “Seven” feel to it. Speaking of the villain, Gregory Salinger is certainly on the D-list, Marvel often does great things with relatively obscure villains. The Purple Man wasn’t on anyone’s favorite villain list until Season One and David Tennent’s performance made Killgrave into one of the all time great, on screen, comic book villains. In the comics, Gregory Salinger is also known as Foolkiller, a mantel worn by multiple men in the comics.

I think the show will probably take bits and pieces from each incarnation of the character in the comics for whatever works for the show. Basically he’s a psychopathic serial killer who think he’s some kind of vigilante (another parallel with the film Seven).

Foolkiller’s ridiculous costume from the comic books

It also looks like Trish is continuing on her path to becoming the vigilante Hellcat. Judging from the trailer and the plot synopsis, Jessica and Trish don’t exactly see eye to eye on the subject.

Trish doing some vigilante training
Trish’s Hellcat costume from the comic books

Here are some additional pictures from the upcoming season:

Regardless of how the season turns out, I’ll be watching all of Jessica Jones Season 3. When I finish the final episode,The Marvel/Netflix Era of The MCU will have ended. It’s bittersweet. On one hand I’m so happy these shows existed in the first place and on the other it’s sad to see them go. I just hope that Marvel finds a way to keep these incredible characters (especially Charlie Cox as Daredevil) as a vital part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Jessica Jones Season 3 premieres on 6/14/19

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul

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PODCAST: Good Omens! Chernobyl! Swamp Thing! Deadwood! & More!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

  This was one HELL of weekend for great television. I watched some of the best shows and miniseries that I’d seen all year, just between last Saturday and Sunday. Amazon Prime debuted their six-episode miniseries Good Omens on Thursday. The story is based on the classic novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. A unique and fun blend of comedy/drama/fantasy, the miniseries follows a demon named Crowley (David Tennent) and an angel named Aziraphael (Michael Sheen) who’ve been on Earth since the Garden of Eden a develop an unlikely friendship over the millennials. When orders come from their higher ups that Armageddon is about to begin with the birth of The Antichrist, Crowley and Aziraphael do everything they can to stop the Apocalypse because the like living on Earth too much. There’s a lot to love here, including a fantastic supporting cast (Jon Hamm, Francis McDormand, Brian Cox, etc.), but what makes the miniseries a real home run is the amazing chemistry between David Tennent and Michael Sheen. They’re very entertaining to watch. The show lights up whenever they’re on screen together and the genuine affection they have for one another, despite what they say to the contrary, is very sweet.

  Finally after years of rumors and false starts, Deadwood: The Movie premiered on HBO Friday night. The classic HBO series ran for three seasons from 2003 to 2006. When the show was canceled, the series didn’t have any opportunity to offer closure for the characters or the story. So this movie is what longtime fans who never received a resolution to major storylines and character arcs have been waiting for. The movie is a beautiful love letter to Deadwood. Getting to see where our favorite characters like Bullock, Trixie, Dan, and of course Ian McShane as the iconic Al Swearengen, along with so many others characters large and small.

   HBO also wrapped up their terrifying and sobering miniseries Chernobyl, starring Jarred Harris and Stellan Skarsgard. The miniseries offer a grim and frightening look into the true story of the Russian Chernobyl Power Plant nuclear reactor explosion in 1986. The show chronicles the event, which was one the worst man made disasters in history. It’s a gripping show that is PAUL SR.’s PERSONAL HOT PICK OF THE WEEK!

   The last show we cover on this week’s podcast is the launch of the latest live-action original series from the DC Universe Streaming Service, Swamp Thing. The story follows Dr. Abigail Arcane (Crystal Reed), a doctor working for the CDC who has to return to her home town in Louisiana following a bizarre outbreak. There she meets disgraced scientist Alec Holland (Andy Bean) who believes that outbreak is connected to some very weird shit going on in the local swamp. So far, DC Universe has only released the first episode with a new episode becoming available every Friday. I’ve enjoyed all of the original content DC Universe has put out so far, but this series premiere was by far my favorite. The performances are solid with a good cast, but what makes the show really stand out, is how it leans hard into the horror aspects of the source material to great effect. I’m a huge Swamp Thing fan and the first episode had me itching for more.

    Each show couldn’t be more different from the other, but they’re all spectacular! Join myself and co-host Paul Sr as we breakdown each of these fantastic projects!  Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, ITunes, & more: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18181256

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?i=1000440689461

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=61715238&autoplay=1

Enjoy and thanks for listening!

-Paul

NEW SERIES: Swamp Thing on DC Universe!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

This weekend, DC is premiering their latest live action television series, Swamp Thing, on their DC Universe Streaming Service. Swamp Thing is one of my all-time favorite DC comic books, so I’m very excited to see an adaptation of this classic series. Early word is that the show is very good and really leans into the horror vibe that the comic book lends itself to. You can check out the trailer below and some photos from the first few episodes. Swamp Thing starring Andy Bean, Crystal Reed, Will Patton, Virginia Madsen, and Kevin Durand premieres on 5/31/19 on DC Universe. Swamp Thing is executive produced by James Wan, director of Insidious, The Conjuring 1 & 2, Fast 7, Aquaman, and more.

Thanks for reading!

-Paul

PODCAST:Brightburn Spoiler Review!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here..

On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I review the new movie BRIGHTBURN, described by the filmmakers as a new genre: “Superhero Horror”. Brightburn was produced by director James Gunn, the man behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.1 & Vol.2 . The concept of Brightburn has a very simple, but effective premise. Basically it’s a “What If?”-kind of story, about a character named Brandon Breyer who’s very similar to Superman. His rocket crash to Earth, growing up on a farm, even the same power set as The Man Of Steel. The difference in this story is how, around puberty, Brandon becomes a homicidal sociopath as a kid growing up in a town very much like Smallville. Plus, Paul goes off on some interesting and crazy tangents that are sure to entertain! Enjoy! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher, Spotify, and iTunes: https://www.spreaker.com/episode/18097818

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-worlds-best-podcast/id1246038441?i=1000439895876

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=61281562&autoplay=1

Elizabeth Banks in BRIGHTBURN.

Thanks for listening!

-Paul

COMIC BOOK PREVIEW- Batman: Last Knight on Earth!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

I’m a massive comic books fan. Every week I read my Must Read comics on my tablet and I go to my favorite comic book store, The Hall of Comics In Southborough, MA, to get all of my graphic novels (More on The Hall of Comics below). There are a lot of great comics being published right now, but my favorite writer by far is Scott Snyder. His 50 plus issue run on Batman with Artist Greg Capullo is without question the best Batman run of this generation. Anytime Snyder and Capullo come together, they make magic. Stories like The Court Of Owls, The Death of The Family, Zero Year, and Dark Nights: Metal are all modern classics. Of course, there’s also Snyder’s incredible introduction to the world of The Dark Knight, The Black Mirror (as fantastic as that story is, it wasn’t with Artist Greg Capullo). Now, after putting their stamp on Batman’s origin in the excellent story Zero Year, they’re closing the circle by telling their version of the final Batman story: Batman: Last Knight on Earth. The miniseries is a 3-issue prestige format book, shipping bi-monthly under DC’s Black Label, with Issue #1 coming out on 5/29/19. DC’s Black Label was created for their best writers and artists to tell stories that are the best of the best. If Zero Year was their Batman: Year One, Batman: Last Knight on Earth is their The Dark Knight Returns. Below is the official synopsis from DC Comics:

Bruce Wayne wakes up in Arkham Asylum. Young. Sane.

And…he was never Batman.

So begins this sprawling tale of the Dark Knight as he embarks on a quest through a devastated DC landscape featuring a massive cast of familiar faces from the DC Universe. As he tries to piece together the mystery of his past, he must unravel the cause of this terrible future and track down the unspeakable force that destroyed the world as he knew it…

From the powerhouse creative team of writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo, the team that reinvented Batman from the emotional depths of “Court of Owls” to the bombastic power of DARK NIGHTS: METAL, DC Black Label is proud to present the bimonthly, three-issue miniseries BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH, published at DC’s standard comic trim size.

This could be the last Batman story ever told…

Snyder and Capullo NEVER fail to deliver a spectacular Batman story and this one doesn’t look like it will disappoint. With the book’s 5/29 release date right around the corner, DC put out a trailer for Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1, to get people hyped for the event miniseries. Check it out below:

We also have some great interior art from the book, released by DC Comics. These pages are from Issue #1:

Below we have the cover for issue #2 of the 3-issue miniseries, which hits stands on 7/31/19.

You have to give Snyder and Capullo credit because they’re certainly swinging for the fences on this one. I love how this series looks batshit insane. This book looks nuts in the best possible way and it is this month’s pick for Must Read Comic Book!!!!!!

Earlier in the article I mention the comic book store The Hall of Comics in Southborough, MA. I just wanted to take a minuet to sing their praises and why you should check them out if you’re in the Boston area. Whether you’re a long time comic book reader, a lapsed fan who wants to get back into comics, or someone who’s never picked up a comic before, but you love superhero films and don’t know where to start, the guys at The Hall of Comics will hook you up with anything you need. Not only do you feel welcome when you walk in the door, but they also have awesome special events like Midnight Release Parties, INCREDIBLE Cosplay appearances, and their coolest events are when they frequently have some of the best comic book writers and artists in the business come by for signings and meet and greet with the fans. As I mentioned in one of my recent podcasts, I had the chance to meet and chat with iconic comic book artist Bob Layton and it was a wonder full experience. So, if you want to check out Batman: Last Knight On Earth (you’d be crazy not to) and you’re in the area, The Hall of Comics is the place to go! You can check out their website right here: https://thehallofcomics.com

Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1 (of 3) hits stands on 5/29/2019

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul

FIRST LOOK: New Photos STAR WARS EPISODE IX THE RISE OF SKYWALKER!

Hey Everyone, 

Paul here…

Star Wars is like a religion to me. Those films are a large part of why I love movies so much. However, even with Star Wars Episode IX coming out in December, all of my attention as a fan has been focused on Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones ended up being a bit of a mixed bag in it’s final season, but man oh man, did Endgame deliver. Avengers: Endgame was one of the most thrilling movie going experiences of my life. The movie surpassed expectations to deliver a masterpiece of blockbuster filmmaking. I’ve often said The MCU is this generation’s Star Wars, which makes Endgame the modern equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back. Like, The Empire Strikes Back, Endgame has already reached the status of modern classic. Anyway, back to Star Wars! With Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame out of the way, I can focus my fandom on Star Wars Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker! The final chapter in  The Skywalker Saga, 40 years in the making.

   The new issue Vanity Fair has given us the best look at the film so far. The June cover story is all about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, with an excellent article by Lev Grossman that’s the most in depth look at the film yet and just a damn good read. You can read the full article the full article right here (I highly recommend that you do): https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/05/star-wars-cover-story?verso=true

   The coolest part of the Vanity Fair issue is the amazing photos taken on the set by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. Vanity Fair and Leibovitz have been covering the Star Wars movies for decades now. I still have the Vanity Fair issue that focused on The Force Awakens because of the incredible photographs she had taken. In my opinion, Annie Leibovitz one of the best photographers in the business and these fantastic photos for The Rise of Skywalker are a testament to how stunningly beautiful her photos can be. You can see them all below.

The Knights of Ren (FINALLY!!!)

Well, the countdown to Star Wars Episode IX has officially begun! Spider-Man: Far From Home is the last, “next BIG movie”, that I’m really looking forward to, but once I see that, I imagine my Star Wars mania will really start to heat up! As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul 

*Editors Note: All photos from Vanity Fair

What Will Be The Next Game Of Thrones?

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones has come to an end, love it or hate it. Watching the final season of the series and especially the final episode reminded me of another great genre show that captured the imagination of the cultural zeitgeist: LOST. They were both genre shows with large ensemble casts that reached audiences that normally don’t watch genre television. Both shows were pop culture phenomena. They both had people hung up on when and how the show would end and they both had divisive final seasons and series finales.

Much like how Game of Thrones viewing parties have become very common, I’d often go to LOST viewing parties back in the day. When LOST ended, I kept wondering what the next “LOST” would be. For a brief period, I thought The Walking Dead had taken up the mantle, but that definitely didn’t pan out. It turns out that next LOST, was Game of Thrones. So, now that Game of Thrones has ended if find myself asking: What will be the next Game of Thrones?

Time will tell what the next pop culture television juggernaut will be. HBO wisely wanted to remind us that, though we’re saying goodbye to Game of Thrones, they’re still in the business of putting out high profile television programming. Which is why in the minuets leading up to the series finale of GoT, HBO showed us trailers for three of their most interesting and high profile projects. This was a great advertising move on the part of HBO because the series finale for Game of Thrones was the most watched episode of a TV show in the history of the Network. They have to keep those big bucks rolling in after all. Below I get into the details of each series (as well of a few upcoming shows that aren’t on HBO), give you some insight into what the shows are about and what to expect, as well as why you should check these shows out in the first place.

First up, we have the trailer for the new series His Dark Materials starring James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ruth Wilson, and Daphne Keene (AKA X-23 AKA Laura from Logan). Watch the trailer here:

This series is based on the successful novels by Philip Pullman which involve metaphysics and alternate realities, among other strange and interesting concepts. His Dark Materials is actually a very good series of books that were adapted several years ago into the film, The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman in a failed attempt to start a new fantasy franchise. This was around the time everyone was looking for the next Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.

I really like what I see from this trailer. It appears that these fantastic books are finally getting the treatment they deserved. From what we saw in the trailer, the look of the series has a very lived in feel. Which  is always important when building a whole new world, with its own rules from scratch. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they clearly have an excellent cast. The story exists in a fascinating universe, or multiverse for that matter, and I will definitely be tuning in.

Then we had Watchmen, the new series based on the classic graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons from Damon Lindelof, the man who brought us LOST and The Leftovers. This wasn’t a new trailer, it it debuted several weeks ago, but I’ve been been looking for an opportunity to talk about it. But first, take a look at the trailer and then we can dive in get into some details about the series:

I love what I’ve seen so far from this new take on Watchmen and I’m very excited about this project. Over the last several years DC Comics has been publishing interesting expansions of the Watchmen universe. Most notably in their quasi-sequel Doomsday Clock and their various prequel miniseries’ Before Watchmen, which fleshed out certain existing Watchmen characters. I’m sure there are Watchmen purists Who think the material shouldn’t be touched and any continuations of the universe is sacrilege. But after reading stories like Before Watchmen and Doomsday Clock, I know there are still excellent stories to tell from other creators, about this universe and these characters.

There’s still a great deal we don’t know about this series, like how it connects to the original graphic novel. From what I can see, much like Doomsday Clock, I think this Watchmen series is probably a sequel of sorts. We seem to be getting characters from the original comic books and some created just for the show. From the beginning showrunner Damon Lindelof has said this is not going to be a straight adaptation of the original graphic novel. However, It’s going to take place in the Watchmen universe. The trailer shows a gang that is clearly inspired by the original Rorschach (they kind of remind me of The Jokerz Gang in Batman Beyond).

We also see Jeremy Irons playing Ozymandias a.k.a. Adrian Veidt, the man who orchestrated the conspiracy that was at the heart of the original Watchmen story. One thing I really hope is present in this new series is Dr. Manhattan. He was always the only superhuman that ever existed in the Watchmen universe and I would love to see what could be done with this character in a sequel series, even if he isn’t used as a main character like in the original story. I just hope he is a part of the series in some way. I was disappointed to see that the show is premiering the fall, I was hoping we’d get the premiere this summer. Regardless, this is definitely one of my most anticipated projects of the year, TV or otherwise.

Finally, the most pleasant surprise of the evening was a trailer for a show seemingly starring Aaron Paul that was clearly taking place in a futuristic version of our world. The technology; robotics, transportation, and more… This is a very different world than the one we currently live in. It’s hard to say exactly how far in the future this is. The society and city we’re shown is much more advanced than our own, but not so advanced that it looks like a far distant future.

Some things look pretty similar to our world, but so much looks very, very different. Aaron Paul’s voiceover laments feeling lost in a world that he doesn’t recognize anymore. It almost seems as if he may even be involved in some shady enterprises. The whole thing has a very “Blade Runner” vibe.

As I was watching the trailer, I asked myself at one point “What is this?“. Surely a series like this would already be on my radar, if enough had been filmed to have a trailer ready. Then, BOOM! The twist hits. Aaron Paul approaches a woman staggering out of a dark alley. Believing she’s in need of help, he calls out to her to ask if she’s alright. The woman looks up and it is none other than Dolores from Westworld. We’d been watching a trailer for Westworld Season 3 all along. The show logo comes on as the trailer ends to reveal Season 3 will be premiering in 2020. Take a look for yourself:

What I loved about this trailer, was how different it seems from everything that’s come before on Westworld. Westworld definitely needed to make some bold moves after the end of Season 2 to keep things fresh. Changing things so much that, while watching the first trailer for the new season, the show was unrecognizable until the very end of the teaser, is definitely an exciting direction for the show to go in. I wasn’t a massive fan of Westworld Season 2, even though I loved the first season. This was a great way to get excitement and interest up in the show’s third season until it premieres next year.

One other HBO project I wanted to mention is the upcoming TV series based on the novel Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Lovecraft Country uses Jim Crow era America as it’s backdrop and revolves around an African-American family pulled into the world of Lovecraftian magic, monsters, and other dimensions. The narrative is broken into pieces, focusing on diffferent characters in the book that are compelling stories on their own, while still serving the larger narrative of the novel as the different stories eventually converge. Combining horror and a predominantly African-American cast of characters living in Jim Crow America, allows the story to talk about serious racial issues while also being creepy and disquieting. I wasn’t even aware this was in the works until very recently, but I was over the moon when I heard it was being adapted by HBO. Lovecraft Country is one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. The combination of great characters, a unique setting, and Lovecraft horror makes for a fantastic read. To top it off, Jordan Peele and J.J Abrams are developing the show and executive producing. Two of the best genre filmmakers of this generation working on a project like Lovecraft Country is very exciting.

So there you have it, HBO has some very interesting new shows on the horizon. However, It’s important to remember that HBO isn’t the only network with high profile new television series in the works. Streaming services like the upcoming Disney + launching in November, Netflix, and Amazon Prime are all throwing their hat into the ring to create the next “must watch” series.

Disney + will be releasing film quality miniseries that take place in the MCU. So far, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, WandaVision (focusing on Scarlet Witch and The Vision, obviously), Hawkeye, and Loki have all been announced and are in varying stages of production.

Perhaps the most exciting and high profile new series to launch this year will be the new Star Wars live action TV series, The Mandalorian. Starring Game of Throne’s Pedro Pascal, the show will follow the titular Mandalorian, a lone gun slinger traveling the Outer Rim of the galaxy following the fall of The Empire.

The series takes place between Return of The Jedi and The Force Awakens, a period in Star Wars lore ripe for exploration. The show will apparently skew adult, targeting the audience that grew up with Star Wars, but may be looking for something edgier in adulthood than the largely “all ages” films. With Jon Favreau as showrunner and guys like Taika Watitti and Dave Filoni directing episodes, this looks to be an amazing series. The show premieres with the launch of Disney + on 11/12/19.

As for some of the established streaming services, like Amazon Prime and Netflix, both companies have been producing successful original programming for years now. Netflix has a few big genre hits like Stranger Things, with Season 3 of the fan favorite show premiering on July 4th.

Netflix also has the hotly anticipated adaptation of The Witcher, starring Henry Cavil. Based on the series of novels by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowsk. The books follow Geralt of Rivia (Cavil), a badass monster hunter with some supernatural juice inside him, which allows him to face all kinds of monsters that threaten humanity. The series exists in that vaguely “middle ages” type of fictional world that we see in so many fantasy stories from Lord Of The Rings to Game of Thrones. Though The Witcher was also adapted as a popular video game series, the TV show will be entirely based on the original novels. Expect The Witcher to hit Netflix in the second half of 2019. With Henry Cavil playing Geralt and the cool premise of the show, I think The Witcher along with The Mandalorian, are my picks to be the “next big thing”out of all the shows I’ve previewed here. I also think ther’s a pretty good chance that Watchmen could end up being something pretty special as well.

One thing is certain, we live in a golden age of television programming. A world where TV shows can match and even surpass, movies on the big screen in some cases. These are just a few of the major projects in development that could scratch that Game of Thrones itch. It’s doubtful that any of them will have the incredible mega-success that Game of Thrones has had. But then again, someone does have to be the next Game of Thrones, so who knows? The bottom line is that it looks like we’re in for some incredible television over the next 12 months.

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul