Another year has come to an end, but before we ring in the New Year, I wanted to leave you all with one more entry in my recommendation series: Paul’s Picks! Let’s dive in…
House of X/Powers of X by Jonathan Hickman
This is by far the best superhero graphic novel of the year, if not the last several years. Jonathan Hickman has delivered one of the most wildly unique superhero comics I’ve read in a long time. Something about the X-Men allows for new creators to come into that world and wildly shake things up. They put their unique brand on the characters and the story, all the while always feeling like an X-Men tale. Chris Claremont did it with Giant Size X-Men #1, Grant Morrison did it with New X-Men, Joss Whedon did it with Astonishing X-Men, and now Jonathan Hickman has done it again with House of X/Powers of X.
The best part is you don’t have to be familiar with recent X-Men comics understand the story, you just need a basic knowledge of who the X-Men are. The hardcover volume I have is a special edition that actually came with a lithograph signed by Jonathan Hickman, which is pretty cool, but don’t expect it to be come with every edition (this was a special order).
Most other editions of this hardcore graphic novel have a different, but still beautiful wrap around cover. If you’ve ever been interested in superhero comics or if you wanted to get back into comic books, this is a must read.
As I’ve talked about on this website many times, I love the DC animated movies that come out every year. One of the better ones in recent memory has been The Death of Superman storyline which was broken into two different films. The first, The Death of Superman focuses on Clark Kent’s growing romantic relationship with Lois Lane and ultimately Superman’s fight to the death with the vicious monster, Doomsday. While Reign of The Supermen is about how the World, The Justice League, Lois Lane, and even Lex Luthor all deal with the loss of Earth’s greatest hero. Now this excellent story can be watched seamlessly as one beautiful animated film: The Death and Return of Superman. Much like their adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, which was split into two separate film releases and then eventually released as one film under The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition, The Death and Return of Superman is best enjoyed as one movie.
My last pick is Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. I’m a huge Tarantino fan, but to be honest I was disappointed with his most recent directorial effort. Don’t get me wrong, DiCaprio and Pitt are great and there’s a lot to like in this movie, but it just didn’t wow me like Tarantino’s movies usually do. I know I’m in the minority on this one, the film was a huge critical success and most of my friends loved it as well, including World’s Best Media’s own Ryan McDonald. However, just because I wasn’t blown away doesn’t mean I didn’t want to add the film to my Blu-Ray collection. My personal selection was the Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook Blu-Ray/4K edition. I love me some steelbook Blu-rays!
So that’s it for my picks in 2019! Look for me to continue this article series more frequently in the coming year. Have a safe and Happy New Year! See you in 2020!
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
For a few weeks now I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a semi-regular article about some of the coolest graphic novels, Blu-rays, books, and more to come on the market that genre fans like myself and my readers would be interested in checking out. These are all products that I’ve personally purchased and can vouch for their quality. I buy stuff like this all the time and I thought it could be a fun way for me to share with my readers some of the cool stuff available (which I throw away my hard earned money for) that they might also want to check out themselves. So if you guys dig this new article, please let me know in the comments or on social media and maybe we’ll start making Paul’s Picks a semi-regular thing. So let’s get into it!
Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Special Edition Blu-Ray
I absolutely love “Art of…” books. I love seeing how so much of the creative process takes shape over time. Especially in genre storytelling, you get to see different versions of how some of film and television’s most iconic characters or locations could have looked at various stages of planning. It’s like looking in at an alternate earth’s version of your favorite movies. The very best “Art of…” books really spark your imagination and make you wonder what might have been. You get to see some of your favorite stories rendered beautifully by some incredibly gifted artists.Regardless of how you felt about the show’s final season, from across The Narrow Sea to Beyond The Wall, this is a beautiful and comprehensive book. It features locations, characters, battle designs, and so much more. I was really looking forward to this one. I had high hopes for this book and I wasn’t disappointed. You can find it here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Game-Thrones-Insight-Editions/dp/1683835336/ref=sr_1_1?crid=142XJ4INWO4NS&keywords=the+art+of+game+of+thrones&qid=1573701366&sprefix=The+Art+of+ga%2Caps%2C136&sr=8-1
Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Omnibus Vol.1
When they began their partnership with Batman #1 during DC’s New 52 initiative, not many would’ve predicted that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo would go on to become one of the all time great writer/artist teams in the history of comics. Least of all Snyder and Capullo themselves. In fact the duo disliked one another so much at the beginning of their partnership that Snyder demanded to DC that one of them be taken off the book. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and after working together for a few issues, they fell into a groove. Now the duo with the rough start consider one another best friends, even brothers. It shows in their work because their run on Batman is one of the best in the character’s long history. This collection includes issues #0-33, starting stories like the now famous Court of Owls and ending with the epic Zero Year. This is also where the writer/artist team also began their unsettling work on The Joker, with the chilling horror tale Death of The Family, included in this volume. Snyder and Capullo add new and exciting elements to The Caped Crusader’s mythology, while reinvigorating iconic characters and offerings a fresh and insightful look into the mind of Bruce Wayne. The volume isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s worth every penny. This volume is an example of what the very best Batman stories are all about. Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo Omnibus is The Dark Knight and his world at it’s very best. This comic book collection get my highest recommendation. You can find it on Amazon right here (*Make sure you check the alternate sellers under more buying options for cheaper prices on this product): https://www.amazon.com/Batman-Scott-Snyder-Capullo-Omnibus/dp/1401298842/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2EO5JZS7JTJR2&keywords=batman+by+snyder+%26+capullo+omnibus&qid=1573698863&sprefix=Batman+by+sny%2Cmovies-tv%2C452&sr=8-1
*When you comes to shopping on Amazon, I always recommend checking out the new and used alternate sellers, listed under Amazon’s price on every product page. Often you can find new, or next to brand new, versions of the item you’re looking for, well below the listed Amazon price.
The CW’s Ultimate DC Superhero Crossover: Crisis On Infinite Earths is coming! This is like DC‘s version of endgame in many ways. The Arrowverse , like the MCU after Endgame, will be fundamentally altered. Heroes will live. Heroes will die. They’ve been building to this since the very first episode of The Flash. I’ve loved every annual crossover The Arrowverse has done, but this is one of the most iconic stories in the history of comics, I just really hope they knock it out of the park with this one. Despite the looming threat he’s been posing for more then a year and a half, we have yet to see the biggest bad, The Anti-Monitor himself, in the flesh. Well, we don’t have to wait any longer due to this exclusive, very cool unveiling of the character from EW.com. Take a look!
You may notice how similar he looks to The Monitor, that’s because not only are they played by the same actor (Lamonica Garret), but they’re also brothers. The Monitor, The Anti-Monitor, and a being called The Forger (though don’t expect to be seeing him popping up), were three of the first living beings in creation. Each brother was tasked with a sacred duty by their Mother, the creator of the entire Multiverse. However, these roles and duties sometimes brought the brothers in conflict with one another, like in Crisis. The Anti-Monitor needs to destroy The Multiverse and The Monitor will stop at nothing to ensure that he does not succeed.
Though not quite as exciting as the reveal of The Anti-Monitor, official photos have been unveiled to show a few characters we know, but in a way we’ve never seen them before. First, there’s Digg’s wife Lyla Michaels (The Head of A.R.G.US.) as the character, Harbinger. I knew actress Audrey Marie Anderson, who plays Lyla, would be playing a character called Harbinger in Crisis. Without saying too much, Harbinger had a role to play in the original Crisis On Infinite Earths. When I heard Anderson would be playing Harbinger. I assumed that this was one of Lyla’s doppelgängers from another Earth, but considering that her call sign on missions has always been Harbinger and the recent reveal that she is actually working with The Monitor, makes me think that this is probably the Lyla and we know from Earth-1. Then we have an image of what seems to be a new “Wells”, as the character Pariah. I don’t wanna say too much about Pariah and the role he plays in Crisis from the source material, for fear of accidentally spoiling certain key plot points. However, like Lyla, when Tom Cavanaugh was revealed to be playing Pariah, I initially thought Pariah would be just another version of Wells from The Multiverse, but with the recent introduction of Nash Wells (and he is very personal, intense desire to find and learn more about The Monitor, to some thus far unknown end). I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to say that Nash Wells is Pariah.
It’s also been revealed that the iconic DC character The Spectre will appear in the crossover. The Spectre is one of the most powerful and terrifying beings in the DC Universe. Regarded as literally the right hand of God, he is the spirit of vengeance personified. While neither good nor evil, his immense power and tendency to deal out brutal punishment to those he sees as evil, make him one of the most feared beings in The Multiverse. The Spectre needs to bond with the spirit of a recently dead human, most famously crooked cop Jim Corrigan. Which is the iteration of the character we will be seeing in Crisis, played by Stephen Lobo.
The Spectre is a being that exist on a completely different power level than even the strongest DC characters and he doesn’t bother to get involved in “minor” mortal events. So, his presence in Crisis means that the shit has REALLY hit the fan. Regardless of how it all turns out, this is going to be a blast to watch! So don’t miss the full schedule for each show that’s part of the crossover, which I’ve posted below.
It all begins with the first 3 Parts of the 5-Part crossover, with Supergirl on Sunday, Dec. 8, followed by Batwoman on Monday, Dec. 9, and The Flash on Tuesday, Dec. 10. When the show’s return from the annual winter break, the final 2 chapters of the crossover will continue on Tuesday, Jan. 14, with Arrow at 8 p.m., and conclude with Legends of Tomorrow at 9 p.m.
Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
The various streaming services have been absolutely fucking crushing it this year with their original programming. With only a few exceptions, all of my favorite shows of the year have all come from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and even DC Universe. I’m talking about shows like; The Umbrella Academy, Good Omens, Young Justice, Stranger Things 3, The Boys, Titans, Jessica Jones, Doom Patrol. Each and every one of those shows are spectacular (with the possible exception of the flawed, but still great, Titans)! In my opinion, this is the year streaming’s content stepped things up big time and the year isn’t even over yet! We still have The Mandalorian to look forward to, as well as the subject of today’s article: Netflix’s The Witcher!
The Witcher, hitting Netflix on 12/20, is one of the most highly anticipated genre projects of the year. It took a while, but Netflix finally announced the 12/20 release date for The Witcher last week. A brand new trailer accompanying the release date announcement, which you can watch below. In my opinion, it looks spectacular. Though some people are fans of this story and these characters through The Witcher video game series, those games were based on a series of classic fantasy novels. It’s the fantasy novel that the series is adapting.
You can tell from the trailer how much care and attention went into creating this brand new fantasy world. If I didn’t know this was a streaming series, I’d probably think it was a movie. If The Witcher is a success, it will be yet another example of how some of the most exciting storytelling in genre entertainment is being done on TV, rather than in film.
Even though I’ve never read the books that the show is based on, I’ve been looking forward to this series pretty much since it was announced a few years ago. It has so much that is right up my alley. Whether it’s Abraham Van Helsing from Bram Stoker‘s classic novel Dracula or Sam and Dean Winchester in the TV series Supernatural, I love stories about people who hunt monsters. As much as I enjoy the monster hunters, I love a really cool monster/creature even more and it looks like this new series has that in spades! I’ve always been drawn to stories involving magic, monsters, and bad ass sword fighters. Despite the fact that some people have criticized his casting in this role, I love Henry Cavill and I think he looks fantastic as the show’s anti-hero Geralt of Rivia. If The Witcher is able to stick the landing and give us a truly great show, this will have been, without a doubt the best year so far for excellent content from streaming services. Something tells me The Witcher is really going to deliver. Please comment below and let me know what streaming services you’ve been really digging these days! Check out the trailer right here:
Due to overwhelming demand, Ryan McDonald and I have finally returned to complete our journey through Middle Earth. After our smash hit episode all bout The Lord of The Rings Movies, our listeners wanted, nay DEMANDED, a follow up episode exploring the other, less beloved big screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work. That’s right, this episode is all about The Hobbit Trilogy!
Unlike the nearly universally praised Lord of The Rings films, many fans criticized The Hobbit, feeling that 3 films to cover one of Tolkien’s shortest works was one film too many and an unnecessary cash grab by the studio. The individual films in The Hobbit Trilogy were viewed by some as being overly long and even boring.
Some of the criticisms surrounding the films were fair, other weren’t. As a Tolkien junkie, I loved spending as much time as possible in Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth. The characters, the heart, the spectacular action set pieces, the groundbreaking special effects, I loved it all! I couldn’t get enough. I remember when the films were being made, I followed the production closely and when the movies were released it was an event for my friends and I. I was the guy who thought things like “They’re going to make 3 movies back to back instead of 2? Fuckin’ A! I love it! Bring it on!”, “They’re releasing extended editions on blu ray, just like LoTR? SICK! Add to shopping cart!”. My point is that I definitely have a positive personal bias with these films. While I’m the first to admit that I’m not 100% objective, I sincerely believe these are excellent films.
There are phenomenal performances from Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, and Richard Armitage, just to name a few. There are some beautiful, profound moments in these films. Not to mention the action and battles scenes which kick all kinds of ass! Oh, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon, Smaug. He’s terrifying and fascinating all at the same time. The motion capture performance and voice performance by Cumberbatch, along with some VFX wizardry from the guys at Weta, combine to create one of the best motion capture CG characters of the past decade. I almost forgot to mention Howard Shore’s predictably excellent score.
But enough beating around the bush! Listen to the show below, where Ryan and I offer up our arguments for why these films are underrated, we give some background about the films problematic pre-production, and discuss our favorite characters and moments from the Trilogy. Of course, like every great episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we inevitably take some fun detours along the way
At the beginning of the episode, we announced that we’d calling attention to a great charity dedicated to fighting colon cancer. The organization is Colon Cancer Coalition of Boston, you can check out their website right here:
Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, which go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
We have a real treat on this week’s episode of The World’s Best Podcast, Paul Sr. returns to the show to help me review the long awaited IT: Chapter 2! This was by far one of my most anticipated movies of the year, so I was really psyched to see this one. We wanted to wait a little while to drop this episode, mostly to give people plenty of time to see the movie because we go FULL SPOILERS for this review. Paul Sr. and I had a lot of fun talking about the twists and turns, the big scares, and our favorite characters in this follow up to 2017’s hit movie IT. We even chat about some of the upcoming movies we saw trailers for during the screening. Bottom line: we had a blast seeing the movie and we had a blast recording this episode! So whether you’ve seen the movie or not, come join us for some fun and ridiculous hijinx, as well as our usual bickering! Enjoy listening to this extra spooky episode! Thanks!
Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter@PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty and support shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
I received a very pleasant surprise today when I found out that the short film “Battle At Big Rock“ was dropping online. As you may know if you follow the site or listen to my podcast, it seems like surprises are a rare commodity when it comes to movies these days. We seem to know everything about most movies long before they even hit theatres. Today we got a nice surprise in the short film “Battle At Big Rock” from director Colin Trevorrow. A Jurassic World short film coming out was not on my radar at all. Trevorrow was the director of Jurassic World and writer/producer on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. He’ll also be directing the upcoming Jurassic World 3 set for release in 2021. The second Jurassic World film, Fallen Kingdom ended with, what myself and probably a lot of other audience members have been wanting to see for a long time, the dinosaurs finally unleashed on the world. Mankind and dinosaurs must now coexist. At the end of Fallen Kingdom, Jeff Goldblum‘s Ian Malcolm paraphrases the immortal words of Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond with the line “Welcome to Jurassic World.”
With the central concept of Jurassic World 3 being what a world where dinosaurs and man are forced to coexist will look like, according to Trevorrow “Battle at Big Rock” is all about setting up this central theme. The story is about a family taking a camping trip that… takes a very dramatic turn. I’ll let you see it for yourself and then give you my thoughts. Check it out:
Personally, I dug the hell out of this. It did a great job of capturing what’s so fun and cool about the Jurassic Park movies within the confines of a short run time. Basically, I think it’s a blast. If the next Jurassic World film can capture the spirit of this short, it has the potential to be pretty awesome. I even enjoyed the family despite the fact that we spend relatively little time with them. I doubt they’ll take this route, but I definitely found them to be likable enough to have them make an appearance in one of the upcoming full length features. Also, I thought it was cool that the father in “Battle at Big Rock” is played by Andre Holland from Castle Rock.
I love this short film so much for a reason I alluded to before, I feel like the movie that everyone really wanted to see after the first Jurassic Park, was a film where the dinosaurs got off the island. We wanted to see dinosaurs rampaging across the U.S.! Packs of Velociraptors hunting in our cities! T-Rex’s roaming the great American plains! Pterodactyl’s swooping down from the sky to pick off people like birds hunting fish! Herds of Triceratops and Brachiosaurus causing traffic jams! Show me that fucking movie! Fortunately, I get the feeling that’s where Jurassic Park 3 is more or less going. An article I read in The Hollywood Reporter even suggested the events of Jurassic World 3 could be follows with something like Jurassic War! Now that’s an idea I can get behind! The dinosaur population gets out of control, the humans are given some technological handicap so we can’t just wipe the dinosaurs out right away, which leads to an all out war for the planet, MAN VS. DINOSAUR! ONLY ONE SPECIES WILL SURVIVE! FUCK YEAH! Well, a guy can hope, right?
Anyway, thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter@PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting World’s Best Media. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by our fans, so thanks again!
It’s been years in the making, but at long last we finally recorded THE LORD OF THE RINGS EPISODE! Co-host Ryan McDonald returns to the show as he and I take an epic journey through Middle Earth! From The Shire to the fiery chasms of Mt. Doom in Mordor, no vile Orc or Goblin shall stop Ryan and I from giving you the best damned podcast in Middle Earth! Who’s your favorite character? The best battle? The best installment of the saga? We go over it all and more on this legendary episode!
Thanks for listening! Follow me on Twitter @PJWrightWBM or type Worlds Best Media into the search bar, you can also like and follow us on our Facebook page; World’s Best Media. Those likes and follows, as well as iTunes reviews, go a long way to supporting the show. We really appreciate the loyalty shown to us by World’s Best Media fans, so thanks again!
So, to all our listeners, which battle is better? Helms Deep? Or Pelennor Fields?Do you prefer Gandalf The Grey or Gandalf The White? What are your favorite moments in the trilogy? Let us know in the comments section below or on social media at Twitter and Facebook!
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
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.