I can’t wait for The Mandalorian! It had so much positive buzz, the first trailer was fantastic, and the people working on this project are some of my favorite creators in Hollywood. As if my anticipated wasn’t already high enough, today Disney and Lucasfilm released a beautiful set of character posters and second trailer to get us hyped up for the shows November 12 release! It’s short, but God damn if it ain’t sweet! As cool as the visuals and production value are, I really love the strange, but fucking wonderful cast assembled to star in this series. You got Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell from Game of Thrones) as the titular Mandalorian and there are solid mainstays of film and television like Giancarlo Esposito and Carl Weathers. Finally you have these fantastic, weird, out of left field, pieces of casting that sound nuts, but are fucking awesome. Guys like Taika Watitti as the vicious droid bounty hunter, IG-88 and the always delightful Werner Herzog popping up as some kind of imperial officer or local official (I love to see pop up in these random roles). But I think my personal favorite piece of casting is seeing Bill Burr of all people, blasters in both hands and a mechanical shoulder rig, popping out a third gun out from behind his back! This truly is the best of all possible universes! Watch the trailer right here and check out the cool characters posters below:
On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, we review one of my most anticipated movies of the summer and the latest film to feature everyone’s favorite wallcrawler: Spider-Man: Far From Home. As the final film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 of films, we go over the action sequences, the villains, the friends and foes in Peter Parker’s life, and all the twists and turns along the way.
This movie has some HUGE revelations and twists, so I recommend avoiding SPOILERS at all cost before seeing this film. But after you see the movie, come on back and listen to our awesome breakdown of this kick ass superhero flick! Listen here or subscribe on Spreaker, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and ITunes:
… is the ONLY official poster for the film I put up with this article. What a shitty, shitty poster. All the other art here is the work of some incredibly talented artists I found online. STEP UP YOU GAME, SONY!
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.
With Avengers: Endgame, a historic era in cinema has come to a close. Marvel’s Infinity Saga ended on an unprecedented high note. Avengers: Endgame opened to critical acclaim while shattering box office records. By the end of it’s theatrical run, it’s very likely Avengers: Endgame will be the biggest movie in film history. Perhaps most importantly, the film delivered an emotional and thrilling experience for MCU fans all over the world, who have come to love these characters. This movie delivered and then some. It lived up to the hype. It knocked it out of the park. Pick your euphemism.
While The Infinity Saga may be finished and though we’ve said goodbye to some of our most beloved characters, The MCU will live on. The first Post-Endgame film, Spider-Man: Far From Home, opens in just a few months. With this new trailer, not only does the film look like a fantastic follow up to Homecoming, it also showcases how the cataclysmic events of Infinity War and Endgame have effected the world.
On this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, I’ll be breaking down the new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home. I’ll be talking about Easter Eggs, how the film looks to be taking inspiration from certain comic books, and speculate about where the story may go, as well as how this film may be interpreting some new characters in the franchise. I’ve posted the trailer below, if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet or you just want to watch it again:
I had a pretty cool experience recently that I talk about in this episode as well. Though I didn’t get a chance to interview him, I did have the privilege to meet one of Marvel Comics’ classic artists: Bob Layton. Bob is probably most well known for the seminal Iron Man story “Demon In A Bottle”. This was a story that was often brought up as a reason for Robert Downey Jr. being a great choice to play Iron Man. The story follows Tony Stark’s descent into alcoholism, which parallels Downey Jr.’s own struggles with substance abuse a few decades ago (I’ve always been of the opinion that’s a very reductive view of addiction and is a little insulting to excellent work Robert Downey Jr. has done with the character, but that’s neither here nor there). Bob was a really nice, down to earth guy. When I met him he had been doing signings for fans for at least 4 or 5 hours, most people would be worn out after all that, but from what I could see, he genuinely enjoys meeting his fans. So, it was nice to have a relatively private conversation with him even for just a few minuets. I talk about my conversation with him in more detail at the end of the episode. He signed this fantastic print of one his Iron Man covers for me, which is probably one of Marvel’s more iconic comic book covers. It’s from the aforementioned “Demon In A Bottle” storyline and I have picture of the signed piece below.
The fans have been clamoring for Part 2 of, the “World’s Best Podcast” presents, Iron Man & The Dark Knight: 10 years Later! Ryan and I have returnedfrom Gotham City and The Marvel Cinematic Universe to finish our discussion of these film icons. As well, the impact Iron Man and The Dark Knight have left behind. Enjoy and thanks for listening! Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
This year is the 10th Anniversary of Iron Man and The Dark Knight being released in theatres. Two very different superhero films that not only changed the genre forever, but filmmaking in general. So, on this episode of The World’s Best Podcast, co-host Ryan McDonald and I take a trip from Gotham City to Stark Industries and dive into these epic movies. This the first of a 2-Part episode! Is Robert Downey Jr. perfect superhero casting? What theories are there about the secret origin of The Joker in The Dark Knight? What legacy have these films left behind? Listen here or subscribe on Stitcher and iTunes:
In this episode I make multiple references to an article I wrote about the villains of the MCU, I thought I’d put a link to the article here in case anyone wants to read it after listening to the episode: