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

Avengers: Endgame, Disney +, and The Future of The MCU!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here,

I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t the first trailer drop for the final film in a franchise Paul is obsessed with to an unhealthy degree? Why isn’t he on that like flies on shit!?” A very fair question. I’ll just say we have quite a bit on that in the very near future, so stay tuned…

Anyway, with just a few agonizing weeks until Avengers: Endgame hits theatres, it feels like the movie cant get here fast enough. In the meantime, I have some cool stuff to share to make the wait a little easier.

This fantastic poster was done exclusively for MARVEL by BossLogic

First off, Entertainment Weekly and their website EW.com always give fantastic coverage to genre entertainment. From Game of Thrones to Star Wars they always have some great content. The MCU is no exception, for their cover story this week they put out 6 exclusive covers featuring each of the founding Avengers. Check them out:

Another magazine, Empire, probably the best movie magazine in the world had this awesome cover of Thanos in full armor for this month’s issue:

Pretty cool right? We also had some light shed on some intriguing upcoming MCU projects. Marvel and Kevin Feige made some big announcements this week that made me VERY excited. Pretty much since I began reading comics, Hawkeye was always my favorite Avenger. In the Avengers comics, he’s a much more beloved character. To many comic book readers, Clint Barton is THE quintessential Avenger. Even more so than Cap or Iron Man.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Jeremy Renner is a great Hawkeye (Though I do think Jensen Ackles who passed on the role to continue playing Dean Winchester on Supernatural would be closer to the comic book interpretation). However, I do feel like audiences haven’t fallen in love with Hawkeye as much as other characters in the MCU. I don’t think this is Renner’s fault at all, I think he’s great with what he’s given. Any failures when it comes to Hawkeye lie with the writers and how they’ve chosen to use him in the stories.

I think Hawkeye really got his time to shine in Avengers: Age of Ultron. I know that’s one of the more divisive MCU films, but I love it. Hawkeye has some fantastic moments throughout the film, I’d even go so far as to say Hawkeye is the central Avenger in the movie. He even has a cool costume upgrade with a coat that harkened back to his classic comic book look.


A number of things stand out to show the audience his importance in the film: He has few great action sequences, I think they stepped up the archery tricks and showed off Hawkeye’s agility and acrobatic skills. More importantly, I loved the surprising look into his private life on his family’s farm, it’s the type of scene I adore in MCU movies. The Avengers. In one place. Together. Their chemistry is so real. I don’t care of it’s played for laughs or heavier dramatic scenes. I love seeing The Avengers put into situations where the chemistry between the characters shines and The Farm scenes facilitate that. It’s sort of implied that he’s the rock on the team. He’s the guy who’s going to always show up and get the job done. Like Clint’s wife says “I see these guys, these… gods…” Clint replies “You don’t think they need me.” His wife says finally “I think they do, which is a lot scarier.”. The last thing I want to mention is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. At the beginning of The Ultron Offensive on Socaovia there this awesome scene/speech with Hawkeye and Wanda which you can watch here:

All of this has been a long winded way of saying that despite what some people think, Hawkeye is a great character. I always thought the ideal way to tell a fantastic Hawkeye story would be a TV series, like what they were doing on Netflix. Even though we’ve lost great characters like Daredevil to the Netflix purge, the good news is Jeremy Renner will be starring as Hawkeye in his own miniseries on Disney Plus. The more I hear about Disney Plus, the better it sounds. After all Disney does have all the good toys to play with. The Hawkeye series will be one of the first Marvel miniseries to launch with the new streaming service. The story will focus on Clint and his protege Kate Bishop. In the trailer for Endgame we see Hawkeye teaching a teenage girl archery. Is this his daughter? In the comics Kate Bishop isn’t related to Hawkeye. Will they change the character for this series and make Kate Bishop his daughter or will they introduce here as a completely new character? Time will tell.

This sounds like the series will be taking it’s cues from the fantastic Hawkeye comic book series written by Matt Fraction and artist David Aja. The entire series is avaiable in trade paperback with a hardcover omnibus containing the entire run. This is one of the best Marvel comic of the last decade, so I’ll be thrilled if the miniseries even partially adapts this comic book run. Which is pretty much what Marvel usually does anyway. Like Civil War and Planet Hulk, Marvel never directly adapts these stories, they take what they need from the story that will work within the context of the MCU. The first volume of this Hawkeye series is “My Life As A Weapon” and I strongly recommend giving it a read. You can pick up the book here on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hawkeye-Vol-Life-Weapon-Marvel/dp/0785165622/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3TSGCJUV1IWW4&keywords=hawkeye+my+life+as+a+weapon&qid=1555198699&s=gateway&sprefix=Hawkeye+my%2Caps%2C146&sr=8-1

Other miniseries announced for Disney Plus include Loki, a prequel taking place before his death at the hands of Thanos, this series will chronicle the trouble marking shenanigans and adventures of The God of Mischief over the several thousand years he’s been alive in the MCU. We also have a Vision & Scarlet Witch miniseries called WandaVision, which we know the least about right now.

Finally, we have The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the team up series about Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. This is speculation on my part, but one way or another I strongly believe Steve Rogers is not going to make it out of Endgame. I think he’ll probably die or at the very least, be taken off the board in some way. Considering that Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson have both carried the mantel of Captain America in the comic books in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if this miniseries revolves around some kind of Who Wields The Shield concept. Who will be the next Captain America? Factoring in the two of them don’t like each other all that much, just makes it that much more interesting. It isn’t the best resolution, but we do have our first look a the logo for the miniseries, which I have posted below.

This is and Hawkeye are the Disney + shows I’m most looking forward too.

Along with The other MCU series I mentioned an animated What if? series is in the works. Like What if Peggy Carter beacame Captain America? or What of Loki was able to use Mjonir?

Disney + will be launching on November 12th for $6.99 per month or $69.99 for the year. In addition to the original content, 500 movies from the Disney library will be available along with 7,000 episodes of Disney TV shows. To put a cherry on top, The Mandelorian will premier on November 12th, available to watch the whole season as soon as the service launches. Disney + will also be the exclusive home to ALL EPISODES of The Simpsons, which is a big move from its current home on one of the FX apps. Fucking crazy, right? Below is photo of the homepage interface that will be broken up into 5 major categories: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

Bottom line is that a SPECTACULAR as everything we’ve seen from The MCU so far, I think thes type of annoucements as well as Kevin Fiege confirming that though it’s great to have the X-Men back home, it would be a mistake to rush them onto the MCU. Fiege explained that a 5 years plan is in place for the films AFTER Endgame. Let the good times rolll! EXCELSIOR!

As always, thanks for reading!

-Paul