Back With A Punch – Jessica Jones Season 2 Trailer

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So it’s not really any great incite to say that while Marvel’s cinematic output has hit a lot of home runs, its TV offerings have been of far more variable quality. From the great (Daredevil Season 2) to the not-so-great (hello, Iron Fist). Jessica Jones fell firmly within the former camp and now we have the first, full trailer for season two.

Thankfully the trailer shows a great deal of promise, as we are teased the secret origin of Jessica Jones (without all the tedious world-building that usually has to be done with origin stories).

Of course, this is a just a trailer and the Netflix show is still thirteen episodes – the bane of many of the Marvel/Netflix shows to date… what’s wrong with shorter seasons anyway!? But let’s hold our collective breath and hope this a return to form.

Jessica Jones season two drops March 8th on Netflix, if we’re lucky it will be bingeworthy.

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There’s Something Happening Here – The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 Trailer

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If you haven’t yet caught Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, starring the brilliant Elisabeth Moss, you’ve missed out on one of the finest TV dramas of 2017.

Now would be a good time to catch up with this harrowing story, as Hulu have dropped the trailer for the second season and announced an airdate of April 25th.

This timely series takes place in a brutal, dystopian future of gender politics and the new season steps into new territory as it expands the storyline past Atwood’s novel. Thankfully, the author is very much involved and if season two is even half as good as the original then the TV landscape for 2018 will be shaping up very nicely.

Meanwhile, here’s the trailer to whet your appetite…

Live Action Star Wars Series To Debut on Disney Streaming Channel!

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In a double-whammy of Star Wars news, Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, announced today that Lucasfilm is developing a live-action Star Wars series for their new streaming service.

Set to launch in 2019, the still-untitled service (though you’d probably be safe betting on something along the lines of Disney TV) will also see new series based on Pixar’s Monsters Inc. and the High School Musical franchise.

Today’s news comes soon after Iger confirmed that all Disney movies, including Marvel and Star Wars films, will be removed from Netflix in 2019.  This will also dash the hopes of the ABC network, who have been in talks to collaborate on the Star Wars show for some time.

Nothing more is known about the series, but we can probably rest easy that it will be more successful than previous live action Star Wars TV efforts, including the two Ewok movies (Caravan of Courage and Battle for Endor) and the legendarily awful Star Wars Holiday Special.

Image c/o Pinsdaddy

The Truth Is Out There… Again.

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While I found the last series of The X-Files to be somewhat hit and miss, I’m still happy to see David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson break out the flashlights for one more go around the FBI headquarters block, especially if, as suggested by Anderson at the New York Comic-Con today, this might be Scully’s final run.

The season eleven trailer looks like the usual mix of aliens, monsters, conspiracies and (seemingly) the end of the world as brought about by Mulder & Scully’s son. As we head into darker autumn nights and the Halloween season this all seems particularly welcome (even if the series doesn’t hit until next year).

Here’s the first trailer to whet your appetites…

 

Who Watches The Watchmen… Again?

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The news today that HBO have ordered a pilot for a new series of Watchmen, based on the comic book and graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, comes with a whole bunch of raised eyebrows.

The first question to be asked is whether or not the world needs another adaptation (if indeed that’s what this will be, rather than a continuation or expansion) of the material so soon after Zack Snyder’s somewhat underrated 2009 film (flawed but definitely with its heart in the right place and with a rather elegant solution to the climax)?

The second question concerns the creative in charge of this new iteration. Damon Lindelof arrives with a whole lot of baggage, not all of it boding well. While his show The Leftovers has garnered many fans and a great deal of acclaim, he was also partly responsible for the complete mess that was Lost and also for large chunks of the script for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, which was chock full of irritating characters doing and saying stupid things. In other words, a complete mess. Again.

So the thought of Lindelof taking the comic book that Alan Moore describes as “inherently unfilmable” definitely comes with caveats. We can only hope to get a show from The Leftovers Lindelof, rather than the Prometheus Lindelof.

Allowing that this baby is going ahead regardless of (or in spite of) its creators’ blessings (Moore has been in dispute over creative ownership of Watchmen for decades), a TV show could certainly allow the concept some breathing room, possibly giving time to the Tales of The Black Freighter comic-within-a-comic that was exised from Snyder’s film. It could also, if we’re really lucky, look at the nature of storytelling in a fresh way from the approach taken in the comic and adapt that for the filmic medium.

I’ll certainly be watching this one as it progresses.

 

 

Discover The New Star Trek Trailer

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The general reaction to the first trailer for Pramount’s new Star Trek: Discovery series was probably not quite what the studio was hoping for, given it will be the flagship show of the new CBS All Access channel (at least in the U.S., thankfully Netflix have picked it up for pretty much every other territory).

This just released second trailer certainly looks a lot more spectacular, and the line readings are less stilted (though it all still seems rather po-faced for my liking, with little of the sense of fun that made the original series so enjoyable, back in 1966).

There’s also plenty to annoy hardcore Star Trek fans with what appears to be a great deal of retconning going on – considering this is a prequel series to Kirk and Spock’s adventures. Though not as much of a prequel as the oft-derided Enterprise show. Still with me on all this…!?

The show features a solid cast, including Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Chris Obi, Rainn Wilson, Doug Jones and Jason Issacs.

With a fairly troubled production history to date (including the loss of showrunner, Bryan Fuller), here’s hoping Star Trek: Discovery will find its space legs when it begins airing from September 24th.

Netflix’s Super Friends – Marvel’s The Defenders

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After the hugely disappointing Iron Fist, my hopes for The Defenders, Netflix’s all-star Marvel mash-up, were seriously on the wane.

Thankfully, positive word of mouth and this latest trailer have done a great deal to restore confidence.

The pilot episode was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con yesterday and reports are largely positive, including this review from Birth.Movies.Death. Alongside the good news, a second trailer has been released which not only makes the show look like a whole lot of fun (a quality seriously lacking from Iron Fist) but also promises a terrific performance from the show’s Big Bad, the legend that is Sigourney Weaver.

The thought of Evil Ellen Ripley going toe-to-toe with Jessica Jones is worth the price of admission alone. Throw in Daredevil and Luke Cage too (…okay, and Iron Fist, if we must) and I’m certain I’ll be bingeing come release day. That this show is only eight episodes is also a huge plus point, as all of the Netflix/Marvel shows have suffered from over-extending their dramatic life.

All episodes of Marvel’s The Defenders drop on Netflix, August 18th.

Welcome back, Jean-Claude Van Johnson

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There are certain sentences you never expect to find yourself typing, one of those being: the funniest show on TV right now is executive produced by Ridley Scott and features 1980s action movie star, Jean-Claude Van Damme.

But there it is. One of three new comedy episodes aired by Amazon for their pilot season, the fate of the shows will be determined by the responses they receive, and I can only hope that by spreading the word like this, I’ll be helping Jean-Claude Van Johnson go to a full series, because it’s something quite special.

The story posits that Van-Damme has been appearing in B-grade actioners for years simply as a smokescreen for his real job, a covert ops agent. The episode opens with him in the midst of ennui-riddled retirement, gliding around his magnificent home on a Segway and microwaving Pop Tarts.

A chance encounter with the love of his life at a pop-up ramen restaurant sees him hankering to get back into the field, but age has taken its toll and he’s no longer quite the splits-capable Muscles from Brussels  of younger days.

Van Damme has eased into a fine and often remarkably subtle comic talent, providing laughs big and small, frequently at his own expense, and the writers and producers have garnished their star with some finely observed and detail-driven humour (note the parade of dog photos he walks past in his living room, or the name of the community that houses his mansion – Circles On The Point – literally, going nowhere). That the episode ends with a reworking of the theme song from 1970s sit-com Welcome Back, Kotter is perhaps the final topping on this Belgian waffle.

If this goes to series (and you should all go out and watch this now, then write to Amazon, your local broadcaster, MPs, doctors, vets and anyone else who’ll listen to your pleadings), I hope it continues to mine the rich seams of self-depreciation and even poignancy that run deep throughout the pilot.

And really, who doesn’t want to see Jean-Claude get out of the house more to beat people up!? Or get beaten up himself, as is likely the case here.

Welcome back for the first time, JCVJ.

Looking For The Perfect Beat But This Ain’t It – The Get Down

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Baz Luhrmann’s swirling, sprawling new series for Netflix, The Get Down, came with such promise.

One of the channel’s most expensive series treads on fertile ground, chronicling the black and latino generation who revolutionised music by breaking from disco to invent hip-hop, and set against the tinderbox background of the Bronx in the late 1970s. This is vast, dramatically untapped territory, and it’s an important point in cultural history.

Rather than a straightforward drama, the show, created by Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis, tries to edge towards the wild, freewheeling and highly theatrical approach Luhrmann has used in films like Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge. Sometimes this works, the sense of mythologising feels note perfect against the backbeat of hip hop, and during the musical numbers it hits an undeniable, infectious energy, and of course the soundtrack is blistering.

Unfortunately, and all too frequently, the theatricality feels like a let’s-just-put-the-show-on-right-here high school play, and distances us from the hollow, one dimensional characters – youngsters fighting against familial and societal barriers to realise their dreams. It’s mythology writ small, rather than large.

The cast try hard, injecting spirit into their roles (particularly Justice Smith, Herizen F. Guardiola and Shameik Moore, who manages to make his character likeable despite being saddled with some seriously irritating whirling dervish mannerisms) but they’re swimming hard against the tide of bombast and cliche. If you think Martin Scorsese & Mick Jagger’s Vinyl lacked depth, you’ll find much of this thinner than a 1980s flexi-disc.

Ironically, and particularly in the pilot episode, it feels like a show at war with itself, neither theatrical enough or dramatic enough, leaving it stranded in the middle of the dancefloor making some particularly awkward moves.

The show does seem to stand a little steadier on its feet by the last episode, so perhaps there’s hope for the next six episodes (which will air next year) but right now it feels like too little, too late. I went into this with a palpable sense of excitement, but found myself mostly unmoved.

This is a story waiting to be told and a record waiting to be spun, but Luhrmann and Netflix have skipped the groove on this one.

Netflix’s Power Man & Iron Fist get real!

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As an avowed Marvel Comics geek from way, way back (heck, I was even a member of F.O.O.M. – the Friends of Ol’ Marvel fan club – in the 1970s, and still have my membership card), I’ve been following the rise of Marvel’s film and TV properties with great excitement and enthusiasm. The fact that their productions are of a high standard has pleased me all the more.

After the huge success of the Netflix Daredevil show (the second season was given the green light virtually hours after the first one dropped to big ratings for the channel), it was genuinely thrilling to see them pushing ahead with some of Marvel’s lesser known properties.

Jessica Jones also proved to be a hit, and now here we are with trailers for not only Luke Cage but also Iron Fist. We’ll speak more of these guys after you’ve feasted your eyes on the trailers:

 

Cage, created in 1972 by Archie Goodwin and John Romita Sr.(with help from Roy Thomas), and Iron Fist (AKA Danny Rand), created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane in 1974, were attempts by Marvel to capitalize on the Blaxploitation and Kung Fu crazes, but were later paired up as Power Man & Iron Fist – Heroes for Hire.

So it’s genuinely thrilling to see these second tier characters emerging to digital life (in the shape of Mike Colter and Finn Jones), especially as both look set to kick some major ass. I’m now hoping we’ll see Marvel dig a little deeper and give us major productions for Forbush Man and Frog Man (try Googling them) or, dare I even whisper it, Howard the Duck (after his cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy)!

Meanwhile, Luke Cage drops on September 30, 2016 and Iron Fist hits sometime in 2017.

UPDATE: As if that wasn’t enough excitement from Netflix for one day, we’ve also been treated to the first teaser (set to Nirvana’s Come As You Are, no less) for The Defenders, the show which will see all their characters team up. It’s a Marvel-icious overload: