Luke Cage Season 2 – Teaser Trailer

While I don’t think that it’s disputable that Marvel on Netflix has upped the ante on superheroes on television immensely that’s not for a moment to imply that there aren’t problems.

The biggest of which (in my eyes) is that no matter the series–Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones or Luke Cage–they never seem to quite know how to end a season, which typically means you end up with more than a few episodes that feel either extraneous or even worse, like filler.

The Defenders in this regard was a bit leaner (if I recall, at only 10 episodes as opposed to the usual 13) and the series was the better for it.

Let’s hope the upcoming second season of Luke Cage learns the lesson.


Lost In Space – Date Announcement Trailer

Lost In Space–a television series originally created by Irwin Allen–apparently has more lives than a cat.

The original series came in 1965 and ran till 1968.

It was a series I grew up watching , which I recall it being wildly uneven.  Clearly low budget–though not as low as British series like Doctor Who, another long-running series–I was glued to the television when the adventures of the Robinson family aired.

The problem at least for me was while time advanced, visually the show never really did.

Though in 2003 a new series based on the original series, The Robinsons: Lost In Space made it to pilot stage (directed by John Woo) but never developed into an ongoing series.

It wasn’t terrible, but seeing that’s Woo’s strengths lie in Asian action movies, the pilot followed a similar route, which was a significant change from the original series.

It was eventually relaunched as a movie in 1998.

The Lost In Space movie (directed in workman-like fashion by Stephen Hopkins) was actually pretty accurate to the original series, which is probably why it wasn’t particularly well-received and somewhat boring (with the original series you didn’t have much in the way of options on a Saturday afternoon if you were looking for your science fiction fix.  A feature film?  The options were somewhat greater).

Though you’d be excused if you thought that that was the end for the crew of the Jupiter 2 because Netflix recently dropped a trailer for another reboot.

And it’s an odd bird in that you don’t see much (the Robinsons are boarding what I assume is the Jupider 2 (against a very obvious green screen) while a voice over tells of humanity eventually leaving an earth that apparently can no longer keep us safe.

The implication is geological collapse, though there’s a scene of black and white footage where an African-American receives a injection that was a bit off-putting (Tuskegee Experiments and all that), though that might have just been me.

Not-So-Bright Mistake?

I just finished watching Bright on Netflix, and it was okay (review forthcoming) though a few minutes prior I noticed an email from studioADI (the guys who supposedly–a word I use because I wasn’t there, and have no idea of what went on one way or the other–did a lot of the practical effects on the movie) saying that their entire crew was left out of the credits!

And that’s really, really odd and something I’ve never heard of happening before.

Where Marvel’s Iron Fist Went Wrong, And How To Set It Right

With a new season of Marvel’s Iron Fist currently shooting, I’ve started to speculate where it was that the first season went wrong.

1.  Iron Fist Was Guest-Starring In His Own Story

The Rand Corporation (as well as his siblings) are important to Danny Rand/Iron Fist’s narrative, but the series often felt like Rand was a guest-star in his own story.

In a 2-hour movie you can (arguably) get away with an under-developed hero or villain (and in fact there’s often only time to develop one or the other.  To do otherwise runs the risk of diminishing both, to the detriment of the story).

But in a thirteen hour series?  There’s no excuse for both parts of the equation to be balanced

2. Danny Rand Was A Bit Of A Whiner

While Finn Jones was cast as Danny Rand/Iron Fist I was okay with the choice, though he would likely not have been mine (that would have been Cam Gigadet, who would have not only brought a welcome bit of world-weariness to the role but actually knows martial arts–Krav Maga–which could have lent a greater authenticity to the role) though the character felt a bit like a truculent child at times, which made him a bit off-putting

3. Showrunner A-Go-Go!

For better or worse, the showrunner sets the tone and direction that a series takes.

They may not write it (though if that’s their area of strength, they could), but they’ll likely chose the writers who will.

They may not direct, but will end up being the decider in terms of whom actually  ends up doing so.

in other words, it’s a very influential position and likely why Scott Buck will not be returning to a second season of Marvel’s Iron Fist (he’s replaced in Season Two by Raven Metzger, who worked on Falling Skies, Heroes Reborn, Sleepy Hollow and movies like Elektra).

And a new showrunner is a great start, though–and this is stating the obvious–there had to be more martial arts.

One of my favorite martial arts movies is The Five Deadly Venoms and frankly, it’s ridiculous, particularly from a martial arts standpoint though ironically enough, that’s why it works so well.  It revels in the  rediculousness, while playing it relatively straight. 

Now, I’m not saying that Iron Fist needs to go quite that far, but it is called ‘Iron Fist,’ not ‘Familial Squabbles with a Little Martial Arts Thrown In.’

And I’m not saying that Iron Fist needs to be as fanciful as that movie, but there should be a joyfulness, a level of dexterity for the most part missing from the first season.

Some of the changes I’ve mentioned–such as a new showrunner–have already been initiated, though arguably the most important–is the fighting because keep in mind that Danny Rand’s martial art abilities are to him what The Punisher’s penchant for violence are to him: an indispensable part of the character’s makeup.  

Gerald’s Game – Review

Screenshot 2017-11-27 00.46.08Gerald’s Game, currently on Netflix is a remarkable bit of television because it understands that horror is more than things that go ‘bump’ in the night, but is also a way of working through the most evil of demons, namely those that haunt us in our everyday, waking lives.

And imagine to my surprise to learn that it’s directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil) who understands that the best horror is like a satisfying meal in that it sticks to your ribs.

So when you combine Mike Flanagan’s minimalistic direction (with not a jump scare in literally the entire movie) with a story written by Stephen King, the likelihood is that both auteurs will brew a potent, horrible (in the best possible way) stew.

Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood star as Jessie and Gerald Burlingame, who we meet when they’re preparing for a holiday (though when Gerald packs two pairs of handcuffs we know that whatever is going to go on will be at the very least, very, very interesting).  As the story progresses we learn that much of what we learned about the couple earlier is a facade, revealed by nothing less than a Shakesperean narrative device.

While having more in common with a psychological thriller than outright horror, Gerald’s Game isn’t afraid to scale that fence when it comes to it.

So if you haven’t see Gerald’s Game, consider giving it a spin but keep in mind that some games–once you start playing–are Hell to stop.

Welcome To Millarworld?

Screenshot 2017-11-08 02.38.43I thought the benefit of Netflix buying Millarworld (the publisher of comics like Kick-Ass and The Golden Circle) was to provide competition to Marvel and DC (especially when you consider that Disney is starting their own streaming service sometime in 2019 and taking their content–Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm and Pixar–with them.

According to Vulture, Netflix is planning to launch a new comic via Millarworld, The Magic Order, about a bunch of magician families that come together to protect the world against a threat potentially more powerful than themselves.

Which is interesting because I’m no longer certain what direction Netflix is taking with Millarworld, and perhaps more importantly, why (other than to keep the comic publisher out of someone else’s hands)?