Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Nevers - Joss Whedon's Upcoming HBO Series Cast Revealed

I haven't really talked about this show and with it unlikely to air on HBO until 2020, the full cast for Joss Whedon's Victorian sci-fi drama, The Nevers.

Billed as an epic science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world, former Outlander actress Laura Donnelly will take on the lead role of Amalia True, a reckless hero who would die for the cause and kill for a drink among other things. Of course and full credit to Whedon here, he's got a hell of an impressive cast for this series as yesterday unveiled the other roles on this show.

Olivia Williams (who previously appeared in Whedon's Dollhouse) will play Lavinia Bidlow while Tom Riley (DaVinci's Demons) will play her nerdish brother, Augustus who has a thing for the main heroin of the piece. Grantchester's James Norton will play pansexual character, Hugo Swan while Red Rock's Ann Skelley will play Penance Adair, a dear friend of Amalia's and an inventor in her own right too. Then there's Ben Chaplin as gruff Detective Frank Mundi while Pip Torrens will play Lord Massen, a character who may fall on either side between the Touched (the base of these gifted women) or the Empire itself.

Rounding off the cast for this series include Zackary Momoh as Dr Horatio Cousens, Amy Manson (Being Human) as Maladie, a woman committed to an asylum by her husband as she comes to grips with her abilities, Nick Frost as the Begger King, Rochelle Neil as Annie Carbey aka Bonfire, Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark) as Mary Brighton, a woman dealing with career and romantic disappointments as she discovers her newfound abilities while American Horror Story's Denis O'Hare will play Dr. Edmund Hague - a brutal American surgeon.

I got to admit that this sounds a little similar-ish to Dollhouse and thematically, this feels a little too typical of Whedon but with an impressive cast, the prestige of HBO, it could end up being a pleasant surprise. Whedon will also be bringing in former Buffy The Vampire Slayer writers/producers such as Jane Espenson and Douglas Petrie as part of the staff for the series.

Character Details:

The Nevers is currently filming and will air on HBO and SkyAtlantic in early 2020.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

My Review of Batman: Hush (2019)

Written by Ernie Altbacker
Directed by Justin Copeland

Catwoman: "You're absolutely insane. He killed your friend. Tried to kill Nightwing. Hell, he almost killed me and you're sorry he's dead?"
Batman: "I had to try. If someone can be saved, I have to try."
Catwoman: "You do, don't you? It's a compulsion. You and your goddamn code. And you'll die because of it, you know this, right? Will that make it all better?"
Batman: "Without a code, I'm no better than them."

If you could compile a list of maybe ten Batman comics that are of significant importance, there's a good chance that Jeph Loeb's 2002 entry, Hush would make that list (as would another one he wrote a few years prior to it), and once again, the DCAU are in adaptation mode with this take on the classic comic getting it's debut last weekend during the events of SDCC. I got to admit the results are definitely a mixed bag here.

Being done as one movie instead of being split into two like The Dark Knight Returns was a few years ago, Batman: Hush is not a completely faithfully adaptation of the source material and there some creative changes that ultimately do not work. I'm going to go into the biggest problem first, because later on, I'll point out stuff I actually did like with this one.

The biggest issue with this movie is of course it's title character, Hush. In the comics, he's an old friend of Bruce Wayne - a surgeon named, Thomas Elliot (Maury Sterling) who also secretly resents and orchestrates a series of events that test Batman (Jason O'Mara) general resolve before the big reveal on a rainy night at the bridge. Dramatically, it's a great moment in the comic. Unfortunately what we're given instead is the result of a twist for the sake of one that doesn't pay off.

Instead of being a criminal mastermind, Thomas Elliot is literally just Bruce's old friend who gets shot by Hush and is actually dead. The very antagonist of this movie is actually replaced by the Riddler (Geoffrey Arend) - a character who had an interesting secondary antagonist role in the comic itself but doesn't work at actually being Hush here.

I have no idea what possessed writer Ernie Altbacker to take away the biggest selling point of Thomas Elliot and while I'm usually for subverting some source material, this is by far one of the most idiotic decisions made for these animated movie. Actually if you're a big Riddler fan, you're going to end up leaving this movie feeling rather pissed off at the character's overall treatment. What a truly terrible way of twisting the actual comic book for a twist that doesn't work at all on any level.

The rest of the comic also does a bit of replacing as well as we lose Huntress in favour of Batgirl (Peyton R. List), who adds nothing to proceedings along with an annoyingly dumbed down/drugged out Bane (Adam Gifford) in lieu of Killer Croc while a brief cameo of Damien Wayne (Stuart Allan) reinforced why I'm particularly not keen to see that character get any more other media outings if I'm being candid.

There are some bright spots - in particular Nightwing (Sean Maher). He doesn't have a huge amount to do but every scene he appears in is rather delightful as he encourages Batman's relationship with Catwoman (Jennifer Morrison) and there's a good team up with Nightwing and Catwoman during a graveyard scene where they take on the Scarecrow but again, there are certain moments from the comic that don't make the cut of this movie.

As for Batman and Catwoman - their dynamic, including the harsh break up is still the strongest component and the most successful thing translated in the movie as they have their battles with the likes of Bane, Poison Ivy (Peyton List), Harley Quinn (Hynden Walsh), Joker (Jason Spisak) and even Superman (Jerry O'Connell) as the latter was under Ivy's influence for a bit but at least saving Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn) somewhat snapped him out of it.

Of course it would be their different outcomes in dealing with the Riddler/Hush that caused them to split but at least the movie made the most of their relationship and I'll admit that Morrison was great as Catwoman. I'm still not really too keen on O'Mara's Batman but he did okay enough, working well enough with Morrison.

- We got some cameos from Lady Shiva, Lex Luthor, Mr Freeze, Penguin and Two Face. Even that brilliant plot with Harvey Dent didn't make it on here.
- DC are slowly embracing Poison Ivy's bisexuality it seems as we got that brief kiss between her and Catwoman.
- Harley got three hyenas, Catwoman's cat was called Eartha (loved that) and we got to see Titus as well.
- Chronology: Somewhat set after the events of Reign Of The Supermen. 

Batman: Hush should've been amazing given the source material and while I can understand cutting certain characters and subplots to keep things a bit shorter, I really hated what they actually did with the title character. One of the most moronic decisions the DCAU made here but for Bat/Cat fans, at least this didn't disappoint on that front (and with Nightwing). Saying that though, I really hope they don't botch up The Long Halloween, which is also being rumoured to be getting the DCAU treatment.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Monday, July 22, 2019

SCDD 2019 - DC TV Spoilers

Unlike the MCU, the DCEU sadly sat out SDCC this year (but I have no doubt they'll come back swinging next year though). However in terms of the television medium, most of the big players came out and we got some great spoilers.

Delving into the Arrowverse first though ....

Trailers for Arrow (October 15th), The Flash (October 8th), Supergirl (October 6th) and Black Lightning (October 21st) were all unveiled over the weekend and there are some interesting spoilers to behold. Batwoman (October 6th) and Legends Of Tomorrow (January 31st 2020) didn't get trailers but still had a presence at San Diego during the weekend. Things we can expect from the shows are ....

- Charlie Barnett will be a regular as the older version of JJ for the final season of Arrow as well as Ben Lewis (William), Katherine McNamara (Mia) and Joseph David-Jones (Connor).
- Both Oliver and Laurel will have new suits.
- Katie Cassidy-Rogers, David Ramsay, Caity Lotz, Danielle Panabaker, Melissa Benoist, Chyler Leigh and David Harewood will be directing episodes of their respective shows.
- Brandon Routh will be playing the Kingdom Come version of Superman for the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event while Tyler Hoechlin will be back as Superman, Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor.
- There's also rumours that both Tom Welling and Lynda Carter will play roles in the upcoming crossover as well.
- The Flash's main antagonist for the first half of it's sixth season will be Bloodwork, played by Sendhil Ramamurthy. The character will have a connection to both Barry and Caitlin.
- Keiynan Lonsdale will be returning as Wally West, Sue Dibney will debut this season, Killer Frost will have more to do, Tom Cavanagh will play another Wells as well as Pariah, Iris will delve more into her journalism and Cisco will be staying put.
- The Monitor will be popping up on various shows leading to the crossover event.

- Also appearing in the upcoming Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover event will be Batman 66 actor, Burt Ward in an undisclosed role.
- Supergirl will be saying goodbye to Mehcad Brook's Jimmy Olsen but it seems that Jeremy Jordon will be reappearing as Winn for a few episodes while Andrea Brooks will be a regular as Eve.
- Other additions to the fifth season will be Meaghan Rath as a female Brainiac 5, Staz Nair as journalist William Dey and Julie Gonzolo as Andrea Rojas/Acrata.
- Expect more relationship plots with Brainiac 5/Nia and Alex/Kelly as well as a battle for Lena's soul.
- Legends Of Tomorrow will see Sara getting a superpower, origin episodes for Constantine and Charlie, Astra as the main baddie, Ava on the Waverider and some of the worst people in history causing hassle for our motley crew.
- Batwoman will feature some of the Dark Knight's own rogue gallery members, including Hush for an upcoming episode while the first season itself is largely based on the Elegy arc.

And moving onto the DC Universe side of things ....

Titans second season is coming pretty soon. In fact, you can mark September 6th as the date the show returns for it's second season and it's cast is going to be pretty large this season. Not only are Brenton Thwaites (Robin 1), Anna Diop (Starfire), Teagan Croft (Raven) and Ryan Potter (Beast Boy) are back but regular wise, they'll be joined by Curran Walters (Robin 2), Alan Ritchson (Hawk), Minka Kelly (Dove), Conor Leslie (Donna Troy), Joshua Orpin (Superboy) as well. In recurring and guest roles will be Esai Morales (Deathstroke), Iain Glen (Bruce Wayne), Chella Man (Jericho), Chelsea Zhang (Ravager), Natalie Gumede (Mercy Graves) and Drew Van Acker (Aqualad), so this upcoming season is definitely going to be more eventful than the first one.

Keeping with the good news - Doom Patrol has also been confirmed for a second season and will air on both DCUniverse and HBO Max respectively. On the other hand though, Swamp Thing still seems to be cancelled and we got nothing new on Stargirl as of yet.

As for some animated content, you'll be delighted to know that Young Justice has been renewed for a fourth season while we finally got a trailer for the new Harley Quinn series, starring Kaley Cuoco in the title role and it's definitely going for the Deadpool approach. It looks gloriously daft as Harley schemes to become a member of the Legion of Doom after rejecting the Joker (Alan Tudyk), teaming up with Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) and occasionally being a pain in Batman's (Diedrich Bader) behind. Expect appearances from various DC characters across the board and plenty of swearing and violence in the series, slated to air on DC Universe from October 2019.

Harley Quinn Series Trailer:

Meanwhile members who attended San Diego over the weekend were treated to pilot episode screenings of both Batwoman and Pennyworth (July 28th) and while the former show generated some rather mixed to dicey reviews, it seems that the latter series, focusing on Jack Bannon's younger Alfred Pennyworth was seen in a more favourable light. The pilot episode for Pennyworth is free to watch online now and I'll probably give it a go later in the week. It's unlikely that I'll be reviewing the show episodically, though it'll be covered on this blog in some capacity over the next few months though. HBO also made an impression with their recent trailer for Watchmen (October 2019), which aired during the weekend.

Watchmen Trailer:

While no DCEU movie news to go, these are the highlights in the DC Universe. Which shows are catching your eye the most?

SDCC 2019 - Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase 4 Announcement (Spoilers Included)

They sat out SDCC last year and this year upon their return, Marvel decided to go big with the announcement of five movies and five streaming shows on upcoming service, Disney+

So, here's a look of what we can actually expect in the next two years from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Black Widow: Due for release on May 1st 2020, this prequel movie will see Scarlett Johansson reprise her role as Natasha Romanov in a movie that is rumoured to be set during the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Joining Johansson here will be David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, O. T. Fagbenle as Rick Mason, Rachel Weisz as Melina/Iron Maiden as well as Ray Winstone in an undisclosed role. The main antagonist for this movie will be Taskmaster. Filming for this movie started in May.

Eternals: Due for released on November 6th 2020, this movie will focus on a space battle between the titular group and their enemies, the Deviants. Rounding off the cast for this movie are Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, the leader of the Eternals, Lia McHugh as Sprite and Don Lee as Gilgamesh. There's still some more casting for this movie to be confirmed but filming will begin in September in London for this one.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings: Due for a February 12th 2021 release, this movie had been fast tracked by Kevin Feige since December 2018 and we now know that the title character will be played by Simu Liu with Tony Leung Chiu-wai portraying the Mandarin and Awkwafina also cast in a role in the film. Filming for this movie will take place in Australia within the next few months.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness: Due for a May 7th 2021 release, Benedict Cumberbatch's surgeon turned magical superhero will be getting a second solo outing and this time he'll be backed up by Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch as Nightmare has been confirmed as the main antagonist for this movie. This movie will also be tied into Olsen's upcoming Disney+ series, WandaVision, the latter which will stream prior to this movie's release.

Thor: Love And Thunder: Due for a November 5th 2021 release, I think we were all shocked earlier last week to find out that Chris Hemsworth was getting a fourth solo movie and with director Taika Waititi returning following the success of Thor: Ragnorak, this movie will not only see Thor reunite with Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie as the latter looks for a queen but in a major surprise, Natalie Portman will not only reprise her role as Jane Foster but she'll also be playing Lady Thor for good measure too. Between finally confirming Valkyrie's bisexuality and giving us Lady Thor, this movie isn't messing about.

Elsewhere, there was another surprise announcement of Mahershala Ali being confirmed as Blade for an upcoming movie while sequels for Black Panther, Guardians Of The Galaxy and Captain Marvel were confirmed with hints of mutants eventually making it into the main cinematic movies. However the fourth phase will seemingly be about the five above movies I mentioned and five upcoming television series, leading to this bit.

With Disney+ due to debut in the next few months, MCU fans will have a big incentive to watch the five upcoming series they're planning as these series will tie into the main cinematic universe in a fairly big way. First up will be The Falcon And The Winter Soldier with both Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan reprising their respective roles with Emily VanCamp and Daniel Brühl set to reprise their roles as Sharon Carter and Baron Helmut Zemo from August 2020. Then it'll be WandaVision, focusing on the relationship with Olsen's Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany's Vision while Teyonah Parris will appear as an adult version of Monica Rambeau while Loki will see Tom Hiddleston's mischievous trickster in a post Avengers: Endgame timeline. Both those series will debut in early 2021. After that, we've got What If…?, an animated anthology series with Jeffrey Wright voicing the Watcher and several familiar characters appearing in rather different circumstances, with a mid 2021 date being earmarked for it's release. The last series then will be Hawkeye with Jeremy Renner reprising the title role but also handing it over to Kate Bishop. This show will debut in late 2021.

Meanwhile it's also been confirmed that Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD will end after seven seasons. The show currently into it's sixth season, airing on both ABC and E4 respectively will be the most successful of Marvel live action show in spite of it often being ignored by the MCU itself (although Clark Gregg did recently play Agent Coulson in Captain Marvel). I stopped watching the show a few seasons back but it's incredible that the show lasted as long as it did. I also think that following it's imminent demise, the only Marvel shows we'll be getting for the foreseeable future will be on Disney+

So that's the next two years for the MCU sorted then. What were the most exciting announcements for you? Which movie or streaming shows are you most eager to see? Was there something you wish had been announced but wasn't?

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Halloween - 2 sequels due for 2020 and 2021

You didn't really think Michael Myers was done that easily, huh? After the 2018 version of Halloween grossed $255 million, a sequel was inevitable. Scratch that, we're getting two of them.

Announced yesterday by Jason Blum and John Carpenter, Michael Myers reign of terror will continue into two movies, titled Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, due in October 2020 and October 2021 respectively. Both films will see Jamie Lee Curtis reprise her role as the long suffering Laurie Strode while Judy Greer and Andi Matichak will also appear in both films as Karen Nelson and Allyson Nelson respectively, having survived the events of the previous movie.

Halloween Kills will be written by Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Scott Teems while Halloween Ends will be written by Danny McBride, David Gordon Green Paul Brad Logan and Chris Bernier. Both films will be directed by Green and produced by Jason Blum and John Carpenter for Blumhouse productions.

Now comes the trepidation part. Sequels in this franchise have been ropy at best and some of them have been outright disasters, especially the ones that have followed more successful sequels, so I'm hoping that both movies planned for 2020 and 2021 don't share the same fate here. Still though, last year's movie was one of the best entries we've had and gave the franchise a much needed shot in the arm, so hopefully these sequels can do that as well, though I feel Laurie will probably lose a family member during her next encounter with Michael Myers.

Press Announcement:

Halloween Kills will be released in cinemas from October 16th 2020 while Halloween Ends will be released from October 15th 2021. Filming back to back for both movies will commence later this year.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

My Review of Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay (2018)

Written by Alan Burnett
Directed by Sam Liu

Bronze Tiger: "You joke about heaven and hell, Deadshot. But trust me, they exist. There's not a moment that goes by I don't end up wondering: If this will be my judgment day."

I was a big fan of the DCAU's 2014 effort with this particular crew with Assault On Arkham, so it was nice to see another movie come out, albeit with a slightly altered line up but I got to admit that this animated movie kind of has a lot going against it if I'm being honest.

First of all, we've got our main crew here as Amanda Waller (Vanessa William) orders Deadshot (Christian Slater), Boomerang (Liam McIntyre), Harley Quinn (Tara Strong), Bronze Tiger (Billy Brown), Copperhead (Gideon Emery) and Killer Frost (Kristin Bauer Van Straten) to retrieve a little card that gives it's owner a free pass out of hell.

Of course the idea of this card meant that we would encounter several different characters throughout this slightly overlong animated movie and that the team's loyalty to one another would be tested at varying points in this one.

Character wise, a down on his luck Doctor Fate (Greg Grunberg) has lost his powers, due to Scandal Savage (Dania Ramirez) and Knockout (Cissy Jones) originally swiping the card from him, so he was relegated into become a stripper called Steel Maxum. He spends a good portion of this movie in his undies, but ultimately is a mere pit stop before Reverse Flash (C. Thomas Howell) catches up with him and the rest is unknown from there on in.

Needless to say, along with Waller, both Reverse Flash and Vandal Savage (Jim Pirri) are desperate to get their hands on the hell pass card and both of them resort to rather desperate measures in order to get it. When Savage himself emerged as the victor at first, it was up to Professor Pyg (James Urbaniak) to insert the card into Savage before being disposed off in a rather grim manner.

However, Savage himself didn't get to keep the card and it was then down to both Zoom/Reverse Flash and Killer Frost to fight over the bloody thing before Bronze Tiger and Copperhead got their heroic moments to save the day while Deadshot managed to fool Waller before earning his own freedom.

Overall, it's a fairly straightforward enough adventure and given that the 2016 movie had a magical foe with Enchantress, this movie certainly seemed to enjoy dipping it's toes into that as well, even if it doesn't really utilise the concept so well.

The team itself though are a disappointment. I liked Bronze Tiger but saw his sacrifice coming a mile off as well as Copperhead being a casualty (though he lasted a bit longer than I expected him too). Deadshot got a fairly boring subplot part way through the movie and both Harley and Boomerang could've sat this one out for all the good they actually contributed to it.

The baddies were a bit more successful though I would've liked a fairly even fight between Reverse Flash and Vandal Savage as I felt the former took the latter down a little too easily. Killer Frost worked reasonably well as a final-ish baddie and I didn't mind the uses of Silver Banshee (Julie Nathanson) and Blockbuster (Dave Fennoy). Still this movie did seem determined to kill off as many characters as it could get away with and I'm not sure it needed to.

- Other characters that appeared in the movie included Black Manta, Two Face, Punch & Jewelee, Count Vertigo and Tobias Whale.
- I thought Magic Mike during Doctor Fate's routine and clearly so did the writers as Kent was referred to by that movie as well.
- I assume we're going to maybe get a third movie with another altered cast again. We also had a mention of Waller's weight loss.
- There's a direct reference to The Flashpoint Paradox in this one.

Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay had a few bright spots here and there, but overall, it was a bit too long, didn't utilise either Harley/Boomerang well, had a few subplots that we didn't need and seemingly left a certain character's Fate unknown. Other than that, it's entertaining enough I guess.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Damnit Janet

A look into some of the more recent shows I've been watching.

Catch-22: Two thirds into this enjoyable mini-series and the tension has certainly been ramped up as we've seen a few characters fall in love, while others have died and Yossarian's ever desperate attempts to go home have been usurped at every turn and that's in spite of his own attempts to play the system at it's own game. With two episodes left to go, I'm hoping this series can end on a high note and that we see Christopher Abbott in more high profile gigs as he's been great in this miniseries.

Jessica Jones: A few episodes of slightly plodding along and we're finally getting a little into the good stuff. While Sallinger isn't quite as effective as Kilgrave, he has managed to make himself into a credible enough threat with his attacks on Erik and Dorothy, resulting in the latter's death. The last few episodes have also ironed things out a little with Jessica and Trish, brought Malcolm and Hogarth a little into the main story as well as given us some snarky one liners from Gillian but I do wonder if this final season shouldn't have been a bit shortened as well, episode wise.

Stranger Things: It's 1985 and we're back in Hawkins for this show's third year and having watched the first four episodes, I am loving this season. Let's see - Robin is a great addition to the season and her scenes with Steve, Dustin and Erica are a delight, Billy is now a credible antagonist given that the Mind Flayer has possessed him, Eleven and Max's friendship is great, Will, Lucas and Mike work well together even if Will feels like he's being left behind, we've had some great scenes with Joyce and Hopper, the new locations are great and even the Nancy/Jonathan scenes are improving a little bit. The only thing the remaining episodes need to do is bring all the main characters and stories together and we're good.

Swamp Thing: It's still a massive shame that this show got cancelled, but at least the series is slacking off though. The last two episodes really have highlighted what an absolute bastard Avery truly is as a character that the team up of Maria and Lucilia should've been a bit more obvious in retrospect. I've also liked the brief reprise of Alec Holland and his battle to save Abby from the Rot while getting a pretty good origin story for the Blue Devil to boot. I'm really hoping this show might get a second chance somewhere else. Hint, hint, HBO.

The Good Place: An episode solely focused on Michael and Janet was always going to be a highlight for me and this one did not disappoint. It was nice to get an origin story on how Michael stole a Janet from the Good Place and the disastrous effects of her lying. I also quite liked that the show hasn't forgotten her relationship with Jason and how she really feels about him and Tahani while Chidi and Eleanor had amusing side roles in this episode. Overall, I'm enjoying the second season to the show quite a lot.

- Both Colin Donnell and Josh Segarra will return for Arrow's final season while Katherine McNamara has been upgraded to a regular.
- Olivia Swann will be a regular for Legends Of Tomorrow's fifth season, due to air in 2020 on the CW. Astra will serve as the main antagonist for the next season.
- Jonathan Bailey, Phoebe Dynevor, Julie Andrews are some of the names attached to Shonda Rhimes Bridgerton adaptation for Netflix due in 2020.
- Euphoria has been renewed for a second season by HBO. UK viewers will be able to see the series on SkyAtlantic next month.
- The Walking Dead are casting a love interest from the comics that may also result in the return of Maggie.
- How To Get Away With Murder's sixth season will be it's last.
- Pose has been renewed for a third season.
- JA Bayona will direct the first two episodes of Amazon's upcoming Lord Of The Rings series.
- Katherine Heigl will star in Netflix series Firefly Lane as well as appearing in the final season of Suits.
- Carrie Ann Moss has joined the second season of Tell Me A Story. Both Paul Wesley and Danielle Campbell will return to the show as different characters.

Friday, July 12, 2019

American Horror Story: 1984 - Cast Reveal Trailer (Spoilers)

With the upcoming ninth season of American Horror Story due to return in two months and with the subtitle of 1984, co-creator Ryan Murphy took to Instagram yesterday to confirm the main cast for the new season.

Set to Dan Hartman's song, I Can Dream About You, the four minute trailer revealed ten cast members, half of whom are returning faces and the other half who are newcomers to this particular show, even if two of them have worked with Ryan Murphy beforehand.

Returning faces for 1984 include Emma Roberts, Cody Fern, Billie Lourd, Leslie Grossman and John Carroll Lynch while newcomers into the mix include former Glee and Pose alumni Matthew Morrison and Angelica Ross, who are joined by Gus Kenworthy, DeRon Horton and Zach Villa in the slasher themed summer camp series.

While none of the characters have descriptions or names yet, going by the trailer, it's safe to assume that both John Carroll Lynch and Zach Villa are playing serial killers while the rest of the cast seem to make up the summer camp's staff members and Doctor for Angelica Ross. It was also confirmed a while back that both Emma Roberts and Gus Kenworthy's characters will be a couple, but what of other cast members from seasons past?

Well, it seems that this season is going to be a mostly youth based season, so a lot of other cast members of old might not be back unless in guest roles in certain episodes, according to spoiler hounds. Confirmed not to be returning for this season include Evan Peters, Billy Eichner and Cheyenne Jackson while Sarah Paulson will appear in a guest role, though the amount of episodes she's slated to appear in has not been confirmed. There's also rumours that Teen Wolf heartthrob Charlie Carver may be appearing in the series and he'll also be in the Netflix movie adaptation of The Boys In The Band, produced by Ryan Murphy and scheduled for release in 2020.

My opinion on the cast reveal is going to be a positive one. Yes, there are certain actors who I wish were regulars again this season but aren't, but saying that, I love that there's a nice even split of both familiar and new cast members and the 80's slasher theme should be delightfully camp in parts, even if it seems like Murphy and company are taking a plot intended for Scream Queens. After the more continuity heavy (but enjoyable) Apocalypse, I do think it's a good thing for 1984 to feel a little bit more stripped back and this premise does have a lot of potential.

AHS 1984 Trailer:

American Horror Story: 1984 will air Wednesdays at 10pm from September 18th on FX and will air shortly afterwards on FOXUK.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Birds Of Prey - We Need To Talk About That Black Mask Spoiler

In the last couple of days and thanks to a certain YouTuber confirming/spoiling certain information, there's a thing about an upcoming DCEU movie that needs to be discussed.

If you don't already know, now is your last chance to back away but if you're still reading, then here we go. It was revealed first through website We Got It Covered that Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) will feature another gay character and the character in question will be the main villain of the piece - Black Mask (Ewan McGregor) On top of this, it seems that the main baddie may have some sexual tension with right man and fellow villain, the serial killer Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) while also being in pursuit of Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) and a diamond that has something that Sionis desperately doesn't want anyone else to see.

Now the question that has been looming over the last few days since this particular reveal, is whether or not it's a good idea for a major DCEU gay character to be the villain of the piece. In the comics, there is no indication of Black Mask being gay, so it's certainly an interesting addition to a character who is mainly a sadistic crime boss.

Personally, I'm not too bothered with the idea of Black Mask being a flamboyantly gay villain as I've never been that interested in him as a character and this is something that might actually liven him up on the big screen. Saying that, I can see why certain sites might find the idea of a gay villain a bit worrying, except for the fact that the movie will also balance things out with a heroic lesbian character in Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), whose sexually will be addressed in the movie as Montoya is in a relationship with Ali Wong's unnamed character and will be helping the main protagonists against Sionis and Zsasz.

However if we're being a bit technical here, Birds Of Prey isn't even the first movie in the DCEU to feature a gay character as earlier this year, Shazam! seemingly hinted at the possibility of Pedro Pena (Jovan Armand/DJ Cotrona) being gay and there's some rumours that another upcoming movie might be addressing another character's bisexuality as well.

We're at a point in both the DCEU and MCU franchises where audiences are certainly clamouring for LGBT characters that are not mere extras, especially as both DC and Marvel TV shows have been rather ahead of the curve compared to their movie counterparts. If anything this reveal (and there's more I'm holding back but don't doubt anyone who has read this is aware of) in relation to Black Mask has made me a bit more intrigued for Birds Of Prey and with seven months to go and the DCEU unfortunately sitting out SDCC this year, a trailer for this movie can't come soon enough.


Birds Of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) will be in theatres from February 7th 2020. What are your thoughts on the Black Mask spoiler?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

K9 Gets (Another) Spin-Off

How many times can one character get a spin-off? Once if they're lucky but if you're a certain metal dog, then it's at least four times as such.

The Mirror (yeah, I know not always a great source of information but anything concerning Doctor Who, they do seem to be oddly spot on with) revealed that K9 (John Leeson) will be heading up another as of yet untitled spin-off aimed for children but there's a bit of a caveat though.

It seems that two production companies might be bidding for this upcoming series, which means this could go the same way that the Australian spin-off (2009-2010) went and not be a BBC production, though that series did manage to slip in references to things such as Axons. Originally we were meant to be getting a movie called K9: Timequake featuring the title character going up against Omega in a space war but that has clearly been shelved in favour of this idea.

The character of K9 debuted back in 1977 during the Fourth Doctor's (Tom Baker) tenure in The Invisible Enemy before departing with Romana 2 (Lalla Ward) in Warrior's Gate. The character returned to the show in 1983 for the 20th anniversary special, The Five Doctors and has appeared in the modern series in the episodes School Reunion and Journey's End.

Spin off wise, K9 did head up the very short lived K9 And Company (1981) with Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane Smith as well as having a recurring role in The Sarah Jane Adventures (2007-2011) and there was the Australian spin-off series, K9 (2009-2010). Assuming this show goes ahead, this will be the character's fourth time in a spin-off show and if by some miracle the BBC actually decide they want to be involved with this one, it might be a good idea to reintroduce the character into the main series or have Jodie Whittaker appear in the new spin-off as well.

In general, I'm mixed on the idea of yet another spin-off centering on K9, although I would absolutely love to see the character reappear on the main show itself.

Press Release:

So, thoughts on this potential spin-off, anyone? Is it a good idea or not?

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

My Review of Reign Of The Supermen (2019)

Written by Tim Sheridan & Jim Krieg
Directed by Sam Liu

Lex Luthor: "We are going to start again. It's a relaunch. Superman Two point O... point One. That's awful, but we'll let marketing sort it all out."

Six months has passed since Doomsday took out Superman and Metropolis has been mostly grieving for his loss while at the same time, coming to terms with the four replacements that have also appeared overnight to pick up from where the Man of Steel had left off.

First of all, there's Superboy (Cameron Monaghan), who is a cocky little so and so, enjoying the newfound fame while also dealing with the fact that he's a clone stemming from both Superman and Lex Luthor. Still though, he's not particularly angsty and seems more than happy to get acquainted when his other father returns towards the final act of this movie.

While Lex might have one replacement in his pocket, Darkseid (Tony Todd) had the other one with an embittered Hank Henshaw (Patrick Fabian) becoming Cyborg Superman and dropping the heroic act when the real Superman emerged and Henshaw's desire for revenge won out in the end. Granted despite getting close to killing the Man of Steel yet again and Lois Lane, this movie did not end things well for Cyborg Superman.

Our third replacement then was the Eradicator (Charles Halford), who definitely had the more militant approach to keeping the peace in Metropolis, including a near successful hit on Lex Luthor before the other Supermen had intervened. He didn't get quite as much focus as the other three replacements on offer but his scenes were still rather good.

The only Superman though who seemed to be acting on their own bat though happened to be Steel (Cress Williams) as he managed to save Jimmy Olsen from getting ran over by a truck when Lois didn't easily uncover his secret identity. He was pretty decent in the third act and I did like his team up with Superboy when both of them witnessed Clark coming back into the mix.

As for the Justice League themselves - they were largely kept out of the action when Darkseid had set his Parademons on the planet and it was up to Lex of all people to rescue them, which made the post credit sequence all the more interesting as well. As for Darkseid, he had some interesting moments with Henshaw but other than that, it seemed like he was biding his time until the next movie.

- I liked the budding friendship that the movie set up with Lois and Wonder Woman here. Conner also got sent to the Kents by the end of this one.
- Post Credit Sequence saw Lex inviting himself onto the Justice League. Someone really should watch the door on the Watchtower.
- So, it's safe to assume this might be a trilogy of sorts with the Justice League and Lex going up against Darkseid in the next one?
- Chronology: Six months since the events of The Death Of Superman and the same length between releases of both movies.

Reign Of The Supermen was a strong continuation from the previous movie and I did like the twists and turns with both Lex and the replacements themselves. The grief of Superman's death was nicely touched on as well as the joy of his return as well. I can't wait to see what the next movie will bring though.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, July 06, 2019

EastEnders Does Pride But There's A Misstep

Last month I did a blog about the show pairing up Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) and Callum Highway (Tony Clay) and while this won't be an ongoing thing, here's a little blog on last night's Pride themed episode of EastEnders.

Actually, I'm just going to break this down into what worked and overall didn't work. Your mileage may vary as they would say.

- The Taylor/Baker/Atkins Family (and Ted): It's incredible that a little over two years since their arrival, the Taylors went from looking like a family who would even less popular than the Millers and be quickly written out have turned out to be one of the most successful elements of the show in the last year and a half. As a unit, they've become one of the best in the show's history.
- Bernie's journey to self acceptance. She's gotten to the place where Callum desperately needs to get to and it thankfully hasn't been rushed. It was wonderful to see Bernie's family support her at Pride, her own awe at the event was completely endearing and I loved the pep talk she had with Tina. Now the show just needs to give her a girlfriend.
- Keegan, Keanu and Gray. Yeah they're not gay but showing straight men comfortable enough in their own sexuality enjoying Pride while supporting Bernie was a lovely bit of character moment as well. Even Mitch sort of got into the spirit when he wasn't reminding us that he doesn't actually like Gray.
- Tina Carter. This show has often been shambolic in the writing for the character but making her a manager of The Prince Albert and that lovely scene she had with Bernie really does highlight that she can be a great character when the show actually makes an effort with her.
- The square has never looked as vibrant as it did for Pride.

Of course with the positives do come some concerning negatives though.

- The obvious one: we get a Pride episode that ends with a gay character getting gay bashed? Yes, we need to highlight that homophobia still exists but I'm not sure this was the episode to do that. That moment felt misjudged to me.
- Of course Stuart (Ricky Champ) would be the one to batter Ben. Never mind that we had this storyline with Ben three years ago that resulted in his then boyfriend Paul dying.  You know some plotlines are not worth repeating.
- This show isn't entirely convincing me of Ballum yet. Yes, Bowden and Clay have chemistry, but Ben seems to enjoy toying with Callum more than having any real feelings for him. I'm sure that will change eventually but right now, it does somewhat make it hard to root for them as a future couple.
- Does Tiffany actually have feelings for Bernie or not? I wish the show would clarify this or not and preferably sooner than later.
- Bored shitless of the Kat/Kush vs. Stacey/Martin storyline with Arthur and the less said about Habiba/Adam, the better. Another dull storyline, even if it seems that Adam has some dirt on Iqra.

Overall, points to the show for doing this sort of episode and I wouldn't be surprised if the likes of Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks are planning similar themed episodes for 2020 but they do need to improve the Ballum storyline over the next few weeks and make sure that the Prince Albert set doesn't suffer the same fate that the Albert itself suffered. Oh and continue the good work they're doing with Tina and Bernie as well.

Happy Pride, everyone🌈🌈

Thursday, July 04, 2019

First Look: Dracula, starring Claes Bang

Yeah, I haven't really talked much about Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss's upcoming BBC1/Netflix Dracula adaptation, so here's a little blog on that.

First of all the BBC have released two images of Claes Bang in the title role and while we have a list of the main cast, we still don't know who is playing whom, though there's a rumour that Joanna Scanlan will be playing a female version of Van Helsing.

Cast listing so far though is ....

Claes Bang as Count Dracula
John Heffernan
Dolly Wells
Joanna Scanlan
Morfydd Clark
Lujza Richter
Mark Gatiss
Jonathan Aris
Sacha Dhawan
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett
Catherine Schell
Youssef Kerkour
Clive Russell
Lyndsey Marshal
Chanel Cresswell
Matthew Beard
Sarah Niles
Lydia West
Sofia Oxenham

A lot of familiar faces, some of whom have already previously appeared in both Doctor Who and Sherlock over the last few years.

Directors for the three episode series are Jonny Campbell (Informer, Westworld), Damon Thomas (Killing Eve, Penny Dreadful) and Paul McGuigan (Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, Sherlock) with Moffat, Gatiss and Sue Vertue producing the series.

Now it'll be interesting to see if both Moffat and Gatiss can strike the same lightning with Dracula that they managed to do for Sherlock's four series run and if we're even lucky, maybe avoid some of the pitfalls and overzealous fanbase as well. I'll be watching and reviewing the series as well when it finally airs.

Press Release:

Dracula will air on BBC1 and Netflix in the upcoming months. A date has yet to be confirmed.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

My Review of The Death Of Superman (2018)

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Directed by Jake Castorena & Sam Liu

Lois Lane (to Superman): "I got your note. And I love you, too."

Ah, this feels a little familiar, doesn't it? This isn't the first time in the last decade we've explored this particular arc in movie and it's not even the first time we've done in animated form but if you didn't get enough of it in Superman: Doomsday and Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, then a third helping should suffice.

You know the gist - Superman (Jerry O'Connell) is living his best life in Metropolis, defeating Intergang members led by Bruno Manheim (Trevor Devall) while also keeping a look out on the recently house arrested Lex Luthor (Rainn Wilson) and being in a committed relationship with Lois Lane (Rebecca Romijn) while also being an active member of the Justice League. Things really couldn't be going any better for him.

Of course within this movie, things do get a little tense when Clark brings Lois back to Smallville to meet his parents and it's not long after some conversations with the likes of Batman (Jason O'Mara), Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson), Cyborg (Shemar Moore), The Flash (Christopher Gorham) and Aquaman (Matt Lanter), Martian Manhunter (Nyambi Nyambi) and Green Lantern (Nathan Fillion) that he realises that he needs to be honest with the woman he loves.

At first, I had assumed Lois might have known given an earlier exchange with her and Clark in a supplies closet at the Daily Planet but her reaction to the news is still handled pretty well and of course, before she can really Superman how she feels, the big battle with Doomsday takes place in the middle of Metropolis with most of the League members getting their backsides handed to them royally.

While the animation in this feature did feel a little clunky at times, especially during the first half of the movie, the fight sequences do look neat enough. The big fight between Superman and Doomsday certainly didn't disappoint and the former's defeat still managed to be as heartbreaking as it was done in previous movies.

Of course while the world, the League, Lois and the Kents all mourn the loss of Superman, the last few minutes of the movie not only indicated that Doomsday still hadn't been dealt with properly as a threat but that other Supermen (and a boy) were about to step out of the shadows. Probably a good thing, considering this is the first part of a two part movie event.

- Also featured in this movie were Bibbo Bibbowski, Maggie Sawyer, Jimmy Olsen, Cat Grant, Hawkman, Mera, Kate Kane, Damien Wayne, Cheetah and Metallo to name but a few.
- We got a rundown of some of Clark's exes and this movie also implied that Superman and Wonder Woman were a thing in the past.
- I did have to laugh at The Flash's impression of Batman during the Hall of Justice meeting scene in the movie.
- The second movie is Reign Of The Superman and it's the first time they've done this story as a two parter in animated form.

The Death Of Superman I have to admit is a surprisingly more successful take on this particular story arc compared to a certain movie that came out a few years ago, even if this does seem more based on that movie than the comic itself. It's animation is not perfect but it does work where it's needed to do and I'll be interested to see how this one concludes.

Rating: 8 out of 10