As years are want to do, so came and went another San Diego Comic-Con, and with it, a bevy of news. The biggest is Marvel’s head honcho Kevin Feige trotting out every single current and future star in the MCU while breaking down Phase 4. But it also begged the question: is Marvel Studios doing what Marvel Comics did with their saturation of capital-E Events? Who knows, but it’s a worthwhile thought nonetheless.
As for what we can take with us, there was also a veritable deluge of trailers for some absolute bangers. Many of them are for followup seasons of established shows, but there are also plenty of debuts that, if you haven’t been on Twitter, broke the Internet. So let’s get down to it!
Star Trek: Picard
Here’s the banger. Even as someone who only habitually watched all of the Star Treks out of obligation, this resonated in a deep, hollow chamber in the darkest corner of my heart that I had no idea existed. Seeing Patrick Stewart step back into the role that made him is heartening. It is, oddly enough, comforting.
It’s a reminder of just how pervasive and vital the series is, even if you don’t have the life-or-death connection many fans do with the franchise and its spacefaring antics. (Like, Jeri Ryan! Brent Spiner! And, via Twitter confirmation, Jonathan Frakes!) But this also just genuinely looks good. The idea of a man existing without the thing that was his entire existence has been explored more as of late, but it is especially fascinating given the meta context of bringing back all these iconic actors and characters.
Look for it early 2020 on CBS All Access.
You know what’s a good movie? Snowpiercer. That Bong Joon-ho really knows what he’s doing. (As if his recent Palm d’Or win wasn’t proof of that.) He makes the impossible task of building a complete, thrumming world within the confines of a two-hour film without dwelling on exposition look easy.
Which makes this trailer for the Snowpiercer series an interesting composition. On one hand, it seems to mimic a lot of what the movie did in its adaptation of the graphic novel, which begs the question of why even bother. On the other, it seems like it’s being developed to explore the intermingling of the disparate classes more subtly than with Joon-ho’s bloodsoaked revolution. Granted, there still looks to be plenty of blood and showrunner Josh Friedman hasn’t had the best track record at keeping a series afloat, so we’ll see.
It premieres next Spring on TBS.
It feels, on some level, impossible to overstate how much people are anticipating the HBO/Damon Lindelof Watchmen series. Whether folks are curious about what it’ll be, fans are fervent for more, or deriders are hoping to see a catastrophe, a lot of eyes are glued to HBO to see how it all pans out.
And based on this trailer, it seems like the fans might walk away with this one. The cast, for one, is absolutely bonkers. Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr. It’s borderline irresponsible. As for the efficacy it’ll bring to the table as a teardown of pop vigilantism acting as a comforting facade for authoritarian tactics and an excuse from personal responsibility, we’ll just have to find out.
It’s set to premiere this October on HBO.
To be quite frank, it’s impossible to look at this and not think of abysmal Jason Statham vehicle In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, which then makes it impossible to not think on the rest of Uwe Boll’s, uh, oeuvre. And that’s not a fun path to walk, especially as the haunting image of Henry Cavill in what’s clearly a wig follows you from the moment you wake to the moment you die.
That being said, The Witcher books (and games) live in such a rich world, it seems hard to not find a worthwhile story to tell with a television series. It sounds like it’ll attempt to at least partially adapt the books, but I’m hopeful showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich injects some originality into it. She did, after all, write some of the better episodes of Daredevil and The Umbrella Academy.
There’s still no release date, but it will be exclusive to Netflix.
His Dark Materials
Hell fucking yeah, y’all. This feels like the adaptation Philip Pullman’s novels have been waiting for, rather than the diluted and smoothed out film from 2007. The cast is tremendous with James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Logan breakout Dafne Keen. Plus, based on Jack Thorne’s past works as a writer, the development is primed to keep Pullman’s critical elements of the story intact.
Basically, overthrow organized religion and fight fascists.
Look for His Dark Materials to premiere on HBO this Fall.
Preacher, throughout its existence as a series, has defied the odds. There’s no reason why any of it should attract audiences the way it does. It’s gross to watch, it’s full of terrible people, and, for the religious, is devilishly blasphemous. But it’s also undeniably charming and earnest and fun as, well, anything that could possibly land you in Hell.
To that end, I’ll never stop championing the first three seasons of the show. If you aren’t in the direst of love-hate relationships with Tulip (Ruth Negga) and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) after the first few episodes, then you’re dead inside. Which means that I, despite a full decade of building up my protective journalistic carapace, am reasonably hyped for this fourth and final season. (Fuck I love how shows are ending on their own terms nowadays.)
This final season premieres on August 4 on AMC.
The Terror: Infamy
Here’s an interesting case of television production. The first season of The Terror was a perfectly taut and self-contained adaptation of the equally harrowing novel by Dan Simmons. (If you haven’t watched it, you are scientifically categorized as a fool.) Based on that, it would stand to reason that the second season of this anthology series would bear much promise.
That’s where we hit a snag. Original showrunners David Kajganich and Soo Hugh have gone off to do whatever it is you do after making a flawless season of television and have been replaced by Max Borenstein and Alexander Woo. They are best known for Kong: Skull Island and several episodes of True Blood, respectively, two products that, while thrilling at times, carry vastly different dramatic signatures. Well, at least we’ll get more George Takei.
Look for it to premiere on August 12 on AMC.
Speaking of things I’ll never stop championing, The Expanse is a gorgeous bit of sci-fi. It’s so good that its cancellation on Syfy and revival on Amazon Prime Video was inevitable, given that’s what happens to all good shows nowadays. It even does the rare thing where it only gets better with each season, even in with vast, dramatic leaps upward.
The third season left everyone off with an entirely new batch of motivations, but motivations borne from a natural growth of their characters. It also left the entire galaxy in a precarious position. Everything from one end of space to the other is primed for philosophical implosion and violent, physical explosion. Truly, if you are not excited for this, you haven’t been paying attention.
The fourth season premieres on Prime Video on December 13.
Damn, that looks good. A vibrant, jubilant celebration of one of the weirder yet well-known characters in all of comics, not just DC. It still has a good chance of being pandering in the way “adult” comedies are, but the premise seems to be rather promising. (Plus it’s created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm!)
The premise being Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) deals with her breakup with the Joker and starts out on becoming her own woman and her own menace to society. Sounds like a good time, right? Plus, who doesn’t want to see Aquaman punched in the throat.
The series is set to premiere this October on DC Universe.
It Chapter Two
How can you not be psyched for this movie. The first one was a horrifying yet thoughtful examination of growing up within and alongside trauma, and how the growth itself can be traumatic as well. And this sequel looks to want to stare right down the barrel of what happens whether you run from or stay with that loss of innocence.
Granted, you’re losing a bit with the lack of Cary Fukunaga co-writing the screenplay, but returning writer Gary Dauberman and director Andy Muschietti is still plenty promising enough. Plus, the grownup cast of the Losers is too perfect to miss.
It’s set to release in theatres on September 6.
Top Gun: Maverick
Much like watching the Picard trailer, I hadn’t realized that Top Gun had left such an impact on me. Not in so much that it affected my growth in my formative years, but it is a cultural touchstone that is impossible to excise from my brain.
And now, seeing the same character played by the same actor—both he and I 30 years older (technically 33, but the math doesn’t matter anyway since I was born after the film was released)—refusing to advance amidst an age of advancements, it’s strangely affecting. Is it obsession? Stubbornness? Or, maybe as his other recent films have skewed closer and closer to, a commentary on Tom Cruise’s career and general life choices. “Despite your best efforts, you just refuse to die.”
It’s set to hit theatres on June 26, 2020.
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
“It’s literally the same fucking movie all over again.” That’s verbatim what Kevin Smith said in a Q&A during his podcast Fatman last year. And based on that, I feel like I can already guess exactly the beats the film will hit when it comes out.
Not that that’s a bad thing. His films were never known for being full of surprises. Most of it is about friends being friends despite being friends. They’re fun and generally funny movies where people love-hate each other and usually something outlandish happens along the way. Plus the sheer number of celebrities packed into the cast is tantalizing enough. How is Smith going to fit everyone in there?!
Expect it to hit theatres on October 15.
I despised the fifth season of The Flash. The loose, unstructured, irresponsible time traveling is once again back with a vengeance. Every character has a roving set of motivations that change on a whim to suit whatever the broader seasonal arc demanded. And the writing was simply atrocious. It’s as if the only thing the characters have learned after five years was that they can continue to be unrelenting idiots committing the same mistakes with the same people and things will still work out because it’s network television.
But at least this next season will have Sendhil Ramamurthy.
It’s set to premiere on October 8 on The CW.
Something I would have figured The CW would have learned by now is that these caped crusader shows need a strong lead to thrive. Arrow lucked out by having two absolutely stellar opening seasons despite Stephen Amell’s inability to emote beyond “quiet” and “loud.” But then Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin come in hot with their more than sufficient acting capabilities, adding layers and nuance to otherwise saccharine characters.
But now we’re back to a stilted performer in a dour place. Ruby Rose is not a good actor. She’s not bad, either, but she has so far only worked when within a functional ensemble, though her time as Kate Kane in this last Arrowverse crossover event proved that even then, she doesn’t have a lot to bring to the table. But we can always hope. Batwoman deserves some time to shine.
The series premieres on October 6 on The CW.
If not for wanting to remain a part of The Discourse, I would have abandoned the superfluously dense first season. And if not for being bedridden for some time this year, I would have dipped out of the second season after the first three episodes. And this third season looks even less engaging and even more impenetrable.
It premieres on HBO sometime next year.
The Walking Dead
Also no. Just no.