Sooo, I’m an idiot and accidentally published the Stranger Things 3 review literally a day after my Spider-Man one so we got two reviews in a row. Well, it’s been a over a week since the last review so it’s once again time to dive into my totally-not-messed-up-at-this-point Month of Reviews and take a look at the Good Omens mini-series that debuted on Amazon Prime earlier this year. Based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the mini-series has been making waves due to its fun story, unique mythology and amazing dynamic between series leads David Tennant and Michael Sheen. As a huge fan of Gaiman’s work and as someone who wants to get into Pratchett, this series was a must watch for me. That plus the “Doctor Who effect*” was put into effect and I just had to check this out. Not only is Good Omens hilarious and unique, it’s also intelligent and ingeniously written in its perfectly paced six episodes.
Ben’s Month of Reviews continues with one of my most anticipated events of the year- the arrival of a new season of Stranger Things. Yes, I was late to the hype train (I began watching April last year to be precise) but I love this show. It made David Harbour into one of my all time favourite actors, got me on my current Stephen King reading binge (his novels, particularly It and Firestarter, are huge influences on the show) and finally pursuaded me get a Netflix account that introduced me to other shows I love such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Castlevania and has greatly helped me with the amount of films I watch. It also really really made me want to live in the 80’s to the extent I have now seen more 80’s films that is humanly possible, including many with the veteran Stranger Things actors such as Winona Ryder, Sean Astin and Cary Elwes. If you’re wondering why my monthly film lists consist of so many odd 80’s films and kid’s films such as The Goonies, blame Stranger Things. So yeah, this little show about a group of kids in the world’s unluckiest town has made quite a big impact on me. Not since Doctor Who had I become so obsessed with a show so quickly. For comparison, it took me a couple of episodes to get passionate about Firefly and roughly half a season to “get” Rick and Morty. With Stranger Things, it only took the gorgeous opening synth titles. No one agrees with me, but I thought Stranger Things 2 was the better season- the first was iconic yes, but Season 2 had the best Hopper writing, Dad Steve and Sean Astin. I spent last Thursday binging the entirety of Season 3 and because everyone’s seen it let’s go full spoilers here. Although if you still haven’t seen it yet, in brief- it’s good. Very very good. With that said, let’s dive into Hawkins with all the juicy details-
Whilst there’s no series of Doctor Who this year, Chris Chibnall and his team are busy working on a fantastic somophore season for Jodie Whittaker and the Thirteenth Doctor for 2020. Whilst her first season wasn’t perfect (I’m looking at you Tsuranga Conundrum) it was a great series overall and the viewing figures have spoken- Doctor Who is a household name again and is dominating the pop culture discussion once again. It is a great time to be a Doctor Who fan, as for the first time in years the average person on the street might know what you’re talking about and the quality of stories have reflected the level of attention the series is now getting (not you Pting). Chibnall’s all-new writing team were great and actually better than the man himself- I wouldn’t mind any of them returning, which leads me to this post. Here are twelve writers I would love to see write for Series 12 and make the next season as good as possible-
Would I really say no to the writer of my favourite Doctor Who story returning? Toby Whithouse is a Who veteran, first contributing the amazing Series 2 story School Reunion which still holds up as the strongest story from that series. His main contributions were to the Eleventh Doctor era, where his vision of the Doctor as a dark, mythical figure cropped up first in the underrated Vampires of Venice and then the magnum opus of the entire show, The God Complex, which masterfully deconstructed then reconstructed who the Doctor is. A Town Called Mercy and the Fisher King two parter are both great too, and whilst Lie of the Land was incredibly… not good I can’t really blame that entirely on him due to the difficult behind the scenes circumstances surrounding that arc. In short, any season without Whithouse is poorer off without him and his idea of the Doctor is one that I support 100%. I would have preferably wanted him as showrunner but if that’s not the case, another story would do just fine. Whithouse is a master of genre storytelling and is one of the finest writers this show has had and Lie of the Land is such a poor way to end a fantastic collection of stories.
Television is a vast and varied format, and it’s often the episodes that break the norm of their shows that often end up being the most acclaimed. By stripping the show down to its base elements, some of the most beloved episodes in television history are “bottle episodes”. These episodes take place in a single location and only feature the core characters, or even less. These episodes are devised to save budgets and reduce the need for vast locations or guest stars, although sometimes it’s due to a desire to try something different. These five episodes from television shows I love prove that sometimes less is more, and have been responsible for some of the finest outings for their respective shows.
As we are enjoying the golden age of comic book adaptations, it’s worth remembering not every superhero property is Marvel or DC. We have the Incredibles, Hellboy, Dredd and many more making the genre interesting and diverse. Netflix’s latest smash hit (you can how much of a success a show is based on the amount of memes, which this show has lots of) The Umbrella Academy is such a property, based on the Dark Horse comic book by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba that presents a family of super-heroic characters who are so dysfunctional the X-Men look like a perfectly functioning team in comparison.
The Defenders are no more. Yesterday Netflix announced that The Punisher and Jessica Jones were cancelled, becoming the final casualties of the Marvel purge on Netflix. Whilst many may be quick to blame Disney’s upcoming streaming service for this as far as I know the Marvel/Netflix deal had nothing to do with Disney and it appears the shows were cancelled due to low viewing figures and lack of interest from even hardcore Marvel fans. So what happened? How did what promised to be the most exciting branch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe become no more?
I’ve spent the last month addicted to one show, and just one show- Luther. Created by Neil Cross (who I previously knew as the writer of two Doctor Who stories in Series 7), the show revolves around DCI John Luther, played by the brilliant Idris Elba, solving the most messed up and twisted crimes in London. Aided by his police colleagues and haunted by past actions, Luther navigates his way through 5 brilliantly written, expertly paced seasons of utterly compelling television.
On the 10th of May, 2018, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was cancelled by Fox. Ironically this was the first time I had really heard of the show, as within minutes of the news breaking several famous people I follow on Twitter expressed their shock. Never did I expect Luke Skywalker, Samwise Gamgee and the Master of Monsters to team up but Mark Hamill, Sean Astin and Guillermo del Toro, among others, begged Fox to revive a show that at that time I had no real interest idea in. 31 hours later the series was saved by NBC (thus becoming like fellow beloved ex-Fox comedy Futurama) and life went on as normal. Fast forward six months and I’m scrolling through Netflix to find a new show to watch. My decision to watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine is two-fold- firstly my love for Micheal Schur’s other NBC show The Good Place and also to see just what some of my favourite film personalities have in common other than being awesome. Two months and four seasons later (fortunately we have an airdate for Season 5 on Netflix- March 8th, so I can finally catch up) and I can’t recall a time Brooklyn Nine-Nine wasn’t in my life. Season 6 airs for the first time in the US today, and while it’ll be a while before I can see it it’s worth looking back at what we have now-
In case you missed the heading, this review will contain HUGE spoilers for the Doctor Who New Year’s Day special, Resolution. If you haven’t seen the episode yet then watch it before coming back. Trust me- it’s more satisfying.
Another year done and dusted- and what a year it’s been for nerdom. A new Doctor arrived, Thanos killed half the universe (SPOILER ALERT for the three people who don’t know), the Skeleton Detective got political and del Toro won his Oscar. 2019 promises to be huge, so without further ado it’s time to reveal what I am looking forward this year in terms of films, television shows and books. We are returning to Hawkins, visiting our favourite drunk reality jumping cynical genius once again, travelling to a galaxy far far away and the most underrated comic book hero of all time is getting a new coat of red. 2019 is going to be huge.