Category Archives: Television

Get a Sneak Peek of the Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman’s New TV Series Debuting Sunday

Dead by Dawn, the first-ever horror nature series produced by Skybound Entertainment and Love Productions, premieres on Nat Geo WILD on Sunday, January 13 at 9/8c. Two episodes will premiere back to back on the 13th.

Inspired by classic, modern and cult classic films, Dead by Dawn uses innovative storytelling techniques to infuse suspense, tension, and eeriness into the terrifyingly real stories of life in the wild…after dark. Each episode will feature wildlife in different countries, from Costa Rica to Indonesia to the swamps of the USA. Once the sun goes down, creatures of the night battle for survival.

Check out a ten minute preview.

The Hills Have Eyes

Sunday Jan 13 9/8c

The Arabian Desert comes to life at night, but where there’s life there’s death. After the sun sets, specialized predators emerge to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to feed through the night, from lizards that swim under the sand to spiders that run ten miles an hour.

Night of the Living Dead

Sunday Jan 13 10/9c

As the sun falls on the island of Java that denizens of this jungle metropolis are on edge. Nowhere is safe. Just before darkness swallows daylight, the night stalkers of Indonesia awaken with a lust for blood. Bats that eat 6,000 insects a night, baby pythons, and a fish that can crawl on land.

Netflix Pulls Production from North Carolina

Netflix

Netflix is no longer in the North Carolina business and has ended their production in the state over the the state’s anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2. The legislation remains on the books even though it was partially repealed and replaced with HB 142. Opponents feel the legislation still can be used to discriminate. HB 142 prevents municipalities to enact nondiscrimination ordinances covering any group not included in state law until 2020.

Netflix was to shoot the coming-of-age series OBX in the state. The legislation cost the town it was supposed to film in 70 jobs plus the influx of business associated with production. Instead, locations in South Carolina are being scouted as a replacement.

(via The Advocate)

Graphic Policy Radio Talks The Punisher Season 1 with Sean T Collins

Marvel’s The Punisher Season 2 is coming so at the recommendation of our guest, Graphic Policy Radio finally decided to cover Marvel Netflix The Punisher Season 1.

Sean T. Collins is the co-editor of the comics and art anthology Mirror Mirror II and a critic for the New York TimesRolling Stone, VultureDecider and many other publications.

Can two leftists enjoy a TV show about a character beloved by the “alt-right”? Yes. Stay tuned for:

  • “Reclaiming Punisher for the goths”
  • Frank Castle is Sandor Clegane
  • Micro is Edward Snowden
  • Metallica
  • Punisher fandom explained
  • “Punisher as a symbol for unfettered state violence against people who aren’t white”
  • Season 2 Trailer: exposed!

PS I love Sean’s ASOIAF / Game of Thrones podcast, Boiled Leather Audio Hour. Listen to it!

The Walking Dead Teases the Whisperers and Its Return in February

The Walking Dead returns to AMC February 10 and with it the communities will face a new enemy in the Whisperers. This new threat debuted in the comics in issue #130 and was a group of individuals who lived within the herds of walkers by wearing the skin of the dead. Led by the leaders Alpha and Beta, they were unlike anything that’s been dealt with before.

The show has teased this enemy for a bit of time and we’ve seen them in a few episodes already, though they haven’t been explained.

Today, AMC released a teaser of what we’ll be seeing in about a month’s time.

Josh Blaylock’s Mercy Sparx is Being Developed for Film and Television

On the heels of the news that the hit indie comic series will return in 2019, Assemble Media has partnered with Josh Blaylock to develop his Mercy Sparx character across film, tv, and digital.

Mercy Sparx follows the hard-knock exploits of a bad-ass, quick-to-throw-down demon who is kicked out of Hell for bad behavior and banished to Earth, where she finds a new mission from the most unlikely of sources… Heaven. Now amongst mortals, she hunts down rogue angels who have fallen from grace. Or in other words… she’s doing Heaven’s dirty work.

The long-running, punk rock, action-fueled supernatural series, created by Josh Blaylock with the primary art team of Matt Merhoff and Greg & Fake Studio, has spawned over twenty issues, four collected volumes and a 400-page omnibus.

Heller and Assemble execs Scott Veltri and Brendan Deneen will produce alongside producer Daniel Alter.

Batwoman Starring Ruby Rose Gets a Pilot Order by The CW

Batwoman

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise but The CW has given a pilot order for a new show starring Ruby Rose as Batwoman. The show will be guided by DC TV czar Greg Berlanti and being penned by Caroline Dries. David Nutter will direct the episode. Berlanti, Dries, Nutter, Sarah Schechter, and Geoff Johns are exec producers.

Batwoman/Kate Kane debuted on the Arrowverse group of shows and their crossover event “Elseworlds.” Green Arrow and the Flash were forced to travel to Gotham in hopes of figuring out what was messing with reality. There, they meet Kate. In this version, Batman is missing (and a myth) and Kate has stepped in to fill the void. The event was a trial to see the reaction, which was overwhelmingly positive.

The character is described as an out lesbian and highly trained fighter who has no problem speaking her mind. With Batman missing, she’s forced into life as a crime-fighter when Gotham is overrun by chaos. She must “overcome her own demons” before she can save the city.

There have been numerous versions of the character who debuted in 1956 for DC Comics.

Pharoah Miles’ Favorite TV Shows of 2018

Luke Cage Season 2

Luke Cage Season 2 – In what would be its “swan song”, the show comes into its own, telling a unique story, subverting a horrible stereotype, and giving the hero a transition, which fans were sorely cheated out of.

Iron Fist Season 2 – Just like Luke Cage, this series also found its way in its sophomore outing, fans can only speculate where the show would go with two Iron Fists

Timeless – Over its two seasons, the show has more than made fans worldwide, it has given the time travel genre, a few new twists

Daredevil Season 3

Daredevil Season 3 – Though the season started slow, it had a ton of revelations and pushed its titular hero to his limits, as fans got to enjoy the show at its zenith, before its cancellation

Sense8 Series Finale – In this show’s swan song, we get one last team-up that truly puts all other finales to shame, as this particular episode I watched three times just to catch all the things they put in it.

Krypton – Kudos goes out to SyFy for doing a prequel show right, despite one of their earlier attempts, Caprica, failing. They took those lessons learned and applied it to this show, where we get to meet Kal-El’s grandfather and a Back To The Future version of Adam Strange

Titans

Titans – In a fine fist season that will be ending soon, this series gives us a gritty yet fun version of the characters have grown to love and this shows properly ”adults” them up

Black Lightning – As the newest show to be part of the CW’s DC TV Universe, this show strikes the perfect balance between character development, superhero action and tackling relevant issues, even better than its counterparts in its freshman season

The Tick – As beloved the comic, the cartoon and the first live action version of the show are, this version more than sets itself apart, as this one finally gets the humor from the comic.

The Haunting Of Hill House – As a fan of Shirley Jackson, I could not wait for this show, as it more than delivered in spades, and happened to be scarier in places where I least expected it

The Top 5 of Everything in 2018

While I also have a top and bottom list of the movies of 2018, I love things outside of movies, too. Indeed, so much of what has happened in 2018 has been outside of movies, or blurring the lines between what movies and television even are with Netflix bringing us things like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs or Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the first of whach was originally planned as a tv miniseries, and the latter is just. . . well, what even is Bandersnatch?

So, regardless of medium, here are my Top 5 favorites of everything.

5. Educated: A Memoir

This book hit a lot of lists of the top books of 2018 (including culture critic Barack Obama’s), but it hit especially close to home for me because, like author Tara Westover, I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her story of growing up kept out of public education was too familiar to me, as survivalism and mistrust of public schools were something I encountered too frequently. This is the same anti-intellectual stew that spawned Glenn Beck and the Bundys’ ranch standoff/takeover of the Malheur Bird Refuge. But Westover’s memoir is a testament to what happens when this is taken to the extreme, to the point that as an adult she had never heard of the Holocaust. It’s a great read and my favorite book of the year.

4. Detroit: Become Human

Ok, there may have been “better” games than this in 2018. (God of War, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption II) But this story of a near-future where androids begin to gain sentience and their struggle for equality was my personal favorite. It almost wasn’t a video game– it was an interactive movie.

This is one of those games where the choices you make affect the outcome of the game, and you get to choose the fate of a revolution. Will your quest for equality for androids be violent, or non-violent? What are the consequences for the other characters you’re playing as?

This hit me right in my social-justice and robot-loving heart, and also had beautiful gameplay featuring a spectacular cast of actors.

3. Sorry to Bother You

Spoiler Alert: this was my favorite movie of 2018. First time director Boots Riley delivers a searing indictment of capitalism and racial expectations, exposing a sort of gonzo form of racial exploitation that is a perfect intersectional skewering of the nexus of race and class.

It’s very rare for a movie to surprise me, and this made me literally say to the screen, “What the f@#$?!?!

This was the only film I gave five stars to all year, and it’s something you have to see to believe.

2. Hannah Gadsby – Nanette

I had never heard of Australian comic Hannah Gadsby before this year, so imagine my shock in watching a Netflix special in which she announces her retirement from comedy and then proceeds to deconstruct what comedy is, blow it up, and put it back together again– all told against the backdrop of a heartbreaking childhood story of coming to terms with her queer identity. I never thought anything could make me feel such a rainbow of emotions over such a short period of time. This wasn’t just a comedy special — in the same way Childish Gambino’s “This is America” wasn’t just a music videos. Those were pop culture grenades tossed into the heart of the beast that blew everything up.

1. The Good Place

More than anything else this year, The Good Place ruled my heart and mind. I have not anticipated a broadcast television show like this in a long time, and in between seasons and episodes so many binges of previous seasons.

The best thing about this show that is sorta about the afterlife but kinda mostly about ethics but really just about us dirtbags here on earth and how we treat each other is how it keeps reinventing itself almost every six episodes or so. The show’s writers seem to be laboring under the idea that at some point the network is going to figure out the scam they’ve been running and pull the plug, so we’d better get through as much of this plot as possible. Where most shows would drag out their premise, this races through multiple setups in a single season. It’s refreshing, it’s smart, but it’s also stupid.

You put the Peeps in the chili pot and mix it all up, You put the Peeps in the chili pot and add some M&Ms, You put the Peeps in the chili pot. . .

This season’s episodes “Jeremy Bearimy” and “Janets” deserve ALL THE EMMYS, especially for acting from Janet herself, D’Arcy Cardon. If you saw them, you know why. If you didn’t see them, what are you waiting for?! To Netflix! To Hulu! Begin the binge now!

It’s the best show on tv– fight me. It’s the best thing from 2018– let’s be friends and watch it together, will you please? It will make you laugh and feed your soul. Also, it has its own official podcast, hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn, who ends every episode asking, “What’s good?”

The Good Place. It is good. And the best for 2018.

So, Who Won the Year?

I also like to look back at the year look for threads, throughlines, trends that indicate something. Invariably there are big winners and losers in the year. I want to quickly celebrate the top winners.

Honorable Mention: Nicholas Cage

Despite being somewhere between an internet meme and a pariah, Nick Cage still gets some pretty amazing work this year. His starring role in Mandy is like a cocaine-fueled horror fantasy made in the 80’s and then set to age for three decades soaking in LSD. But then he also showed up in the cartoons in some of the most unexpected places: as Spider-Man Noir in Into the Spider-Verse and as Superman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. We’re glad to see him working.

Other honorable mentions: Donald Glover, Streaming Services, Steve Carrell, Mahershala Ali, Dolph Lundgren, Michael B. Jordan

5. Cults

This was a good year for cults in movies and tv. Mandy, Bad Times at the El Royale, Wild Wild Country, and Hereditary. Also, the bizarre stories about real life sex cult NXIVM that involved Smallville‘s Allison Mack. So, way to go, cults? At least you have some diversity here– Jesus, Satan, new age, but all of them were big on sex, So, sex cults. Way to win 2018.

4. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski

These two not only had an amazing year, but they did it together. Blunt killed it as Mary Poppins, Krasinski brought Jack Ryan back, and then you have their on-screen duo in A Quiet Place. That movie was such a revelation– mostly about how terrible mainstream movie audiences are at making noise. But in a year when almost every top-grossing film was a sequel, franchise, or remake, A Quiet Place was a true original. Thanks to both of you. You won the year.

3. Comicsgate and the Alt-Right

Now hear me out. I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but the alt-right actually accomplished a decent amount this year, and it’s completely unacceptable. James Gunn is still fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Chuck Wendig was fired from Star Wars/Marvel comics. And, they raised a lot of money through crowdfunding for various ventures.

These guys aren’t playing around. And as long as they keep weaponizing things like offensive tweets, we will lose great creators from our favorite genres.

2. Asian Movie-going Audiences

Look, America, we need to understand that most movies aren’t being made for us anymore. We can decry as braindead anything like The Meg, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Skyscraper, Aquaman, Rampage, or Venom, but those movies kill overseas. There are very specific motifs and types of shots that work there that we as American audiences just aren’t picking up. This is going to have reverberations for years to come.

What’s the major difference? You can make a strong argument for diverse casts and female leads — giving us hits like Black Panther or The Last Jedi — but those movies generally just sort of do ok overseas while overperforming in the US.

That says something comforting about our country and culture at this time. But it says some things that should maybe be concerning that we won’t get complex stories like these in the future while we spit out more Venoms.

Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this is the alt right crusaders who don’t want diversity in our movies, shows, and comics will find common cause with the globalists who will continue to churn out lots of braindead action movies starring heroic dudes. Sigh.

[tie] 1. Disney

The Walt Disney Corporation had an amazing year, which caps off some pretty incredible past few years and is likely to continue into 2019. Why? Disney+ streaming service. The Fox merger. This isn’t necessarily good news for us, but is great news for corporate profits and creeping oligarchy. But, they gave us Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Mary Poppins Returns, Ralph Breaks the Internet. . . even the supposedly underperforming Solo: A Star Wars Story ended up making 393 million dollars worldwide. And that was considered by some a failure, even though 18 of my top 20 films of 2018 would love to have sold that many tickets.

But let’s talk about Black Panther for one moment. It’s arguably the most culturally salient and important piece of pop culture of the year, with Infinity War not far behind. For all their evils as a corporate overlord, we got something truly important for a lot of people to see — an authentically black superhero story that deals with identity, a history of violence and oppression towards the African diaspora, and that leaves us remember that “in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.”

When the box office receipts went off the charts, you gave back– founding an actual charity to do the work of STEM education and scholarships like T’Challa and Shuri wanted. Thank you, Disney. For an evil corporation, you sure gave us a lot of what we loved this year. You win.

[tie] 1. The City of Oakland

Speaking of Black Panther, one of the most important pieces of the film is how director Ryan Coogler brought his Oakland roots into the film. That moment when you realize the voiceover from the beginning of the film is of young Erik and his dad N’Jobu (“Tell me a story of home.”) and the entire basis for Killmonger’s wrath is based on the economic oppression of being raised in poverty in Oakland and what he had to do to escape it. It ends with a hopeful note in the same building, that future children will not have to face such hardship. “Who are you?”

I already mentioned my love of Sorry to Bother You, but that film is not possible without Oakland as a backdrop. The same is true of another of my favorites, Blindspotting, which takes a similar look at poverty, gentrification, and violence. And then we have Bodied, the rap battle movie produced by Eminem, which plays a major part in the film, but whose setting is split between Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Still, Oakland as a force is in that film.

And then there’s real life. The Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship. A white woman calls the cops on a black family having a cookout at an Oakland city park at Lake Merritt and becomes known as “BBQ Becky.”

And then heartbreak. The Oakland Raiders plan to leave for Las Vegas looking for more corporate pork and handouts.

To understand what is going on in Oakland in film and culture is to understand a microcosm of what is happening in so many cities across the country facing gentrification and economic pressures that are displacing historically black populations. It is why I recommend to everyone they see each of these films I mentioned here and think about what is actually happening.

To 2018, the year of the Oakland Renaissance.

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