Mid-Week Musings: Krypton? It’ll be Kryptonite!

Promotion is beginning to ramp up for what’s being touted as a Superman prequel show, ‘Krypton’ on SyFy. Though, unlike other prequel shows such as ‘Gotham’, this won’t be depicting the earliest years of the child that will grow up to be Superman, or even the story of his parents, it’s set a generation before that, 200 years before Kal-El is born. I wonder what enticement that era might hold for fans such as myself.

Clearly, writer David S. Goyer thought that after the scenes on Krypton in ‘Man of Steel’ that were generally liked, there would be an audience for a whole show set on the doomed planet, he definitely had more of that he wanted to explore. I enjoyed some things in those scenes, they definitely fleshed out the planet in a way that other live-action adaptations had only ever briefly touched on before and with the high-budget it looked detailed and great, it worked well with the strengths of director Zack Snyder. This television show will have a fraction of the budget, actors less magnetic than Russell Crowe and Michael Shannon and even the best directors they have are unlikely to have the visual flare of Snyder.

I’m a lifelong Superman fan, but even I can’t muster up any worthwhile amount of enthusiasm for this. I’m absolutely going to start watching it, I’m happy to give it a chance to win me over, though it’ll have to be effective on levels other than a tangential link to one of my favourite IPs to keep me interested beyond the first handful of episodes.

As a comparison, ‘Gotham’ was originally advertised as a look at the crazy crime-riddled city before the emergence of Batman, but it still features Bruce Wayne and is increasingly showing his progression toward becoming the caped crusader. That show also features, or at least teases, heaps of characters, especially villains and serving as an origin story for each of these well-known and pre-defined roles.

Krypton apparently won’t feature Superman even in baby-form as Kal-El. So then, will it feature his parents and their contemporaries? Jor-El and General Zod’s backstory would be really interesting especially after ‘Man of Steel’. Nope! It’s apparently focused on Kal-El’s grandfather in his 20s, likely pre-dating this far enough before the destruction of Krypton to near enough rule out the show building to that as its series finale (without using big time jumps).

So, it’s so far removed from the main Superman mythology, is there anything that will be of considerable interest to fans of the Man of Steel? Well, maybe, but they’re kinda cheating to do this. This show apparently will use time-travelling threats coming back from Superman’s era, which is their ‘clever’ way of bringing the mythos of the Man of Steel into a time long before he was even born. I fear this is a cheat and will get overused to the point of tedium.

Surely, when plotting out a prequel show like this, the producers and writers should look at what potential the bare-bones of the concept has, finding something that underpins the idea to make it compelling in its own right, before pulling in the use of twists and surprises to form a plot. ‘Supergirl’ regularly touches on the history of the planet and the Kryptonian race, yet for me, that show often struggles to stay compelling. There’s also apparently a ‘Metropolis’ show in the works for the DC streaming service which will focus on Lois Lane and Lex Luthor’s lives, a concept I can easier get behind. Let’s not forget that we also had ‘Smallville’, one of the most successful comic-adapted TV shows, which moved heavily into Kryptonian issues by the end seasons of its run and really struggled to keep up high standards as it did so.

Premiering on March 21st, I really hope to be surprised by ‘Krypton’ in good ways though I don’t hold a hold of hope for it. That being said, I have often predicted the short life of shows because I don’t think they will work well and find an audience, eventually being proven wrong about as often as I’m right.

Have a look at the trailer and see what you think, leave any thoughts and comments below.

My Golden Globes 2018 Predictions & printable ballot sheet

Here I go with trying to predict the winners at this weekend’s Golden Globes! The ceremony hosted by Seth Meyers will be aired on the evening of Sunday, January 7th.

You can have a go at predicting the winners too with my printable PDF ballot sheet by clicking here or on the PDF logo. It’s 2-pages, one for the movies categories and one for television.

The usual system applies, 1st choice, 2nd choice, P for my preferred winner. They can later be scored 2pts for correct first choice, 1pt for a correct second choice, and no points for a correct preferred winner as that’s just for interest’s sake.

As I’ve not seen a lot of these (though I’ve just finished ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ which was excellent) I’ll be far off with my predictions and can’t really pick a favourite in some areas if I’ve not seen any of the nominees, so there’s a lot of guesswork and basing my picks on what I’ve heard and read.

UPDATED: Jan 8th to list the winners.

FILM

Best Motion Picture, Drama

P. Dunkirk
2. The Post
1. The Shape of Water
Call Me by Your Name
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

The Disaster Artist
P2. Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
1. Lady Bird – Winner

Best Director

1. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water – Winner
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
P2. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Actor, Motion Picture, Drama

2. Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Tom Hanks, The Post
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour – Winner

Best Actress, Motion Picture, Drama

Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
2. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
1. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Best Actor, Motion Picture, Comedy

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
P. Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
1. James Franco, The Disaster Artist – Winner
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
2. Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Actress, Motion Picture, Comedy – This is an incredible list of nominees 

Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
2. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
1. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird – Winner
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker

Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner
2. Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
2. Allison Janney, I, Tonya – Winner
1. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Screenplay

The Shape of Water
1. Lady Bird
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Winner
The Post
Molly’s Game

Best Original Song

“Home,” Ferdinand
“Mighty River,” Mudboumd
1. “Remember Me,” Coco
“The Star,” The Star
2. “This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman – Winner

Best Original Score

Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
1. Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water – Winner
Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
John Williams, The Post
2P. Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

Best Animated Feature

The Boss Baby
2. The Breadwinner
1. Coco – Winner
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Best Foreign Language Film

A Fantastic Woman
2. First They Killed My Father
In the Fade – Winner
Loveless
1. The Square

TELEVISION

Best Television Series, Drama

1. The Handmaid’s Tale – Winner
This Is Us
2. The Crown
Game of Thrones
P. Stranger Things

Best Television Series, Comedy

Black-ish
1P. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Winner
Master of None
SMILF
2. Will & Grace

Best Limited Series or Television Movie

1. Big Little Lies – Winner
2P. Feud: Bette and Joan
Fargo
Top of the Lake: China Girl
The Sinner

Best Actress, Limited Series or Television Movie

1. Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies – Winner
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
P. Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan (Of the two leads Lange gets the bigger and meatier role and she’s superb).
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
2. Jessica Biel, The Sinner

Best Actor, Limited Series or Television Movie

1. Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks
Jude Law, The Young Pope
2. Ewan McGregor, Fargo – Winner
Geoffrey Rush, Genius

Best Actress, Television Series, Drama

1. Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale – Winner
2. Claire Foy, The Crown
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

Best Actor, Television Series, Drama

2P. Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor
1. Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us – Winner
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Actress, Television Series, Comedy

Pamela Adlon, Better Things
2. Alison Brie, GLOW
1P. Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Winner
Issa Rae, Insecure
Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Best Actor, Television Series, Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
2. Aziz Ansari, Master of None – Winner
Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick
William H. Macy, Shameless
1. Eric McCormack, Will & Grace

Best Supporting Actress, Television Series

1. Laura Dern, Big Little Lies – Winner
2. Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Best Supporting Actor, Television Series

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
2. David Harbour, Stranger Things
P. Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
1. Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies – Winner
David Thewlis, Fargo

Top 10: A look ahead at 2018

What I’m most looking forward to watching in 2018. I’m sure I have missed lots of great things off this list but these are just the 10 things that came to my mind when I stopped to think about it. This doesn’t include things that I’ll only get around to watching in 2018, that’s a whole different list including the Awards nominated films that are on release now but I won’t see in my local cinemas until mid-January.

1. Incredibles 2

When: June / July 2018

Why?: Whenever people ask me what’s my favourite film and they often do, I typically answer that I don’t have a favourite, it changes depending on what mood I’m in but the one film that would come out on top for most moods would be ‘The Incredibles’. It’s my favourite of all the Pixar films, my favourite superhero film, my favourite animated film, works for all ages, families, unfailingly uplifts my mood and is infinitely quotable. So, I’m beyond excited to see if Brad Bird can give it a worthy sequel, because this is the sequel I’ve been waiting over a decade for and all details released so far about when and how the story will be picked up are exactly what I was hoping for, so this should be ‘TOTALLY EPIC’. It’s the one film I know I’ll travel for the earliest available screening of on the opening day.

2. Avengers: Infinity War

When?: April / May 2018

Why?: Have you seen the trailer? ‘The Avengers’ films have been the culmination of each phase of films and they are awesome but this is the culmination of everything so far, it’s what the whole MCU has been building towards for over a decade and is the definition of epic (honestly, check the OED). There’s also a lot to be said for the Russo brothers direction in the MCU so far, ‘Winter Soldier‘ and ‘Civil War‘ are both excellent and bear repeat viewing very well indeed. It’ll be nice to see how their skills work with such an extensive cast and huge scale but ‘Civil War’ was not small and they do some wonderful things with that, including one of the most surprising and compelling antagonists.

3. Black Panther

When?: February 2018

Why?: One of the standouts from ‘Civil War‘ was Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, he got the two sides of the character perfectly right. The trailers look epic and it is building towards ‘Infinity War’ with a character we wanted more of in his homeland which stands out as distinctive. Director Ryan Coogler impressed me greatly with ‘Creed‘ so I have full confidence he will blow me away with this.

4. Ant-Man and the Wasp

When?: July 2018

Why?: I was surprised by how much I loved the first film, I think it got the tone exactly right and the humour was fantastic. Thanks in no small measure to Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas, the film that was worrying fans with production issues managed to win me over with ease. There haven’t (yet) been any issues with the production on this sequel so it’s on a safer footing, there’s also a key romance plot being teased which the MCU hasn’t really got prominently at the moment in other films so this could be great for many reasons.

5. Glass

When?: January 18th 2019 (I know, it looks like it’s a 2019 highlight but I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll get moved up, plus I’m looking forward to seeing the trailer enough for that alone to make it into my top ten things I’m excited about in 2018).

Why?: Without spoiling ‘Split’ this ties in to a larger concept that M. Night Shyamalan has explored before. Casting is also very strong and it could be a full return to form for the director as the modest budget may refocus him on making the narrative strong rather than mistaken overreliance on special effects.

6. Aquaman

When?: December 2018

Why?: Despite being massively sceptical of DC’s movies, ‘Wonder Woman‘ proved they can make a good film, then months later ‘Justice League’ proved they can still make a bad film while getting closer to the right tone and being somewhat less of a disappointment. With ‘Aquaman’ I’m looking forward to seeing if they can do better, if there’s a glimmer of hope that ‘Justice League’ while a huge flop for DC might be able to get downgraded to a blip with a few really brilliant follow-up films. I remain sceptical, but it’s nice to hold on to a little hope.

7. Solo: A Star Wars Story

When?: May 2018

Why?: I’ve really enjoyed the new episodes in the Star Wars saga, and I actually quite liked ‘Rogue One‘ although it’s the easiest of the new three to pick apart as being riddled with problems. I loved the idea of Lord and Miller directing and though they were fired in favour of Ron Howard, I hope that there’s still little hints of their work that will make this an exciting and enjoyable film. Many are expecting this to be a disappointment, however, I’m not a huge Star Wars fanboy, I just enjoy the sci-fi action elements over any concern for the larger franchise or character legacy, so if it meets my expectations for a science fiction adventure film it’ll be great.

8. Oceans 8

When?: June 2018

Why?: I really love a good heist movie, especially the first Clooney-led ‘Oceans 11’. Sandra Bullock leading this seems like a great choice, the rest of the casting is excellent, the trailer is fun, all good signs so far. As long as the heist part is nicely twisty and has a bit of genius I’ll be happy. Due to my high expectations, this also stands a huge chance of being the biggest disappointment, so it really could go either way, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt for now and hope to be really please when I see it in the summer.

9. American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

When?: January 17th (onwards)

Why?: I was hooked by the first season that told the story of the O.J. Simpson trial. I binged the whole lot over about four or five days and it was some of the very best television I’ve seen in ages. This new season takes a different case, the murder of Versace, which I know even less about than I did with the Simpson case, so if it’s anywhere near as good as the first case I can imagine getting gripped again. It also stars Darren Criss (‘Glee’) who I’m a big fan of, so it’ll be nice to see him in a dramatic role.

10. X-Men: Dark Phoenix & New Mutants

When?: April and November 2018

Why?: I’ve merged these together as I don’t know which I’m liking the look of more and my reasons for being interested are largely the same for both films. I like the X-Men franchise and these are some of the last to be produced by Fox before being bought by Disney/Marvel. Because of that they could be considered the end of the franchise as it stands, or, if they are brilliant and do very well, they could potentially shape Disney’s way forward with these characters if these films are a foundation too good to do away with. Dark Phoenix has the chance to right some of the wrongs of the disappointing ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘New Mutants’ looks like it’s going to stand out as different from the rest of the franchise so may be a solid stand-alone ‘Hero Horror’ which could be incredible.

A few other honourable mentions:

The Meg (March): Jason Statham and a giant shark, that’s all I know, it’s all I need to know, though I did prefer the original title of just ‘Meg’ and I hope they go back to that. It should be somewhat ridiculous, hopefully in all the right ways, also it’s nice to see former professional diver Statham going back to the water.

Black Lightning (TV, January): The CW lineup of DC shows is already quite packed, I struggle to keep up with the four a week but this fifth show looks really good though apparently it won’t be tied into the ‘Arrowverse’ yet, I don’t know why other than it may be to see if audiences like it first, but the featurettes have already impressed me more than much of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’.

Venom (October): This should be out in October 2018 though it seems like the kind of film that could suffer delays. I’m reserving judgement because there are no firm details released about style or plot, it’ll be a while before we see a trailer. In its favour are Tom Hardy and Woody Harrelson, so that makes me think it could be superb.

Top 2017: TV Shows

My Top 10 5 TV Shows of 2017

I’m not up to date on most of the latest season of shows, some I’ve stockpiled a few episodes ready to get me through the winter months, but here are my top picks of the shows that I have really enjoyed this year. I wanted to do a top ten list but then realised I’ve not watched as much TV this year and only a few shows really stand out in my mind as being deserving of praise. What would be much longer is the list of shows that have disappointed me and lost my interest, but that’s so negative and I’d rather make a positive list today, that other one might come later.

Unusually, these should be considered as in no particular order, in fact, reverse the order below and it’s much closer to where I might have assigned a ranking:

  1. Big Bang Theory – After a really unimpressive tenth season, the latest season has been a lot better and I’m really pleased to say that it’s gone back to being something I look forward to watching each week, rather than as it was last season, a show I would leave a few episodes of until I was bored or had nothing else to watch. I do think they’re running out of steam with it a bit but maybe that’s why things have improved in quality, the writers don’t want to let the biggest sitcom go out in shame.
  2. Brooklyn Nine-Nine – With a major romance progression, some shows lose their way and spark, this hasn’t, they have kept the characters true to themselves and don’t put all the narrative focus on one key couple. All I ask for with a sit-com is that it’s consistently funny and this is, I can sit down to watch each episode with confidence that it will make me laugh a good few times and the storylines are always entertaining.
  3. Rick and Morty – I was late to the party on this one, now I’m totally on board. Some episodes I don’t enjoy very much but a couple of the latest season were particularly good. There are certain ideas and plotlines starting to emerge as strong threads through what seems on the surface to be a very random and unconnected show. I hope a few of these do actually pay off in the next season and give it a compelling arc to make it even more rewarding.
  4. The Orville – Billed as a sci-fi comedy, this has turned out to be so much more than it was advertised as. It’s quality science fiction with a little extra comedy rather than the other way round. I’ll write a fuller review very soon.
  5. Legion – this shocked me with how different it is, it feels like a series of connected arthouse films. My full review of the first season is here and I’m now looking forward to the second season in 2018 to see if it can continue to surprise me.

Honourable Mentions: Gilmore Girls – Yes I know, it’s old and ended years ago but there’s this little online service called Netflix. I’ve not yet seen the revived short ‘Year in the Life’ series but I loved watching Gilmore Girls steadily over the past year and it holds up well even though some references are now a bit old. Writer Amy Sherman-Palladino is getting some attention now for her new show ‘The Marvelous Mrs Maisel’ which has been nominated for Golden Globes, so I don’t know if Netflix will get another short season out of her anytime soon.

I’m yet to binge watch some others, the second season of ‘Stranger Things’ being one I have set aside for this week, as well as catching up on the whole CW set of DC shows which I usually really enjoy, though I’ve seen the first half dozen episodes of the latest season of ‘Supergirl’ and it’s struggling to hold my attention and the first handful of episodes of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ prove it’s stuck in a rut. ‘The Flash’ so far has been really very good but I’m only up to the crossover episode and will have to wait to see if the season can stick the landing on it’s second half.

There are a few shows that are recently returned to screens or that are relatively new that I need to see more of before they can be reviewed, such as ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ and ‘The Good Doctor’, but I expect I’ll write more about them towards the middle of the year as the main TV season wraps.