Well, I’m back after a week off and feeling like there’s not a lot of news to talk about because its that time of year when a lot of broadcast genre shows have ended their seasons. I am still following Legion, Westworld, and The Expanse which are all nearing the end of their current seasons. However, help is on the way in the form of Preacher season 3 set to premiere Sunday, June 24 at 10/9c on AMC, and Luke Cage season 2 will premiere on June 22 on Netflix. Most of this week’s news is about series that will arrive shortly and the shows that will be starting up again in the fall, Making this a coming attractions edition so to speak.
IN THE NEWS
DC UNIVERSE: First off let’s begin with a couple of items of interest I came across this week. Both are regarding DC’s new streaming service. One report says that the target date for the service to begin may be sooner than you think with a launch date as early as late August. In addition to plans to integrate the entire back catalog of animated TV shows and movies the service which describes itself as the hub for all things DC, will be introducing original programming as well as I have reported here before.
In addition to Swamp Thing, from filmmaker James Wan, DC Universe is also producing a live-action Titans series, a continuation of fan-favorite animated series Young Justice — called Young Justice: Outsiders — and a live-action Doom Patrol series. An animated Harley Quinn series, with Margot Robbie, expected to reprise her role as the title character, and live-action series titled Metropolis, following the adventures of Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, are also in development. Poised to become the premier location to stream DC-inspired films and TV series, DC Universe is also expected to house an extensive collection of digital comics in its catalog.
In other DC UNiverse related news, we also have a couple of items related to the live-action Teen Titans series which, to me, sounds the most promising of the service’s original programming. First of all, reports that the character Jason Todd aka the Red Hood was on set along with the show’s version of the Bat signal. Sounds like reasons to start getting maybe a little worked up about.
GAME OF THRONES: Reports say HBO has greenlit a pilot for the first of its planned Game Of Thrones spinoffs, a prequel written by Jane Goldman (Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Secret Service) and executive produced by George R.R. Martin.
Based on an idea by Goldman and Martin, the untitled series is set thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, during “the world’s descent from the Golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.” The project promises to reveal the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history and the true origin of the white walkers and explore the mysteries of the East and the Starks of legend.
Goldman and Martin’s series is only one of five potential spinoffs being considered by HBO to fill the void when Game of Thrones, a ratings blockbuster, completes its final season next year. Martin has confirmed that all of those are prequels none of the projects would air until at least 2020.
HIS DARK MATERIALS: James McAvoy has signed on for the BBC miniseries adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy epic His Dark Materials He plays Lord Asriel, portrayed in the 2007 film The Golden Compass by Daniel Craig. The BBC is planning on bringing the epic fantasy series to television in what may well prove to be a television event unprecedented in scope and stature. Unlike the previous adaptation of Pullman’s fantasy trilogy, the BBC series will cover all three His Dark Materials novels: The Golden Compass (or The Northern Lights as published outside of North America), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
The young-adult series follows a girl named Lyra (Logan‘s Dafne Keen) in a multiverse of parallel dimensions where humans have animal-formed daemons (a sort of connected spirit guide). Lyra uncovers a plot by the evil “Gobblers” to kidnap children and perform experiments to sever the bond between human and daemon and sets out on an adventure across the multiverse to save her friend Roger with the help of an armored bear and an aeronaut, Lee Scoresby (Lin-Manuel Miranda).
McAvoy’s character, Lord Asriel, is a ruthless adventurer and Lyra’s biological father. Asriel is researching Dust, an elementary particle, and opposes the prominent religious institution of his world, the Church.
Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) will direct the series, which has no release date as of yet. Some streaming services and broadcasters are considering picking up the series, which is supposedly one of the most expensive British productions ever made. Wow, I can hardly wait already just knowing the quality of work, attention to detail and love that BBC is capable of putting into its projects is enough to get me excited about this production.
THIS WEEK’S TV: Okay, that’s it for this week’s news, now for some comments on this week’s shows. I watched more than three, but Westworld, Legion and The Expanse are the shows I want to talk about this time around. These three series represent to me some of the best genre series currently on television. They are the ones I enjoyed most and that were the most memorable genre shows on the air this week.
WESTWORLD: This week this surreal and sometimes confusing series was another memorable jumble of nightmarish violence, cryptic narrative, and endless exposition. Anthony Hopkins’ return as Robert Ford was very welcome, but at the same time, it represents the risk that its meaningless and there are no real consequences when a character dies if humans can now return from the dead as well as hosts. Dolores and Maeve continued to express emotional attachment about their dad and daughter respectively. The man in Black comes extremely close to actual death during his search for ‘The Door’ at the hands of Maeve when she puts on a nifty demonstration of her ability to control other hosts. The woke hosts made it to the labs and confronted Charlotte Hale. I still enjoy this series, but there are times I wonder if watching this series is an exercise in masochism because there are times I feel like its a puzzle intentionally made to be unsolvable.
LEGION: This time around, once again, this week’s episode featured a whole lot of Syd and her struggle to come to terms with her relationship with David and Farouk’s attempts to undermine it. Except for David’s rapid descent into sadistic madness, the action of this week’s episode is primarily female-centric. Syd ventures outside the tent to find a deep pit next to an oversized bathtub stopper. When she gets too close to the hole, she’s baited to the edge by a white rabbit on a hook, then quickly pierced through the hand and dragged down below. There’s so much symbolism utilized it’s sometimes hard to differentiate exactly what is real and what isn’t.
It’s never safe to assume things are as they appear on Legion, but it’s safe to say that by the end of the episode things appear to be pretty bad. Farouk has achieved everything he’s been after all season, and all of David’s plans are in shambles. Syd turns against David, David turns against himself, Oliver is gravely injured, I still haven’t figured out the now armed with a sniper rifle Lenny’s role in all this. there are still some amusing moments in all the darkness like when the Division 3 robot girls (?) surrender after calculating the odds of their success. Each week this show takes me down the rabbit hole (literally this time), and I come away somewhat confused but feeling like I had an enjoyable time watching this f***ing weird TV show. I think I like the idea that its challenging. Here’s a preview of next week’s season finale
THE EXPANSE: In a pretty amusing episode, Miller is driving Holden crazy, or maybe he imagines he’s seeing him, but. I don’t think that’s the case. The muttering detective who appears and disappears arbitrarily is somehow actually there and cryptically giving Holden a way to get ahead of things before things really get out of control. A lot is discovered about what is going on through The Ring which seems to be a separate, starless slice or ‘bowl’ of space and may be another dimension. The missile that nearly hit them on the other side of The Ring changes course and is no longer a threat because the physics inside this place are different somehow.
When Amos pieces it together that the cameraman is responsible for planting that fake message from Holden, in which it appears that he’s claiming he blew up the UN ship on behalf of the OPA. Without working comms to explain their situation, the Roci is still in grave danger and, more immediately, so is that cameraman, though Amos decides not to squeeze the life out of him but because he’s Amos he still ends up taking what most would consider extreme measures.
Aboard the OPA’s Behemoth, Naomi is freaking out, wondering if the Rocinante, which is now hidden by the Ring, has been hit by her ship’s torpedo. Naomi, in the end, decides to return to the Roci because she finally figures out that’s where she belongs. The episode ends with another pair of cliffhangers that were enough to make me utter a groan out loud with Holden leaving the Roci in a spacesuit following the lead of Miller’s ‘ghost’ to see where it leads him. This week’s episode was another excellent hour of science fiction television with never a dull moment.