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I really enjoyed this trailer for Picard, the new show in which Patrick Stewart will reprise his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard:

That’s a great trailer.  Will the show be any good?  Who knows.  I’m dubious, mostly because I’m just not sure that Alex Kurtzman is the best shepherd for the Trek franchise.  (I haven’t loved any of the J. J. Abrams movies that Mr. Kurtzman was involved with, and I’ve found Discovery to be mostly disappointing.)  But I want to believe.  (Oops, wrong franchise.)  Patrick Stewart looks great in this trailer; just seeing him as Picard again is a joy.  There are some great visuals.  I loved the callback to “Captain Picard Day.”  I LOVED seeing Data again at the end.  (My thinking is that Picard is playing cards with a holographic Data, just as Data often played cards with holographic figures from the past, back on TNG.)  I loved the revelation late in the trailer that this story has something to do with the Borg.  While the Borg were given a terrific finale and resolution in the Star Trek novels (in David Mack’s wonderful Destiny trilogy), they never got a great finale on-screen, so I’d love to see them revisited here.  (I’m also intrigued to hear that Hugh from “I, Borg” will be back in some manner!)

I don’t love the implications that Picard left Starfleet because of something to do with the destruction of Romulus (a rather silly plot point from the first J. J. Abrams Star Trek film).  And while I have nothing against Jeri Ryan and am quite happy to see her character of Annika/Seven again, I think her appearance as the “wow” surprise towards the end of this trailer demonstrates Alex Kurtzman’s misunderstanding of what TNG fans are looking for.  I want to see Doctor Crusher in this show far more than I want to see Seven of Nine from Voyager!!  Well, we’ll soon see what they’ve cooked up.  I am truly hoping for the best.

Marvel had a lot of exciting announcements at San Diego Comic Con.  Click here for a summary.

* Black Widow: The Black Widow prequel film which we all knew was in-the-works was officially announced.  I’m excited for Scarlet Johansson to finally be the lead of a Marvel film, and I’m very curious to know where/how this will fit into the overall timeline.

* The Eternals: This is a very curious choice.  This is a very obscure title from the Marvel archive.  Over the years, I’ve read some interesting stories featuring Eternals characters in the Fantastic Four and Avengers comic book series, but this wouldn’t jump out at me as something I’d long to see in a movie.  I’m very curious what Marvel is cooking up with this one.

* Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: I have no particular attachment to Shang-Chi, but I’m excited to see a film with an Asian lead.  And I’m thrilled that what we learned in the great Mandarin “One Shot” short film is being confirmed: that the Ten Rings organization hinted at way back in the very first Iron Man actually DOES exist in the MCU.  I can’t wait to see the pay-off to this long-simmering sub-plot running through these movies.

* Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: I’m excited for a Doctor Strange sequel, and also very happy that, although much of what Mysterio told Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Far From Home was eventually revealed as false, that we WILL be getting a confirmation of the existence of the multiverse in the live-action MCU.  (The multiverse was, of course, a huge part of the story of the fantastic Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse animated film.)

* Thor: Love and Thunder: I LOVE the idea that Natalie Portman will be returning to the MCU in this adaptation of the recent Thor comic books featuring Jane Foster assuming the mantle of Thor.  Jane’s disappearance from the MCU has been a dangling thread, and while I loved seeing her again in Avengers: Endgame, that moment was slightly undercut by the fact that the sequence was clearly made out of old footage from Thor: The Dark World.  I’m very excited to see Natalie Portman make a proper return to the MCU… and another Thor film directed by Taika Waititi, and reuniting Chris Hemsworth with Tessa Thompson, makes me very, very happy.

While Marvel has teased, in the past, having TV shows in the movie continuity, those prior efforts mostly fell short.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. referenced the events of the Marvel films and even incorporated a number of characters from the films… but I never cared much for the show, and while the show referenced the films, the films ignored the show.  The Marvel Netflix shows, meanwhile, referenced the “incident” (meaning the alien invasion from The Avengers) but there was never more of a connection than that.  But now it seems Marvel is trying this again, with a number of new shows announced for the Disney+ streaming service that are supposed to be an integral part of this new “Phase Four.”  I am very intrigued to see what this looks like, and if Marvel can pull this off!  This first round of shows is certainly interesting:

* The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: I am excited to see more of both these great characters!  I am hoping this show will take place AFTER Avengers: Endgame, and show us how these two adapt in the wake of Steve Rogers’ stepping off the field.

* WandaVision: I love the title, and I am also excited to see more of these two great characters!  This show is supposedly taking place during the five-year time-period of Thanos’ snap, but I am hoping that we’ll wind up getting a resurrection of the Vision that Endgame denied us.

* Loki: At first glance I’m not so interested in a story of an alternate-timeline Loki (apparently this will be the Loki from the past who escaped with the Tesseract in Endgame), but I’m delighted to see Tom Hiddleston back as this character, and of course I’m curious to see what they have planned.

* What If: If done right, this animated show could be amazing.  I’m super-excited by the announcements that so many of the MCU actors will be reprising their characters for the show.  This has the potential to be super-cool.

* Hawkeye: We don’t know much about this show yet, but there’s a lot to be explored in Jeremy Renner’s character, so this also feels like a good choice.

That’s a lot of cool Marvel stuff coming down the pike in the next few years!  Some of the choices are weird and out-there, but Marvel hasn’t let me down yet…

I’ve never watched any of the “Arrowverse” family of DC shows.  I have nothing against them.  Many of the shows look great!!  But I doin’t have unlimited time to watch TV, and there are so many shows I want to watch, that I’ve just never dug into this universe.  But, wow, I just might hav e to start with the revelation that Brandon Routh will be reprising his role of Clark Kent/Superman from Bryan Singer’s hugely underrated Superman Returns for the shows’ big “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover in the fall!!  Wow!!  That is very cool.  Superman Returns isn’t a perfect film, but there is a LOT in that film that I really enjoy.  I wish we’d gotten a sequel; I’m sorry that these days it’s mostly ignored.

This is VERY exciting: there seem to finally be official “discussions” about releasing a 4K version of the wonderful 2001 “Director’s Edition” of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Robert Wise’s film was famously rushed into release, with many referring to the theatrical version as just a “rough cut” of the film.  This variety article gives more info.  From the article: “the 132-minute pic was never tested in previews: Composer Jerry Goldsmith finished recording the music only five days before the premiere, and Wise himself carried the print to the Washington world preem.”  Two decades later, a terrific team worked with Robert Wise to actually finish the movie.  They adjusted the edit, tightening scenes while also reincorporating many wonderful scenes that were seen in the over-long TV version of the film, but hadn’t been included in the original theatrical cut.  They finished the sound mix, and even added some beautiful CGI effects that seamlessly integrated with the 1979 effects while expanding the scope of the story beyond what we’d seen before.  TMP will never be my favorite Star Trek film, but the “Director’s Edition” was a triumph, and as far as I’m concerned, that is forevermore the official version of this film.  Robert Wise certainly felt that way.  And so, it’s a tragedy that as a cost-saving measure by the studio at the time, the film was only ever released in SD on DVD.  I long for a beautiful 4k high-definition version of this film… and would love for that to happen soon!!

July 5th was the 30th anniversary of the airing of the very first Seinfeld episode!  Wow!!  (It was called The Seinfeld Chronicles at the time.)  In celebration, here’s a very fun look back at 30 of Elaine’s very best moments from the series.

This is a lovely spotlight on Michael Biehn, an actor who I’ve always loved (particularly in The Terminator and Aliens) and who I always hope to see more of.

Sad news of the massing of Max Wright, an actor for many decades who I’ll always remember as the dad from Alf.  

This is a wonderful look back at the making of “The Rainbow Connection.”

See you all back here soon!

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