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Josh Reviews Nobody Does it Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond

October 29th, 2021

I am a huge fan of the oral histories by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross.  My favorite is their phenomenal, voluminous two-part look back at the entire history of the Star Trek franchise: The Fifty-Year Mission.  I’ve also devoured and enjoyed their oral history of Battlestar Galactica (both the original series and Ronald D. Moore’s wonderful reimagining), called So Say We All, as well as their recently-published oral history of the Star Wars saga called Secrets of the Force.  But, wow, I might just have a new favorite: their 2020 oral history of James Bond: Nobody Does it Better.

This enormous book is a staggeringly in-depth history of the entire fifty years (and counting) history of the James Bond film series.  This book was pure joy for me from start to finish.  I highly recommend this book to all Bond fans out there!

Once again Mr. Altman & Mr. Gross utilize the oral history format to tell this story.  They have interviewed an extraordinary array of men and women who have been involved with this series both in front of and behind the cameras from across the decades.  Their personally-conducted interviews have been supplemented by additional interview material from a variety of other sources, resulting in a stunningly comprehensive and in-depth look back at the history of Bond.  Everyone you could possibly want to hear from has been included here.

I love the oral history format, and Mr. Altman & Mr. Gross have perfected its use.  It’s wonderful to hear the stories behind these films right from the mouths of the people who were involved in making them.  Because we’re getting to experience the history of Bond through the stories these people are telling, the book never gets boring, even when we get into some of the more dreadful Bond pictures.  Quite the opposite: it’s super-fun to explore the making of those bad movies and to get a taste of what might have gone wrong, and to see the (often differing) reflections of the people who were involved as they look back.

The book begins with a fascinating history of the Bond franchise, of how that first film, Dr. No., ultimately got made, and how Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman became the stewards of the film franchise.  (The Broccoli family remain in charge of the Bond films to this day, a remarkable and unprecedented achievement in Hollywood.)  After that, to my great delight, the film goes film by film through each and every installment in the series — including the one non-Broccoli produced Bond film, Never Say Never Again — all the way up through Spectre.  (The book was published a year ago, so it doesn’t cover the [continued]

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Frank Herbert’s Dune is one of my very favorite novels.  I adore it and have read it many times.  (Each time I read it, I feel like I inch closer to full comprehension.)  I have a soft spot in my heart for David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Dune; it’s a terrible movie, but I still find quite a lot to enjoy.  I am an unabashed fan of John Harrison’s three-part Dune adaptation for the Sci-Fi channel from 2000, as well as the 2003 follow-up Children of Dune.  Some of the visual effects from those mini-series haven’t aged well, but I think the cast in both mini-series is fantastic, there’s lots of wonderfully weird design work, and most of all they approached the adaptations with seriousness and great reverence for Frank Herbert’s work.  But while I love those previous efforts, I still felt that a definitive, fully satisfying adaptation of Dune had not yet been achieved.  To say that I was excited when I heard that Denis Villeneuve would be adapting Dune for the big screen would be an enormous understatement.  I am a huge fan of Mr. Villeneuve’s previous two gorgeous sci-fi films, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, and I thought he was the perfect choice to tackle Frank Herbert’s epic.

Mr. Villeneuve and his team did not disappoint.  Dune Part One is a masterpiece.  It is a magnificent piece of work.  It is stunningly gorgeous.  The cast is extraordinary.  The film digs deep into Frank Herbert’s universe; they have produced a remarkably faithful adaptation that is able to respect the richness of the world of Dune while also compressing and simplifying the story and the vast cast of characters to present it all in a way that is clear and easy to follow.  The film is long, but it is masterfully paced and never lags.  I was hooked in right from the first frame and on to the last.  I could have easily watched three more hours of Dune immediately.  Do I really have to wait years for the second half of the story???

(I really wonder how general audiences will respond when they get to the end of this film.  It doesn’t end on a “dun-dun-dun” cliffhanger, but the we’re clearly leaving off in the middle of the story.  It’s very similar to the end of Peter Jackson’s The Fellowship of the Ring film…)

(Update: Dune Part Two was green-lit yesterday, with a release date of October 2023.  I’ll be very impressed if they’re really able to get that second film into theaters in just two years!  I hope that happens.  While I applaud and support to split this adaptation of Dune into two films — … [continued]

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Late to the Party: Josh Reviews The Queen’s Gambit

October 25th, 2021

The Queen’s Gambit was released on Netflix almost exactly a year ago (in October, 2020), and right away it seemed like everyone was raving about it.  I was intrigued and definitely interested in watching it, but I was so busy that I had trouble finding the time, and one thing after another kept bopping The Queen’s Gambit down on my to-watch list.   But after the summer, this was one of the first shows on my list.  I wondered what I’d think of the show, with a little separation from all of the excitement about it last year.  I needn’t have worried about being over-hyped.  I thought The Queen’s Gambit was terrific — it was riveting, high-quality storytelling from start to finish.

The seven-episode mini-series was written and directed by Scott Frank, based on Walter Tevis’s 1983 novel.  The series follows Beth Harmon from age eight into her twenties, as she discovers she is a chess prodigy and gradually climbs from an unhappy orphanage to the highest levels of the international chess world.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Beth, and she is tremendous in the role.  I’ve enjoyed Ms. Taylor-Joy’s work, mostly in genre movies like Split or The New Mutants.  But this is a stunning leap forward; it feels like one of those perfect matches between character and performer that come along every now and then.  To say that Ms. Taylor-Joy owns this role would be an understatement.

I also quite enjoyed Isla Johnston’s work as young Beth in the first episode.  I was quite surprised to discover that Ms. Taylor-Joy wasn’t in that first episode, that the entire opening episode focused on young Beth’s experiences in an orphanage after the death of her mother.  In the end, this was a wonderful choice, because so much of Beth’s future behavior was molded by her formative experiences in the orphanage.  I must admit that I found some of this difficult to watch; I have a hard time watching kids suffering on TV or in movies.  But I found that first episode to be gripping; I was totally hooked into Beth’s story, and when Ms. Taylor-Joy took over the role in the second episode, things only got more compelling.

Beth displayed some, um, anti-social tendencies at times, but one of my favorite aspects of the show was seeing how a small but tight group of friends from within the chess world slowly gathered around her.  (One of my favorite moments in the finale was seeing a group of them on the phone, working hard to counsel her on her moves in her match against Borgov!)  This was a great ensemble of actors: Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Jojen Reed on Game of Thrones) as the talented … [continued]

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The Star Trek Literary Universe Appears to Draw to a Close with Star Trek Coda Book One: Moments Asunder

Back in 2001, I read the novel Star Trek: Avatar, by S.D. Perry, which picked up the story of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine following the events of the series finale.  I loved the book, and I was delighted to see a continuation and exploration of the DS9 story and characters beyond the events of the finale.  It was particularly cool that, right from that first book, the story wasn’t contained to just the DS9 characters, but involved Captain Picard and TNG characters as well.  Avatar turned out to be the first step in an extraordinary series of novels.  (Actually, multiple interconnected series!)  First it was a series of post-finale DS9 books.  Then there was a series of post-Nemesis TNG books and post-finale Voyager books (and even post-finale Enterprise books, set two centuries earlier), as well as a number of Original Series books that also were connected to these continuing stories.  These series of novels could be read separately, but to my delight the books wove in and out of one another, with characters crossing franchises and the books referencing one another.  This vast and ever-growing tapestry of Star Trek novels has continued for the past two decades, and has resulted in one of the greatest and most consistently entertaining sci-fi narratives I have ever come across, in any medium.  These authors (and editors) clearly have a deep, deep love for Star Trek, and it’s been incredible to see how they’ve been able to explore these characters (in many ways, far more deeply than had ben done in the canonical on-screen adventures) and push the stories forward — both the personal stories and the epic galactic stories — in a way that they couldn’t do within the framework of a TV show with its necessity of maintaining a status quo structure and a realistic budget.

For the past few years, however — ever since the Picard TV series was announced — I worried that the end of this wonderful continuing story was nigh.  Even before I’d seen a minute of Picard, it was obvious that show would contradict the events of the novel series.  In 2017, the novel series suddenly ceased publication.  I assume this was not a coincidence.  I was relieved when the books resumed in the spring of 2019 (with Dayton Ward’s TNG novel Available Light), but after only a few more books came out, it looked like David Mack’s 2020 novel Collateral Damage might be the last one we’d get.  Collateral Damage was a great book, but it didn’t feel like a true conclusion to this two decades-plus interconnected novel series.

And so I am delighted that, a year later, we’re getting the three-novel … [continued]

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Josh Reviews What If…? Season One!

October 20th, 2021
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What If…? is the latest Marvel TV series on Disney+, and the first animated one.  The show is an anthology, with each half-hour episode exploring an alternate timeline in which events from the MCU movies unfolded in a different way.  As with all of the other recent Disney+ Marvel shows, the series is directly tied into established MCU continuity, with many/most of the show’s characters voiced by the actual actors who played them in live-action.

I adored the classic What If comic book series as a kid.  I read the series for years in the eighties and nineties.  (For comic book geeks, this would be volume 2 of the original comic book series, which ran from 1989 to 1998.)  I loved the way the series depicted wildly different versions of familiar comic book stories; quite often including a high body-count of major characters who I knew would always survive unscathed in their regular comic book series, but who in What If often died terrible deaths.  That was mind-blowing to me as a kid!  And a great deal of fun.

I was super-excited when I first heard that What If was going to be turned into an MCU show for Disney+.  It still boggles my mind that this extremely comic-booky idea has been brought to life as a TV show!!!  I have some problems with the show, but it’s important to step back and remind myself just how wild it is that this show actually exists!  It’s very cool and I am very grateful.

The first nine-episode season of What If…? is enjoyable and fun to watch.  But it didn’t quite land with the impact that I’d been hoping for.  I don’t think the writing was quite at the level of the best MCU stuff.  There were a lot of jokes that I don’t think I found as funny as the show intended me to, and for a series whose core concept is about exploring the continuity of the MCU, the series often bungled its own continuity.  (Here’s an example: in the penultimate episode, we see Ultron leave Earth and destroy familiar MCU worlds, including Xandar… before encountering Thanos, who arrives at Earth bearing the Infinity Gauntlet as he did in Infinity War.  Except, oops: if Thanos has the Infinity Gauntlet, that means he’d already destroyed Xandar himself when he got the power stone, as established in Infinity War, so Xandar should have already been destroyed when Ultron got there… or how about how the Watcher tells the gathered heroes in the finale that he doesn’t know where Ultron is, except that Ultron was right there when the Watcher yanked away party-boy Thor at the end of episode seven… Oops again!)… [continued]

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Josh Reviews Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

October 18th, 2021

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his best friend Katy (Awkwafina) are happy working go-nowhere jobs together, parking cars as hotel valets.  But when Shang is attacked on a bus, the past he’d tried to bury comes rushing back.  It turns out his father is Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), a crime lord who has lived for thousands of years thanks to the power of the mystical ten rings he’s been using to assemble a vast criminal empire.  Shang and Katy set out to find Shang’s estranged sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) and stop their father from finding and destroying the mystical home of their deceased mother.

2019’s Avengers Endgame brought to a close the incredible, unprecedented 22-movie saga of the MCU to that point.  Spider-Man: Far From Home served as a lovely epilogue to the events of Endgame, and Black Widow was all about filling in some missing pieces from earlier in the saga.  Shang-Chi and Legend of the Ten Rings feels like the true beginning of Phase Four of the MCU, as we’re introduced to a wealth of new characters and we venture into unexplored corners of the MCU.  While of course there are some fun MCU connections to be found in this film, it’s a completely satisfying stand-along adventure with these new characters.  This is exciting!  And it’s one of the most impressive aspects of this film for me.  I’d worried these early Phase Four films would feel like a step backwards into the early days of Phase One, when the MCU was new and the films and characters weren’t that well-connected.  How could we go back to that after the magnificent depth of continuity in Infinity War and Endgame??  It turns out, when done as skillfully as it is here, it feels absolutely great.  Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings feels delightfully fresh, while still containing the balance of adventure and fun that has been so critical to the MCU’s success.

Shang-Chi has a long history in the Marvel comics, but despite that he is for sure the most obscure Marvel comics character to headline a film to this point.  (Yes, general movie-going audiences might not have known anything about, say, Groot and co. in Guardians of the Galaxy, but those characters were well-known to modern comic-book fans.)  But (despite some attempts to revitalize him over the years) Shang-Chi’s most successful comic book run was back in the seventies.  The character and his world have been substantially reinvented for this film, and I’m very pleased with what they’ve come up with.  Once again, Marvel’s brilliance with casting shines here, as Simu Liu is perfection as Shang-Chi.  Mr. Liu is able to nail both the “loser everyman” aspect … [continued]

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News Around the Net

October 15th, 2021

This looks amazing: a trailer for Peter Jackson’s Beatles documentary (it was a film, now it’s a multi-part series for Disney+) called Get Back:

Here’s the first trailer for House of the Dragon, the upcoming Game of Thrones spin-off show:

I must admit I’m having some trouble getting too enthusiastic for a return to the world of Game of Thrones...  I didn’t hate the final season of the show as many other did, but I was disappointed by the end.  (Click here for my detailed thoughts on Game of Thrones’ series finale.)  Still, I’m sure I’ll watch this new show to see if it’s any good…

Here’s a trailer for Black Lotus, the upcoming animated Blade Runner spin-off show:

I love the idea of more stories set in the Blade Runner world, but this trailer doesn’t seem very interesting to me.

Here’s a trailer for The Center Seat, the multi-episode documentary for The History Channel exploring the vast history of Star Trek, narrated by Gates McFadden:

I’ve watched and read a LOT of Trek documentaries but I’m always up for one more.  The trailer is… interesting.  I love the idea of a doc that’s somewhat irreverent, that dives into the juicy behind-the-scenes stories as opposed to the familiar Trek legends.  The trailer definitely leans into that.  But one can also go too far in that direction, and this trailer makes me a little nervous about that.  (Also: I am fairly certain Kirstie Alley is not telling the truth when she claims that she was offered less money for Star Trek III than Star Trek II.)  From the trailer it looks like they interviewed a vast array of people from in front of and behind the camera from across the many decades of Trek, which gets me excited.  On the other hand, this show comes from Brian Volk-Weiss, who was behind The Movies That Made Us, a series about which I was lukewarm because of its too-goofy tone.  So… consider my fingers crossed on this one.

Speaking of behind-the-scenes Trek stories, I’m intrigued to learn that Nana Visitor — so magnificent in her portrayal of Kira Nerys on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — is writing a book called A Woman’s Trek, in which she interviews many of the women behind Star Trek from across the years.  Click here for a fascinating interview with Ms. Visitor.  I can’t wait to read this book.

I’m pleased to see that Foundation has been reviewed for a second season by Apple TV+.  So far the series hasn’t been everything that I’d hoped, but I’d like to see the show given more time to play out (and hopefully find itself).

After the … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Ted Lasso Season Two!

October 13th, 2021

I loved the first season of Ted Lasso.  The show quickly became one of my very favorite currently-running TV shows.  I quickly fell in love with all of the characters.  The show was very funny, but more importantly I was moved by the series’ upbeat, life-affirming ethos.  I was incredibly excited for season two to arrive, and I’m pleased at how strong this second installment was.  It’s a little shaggier than the first season, a little messier, but for the most part that’s because the series chose to deepen and challenge its characters, something I was very happy to see.

Season one of Ted Lasso was pretty much a perfect season of TV.  It’s tough to top such a flawless first season.  Even if the follow-up season is just as great, it can still wind up feeling like a disappointment because you’re missing that initial spark of discovery.  That is hard to avoid, and I freely admit that I felt that when watching Ted Lasso season two.

I found it took me a little while to settle into the new rhythms of the new season.  After watching the season two premiere, I remember commenting that a few of Ted’s lines felt to me more like a parody of Ted’s dialogue rather than something I felt the character would naturally say.  I suspect that speaks more to the hurdle I had to get over to accept a continuation/expansion of the beloved first season than a weakness of the show.  (I’m looking forward to finding the time to rewatch those early episodes to revisit how I think about them.)  Either way, by the third episode I thought the season was off to the races and I was once again totally hooked in.

I enjoyed the way season two chose to dig in and explore Ted’s positive attitude and the ripple effects, positive and negative, that can have on those around him.  I was intrigued that the early episodes this season presented us with a Richmond team that was happy and loving one another, and yet failing to win matches.

Like Ted himself, I wasn’t sure at first about the addition of a major new character, the new team psychologist Sharon.  But in the end I grew to love Sharon just as much as every other member of the ensemble, and I loved how she allowed us to explore the damage that Ted’s unrelenting positivity was hiding.  The dual montages in episode ten, in which Ted and Rebecca describe traumatic events involving their fathers, was a high point of the season.  I loved Sarah Niles’ work as the unflappable Sharon.  It was fun to see someone unaffected by Ted’s charm, and then … [continued]

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Josh Reviews No Time to Die

October 11th, 2021
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No Time To Die is the fifth and final film starring Daniel Craig as James Bond.  The film is excellent, with some terrific action set-pieces and also some lovely moments of emotional depth (something the series rarely saw before Mr. Craig took on the role).  While the film is not everything I’d hoped it would be, it’s definitely top-tier Bond and a thoroughly enjoyable adventure.

One of my favorite aspects of Mr. Craig’s run of Bond films has been the continuity between the films.  (I’ve heard many say this was a first for the Bond movies.  That’s not exactly the case, as the early Sean Connery films had a gentle continuity between them as Bond slowly became aware of the menace of Blofeld and S.P.E.C.T.R.E., and things got escalatingly personal, culminating with the death of Bond’s wife.  Unfortunately, after George Lazenby’s one-and-done time in the role, the series for the most part abandoned any connections between their films, with each new movie basically being a stand-alone adventure.)  I’ve loved the continuity between the Daniel Craig Bond films.  When well done (as in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), this allows for stories and character development with increasing depth and resonance.  Unfortunately, the Bond series also has shown the dangers of this approach — when Spectre (in my opinion) completely bungled the reveal of Blofeld and Spectre, the whole multi-film storyline appeared to collapse.

I’d wondered whether this new film would attempt to forget about Spectre or if it would somehow try to follow up on that film.  The filmmakers chose the latter approach, and I’m delighted that they did.  No Time To Die works hard (and mostly succeeds) at correcting the mistakes of Spectre, bringing back characters such as Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) and Blofeld (Christoph Waltz) but doing a much better job at developing their characters and their relationships to Bond.  The film is filled with references to and connections to the previous films in Mr. Craig’s run, in a valiant attempt to bring the many storylines and character threads together into a satisfying conclusion.  I’m delighted that is the approach the filmmakers took.  No Time to Die is a film that takes many big narrative swings, several of which truly surprised me.  These story twists didn’t all work for me, but I love the film’s ambition and the attempt to do what has never before been done in more than fifty years of Bond films: actually craft a satisfying ending.  (I’ll get into more details, in the SPOILERS section below, on my thoughts on these plot developments.)

A key element of the strength of the Daniel Craig Bond films has been the caliber of the directors hired to helm … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Kevin Smith’s Red State

As I wrote recently in my review of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, for the first decade or so of Kevin Smith’s film career I was a huge fan.  I still have a lot of love in my heart for his first run of films: Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  Things got a little wobblier beginning with Jersey Girl, though.  The recent Jay and Silent Bob Reboot is not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s the first Kevin Smith film I have unabashedly enjoyed since 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  Even when I wasn’t loving his films, for the most part I did still make a point to go see any new Kevin Smith film, hoping for one that would recapture what I’d used to love in his movies.  But there were a few I’d missed along the way.  Red State was one of those; I’m not a horror movie fan, and so the idea of Kevin Smith leaving his comfort zone to make a horror movie was not a pitch that appealed to me.  However, for years I’ve been sort of curious as to what Red State was all about.  After enjoying Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, I decided to finally go back and fill in this hole in my viewing of Mr. Smith’s filmography.

The story of Red State begins when three teenagers decide to follow up on an online conversation with what they think is a single older woman offering to have sex with them.  Unfortunately for them, they’ve been ensnared in a scheme by a group of extreme Christian fundamentalists, who have decided that the time has come to take action against sinners.  When the local law enforcement gets wise to what is happening in this Church compound, the situation quickly escalates into a Waco-like violent siege…

Red State is not at all my type of film – I wrote above that I’m not a fan of horror movies, and Red State did not change my mind on that — but it is exceedingly well made.  I was very impressed!  Red State is easily the best directed movie of Kevin Smith’s career!  Sometimes I’ve found the directing in Mr. Smith’s films to be very basic – for example, I noted in my review of Jay and Silent Bob Reboot that I felt that the film had a flat look that seemed somewhat amateurish.  But Red State looked terrific!

The filmmaking was impressively gritty and raw.  I was sucked into the story, and I was impressed by how skillfully Mr. Smith was able to build up a very intense and suspenseful story.  … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Schmigadoon!

October 4th, 2021

Schmigadoon! is a six-episode TV series on Apple TV+ that’s a good-natured homage to classic movie musicals.  The story centers on Melissa (Cecily Strong) and Josh (Keegan-Michael Key), a young couple whose relationship has fallen into something of a rut.  After they get into an argument while on a couples retreat in the woods, they stumble into the town of Schmigadoon, where everyone seems to be in a musical!  The old-fashioned people are (mostly) friendly and upbeat… and constantly busting into song.  It turns out that Melissa and Josh are trapped in this strange town until they each find true love…

Schmigadoon! is a silly and enjoyably entertaining story.  At six half-hour episodes, we get enough time to explore the characters and this world, without being stuck there too long that it starts to feel like a chore.  The series is a loving salute to classic movie musicals.  I myself am not remotely a musical fan.  (I only know about Brigadoon because of the terrible Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode that’s based on it.)  (That would be the third season episode “Meridian”, fellow nerds.)  So I am sure there might be some musical-specific jokes or references in the show that went over my head.  But despite my lack of love for or knowledge of musicals, I quite enjoyed Schmigadoon!  I knew enough about musicals from pop cultures that I think I got most of the gags, and I found the series silly and good natured enough that it held my interest.

Both Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key are strong in the lead roles.  They’re both very funny, and solid enough dramatic performers that they can give weight to the story of their relationship being at a crossroads.  Ms. Strong in particular really shines, and she’s a lot of fun to watch when Melissa allows herself to start getting drawn into this singing-and-dancing world.

They’re surrounded by a wonderful ensemble.  Alan Cumming is a delight as Schmigadoon Mayor Aloysius Menlove, who, as you might be able to guess from his name, has a big secret that he’s afraid to reveal to his 1950’s era neighbors.  Musical superstar Kristin Chenoweth is fantastic as Mildred Layton, the close-minded preacher’s wife who fears and hates anything that’s different in her town.  Fred Armisen is extremely funny as Mildred’s beleaguered and soft-spoken husband, the Reverend Howard Layton.  I smiled ear-to-ear to see Martin Short as the leprechaun guarding the way in and out of Schmigadoon.  (Though I was bummed we didn’t see more of him after Melissa and Josh entered the town!)  Jane Krakowski also has a small but memorable role as the Countess Gabriele Von Blerkom, with whom Melissa briefly becomes a romantic … [continued]

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News Around the Net

This is a great trailer for Seinfeld’s move to Netflix:

I’m excited to see this first trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s new movie, Nightmare Alley:

That looks gorgeous — and what a cast! I can’t wait to see it.

Here’s a trailer for Stranger Things 4:

The tremendous amount of time between seasons has cooled my enthusiasm for this show somewhat… and wow, the kids look a LOT older, so I wonder how much time in the world of the show is supposed to have passed between seasons?  But I’m looking forward to the show’s return and curious to see what’s next…

Here’s the first trailer for Netflix’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s seminal comic book series, The Sandman:

I’m intrigued and very much hoping the series is good…

A new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm is coming in less than a month??  Yes, please!

Rocky IV is coning back to theaters in November — with 40 minutes of additional footage added in??  Here’s a preview:

WOW — apparently a reboot of Babylon 5 is in the works, with the script to be written by B5 creator J. Michael Straczynski!  I’m not sure what to think of that.  B5 feels like a property that is ripe for further exploration, and I’m thrilled this is happening with the involvement of Mr. Straczynski.  On the one hand, a reboot makes sense, as it could be cool to see the series revisited in a modern TV style and with modern visual effects.  On the other hand, abandoning everything and starting over from zero doesn’t fill me with joy.  Still, color me excited and curious.  (We’ll see if this comes to anything… several other B5 revival projects over the years have died aborning.)

Click here to read more info, directly from Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski on Twitter.

I was similarly surprised to read of a new attempt to relaunch TekWar, the nineties-era sci-fi series of novels (and subsequent TV show) written by William Shatner.  I don’t have nearly as fond memories of TekWar as I do of Babylon 5… but I’m certainly curious to see if this actually happens and if it’s any good…

Click here for a fascinating, in-depth interview with Jon Stewart, in which he discusses his new show for Apple TV+ The Problem with Jon Stewart and many other topics.

I quite enjoyed Kevin Smith’s 2019 film Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, which I only saw for the first time a few weeks ago.  So I’m eager for his next return to those characters in Clerks III, which recently wrapped production.

Click here to read a fascinating, nuanced piece by Howard Fishman for The [continued]