It’s funny—we were just talking in the office last week about the trope of the “it was all a dream”/”you imagined it” episode in SFF TV series. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had one of the best ones with “Normal Again,” which put the Slayer in a mental institution, but we couldn’t think of many other examples. This week, Supergirl tried its hand at a similar plot, in which an alien plant called the Black Mercy hallucinates Kara into thinking that she’s been on Krypton this whole time and Earth was just a dream. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because the series is also mimicking Alan Moore’s Superman story For the Man Who Has Everything.
While Super Bowl 50 (did you know they stopped using Roman numerals this year?) didn’t have any truly viral commercials, there were still plenty of geeky commercials, sneak peeks, and trailers slipped in amongst the football. From the funny to the dramatic, we got aliens, astronauts, Avengers references both on-the-nose and subtle, David Bowie earworms, and likely the best product tie-in we’ll see this blockbuster season.
Here they all in one place. Enjoy! Don’t let your boss know you do this.
See Psylocke jump. See Psylocke flip. See Psylocke split a car in two using her psionic blades! The Super Bowl TV spot for X-Men: Apocalypse has a lot of fearful looking toward the horizon, but nice to see someone is coming out ready for a fight.
The first trailer for J.J. Abrams’ surprise Cloverfield sequel 10 Cloverfield Lane (coming out in a little over a month) was one of the best trailers I’ve seen this year: low-key but with something just off, excellent use of music over too much dialogue, and a slow-burning sense of ominousness.
For the movie’s Super Bowl spot, we get a glimpse at how Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s character wound up in unhinged survivalist John Goodman’s disaster shelter, and what might lurk outside.
What better time than the Super Bowl, with its fierce rivalries and spectacle, to release a new trailer for Captain America: Civil War? Marvel Studios aired just a short TV spot, but there’s a lot crammed into it.
Pilot season brings us news of another network taking on a Marvel Entertainment property: FX is developing the pilot for Legion, about a man named David Haller, troubled by voices in his head… and also (in the Marvel Comics, at least) the mutant son of Professor Charles Xavier. While the network ordered the pilot a few months ago, casting news announced today brings the project closer to a greenlight. Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens and the wonderful Aubrey Plaza have signed on to play the two leads.
The DC Cinematic Universe is becoming a bit more cohesive, thanks to news from CBS: Supergirl will have a crossover episode with The Flash on March 28. All we know is that Barry Allen/the Flash (Grant Gustin) will be visiting National City and, obviously, running into Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), though there are no details on what prompts the crossover.
Hey girl (or boy), are you stressed out? Having trouble getting over the middle-of-the-week hump? Your attention is fragmented and you can’t think of a single reason to focus? Well… we’ve got one!
I had always thought that there was just one Bizarro, meant to be Superman’s exact mirror-image. But, in searching out the character’s history in comics, I realize that just as we pass multiple reflections of ourselves in various surfaces every day, there are countless Bizarros who have compared themselves to the Man of Steel, over and over again, and who have always found themselves wanting. Which makes this week’s Supergirl, in which Maxwell Lord engineers a clone of Supergirl that gets dubbed—you guessed it—Bizarro, one of the season’s better installments. Because when you make Bizarro female, there’s an added dimension to the otherwise one-note “I kill Supergirl” mantra.
When I was a kid, part of the Harry Potter generation who had to wait for each book to be released, my life felt like a constant cycle of read new book, wait two years for next book, read new book, wait two years… We probably hit peak Potter in the mid-2000s, as both new books and new movies were coming out, to cheers and midnight parties. The world was lit by J.K. Rowling’s vision, and yet it was the same story over only two mediums. Now, almost a decade later, there’s even more Potter suffusing our world, with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them later this year, plus Harry Potter and the Cursed Child coming to the London stage—and, of course, Rowling’s many updates on Pottermore. The latter is in the news, as Rowling shared with fans details about four new wizarding schools!
More and more, we’re hearing stories about artificial intelligences that are “learning to learn”—that is, adopting a learning style more elastic than an algorithm that might possess more data but less creativity. Facebook is adding to that conversation with a recent blog post from Mark Zuckerberg about how they’re developing an AI that can play the 2,500-year-old Chinese game of Go. The thing is, Google got there first.
One of the early and impressive trends this pilot season is time travel: Multiple television networks have picked up pilots (both sitcoms and dramas) with characters who can jump through time, with varying results and consequences. The latest is an adaptation (picked up by ABC) of Karl Alexander’s 1979 novel Time After Time, helmed by Scream screenwriter and Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson, about H.G. Wells tracking Jack the Ripper through time.
While catching up recently with a friend who is much more active in fandom than I am, she mentioned Hamilton. “Oh, have you seen the show?” I asked. “It’s incredible.” She laughed and responded that she hadn’t listened to a single song, but “it’s on my Tumblr dashboard—every fandom mashes up with it, so it’s like I know it.”
She wasn’t exaggerating: Go to Twitter and Tumblr, and you’ll find an astonishingly high number of Hamilton mashups. Some command their own hashtags, like #Force4Ham (like the above art from Tumblr user pearwaldorf) and #Potter4Ham, while others just pop out at you seemingly out of nowhere: crossovers with Saga, The West Wing, Parks and Rec, Smash, Sherlock, Les Miserables, High School Musical, and probably several others that I haven’t found yet. But the thing is, it’s not out of nowhere. Several key elements combine to explain why Hamilton, for all of its dynamic rhymes and game-changing mic drops, actually acts as some sort of universal donor for fandom mashups.
Netflix’s adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events books has been in the works for quite some time, but recent casting news reveals that Barry Sonnenfield’s series seems to be moving into production. Earlier this month, Neil Patrick Harris announced on Twitter that he would be playing Count Olaf; now, Deadline reports that the series has cast two of its three Baudelaire orphans.
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