Zack Snyder drops B&W updated version of trailer for Justice League miniseries

There’s not much new footage in this black-and-white version of the trailer for ZackSnyder’s Justice League, but at least the music rights issues have been resolved.

Fans eagerly awaiting the debut of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max next year were thrilled to hear that a new trailer was coming today to mark the third anniversary of the theatrical cut’s release. They’re probably feeling a teensy bit cheated right now, since what dropped was actually an updated black-and-white version of the teaser trailer from the virtual DC FanDome event in August—although the eagle-eyed viewer will spot a few seconds of new footage. But at least Snyder also provided a virtual breakdown of said trailer during a livestreaming event on Vero.

The August trailer had been removed from YouTube earlier this month because of contested music rights issues—the trailer was set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Now those issues have been resolved, and Snyder marked the occasion with this latest black-and-white offering, Cohen soundtrack intact. (You can watch the full-color version here.)

Apparently, Snyder’s ideal vision for Justice League would be a black-and-white IMAX version. “That, to me, is the most fan-centric, most pure, most Justice League experience, because that’s how I lived with the movie for two years, in black-and-white,” he told The Film Junkee in a recent interview.

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Bruce Willis returns to space to kick some alien derriere in Breach trailer

Bruce Willis battles an alien life form aboard an interstellar ark  en route to a New Earth in Breach.

An interstellar ark transporting the last humans on Earth to a new home inadvertently brings along a shape-shifting alien stowaway in Breach, a new sci-fi action film starring Bruce Willis and directed by John Suits. The trailer just dropped, and the film looks like a fairly generic mix of elements from Alien, The X-Files, and Event Horizon. But anything that lets Willis “yippee-ki-yay” his gun-toting way to saving humanity from aliens in space is okay by me.

Suits is best known for 2016’s Pandemic, essentially a zombie horror thriller shot entirely from a first person point of view, like a video game. He also directed the recently released short Diehard is Back, a fun Willis-starring commercial for Diehard batteries that pays tongue-in-cheek homage to the franchise, including a few cameos that should delight fans. (“From fighting his way to Advance Auto Parts to racing against the clock to install his new DieHard Battery—McClane will stop at nothing, to start his car again.”) So I’m hopeful that Suits can bring a fitting mix of suspense, action, and humor to Breach, and just let Willis be Willis.

Originally titled Anti-Life, the film’s premise is that a devastating plague has wiped out much of Earth’s population, and the survivors are being evacuated via an interstellar ark to “New Earth.” Willis plays Clay Young, described as a hardened mechanic who is part of the crew selected to stay awake and maintain the ark for the six-month journey. But then he discovers a shapeshifting alien (or “a malevolent cosmic terror,” per the early press materials) has also stowed away on the ark, and it seems to be intent on killing everyone on board.

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BBC drops new trailer and featurette for the upcoming His Dark Materials S2

Dafne Keen, Amir Wilson, Ruth Wilson, and Lin-Manuel Miranda reprise their roles for the second season of the BBC/HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman’s fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.

His Dark Materials, the BBC/HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman’s classic fantasy trilogy, received mixed reviews for its first season, although it still warranted an honorable mention in our 2019 year-end TV roundup. The second season debuts next month. HBO dropped the first S2 trailer in July during the virtual San Diego Comic-Con@Home and a second longer one in August. Now BBC has released yet another trailer that includes a short featurette, with cast interviews and some cool glimpses behind the scenes.

(Spoilers for S1 and the Philip Pullman books below.)

As we’ve written previously, the three books in Pullman’s series are The Golden Compass (published as Northern Lights in the UK), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. They follow the adventures of a 12-year-old girl named Lyra, who lives in a fictional version of Oxford, England, circa the Victorian era. Everyone has a companion daemon in the form of an animal—part of their spirit that resides outside the body—and Lyra’s is named Pantalaimon. Lyra uncovers a sinister plot that sends her on a journey to find her father in hopes of foiling said plot. That journey takes her to different dimensions (the fictional world is a multiverse) and ultimately to her own coming of age.

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The future of the Belt has begun in first trailer for The Expanse S5

The fifth season of the sci-fi series The Expanse will begin streaming on Amazon Prime on December 16, 2020.

Amazon Prime debuted the first trailer (embedded above) for the upcoming fifth season of The Expanse during the series panel at the New York Comic Con’s Metaverse today. And the stakes are high. According to the official premise, “The future of The Belt has begun as Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) wages Armageddon against the Inners for a lifetime of oppression and injustice.”

(Some spoilers for prior seasons below.)

As we previously reported, The Expanse is based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for writing team Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), exploring interplanetary tensions that are breaking out all over a Solar System long since colonized by humans—mostly between Earthers, Martians, and “Belters.” Part mystery, part political thriller, part classic space opera, The Expanse has earned almost nothing but praise from critics and its devoted fans alike, not just for its gripping storytelling, but also its excellent use of accurate physics. The third and fourth seasons earned a rare 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (seasons one and two earned 76 percent and 96 percent, respectively).

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Here’s the trailer, release date for Simon Pegg/Nick Frost sitcom Truth Seekers

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play ghost hunters in the new Amazon Prime horror comedy Truth Seekers.

Back in July, during the virtual San Diego Comic-Con@Home, Amazon Studios released a beguiling teaser for Truth Seekers, the forthcoming sci-fi/horror/comedy series starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. It looked like a lot of fun—how could you go wrong with a reunion of Pegg and Frost? The full trailer just dropped, and it definitely reinforces that positive first impression. We also now have a release date: Amazon will screen the first two episodes at the Canneseries festival on October 10 and will release the full series on Prime Video on October 30, 2020.

As we reported previously, the series was created by Pegg, Frost, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders. It’s envisioned as a cross between The X-Files and the British TV series Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Each of the eight episodes will focus on a specific paranormal incident, a throwback to a classic monster-of-the-week format. Rather than going with pure spoof, Truth Seekers will apparently take its horror aspects seriously.

Per the official synopsis:

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Two demon-hunting siblings reunite to save the world in Helstrom trailer

Tom Austen and Sydney Lemmon star as siblings Daimon and Ana Helstrom in Helstrom, a 10-episode horror series that hits Hulu next month.

An ethics professor and secret demon hunter reunites with his estranged sister to take on a powerful demonic entity in the trailer for Helstrom, an upcoming horror series based on Marvel Comics characters. The 10-episode series debuts on Hulu next month

Helstrom has a complicated back story. As we reported in 2019, Hulu announced the development of two new Marvel-centric series, Ghost Rider (with Gabriel Luna reprising his role from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Helstrom. The shows were intended to kick off a standalone “Adventure into Fear” franchise that would bring a chilling horror element to the Marvel formula. Ghost Rider soon fell by the wayside, and by December 2019, Marvel Television was shut down. That makes Helstrom the sole survivor of the planned fear-based franchise. Shooting finished in March, right before the coronavirus pandemic caused most Hollywood productions to grind to a halt. Showrunner Paul Zbyszewski’s contract was terminated in April—also due to the pandemic—but he stayed on for postproduction.

The series focuses on two characters from Marvel Comics. First: Daimon Helstrom, the son of Satan, introduced in Ghost Rider #1 (1973). He eventually became a recurring character in The Defenders. The other protagonist is his sister, Satana (Ana in the TV adaptation), who embraces the occult and her paternal heritage while Daimon chooses to defend humanity. Per the official premise: “The world isn’t ready for a Helstrom family reunion. As the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer, Helstrom follows Daimon (Tom Austen) and Ana Helstrom (Sydney Lemmon), and their complicated dynamic, as they track down the worst of humanity—each with their own attitude and skills.”

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Everyone loves the new couple on the block in first Wandavision trailer

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively, in Marvel’s spinoff series WandaVision.

If you were watching the virtual 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards last night, you no doubt caught the debut of a new trailer for WandaVision, the first standalone series to be released in Phase Four of the MCU. The studio offered a sneak peek last year during D23 Expo 2019, Disney’s annual fan extravaganza. Lacking any actual footage, that teaser was just snippets of The Dick van Dyke Show interspersed with snippets of the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) from the various MCU films. At the time, I was skeptical of the concept, but this new trailer is quite promising and gives me hope that Marvel can pull it off.

WandaVision is meant to be a kind of sitcom/epic superhero mashup, with Kat Dennings reprising her role as Darcy from the Thor films, alongside Randall Park reprising his Ant Man and the Wasp role as FBI agent Jimmy Woo. Kathryn Hahn (Crossing Jordan) will play a “nosy neighbor,” and Teyonah Parris (Mad Men) plays a grown-up Monica Rambeau, daughter of Carol Danvers’ BFF Maria Rambeau, introduced in Captain Marvel. Within the MCU timeline, it takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and its events will directly tie in to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, currently slated for a 2022 release. 

Per the official description: “WandaVision will follow the story of Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s superhero characters, the Scarlet Witch and Vision. The series is a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.”

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“This is the way”: Disney drops first trailer for The Mandalorian S2

Pedro Pascal is back as the titular bounty hunter who befriends a mysterious Child in The Mandalorian S2.

Disney has dropped the first trailer for the second season of The Mandalorian, the Emmy-nominated first live-action Star Wars TV series created by Jon Favreau. Starring Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin, the titular Mandalorian, the series takes place a few years after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order.

(Spoilers for S1 below.)

The basic premise is that, after the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, there was a period of chaos and lawlessness as a new government struggled to emerge from the wreckage. Pascal’s bounty hunter is “a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic.”

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Beware of sandworms: Dune trailer gives us our first look at an epic world

Timothée Chalamet stars as Paul Atriedes in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming adaptation of Dune.

Warner Bros. debuted the first trailer today for Dune, director Denis Villeneuve’s ambitious (could it be anything else?) adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sprawling epic novel. It was preceded by a livestreamed event in which Late Show host Stephen Colbert interviewed Villeneuve and several cast members: Timothée Chalamet (who stars as Paul Atreides), Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Jason Momoa, and Sharon Duncan-Brewster.

Dune is set in the distant future and follows the fortunes of various noble houses in what amounts to a feudal interstellar society. Much of the action takes place on the planet Arrakis, where the economy is driven largely by a rare life-extending drug called melange (“the spice”) that also conveys a kind of prescience. There’s faster-than-light space travel, a prophecy concerning a messianic figure, giant sandworms, and lots of battles, as protagonist Paul Atreides (a duke’s son) contends with rival House Harkonnen and strives to defeat the forces of Shaddam IV, Emperor of the Known Universe.

That brief synopsis hardly does justice to the sweep and enormous cultural influence of Herbert’s novel. When it was first published, the Chicago Tribune called it “one of the monuments of modern science fiction.” Astronomers have used the names of fictional planets in Dune to identify various topographical features on Saturn’s moon Titan. Herbert wrote five sequels, and the franchise also includes board games, computer games, and numerous prequels and sequels written by his son, Brian Herbert, with Kevin J. Anderson.

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Star Trek: Discovery S3 goes back to the future in first trailer

Star Trek: Discovery returns to CBS All Access for a third season on October 15, 2020.

It’s Star Trek Day today, marking the 54th anniversary of the TV debut of Star Trek: The Original Series. CBS All Access celebrated by streaming an entire day of programming related to the franchise, including several panels for its ongoing and forthcoming series. Among other tidbits, CBS dropped the first trailer for Star Trek: Discovery‘s third season.

(Spoilers for first two seasons below.)

Discovery is a prequel to the original Star Trek, set roughly 10 years before Captain Kirk and his crew took over the USS Enterprise and boldly went where no man had gone before. It stars Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham, an orphaned human raised on the planet Vulcan by none other than Sarek (James Frain) and his human wife, Amanda Grayson (Mia Kirshner)—aka, Spock’s parents, which makes her Spock’s adoptive sister. 

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Blast off: Disney drops first trailer for The Right Stuff dramatic series

In October, Disney+ will debut its new series, The Right Stuff, based on the 1979 book by Tom Wolfe.

A team of elite military test pilots finds itself tapped to be astronauts for Project Mercury, the first human spaceflight program in the United States, in The Right Stuff, a new eight-episode dramatic series debuting in October on Disney+. Like Philip Kaufman’s Oscar-winning 1983 film of the same name, the series is based on the bestselling 1979 book by Tom Wolfe.

Wolfe became interested in the US space program while on assignment by Rolling Stone to cover the launch of Apollo 17, NASA’s last Moon mission. He spent the next seven years writing The Right Stuff, intent on capturing the drive and ethos of those early astronauts. (In a foreword to the 1983 edition, he pondered “What makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle… and wait for someone to light the fuse.”)  Wolfe spent a great deal of time consulting with General Chuck Yeager, who was shut out of the astronaut program and ended up as a contrasting character to the college-degreed Project Mercury team featured in the book. The Right Stuff won widespread critical praise, as well as the National Book Award for Nonfiction.

When United Artists decided to finance a film adaptation, the studio hired William Goldman (The Princess Bride) to adapt the screenplay, but his vision was very different from that of director Philip Kaufman, and Goldman quit the project. Kaufman wrote his own draft script in eight weeks, making Yeager more of a central figure; Goldman’s script ignored Yeager entirely. Goldman later wrote that “Phil [Kaufman]’s heart was with Yeager. And not only that, he felt the astronauts, rather than being heroic, were really minor leaguers, mechanical men of no particular quality, not great pilots at all, simply the product of hype.”

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A dark comic book conspiracy turns out to be all too real in Utopia trailer

John Cusack and Rainn Wilson star in Amazon Prime’s black comedy/conspiracy thriller, Utopia.

Last month, at the virtual San Diego Comic Con, Amazon dropped the first teaser for Utopia, a reboot (adapted by Gone Girl and Sharp Objects author Gillian Flynn) of the controversial 2013-2014 British black comedy/conspiracy thriller. Now the streaming platform has released the official full trailer, and the series looks like it’s going to be quite the wild ride.

As we reported previously, the series is about online fans of a dystopian graphic novel called Utopia that seems to have the power to predict the real-world future. The fans are obsessed with tracking down the sequel (which supposedly also predicts future world events). This makes them targets of a secret organization called The Network.

The British version received critical praise for its originality and visual style, offset by strong reservations about its extreme violence, which struck many as unnecessarily gratuitous. (The most famous scene involved a torturer using a spoon to gouge out a victim’s eye). It remains to be seen if Amazon’s Utopia will match the same scale of violence, although Flynn recently told Deadline Hollywood that it wouldn’t be as prominent.

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#amazon-prime, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #streaming-television, #trailers, #utopia

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Trailer for Ridley Scott’s Raised by Wolves is giving us strong Alien vibes

Executive producer Ridley Scott’s sci-fi series Raised by Wolves is coming to HBO Max in September.

Androids struggle to raise human children on a mysterious planet in the first trailer for Raised by Wolves, a new sci-fi series coming to HBO Max, courtesy of none other than Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Alien, etc., etc.). Created by Aaron Guzikowski, who also penned the script for the 2013 thriller Prisoners, the ten-episode series was initially a straight-to-series order for TNT, but moved to HBO Max last October. Scott even directed the first two episodes, making this his US TV directorial debut.

“I’m always searching for new frontiers in the sci-fi genre and have found a true original in Raised by Wolves— a wholly distinct and imaginative world, full of characters struggling with existential questions,” Scott told Deadline Hollywood in 2018 about what drew him to the project. “What makes us human? What constitutes a family? And what if we could start over again and erase the mess we’ve made of our planet? Would we survive? Would we do better?”

The tagline for the series gives little away: “Mother was programmed to protect everyone after Earth had been destroyed. When the big bad wolf shows up, she is the one we must trust.” But the basic premise revealed during development is that the story involves two androids serving as Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim) figures on a strange virgin planet. They are programmed to raise human children to rebuild the population. However, the people of the fledgling colony develop stark religious differences, and “the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.”

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Big Nurse gets her origin story in trailer for prequel series Ratched

Sarah Paulson plays Nurse Mildred Ratched in Netflix’s prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Fans of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—whether Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel or the 1975 Oscar-winning film starring Jack Nicholson—know that the sadistic, tyrannical Nurse Ratched is a crucial antagonist driving the story of a rebellious inmate in a psychiatric hospital. Now she’s getting her own back story in the form of a new prequel series, Ratched. Netflix dropped the first trailer for the series yesterday.

(Spoilers for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest book and film below.)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is set in a psychiatric hospital in Salem, Oregon, where Randle Patrick McMurphy is sent after faking insanity to escape a prison farm sentence. Nurse Ratched (aka Big Nurse) rules the place with an iron hand, systematically abusing the inmates under her charge. She maintains order by withholding basic necessities, medications, or patient privileges, but McMurphy’s rebellious nature challenges her authority, even in the face of shock therapy.

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An Ars roundup of the many trailers unveiled this weekend during Comic-Con@Home

Several studios unveiled new teasers and trailers for their 2020 fall series during Comic-Con@Home

Enlarge / Several studios unveiled new teasers and trailers for their 2020 fall series during Comic-Con@Home (credit: Sean Carroll (AMC/Hulu/HBO/Fox/Amazon))

People might not be able to flock to San Diego Comic Con this year in person, but the virtual convention, Comic-Con@Home, has been running all weekend, with countless panels, sneak peeks, and teasers and trailers for upcoming TV shows—but not many films, because let’s be honest: it’s not looking so good for major theatrical film releases in the fall. On Thursday alone, we got the full trailer for Bill and Ted Face the Music, a teaser for the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost horror comedy Truth Seekers, and the first trailer for S2 of HBO’s His Dark Materials. Rather than continue to cover each individually, we decided to compile the remaining trailers of interest into a single roundup post.

HBO dropped the final trailer for Lovecraft Country, debuting August 16.

Lovecraft Country (HBO)

HBO unveiled the final trailer for its upcoming horror series, Lovecraft Country, along with an official release date: August 16. It’s based on the 2016 dark fantasy/horror novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, which deals explicitly with the horrors of racism in the 1950s, along with other, more supernatural Lovecraftian-inspired issues. Per the official synopsis:

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Simon Pegg, Nick Frost return to horror-comedy roots with Truth Seekers teaser

Amazon’s new supernatural comedy series Truth Seekers reunites Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

A group of part-time paranormal investigators team up to uncover a deadly conspiracy in the first teaser for Truth Seekers, a forthcoming sci-fi/horror comedy series from Amazon starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The first teaser was unveiled today at San Diego Comic-Con @Home, which has had to switch to an online-only, virtual format this year due to the continuing pandemic.

Created by Pegg, Frost, James Serafinowicz, and Nat Saunders, the eight-episode series is envisioned as a cross between The X-Files and the British TV series Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World. Each episode will focus on a specific paranormal incident, a throwback to a classic monster-of-the-week format. Rather than going with pure spoof, Truth Seekers will apparently take its horror aspects seriously.

“You have to not make fun of the horror,” Pegg said during the Comic-Con panel. “It’s tempting with genre fare to parody that… but I think the key for horror-comedy is to take the horror seriously.”

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Netflix’s German sci-fi thriller Biohackers just might be the new Dark

New Netflix series Biohackers explores the high-tech world of biohacking and genetic manipulation.

With movies on seemingly indefinite hiatus—pour one out for the oft-delayed Tenet—until we collectively get our act together, streaming platforms are picking up the slack, pumping out original films and new series to keep us entertained while we’re all social distancing. Netflix just dropped the trailer for its latest foreign offering: the German sci-fi thriller Biohackers, about an ambitious young medical student seeking revenge on her mentor for the scientific sins of the past.

There isn’t much background information available yet on the series (not even on IMDb), other than the identity of the showrunner, Christian Ditter, and the main cast members. The German-born Ditter is best known in the United States for directing the 2016 rom-com How to Be Single and for his work on the 2017 Netflix comedy Girlboss, based on the autobiography of Sophia Amoruso, who founded the company Nasty Gal. (Girlboss received mixed reviews and was cancelled after one season.) Biohackers looks like a significant departure for him and an especially promising one, given the success of the German sci-fi series Dark, which just wrapped a mind-bending third and final season on Netflix.

Jessica Schwarz, best known stateside for her performance in the 2006 thriller Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (based on the 1985 novel by Patrick Susskind), stars as Professor Tanja Lorenz. Swiss actress Luna Wedler plays Mia, a young medical student who gets drawn into the world of underground biohacking and illegal genetic-engineering experiments. “Stories in which ordinary people have to face exceptional circumstances have always fascinated me,” Ditter told Biohackinfo last fall after shooting wrapped. “Working with Netflix has allowed us to tell a gripping story that focuses on multi-layered and believable characters.”

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First teaser for The Boys S2 promises another wild and bloody ride

Our vigilantes are on the run from Homelander (Antony Starr) and the rest of the Seven in the second season of Amazon Prime’s The Boys.

The war between corrupt, evil superheroes and a ragtag band of vigilantes out to expose their true nature and curb the power of “super” in society will escalate dramatically, judging by the first teaser for S2 of The Boys. The Amazon Prime series—one of the most-watched on the streaming platform when it debuted last year—is based on the comics of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson.

(S1 spoilers below.)

The Boys is set in a fictional universe where superheroes are real but corrupted by corporate interests and a toxic celebrity-obsessed culture. Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is a self-appointed vigilante intent on checking the bad behavior of the so-called “supes”—especially The Seven, the most elite superhero squad and, hence, the most corrupt. Butcher especially hates Seven leader Homelander (Antony Starr), a psychopath who raped his now-dead wife. Butcher recruits an equally traumatized young man named Hugh “Hughie” Campbell (Jack Quaid, son of Dennis) to help in his revenge, after another Seven member, A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) used his super-speed to literally run through Hughie’s girlfriend, killing her instantly.

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Superpowered siblings time travel to save the world in Umbrella Academy S2 trailer

The Hargreeves siblings are scattered in time and must reunite to stop the apocalypse in the second season of The Umbrella Academy.

A group of dysfunctional siblings with superpowers travels back in time to the 1960s in the hope of warding off the apocalypse in the official trailer for the second season of The Umbrella Academy. The Netflix series is an adaptation of the award-winning Dark Horse Comics series of the same name created by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá.

(Spoilers for S1 below.)

The comics are set in an alternate 1977 (the year Way was born) in which President John F. Kennedy was never assassinated. The Monocle, an alien disguised as billionaire industrialist Sir Reginald Hargreeves, adopts seven surviving children out of 43 mysteriously born to random women who had not been pregnant the day before. The children are raised at Hargreeves’ Umbrella Academy and become a family of superheroes with special powers. But it’s a dysfunctional arrangement, and the family members ultimately disband, only reuniting as adults when Hargreeves dies.

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Lady of the Lake takes center stage in Netflix’s Arthurian retelling Cursed

Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) stars as Nimue in the new Netflix series Cursed.

A young, outcast fey woman finds herself in possession of a mystical sword of great power in Cursed, a reimagining of the Arthurian legend told from the perspective of Nimue, aka the Lady of the Lake.

The 10-episode Netflix series is an adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name, written by Tom Wheeler and illustrated by none other than the legendary Frank Miller (Sin City, 300, The Dark Knight Returns). It was published last year by Simon & Schuster—with eight full-color and 30 black-and-white original illustrations, making it a collector’s item for diehard Miller fans—but the series was already in development prior to the book’s publication. Wheeler is a well-known screenwriter, producer, and showrunner, with such credits as Empire (ABC) and The Cape (NBC), as well as the Oscar-nominated Puss in Boots and The Lego Ninjago Movie.

Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why) stars as Nimue in the series. The show also stars Devon Terrell (Barry) as Arthur; Gustaf Skarsgård (Westworld) as Merlin; Daniel Sharman (Fear the Walking Dead) as the Weeping Monk; Peter Mullan (Ozark) as Father Carden; Lily Newmark (Pin Cushion) as Pym; Shalom Brune-Franklin (Our Girl) as Morgan le Fay; Sebastian Armesto (Broadchurch) as King Uther Pendragon; Matt Stokoe (Bodyguard) as Gawain; Emily Coates (Flack) as Iris; and Billy Jenkins (The Crown) as Squirrel.

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#arthurian-legend, #cursed, #entertainment, #frank-miller, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #streaming-television, #television, #trailers

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Back to kick some demon derrière: Wynonna Earp S4 trailer is finally here

Melanie Scrofano returns as the titular gunslinging, demon-hunting heroine in S4 of SyFy’s Wynonna Earp.

The SyFy series Wynonna Earp has trod a rocky road on the way to its fourth season, much to the frustration of its loyal fanbase (“Earpers”). First, the start of S4 production was delayed until late 2019, due to financial troubles at IDW Entertainment. Shooting finally commenced this past January in Alberta, Canada, and was nearly complete when the coronavirus pandemic led to the shutdown of all  film and TV productions. Showrunner Emily Andres and her determined team have nonetheless managed to complete the season, and we now have the first trailer (uncensored, with colorful language fully intact), and an air date: July 26, 2020.

(Some spoilers for first three seasons below.)

The original comic book series created by Beau Smith in 1996 had Wynonna roaming the world hunting down revenants and other demons; the TV series mostly keeps her in her hometown of Purgatory (primarily for budgetary reasons). As I wrote when S3 wrapped way back in October 2018, Wynonna is the the Anti-Buffy: “She’s a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, promiscuous, bar-brawling free spirit with a chip on her shoulder. She never even had a shot at being Homecoming Queen in high school.”  

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In trailer for Brave New World, everyone but John the Savage knows their place

An adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic novel Brave New World tops the offerings on NBC’s Peacock streaming service, launching next month.

NBC’s Peacock streaming service launches next month, and the jewel in the crown of its initial offerings is undoubtedly Brave New World, an ambitious adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic 1932 dystopian novel. The full trailer for this Peacock original series is finally here, starring Alden Ehrenreich as Huxley’s antihero, John the Savage, who finds himself struggling to adapt when he is thrust into a utopian society.

(Some spoilers for the book below.)

As we reported in April, Brave New World is set in the year 2540, in the World State city of London, where people are born in artificial wombs and indoctrinated through “sleep-learning” to fit into their assigned predetermined caste. Citizens regularly consume a drug called soma (part anti-depressant, part hallucinogen) to keep them docile and help them conform to strict social laws. Promiscuity is encouraged, but pregnancy (for women) is a cause for shame. Needless to say, both art and science (albeit to a lesser extent) are viewed with suspicion.

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#aldous-huxley, #brave-new-world, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #nbc-peacock, #streaming-television, #television, #trailers

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Apple gives us our first glimpse of Foundation, adapted from Asimov series

Jared Harris and Lee Pace star in Foundation, coming to Apple TV Plus in 2021.

At today’s 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple dropped the first teaser trailer for Foundation, a new TV series for Apple TV adapted from Isaac Asimov’s seminal Foundation series of novels. The new show, which stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace, had already begun filming when the global pandemic shut down production in March. The teaser offers our first glimpse of what this highly anticipated series will look like, as well as a few peeks behind the curtain on set.

(Mild spoilers for the first book in the Foundation series below.)

The series started out as eight short stories by Asimov that appeared in Astounding Magazine between 1942 and early 1950, inspired in part by Edward Gibbons’ History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The first four of those stories were collected, along with a new introductory story, and published as Foundation in 1951. The next pair of stories became Foundation and Empire (1952), with the final two stories appearing in 1953’s Second Foundation. Asimov’s publishers eventually convinced him to continue the series, starting with two sequels: Foundation’s Edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1986). Next came a pair of prequels: Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1993), the latter published posthumously. (Asimov died in 1992.)

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If Buffy found religion: A Catholic order battles evil in Warrior Nun trailer

Alba Baptista stars as Ava in the Netflix adaptation of Ben Dunn’s comic series Warrior Nun.

A young woman wakes up in a morgue and finds she now carries an embedded divine object in her back in Warrior Nun, a forthcoming fantasy drama from Netflix, based on the comic series by Ben Dunn. Not only has the divine brought her back from the dead, but she now has superpowers and a new mission to fight hell on Earth.

The first issue in the manga-style comic book series, “Warrior Nun Areala,” debuted in 1994. The series features Sister Shannon Masters, a modern-day crusader for the Catholic Church’s (fictional) Order of the Cruciform Sword. In the series mythology, the Order dates back to 1066, when a young Valkyrie woman named Auria converted to Christianity. Renamed Areala, she selects a new avatar every generation to carry on her mission of battling the agents of hell. Sister Shannon is the Chosen One. It’s like Buffy the Vampire Slayer got religion.

Dunn has said he was inspired to create the series after learning, via a New York Times article, about the Fraternity of Our Lady, which established a chapter in Harlem in 1991 to run a soup kitchen. One of the nuns (the fraternity has both nuns and priests), Sister Marie Chantel, trained in the martial arts (judo and tae kwon do), and many of her fellow nuns also practiced self-defense, albeit mostly for sport. Dunn envisioned a world with nuns as superheroes, where heaven and hell are real dimensions. It’s a fun series, because it’s not Catholic proselytizing, despite the Christian themes and the nuns’ sincere faith—unlike those infamous Jack Chick tracts and comic books. (I grew up reading the Crusader series, which honestly explains a lot about my rather warped psyche.)

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Delightfully bonkers Doom Patrol is coming back for a second season

Doom Patrol returns later this month for a second season on both HBO Max and DC Universe.

Chances are you missed Doom Patrol when it debuted last year, due to the fact that it aired exclusively on the DC Universe streaming platform. (It’s based on the DC Comics superhero team of the same name.) That’s a shame, because it proved to be a delightfully bonkers show about a “found family” of superhero misfits. For its forthcoming second season, the show will air both on DC Universe and HBO Max, hopefully expanding its audience. Judging by the official trailer, we’re in for another crazy ride.

(Some S1 spoilers below.)

Timothy Dalton plays Niles Caulder, aka The Chief, a medical doctor who saved the lives of the various Doom Patrol members and lets them stay in his mansion. His Manor of Misfits includes Jane, aka Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero), whose childhood trauma resulted in 64 distinct personalities, each with its own powers. Rita (April Bowlby), aka Elasti-Woman, is a former actress with stretchy, elastic properties she can’t really control, thanks to being exposed to a toxic gas that altered her cellular structure. Larry Trainor, aka Negative Man, is a US Air Force pilot who has a “negative energy entity” inside him, and must be swathed in bandages to keep radioactivity from seeping out of his body. (Matt Bomer plays Trainor without the bandages, while Matthew Zuk takes on the bandaged role.)

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#dc-universe, #doom-patrol, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #streaming-television, #television, #trailers

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Whoa! First teaser for Bill & Ted Face the Music drops, is most excellent

Our favorite time-traveling dynamic duo is back this summer in Bill & Ted Face the Music.

Whoa! Orion Pictures has dropped the first trailer for Bill & Ted Face the Music, the long-awaited sequel to the popular franchise that launched in 1989. There’s a reason the studio chose this particular day: June 9, or 6/9, is the number Bill and Ted were thinking of when they met themselves in front of the Circle K, just over 30 years ago.

(Spoilers for first two Bill & Ted films below.)

In the original 1989 film, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) are high school students in danger of flunking history. If that happens, Ted’s father will ship him off to a military academy, thus breaking up their band, Wyld Stallyns. But the band is destined to usher in a future utopia, which is now threatened. With the help of a time machine in the form of a phone booth (provided by a messenger from the year 2688), the pair travels through history, meeting Socrates, Billy the Kid, Sigmund Freud, Beethoven, Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, and Abraham Lincoln, among others.

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Kevin Bacon is a writer with a dark secret in You Should Have Left trailer

Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried start in the forthcoming psychological horror film You Should Have Left.

Kevin Bacon achieved cult success with 1990’s Tremors, but he also starred in another film that somehow didn’t achieve the same lasting success, despite being one of his strongest performances. That film is Stir of Echoes (1999), an unjustly ignored supernatural thriller adapted from a novel by by Richard Matheson. It had the misfortune to hit theaters the same year as The Sixth Sense and The Blair Witch Project.

Now Bacon is reuniting with Stir of Echoes writer and director David Koepp in You Should Have Left, a forthcoming psychological horror film from Universal, co-produced by Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions. The official trailer just dropped, and we’re getting some strong The Others meets The Shining vibes from this tale of a haunted house that doesn’t want to let its occupants leave, which bodes well for the final film.

The film is adapted from a 2017 German novella of the same name by bestselling author Daniel Kehlman. It’s written in the first-person style of a diary belonging to an unnamed screenwriter attempting to write a sequel to an earlier hit film. With the studio pressuring him for a draft, he rents a house and takes his wife—an aging actress for whom work is becoming scarce—and four-year-old daughter on a long vacation in hopes of finishing the script.

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#blumhouse-productions, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #horror-films, #kevin-bacon, #trailers, #you-should-have-left

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A detective hunts a costumed vigilante in Major Grom: Plague Doctor trailer

Major Grom: Plague Doctor is adapted from the Russian comics of the same name.

A rogue detective who doesn’t always play by the rules hunts a costumed vigilante serial killer in the first English-language trailer (well, subtitled) for a Russian superhero film called Major Grom: Plague Doctor, directed by Oleg Trofim (Ice). There’s some pretty strong The Punisher vibes here, as well as V for Vendetta. The Major Grom comic books, created by Artem Gabrelyanov, have been likened to the early Batman comics in tone, which might explain the Dark Knight overtones as well.

(Some spoilers for the Russian comics below.)

The original Major Grom comics were published between 2012 and 2015, later spawning several spinoffs. The protagonist is Major Igor Grom, a detective in St. Petersburg who has mean martial arts skills and takes part in the occasional amateur boxing competition (aka Russian Fight Club). He has a tendency to bend the rules, which irritates his young rookie partner, Dmitry “Dima” Dubin, who prefers to play things by the book. Grom’s love interest is an investigative reporter named Yulia Pchelkina, whose skill set proves useful in helping solve Grom’s various comic book cases. A billionaire social media mogul named Sergey Razumovsky is Grom’s archnemesis. Razumovsky is a philanthropist by day but murders homeless people by night, all in the name of cleaning up St. Petersburg.

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#bubble-comics, #entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #trailers

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HBO’s latest terrifying trailer for Lovecraft Country couldn’t be more timely

HBO’s new horror series Lovecraft Country is adapted from the novel by Matt Ruff.

With impeccable timing, HBO has dropped a new trailer for its upcoming horror series, Lovecraft Country. The series is based on the 2016 dark fantasy/horror novel, of the same name by Matt Ruff, which deals explicitly with the horrors of racism in the 1950s, along with other, more supernatural issues.

As we previously reported, Ruff also found inspiration in a 2006 essay by Pam Noles describing what it was like growing up being both black and, well, a hardcore nerd. Lovecraft Country is a gripping, extremely powerful read, which is why it was one of my choices for the Ars summer reading guide. The book’s protagonist is a black veteran of the Korean War and science fiction fan named Atticus, who embarks on a perilous road trip from his home on Chicago’s South Side to a small town in rural Massachusetts. He’s looking for his estranged father, who purportedly vanished after encountering a well-dressed man driving a silver Cadillac.

Atticus’ Uncle George and childhood friend/fellow sci-fi buff, Letitia (aka Leti), comes along for the ride. Because their journey is inspired by Lovecraft, they naturally encounter all kinds of arcane rituals, magic, shape-shifters, monsters, and an alternate reality or two along the way. HBO seems to be sticking pretty closely to the novel, if the official synopsis is any indication:

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With theaters still closed, Warner Bros. drops latest Tenet trailer in Fortnite

John David Washington and Robert Pattinson star in Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming new film, Tenet.

With cinemas shut down all over the world for months, all eyes have turned to July, when two major studio releases are set to debut: Disney’s Mulan (bumped from its original March release), and Director Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated sci-fi thriller, Tenet. It looks like Warner Bros. is boldly sticking with the latter film’s planned July 17 release date, despite all the pandemic-fueled uncertainty. The studio just dropped a new trailer, which made its debut in an unusual medium: playing every top of the hour in the popular battle royale game Fortnite

We know very little about the film, not even the usual carefully crafted official premise, although the film’s title is a palindrome, meaning it reads the same backward and forward—a subtle clue. Nolan has kept any additional details (including character names) tightly under wraps. It stars John David Washington (Ballers, BlacKkKlansman) and Robert Pattinson (Twilight franchise, The Lighthouse). The film also features Kenneth Branagh (Murder on the Orient Express), Michael Caine (Inception, Interstellar), Clémence Poésy (Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter films), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), Elizabeth Debicki (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), Martin Donovan (Ant-Man), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-ass), and Indian film stars Dimple Kapadia and Denzil Smith.

The first trailer dropped last December. As I wrote at the time, “Fresh off his Oscar-nominated World War II drama, Dunkirk, Nolan seems to be returning to his high-concept sci-fi roots with Tenet.” That trailer opened with a shot of two men rappelling up a building, in seeming defiance of the laws of physics. “We all believe we’d run into the burning building,” a voiceover tells us. “But until we feel that heat, we can never know.”

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Charlize Theron is a badass immortal in action-packed The Old Guard trailer

Charlize Theron stars in the film adaptation of The Old Guard, coming soon to Netflix.

Charlize Theron is one of those actresses whose beauty seems to defy the passage of time, and in The Old Guard, a new blockbuster action movie coming to Netflix, she plays a literal immortal. Just think more mercenary-for-hire than Highlander, although there are likely to be thematic similarities with the latter. The streaming giant seems to be leaning hard into action movies with big-name stars, given this film and last month’s megahit, Extraction, starring Chris Hemsworth.

(Mild spoilers for the comics below.)

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love and Basketball), the film is an adaptation of the comic of the same name by Eisner-award winning author Greg Rucka (Lazarus, Wonder Woman), with art by Leandro Fernández (Deadpool, Punisher: MAX). The main protagonist is Andromache of Scythia, aka Andy, who is trapped in an immortal life for centuries, for some mysterious reason.

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Game devs hold virtual meeting from hell in Mythic Quest: Quarantine teaser

Teaser for Mythic Quest: Quarantine dropping next week on Apple TV+.

With production temporarily halted on so many films and television shows, casts and crews are getting creative about bringing new content to all the people fighting off ennui while sheltering in place. Late night hosts are putting together mini-talk shows from home, the main cast of Parks and Recreation virtually reunited for a special episode, and performers from various Hairspray productions (stage and screen) put together a show-stopping group performance of “You Can’t Stop the Beat” to benefit the Actor’s Fund. Now an Apple TV+ comedy series is getting into the game by teasing a very special episode, Mythic Quest: Quarantine, dropping next week.

Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet is a sitcom set in the offices of a game development studio; it debuted earlier this year, to mostly positive reviews. Co-creator and star Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) got the idea for the series after chatting with representatives from video game publisher Ubisoft about building a sitcom around gaming. The company even designed some of the fictional video game characters and game world used on the show, as well as serving as consultants for small details and technical jargon.

McElhenney plays Ian Grimm, creator of an epic fantasy game called Mythic Quest, with a story written by an aging hippie novelist, C.W. Longbottom (F. Murray Abraham). In S1, the company is planning the first narrative expansion for the game, Raven’s Banquet. Community‘s Danny Pudi plays the “head of monetization,” Brad, with David Hornsby (another It’s Always Sunny alum) playing executive producer David Brittlesbee. There’s also chief engineer Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao, A gURLs wURLd ), Dana (Imani Hakim, Everyone Hates Chris), and Rachel (Ashley Burch, Borderlands 2), whose job is to test the games for bugs.

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Quiz miniseries revisits notorious 2001 game-show cheating scandal

The new miniseries Quiz was a ratings hit when it debuted in the UK in April. Now it’s coming to AMC.

It all started with a well-timed cough. In 2001, a former British army major, Charles Ingram, was a contestant on the wildly popular game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Ingram unexpectedly won the £1,000,000 jackpot but was subsequently tried and convicted for cheating, along with his wife and another accomplice. Now the Ingram story is coming to AMC in the new miniseries Quiz, adapted from the 2017 play of the same name by James Graham.

Michael Sheen (Good Omens) lights up the trailer as game-show host Chris Tarrant, so small wonder the miniseries proved to be ratings gold when it premiered last month in the UK. Directed by Stephen Frears (A Very English Scandal), the three-part TV adaptation also stars Matthew Macfadyen (Succession) and Sian Clifford (Fleabag) as Charles and his wife Diana Ingram. Michael Jibson (1917) plays the Ingrams’ accomplice, Tecwen Whittock, while Helen McCrory (Peaky Blinders) plays Sonia Woodley, the Ingrams’ criminal defense barrister.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was among the most popular shows in the UK in 1999, and Ingram’s wife and her brother had both been contestants on the show when Charles decided to follow suit. Producers didn’t expect him to proceed beyond the second day of taping—his performance was fairly erratic—but instead he won the top prize. Tarrant didn’t suspect anything was wrong as he celebrated with the Ingrams in their dressing room after the show. But production staff became convinced that Ingram had cheated after reviewing the tapes. Diana and Whittock kept coughing noticeably right as Tarrant read the correct answer.

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Good timing: Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone S2 trailer drops on Twilight Zone Day

The Twilight Zone season 2 trailer.

It’s national Twilight Zone Day (no one knows why), and what better way to mark the occasion than with the official trailer for the second season of Jordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone? We got our first look at still photos a few days ago, and, combined with the trailer, we’re optimistic that Peele can pull off another strong season and do this classic science fiction series proud.

(Some spoilers for S1 below.)

Rod Serling created the original Twilight Zone anthology series for CBS in 1959, and it was an instant hit with viewers. Serling was a fan of both pulp fiction and science fiction, and he combined those passions with a strong interest in social commentary on topics such as nuclear war and McCarthyism. And he loved a good twist ending. The series was successfully revived in the 1980s and again (less successfully) in 2002. There was also a 1983 feature film, notorious because star Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed in a freak helicopter accident during filming.

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Boots on the Moon! Netflix drops official Space Force trailer

Steve Carell stars in the new Netflix satirical comedy Space Force.

A newly minted four-star general is assigned the thankless task of establishing the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces in Netflix’s highly anticipated new satirical comedy series, Space Force, starring Steve Carell. Netflix just dropped the official trailer, showcasing an all-star cast and all the sharp, witty writing one would expect from the creators of the US version of The Office.

Created by Carell and Greg Daniels (who also created Parks and Recreation and the new comedy series Upload), Space Force was inspired in part by the Trump administration’s announcement that it would establish a national Space Force. (The real-life new branch successfully launched an Atlas V rocket in late March.) The cast also includes John Malkovich (The New Pope), Ben Schwartz (Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Recreation), Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley, Crazy Rich Asians), Noah Emmerich (The Americans), Lisa Kudrow (Friends), and Jane Lynch (Glee, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), among others.

Per the official premise:

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #netflix, #sitcoms, #space-force, #steve-carell, #streaming-television, #television, #trailers

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First trailer for HBO’s Lovecraft Country blends Eldritch horrors and racism

Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are among the executive producers of HBO’s Lovecraft Country.

H.P. Lovecraft is having a moment. January brought us Richard Stanley’s surreal film, Color Out of Space, an adaptation of the short story of the same name, in which a family on a farm encounters a glowing purple meteorite with typically horrific Lovecraftian consequences. Stanley’s film adaptation of The Dunwich Horror is rumored to be in development, the second in a planned trilogy. And now HBO has dropped the first trailer for a new series partly inspired by the works of the Cthulhu-loving horror master, called Lovecraft Country.

The series is based on the 2016 dark fantasy/horror novel, Lovecraft Country, by Matt Ruff, who also found inspiration in a 2006 essay by Pam Noles describing what it was like growing up being both black and, well, a hardcore nerd. The protagonist is Atticus Finch, a black veteran of the Korean War and science fiction fan who embarks on a perilous road trip from his home on Chicago’s South Side to a small town in rural Massachusetts. He’s looking for his estranged father, who purportedly vanished after encountering a well-dressed man driving a silver Cadillac.

Atticus’s Uncle George and childhood friend/fellow sci-fi buff, Leti, come along for the ride. This being inspired by Lovecraft, naturally they encounter all kinds of arcane rituals, magic, shape-shifters, monsters, and an alternate reality or two along the way.

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo, #jordan-peele, #lovecraft-country, #television, #trailers

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Zachary Quinto’s child-snatching psychic vampire is back in NOS4A2 S2

Ashleigh Cummings and Zachary Quinto return as Vic McQueen and Charlie Manx, respectively, in the second season of AMC’s NOS4A2, adapted from the Joe Hill novel.

AMC’s NOS4A2 flew under the radar for many viewers last summer, struggling to compete in a crowded seasonal market for film and television. That’s too bad, because it’s a great show. In my review last year, I called it a “haunting fable” that is “as much a depiction of the potentially destructive nature of artistic gifts as it is about the tragedy of dreams deferred—just all draped in supernatural trappings.” The first trailer for S2 has dropped in the middle of a global pandemic, and with less competition, hopefully more people will discover this gem.

(Some spoilers for book and S1 below.)

The series is an adaptation of the 2013 award-winning horror novel of the same name by Joe Hill. It’s about a woman named Vic McQueen with a gift for finding lost things. She’s one of a rare group of people known as “strong creatives,” capable of tearing through the fabric that separates the physical world from the world of thought and imagination (their personal “inscapes”) with the help of a talisman-like object dubbed a “knife.” For Vic, her knife is her motorcycle (a bicycle when she’s younger); for a troubled young woman named Maggie, it’s a bag of Scrabble tiles. And for psychic “vampire”/child abductor Charlie Manx, it’s a 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith.

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It’s one last time-traveling mission for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in S7 trailer

Phil Coulson and the gang are back for one final season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Another Marvel era is ending as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gears up for its seventh, and final, 13-episode season on ABC. The spin-off series created by The Avengers writer and director Joss Whedon brought Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) back from the dead to lead an elite squad of agents to take on the terrorist group Hydra, eventually incorporating a superhuman race called Inhumans into the storyline. The official trailer has now been released, giving us a better look at what’s in store for Coulson and his team on their final mission.

(Warning: some major spoilers for S5 and S6 below.)

Many cast and crew members expected Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to end after S5, especially since Gregg’s beloved Coulson character died (again) in the finale, spending his last days alone on a romantic tropical beach in Tahiti with May (Ming-Na Wen). Instead, ABC renewed it for a shortened sixth season of 13 episodes, adding a surprise renewal for a seventh and final season before S6 had been released.

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Amnesiac Janelle Monáe tries to recover her past in Homecoming S2 trailer

Janelle Monáe stars in Homecoming season 2, coming soon to Amazon Prime.

Janelle Monáe plays an amnesiac woman with a mysterious past who suspects that everyone around her is covering up a dark secret in the second season of Homecoming, Amazon Prime’s critically acclaimed psychological thriller. The first season, starring Julia Roberts, was an adaptation of the popular podcast of the same name, developed for television by showrunner Sam Esmail.

(Some spoilers for S1 below.)

The first season alternated between early 2018 and 2022. In the earlier time period, Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) is a caseworker with a secret government facility known as the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, in charge of treating a young veteran named Walter Cruz (Stephan James), recovering from trauma experienced during his last deployment. In 2022, Heidi is living with her mother in Tampa and working as a waitress. She is approached by a Department of Defense investigator named Thomas Carrasco (Shea Whigham) about a past complaint that Cruz had been restrained at the facility against his will. But Heidi has no recollection of Cruz or anything pertaining to his case.

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#amazon-prime, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #homecoming, #streaming-television, #television, #trailers

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The train’s social order is threatened in latest Snowpiercer trailer

Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly star in the new TNT series Snowpiercer.

Earlier this month, TNT announced it would be moving up the release of its new science fiction series, Snowpiercer, by a couple of weeks in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And now we have a new full trailer to give us a closer look at what we can expect: essentially a reboot of the critically acclaimed 2013 film by Oscar-winning director Bong Joon-ho (Parasite), fleshed out into a full-length series.

Bong’s film itself was an adaptation of a 1982 French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, about remnants of humanity trying to survive an ice age inside a 1,001-car train. The train is run by a reclusive transportation magnate named Mr. Wilford, who has separated the passengers according to class and has a nefarious plan to ensure life on the train remains sustainable.

The film starred Chris Evans as revolutionary leader Curtis, with Tilda Swinton as second-in-command Minister Mason. Bong shot much of it on a specially constructed set: a train mounted on a giant gyroscopic gimbal, the better to mimic the movements of an actual train. Snowpiercer earned critical raves and went on to gross $86 million worldwide against a roughly $40 million production budget.

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Disney+ is giving us a peek behind the curtain of Mandalorian’s first season

Trailer for Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, debuting on Disney+ on May 4, 2020.

There’s still several more months until season two of The Mandalorian hits Disney+ in October (assuming everything stays on schedule), but to tide us over, the Mouse House has released a trailer for Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian. The eight-episode documentary series will explore multiple facets of the production of this first live-action Star Wars television show.

Disney+ announced the documentary series earlier this month. “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian is an opportunity for fans of the show to take a look inside and get to see a different perspective, and perhaps a greater understanding, of how The Mandalorian came together and some of the incredibly talented contributors throughout Season 1,” executive producer Jon Favreau said in a statement at the time. “We had a great experience making the show, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you.”

Per the official synopsis: “The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.” The premise is that after the defeat of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, there was a period of chaos and lawlessness as a new government struggled to emerge from the wreckage.

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NBC marks Peacock “soft launch” with striking teaser for Brave New World

Alden Ehrenreich stars as antihero John the Savage in NBC Peacock’s forthcoming series Brave New World, an adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s seminal dystopian novel.

NBC’s Peacock streaming service marked this week’s “soft launch” with a short teaser trailer for one of its original programs: Brave New World, an adaptation of the ultimate dystopian science fiction novel by Aldous Huxley. It’s short on details but visually striking, so while Peacock is relatively late to the streaming scene, the series looks like it could be a winner for the fledgling service.

Brave New World (the novel) was inspired by H.G. Wells’ optimistic utopian novels. Huxley set out to write a parody of them, but eventually “got caught up in the excitement” of creating his own “negative utopia.” He also cited D.H. Lawrence as an influence, although George Orwell noted strong similarities to a 1921 Russian science fiction novel, We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin. (Huxley was openly accused of plagiarism by Polish author Mieczyslaw Smolarski, who believed the similarities to two of his novels were too strong to be “accidental analogy.”) The fact that Huxley wrote Brave New World as the Great Depression spread from the US to the UK influenced its theme of achieving stability, even at the cost of individual freedoms.

Brave New World is set in the year 2540, in the World State city of London, where people are born in artificial wombs and indoctrinated through “sleep-learning” to fit into their assigned predetermined caste. Citizens regularly consume a drug called soma (part anti-depressant, part hallucinogen) to keep them docile and conform to the strict social laws. Promiscuity is encouraged, but pregnancy (for women) is a cause for shame. Needless to say, both art and science (albeit to a lesser extent) are viewed with suspicion. “Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive,” Resident World Controller of Western Europe Mustapha Mond tells the novel’s antihero protagonist, John the Savage. “Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chained and muzzled.”

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Chris Hemsworth stars as a ruthless mercenary in trailer for Extraction

Chris Hemsworth stars in the new Netflix movie Extraction, produced by the Russo Brothers.

A ruthless mercenary is hired to save the kidnapped son of an international crime lord in Extraction, a new film debuting later this month on Netflix to further alleviate our sheltering-in-place ennui. It’s produced by the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: End Game), which is probably how they snagged Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, as the star. We can thank Netflix for Stranger Things‘ David Harbour’s welcome appearance.

Joe Russo penned the script, and the duo tapped stunt coordinator Sam Hargrave to make his directorial debut. Hargrave’s stunt work has been featured in several MCU films (Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, for example), as well as The Hunger Games franchise and Atomic Blonde. So if nothing else, we can definitely look forward to some well-choreographed action sequences with Extraction.

The official premise is short and sweet: “Tyler Rake (Hemsworth) is a fearless black market mercenary who embarks on the deadliest mission of his career when he’s enlisted to rescue the kidnapped son of an international crime lord.” Compounding matters is the fact that Rake has recently lost his own son and is dealing with the grief and depression one might expect from such a tragedy. And the extraction of the crime lord’s son, Ovi (played by newcomer Rudraksh Jaiswal), proves significantly more difficult than originally anticipated.

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Killing Eve S3 trailer drops; new season will debut two weeks early

Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer are back for a third season of Killing Eve.

Good news for those looking for fresh TV fare while sheltering in place: the third season of Killing Eve, the Emmy Award-winning spy thriller series starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, is coming to TV two weeks early.

“We know how adored this series is and we know how keen people are for great content right now,” Sarah Barnett, president of AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios, said in a statement. “This season of Killing Eve digs deep psychologically, and with actors like Sandra Oh, Jodie Comer, and Fiona Shaw, the results are nothing short of astonishing. We literally couldn’t wait for fans to see it.”

(Some spoilers for first two seasons below.)

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Pixar’s Soul trailer treads similar existential ground as Coco, Inside Out

Jamie Foxx voices middle school music teacher Joe Gardner in Pixar’s Soul.

A high school music teacher on the verge of a big break finds himself taking an unexpected detour through the afterlife in Soul, the latest animated feature by Pixar. Based on the trailer, it looks like Soul will have a similar existential emphasis on depicting highly abstract conceptions of human consciousness and the afterlife as Pixar’s Inside Out (2015) and Coco (2017).

Directed by Pete Docter (Inside Out, Up), Soul features the vocal talents of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Phylicia Rashad, Daveed Diggs, and Questlove. Per the official synopsis:

Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a middle-school band teacher who gets the chance of a lifetime to play at the best jazz club in town. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before—a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks, and interests before they go to Earth. Determined to return to his life, Joe teams up with a precocious soul, 22 (Tina Fey), who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. As Joe desperately tries to show 22 what’s great about living, he may just discover the answers to some of life’s most important questions.

Docter told Entertainment Weekly last November that the film is “an exploration of, where should your focus be? What are the things that, at the end of the day, are really going to be the important things that you look back on and go, ‘I spent a worthy amount of my limited time on Earth worrying or focused on that’?”

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Natasha Romanoff faces off against Taskmaster in final Black Widow trailer

Marvel’s Black Widow final trailer.

Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) goes back to her roots to take down a ruthless mercenary recruiting other young women to be combat operatives in the final trailer for Black Widow, Marvel’s long-overdue standalone feature film delving into the mysterious past of the late titular Avenger.

(Some spoilers for Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame below.)

As we wrote last December, we know that the Russian-born Natasha/Black Widow was trained as a spy/assassin in a secretive academy known as the Red Room, which disguised itself as a ballet school. All the “Black Widows” were sterilized, so Natasha is unable to bear children. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), aka Hawkeye, is sent to take her out but recruits her to S.H.I.E.L.D. instead. The two become fast friends, and both wind up joining the Avengers, giving Natasha a family of sorts. When the group splits in Captain America: Civil War, Natasha initially sides with Tony Stark/Iron Man, even though that pits her against Barton and Steve Rogers. But her loyalties remain divided, and in the battle at Leipzig Airport, she lets Rogers and Bucky Barnes escape.

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We are so on board for Jordan Peele’s clever reinvention of Candyman

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Us, Watchmen) stars as visual artist Anthony McCoy in Candyman, Jordan Peele’s re-imagining of the 1990s horror franchise.

A visual artist inadvertently reawakens a monster from a Chicago urban legend in the first trailer for Candyman. Co-written by Jordan Peele and director Nia DaCosta (best known for her 2019 film Little Woods), it’s technically another sequel to the 1992 film that inspired it rather than a straight-up remake. In fact, it looks to be following the trend of such recent projects as Watchmen and Cobra Kai: honoring the prior storyline(s) while bringing them firmly into the present day.

(Spoilers for original film below.)

Based on the Clive Barker short story “The Forbidden,” the original 1992 Candyman starred Virginia Madsen as a Chicago graduate student in sociology whose thesis deals with urban legends. She hears about a series of murders in the Cabrini-Green public housing project. The killer is rumored to be the ghost of a late 19th-century artist named Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd) who was lynched because he fathered an illegitimate child with a white woman. The mob cut off his right hand and smeared him with honey to attract bees to sting him before scattering his ashes over what is now the project’s grounds.

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