May 26, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

2022: Year In Review

So, how did 2022 turn out, based on our predictions and hopes from the start of the year?

It’s that time again, when we here at Gabbing Geek look forward to the year in entertainment and chime in on our thoughts, hopes, and desires.

What are we looking for this time?  Keep reading and find out.

Movies

 

THEN

Scream

What is it?  It’s the return of the Ghostface killer even if it’s always a different person or persons under the mask.

Why we’re psyched!  Hey, they brought back the surviving characters of the original cast, and the Scream movies are generally good for a scare.

Why we’re wary…  It’s coming out in January, and Wes Craven, being dead and all, wasn’t involved.

Watson says:  I liked Scream 4 well enough (it would have been nearly perfect if it ended 90 seconds earlier), but I’m not sure I care for another.

Jimmy says:  I can’t even remember if I saw Scream 4.  The trailer for this one is decent and I like the return of the original cast, so I’ll likely watch it…eventually.

NOW

Watson says:  Completely unnecessary. It was nostalgia targeted at new audiences. That’s how disjointed this thing was.


THEN

Morbius

What is it?  Sony is still trying to make a cinematic universe around the Spider-Man characters, and here’s their next attempt with, um, Morbius the Living Vampire?

Why we’re psyched!  Let’s face it:  Jared Leto is perfect casting for this role if anyone is.

Why we’re wary…  This one got pushed back quite a bit, and now it’s coming out in January.  That is not a good sign.

Watson says:  The delays are the same as most of the other Sony movies so the moves don’t worry me.  Something along the quality of Venom 2 would be fine for this entry.

Jimmy says:  Since Venom 2 was hot garbage, I sure hope it is better than that.  I haven’t watched the latest trailer, but the one I saw was doing it’s best to place this in the MCU.  Which almost seems as confusing as a Spider-Man cinematic universe without Spider-Man.

NOW

Tom says:  Aside from Matt Smith’s awareness of just what kind of movie this was, there’s not really anything to recommend about Morbius, though it is kinda funny Internet meme-makers tricked the studio into releasing it a second time.

Watson says:  The delays were probably not the reason this stunk. This is the first DC or Marvel superhero movie I didn’t see at the theater that wasn’t because of the Pandemic. Agree with Tom that the best thing about this was the re-release.


THEN

Moonfall

What is it?  Oh, just a small, personal drama about the moon crashing into the Earth.

Why we’re psyched!  Well, Roland Emmerich is directing, and if there’s one thing he knows how to do, it’s large scale destruction.

Why we’re wary…  Um, are Emmerich’s movies any good?  Beyond the large scale destruction?  Basically, they’re dumb fun at best, and at worst, just really dumb.

Watson says:  I’m guessing it’s just dumb. Emmerich hasn’t had a fun one in years.

Jimmy says:  I actually caught the trailer for this one and have to agree with Watson.  Likely dumb and just more of an excuse for Emmerich Catastrophe Porn.

NOW

Watson says:  This is the worst movie I saw all year…and I see a lot of bad movies.


THEN

Death on the Nile

What is it?  It’s the sequel to Kenneth Branagh’s Agatha Christie adaptation Murder on the Orient Express.

Why we’re psyched!  Agatha Christie’s work has made her one of the all-time best selling novelists for a reason, and Branagh’s first film was a pleasant little mystery that, a quick chase scene added here or there, was actually rather faithful to the source material.

Why we’re wary…  Did anyone want more of this character and his intentionally ridiculous mustache?

Watson says:  Me! I wanted this movie. Why it wasn’t sold to a streamer over the pandemic, I don’t understand. But I really thought the first one was fun and can’t wait for this one .

NOW

Tom says:  OK, I was not expecting an origin story for Poirot’s mustache, but that aside, this is a fun series to pop into once in a while.

Watson says:  I liked this even more than the first one. Brannaugh found a new gear for his eccentric Detective! Rumor has it, a third is possible. Keep them coming.


THEN

Uncharted

What is it?  It’s a movie based on a popular treasure hunting video game series.

Why were psyched!  It’s got Tom Holland as Nathan Drake…whoever that is.  I’ve never played the game.

Why we’re wary…  Movies based on video games are always problematic, but we’ve listed this one a couple times so far, and every year, Jimmy says Holland is a bad choice for Nathan Drake.

Watson says:  And the other guy is played by Wahlberg. Ugh. This might be bad.

Jimmy says:  Holland is a bad choice for Nathan Drake.  That said, the trailer is decent and the Ms. is really looking forward to this for some reason.

NOW

Tom says:  I knew nothing of this game series before I saw this movie, and I think it is safe to say I still don’t after seeing it.  Ask Jimmy.

Watson says:  It wasn’t great but it wasn’t diabetes. I’ll call that a win.


THEN

Ambulance

What is it?  Michael Bay’s latest, the story of desperate thieves who rob a bank and take an ambulance with a wounded cop in the back as a getaway vehicle.

Why we’re psyched!  Bay always gets a top notch cast, in part because he just lets them have fun as they make the movie, and this one has Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II just to start.

Why we’re wary…  Bay’s movies, even at their best, are like an assault on the senses, and a they can be the emptiest of empty cinematic calories.

Watson says:  Great cast…sketchy director…

NOW

Tom says:  This is basically classic Michael Bay:  a lot of overqualified actors having fun in a mindless action movie.  And this one doesn’t feature giant action figures punching each other in a visually incomprehensible manner.

Watson says:  It isn’t saying much but this was the best Bay movie of the 21st century. Not a bad stop at the movie theater.


THEN

The Batman

What is it?  It’s Batman!

Why we’re psyched!  Director Matt Reeves gave us two awesome Planet of the Apes movies and the first Cloverfield.  Robert Pattinson is a great actor, and the rest of the cast is impressive.  It’s also highlighting a Batman that actually does detective work while still maybe being the scariest guy in the room.

Why we’re wary…  Well, it is coming out in March, but we can chalk that up to things getting pushed by the pandemic.  That said, while the first trailer was impressive, the second one was decidedly less so.

Watson says:  I liked both trailers and I think this going to be excellent. My only knock is…MORE Batman!?!? That really is becoming their James Bond in that they don’t want to go too long without a reboot. My worry is that this didn’t go too far from the Nolan interpretation…

Jimmy says:  I’m undecided on this.  I love Batman and Reeves has a great track record.  I keep being told that Robert Pattinson is a good actor and not just a sparkly vampire.  But the trailer I saw didn’t do a lot for me.  Of course I’ll see it, but expectations for Battinson will be low.

NOW

Tom says:  I’m probably alone here at Gabbing Geek in that the length didn’t bother me that much, but this is the sort of Batman movie I’ve been hoping to see for a long time…even if he did take his old sweet time every time he stepped out of the shadows.  It’s really a Batman movie where he’s learning to be Batman and about being more than “scary guy to criminals”.

Watson says:  I liked it but I DO think it was too long. I haven’t re-watched this one at home and doubt I will until the sequel is approaching.


THEN

Bullet Train

 

What is it?  Five assassins all find themselves after interconnected targets on a bullet train.

Why we’re psyched!  Director David Leitch has some good action bone fides with Deadpool and Atomic Blonde, and the cast, led by Brad Pitt, sure is impressive.

Why we’re wary…  This is a movie based on a novel by a Japanese author set in Japan.  I haven’t read it, but shouldn’t it maybe have more Japanese actors in it?

Watson says:  This looks fun.

NOW

Tom says:  This one was a lot of fun, but it struck me as the sort of fun that works best if you’re in a room full of likeminded people.

Watson says:  One of my favorite movies of the year. Like the Diet Coke version of a Tarantino movie. Comedy and violence.


THEN

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

What is it?  It’s the sequel to the surprisingly fun movie where Sonic the Hedgehog took on Jim Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik.

Why we’re psyched!  The original Sonic was actually a pretty fun film, with Carrey back in his best classic comedic form and a lot of interesting uses to Sonic’s great speed.

Why we’re wary…  Why are they making such a big deal about how Idris Elba’s voice is sexy when he’s voicing a cartoon character named Knuckles?

Watson says:  The first film was the biggest surprise of 2020 that wasn’t related to a global pandemic. I’m guessing they won’t be able to recreate the magic.

NOW

Tom says:  Jim Carrey says this’ll be his last acting job.  Not as good as the first one, but fine enough fun for what it is.

Watson says:  They didn’t quite return to form of the first one, but this wasn’t bad.


THEN

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

 

What is it?  A rich man pays Nicholas Cage a lot of money to recreate some of his most famous action roles.

Why we’re psyched!  Because this may well be Nic Cage’s version of Being John Malkovich.  That should be enough.

Why we’re wary…  No Pig, no deal.

Watson says:  I don’t care what the reviews say. I’m seeing this the second it is released!

NOW

Tom says:  One of the best thinks about Nic Cage is he is completely aware of his public image and he is absolutely fine with that.  Plus, this fun, fun movie played as much as a tribute to motion pictures themselves as it is to Cage’s career.

Watson says:  So much Cagey goodness. This really was a great year for quirky, original movies. Especially important in a year where tentpole films fell flat.


THEN

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

 

What is it?  It’s the next installment in the Dr. Strange series as well as a follow-up to WandaVIsion.

Why we’re psyched!  Sam Raimi is directing this one, and his distinctive directorial style as seen in both his Spider-Man and Evil Dead films are both proof of his talent.

Why we’re wary…  Some folks around here really don’t want to see the multiverse in the MCU.

Watson says:  FUCKING JIMMY!

Jimmy says:  I like Raimi, and the trailer is not bad, so hopefully he can keep this from being a mess.  Though the more it bothers Watson, the better.

NOW

Tom says:  Sam Raimi brought a lot of weird to the table, and Elizabeth Olsen made for a fun villain, but this movie, like so many Marvel movies post-Endgame, came out as a bit of a muddled mess.

Watson says:  Oddly the multiverse stuff was not what made me want to doze off during this film. It was just uninspired.


THEN

Top Gun: Maverick

What is it?  It’s the sequel to that 80s classic (?) Top Gun.

Why we’re psyched!  If nothing else, Tom Cruise tends to deliver a good action movie.

Why we’re wary…  Why does this exist?

Watson says:  For all his nonsense, Tom Cruise typically makes good movies. I am not sure that will be the case here.

Jimmy says:  I haven’t watch the first one yet.

NOW

Tom says:  I had absolutely no faith in a second Top Gun movie being any good.  I wasn’t a fan of the first after all.  But then it came out, portraying Maverick as a much more mature human being while still being basically Maverick.  The scene with Val Kilmer was probably worth the price of admission all by itself, and the action scenes were all great.  What is it about long-delayed sequels to 80s movies I find only so-so that I end up enjoying as much as I do?

Watson says:  My biggest “egg on my face” prediction since Mad Max: Fury Road. This movie was just what cinema needed. It deserves every bit of its success and I’d love to see a surprise nod for Best Picture.


THEN

Bob’s Burgers: The Movie

What is it?  It’s a feature length story featuring the Belcher family.

Why we’re psyched!  If you’re on the right wavelength for this animated series, Bob’s Burgers is quite funny.

Why we’re wary…  Is this the sort of show can support a 90 minute (or more) story?

Watson says:  I don’t even watch the TV version. Will I watch the theatrical release?

NOW

Tom says:  Bob’s Burgers is a fairly charming and funny show that made for a fairly charming and funny movie.  It played as an extra-long episode of the series, and that was a good thing.

Watson says:  I watched it on a plane going to SF. It was fine but didn’t make me head to Hulu to binge the series.


THEN

Jurassic World: Dominion

What is it?  It’s the next installment in the Jurassic Park series.

Why we’re psyched!  Dinosaurs!  And we’ve finally left the park behind!

Why we’re wary…  Have you seen the previous two installments?  What are the odds the big bad is, once again, just another raptor of some kind?  There were other prehistoric animals, after all.  What if someone spliced, I dunno, an anklosaurus with a saber-toothed tiger?  This is supposed to be about genetic science run amok!  We can come up with different animal designs!

Watson says:  This one actually excites me. I’m hoping they lean into the post-apocalyptic, dinosaurs roaming the Earth vibe and make it something of a zombie movie with dinosaurs.

Jimmy says:  I haven’t seen a trailer, but I have seen all the JP dino films, so I doubt I’ll miss this one.  The last one was a stinker though.

NOW

Tom says:  Locusts were the big threat in this movie?  Seriously?  And isn’t it adorable that this film series thinks it has moments and characters that are beloved by all when it’s really just “Dinosaurs eat people and that’s about all anyone really remembers”?

Watson says:  They had this cool premise that dinosaurs walk among us, and then they set it in a remote location. WTF!?!?


THEN

Lightyear

 

What is it?  It’s a movie about the character that supposedly inspired the Buzz Lightyear action figure from the Toy Story films.

Why we’re psyched!  Chris Evans is voicing the character, and he basically could be a live action buzz.  Plus, Disney is generally reliable for feature length animated films.

Why we’re wary…  Was it this or Toy Story 5?  Because this seems like a bit of a stretch.

Watson says:  A prequel to a sequel that followed what was supposed to be the end of the series? Meanwhile, Disney’s flagship animation house is putting out gems like Raya and the Last Dragon…

Jimmy says:  Exactly who requested this?

NOW

Tom says:  I am a pretty big Pixar fan, and I give them a lot of leeway when they turn out more mediocre movies, but I just couldn’t for this one.  It’s never better than kinda decent and never justifies its existence in any serious way.

Watson says:  Lightyear took a lot of undeserved grief for what was a pleasant enough film. But I’d say Tom’s description is accurate.


THEN

Elvis

What is it?  It’s a biopic about the King of Rock’n’Roll, Elvis Presley.

Why we’re psyched!  If nothing else, director Baz Lurhman is going to make this a bit crazy to watch.

Why we’re wary…  If you ask Jenny or Ryan, they’ll just point out Elvis was neither a member of Queen nor Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Then Jenny would flip out over Tom Hanks playing Colonel Tom Parker.  Point is, maybe we shouldn’t talk music around here since it produces some unexpected answers.

Watson says:  This is what Hanks was filming when he got Covid and led to a string of events that earned me $15. This film has my full support.

NOW

Tom says:  I know a lot of people crapped on Tom Hanks’s performance in this movie, but for the life of me, I thought it was great that he played the villain for a change in a manner that told me for sure he was the villain.  Plus, Lurhman’s style does work well with the Hollywood musical biopic.

Watson says:  I liked this movie when I left the theater but the further I got away from my screening the more it grew on me and moved up my list. Star making turn for Austin Butler.


THEN

Thor: Love and Thunder

 

What is it?  It’s the fourth installment in the Thor film series.

Why we’re psyched!  Taika Waititi is back as writer/director, and no MCU series got a bigger and better make-over between movies than when he took over for Thor: Ragnarok.  Factor in as well he’s adapting both Gor the God-Killer (played by Christian Bale!) and the “Goddess of Thunder” storyarc (with returning Jane Foster Natalie Portman!), and this should be awesome!

Why we’re wary…  Waititi has a really good track record on, well, everything, so we probably aren’t.

Watson says:  This might be my most anticipated film of the year. Hemsworth’s Thor is a joy; especially under Taika!

Jimmy says:  Expectations are going to be high given the points above.  At least it won’t have to compete for supremacy with a Jumaji film this time.

NOW

Tom says:  Look, it was never going to be as good as Ragnarok.  At the least, anticipation for it was going to make it a bit of a disappointment.  But I liked this one if for no other reason than Christian Bale’s villainous Gorr and Russell Crowe’s rather delightfully full-of-himself Zeus.

Watson says:  It was ok. Sure it wasn’t Ragnarok but it wasn’t Dark World. Sadly, I wanted Ragnarok. Got meet expectations once you set them.


THEN

Nope

 

What is it?  It’s Jordan Peele’s next movie.

Why we’re psyched!  Peele’s movie are awesome, and bring in more than a little social commentary on top of everything else.  Plus, it has his Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya in the lead role.

Why we’re wary…  Peele’s work often relies on a great deal of secrecy, so we really don’t know much of anything about this movie.

Watson says:  YEP!  I’m always up for more Jordan Peele. Even though his sophomore entry was not as good as his first film, it was still quite enjoyable. I do hope at some point, he branches away from horror and makes a drama or action film.

NOW

Tom says:  While not quite on the same level as his previous works, I would say that Jordan Peele has once again put together a thought-provoking horror movie, this one about how the entertainment industry treats animals and, for that matter, other people.

Watson says:  It feels like Peele takes a step down every film, but when you start at near perfection with Get Out, your third offering can be really good even with the diminishing returns.


THEN

Black Adam

What is it?  It’s the long promised movie with the DC anti-hero, starring Dwayne Johnson!

Why we’re psyched!  The Rock is a superhuman god?  Cool!  And Watson hasn’t stopped raving about Aldis Hodge as Hawkman since the casting was announced.  He isn’t wrong.

Why we’re wary…  Can Johnson play an antihero?  He’s generally such a likable man on screen, and I’m not sure he’s ever played anything like a villain.  Even in his rare antagonistic roles (like his first Fast and Furious movie) basically showed him to be a good guy.

Watson says:  This is another one on my list that I can’t wait to see. This is a film that could rekindle the DCEU franchise. And has anyone told you how excited I am to see Aldis Hodge play Hawkman!?!

Jimmy says:  I’m going out on a limb early here, that this is going to suck like most DCEU fare.  And I like The Rock.

NOW

Tom says:  There’s nothing really wrong with Black Adam, but there’s nothing really right about it either.

Watson says:  It would have been a baller superhero movie in 2004. Props to Pierce Brosnan for stealing the show as Dr Fate.


THEN

Don’t Worry Darling

 

What is it?  It’s a period erotic thriller about suburban malaise from the looks of things.

Why we’re psyched!  Rising star and all-around awesome actress Florence Pugh got the lead in this one, and director Olivia Wilde showed a lot of talent for her feature debut.

Why we’re wary…  Wilde’s feature debut was the high school comedy Booksmart, and while that movie was a lot of fun, this is a very different genre and Wilde’s skills haven’t been proven in that one yet.

Watson says:  i’m pretty optimistic based on Olivia Wilde‘s first film that she has a mastery as a director. Her talents plus Florence Pugh‘s Amazing talent make me really excited to see them combine their efforts.

NOW

Tom says:  Visually impressive if nothing else, Wilde’s second feature is incredibly ambitious and has some important things to say about how some men treat women, but it ultimately doesn’t quite work in the end.

Watson says:  I actually chose to skip it…even when it hit streaming.


THEN

Halloween Ends

What is it?  It’s the end of the current trilogy about the clash between silent serial killer Michael Myers and his PTSD-inflicted sister Laurie.

Why we’re psyched!  Did you see the first movie in this trilogy?

Why we’re wary…  Did you see the second?

Watson says:  I did! It was bad…

Jimmy says:  I haven’t seen the second film yet.  The first wasn’t bad, doing the whole “let’s skip all the other sequels bit and bring back Jamie Lee Curtis”…though this is not the first time they’ve done that.

NOW

Watson says:  I hope this really IS the end. They took a promising soft reboot and made more of what their reboot was designed to criticize.


THEN

Amsterdam

 

What is it?  Well, it’s a David O. Russell movie featuring, among others, Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Mike Myers, AnyaTaylor-Joy, Zoe Saldana, Chris Rock, Robert De Niro, and more.

Why we’re psyched!  It’s apparently a period piece set in the 70s, possibly about some con men, and hey, American Hustle was pretty good.  Russell, despite reports he’s difficult to work with from many, many, many former actors from his films, does tend to bring out good performances from them.

Why we’re wary…  If you’ve read this far, you know as much about this one as I do.

Watson says:  All I need to know is that cast and David O Russell. I don’t care if he’s difficult to work with. He ain’t sitting next to me in the theater.

NOW

Tom says:  I’ve heard a lot more allegations against Russell since this came out, and the man sounds like total scum.  Also, this movie isn’t very good.  An incredibly impressive cast, but Christian Bale is the only one in the entire movie that appears to get through it without having a scene or two where he looks directly into the camera and gives a completely wooden reading on some lines he has that sounds like he’s only encountering them for the first time.

Watson says:  When the other geeks crapped on it, I passed…


THEN

Black Panther:  Wakanda Forever

 

What is it?  It’s the next installment in the MCU’s Black Panther series.

Why we’re psyched!  A sequel to the only MCU movie to go up for Best Picture?  Sounds good.  There are probably lots of things director Ryan Coogler can do to further explore the world of Wakanda.

Why we’re wary…  Setting aside the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman, meaning it’s uncertain who is even going to be the Black Panther this time around, this one has been more rumor than anything else, considering word the villain may be Namor the Sub-Mariner, to say nothing of Letitia Wright’s controversies.  Personally, I am wondering if this one can even come out on time right now.

Watson says:  This one will be tough. I’m eager to see what they do with the franchise that was tragically altered by real world shittiness.

Jimmy says:  Agreed.  The world deserved more Chadwick Boseman.   Since Marvel claims T’Challa will not be recast, it will be interesting to see exactly what kind of story they weave here, especially with the title and remaining characters seeming more fit for a D+ show.

NOW

Tom says:  Probably the best of the various Marvel movies to hit theaters this year (not saying much considering the competition with Thor and Dr. Strange), this movie was at its best when it was acting as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.  However, while I found the movie quite good, no one here is quite up to filling Boseman’s shoes as the lead for this franchise.  That said, Namor wasn’t a bad addition to the MCU, and I am not a big fan of the character normally.

Watson says:  BP1 had a stellar lead and a stellar supporting cast. BP2 just had the supporting cast trying to carry as the leads. It didn’t work.


THEN

Avatar: The Way of Water

What is it?  It’s James Cameron’s sequel to his surprising smash hit Avatar.  The one with the blue cat people, not the one with the airbending.

Why we’re psyched!  Cameron is a reliable director and this time, they’re going to the oceans for another obvious environmental analogy.

Why we’re wary…  Did Avatar have any sort of cultural impact?  I mean, does anyone besides James Cameron and maybe Ryan really want this?

Watson says:  No desire the see this movie.

Jimmy says:  I love that the image above is dated December 2021.  Will this ever get released?  Will anyone care?

NOW

Tom says:  Yeah, this sure was pretty to look at, but I’m not a huge fan of this franchise.  Cameron does know how to put together an exciting movie, and he works well with special effects, but the story here was very similar to the one from the first movie, and this movie is basically just something to see on a big screen because it probably won’t work on a TV no matter how good it is.

Watson says: Five for the story, but 11 for the visuals. That nets out to an 8 out of 10.


THEN

Babylon

 

What is it?  It’s another period piece with an impressive cast, though this time the acclaimed director is La-La Land‘s Damien Chazelle.

Why we’re psyched!  Like the David O. Russell movie, this one also has Margot Robbie, and it looks like its about the silent era of Hollywood.  And unlike Russell, I haven’t heard anyone say anything negative about working with Chazelle, but I don’t follow that sort of stuff that often.

Why we’re wary…  We still don’t know much about this one to make a judgement call one way or the other.

Watson says:  Chazelle’s name alone gets my attention.  Add Margot Robbie in a Hollywood period piece, and I am even more intrigued.

NOW

Tom says:  It’s a movie that shows a lot of excess, and even the more negative reviews seem to say there’s something here, but it depends entirely on how you take the excess.  Me?  I thought it worked even with all the excess.  And there was a lot of excess.


THEN

The Gray Man

What is it?  It’s the most expensive movie Netflix ever made, the story of a CIA operative who goes on the run when he is falsely accused of crimes, directed by the Russo Brothers and featuring Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans.

Why we’re psyched!  Did you see the movies the Russos made for Marvel?

Why we’re wary…  Did you see Cherry?

Watson says:  I must have missed this was the Russos.  I think they will be fine because this is more in the Winter Solider sweet spot than something deep and profound.  Count me in!

Jimmy says: I never heard of this until about 15 seconds ago, but with the Russos, Evans and “free” on Netflix, I’m in too!

NOW

Tom says:  Some decent action set pieces and a nice villainous asshole turn by Chris Evans aside, this movie felt rather average.  But it was free to watch on Netflix, so I can’t complain too much.

Watson says:  I would have been pissed to have to watch this at the theater, but on my couch it was a decent Friday night in.


THEN

Hocus Pocus 2

 

What is it?  It’s the sequel to the 90s era Halloween comedy Hocus Pocus.

Why we’re psyched!  The original Hocus Pocus is a Halloween classic for kids.  Or so I am told.  I’ve never actually seen it.

Why we’re wary…  You know, it’s been nearly 30 years since the first one came out.  And why is the first one so beloved?  I didn’t think the ads for that first movie looked that impressive when it came out back in ’93.  Am I too old for this franchise?  Probably.

Watson says:  I’ve never seen the first one either…

Jimmy says:  Everything old is new again.  Some things should just stay dead.  Hey…is that a segue?

NOW

Tom says:  So…did anyone around here actually see this one?  Jenny maybe?

Watson says:  I’ve now never seen either of them.


THEN

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

What is it?  It’s a sequel to the all-star murder mystery Knives Out.

Why we’re psyched!  Because Daniel Craig and Rian Johnson are back for more mystery murders with another all-star cast.

Why we’re wary…  Can Johnson catch lightning in a bottle a second time?

Watson says:  I really hope so.  The first was an instant classic that is in my Top 25 all time favorite movies.  The only worry is, while Craig was great, the success of the first film came as much from the rest of the cast as Foghorn Leghorn.  Can the new cast members match the excellence of de Armas, Evans, Stanfield Plummer, Johnson, Curtis, Shannon, Collette, Trooper Wagner, and the “Nazi child masturbating in the bathroom”???

Jimmy says:  Knives Out is grossly overrated.  Yeah.  I’m that guy.

NOW

Tom says:  I think it is safe to say Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig delivered another great murder mystery, with a tight script and some good twists and turns.  The groove for these movies seems to be more of Agatha Christie with a social conscience about what awful people the super-rich can be, something Christie herself probably would have never gone for.

Watson says: He did it again! He may not be able to make a Star Wars movie to save his life but damn can Rian Johnson spin a Benoit Blanc yarn!


THEN

Blonde

 

What is it?  It’s a Marilyn Monroe biopic!

Why we’re psyched!  Because the awesome Ana de Armas is playing Marilyn!

Why we’re wary…  Are they going to play Marilyn’s life as truly tragic or try too hard and fail miserably?

Watson says:  Ana de Armas is magical in everything.  She’s the only thing that has me excited about a Monroe biopic.

Jimmy says:  Who?

NOW

Tom says:  Ana de Armas turns in a pretty darn good performance as Marilyn Monroe.  That is literally the only good thing I can say about this dumpster fire of a movie.

Watson says:  Three hours for a terrible movie? I didn’t have it in me. I’m not a young man anymore.


THEN

Day Shift

What is it?  It’s an upcoming Netflix comedy about a man who cleans pools by day and hunts vampires by night.

Why we’re psyched!  Jamie Foxx got the lead on this one, and he’s got a good background in comedy and action.

Why we’re wary…  It would be so easy to screw something like this up.

Watson says:  But even if they screw it up, it will still be goofy fun, probably…

NOW

Tom says:  Day Shift was basically the sort of mindless popcorn flick I could get into.  I may not venture out to a theater to see it specifically, but for a Netflix movie, hey, I was entertained for two hours or so.

Watson says:  Bordering on bad even for a Netflix Friday night offering.


THEN

Escape from Spiderhead


What is it?  It’s a sci-fi story about some prisoners who volunteer for experiments on emotion-altering drugs in return for reduced sentences, when one falls for another and decides to get her out.

Why we’re psyched!  Chris Hemsworth in the lead, and rising star Jurnee Smollett is along for the ride.

Why we’re wary…  Hemsworth’s track record outside the Thor movies isn’t all that great.  He’s likable enough, but likability can only carry a movie so far.

Watson says:  I sure do like the cast.  Plus, Hemsworth action on Netflix?  It has worked before…

Jimmy says: I never heard of this until about 15 seconds ago, but with the Hemsworth and “free” on Netflix, I’m in!

NOW

Watson says:  A big disappointment. Cool premise. Great cast. Boring script.


THEN

Hustle

 

What is it?  It’s a sports comedy where a basketball scout thinks he can get a comeback with a street player he finds in Spain.

Why we’re psyched?  Um, are we?

Why we’re wary…  It’s an Adam Sandler movie, and it doesn’t sound like the Uncut Gems variety.

Watson says:  Tom is such a snob.  Look at how tall that guy is compared to the already tall Sandler?  That’s like 40% of the jokes right there!

Jimmy says:  I used to love Sandler, but that wore off a long time ago.  He has the occasional film that hits, but oh so many misses.

NOW

Tom says:  Wait, this was a drama?  OK, that’s different.  I actually like Sandler’s dramas.  Sure, not a great movie, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

Watson says:  Excellent movie. We got the performance of Serious Sandler but with some of the humor of Waterboy Sandler. This should be his model.


THEN

The Adam Project

What is it?  It’s the story of a man who time travels into the past to help his younger self confront his father, starring Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, and Jennifer Garner, among others.

Why we’re psyched!  Are you kidding?  That sounds awesome!

Why we’re wary…  Or it could be really schmaltzy…

Watson says:  Even bad Ryan Reynolds is enjoyable enough to make it through.  I like these odds!

Jimmy says:  I hate to ever agree with Watson, but he’s right.

NOW

Tom says:  Hey, this one was fun.  I like fun.

Watson says:  It was fun! Better than most franchise movies this year. Question is, will they try to build a franchise?


THEN

Turning Red

What is it?  It’s Pixar’s latest where a little girl turns into a giant red panda whenever she experiences a strong emotion.

Why we’re psyched!  Pixar at its best is among the best animated storytelling there is.  And even at its weakest, it at least has top notch visuals.

Why we’re wary…  Can Pixar even make great movies without going all metaphysical anymore?

Watson says:  This looked like yet another Dreamworks movie made by Pixar…

NOW

Tom says:  Not great Pixar, but I think I liked it more than Watson, and it was (surprisingly) a puberty metaphor that probably meant more to women than it would to, say, me.

Watson says:  I didn’t like it. It was so bland. I feel like I’ve seen this story before and done better by Judy Blume.


THEN

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

What is it?  It’s the third movie in the Fantastic Beasts series.

Why we’re psyched!  The Wizarding World has generally been a rather delightful place to go.

Why we’re wary…  Setting aside any controversy J.K Rowling has gotten into since the last movie came out…that last movie was a bloated mess with a lot of problems.  And what all this has to do with the guy who wrote a Hogwarts textbook, I have no idea.

Watson says:  Rowling’s trolling aside, this is not a worthy heir to the wonderful Harry Potter series…

Jimmy says:  The first Fantastic Beasts was surprisingly good.  The second, surprisingly bad.  Hopefully this at least meets in the middle.

NOW

Tom says:  Wait, this movie came out this year?  I totally forgot about it.

Watson says:  You didn’t miss anything, Tom…

Tom adds:  I know.  I saw it and forgot about it.


THEN

The Northman

What is it?  A viking revenge movie!

Why we’re psyched!:  This is the next movie from director Robert Eggers, the man behind The Witch and The Lighthouse.  The cast is led by Alexander Skarsgard, includes Eggers veterans Willem Defoe, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Ralph Inseon and Eggers newcomers Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Claes Bang, and Bjork.

Why we’re wary…  Eggers movies are all kinda weird.  How weird will this one be?

Watson says:  Sure! Why not?

NOW

Tom says:  Oh, this one was weird and wild.  Oh, and it was supposedly the story that inspired Hamlet, a great thing for a Shakespeare guy like me.

Watson says:  It had its moments, but the plodding pace kept this from ringing my bell.


 

TV

THEN

Andor

 

What is it?  It’s the continuing adventures of Cassian Andor, Rebel spy last seen played by Diego Luna in Rogue One.

Why we’re psyched!  Though Disney announced a lot of Star Wars-themed content, a lot of it is kinda up in the air as to whether or not it even comes out, but it looks like Cassian Andor will, and that could show some welcome potential shades of grey in the galaxy far, far away.

Why we’re wary…  Does anyone even remember much about this guy?

Watson says:  I’ll watch it and hope to be pleasantly surprised, but this was NOT a show I was clamoring for…

Jimmy says:  Have to agree with Watson again here.

NOW

Tom says:  Holy crap.  This was one of the best, most thought-provoking, most thematically mature and complex stories that Star Wars has probably ever told.  Slowly-paced, this show is as much as it is Andor’s origin story as it is about how the Rebel Alliance got started and what day to day life under the Empire was like for a lot of ordinary people at the bottom of the ladder, all of it something of a case study in the banality of evil.

Watson says:  I was pleasantly surprised! I love this as an origin story for the Rebellion and Stellan Skaarsgard is the best new character created since the Disney acquisition.


THEN

Obi-Wan Kenobi

 

What is it?  It’s Ewan McGregor’s return to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi, perhaps filling in some blanks for his time in the deserts of Tatooine.

Why we’re psyched!  As much as the prequels were a mess, McGregor was a good casting choice for young Obi-Wan, and he actually acquitted himself pretty well all things being equal.  Even he seems happy to be back.

Why we’re wary…  Hayden Christensen, I’ve heard, actually does well in supporting roles, but he was a terrible Anakin…and he’s back for this?  Hopefully it was the material and not the actor.

Watson says:  Christensen was good in other things, but why is he in this series?  This takes place when Vader was already a cyborg.  Please tell me they are not going to fight.  I think it is very important to the first Star Wars that they had not seen each other since Mustafar.

Jimmy says:  Watson makes a good point.  And while I’m looking forward to this, that aspect does worry me.  Any press I’ve seen says Christensen is playing Vader, not Anakin.  Couldn’t that be played by any stuntman?  (And will a 90 year old James Earl Jones return for his iconic voice role?)  If I had to guess, I would think Christensen will play a “ghost” role that haunts Obi-Wan throughout.

NOW

Tom says:  Oh, this was a fun story, one that could have been titled “How Obi-Wan Got His Groove Back,” and what a fantastic bait-and-switch Disney pulled off, making it look like Obi-Wan was going to be dealing with young Luke Skywalker, but then it turned out it was really about an adventure he had with a very different member of the family.  Oh, and it offered a nice chance for Hayden Christensen to actually show what he can do with a decently-written part when he was actually onscreen.

Watson says:  It was fine. I just had to turn off my deep admiration for the OG series and accept they are going to fill in gaps that shouldn’t be filled in ever.


THEN

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

 

What is it?  It’s the next Hulk saga for the MCU, this one about Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters, attorney at law.

Why we’re psyched!  We got a little glimpse of the new Hulk (see pic), and lead actress Tatiana Maslany was fantastic on Orphan Black where she played multiple characters effectively enough that even though they all had the same face, they also each had distinct personalities, accents, and body language, so I for one will love to see her getting more exposure to show off her skills.

Why we’re wary…  As with all MCU (and Star Wars for that matter) content, we really don’t know what’s coming out, so I’ll only be mentioning the ones here that got any mention on Disney+ day with more than a title card or a scowling Sam Jackson.

Watson says:  The teaser didn’t really wow me.  The few jokes they worked into it were cheesy.  This show will rely on comedy and charisma, so it needs to be tight…

Jimmy says:  And the brief CGI we saw of Hulk and She-Hulk looked weak, but they have lots of time to clean that up.

NOW

Tom says:  There was a lot of complaints about this show, but I took it as a light-hearted comedy, and for that, it mostly worked.  Plus, Tatiana Maslany was just as good as I thought she would be.

Watson says:  I liked it but they really did go over the top with previously established MCU guest stars. Sure they worked (especially Abomination), but spend more time with new creations.


THEN

Moon Knight

 

What is it?  A vigilante in white fights for a moon god.  And he might have multiple personality disorder.

Why we’re psyched!  Oscar Isaac in the lead role?  Ethan Hawke as the villain?  This sounds awesome!

Why we’re wary…  Even by Marvel standards, Moon Knight is really weird.

Watson says:  This trailer really captured exactly what I want in a Moon Knight series.  Hell, it captures what I wanted in a big budget BATMAN series.  More grounded.  Less reliant on gadgets.  Good stuff.

Jimmy says:  Rumor has it that this will be the most violent thing the MCU has produced.  Which begs the question of where they draw the line for this normally PG-13 franchise?  This almost seems like it would have been more at home with the now defunct Marvel shows on Netflix.

NOW

Tom says:  The series’s gimmick, that Marc/Stephen share a body and become the Moon Knight when one or the other blacks out, was fun for the first episode, but the more it happened, the more I suspected I was missing too much, and I didn’t care for that.

Watson says:  The stuff that I wanted to see happened during the blackouts. Boo!


THEN

Ms Marvel

 

What is it?  The adventures of Kamala Kahn, the young Pakistani-American girl who becomes a superhero.

Why we’re psyched!  Because Kamala is awesome, that’s why.

Why we’re wary…  Oh, I hope no one goes off on Disney being “woke’ because of this show…

Watson says:  I know nothing about this character, so I am going in cold.  I hope it is excellent.

Jimmy says:  I know more than Watson, but not a lot.

NOW

Tom says:  This show was fine, but I think it was aimed at a younger target audience than myself.  That’s fine in and of itself, but it was something.

Watson says:  Agree with Tom. There can be different demographics served than just middle aged white dudes. Respect!


THEN

The Boys

What is it?  It’s Amazon Prime Video’s adaptation of Garth Ennis’s superhero satire.

Why we’re psyched!  They’re going to adapt the “Herogasm” storyline, and they’re bringing in the Avengers knock-offs from the looks of things with the Captain America-esque Soldier Boy to start.  More heroes for Billy Butcher to sneer at.

Why we’re wary…  There are at least two spin-offs on the way for The Boys, so I hope they don’t dilute the brand too much.

Watson says:  Season two was even better than Season One, Episode 8! Looking forward to more.

NOW

Tom says:  Yeah, another great season of The Boys is over and done with.  Granted, I don’t think this series will ever equal the accidental death in the first episode of this season where a fellow with shrinking powers has an unfortunate sneeze at the worst possible time.

Watson says:  I think this was my least favorite of the three seasons, but I still really enjoyed it.


THEN

Pam & Tommy

What is it?  It’s a Hulu mini-series about the theft of a certain sex tape featuring Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

Why we’re psyched!  Lily James as Anderson, Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee, and Seth Rogen as both executive producer and the tape thief all sound like good things to me, particularly given Rogen’s record producing television in recent years.

Why we’re wary…  I honestly feel a little sleazy just writing this much…

Watson says:  This is going to be a blast!  Two of the most under the radar performers who could become superstars.

Jimmy says:  I have a strong feeling I won’t be watching this one with the Ms.

NOW

Tom says:  I enjoyed this while I was watching it, even as I recognized a couple problematic elements in this retelling of what happened to Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s private tape, but since then, I’ve come across more than a few thinkpieces that suggest that there’s something wrong about trying to tell a story about how a woman was exploited while recreating the very moment that made her so exploited.  No wonder Anderson wanted nothing to do with this mini-series.  It’s well done for what it is, but it’s still got a few problems because of what story they were trying to tell.


THEN

Ted Lasso

What is it?  It’s the only reason anyone knows Apple TV+ exists.

Why we’re psyched!  C’mon, everyone loves Ted Lasso.

Why we’re wary…  OK, I personally haven’t seen it, and I get suspicious that anything could be that good.  Cue the others to tell me it is that good.  Except maybe Jimmy.

Watson says:  All the feels.  Single handedly making Apple TV+ relevant.

Jimmy says:  I’m late to the Ted Lasso party, but it really is that good.  Go watch it, Tom.  Now.

NOW

Watson says:  No new season this year. Boo!


THEN

House of the Dragon

What is it?  It’s a prequel series set centuries before the events of Game of Thrones showing how the Targaryens came to power in the Seven Kingdoms.

Why we’re psyched!  The way Game of Thrones was set up, it was more like the conclusion to a longer story that none of the characters were old enough to have actually seen…well, except the Three-Eyed Raven and probably the White Walkers.  But they don’t see to play into this one.  Point is, there’s plenty of stories to still tell in Westeros, and it doesn’t look like the producers of GoT are around for this one.

Why we’re wary…  Yeah, have we gotten over how much GoT fell flat in the end?  Do we really want to see more of that now?

Watson says:  I have read the basic plot of this story in Martin’s History of Westeros.  It is quite compelling and could make for a fun adaptation.  I am over the bitterness with S8, made my peace with it, and looking forward to more GoT.

Jimmy says:  There was a season 8?!?!?

NOW

Tom says:  OK, I learned maybe three character names during the course of the season, and casting changes due to time jumps didn’t help there, but damn if this wasn’t some compelling television all the same.  Paddy Considine really deserves an Emmy for his final episode alone.

Watson says:  Agree on Paddy C turning Vizzy T into the MVP. Especially since the character in the source material was otherwise bland. I’m completely digging this show. It has rekindled my passion for the franchise after a disappointing Season 8.


THEN

Wednesday

 

What is it?  It’s basically the next incarnation of The Addams Family, focusing on Wednesday as she masters psychic powers and solves a murder mystery.

Why we’re psyched!  Someone is trying something new with the Addams Family, and while the idea of Wednesday as a psychic crimefighter seems…odd, it does have Luis Guzman and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Gomez and Morticia, and that alone intrigues me.

Why we’re wary…  The someone trying something is Tim Burton, so while it’ll probably have a lot of cool visuals, he isn’t the strongest guy around when it comes to crafting a coherent or compelling story.

Watson says:  This one will have to get some serious buzz for me to watch.  I’ve never been a big fan of the Addams Family franchise.

NOW

Watson says: It got buzz. I watched it. It was amazing. Kind of a fill in for Harry Potter.


THEN

The Sandman

 

What is it?  It’s the Netflix adaptation of the Neil Gaiman comic book series that combined horror with high fantasy, when the King of Stories dealt with his issues after a nearly century long imprisonment.

Why we’re psyched!  The Sandman is such a big, sprawling series that TV really is the way to go for adaptation, with a huge cast and everything.  Plus, some of the casting decisions have already angered some people–you know the types–and that alone can be a sign they did one thing right.

Why we’re wary…  Hopefully this goes better than the last Neil Gaiman-inspired TV show, the inconsistent American Gods.

Watson says:  I liked American Gods, so if it is better than that, I will be happy.  My worry is Sandman might be a series that works better as a comic…

NOW

Tom says:  Wow.  Someone finally got a live action adaptation of this comic series done, and it was actually great.  Can’t wait for season two!

Watson says:  It started a little slow but, like the comics, took off when they got to the Diner episode.


THEN

Peacemaker

What is it?  It’s the follow-up mini-series to last year’s Suicide Squad movie, following the misadventures of violent, murderous, wannabe superhero Peacemaker.

Why we’re psyched!  James Gunn behind the camera, John Cena in front of it…sounds good to me!  The only reason Peacemaker wasn’t the breakout character in The Suicide Squad would be because all the characters in that movie were fun as hell, each in their own way.

Why we’re wary…  C’mon, you only brought back Peacemaker?  Were King Shark and Ratcatcher too expensive?

Watson says:  This should be a fun little turd.  Cena was a ham in the movie and this should adapt well to a short series.

Jimmy says:  The Suicide Squad was overrated.  Yeah, I’m that guy.  The Peacemaker trailer is mediocre, though I’ll probably watch just cause I know the Gabbing Geek bullpen aren’t going to shut up about it.

NOW

Tom says:  OK, I seriously was not expecting James Gunn to take the most despicable member of his Suicide Squad and not only make him sympathetic but a three-dimensional character to boot.  It helps that John Cena is totally up to the job and the rest of the supporting cast was fantastic.  Plus, the alien butterfly invasion of that small town police station may have been one of the scariest moments I’ve seen on any TV show in ages while the opening credits may have been just something of a hoot every week.

Watson says:  Wow. Just wow. This is by far the best offering from the DCEU and probably the best adaptation of ANY DC property short of Dark Knight. Amazing.


THEN

The Afterparty

 

What is it?  It’s a comedic murder mystery as attendees of a high school reunion all remember the night differently.  So, it’s like Rashomon.

Why we’re psyched!  This one comes from Phillip Lord and Christopher Miller, AKA the guys behind The Lego Movie and Into the Spider-Verse and a whole host of other great comedies.

Why we’re wary…  Does anyone ever have a good time at a high school reunion?  I’m surprised more of them don’t end in murder.

Watson says:  This is my jam:  comedy murder mysteries.  I cannot wait.

Speaking of murders…

NOW

Tom says:  Not as funny as I might have hoped, and some of the genre parodies worked better than others, but this was a rather intricately plotted murder mystery all the same.  This should make for a good second season when it comes around.

Watson says:  It probably could have been better but I enjoyed binging it. I’d watch another case in the same format.


THEN

Only Murders in the Building

What is it?  It’s the next season of the story of three neighbors who decide to do a true crime podcast when there’s a murder in their apartment building.

Why we’re psyched!  Because this sort of comedy is pretty much Steve Martin’s sweet spot these days, and he’s backed up by Martin Short and Selena Gomez.

Why we’re wary…  Steve Martin seems like a busy guy.  Does he have time to make more this year?  I mean, Martin Short is like the go-to guy if someone cancels a talk show appearance, so I assume he’s free…

Watson says:  This is my jam:  comedy murder mysteries.  I cannot wait.

NOW

Tom says:  Of the two comedic murder mystery shows from this past year, this one is in my mind the superior of the one.  It helps that it is as much a character study as it is a silly murder mystery.

Watson says: I just finished this as the year was wrapping up. Definitely a far cry from the first season in quality, but still a fun watch. With that great cast and amazing guest stars, I’ll watch another season.


THEN

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

 

What is it?  It’s a TV series about the trials and tribulations on Middle Earth in its Second Age.

Why we’re psyched!  Tolkien wrote a hell of a lot about Middle Earth, so there’s plenty left to explore if someone were willing to spend the money to make it, and Amazon certainly has a lot of money.

Why we’re wary…  Apparently, due to rights issues, this story does not cover events from either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, so I hope you’re big fans of The Simarillion.

Watson says:  This is my jam:  comedy murder mysteries.  I cannot wait.  Oh, crap.  I can’t use that here.  Well, hopefully this is good, but I’ve not heard great things about the Simarillon….

Jimmy says:  The Lord of the Rings without rings or Hobbits?  (I have no idea if that’s right, I haven’t read The Simarillion.)  Will probably try it out, but expectations will be low.

NOW

Tom says:  I’ve only just started this show, but at the least, it got the scale, scope, and look of Tolkien’s work.  Whether the entire season ends strongly or not, I don’t know yet.


THEN

Willow

What is it?  It’s a Disney+ sequel series to the fantasy movie Willow.

Why we’re psyched!  Warwick Davis is back, and there’s a lot that could be done with a character and setting like this.

Why we’re wary…  For very good reasons, it will also not include Val Kilmer.  Poor guy…

Watson says:  Pure nostalgia, but hopefully they come up with something fun…

NOW

Tom says:  Well, it comes across as a fairly by-the-book fantasy series, but the original movie was that too.  That said, just going by the episodes I have seen so far, it sure does have a high body count for a Disney+ series.


THEN

Bel-Air

What is it?  It’s a gritty, dramatic remake of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Why we’re psyched!  Honestly, there’s a lot of dramatic potential to an idea like this.

Why we’re wary…  But for all that there’s a lot of dramatic potential, it seems really, really weird that someone thought “Hey, let’s make a dramatic version of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and make it an actual show and not just a trailer that may have been something of a joke anyway.”  Why not just do the story without the connections to an old sitcom?  What’s next?  An R-rated Dukes of Hazard where the Dukes and Boss Hogg are rival crime families in a small, rural Georgian community?

Watson says:  Not only am I not excited about this show, I am regretting that Tom’s Hazard pitch isn’t a real thing…

Jimmy says:  The trailer does seem like something that could have gone viral if that was all there was to it.  But as a set up for a dramatic series it is eyerolling.

NOW

Tom says:  OK, I don’t think anyone watched this.  I know I didn’t.  But here’s the thing:  I put these lists together every year and ask for stuff to anticipate.  Someone picked this show as something to anticipate.  So…who was it?  And why?  I’m kinda baffled.

That and I wanted to remind everyone of my R-rated Dukes of Hazard pitch.


THEN

Superman & Lois

What is it?  It’s the CW/Arrowverse series about Clark Kent and Lois Lane, trying to raise twin teenage sons out of the old Kent farmhouse when one brother has superpowers and the other doesn’t.

Why we’re psyched!  This show had a really strong first season.  It really is about both Superman and Lois, working individually or together, and both lead actors are well cast as their respective roles as an idealistic but experienced Superman and the mildly cynical but unable to quit Lois.  It told a good sci-fi story in its first season, was a lot more subtle in its political commentary than, say, the blatantly obvious Supergirl, and felt like a nice, darker corrective to the generally simple Arrowverse approach to superheroes.

Why we’re wary…  Well, it’s the CW, so no matter what happens, it’ll probably be on the air way too long.

NOW

Tom says:  The last of the Arrowverse shows still standing, possibly because it’s been separated from the rest of the Arrowverse and treated as its own thing even if both Superman and Lois, as played by these actors, originated over there.


THEN

Stargirl

What is it?  It’s the story of Courtney Whitmore, the sweet-natured girl who took on a cosmic rod and became the superhero Stargirl, soon recruiting her friends at school to be a new Justice Society of America.

Why we’re psyched!  Stargirl is probably the sweetest superhero show around, and that’s not a complaint.  Brec Bassinger gives a winning, sincere performance as Courtney, with Amy Smart and Luke Wilson as her mother and stepfather.  Besides, the forthcoming third season seems to be about what happens when the potentially reformed Sportsmaster and Tigress move in next door.

Why we’re wary…  It’s really weird seeing Joel McHale playing a good guy without the slightest bit of snark.

NOW

Tom says:  Well, this one got canceled to the surprise of absolutely no one, even the producers who had the forethought to make the final episode with two endings:  one if the show got canceled and one for if it got renewed.  Too bad.  This was a charming little superhero show.


THEN

Better Call Saul

What is it?  It’s the final season of the prequel series to Breaking Bad, showing how Jimmy McGill became Saul Goodman.

Why we’re psyched!  This show is a worthy successor/companion series to the spectacular Breaking Bad.  And Vince Gilligan proved he can stick the landing with Breaking Bad.

Why we’re wary…  It is a prequel, so we may have a rough idea what’s going to happen.

Watson says:  I am going to binge the series between now and this final season so I can watch in real time.

NOW

Tom says:  I only finally got around to this show this year, but man, it is very bit as good as Breaking Bad and shows what good creators can do with even seemingly joke supporting characters with the right effort put in.

Watson says:  I binged the whole series and enjoyed the run. It didn’t quite stick the landing for me like BB, but the ending didn’t diminish the amazing seasons that came before.


THEN

Ozark

What is it?  It’s the Netflix crime drama where big city types Jason Bateman and Laura Linney try to launder money for a Mexican drug cartel in the Ozarks while also running afoul of other local crime lords.

Why we’re psyched!  Ozark is a masterclass in tension and character work, and it may be the first series of its kind I’ve seen where the wife is just as if not more involved than the husband in the criminal behavior.

Why we’re wary…  Netflix divided the final season in two, so who knows how long they plan to stretch this thing out?

Jimmy says:  I’m pretty sure the next season is the end and starts in just a few weeks!

NOW

Tom says:  Totally stuck the landing.  Fantastic ending to a fantastic show.

Watson says:  It climbs into the upper echelon of tv dramas. Glad they did a 4 season and done run.


THEN

Doom Patrol

What is it?  It’s the most messed-up group of superheroes that ever graced any screen.

Why we’re psyched!  Doom Patrol can go from completely bizarre to heartfelt drama at the drop of a hat.  This is a show where alien warlords take up residents in a Catskills style resort and somehow, despite being green, bald, and obviously an alien overlord, can still become the most popular visitor to the resort.  It’s a show where a talking cockroach is a doomsday prophet.  It’s a show where a robot with a human brain’s imaginary friend comes to life and it’s a hostile Jesus.    It’s that kind of show.

Why we’re wary…  It would be really easy to get that whole thing and go overboard the wrong way.

NOW

Tom says:  The only reason I haven’t started this one yet is because I need to finish The Midnight Club first, but I did have the pleasure of a coworker coming up and asking me if I’d seen it since he just started it.


THEN

Young Justice: Phantoms

What is it?  It’s the continuing adventures of The Team, the Justice League’s secret black ops group of young heroes.

Why we’re psyched!  The fourth season, Phantoms, started up recently and will conclude in 2022.  This time around, the series seems to be telling four episode storyarcs about each member of the season one line-up, and they’ve been just as good as the series has ever been.  It is a little more mature in its content since going from Cartoon Network to DC Universe/HBO Max, but that just means a little bit of swearing and some higher degree of violence, but it’s not like it’s on par with, say, the animated Harley Quinn.  Basically, DC may not always do well with live action properties, but they’ve got animation down pat.

Why we’re wary…  Are these stories all going to connect somehow?  And will there be a fifth season?  That hasn’t been approved yet.

NOW

Tom says:  While the series very much did bring all the plot points together in a largely satisfactory way, it does look like this show has been canceled again.  And it ended on a cliffhanger again too!  Well, it did come back unexpectedly once.  Maybe it will again.


THEN

Stranger Things

What is it?  It’s the throwback sci-fi/horror hit series.

Why we’re psyched!  The odd episode here or there aside, Stranger Things is consistently well-done, a series that looks like it could have come from the era it was set in, with a deep bench of cool and compelling characters.

Why we’re wary…  You know, those kids won’t stay kids forever…

Jimmy says:  The aging of the kids certainly has to be a concern, especially with the delay of this season by the pandemic.  That said, the 80’s charm of season one has already worn off, so just make a good show about a group of friends and their Eggo loving telepath.

NOW

Tom says:  When this show is running on all cylinders, it does a fantastic job.  And this season?  Well, it was running on all those cylinders, introducing a great new (yet doomed) character, exposing who the series Big Bad really was, and setting up what I hope is a fantastic final season.


THEN

Star Trek Picard

What is it?  It’s the continuing adventures of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (retired).

Why we’re psyched!  Because we love Patrick Stewart.  And this time around, the show brought back John De Lancie’s Q, the Borg Queen, and a time travel storyline for season two judging by the trailer.

Why we’re wary…  Time travel?  Sounds like a way to save money.  And for all that Picard is still awesome, many of the rest of his new crew are not quite there yet.

Jimmy says:  The time travel and Q aspects certainly have me worried.  Also, Patrick Stewart is 81 years old and starting to show his age.  Does he have enough left in the tank to carry this season as he did the very enjoyable first one?

NOW

Tom says:  Let’s face it:  anyone tuning into this show was most likely hoping the series would be some sort of Next Generation sort of series.  It isn’t that, and is largely hit and miss as a result, tossing off some good ideas here and some subpar ones there.  Granted, it does look like season three will be that Next Generation reunion fans were hoping for all along.


THEN

Star Trek Lower Decks

What is it?  It’s the animated adventures of the junior officers of one of Starfleet’s lesser ships.

Why we’re psyched!  It’s a strong, character-based comedy, one that shows affection for its setting (to say nothing of numerous Easter eggs per episode) while still pointing out how silly and ridiculous it can be.  Not every member of Starfleet can be competent enough to be part of the Enterprise‘s crew.  This may be the best Star Trek series on the air right now.

Why we’re wary…  This one may be a lot of fun, but it may not be the most accessible for people who aren’t Star Trek fans.

NOW

Tom says:  Another great season of Lower Decks…aside from that one episode about Ensign Peanut Hamper.  Please, never bring that character back…


THEN

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary:  Return to Hogwarts

What is it?  It’s a reunion of the cast of the Harry Potter franchise.

Why we’re psyched!  Those movies, despite any controversy caused by the author, are still a lot of fun, and this will almost have to be more fun than the Fantastic Beasts films have been so far.

Why we’re wary…  Even the best Reunion Specials rely heavily on just old stuff we’ve already seen rather than new material we might want to see.  So, this is a walk down Memory Lane, not, say, a new adventure for Harry, Ron, and Hermione where Hermione does most of the work, Ron does comic relief, and Harry gets most of the credit when he largely inadvertently saves the day.

Watson says:  Even at his lowest moment with the fandom, George Lucas would have still been invited to a Star Wars reunion. Sorry, JK. You screwed up.

Jimmy says:  I enjoyed the films and the books, but I have zero interest in this.

NOW

Watson says:  It was enjoyable enough but the cloud hanging over the franchise is real.


Books

THEN

The Winds of Winter

What is it?  It’s my annual joke prediction because, theoretically, I may be right one year.

Watson says:  Giggles in the key of 2022…

Jimmy says:  He’s just giving me time to read the last two books…

NOW

Tom says:  Well, not this year.  Maybe in 2023…

Watson says:  Never. Not. Funny.


Comics

Tom here.  I gave myself two series to finally finish.  They’d both been done for years, and I was finally concluding them.  How were they?

THEN

Invincible

What is it?  It’s the story of Mark Grayson as he goes from ordinary teenager to superhero.

Why I’m psyched!  Between the TV series and the first big omnibus that covered the first third of the series, I became a big fan of this story.  I already have the remaining two omnibuses, so I just need to sit down and start reading them.  It somehow uses a Silver Age tone with more adult ideas and a lot of blood.

Why I’m wary…  I hope I have time to finish them with everything else I do.

Watson says:  I thought this ended…

NOW

Tom says:  Every bit as awesome as I had been told.


THEN

Letter 44

What is it?  Letter 44 tells the story of an Obama-like president who takes office and, in the traditional letter an outgoing president leaves for his successor, learns aliens are real, that was why his Dubya stand-in predecessor started a bunch of wars in order to prepare the armed forces for an invasion, and there’s already a team of astronauts flying out to the asteroid belt to get a look at the aliens and find out what they want.

Why I’m psyched!  Charles Soule managed to combine sci-fi and real world political drama into one cool series.

Why I’m wary…  The one plotline, where the former president has a lot of followers and people still working for him to undermine the sitting president as the former guy plots to take over what’s left of the country after things happen…that one hasn’t aged too well.

NOW

Tom says:  Not a perfect series, but there was that one element that just did not age well at all.  That said, this was one of the most optimistic End of the World stories I’ve ever read.


Gabbing Geek

THEN

What is it?  You’re looking at it.

Why we’re psyched!  Would we have produced a post this long if we weren’t?

Why we’re wary…  Well, the site could go down again.  That would be the only thing to stop me.

Watson says:  I thought this ended…

Jimmy says:  I look forward to another year of Tom keeping the IP alive and chatting with him about Young Justice and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

NOW

Tom says:  Still chugging along.  Unless something happens, expect more in the future, including tomorrow’s “Year of Anticipation” for 2023.  Plus, Watson wrote an article this year!

Watson says:  To paraphrase Odin, Gabbing Geek is not a place. It’s a people.