Category: TV


Review by C.J. Bunce

If you have any doubt young actress Iman Vellani was destined to be the next Marvel Comics superheroine, just watch her in the first episode of new series Ms. Marvel, and watch the short background feature that follows (A Fan’s Guide to Ms. Marvel).  Her character is similar to Hailee Steinfeld’s Hawkeye, who we only met last year in her new series.  Both grew up admiring Avengers in a world where Thanos ruined five years for so many, and both take actions to become those superheroes.  Both actresses have created characters with a respect for their family, culture, and upbringing, but both want to be themselves, too.  Vellani’s character, a 16-year-old named Kamala Khan, faces the same teen angst issues of most American teens, and her choice is to distract herself with other things.  Primarily that’s marveling at Carol Danvers’s Captain Marvel, who she admires from afar (actor Brie Larson is not expected in this series, but both will appear together in the forthcoming Captain Marvel movie The Marvels).  This coming of age story has much going for it in only its first 47-minute opening episode, premiering this week on Disney+.

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We first previewed the teaser for it here at borg last month.  The seventh movie in the Predator franchise is coming this summer.  It’s the prequel story Prey, coming to Hulu.  20th Century Studios opted not to continue in the direction of the super-Predator unveiled in Shane Black’s 2018 vision, The Predator.  Instead director Dan Trachtenberg is taking what appears to be an expensive alternative, as in Predators, the third entry in the franchise from 2010, Prey is clearly not heavy on elaborate set pieces and special effects.  And yet it looks like it’s going to be a blast, with plenty of throwbacks to the original movie–the sci-fi classic with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Check out the first full-length trailer for the next Predator movie, Prey:

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Genre favorite Jenna Coleman is back, this time not as the friendly companion in Doctor Who, but as Johanna Constantine in The Sandman, a new series coming to Netflix this summer.  Based on Neil Gaiman’s series of graphic novels from DC Comics, it’s a dark fantasy tale of another world, a place called the Dreaming, the realm of The Sandman, Master of Dreams, played by Tom Sturridge (Far from the Madding Crowd).  “When Dream is unexpectedly captured and held prisoner for a century, his absence sets off a series of events that will change both the dreaming and waking worlds forever.”

The trailer reveals a British production that has the look and vibe of the Twilight and Harry Potter movie series, and it features a long list of familiar genre faces, including Potter’s David Thewlis, plus Alien3 and Bleak House’s Charles Dance, The Hobbit and V for Vendetta’s Stephen Fry, Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Gwendoline Christie, Logan and The Predator’s Boyd Holbrook, and Veronica Mars’ Kirby Howell-Baptiste.

Here’s the new trailer for Netflix’s The Sandman:

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More than two years since filming and it was well worth the wait.  Stranger Things at last fulfilled its mash-up pop culture promise in its fourth season.  Hidden inside a mix of a B-movie style homage to low-budget horror and Steven Spielberg movies of the E.T. and Goonies vintage, the story finally came full circle in nine big hours over seven episodes.  What do you get when you take 1980s pop culture, a haunted house, a superman lab, more Upside Down, more D&D, not-rabid mynocks, a monster to rival Freddy Kruger, and a huge cast of characters you’ve grown to love (and watch grow up)? The best season of one of the streaming era’s best series.

So let’s dig into Season 4.

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A long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, an animated television series took place.  Star Wars Droids aired in 1985 and 1986, a series from the Dark Times, when fans of the franchise figured it was over for good and there was not any hope of another movie.  Considered non-canon even back then, it tracked stories prior to the original trilogy of the adventures of trusty droids R2-D2 and C-3P0.  A corresponding toy line featured a whopping twelve action figures, three vehicles, and two lightsabers–plus a scarce figure for the character Vlix that was only released in Brazil.

Now exclusively at Target stores and Target online, Kenner is offering new versions with retro Star Wars Droids packaging featuring 3.75-inch scale Boba Fett, R2-D2, and C-3P0, plus a six-inch Kenner “The Black Series” style Boba Fett, all inspired by characters as seen in the animated series.  Check out images below of the new figures and included collectable coins.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In the never-ending adaptations and updates of stories and novels by Agatha Christie, Hugh Laurie (House, MD, Roadkill, A Bit of Fry and Laurie) may have created the best yet.  In the three-part limited series Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? Laurie, the always witty and sometimes dry writer, director, comedian, and actor has found the perfect story to add his signature style.  In stressing the fun of the thrill of the chase–and merging exquisite banter with the perfect cast of leads–Laurie’s series runs circles around the popular dark, dreary, and sometimes even unnecessarily grotesque Sarah Phelps adaptations of Christie’s stories (see our reviews of the recent Ordeal by Innocence, The Pale Horse, and The ABC Murders).  And even without the all-star casts of Kenneth Branagh’s big-screen adaptations of Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, we’ll bet you walk away from Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? with a new favorite Agatha Christie story.

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Chalk up another win for director Michael Bay and another Jake Gyllenhaal that doesn’t steer us wrong.  It’s the new action blockbuster Ambulance, which arrived in theaters last month, and is now streaming on Peacock.  Part revved-up first responder celebration in the vein of Backdraft, part heist in the lane of the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three, and part ticking clock race to the end like Unstoppable, it will keep you hanging on for two hours.  A certain artistry of its own is required to get this genre just right, and Bay’s pacing, kinetic sense, and thrilling use of camera angles should have you comparing this to your favorite race and chase movies.  It doesn’t have the humor of The Blues Brothers, the grit of The French Connection, or the sci-fi of Terminator 2, but it has a compelling two-hour chase through Los Angeles that’s worth your time.

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The Clones Wars have ended.  You can either adapt and survive, or die with the past.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch was last year’s new animated series spinning out of characters featured in 2020’s surprise seventh season of The Clone Wars.  It’s about that motley band of clone troopers gone AWOL from duty to fight the wrongs of the Emperor and his hold over them.  This past week should be a dream fulfilled for fans of The Clone Wars and Dave Filoni’s vision for the story of the prequels after the prequels, with Obi-Wan Kenobi further digging into his storytelling and characters.  At Star Wars Celebration Sunday a trailer for the second season of The Bad Batch reveals even more surprises ahead, and the return of some fan-favorite characters.

Check out the new trailer for The Bad Batch, season two:

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It’s hard to believe we saw our last episode of The Orville three full years ago in April 2019.  The wait is almost over, as the new season, titled The Orville: New Horizons, comes to Hulu beginning with its first episode June 2.  Creator/star Seth MacFarlane is bringing the show back, along with behind-the-scenes contributions from the creators of sci-fi’s past like Brannon Braga, Doug Drexler, John Eaves, Cherry Chevapravatdumrong, André Bormanis, and more.  All the crew members are returning, Seth MacFarlane as Captain Ed Mercer, Adrianne Palicki as Commander Grayson, Penny Johnson Jerald as Doctor Claire Finn, Scott Grimes as Lieutenant Gordon Malloy, Peter Macon as Lieutenant Commander Bortus, Halston Sage as Lieutenant Alara Kitan, J. Lee as Lieutenant Commander John LaMarr, Mark Jackson as Isaac, and Jessica Szohr as Lt. Talla Keyali.

Here’s the final trailer for The Orville: New Horizons:

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