We love to wax nostalgic at PoP!, but sometimes it’s what’s yet to come that most quickens our nerd pulses. For better or for worse, let’s start the speculation over what’s making us Future Tense.
In my life I’ve gone from being a TV junkie to living without cable and loving it. It’s a difficult transition to make, to be sure, but it’s liberating to not have the yolk of the television chaining my every free second to my couch. All too easy was it to “see what’s on” and end up losing hours to channel surfing and mediocrity. Do I miss the occasional filler show, like Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives? Sure. But it’s a fair trade to make considering how many times I’d watch a rerun of one of their episodes simply because it was all that was on. Still, with all that said, there are SOME television shows that simply beg to be watched, no matter what it takes. Two return tomorrow, and a possible third debuts.
If you watched season 1, the theme music should already be playing in your head just after reading the words. Based on the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of books by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones is THE medieval fantasy television drama to watch. Rich characters, interwoven plots, sex, violence, and lines you’ll be quoting on Facebook – what more could you ask for? The show’s first season made it the Beheadingest Drama on Television and the series packed more than a few surprises along the way. Set to pick up with the events of the second book (Martin’s A Clash of Kings), this new season promises new characters (like Patrick Malahide’s Balon Greyjoy and Carice Van Houten as the Red Shadow, Melisandre), new locales (Greyjoy’s Iron Islands and Stannis Baratheon’s Dragonstone), and all the backstabbing you can shake a lance-broken-off-in-another-knight’s-throat at. The upcoming season has fans of both the books and the show waiting not-so-patiently and if its predecessor is any indication, it won’t disappoint.
The second show on our list making its triumphant return tomorrow is none other than the new Marvel Universe flagship show. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes spent its first season introducing new viewers to our heroes, introducing our heroes to each other, and setting up some major plot lines to be carried forward - not the least of which was the presence of Skrull infiltrators among the ranks of the super-powered. The series’ first season was big on guest stars and if the image at right is any indication, they’re taking that concept and absolutely running with it for season two. The FF look to return, the Avengers look to expand, and some Heroes for Hire appear to be putting in an appearance alongside everyone’s favorite Canucklehead and the wise-crackin’ wall crawler himself. What’s not to love?
Speaking of the wall-crawler, he’s returning to animation (yet again) as part of an animation block with A:EMH on Disney XD, and so far, no one seems to know quite what to think. The voice cast is all over the place – on the one hand, we have J.K. Simmons and Clark Gregg reprising their film roles as J Jonah Jameson and Agent Coulson, respectively (characters they play in franchises owned by two different production companies, I might add); on the flip side of things, you’re not getting Samuel L. Jackson to voice your cartoon, so instead, Nick Fury is voiced by Chi McBride (you know, the guy from The Frighteners and Undercover Brother). It’s a mixed bag, to be sure, and Drake Bell (of Josh and Drake fame) as Peter/Spider-Man seems to have split fandom in two like so many electric Supermen. Some find him a poor fit, others think he’s perfect for the role. Personally, I fall into the latter category, feeling that most animated Parkers have been lacking the youthful naivete Bell seems to bring to the role, while still managing the appropriate amount of edgy snark.
Of course, television is a visual medium, so it can’t ALL be about auditory stimuli, and let me go on record as saying this new show looks perfect. Gone is the overly stylized art of Spectacular Spider-Man or the overly rendered CGI imagery of the MTV series. This is a clean style with just the right blend of cartoon whimsy and dynamic superhero subtext. Beyond the actual style, however, is the question of substance. From the trailer above, not much can be said with certainty, but there are numerous elements that have me a little on edge. Namely? The Spider-bike and web shooter sniper scopes. On the one hand, they’re ridiculous. On the other hand, it would be ridiculous to imagine a Spider-Man in the employ of S.H.I.E.L.D. – as this Spider is – NOT being given access to Fury’s toy box. The best solution? This kid needs to go rogue, stat. Until that happens, I fear the series will be little more than a glorified commercial for Hasbro’s latest and greatest action figure offerings.
Still, two out of three ain’t bad, and whatever else this new Spider-Man series turns out to be, it looks entertaining. Looks like I haven’t shrugged off the shackles of the boob tube yet…
*snicker* I said “boob” *snicker*
See what you think for yourself, tomorrow: Game of Thrones airs at 9pm EST on HBO and the Marvel Universe block debuts at 11am on DisneyXD – then join us back here or on the forums at Panelsonpages.com/forums to praise, nitpick, gush, and gripe to your heart’s content. Come on, we’re fans. It’s what we do!