The greatest (and not as great) sci-fi and fantasy of 2022

Hey sci-fi people! I’m finishing up my end of the year roundup, right under the wire. I haven’t seen everything, obviously, and other than lack of time, the main reasons for that are: I don’t really love horror (in case you’re thinking, “What about ‘Nope’?”) and also, I don’t subscribe to every streaming service. It’s getting a little out of hand, all these increasingly expensive streaming services, am I right? But that’s a complaint for another post.

Wakanda Forever!

Here are my awards for sci-fi and fantasy films of 2022:

Favorite Movie of the Year: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Was it perfect? No. Is it going to win Best Picture award at the Oscars? Probably not. But I loved it. It was beautifully done, and after the disappointments that were the Thor and Doc Strange sequels, “Wakanda” was just what I needed. It was exciting and unpredictable without being too silly (“Love and Thunder”) or too creepy (“Multiverse of Madness”). It was a great tribute to Chadwick Boseman and a great addition to the MCU, but also a good movie in general.

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ lives up to its title.

Wackiest movie: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is getting all kinds of nominations for the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice awards, which is cool, and I love Michelle Yeoh; she’s one of my favorite actresses. This absurdist movie about parallel universes was so frenetic and crazy I don’t think I will watch it again, but it was definitely something, even if it wasn’t my favorite.

Favorite dance scene: “After Yang.” There were a lot of good dance scenes in movies and TV this year. I loved the dance-off in “Umbrella Academy,” and Frenchie and Kimiko’s old-timey musical number in “The Boys.” Wednesday Addams’ self-choreographed goth dance on the Netflix series even went viral. But the one that gets my vote is the family dance competition in the opening credits of the Colin Farrell film “After Yang.” I like funny, what can I say? Unfortunately, there isn’t much humor in the rest of the film, about a family dealing with the loss of their humanoid robot companion. Quiet and melancholic, “After Yang” is the polar opposite of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in its pace.

This is not the happy-go-lucky genie from Aladdin’s lamp.

Movie that Put Me in a Funk: “Three Thousand Years of Longing.” Speaking of melancholy, this movie about a djinn (Idris Elba) released from his bottle by a professor (Tilda Swinton) gave me the sads. It didn’t earn big box office bucks, which I suspect may have been due to poor marketing, but also the way the story is framed: The bulk of the film is taken up with the djinn telling the professor stories of how he ended up in the bottle. I love Swinton and Elba, and I wanted to love this, but the djinn’s stories aren’t all that interesting, and they take up the whole movie so there’s no depth to the relationship the djinn and Alithea have with each other. I want more from a movie that’s supposed to be about magic and storytelling. What can we learn from a being that has been alive for thousands of years? Humans are awful, and loneliness sucks? I already know that. When the credits rolled, I didn’t feel charmed. Just depressed.

Most impressive effects: “Avatar: The Way of Water.” I just talked about this film in my last post, so I won’t go into detail. I also recently found out it’s being boycotted, and perhaps justifiably so. A topic for a different post. I’ll just say the controversy doesn’t change the fact that the effects are indeed impressive and leave it at that.

Sci-fi and fantasy series

I watched more series than films this year, and there were a lot of good ones. There were also some that were OK but could have been better. Here we go:

‘Andor’ – the best thing to happen to Star Wars since baby Yoda.

Started Out Boring but Turned Out to be the Best New Series of the Year (aka “The Expanse” award) goes to “Andor,” on Disney+. I think a lot of Star Wars fans got burned out on the barren desert boringness of “The Book of Boba Fett” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi.” Expecting us to get excited about a prequel of a prequel was a big ask. The first couple episodes had me feeling “whatever” about it, but by the end, I was blown away by this series. Diego Luna earned a nomination as the title character, and Andy Serkis was intense as Kino Loy, a floor manager in a prison complex. And I’m still thinking about that Stellan Skarsgård speech. Great writing, great acting. More Star Wars like this, please!

‘Undone’ – doing the time warp again.

Season 2 Which was Even Better than Season 1: “Undone,” on Amazon Prime. I have sung the praises of this awesome show multiple times, so I won’t go on and on but if you haven’t watched it yet, this is your reminder. It has cool animation and time travel and Bob Odenkirk. Runner-up: “Russian Doll” on Netflix.

Series That Should Get a Season 2 but Was Cancelled: “Paper Girls.” The Amazon Prime series is an adaptation of a comic book by the author of my favorite comic, “Saga,” Brian K. Vaughan, who describes “Paper Girls” as a cross between “Stand by Me” and “Terminator.” Four paper delivery girls living in 1988 are swept up in a time travel conflict and transported to the year 2019. One of my favorite comedians, Ali Wong, plays one of the girls as an adult in 2019. I really liked this one; it’s too bad it didn’t get the marketing or renewal it deserved. (I assume it’s because all of Amazon’s marketing budget went to the next series on this list.) Maybe “Paper Girls” will get picked up by another streaming service. Fingers crossed.

Most Expensive Series that Should Have Been Better: “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” on Amazon Prime. This wasn’t really bad, and in fact I will watch Season 2 since I did like the last couple episodes. But overall, it was a bit of a snooze fest, which it shouldn’t have been, considering it cost more than all the LOTR movies combined. The total reported price tag for Season 1 was $715 million. Yikes. Runner-up: HBO’s “House of the Dragon.”

Joseph Quinn mastered that Metallica cover.

Best Musical Scene: Everyone’s favorite dungeon master Eddie Munson on “Stranger Things” playing “Master of Puppets” to lure the demon bats away from his friends – the ultimate guitar hero! The actor who plays Munson, Joseph Quinn, is really playing the guitar in that scene; he practiced the Metallica song for months.

That’s it, folks! Happy New Year.

Follow Earth to Shawna on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Earth-to-Shawna-1476049362698628/?fref=ts

Willow, Wednesday, Wakanda … What’s worth watching?

Somehow it is already December, and I know you all have holiday stuff to do. I know you don’t want to waste your time trying to find something to watch when you finally get some time to wind down. I’m here for you.

First up is the Disney+ series “Willow.” If you’re from Gen X, like me, you will remember the fantasy film “Willow,” starring Val Kilmer as Willow. Just kidding! Kilmer played Madmartigan who thus far does not appear in this series.

Willow is played by Warwick Davis, and my favorite part was when he showed up. His return had the same energy as the original Star Wars characters showing up in “The Last Jedi,” and and in fact Davis has said he was inspired by Mark Hamill’s portrayal of Luke Skywalker in that film.

I’m not sure how this is possible, but I did not realize Davis would be reprising his role from the 1988 film. I guess I haven’t been paying attention, and honestly, I don’t remember much from the original movie which I’ve mixed up with the 1985 fantasy film “Ladyhawke.”

As awesome as it was to see Davis back in the titular role, it doesn’t bode well that that scene was the best part of this show. Instead of reminding me of those earlier movies, this new series reminds me of nothing so much as Amazon’s adaptation of “Wheel of Time.” That’s not a bad thing, it’s just … a little confusing. It’s possible my middle-aged brain can only keep track of so many teenagers going on quests, but that’s probably a problem exclusive to myself (and maybe my fellow Gen X-ers).

So is “Willow” worth watching? I’ve only seen the first two episodes and I’d love to say it started out with a bang but so far it’s just meh. I will keep watching, in the hopes it will go from boring to amazing (which seems to be the trend – I’m looking at you, “Andor”) but if you have Disney+ and are into fantasy, or you’re just plain nostalgic, you’re probably already watching this one.

‘Wednesday’

Netflix’s new series “Wednesday” is, of course, about Wednesday Addams from the 1960s TV show and the movie remakes from the ’90s. Actually, there are multiple iterations of this family’s story, but those are the only ones I’ve seen.

The earlier versions are dark comedies, but this one’s genre is a bit less clear. With Tim Burton producing (and directing the first few episodes), we know it will be dark, but is it a comedy? Is it horror? Or a murder mystery? I think it’s trying to be all of those, but not entirely succeeding.

Wikipedia calls it a “coming-of-age supernatural comedy horror television series.” I feel that’s at least one too many ingredients in the cauldron, but maybe I’m not the target audience. This Wednesday, now 16, is played by Jenna Ortega, who is perfect in this role. Christina Ricci (who also stars) is my generation’s Wednesday, and her deadpan Thanksgiving speech at Camp Chippewa is still one of my favorite movie scenes. The witch hunt story line in “Wednesday” seems to be a callback to that takedown of whitewashing American history in “Addams Family Values,” but it’s just one of many side plots in a somewhat tangled story.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. I did, and I’m not alone – “Wednesday” is so popular it even broke a record held by “Stranger Things” – the most hours viewed in a week for an English language series on Netflix. It is similar in some ways to “Stranger Things.” Both shows are creepier than I would like, but they also both have themes of friendship and perseverance against the odds. Both shows focus on teen outcasts, and they also both have some great musical scenes: Wednesday’s dance scene (accompanied by The Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck”), is the one most talked about, but I prefer her cello cover of The Stones’ “Paint It Black” (although nothing can top Eddie Munson’s “Master of Puppets” moment).

Despite its flaws, “Wednesday” is suspenseful and addictive. If you like coming-of-age supernatural comedy horror, stock up on popcorn and binge watch this one.

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

If you are a Marvel fan, you know “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is absolutely worth going to see in the theater as you’ve likely already seen it and don’t need me to tell you how great it is. If you haven’t seen all the movies, you might be confused, as this is not just a sequel to 2018’s “Black Panther,” but also … lots of stuff has happened since that came out, in the films and TV series, but also in real life. Sadly, the actor who played King T’Challa/Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, passed away in 2020.

The film did a great job in handling the death of his character and was a beautiful tribute to Boseman. I tried to avoid reading any spoilers, so I did not know who would be chosen as T’Challa’s successor. In that way, the film was unpredictable, which I liked. There are also some new characters introduced, who will likely have bigger roles in future installations.

I was less thrilled about the conflict the Wakandans had with the sea people, who reminded me too much of the underwater people from “Aquaman,” I guess because people who live in the ocean seem silly to me. Marvel has aliens and wizards and talking raccoons, but I apparently draw the line at mer-people. I don’t know why. Marvel villains always seem to lean toward the cheesy side anyway, so maybe it’s just par for the course.

Overall it was an exciting and emotional movie, and just as good as the first “Black Panther.” Maybe it was even better, since we already know and love these characters. I don’t think I’m giving away anything when I say this one is a tearjerker. Bring tissues.

‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

Despite the fact that it looked a little low-budget, I enjoyed “The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.” It was silly and fun, and it was released the day after Thanksgiving, which I thought was a good choice. Mantis’ and Drax’s antics were funny and the ending was even sort of touching and sweet.

The Guardians are my favorite MCU characters and the upcoming “The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” is rumored to be the last film with these characters, which I hope is not true.

The new movie is scheduled to be released in theaters on May 5, the second Marvel film of the new year, after “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” coming Feb. 17. The trailers for both films have been released.

Follow Earth to Shawna on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Earth-to-Shawna-1476049362698628/?fref=ts

What’s next in Marvel, Star Wars, and Trek universes

Now that the crazy whirlwind that is “Moon Knight” has concluded its first season, we can talk about it what it all means.

What does it mean? I still don’t know. But I love that Marvel’s Disney+ offerings are so different from each other. We have the amazing adventures of Bucky and Sam, Wanda and Vision play house, a very Hawkeye Christmas, the Asgardian god of mischief, and now Oscar Isaac channeling an Egyptian god. I don’t like them all equally, and that’s fine. There is something for everyone.

Oscar Isaac in “Moon Knight,” on Disney+

I personally prefer the lighter, funnier side of Marvel (“Ant-Man,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) rather than Marvel’s darker, creepier offerings (“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”). “Moon Knight” leans more toward this dark side. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed “Moon Knight.” It is interesting and suspenseful. But the best thing it has going for it is Isaac’s performance. He really brings this immense talent to every role, and he is perfect in this.

It was recently brought to my attention that a lot of Marvel heroes have been at war with some version of themselves lately. We see this in “Moon Knight,” “Loki,” “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” etc. I’m not sure if this is a coincidence, or if it’s a commentary on how our greatest obstacle is often ourselves. Something to think about.

Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel

Next up, Marvel series-wise, is “Ms. Marvel,” which will premiere on Disney+ on June 8. I’ve been reading the comic books, and they are pretty good. This new character will be the first Muslim superhero in the MCU, which is cool.

We are seeing more diversity lately in Marvel movies and series; there are more female, Black, Latino, Indian, LGBT+, and deaf superheroes, and it’s about time! White dudes dominated the screen for the first 17 MCU films, and they were great and all, but it’s so refreshing – and important! – to see not just characters but main characters who represent people of different ethnicities, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and abilities.

The new series “She-Hulk” is coming out on Aug. 17, and stars Tatiana Maslany who was amazing in “Orphan Black.” Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth, who are also wonderful, will appear in the series (as the Hulk and the Abomination). The trailer just dropped on Tuesday, and it looks, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? Entertaining. See for yourself:

There are a lot of new Marvel series coming in the next couple years, including “Secret Invasion,” “Ironheart,” “Armor Wars,” and a series set in Wakanda. A Halloween special and a Guardians of the Galaxy Christmas special are also still scheduled to be released this year as well.

There are also two spinoff series in the works: one starring Kathryn Hahn as her character from “WandaVision,” called “Agatha: House of Harkness,” and “Echo,” starring Alaqua Cox who played Maya Lopez in “Hawkeye.”

In Marvel movie news, there are still six more Phase Four films coming out in the next couple years. The next one is “Thor: Love and Thunder,” out July 8. Then we have “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” on Nov. 11; “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” and “The Marvels,” scheduled to be released next year; and “Fantastic Four.”

In Star Wars news, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series will premiere May 27, on Disney+, and will star Ewan McGregor, who also serves as executive producer for the show, set 10 years after the events of “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.” Hayden Christensen will also reprise his role, as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. There are six episodes.

Other Star Wars series coming to Disney+ are “Andor,” “Ahsoka,” “The Acolyte,” and Season Three of “The Mandalorian.” There is also talk of a “Lando” series, but there isn’t much information yet on this series.

If you are caught up on “Star Trek: Picard,” you know things have taken a turn for the batsh*t crazy. Q shows up in Season 2, and of course chaos ensues, as it does whenever Q shows up. And the Borg Queen shows up, and chaos ensues, as it does whenever she shows up.

There’s some time travel, some unresolved childhood trauma, and an alternate universe plot – all manner of completely bonkers stuff happens is what I’m saying, and I’m not sure yet how I feel about it because what is happening on this show?! That’s all I’m going to say about that.

“Star Trek: Discovery” got a bit crazy as well, in its fourth season. (When the universe as you know it might be ending and your rogue boyfriend is partially responsible, but you want to give him another chance!) But one of the cool things that “Discovery” has going for it is that every season goes in a completely new direction, and even though there were some WTF moments, I still am looking forward to seeing what direction it heads in Season Five.

“Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” premiered on May 5, and it’s OK but it isn’t really blowing me away. To be fair, I’ve only seen the first two episodes so far, and there are some new, interesting characters, so I’ll keep watching and maybe it will get better with time.

Michelle Yeoh in “Star Trek: Discovery”

Another spin-off of “Discovery,” called “Section 31,” is still reportedly in the works and will star Michelle Yeoh, reprising her role as Philippa Georgiou. There has also been talk of a limited series based on Khan Noonien Singh, and another set at Starfleet Academy, but it has been announced that no new Trek series will be released before at least one of the current series concludes its run.

There are now 12 Star Trek series (including the animated ones) and they are all available on Paramount+. You can also watch all 13 of the Trek films on Paramount+. And … a new, J. J. Abrams-produced Trek movie is in the works and is expected to be released next year.

In “Grishaverse” news, Season 2 of the Netflix series “Shadow and Bone” (based on the YA fantasy novels by Leigh Bardugo) is reportedly in production. If you haven’t seen the first season yet, now’s a good time to catch up before the Season 2 release, expected sometime this year.

Daisy Head as Genya, and Jessie Mei Li as Alina, in Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone”

The series follows a cartographer named Alina Starkov (played by Jessie Mei Li) who discovers she is a Grisha, gifted with magical powers.

I had never heard of the books or the series before I saw the first episode, but I found this fantasy world, with its interesting characters and beautiful costumes, very intriguing, because let’s face it: It’s nice to go somewhere new, rather than visit the same boring destination over and over. Like, say, Tatooine.

“Stranger Things” will be back May 27. There are actually two release dates; Netflix will release the second half of Season 4 on July 1. There are nine episodes, and at over an hour each, they are longer than those of previous seasons. In a recent interview, the Duffer Brothers (the series’ creators) said the season finale will be over two hours long. Stock up on popcorn!

Season Three of the Netflix series “Umbrella Academy” will be released June 22. If you haven’t watched the first two seasons of this show, based on the comics by Gerard Way, I highly recommend it.

Photo at top: “Ms. Marvel,” Disney Platform Distribution.

Follow Earth to Shawna on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Earth-to-Shawna-1476049362698628/?fref=ts

Top 10 TV and streaming series of the last 10 years

In the last couple weeks, I’ve reviewed my favorite sci-fi and fantasy books and movies. Today’s list concludes my best-of-the-decade series. Here are my top 10 favorite TV series that were available on TV and streaming from 2010 to 2019:

1. “The Expanse” (Amazon Prime) is my current favorite TV show, despite its somewhat slow first season. If you stick with it, you will be rewarded. There’s all sorts of stuff going on here: drama, mystery, political intrigue, and outer space adventure. Every season is better than the last. It started out on Syfy, but you can now find it at its new home on Amazon.

12558556-6945819-image-a-141_1555907292412

Jaime Lannister (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) knights Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) on “Game of Thrones” (HBO).

2. “Game of Thrones.” During its eight-year run, HBO’s epic adaptation of the George R.R. Martin series was not only the best fantasy series on television, but the most compelling thing to watch, period – until the writers ruined it with the last few episodes. Let’s just pretend it ended with its last good episode: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.”

3. “Orphan Black.” Like “Game of Thrones,” the last season of “Orphan Black” was not great. But I really enjoyed this series for most of its five-season run. Tatiana Maslany played several identical clones who are nothing alike, and she’s such a great actress I kept forgetting that she is just one person. My favorite “sestra” was Helena, and I dressed as her for Halloween a few years ago.

the-boys-exito-amazon-1565361471

Elisabeth Shue and Antony Starr in “The Boys” (Amazon Prime).

4. “The Boys” (Amazon Prime). I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did, mostly because its premise – superheroes who act like villains – sounded like a rip-off of “Watchmen.” (And like “Watchmen,” it’s adapted from a comic book series.) It turns out the titular charcters aren’t the  flashy superheroes, but the vigilantes who are trying to take them down. My only beef is that it’s occasionally a little too graphic for my taste, but that seems to be de rigueur for R-rated and MA-rated series lately.

5. “Mr. Robot.” The USA Network’s hacker thriller starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater also at first glance seemed like a rip-off; it had a lot of similarities to “Fight Club.” But it was suspenseful and unpredictable, and Rami Malek is such an amazing actor that you can’t help but want to keep watching and see what happens next.

stranger_things_winona_ryder_h_2016

Winona Ryder plays Joyce Byers on “Stranger Things” (Netflix).

6. “Stranger Things” (Netflix). I am not typically a fan of horror, so the fact that this made my list is a testament to how cool it is. It’s set in the ’80s, and is an homage to so many films from that decade. The show also has some actors who were popular in the ’80s: Winona Ryder, Sean Astin, Matthew Modine, Cary Elwes, and Paul Reiser have been in at least one season of “Stranger Things.”

7. “The Witcher” (Netflix). Like the aforementioned series “The Boys,” this show has only been on for one season. But what I’ve seen so far, I like. This was a book series and a videogame first, but I’m not familiar with either, so the medieval fantasy world of Geralt of Rivia was all new to me. The series follows the life and times of a witcher (a monster hunter, played by Henry Cavill), a sorceress, and a princess, whose fates are intertwined.

Klaus-Robert-Sheehan-Umbrella-Academy-Netflix

Robert Sheehan is Klaus Hargreeves in Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy.” Klaus can talk with the dead.

8. “The Umbrella Academy” (Netflix). Another comic book adaptation, this Netflix series hooked me from the first episode, in which 43 women spontaneously give birth, despite showing no signs of pregnancy. An eccentric billionaire finds and adopts seven of the babies, and raises them as a team of superheroes. But Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters it’s not. The children, now grown, have all sorts of dysfunction, stemming not only from their unique and varied powers, but their strange upbringing. I can’t wait to see what happens in Season 2.

960x0-2

“The Child” is one of the (cutest) characters on “The Mandalorian,” on Disney+.

9. “The Mandalorian” (Disney+) is a welcome return to early-era Star Wars. It’s set a few years after the events of “Return of the Jedi” and follows the adventures of a Mandalorian bounty hunter. The series was created by Jon Favreau. Not only does it have an adorable “baby Yoda” but great guest stars like Amy Sedaris.

10. “Russian Doll” (Netflix). The always entertaining Natasha Lyonne is a wisecracking videogame developer caught in a time loop. As she re-lives the same day over and over in Groundhog Day-esque fashion, she discovers she’s not the only one stuck in the loop. It’s an entrancing and binge-inducing trip down a rabbit hole.

(Featured photo: “The Expanse,” Amazon Prime.) thumbnail_2019-09-16 20.23.12

Follow Earth to Shawna on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Earth-to-Shawna-1476049362698628/?fref=ts

Mark your calendar for new and returning sci-fi TV series

OK, I need to move on and accept that we won’t get any new “Game of Thrones” for a long time.  To console myself, well, there are so many sci-fi shows on TV and streaming right now, I can’t keep up with everything I want to see.

Let’s start with the ones I already know are good:

“Travelers” will have its Season 2 premiere on Showcase in Canada on Oct. 16, followed by a Netflix release. If you haven’t seen this trippy time-travel series, starring Eric McCormack, I recommend you start from the beginning. You can watch Season 1 on Netflix.  

“People of Earth” is wrapping up Season 2 (the finale will air Sept. 25), but if you’re new to this quirky comedy, you can go back and start at the beginning. I myself missed the beginning, so I need to go back and catch up on the episodes I missed. The series is about a support group called “StarCrossed,” for people who have been abducted by aliens. It’s on TBS.

“Stranger Things” will return to Netflix on Oct. 27. The first season of this retro ’80s sci-fi/horror series was really cool and intense, but it scared the hell out of me. Season 2 is supposed to be “darker” than Season 1. I’m not sure how much darker this show can get. We’ll see if I’m brave enough to find out.

“Mr. Robot” will be back Oct. 11.  I’m not usually into psychological thrillers, but this one has this crazy “V for Vendetta” vibe, and it also has Christian Slater. So check it out! You can find the trailer for Season 3 on USA Network’s website:

http://www.usanetwork.com/mrrobot/videos/mr-robot-season-3-trailer

Here are the series I haven’t seen yet, but that are on my to-watch list:

“Star Trek: Discovery” will be set a decade prior to the original “Star Trek” series and will star Sonequa Martin-Green (“The Walking Dead”). I’m glad they’re going with a female lead. (I loved Capt. Janeway.) I was excited about this series – until I found out if I want to watch it, I’ll have to subscribe to CBS All Access. The premiere episode will be on TV at least: at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 on CBS.

“The Orville” is a sci-fi comedy-drama created by, and starring, Seth MacFarlane. With an ensemble cast (including Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Victor Garber, and Chad Coleman) and big-name guest stars (Charlize Theron, Simon Pegg) slated to appear, not to mention several Star Trek vets (Brannon Braga, Jonathan Frakes, James L. Conway, and Robert Duncan McNeill) directing, this one seems like a guaranteed hit. We’ll see. It premieres Sept. 10 on Fox.

orville-fox-news

“The Orville” premieres Sept. 10 on Fox.

“Future Man” looks promising. The synopsis on the Hulu site says, “A janitor by day/world-ranked gamer by night is tasked with preventing the extinction of humanity after mysterious visitors from the future proclaim him the key to defeating the imminent super-race invasion.” Sounds intense, but Seth Rogen produces/directs, so you know it’s probably going to be funny and/or raunchy. Josh Hutcherson (“Hunger Games”) stars. Look for it Nov. 14.

“Doctor Who” is one I haven’t watched in a while, but they got my attention when they announced they cast a woman, Jodie Whittaker, to play the 13th doctor. Whittaker will take over the role from Peter Capaldi in the Christmas special episode “Twice Upon a Time” (BBC America).

I don’t have a release date yet, but “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” is supposed to be coming soon to Amazon Prime (or Channel 4 if you’re in the UK, and Stan if you’re in Australia). The first season will have 10 standalone episodes, each one inspired by one of Dick’s stories. Bryan Cranston produces and stars in the series, which also features Anna Paquin, Steve Buscemi, Juno Temple, Greg Kinnear, and Janelle Monáe.

Photos: “Stranger Things,” Netflix; “The Orville,” Fox.

 

12036672_1476049552698609_1237753520040211488_n

Follow Earth to Shawna on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Earth-to-Shawna-1476049362698628/?fref=ts