2020 was the year of streaming services. As the pandemic shut down a vast majority of movies and television series productions such as the Disney+ series Falcon and the Winter Soldier which was scheduled to premier in August 2020–now moved to March 2021–Movie Theatres across America have had to close their doors.
Enter: The Streamers! First, Disney moved their intended theatrical release of Mulan to their streaming service Disney+…but at a cost of an additional $30 on top of the monthly fee. Then Warner Bros. invoked the ire of producers and directors by announcing that Wonder Woman 84 would open in theatres Christmas Day AND also on their new streaming service HBO Max and with no additional charge as Disney had done with Mulan.
For the first time since 2008’s Iron Man, there were no MCU movies released in 2020. The first casualty being Black Widow. Disney felt strongly (MCU films are their biggest cash cow) that they wanted to release Black Widow to theatres and not on Disney+. So the next phase of MCU movies have been shifted (in original order) multiple times so that as it stands now every film has been pushed back one year. The Eternals, scheduled for last fall is now scheduled for this fall. Shang-Chi And The Legend of The Ten Rings moved from February 2021 to February 2022 and so forth. With the darkest days of the pandemic still ahead of us according to doctors, it is very likely to change again. Television hasn’t fared any better with many shows which would have returned in 2020 still waiting to come back.
Horror movies stood out among the Best of 2020. Horror/Comedies, which are very hard to do and usually fail to be funny or scary, Freaky broke out of that by reversing the formula of finding a horror movie or type/style of horror film and spoofing it and instead took a well known and comedy which had been remade multiple times, Freaky Friday, and turned it into a standout horror comedy. A great performance by Vince Vaughn helped elevate the film. But it was The Invisible Man that was the Best Horror Movie of the year on my list. Going back to one of the founding Universal Monsters which had been tapped out years ago, the creators breathed new life into the character with a modern sci-fi spin on the character.
On television, one of the freshest new science fiction shows in years, Siren, came to an early end. Networks are vicious, and even though Siren had become one of Freeform’s highest rated shows, seeing its episode order doubled in the second season, a small slip in the ratings and the axe fell. At least the series was able to come to a full conclusion which many shows never get.
Star Trek Discovery Season 3 landed the ship and its crew 930 years into the future. The series made a bit of a change to its formula of one long single story line by being more episodic as Star Trek had always been in the past. The most notable thing, however, was the introduction of Trek’s very first transgender character, Adira Tal. Adira is the first human to become the host to a Trill symbiont (Tal). Adira was in love with a Trill named Gray [Tal]. When Gray is killed there are no Trills available to transplant his symbiont to so Adira volunteers so that the Tal symbiont won’t die, taking with it all the memories and experiences of its previous hosts, including Gray. Adira, able to access the Tal symbiont’s memories as all Trills can do, is also able to communicate and see their former love, Gray. It has to be the most unusual love affair in Trek history.
Due to a need for programming, the DCEU series Stargirl aired on The CW as well. It’s a great addition to The CW’s stable of heroes…not as dark and deep as the majority of their super hero shows. The series features the titular heroine assembling a new, younger Justice Society to battle the Injustice Society. The young super hero team is light years ahead of Titans which features a brooding Robin turned Nightwing (soon), along with Raven, Starfire, Hawk, Dove, and Tiger Boy (aka Beast Boy but he only turns into tigers) and guests like Robin II, Aqualad, Wondergirl all swearing up a storm and in general not looking too much like their comic counterparts. Stargirl is not afraid to use costumes and code names and gets by quite nicely without the need for vulgarity.
The Mandalorian Season 2 just kept proving that the show is the Best Star Wars since the original trilogy. The Child (I refuse to call him Baby ____) finally got a name–Grogu–and we also got the WTF? return of Boba Fett. But the season finale gets my vote for the Best Episode and Best Feel Good Moment on TV. When you feel tears well up in your eyes you know you’re watching a great show.
I hope we can now breathe a sigh of relief now that FOX has finally, after numerous pre-covid reschedulings, released The New Mutants and won’t be doing any further damage to the X-Men. The super hero-turned-horror movie certainly didn’t do justice to the comics or its characters. We’ll see how Marvel introduces the mutants–and there are enough spin-off titles to form another company–in a few years.
Marvel fared no better on the television front with the one “L” Helstrom. I truly hope this leech-show doesn’t ruin it for the rest of Marvel’s horror characters but their fate may be preordained…Helstrom was to be a part of Adventure Into Fear, a horror slate of shows which included a Ghost Rider series. But when Marvel Television was folded into Marvel Studios one of the first things that happened was the cancellation of Ghost Rider. Since Helstrom was in post-production they let it air and it has since been (surprise!) cancelled. The series bore zero resemblance to the source material, all the way down to the strange decision to leave one of the “L”s out of Daimon’s name. Clearly, all the creators wanted was to leech off the Marvel brand while substituting their own ideas, story, and characters. I don’t think anyone expected to see a red cape and trident but they couldn’t even put Daimon’s defining birth mark–a pentagram–on his chest and substituted some kind of undefined brand. Daddy Satan was now a serial killer dad. Satana, while the actress did well, was also light years off from the character. I wish people who had no interest in comics would go do their own thing and not try to use established characters whom they have no intent on using properly.
The Grand Prize for How Bad A Show Can Be goes to Star Trek: Lower Decks. Now more than ever, movie companies like Disney and Warner Brothers and the like are trying to squeeze every last drop out of their franchises. Huge numbers of shows and comics are coming for franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien and others. This animated parody of Star Trek over shadowed the few good laughs they had with a truly annoying cast. The girl in the red shirt above single handedly wrecked this show by being the most annoying character on a television series I’ve seen in a long time.
Stephen King’s The Stand remake doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The sloppy, non-linear back and forth story telling is annoying and once again the over use of the word “Fuck” stuck out like a sore fucking thumb. I’m currently watching the Bryan Cranston Showtime series Your Honor which has it’s share of the word but it isn’t hitting you every other sentence. It’s a more natural feel. But verbiage aside, the new version of The Stand simply isn’t that interesting. The timing of the series about a super flu that kills most of the world’s population is also in poor taste.
Not Great, not Horrible, these are the movies and television series that are somewhere in between. They are just “blah”…could’ve been better.
FOX said “Next!” to this show about an Artificial Intelligence that goes rogue. They burned off the final 3 episodes of the series, which had already been pre-empted several times, over a Monday and Tuesday evening. I really wanted to like neXt but it spent too much time on extraneous subplots for the human characters. If they would have let the AI actually be more involved in its own show I think it could have been a really good show. Sort of a SkyNet: The Series.
I so didn’t want Wonder woman 84 to land in this category. DC movies do need to lighten up a little but not so far as to become fluff. Patty Jenken’s second go at the Amazon Princess failed to retain what made the first film good. I really can’t imagine what went through her mind here. Steve Trevor is brought back in the silliest of ways and then goes on to make you wonder why he is even in the movie. I have always held that a super hero is only as good as the villains they face and that is where the movie fails miserably. Pedro Pascal, while great in The Mandalorian, turns in a cartoon villain performance worthy of the 1960’s Batman series. Kristen Wiig is just as bad. I don’t want to give any details because most people still haven’t seen it but who thought a Saturday Night Live actress would make good super villains? Even Gal Gadot seemed a little off. I’m not saying the movie was awful but Wonder Woman deserved better villains, a better story and for Zeus’s sake to have gotten over Steve Trevor after almost 70 years! If handled differently by a different actress, Cheetah could still have been a good villain choice. But Max Lord was what I felt was the biggest disappointment…the cartoony element.
Just so you know and don’t blame Comic-Watch as a whole, the preceding has been an opinion editorial by the writer (which would be me). These are my opinions and are not meant to denigrate anyone else’s enjoyment or hatred on any movie or TV show. Some may agree with me and some may think I’m crazy. No one’s view is ever the only view. I hope you will all join us back here for our January 2021 Media Theme of the Month: Hero.
Mediatorial-Film/Television 2020: The Good, The Bad and the “Meh”
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