Riffin’ on the News

I’m not going to bother linking back to the stories I’m referencing.  I’m assuming by now if you’re on the internet, you know that Google exists.  I just wanted to offer some of my own thoughts on some random TV and movies I’ve been thinking about over the long weekend and/or just haven’t commented upon yet.

Dracula Prequel

The estate of Bram Stoker has approved an official prequel to the original Dracula novel.  No kidding it’s been approved; it’s written by Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker.  This film will be called Dracul, and it’s said to recount the events of a 21-year-old Bram Stoker trapping the vampire in an ancient tower.  Well, I’m completely underwhelmed by this one.  Of all the stories the official estate could offer up, this lame-ass dreck is the best they can do?  People… Vlad the IMPALER.  It’s just not that hard.  If you think you need to do a prequel, do it properly.  Heaven knows they need something to completely overwrite that Dracula Untold nonsense.  But that’s probably the hang-up.  Universal could sue for copying the idea.

Game of Thrones, season 7

I was really enjoying this series, but episode 6 of the season jumped all kinds of sharks for me and then trained them to sing and dance.  Suspension of disbelief can only go so far.  People tell me “it’s fantasy” as if that’s supposed to make breaking established rules ok, but this is why there are so many substandard stories out there and only one Tolkien.  The writer in me will not let this go.  How bad is it?  I cancelled my pre-order for the season box set.  I’m going to wait until season 8 wraps it all up and reassess.  If we didn’t have only 6 more episodes to go, I’d have dropped this series just because everything that happens from here hinges on that one episode.  From the sounds of it, we have a couple of years before we get those final episodes, so maybe something will change for me between now and then.  Right now, I’m mostly grateful for the incredible soundtrack scores by Ramin Djawadi.  On the flip side of things, this may be the excuse I need to revisit Martin’s original novels in the relatively near future.  It’s been a while, and clearly I’ve got some time.  Besides, I’ve not done a proper review of them yet.  No matter how good or bad the series wraps up, the novels are a completely different story.

Star Wars Episode IX: Colin Trevorrow no longer directing

I can’t say I was unhappy about this.  My only familiarity with Trevorrow’s work thus far is Jurassic World, which spent the entire film begging the audience to relive a nostalgia it couldn’t capture.  I get it: there have been unexpected problems with the film in the wake of Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing.  I continue to trust the process.  Lucasfilm won’t let a bad Star Wars film pass through the gates.  Maybe a film won’t live up to the hype here and there (that’s just going to happen by law of averages and high expectations), but they won’t release a train wreck.  Too much rides on it, including reputations.  Maybe it’s selfish of me, but I would hope that someday they’ll release that original draft script that was completed days before we lost Carrie.

Star Wars: Rebels – seasons 3 and 4

Season 3 is now on Blu-ray, and season 4’s trailers are beyond impressive.  So much to admire.  So much to look forward to.  Back when I was on Booklikes, I’d blog my thoughts on the season 2 episodes as they were released.  Ahsoka and Vader… I couldn’t not blog about the road to that inevitable showdown.  That seemed to go over pretty well too.  I should have thought to do that here for season 3 once this blog went active.  I’m strongly considering it for season 4.  It’s going to be a shorter season — 16 episodes — but it’s going to be one long story arc that takes us right to the doorsteps of Rogue One and A New Hope.  For my money, this is far more exciting to me than anything lined up for the big screen right now.  Dave Filoni and crew have more than earned my trust and respect.

Vikings vs. Knightfall

Vikings season 5 is premiering in the near future, and I’m excited beyond words to see where they go with the proto-Templar character of Heahmund as portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers.  More than that, there’s another series on the horizon called Knightfall, which will deal with the Templars.  Historian Dan Jones, whose book on the Templars drops in the US on the 19th, was on hand to consult on the series.  That gives me all kinds of hope, even if I know some historical accuracy will be dropped in favor of Hollywood.  That’s just inevitable.  Still… geek bumps!

Star Trek: Discovery

I’ve already blogged up a blue streak about my lack of trust and respect for the series showrunner Alex Kurtzman.  Even so, I’m going into this reminding myself that it took 2.5 seasons for TNG and DS9 to really take off and find their footing, another 3 seasons for Voyager, and Enterprise was knocked about for 3 seasons before it was cancelled and replaced the entire creative team for the final, most awesome season of Trek that’s been since Shatner’s Kirk had the bridge.  I’ve listened to what the writing staff and the actors have been saying about Discovery.  I’ve been comparing it with my own expectations of what Trek can be, especially in the hands of some incredible writers.  The bar’s been raised for me once more in recent years by the likes of Christopher L. Bennett and John Jackson Miller.  These guys really know their Trek.  It’s not just about what works, but also about why it works.  Discovery will essentially offer another soft reboot for the franchise, hopefully cleansing the palette after three abysmal films, and reigniting a passion for both Trek and for all of the things it stands for in the century to come.  This series means a lot of things to a lot of people.  It sounds like the other writers have the right idea, so I’m willing to see how it plays out over the course of the season, to see how characters grow and develop, and how things link up to the classic series and the Prime timeline.  Trek doesn’t belong to any one generation, not anymore.  A new audience doesn’t matter if you alienate the old ones.  The older guard doesn’t matter if you ignore the new ones.  Trek is bigger than that.  I have more than my fair share of misgivings.  Don’t fuck it up, Kurtzman.

Supernatural – season 13

My mind still reels that this series has lasted this long, and more so that I still follow it as loyally as I do.  They’ve had some hit and miss episodes here and there, and they’ve stumbled a bit, but they’ve really bounced back the last couple of seasons and returned it to the spirit of what they had in the early days.  It feels right, even if I struggle sometimes to see where they can take it from here without just repeating themselves non-stop.  In theory, the story possibilities are endless, but there are only so many places you can go after you unleash Armageddon… twice.  Sacrifices were made, and sad as it is, renewal comes from such things.  I almost feel at this point like the ending can’t live up.  If they live happily ever after, it’ll feel like somehow they’ve cheated… which they regularly do.  And it’ll feel like the job’s unfinished because their job can never be finished.  If they bite the bullet and go out in a blaze of glory, it’ll seem like the inevitable ending for a couple of hunters.  But then you have to wonder about what it takes to take down the thing that got the Winchesters in the end, so the story’s still not finished.  I’ll worry about that when I get there.  I’ve enjoyed the ride thus far.  As goofy as it is at times, there’s something about this series that just hits the right chords for me where anything else like it falls apart.

Bond 25

Now that Daniel Craig has officially signed on and a release date has been set, the rumor mill for the next 007 film is in full swing.  Currently the favorite rumor is dealing with this notion that we’re going to get a redux of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a la Bond getting married and having his bride offed by Blofeld.  More rumors suggest they’ll draw from the original novel You Only Live Twice, using the elements of Blofeld as Dr. Shatterhand and his Garden of Death.  Part of me wouldn’t mind seeing some of that.  Shatterhand just feels like the perfect name for a Bond film, doesn’t it?  But… I have some mixed feelings about things.  SPECTRE didn’t exactly perform to expectations, and Craig says he wants to go out on a high note.  Logically that suggests they’re not going to bring back the cast of SPECTRE for a sequel.  On the other hand, this is the first time in Bond film history that we’ve had a continuous, serialized storyline.  The Connery era hinted at one, but this lived up to that promise and then some, even if they were sketchy about it up front.  That makes it logical to bring back Christoph Waltz and Lea Seydoux.  But… if they do that, that brings in all the negative baggage from SPECTRE they’re looking to avoid, and it pretty much telegraphs the intent and confirms the rumors.  Also, since this has been a continuous storyline, could they end up killing Bond at the end or putting him in a situation like in the novel where he has no idea who he is and raises a family?  It would almost mandate either another redux of The Man with the Golden Gun using the novel’s setup or a complete reboot with the new guy in place.  There’s your downside to serialized storytelling.  As rewarding as it can be, it does have an Achilles Heel.  The world is sick to death of reboots, after all… except that they keep laying down their money to see them, and thus telling the powers that be that this is what they want.


12 thoughts on “Riffin’ on the News

    • I’ve heard, absolutely. I’m more curious than excited, much as I am for The Last Jedi. But this is also one of the reasons I’m trusting the process. Ron Howard will keep it closer to the tone of Star Wars, where the previous guys wanted to make a more irreverent comedy from the beginning and tried to buck the mandate of Lucasfilm at all turns. That’s just not collaborative filmmaking. Howard is a team player, so this gives me plenty to smile about. A part of me is really hoping this plays out with the same kind of vibe as the early Han Solo novels. Those were fun.


  1. Re Bond – Obviously, I would love the new one to be a remake of that, eh, “glorious” piece of, eh, cinematography (longer word than my original thought), but ONLY if they include a remake of my favourite scenes – 1) from the original film where Nic Nac hits Bond with a trident, and 2) the “damsel in distress” scene from the book.

    I really hope they do. ;P

    As for Shatterhand… I’d rather they didn’t, but I’m afraid they probably will…

    Liked by 1 person

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