2017: A Look Ahead

2016 is near its end or it’s over based on when you read this. It was a rough year in many respects, but it gave us a ton of excellent pop-culture. 2017 as of now promises to do the same. There’s SO much to look forward to. To list it ALL would take forever so I thought I’d just focus on a few things here and there.

NETFLIX is hitting hard with a multitude of shows debuting or returning. Amongst them:
Degrassi: Next Class Season 3 – Available January 6, 2017.
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 1 – Available Jan. 13
Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1 – Available Feb. 3
Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1 – Available March 17
Sense8: Season 2 – Available May 17
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later- Date TBA

In terms of Network television I can highly recommend the 12th and final season of BONES on FOX premiering Jan 3rd. I’ve seen the first three episodes and they are very hard to comment on without spoilers, but plot twists, reveals, robots and one of the greatest actors of any generation Hal Holbrook are involved.

The reimaginging of the L. Frank Baum saga by Matthew Arnold finally happens with David Schulner (creator of Do No Harm) and so far poorly reviewed but keeps getting work Tarsem Singh at the helm. If anything NBC’s Emerald City looks like it’ll be definite event TV or fail drastically and get cancelled before all 10 episodes even air. One or the other should be fascinating to watch.

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In terms of films I’d have to say LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is high on my anticipated list. Sure it’s not by the actual writer/directors of Lego Movie (they’re busy making Lego Movie 2) but it has a good pedigree and every teaser and trailer has me excited.

I’m also intrigued by Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. For his first follow-up to Instellar to be a WWII flick is fascinating. It’s also his first SOLO project since Inception as brother Jonathan was busy creating and developing the excellent Westworld. Equally fascinating is the amount of work put into this film. It’s not a remake of the late 60’s film, so it’ll truly interesting to see what stories Nolan chose to build upon to coney emotion, gravitas, and character even when the lead character is still the operation and Dunkirk itself (the film was actually filmed there).

Also pulled in by the adaptation of Dave Egger’s The Circle with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. James Pontsold makes visually enticing, perfectly paced films and chose the easiest and simplest yet not simple Eggers novels to turn into a film.

There’s a ton of amazing video games coming 2017 too but this site is still without an XBoxOne or PS4 so the focus is on PC games but those that will not require a $5000 rig to run.

First up on the excitement board is Full Throttle Remastered the next rebuild of the classic Lucasart’s games designed by Tim Schaeffer which Double Fine was able to get the IP rights back for. I’m really curious to see how they update some of the worse parts of the game like the combat and the maze puzzles. I’m not completely sold on the art actually but I’ve been happy with DF so far, so I’m in.

Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Season 3: A New Frontier (First Chapter out, but the rest hits 2017) is awesome. I already reviewed it and I’m excited for the rest.

thimbleweedAlso excited for platform point & clicker A NIGHT IN THE WOODS.
Third person action adventure co-op player TROLL AND I.
2-D Shooter with old school animation CUPHEAD.

and most especially, Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, David Fox and teams’ THIMBLEWEED PARK, the pixel point & click dream of a game I think many thought Broken Age would be. I loved Broken Age, always will, but Thimbleweed Park is looking bigger and better then I ever imagined it could be. I didn’t get to back when I wanted to, but I wouldn’t been able to back what I wanted anyways. This is probably number one on my experiences for 2017 I look forward to.

There’s a share of BOOKS coming out as well.

First up two genius female writers tackling heroes from Marvel and DC.

Shannon Hale (with Dean Hale) does The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Meets World and Gwenda Bond comes forth with a third in her awesome Lois Lane series with Tripleflaminglips Threat.

There’s a really cool STEVEN UNIVERSE ORIGINAL GN coming out called TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL by the show’s co-creator Ian Jones-Quarterly, Jeremy Sorese, Asiey Barbie and Josceline Fenton

Michael Crichton’s never before published posthumous novel DRAGON TEETH comes out May 23rd. It’s a Western during western times but about dinosaurs!

Neil Gaiman ventures into both old and new territory retelling the tales of Odin, Thor, Loki and more in NORSE MYTHOLOGY scheduled for February 17.

George Saunders first ever complete novel, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO comes out February 14In music I’m mainly excited for one album.

The new The Flaming Lips titled Oczy Mlody. AFAIK I believe I’m seeing them live in March as well so that makes 2017 awesome.

2016: The Year That Was (Making The Best of a Bad Thing)

2016 isn’t over but it will be soon. It’s been a really rough year for many folks, for pop-culture, for the world as a whole. Yet, many of us still stand and we can’t just stop. We must keep going. On that fact I want to reflect on the good things that happened in 2016. For myself, for my friends, for pop-culture, so I’ll do my best. In terms of movies, TV and music I’ll only mention those that were at least from my view less mixed and truly favorable opinions of what was delivered and even if some mixed what I felt were a really nice thing to make 2017 look happy and smiley. These are incomplete lists, not definitive and just trying to capture some of the good in such a bad year. This also was an incredible year for professional wrestling. From debuts, to folks making it to a bigger show, to smaller shows becoming bigger, it truly was way too many grand things to truly list.

MOVIES (this list should probably be longer, but I’m way too critical and also have not seen many of the films being given FYCs for Awards)
Zootopia
Deadpool
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Kubo and the Two Strings
Hardcore Henry
The Jungle Book
Zoolander 2
Captain America: Civil War
Keanu
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass
The Secret Life of Pets
Nerdland
La La Land

TELEVISION (both Network, Cable, and Internet)
Mr. Robot Season 2
Gravity Falls – “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls”
Regular Show in Space
Grease Live
The Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker Trial
Westworld
Suits
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Elementary
The DCTV CW Crossover (and all of Supergirl, Flash, Legends… only some of Arrow)
Luke Cage
Shut Eye
Fuller House
Preacher
Blindspot
Gotham
Timeless
Lucha Underground
Devs Play by Double Fine X 2 Player Productions
The Venture Bros.
Braindead
Planet Earth II
Dreamcorp. LLC
Royal Pains final season
Steven Universe
Blunt Talk
Girl Meets World
Degrassi: Next Class

MUSIC (This is way more a personal thing)
Green Day – Revolution Radio
Good Charlotte – Youth Authority
Sixx A.M. – Prayers For The Damned and Prayers for the Blessed
Lady Gaga – Joanne
Panic at the Disco – Death of a Bachelor
Miike Snow – iii
Sia – This Is Acting
Animal Collective – Painting with
Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello
Pet Shop Boys – Super
Travis – Everything At Once
Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway
Sabrina Carpenter – EVOLution
Waterparks – Double Dare
David Bowie- Blackstar
DNCE

VIDEO GAMES (again this is personal and to stuff I played & loved and stuff I wish I gto play but didn’t have the console of required PC power)
Oxenfree
Not A Hero
Uncharted 4
Firewatch
Amateur Surgeon 4
Batman – The Telltale Series
Slayaway Camp
Dots and Co.
Watch Dogs 2
Day of the Tentacle Remastered
Samorost 3
Quantum Break
The Final Station
Dishonored 2
Headlander
Kathy Rain
The Witness
Small Radios Big Televisions
Mother Russia Bleeds
The Banner Saga 2
Quadrilateral Cowboy
This is the Police
No Man’s Sky
Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre
Obduction
Mafia III
Let it Die
The Last Guardian
The Walking Dead – The Telltale Series: Season Three
INSIDE
Yakuza 6

COMICS (this is personal as because of limited funds and the higher cost of comics while pay checks stay the same I don’t get to read as much as I like these days and hence do not get Previews to explore independents more then I’d like)
West Coast Avengers
Howard the Duck
Future Quest, Wacky Raceland, The Flintstones, and even Scooby Apocalypse (the HB reboots)
Sugar & Spike-Metahuman Investigator from Legends of Tomorrow
The Adventures of Miru
The Twilight Children (Darwyn Cooke’s final published to date interior art work)
CAGE by Genndy Tartovsky & Stephen DeStefano
Superfuckers Forever by James Kochalka
The Red Hook by Dean Haspiel

and here’s a few PERSONAL highlights for the author of this (me)
Kaiju Big Battel with Liza followed by FTW Wrestling where I hung with the workers during. Saw Scotty Too Hotty do the worm.
Day out at mall in CT with mom, Al’s and Al’s family.
Becki’s Moving Party.
Passover with mom, Al and Al’s family.
Mike and Lauren moving into a house.
Trip to Philly with Nick and Terri.
Best man at Nick and Terri’s wedding.
Guns n Roses: Once in a Lifetime with David S.
Tarin becoming a full fledged hairstylist.
Hanging out with Brad at my place and his place and other places.
Hanging out with David at his places, other people’s places, parties, events.
Robots Will Kill 15 Year Anniversary.
Ad Hoc 10th Anniversary party.

Here’s hoping 2017 will be better in the ways that 2016 was not and that in terms of pop-culture things will continue to be excellent.

Worst Movie of All Time says Fashion Designer

ZOOLANDER 2 was lame. It was the dumbest fucking movie. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are old and they suck. That shit wasn’t funny. Pathetic film. So many idiotic cameos. Why this movie be having everyone in it? That’s just dumb. Stupid and gross. That plot too, what was that thing? They got some monkey’s up in there writing this stuff?

Could Penélope Cruz be more ugly too? Those big nasty breasts, that horribly perfect butt?
Then wrapping everything up? What movie does that? Garbage movies only!
My new favorite movie y’all. Six out of Five Stars! Watch that thing on repeat!
-Don Atari’s review of Zoolander 2

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I have noticed that there are people who have completely hated on ZOOLANDER 2, which means my using the sarcastic laden style of Don Atari might fall on ears/eyes the wrong way. I absolutely LOVED the film. There wasn’t a thing I didn’t like. Every character, every nuance, every cameo, the structure of the script. It was solid and I recommend it.

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Bob Belcher is 100… episodes old that is.

Bob's Burger's Logo

At 9:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on May 22nd, 2016 the 100th episode of “BOB’S BURGERS” will air nationally in the U.S.

Before that at its regular time slot of 8:30 PM EST the 99th episode shall air titled Secret Admiral-irer”.

Now you would think 100 episodes means pull out ALL the stops and go crazy and maybe even overboard. I can assure you that Loren Bouchard and the staff did not do this.

Instead the 100th episode titled “Glued, Where’s My Bob?” is actually one of the tamest, clear cut episodes ever. It’s funny and set up in a way that it could’ve easily been the pilot episode. I say this in a good way. It doesn’t waste time reintroducing the characters or anything, but the episode is centered on the restaurant and the foibles of a basically traditional yet weird family who work together to run a simple burger shack. All the staples are there, the Burger of the Day, some conflict, wife and kids being super crazy and weird to Bob’s perfect deadpan in the chaos and even a fun musical number. This time an awesome duet between H. Jon Benjamin and Kristen Schaal that could come out of Bob’s Burgers: The Broadway Musical (if there ever was to be something as ridiculous and ludicrous as to ever happen).

On that I’d settle for a 3 disc The Music of Bob’s Burgers: The Best of Seasons 1-6. Will we ever get that? Maybe. There’s been Simpsons CDs and Family Guy CDs and the music of Bob’s Burgers is just as good if not better.

Getting back to the 100th episode and the show even reaching this point. The show has for me its highs and it has definitely had its lows and when I say lows I mean lows, but when I say highs I mean making ME laugh (and I DO NOT LAUGH). Throughout it all though one always had to love the characters, the designs, the personalities and the voices. Literally one of the best casts ever. It’s proven that a super talented cast doesn’t always mean super success or always brilliant production but I’d like to take a little time to admire and gush about some of the cast of Bob’s Burgers because they are some of my favorite actors period be it voice, stand up, comedy or just acting.

I first discovered H. Jon Benjamin though Dr. Katz and followed him through Home Movies to eventually Archer and of course Bob’s. Bob might be the closest animated character to the real Jon there ever was which is both hilarious and wonderful because you can’t really imagine any of the roles he’s done before to be voiced by anyone else despite him looking nothing like those folks. It should be noted that Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard and H. Jon go back as far as Dr. Katz if not sooner and have stayed together through various cartoons since.

Eugene Mirman has been a NYC stand up standout since the early 90s and I’m pretty sure as a I’m a guy who since High School has had random nights in this city has seen him at least once or maybe up to five times. At least that’s how I remember things. I know he did stand up in the 2000s and I saw that too. Also, he was on Home Movies, and on that other show Loren and H. Jon did together, “Lucy, Daughter of the Devil” and he did stuff on “Flight of the Concords”. He’s a funny guy.

Speaking of “Flight of the Concords” that is probably where I first really noticed Kristen Schaal and have been smitten since. She’s had experience working with H. Jon before as well on “Freak Show”. It was definitely her work on “The Heart, She Holler” that I became completely enamored. Throw in “Gravity Falls” and of course Bob’s and she’s just a joy to hear, see… whatever it is. Louise Belcher is just the best.

Taking nothing away from Bob, Gene, Linda or Tina. Especially cause John Roberts and Dan Mintz’ deliveries add so much to the show that without them it wouldn’t be the hilarity that it is.

So tune into the hilarity this Sunday and then of course in the already confirmed 7th and 8th seasons on the ride that is the Belcher family. If you’ve never watched, well get started, if you used to and stopped, get back to it. If you already watch? Well, you probably stopped reading, because you’re already sold.

The Burger of the Day is:
Drop It Like It’s Hot
A burger with a fried egg and jalapeno sauce.
(I made this up).

The Librarians at NYCC 2015

THE LIBRARIANS returns November 1st, 2015 on TNT at 8 PM with a 2 hour season premiere.

In the second season the major plot will be that the magic getting unleashed in season 1 will lead to literary characters coming to life, from Shakespeare’s Prospero to the monster from Frankenstein.

At NYCC there was both an amazing panel and incredible press session. The panel was super fun and revealed plots and stories from season 1 and upcoming season 2, while during press I was able to speak with various stars of the show to expand the thoughts from the panel and add ones not even addressed.

Here is a Playlist of all those interviews:

Nick Robinson at NYCC 2015

At NYCC 2015 I got the privilege to interview Nick Robinson as part of a roundtable in conjuction with the then coming JURASSIC WORLD blu-ray (out now in stores online and offline everywhere).

He’s an excellent young man and I’d gained appreciation for him during his time on MELISSSA & JOEY and look forward to his work in the indie based on a true story BEING CHARLIE and the major blockbuster based on the best selling Rick Yancey YA series THE 5TH WAVE.

At NYCC they transported the gates to Jurassic World to the Javits Center as well as full true to life raptor (you can call it an animatronic all you want… it was real! REAL I say!).

Here’s video of the interview:

Regular Show at NYCC 2015

At New York Comic Con 2015 I had the pleasure and privilege to speak with Sam Marin, William Salyers, JG Quintel, Sean Szeles and Paula Spence, the cast and crew.

Regular Show-The Movie is out now on DVD (October 13, 2015).  It is a truly epic adventure of space, time, action, drama, flashbacks, reveals, secrets end of the world/save the world antics worthy of the movie treatment.  The DVD has amazing special features including a full commentary  with Quintel and Szeles, animatics of deleted/unused scenes, the original board pitches and concept art.

The Impractical Jokers LIVE Punishment Special

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WHO: truTV, Impractical Jokers and Howie Mandel

WHAT: A LIVE televised event hosted by Howie Mandel. Come watch the Impractical Jokers’ EPIC LIVE FIVE STORY HIGH-WIRE WALK. In celebration of truTV’s Impractical Jokers groundbreaking 100th episode, the Jokers (Joe, Sal, Q, and Murr) will take on their most challenging dare yet – an epic high-wire walk five stories in the air above New York City during the show’s first ever live punishment extravaganza. Fans and the public are encouraged to come watch, offer support and enjoy the onsite activities.

The live punishment will have a charitable element as each Joker’s favorite charity: Doctors Without Borders (Sal), Daniel’s Music Foundation (Joe), Make-A-Wish (Murr), and Stephen Siller Foundation (Q) receives a charitable contribution, determined by how far of a distance each Joker walks.

Leading up to the live event, truTV will engage fans via social media by encouraging followers to tweet using #LivePunishment. Fans can tweet their vote for which Joker they think will “walk the farthest,” using #TeamMurr, #TeamJoe, #TeamQ, or #TeamSal. A poll will be featured on-air during the live broadcast, tabulating Twitter votes in real-time, stopping just short of the Impractical Jokers’ high-wire attempts. Follow @truTVJokers for updates.

DJ G Money will provide music on the main stage from 7-11pm leading up to the live broadcast, as well as during commercial breaks. Garrett from Z100’s Elvis Duran and the Morning Show will be hosting on the main stage from 7-9pm, and the Z100 and Power 105 Party Patrol will be passing out swag on-site from the Z100 tent.

WHERE: 19 Fulton Street | South Street Seaport, New York City

WHEN: Thursday, September 3rd

Activities for fans begin at 10:00am ET, including The Impractical Jokers Museum of Impractical History (a specially curated exhibition featuring fan-generated artwork and show artifacts); High-wire attempt will be live at 10:00pm ET.

R.I.P. Actors Who Meant a Lot to PCS

Between March 30th and April 7th, 2015 the world saw three major character actors of pop-culture and also cult fame leave their mortal coil.  As a child of the 80’s and 90’s these men left an impression of my mind.

Robert Z’dar, he of the huge chin because of his birth defect aka cherubism was part of some of my favorite films, and played a cop, gangster, and more over the years.  Z’dar actually had a pivotal role in my second favorite film TANGO & CASH in which his appearance was very important to the character and made him even more menacing.  Tom Towles, a man who also played killers, cops and more, got his name out to the world in HENRY: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but made the most impact on me in the sci-fi horror THE BORROWER.  Towles also became known better in later years as the cop in Rob Zombie’s horror films.  Finally, James Best who became best known as Roscoe P. Coltrane, one of two antagonists on THE DUKES OF HAZZARD.  Throughout the 50’s and 60s, Best was a regular guest star on many a western and crime drama ranging from The Lone Ranger to Perry Mason.

After Towles passing I envisioned he and Z’Dar meeting up in whatever afterlife may or may not exist for a comedy horror about two bungling cops who shoot first and never ask questions.  I couldn’t get myself to draw it though.  Then Best died and I felt he’d easily work in the fictional film/show and I knew I had to do something as a tribute.  PCS does LOTS of art (most of it wrestling inspired) but rarely posts it here.  I feel in honor of these three men I must share this tribute which is incomplete, but says everything I want it to say.

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The PCS look at Amazon Pilots 2015

Many big sites have looked at the 2015 Amazon Pilot season, but they will either focus on one set of genres, or review ONE particular program OR if they did an article on all the offering they were written from different voices instead of a singular eye so that you get a real judge of the series because you can tell what the writer liked or didn’t like instead of individuals snippets from varying viewpoints.  Which can be good in some cases, but in something where Amazon is asking or at sort of asking what people think, I’d like to hear the opinion of each person on EACH show.

So here is that exactly.  I sat through every offering (including the stuff for the toddler set, but I have nothing to say on those) from the Amazon pilots of 2015 (even the ones for the kiddies, not that I lasted long) and came up with a concise overview of each program, even delving a little further if the show I felt had merit for that

cocked  maddogs   table58logo

Mad Dogs: Definitely a keeper . Although it seems that it’s actually a remake of a UK series, I have to assume Shawn Ryan has some intriguing twists for it to make its own thing. Also Steve Zahn, Michael Imperiloli and Romany Malco bounding off each other with Ben Chapin in the more straightman role could be awesome stuff.  The last 15 minutes set up what could be a really amped up show and very different that the original UK version from what I can recall.

COCKED:  Another Brilliant production. It’s got that HBO/Showtime Dramedy feel to it and Jason Lee delivers but Sam Trammel really shines here. This is definitely without even seeing the other pilots a top contender. Co-created by Sam Shaw (creator of Manhattan) and Samuel Baum (creator of Lie To Me), with direction by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer). I hope these Amazon pilots have a first look pass thing cause if this one doesn’t get picked up for a run I think HBO, Showtime or Netflix would want it.

NIKO and the Sword of Light: OMG! This is amazing. Based off an app available for iPad, Android Tablets, etc (I always wanted it but I only have an iPhone). It was adapted by the original team and some major animation players as well as Titmouse, Stellar, Legendary well known voice cast too with Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh), Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad’s Klaus), Steve Blum, Kevin Michael Richardson, Corey Burton and Tom Kenny.

Table 58: This one is definitely for the younger set, but it’s premise seems like it’d fit great on Nick or DisneyXD, but on Amazon maybe they can go special places with it. The adult actors really help as there’s a Groundling, a former cast member of MadTV and two character actors who you’ve seen in something in J.P. Manoux and Sean O’Ryan. It’s over the top humor and the six outcasts kids are great. It was also directed by Gil Under, best known for 10 Things I hate About You and written by May Chan, a staff writer on Phineas & Ferb.

The NEW YORKER Presents: Worth seeing for intriguing segments. Most especially Jonathan Demme bring this article to life and the sketch with Alan Cumming written by Simon Rich (Humorist, former SNL writer, Screenwriter) . It basically really is like the magazine come to life. So if a series, probably hit or miss. I always thought like this is cool though. VICE has a series like it. McSweeney’s curated WHOLPIN was much like it. Worth a view.

Salem Rogers, Model of the Yeat 1998: This show is no good, but at the 25 minute mark you get a bare assed Leslie Bibb in color and in motion and for that? YAY. Rachel Dratch is fun too, but not enough to make this a keeper.

Just Add Magic:  I’m not familiar with the book this was based on but after looking the book up they basically only used the premise to come up with what sounds like an “Eastwick” for the tween set. The highlight for the adult viewer is Amy Hill ( a face and voice almost anyone would recognize if not her name) as what appears would be the series “villain”. If it’s between this and Table 58, Table 58 is the front runner though.

The Man in the High Castle: I’m on the fence on my feelings about this. It’s quite a Loose adaptation of the novel indeed, basically using the characters, concept and some of the plotlines but then throwing away pretty much everything else to create its own series which would now be unpredictable as it adds elements never in the original book. Development hell on this too since Scott has been trying to get it made through first BBC, then SyFy before this. Against COCKED and MAD DOGS I’d choose either of them over this, but as long as Amazon (and people) doesn’t approve that horrendous Point of Honor, that was utter drek.

NIKO!

Niko vs. Mugwump