Hey, who’s up for some small bits of news and speculation? None of my recap shows are in season, so I can either get super into Riverdale or I can find some news items that interest me, and only one of those even seems possible. So let’s get into Archer, Ben Affleck, SpongeBob, and more!
–The big news this week, at least in my areas of interest, is that Season 8 of Archer will be set in 1947. That naturally fueled all sorts of speculation – an alternate universe, time travel, and even some goofs who argued it was always set in 1947 and they just never said so. Granted, Archer has always been cagey as to the specific time period, with its eighties computers and seventies cars and seeming lack of Internet, but come on. Sterling grew up watching Burt Reynolds movies and the live-action Shazam. That pretty much set it in the present-ish.
Well, there are more details now. The 1947 season is going to be the dream of a comatose Sterling Archer. It seems weird to announce that right off the bat, but since last season ended with Archer seemingly dead, it’s at least a nice confirmation that Adam Reed isn’t abandoning the original timeline for a mini-reboot. And with a three-season plan in place, I’m not going to fret about a dream year. Plus, I’m pretty excited to see new spins on the cast.
Reportedly, Archer’s dream will center on solving the murder of his manservant, Woodhouse. George Coe, who voiced the character, died in 2015 and Archer has only referenced him a couple of times since. Sometimes you can’t write out a character in a respectful way when their portrayer dies. It would be jarring if they suddenly had a heartfelt funeral for the man Archer casually tormented for years. At least this is a nice acknowledgment that doesn’t break the fourth wall.
But, you know, I trust Archer. Coma season? I’m on board. Just as long as they finally let poor Jesse Thorn do a voice. It’s all he wants!
Archer returns on April 5. We will remind you one million times before then.
–There’s not too much to say about this, but Jon Hamm will be voicing an advertising executive named Don Grouper on Monday’s episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. We have a long tradition of supporting Jon Hamm in everything, and we’ve really enjoyed his weird choices over the last year or so. Following Billy Eichner around dressed as the New Yorker mascot? Genuinely odd tax preparation commercials? Whatever mystery project prevented him from appearing in the final episode of Comedy Bang! Bang!? We’ll take it.
–Other casting news! We haven’t paid that much attention to the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery ever since Bryan Fuller pulled back from his showrunner role and then backed out altogether. Let’s be honest – CBS’ subscription streaming service does not exactly have a robust lineup and it’s tough to justify another monthly bill once you’ve got Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Seeso, and Howl.FM. (Your specific lineup may vary, but Hulu follows me on Twitter, so definitely subscribe to them.)
We’re not saying this is going to get us to pony up six bucks a month, but Discovery just added a couple of spunkyfaves to the cast with The Walking Dead‘s Sonequa Martin-Green as the new ship’s captain and Gotham‘s James Frain (Theo Galavan) as Spock’s father. There’s a question as to what this means for Martin-Green’s Walking Dead character, but that show’s current weird-ass season structure relegates most of the supporting cast to appearing once every three episodes or so. It feels like she could just kind of wander away from the set and they wouldn’t notice for a while. And if they did, they could just have Negan talk for forty minutes uninterrupted until they tracked her down. (I’m a little salty about the current state of TWD.)
Frain, of course, has died twice on Gotham. The second time via bazooka, so he’s unlikely to be booking a return appearance.
–Last time I tried to cover some short bits of stuff, I ended up talking about Ben Affleck stepping down as the director of the next Batman movie. As I write this, he’s talking about giving up the role after said movie (possibly directed by Matt Reeves, so clearly they didn’t take my suggestions seriously). I thought he did a good job in a movie I didn’t like, even if I couldn’t get into that version of Batman. And he was quite good in a small role in Suicide Squad as a better version of Batman. I think it’s going to be interesting to see what happens the first time one of these movie universes has to swap out a major role. Yeah, Marvel replaced Terence Howard with Don Cheadle after the first Iron Man, but I think people liked Don Cheadle better anyway. And there’s Mark Ruffalo replacing Ed Norton as Bruce Banner, but that solo Hulk was a weird fluke. Ask somebody to name all the Marvel movies, that’s the one they’ll probably forget.
James Bond and, yes, Batman get replaced all the time. But they’re not part of a shared universe (previous Batsman weren’t, at any rate). Every new Bond is an implied reboot, with virtually no references to previous adventures. But when there’s a larger continuity, it’s assumed that everything still happened. I can’t imagine Daniel Craig’s Bond had his version of Dr. No, but when the next Batman comes along, BvS and Justice League are still in play. It just doesn’t seem as clean if everybody else is the same. The dynamic is different. For some reason, I’m totally cool with Idris Elba just showing up as James Bond and we just accept that he was always Bond but I have trouble with the idea of an Avengers movie where everybody else is the same only, say, Timothy Olyphant is suddenly Tony Stark. And he’s hanging out with the various Chrises and Paul Rudd and everything’s supposed to be the same. I don’t know why, but I feel like that’s more jarring. It’s going to happen eventually, and it’s going to be weird.
Of course, since Ben Affleck’s Batman didn’t actually interact with Superman that much in BvS and the scenes they shared were mostly attempted murder, it’s not like there’s a real chemistry that’s been established. And for the first time in my life, I don’t have a strong opinion as to who should play Batman. I’m not enjoying what DC’s movies have been doing and I kind of feel like they’re just going through a phase that I need to ride out.
That’s all the news and speculation for today. We’re starting to get to renewal and cancellation time, so the emotional roller coaster will be leaving the station shortly. I think that’s a mixed metaphor, but I’d argue that the “station” on a roller coaster is the enclosure where people board. It holds up.