Time keeps moving and here we are in August. It’s a new month and there are new things that I’m excited about. I combed through the pop culture stuff set to release in August and picked the ten things that have me the most stoked. This includes Jason Statham fighting a shark, in case you were wondering.
Disney’s Christopher Robin (August 3) – There’s a bad joke way to do this movie, but the trailers for the story of a grown-up Christopher Robin (Ewan McGregor) returning to the Hundred Acre Wood and then Pooh and friends following him back out again are very charming. It looks more Paddington than Peter Rabbit, which is a very good thing. This seems like something that could hit my buttons so hard, and probably make me all weepy. And the thing that puts it over the top of me is that Peter Capaldi is voicing Rabbit. You know I love Capaldi, but man, is it crazy to think that Malcolm Tucker is doing an animated movie.
The Venture Bros. (August 5) – After a typically long multi-year break between seasons, my favorite ongoing series is back! I thought it would be November, so realizing that it’s this Sunday came as a lovely surprise. The trailer doesn’t offer much in the way of clues about the new season, and that’s the way I like it. It’s clear that the Ventures are still living in New York (and Spunkybuddy Hal Lublin is back as official nemesis Wide Wale) and after sitting out a season, the Order of the Triad is making a return. Typically the premiere wraps up the previous season’s arc, so I think we’ll start with a big episode about the Blue Morpho and the Monarch’s parentage, but this is just me speculating. The Morpho didn’t appear in the trailer, but it’s a ninety second trailer for a whole season of TV. It’s going to be rad either way. (Adult Swim)
Better Call Saul (August 6) – Starting later in the year than usual, the excellent Saul returns very soon. Jimmy’s dealing with a major loss, Kim is recovering from her injuries and maybe sort of mentally punching out on her career, Mike is ever more involved with Gus Fring, the Salamancas, and Lydia Rodarte-Quayle. I just did a rewatch of the first three seasons and I am so excited. Looking forward to that season opening flash forward and dreading what seems like a pretty straight line from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman at this point. (AMC)
Wrecked (August 7) – Three consecutive days of my favorite shows returning! The insane LOST parody is breaking some new ground in Season Three. After the main characters were separated from the entire secondary and tertiary cast, they ended up stranded on a different island. Only this one has a beachfront minefield. Per the teaser, a deranged millionaire is going to force them to fight for their lives and these are not people who are cut out for that. Except Karen from Bing. She’s a badass. This show is so much funnier than it has any right to be, and as much as I loved the oblique LOST references, it’s pretty cool that it’s going in a completely new direction. I guess that actually started last year when half the season was set on an abandoned Red Hot Chili Peppers-themed cruise ship. (TBS)
The Meg (August 10) – Oh, yeah. In this movie, Jason Statham fights the world’s biggest shark. It’s like a beautiful dream. I almost didn’t believe it was real. I’m expecting something completely bonkers and maybe a higher budget than I had in mind. The ads claim it’ll be playing on IMAX screens, and that does not fit the wing-and-a-prayer production style that I was imagining when I heard “Jason Statham fights a shark”. Guys, I love Jason Statham so much and I’m so happy that he’s still finding new things to fight. This was the next natural step after The Rock.
We Happy Few (August 10) – It feels like this game has been in development for much longerthan it probably has. I mean, it’s not like it was originally announced for the PS2 or anything. Anyway, it’s a survival game set in an alternate version of the Sixties with psychedelic visuals and character-focused storytelling. Those aren’t usually things you associate with the gray anonymity of survival games. It looks like such a weird mix of styles that I need to try it out. I mean, 2018 has not been a stellar year for video games. It’s been fine and there have been some flashes of brilliance on the indie scene, but the big console games I’ve been interested in this year have been sequels or ports from older systems and we haven’t seen anything really big and new in a while. I think the problem is that all the games came out in 2017 and it’s taking a while to get everything going again. Still, this is a promising step in the right direction.
Fear the Walking Dead (August 12) – Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are. The mothership has fallen off drastically and this spinoff was never that good in the first place. And yet, the last batch of episodes totally turned things around. With a new group of characters (including Garrett Dillahunt, Jenna Elfman, Maggie Grace, and the original show’s Lennie James, who got while the getting was good), a time jump, and a soft reboot as sort of a quasi-Western, Fear delivered some strong episodes, better than anything TWD has done in a good long while. And part of it is that the new characters have motivations beyond survival, which has always been the way the main show indicates somebody is a villain. But Grace’s Althea, who wants to document the stories of the survivors, or Dillahunt’s John Dorie, a man looking for the woman he might love, are trying to do something besides not die, and it changes the game. Look. I was literally only watching the show for Kim Dickens, who’s one of my favorite actresses. She died in the last finale. I that had happened a year ago, this show would be gone and forgotten. But I’m genuinely interested to see what happens next, and I haven’t felt that way about a show with “Walking” and “Dead” in the title for a long time. (AMC)
Disenchantment (August 17) – When Matt Groening creates a show, we should pay attention. The Simpsons, Futurama, and now… Disenchantment. This one is a fantasy version of the Groening formula – think D&D Futurama, and that seems pretty close. A bunch of past Groening collaborators are involved, and if we’re being honest, picking good people to make a TV show seems to be Matt Groening’s most important skill set. Everything about it looks like my jam, and I’m intrigued that it’s going to have more long-form storytelling with a two-season arc already planned. (Netflix)
In Voorhees We Trust with Gourley and Rust (August 25) – This takes some explanation. This is a premium limited series podcast in which Matt Gourley (SuperEgo, Pistol Shrimps) and Paul Rust (Love) discuss the Friday the 13th series. One movie per episode, much like Gourley’s James Bonding. The thing is, I’ve never seen a Friday the 13th movie. I don’t like horror unless Bruce Campbell is involved. So this is one of my big cultural blind spots and I’d be interested to hear what two really funny people have to say. Luckily, Gourley and Rust are really funny and there’s nobody I’d trust more to take me through the cursed summer camps and dead teens. (Stitcher Premium)
Jack Ryan (August 31) – In this Amazon series, John Krasinski stars as Tom Clancy’s go-to federal agent. He’s the guy from The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and the recent Chris Pine Jack Ryan movie. This series is supposed to be Jack’s early days before those stories, but still set in modern times. And since the famous Jack Ryan stories involve, like, the Soviet Union, it’s pretty clear this is a new continuity and they don’t want to admit it. Sort of like Hannibal or Bates Motel. Anyway, I’m up for some espionage action, Krasinski is super likeable, and a TV series is maybe the way for Ryan to stop being such a dang cipher. (Amazon)
There’s my list. What are you guys into this month? Let me know!