Hey! It’s July and that means it’s time for a new list of things to be enthusiastic about. And so I’ve got a new list of TV shows, movies, video games, podcasts, and comics hitting this month. And I’ll be honest with you – usually TV does the lion’s share of the work, but this is not a great month for premieres. We’ll get through it though.
I just want to note a couple of big releases that aren’t really my bag but they’re worth noting. July 4 brings the new season of Stranger Things and Ari Aster’s Hereditary follow-up, Midsommar. That one looks too scary for me so I’ll just have my friend Sam tell me about it. And then on July 18, the CG Lion King comes out and I’m not super jazzed about a differently animated version of something I’ve already seen, but I’m probably in the minority.
Spider-Man: Far From Hone (July 2) – This is already open as you read this. I mean, it’s Spider-Man. Homecoming was a delight and this one also looks like a blast. A nice post-Endgame dessert. And it occurs to me that for the first time since, oh, 2010, we don’t know what the next Marvel movie is. We know there are two next year and we know the release dates, but we don’t know specifically what they are. Probably Black Widow and Eternals, but that’s just an educated guess. This is a weird world we’re living in.
Lois Lane and Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen (7/3 and 7/17) – Tying into a big Superman event, DC is giving Kal-El’s most important supporting characters their own books for the first time in decades. Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins are handling Lois, and Rucka is such a great choice to write this series. He’s my favorite Batman writer of all time, and that is some of the highest praise I have. Jimmy boasts another stellar creative team in Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber, and Fraction’s recent short stories prove he’s they guy to write a series that feels like the Silver Age and 2019 at the same time. (DC Comics)
Stuber (July 12) – You know what we haven’t had in a while? A mismatched pair action movie. Luckily, we’re getting Dave Bautista as an intense cop and Kumail Nanjiani as his Uber driver. It looks funny and I like both of those guys a lot. Plus, Natalie Morales is in it and after the failure of Abby’s, we as a nation really need to help her get a hit. She deserves it, and we keep letting her down. It’s like we’ve already forgotten about Middleman.
The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited (July 16) – The McElroys of My Brother, My Brother, & Me show up on this list a lot. This time, it’s for the second volume of their graphic novel series adapting the podcast where they play Dungeons & Dragons with their dad. The first book was great and I loved the way the McElroys and artist Carey Pietsch built the world while still incorporating the fact that it exists inside a role-playing game. The Rockport arc was an excellent arc on the show – a fun murder mystery where the characters really start to gel and some fan-favorites appear for the first time. It will be very good, I assure you. (First Second)
Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein (July 16) – I’m not sure I fully understand this, but Stranger Things‘ David Harbour plays himself in a fake documentary, a mockumentary if you will, about his late father’s stage play about Frankenstein. John Levenstein, who wrote for Kroll Show, created this and it’s weird enough to be fascinating. (Netflix)
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 (July 19) – The last installment of this videogame series came out ten years ago, and it was kind of disappointing. But the first one was awesome, with a big bench of Marvel characters you could use to build a four-person team for a well-designed action game. The new game is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and it looks pretty great – Switch exclusives tend to be more carefully though out in terms of how to make the design work as both a portable and a console, which will be necessary here given how many characters you have onscreen. And as you might guess, the roster this time around leans heavily into movie characters. It looks fun, and if they can capture the magic of the first game, I’m going to play this to excess.
Hello from the Magic Tavern Season 3 (July 22) – The improv comedy / fantasy podcast took some time off to work out the new season, and I can’t even imagine how hard it is to create a plot that’s going to be expressed entirely through improvised interviews with guests. It’s a really funny show featuring Arnie (a man from Earth who fell into a dimensional portal behind a Burger King ), Chunt the shapeshifting badger, and wizard Usidore the Blue. And they’ve got some great guests lined up this year, including actual TV star Rachel Bloom. It’s very good and I want us to all listen to it and be friends. (Earwolf)
Wolfenstein: Youngblood (July 26) Bethesda revived the 1981 first person shooter Castle Wolfenstein at just the write time – the original game was set in World War II and had the player gunning down Nazis. And while Nazis hadn’t made their big comeback when the franchise was revived in 2014, the most recent entry was pretty darn gratifying. I’m not going to get into the whole story of this weird-ass and surprisingly resilient series, but it’s one of the few first-person shooters I really like and, you know, you’re shooting Nazis.
The Boys (July 26) – Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s ultraviolent comic comes to TV and, brother, it’s going to be something. The comic was, basically, about a Black Ops team that takes out superheroes who go to far. I don’t really want to spoil anything just in case it becomes important on the show, but there are some interesting things about how this particular world differs from ours because of the presence of superheroes. And because it’s Ennis, there’s some great character work amidst the decapitations. I’ll admit that Preacher, another series based on Ennis’ work, has never 100% gelled for me, but that has to do with some dicey new storytelling choices the show made. And it’s largely the same team adapting this one (including Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg), so I’m a little leery that this isn’t exactly the show I’m hoping for. But like Preacher, it looks good enough that I’ll power through the parts that don’t work. (Amazon)
Veronica Mars (July 26) – The formerly teenage P.I. returns to TV in this miniseries that brings back most of the original cast and also reminds us that star Kristen Bell is famous now so maybe you’ll watch it. I was a big fan of the original series (even if it peaked in Season One) and I’m looking forward to return to Neptune, California. I haven’t watched any trailers or followed descriptions of the plot, because I want to go into it cold. Also, there’s probably a mystery and I don’t want spoilees from well-meaning synopses. And fun fact, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is on the writing staff of this series. That is a wild third act right there. (Hulu)
Pennyworth (July 28) – The producers of my beloved Gotham are back and this time they’re going even farther into Batman’s past with a serious about a younger Alfred Pennyworth and Thomas Wayne. I loved Gotham Alfred and I’m interested in seeing his story – he’s a much more physical Alfred than we’ve seen in the past and having him do spy adventures is right up my alley. Now, going back that far probably rules out the introduction of any Batman-related character, but I like the vibe of the creative team so much that I’m on board. Provided I can figure out how to watch Epix. It definitely isn’t on my TV and I don’t even know if it’s a TV station or a streaming service. There’s going to be some legwork. (Epix)
That’s it for me! Let me know what you’re into!