It’s a new month and it’s time to be excited about things! Despite November being a sweeps month, TV is kind of dropping the ball with only a couple of high profile premieres, but they’re good. Luckily movies, video games, comics, and podcasts are picking up the slack. Here’s what I’m excited about this month!
The Adventure Zone: Graduation (November 1) – I talk a lot about the McElroys and their various podcasts here. Adventure Zone is the one where they play role playing games with their dad. They just finished up their second mega-story, Amnesty, and now it’s time to start a new campaign. Graduation will return to Dungeons and Dragons as the base game for a story about a school for sidekicks and henchmen. And after Griffin served as the DM for both of their major stories, this time middlest brother Travis is taking over. I expect a lot of fun. This actually comes out on the 31st, but it comes out in the afternoon, so I can’t download it until after work and that means I’ll listen to it on November 1. And this is my list.
Terminator: Dark Fate (November 1) – I’m going out on a limb here because most of the Terminator franchise has been bad. And I’m not especially a fan of Schwarzenegger or James Cameron, so their returns aren’t really a draw. (Also, hasn’t Arnold been in all of the movies in one form or another?) I don’t care about the lore and their take on time travel is kind of dumb. But. This one brings Mackenzie Davis from Halt and Catch Fire to the franchise. I love that show and I love her and I love that she’s just straight up wrecking Terminators with rebar in the trailer. This one’s for Cam!
Motherless Brooklyn (November 1) – This is another instance of qualified enthusiasm. See, Motherless Brooklyn is my favorite contemporary novel and Ed Norton has, after holding the rights for years, finally adapted it into a movie. But he moved the setting to the 1950s, which is a weird choice. And the advertising leaves out the actual thing about the story – the lead character (Norton) suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome. You maybe want to tell people the interesting thing about the story when you try to sell it. I have misgivings about the setting – it seems to cast Lionel Essrog as an actual private detective rather than a weird wannabe. And I don’t think there was enough understanding of Tourette’s then, and part of what I love about the book is the way that Essrog knows what’s wrong and he knows he’s going to do things he can’t control and his brain still tries to justify it. And the bit about how the music of Prince helps him control his tics is obviously out. I really want this to be good but I’ve got a pit in my stomach.
Green Lantern: Blackstars (November 6) – After a year of writing Green Lantern, writer Grant Morrison wrapped up his first arc with the Green Lantern Corps being wiped out of existence. They don’t exist and they never existed. And that leads into this miniseries about the new timeline where Hal Jordan is a Blackstar – a follower of a mysterious cult that wishes to take over the universe. This is all to set up Morrison’s second year on the main book, so clearly this is all going to get fixed. But he’s been killing it on Green Lantern, and that’s a series that’s a hard sell for me. I can’t wait to see what comes next and this weird quasi-reboot looks like a blast. (DC Comics)
Death Stranding (November 8) – Metal Gear creator and noted weirdo Hideo Kojima split with longtime publisher Konami and founded his own game studio and the first release is nearly here. There’s a long and complicated history to Death Stranding but the point is that it’s a weird action/philosophy/stealth game starring Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen. Everything we know about the story and the mechanics is very confusing – something about babies that are a link between worlds and also apparently urination plays a part in it. With Metal Gear, Kojima turned what should have been some straightfoward action games into bizarre philosophical treatises exploring an alternate history of America, a loopy continuity that requires multiple flowcharts to follow, and a surprising display of fetishes. This is probably going to be amazing and also a disaster and we’ll be talking about it for a long time. (PlayStation 4 exclusive)
Rick and Morty (November 10) – After a long break, we get half of a new season (five episodes). I love Rick and Morty, but a huge section of the fanbase is just straight up trash people. So it’s hard to be a fan and make it clear that you’re not some angry libertarian or somebody who doesn’t get that Rick is a terrible person. As a result, I don’t talk about this show much, because after last season, there’s a little bit of stink on being a Rick and Morty fan So just lay low and watch it and have fun and we’ll have our own secret club. (Adult Swim)
The Mandalorian (November 12) – First things first, we don’t need another streaming service and in the long run, it’s definitely a bad thing that one corporation has a virtual monopoly on the entertainment industry and is putting everything behind yet another paywall. That said, this launch series for the Disney+ service looks pretty amazing. Game of Thrones‘ Pedro Pascal plays the titular Mandalorian, which basically just means he’s a guy in Boba Fett armor. I’m staying clear of spoilees on this series, but it looks like a space western set in the Star Wars universe. There’s an absolutely bonkers cast including Giancarlo Esposito, Bill Burr, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Taika Waititi, and freaking Werner Herzog. I have serious issues with how Disney handles access to its content, but I also have already subscribed, so there you go. (Disney+)
Ford v. Ferrari (November 15) – James Mangold brings us Christian Bale and Matt Damon as a designer and driver, respectively, who designed a race car for Ford that made it competitive with Ferrari. Do I care about cars or races? Not particularly. But every element of this is a positive and the trailer is really great. I’m into it!
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (November 15) – The first real Star Wars video game of the new era is here. We don’t really count that Battlefront business. This is a single player action game. Set between episodes III and IV, Fallen Order has you play Cal Kestis, a Jedi in training who survived the purge. It looks like a great game that seems to make sense in a Star Wars setting, and we haven’t really had many of those. You get to use the Force, there’s a Sarlaac pit, Saw Gerrera from Rogue One plays a key role. And the main character is voiced by Gotham‘s Cameron Monaghan, making him the second Star Wars lead to also play the Joker. I have a massive backlog of games right now, but this is going to be a Day One buy for me.
The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage (November 20) – One of my favorite comic characters is the Question. He’s a guy who wears a suit and a mask that makes it look like his face is featureless, and he’s as close to Zen as a superhero can be. The series in the Eighties by Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan is one of my favorite comic runs ever and is the main reason that I reassessed my beliefs and did a total 180 on my politics in college. Vic’s been through a lot since then, including some out of character reboots, a heartbreaking death, and then a truly terrible New 52 relaunch. But this series by writer Jeff Lemire and the classic art team of Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz resurrects the much loved version of the Question, apparently just in time for him to die over and over again. (DC Comics)
Doom Patrol – The Bronze Age Omnibus (November 26) – There are more comics than TV shows this month! This enormous hardcover collects every appearance of the Doom Patrol between the death of the original Patrol and Grant Morrison’s acclaimed run. And a lot of this is not especially great – there’s an attempt to make the Doom Patrol a legit superhero team that just doesn’t work, this is stuff I’d really like to read (most of it again, some of it for the first time). I just love the Doom Patrol so much. And with the way the TV series pulled some elements from this weird in-between time, I need to freshen up before Season Two. It’s entirely possible that I’m the entire audience for this book. (DC Comics)
Knives Out (November 27) – Last Jedi director Rian Johnson returns with this original story that looks like a lunatic take on Agatha Christie. Johnson is always worth watching, the trailers are fantastic, and the cast will blow your mind. Daniel Craig! Chris Evans! Edi Patterson! Michael Shannon! Jamie Lee Curtis! Don Johnson! LaKeith Stanfield! Frank Oz! I mean, we’ve got James Bond and Captain America teaming up with Judy Gemstone, and that’s all I could ask for.
That’s my list! What are you excited about this month?