It’s a new month, and as always, that means it’s time for me to take inventory on the things I’m excited about in October. I delved into the worlds of TV, movies, videogames, books, podcasts, and comics and came up with my Enthusiasm List. Most months I try to keep it to ten items, but it’s going to be a wild month and this one ran long. It’s a busy month!
Threedom (October 4) – This podcast was formerly behind the Stitcher Premium paywall, but now it’ll be available to everybody. Scott Aukerman, Paul F. Tompkins, and Lauren Lapkus just hang out and talk and eventually play a game that probably won’t work out. I’ve listened to every episode and I really enjoy it, and I’ll probably listen to them again as they post to the free stream because funny friends talking is just what I need in my ears during a work day. (Earwolf)
Big Mouth (October 5) – I almost missed out on this animated series despite my love of Nick Kroll because it looked dumb and ugly. And it actually is dumb and ugly, but in the most endearing way. Kroll and John Mulaney play a couple of kids approaching puberty (in the form of the Puberty Monster, also voiced by Kroll) and trying to figure out girls, their weird bodies, and how they exist in the world. I ended up really loving this show when I finally gave in, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of these loveable dopes and their filthy adventures. (Netflix)
The Old Man and the Gun (October 5) – Now this movie warrants the most qualified of recommendations and requires quite the compromise. This is said to be Robert Redford’s last movie, and festival audiences have gone nuts over it. But. It co-stars Casey Affleck, who seems to be getting a free pass on sexual harassment and abuse, and I don’t want to see his movies. So I was going to sit this one out and reconcile that Redford should pick better co-stars. But. Tom Waits is also in the movie, and he’s totally my guy. I mean, can I pass up Tom Waits and Elisabeth Moss in a movie together? It’s entirely possible that ethics will outweigh fandom and I’ll pass this up. I don’t know. I probably shouldn’t have listed this. Sorry.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (October 5) – Just one year after the last game, the robust series is back. This time, it’s set in ancient Greece and the burgeoning RPG elements from Origins are developed further, resulting in something significantly different from past Creed entries. There isn’t even a hidden blade this time around! You have a spear. How do you hide that? On the one hand, this series is exciting when it’s experimental, but I miss the days when we spent three games with Ezio and built up the world. Overall, the series hits far more than it misses, and I’m willing to give this experiment the time of day.
Flight of the Conchords: Live at the London Apollo (October 6) – I’m very happy about this. Brett and Jemaine reunited for a world tour earlier this year, and while it’s not exactly a revival of their beloved TV show, it’s certainly the next best thing. New songs, old favorites, new comedy. I love these guys, and while they’ve been keeping busy individually, their recent appearance on Colbert’s show was a great reminder how wonderful they are together. Coming soon, it’s Business Time. (HBO)
Doctor Who (October 7) – A new season of Doctor Who is always going to make my Enthusiasm List, but this year brings us a new Doctor, in the form of Jodie Whittaker. She is awesome in general, and the Doctor’s first female regeneration is long overdue. I’m very excited about this, and I say this as a guy who loves Peter Capaldi. (Flying in the face of the BBC coverage, I am perfectly capable of liking two people at the same time.) We also get a new showrunner in Chris Chibnall, and he’s not my favorite Who writer by a long shot, but he did great work on Broadchurch so I’m going in with an open mind and an open heart. (BBC America)
The Sawbones Book: The Hilarious, Horrifying Road to Modern Medicine (October 9) – Hey, a McElroy project! Oldest brother Justin (of My Brother, My Brother, and Me fame) has a second podcast where he and wife Sydnee (an actual doctor) discuss medicine. In particular, the crazy-ass things we used to believe on the path to figuring ot out. I love it. And now it’s available in book form, covering some of their favorite topics. I don’t know how the book will strike the balance of Sydnee’s expertise and Justin’s layperson questions/jokes, but I have every confidence that this will be a fun and educational read.
The Romanoffs (October 12) – Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men follow-up is here! And this is an anthology series where (supposedly) the only thing connecting the episodes is that at least one character claims to be a descendant of that famous family. This could just be the thinnest possible premise to tell all kinds of stories or maybe we’re going to be surprised at how things turn out to be connected. Either one seems possible. And the cast is incredible. Mad Men favorites like Christine Hendricks, John Slattery, Jay R. Ferguson and Cara Buono are there, along with Kathryn Hahn, Aaron Eckhart, Diane Lane, Amanda Peet, Corey Stoll, Paul Reiser, and so many more. And in a rare move for Amazon, the first two episodes come out on the 12th and the rest are released weekly. I wonder if that’s in service of the specific content or if Amazon is just messing around. (Amazon)
Bad Times at the El Royale (October 12) – This is so up my alley. This movie is set at a novelty hotel built on the border between California and Nevada, and when seven strangers check in, things get weird. The trailers have a little bit of a Carl Hiassen meets the Coens vibe and it looks like a lot of fun. Plus, it’s got Jon Hamm and Chris Hemsworth. That’s a lot of handsome to cram into one movie!
DuckTales (October 20) – I am not kidding when I say it is absolutely wild how good this show is. I mean, I’ve talked a lot about the amazing voice cast (including David Tennant as Scrooge), but beyond that, it’s a genuinely fun take on the Disney duck characters. And the end of the season, when the boys learned about what happened to their mother, it was sad and beautiful and drew on some real emotion. And the season finale (which was only a few weeks ago) was an absolutely bonkers action movie guest-starring everybody from Catherine Tate to Lin-Manuel Miranda to Don Cheadle. (Cheadle played the voice of Donald Duck after an invention allowed him to speak clearly. Turns out he’s been really insightful and inspirational the whole time, but nobody understood him. It’s so good and the second season will be starting up again almost immediately. Even if you were too old for the Nineties series and don’t have any real nostalgia for the premise, you’ll love it. (Disney Channel)
Red Dead Redemption 2 (October 26) – 2010’s Red Dead Redemption is one of my favorite video games ever. Top five, easily. It’s a big open world Western from the studio that created Grand Theft Auto that plays like an era-appropriate GTA with better storytelling and without the puerile humor. It’s a genuinely brilliant game and eight years later, we finally get a sequel. Actually, it’s a prequel, with the first game’s protagonist, John Marston, appearing in a supporting role back before he broke from Dutch van der Linde’s gang. It looks amazing – a new console generation means better graphics, new mechanics, and a bigger world. I am so excited about this and I feel like I will probably disappear for a couple of weeks once it comes out.
Batman: The Animated Series Blu-Ray (October 30) – Oh, this is big. This comes up a lot, but Batman: TAS is my favorite version of Batman. It’s the perfect Batman, and man, is it ever beautiful. It’s finally coming out with the Blu-Ray treatment it deserves. You get all 109 episodes, which includes the slightly redesigned final season, The New Batman Adventures (a season that’s also excellent, so don’t listen to those people who get salty about it). You also get the 1993 theatrical release Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and the direct to video Sub-Zero feature. 25 featurettes about the making of the show, commentaries on selected episodes, and Funko mini-POP figures of Batman, Joker, and Harley Quinn. Here’s the thing. When I have the chance to upgrade DVD to Blu-Ray at a reasonable price, I don’t necessarily sit and rewatch them immediately. I’m going to watch these. This is as good as it gets, folks.
Stan Against Evil (October 31) – If, like me, you’re still mourning the loss of Ash vs. Evil Dead, know that this horror comedy (which starts its third season on Halloween) is an absolute delight. Janet Varney plays the new sheriff of Willards Mill, a small town with more than its share of paranormal activity. See, there was a curse on the town for centuries where the sheriff would meet a horrible end. But then Stan (John C. McGinley) married a witch who used her powers to keep him safe. When she died and he retired, the cork came loose and all the evil flooded into town. Everything from demons to wereponies. It’s a lot of fun, the cast is wonderful, and it ended on a pretty great cliffhanger where Stan and Evie broke time. (IFC)
Hex Wives (October 31) – DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint has been taking some big swings lately with some really relevant and political work. This new series could not possibly be more 2018 as it explores the idea of modern-day witches who’ve had their identities and powers suppressed. Think Bewitched only the men in her life are making darn sure Samantha doesn’t know what she can do. Written by Thrilling Adventure Hour co-creator Ben Blacker with art by Mirka Andolfo, this looks both very good and vital. (DC/Vertigo)
Let me know what you’re excited about this month! Or just talk to me about how great RDR2 is going to be!