It’s September and that means it’s time to take a look at the pop culture stuff that has me excited this month. I checked out release schedules for TV, movies, podcasts, comics, and video games and this is the stuff that has me geeked. I’m trying to not just include season premieres of established shows except in very special cases, or else we’ll be here all day. And none of us have time for that.
Undone (September 13) – This new animated sci-fi drama comes from BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg and BoJack writer Kate Purdy. It’s about a young woman who experiences time differently after a car accident and uses this new power to investigate the death of her father, who is voiced by Bob Odenkirk. This seems like big swerve from BoJack and I probably shouldn’t assume that my love for the one will carry over to the other, but the creative team is good and I can’t remember the last time I saw an animated drama. It should be worth a look, but I’ll have to watch it in a week because things go nuts on the 20th. (Netflix)
Inferior Five (September 18) – In the event you’re not an aging nerd with an encyclopedic knowledge of DC Comics, the Inferior Five were a comedy superhero team in the Sixties. The premise was that they were the adult children of the greatest superheroes of their world (Earth-12, and I did not need to look that up), but they were incompetent and had useless powers. I’ve only ever read a few reprints when I was very young and I enjoyed them at the time but even the jokes I remember are not good. Though team leader Merryman (who is based on Woody Allen) turned up in Final Crisis and rallied the forgotten heroes to help Superman, and that was rad. Anyway, my actual favorite comic guy Keith Giffen is resurrecting the concept for a 12-issue series. It sounds like he’s ditching the original characters (which is probably the way to go), but there’s not much else available just yet. Oh, Giffen is not only writing it but he’s also doing the art and I love his weird angular style so much. I just like what that guy does! (DC Comics)
The Adventure Zone: Amnesty (September 19) – It’s come up before, but Adventure Zone is the podcast where the McElroy Brothers of My Brother, My Brother & Me play D&D with their dad. And actually, they haven’t been playing Dungeons & Dragons for almost two years. The current arc uses the Monster of the Week system. They’re about to wrap up their second major campaign and it’s building up to a massive, crazy battle for the fate of two worlds and it’s been so much fun. So I have to assume the finale will be bonkers – the last episode of the opening Balance arc is one of my favorite podcast episodes ever. I’m ready for the heroes of the Pine Guard to save the day and then to find out what the show is doing next. (I kind of hope somebody else takes over as the gamemaster for a while – Poor Griffin has created two mega-arcs now and I feel like he needs a break.)
Disenchantment (September 20) – I said I wasn’t just going to do a bunch of season premieres, but I really love this show and technically it’s a midseason premiere. For those who missed it, Disenchantment is Matt Groening’s newest animated show, and this one is a fantasy comedy about a rebellious princess, an exiled Elf, and the demon who hangs out with them. It’s Futurama with magic instead of science, and it’s great. I especially like that there’s a episode-to-episode continuity, which doesn’t happen on The Simpsons and was an occasional treat on Futurama (largely because they didn’t know when and if individual episodes would air). And that, of course, means that the first batch of episodes ended with a huge cliffhanger that left the entire cast, dead, captured, or turned to stone. I can’t wait! (Netflix)
Criminal (September 20) – This is a bit of a weird idea. It’s a 12-episode series and each episode takes place during a policy interrogation. And it’s split up over four different countries with different casts and creative teams in each country. There are three episodes each from England, France, Germany, and Spain and it doesn’t seem as if there’s any connective tissue linking the four productions. It’s an interesting idea and enough to put it on my radar, but for those of you who don’t want to read subtitles, the English episodes star Hayley Atwell and David Tennant which is the kind of pairing you dream of. (Netflix)
Between Two Ferns: The Movie (September 20) – The offbeat webseries created by Zach Galifianakis and Scott Aukerman returns in movie form. How do you turn a series where Zach does a bad job interviewing celebrities into a movie? I don’t know. And they’re keeping a lot of details under wraps – even Aukerman, who directed, has only been allowed to release small teases. There’s a trailer that just hit and it looks like Zach is going to be interviewing some a-listers (including David Letterman, and that’s the one that made my jaw drop). The original series was a lot of fun and I have a lot of faith in Scott and Zach to do something new and cool with the longer format. (Netflix)
Ad Astra (September 20) – You’ve probably seen trailers for this space epic starring Brad Pitt and Tommy Lee Jones. And the premise where an astronaut goes on a mission to find his father who was lost on another space mission could go so, so wrong. Like, that sounds like an episode of Decker. But director James Gray is such an interesting filmmaker and the trailers look gorgeous. And apparently Pitt uncovers “secret that challenge the nature of human existence”, which is a tall order for a studio movie. And I’m just happy to be excited about a movie again – I feel like three Marvel movies plus Hobbs and Shaw have sort of broken me and now any movie I see has to be absurdly entertaining. It’ll be nice to see a big splashy movie that’s also a little bit meditative. Maybe get my moviegoing head right again.
The Legend of Zelda – Link’s Awakening (September 20) – Why am I excited about a Nintendo Switch update of a Game Boy title from 1993? Well, I’ve never played the original. See, when I played A Link to the Past on the Super NES back in 1992, my thought upon finishing it was “Well, they can’t possibly make a better Zelda game than this” and I just stopped getting the new ones. I didn’t try again until the one for the Wii that I can’t remember the name of and I didn’t enjoy. So that proved me right. And then Breath of the Wild came out and blew me away, so now I’m interested in the entries that I missed over the years. This one was incredibly popular, both critically and commercially, and the updated graphics look great. I’m excited to start filling the gaps in my Legend of Zelda knowledge.
Stumptown (September 25) – I’m less interested in network dramas every year, but darned if this doesn’t look fun. Cobie Smulders stars as a Portland P.I. in this series based on the comic book by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth. As I’ve frequently noted, Greg Rucka is the best Batman writer ever and we all owe him a debt. The trailers are really well done and this looks like it could be something special. (ABC)
The Unicorn (September 26) – Wait, I’m looking forward to a comedy on CBS? Well, this starts Walton Goggins as a widowed dad trying to get back into dating. Obviously, I’m watching any Walton Goggins show, but this looks genuinely funny. I mean, Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins play his friends and either one of those could sell me on their own. I’ve been burned before, but much like Goggins’ character, I’m ready to love again. (CBS)
That’s my list! What are you looking forward to?