The Hamptons (Season 5, Episode 20) Original airdate: May 12, 1994 Written by Peter Mehlman & Carol Leifer Directed by Tom Cherones
In the wake of season four, Seinfeld had become the jewel in NBC’s crown. Despite their worries about episodes centered around the television industry and making meta-fictional jokes about the sitcom, it worked. Audiences wanted something different from the saccharine sitcoms they’d been given for so long. For the rest of Seinfeld’s run, the writers would refer back to older episodes without any fears of audience members not getting it.
Sins of the Father (Season 3, Episode 2) Original airdate: September 23, 1997 Written by Rich Fogel Directed by Curt Geda
Batman: The Animated Series came to an end on Fox Kids in 1995 as a new network came to prominence. The WB was to be a home for Warner Brothers programming, including expanding the DC superheroes animated universe. The New Batman Adventures was run by the same people that worked on BTAS, but the character and production designs were tweaked. Batman’s costume was more in line with his simpler Year One style, and the villains took on more gothic, monstrous looks. Catwoman had pale skin, Joker’s hair looked like a boomerang, and The Scarecrow was a pure nightmare.
Perchance to Dream (Season 1, Episode 30) Original airdate: October 19, 1992 Written by Laren Bright and Michael Reaves & Joe R. Lansdale Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Batman chases a group of villains but is knocked unconscious after seeing a flash of light. He wakes up back home as Bruce Wayne, unsure of how he got back to Wayne Manor. He knows things are wrong when he goes to enter the Batcave but finds it’s not there. Testing his sanity even further is the revelation that Thomas & Martha Wayne are still alive. Bruce is engaged to Selina Kyle, and Batman is an entirely different person newly debuted in Gotham City. This is obviously not the series finale, so it’s clear that Bruce is caught in a dream state of some sort.
The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley (2019) Written & Directed by Alex Gibney
The first time I heard Elizabeth Holmes speak, I knew there was something unconventional about her. My introduction to Holmes happened after her biomedical company Theranos fell apart the truth of her groundbreaking inventions was brought to light. Even then, it wasn’t until watching this documentary that I observed the full autopsy of what Theranos did and how it essentially cuckolded the investor culture of Silicon Valley & its cohorts.
As the pandemic continues to ravage the nation with no signs of slowing down, movie theaters’ future is one of many industries in peril. NBCUniversal apparently saw success with a digital first-run release of Trolls: World Tour earlier in the year and want to pursue that home streaming model. However, AMC, the largest theater chain in the country, stated they would not show Universal films in their theaters if the company went this route. Negotiations have developed a very different distribution model.
Some Like It Hot (1959) Written by Billy Wilder & I. A. L. Diamond Directed by Billy Wilder
Billy Wilder, as previously established, authored or at least refined many of the comedic subgenres in mainstream American cinema. Some Like It Hot takes classic tropes from authors like Shakespeare with the protagonist in disguise as another gender who is in love with another character and modernized them. Some Like It Hot is set in the 1920s, but its story is a classical one seen through the 1960s’ eyes while reflecting back across literature. There are definitely some problematic issues when viewed through the context of our modern gender progressive era. Additionally, it is a genuinely entertaining and influential piece of film.
Bombshell (2019) Written by Charles Randolph Directed by Jay Roach
If you’re watching Bombshell and, like me, think, “This feels an awful lot like The Big Short,” that’s because it is. The co-writer of that film, Charles Randolph penned this film and you can he definitely has a tone & style. Adam McKay is not onboard for this one, with Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet the Parents) directing instead. Making a movie about this particular event is a great idea, but I think in the execution, the film ends up being aimed at those who are already on the same page about Fox News and does little to convince faithful viewers of that network to abandon it.
Succession Season 1 (HBO) Written by Jesse Armstrong, Tony Roche, Jonathan Glatzer, Anna Jordan, Georgia Prichett, Susan Soon He Stanton, Lucy Prebble, and Jon Brown Directed by Adam McKay, Mark Mylod, Adam Arkin, Andrij Parkeh, Miguel Arteta, and S. J. Clarkson
American television has a history of focusing its dramatic television shows around the wealthy. Look back at programs like Dallas or Dynasty, glamorizing the soap-operatic lifestyle of the rich and powerful. Today, we have “reality” television programs that consider themselves “aspirational,” look at Bravo or E! In the same way, that shows like Duck Dynasty exist to mythologize and push a false narrative of “working class,” the shows about the rich are intended to teach people that these grossly extravagant people earned their money fairly and lead such satisfying, full lives. Writer-director-producer Adam McKay has had enough of glamorizing the rich and decided to make a series that subverts our expectations.
The Wild Storm Volume 2 (2018) Reprints The Wild Storm #7-12 Written by Warren Ellis Art by Jon Davis-Hunt
One of the many plot threads running through Warren Ellis’ epic and intricate reboot of the Wildstorm universe is the internal politics of world-spanning conspiracies. Instead of presenting these as tense battles of control, Ellis chooses to frame them as the same sort of mundane office politics you might find in any cubicle farm. Jacklyn King is working her own angles at International Operations, putting together teams and performing investigations without her boss Miles Craven being aware, at least not at the beginning. The Halo Corporation has their own man on the inside, John Colt, who the readers meet just as he realizes he’s been compromised and has to shoot his way out before Adrianna can teleport him away. Yet, when Colt arrives at the Halo safe house, it’s played very nonchalantly, not the first time he’s gone through this. There is a mix of humor and horror in how people living these conspiratorial existences can come to find them so unimpressive.
Wonder Woman by George Perez Volume 3 Written by George Perez Art by Chris Marrinan & Tom Grummett
Princess Diana doesn’t have a moment to rest when an alliance of alien invaders attacks Earth. She teams up with the Justice League International to fight them off and makes surprising friends with Guy Gardner and Rocket Red. After Steve Trevor is abducted by these aliens, she teams up with Captain Atom to track down her friend. Then the main storyline of the collection kicks in as The Cheetah returns. We learn the villainess’ origins and the source of her power and madness. The chase for the Cheetah takes Diana around the globe to the middle east where she discovers a lost tribe of Amazons, the Bana-Mighdall. Rather than greeting Diana as a sister in arms, the Bana-Mighdall appear to have no use for a Themysciran and force Wonder Woman into deadly combat.