Avengers: Age of Ultorn Trailer Premieres!
It’s funny how fast the nerd news cycle can be. On Tuesday it was announced during Agents of SHIELD (still a great season btw) that they were going to show the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Needless to say I was HYPED. Between how great the first movie was and hearing about the footage at ComicCon I couldn’t wait. Turns out I didn’t have to because it leaked Wednesday night in high quality and not going to lie, it delivers in every way. With a melodic version of “Got No Strings” playing in the background and James Spader as Ultron narrating as we see The Avengers implode. We get brief shots of Iron Man vs Hulk, Hawkeye getting some play, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver showing off their powers before fading out to Captain America’s broken shield.
As far as I’m concerned this is a perfect trailer and has me hyepd for 2015.
Leslie Jones Officially Joins SNL Cast
In some exciting news comedienne Leslie Jones has joined SNL as a featured player. Starting as a writer she sparked controversy last year when she during a stand up bit at the Weekend Update desk. Appearing on two episodes this season she’s finally getting her due. Ignoring the whole diversity thing last season she’s just a good addition to the show. Showing herself to be a good performer at the Update desk and in sketches I hope she sticks around for awhile.
Continuing the reviews from the past few weeks I’ll be looking at one returning comedy and one new comedy. Hopefully this turns out alright.
Saturday Night Live
The saying goes “The more things change the more they stay the same” and this would be the perfect way to describe Saturday Night Live. Heading into it’s 40th season SNL is, for better or worse, been running as it always has. I’ll start with the good this season and that’s the use of new cast members, particularly Pete Davidson and Leslie Jones. Instead of being glorified extras like some seasons they have been given more of a spotlight which is a plus. They’ve been a pretty good in sketches as well as bits on Weekend Update. Speaking of Weekend Update I’ve generally been a fan of Michael Che behind on the desk. Still not totally sold on the guy but I think he’s made for a better co-host for Jost than Cecily Strong did. On the down side this has led to some of the better long term actors to take a backseat. Most puzzling of these has been a lack of Kate McKinnon so far. After a great showing last season and an Emmy nomination she has been in only a handful of sketches. Her role as a constant in sketches has been replaced by Cecily Strong who is fine but on McKinnon’s level? Nowhere close.
This season has also been pretty great when it comes to host selection. Starting with Chris Pratt and his insane momentum post-Guardians they’ve gone outside of the box with Sarah Silverman and Bill Hader’s episode was one of the best in years. Compared to hosts from the past couple of years (Miley Cyrus, Bieber and Bruce Willis come to mind) they have been perfect. Better hosts doesn’t mean better writing though. They still have the same, predictable writing crew and it really hurts the show sometimes. Coming into the show’s 40th year the opening talk show parody/singing monologue/game show parody formula still seems to be in full effect. A real shame because Sarah Silverman’s episode started off great going away from this formula and having some unique sketches before dropping in quality and feeling like a subpar episode. This is a bummer because when they went outside of the box and did comedy more in-tune with her humor it worked not only with the host but helped separate it from every other episode.
The last thing I wanted to cover was the fact that they are showing truncated episodes from years past. So far we have had classic episodes including Richard Pryor, Alec Baldwin and Christopher Walken. These episodes, particularly Richard Pryor, can be absolutely jarring compared to the current product. The show has more of a rebellious, counterculture feel and it shows. Not that that’s it’s any better or worse but to see it with new episodes makes for an interesting comparison.
With 40 seasons and counting Saturday Night Live is a well oiled machine. Having launched stars of TV and film alike it is no longer the counter culture phenomenon it has been in years past. At this point it is a perpetual comedy machine churning out new content nearly every week. Some of it good and some of it bad. Still I can’t help but hope with some new blood on the cast and more “out there” hosts that the show will keep evolving it’s style and tone as the season goes on. At the very least do less musical host monologues.
Selfie shouldn’t be good. An adaption of My Fair Lady it tries to extend the premise to a weekly sitcom with unironic use of the word hashtag and emojis. On the surface it’s the kind of youth pandering that made me not care about teen movies blatantly ripping off Shakespeare when I was in junior high (God I’m old). After reading some good reviews I decided to give the show and no joke, I’m really digging the show. The main reason, Karen Gillan and John Cho. Whether on the screen together or on their own these two are hilarious. Having never seen Gillan outside of Guardians of the Galaxy I was pleasantly surprised with her comic chops. While a vapid, unlikable character on the surface Gillan is able to make her quite charming and sympathetic. On the other side of things John Cho has mastered the stick-in-the-mud schtick thanks down pat. When the two are together in a scene it’s comedy gold. Their personalities playing off each other perfectly Cho and Gillian, as well as the writing, pull off the cliche will they/won’t they drama without it every feeling tired or forced.
The other thing that helps the show is how creative the show is. The brainchild of Emily Kapnek (Suburgatory) the writing is witty and funny in a Gilmore Girls kind of way. While fairly grounded in reality it has an infective quirkiness to it that you can’t help but enjoy after awhile. Even more creative is the way the show is presented. With social media platforms popping up on screen it’s a creative way of showing how obsessed Eliza is with her image without it ever becoming overbearing.
With “sitromcoms” being the big thing this season it’s easy to overlook Selfie. Despite a rough pilot the show is slowly developing into one of the better comedies this season. While a bit predictable at times the lovable cast and unique feel make it one of the more promising shows this season. I’d hate to see ABC cut the cord on this one.