And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. After two long years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe desert, since Avengers: Endgame and its postscript Spider-Man: Far from Home, Marvel’s mightiest are back on the air. For the first MCU series on Disney Plus, we have WandaVision, a TV show that is very much about TV shows and what the medium means to us. The comfy-cozy sitcom rhythm of the show, as Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision make-believe they’re on the sets of The Dick Van Dyke Show or Family Ties, is interrupted by unsettling reminders of where we left these characters. Wanda was grieving–because Vision was dead. What’s going on here? Don’t change that channel, because Paul, Arlo, and special guest Michael Holland–currently post-production supervisor on The Afterparty–discuss how showrunner Jac Schaeffer and director Matt Shakman channel grief, capture the nostalgic spirit of old TV, weaponize fan expectations, and more.
NEXT: we’ll be back, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.
We rigorously fact-checked this information and have concluded it is, without doubt, 100% true.
Gobbledygeek episode 404, “Monty Wezzo’s Flying Quarantine (feat. Wesley Mead),” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Rule, Wezzo! Wezzo, rule the podcast! Gobbledygeek’s senior British correspondent, Wesley “Wezzo” Mead, returns after a truly mind-boggling 22-month gap to fill us in on how exactly the UK is falling apart. Boris Johnson is handling the COVID-19 pandemic very poorly, especially for someone who nearly died from the virus–but still not as poorly as Galactic Emperor Trump, with his Space Forces and super-duper missiles. You’ve heard all about how Paul and Arlo are coping with quarantine, but what’s Wezzo been watching? Well, do you remember the Olsen twins sitcom Two of a Kind and Amanda Bynes vehicle What I Like About You? No? That’s okay, Wezzo remembers them for you! Nostalgia plays a big role this episode, as we pine for our glory days from the discomfort of our hellish present; and specifically, those tactile yet intangible sense memories. Wow, deep! But it’s mostly What I Like About You.
Next: gonna cruise her round the town, show everybody what I’ve found, rock ‘n’ roll with all my friends, hopin’ the music never ends, these happy days are yours and mine, oh happy days.
Total Run Time: 01:53:55
00:00:33 – Intro? (Time has no meaning anymore…)
01:51:05 – Outro / Next
“Blinded by the White” by Butch Walker, American Love Story (2020)
Gobbledygeek episode 352, “Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson – Vol. 1,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
Far beyond the fields we know, SyfyWire.com contributing editor Matthew Jackson joins Paul and Arlo for another installment of this year’s superheroic Four-Color Flashback. This time, they venture to the land of Asgard on their loyal steeds to discuss Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson – Vol. 1. Simonson’s legendary run defined many cornerstones of Marvel’s Thor Odinson, from the deep ties to Norse mythology to the doing away of mortal identity Donald Blake. The gang discusses why his run is so definitive, Simonson’s vibrant art, his long-game storytelling, what makes Beta Ray Bill so cool, and the deadliness of McBurgers. Plus, The Big Bang Theory is finally ending, Veronica Mars is finally coming back, and Paul is Forged in Fire.
Next: we’ll be back! At some point! We’re working on a book, kids!
Gobbledygeek episode 176, “A Fetid, Pestilent Marshland (feat. Jason Tabrys),” is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.
Koko the Showfucker is back and he’s prepared to fuck the show right into–well, okay, a little of that happens, but for the most part, Jason Tabrys’ return to Gobbledygeek is a little more focused than normal. Among the topics discussed are the Veronica Mars movie and its abundance of fan-service, the Cosmos controversy, and the fact that Captain America 3 and Batman & Superman: Friendship Is Magic opening on the same day is going to keep the idiotic flames of the Marvel/DC fan war raging long into the night. Then there’s the big one: When you hate something–say, oh, The Big Bang Theory–is it fair to continue harshly criticizing it on social media even when you know someone who likes it? The (different, conflicting) answer(s) may surprise you (or not)!
Next: you might remember the Four Color Flashback series AJ did on the blog about the Claremont/Byrne Uncanny X-Men, or he and Paul dissecting Preacher. Well, we’re bringing that feature to the show starting next week. At the end of each month, we’ll be discussing one volume of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and spoiler alert: Paul and AJ really, really love this comic. Joining us for this introductory episode is Broken Magic author, The Deli Counter of Justice co-editor, and Brony for life Eric Sipple.
Last week, we brought you our favorite movies of last year (finally saw Inside Llewyn Davis, by the way, and yes, it would have made the cut). This week, we change channels to focus on TV. We’re doing things a little differently this time out, with separate top 10 lists for new shows and returning favorites. Though there were a lot of new shows I enjoyed over the past year, I’ll admit I couldn’t stretch them to 10; instead, I’ve got 8, while Paul’s just crazy enough to have a full 10.
As always, there are shows we couldn’t get around to: I haven’t seen Rectify, Top of the Lake, Broadchurch, or The Wrong Mans, all of which I’d hoped to see in time for this list. Oh, and to absolve him of all guilt, I should mention that Paul has never seen Breaking Bad. Wait, I don’t think that absolves him.
PAUL: 10. HANNIBAL (NBC)
I wasn’t particularly interested in a television adaptation of the Thomas Harris characters. But names like Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, and Bryan Fuller pulled me in. It’s one of the most visually stunning and hauntingly…haunting shows ever to make it to network television. It’s also one of the most shockingly violent and grotesque. All positives in my book. But I can’t put it any higher on my list because it’s crushingly depressing.
On this, the eve of 2013, Paul and I begin to look back at some of our favorite things of 2012. First up, our ten favorite TV series.
Also, let’s give a slow clap to Paul, who struggled through severe illness just to get these words to you, dear reader. A speedy recovery to you, sir!
PAUL: 10. PARKS AND RECREATION (NBC)
Season 5 gets out of the office a little bit, with Ben and April in Washington D.C. (with an evil robot congressman). Ron gets a new love interest (the always lovely Lucy Lawless). Tom starts a new business. And Andy finds a new career.
AJ: 10. GAME OF THRONES (HBO)
What Game of Thrones did in its first season was nothing short of exceptional, a 10-episode narrative that goes down as one of the finest accomplishments the medium has seen thus far. And while the second season struggled at times to recapture that majesty, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. The scope and breadth of George R.R. Martin’s world remains impressive; the cast, especially Peter Dinklage as the kind of noble imp Tyrion Lannister, continues to knock out high fantasy material that would crush lesser actors; and thrilling hours like “Blackwater” remind us that this is the closest thing we have to a Lord of the Rings on TV. And it’s a whole lot nastier and sexier, too.
You’ve probably never seen an episode of Party Down. It had dire ratings; this past Friday’s season finale, for example, only garnered 74,000 viewers. My rationale was that it was on premium cable channel Starz (which, we can agree, does not have the luster of HBO or Showtime) but with that channel’s relative hit Spartacus: Blood and Sand, I was proven incorrect. Each episode was also available on Netflix Instant Viewing, but I doubt that expanded viewership much. Perhaps it was just too bleak; good things rarely happened to its team of fame-seeking caterers, and it reveled in the art of schadenfreude almost as much as the British Office. Or maybe it just wasn’t on the right channel at the time, or something.
What I do know is that for two seasons, it was the funniest show on television, or at least tied with Parks and Recreation. It was hindered by the fact that its stars were only signed for season-by-season contracts, which meant it lost Jane Lynch after season 1, and would have lost Ryan Hansen or, far more troubling, main caterer Adam Scott after this season. (The irony here is, of course, that they lost Scott to Parks and Rec.) But I presume that Rob Thomas, John Enbom, and the rest would’ve carried on and would’ve continued to make one damn funny show. Alas, Starz officially announced that the series was canceled today.
Now that Party Down is over, there are only a handful of worthy sitcoms left on the air: Parks and Recreation, Community, Modern Family, and maybe 30 Rock (this season was good, not great, but maybe it can come back; I have no such hopes for The Office).
I still haven’t watched the finale. I think I will right now.