Discover more from Pop Culture Brain
James Cameron writing non-'Avatar' sequel
And comic book movie stuns in early reactions
What to know
James Cameron says he’s writing a new Terminator movie, but he’s waiting to see how AI shakes out… Wow. If it was anyone else I’d say the last thing we need is another attempt to revive the Terminator franchise (there have been MANY bad sequels and prequels over the years). A Jim Cameron idea and script on the other hand? Bring it on. I do wonder what he’ll have to say now about technology and artificial intelligence specifically, especially when he’s become the most technologically advanced filmmaker of all time. 🤖
Upgrade to a full Pop Culture Brain Daily subscription for $1/month or $6/year.
Early reactions are mostly over the moon for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse… As if we’d expect anything less. By almost all accounts this darker, sadder, and grander sequel is the “resounding win” it appeared to be in its marketing materials. CinemaBlend’s Sean O’Connell had the most effusive praise, saying the movie “lives one step above Masterpiece. It's an actual work of art,” and that it’s the best Spider-Man movie and maybe his favorite movie ever. Other critics joined him in lauding the sequel’s visuals, which they say top the original. Only This Week Media editor in chief Eze Baum seemed to have negative things to say, remarking that it doesn’t match the original and feels like a predictable first-parter towards the end. 🕷
Elemental eyeing $40M opening weekend… Putting it among Pixar’s lowest. Have audiences forgotten about Pixar? Bob Chapek might have screwed the prestigious studio by relegating its movies to streaming for too long. Also, it doesn’t feel like Disney is giving this the proper marketing push it deserves. I’d be mad if I worked for Pixar right now. Meanwhile, Elemental’s direct competition, The Flash. is looking at $75 million, which also seems low. Perhaps these two movies are splitting the potential moviegoing audience. 🔥
Barbie movie lines up all-star soundtrack… Featuring Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice (doing a “Barbie Girl” remix), Haim, Ava Max, Charlie XCX, , Karol G, Khalid, Tame Impala and The Kid Laroi. Also Ryan Gosling himself is on the record, which is exec produced by Mark Ronson. Warner Bros is pulling out all the stops for this movie — I just hope it lives up to the hype. Speaking of which, the studio released a new trailer today, if you’re one of the few people not already on board.💄
Peacock is $20 for the year right now… A better deal in streaming cannot be had — but also look at how desperate they are to get subs. 🦚
A big Flash spoiler is out there and you should try to avoid it if you can… I don’t even know what it is. ⚡️
Clone High — May 23 | Max animated series reboot | 🍅
Smartless: On the Road — May 23 | Max comedy docuseries | 🍅
Platonic — May 24 | Apple comedy series | 🍅 91%
American Born Chinese — May 24 | Disney+ fantasy series | 🍅 94%
FUBAR — May 25 | Netflix action series | 🍅 46%
The Little Mermaid — May 26 | Fantasy film in theaters | 🍅 72%
What to watch
In the next week, a chapter of television history is coming to a close. With Barry and Succession reaching confirmed conclusions and Ted Lasso most likely ending as well, the final echo of the prestige TV era seems to be fading out.
Succession, maybe the buzziest and finest of the bunch, is putting a period on decades of ensemble family dramas started by The Sopranos, shows that confronted the audience with dislikable characters, psychological dysfunction, and no-holds-barred approaches to language, content, and subject matter.
Barry leaves an ellipsis on the genre of auteur-driven dramatic comedies ushered in by Girls, Louie, Master of None, and later defined by Atlanta. Bill Hader’s singular vision explored the depths of the half hour format, showing just how much darkness and epic visual flair one could bring to a supposed comedy series.
While Ted Lasso signs off with an exclamation point on big hearted work family comedies. Lasso reminded us that TV can be comforting and enriching for the soul, while making us laugh out loud several times an episode. This genre’s stalwarts—people like Mike Schur and Bill Lawrence—aren’t going anywhere, but with a noisier landscape now dominated by big IP, one has to wonder if these types of shows can still make a splash. That said, newer entries like Jury Duty and Abbott Elementary leave me optimistic.
Maybe it’s because all three of these series are ending at once does it seem like a chapter is closing. While there will always be more great shows to come in all of these genres, the prospect of high quality art on TV does seem to be more at risk than ever. With a disappearing cable model and streaming belts tightening, we must hope that the studios continue to make space for bold and beautiful TV such as these.