Ta-Nehisi Coates: Why I’m Writing Captain America

Ta-Nehisi Coates—The Atlantic:

Two years ago I began taking up the childhood dream of writing comics. To say it is more difficult than it looks is to commit oneself to criminal understatement. Writers don’t write comics so much as they draw them with words. Everything has to be shown, a fact I knew going into the work, but could not truly know until I had actually done it. For two years I’ve lived in the world of Wakanda, writing the title Black Panther. I’ll continue working in that world. This summer, I’m entering a new one—the world of Captain America.

Captain America #1 drops on the Fourth [of] July. Excelsior, family.

What a huge development for comics fans and fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates. His work on the Black Panther books has been (comic-)world changing. His writing in The Atlantic has been mind-expanding. I expect his Captain America to be nothing less.

#CaptainAmerica #BlackPanther #Ta-NehisiCoates

Amazon Is Turning Iain M. Banks’ Iconic Culture Books Into a TV Series

James Whitbrook—io9:

Amazon’s been making some major genre plays in its original programming recently, but its latest grab is one of its grandest plans yet: An adaptation of Iain M. Banks’ iconic scifi saga, the Culture Series, starting off with Consider Phlebas.

Banks’ scifi novels, particularly the Culture Series, are some of my favorite stories of the past decade. I discovered Use of Weapons and Player of Games just before he died, so the work is a finite treasure.

I’m not sanguine about anyone making a TV series (or movie) from it. There’s just so little room to exceed what played out in my imagination, and so much room to screw it up.

That’s not to say I won’t give it a shot. I’ll just try not to think about it until it debuts.

(The article refers to Banks’ work as “iconic.” The recovery barges used by Elon Musk’s SpaceX for automated recovery of their space launch system’s first-stage boosters are named for two of the spacecraft in Banks’ stories.)

#iainMBanks #TheCulture #scifi

‘Black Panther’: It’s Exhilarating, Groundbreaking and More Than Worth the Wait

Ann Hornaday—The Washington Post:

“Black Panther” may be grounded in the loops, beats, rhymes and hooks of contemporary film grammar, but it feels like a whole new language.

Feels like, but is not. The language is ancient, not of this continent, and four centuries overdue. Somehow, Ryan Coogler has managed to weave this story together with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Black Panther has “epic” written all over it.

Glad I snagged my opening-night ticket two weeks ago. I’ve not been this excited about a forthcoming, novel film since, well, ever.

#BlackPanther #MCU #Marvel

Season 3 of Stranger Things Will Finally Give Poor Will Byers a Break

Sam Barsanto—AVClub:

Thankfully, it sounds like season three is going to be a little easier on poor Will Byers, with executive producer Shawn Levy telling Glamour that they’re “not going to put Will through hell for a third season in a row.”

That’s nice. Nicer still is that there will be a season three of Stranger Things. Hopefully it reaches up to the heights of season one.

#StrangerThings #TV #WillBiers #NoahSchnapp

One of the Most Moving Parts of Stranger Things 2 is Hiding in Plain Sight

Randall Colburn – AVClub:

One of the most moving parts of the Stranger Things 2 (and that’s saying something, considering the season tugged mightily on the heartstrings) was the tender, yet strained, bond between Sheriff Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). More than just a surrogate father-daughter relationship, the union is colored by the loss of Hopper’s own daughter, who he mentions only in the most vulnerable of moments.

Read on for a very significant detail that’s been around since episode one of season one. I totally missed this.

#StrangerThings #STrangerThings2 #scifi

Production on House Of Cards Has Been Suspended Indefinitely

Katie Rife – AVClub:

One day after announcing that the upcoming sixth season of House Of Cards would be its last, Netflix has suspended production indefinitely on its original original series.

That was quick. It was announced that season six would be their last, and that a spin-off was already in development just yesterday

I guess sometimes you don’t realize how bad the news is until someone tells you so.

#HouseOfCards #TV #AVClub

First Trailer For Annihilation, Based on a Seemingly Unfilmable Novel

Annalee Newitz – Ars Technica:

Somehow, director Alex Garland (Ex Machina) has evoked that same sense of dreamy, horrifying awe in the first trailer for the film, which comes out in February 2018. Natalie Portman plays the biologist, and we see the bizarre features of Area X seething around her as if the entire ecosystem is somehow haunted. Garland is probably the perfect director for this feature. His Ex Machina was a mesmerizing blend of action and philosophy. My suspicion is that this movie will work its way deep under your skin.

Annihilation was an odd scifi read for me, outside my usual enjoyment zone. I have yet to read the remainder of the trilogy.

Still, Natalie Portman and Alex Garland are tough to pass up. I loved his Ex Machina, and I’ve been a fan of Portman’s since The Professional. Annihilation goes on the Scifi Thursday theater list.

#Annihilation #Jeff #VanerMeer #Alex #Garland #Natalie #Portman #Ex #Machina #Southern #Reach #trilogy

Battlestar Galactica was Originally Pitched as a Very Different Show

Dan Neilan – The A.V. Club:

By having its roots in episodic storytelling while purposefully evolving into a serialized format, Battlestar was able to give its audience engaging, action-packed weekly episodes while laying the groundwork for a complex, long-term narrative. As Moore notes, part of the danger of the recent move to exclusively serialized shows tailor-made for streaming services “is that you almost get into a monotone, where they all have the same beat and pace and it’s all one long thing— and when you can kind of do this interesting mixture of episodic and serialization, you can kind of take the audience on a more interesting journey.”

Part of the enjoyment of Battlestar was that you never knew what the next episode would bring. It wasn’t a binge-worthy movie-divided-thirteen-ways. Battlestar might move sets, even jump story lines, appearing on a planet or splitting an episode between Galactica, a squadron of fighters, and a Cylon basestar. You never knew what was coming next.

Throughout the series each season arc, and the even larger series arc moved along at slower and even glacial paces. It was like watching a clock within a clock within another clock, and each clockwork moved independently.

Battlestar was written so compellingly that Kelly got hooked early on, and we watched every episode together. Sometimes we’d watch three back-to-back, others we’d watch just one. Every installment had a different flavor. Our DVR died, taking with it the final episode, and it was months before we got to see it. We made sure we did.

Contrast with two of my current favorites, each exemplifying the monotone look and beat mentioned by Moore: Stranger Things and Fargo. Each is well-written, well-produced, and leads the viewer deeper into the story with each episode. Each episode does, however, have a very similar feel to all the others. You’d feel right at home knocking off an entire season in one day-long, perhaps holiday-spanning, marathon.

I could never do that with Battlestar. Too intense, and too diverse. My mind whipsawed after two or three episodes.

Contrast those with another current fav, The Expanse. The Expanse is written with a more episodic bent, not unlike Battlestar. Each installment might take you somewhere else in the story’s universe, but arcing over all is a season-long story, and above that, a series-long story line.

The Expanse is Battlestar Galactica for this decade.

If binge-worthy shows have a monotone patina in order to make them go down easier for a day-long, Cheetos-laden binge, so much more’s the loss of craft.

#battlestarGlalactica #episodicTV #binge #watching