Outlander Season 4 Premiere “America the Beautiful” is Beautiful and Brutal


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Outlander season 4 premiere review "America the Beautiful" television review Jamie Claire North Carolina

For the first time, a season of Outlander begins without Claire worrying about traveling through time—whether forward to Frank, or back to Jamie. After years of bouncing between different times and identities, Dr. Randall/Mrs. Fraser chooses to live in linear time… it just happens to be in 1760s North Carolina. America, too, is the first home that Claire chooses—the first place in which she and Jamie must carve out a life, with neither Scottish clans nor French contacts to rely upon. This duality seems to be the theme of Outlander season 4: the choice is yours to make, but your reward may be nothing but hardship, and that’s the American Dream.

Starz screened the first episode of Outlander season 4 at New York Comic-Con. While this is a non-spoiler review, it does touch upon a few minor plot points.

At first, it seems as if “America the Beautiful” might ...

Charlie Jane Anders, Wendy Xu, and More Talk Intersectional Feminism Across Genres


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NYCC Women in [Everything]: Intersectional Feminism Across Genres panel Charlie Jane Anders Susana Polo Sam Maggs Jill Pantozzi Wendy Xu Christina "Steenz" Stewart

The key theme of Women in [Everything]: Intersectional Feminism Across Genres, one of the first panels at NYCC, was listening: Susana Polo, Comics Editor at Polygon and founder of The Mary Sue, reflected that the first time that she identified as an intersectional feminist was when she realized that “I better start listening” to queer women (at the time, she identified as straight), to women who didn’t pass as white, and other groups. Comics artist Wendy Xu (Mooncakes) chimed in that “[t]he main thing to do is just listen to people who are different from you, who have different life experiences. Practice active listening.”

We were glad to listen to this panel, which also included io9 Deputy Editor Jill Pantozzi, The City in the Middle of the Night author Charlie Jane Anders, cartoonist Christina “Steenz” Stewart (Archival Quality), and moderator Sam Maggs (...

Watch the Outlander Season 4 Opening Credits


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Outlander season 4 opening credits theme song opening titles Bear McCreary Raya Yarbrough

Starz screened the first episode of Outlander season 4 at NYCC, a full month ahead of its premiere—a delight for the fans attending, but that will make the Droughtlander even longer for those still waiting. We’ll have more on soon (spoiler: it’s GREAT), but in the meantime, Starz has soothed the burn somewhat by releasing the brand-new opening titles for season 4! As you know, this is very much my jam, and the new titles for Claire and Jamie’s adventures in the New World do not disappoint.

As the action at the season’s start takes place in North Carolina, a certain instrument became the backbone of the new credits. Watch and see if you can catch it:

“We fiddled with it,” executive producer Maril Davis punned at the NYCC panel. This might be the biggest departure from the original credits, what with the portions where Raya Yarbrough draws out ...

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Watch the First Teaser for Amazon Prime’s Adaptation of Garth Ennis’ The Boys


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The Boys teaser NYCC 2018

The first teaser for The Boys, Amazon Prime’s adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s dark graphic novel about blue-collar vigilantes taking down corrupt superheroes, is a bit of in-universe programming: a commercial for Vought, the agency that manages caped crusaders through the kinds of careers more commonly seen for celebrities or politicians. It’s a short clip but nonetheless gives you a sense of the world that Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Preacher) are adapting for television.

This particular teaser’s release during New York Comic-Con is well-timed to the series’ general presence at the convention; there’s a giant poster at the Javits Center reading “F*** SUPERHEROES” above a giant rant about reining in these godlike protectors who are more likely to use their superpowers and/or mythical weapons for their own gain.

Plus, a fun bit of casting news out of the ...

Adora Assembles a Royal Alliance in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power Season 1 Trailer


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She-Ra and the Princesses of Power NYCC 2018 season 1 trailer

I am getting major Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders feels in the very best way from the first full-length trailer for Netflix and Dreamworks Television’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. While the first teaser introduced us to Adora by way of her responding to the Sword of Protection, this season 1 trailer establishes her fascinating arc from a member of the Evil Horde to the promised leader of the Princess Rebellion.

Fair warning that this trailer features a lot of story beats, but Noelle Stevenson’s adaptation looks so compelling that there promises to be more beyond just what we see here—including Adora’s warring loyalties to her best friend Catra versus the rebellion upon which she stumbles and the temptation to change sides.

The official synopsis, from Dreamworks TV:

Adora’s destiny turns out to be far greater than she could have ever imagined. As the legendary warrior princess, She-Ra, ...

Never Change: Reviewing Marvel’s Runaways Season 2 Premiere


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Runaways season 2 premiere "Gimmie Shelter" review

The first scene in Runaways’ season 2 premiere not only is a great little nod to Spaceballs, but also sets the thematic tone for the sophomore season of Marvel and Hulu’s children-of-supervillains series: the members of Pride rush to the police station, believing that their children have been apprehended after missing only 24 hours… only to walk in on a group of lookalikes who are complete strangers. “Those aren’t our kids,” Geoffrey Wilder snaps, as if it should be so easy for the cops to recognize their children—but the truth is that nobody knows who the Runaways really are, not even the Runaways themselves.

Season 1 established the adolescent rite of passage of learning that your parents are not only imperfect, but actually evil, but the Runaways haven’t automatically become one big happy family. Learning the truth about their parents was one thing; this season, they have ...

Patrick Rothfuss’ Advice for First-Time DMs and Other Highlights from NYCC


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Patrick Rothfuss The Kingkiller Chronicle "million-word prologue" Kvothe Kote The Doors of Stone

“I have no idea who you are,” an audience member said during one of the Q&A portions of NYCC’s Patrick Rothfuss spotlight—prompting uproarious laughter from the attendees and the epic fantasy author himself. “My friend has been talking about you for a year,” the person went on, “drags me here—you’re hysterically funny—I still don’t know what you write.”

“Well, a lot of people know me from the gaming community,” Rothfuss responded, adding that “if people know of me because of books, it’s because I write fantasy books. Heroic fantasy,” he clarified, casting about for a subgenre, “epic fantasy, big thick fantasy.”

While Rothfuss did take questions about The Kingkiller Chronicle during the spotlight (sorry, no book 3 updates), the most entertaining moment of the night was when he took a question about that other facet of his life—Dungeons & Dragons, specifically, advice for first-time DMs.

“To clarify,” ...

Gladiator Meets Fury Road: The Xena Reboot That Could Have Been


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Xena reboot Gabrielle romance kiss pilot Javier Grillo-Marxuach

In 2015, TV writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach (LostThe 100The Middlemanwas tapped to write the pilot for NBC’s reboot of Xena: Warrior Princess. He would serve as an executive producer alongside original series co-creator Rob Tapert and EP Sam Raimi to develop not a revival, but a retelling of Xena and Gabrielle’s adventures. In 2017, Grillo-Marxuach left the project, citing “insurmountable creative differences,” and the reboot was effectively shelved.

The most prominent detail during the 18 months that Grillo-Marxuach was attached to the project was the implication that he would have explored Xena and Gabrielle’s romantic relationship in a more overt way. Not much else is known about his take on the series—until recently, when Grillo-Marxuach was a guest on the Xena Warrior Business podcast and laid out his season-long plan for the reboot.

While ostensibly the Xena Warrior Business episode was supposed to revisit ...

Final Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Trailer Reveals Disturbing Information About Nagini


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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Nagini Claudia Kim Maledictus J.K. Rowling

There are some fun moments in the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald: Jude Law enjoying being the master of understatement as Dumbledore, not to mention a soulful Mirror of Erised moment between his and Grindelwald’s younger selves; and Newt getting the upper hand, er, wand, on his brother Theseus.

Then there is the headscratching reveal about Claudia Kim’s circus attraction character, who had featured in previous trailers but never been named, until now. And she’s someone we’ve met before…

It turns out that Kim plays Nagini—yes, Voldemort’s beloved snake and most powerful of his Horcruxes. As an attraction at the Circus Arcanus, she shapeshifts into a snake for gasping Muggle audiences—but this is not an Animagus who learns to transform; instead, she is a Maledictus, described by Pottermore as “a carrier of a blood curse which will ultimately destine them to transform permanently into ...

I Hope That Steven Moffat’s The Time Traveler’s Wife is Less Doctor Who and More Coupling


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Doctor Who The Girl in the Fireplace Steven Moffat The Time Traveler's Wife Coupling

A young girl watches as a strange man materializes in front of her. There is no logical explanation as to where (or when) he came from, but she’s not scared. He’s charming, he knows impossible things about the future and her future, and, best of all, he seems invested in knowing her. But this man is not a Time Lord. Before the Tenth Doctor crawled through Reinette’s fireplace in the 2006 Doctor Who episode “The Girl in the Fireplace,” or the Eleventh Doctor crashed his TARDIS in Amy Pond’s yard in 2010’s “Eleventh Hour,” it was Henry DeTamble who appeared to little Clare Abshire in the 2003 novel The Time Traveler’s Wife.

When it was announced that Audrey Niffenegger’s romantic novel was being adapted for television with Moffat the helm, the former Doctor Who showrunner mentioned that he had written “Fireplace” as “a direct response” to the book. It’s one ...

Doctor Who River Song spoilers GIF
Doctor Who clever boy Clara GIF
Coupling BBC Steven Moffat
The Time Traveler's Wife movie

The Darkest Minds is a Grab-Bag YA Dystopia That Manages to Say Nothing Original


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The Darkest Minds movie review YA dystopia adaptation

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that YA dystopia The Darkest Minds feels the most derivative. Honestly, my ennui starts in the first minutes of the movie, with the mysterious disease that kills 90% of the USA’s children and imbues the survivors with powers for reasons, with the suddenly-superpowered children herded into camps and/or experimented on à la The Maze Runner. Then there’s the headscratcher of a cameo in which Gwendoline Christie dons an awful brunette wig to play Lady Jane, a bounty hunter chasing mutants psychically-gifted kids through the woods—the requisite stunt casting like Diane Kruger in The Host, or Patricia Clarkson in Maze. And even the ending shot (bafflingly revealed in every trailer) of Special Girl Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) smearing orange paint across her forehead and raising a hand to the dozens of other kids—painted green, blue, gold—smacks of both Divergent’s color-coded caste systems and ...

The Darkest Minds movie review YA dystopia adaptation detention camps
The Darkest Minds movie review YA dystopia adaptation
The Darkest Minds movie review YA dystopia adaptation
The Darkest Minds movie review YA dystopia adaptation

Why I’m Obsessed with the Outlander Theme Song


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Outlander opening credits TV theme song Bear McCreary main title The Skye Boat Song sing me a song of a lass that is gone Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser

Sing me a song of a lass that is gone
Say, could that lass be I?

The first time I saw the opening lyrics to Outlander’s theme song posted on a friend’s Facebook post, I thought it sounded ridiculous, way too on-the-nose to start every episode by acknowledging the series’ premise. YES WE GET IT CLAIRE YOU DISAPPEARED.

That was before I actually listened to it, and watched the title sequence—and then, like Claire at Craigh na Dun, I fell hard. Now, I forbid my husband from fast-forwarding through the credits every time we watch… and considering that we’ve been bingeing a season at a time, that means I’ve got it well memorized. But why do I find this particular TV opening so compelling?

The answer, I think, is that it presses all of my nerd buttons: it’s a remix of a mashup, with an excellent invocation of Rule ...

Steven Moffat Developing The Time Traveler’s Wife Television Series for HBO


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The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger

HBO has won the bidding war for a TV adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife, from former Doctor Who showrunner and Sherlock creator Steven Moffat. Other outlets, including Amazon Studios, were in the running to acquire the series about Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire’s nonlinear love story, according to Deadline.

The official logline from HBO is slightly tongue-in-cheek for a novel about Henry, a time traveler and librarian whose Chrono-Displacement Disorder drops him in and out of time, and artist Clare, who first meets Henry as a child and who spends the rest of her life encountering him at different ages as she progresses through time linearly:

An intricate and magical love story, adapted by Steven Moffat from the much loved novel by Audrey Niffenegger. The Time Traveler’s Wife tells the story of Clare and Henry, and a marriage with a problem… time travel.

The 2009 ...

The Godzilla: King of the Monsters Trailer is the Godzilla Movie We Deserve


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Godzilla: King of the Monsters trailer SDCC 2018 Mothra Rodan King Ghidorah

So, um, did you ever think a Godzilla movie would make you tear up? Because there is something surprisingly powerful about the first trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, screened at San Diego Comic-Con. Which is to say, they are going old school, tapping into the deep roots of Godzilla’s character as the hand of nature when humans take things too far.

But not just Godzilla—there’s Mothra, too, and Rodan, and King Ghidorah. This trailer is the real deal.

The official synopsis, from Warner Bros:

Following the global success of Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island comes the next chapter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ cinematic MonsterVerse, an epic action adventure that pits Godzilla against some of the most popular monsters in pop culture history. The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized ...

Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse Adds John Mulaney as Spider-Ham and Nicolas Cage as Spider-Man Noir


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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse John Mulaney Nicolas Cage

In new footage from animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screened at San Diego Comic-Con, Miles Morales, Peter Parker, and Gwen Stacy a.k.a. Spider-Gwen walk into a multiverse meeting of Spider-Folks and are in for quite a surprise. Upon being handed “Hello My Name Is” stickers, they discover even more iterations of themselves—namely, Spider-Man Noir and Spider-Ham. And here’s the best part: Those roles are being voiced by (respectively) Nicolas Cage and John Mulaney!

That was the most fun tidbit to come out of Into the Spider-Verse’s SDCC panel, which featured Shameik Moore (Miles), Jake Johnson (Peter), and Hailee Steinfeld (Gwen). Phil Lord, who wrote the movie and produced it with Christopher Miller (following their success on 22 Jump StreetThe LEGO Movie, and The LEGO Batman Movie), shared his thoughts on the fun of crossing into parallel universes with different Spider-People:

All ...

Watch the First Teaser for the TV Adaptation of Thriller Podcast Homecoming


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SDCC Homecoming thriller podcast TV adaptation teaser Julia Roberts

As part of the Amazon Prime Video showrunners panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail was in attendance—not for his lauded series, but for a new project. Esmail is helming the television adaptation of Homecoming, based on the Gimlet Media podcast that was a hit upon its premiere in late 2016.

While the original podcast starred Catherine Keener as case worker Heidi Bergman, who strikes up a friendship with veteran Walter Cruz (Oscar Isaac) while helping him and other veterans readjust to civilian life as part of the mysterious “Homecoming” initiative, the TV version has Julia Roberts filling that starring role. Amazon shared the first teaser for the series at SDCC.

The teaser doesn’t give too much away, but that’s how it should be. There are strains of the podcast’s familiar theme intertwined with appropriately enigmatic shots, and a quick intro to Heidi herself before we ...

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger Renewed for Season 2


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Cloak & Dagger season 2 renewed SDCC 2018

Fans of Marvel and Freeform’s new teenage superhero series Cloak & Dagger, which premiered earlier this year, were excited to learn at San Diego Comic-Con that the series will be returning for a second season. Tandy and Tyrone still have a long way to go in mastering their powers and discovering the truth behind how they got them, but they’ll get at least another 10 episodes to do so when the series returns in spring 2019!

The news was announced at the SDCC panel. The official Twitter account for the series also shared this teaser art, from Marvel artists Mike McKone and Aburtov:

According to TV Guide associate editor Megan Vick’s tweets, the panelists ...

Joss Whedon is Rebooting Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a Black Lead


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Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot black lead Joss Whedon

Big news out of San Diego Comic-Con for Joss Whedon: The creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is overseeing a reboot of his landmark television series, acting as executive producer while Monica Owusu-Breen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Midnight, Texas) will write the script and serve as showrunner. The most significant detail of the reboot news, which comes from The Hollywood Reporter, is that the new Slayer will be black.

While there isn’t too much substantial information about the reboot, with Whedon still working with Owusu-Breen to develop the script, THR did share some details:

The new version, sources say, will be contemporary and build on the mythology of the original. Like today’s world, the new Buffy will be richly diverse, with some aspects of the series, like the flagship, seen as metaphors for issues facing society today.

No word yet on who ...

Watch a Behind-the-Scenes Look at The Tick Season 2


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SDCC 2018 The Tick behind the scenes video season 2

On the Amazon Prime Video showrunners panel at San Diego Comic-Con, The Tick creator Ben Edlund shared a sweet video for fans of the series: Stars Peter Serafinowicz and Griffin Newman running around on the set, comparing costumes between seasons 1 and 2, and introducing a bevy of new superheroes coming out of the woodwork when season 2 premieres sometime in 2019.

That includes Tyrannosaurus Rathbone, the head of A.E.G.I.S., the agency that will work with The Tick and Arthur to fight off supervillains. Plus, Edlund revealed, Arthur will get involved with a bank robber. “Just expanding the world has been sort of our goal, just build out more heroes,” he said, per Comic Book Resources’ report. “I’m not at liberty to give too much away.”

The Tick will premiere sometime in 2019.

The Expanse Season 4 to Return in 2019


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The Expanse Screaming Firehawks SDCC 2018 season 4 2019

While the Amazon Prime Video showrunners panel at San Diego Comic-Con didn’t have a shiny trailer ready for The Expanse season 4, they did share a sweet video from the cast and creators thanking fans for resurrecting the show. While Amazon picked up the series after it got cancelled by Syfy, it was due in large part to fans’ fervor to continue on the journey with the crew of the Roci and see the rest of James S.A. Corey’s space opera series play out on television.

Amazon Prime tweeted this video, filled with warm gratitude from the crew, some concept art for season 4, and #ScreamingFirehawks shoutouts:

Plus, showrunner Naren Shankar shared some insights on season 4 production:

  • Moving to the streaming service means that ...