On Sunday, NBC had the latest televised live musical event and perhaps the only one this year, well Disney Channel does have Freaky Friday airing sometime this summer. As for Bye Bye Birdie, the long gestating next live musical on NBC has been pushed back to 2019 and Fox is slated to be doing Rent Live on January 27, 2019. While this is a long time from now we got one of the better television musicals in recent years could that be based only on the choice of actors or how it was staged or even the musical itself.
Jesus Christ Superstar first came out as a concept album in 1970 and had success on the Billboard Pop charts topping them for the year over Carole King’s Tapestry. It started with rock and musical theater singers so why not capture this again, as they’ve done numerous time through the years. Having it staged as a concert also helped since it didn’t have to worry about sets, PBS has broadcast several other shows in concert were they are sort of semi-staged like this and they are always enjoyable to watch. Perhaps they could shift to these concert versions for a while or start picking shows that people know and aren’t afraid to watch. Jesus Christ Superstar is being widely recognized as the best of all the “live musicals” that both NBC and FOX have done in this latest go round of televised musicals.
The reviews have all been praising Brandon Victor Dixon as Judas as the highlight of the event Dixon recently was Aaron Burr in Hamilton. Sara Bareilles and John Legend also got some good reviews however Legend more so with for his singing and his vocal range as opposed to his acting chops. This seems to be something that the musical already has written into it as Judas plays a more compelling role in the show. The biggest problem that seemed universal was the costuming with most of the cast in sort of leather/pleather made no sense. If you haven’t watched it yet I’m sure that NBC has it On Demand so check it out.
It is now official Disney has bought a huge chunk of FOX. It gets everything but Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business, FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network. It will be adding the FX Networks and National Geographic as well. This sounds like great news for all around especially for Disney who will be developing not one but two streaming services Disney will now have majority control of Hulu so that might change in some way. The biggest add for Disney is the older content from a whole lot of shows, Modern Family, The Simpsons and a whole bunch of other shows as well. Most fanboys are excited as FOX owned the other half of the Marvel (Fantastic Four and X-Men) will be able to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe although it seems likely that only Fantastic Four might join. They would have to work out a new movie for them and make it a decent one and if it can be not about their origin that would be wonderful. Then in a handful of years perhaps the X-Men would join them in the MCU somehow, yet this might happen sooner as I heard/read rumors of Hugh Jackman wanting to be Wolverine in an Avengers movie. So who knows the merger won’t happen until like 2019 at the earliest with the Department of Justice looking into any Antitrust thing in the merger.
If you haven’t watched any of these brilliant YouTube videos you are missing out. The premise of the show is that it explores the food seen or mentioned on television and movies. Since yesterday was one of the biggest eating days of the summer it feels right to talk about food today. The best thing about this show is that you can use the videos as inspiration or can go on the website for his recipes. The remarkable thing is that he has faced a wide variety of foods from ramen and pasta to burgers and several other sandwiches. The best thing is that it all seems like it would be rather easy to make most of the things even the complicated ones like the Timpano from Big Night looks like the average home chef could make it.
This seems like it is the growing trend now across film and television of the revivals, remakes and quels (pre- and post-) of all types. As MarketWatch reports that of the top 15 films from the 80s only three haven’t been revived in some way (Toostie, ET and Rain Man). Sure, we’ve seen some television shows make their way to the big screen with limited success and other the opposite way. However this trend seems to be continuing, look at Disney’s upcoming slate of films most of which is live action version of already animated films. Now live action version of animated things are the way things are going currently. We’ve heard of live action adaptations of AKIRA for ages now and nothing really has been done yet disturbing news has come out that Cowboy Bebop the much adored anime series is going to be getting a live action version. Much like Akira over the years there have been rumors of a Hollywood adaptation of some sorts be it a film or series but nothing has come for this as well. Sure adapting film or remaking films is a whole lot easier than coming up with new ideas since there is already a built in audience.
Now is the a good thing or a bad thing is something that can be put up for debate as sure we like it when people come back to stories and characters we know and put their own spin on it, look at Shakespeare and stage in general everything no two performances let alone productions are alike. Most recently Hollywood has made some horrible attempts to revive properties specifically in Baywatch and Ghostbusters. However there are others which have worked real well the MTS3K revival on Netflix feels like the old show and we’ve just missed a couple of seasons. While I would like new movies to come out it seems like everything Hollywood is working on is a part of a connected universe based on the success that Marvel has had.
Quartz has a brilliant article out about how the Film industry are blaming Rotten Tomatoes for killing bad films. Now I am positive that Rotten Tomatoes isn’t the only thing that is killing the movie industry, sure it may play a role but with the high cost of movie tickets and so many options available for people to watch/stream/binge perhaps Hollywood needs to start making better movies to begin with. Critics often pan movies that the average joes love. This is a valid point but even going to imdb to check out how others think the movie or metacritic and the reviews aren’t much better. Look at the top films of the year it is loaded with sequels, remakes, and franchises all things that people are comfortable with. As the article points out ” Risk-averse Hollywood has been relying too heavily on existing intellectual properties from TV, film, comic books, and literature—and viewers are growing weary of it.” Worst of all often times it seems that nothing really happens in the film and the characters are the same at the beginning and the end. Maybe Hollywood should start making fewer movie and spend more time on them to make them better. Look at what Netflix or HBO, AMC, FX, even USA have done as they are all producing shows that people really like and are talking about from House of Cards, Game of Thrones and Better Call Saul to Fargo and Mr. Robot most of these show seem worlds better than what Hollywood has been offering over he past decade or so. I make about two or three trips to the movie theaters a year and go to see what I want no matter what critics say.
So with the success of NBC musical Live! they have two in the works currently with Bye Bye Birdie coming out this December/Holiday season and they have announced that they are going to have Jesus Christ Superstar next Easter. Fox has also been pretty successful with their Grease: Live will be doing two as well with A Christmas Story, based on the movie around Christmas time and they are also going to be doing RENT this seems like something FOX would be able to do as the network skews younger. Not to be left out ABC is putting it’s hat in the ring with one of their own. ABC announced that it will air The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live!, a two-hour special is set to premiere Oct. 3, and is based on the 1989 animated Disney film, blended with live musical performances. How this is going to be in anyone’s guess but it sounds like perhaps like a concert version of the musical. Hopefully there is some time between all these Live musical events. CBS is now the only major network without a live musical scheduled, perhaps next year.
All these TV musicals isn’t the strangest news that I read recently about musical but that there is going to be a King Kong musical which is coming to Broadway. It sounds like a difficult musical as you need a gigantic ape to show up at some time, The show which opened in Australia way back in 2013 had groups of on-stage and off-stage puppeteers work to manipulate the large-scale Ape puppet. It sounds interesting as Jason Robert Brown is working on it but the selling point is the puppet/animatronic/marionette Kong.
There two news items are on opposite sides of the spectrum, one was widely speculated and the other is a bit unexpected.
Fatima: As we’ve all sort of guessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, two of the children of Fatima who died a long time ago will be Canonized by Pope Francis when he visits Fatima on May 13. I still sort of feel like we should all be expecting Lucia will be Beatified before the year is over as well, perhaps on October 13?
X-Files: On the other side of things Fox has decided to bring back Mulder and Scully for another ten episodes. The show which last aired the six episode “Event series” in early 2016 will air during the 2017-18 television season. Fans are clamoring for them to bring back the old team of writers with the likes of Vince Gilligan, want William to show up at some point, some redemption for characters and for Chris Carter not to write an episode. We will have to wait and see what all they can bring together but hopefully the 10 episode season will get the right balance of episode types.
There are a couple stories around about the NFL. The biggest one is that the Raiders are moving to Vegas in 2019 or whenever their new stadium is built. If you call this a story congratulations, “asshat owner moves team to get new stadium” is not a great story but it seems like the way the NFL works now as the Rams and Chargers also wanted new stadiums before the left for LA. Keep an eye open Jacksonville fans as you may be the next to move. If only they let the Raiders move back to LA and not the Chargers it would have made for a lot less headaches.
Another story is that Tony Romo, the former Dallas QB has retired and will be replacing Phil Simms in the CBS booth. Now Former Dallas QB will be the top guys on both FOX and CBS, unfortunately NBC and ESPN do not have former Dallas QB as color commentators. If we could only get rid of Joe Buck.
The third story is that Amazon will be streaming Thursday Night Football this upcoming season. Amazon payed $50 million for the right to stream these games, which will also be broadcast on the NFL Network, CBS and NBC. Amazon will have this as an “exclusive” to Prime subscribers. Hopefully at some point Thursday night game turn out to be good as the previous couple of years they have been lacking especially with those monochromatic Color Rush uniforms, if it were like a throwback uniform instead I believe that more people would enjoy the games.
CBS has released a video announcing the beginning of filming of Star Trek: Discovery. It’s a cool thing and hopefully CBS will realize that putting it only on their Watch CBS app might not be a smart idea. Air it on the network sometimes or place it on the CW, I for one is am not going to pay 6 dollars to watch a show. Now this show is going to have to do something to make people want to watch it as there hasn’t been a Star Trek television show since 2005 and that was Enterprise. Sure the rebooted film series has been a huge success but this is show is set a decade before the Original Series and isn’t connected with the film universe in any way as far as I know.
The other cool news is that the Han Solo movie has also begun production. This is that film about Han Solo that is being directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the minds behind Clone High, The Lego Movie and other such films. This movie will be about Han Solo and Lando hanging out, perhaps some Han being a smuggler (Kessel Run and Jabba) and will perhaps feature Han winning the Falcon off of Lando in a game of Sabacc. I like how this is the one thing that I really hope makes it into the Han Solo Movie. Perhaps this will lead to some set of cards coming out so I can own a deck.
What to expect in this upcoming year, we’ve got a Trump Presidency, the UK beginning the process to leave the EU formally, a World Expo in the Summer. The Kennedy assassination document will be released to the public and placed in the US Archives.
In the World of sport 2017 will mark the 100th year of the NHL. We will get the Fourth World Baseball Classic, this is the biggest baseball tournament since the Olympics dropped Baseball and Softball, however with the reintroduction of the event in the 2020 games hopefully it will become like a World Cup for Baseball.
There are some really cool space things happening this upcoming year as it will be the first time since the Revolutionary War that a solar eclipse will have the track of totality only in the United States. Cassini will end its mission and crash into Saturn but we will be getting some wonderful information about the rings and other Saturn stuff.
Among the movies and television shows that are coming out we’ve got a mixed bag. Sure on TV we will get a new Star Trek show, which many have been waiting for. Netflix has been saying that they will double their original programing this year. We will have three installments from the Marvel Universe in Iron First, The Defenders and The Punisher; second seasons of Voltron, Love and Master of None. Bill Nye, MST3K and Twin Peaks are both coming back as well. Movie-wise there is the latest installment of Star Wars, Dunkirk which looks amazing, a third Wolverine movie, the Live action Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, and a Blade Runner sequel. These are just the highlights of what’s to come as a bunch of Netflix programs haven’t been given release dates and we can only hope that the film will be released when they say they will