Without a Star War or major Marvel movie in sight to dominate the field, television took center stage this year. From the Neil Gaiman double whammy of American Gods and Good Omens to Netflix’s cavalcade of new series, Riverdale, Star Trek: Discovery, and The Walking Dead, television spanned a wide gamut of platforms and genres. And really, it was streaming that dominated with even networks like CBS bringing their online exclusive, Star Trek.
SuperMansion – Crackle
Bryan Cranston, Heisenberg himself, came to NYCC to talk his superheroes by way of Robot Chicken show, SuperMansion. Now in its third season, the second half of which dropped on day 1 of NYCC, the show continues to evolve taking on new aspects of the superhero genre in its parody. Season 3’s scale has gone in a decidedly more epic direction taking on new dimensions in the God’s Realm and the idea of an apocalyptic future. The SuperMansion cast and creators (Zeb Wells and Matthew Senreich) are always a great time at NYCC and the show is definitely getting stronger with each season. Season 3 in its entirety is streaming now on Sony Crackle.
Batman: The Animated Series (25th Anniversary Blu-ray Release)
For many, Batman: The Animated Series is one of if not the definitive incarnation of Batman. With that in mind, and in celebration of the show’s 25th anniversary, Warner Bros is releasing a beautiful blu-ray box set with re-mastered episodes and a ton of incredible docs and other special features. At the panel fans were treated to stunning side by side images of the original vs the re-mastered animation as well as a sneak peak at some of the documentary footage provided in the special features. If you’re a fan of the series, the special features alone are worth the price of admission. The set is available for pre-order and is set to be released at the end of November just in time for the holidays.
Lore – Amazon Prime
Podcast cum series Lore returns to Amazon Prime October 19 for its second season. The series first season, lifting stories from the popular podcast, mixed animation, narration, and live action retellings of real life stories to create a fairly faith adaptation from audio to screen. For season 2, however, under new show runner Sean Crouch, the show is embracing its visual format, cutting the narration, and relying on live action horror to propel these stories into life. At the show’s panel fans were treated to a peak at an episode called Hinterkaifek based on the still unsolved murder of an entire family on a remote farm in Germany in 1922. From what we saw, Lore’s second season is going to be the perfect Halloween season series.
Netflix and Chills
At a panel Friday night Netflix introduced fans at NYCC to four new series with different degrees of scares and mystery.
The Umbrella Academy
Based off the graphic novel of the same name by My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way, The Umbrella Academy looks to follow in the irreverent footsteps of films like Deadpool. The cast which includes Ellen Page and Mary J. Blige plays a team of adopted super siblings – The Hargreeves – who despite their dysfunction must save the world in 8 days. The trailer that dropped at NYCC showed promise and the cast displayed a real chemistry and camaraderie at their panel, but it will be interesting to see if the show can deliver on tone when it arrives February 15.
The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House is a story that has been told many times on screen but never quite like this. Not only has Mike Flanagan of Oculus, Hush, and Gerald’s Game notoriety crafted the horror story into a series, he’s also telling the story through the eyes of the family as the haunting was experienced and in the present as it continue to affect the children’s adult lives. We were shown two clips of the show that were incredibly creepy, affecting, and downright scary. You could hear the audience squirming in addition to the shouts and screams. Flanagan has a great reputation for delivering genuine horror and drama so this new series seems like a good fit in his continuing successful relationship with Netflix. The Haunting of Hill House comes to streaming this Friday, October 12.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Incredible but true, The Dark Crystal is back! Director Louis Letterier and executive producer and daughter of Jim Henson, Lisa Henson came to NYCC just one week after wrapping filming on the prequel series. Age of Resistance explores what Gelfling culture on Thra was before the dark crystal cracked, allowing the arrival of the Skeksis and the conflict and destruction the followed. Henson explained that the series was really inspired by a scene in the original film in which Jen and Kira stop at the wall of destiny and see the ruins of Gelfling civilization. The series, shot in vistavision, promises to borrow from the sweeping, epic nature of properties like The Last Airbender, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones. Though there wasn’t much in the way of footage to show of the year long shoot that had just wrapped, Letterier and Henson brought a featurette that showed the CGI free sets and puppets in their grand scale and glory. The series is set to premier sometime in 2019 and promises to introduce a whole new generation to Jim Henson magic.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
The audience at the Main Stage in Javitis was treated to the first episode of the series debuting on October 26. Sabrina, coming from the same Executive Producers of Riverdale shares a lot of DNA with the Archie Comics based show. A show savvy teens navigating high school with sharp, witty dialogue The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina also delivers in its family/home dynamic with Aunts Zelda and Hilda, and its titular chills. The show really manages its tone deftly and the cast, like that of Riverdale, sparks with chemistry. Though he’s concentrating on debuting his new show at the moment, creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa did tease that there could be a Riverdale/Greendale crossover someday.
Good Omens – Amazon Prime
Neil Gaiman, also on hand for the second season of his epic American Gods pulled double duty debuting his limited one off series for Amazon. Good Omens based off the book co-written with Terry Pratchett, became a last request Gaiman needed to see through for his writing partner who passed away after years of trying to see Omens adapted for the big screen. They had finally decided to try television and Pratchett persuaded Neil that he should be the one to write it. From the trailer and footage fans at MSG were treated to it seems that Gaiman has done Pratchett and their work proud. David Tennant and Michael Sheen shine as demon Crowley and angel Aziraphale who must team up to prevent the end of the world. Though the cast is rounded out by other charismatic uber talent like John Hamm and Miranda Richardson, this is really a vehicle for Tennant and Sheen as an absolute dream team. Despite only six episodes Gaiman shared that the production was barely in the same place for more than 2 days over their 120 day shoot – promising an epic scale to the limited series. Good Omens comes to Amazon Prime in 2019.
Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse
One of the few big films at NYCC was Sony/Marvel’s animated Spider-Man installment. Fans were treated to the films first 35 minutes which went over like gangbusters despite some unfinished animation. During the panel, producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller discussed not wanting to take on the project unless they could do it differently than the incarnations that came before – enter Miles Morales. In the footage fans saw, it’s very clear that Lord and Miller appear to have succeeded in their goal. Into the Spider-Verse is vibrant and full of all the charm, diversity, and life Brooklyn and NYC as a whole, has to offer. Not only is Morales a new Spider-Man, Peter Parker himself is different. I along with thousands of other fans took an ode not to spoil what we saw so I won’t say much else except that Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse comes out at Christmas and appears to be a worthy entry in the Spider-Man catalog well worth seeing.
Star Trek: Discovery – CBS All Access
The cast and executive producers of Star Trek: Discovery showed fans a cracking season 2 trailer at their panel Saturday night teasing the return of Michelle Yeoh as Emperor/Captain Georgiou and the arrival of Ethan Peck’s Spock and Anson Mount’s Captain Pike. The show’s hallmark has been the depth with which is draws its characters and the cast spoke at length about the growth and changes they will face in season 2. We will learn more about Saru’s (Doug Jones) origins during a visit to his Kelpien home planet of Camenar and a visit from his sister. Emperor Georgiou as we last saw Michelle Yeoh will return in a dual capacity this season working in a covert black ops like organization within Star Fleet as well as heading back to the captain’s char when needed. Perhaps most interesting of all will be the arrival of Spock and the relationship between him and adopted sister Commander Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). Their meeting will also introduce the mystery of the red angel – a vision both share. Star Trek: Discovery returns to the CBS All Access streaming service January 17 with 13 episodes.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The beloved How to Train Your Dragon series is set (barring any major developments) to come to a no doubt emotional conclusion with The Hidden World on February 22, 2019. Hiccup, Burke, and everything they hold dear – especially their dragons – come under threat from dragon hunter Grimmel (F. Murray Abraham) who hunted the night furies, with the exception of Toothless, to extinction. So Hiccup and Astrid set off to find the fabled Hidden World – a beautiful, bioluminescent world from the clip fans saw – that is the rumored home and refuge of dragons. Meanwhile, Toothless is being drawn away from Hiccup and the human world by a female variation of the night fury – an incredibly animated character that has the ability to create a mirror-like exterior by heating its skin, giving it the ability to camouflage with its surroundings. It’s a stunning bit of animation and just adds to the depth and scope of the series. From the three extended clips and trailer shown at MSG Sunday fans are in for a gorgeous adventure and deeply emotional conclusion this February.
Doctor Who – BBC
It’s about time. That was the theme of the 13th Doctor’s worldwide debut with “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”. Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor is bringing the series crashing into 2018 embracing diversity on all fronts from a series 11 populated by a wealth of female and ethnically diverse actors, to a companion living his life with dyspraxia, and Whittaker’s presence in general. Though Whittaker’s reveal as the Doctor was met with an overwhelmingly positive response – 83% in fact from the data collected by the BBC, there has been a very loud negative reaction from fans who refused to see how an alien with two hearts could possibly be anything but male. Jodie addressed the “backlash” during audience Q&A saying “angry voices can seem the loudest but they’re not representative”. Indeed, the fan reaction in the room from both male and female fans who stepped to the mic was extremely positive and emotional. Indeed, Whittaker’s debut was phenomenal one. Her Doctor builds her own sonic screwdriver and despite her outwardly female appearance is portrayed as fairly genderless, bringing that same almost manic energy we’ve seen the Doctors who’ve come before. From her practical look (pants and boots) to her three companions who span different genders, ages, and ethnicities, the 13th Doctor is very plainly sending the message that anyone can be a hero. And despite the legacy of men to come before her, in a way that’s always been the enduring message of Doctor Who, the story of an alien being that excitedly travels the universe helping wherever a Time Lord can. Whittaker was asked what she hoped would come of her time as the Doctor and she very pointedly said, “I hope it becomes forgotten because it’s become the norm. I don’t want this to be a moment”. It was a powerful statement from a tremendous new Doctor.