Book Adaptations: The Best of Michael Sheen and David Tennant for ‘Good Omens’ Fans

Screenshot of Michael Sheen and David Tennant in ‘Staged’. Copyright goes to BBC One.

Hey! Hallie here!

I’m still hung up on the ‘Good Omens’ news we received last week. I’m so in love with the series that, despite the fact that it will likely be a little over a year before we actually get to see it, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. So, of course, I decided to deal with this issue by binging as much Michael Sheen and David Tennant content as possible. From behind the scenes footage to their lockdown series ‘Staged’, I can’t help but fall in love with their friendship. Here are some of my favorite bits of David Tennant and Michael Sheen’s friendship to help those still swimming in all of this excitement get a little bit of satisfaction.

‘Good Omens’:

Of course we have to start out with the series that kicked off this friendship. The first season of ‘Good Omens’ marked the first time Michael Sheen and David Tennant were able to work with one another. They had been interested in working with each other after viewing each other’s work. But because they were often considered for the same roles, they didn’t end up working together in much of anything. ‘Good Omens’ allowed them the opportunity to fully interact and wound up cementing a friendship between them. Their chemistry is very clear on screen thanks to their love of working with each other. Michael Sheen has said in multiple interviews that he played Aziraphale as being very much in love with Crowley, which was easy to do opposite the very lovable David Tennant. They also spent every interview during the time they were promoting the show complimenting each other. Michael Sheen would comment on how good looking David Tennant was only for Tennant to fire back with how incredibly kind he felt Sheen was. Michael Sheen famously said that the hardest part of playing Aziraphale was getting so caught up in Tennant’s performance that he nearly forgot to continue the scene. David Tennant, for his part, called Michael so inspiring that it put pressure on him to ensure he didn’t let him down. Even better is how much they make each other laugh in these interviews. I feel the best example of this is the IGN interview where the pair were tasked to read and respond to comments. Michael’s screams of “Gollum!” and “What has happened to your hair????” and David guessing Sheen had lived for some time as Nicholas Cage rather than next to him, left them practically falling out of their chairs laughing. There’s truly nothing more pure than ‘Good Omens’ era Sheen and Tennant.

‘The Graham Norton Show’:

While there are tons of interviews to look at that’ll give you some David Tennant and Michael Sheen joy, ‘The Graham Norton Show’ never fails to bring out the best of them with some more casual conversation. I feel the most popular moment from their first appearance together on the show is David Tennant’s perfect pronunciation of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. I really hope I spelled that correctly. But besides that it was fun to see David Tennant attempt to explain his bewilderment with the inappropriate uses of emojis. His certainty that no one else was aware of this was hilariously disrupted by Michael Sheen’s exasperation that he hadn’t been aware of any of it. Their second appearance on the show happened almost two years later as a result of the pandemic and covered their work on the show ‘Staged’. They both spoke about how they had seen each other almost daily through the pandemic because of video chatting, but both hadn’t spent much time at all with each other in person since they had been on the show the first time. Michael specifically poked fun at the amount of children David had to amuse in order to get any filming done. Another cute moment occurred when Tennant recounted a moment in a stage production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ when he, as Romeo, had accidentally been hit by a sword during the fight just before his death scene. He hadn’t thought much of it, but during his last scene he noticed he was bleeding quite a bit and nearly passed out before he could finish it. Michael asked if there was a moment where he thought he was going to die at the same moment Romeo did, only for David to tease that he always did because he was always in character. Michael was unimpressed.

‘Staged’:

‘Staged’ is a fun series David Tennant and Michael Sheen tackled during quarantine. The first season follows a fictional version of the both of them as they attempt to rehearse a play over Zoom. The second season follows the success of the first season and the potential US adaption which seems to be looking to recast the roles of Michael and David. This series takes most of its comedy from the idea that Tennant and Sheen are friends but have a large amount of ego on top of that. This usually ends in what is basically various insult competitions. Michael Sheen and David Tennant confessed that it was much easier to play these parts now that they’re close because they found it easier to make fun of one another that way. The series also involved their families. With these two families coming together to work on such an intimate project, Georgia Tennant and Anna Lundberg also became close friends. They spoke about how fun it was to film with the four of them on screen. A few scenes even required them to drink some alcohol which meant rewatching these scenes later on revealed a few of them to be a bit tipsy. Overall a fun workday. The way that Michael Sheen and David Tennant decided to continue working together even over quarantine is heartwarming and their families were pulled along for the ride in the most delightful way.

I love David Tennant and Michael Sheen’s friendship. Even before I knew they had come out of ‘Good Omens’ as friends, I knew I wanted to see more of them together. It only made me happier to look at their interviews and see how genuinely they liked each other. And if anything describes their relationship, it is definitely their statements on ‘Good Omens’ season two. David Tennant expressed joy that he would be working with Michael again, though he noted that the fact that the world is being threatened again is significantly worse news. Michael Sheen said that if he and David Tennant didn’t “fall out too badly this time” they might be able to save the world. Truly the best kind of friendship.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

K-Pop: Common Misconceptions About Monsta X

Promotional image of (from left) Sohn Hyunwoo (Shownu), Im Changkyun (I.M), Lee Minhyuk (Minhyuk), Lee Jooheon (Joohoney), Yoo Kihyun (Kihyun), and Chae Hyungwon (Hyungwon). Copyright goes to Starship Entertainment, Monsta X, and Monsta X’s social media.

Hi! It’s Annie!

As my first post about Monsta X made obvious, I have been being pulled further into being a Monbebe and I am not sad about this at all. Monsta X has risen so high on my K-Pop lists that they are now one of my main stan groups. I have to thank the compilations of these boys just being genuine and kind for that. When most people familiar with Monsta X on a surface level hear their name, genuine and kind is probably not the first words that pop into their head. These boys have the reputation of being the bad boys of K-Pop. They are known mostly for being intimidating and sexy, and their stages and wardrobe keep to this image. But upon further inspection, I’ve found these boys to be some of the sweetest boys I’ve seen out there in the industry. If any group needs a common misconceptions post, it’s probably them.

Shownu is Scary:

The two members most well known for taking off their shirts are Wonho and Shownu. This image also garners a certain reputation. Especially because both men are so muscular. In an episode of ‘Monsta X Ray’ when the boys were helping at a daycare, one of the kids took one look at Shownu and burst into tears. But Shownu is the group teddy bear. He’s probably the most awkward in social situations and he’s known for his gentle nature. Remember the kid I was talking about before who burst into tears at the sight of Shownu? By the end of the daycare day he gave Shownu a kiss after Shownu spent the entire day trying to prove himself. Have you heard of anything so adorable? Another misconception often attributed to Shownu is that he isn’t a good leader, but this is generally only based on the fact that I.M leads English interviews. If you think the best English speaker should always be leader, you should really revisit that opinion. It’s entitled at best.

Minhyuk is the Maknae:

It would surprise many people to know that, the way the group is now, Minhyuk is actually the second oldest of the group. He is only younger than Shownu. Minhyuk generally has the brightest fashion sense of everyone else in the group and definitely has the most lighthearted personality. Minhyuk is the type to immediately get along with children or brighten up the moods of everyone else in the group. It’s difficult to find non-photoshoot pictures of Minhyuk where he’s not smiling. While Minhyuk seems like the youngest at first glance, he is older than most of the other members in the group and if you watch him after a while it becomes more apparent. Minhyuk may be a bit of a prankster, but that doesn’t make him irresponsible. Even if he is the messiest one.

Kihyun is Extroverted:

Kihyun is the mom of the group in the same way that Shownu is the dad. Kihyun is the one that appears to be most friendly when first watching them and because of his openness, many people confuse him for being an extrovert. Kihyun is also known for being very confident in his looks and his abilities which also makes people assume he’s more people-oriented. But Kihyun is a self described home-body and much prefers being at home and spending time cooking and cleaning to many other outside activities. Yes, he is very caring and he will single handedly football tackle the patriarchy. (Kihyun has condemned privileged male behavior on multiple occasions.) But being friendly doesn’t necessarily also mean extroverted.

Hyungwon Doesn’t Care:

Hyungwon is known for his model looks and his tallness, which added together makes for a pretty intimidating looking person at first glance. Hyungwon is also known for his meme faces and sass, he’s one of the members who has the least qualms with cussing, and he very much values his alone time and sleep. I’ve seen people look at Hyungwon and assume that he’s the least connected and he doesn’t care as much about the members. None of this is correct in any way. If you watch Hyungwon around the members, he’s one of the most smiley and giggly of them all. He has extremely close relationships with every single one of the members and also gives excellent advice. He may be difficult to wake up, but he’s also one of the designated drivers of the group and an excellent songwriter. He’s actually a DJ too! Hyungwon is just as hardworking and caring as the others.

Joohoney Just Makes You Anxious:

Yes, that was a really bad reference to ‘Love Killa’. And, you know what, by all means he does make me anxious. One of my initial introductions to the group was the ‘Love Killa’ MV and I was immediately intimidated by him. He had an intense presence in that MV. So imagine my surprise when I looked everything up even more and he was one of the sweetest members of the group. Like honey, hence his name. Joohoney is just as adorable as he is intimidating. If you didn’t know better, you might also think he’s the maknae. He’s also the member most likely to use pet names for the other members in the group. Joohoney is definitely not one to be afraid of. He’s as sweet as his name suggests and just as funny and smiley. Most of your anxiety will come from trying not to fall in love with him.

I.M is Serious All the Time:

I.M is also one of the members that comes off as super intimidating. And to be honest, I.M has been forced to be serious in several ways. ‘Monsta X’ as a group was formed on a show called ‘No Mercy’, which was exactly as the title suggests. The members were pitted against each other, and many of them didn’t like each other at first. But everyone was against I.M more than anyone else because he joined halfway through the show after several eliminations already happened. He was forced to train and grow up fast and he also leads most English interviews on top of all that. While he is blunt and also has writing credits on most of their songs, he’s also just as soft as the other members. He’s the maknae and though he may not look like it, he is treated by the others as such. He definitely has a cute and silly side that comes out with the other members.

PSA:

I am always on the fence as to whether or not to add Wonho to these things. In my eyes and in the eyes of many of the fans, he will always be a part of Monsta X. And his removal from the group still feels very unfair. But I also want to respect the fact that Wonho is a solo artist now and I want to treat Monsta X as a group the way they are now as well. Many people treat Monsta X as though it is forever broken without Wonho and I’m not sure any of the boys in the group or Wonho would want anyone to view the group as that. So, unless I’m talking about something that Wonho is specifically in or I feel like I should be talking about him in a specific situation, I am not going to include him in some of my general group posts. Yes, he should still be in the group by all means. But I respect his choice to leave and he’s actually doing pretty well for himself right now. I hope his career keeps getting better! Let me know if this decision bothers anyone or if I should be handling this in a different way.

The boys are so adorable and have such a close relationship with each other. They also are known for their kindness once you start looking within the K-Pop community. Monsta X has stood for rookie groups when no one else was supporting them, refused to let their fans or staff brave the rain, vocally supported the LGBTQIA community, spoke against the way men treat women, painted their nails or worn bracelets for important causes, and over-all shown that they care for the community. Don’t be scared off by the bad boy imagery. These boys are some of the softest and most genuine in the industry.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

K-Pop: Idols Are Allowed to Have Boundaries

Promotional image of Kim Taehyung, Kim Seokjin, Jeon Jungkook, Park Jimin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, and Kim Namjoon for the 2021 FESTA. Copyright goes to BTS and Hybe Entertainment.

Hey! Hallie here!

There are several things to celebrate in the K-Pop world right now. Speaking for ARMY, we recently got some incredibly attractive concept photos for “Butter”, several weeks in a row on the Billboard Top 100, and we still have the promise of more content coming out this month. But now more than ever it’s important to recognize that BTS, and all K-pop idols, are humans with boundaries. It feels like every time I go on social media I see more and more K-pop fans feeling as though they’re entitled to an uncomfortable closeness with idols who they don’t even know. And with infuriatingly frequent incidents like that of the group of fans showing up to Justin Bieber’s house last week, I can’t help but feel that large fan groups need to keep their relationships with the people they follow in check. So let’s go over some of the incidents I’ve seen being talked about in the community and why some fan reactions have been problematic. As usual, my focus will be on BTS because that is my main fandom.

J-Hope’s Bodyguard:

Past footage of the members of BTS is bound to come back up on TikTok. Most recently, footage of J-Hope walking with his bodyguard in an airport caused a lot of debate. In the video, a woman can be seen quickly approaching J-Hope. In a very swift move, his bodyguard shoves her out of the way and, in the process, causes her to fall into a trashcan. A lot of people criticized the bodyguard for the perceived violence of this action. Some even suggested that J-Hope should be held accountable. This reaction to the footage is an issue. The bodyguard’s purpose is to keep everyone away from J-Hope. Not only is his public status reason for him to be attacked, but it is incredibly common for fans to approach and harass idols while they’re busy or seeking privacy. The bodyguard was simply doing his job. I doubt he intended to push the woman into a trash can, but it wasn’t appropriate to approach J-Hope at that time. There’s been a serious debate on whether or not the woman was even intending to interact with J-Hope, and I do admit that the video leaves that unclear. The woman comes out of nowhere and it isn’t clear which direction she’s heading. But even if her intention wasn’t to bother J-Hope, it’s somewhat frightening to me how many people are angry at the bodyguard for pushing someone who, accident or not, was approaching J-Hope at a rapid pace. And while it might have been nice if he had checked whether or not she was ok afterwards, he is probably taught to keep moving for the safety of the idol he’s protecting. All in all, it makes sense to feel bad for the woman who ended up on the floor. But the reality of the situation is that so many fans approach J-Hope with no recognition of his privacy or boundaries, that it’s necessary for the bodyguard to react this way. Instead of criticizing the bodyguard, maybe we should criticize the type of fan he was obviously expecting when he pushed that woman.

Important Business:

Here’s another J-Hope example! (Can you tell I’m a J-Hope bias?) In any case, most ARMYs are aware of “Important Business”. This is the phrase J-Hope says to anyone who approaches himself or the other members when the group is out, enjoying themselves. Often he has to use it most when the group is traveling out of country. Most fans find his use of this phrase funny. And in a way, it is! He has an adorable accent and often times he himself laughs after he uses it. He knows that he isn’t actually in the middle of important business and his trick using some of the English he knows is amusing. But I would argue that his use of the phrase isn’t “savage” even though a lot of fans describe it this way. It’s actually extremely polite. The people who approach BTS while they’re attempting to enjoy themselves are absolutely in the wrong. Unless an idol indicates to you that it’s alright to approach them, there is no excuse for interrupting an idol out of nowhere when they are clearly on their time off. They hardly ever get time to themselves. They spend most of their time creating new content for their fans or doing performances for their fans. And while BTS is very vocal about their love for the fans, it doesn’t mean the fans are entitled to ALL of their time. They should be allowed to live their lives in the privacy every human has a right to. Interrupting their privacy without consent denies them this opportunity. And while it would make complete sense for Hobi to be more firm when dealing with fans who don’t respect this, he makes up a polite excuse. So yes, I will laugh at Hobi every time he says “Important Business”. But I don’t think it in any way makes him seem impolite.

The Shipping:

Shipping has become a huge topic of debate recently. And I hate to say it, especially because shipping is really popular in fandoms like this. But shipping too often gets to the point where it breaches idol boundaries. There are a few levels of problematic with this one, though. First there is the obviously problematic fans. These are the fans who try to force a member to talk about their “potential relationship” with another member on a V-Live or in a fan interaction. These fans are also the type of fans to harass a company for not putting the two members they ship together in interviews or music videos. These are the easiest to critique. This behavior is obviously possessive and very clearly makes idols uncomfortable. It also is most often the type of behavior that can ruin friendships within K-pop groups. However, this isn’t the only problematic behavior. Searching for hand touches or “intimate contact” that might “prove” your ship is real can also be extremely toxic behavior. Even if you aren’t directly confronting the members with your theories. This is because the behavior shows a disconnect from reality. Even though you don’t know the members and have no insight into their real lives or relationships, you are making assumptions about them and their actions to prove that the fantasy you made up is accurate. Once again, you don’t personally know any of the members. You don’t have a right to make assumptions about them. And the more you make up fantasies about them that you actually believe, the further you get from acknowledging that idols are human beings whose lives aren’t purely for your entertainment.

These are just some of the topics I’ve seen floating around recently. There are too many examples of fans ignoring idols’ boundaries for me to be able to fit them all in one post. To be clear, this post wasn’t made to put anyone down. I simply want it to give some insights into recent issues that you maybe haven’t considered. It’s always good to check in with your behavior when you’re in a fandom that surrounds real individuals. When you’re obsessing over something like Marvel with fictional characters, it does no harm to anyone to theorize about their personal lives or ship characters together. But K-pop groups aren’t characters. They’re real people. And we should be cautious of that in every situation.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

International Dramas: Imitation Episode 9

Promotional image of Jeong Yunho in ‘Imitation’. Copyright goes to KBS and ATEEZ.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I’m still not completely sure what keeps making me want to watch this show, other than I’m in it now and it’s difficult to stop. After all, there are only a few episodes left now before it’s over. And I’m not against watching this show; I am kind of enjoying it. I always do find something to enjoy when it comes to watching this show. But, like always, this episode seemed to have more issues with writing than things to enjoy. This isn’t even a case of it’s better if you turn your brain off. There’s nothing really for you to turn you brain off for. I still can’t see much of a plot here, and every episode there’s a new direction with a character that confuses me. So, I’m going to got through my regular review, obviously complete with MAJOR SPOILERS. And hopefully some of the storylines that I’m liking will at least be ok by the time the show ends.

The Good:
Riah- Finally! She’s back! I was worried she was just going to be a bad character for a while, and I can’t tell you how happy I am that she’s different in this episode. She’s much less angry and protective in this episode and much more understanding than she has been. The downside of her being that much better here is that it made some of her actions previously seem out of character. When it comes to her grudge against Shax, that’s entirely still in tact. She mentions in this episode that she still has a grudge and her relationship with LeeHyun is mainly softening because of their love of music and the song they are both working on. But what doesn’t make sense here is her specific vendetta against Ryok and Maha dating. Because she’s immediately sad and consoling when Maha admits that they broke up. Once again Riah was a supportive and badass friend this episode rather than being too over the top with anger, and it was nice to see her this way again.

Yujin- Another character that I am very happy to write about in the good list again. After everything that happened last episode and this show’s track record with character development, I was half afraid that Yujin wasn’t going to learn his lesson after Hyunji yelled at him. Fortunately, this was not the case. Hyunji yelling at him seemed to remind him of telling Maha that he was free from her after he confessed his feelings toward her a couple episodes back. He took the opportunity to talk to Hyunji and honestly apologize for how he acted and then ask her on a date. Or was it a date? I’m honestly not sure. It was the most awkward product placement I’ve ever seen in my life, that’s for sure. But I do think that it’s important to note that Yujin was back to his kind self that we saw at the very beginning of this drama. I can only hope that this is a trend that continues. Especially because the end of this episode made a huge deal about Ryok being on the same show as Yujin and everyone in Tea Party but Hyunji. So I’m not expecting any of this to last very long.

The Acting- I will never not mention this. Because I really want people to know that everyone acting in this show is talented. Even the people who haven’t acted before have some real talent. The faults in this show go in their entirety to the plot and writers.

Sub-Plot Romance Two- The sub-plot romance between Riah and LeeHyun is probably moving too slowly. But at least it’s moving. And it’s cute. The less we see of Riah’s grudge and the more time they are allowed to spend together, the more this becomes one of the major things I look forward to every episode. The way it took them forever to open the door because they were getting so into the music was cute, and admittedly a little cheesy, but still cute. The only roadblock here is how much screen time they’ve been getting. But they have at least been making some use of that screen time to make this couple look plausible.

The Bad:

Hyunji- Remember when I commended her character in my last review and said that I was afraid they would do nothing with her character development? That’s exactly what happened. Which is exactly what happens with this show in general, but I’ll get back to that later. Hyunji has one semi-strong moment at the beginning of this episode where she yells at Maha for breaking up with Ryok after everything the two had put everyone else through. It was a valid point and I’m glad someone said it. But it is immediately revealed that she only does this because she’s still hurt over what happened with Yujin. She did not say this because it was a concern of hers. This outburst was entirely male driven. And then once Yujin apologizes to her, she’s back to the way she was before. No agency and not much development to go off of. She doesn’t even say anything or tell Yujin how much he hurt her when she’s being apologized to. She just stands there, accepts it, and then becomes super happy because she believes she has a chance with him again. It was almost like last episode never happened.

The Plot and Development- I think I’m finally able to at least pinpoint some of what’s going wrong with this plot. And it has to do with the dropped development I was talking about earlier. The show has a tendency to start good development which gives the audience hope, and then drop it immediately for the sake of another plot point. And then they drop the development for that plot point and start another one. And this happens so much over and over again that all the characters are half-baked and all the plot points only feel half formed. No clear plot, no nothing. Just a lot of things that could have been that the writers didn’t move forward on because I’m not sure they knew how to.

Sub-Plot Romance One- From what you’ve already read about what I had to say about these characters individually, you can probably tell that they don’t work at all. Yujin is sweet, but he needs someone who will call him out on his bullshit. And Hyunji seems to dodge any possible character development that she’s given to the point that I can’t tell what her personality even is beyond her crush on Yujin. At this point in time, these characters are definitely wrong for each other. The scene where Yujin apologized to her was cute, but it only served the character of Yujin. Hyunji barely spoke or even reacted, so it wasn’t a scene that served their relationship as a whole. And the chemistry between them just isn’t there either. I know that this show is sponsored by a specific chicken place, because we see the characters order it at least twice an episode. So when Yujin and Hyunji went to this place on their date, I was already expecting to cringe. But it was made even worse by the fact that the scene was less than a minute long and they didn’t even speak to each other for most of it. It was, by far, the most awkward date I’ve ever seen in a K-Drama. I do not buy these two as a couple even for a second.

The Romance- Maha and Ryok both mainly operate under the banner of the main romance, which is sometimes frustrating and sometimes works for this plot because it is mainly a romance show. With this in mind, their break up was awkward and, as soon as they broke up, they spent most of the episode doing absolutely nothing. Especially Maha. Ryok was involved in a weird plot point that I’ll get to in a second. But most of the episode they both sulked and Maha told everyone that she was the one who broke up with Ryok so that people wouldn’t get mad at him. I’m assuming. They never really confirmed or denied that though.

HyunOh- I definitely thought they were abandoning his character, but apparently that’s not the case. Instead they decided that Ryok would overhear HyunOh treating his girlfriend awfully and then get offended and punch him so that they could shoehorn in a jealousy storyline with Maha. Now it seems like they are going to deal with the fact that HyunOh might be fired from Sparkling when Shax’s company overtakes theirs. This was nowhere where they were hinting about going with this character and this plot doesn’t seem to serve the story over-all either. In fact, when this plot started I thought they were going to explore some form of connection and rivalry between Yujin and HyunOh. And it’s very odd that they’ve gotten rid of Yujin completely in favor of throwing Ryok into the mix instead.

Sparkling and Shax- The members of these groups did nothing this episode excepting a few. Including Hyuk, unfortunately. These are the characters that I wish we could see more of, but we never get anything for them. I think this show overdid it when it comes to characters. The writers can’t balance this many.

La Lima- I’m so confused. So now she wants Maha and Ryok together? Then what was the point of that line that suggested she would fight anyone who tried to date Ryok? I seriously have no clue what’s going on here.

This show is mostly made up of confused writing. I, once again, have no idea what’s happening. But that’s usual for this. I don’t hate watching it, but I wish it was better. I’m at least glad that Yunho got something good to act out again! Yujin got some pretty emotional moments that caught my attention right away! As long as there’s more of that, watching this won’t have been a waste of time.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Star Wars: ‘The Bad Batch’ Episode 10 Review

Screenshot of Hunter, Tech, GS-8, and Echo from episode ten of ‘The Bad Batch’ on Disney+. Copyright goes to the Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm.

Hey! Hallie here!

I usually wait to review episodes of ‘The Bad Batch’ until I have two to talk about. Unfortunately, ‘The Bad Batch’ has done so little with what it set up that sometimes it feels as though there isn’t enough to write about after viewing just one episode. This week’s episode didn’t really make me regret that decision. I’ll get into that in a second. But for the next week, possibly two, we’ll be on vacation! We’ll still be posting regularly for the first week. We pre-wrote posts for every day of next week for you to enjoy! The week after might be silent for a while, though. I don’t want to get too behind on this series, so let’s get into this week’s episode! SPOILERS ahead!

The Good:

The Other Side of the Separatists: In most ‘Star Wars’ content the Separatists are mustache twirling villains. On occasion we’ve seen things like ‘Clone Wars’ make attempts at explaining some of the motivations for the groups that joined the Separatists, but nothing that could help us truly empathize with any of them. This episode tasked the entire Bad Batch, as well as the viewers, with withholding judgement from a Separatist party. And it was understandably difficult for them. Especially for Echo, who was nearly stripped of his humanity by Separatists. To be honest, I especially liked Echo’s reaction to the entire situation. His hesitancy and even outright anger towards them gave us a deeper look into his character. In any case, GS-8 was a fun droid presence and you can’t argue that she and her master care deeply about the people they were forced to abandon towards the end of the episode. In the very least, you could leave the episode with the knowledge that the Separatists are a very diverse group of people and not all of their ideologies lead them to side with the Empire.

Cid: Cid hasn’t done much in this series beyond introducing the plot of each episode while looking extremely annoyed in the process. As the audience, we know she really likes money and that’s about it. But this episode forces her to take a more prominent role when Hunter sticks her with Omega. Omega is basically our main character at this point, so there was no way we wouldn’t have spent at least half the episode with these two. And sure enough, this episode includes an entire storyline where Omega and Cid attempt to figure out exactly how to interact with each other. At first Cid is practically disgusted by the idea of being a babysitter. She makes Omega do chores, berates her for trying to interact with her in any meaningful way, and outright tells Omega that she’s useless. Omega is already frustrated that Hunter left her behind for no particular reason and she’s even more frustrated by Cid’s bad attitude. But Omega is kind by nature, so she attempts to connect with Cid despite it. Until Cid takes it a step too far and causes Omega to face the reality that Hunter doesn’t actually see her as helpful. When Omega becomes distraught, Cid sees that she crossed a line but doesn’t know what to do about it. It isn’t until Omega shows promise in Dejarik that Cid comes to fully appreciate Omega. When the Batch return, she even goes so far as to berate Hunter for mistreating Omega because of how much Omega proved herself to Cid. (Also because of how much money Omega made her.) In any case, we saw some actual emotions and development from Cid this episode and I appreciated it.

The Bad (Batch):

Hunter: How many times do we have to do this? In nearly every single episode we see Hunter showing his overprotective nature by telling Omega to stay behind. We also see a genuine disbelief from him that Omega is capable of helping out at all. Then Omega proves herself more competent than most, if not all, of the Batch. And then Hunter apologizes and promises he’ll never do it again. This has happened so many times in this series that I’m really starting to dislike Hunter as a character. Hunter’s overprotectiveness has become outright insulting to Omega and her personal growth. And his refusal to learn from his past treatment of Omega turns all of his promises to empty lies. He also decides to order her, like he would a soldier, to stay behind. Despite the fact that he constantly berates Wrecker for treating her like a peer rather than a child. And then he yells at her at the end of the episode for actually doing something while she stayed behind instead of sitting in a corner. I understand he’s worried about her, and this episode did show him missing her during the mission. But I can’t feel sympathy for him when he has to spend every episode relearning the same lesson about Omega.

Ideologies: This episode description said it would challenge the Batch’s ideologies. But none of them ever expressed their opinions of the Separatists. The only reason why we know Echo’s is because of ‘Clone Wars’. None of the other members of the group showed any sort of strong reaction to their mission. And similarly, the Separatist leader in this episode didn’t get to discuss his own beliefs. We never figured out why he sided with the Separatists or even if his reasoning was understandable. We only know that he’s a better guy than most of the ones we’ve seen from the Separatist side. They did some nice surface work, but they could have gone so much deeper. And for the sake of character development, they probably should have gone deeper.

This episode didn’t progress much of the plot. There were some interesting ideas thrown around here and there, but nothing that was done extremely successfully. This and the continued lack of character development for most of the main characters made me extremely unsatisfied with this episode. As of now, Omega and Echo are the only saving graces of this series for me. I was really hoping for more.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

Superheroes: The Black Widow Conversation

Promotional image of Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow for the new ‘Black Widow’ movie. Copyright goes to Marvel Entertainment and Disney.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Most people at this point know about the new ‘Black Widow’ movie that is coming out soon after it was pushed back for almost an entire year. To be honest, I wasn’t super thrilled when the announcement for this movie first came out. Did I want it? Yes. But I wanted it years ago. The timing of this coming out now, especially after they fridged Natasha in the last Avengers flick, felt like Marvel was scrambling to have some semblance of the female representation that DC does. When Florence Pugh was brought onto the project, I was admittedly a little less skeptical. I have loved Florence Pugh in so many of her projects, and I am still hoping that I will like her character in this film. But a lot of my skepticism for this film is because I haven’t been the biggest fan of Black Widow as a character. And this entirely has to do with the over sexualization of her character every time Joss Whedon had too much of a hand in her writing. I wrote in depth about the over sexualization of Padme from Star Wars and Black Widow in a previous post if you want to see more of what I said there. But my perception of Black Widow has changed slightly, and that’s entirely to do with the conversation about her character that is preceding this movie. So, in the interest of being up to date, I want to make a continuation of what I previously said about Black Widow.

Scarlett Johansson Interview:

The main thing that I’ve seen change the conversation about Black Widow as a character, is actually Scarlett Johansson herself. In a recent interview, Scarlett Johansson talked at length about the over sexualization of her character over the years. And to see that the woman behind Black Widow was fully aware of it and how this affected her, made me reflect on some of my own opinions. In the interview she starts out referencing ‘Iron Man 2’ and how she was glad to have the job, but she did notice right away how the male characters were talking about her character in the script. Johansson immediately notes that Tony and Happy Hogan talk about Natasha as if she’s a piece of something or a piece of meat. She notes that Tony even says in the movie; “I want some of that.” She then talks about how the dehumanizing language did have an affect on her and by the time ‘Avengers’ came out and she was working with Joss Whedon, she fully knew that her character was over sexualized. Johansson then went on to talk about how playing the character even made her feel guilty at times. And it’s because of the exact same reasons I have mentioned in other posts. Men in the industry try to teach women that any representation is good representation because we see so little of it already. Especially in action films. She noted that this new movie felt like a way to make things right. She essentially felt like she could reclaim the character, and that’s an incredible way to look at things.

Black Widow and Progress:

Looking back, it is incredibly easy to judge and look down on the character of Black Widow because she was the first. The first female superhero to be seen as an equal to male superheroes in a major blockbuster film. And, as it goes with most forms of representation, the first try is generally not the best one. But I think there is always something to be said about the representation that paved the way, regardless of whether or not it was perfect. Because while Joss Whedon was involved with much of Black Widow’s character, it’s important to note that Scarlett Johansson was playing her. While some of the lines were written in a way that absolutely didn’t have women in mind, Johansson did not play Natasha with that specifically in mind. While the scripts focused on giving her sexy fight scenes and having all the men stare at her, Johansson focused intently on delivering good emotional and vulnerable scenes. While I really don’t want to see a female character sexualized like this ever again, it is still important to note that there were hints of what is now great female character development. Like vulnerability and not being stuck as the love interest all the time (until ‘Age of Ultron’). It was a start and we should give her character credit for that. Little girls saw ‘Avengers’ and thought that they could be superheroes too because there was finally a female character in the lineup. And that’s pretty powerful.

The Timing:

I agree with most people when they say that the timing is off. We should have gotten this movie years ago and that’s a given. But I also agree with Scarlett Johansson when she says that they couldn’t have made a vulnerable movie for her character around the time of ‘Avengers’. Disney has just become comfortable with giving female superheroes their own movies. If we had gotten this movie a while ago we would not have had the mindset that people do now. We most certainly wouldn’t have had women behind the scenes. So, while it was messed up that the movie didn’t come out when all of the other male superheroes were getting their own flicks, maybe it’s better that we get something with more accurate representation. It’s definitely worth it for Johansson to have played her character one last time in a way that she massively respects without the outside influence of masses of male scriptwriters and directors.

I have not been shy about my disappointment when it comes to Black Widow, but especially with this new movie I’m looking to go into it with an open mind. While I’m not sure I will ever fully gravitate towards her character, I have an appreciation for her that I didn’t used to. And I don’t blame myself for not having it before. It’s completely natural to get angry when you are told that you should accept representation as it is when it isn’t enough. But it’s also good to acknowledge the good people who were trying to give the best representation that they could while being blocked by Hollywood and majority standards. The work that Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow put in to make female superheroes heard is exponential. And it definitely wasn’t easy for her to do. So while Black Widow doesn’t have to be your favorite character, it’s good to look back at her and realize all that she accomplished. Even if what we’re getting now is better than what she had then.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Marvel: ‘Loki’ Episode 4 Review

Screenshot of Owen Wilson as Mobius and Tom Hiddleston as Loki from ‘Loki’. Copyright goes to Marvel Studios and the Walt Disney Company.

Hey! Hallie here!

Episode four of ‘Loki’ was just released and I have…erm a lot of thoughts. I’m going to forewarn you, I’m a bit angry. And that’s not to say I disliked this episode. There was a lot about this episode to like. But there are several issues with it that, with time, have made me angrier and angrier as I think about them. So this will be the first episode where I’m bringing back my ‘What I Disliked’ section. Yeah. I can’t say much else without spoiling the episode so let’s jump into this. SPOILERS ahead!

What I Liked:

Loki and Mobius: Honestly, this was one of two major saving graces of this episode for me. Loki gets recaptured by the TVA early in this episode, reuniting him with Mobius. This alone made me happy because I, along with most other Loki viewers, missed Mobius a heck of a lot last episode. Mobius is just a comforting presence and his banter with Loki is second to none. Mobius is snarky about the fact that he doesn’t trust Loki after Loki abandoned him to follow Sylvie. But Loki immediately shows how much he cares about Mobius the minute Mobius takes him back to interrogate him. Loki is attempting to talk himself out of his interrogation (Right before he gets thrown in to be kicked in the nuts by Sif a bunch of times), but when Mobius allows him a last trick, Loki tells Mobius that the TVA has been lying to him. No more lies or tricks. A truth that he delivers with such sincerity and concern for Mobius, that Mobius actually pauses. Mobius briefly pulls Loki out of the Sif time loop to make him elaborate. I actually liked the little moment that occurred right when Mobius appeared in the time loop, as well. Mobius knew Loki was ready to talk only after Loki comes to another realization about his own loneliness. The scene was heartbreaking, but it always seems that Loki comes closer to understanding himself when Mobius is around to point things out.

That aside, Loki spends his time in this interrogation lying about his apparent “master plan” in order to protect Sylvie. However, Loki once again becomes very sincerely concerned when he tells Mobius that he’s a variant who was kidnapped by the TVA. He even seems to mourn the life Mobius might have had before his kidnapping. Mobius uses this sudden change from Loki to seek out answers for himself. Which is relatively easy because Ravonna is a terrible liar and already set off warning bells in Mobius’ head when she revealed Hunter C-20 died for no apparent reason. Mobius quickly figures out that Loki is right and returns to rescue him. Within his rescue we learn a few things. Loki tells Mobius that he genuinely views him as a friend. Mobius hints that maybe a jet ski was part of his former life. And finally, when Mobius is “pruned”, we get to see how much Loki has come to care about a human. Loki cries not for another god, but a person of a species he felt was beneath him. Loki is changing. And Mobius is a major reason for that.

Sylvie and Hunter B-15: I was curious as to why Sylvie was being guarded so heavily as opposed to Loki. The both of them seem to pose a similar threat to the TVA. It wasn’t until Ravonna made the very purposeful decision to keep Mobius away from Sylvie’s interrogation that I realized what the problem was. Not only is Sylvie a good fighter, which we also got a good look at in this episode, but she’s evidently used her abilities to unlock the memories of TVA agents before Hunter C-20. Anyone who comes into contact with her is at risk of being “compromised”. And Hunter B-15, who was already taken over by Sylvie back in episode two, has definitely been feeling the effects of Sylvie’s influence. Throughout this episode we get to see Hunter B-15 waver on her loyalty to the TVA because of the things Sylvie’s magic made her see. When she goes in to interrogate Sylvie, she caves and asks Sylvie to completely unlock her memories. It’s emotional to see Hunter B-15 cry over the happy life that was wrongfully taken from her. Especially because Sylvie can also relate to being forced out of a happy life by the TVA. Afterwards, B-15 makes the intelligent move to leave immediately after her memories are unlocked. This decision gives her the ability to stay hidden until she sees that Sylvie and Loki are in trouble. At which point she swoops in to save the day like a badass. While Loki and Mobius were going through their own trauma, it was nice to see Sylvie and Hunter B-15 come together to deal with theirs. These two really stepped up in this episode.

The After Credits Scene: For one thing, Loki and Mobius aren’t dead! It’s pretty clear that Loki wakes up in a place where all of the things the TVA attempted to erase from the timeline have ended up. For another thing, that’s a lot of Lokis! We saw classic Loki, kid Loki, a Loki I’m not completely familiar with that appears to be holding a hammer (Is he worthy?), and alligator Loki! I already love this concept! Bring on the Lokis!

What I Disliked:

Loki and Sylvie: This is going to be a long one, folks. Tell me you didn’t see this coming. You can’t. Because I haven’t seen anyone who actually liked this development. People are calling it self-cest. And they’re completely right. To start, their genetic similarities as a result of, you know, being the same person, make this disturbing no matter which way you look at it. And though I’ve seen a few people attempting to defend this by saying they technically aren’t brother and sister, these similarities made a bunch of us instantly view them as at least something similar to it. You can’t just expect people to go from this line of thought to suddenly thinking that a romantic relationship between these characters is okay. Putting this aside, there are other aspects to this that make me genuinely angry. The first is the interview that came out with the writer and the director detailing why we shouldn’t think this relationship is weird. In it they explain that, in a story of self love, it only makes sense to have Loki fall in love with a version of himself. This sentiment is so incredibly stupid on so many levels I actually had to sit for a while to calm myself down. Self love and romantic love are not the same thing. Ask anyone in the LGBTQ+ community who has spent YEARS trying to grapple with both of these things. Romantic love is an incredibly complicated concept that involves the way you emotionally react to another person. It can also involve your needs or the qualities you value. Self love, on the other hand, is a personal issue. Outside help can, and in many cases should, be sought. But in the end, self love is a personal journey into caring about your own happiness and being proud of your own accomplishments and accepting yourself for the way that you are.

Coming back to Loki and Sylvie, I see some very contradictory statements coming from the series creators. The creators say one second that this relationship isn’t weird because Sylvie is actually quite different from Loki. But then they claim that this relationship is all part of the self love narrative. These two ARE different. Their backgrounds have turned them into very different people. Which means that there is no possible way for Loki to explore his own self love through Sylvie. We’ve seen Loki begin to accept himself for who he is at points in this series, but none of that has anything to do with his empathy for Sylvie. Moving on from this is my biggest issue with this relationship. It’s the bisexual reveal from last episode. Loki is bisexual, which means he can absolutely be in a straight-passing relationship. (He’s also gender-fluid, but he’s still identifying as male currently as the series has refused to explore this further.) But I’m so tired of seeing places like Disney think that it’s ok to praise themselves for one progressive line and then wipe away the part that society finds unacceptable. Yes, it was nice that Loki got to confirm his bisexuality. But did we actually get to see him in a relationship with one of those princes before he nearly confessed his feelings for Sylvie? No. Because Disney feels that the part of bisexuality where you could be in a same-sex relationship is taboo, so they’ll put him in a heteronormative relationship to ignore potential progress. I know there are plenty of bisexual people who feel they’re being erased because they’re in straight-passing relationships, and that isn’t fair. But at the moment, we are severely lacking same-sex relationships onscreen. Marvel has plenty of relationships between men and women. There is no shortage of them. There is absolutely NO representation for same-sex couples. And I stupidly thought ‘Loki’ might change it all. The exploration that has been done into his gender and sexuality in the comics has made him a queer icon to many, and I hoped that would translate over to the show. But no. We’re stuck with one crumb for the LGBTQ+ community while Disney and the director and the writers pat themselves on the back. I’m disappointed in this show.

So those are my thoughts on this episode. A lot of it was a large rant, and I apologize for that. But it all needed to be said. I’m excited to see what’s actually going on with the TVA now that we know the Timekeepers aren’t really pulling the strings. I’m excited to see more of Mobius and Loki’s interactions. I’m excited to see Hunter B-15 continue to kick ass. But today I find myself severely disappointed in this show. My heart hurts for the LGBTQ+ community after what ‘Loki’ chose to do on the last day of Pride. I sincerely wish they had set Loki up with Mobius instead of the grossness they gave us.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

K-Pop: No Mercy?

Screenshot of Heo Yoorim (Aisha) from the ‘Dun Dun’ MV. Copyright goes to YeHua Entertainment and Everglow.

Hi! It’s Annie!

For those of you who didn’t catch my title reference, that is a reference to the Starship Entertainment show ‘No Mercy’ that formed the group Monsta X. And this is a show I am going to bring up in this post, because I don’t think I’ve seen anything that so clearly shows how idols are treated. Yes, I know that it is a reality television show where much of it is dramatized, but a lot of it isn’t. And the show was called ‘No Mercy’ for a reason. I’ve been edging around this topic for a while because I was unsure of how to approach it with so much material. But now that the way idols are treated was brought back into the limelight because of a situation with ‘Everglow’, I feel like I need to tackle this topic now more than ever. Because we’ve talked about the messed up ways fans and haters have treated idols on this blog, but we haven’t as much talked about the way their companies treat them. So this will be a deep dive on several things, from the Everglow situation this morning to the show ‘No Mercy’, that really show us how idols are treated sometimes.

Aisha and Everglow:

This morning I woke up to Everglow trending pretty much everywhere, which doesn’t happen often. Everglow is still a pretty new group and is still gaining a fandom, so trending on multiple platforms, unfortunately, doesn’t happen for them much yet. I was hoping that it would be something good, but my expectations sunk when I saw that Aisha was trending singularly. Mostly because the last two times a singular member of Everglow started trending, it was because Yiren caught Covid and Aisha got caught up in a bullying scandal. Yiren put out a voice only V-Live that seemed to be innocent in the beginning, but part way through in the background fans could hear what sounded like a man shouting and a woman sounding scared. Most people felt that the woman’s voice was Aisha, but no one really knows for certain. No one really knows for certain what happened at all. And maybe it was nothing, but the way that YeHua Entertainment responded to the fans concern makes it not sound like nothing. YeHua Entertainment assured fans that the sound of the man shouting was a sneeze (what?) and then took down the Live Chat Replay for the video immediately afterwards. I have no idea whether or not it was a sneeze, but this is not looking good for YeHua Entertainment. And I sincerely hope that someone wasn’t yelling like that at Aisha because it really makes me fear for the safety of the girls. Something that was brought up several times in the Twitter discourse was the fact that this isn’t out of character for what we know about how idols are treated. In fact, this is one of the reasons why more and more people have started boycotting bigger companies in this industry in mass.

‘No Mercy’:

I’ve started getting really into Monsta X lately, which I haven’t really been discreet about (sorry), so I decided to watch ‘No Mercy’. All of the episodes are on YouTube and I was actually pretty interested in seeing how they formed. I was, in fact, warned about this show by my Monbebe friend who dragged me into this fandom. She did inform me that the title ‘No Mercy’ was no joke and that the show was intense from what she had seen of it. But with all of the episodes so easily accessible, I really couldn’t help myself. While I started out with the intention of fully watching all ten episodes, I ended up massively skipping through the entire series. And, of course, it had nothing to do with the boys. But I couldn’t stand to see any of them treated that way. And I am definitely also including the trainees who didn’t end up in Monsta X in that statement. People think that some of the judges on American singing shows are harsh (I’m looking at you Simon), but this was an entirely new level. Some of the criticism seemed like it had the intention to humiliate and embarrass them. They were given mixed signals by judges who told them to both view the other contestants as a team while also telling them that they should hate each other. I.M came in more than halfway through the series and had an awful time because nobody could bear to talk to him after everything that had happened. In the short amount I could bring myself to watch, I cried several times because it was tough to see them put in those situations. I honestly can’t imagine what it would have been like to live it. And one of the judges even told Kihyun at one point that her debut was harder so if he found this too difficult then he should just quit. I don’t think whose experience was worse that whose is a justification for how this show treated them or how idols are treated in general. It all has to stop.

BTS and HYBE:

One of the reasons that BigHit formed was because the founder thought the way idols were treated was downright evil. Bang PD wanted to create a company that both gave the idols a say in the songs they created and would consistently treat them like human beings. Many people are convinced that this nurturing environment is one of the reasons BTS became as successful as they are now. I would definitely add that in as a factor to their success. Treating people unkindly does not ensure they will work harder, it just makes them afraid. While BTS still saw some hardships, I do think that many companies should take inspiration from the way BTS is treated by their company.

In general, there is not an excuse to treat someone as less than human. Ever. I understand that training is difficult and it would still be difficult without this treatment, but this treatment doesn’t make it any better. Idols should not be treated as machines to churn out the next big hit for their company. Everyone should always be aware that these people are human. Their fans and their companies. We don’t know what happened with Aisha, but I hope that this reaction from the fans made it clear to companies that the fans won’t stand to see artists treated this way. But I’m glad that it seems like BTS is paving the way for this to get better. With the bigger companies starting to die out, we’re seeing artists being treated better by their companies right off the bat. Part of this is the success of BTS, but part of this is also because fans have stood up to say that we won’t condone this behavior any longer. So, while this is still really upsetting, don’t discount the progress that’s being made either. This isn’t a hopeless cause. Even looking at how Monsta X is now compared to where they started in ‘No Mercy’ is proof that things have improved exponentially for artists. But we aren’t there quite yet.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

Book Adaptations: ‘Good Omens’ is Getting a Season 2!

Screenshot of Michael Sheen as Aziraphale and David Tennant as Crowley in the ‘Good Omens’ series streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Copyright goes to BBC Studios, Narrativia, The Blank Corporation, and Amazon Studios.

Hey! Hallie here!

Well, this was the last news I was expecting when I woke up this morning. Neil Gaiman has said plenty of times that a season two wasn’t his priority for ‘Good Omens’. After the release of the first season, he was clear that he missed writing books and he wanted to go back to that. And while he had thrown a few ideas around with Terry Pratchett when they discussed creating a sequel to the original book, a sequel was never made. Because of this, Gaiman was understandably hesitant to move forward with the story of Aziraphale and Crowley without his close friend and collaborator. But it seems that Gaiman has decided on a new story for the angel and demon based on his discussions with Pratchett. He’s officially working on season two of the series! We don’t know much about it so far, but let’s go through what we do know.

Terry Pratchett:

The first thing we should talk about is the full letter Neil Gaiman released along with the announcement that season two is on the way. This letter talks a lot about Terry Pratchett, which is good because there are many ‘Good Omens’ fans who are wary of a potential story without his influence. After all, Terry Pratchett was co-writer of the original book and his passing largely affected many. But for those who are worried about a lack of Pratchett’s influence in season two, know that that very much won’t be the case. Neil Gaiman starts out his letter by talking about a convention he and Pratchett attended right after selling ‘Good Omens’ to publishers and before the book was actually published. They both had to share a hotel room because neither had a lot of money at the time, and jet lag caused the both of them to lay awake in their beds for the entirety of their first night. While they lay awake, they planned a potential sequel to ‘Good Omens’. Neil Gaiman noted that the both of them were very satisfied with what they planned that night and had every intention to write it. But their major successes that came right after ‘Good Omens’ gave them both incredibly busy schedules. So busy that they never ended up putting the sequel on paper. However, Neil Gaiman admits in the letter that he’s using those plans now for season two. Some of the plans were already used for season one, such as the appearance of angels like Gabriel. But a lot has remained unused. Meaning there’s plenty to pull from for this upcoming season. On top of all of this, Neil also put in his letter that, when he and Pratchett had discussed making the book a television series, Pratchett had said he wanted the story to continue if the initial story went over well. Not only is Terry Pratchett’s hand in this upcoming season, but his wishes are being honored.

Who’s Involved and What We’ll See:

From what Neil Gaiman has said we know a few things. We know Neil Gaiman is working with John Finnemore, a good friend of his and a comedic writer, to write season two. We know that he will be heading the project with Douglas Mackinnon, who is returning to direct this season. We also know that everyone is incredibly enthusiastic about it. This includes Michael Sheen and David Tennant, who are obviously returning to the series as well. We’re sure to see some new faces and surprises along the way. Possibly sooner rather than later considering the fact that sets are already going up and filming is just around the corner. Neil Gaiman was nice enough to give us a little bit of a synopsis for season two to end off all of this information. According to him we’ll be back in Soho, though time and space will also be explored in the new season. There, a mystery will begin with an angel walking through a Soho street market without any memory of who they are. This angel winds up in Aziraphale’s bookshop. As for the very beginning of this story, we’ll be going back to the very beginning of the universe. And there’s a cardboard box involved. What is there not to be excited about?

What I Hope For:

‘Good Omens’ is a major love of mine. There isn’t much I don’t love about the first season of this show. But there are a few things I’m hoping for. For one, I want to see Aziraphale and Crowley’s relationship further explored. With the amount of times those who have worked on the show have admitted that Aziraphale and Crowley do love each other in a romantic way, I want to see that. I’m not saying it isn’t present in season one. It is. But I want it to be more blatant. In other words, I don’t want them to leave season two without fully admitting that Aziraphale and Crowley are part of the LGBTQ+ community. There isn’t any reason for them to be vague about Aziraphale and Crowley’s identities. Representation is important and ‘Good Omens’ has done all but make it official. I’m not asking for anything big. But I don’t want to see queer baiting here. And yes, maybe their genders aren’t exact considering they’re both spiritual beings. But isn’t that even more of a reason to explore LGBTQ+ themes? Along with this, I want to see more female representation. Season one had strong characters like Anathema, Pepper, and even God. But they were still outnumbered amongst the main characters. Just as important is a more diverse cast. There was some diversity in season one, but not nearly enough. There’s so much potential for better representation here.

I’m so excited for the next season of this show! The first season was so incredibly good that I watched it about three times in a row when it was first released. And though I know that the content from the first book was used up in season one, I trust Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s ideas for the continuation of the story. And Michael Sheen and David Tennant are some of my favorite actors of all time. It’s a joy to see them come together for this project once again. I hope the new season addresses the representation it should address and gives us something just as hilariously thoughtful as we’ve come to expect from ‘Good Omens’!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

Superheroes: Psyduck

Screenshot close-up capture of Psyduck from ‘Detective Pikachu’. Copyright of The Pokemon Company and Warner Bros. Pictures.

Hi! It’s Annie!

I’m going to go a little off the rails today and talk about what was definitely the best part of ‘Detective Pikachu’. Yes, I’m serious (mostly), and nobody can convince me that he wasn’t. I’m not sure if people would count any of the Pokemon as superheroes necessarily, but Psyduck saved me from thinking that this movie was bad. So he’s a hero in my eyes. I just watched ‘Detective Pikachu’ yesterday and, admittedly, I did not grow up watching anything Pokemon related. I know, weird right? I watched a lot more things like ‘Power Rangers’, ‘Winx’, or ‘Sonic X’ and for some reason missed out on this giant cultural phenomenon. I always knew what Pokemon was and I knew some of the characters from things like ‘Super Smash Bros.’, but not much beyond that. My family is, in general, pretty big fans of Ryan Reynolds so we finally caved and decided to watch this movie last night. It was weird. And not because the Pokemon were weird. But because the plot was just strange. So I will be addressing MAJOR SPOILERS. for those of you who haven’t seen the movie and maybe still want to. But I will mostly address these in the way that Psyduck related to it or could have made it better. Because I love Psyduck.

Good Psyduck:

Stressed Psyduck- Psyduck releases what is essentially the force of a bomb from his head when he gets too stressed. Honestly, me too. Because of this, it is important for the characters to make sure that Psyduck is calm throughout the film. This results in his human partner, Lucy, constantly playing spa music in her car in order to keep him from blowing up. And while Psyduck may look cute and cuddly (or confused and bug-eyed), he’s not above threatening others to keep calm. For example, threatening the life of Tim so that Pikachu will massage his flippers. Psyduck is a cold-blooded killer.

Human Partners with Psyduck- The movie attempting to show the audience Pokemon and humans living in harmony is supposed to be through the connection between Tim and Pikachu. But the movie has so much trouble with character development of any sort that it never really develops that bond to something the audience can see well. The good thing about Lucy and Psyduck is that the audience is being shown a relationship that already exists. Because of that, the movie doesn’t need as much development to already show the audience that Lucy and Psyduck have a close bond. They are always together and seem to care for each other immensely. After the entire fiasco where humans take over their Pokemon during the parade, it is clear that Lucy is more concerned about Psyduck than herself. Afterwards she hugs Psyduck immediately and tells him that they should never do that again. Though it is a little odd that an easily stressed Psyduck ended up being partners with a journalist.

Hugging Psyduck- One of the cutest scenes in the movie is Psyduck’s determination to hug Pikachu at the end of it. Pikachu doesn’t seem to like it too much and I really can’t understand. Who wouldn’t want to hug Psyduck? I mean, unless he’s stressed.

Screaming Psyduck- My favorite scene in the movie occurred when they were all escaping the government lab, purely because of Psyduck. I have watched that scene at least twice since I saw the movie last night, just to hear Psyduck’s muffled “Psyduck” before they run out of the facility and then the repeated screams of “Psyduck” as they’re all running away. It’s the funniest scene in the movie, and I will once again not be accepting any criticism at this time.

No Psyduck:

Dad Friends with Psyduck- If you haven’t seen the movie, I’m about to reveal the biggest plot twist in it. You have been warned. When Tim is introduced to Pikachu it’s because Tim is looking for his father and Pikachu is his father’s Pokemon partner. Tim’s father is presumed dead after getting too involved in an investigation and then being involved in a violent car crash. The end of the movie reveals that his father’s Pikachu gave his body for a short time so that the father could survive the car crash. So the father is Ryan Reynolds and detective Pikachu is actually Tim’s father. This has to be one of the weirdest plot twists I’ve seen in a while and not in a good way. The fact that Pikachu was not actually Pikachu for all of this movie was kind of disturbing in itself without the knowledge that he’s also Tim’s dad. Psyduck deserves a Pokemon friend, not just Tim’s dad.

No More Psyduck- The main villain’s motive in this movie is to merge his brain with a Pokemon so that he can walk, because he is paralyzed in his current human state. And this itself as a motive would have been understandable. Still weird, because I find the entire human and Pokemon merging storyline to be disturbing, but still understandable. But it goes beyond that. Instead of treating this new development as a way to cure all human ills, the villain just makes a broad statement about how all humans would be better off as Pokemon. Even though there’s really nothing that leads up to this statement in the story or makes it make any sense. And let’s be honest, Psyduck is far too cute to have his mind overtaken by a human.

No Character Development Except Psyduck- Not one character is focused on over the course of this movie. Tim only gets about one emotional scene throughout it and he’s the main character. The movie really didn’t know if it wanted to focus on the characters or the Pokemon references or their weird convoluted plot, so it didn’t have enough time for any of that. There’s supposed to be a romance between Tim and Lucy that completely gets lost in the plot. There’s barely anything that leads up to Tim declaring that he’s attracted to Lucy. And all of this is even worse when you look at the connection between Tim and Pikachu. Yes Pikachu is cute, but I would have liked to spend a little less time on the cute quips and a little more time on bonding between the two characters. There’s also a character in power that saves the day at the end of the story in a deus ex machina type of way, but he only speaks about one sentence in one scene before he saves everyone. He’s barely even a character. Psyduck feels more developed and all he ever says is his own name. I think Psyduck should have saved everyone at the end, just like he saved this movie.

Long story short, I like Psyduck now. He is truly a superior Pokemon and the source of most of my enjoyment watching this movie. I don’t necessarily recommend this movie as a whole, but I do absolutely recommend Psyduck compilations on Youtube. PSYDUCK!!! (No, I am not ok.)

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie