Since I have for some bizarre reason watched every episode of “Supergirl” (now in Season 3) and “Riverdale” (now in Season 2), I might as well get a blog post out of it by asking: “Which is the dumber show?” It’s kind of like deciding whether the Patriots or Eagles are the team worth rooting for in the Super Bowl: It’s a brain-spinner.
“Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” (Amazon Prime) has one of the best opening-credits sequences in recent memory: The music gets tenser and creepier as we see a pregnant man, a chicken-legged woman and a beachgoer walking a cloud on a leash to his mind. Then PKD himself, despite being deceased since just before “Blade Runner’s” release in 1982, pops into the frame – but the back of his head is all wires: He’s an android.
Director and co-writer Guillermo del Toro puts a lot of winning elements from successful films into a blender and delivers “The Shape of Water” (2017), now in theatrical wide release. Mixing familiar substance with loads of style, this Oscar-y yet accessible movie carves off bits of “E.T.,” “Splash,” “Splice,” “The Help,” “Big Fish” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and throws in Michael Shannon’s skill at playing a villain and Octavia Spencer’s specialty as the chatty best friend to create a foundation for a sweet love story.
After the “Buffy” novels split into adult and young-adult lines in late 1998, “Visitors” (April 1999) relaunched the YA line. At 163 pages, and without a detailed ancient history for the villain, it sets the template for this series in its concluding few years: Ideally, quick, fun reads that capture the flavor of the show. (The adult line would generally have more pages, deeper backstories for the villains, and a weighty issue for one or more of the Scooby Gang to work through.)
Looking for a “Valerian” fix after last year’s movie, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” I’m delving into the comics that started it all, by Frenchmen Pierre Christin (writer) and Jean-Claude Mezieres (pencils and inks). “The Complete Collection, Volume 3” includes “Ambassador of the Shadows” (1975), “On the False Earths” (1977) and “Heroes of the Equinox” (1978).
Looking for a “Valerian” fix after last year’s movie, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” I’m delving into the comics that started it all, by Frenchmen Pierre Christin (writer) and Jean-Claude Mezieres (pencils and inks). “The Complete Collection, Volume 2” includes “The Land Without Stars” (1972), “Welcome to Alflolol” (1972) and “Birds of the Master” (1973).
Although “Blooded” (August 1998) is the fourth original young-adult “Buffy” novel, it’s possibly the book that inspired the publisher, Pocket Books, to split the title into adult and young-adult books after this point. Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder, who had previously launched this series with 1997’s “Halloween Rain,” write “Blooded” in the same style as their later adult books such as “Child of the Hunt” and the “Gatekeeper Trilogy” – with life or death stakes, and no themes from the TV show being off the table.
Television dropped two new murder mysteries this week, and both are worthy additions to the decade’s most popular genre worldwide. They’re quite different from each other, with “The Alienist” (9 p.m. Eastern Mondays, TNT) set in 1890s New York City and “Bellevue” (10 p.m. Eastern Tuesdays, WGN) set in present-day rural Ontario, although both have the hook of transgendered people being the victims, and both explore links between old and new cases. Both premiere episodes stand out from their brethren in different ways while conforming to the grim mood we’ve come to expect ever since “The Killing” premiered.
“Blade Runner 2049” (2017) – now available via Redbox and streaming – brings us back into the world of the 1982 Ridley Scott classic. It feels like director Denis Villeneuve, who also helmed the overrated “Arrival” (2016) and the excellent “Prisoners” (2013), just wants to play in the sandbox of “Blade Runner,” complete with all the action figures and gadgets. There’s no debating that this is a gorgeous film, but every scene is twice as long as it needs to be for story purposes, and the characters are nearly copies (give me credit for avoiding the “replicant” pun) from the original, starting with blade runner K (Ryan Gosling) standing in for Deckard (Harrison Ford). If you just want to soak up the “BR” vibe again, you’ll be in heaven; if you expect new sci-fi themes or ideas, you’ll be let down.
One of my bosses encouraged us to attend “The Post” (2017) – which recently got a wide theatrical release – to rekindle our passion for newspapering. The film encourages some of that spirit, no doubt, but overall it left me sad. It’s a great movie about the Washington Post’s decision to publish highlights of the Top Secret Pentagon Papers in 1971, very much a welcome addition to the pantheon of journalism movies, but Steven Spielberg’s entry feels curiously out of time more so than, say, 2015’s “Spotlight.”