With the Avengers and the Infinity Saga, Marvel blazed a new path. They put forth an expansive universe of serialized, interconnected stories and characters and over the course of a decade brought it all home with a spectacular finale. DC tried to keep pace by rushing their heroes together, generally botching the whole thing. Now, as Marvel expands the MCU into streaming/TV with Disney+, DC is once again following suit.
In a tuxedo.
By which I mean to say that after the Peacemaker, Jon Cena’s Suicide Squad spin-off series, and the forthcoming Gotham PD series that is springing from Matt Reeves’ new The Batman movie (March 2022), comes another Reeves’ Batverse-focused show for HBO Max. This one will be about Colin Farrell’s Penguin character, purported to only have a small role in next year’s Robert Pattinson showcase.
According to Variety, Farrell has officially signed on to the show, which is said to cover Oswald Cobblepot’s rise to the top of Gotham’s criminal underworld. This begs the questions: will it be an origin story that takes place before the events of the movie? Or will it pick up after the movie, and showcase what the trailers make look like a generic mob boss character into the supervillain we know and love?
If it does take place after the movie, does the existence of the show preclude, or at least dilute, the potential for The Penguin to menace Batman in the almost-certain-to-be-announced-immediately-after-The-Batman-opens-huge sequel? It seems unlikely that Farrell would slip out of the movies altogether, so I doubt that. One suspects the Penguin – and Farrell (if that’s actually him under all that makeup!)- will play a big role in the movies, especially if he has a minor role in The Batman, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Batman, and his rogues gallery, have been on television before, of course. From the camp classic 60s series to the many cartoon incarnations to Fox’s recent Gotham, all of which appear substantially less dark than Reeves’s movie.
Thankfully, HBO Max has fewer boundaries than network TV, or Disney+, so odds are the series will carry that same tone. Hopefully, that tone works in the movie, so we can be even more excited about DC’s new Batverse.
Caving to your kids’ desperate pleas for a pet typically means signing yourself up for over a decade of responsibility. Promises of “I’ll walk him and feed him every day” often fall to the wayside when the initial thrill wears off, but most kids aren’t like Cash Daniels. Cash didn’t dream of adopting a pet, but instead, he dreamed of adopting a section of the Tennessee River – and once his dream became a reality, Cash’s sense of responsibility went into overdrive.
Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, a nonprofit organization created an Adopt a River Mile Program to encourage locals to get involved. The program invites community members to adopt sections of the Tennessee River, and in doing so, they take on the responsibility of keeping their section clean.
At just 9 years old, Cash Daniels proudly adopted his own mile of the Tennessee River. The prior year, Cash helped with other river clean-ups before deciding to dive head-first into his own conservation efforts.
“I learned that rivers are the leading cause of pollution in our oceans, and that made me want to do river cleanups. I wanted to do what I could to stop it,” Cash said in an interview. “Cleaning is fun and hard. There’s a lot that goes into the cleanups. I know that the work is hard, but I am helping wildlife, and that’s what matters to me.”
Now 11 years old, Cash has only gotten more serious about his conservation efforts. He’s removed thousands of pounds of trash from the Tennessee River, and installed receptacles to deter people from leaving behind their fishing line. Cash’s incredible efforts haven’t gone unnoticed – the Tennessee Wildlife Federation named the ambitious pre-teen their Youth Conservationist of the Year three times (so far).
The first teaser for the MacGruber series was hilarious, and the jailhouse interview set the stage for our first full look at what the show is going to be. Peacock released a trailer (made from actual episode footage) and MacGruber is getting the gang back together in a way that only he can.
The miniseries for Peacock picks up a decade after the story from the movie. MacGruber is in prison for killing Dieter Von Cunth and has spent his time behind bars brawling and causing mayhem. General Fasoose (played by Lawrence Fishburne) needs someone for a suicide mission to take down Commander Enos Queeth, so that’s how the narrative jumps off, and MacGruber leaves jail.
Of course, he can’t take down a bad guy alone, so he gets the gang back together. Vicki St. Elmo is back in the fold and played as spirited as ever by Kristen Wiig. Ryan Phillipe is back as Dixon Piper, a solid sidekick.
Will Forte birthed the character (ew) on SNL, but the movie was not the success some thought it would be (OK it flopped). However, it did gain a bit of a cult following, and now we live in an age where a cult following is all you need for a direct-to-streamer revival. We’ve seen it with a number of other shows getting rebooted or reimagined for the streaming era, and we’ve even seen it with a number of shows developed by Peacock (the Saved by the Bell reboot is one of the funniest new shows in years, and I will die on that hill).
It’s a sort of filthy action-comedy, and that’s a niche it pretty much owns in the streaming series world. That alone makes it worth a shot for 8 episodes.
The MacGruber series hits Peacock on December 16th, and then we’ll finally get answers if MacGruber can save the country and defeat “the forces of evil.”
Marvel knows how to capitalize when they have something good, and that is why we already have confirmation there will be a sequel to the breakout hit of the year, Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings. Destin Daniel Cretton will be back writing and directing the sequel as well.
Leading man Simu Liu seemed pretty excited about returning to the superhero role, as he shared the story on Twitter, along with the cheeky “Flopped so hard we got a sequel!”
To be totally fair, this is excellent news and completely deserved. Despite little fanfare ahead of its release, the movie was terrific and a surprise hit with movie-goers. How big was it? It’s the biggest movie of the year at the domestic box office. Sure, with some big ones on the horizon (Hello Matrix 4), it may not finish there, but it has been an impressive showing so far.
Flopped so hard we got a sequel!! https://t.co/69yPeuX2ma
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) December 6, 2021
Shang-Chi earned more than $225 million, a very stellar performance in the Covid-era of movie-going. There’s also a series in the works for Disney Plus. Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige is predictably excited about the sequel.
“We had a fantastic time working together on the film and he has so many intriguing ideas for stories to bring to life on Disney Plus, so we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with him and can’t wait to get started,” he said in a press release.
The movie made Marvel history for being the first with an Asian actor in the leading role, and that is important, but this is no favor either, the movie kicked ass and deserved a sequel.
Cretton is also psyched about going back to the well, saying working on Shang-Chi was “one of the highlights of my life.”
Always good to see great work get rewarded, and to have more great movies to look forward to.
Ask any 80s kid what their scariest movie moment was growing up, and you’re bound to hear about Freddy, Jason, the tree in Poltergeist, maybe even Chucky. The obvious answer is something from a horror movie, but that’s not the only possible answer. Because ask enough people and someone is going to mention a scene from an otherwise decidedly non-horror movie: Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
Midway through the movie, when Pee-Wee, hitches a ride from a big rig, a moment occurs that traumatized an entire generation. Large Marge is driving the truck, and she tells Pee-Wee a terrifying story about a terrible crash. As she’s winding up the story, she suddenly looks over at Pee-Wee and her face transforms into something terrifying and grotesque, shocking both her passenger and the audience.
Pee-Wee gets out and learns that Large Marge herself was the victim of that very accident and that he’d been riding with a ghost. As a young kid, that moment was scary as hell and has stuck with me for decades. Apparently, I’m not alone. Over the weekend Paul Reubens himself shared a tweet remembering Large Marge on what would have been her birthday, had she survived!
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) December 5, 2021
That tweet was liked nearly 30,000 times, presumably by 30,000 people who had the same nightmare I did after seeing the movie.
Pee-Wee has starred in a few more movies, including a Netflix revival a few years back, but few moments live up to that car ride with Large Marge. It was fun to see it revisited by the man himself!
All summer long, LeVar Burton’s name was being thrown around in relation to the Jeopardy hosting gig. The beloved star of such landmark TV shows as the Roots miniseries, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow ultimately didn’t land the job, but did manage to avoid all the controversy and has seemingly landed in a good place. Somehow, though, that place is not on the new Reading Rainbow revival that was just announced!
A new version of Reading Rainbow, called Reading Rainbow Live, was announced on CBS Mornings this week. After launching in 1983 and introducing kids everywhere to the joys and benefits of reading, the show hasn’t been on the air in 15 years, and when it comes back, it will look a bit different and will include a virtual platform that will allow kids to ask questions and interact with the show.
“Whether they are asking questions of a cast member, following along to a dance routine, or being rewarded for answering a question correctly, viewers will be motivated to participate, and parents will be gratified knowing that their children are being entertained and intellectually stimulated,” a news release said.
The show is designed to be a response to the new world kids inhabit today, a world that includes remote schooling and the difficulties of balancing learning with life. It will stick with the original show’s structure – 25-minute episodes, the use of music, and field trips to keep kids interested – but will be hosted by a diverse group of people known as “Rainbows,” who will be announced in a few weeks.
“We think the rainbow, this fun and diverse ensemble cast, will allow children to just identify with these hosts, and it’s just a totally new experience and it’s truly an experience,” creative director Amy Guglielmo told CBS News.
“We know it was a tough pandemic for parents, for caregivers, for teachers. We wanted to make sure that we have kids engaging with books and we’re going to use movement and music to engage kids in learning. And we really want kids to see themselves in the books that we’re choosing, and we’re going to use diverse creators, authors, illustrators, settings,” she said.
Reading Rainbow Live will launch in early 2022. Watch the CBS Mornings segment:
Each year, The American Humane Hero Dog Awards® celebrates extraordinary dogs who go above and beyond the call of duty. American Humane seeks out and honors dogs in a variety of categories, from search and rescue dogs to service dogs, and every four-legged hero in between. This year, American Humane narrowed down their search to seven deserving canines before choosing the dog most deserving of the honor. The title of 2021 Hero Dog went to a therapy dog named Boone, whose resilience and inspirational story touches the lives of everyone he meets.
Before Boone found his current family, he was the victim of severe abuse at the hands of his previous owner. Due to his injuries, Boone lost his back legs, and with them, he lost his spirit. Tanya Diable spotted Boone on a rescue site, and after reading his heartbreaking story, she offered to get the two-legged dog a wheelchair.
Boone’s rescue asked Tanya to foster him while he healed from surgery, but just hours after taking him home, she knew Boone was meant to be part of her family. Boone healed, and as he healed, he experienced things he’d never done before. He slept in a bed, played with toys, and most importantly, he felt what it was like to have a family who loved him.
“The day he got his wheels was the very first time he wagged his tail,” Tanya’s husband Charley recalled. “That’s a day I’ll never forget.”
Because of his gentle temperament and a newfound zest for life, Tanya worked with Boone until he earned his therapy dog certification. Now, Boone spends his days with Tanya as they embark upon life-changing missions together. Boone works as a therapy dog at the Pittsburgh International Airport and provides comfort to kids with special needs at schools as well as a local children’s center.
Boone is also the ambassador of a nonprofit called Joey’s P.A.W. (Prosthetics and Wheels), which has provided hundreds of mobility devices to dogs in need. Boone is the poster dog for how far a little bit of love can go, and with Tanya’s help, he’s giving love right back to both humans and animals who need it.
He’s our hero! 🐶🐾🐶🐾
Congratulations to our PIT PAWS therapy dog buddy Boone, who was named @AmericanHumane‘s 2021 Hero Dog! Boone’s inspirational story, friendly demeanor and signature bowties won over voters and judges. pic.twitter.com/i1ZYc2vLIq
— Pittsburgh International Airport (@PITairport) November 18, 2021
Six years ago, an accidental text started a new holiday tradition, and, perhaps more importantly, birthed one of social media’s happiest stories. And now, after over a half-decade, the story is being turned into a movie.
It was Thanksgiving 2015, and Jamal Hinton received a text inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner. Only it wasn’t meant for him, it was meant for someone else’s grandson. Despite the mix-up, Jamal jokingly asked this grandma, Wanda Dench, he was still welcome, and not only did he get a yes, he actually took the stranger up on it.
6 years later, Jamal and Wanda are far from strangers, they’re good friends who share Thanksgiving together every year, with Jamal’s girlfriend and family joining Wanda and her husband, who passed from COVID in 2020.
Many on the internet, including us at The Dad, are familiar with this story, and now many more will get a chance to get caught up in it once it lands on Netflix.
Thanksgiving 2021 pic.twitter.com/2Ff3PpvvVY
— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) November 25, 2021
Variety reported that Netflix is adapting Jamal and Wanda’s story into a movie for their streaming platform.
“We are excited to share our story with the world. We hope it inspires more people to reach out and make connections that they wouldn’t ordinarily make,” Dench and Hinton said in a joint statement. “We are so blessed to find a genuine friendship brought together by God from a mistaken text message.”
The movie doesn’t yet have a cast, a director, or a release date, but it does have a screenwriter, Abdul Williams (“The Bobby Brown Story”), and a title, “The Thanksgiving Text”.
Regardless of when it comes out, something tells me my wife is going to make me watch as soon as it does.
Few characters reach a level of iconic that can even compare to Paul Reubens’s Pee-wee Herman. More than three decades ago, Pee-wee’s Playhouse turned Saturday mornings into colorful adventures with larger-than-life characters. In the best possible way, that show was a lot. Puppets, talking furniture, secret words, bizarre neighbors, a playhouse that looked like the product of a kid’s chaotic fever dream.
Decades later, there’s never been anyone quite like Pee-wee. His childlike-wonder remains unparalleled, and recently, Paul Rubens introduced a new generation to his iconic character in the most Pee-wee way possible. In mid-November, the secret word enthusiast took to Twitter with a plea to his favorite radio station, KCRW.
Pee-wee Herman’s social media presence is surprisingly substantial, considering it barely existed at the height of his fame. In a tweet that bridged the gap between the 80s and today, Pee-wee shared a photo of a personal letter – one he evidently wrote with a typewriter.
“Hi @KCRW, did you get the letter I sent you?” Pee-wee captioned the photo. “I really REALLY want to be a radio Disc Jockey. But I never heard back from you.”
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) November 10, 2021
The “aspiring disc jockey and music lover” details his dream, insisting that the typed letter was created specifically for his favorite radio station (despite the comically-obvious evidence to the contrary). The persistent star then called the ratio station before continuing to tweet at them, inviting his followers to do the same. And uh, they really freaking went for it. Overwhelmed by calls and messages, KCRW gave in to the very reasonable request, and The Pee-wee Herman Radio Hour came to fruition.
“When I first wrote to KCRW begging them to put me on the air, they didn’t even believe it was me until a bunch of my fans called and jammed up their phone lines. I love that story,” KCRW shared in a statement. “Ironically, I can now present you with the greatest show that has EVER been aired. This is your personal invitation to please join me, my amazing voice, my friends Chairry, Magic Screen, Miss Yvonne, and some special, top-secret guests for the very first PEE-WEE HERMAN RADIO HOUR!!!”
Read the hilarious full statement, and for a limited time, stream the full show here.