Welcome again to We Have Always Lived in the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first, a little Seafood for Thought.
Last Thursday, NBC continued its recent tradition of airing a live production of a musical every December in order to revitalize something the network did years ago. It started two years ago with The Sound of Music, and continued last year with Peter Pan. The quality of both of these was hit-or-miss, but the ratings were quite good (especially for The Sound of Music). This year the network went with a production of The Wiz, which I liked a lot. Part of this was simply because the musical was competently executed throughout, which really makes a difference. Add in a stellar cast with a inspired choice for Dorothy (newcomer Shanice Williams), and amazing production design, and it feels like NBC finally achieved its goal of providing a high quality musical to a wide ranging TV audience. More importantly, it was nice to see networks continue to take lessons from the success of Empire and Blackish by appealing to minority audiences that have long been ignored, especially when the newly diverse entertainment is actually good. The Wiz looks to be the greatest success yet for NBC’s musical productions, as it achieved the highest level of both viewer and critical support. (Outside of the people complaining that The Wiz is racist because the cast is almost entirely black, but those people are morons. Ignore them.) Whereas before these live musical productions felt like nothing more than a cash grab by NBC (and let’s be honest, they definitely still are), now it looks like it is possible these productions may also be good. Suddenly the idea of this being a yearly tradition doesn’t seem so bad.
From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.
- When the Kraken gets indigestion, we get telekinesis. Don’t ask us why, and also don’t ask us to post anything today–you can check out our archives or not, but we’re playing hands-free Ultimate Frisbee.
- Now playing in The Screening Room, Kyu reminisces about The Great Escape, an utter classic. They don’t make them like this anymore, sad to say.
- Unexpected turbulence means no new content. I know, I know, it sucks, but rest assured the Kraken is just as mad as you all are.
- TV Roulette has finally freed David from his endless penultimate episode cycle, as now he gets to cover an actual winter finale with iZombie. Who knows if it will go well, but at least David won’t ever have to type the word penultimate again (we all know that is a lie).
- Nothing But Trash follows up Heat Guy J with more Heat Guy J, the show that actually made Sam crave modern anime again. If that isn’t trash, I don’t know what is. Find out if more episodes make Sam rethink his position.
- Okay, who gave the Kraken sneezing powder? Very funny, guys! Nothing today, while we deal with these sudden gusts of wiiiiiiiiind…!
- Baturdays kicks off 1940 with Detective Comics #35. It’s probably not racist, if you think about it!
- In a completely unexpected move, the new Mamoru Hosoda film got released in America. Admittedly, it was only in a small theater in Beverly Hills for one week, but hey, that still means David was able to see it. So in a surprise The Anticipated, David takes a look at Bakemono no Ko, or The Boy and the Beast.
Spotlight on Blogs Past:
This week, we hearken back to when David did a deep dive into Hayao Miyazaki’s Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, Miyazaki’s feature directorial debut. David examined how this film offered a very different and very noble look at the notorious lothario Lupin III, while also setting a lot of the template for Miyzaki’s style going forward.
Catch of the Week:
Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.
Keskel: Charles Stross’s The Atrocity Archives: it’s computer geek James Bond fights Cthulhu. ‘Nuff said.
David: To honor the very limited American release of The Boy and the Beast, I recommend watching all of Mamoru Hosoda‘s past films, which range from very good (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) to very awesome (Summer Wars) to OMG this is one of the best films ever made (Wolf Children). All are well worth a watch, and showcase how anime at its best can tell stories in ways that no other medium can. Or in blog terms, these are all definitely not trash.
Kyu: My recommendation theme this December is podcasts, and why not start this week with a deep dive into pop culture? Every week on The Canon, film critics Devin Faraci (Birth.Movies.Death.) and Amy Nicholson (LA Weekly) pick a film or two and discuss whether they belong in the “canon of great movies,” which is really just an excuse to get really in depth and sometimes into wonderfully vociferous arguments. What’s really fascinating is that the schema leads them to pick movies that aren’t assuredly great but are right on the edge, or otherwise controversial. They have dozens of episodes up already and it’s always a great listen, so check out The Canon on iTunes or wherever pods are cast.
That’s it for this week. Despite some hiccups over the last couple of weeks, we hope you continue to find the Kraken to your liking. And please excuse the lights. The Kraken is experiencing a bioluminescence event, so things may be a bit bright over the next week.