Last Friday, MST3K creator Joel Hodgson revealed that Netflix had greenlit the show for a second season (overall twelfth). He didn’t say when it would be back, or how many episodes we can expect. Given the announcement at the end of 2017, it’d be surprising if we got to see more MST3K in spring 2018.
On Monday, as part of an in-depth Marvel Cinematic Universe feature from Vanity Fair, Marvel head Kevin Feige revealed that Avengers 4 – out May 2019 – would be the finale for the current era of superheroes. It’s not giving up on the world though; Feige says they’ve another 20 movies in the pipeline.
Two days later, we were treated to the first trailer of Avengers: Infinity War, which shows all Marvel heroes – from Avengers to the Guardians – facing up against the might of Thanos, who’s on a mission to steal all six Infinity Stones. The movie is out May 4, 2018.
Later that day, the lead for Disney’s live-action Mulan film was announced by The Hollywood Reporter. It’s Chinese actress Liu Yifei (The Forbidden Kingdom, Outcast), and her casting marks the end of a year-long search. Mulan is slated to release in 2019.
Meanwhile, American Gods showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green have left the show, after clashing with production subsidiary FreemantleMedia over budget and creative differences. Sources say the budget was already at $10 million per episode. Fuller and Green had written half the scripts for the season, which is due in mid-2018.
Lionsgate has set a January 11, 2019 release date for its Hellboy reboot, starring Stranger Things’ David Harbour, co-written by comic creator Mike Mignola, and directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent). Hellboy also stars Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, and Daniel Dae Kim.
Netflix’s surprise October hit, Mindhunter – the criminal profiling series from David Fincher – has been renewed for a second season, the streaming service announced Thursday via Twitter. No word on when it’ll arrive, but hopefully same time next year.
Lastly, the live-action Pokemon movie – Detective Pikachu – has cast its female lead in Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies), according to Variety. She joins Justice Smith (The Get Down) who’s the male lead. The film weirdly features a talking Pikachu, and has been directed by Rob Letterman (Goosebumps), off a script penned by Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy).
That’s all the entertainment news for this week. Welcome back to The Weekend Chill, your one-stop destination for what to watch, play, or listen to this weekend. Here are the best picks:
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s new comedy-drama is set in the late 50s New York, where a Jewish housewife Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) realises she has a knack for stand-up comedy after her struggling comedian husband confesses to an affair and leaves her, having provided feedback for his sets.
With no support from her family, who’s just happy to criticise her choice of husband, Midge ends up taking to the stage in an impromptu fashion at the same comedy club. Her life story strikes a chord with the audience, and she soon teams up with an employee there, Susie (Alex Borstein), despite people warning her about the comedy business. It’s also 1958, you know.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been praised by most critics, with Indiewire’s Ben Travers saying: “With a much-needed message for our times, a talented ensemble cast, and the period appeal of a “Mad Men”-with-a-feminine-flair production design, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is well on its way to becoming the next obsession for “Gilmore Girls” devotees.” All eight episodes of season 1 are already available.
How to access: Amazon Prime Video
Time commitment: 7 hours
The Big Sick
Based on the real-life relationship between Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) and Emily V. Gordon – who co-wrote the film – The Big Sick is the story of Pakistan-born comedian Kumail who has a meet-cute with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after she loudly heckles him during one of his sets. After their one-night stand turns into much more, it complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents.
Things gets much worse when their relationship goes cold, and Emily ends up in a medically-induced coma after a mystery illness, hence the title. It’s also the first time Kumail meets Emily’s parents Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano). He decides to stick around even though they weren’t together when Emily was diagnosed. Co-produced by Judd Apatow (Trainwreck) and directed by Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer), The Big Sick is a funny and heartfelt tale.
Critics have heaped praise on the film since its Sundance debut, singling out the protagonists’ chemistry, the performances of Hunter and Romano, and its cross-cultural themes. It’s currently one of the best films this year, and it’s now easily available to stream.
How to access: Amazon Prime Video
Time commitment: 1 hour and 59 minutes
The fifth season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – which sends our primary characters to space – begins Friday 8pm ET in the US on ABC with a two-hour premiere. You can also catch it via Amazon Video US, Google Play TV, iTunes US, or Vudu.
The second season of Joe Swanberg’s Chicago-based anthology comedy Easy arrives on Netflix Friday. For more Netflix options, check out our December guide.
Despite being an Amazon Studios picture, the Oscar-winning Manchester by the Sea still isn’t on Prime Video a year since its release, but you can now rent or buy it on iTunes in India now.
And lastly, Guy Ritchie’s Snatch is now available on Amazon Prime Video.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2
A sequel to the 2010 original for the Wii, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 marks the series’ arrival on the Nintendo Switch, with a completely new world and cast of characters. You play as Rex, who’s accompanied by his friend Pyra, as they set out to find Elysium, the ultimate paradise for humanity. The word Elysium is Greek for an afterlife of perfect happiness, so it’s pretty literal.
The game takes place among an ocean of clouds, with a diminished version of civilisation living on the backs of giant beasts called Titans. Along the way, you’ll meet Blades, unique beings who grant tremendous power to their users, called Drivers. Xenoblade 2 is getting a simultaneous launch worldwide, with all the localisation done during production.
It’s quite a long game, and early reviews note the huge, interactive world, and the overall depth of the gameplay as positives. It’s one of the best RPGs out in 2017 – which is interesting consider the good year RPGs have had – and you can take it on the go thanks to the Switch, with Xenoblade 2 well suited for shorts bursts of gameplay.
How to access: Nintendo Switch
Time commitment: 50+ hours
Resident Evil: Revelations
Capcom brought its Resident Evil bridge games – Revelations takes place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, and Revelations 2 between RE 5 and 6 – to the Switch this week, which makes it the third Nintendo console for the two titles after both 3DS and Wii U. They come with HD visuals, enhanced lighting effects, and more immersive sound.
The Switch version of Revelations and Revelations 2 also deliver additional content including a terrifying new enemy, extra difficulty mode and improvements to Raid Mode – where you take on hordes of enemies alone or in co-op – such as new weapons, skill sets and the opportunity to play as Hunk and other characters from the series.
Despite the claimed visual improvements, Revelations was still made for the 3DS, so don’t raise your expectations. Plus, we noticed very long load times during our review, though the gameplay and the return of series favourites Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield do make up for it.
Reputation by Taylor Swift
Released three weeks ago, Taylor Swift’s newest album – Reputation – is now arriving on streaming services, having become the best-selling album in the US this year. It marks a full-scale shift for the 27-year-old singer-songwriter, who moves into the world of electropop with her sixth full-length record, further leaning into the synth-pop side of 2014’s 1989.
There’s a forceful energy running underneath Reputation, which is both pulsating and infectious. The opening track “…Ready for It?” – released as a single in October – is a showcase of her sassy personality, which turns into bragging on “End Game”, a hip-hop mix featuring Ed Sheeran and rapper Future, and she declares her old self dead on “Look What You Made Me Do”.
Reviews have been slightly positive, with A.V. Club’s Clayton Purdom noting how it opts for “thudding trap beats, Vegas EDM, melancholy Drive-wave synthesizers, and splashes of Miami bass”, and The Guardian’s Alexis Petridis concluding: “At the heart of Reputation lies a sequence of songs that chart the rise, fall and fallout of a fleeting relationship and offer a masterclass in pop songwriting along the way.”
Utopia by Björk
Björk follows her 2015 dark, tumultuous breakup album Vulnicura with the cheery, optimistic Utopia, filled with electronics, flutes, harps, and sampled voices. Gone is the depression and hell that fuelled her past award-winning work, and it has been replaced by hope. Björk described writing the lyrics for Utopia as “paradise”.
“Vulnicura was about a very personal loss, and I think this new album is about a love that’s even greater,” she said in an interview. “It’s about rediscovering love – but in a spiritual way, for lack of a better word.” Her ninth studio album – with a total of 14 songs – is also her longest at 72 minutes, and has been produced by Arca and Rabit.
Reviews have been fairly positive for Utopia since its release last Friday, with Pitchfork’s Jeremy D. Larson saying: “It’s a long, skittering discovery of googly-eyed romance, […] rendered musically with unerring elegance and passion.” NME’s Leonie Cooper added the album transports “the listener to a magical sonic rainforest, with tracks like ‘Saint’ having more in common with a David Attenborough nature documentary soundtrack than a pop song”.