Back of the Net(flix)

24 hours after the release of the trailer for its exclusive ‘Breaking Bad’ spin-off ‘Better Call Saul’, it’s clear that Netflix is the future of TV. Sure, Sky has ‘Fortitude’ coming up and all the HBO shows, not to mention Amazon coming up from behind with their own streaming service (and a commitment to movie production with their new film studio plans), but Netflix’s 2015 schedule of new and returning shows is a reminder that  we are in safe hands. For a small fee, of course.

better call saul

As well as ‘Saul’, which seems set to be a wisecracking companion piece to Heisenberg’s straight-up crack, there is a slew of streamable telly treats coming our way. New ‘House of Cards’ in Feb and ‘Orange is the New Black’ in summer have come to be expected now, but no less cherished; meanwhile, the increasingly eclectic mix of genres looks set to continue with dark US family drama ‘Bloodlines’ approaching in March, mere weeks after ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, Tina Fey’s irrepressibly bouncy-looking new NY sitcom.

Fey’s new show looks unashamedly girly (more ‘Mean Girls’ than ’30 Rock’ perhaps?) and Netflix’s penchant for girl power shows looks set to continue with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in ‘Grace and Frankie’, which may be a gamble but a potential surprise hit if NF’s track record is anything to go by. And, of course, there’s movie-inspired mayhem from ‘Matrix’ minds, the Wachowskis, with their new original series ‘Sense8’ and the first in a promised run of Marvel off-shoots with a ‘Daredevil’ reboot come April. And I get the sense this is still just scratching the surface of a potent TV revolution – bring it on, Netflix!

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Trailer Tuesday: Fancy Fantastic?

If you nodded at the question posed by this post’s title, then you’re in for a treat. Not only do you get one fantastic thing, but four – thanks to the new trailer for the imminent ‘The Fantastic Four’ reboot. Superhero nerds everywhere, do your Tuesday jive dance boogie!

I can’t say I’m the authority on the Storms and co., never having encountered the comics or caught the Alba/Evans-starring footnote and its sequel back in the noughties. Back in 2005 of course, not every superhero had to brood and act all taciturn in the shadows quite as much, and this trailer concerns me slightly in that it looks like just any other Nolan-indebted gloomy origin story.

However, with its not-obvious cast choices and a director who has form in directing unusual superhero fodder (Josh Trank previously directed the shaky-cam ‘Chronicle’), this could be a smart move from Twentieth Century Fox, banking gold at the box office with a super collective to rival their ‘X-Men’ franchise. So confident are they, that a 2017 sequel is already in the works… wonder what Marvel Studios are thinking, hmm?

Giveaway: Guardians of Christmas

It’s very likely on any self-respecting geek’s Christmas list already, but a festive treat is on its way to one lucky reader in the form of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Whether you’re the only person not to have seen one of the biggest films of the year, or you just want to re-live the insanely idiosyncratic intergalactic adventure all over again, you may be interested to know I have one DVD copy of the Marvel blockbuster to give away this Christmas.

guardians of the galaxy

It’s very simple to be in with a chance of winning. All you have to do is the following:

1) Head over to Twitter during the festive period and follow @nicetogeekyou.

2) Retweet any one of the giveaway-related Tweets I’ll be sending out over the next few weeks before giveaway entry closes on 09/01/2015.

You KNOW you wanna see the New Year in by sticking on a DVD and enjoying the hi-jinx of a talking tree and wisecracks delivered by a renegade raccoon! So, what are you waiting for? Good luck.

Prize Giveaway Terms & Conditions
Prize giveaway open to anyone in the UK aged 18 or over. Entry closes 11:59pm on 09/01/2015. One winner will be chosen at random and notified shortly thereafter via Twitter, whereupon a postal address for delivery of prize will be requested. Entry method as described above: to be considered eligible, you must follow @nicetogeekyou on Twitter and have retweeted at least one of the daily @nicetogeekyou tweets promoting the giveaway. The prize is as stated, with no alternative offered unless the advertised prize becomes unavailable. If a response is not received from the selected winner within 7 days, that winner will effectively forfeit his/her prize and another winner will be selected in his/her place. Entry constitutes full and unconditional acceptance of these Terms & Conditions.

Post-Comic Con Recon

So, now the geek dust has settled and San Diego costume shops have had their supply of superhero capes returned, it’s (perhaps past) time to reflect on the year’s biggest annual genre convention.

While there was nothing quite as awesome as last year’s impromptu Loki cosplay from Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston, there were some rather exciting announcements. Because I love lists – damn you, Buzzfeed! – here are the 15 things to emerge from SDCC ’14 that your McGeek is most excited about:

avengers 2

1. The new ‘Age of Ultron’ info, headed up by the insane poster above, is super news for fans of those super-sorts, The Avengers. Whedon, Downey, exciting new baddies – is it April 2015 yet?

2. Next year’s other Bigger-than-Big superhero team-up, ‘Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’ revealed its feminine charms with shots of Gal Gadot in her Wonder Woman cozzy. Wouldn’t it be funny if she kicks both their asses?!

3. The ‘Warcraft’ trailer. Never played it, doubt I ever will – but looks pretty epic!

4. Following its glowing reviews and major box office, it was announced that ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is getting a sequel. Not too bad for a Marvel-lous gamble featuring a talking tree, huh?

5. Speaking of sequels, Gareth Edwards gets to play with his monster toybox some more with a second ‘Godzilla’ movie. After the somewhat muted reception to this year’s San Francisco-set rampage, maybe Edwards will deliver the monster movie to rule – and smash – all other monster movies with his second Godzilla outing.

6. Here’s some more sequel news for you – or sorta-sequel prequel news, anyway. King Kong’s prehistoric island home will be a destination for summer cinema audiences soon with a newly announced trip back to ‘Skull Island’. Joe Cornish is in the frame to direct.

7. Oh, and Christopher Nolan unveiled a new trailer for ‘Interstellar’. Thinkings, space travellers?

8. Summer means an impending new season of TV, so many of our favourites were in the frame. ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ happily gets a second season despite a tail-off in viewership, so with that we get rumours of new characters like super agent Mockingbird as well as new cast members, including Lucy Lawless and ‘Dollhouse’s Reed Diamond.

9. Keeping it Marvel, an interesting expansion of the property’s TV portfolio comes with a rebooted ‘Daredevil’ for can-do-no-wrong Netflix. Will the platform’s creative freedom allow for the edgy, dark incarnation that the Ben Affleck vehicle so sadly wasn’t??

10. Didn’t think Homer would ever meet Peter Griffin? Erm…

homer meets peter griffin

11. Still reeling from the second season finale of ‘Hannibal?’ The third course will be set a year after that shocking bloodbath – and, as a Bryan Fuller buff and avid fan of the show, I can’t wait to see who lives, who dies and what the cannibal concocts next. The Red Dragon himself, Francis Dolarhyde, is set to make an appearance. Nightmares at the ready.

12. TV/game crossovers can be tricky to get right (‘Defiance’ anyone?) but the news that the cast of ‘Firefly’ are reuniting for a new online game is just, well, SHINY. She keeps on flying… *happy sigh*

13. Sam Raimi, in attendance to announce ‘The Last of Us’ film adap, also teased a possible new ‘Evil Dead’ series with Bruce Campbell also possibly involved. Can post-watershed handle this?

14. Horror buffs can also look forward to a return-to-form Guillermo del Toro, who takes a pause from pitting robots against giant monsters to deliver in ‘Crimson Peak’ the type of elegant, scary-as-hell pic with which he first made his name. Jeepers creepers.

15. Finally, Christmas soon which means mince pies, Santa and one big ol’ present in the final (for now) trip to Middle-earth for Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’ trilogy. Sniff.

Until next year! Someone buy me a ticket??

What a Marvel

clark-gregg-agent-coulson

Tonight, UK fans of Marvel’s ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ finally uncovered the truth about the mysterious Cellist (and discovered she looked a lot like Amy Acker – yay!) but, after all the shocks and surprises as Whedon and his team lead to an end-of-season climax, it’s reassuring to find out today that Coulson’s team is getting a second series.

Yep, despite the ratings dip that has followed the sterling season opener, the Marvel brand holds a lot of weight and luckily the TV spin-off is getting another run – bucking the curse of Whedon’s ‘Firefly’ and ‘Dollhouse’ for now.

hayley-atwell-agent-carter

Not only that, but Marvel continues its transition to the small screen with the newly announced ‘Agent Carter’ which, following Hayley Atwell’s character revival in the ‘Captain America’ sequel and a short that accompanied ‘Iron Man 3’, has been picked up for a series that will follow Cap’s former ass-kicking love.

So, with Phase 2 of the Marvel legacy soon to close, exciting times are ahead – and not just in the cinema. Overkill could be a danger here, but so far Kevin Feige and his team have hardly put a foot wrong (although I still haven’t seen Norton’s pre-Ruffalo ‘Hulk’) so hopes are high. What a Marvel!

Never Seen Star Wars?

star wars

We all have that friend who shakes their head at us when we tell them we haven’t watched that TV show/seen that movie/read that book/played that game that they’re so enamoured by. We’ve all felt inadequate and out of the loop when receiving this reaction, so much so that we rush out to buy the raved-about boxset or whatever it is to appease our friends and sate our souls.

Exhibit A: the droves of people inhaling ‘Breaking Bad’ via Netflix after the slow-burn cult fave suddenly exploded into ‘Homeland’-style watercooler TV during its final season. Walter deserves the following, sure, but when did friendly critical recommendation turn into guilt-trip binge watching in an effort to bridge the cred-diminishing gap?

The thing is, in this media-blitz age, we can’t all have watched/played/read every well-received entertainment property – unless you don’t have a job (even then), it’s just not realistic. Sure, you can spend your weekends devouring ‘Mad Men’ boxsets but for every Don Draper, you’ll have to sacrifice a Tony Soprano or an 8-hour ‘Skyrim’ blitz.

So, as McGeek, what is my dark and dirty secret? There’s plenty on my Sky planner and Netflix ‘to watch’ list, plus a small fortune of CDs, books and games on my Amazon wishlist (even prior purchases on my shelves that I’m yet to touch). As a self-professed geek, I should probably feel slightly ashamed – heck, you may even spurn this blog upon discovering – that one small little space saga sits at the top of my unwatched list.

Yup, that’s right: I’ve never seen ‘Star Wars’.

Holy shit beans. Put down your lightsabers though, guys; my geek ignorance may astound you, but it’s just something I haven’t gotten round to. I haven’t wilfully spurned the series, instead simply going through life without returning to the Jedi after a primary school showing of ‘A New Hope’ had me glued to my seat but not necessarily crying out for more.

star wars stormtroopers

Of course, as a wisened geek, the original saga is definitely something I intend to catch at some point, especially now the franchise is getting the JJ/Disney treatment in the next few years. One weekend awaits in my future where I’ll sit down with a family-sized box of Maltesers and gorge on both that and George’s galaxy.

Of the new trilogy, through some mishap I ended up seeing ‘Attack of the Clones’ at the cinema but I admit to having no idea what was going on during its flurry of a final hour. Maybe I wasn’t invested enough, maybe my ignorance of the originals rendered a prequel redundant, maybe it was just a bit shit (surely, some ‘Star Wars’ fanatics agree here?); whatever the case, I’m sure a sit-down with the most recent entries will occur at some point too but maybe without quite as much as guilt on my side that it’s my first time.

The thing with ‘Star Wars’ is that it’s one of those few cultural entities that is so all-pervading that perhaps part of the reason I haven’t seen it in full is because I feel I don’t necessarily need to. Storm troopers, ewoks, the Death Star, the true identity of Luke Skywalker’s father… I feel like I’ve been there and back already, such is the frequency that the universe’s iconography is referenced in all manner of TV, film, games and music.

With the new phase of ‘Star Wars’ looking like a mighty Marvel makeover – a new film every year, character standalones, etc. – it’s an apt time for any newcomer like me to make nice and get acquainted. The casting rumours are flying thick and fast, with relative unknowns like ‘Girls’’ Adam Driver to the original Hamill/Ford/Fisher cast, being bandied about.

However, before I get all excited and offer opinions about what the new movies should or shouldn’t be, I should really visit a galaxy far, far away. Anyone got a boxset they wanna loan me??

14 for 2014: Interstellar Summer of Cinema

In 2014, there are myriad reasons to visit the cinema and watch moving images with strangers in a dark room.

First off, this year’s summer blockbuster lineup is a strong one for the comic book tribe. As well as the aforementioned mighty Marvel movies, there’s a return to ‘Sin City’, an electrifying comeback for Andrew Garfield’s ‘Amazing Spiderman’, and perhaps the best cast ever in the twisty-turny timebomb of an X-Men movie ‘Days of Future Past’.

As well as this, it’s the year of a Lego movie (yup), further entries in the ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Hobbit’ franchises, and another headache-inducing ‘Transformers’ extended toy TV ad. For something truly original and potentially special, look to sci-fi wonderment from the Waschwoskis in ‘Jupiter Ascending’ and Johnny Depp’s latest weirdo turn in ‘Transcendence’.

Deserving of its own special mention in the countdown is Chris Nolan’s first post-Batman masterpiece (bit early to use that word, but this is the guy who gave us ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Inception’, after all), the mystery wrapped in an enigma shrouded in a question mark that is ‘Interstellar’. With a starry cast, including Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, and an unknown plot involving a worm hole of all things, this could be ‘Gravity’ as directed by the master who gave us ‘Memento’. Bring it.

christopher nolan

14 for 2014: One Last Sherlock and Marvel-lous Movies

It’s a grey, rainy Monday and Christmas is officially over even if you have some leftover mince pies in your lunchbox – because, that’s right, it’s back to work too! Not feeling January yet? Well, here begins my countdown of 14 things to be excited about in 2014. Not just any 14 things either, but 14 of the coolest, date-in-the-diary, OMFG-worthy things that any and every geek should be excited about this year.

Cumberbitches, you’ll be happy to know your boy’s made the list. Following on from New Year’s Day treat ‘The Empty Hearse’ and yesterday’s frighteningly funny farce ‘The Sign of Three’, we have one final mystery to maintain our Holmesian horn. Can anything top second season finale’s Moriarty-flavoured dance with death? Featuring ‘The Killing’s Lars Mikkelsen as new super-villain Charles Augustus Magnussen, it promises to be a suitably dramatic end point for now. Check out the trailer below – get through this week and this lil’ treat will be waiting for you, Sunday night on the BBC.

It’s only a matter of time before Cumberbatch or Freeman wind up in a Marvel movie, such is the studio’s current Thor-like grip on the hammer of Hollywood. As the Marvel universe continues into its Phase Two, following sterling efforts from ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Thor’ last year that surprised by being better than they had any right to be, this summer looks set to be one of Marvel-lous movies.

First up, there’s the second outing for Captain America in ‘The Winter Soldier’ which looks set to give the dullest Avenger some cred as he pairs up with Scarlett’s Black Widow for some 21st Century heroics. More interesting though is August’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ which sounds and, considering the first official still below, looks pretty mental. James Gunn takes Marvel fans into deep space, with a villainous Karen Gwilliams and kick-ass talking raccoon (yup, he talks – and sounds like Bradley Cooper in fact) amongst the loony licks we can expect.

marvel guardians

It could be the next level of comic book movies, or it could briefly derail Marvel’s movie empire – either way, it’s not gonna be boring. Look out for more non-boring things to look out for in 2014 throughout the week.