Sad to hear that Peter Mayhew, known largely as the actor who portrayed Chewbacca in five Star Wars films, passed away this week at the age of 71. Yet Mayhew’s death occurring two days before “Star Wars Day” (May the 4th be with you) probably resulted in even more attention and appreciation for his career than it otherwise may have received.
But maybe not. Chewbacca was a beloved, iconic character in the most famous movie franchise of all time (well, until Marvel and the Avengers came along). Mayhew’s death was going to be news. But a community came together online and in person, due to social media and Star Wars Day, to express their affection, which made it just that much more special.
Growing up with Star Wars (though I often recap my love of comic books and superheroes more), Han Solo was the coolest character for me. Roguish, charming, a little bit unethical, but ultimately noble. He wore a slick vest and piloted the best starship in the galaxy. Yet as I got older (and old), I developed more affection for Chewbacca. And not just because I often express myself with roars and grunts too.
After taking last week off, we’re back with a new Amusement Park Podcast. Chris and I look at the final Avengers: Endgame trailer for clues, react to Disney re-hiring James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, review Netflix’s Triple Frontier, and wonder if “streaming fatigue” is real.
Difficulty lining our schedules up and what appeared to be a slow news week were the primary reasons for us not recording last week. But even if we had recorded, we probably would’ve missed the Avengers: Endgame trailer and news of Disney re-hiring James Gunn for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Hopefully, you’ll still want to hear what we have to say on those subjects, along with some thoughts on streaming “subscription fatigue” among consumers.
Captain Marvel has arrived! And with that, it feels like 2019 is finally beginning at the movies. The Oscars are done, people are seeing or have seen last year’s awards contenders, and wannabe blockbusters such as Alita: Battle Angel have fizzled out.
We do get into spoilers on our special episode of the Amusement Park Podcast. But that part of the discussion begins about halfway through the show, at the 21:40 mark. So be warned! And please come back and compare your thoughts on the movie after you’ve seen it.
The original plan was to build this week’s Amusement Park Podcast around reviewing Captain Marvel, which figured to be the big geek culture event of the week. Then, news of Arrow announcing it would end after Season 8 broke and there was suddenly another topic to which we had to devote some significant time.
So our Captain Marvel review and reaction will be in a separate, special episode.
Eight seasons is a formidable run for any TV show. But it seems especially notable for a superhero TV show, and Arrow opened the door for a lot of other superhero programming to walk through — and that’s just on the CW alone with The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning and Supergirl anchoring that network. Arrow isn’t the show it once was — ultimately, it may have been too much of a Batman clone — and it’s probably bowing out at the right time.
We also dive into the Steven Spielberg vs. Netflix debate. I see where Spielberg is coming from. Someone needs to stick up for movie theaters and the experience they create. However, people increasingly prefer to watch movies at home if there’s a streaming option. To deny that is to deny the current moviegoing reality.
And I tip my cap to Seth Everett, who runs his own geek culture podcast titled Hall of Justice. It’s the show we hope the Amusement Park Podcast can come close to being someday. But Seth is also a sports guy who likes to let his geek flag fly, which is pretty cool. What a pleasant surprise to see him as a guest on DC Universe’s DC Daily show last week, and he interviewed the cast on his podcast.
I’ve always been a fan of the Academy Awards, even when I wasn’t as much of a movie buff as I am now. Once upon a time, I let the Oscars dictate most of the movies I went to see. Now, it’s the other way around: I hope the Oscars reflect what I felt were the best movies of the past year.
For various reasons, I wasn’t as excited about the Oscars this year as I usually am. I didn’t even make an effort to see all of the Best Picture candidates, which I typically do. I had plenty of opportunity to see The Favourite, Green Book, and Roma, however. (And I’ll see them in the weeks to come.)
But there was still plenty to talk about with the Oscars, notably the show not having a host and a crowd-pleasing blockbuster like Black Panther being one of the Best Picture nominees.
We also dissected the Season 3 finale of True Detective. Overall, I enjoyed the season, especially Stephen Dorff’s performance as Roland West. The mystery was intriguing enough, though not the driving storyline for the season, as it turned out.
I don’t write about baseball as much as I once did, and that means I don’t talk about it on radio or podcasts as much either. So I was grateful when Jim Irizarry invited me on his new podcast, Jim On Things, to talk about the upcoming MLB season and baseball’s woefully slow offseason.
You can listen to the show below, at the Jim On Things website, or through just about every podcast provider available, including Anchor FM, which I’m eager to learn about from Jim. We recorded the show via Zencastr, which provided some excellent sound (maybe too good, when you hear me loudly draw in a breath frequently).
Next time, maybe we’ll get into some of MLB’s proposed rules changes. And of course, we’ll have actual baseball to talk about in a couple of months. Or I’ll try to add to whatever stress Jim is experiencing about his upcoming wedding.
It was always great fun with Jim and Craig Williams (who I knew from one of his previous radio gigs) on their Maximus and the Bartender podcast talking baseball and pop culture. I could talk to those guys for nearly an hour and it felt like 10 minutes. I was bummed out when they had to shutter the show, but I certainly understand when life takes precedence over fun and hobbies, and they had to move on. I’m glad to hear Jim get back in the ring, though.
As someone who’s tried his hand at podcasting and may want to expand what I’m doing there, I’ll be following Jim to see what he does with his new show — not just in terms of content, but distribution. It gets easier each day to find a podcast and listen to it on whatever device you choose. Jim’s not trying to fit in a niche; he just wants to talk about whatever is on his mind and tell stories from his life. I’m intrigued by that.
With the Mister Rogers documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, debuting on both HBO and PBS last week, we thought it would be fun to talk about on the Amusement Park Podcast. I saw the movie last summer and thought it was one of the best movies of 2018, but Chris is just coming around to it now.
We also talk about the ideal streaming setup as more networks and studios create their own over-the-top services to compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. If you want to (or already have) ditched cable or satellite, which are the best services to sign up for that provide the content you’ll want to watch?
I’m probably long overdue to make some decisions on streaming subscriptions. I’ve basically signed up for everything, yet still maintained a cable subscription. Whenever I think Hulu is something I could live without, they launch an original series or documentary that gets me thinking it’s worth keeping. I also subscribe to DC Universe and the upcoming Criterion Channel. I’ll surely sign up for Disney+ once that launches.
Where I’ll probably make a cut is with sports. I shouldn’t admit this as someone who’d still like to work in sports media, but I don’t watch as much baseball as I used to and the Detroit Tigers likely won’t be worth many of summer hours, so I’ll probably ditch MLB.TV. That almost seems inconceivable to me (and I wrote it off as a work expense). But that’s nearly $150 I can save right there.