A Week on the Jokerside — 27 March 2017

The surreal Terminator countdown, Jokerside.com, 2012 [from the archive]

Monday means our regular round-up of the best, boldest and latest bits and bobs from pop-culture. What’s caught the blog with long-reads, cartoons and a smirk’s eye over the past week?

This week: A timeline Terminated, more confusion in Gotham, a shared universe collapses, another struggles on, and yet another grabs trailer of the week… All while horror icons get cozy, Spider-man relaxes, Cable gets electric, Handmaids tell a tale and an all-too-familiar galaxy unveils some SHOCKING Star Wars revelations. …

On the Jokerside

This week’s a momentous one for the UK, with the shiny, simple, and short letter invoking Article 50 scheduled to land in the lap of the European Union this Wednesday. Jokerside doesn’t do much politics, but it sure does dystopia. And we’re having a week of it - follow us on Twitter, Facebook, G+ to catch our dystopian posts!


Why the cyborg face? Handily enough, this was the week the future died. Again. Or did it? With the rights reverting to creator James Cameron in 2019, the Genisys timeline has been stopped in its tracks.

Revelations from Rogue One and far, far away: Things a little brighter out in space, a long time ago. As the so far $1bn grossing Rogue One gears up for home release, some snippets from (oddly) the first Star Wars story: First,that a major character originally had a more chilling, but slightly less satisfying demise that could have cost us and the Dark Lord of the Sith his final rampage. Second, Guy Henry explaining how the man more usually seen as Henrik Hanssen got his Moff on.

And then, even more shocking: Han Solo ISN’T Han Solo’s real name? Hang on a minute…

That said, all of this terror is insignificant next to the news that…

Starfleet Lunch alert: It’s all moving slightly slower on the Star Trek front, at least publicly (nothing to see, we mean nothing). We can only hope from the first tantalising shot of the Discovery crew off-duty that they’re eating well!

Introducing the Doctor: Some news emerges from the Whoniverse as the Series 10 premiere closes in. Kidneys? Legs? Ginger? Chris Chibnall has been confirmed, quite rightly, as adding to that list of graphic regenerative growths and hopes.

Dalek advance: At the front of the series once again, the Daleks are turning up for the launch party — but could there be much behind this puzzle of an in-joke-wrenching title change?

Unbottled-lightning: On another British institution, it seems that David Bowie won’t be getting a garish monument in Brixton. Not terrible news to our mind — you can’t pin the legend down to one persona…

Almost trailer of the week: There were some early contenders for trailer of the week. For what appears to be many of the wrong reasons, Deathnote almost made it:

Another close contender was Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale. As some of the comments apparently went, (sorry, some politics does get through!) “What is this liberal shit!?” — you know, that was written three decades ago...

There was even a bold surge from Frances McDormand with the Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri trailer — jolly good sweary, violent fun from McDonagh…

And then, over the weekend with barely a day’s notice, Justice League got a poster. OH AND IT GOT A TRAILER. TRAILER OF THE WEEK OF THE WEEK. I mean, tonnes to be hopeful for here and every chance it could end up as anything. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman stands a great chance of ruling the roost, as does the word ‘epic’. ‘Dark’ not so much… Although with Parademons, Amazonians, new Bat Toys, and what looks like trips to Apokolips DC’s not hanging around. And that’s without any sign of Kal-El or Steppenwolf. Can they resist the Doomsday effect when it comes to the final trailers? Well, if we didn’t resist wishing our life away, November 2017 couldn’t come fast enough…

Gordon’s (not) apprised! Even in the light of the Justice League trailer, a week couldn’t pass without The Batman casting the wrong kind of shadow. Oh Batman, my Batman — how can making this film get harder and harder?

Slack in black: Still, could be worse. The whole shared universe could get neuralyzed:

Ghost of a chance: Much as you’d hate a franchise to fall on one stumble, you’d have thought propsects were weaker over at Sony’s other formative franchise:

Laid back rivalry: Of course, Marvel couldn’t let DC grab all the publicity (as much as they were already dominating 50% of the comic movie forums over the weekend):

Sony defies bad luck: Elsewhere in the almost-Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony followed up last week’s Venom rumours by putting Black Cat back on the radar. Could that mean return of Felicity Jones as the alter-ego of Felicia Hardy after that all-too-brief cameo in The Amazing Spider-Man 2? This time she may well be joined by Silver Sable?

Life after Doomsday: And over on Fox’s Deadpool 2, the hottest silver-haired mutant ticket in Hollywood seems to have fallen near Michael Shannon. Could he swap Zod for Cable? Seems so…

Peak Cruise: Stunts, stunts, stunts. Something that Mission Impossible definitely delivers. Were it any other than the formerly underrated Christopher McQuarrie, we’d bemoan the fact that the series is breaking it’s director-per-instalment pattern. Six should be a charm for the franchise that got diminishing returns out of its system very early on.

No time to snooze: David Fincher seems to be in great demand, for everything — except perhaps The Girl who Played with Fire. Even if they run and run, it seems these zombies will always carry baggage:

“Let our powers combine!” Ah, whatever happened to Captain Planet? If you discover or reacquaint yourself with the animated do-goodery on Amazon, remember that it’s Leonardo DiCaprio chasing the big screen rights.

Chucking tomatoes: The press is seldom sympathetic to Brett Ratner, not helped by his much publicised reading material or his directorial portfolio, but has he got a point here (as he heads for the stocks)?

Return of the week: Onto music, and somehow The Jesus & Mary Chain released their new Album, Damage & Joy. That’s their first of the 21st century:

Thirteen events for 13 tracks: Liverpool risked anger over their lack of Revolver celebrations (well, from us almost entirely) by announcing a highly promising celebration of, if not their finest hour, quite probably the Fab Four’s defining LP. For the cultural impact alone, this summer belongs to the Lonely Hearts Club Band.

It’s my Wonderwall: And another interesting read on another Beatles-related anniversary:

Poster of the week: Justice League tried, but were pipped at the poster by the nicely brewing Alien Covenant. Everything looks so promising, in spite of, or perhaps because of, two Alien pictures being in development at the same time over at Fox. At least Covenant seems like a pure, and traditional alternative to a cinematic shared universe. And so it should. Ridley, Harper, Green, Paglen, Logan and Aliens in general... Do we have an agreement that this will be great sci-fi horror?

Sweetest horror icon of the week: Not an award we expect to dish out too often, but this week an easy one: Aw, Dario.


Finally, a sad note as we bid farewell to Bernie Wrightson. Co-creator of Swamp Thing, master of gothic comic art… Everyone should stick a nose into his sumptuous illustrated Frankenstein. Even if you think you’ve never seen it, it may well be lurking in the dark recesses of your mind.

Been Listening

The Twilight Zone: Shh. Whisper it, been listening to The Twilight Zone — specifically the massively distributed CBS-licensed audio adaptations of many of the original television classics that have rolled out in volumes since 2002. What it’s reminded me, as if it was necessary, is what a difficult beast an anthology series is. The range in quality can be extreme, something that’s haunted every attempt across many genres. Of course, that never stops their popularity, or perceived popularity. Just as The Outer Limits has re-emerged from the ether in its time, just as Dark Shadows has found new life as an anthology on audio, just as Black Mirror could happily jump ship to Netflix… It’s no surprise that M Night Shyamalan is propping up the slightly floundering return of Tales from the Crypt… or that JJ Abrams and Stephen King are targetting their own multi-partite slice with Castle Rock. Set around King’s most frequented fictional town, surely a horror anthology with sticking power is imminent.

Been playing

Doctor Who Legacy: Subscribed from the start, our playing of Doctor Who Legacy has been, truth be told, less reliable than a broken chameleon circuit. And that’s a shame. Legacy may not have been quite the mobile game everyone expected a few years ago, but it’s proved itself by keeping up with its audience and modern series and specials, while happily and diligently reaching back through the show’s history and into the expanded universe of Titan Comics and Big Finish. I mean, black and white Brigadier, who was crying out for him? Well, hopefully more people than wanted Cyber Brig. Shudder.

This week we finally broke through to the fourth episode of the puzzle game’s storyline, taking an even fuller TARDIS off to scrapes that pit every incarnation of the Doctor against every version of the Master. It’s a mash-up, true. But reaching these later levels, the thought given to battling Cyber Kings and Vashta Nerada show the care and balancing Tiny Rebel Games have put into their predominantly freemium creation. Worth a punt for any Whovian: it’s guaranteed to give you at least one thrill on the move, and slightly nimbler fingers.

Seriously, none of that is euphemism. Our increased Legacy playing hasn’t been helped by getting stuck on Silicon Studio’s RPG Bravely Default. May send out an appeal for some dungeon aid in the coming weeks…

Been Watching

No Flash in the pan: Caught the two-matching Flash set-pieces Attack on Gorilla City and Attack on Central City from Season 3. The CGI may push the TV production to the limit, but only just. It’s glorious to see the television Flash take on Gorilla Grodd in Gorilla City, before the advanced, telepathic primates ready a large-scale assault on the speedster’s home town.

And bloody hell, we’ll undoubtedly come back to this, someone nominate Tom Cavanagh for an Emmy. His multiverse portrayals of the multiple Harrison Wells are a genre TV highlight. Sinister, laugh out loud funny, utterly captivating. Despite its tiring momentum, The Flash doesn’t look like it’ll run out of steam on the small screen any time soon. Even with big screen multi-petition.

No replacement: In the past week, we’ve also crash-watched BBC One’s The Replacement. A brilliantly put together, ever-so slightly preposterous tale with twists and ambiguity grounded by a superb cast and the wonderfully fluid direction of writer and helmer Joe Ahearne. It’s enough to pine for Ahearne’s return to the Doctor Who fold, but we’ll probably make do with re-watching his classic 90’s Channel 4 classic, Ultraviolet.

In fact, there’s a lot of Channel 4’s back catalogue to dig into… See you next week.

Fill the gap until your next fix with just about 200 long-reads, cartoons and features running the gamut of Pop-Culture at Jokerside.com.

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