• a double rainbow
    sara reads the feed,  tv shows

    Spider-Cage is coming, along with a new Lara Croft (and more)

    Yesterday gave us a spectacular thunderstorm in northwest Nevada. Usually we don’t get t-storms like those until June! Basically the entire time we watched Happy Gilmore, we got hammered with rain. Some pretty sweet rumbles served as our laugh track.

    My favorite part was after night fell, though. All the toads were out. I took a short walk with mi familia and we got to see a bunch of our cutest neighbors flopping around wetly.


    I’m thinking of starting to divide Sara Reads the Feed by content area, since I’ve gotten into writing longer commentary and a couple links can turn into quite a post. This is all entertainment industry-related news. Let me know what you think?


    Nicolas Cage is Spider-Man Noir

    Nicolas Cage is a weird actor. I’m not the first to say it, and I won’t be the last. The weirdest thing about him is that simply having Nicolas Cage in a movie might transform it into A Nicolas Cage Movie, where he is the dominant central feature regardless of quality — or it might not be a Nicolas Cage movie *at all*. (A couple tread the line.)

    So what will we get with Nicolas Cage playing Spider-Man Noir in live-action? (Variety) I truly can’t predict it. Even within the increasingly lengthy list of Spider-Man movies, you get highs and lows.

    Even when you have a great Spider-Man, you might not have a great movie. And it’s not always obvious how a Spider-Man movie will age; what was panned initially might become a cult favorite. My personal Spider-Favorites don’t even necessarily include Peter Parker.

    I think we can look forward to one thing with a Nicolas Cage Spiderverse movie: It won’t be boring when he’s on screen. I have never been bored by Nicolas Cage.


    Phoebe Waller-Bridge Does a Tomb Raider

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge is bringing a Lara Croft movie to Amazon Prime. (Engadget)

    This is the kind of news I receive with an extremely neutral, apprehensive gritted-teeth smile. The Tomb Raider games are a long time favorite of mine — the originals as well as the ones from the 00s on X-Box 360.

    I always love Lara Croft when she’s the feminine response to a James Bond- or Indiana Jones-like fantasy. I want her to be rich, athletic, powerful, confident, and getting up to all sorts of mayhem. I haven’t seen them in a million years, but I remember enjoying the Angelina Jolie Croft movies (even though I didn’t like seeing her hook up with men; in the games, she’s sort of asexual but oriented toward the male gaze).

    Tomb Raider took another direction entirely in the 2010s games. They gave us a younger Lara in a survivalist setting that had the male gaze turned toward her ability to endure punishment. I really, really loathe those games. But they’re popular among others.

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag was a great watch back in the day. How is she going to approach Tomb Raider? She did an Indiana Jones movie, so I’m hoping she’ll get the spirit of the older games, but it’s not like she’s making them for me. The franchise has already departed from my tastes. I don’t expect to get it back.


    The Irish Keep Winning: Nicola Caughlan is Adorable

    Nicola Caughlan is out doing the PR stuff for season 3 of Bridgerton. I mostly liked the first season, didn’t watch the second, and can’t seem to escape PR for the third. I might catch up, especially because Caughlan is extremely charismatic. She’s one of the weirdly many Irish artists working in Hollywood, and I am definitely biased in their favor!

    In Refinery29, she talks about ageism in the industry. Caughlan and I are roughly the same age. I’ve been feeling it lately. Not that 36 is getting old, really; whatever decline I’ve experienced in my body is clearly inactivity-related and not actually age (yet). I’m not markedly worse at any skills than when I was in my 20s. Age is coming for me day by day, but right now, I’m still firmly in Adulthood and not yet Old.

    Yet I am at an age where I am increasingly *regarded* as old. Even though I’ve been on Reddit for almost as long as it existed, the userbase is mostly younger than me now; the way the teens and 20-somethings talk about 30s, you’d think I’ve got a foot in the grave. Mid- to late-30s is also when the entertainment industry starts putting women out to pasture. There is some perception of loss-in-value for women at this point.

    Caughlan has no interest in this narrative. She didn’t reach marked acting success until she was 30, and she’s just getting on her roll. It’s nice to see. I could use more of this kind of encouragement, personally. (And maybe I need to stop idly scrolling on Reddit.)

    Her interview with Seth Meyers was also short but extremely adorable.


    Seth Meyers Signed a New Contract

    Speaking of Seth Meyers, he’s sticking around for at least another four years. (Variety)

    I usually think of Seth as my favorite of the Late Night hosts these days, though I’m not sure I’d say he’s the funniest. He probably doesn’t think he’s the funniest either. He’s kind of an insider baseball dude, a comedian’s comedian, who likes to show his work on-stage. Did he bomb a joke? He’s going to talk about it, riff on it, and possibly call a writer out about it.

    I love his Corrections segment especially — mostly because it’s extremely unfunny, to the point where it loops back around. I always feel like Corrections is something he makes exclusively for his writers and crew. The humor is so specific to what will make them laugh, and they do! You can hear Amber Ruffin cracking up sometimes, which makes me crack up too.

    Everyone seems to have fun on Seth’s show, and I like that. I picked him up during the loneliest days of the pandemic. The apparent fraternity between his cast and crew is very charming, and it remains a highlight of my week.

    I have no idea if this is true, but I feel like Seth is on the long list for successors to Lorne Michaels. I think the short list is almost entirely Tina Fey. I’d prefer Seth, personally.


    Rings of Power Announced a Season 2 Date

    I caught the trailer first on Book Riot, so I’ll link to their post about it here.

    I have such mixed feelings about the first season of Rings of Power. I’m not a hater of the Amazon fantasy adaptations; I quite like Wheel of Time and I’m pretty chill about Rings of Power’s deviations from established canon. There was a lot of kerfuffle before it came out because the normal whiners didn’t like seeing so many nonwhite people in a Tolkien adaptation. Die mad, babies.

    Watching the trailer reminded me of all my “ehh” and “ooh” points. I liked the polycule with the two hot Dwarves and their hot Elf twink (predictably). The Harfoots were charming enough. I was well entertained by their whole thing with the Stranger. The music is really good!

    I really enjoyed Morfydd Clark as Galadriel, too — and you’ll hear no protests from me about making Elves like Galadriel have super dupery flippy-sword-and-bow abilities. They’re ancient, y’all! It was also awesome when Legolas surfed on a shield.

    But I found the usage of Halbrand/Sauron extremely unappealing. You know I love a villain/heroine romance, but Galadriel with Halbrand did absolutely nothing for me. I didn’t feel the chemistry. It looks like we’re going to have a *lot* of Halbrand/Sauron in season 2, and his goofy new House of the Dragon wig isn’t going to endear him to me further.

    Rings of Power didn’t manage to grab viewers for the entirety of the season. Viewership shrank dramatically episode-by-episode. Netflix would have already kicked it to the curb, but Amazon put too much money into Rings of Power to give up. They’ll have to pull some extremely super dupery flippy cool stuff to bring people back for season 2.

    Just throw Harfoots and Dwarves at me and I’ll probably be happy. It’s coming August 29th.

  • White text on a pink background that reads "Rory's 2023: TV".
    tv shows

    Rory’s 2023: TV

    TV and YouTube-esque video are the only media where I don’t get auto-generated stats about my year. (I still don’t have a great way to track YouTube watching, so I’m not recapping 2023.) But I did track TV via Notion in 2023, to somewhat messy results. I’m not happy with it. Unfortunately, I have no better ideas on how to track it right now, so I’ll probably do the same for 2024 (unless Letterboxd actually launches TV tracking and I don’t hate it).

    Still, messy or not, I can talk broadly about the shows I watched.

    Old rewatches

    -Community: It’s hard to be Very Online at my age and not have seen at least some Community. During my early-2023 winter slump, watching in full was a good way to pass the time. It’s not an uncomplicated watch—many of the jokes and stances haven’t aged well, and there’s a whole lot of behind-the-scenes goings-on that I can’t begin to watch—but Troy and Abed are two of my all-time favorite TV characters.

    -The Untamed: I started 2024 with a rewatch of this, too! Wonder who I have to bother to get a US physical release of this show so I can stop worrying about it disappearing forever. I think this is the only comfort rewatch TV I have at the moment, and I’m happy to have it.

    -Big Love: I watched Big Love in full as it aired and remembered loving the ending, so I wanted to see how it held up on a rewatch. (Answer: I still like it, but the last season is largely silly and undermines it.) It’s fascinating how the show’s fiction is built around the myths of Mormon polygamy just as much as some of the realities; watching Sister Wives and looking up analysis of that has taught me a lot in that regard.

    (Yes, I also watched Sister Wives and Shiny Happy People this year, but I’m largely refraining from commentary because TLC is completely morally bankrupt, and I would have to do a lot of grounding in greater context to feel like I’m even beginning to do that justice. I rec Shiny Happy People if you can handle it, though; look up trigger warnings first.)

    -Interview with the Vampire s1: I made a point of rewatching when they had the episodes up on (HBO) Max temporarily. A quick marathon was nice after doing a week-to-week first watch. It worked great both ways! I wish there were more episodes, but the writers filled the time beautifully. Makes me regret how dull I found Mayfair Witches (but then, I’ve always been more into Vampire Chronicles).

    Shows that finished in 2023

    -Succession: A show that rushed its ending, but they were far from the only HBO show to have that problem in 2023. (I suspect the looming strike was also a factor.) Endings are hard, but even with everything, I found Succession’s last season satisfying and emotionally devastating in parts. I’m extremely pleased that this was the Sarah Snook-Kieran Culkin award season. My faves!

    -Scott Pilgrim Takes Off: I never fully clicked with Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but Scott Pilgrim Takes Off was a fascinating revisit with a lot of the same people. In this case, age came with evolved perspectives on people and relationships. I like art that recognizes that we can grow and be kinder over time!

    -The Crown: This was a comfort show for me in the first couple seasons, so seeing its writing degrade over time was a real bummer. (Nothing in the show topped 2×06.) I don’t regret watching the rest because I liked the production design and some of the casting. Plus, I felt like they were circling a monarchy-is-dying message in the finale that was interesting. But ultimately, it was a lot of unchecked bigotry and unchallenged regurgitation of palace narratives.

    -Schmigadoon!: One of two shows I moved from my “may have more seasons” to “finished” column before I started writing this. It’s a shame because there was a lot of talent and fun here, but I’d be lying if I said season two didn’t capture me like season one did. Maybe it’s better that Apple canceled it before it became Ted Lasso? Still, disappointing to lose an outlet as an agoraphobic musical-theater kid.

    -Our Flag Means Death: Here’s the second show I moved to “finished”. The trajectory this show took in my life is fascinating. I went from elated and telling everyone I knew about it as season one aired, to cooling on the show while waiting for season two, to sad while watching season two. It definitely didn’t deserve the obvious shoestring budget it was working off, and I loved all the ensemble. Here’s hoping I can watch Vico Ortiz in something else soon.

    Continuing shows

    -Heartstopper: I might not have a lot of comfort TV shows, but Heartstopper is one of my comfort comics, and I love its TV adaptation deeply. Season two was even better than season one for me, although I watched both back-to-back and had a great time. I’m so glad season three’s in progress.

    -Good Omens: I love the Good Omens book, but I haven’t quite clicked with the show in the same way. S1 wasn’t a bad adaptation of the book, but it still missed something for me? And then s2 was forging its own path and worked even less. (This might have been because I didn’t get to watching the new episodes right away, and the online hype grew too big.) I’ll still watch the last season, whenever that happens.

    -What We Do In The Shadows: Guillermo! It’s hard to keep a show fresh for multiple seasons, but I’ve loved Guillermo’s journey the whole way through. I think 2024’s going to have the show’s last season, and while I’m sad, I do think it makes sense and doesn’t feel overly rushed. Maybe this will be a comfort rewatch show when I have all of it. (Fingers crossed they don’t blow the landing.)

    -Wheel of Time: I love this show despite myself? Some of it is that I imprinted on the book series as a young teen and seeing some parts onscreen will never not be a thrill. But there are several arcs that dragged, and several things that were iffy in the books and felt worse onscreen (sul’dam/damane, anyone?). All that said, I still felt a huge rush of joy watching the finale. Sometimes, you just wanna see the ride, even if it’s flawed. (It helps that the Forsaken are fantastic so far!)

    Star Trek

    This gets its own section!

    -Lower Decks: I think Lower Decks is as good as any show can be in its fourth season. Which is really good, but definitely showing a little wear? I thought the Mariner arc was fun, and there were some highlights this season that were as good as any of the best episodes in other seasons, but they’re in a place where they kind of had to promote everyone, and that moves it away from some of the ensemble charm and core lower-decks identity that’s always been my favorite part. That’s pretty nitpicky on my part, though. I still enjoy every episode more than basically any other show on TV.

    -Strange New Worlds: High highs and low lows. Lower Decks does a good job at channeling the 90s era Treks, and SNW does a decent job at translating classic Trek into the 2020s. I wish I could jettison the post-Enterprise grossness around military and ethics, and I wish it was remotely queer. Still, I definitely have fun most of the time. They had body swap! A musical episode! Red-shirt and time-travel shenanigans! I just wish it didn’t also have “eugenics is good actually” and “M’Benga can just kill whoever he wants”? But unevenness is also in line with original Trek, so…good job, I guess?

    -Lower Decks on Strange New Worlds: SO GOOD. I can’t believe how well they translated animated comedy characters into a live-action show! Boimler and Spock blowing things up together was so fun, and I loved Mariner bonding with the crew. Possibly one of my all-time favorite episodes of Trek?