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New Escapist Column! On “Obi-Wan Kenobi” as a Brand Management Checklist…

I published a new piece at The Escapist this evening. With the broadcast of the final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi this week, it seemed like an opportunity to take a look back at the show.

Despite a promising start, Obi-Wan Kenobi descended into a mess of content. The final episode was not a story so much as a collection of demands compiled from what the studio assumed that the internet might want. There were gratuitous callbacks to memetic lines. There were largely redundant cameos. There were battles that just ended in stalement because of the understanding of what had to follow. There was the return of characters who last appeared in the premiere, with the assumption that audiences would care about them because they were “important.”

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

284. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (#—)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guest Luke Dunne, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The master of the mystic arts, Doctor Stephen Strange, is attending the wedding of his ex-girlfriend Christine Palmer when New York is attacked by a strange creature chasing a young refugee named America Chavez. Strange finds himself drawn into a chase across the vast and infinite multiverse, questioning the nature of the reality in which he has found himself.

At time of recording, it was not ranked on the list of the best movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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New Escapist Column! On What the Netflix Marvel Shows Bring to Disney+…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the arrival of the Netflix Marvel streaming shows on Disney+ last week, it seemed like a good opportunity to take stock of where the service’s brand was at.

Disney has established a reputation as a family-friendly company, often outsourcing its more adult-oriented fare to distinct subsidiaries with their own identities. This is arguably less sustainable in the streaming age, as companies are consolidating and the key to a streaming service’s viability might lie in the variety of its content. So Disney+ finds itself at a crossroads, forced to chose between its long-term appeal to a diverse array of audiences and its parent company’s history of wholesome family entertainment. The arrival of the Netflix Marvel shows provide a challenge and an opportunity.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and Why It’s Okay for Pop Media to Be Dark…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the first trailer and initial press for Obi-Wan Kenobi, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at the troubled production.

In January 2020, it was announced that filming on Obi-Wan Kenobi had been delayed at the last minute, with the season’s scripts thrown out and a new showrunner brought in. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that this was the case, that the initial scripts had been junked because they contrasted with the hopeful and uplifting tone that Disney wanted for the show. However, it’s interesting to wonder whether a show like Obi-Wan Kenobi really must be optimistic and uplifting, or whether it is sometimes okay for populist entertainment to strike a tone that suits its story.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! In Defense of Apple TV+…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist earlier this week. With the upcoming release of Severance on Apple TV+, it seemed like a good excuse to take a look at one of the most interesting players in the streaming wars.

Apple TV+ lacks many of the advantages shared by its competitors. It doesn’t have a deep library of back content and intellectual property like Disney+, HBO Max and Paramount+. It also lacks the reach of Netflix or Amazon Prime. However, slowly and surely, without the comfort of existing brands and established intellectual property, Apple TV+ has managed to carve out a unique and distinctive identity in the stremaing wars. Not everything on the service works, but there’s generally a sense that anything that made it to screen is there because somebody fought for it.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

231. Mac and Me (-#83)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Niall Glynn and Richard Drumm, The 250 is a weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released Saturdays at 6pm GMT.

So this week, Stewart Raffill’s Mac and Me.

Following a move to California, young Eric is feeling a little alienated and disconnected. However, the young boy’s life is quickly turned upside down following a chance encounter with a creature from another world that has a strange hunger for Coca-Cola and Skittles.

At time of recording, it was ranked 83rd on the list of the worst movies of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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