Andrew A. Smith
Tribune Content Agency
Summer is over, so most of the summer blockbusters are behind us. But despair not, fellow genre fans, because fall is bursting with mutants, trolls, vikings, oddball teenagers, zombies and sea kings. Here’s a list:
Alita: Battle Angel (Dec. 21): Most of the buzz about this adaptation of a series of Japanese graphic novels (about an amnesiac cyborg in a dystopic near-future) has been about the first trailer, where Alita’s deliberately enlarged eyes (to look like the original comics) creeped everybody out. The effect has been minimized in the second trailer, so that’s good – plus this film has a murderer’s row of talent attached: James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez (Sin City), Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley and more. Crossed fingers this will be the first manga adaptation to succeed in the U.S.
Aquaman (Dec. 21): Warner Bros. has had trouble bringing some of the most iconic superheroes of all time to the screen, in an era when Marvel can’t even miss with Ant-Man. Maybe what WB needs to do is focus on the B-list characters like the Sea King. It worked with “Iron Man,” didn’t it?
Jason Momoa stars as the eponymous Sea King in Aquaman, coming Dec. 21.
Arrow Season 7 (Oct. 15, The CW): Oliver “Green Arrow” Queen (Stephen Amell) is in jail with a lot of people he put there, so expect some serious discussions on the nature of justice and redemption. Ha ha! JK. They’re going to fight a lot. Meanwhile, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) has pink hair, and there’s mysterious a new guy pretending to be the Emerald Archer. This show just doesn’t sit still.
Black Lightning Season 2 (The CW): Unlike its CW brethren, this show remains more self-contained serial and less villain-of-the-week procedural. IOW, this season will be Black Lightning (Cress Williams), Thunder (Nafessa Williams) and Lightning (China Anne McClain) vs. Tobias Whale (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III), Syonide (Charbli Dean Kriek) and Painkiller (Jordan Calloway), Part II.
Starring in Black Lightning Season 2 are (from left) Nafessa Williams as Thunder, Cress Williams as Black Lightning, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as Tobias, Christine Adams as Lynn and China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Season 1 (Oct. 26, Netflix): Anyone tuning in with expectations of seeing Melissa Joan Hart is in for a shock. This version of the teenage witch is based on the new horror series from Archie Comics, in which – just to prove its bona fides –Sabrina’s boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle, has already been killed and eaten. The basic set pieces are there – Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka) lives with her Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto), Aunt Hilda (Lucy Davis) and cat, Salem, in small-town Greendale – but when she turns 16, her occult DNA triggers decisions and dangers. Netflix is so confident in this series it’s already ordered two seasons of 10 episodes each.
Kiernan Shipka stars as Sabrina in a more chilling take on the teenage witch on Netflix.
Daredevil Season 3 (Netflix): Marvel keeps hinting that the third season of the Man Without Fear (Charlie Cox) will debut in 2018, with all signs pointing to October. But whenever it arrives, it will use the famous “Born Again” storyline from the comics as inspiration, one in which we meet Matt’s mother, Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley), and in which Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) learns Daredevil’s secret ID. Whether Bullseye and Elektra are going to figure in the TV show as they did the comics is unknown, but we are certain to see more of Foggy Nelson (Elden Hensen) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll).
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Nov. 16): Eddie Redmayne returns as Newt Scamander in this sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel to the Harry Potter franchise set in 1920s New York City. Most of the original cast returns as well, including Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore), Katherine Waterston (Tina Goldstein) and Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone). Plus, Johnny Depp stars as the dark wizard of the title, despite a controversial reception at San Diego Comic-Con.
The Flash Season 5 (Oct. 9, The CW): The “mystery girl” from last season has been revealed as Nora “XS” West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Iris and Barry’s daughter from the future, who is also a speedster. Expect some “temporal anomalies” in the forecast, as Jean-Luc Picard used to say.
The Gifted Season 2 (Sept. 25, Fox): While not based on a specific comic book, Gifted is set in the X-Men sandbox, and takes full advantage of all the toys found therein. The mutants we met in the first season, and more besides, are dividing up between the sympathetic Mutant Underground and the EEEE-vil Hellfire Club. The second season picks up with a time jump, straight to Lorna “Polaris” Dane (Emma Dumont) having her baby, who will undoubtedly share her mother’s magnetic personality.
Hilda Season 1 (Sept. 21, Netflix): Hilda, the confident star of five kids’ graphic novels by Luke Pearson, has her own 12-episode animated show. It’s is based on the first four books, where the unflappable blue-haired girl deals with trolls, elves and humans with equal aplomb.
Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 (Oct. 22, The CW): The Legends have a Fantastic Beasts problem: Defeating Mallus last season (pronounced “malice,” in case you missed it) opened the door to a lot of mystical beings throughout the time/space continuum. Fan-favorite John Constantine (Matt Ryan) becomes a season regular to help deal with them.
The Orville Season 2 (Dec. 20, Fox): At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, creator and star Seth McFarlane said the show would continue to exist in “the Goldilocks zone” between comedy and sci-fi drama. So the same as last season, only more so.
Riverdale Season 3 (Oct. 10, The CW): With Archie arrested, the show is changing its name to Law & Order: Teenage Wasteland. No, that’s not true, although there’s really no telling with this show, a soap not afraid to let its freak flag fly.
Spider-Man: Welcome to the Spider-Verse (Dec. 14): Miles Morales, the Spider-Man from Marvel’s now-defunct “Ultimate” universe, takes center stage in this animated film. He’ll meet not only Peter Parker, but a host of Spider-people from various parallel universes – including a Gwen Stacy who goes by “Ghost-Spider.”
Supergirl Season 4 (Oct. 14, The CW): Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) starts mentoring new hero Nia “Dreamer” Nal (Nicole Maines), while former Lex Luthor Mercy Graves (Rhona Mitra) picks up where her former boss left off. With Mon-El, J’Onn J’Onzz and Winn Schott gone from the show, someone had to pick up the slack.
Melissa Benoist is Supergirl.
Titans Season 1 (Oct. 12, DC Universe): Based loosely on the historic New Teen Titans comic book (1980), a rootless Robin (Brenton Thwaites), at odds with Batman, finds his way to adulthood with a little help from his friends: Beast Boy (Ryan Potter), Raven (Teagan Croft) and Starfire (Anna Diop). This is the first live-action show for the new streaming service, DC Universe. and will run every Friday until the end of the year.
Alan Ritchson is Hank "Hawk" Hall and Minka Kelly is Dawn "Dove" Granger in Titans.
Venom (Oct. 5): Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) and his “other” will have a different origin in this movie than in the comics, since Venom is a Spider-Man spin-off and Spidey is, as Monty Python would say, Sir Not-appearing-in-this-film. It will still be based, more or less, on the Venom: Lethal Protector series, so feel free to read that for prep (just skip over any parts mentioning Sp*d*r-M*n).
Tom Hardy plays Venom in the eponymous movie.
Vikings Season 5 (Nov. 28, AMC): Did you stop watching after Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) died? Well, that’s understandable, given what an exciting, mercurial presence he brought to the show. But his death was foreordained by history, as is the current Great Heathen Army, but what happens to the show’s remaining non-historical principals – like Lagertha and Floki – isn’t predetermined. That’s actually something of a plus. Also, those huge battle set-pieces are only going to get bigger.
The Walking Dead Season 8 (Oct. 7, AMC): It’s no secret that this is the last season for two of TWD’s biggest characters, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan). But there’s a lot more going on here: A fast-forward time jump will see a throwback world where cars and guns have been replaced by horses and spears; where “The Whisperers” and “The Commonwealth” await from the comics; and TV-centric mysteries like Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) and her helicopter remain to be solved.
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