A trip to the wig store, a masquerade ball, and an appearance by Donald Faison, all set to a song by The Shins? It can only be the teaser trailer for Zach Braff's latest stint in the director's chair, Wish I Was Here. In the film, Braff stars as Aidan Bloom, an actor, husband, and father in his mid 30s who finds himself unable to pay for his children's private school when his father gets sick. He decides to home school them instead, and the results are nothing like what he expected. Wish I Was Here, which was funded entirely via Kickstarter, also stars Kate Hudson, Joey King, Mandy Patinkin, and Josh Gad.
And, like a (d)evolution of his feature debut Garden State, this movie seems like it will pack in enough painfully hip, twee, aggressively artistic, and downright annoying elements to make you stand on an abandoned piece of heavy machinery and scream into a quarry. Here's a roundup of all of these "ughhh" moments that we noticed in the Wish I Was Here trailer.
Opening on a Wall of Wig Heads Okay, we get it, you're artsy. Does this have anything to do with the film?
Affirmations of People Being "Unique and Awesome" Everybody knows that the inspirational message is supposed to come at the end of the trailer, not the beginning. It's film 101!
Carrying Around Money in a Plastic Jug It's annoying and unweildy. The people in line behind you at the store need to get on with their lives.
Everyone's Dressed Like SuperheroesAnd not a single Batman, Spider-Man or Captain America is anywhere to be found.
Soundtrack by The Shins You're just making it easy for people to make fun of you now, Zach Braff. Think outside of the emotionally-driven indie rock box for a change.
Lens Flare If we don't like it when J.J. Abrams does it, we probably won't like it when you do it.
Everyone's on Their Phone Are those kids even old enough to own smart phones? And don't they know it's rude to play on your phone when you're supposed to be watching a movie?
Zach Braff, Space Explorer Wait, all of a sudden this is a sci-fi movie now? What happened to the quirky, indie thing you were doing three seconds ago?
Donald Faison Appears Briefly...And everyone wishes they could be re-watching Scrubs instead. Remember the musical episode? Good times.
Glass Breaking, Fire, Screaming in Rapid Succession We're assuming it's some kind of metaphor for inner turmoil.
So. Much. Genre-Bending.There's a period masquerade, a space adventure and a weepy tear-jerker, all in a midlife-crisis indie. How many movies are in this one movie? Is this Braff's attempt to make Inception?
Soft-Lit Suburban Streets Again, we get it, you're artsy. You don't need the fake fireflies to drive the message home. Less is more, Zach Braff.
Drafthouse Films via Everett Collection
There are a lot of ideas floating around in Cheap Thrills. They're interesting, they're dense, and they're fruitful endeavors for the world of psychological horror. But they are relegated to floating, never quite anchoring into any real conclusions or statements about their desperate, depraved subjects.
We meet Craig (Pat Healy), a happily married father of one, on a particularly bad day: he loses his job, is slapped with an eviction notice, and — to top it all off — bumps into a pesky old chum (Ethan Embry) from his younger days. A fellow who Craig, a loser in his own right, judges for never having gone anywhere. As the high school buddies catch up, they are roped into the increasingly violent and grotesque high jinks of a pair of thrill-seeking strangers (David Koechner, giving an impressively haunting performance, and a nearly wordless Sara Paxton) with the promise of bright financial futures dangled in front of them. The men, each of thinning pride, gradually give way to monetary temptation as they play along in these treacherous mind games, the biggest mystery being if a limit to their desperation exists.
Drafthouse Films via Everett Collection
Although it's an intriguing venture, the sociological study stops at its thesis question. In truth, the movie's philosophical makeup can be summed up with the Klondike Bar slogan. Still, there is meat to be found: the bubbling lava underneath the crust of Craig and Vince's (Embry) long dormant friendship comes with a few humanistic ditties about breaking free from your past, and the pangs inherent in facing off with someone who knows the you that you've been trying to escape. But these ideas, too, aren't milked to their full potential. The only element of the film that does hit its promised summit: the grossness.
Cheap Thrills does deliver, and then some, on the ick factor. It's not an abundance of gore or violence that does it, but the visceral, intimate nature with which the gore is handled. Everything is up close and personal, all pains really felt. If this is your bag, then Cheap Thrills will come through here. But psychologically, it does little more than present would-be interesting ideas. Fun in the set-up, occasionally thrilling in the delivery, but never particularly fulfilling in the conclusion.
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A new challenger appears!
Just when The Hunger Games was getting comfortable at its place at the top of the young adult novel food chain, the Divergent series has come to give The Hunger Games a run for its money, and maybe become the new top dog in town. In Divergent, Shailene Woodley plays Tris, a teenaged member of a future version of Chicago that separates people into five factions based on their personalities, and as in all young adult novels, it's up to her to save the world. So how does Tris stack up with heroines from other novels. We wondered what would happen if Hermione from Harry Potter, Katniss from the Hunger Games, Bella from Twilight, all got into a Hunger Games-style battle royale. So down goes the gauntlet. Which Young Adult novel heroine would win in an all out, knock-down, drag-out battle for book-to-film adaptation bragging rights?
The pesky know it all, and loyal companion to the boy who lived, Harry Potter.
Weapons: Magic wand, bottomless purse full of plot contrivances
Strengths: Hermione has the distinct advantage of knowing everything that has to do with everything. She can pull out a life-saving piece of knowledge, or the exact necessary magical gadget for any given situation faster than you can say "deus ex machina." Also, she knows freakin' magic which should, you know, help considerably.
Weaknesses: This is a fight after all and Hermione Granger is much more of an idea person than a fighter. Throughout the books and movies, we see her mostly on the sidelines of the action, while Ron and Harry do most of the fighting. She would easily outsmart any of the other combatants on the list, but if things come to fisticuffs (or, to be more precise, wandicuffs), she might be in a spot of trouble.
Grade: 7 out of 10. Hermione is like the Sun Tzu of this list. She dwarfs the rest of the field in terms of intellect and strategy, but she doesn’t have the killer instinct like the rest of the YA heroines. Magic is obviously a huge advantage, but we doubt she’d ever cast out an unforgivable curse if things get really dire.
Bella Swan is the love sick protagonist of The Twilight Series
Weapons: Vampire strength, extreme yearning, shiny skin
Strengths: In the latter half of the series, Bella is turned into a full-fledged vampire, and her transformation comes equipped with all the benefits that come with being a member of the undead: increased strength, super speed, sharp fangs, sparkly daytime tan. All the classic vampire powers are there. Honestly, it would be terribly difficult for any of the other fighters to best Bella Swan... well, except for one thing...
Weakness: Bella would be the top dog in this fight, if it she weren’t so darn distracted all the time. Seriously, she spends so much of her time hemming and hawing between Jacob and Edward, or just staring vacantly at things, she probably wouldn’t notice arrows being flung at her. It also doesn’t help that she’s easily entranced by shiny objects like Edward’s sparkly abs, disco balls, and jingling keys. She's also constantly tripping or falling over everything so there's that.
Grade: 6 out of 10. Given her super vampire powers, Bella would and should absolutely wreck her competition in the battle, but she spends so much of her time pre-transformation not doing much besides pining for her would be suitors. We don't know how much of an actual fight she would put up if she really had to get her hands dirty.
Katniss Everdeen is the central character in the latest YA explosion The Hunger Games.
Weaponry: Bow and arrow, the country's affection
Strengths: Katniss is an incredibly gifted archer who can sink an arrow into a dastardly career tribute at 500 paces. She also has a steely determination to do what’s right, and is wonderfully resourceful when push comes to shove, as it often does in her frequent brushes with death.
Weakness: For all of Katniss’ strengths in the arena, she isn’t the most sociable, or even likeable, person to be around. She has a pretty prickly personality, and even though her dispostition changes ithroughout the series, she’s never what we’d call charismatic. In addition, her pretend boyfriend Peeta is pretty useless, and she has to spend about half of Catching Fire making sure he didn't die.
Grade: 9 out of 10. She probably couldn’t talk her way out of a sticky situation, but Katniss is a deadly fighter who will put you down in an instant if need be. This girl has a wicked killer instinct. If you want to defeat Katniss, focus your energy on Peeta. Give him an easy sudoku puzzle or a mildly difficult crossword, (basically anything not cake related) and he’ll find some way to put Katniss’ life in danger. She’ll be like putty in your hands.
The multifaceted heroine of the upcoming film Divergent.
Weapons: Knives, her hands, having more than one talent
Strengths: Being a member of Dauntless, the warrior class of future Chicago, Tris has received training in various types of weaponry, including throwing knives and guns, which makes her a adaptable fighter. She is also divergent, which allows her to control her fears in a way that the other YA heroines simply cant.
Weaknesses: Unlike the other combatants, Tris doesn’t seem to have any one debilitating weakness. She’s equal parts brave, intelligent, and selfless. Her boyfriend Four is infinitely more useful than Peeta (though he can’t bake, so score one for Peeta), and she doesn’t need to spend any time locked in a love triangle, since she only ever set her sights on one guy.
Grade: 8 out of 10. Tris’ main advantage is that her being such a well-rounded person. Her being “divergent” means she can adapt her personality to fit a number of situations. She’s not the strongest of the competitors, nor the weakest, but she’s darn capable and rests firmly in the middle of the pack
So after some brandishing of teeth, a couple nasty wingardium Leviosa's, and a flurry of arrows, it looks like Katniss Everdeen has the advatage. She has the right mix of experience, training, and resourcefulness to topple some of the more supernaturally gifted participants in the battle. But this is just one opinion. Who do you think would win in the battle for book-to-film adaptation supremacy?
Moviemaker Robert Rodriguez is going back to his roots to offer budding directors the chance to make their dream film on a budget. The Sin City mastermind became an overnight sensation when his low-budget 1992 film El Mariachi became a cult hit, and now he's keen to give wannabe filmmakers an opportunity to follow in his footsteps.
Rodriguez is working on a reality show for his new El Rey TV network, which will give visionaries the chance to make a film for just $7,000 (GBP4,400).
He tells the Los Angeles Times, "I want to do a show called "The Mariachi Project" where I give $7,000 to a filmmaker to go make a feature. We'll show it on the network, give it some critiquing. At the end of the season the winner, chosen by the audience, will get to remake the film with a bigger budget, a real crew and bigger actors."
Rodriguez insists the concept will be easy for savvy filmmakers - because he could make El Mariachi for $700 (GBP435) today.
He adds, "The biggest expense was the film stock and now everybody shoots digitally. The film camera I had was so noisy, I had to record the sound separately. It sounded like all my money running away."
It's remarkable how much Veronica Mars feels like coming home again. Ms. Mars has had nearly a decade off from her detective duties, but the character and the series at large saunters right back into form with such a confident swagger, it feels like she never really left at all.
The product of a now infamous Kickstarter campaign, Veronica Mars is the film sequel to the much beloved but scarcely watched CW series that followed the adventures of a teenage private eye. Mars solved mysteries surrounding the seedy denizens of the fictional Neptune California, a beach town where the rich socialites and working class heroes clash quite frequently and often violently. The series was a terrific mix of Nancy Drew and Raymond Chandler, give or take a Buffy, airing for three seasons before being canceled. But thanks to creator Rob Thomas' audacious Kickstarter and a brewing cult of fans, Veronica Mars has been given a second chance at life, a chance that precious few shows receive.
The film picks up with Veronica (Kristen Bell) knocking on 30's door and enjoying a comfortable life in New York City with her long time boyfriend Piz (Chris Lowell). Her youthful gumshoe years are well behind her, but her old life comes back into swing when former flame Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) is charged with murdering his starlet girlfriend. Veronica tells herself that she only wants to consult a friend, but Neptune's magnetic pull becomes too hard to resist.
The film is a ton of fun. It's still as whip smart as the series ever was, and the quips whiz by effortlessly and constantly... often right over the heads of those who aren't already baptized by the gospel of Veronica. The show quickly falls back into familiar rhythms, and the nine years away haven't dulled the character's verbal barbs. Prepare to be bathed in waves of wit. Even outside of the near-relentless banter, the show maintains a nice and heavy sense of tension when the mystery sets in, and things get serious. While the actual mystery itself is far from brilliant, it's still engaging enough to entertain. In any case, the main course here is the characters, and they are as stellar as ever. Keith Mars (the fantastic Enrico Colantoni) is still the easy frontrunner for dad of the millennium.
The most remarkable thing about the film is how much it feels like the Veronica Mars of old, and that's the best compliment we can pay it. The returning cast members slip into their old roles with so much ease, and the film never feels like it's straining to regain that old Neptune spark. It turns out that watching a near 30 Veronica is just as much fun as watching the sleuth in her teenage years. And the fact that the show's general formula doesn't feel out of place now that we're following a load of late 20-somethings instead of high schoolers probably says something about how smartly and strongly crafted the original show was in the first place.
Rob Thomas clearly isn't trying to broaden his formula to catch new fans, and it doesn't make sense that he'd do so anyway. This is clearly a film built from the ground up for Veronica Mars fans, as it should be. A hefty intro montage at the beginning tries its best to get newcomers caught up on the three seasons of the television show, but if you didn't spend at least a couple hours cruising along the seedy streets of Neptune all those years ago, some of the film's charm might be lost on you.
The Veronica Mars film, at its core, is basically a damned good two hour episode of the original series. Now, that's not exactly ambitious, but the fans that put down their hard earned money to fund the film weren't necessarily paying for ambition. What we have here is unquestionably and purely Veronica Mars. So self-assured and comfortable in it's own celluloid skin, it's a film that dutifully embraces everything that made that series so brilliant and fun in the first place. Welcome home, Veronica, it's been a while.
We’re not naïve. We know that Hollywood loves to make money and they do so by creating huge movie franchises on a single idea, like The Hobbit trilogy, which is based on one book. But it seems Marvel has changed the game a little bit.
Comic book nerds, superhero lovers and action fans were all head-over-heels excited when Marvel’s The Avengers became an actuality. Given the billions of dollars it made, we’re guessing Marvel was pretty pleased with it as well. Marvel Studios has expanded its shared universe to include a collection of movies and a TV show, which will be joined by another TV series, five seasons of made-for-Netflix content, and even more films. Marvel probably has their own pool filled with money hidden somewhere that they dive into like Scrooge McDuck.
But because of Marvel’s success, DC has jumped on the bandwagon with the upcoming Superman Vs. Batman and Justice League of America movies, as has the Paranormal Activity crowd. Their recent spinoff film, The Marked Ones, actually sets up the franchise for a shared universe in which a demon is building an army by putting spells on pregnant women all over the world.
Really, Hollywood? You might have gone a little too far with that one. We understand that it’s really easy to make more money by building off the success of something that already has a fanbase, which is why the adaptations of young novels are so prevalent. Will this mean a lack of original, standalone films? Doubtful: You know how the Academy loves their non-franchise films. Still, we wouldn’t be surprised if we saw even more of these shared universe franchises in the coming years, which is fine, as long as they’re well planned and executed.
This episode was all about the main characters dealing with problems and how to trust even those closest to them, including family.
Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was having a grand old time in the opulent home of Charles Monroe (Xander Berkeley), a money launderer for the Detroit Mob. He had company: Alison (Amy Smart), who was Loretta McCready's (Kaitlyn Dever) case worker. They weren't discussing work. Givens got interrupted twice, once by his boss, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), who told him the case against Monroe was falling apart. The second interruption was a in the form of a rather large man named Henry Granger, outside with a baseball bat. Granger wasn't there to intimidate Givens: he may have been part of a plot to rob the Monroe house. It also turned out that Allison had planted evidence that wound up having Granger, who was a meth cook, lose custody of his child. Givens later visited Granger and set him straight and told him to never bother Alison again. Then, luck fell in their lap: Gloria, Monroe's 'maid'/girlfriend, came over and tried to open a hidden safe with bars of gold in it. It turned out the safe had been installed by Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). So they had Gloria plant the idea that Duffy was the one who stole the money from the safe. Monroe took the bait and tried to kill Duffy, but got shot by Duffy's goon with Givens and Marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) present. That problem solved, Givens and Allison picked up where they left off, though the seed of doubt had been planted that she was another in a string of no-good women that Givens was turning a blind eye to.
Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) started off trying to figure out who had stolen his drug shipment in the last episode. Aft first he thought Duffy had double-crossed him. After the bushy-eyebrowed criminal disabused him of that notion, he had a drug dealer, Cyrus (Bill Tangradi) brought in. After Duffy terrorized him by shooting a BB gun at his face repeatedly. Cyrus blurted out that he had told a hooker who had a thing for ... ahem ... pleasuring men with candy like Pop Rocks. (These events with Duffy all took place before the shootout with Monroe at Duffy's bus.) Boyd visited his fiance, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), in jail to see if she knew who the hooker was, since she used to be a madam. Ava didn't seem too impressed by his efforts to spring her and they fought about why Ava was there, exactly. She did apparently did give him the name of the hooker, though. Of course, Boyd, being a career criminal, had multiple problems. Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson), the man Boyd had beaten into a coma, was now awake and and wanted the sherriff, Mooney (William Gregory Lee) to kill him. Boyd, wanting to stay on this planet as long as he could, partnered with Paxton's wife, Mara (Karolina Wydra) and got her to get the jump on Mooney. Well, not exactly the jump ... she got a grip on him, if you know what I mean, while Boyd aimed a gun at his back. It looked like Mooney was Team Boyd again ... for now. They were going to have Mooney tell Lee that he had killed Boyd, and Mara was going to show him a picture of a dead man's hand with the same tattoo as Boyd's on it. That was an easy enough job, since Mara ran a funeral parlor and there would be no shortage of bodies. Boyd then brought had the hooker brought in a trunk. He took her cell phone and called a number and said, "Hello, cousin Johnny." It appeared that Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) was the traitor.
Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) had problems of his own. His cousin Darryl (Michael Rapaport) was still there, despite his obvious displeasure. Darryl told him that he was being ripped off, since he should have been making more money than he was. He pointed to a hotel that cost half of what Dewey had paid Boyd for this whorehouse. Dewey ran to Boyd to get a refund but the silver-tongued Crowder told him to stand up for himself, which he did. After he chewed out Darryl and told him to hit the road, Darryl, who admired him for his stance, took him to a back room and showed him why he was making less than he should. His employee, Wade Messer (James Le Gros), was skimming on behalf of Boyd. Darryl told Dewey that he needed to kill Messer, since he had stolen from him.
Nobody died in this episode, though it doesn't look good for Messer. Givens also gave Granger quite the bloody nose and Monroe apparently pulled through despite being shot by Duffy's bodyguard, Mikey.
"You wanna tell me why you had Captain Fauxhawk drag me over here?" -- Cyrus to Boyd.
"If you take those headphones off again, I'm going to staple them to your g-----n head!" --Boyd to Ava's lawyer, who wore them during their jailhouse chat so as to not hear their illicit discussions.
State of Boyd/Ava
There are already cracks in the relationship. Ava was very dismissive of Boyd during her jailhouse chat and Boyd and Mara seemed to be very sexually charged the scene when she looked over his chest and arms for a tattoo. It doesn't look like there will be wedding bells.
State of Raylan Givens
Well, there wasn't mention of Mullen looking more into the Nicky Augustine murders, but there was the sense that his boss was going to keep treating him like a child. First, there were the phone calls while Givens was at Monroe's place and then he had Brooks babysit him after the first run-in with Granger. On top of that, nobody seems to believe that Givens has good taste in women and that Allison is not going to be another woman who steals a piece of him, either physically, spiritually or materially (Yes, a woman once absconded with his money).
State of Boyd Crowder
Boyd's in a bad place now, but that's usually the spot where the head of a criminal empire is. Everybody's gunning for him and he's dealing with them as quickly as his facile mind can. It's going to be interesting to see how he takes on Johnny. He seemed to take a step back from that edge of insanity that he had teetered on in the season premiere, but it's a short stumble away.
Last week, Community fans were forced to confront the loss of one of their own, when it was revealed at the last minute that Pierce Hawthorne had died. This week, we were dealt another blow, as "Cooperative Polygraphy" laid the groundwork for the departure of another beloved character, Troy Barnes. After forcing all of the group's secrets and lies out into the open during his bequeathing ceremony, Pierce left Troy the biggest gift: all of his shares in the Hawthorne Wipes empire, worth over $14 million dollars. Of course, because he's Pierce and can't make anything easy, in order to gain access to the money, Troy has to first sail around the world on Pierce's boat, the Childish Tycoon — which is both a reference to Donald Glover's music career and the perfect way to describe Pierce — and learn to be his own man.
It is, admittedly, a rather obvious way to deal with the absence of Glover, who will make his fifth and final appearance of this season in next week's episode, "Geothermal Escapism." But despite the flimsiness of the set up, having Troy leave to discover who he is on his own is a surprisingly fitting way to write off his character. Most of his storylines over the course of the show's run have dealt with the issue of his identity, from his attempts to continue being the "golden boy" after arriving in Greendale, reveling in his weirder tendencies as a result of his friendship with Abed, and his natural gift for air conditioning repair, despite it being the last path he wanted his life to take. Once he became friends with Abed, he lost a piece of himself, and has dealt with the fact that his identity has become completely dependent on that friendship.
Yet, Troy and Abed have always had some fundamental differences, which the writers brought to the forefront in season three and parts of season four. Abed knows who he is, has accepted that, and is up-front about the crutches he relies on in order to deal with the world, whereas Troy feels that eventually, he will have to grow up and leave behind all of his childish tendencies and behaviors. Take for example, his conflict with Abed over the dreamatorium; for Abed, it was a vital part of who he is as a person, and something that he relied on to keep himself sane. For Troy, though, it was a fun way to goof off with his best friend, and something that he would eventually need to move on from when it was time to be an adult. The conflict, then, comes not only from the rift in their friendship, but also from Troy not knowing who he is outside of "Troy and Abed."
Although his relationship with Jeff got the most attention during his time on Community, Pierce was extremely close to Troy, especially after they spent a year living together. Therefore, it makes sense that it would be Pierce who sets Troy up for the next chapter in his life, because he knows Troy well enough to understand that eventually, he will need to figure out who he is, away from Greendale and away from Abed. He also knows that it's not something he will do without being pushed, as even after they left Greendale, Troy still relied entirely on his best friend. While everyone else in the study group had hobbies and jobs they had moved on to, Troy was simply waiting for Abed to invent something, so that he could benefit through proximity. He needs the incentive of millions of dollars in order to finally step out of his comfort zone and be the person he wants to be, rather than the person everyone else expects him to be, or the character he and Abed have decided to play this week.
Pierce's bequeathal makes for a more fitting catalyst for Troy's departure than, say, reviving the air conditioning repair school plot, which could have easily been the direction the writers chose to go down. After all, Troy is their Messiah, the most gifted air conditioner repair man they had ever seen, and he alone was able to bring them back down to reality and integrate them back into Greendale. However, after that plot was resolved in season three, it was never mentioned again, and the issue of Troy being able to choose what he wants to do with his life rather than just following his "destiny" was never referenced. Yet, watching him deal with that struggle for years gives Pierce's insane request some context and helps ground it in reality.
We can only hope that Glover will make a return to the show eventually, so that the audience and the study group can find out what kind of person Troy is on his own. It's only fair, since we'll be able to watch Abed deal with being without his other half over the course of the rest of the season, but his journey of self-discovery carries less weight than Troy's. We know, whatever happens, that Abed will be okay without Troy, and he will continue to be a whole person in his own right. No matter how many breakdowns he has, how many people he offends, or how many of his schemes veer wildly out of control, Abed will still be Abed, no matter who is by his side. With Troy, we're not so sure. And that adds another layer of sadness to his imminent departure, as we will never get to see if he can be his own person when he's alone.
It's always hard for a show to deal with the loss of a main character, especially one who is as well-loved as Troy. Community is faced with losing two in rapid succession, and after next week, the dynamic of the show is going to change dramatically. But the writers have certainly risen to the challenge, and after seeing the way they've decided to set up his departure, we're sure that Troy, like Pierce, will get the send-off that he deserves. Until then, we, like Troy and Abed, are in mourning.
It's been almost two years since the game was last afoot, but the third season premiere of Sherlock is finally in our sights. And once our favorite consulting detective returns to televisions across the country on January 19, we will be able to find out the answer to the second most important question raised by last season's finale: Since Moriarty has been defeated, who will take over the title of Sherlock's arch-nemesis? It just wouldn't feel right if Sherlock and John didn't have a deranged psychopath to add some conflict and explosions to their everyday routine. Luckily, the writers have anticipated the need for a new villain, and plan to introduce Charles Augustus Magnussen into the mix this year.
Since the episodes have yet to air in the U.S., there's not too much that we know yet about Magnussen, who will be played by The Killing star Lars Mikkelsen. However, his name seems to be taken from the Arthur Conan Doyle character Charles Augustus Milverton, who was the focus of his eponymous Sherlock Holmes short story. In the tale, Sherlock describes the character as "the worst man in London," which means he might have more than bombings, blackmail, and slander up his sleeve. He is apparently the one person that Doyle's Sherlock hates most in the world, and if the team decides to translate that into the show, then we're bound for lots of action and excitement.
According to the story, "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton," the titular character makes his money through blackmail, often targeting rich widows and society women whose reputations would be damaged by scandals. Sherlock has already touched on such an idea in the past, with Irene Adler's possession of incriminating photos and files, so it would be easy for them to translate Milverton's character into modern time. It's also likely that his blackmail would eventually involve Sherlock's brother Mycroft, who knows everything about the British government and holds more power in his umbrella than all of the members of Parliament. The show's producers like to play with their sibling dynamic, and so we predict that Magnussen's plot will definitely involve Mycroft in some way, forcing Sherlock to rescue his older brother.
Alternatively, Magnussen could be going after Sherlock and John for some reason. The first photo released of Mikkelsen in character show him sitting in their apartment, which could hint that he has dug up something incriminating from one of their pasts. Of course, since Moriarty was also known to make house calls, he could just be doing his best to try and intimidate the two of them or Mrs. Hudson. We'd put our money on Mrs. Hudson in this fight, though; she's a lot tougher than she looks.
Regardless of who he's trying to blackmail, Magnussen will have big shoes to fill now that Moriarty is gone. When it comes to villains, it's hard to top someone who would willingly strap a bomb to a blind old woman, steal the crown jewels, and then set up an elaborate ruse to discredit his nemesis and pin all of his crimes on someone else. Moriarity was an unpredictable character, both for Sherlock and the audience, and that's what made watching him interact with the detective so much fun. As far as pure chaos and anarchy go, we don't predict that Magnussen will go down that route, as it would only bring about comparisons to Moriarty form the audience. Andrew Scott and his character were fan favorites, so we think it would be best for the writers to explore a different direction, and therefore avoid an unfavorable bias.
However, we do have a feeling that Magnussen will definitely be evenly matched with Moriarty and Sherlock in terms of intelligence and ingenuity. The ability to think quickly, creatively, and three steps ahead of your opponent is a key characteristic of any good villain or detective, so we have no doubt that there will be plenty more clever games and inventive crimes for Sherlock to solve. This, combined with his love of blackmail, means that Magnussen will likely be a bit more similar to Irene Adler, who was able to outsmart Sherlock quite a few times. Of course, we're sure that Magnussen will be a bit more buttoned-up and proper than Irene was, but that just means he'll need to find a new way to ruffle Sherlock's feathers.
Despite Irene's cleverness, wit, and lack of inhibitions, the series strayed some from Doyle's text by having her and Sherlock develop some semblance of feelings for each other, and ultimately making her survival dependent on him. This probably means that some of the original Milverton will get changed in his transformation into Magnussen, and even raises the possibility of him and Sherlock becoming close, much like Sherlock and Irene. Personally, we'd like to see Sherlock befriend Magnussen despite detesting him, maybe as a clever way to get close to his rival. That would also help differentiate Magnussen from Irene, which helps allow the writers to create a new, interesting character.
The first two series featured two extremely compelling antagonists (three, if you count Mycroft as Sherlock's "arch-nemesis") and so we've no doubt that Magnussen is set to join them as another wonderfully insane, love-to-hate-him villain. The dynamic between them is also bound to be different this time around, as, depending on when he is introduced, Sherlock's relationships are all strained after he faked his own death. He's also proven that he can be beaten by a villain, even temporarily, which will probably give Magnussen a weakness to exploit when carrying out his evil deeds. All of which means that we couldn't be more excited to meet this season's newest baddie.
So, welcome to London, Charles Augustus Magnussen. We hope you really are as bad as everyone has promised.
Community returned last night, and with it, Jeff Winger and his sweeping speeches. Every few episodes, Joel McHale will get to stand up in front of a study room, classroom, or courtroom and spout the kind of wisdom that only comes when one is knocked off of one's slick lawyer pedestal and thrown into the community college pool with the rest of the screw-ups. We're looking back on our favorite orations by Greendale's big man on campus.
"You are all better than you think you are. You are just designed not to believe it when you hear it from yourself."
Jeff unites the misfits in his Spanish study group and prounces them a — you guessed it — a community. Aw ... that's nice.
"Origins of Vampire Mythology"
Don't you wish you had a Jeff Winger handy to check you with a firm, "No, woman," any time you felt the need to prostrate yourself for someone who treats you like crap?
Jeff: "What if a ghost took the pen?"Abed: "Let him finish."Jeff: "I am finished. For real. Honestly, seriously, why not? Why not just 'a ghost took the pen'?"Troy: "Okay, I’ve been saying that for hours."Jeff: "And we should have been listening to Troy from the beginning. Guys, look in your hearts and answer this question honestly- what’s more likely, that someone in this group doesn’t belong in this group, or… ghosts? If we have to choose between turning on each other or pinning it on some specter with unfinished pen-related business, I’m sorry, but my money’s on 'ghost.'"
It's not a pen, it's a principle. And Jeff spells out what this missing pen means in a classic Community bottle episode.
"Intro to Political Science"
We'd vote for him.
"Introduction to Finality"
"It's that easy: you just stop thinking about what's good for you and start thinking about what's good for someone else ... and you can change the whole game with one move. Now if you like this idea, you can make it true by doing something good for everyone here: throw this case out of court. It's dumb. That is all."
Jeff wraps up what could have been the very last episode of Community with this courtroom speech. Thankfully, he (and the rest of the Greendale Seven) lived to fight another day.
"Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations"
Winger has got serious daddy issues, and in last year's Thanksgiving episode, he got to lay him all at his father's feet. Extra tears for that fake texting confession.
"Basic Rocket Science"
"We earned the right to pick on Greendale by going there every day. Our school may be a toilet but it's our toilet. Nobody craps in it but us."
That's it. That's the series.