Catching up with 'The Bear' and the new Superman and Lois Lane

I’ve been gone for a bit. PLUS: Jennifer Garner returns as Elektra for ‘Deadpool 3,’ ‘Dune: Part Two’ gets a new trailer, and the new ‘Tron’ movie adds a bunch of castmembers.

Catching up with 'The Bear' and the new Superman and Lois Lane
Abby Elliot, Ayo Edebiri and Jeremy Allen White in The Bear. / Hulu

Popculturology? On a Saturday?

It’s been awhile. Between a vacation to the Outer Banks and the Fourth of July holiday, Popculturology has been on break since the end of June.

But I’m back!

I had intended to get this edition out yesterday, but between the holiday news lull, catching up with work and our daughter jumping right into an ear infection after vacation, I didn’t have the free time to pull together this edition of Popculturology in time to get it to you on Friday. Delaying it made even more sense when we finished up Season 2 of The Bear on Thursday night.

While I was on vacation, Elon Musk nailed what’s probably the final nail in Twitter’s coffin, screwing with the site’s rate limits to a degree that made the site unusable for pretty much any user. I’ve seen a massive jump in users and activity on Bluesky, and I’m really enjoying how that platform is progressing. (No, I don’t have any invites to hand out, but if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll keep you in mind for future invites.)

I’ve been playing around with Thread’s supposed Twitter clone from Meta through Instagram, and I’m really not impressed. Sure, it’s polished and has tens of millions of users, but its swamped with brands, consistently shows people you don’t follow and doesn’t have a reverse chronological timeline. On top of that, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri told The Verge that Threads isn’t for news.

Instagram’s new Threads app is “not going to do anything to encourage” politics and “hard news,” Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said in a Threads conversation with The Verge’s Alex Heath.

The additional scrutiny, negativity, and integrity risks that come with politics and hard news aren’t worth the “incremental engagement or revenue,” Mosseri wrote. “There are more than enough amazing communities — sports, music, fashion, beauty, entertainment, etc. — to make a vibrant platform without needing to get into politics or hard news.”

Welp, that’s definitely not a Twitter replacement. Not for those of us who actually used Twitter for news.

You can find me on both Bluesky and Threads as (at)billkuchman, if you’re interested in either of those potential Twitter successors.

The Friday (whoops, Saturday) edition of Popculturology is normally for paid subscribers, but since I’ve been off for a bit, I’m making this edition free for all subscribers. But! For $5 a month or $50 a year, this subscription brings you the two weekly editions of the newsletter plus Deep SNL Thoughts and The Box Office Report.

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In Today's Edition
  • Feature Presentation: The Bear nails its second season, James Gunn finds his Superman and Lois Lane
  • The News: Jennifer Garner returns for Deadpool 3, Tron: Ares adds to its cast, a potential delay for Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse
  • Trailer Watch: Dune: Part Two, Reservation Dogs, Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Snack Break: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Ultimate

Feature Presenation
Ebon Moss-Bachrach in The Bear. / Hulu

The Bear elevates in Season 2, James Gunn finds his Superman and Lois Lane

It’s been a few weeks since the second season of The Bear dropped on Hulu. We started watching the new episodes before we left for vacation, stopped for a week, and then jumped back in with the phenomenal “Fishes” episode when we got back.


Just wow.

I loved the first season of The Bear. But when Hulu announced that they had renewed the show for a second season, I was one of the people asking why. The first season was such a great contained story — did it need to keep going?

Turns out the geniuses behind The Bear knew what they were doing. There are few shows that I can think of that made the creative jump between freshman and sophomore seasons like The Bear did.

What a beautiful, ambitious season.

Not only was “Fishes” one of the best episodes of television I’ve ever seen — intense and heartbreaking — but then The Bear followed it up with “Forks.” Ebon Moss-Bachrach delivered an award-worthy performance in this episode, carrying Richie on his journey to finally find purpose.

My only complaint about this season of The Bear? It was all dropped on one day. I can’t remember which TV critic said it on Twitter, but if The Bear released its episodes on a weekly basis, it could’ve had the Succession treatment. We would’ve been talking about “Fishes” for a week before talking about “Forks” for a week.

Hulu hasn’t announced a third season for The Bear yet, but unlike with the first season, it definitely seems like the show is ready to tell more stories.

Now let’s talk Superman.

More specially, James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy.

The rebirth of Popculturology weirdly synced up with the collapse of Dwayne Johnson’s attempt to control Warner Bros.’ superhero movies which led to Gunn and Peter Safran being put in charge of the newly established DC Studios. While the Superman casting news broke while I was on vacation, it feels like we need to address it here to keep the tale going.

David Corenswet and Rachel Brosnahan are our new Superman and Lois Lane.

Based on the rumored casting process, Corenswet and Brosnahan were an unexpected pair, as Corenswet had been paired up with Emma Mackey and Brosnahan had been paired up with Nicholas Hoult. Turns out Gunn and Safran were open to mixing and matching from the final roster of potential Clark Kents and Lois Lanes. (Tom Brittney and Phoebe Dynevor were also in the running.)

I didn’t have a stake in this competition. Hoult intrigued me, especially after The Menu. He previously lost out on playing Batman in Matt ReevesThe Batman. From what I’ve read over the past week, Hoult is allegedly still in the running to play Lex Luthor.

I’m unfamiliar with Corenswet’s work, just as I was unfamiliar with Henry Cavill and Brandon Routh from Superman castings prior. Brosnahan is the bigger name, coming into the role as an Emmy winner for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

In the wake of the news that he had chosen his Superman, Gunn continued to be open on social media about Superman: Legacy. On Monday, he revealed that we wouldn’t see a replay of Superman’s origin in the upcoming film.

James Gunn on Bluesky

Gunn also broke the news on Bluesky that Superman: Legacy will feature a new theme for Superman, calling his approach “a unique path.”

James Gunn on Bluesky

John Williams’ Superman theme is iconic, but one of the biggest (many) mistakes that Warner Bros. made with the DCEU was trying to cram it back into the franchise in place of the fantastic theme Hans Zimmer wrote for Man of Steel. It’s OK to create new themes for new versions of these stories. I’m happy to see that Gunn feels the same.

Superman: Legacy hits theaters two years from next week. Now that Gunn has his two leads, I can’t wait to see how this film continues to come together.

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The News
Jennifer Garner as Elektra. / 20th Century Fox

Jennifer Garner returns for Deadpool 3

Deadpool 3 is going to be the Spider-Man: No Way Home of the Fox Marvel movies. We already have Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. There have been rumors of original X-Men actors like Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, James Marsden and Famke Jenssen being in the movie. There was even a report of Ben Affleck being on set, presumably as his version of Daredevil.

That last rumor seems a lot more plausible in light of The Hollywood Reporter breaking the news on Friday that Jennifer Garner is reprising her role of Elektra from Daredevil and its spinoff.

Tron sequel adds everyone but the actors from Tron: Legacy

Tron: Ares is assembling an impressive cast — which is unfortunately centered around Jared Leto. Over the past week or so, we’ve had The Hollywood Reporter break the news that Greta Lee was joining Leto and Evan Peters and Variety reported that Jodie Turner-Smith was also on board.

THR also offered this bit about the plot of the third Tron movie:

While the two previous movies were largely set inside the world of computers and programs, the script for Ares, written by Jesse Wigutow and Jack Thorne, is said to focus on the emergence of a sentient program that crosses over into the human world that is not ready for contact.

Leto is Ares, the manifestation of the program, with Lee starring as a video game programmer and tech company CEO who has to go on the run in order to protect her world-changing technology.

A sentient program that crosses over into the human world? Oh, so like Olivia Wilde’s Quorra at the end of Tron: Legacy?

I really can’t figure out who this film is for. Leto is not a huge box office draw, so it’s not like swapping out Wilde and Garrett Hedlund guarantees Disney a box office hit. But not including Wilde and Hedlund does alienate the fans of Tron: Legacy who have kept the franchise’s memory alive for a decade.

Gwen Stacy and Peter B. Parker in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. / Sony Pictures Animation

Will the third Spider-Verse movie go beyond its scheduled release date?

Between the writers’ strike and the fact that stars like Hailee Steinfeld have yet to record their dialogue, there’s been the suspicion that Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse would get delayed. While the film’s executive producers haven’t exactly confirmed this, they did tell that they’re not tied to a release date.

“I would say that just like we're going to take the time necessary to make Beyond the Spider-Verse great,” Phil Lord told

“And we won't back into a release date that doesn't fit,” Christopher Miller added.

Good. Don’t rush Beyond the Spider-Verse. Take as much time as needed to make sure the film is as perfect as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

Simu Liu, Molly Shannon, Heléne Yorke and Drew Tarver in The Other Two. / Max

Quick hits

  • The Other Two hits a rocky end. THR broke the news that the Max show was wrapping things up after three season amid a series of HR complaints. I haven’t watched the now-series finale yet, but I’ve heard it doesn’t seem like it was meant to cap the show.
  • Paddington in Peru pads out cast. The third Paddington movie added Olivia Colman, Antonio Banderas, Rachel Zegler and Emily Mortimer to the list of actors who’ll appear alongside the adorable bear.
  • Bupkis renewed. Peacock picked up the Pete Davidson series for a second season.

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Trailer Watch

Dune: Part Two

Another stunning trailer for Dune: Part Two. There aren’t many directors out there handling films of this scope like Denis Villeneuve. Once again, please rerelease Dune: Part One in theaters, Warner Bros., so those of us who missed it during the pandemic can see it that way.

Dune: Part Two opens on Nov. 3.

Reservation Dogs

Reservation Dogs could’ve ended its run after a single season and been a huge accomplishment. It could’ve ended its run after its second season and gone out on a high note. I have no doubt that Reservation Dogs is going to nail its upcoming third season.

Reservation Dogs Season 2 premieres on Hulu on Aug. 2.

Killers of the Flower Moon

Damn. This is how you make a trailer. If Martin Scorsese’s latest film is as spectacular as this trailer, Killers of the Flower Moon is a lock for a Best Picture nomination.

Killers of the Flower Moon opens on Oct. 6.

💬 💬 💬 Comments, questions or recommendations? Let me know!

The Links

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Snack Brea

Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Ultimate

Found this one while we were in the Outer Banks. The consensus was Coke with a touch of cantelope? I’d drink this one again, which wasn’t what I could say about Coca-Cola Move, the previous installment in this series.

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