Darkness binds the new ‘Rings of Power’ trailer

Amazon’s take on the world of ‘Lord of the Rings’ returns this August. PLUS: The ‘Dune’ TV show gets a trailer, Seth Meyers sticks around, and ‘Happy Endings’ gets a podcast.

Darkness binds the new ‘Rings of Power’ trailer
Morfydd Clark as Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. / Prime Video

Welcome to this week’s edition of Popculturology. Before we jump into the newsletter, I have to break the bad news that I’m pausing my plans for a Popculturology subscriber tier that includes all-you-can-eat shrimp.

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After seeing Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes last week, I started a rewatch of the franchise’s previous installments. (Yes, I plan on rewatching Tim Burton’s reboot.) I finished up Beneath the Planet of the Apes on Wednesday night. It’s been a long time since I last watched that one, and I had forgotten how wild it is. A crazy, bold choice for a sequel to Planet of the Apes.

I’d love to see the current franchise take some lessons from Beneath. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, but we’re four movies into the rebooted franchise and we haven’t even touched the weirdness of Beneath the Planet of Apes. Kingdom had a mysterious bunker! It was so close.

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X-Men ’97 wrapped up its first season this week. Not only was it a great series of TV, it’s arguably the best X-Men adaptation we’ve gotten so far. Hopefully this bodes well for what Marvel Studios has planned for the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Are there storylines left for the movies, though?)

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This weekend is the 25th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace. The movie opened wide on May 19, 1999.

I spent hours in my middle school computer lab class downloading and rewatching the trailer for the movie on a tiny QuickTime window. I remember going to the Regal Cinemas in my hometown that no longer exists to buy tickets. We didn’t camp out since we didn’t see The Phantom Menace on opening night. (Or opening weekend? I actually don’t remember when we saw the film in relation to its release date.)

I was young enough (and not jaded enough?) to hate The Phantom Menace when it came out. If you were a newish Star Wars fan, it was the capstone of a pretty fun time. The Special Editions gave us a chance to see the original trilogy in theaters. And now we were getting a brand new Star Wars movie? Awesome.

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More like the bling of power, right? / Prime Video

🍿 Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series returns for a second season

A few months ago, Caitlin and I did a full Lord of the Rings rewatch. The original trilogy. The Hobbit trilogy. Prime Video’s The Rings of Power.

Yes, we rewatched The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

I know that pockets of Tolkien fandom aren’t a fan of Amazon’s entry into Middle-earth lore. Some of the events or characters don’t sync up correctly according to the endless appendices and historical rundowns that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote to flesh out the story behind The Lord of the Rings.

But I like the show. I really like it.