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Should I stop watching YouTube and start watching some real TV shows?
I'm in a TV rut. Is YouTube my future? PLUS: A new trailer for 'The Mandalorian' premieres tonight, Gunn debunks a Superman casting rumor, and 'Avatar: The Way of Water' closes in on $2 billion.
Folks, I think I’m in a TV rut.
It’s never great when I go to finalize an edition of Popculturology and I get to the Playlist section with nothing to add there. Lately, it’s been just the weekly episode of Abbott Elementary or Bob’s Burgers. (I watched Bad Batch right before writing this so I could squeeze it in.)
Am I the only one who sometimes struggles to get into a new show? It’s not like there isn’t more than enough out there to watch. Fleishman Is in Trouble judges me for not watching it every time I open Hulu. I never finished the second season of Russian Doll. We really should finally watch Better Call Saul. There’s always Yellowstone and its multiple spinoffs. (I’m a dad, so I think I might be legally required to watch Yellowstone?)
I dunno, some nights it’s just easier to put on another episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (you can’t go wrong watching this show for the millionth time).
I’m actually surprised how much we wind up watching YouTube. Besides the shows where celebrities from different countries try different snacks, there are a few that we’ll always watch.
Hot Ones is on hiatus right now, but that’s usually good for half an hour of entertainment each week. Sean Evans has created some now iconic pop culture moments through this show. (Like the above Paul Rudd episode.)
When we first stumbled upon Hot Ones, it felt like a joke. If you’re unfamiliar with Hot Ones, Evans and his guest eat ten progressively hotter chicken wings while Evans peppers the guest with surprisingly well-researched questions. Evans turned out be one of the best interviewers out there right now, and the show manages to get high-profile celebrities now. (Cate Blanchett may have done Hot Ones and The Criterion Closet on the same day.)
Watching Hot Ones has inspired us to venture beyond the basic hot sauces, even ordering a few varieties of the Last Dab in the past.
The former Bon Appétit shows
There’s also the constellation of YouTube shows from current and former Bon Appétit stars. We used to be obsessed with the Bon App universe of shows and personalities before that entire empire came crashing down. Sohla El-Waylly and Priya Krishna are great if you want the prestige of The New York Times brand, and the production quality Molly Baz’s show blows away most of her former Bon App costars.
Binging With Babish
Andrew Rea’s production volume has fallen off a bit over the past year. From what I understand, he’s got a lot of other non-YouTube projects in the works. Love that he’s a Rochester guy, though, and he’s begun featuring his buddy Sawyer Jacobs in segments that center around the Buffalo Bills.
Rea became famous for recreating foods seen in movies and TV shows, but has moved beyond that, demonstrating cooking basics and even going on national television to teach the world about Rochester’s infamous Garbage Plate. (A segment that could’ve gone better …)
If I haven’t watched the latest installment of Corrections — the fantastic YouTube-only Late Night segment from Seth Meyers — I’ll definitely watch that by Friday night. (Seriously, you all should be watching Late Night. Meyers and crew have been putting on the best late-night show for years now.)
Corrections is Meyers and Late Night at their purest level of bizarre.
I’m hoping The Last of Us can pull us out of this rut. I never played the video game the HBO show is based on, but the
rave reactions and reviews I’ve seen for the show put in on my radar. My plan is to watch it on Sunday night when it premieres, but it’ll be too late for me to squeeze into this edition of the newsletter.
Drop a comment or shoot me an email if there’s a show I should be watching right now.
Sorry if the intro to today’s newsletter is a bit on the brief side. We celebrated our daughter’s first birthday this weekend, with most of my family visiting us in Virginia. While she didn’t get the giant Bluey stuffed animal I was hoping for, I mean, she was hoping for, it was great to have everyone together to celebrate her birthday.
Happy Monday, and thanks for reading Popculturology. I love writing about pop culture, and I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter. If you do, please subscribe. It’s the easiest way to make sure you get every edition of Popculturology. Tapping the ♥️ at the bottom of each post also helps the newsletter. Now let’s get to the news.
New trailer for The Mandalorian premiering during tonight’s NFL wild card game
After watching my Buffalo Bills squeak out a win on Sunday, I’ve had my fill of football for the weekend, but I’ll be paying attention to tonight’s NFL wild card game between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a different reason: A new trailer for The Mandalorian.
“At halftime, an exclusive new trailer will debut for season three of The Mandalorian,” ESPN announced in a press release on Thursday.
We’re less than two months away from the third season of the adventures of Grogu and his dad, with The Mandalorian returning to Disney+ on March 1.
James Gunn debunks rumor that Jacob Elordi is his Superman
A rumor started going around last week that Euphoria star Jacob Elordi had been cast as Superman in James Gunn’s in-the-works movie about the character’s younger days. With Henry Cavill now officially done with the role, there’s been speculation over who DC Studios will choose as their new Man of Steel.
According to Gunn, though, it’s not Elordi.
Gunn is often very open and honest on Twitter when it comes to rumors like this. There’s always a squishiness in a statement like this when someone could be the favorite for the role or in the running for a role but not be officially cast yet.
I haven’t watched Euphoria (or the Kissing Booth movies), so I’m not really familiar with Elordi. Does he look like he could play Superman? Yeah. A lot of dudes do, though.
Is a Passion of the Christ sequel happening?
Late last week, a story started circulating on Twitter that Mel Gibson was finally putting a sequel to The Passion of the Christ into action. I found the news through ScreenGeek, which appears to have pulled the story from another source or two.
According to the story, the sequel will be called The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection (makes sense), and will once again star Jim Caviezel as Jesus.
I dunno, seems like Saturday Night Live already gave us the perfect sequel to Passion of the Christ.
But we shouldn’t joke about this, right. It’s important that we not lose sight of how the story of Jesus’ resurrection really went down.
Minx finds a new home on Starz
Minx was one of the many casualties of Warner Bros. Discovery’s cost-cutting reign of terror at HBO Max, not only being canceled but being canceled as production wound down on a second season.
Shortly after Minx’s cancelation, Jake Johnson posted that he was “eager to find a new platform for these episodes.” Johnson’s hope was fulfilled on Thursday when Minx creator Ellen Rapoport announced that Starz had picked up her show.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the Starz family, and for the opportunity to introduce Minx to a brand new audience,” Rapoport said in a statement. “We’ve found the perfect home. Our writers, cast and crew have created something truly special in Season 2, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
The Bear Season 2 and Dave Season 3 get a release dates (kind of)
FX revealed this past week when The Bear and Dave, two of its popular shows, will return in 2023.
The network didn’t give an exact date for the second season of The Bear but did reveal that it will return for ten episodes in early summer. What do we consider early summer? June?
The third season of Dave, the series from Dave Burd/Lil Dicky, will return to FX with a double-episode premiere on April 5.
I haven’t been able to figure out why FX/FXX goes with this two-episodes-at-a-time model. Back in the day, airing two episodes at once would be a sign that a network was burning off a show, but it’s become the norm for the network. If my memory serves me correctly, they also did this It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Reservation Dogs.
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Weekend of Jan. 13-15, 2023
Avatar: The Way of Water (1)
Weekend gross: $31.1M / Total domestic gross: $562.9M / Percent drop: -32
Avatar: The Way of Water inches closer to the $2 billion worldwide mark, sitting at just shy of $1.9 billion after this weekend. The Avatar sequel sits at No. 13 on the all-time domestic chart and No. 7 at on the all-time worldwide chart. The Way of Water should quickly pass Spider-Man: No Way Home’s $1,910,048,245 to move up to No. 6.
Weekend gross: $17.9M / Total domestic gross: $56.5M / Percent drop: -41
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (3)
Weekend gross: $13.4M / Total domestic gross: $106.4M / Percent drop: -1
A Man Called Otto (4)
Weekend gross: $12.7M / Total domestic gross: $18.9M / Percent drop: +201
Weekend gross: $10M / Total domestic gross: $10M / Percent drop: -NA
Box office numbers via The Numbers
Do I still have a Peacock subscription? I need to check before Poker Face premieres. The first four episodes of the upcoming detective series from Rian Johnson and starring Natasha Lyonne go live on Jan. 26.
The Wikipedia page for Poker Face is basically two sentences about the show and then 85 bullets listing the roster of guest stars that will appear at some point during the show’s 10-episode run.
Poker Face premieres on Jan. 26.
Your Place or Mine
Slim pickings for trailers this week, so here’s the trailer for Netflix’s upcoming romcom starring Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher.
Your Place or Mine premieres on Feb. 10.
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This was a great episode of The Bad Batch. After spending the first two episodes of the season with the core team, we got to see what Crosshair has been up to since the finale of the show’s first season.
He’s not doing great.
After being abandoned on Kamino for 32 rotations, Crosshair appears to be a pariah to his fellow stormtroopers. Even once he’s cleared for a new mission, Crosshair is put under the command of another soldier — a soldier a lot of Star Wars fans have been waiting to see again.
“Didn’t recognize you,” Crosshair quipped to Cody. Like much of the galaxy under Imperial rule, the color has been drained from Cody’s once-orange armor.
“The Solitary Clone” once again established something many Star Wars fans have known for years now: The best Star Wars action is Clone Wars era clones versus droids. We saw this during the first season of Bad Batch. We saw this during the Clone Wars’ final season. After years of rooting for Cody and his clones under the idea that they were the good guys, though, this episode paired Cody and Crosshair together as they took out a force of battle droids protecting a governor who only wanted to keep her planet’s sovereignty against the Empire.
In the end, the Imperial machine rolled on and we watched another clone question his place as a cog in that machine.
I didn’t get around to watching this episode until Sunday. Unlike Andor, Bad Batch doesn’t currently hold the same place of urgency in my mind, and I totally forgot that there was a new episode on Wednesday.
Abbott Elementary continues to show the strength of its ensemble cast, with this past week’s episode focusing on Gregory and his relationship with his father. Seeing Orlando Jones appear as Gregory’s dad was a nice bit of casting.
Disney loves its product placement, and besides running trailers for Marvel movies during ABC or ESPN broadcasts, is there a piece of Disney programming that leans into that ethos more than Abbott Elementary? The Halloween episode was full of characters dressed as Wanda Maximoff and Thanos, and now a piece of this episode’s plot focused on which Toy Story movie a class was going to watch.
‘We had to learn everything over again’: How FX survived the streaming wars (Josef Adalian, Vulture)
I was almost Elon Musk’s Twitter voice (Alan Hanson, Defector)
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