I’m going to assume that it was MY column last week that convinced NBC to un-cancel Timeless. (Hilariously, showrunner Eric Kripke and star Matt Lanter both announced the change as if they went back in time and changed NBC’s minds. Hee.) I clearly have a very powerful voice in Hollywood, see? Deadline says NBC has been playing hardball with all of its series that are produced outside the network, including Blindspot and Taken. Both were renewed, but Sony and NBC were wrangling on the split of profits for Timeless and couldn't come to an agreement. But the cancellation announcement led to loud screams from the internet, and Sony was trying to find a streaming home, and NBC flipped a coin and said, “Okay, you get ten more episodes.” Writers: Bring it.
• In the category of CultureGeek Does Not Understand Fashion, Balenciaga is making a purse that looks like the IKEA bags, which amused IKEA no end. Balenciaga, of course, is one of those fancy-schmancy fashion companies that makes things I could never afford and often wouldn’t want. I do want IKEA bags, because they’re awesome. I have several. Mine cost 99 cents. Balenciaga’s cost $2,145. Did you know there’s a whole DIY subculture of making things from IKEA bags? I love that IKEA is all, “Go to it! We think it’s creatively awesome!”
• Bill Mantlo created Rocket Raccoon, and for 25 years he has lived in a nursing home after he was brain-damaged in a hit-and-run accident. Before the first Guardians film, fans apparently were campaigning to raise money for his treatment, and Marvel has negotiated a new compensation package that will allow Mantlo to move out of the nursing home and into a house next door to his brother.
• Ouch. King Arthur is the first box-office bomb of the summer, making only $14.7 million on its $175 million budget. Variety says King Arthur “may just want to put that sword back where he found it and pretend this never happened.” You know, I like Guy Ritchie most of the time, but that trailer pretty much drubbed everything anyone likes about the Camelot story and made it into Fast and Furious: Medieval Style. Yawn. Charlie Hunnam is far too talented an actor to try to build his movie career on playing Jax Teller in various settings, and I wish he’d cut it out.
• GeekDad takes aim at Barnes & Noble for its recent decision to mix new titles into their categories and turn all books spine-out. And I’m right there with him. Spine-out already is the worst sale position for a book; I once saw my books displayed at Dragoncon spine-out on the bottom shelf next to the register. Guess what? Didn’t sell a single book from that retailer. People have to really be looking to find your book if they can’t even see the cover. And as GeekDad points out, the big New Releases table is much too full of the latest political tripe or celebrity memoir or fad diet or yet another ghostwritten “James Patterson” thriller; you rarely see science fiction or horror on that table, and NEVER small press. Hell, we small press folk would be lucky to be spine-out on a bottom shelf to be ignored by the big boys. I like Buns & Noodles - hell, I like almost every bookstore. But the more they get taken over by toys we can get cheaper almost anywhere and endless piles of novelty gift thingies for when you really don’t know the person you’re buying for at all, and the more they do away with horror sections altogether and mix in our books with regular fiction (or fantasy - what?), the more we drift toward “a certain online retailer” because at least there you can find what you want. Do better! We want you to hang around.
• An excellent explanation for why the upcoming Wonder Woman movie is set in World War I instead of letting her punch Nazis. Of course, one could assume that Captain America’s running battle against Nazis past and present in the Marvel Universe might mean something as well, but then we’d have to talk about the current Cap storyline in the comics which doesn’t exist as far as CultureGeek is concerned so cram it, Marvel. In the meantime, I am simply hoping Wonder Woman does spectacularly well at the box office. We have all been chanting please don’t suck please don’t suck, but frankly, I don’t even care as much if it DOES suck, as long as it makes a boatload of money. In Hollywood, action movies with male stars can tank left right and center, and they will blame everything except “it had a male star.” That would be silly, right? But if a movie with a female star tanks a la Catwoman or Elektra, it tanked because it was a female headliner, and that’s the end of the story. If Wonder Woman tanks, it’ll be another 20 years before we get a superhero film with a female lead. So do us all a favor and go see it even if it sucks, okay?
• Also in comics, the new Doomsday Clock miniseries will allow Superman and Doctor Manhattan to meet. That sound you hear is Alan Moore’s head spinning around and possibly exploding. Also, Doomsday Clock will have no tie-ins, no offshoots, totally standalone… holy Hera, I might actually buy this.
• Finally, Disney bids farewell to “Wishes,” its long-running nighttime show at the Magic Kingdom. After 14 years, it’s being replaced with a new show that better not suck, because people are nuts for Wishes. Here, see the final show one more time.