Hello, everyone! It’s One Of Us’ weekly article series, “The Weekly Wrap-Up.” Covering everything from film announcements to comic books, “The Weekly Wrap-Up” ensures that the biggest stories of the week are analyzed and discussed by our team of writers. This week we cover the first trailer for The Muppets’ newest television series, the departure of legendary voice actor Harry Shearer from The Simpsons and CBS’s Supergirl series.
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Reveal Trailer
Set within London in 1868 during the Industrial Revolution, the story follows twins Jacob and Evie Frye as they navigate the corridors of organized crime during the Industrial Revolution and fight against the established order, controlled by the Templars. At the start of Syndicate, the siblings have been training with the Assassin Order for some time, honing their skills while quickly adapting to industrial revolution’s new technology. Though the story is said to focus mostly on the sarcastic hot-headed Jacob, players will have the option to play as Evie during her own series if story missions. Like in past titles, players will meet historical figures who may aid or fight them. Though the majority of the cast has yet to be announced, both Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin will make appearances, possibly aiding Jacob or Evie against the British aristocracy and Templar Order.
The trailer looks very much like a typical Assassins Creed game with some small changes. Yes, you have the new historical era and some traversal mechanics like the rope grapple(which is said to improve mobility), but the trailer doesn’t do much to set itself apart from other entries in the series. The city of London looks as gray and depressing as one would expect during the 19th century with its rain-soaked back alleys and skyline of smokestacks. Combat seems to have changed little, but the locations in which you can battle enemies is certainly the most visually impressive thing about the trailer. Having a good ole’ bout of fisticuffs with your everday Templar-ruffian aboard a high-speeding train will probably be one of the more exciting segments of Syndicate.
The Assassins Creed franchise has been marred in controversy since the release of last year’s Assassins Creed: Unity. The French Revolution-set title suffered from numerous bugs and performance issues, highlighted by the fact that some player and critics were seeing characters without any faces. Though a crushing-critical disappointment for Ubisoft, Unity still sold well and remained one of the best-selling games of last year.
Assassins Creed: Syndicate will be released October 23 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Harry Shearer Leaving The Simpsons?
After 26 seasons and multiple contract disputes, one of the key cast members of the beloved primetime animated series The Simpsons is walking away. Harry Shearer, best known for providing the voices for characters like Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, Kent Brockman and dozens of others, recently announced via Twitter that he was leaving the show due to a contract dispute with executive producer James L. Brooks’ lawyer, which was later confirmed by long time Simpsons showrunnner Al Jean in an interview with Hitfix. Jean stated that Shearer declined to extend his contract with his fellow longtime cast members Dan Castellanetta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria due to a lack of time to pursue other projects, despite the contract willingly giving Shearer the potential to build recording time around his schedule. Brooks has stated on his own Twitter that he’s still open to negotiation with Shearer, but should he choose to keep his stance, the show will continue his characters, who will be recast with different voice talents for the show’s upcoming 27th and 28th seasons.
Honestly, Shearer’s exit from the show really isn’t that surprising. He’s been vocal about his distaste for the show’s decline in quality as of late and has had a history of contract disputes with Fox in recent years, even declining to provide his vocal talents for The Simpsons Ride that was built for Universal Studios theme parks back in 2008. Plus, Shearer has had a far more diverse career than his Simpsons co-stars, writing novels, appearing in Christopher Guest films and occasionally reprising his role as Derek Smalls for reunion tours of Spinal Tap, so I’m surprised this didn’t happen earlier. The show’s been past its prime for a while now and I don’t blame Shearer for wanting to move on and focus on creative avenues he cares about. If anything, I’m more disappointed that the crew would be so willing to replace Shearer like they have said. Even when the writing failed his characters, he was still committed to portraying his parts with the same gusto and performance. If there’s a slim shiver of hope that he’ll continue, that’s great. However, it still wouldn’t convince me to pick the show back up and I still doubt Shearer would be willing to come back after all this hoopla. All of this news just confirms that the show is a mere shadow of it’s former self. So darn-diddly-disgraceful.
Supergirl Series Trailer
The new extended peek for CBS’s Supergirl series was just released this past week and it seems to have all the modern and most annoying sensibilities of a CW series aimed at a teen audience. Melissa Benois (Glee) stars as Supegirl/Kora Zor-El, who is extremely determined to come across as a meek, awkward ditz, pinning for the affection of every man that crosses her path. In between saving the world, she eats Chinese and complains about her love life. I don’t know about you reader, but I smell a winner! Nah, it looks terrible.
Am I reading too much into the trailer? Perhaps, but the 6+ minute clip hardly leaves me with any sort of confidence as it tries it’s hardest to present itself as romantic-comedy that also happens to feature a super powered Kryptonian. What’s so funny (and sad) is that this trailer does exactly what Saturday Night Live‘s Black Widow: Age of Me sketch did by pandering itself to the supposed expectations of a female audience.
The Muppets Get a New TV Show
After returning to the big screen, everyone’s favorite felt entertainers are going back to their roots; television. ABC has given a series order to a brand new television show starring the characters that will be creatively titled The Muppets for the 2015-2016 television season Tuesdays. The show, created by Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady and Bob Kushell (The Simpsons, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Anger Management), will be shot in the same mockumentary as shows like The Office & Modern Family and focus on the classic characters trying to put on this TV show while living their own personal lives. The series will also be more adult oriented than the previous television efforts, focusing on the relationships and backstage behaviors of the characters as performers in Los Angeles. The trailer for the series can be viewed here;
Ever since Jim Henson’s original characters returned to the public consciousness with the 2011 film named after them, they’ve had a bit of trouble maintaining attention. Last year’s Muppets Most Wanted proved to be a disappointment at the box office and their other appearances in TV specials have been met with little notice. So naturally, a new running television series was probably the way to go. This is the first television show to star the characters since Muppets Tonight in the mid-90s which attempted to ape that era’s sketch comedy show format, much in the same way that the original Muppet Show in the 1970s aped the then popular format of variety shows. So, going for the mockumentary style feels natural for a modern show featuring these adaptable and timeless characters. Plus, the trailer itself shows the potential for the series to be genuinely funny in a modern slightly more adult context without sacrificing the wacky and often self aware personalities of these lovable characters. My only concern is how well it will do on ABC, a network that recently cancelled most of their recent comedy shows due to lower ratings than expected, especially given the lack of stain power for The Muppets’ comeback. I’ve always thought that a show featuring the characters would do better on a streaming platform like Netflix anyway, where families can watch it at any time they wish and could open the door to new fourth wall breaking antics for the characters. Still, it’s always nice to see these beloved characters return to the platform that made them stars.
True Detective Season 2 Trailer
After a critically acclaimed first season last year, True Detective returns to HBO this summer with a new story, new cast, new setting and most likely new giant philosophical monologues to spew. For the new story in this anthology season, a cop and war vet Paul Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) in California stumbles onto a crime scene that attracts two veteran detectives (Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams) into investigating. At the same time, career criminal and entrepreneur Frank Semyon (Vince Vaughn) also gets caught up in the fall out of this murder. As you can tell, the full plot is still somewhat of a mystery, but the new season will still premiere Thursday June 21st and HBO has given us a new trailer.
True Detective Season 2 is already in a bit of a bind. To follow up a contained story as memorable and eye catching as the first season is tough, especially for anyone in the cast who has to follow up performances as engaging and unforgettable as Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. Plus, there’s more to prove in terms of this cast, with a cast mostly made of actors in need of something distinctive in their careers. Kitsch, Farrell and Vaughn have had unfortunate track records in their for their recent string of films and McAdams has disappeared from the spotlight. Plus, Vaughn and McAdams are rather unproven in terms of their full dramatic chops that would stack up to the work McConaughey and Harrelson from last season. All of them are probably hoping for a McConaissance of their own following this season.
As for the trailer itself, it holds promise. Like I said, there’s still little to go on in terms of plot, but the tone and atmosphere. The new California setting definitely removes the Southern Gothic aspect of the first season, but replaces it with more of a desperate sun soaked grime to everything. Plus, based on the glimpses we get of the cast, they seem committed to their parts. The one that’s impressing me the most honestly is Rachel McAdams, who shows off her badass cop persona while still feeling vulnerable and human. This was especially needed after the lack of strong female characters in the previous season. If anything ,the biggest compliment is that it doesn’t feel like any of the actors are trying too hard to replicate Rust Cole or Martin Hart. They seem like their own individual characters as of yet… though I’ll call rip off if someone starts quoting Nietzsche and drinking Lone Star.