She-Hulk Smashes the MCU’s Avengers: Endgame Problem

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is, in my humble opinion, the most important show (it’s finale in particular) to the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It cuts loose the albatross which has hung around the neck of the MCU since Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were released.  If the MCU is to continue for another ten years, if it’s to stay relevant and interesting, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law must become the Bible for Marvel’s cinematic storytellers.  And ok, I see how my title and these opening sentences may seem a bit clickbait-y.  It may seem like a “hot take,” purposefully framed to invite shocked, curious, or even hate reads.  But here’s the thing; I honestly, completely, wholeheartedly believe this.  For all their EPICNESS, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame inadvertently set off a problematic chain reaction within the MCU’s fandom which will plague the MCU until it’s set right.  How do you stop this reaction?  She-Hulk SMASH.  Salvation, it turns out, comes in a sensational She-Hulk-sized package.

Note, this piece contains SPOILERS for the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law finale.

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David Tennant is the Fourteenth Doctor: Thoughts and Theories Part 1

When Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor regenerated I had no idea what would happen next.  I knew Ncuti Gatwa was cast as the next Doctor.  But I also knew David Tennant and Catherine Tate were returning for a trilogy of specials for Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary next November.  Whose face would I see when the regeneration energy faded??  In all my time watching Doctor Who, there’s never been a regeneration mystery like this!  Jodie Whittaker smiled into the rising sun, arms wide…and then there was David Tennant!  The announcement posted on the BBC’s Doctor Who site immediately after the episode aired made if official-official, “As Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor regenerated on Sunday 23rd October, it was none other than David Tennant who appeared as the Fourteenth Doctor.”  They included a statement from Russell T Davies as well, “If you thought the appearance of David Tennant was a shock, we’ve got plenty more surprises on the way!  The path to Ncuti’s Fifteenth Doctor is laden with mystery, horror, robots, puppets, danger and fun!  And how is it connected to the return of the wonderful Donna Noble?  How, what, why?  We’re giving you a year to speculate, and then all hell lets loose!”[1]

So, David Tennant is the Fourteenth Doctor.  Ncuti Gatwa is the Fifteenth Doctor.  And Russell T Davies has invited us to a year of speculation (hence my “Part 1”).  How fun :D.  Let’s get started!

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Saying Goodbye to the Thirteenth Doctor: A Doctor Who Regeneration Reflection

“I wish…I wish this could last forever.”  Those were the Doctor’s final words, spoken as she skipped stones on the beach with Yaz in “Legend of the Sea Devils,” her last adventure before her regeneration in “The Power of the Doctor.”  The first time I watched the special I found the line poignant.  The closer I got to “The Power of the Doctor,” the more I echoed her sentiment.  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye!  I couldn’t lose the Thirteenth Doctor!  I couldn’t lose Yaz!  Not yet!  However, as the personification of Time itself ominously told the Doctor at the Temple of Atropos, “You can leave here, but you won’t outrun me.  Your time is heading to its end.”  Defiant and with more than a little fear the Doctor said, “No…it’s not.  You’re wrong.”  But Time solemnly replied, “Nothing is forever.  No regeneration.  No life.”  I wish Time was wrong!  But alas, the Doctor regenerated, whether I was ready for her to or not.  This piece is me processing; it’s a reflection on the Thirteenth Doctor’s regeneration and her era of Doctor Who.

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No, I Haven’t Seen That Show Yet. Here’s Why.

I’ve often heard it said we’re living in the era of Prestige Television (or Peak Television, if you prefer).  Regardless of the terminology, there is the general sense among people who think, write, and talk about these things that the 21st century has seen the rise of a Golden Age – if not The Golden Age – of Television.  The caliber of what’s being offered on TV is generally considered to have risen.  There are more “high quality” shows generating more critical acclaim than ever before.  The line between “TV star” and the once-more prestigious “movie star” is blurring.  In fact, these TV shows with shorter seasons, renown casts, and complex storytelling, are often touted as six (or ten (or thirteen)) hour movies, broken up into smaller installments.  You couple this with the rise of streaming services (and the accompanying “streaming wars” where each service tries to outperform the others to earn your subscription fee) alongside the culture of binge-watching and our experience of television’s been transformed.  It is a remarkable time to be consuming such content and the excited query, “Have you seen [fill-in-the-blank-show] yet??” drives our pop culture conversations like never before.

The thing is, my answer is almost always “no.”  Like 9/10 times it’s “no.”  And here’s why.

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What I Learned (and Questions Remaining After) Watching Doctor Who: Flux in One Sitting

Harkening back to the serial nature of Classic Doctor Who stories, the last series of Doctor Who, Series Thirteen, was six episodes telling one massive story.  Named Doctor Who: Flux, this series premiered on 31 October 2021 and each episode was released in weekly installments with the finale airing 5 December 2021.  Filmed amidst Covid restrictions, I’m not sure how long the original arc of Flux was intended to be but the effects were evident in many ways, from lack of location shoots to the primary cast playing multiple roles to a narrative running over with story bits.  While I adore the Thirteenth Doctor – seeing her as “my Doctor” in as much as I can see any Doctor as “mine” when I love them all – and largely love what Chris Chibnall has done with the world of Doctor Who during his time as showrunner, Flux was…rough.  Watching it week to week there was so much I enjoyed but I also felt the narrative was overcrowded, trying to do too much with the time they had and ending with many questions lingering in my mind.  So I wanted to see if watching this one sweeping story in one sitting affected my understanding of the story!

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Would You Go to Westworld If It Were Real?  Would I Go to Westworld?

This is a piece I wrote awhile back but never posted.  I’d planned to use it to help fill the quiet on the blog as I was writing my book (yay!) but, well, I just kinda forgot.  What can I say?  Life was busy.  But with Westworld Season Four arriving this weekend, I figured it was the perfect time to share it!  Enjoy!

This last HBO show I became completely obsessed with was Westworld.  As I started it just months after I watched (and raved incessantly about) The Leftovers,[1] my brother was worried I’d fall into the “HBO Cult” and become one of those people who ONLY talks about HBO shows.  Granted, this fear was more prevalent and the reality more pervasive in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s before the rise of streaming services changed our experience of TV.  But David’s fear/warning was valid all the same and I agree; “those HBO people” can be SO ANNOYING.  Thankfully, while I spent a lot of time thinking and talking about Westworld, HBO never fully consumed me.  There are still plenty of things I like to think and talk about.  So, let’s think and talk about HBO’s Westworld, shall we?

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Considering Dr. Christine Palmer and the Ever-Expanding Size of the MCU

This weekend, in anticipation of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I returned to a favorite tradition of mine – marathoning old movies before I see the new one!  The size of the Marvel Cinematic Universe means the last time I watched every movie was my marathon for Avengers: Endgame.  Now, saner (and healthier!) parts have prevailed.  Instead of ruining my life by trying to watch the twenty-eight different films and nineteen different TV series with thirty-six seasons between them that make up the MCU (at the time of this writing), I’ve just chosen to watch Doctor Strange (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), WandaVision (2021), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).  Rewatching Doctor Strange a question struck me: whatever happened to Dr. Christine Palmer?

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