Justice League Tanks, Search Party Returns!

image-1Please watch Search Party.

It is an excellent show. Just like the stuff of dreams, and I wish I had created it. Hilarious, and dark, and genuinely thrilling. The writers (Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers, Michael Showalter) and performers (Alia Shawat, John Early, Meredith Hagner, and John Reynolds) execute a real juggling act in the first season, with a tone that lands somewhere in the realm of Gone Girl-meets-Broad City, with a little bit of Nancy Drew thrown in for good measureAnd that shouldn’t really work, but it does. It’s very smart and very funny.

The second season does a bit of a narrative pivot and leans into the Alfred Hitchcock homages, which somehow feels like an organic extension of the first season and continues the tonal collision between farce and life-and-death stakes. The first two episodes hit the ground running, and make me excited for what the team has in store.

WATCH IT.

(Look, I know there’s too much television to watch right now, but this is a real gem that got buried last year. Please watch it. It’s better than Stranger Things. It’s even funnier than The Good Place. The second season premieres tonight on TBS with two back-to-back episodes.)

In other news, Justice League tanked. I’ve already dedicated two posts to the sins of the DCEU, and I can’t imagine there will be many happy faces around Warner Brothers HQ tomorrow. Even with a healthy box office return overseas, the $96 million domestic opening is the lowest take of any of the DCEU titles (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman), and brutal for a film that was effectively being sold as the studio’s version of The Avengers.

And the finished product is a Frankenstein nightmare of tonal shifts, with large chunks of the film sanded off to shorten the runtime and new quippy character beats inserted to help lighten the overall tone of the franchise. For whatever criticisms are being directed at these last minute changes, the Whedon edits saved the film from being a water-logged, self-serious nightmare, and the mandated two-hour runtime means they can screen it more often. Still, they’ll need to make at least $600 million to break even, which… isn’t going to happen.

I don’t know what the studio will do moving forward, but there will be a lot of discussions around franchise course-correction before Aquaman greets viewers next fall. Ben Affleck will almost certainly be replaced as Batman, Wonder Woman will continue to be the studio’s golden goose, and the positive response to Ezra Miller’s Flash means we’ll probably see that standalone movie before the originally-proposed 2020 release date.

But there is also the talk about the non-DCEU DC superhero films, Snyder isn’t officially out of the picture, and Whedon is now in the studio roster. So who knows, really? Justice League was a very different film twelve months ago, and at this rate the franchise could be an all-singing, all-dancing animated musical by next year. And that’s part of the damn problem, imho.

Maybe they should just hand the keys to Marvel.

 

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