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The Week in Geek: Batwoman premieres, the original Animaniacs return, and RDJ says no to the Oscars
It's the end of another week. With another New York Comic Con in the books, it feels like the nerd world took a big breath. And then got sick. It turns out shuffling through a building full of people breeds colds and flus and clus and folds.
While some of us were nursing the con crud, news still happened, movies came out, fall TV debuted. Did you know there's a Nancy Drew series? And it has g-g-ghosts in it?! What a world.
Here they are: The five biggest stories from ... The Week in Geek!
PICARD MADE IT SO ALL OVER NEW YORK COMIC CON
Technically, a "last weekend thing" but it happened after last week's news round-up, let's talk about that NYCC trailer for the upcoming Star Trek: Picard series.
It was great. Good talk.
Obviously, Star Trek made a big splash at the con with trailers for both Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 and Picard. There's also the new Short Treks episodes that dropped immediately after, including one from this week that reinvented tribbles.
But the Picard trailer: That's that real good stuff.
Mysterious androids! Picard fighting with a sword! Borg body parts! Deanna Troi! Will Riker! Data drawing a dream painting! I haven't smiled this hard since Picard and his team found the Enterprise caught in a time bubble and Picard drew a smiley face in a warp cloud. That smiley face was me.
Also, we have a release date now: January 23, 2020. That's almost soon! When they said "Early 2020" that could've meant anything. But it meant January. This rules. Next.
RDJ SAYS NO TO OSCAR
Not everyone wants to admit what a good interviewer longtime radio host Howard Stern is. But he's better than almost anyone when it comes to getting hard questions answered (mostly) honestly, even by big-name celebrities.
Case in point: Robert Downey Jr. chatted with Howard Stern this week about all sorts of things, including the recent statements from Martin Scorsese. If you had not heard, in an interview with Empire the director said of the MCU, "I don’t see them. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being."
So that was, and let's be real honest, not very nice. You could argue the truth of the statement one way or the other, but, inarguably, that's not a nice thing Scorsese said!
Downey responded pretty magnanimously on the whole, saying "I appreciate his opinion," but also adding, "It’d be like saying Howard Stern isn’t radio. It makes no sense to say it."
The most interesting part, though, was over the question of Downey being nominated for an Oscar. Stern thinks Downey deserves it.
Apparently Disney thought so, too.
"There was some talk about it, and I said, 'Let's not,'" Downey said. Which is to say that there was a desire to mount a campaign to get Downey nominated for his work playing Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame, but he said no.
This brings us back to that ongoing question of "Do superhero movies, which are often popcorn flicks more than anything, merit serious, cinematic accolades?" Long before Scorsese, there was this question of the validity of genre movies. Are they art? Are video games art? At what point is something too commercialized to count as art?
It seems like we're no closer to the answer, but hey, at least Robert Downey Jr. is a humble guy more focused on making the world a better place than chasing gold statues. That, also inarguably, is pretty nice!
BLIZZARD GETS BOYCOTT OVER BANNING
While the big gaming story this week ought to be Sony's official announcement of the PlayStation 5 and its late 2020 release, gaming is dealing with a much bigger situation at the moment.
Popular professional Hearthstone streamer Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai ended a stream recently by donning a mask and saying, "Liberate Hong Kong. Revlution of our age!" This was in response to ongoing protests in Hong Kong over proposed changes to extradition law with mainland China.
Blizzard, the creator of Hearthstone, responded to Blitzchung's comments by removing him from Grandmasters, withholding the prize money he won for participation in Grandmasters, and by banning him for a year from taking part in all Hearthstone esports.
The response by gamers, fans, and pros has been intense. The Blizzard subreddit was pretty promptly shut down. Blizzard employees have come forward to speak out against their company's decision.
Perhaps most notably, a college Hearthstone team in America held up a sign reading "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz," which merited no response from Blizzard at all — those gamers walked away from Blizzard, and a lot of other folks are following suit in a boycott.
BATWOMAN PREMIERES, IS NOT HALF BAD
Batwoman is literally half bad in that it's about two sisters, one good, one evil. So maybe that headline is a little misleading. But who doesn't love a little harmless misdirect?
After her debut in 2018's Arrowverse crossover event, Elseworlds, at long last Kate Kane gets her own show. And you know what? It's pretty good! It's got a lot of the same "my family is complicated" beats that Arrow always has, but think about it this way: Oliver Queen is only so prominent because The CW couldn't actually use Batman.
It's a pilot episode, so obviously it's not perfect. Lord, that line about the batsuit being perfect "when it fits a woman" felt like an anvil was being dropped on our collective heads, but, otherwise, it was fun. Good action. Fun hero/villain dynamic. And Batwoman, the show, is paired up with Supergirl, so Sunday nights are a bit of the old World's Finest. Not too shabby.
ANIMANIACS CAST WILL ALL RETURN
Almost a full year ago we found out that the Animaniacs will be revived on Hulu with Steven Spielberg executive-producing. And that was pretty exciting. But the larger question hung in the air: What about the original cast?
Well, you can breathe easy: They're all back. Yes, Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille, and Maurice LaMarche are all returning to the fold. Or the water tower, I guess. It's a massive relief. It's not that animated characters can't be recast, it's just that these specific actors are, frankly, a pure distillation of so many childhoods that it would be a shame if they weren't all returning to Animaniacs. Hooray! Everyone likes good news!
And that's our week. Let us know what you think of these stories and what stories grabbed your attention.