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WIRE Buzz: First look at Hulu's M.O.D.O.K. series; Netflix unwraps Elf on a Shelf; Proxima

By Josh Weiss

The Mental Mobile Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing arrives in the first images from Hulu's animated M.O.D.O.K. series hailing from co-creators Patton Oswalt and Jordan Blum.

Oswalt is also voicing the villain (created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby), who, in this iteration, isn't trying to conquer the Earth or defeat the Avengers. Not really. Instead, the character will be grappling with more day-to-day issues like family life.

"His design by Jack Kirby is so absurd and monstrous that we thought, where does this guy go at night?" Blum told Entertainment Weekly.  "Does he go home to a house and have all these mundane things he has to do? Does he have a family we never knew about? The more we discussed, the more it just kind of made us laugh and then we tried to figure out well, what would that family be? Who would marry M.O.D.O.K and how hard would it be to be his son or to be a daughter in M.O.D.O.K.'s image?"

He may be one of the smartest beings in the universe, but he's been neglecting his wife, Jodie (Aimee Garcia); oddball son, Lou (Ben Schwartz); and daughter Melissa (Melissa Fumero), who looks just like him. Spoiler alert: his efforts to run Advanced Idea Mechanics and please his family at the same time doesn't work out so well.

M.O.D.O.K.'s criminal organization is on the verge of being bought out by GRUMBL, whose "post-merger-integration-consultant," Austin Van Der Sleet (Beck Bennett), serves as the main character's central adversary — an adversary that doesn't need a shield or metal suit to win battles. While GRUMBL promises the floating chair-confined baddie that nothing will change, it's not really the case, as M.O.D.O.K. is forced to contend with a board of directors and (dun dun dun) Human Resources.

"If you're making a show about super-villains, you have figure out something more evil [for them to face]," Blum said of making a corporation the enemy. "It seemed like an interesting foe for M.O.D.O.K. to come up again because it's one thing to try to kill Iron Man, but it's another when you have all this corporate red tape. He can't blast his problems away, which is how he solves every problem. It'll be his greatest test: Can he out-smart a corporation and take back control after he unknowingly gives it away?"

M.O.D.O.K. (along with Hit Monkey) is the only surviving Marvel series from Hulu's original slate of "Offenders" programming that was slated to feature Howard the Duck and Tigra & Dazzler.

Fans can learn more about M.O.D.O.K. during its  New York Comic Con panel later today. Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sam Richardson, and Jon Daly also lend their voices to the project, which doesn't have a premiere date yet. The stop motion animation was hanlded by Stoopid Buddy, the same studio behind Robot Chicken and Crossing Swords.

Netflix has acquired the screen rights to everyone's favorite creepy holiday tradition: Elf on the Shelf.

Per Deadline, the streamer paid a seven-figure sum to develop the brand (owned by The Lumistella Company) for projects in the spaces of live-action and animation. The content will be targeted "at pre-school audiences, as well as for family audiences through both series and film," reads the report. As part of the deal, two existing Lumistella-produced animated features — Elf Pets: Santa’s Reindeer Rescue and Elf Pets: A Fox Cub’s Christmas Tale — will premiere on Netflix this holiday season.

Elf on the Shelf

The Lego Movie's Roy Lee (of Vertigo Entertainment) is producing the Elf on the Shelf output alongside Miri Yoon. The IP's creators — Chanda Bell, Christa Pitts, and Carol Aebersold — are attached in a producer/consulting capacity. Bell wrote the first Elf on the Shelf story, based on a family tradition, with her mother. They self-published the book in 2005 and watched as their creation became an iconic staple of the Christmas season.

She told Deadline that she and her co-creators are "thrilled to be partnering with Netflix to create immersive and engaging original stories of Santa’s North Pole while providing heartfelt family-entertainment to fans all over the world. We are also pleased that fans in North America don’t have to wait to delve into the world of The Elf on the Shelf and their friendly Elf Pets, with the streaming giant carrying our newest animated Elf Pets titles this Christmas. We relish the opportunity to collaborate with Netflix to bring joyful family moments to life. This moment is a dream come true."

After hearing about writer-director Alice Winocour's Proxima for over a year now, we'll finally be able to check out the film next month from the comfort of our own homes. The sci-fi movie stars Eva Green (Penny Dreadful) as Sarah, an astronaut about to leave her daughter behind for a historical mission to Mars. Naturally, this puts a massive strain on their relationship, as Sarah will probably be gone for years.

Below, you can watch a new trailer from Vertical Entertainment, which is rolling out the film here in the 'States:

"What was surprising was this idea that they [astronauts] were so fragile. In those [other] films, you see them as superheroes and super-humans as if it is really easy to leave the Earth. The reality is very different," Winocour said in an interview last December. "Space is not for humans, and the conditions in space are really inhuman. You lose your sense of balance; you grow from three to four inches. All of those things are something that is not usually shown in film."

Matt Dillon, Lars Eidinger, and Sandra Hüller co-star.

Vertical Entertainment will launch Proxima on Digital and VOD Friday, Nov. 6.