Category Archives: TV / Movies

Media, yo. Media.

Rick and Morty canceled after 3 seasons

Adult Swim’s smash hit Rick and Morty has been canceled following the end of its highly-viewed third season. The decision to end the show came not from the network, but from co-creators Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland. The duo announced the cancellation Friday in a video posted to the Adult Swim Facebook page.

“The show’s mission is complete,” Roiland states triumphantly during the video in which the collaborators reveal that the entire series was a long con created solely for the purpose of generating a large enough base of rabid fans that they could effectively force a multi-billion-dollar corporation to do whatever they wanted.

The story starts in late 2011, when Roiland says he mentioned to Harmon that he was craving McDonald’s Szechuan sauce, a limited-edition McNugget dipping sauce that the fast food giant had released as part of a promotional tie-in for the Disney movie Mulan. When Harmon confessed that he had never tried the sauce during its availability, Roiland hatched a plan to get it back into production so Harmon could get his hands on it.

“It took a lot of work to convince the big-wigs at Adult Swim that the show was worth the investment,” Harmon recounts mid-way through the video. “It’s honestly the most juvenille—maybe, I would even say, infantile—thing that I’ve ever worked on, which is really saying something when you think back to my involvement with Channel 101.”

“Yeah, this has been really one of my least favorite projects,” Roiland chimes in. “It’s terrible. I hate it. I wish we didn’t have to go through all of this to get the McNugget sauce back. I’m not even sure it was worth it. It’s almost embarrassing to be recognized for this now.”

“Totally not worth it,” Harmon immediately concludes with a frown.

A brief interview with Mike Lazzo, who was Senior VP of Programming and Production at Adult Swim when Rick and Morty debuted, is appended to the video. In the clip, Lazzo details the network’s initial hesitation regarding the sci-fi comedy:

“A lot of people at the network were very concerned with the low-brow humor and rapid-fire pop culture references. They were afraid that half of the show’s jokes would fly right over the heads of viewers who tuned in for the other half of the jokes. A lot of them only agreed to greenlight the show after I reiterated Justin’s promise that this was all just to get some McNugget sauce back on the market and then it was over.”

Indeed, Harmon and Roiland fondly reminisce on the many meetings in which they had to reassure network execs that the show would never survive past its third or fourth season.

“We were really relying on the idea that we could create the same sort of fanbase that Dan had created with [NBC’s Harmon-produced sitcom] Community to drive this project,” said Roiland, as Harmon nodded his agreement. “I told them a few times that I had no intention of keeping this thing going very long. That really put them at ease with the whole situation.”

It was at the end of the show’s second season that the producers decided they had generated enough interest to bully the second-largest fast food chain in the world into resurrecting a long-discontinued menu item. A number of factors went into this determination, including live TV viewership numbers and activity levels on the Rick and Morty subreddit.

“When we saw the buzz we were getting online and we saw how many people were watching, we figured we had probably reached critical mass. It was time to go ahead and start winding things down,” Harmon explained.

Soon, the writing staff had started to put the plan into action. Mike McMahan was selected to write the season 3 premiere, which Adult Swim agreed to air completely unannounced as an April Fool’s Day surprise. The episode’s plot revolved in large part around the Szechuan sauce, complete with a closing scene that mirrored the popular closing moments of the pilot episode for maximum fan recognition.

The network played the episode on a loop for the entire night of April 1, 2017 in the hopes that by catching the viewers off-guard, they could capitalize on frantic web chatter to drive the most dedicated fans into a frenzy. The plan worked, and Google Trends showed spikes for searches related to the sauce every half hour as the episode came to an end and started over.

Fans flooded McDonald’s social media and web contact forms to demand that the sauce be brought back to the menu. The burger chain acquiesced in short order and began working on recreating the recipe. Soon, Roiland had a gallon of the stuff in his possession, and McDonald’s was pushing a one-day-only comeback to promote their new chicken tenders.

With the show’s one true goal fulfilled, Harmon was able to try to elusive condiment for the first time, and the co-creators could finally free themselves of the monster they had created.

“I don’t think anyone caught it, but the episode Meeseeks and Destroy was actually a not-so-subtle hint at what we were doing with the series as a whole,” Harmon revealed. “The show is an abomination, no doubt about it, and it was created to serve a singular purpose. To do that, it had to keep growing and multiplying to the point that we thought it would probably kill us both. Its existence was pain for us, but now that it’s accomplished its goal, it can finally die in peace.”

“That was our series arc, Morty!” Roiland shouts in his “Rick” voice.

Let’s talk about Avengers: Age of Ultron!

The video above is the first teaser for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was first shown during Comic-Con this year. This teaser, and a few casting announcements, are the only things we know about the upcoming sequel, which started filming this week. But is this enough to draw any real conclusions about the plot of the movie? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m definitely going to give it a shot.

Obviously, this is all speculation, but I should point out that it’s coming from someone who has never read a single Marvel comic. My knowledge of Marvel’s expansive universe is limited to what’s in the movies and some of what I’ve read on other sites like IGN (along with journeys down the rabbit-hole of Wikipedia when I was really just looking for some basic info).

So, that being said, let’s make some guesses.

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The J.J. Abrams procedural pattern

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Fox recently released a trailer for an upcoming cop show called Almost Human. The show is about a time in the future where human police officers are partnered with cyborgs. Like Will Smith’s character in the movie I, Robot, the main character of Almost Human doesn’t trust the machines and will do anything to avoid working with them. His disdain for the mandated electronic sidekicks eventually leads to his being partnered with an outdated model who was decommissioned “for a reason” and can apparently feel emotion (compare this to the story of Sonny in I, Robot).

The show was created by J.J. Abrams, the same guy who gave us Alias, Lost, Fringe, the Star Trek reboot, the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII, and a lot more. You’ve almost certainly seen something he created.

The interesting thing about Almost Human is that it’s the third procedural drama created by Abrams, and I think there’s a lot we can look at in his previous two entries into the genre that will give us some hints as to what lies in store in Almost Human.

Alias, the older of the two shows, is about a CIA agent named Sydney Bristow show learns that she has been duped. She doesn’t work for the CIA. Instead, she works for an evil organization called SD-6 that was created by rogue CIA agents. When she learns the truth about her job, she turns herself in to the CIA and offers to act as a double agent and help take down SD-6.

Fringe, which was cancelled earlier this year, is about an FBI agent named Olivia Dunham who is recruited to work for a special division of the Bureau called Fringe Division. The team uses “fringe science” techniques to solve unusual or seemingly-supernatural crimes.

Let’s examine some of the common motifs found in Alias and Fringe–two extraordinarily different shows on the surface that have more than you might realize in common.

Spoilers! If you haven’t watched these shows yet and you think you might at some point, you may not want to keep reading. Big plot points and the finales will be spoiled below.

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How Fringe’s finale screwed up time paradoxes and ruined everything

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Spoilers! If you haven’t watched the most recent (and final) season of Fringe (which ended in January), then this post is going to ruin the ending for you. Also I’m going to talk about time paradoxes and stuff, but I’ll try to make it simple.

For a show based entirely on pseudo-scientific concepts that could never actually work, Fringe did an pretty good job of making everything that happened over its five-season run sound scientifically plausible. In fact, right up to the very last episode, every imaginable anomaly on the show was explained. They even played around with time travel and multiverse theory with pretty good results.

And then they screwed it up. In the last few minutes of the show, they basically ruined five years of storytelling with one mistake. A word of warning: if you thought Fringe had a mostly-happy ending, this post is going to ruin everything for you.

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BioShock Infinite is basically just Fringe

 

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Warning! I’m going to spoil the crap out of the TV show Fringe (up through season 2, at least) and the game BioShock Infinite.

I’m gonna go ahead and point out that I haven’t watched the season 2 finale of Fringe yet, but I mostly see where things are headed, and I’ve noticed a lot of parallels between that show and BioShock Infinite. Allow me to explain.

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