The Enthusiasm List for September 2022

It’s a new month and around here that means it’s time to look within my soul and find out what it is I’m excited about. And while September is traditionally a big month for TV, that’s much more on the network side. I’m hardly following any network TV these days, but it’s worth noting that Abbott Elementary returns on the 19th and Bob’s Burgers is back on the 25th. Those shows are good!

September 1

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Amazon) – I wish I could tell you something about this Tolkien-themed show. Is it set before Lord of the Rings? After? Is it continuity with the movie or the novel or perhaps a standalone? I don’t have this information!  I mean, this information exists but I really don’t care about Lord of the Rings aside from the Shadows of Mordor video game and the second season of Newcomers. I’ve read it, I’ve watched it, and none of it sticks. So nothing you can tell me about this show and its place in the lore will mean anything to me. And yet, I’m probably going to at least try it out because this honestly isn’t a great month and I’m probably going to have some open viewing time. It looks like a big expensive spectacle and there are some writers I really like on the staff, so maybe this will be the time that I get Tolkien.

September 4

Rick and Morty (Adult Swim / HBO Max) – Hey, it’s a new season of Rick and Morty! I’m a little more excited about this show than I’ve been in the past simply because the fanbase has scaled it back after several years of just being the absolute worst. Maybe the most toxic elements have moved on to new obsessions, maybe I stopped paying attention, and maybe the Zack Snyder and Star Wars fans have stepped it up to make the Rick fans looks reasonable by comparison. Whatever it is, I found the last season a lot easier to enjoy and I’m looking forward to more episodes. And to really get all credits nerd here, Get Played host Heather Anne Campbell is on the writing staff as of this new season and I’m psyched for her episodes.  She’s great!

September 6

Luda by Grant Morrison – That’s right, there’s a book on the list this month. I’m very literary and cultured.  But really, it’s the first novel from my favorite comic writer, Grant Morrison. It’s about an aging drag queen who initiates her protegee into the mystical arts which is about as Grant Morrison a premise as you’re going to hear all day. Morrison’s recent comic work hasn’t totally clicked with me, but some of their best work has been in playing with the very nature of the DC Universe and now the DC Universe is in enough editorial disarray that it’s impossible to be either reverential or subversive right now. But I can gloss over a couple of weak miniseries and a so-so run on Green Lantern (which, honestly, is most runs on Green Lantern) after decades of really amazing work. So I’m here for an original creation and I’m curious to see how they make the transition to novels.

September 9

Cobra Kai (Netflix) – Hear me out. Cobra Kai is not a good TV show. It has awesome moments alongside terrible moments, but on the whole it’s spent years rehashing the same few points and constantly reverting every relationship back to the status quo. Wait, you’re telling me Johnny and Daniel don’t like one another but can grudgingly find mutual respect until that respect goes away and they start all over again? Gasp! The show has about three tricks and would rather invoke increasingly less beloved areas of the Karate Kid mythos then exhibit any forward momentum. It’s a bad show. And I’m going to watch every single episode anyway. For all the frustrating plotting, the entire town’s focus on, and intimate familiarity with, the local karate scene will always delight me. And William Zabka is so perfect as a sad middle-aged man who thinks maybe he can help a crippled child walk again by setting fire to his leg. So even though we’re going to watch Daniel realize that maybe he’s being too tough on his daughter for the sixth time, we’re also going to see Johnny Lawrence, Human Disaster.

September 15

Atlanta (FX / Hulu) – The final season of Donald Glover’s instant classic is here, very soon after the previous season and many, many years after the season before that. It’s not exactly regimented, is what I’m saying. The third season didn’t really work for me, for a variety of reasons. Moving the cast to Europe and then rarely having them interact with one another takes away a lot of what was special about the series (It’s not Atlanta when they’re thousands of miles away from Atlanta). It got to be a little too much about rich people problems, and we saw multiple episodes without any of the cast that were completely unconnected to the overall narrative. And while these worked well enough on their own, it started to feel like an anthology show that sometimes checked in on recurring characters. And, well, it feels like a show that has always been relevant that shot a bunch of episodes pre-Covid and turned into a period piece. That said, it’s still an impressive series and I’m hoping that this final season will be a return to form and Atlanta will go out on top.

September 21

Andor (Disney+) – Just mentioning this Rogue One prequel because it came up in last month’s list and then they pushed it back three weeks. I assume they didn’t want to overlap a Marvel show and a Star Wars show, but that’s just me saying stuff. Maybe they realized that even people who really like Rogue One (me) didn’t know that was the guy’s name and they’re going to mount a campaign to increase Andor awareness. “Andor: He’s the guy from the movie you like! No, the other guy. Not the one who plays Ip Man, either. For real, his name is Andor. They definitely say that name in the movie a bunch of times!”

September 27

DC Horror Presents: Sgt. Rock vs. the Army of the Dead (In comic shops or available digitally on Comixology) –WWII hero Sgt. Rock is returning to comics after a long absence, and that’s always cause for celebration. This time, he and the combat-happy joes of Easy Company are facing off against Nazi zombies, which could either be amazing or it could just be a hat on a hat. But do you know who’s writing this series? Horror icon and coolest guy in the world Bruce Campbell!  Pizza Poppa himself! I’m a huge fan of Bruce, from Evil Dead to Brisco County to Burn Notice to Bubba Ho-Tep, to a million Sam Raimi cameos, to his appearance as Ronald Reagan in Season Two of Fargo. I met him once and it was a highlight of my life. I love Bruce Campbell. He’s written some very funny books in the past and I can’t wait to see what he and artist Eduardo Risso do to Frank Rock and the crew.  And I know I’m focused on the Bruce aspect because he’s awesome but Risso is one of the best artists in the game. I never would have imagined a Campbell/Risso project and I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it would be a Sgt. Rock series, which is why they don’t pay me the big money. Lack of vision, you see.

Tunic (PS4/PS5) – True, this game came out earlier in the year for the Microsoft family of products, but I’m a Playstation guy so it might as well not have existed until today. It sounds delightful – your character is a fox in a Legend of Zelda-style game with puzzles and combat and the like. But it’s a fantasy land where everything is rendered in an unknown language and part of the premise is that the instruction manual is lost – like when you’d rent a NES cartridge from Blockbuster and just fumble through as best you could. Through gameplay you discover pages that clarify the lore, explain your goals, and teach you the controls. It sounds really fun and I can tell it’s the kind of game I will never actually finish but it’ll give me some real enjoyment before I have to spend an entire afternoon navigating a maze and then I give up. I’m old and that’s all I can really ask of a video game these days.

September 30

Bros (in theaters) – Billy Eichner wrote and stars in a gay romantic comedy, purportedly the first studio film to have a mostly queer cast and creative team. Which is just a cool thing to have in the world, but also Eichner is the funniest and this is going to be hard to pass up. Sure, if he becomes a movie star we may never see him chasing pedestrians down the street, brandishing a dollar bill and shouting “Miss? Miss? Tilda Swinton, yes or no?”, but he’s earned it.

That’s my list! What are you psyched about?

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