Television Man | Aidan Morgan
“Live as one of them, Television Man, to discover where your strength and power are needed. They can be a great people, they wish to be — they only lack the proper Thursday night Must-See TV programming.” —My dad to me, many years ago
What if you threw an invasion and no one noticed? Marvel Studios, which apparently missed Invasion of the Body Snatchers, tries to answer that question in Secret Invasion, a six-episode series currently airing on Disney+.
Created by Kyle Bradstreet (Mr. Robot) and directed by Ali Selim (In Treatment, The Looming Tower), Secret Invasion tries to smuggle prestige spy drama into the Marvel content processor. The results are about what you’d expect: the genre’s inherent cynicism smacks up hard against Marvel’s relentless need to uphold the status quo.
The series takes its name and not much else from the 2008 comics series. The shapeshifting alien villains from the original series have been reimagined as a refugee population that has split into factions, with some choosing to live peacefully among humans and others doing Bad Guy Terrorist things. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) returns from space to stop the bad guys. The highlights of the series so far are the performances of Ben Mendelsohn (Captain Marvel, Rogue One) and Olivia Coleman (Broadchurch).
If you’re tired of massive IP-dependent stories masquerading as imaginative works, I direct you to Boots Riley’s latest work, I’m A Virgo (Amazon Prime). the tale of a young man growing up in Oakland, California. Jharrel Jerome (Across the Spider-verse) plays Cootie, a 13-foot-tall kid who grows up on television commercials. His family keeps him in hiding, even though he can barely squeeze through doorways. Of course, he eventually leaves his house, instantly becoming an object of fascination and a target for those who want to exploit him.
In Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley knocked together a unique mix of absurdist slapstick comedy and incisive satire. I’m A Virgo pulls off a similar trick and it’s full of ridiculous laugh-out-loud moments that sting deeply at the same time. Single episodes have more originality and imagination than an entire Marvel series.
YOU WILL BELIEVE, ETC.
In TV-to-movies crossover news: James Gunn has cast David Corenswet (Pearl) as inexplicably tall and handsome nebbish Clark Kent and Rachel Brosnahan (The Fabulous Mrs. Maisel) as ace reporter Lois Lane in his upcoming Superman: Legacy movie. I’m just noting it because the inclusion of Brosnahan gives me hope that A) this will be a superhero version of His Girl Friday, and B) that they’ll cast Alex Borstein as Perry White.
No word on who’s playing Superman, though. Hey, what about Corenswet? He certainly looks the part, and as a skilled actor could probably juggle two roles. ■