San Diego Comic-Con has once again brought us a bounty of new trailers–here’s our thoughts on a portion of the upcoming nerd buffet.

Stranger Things

Mary: This is my favorite trailer from SDCC. I’ve watched it so many times and it even inspired me to rewatch season one again. I thought I glimpsed Sean Astin running down a hall and sure enough, he’s in season two, which has led me to speculate what other 1980s stars we might eventually see in this series… will we get Wil Wheaton? Cory Feldman? Mia Sera? Drew Barrymore? Anyway everything about the trailer has me excited… it’s set at Halloween, they’re wearing Ghostbusters costumes, Will’s seeing monsters and poor Joyce is terrified for him, Nancy’s got a gun, Steve Harrington’s wearing sunglasses, Hopper is upside down, Eleven is escaping, THRILLER IS PLAYING, and it all culminates in Vincent Price’s iconic evil laugh. Everything is just perfect. (Side note: in rewatching season one I’ve been admiring David Harbour’s performance again and I think he’s going to make a great Hellboy.)

Rob: Still sad about Barb. Too soon!

Thor: Ragnarok

Mary: I have never been excited about a Thor movie before now, but OMG I CAN’T WAIT! This looks hilarious and over-the-top and so filled with bad-ass action I get giddy every time I think about it. I love Hela’s and Valkyrie’s costumes, Thor’s haircut and lightning eyes, Hulk speaking, and all things Jeff Goldblum. I really can’t wait to see how Taika Waititi brings it all together. Also, Ragnarok’s commitment to the 1980s metal aesthetic is fantastic and the neon titles are delightful. (#fonthole)

Rob: Hell yeah metal! The first two Thor flicks were…pretty bad, though the Avengers movies demonstrated pretty conclusively that neither Hemsworth nor Hiddleston were to blame. This looks like great, goony fun, and I hope this means bigger and better things for Waititi in the future.

Justice League

Mary: I’m still debating whether I’ll see this. I’m stoked for more Wonder Woman and I can’t wait for Aquaman, but I still don’t understand DC’s decision to separate their films from their TV shows and I will sorely miss Grant Gustin’s Flash. And I’m extremely tepid on Ben Affleck’s Batman and have absolutely no interest in Henry Cavill’s Superman. DC has not earned my trust in their cinematic universe, and there’s nothing in this trailer that convinces me otherwise.

Rob: Oh hell no. I will watch Aquaman, though,

Ready Player One

Mary: My terrible nerd secret is that I didn’t love this book as much as apparently almost every other nerd alive. My short assessment is that it has all the nostalgia of Stranger Things with none of the emotional impact. I wanted to like it—I always want to like things!—but I ended up feeling meh. (Friend-of-the-Hole Paul Constant explains the book’s shortcomings better than I can here.) That being said, the trailer looks fun and I just heard that Lena Waithe from Master of None is co-starring so that gives me hope. So yeah, I’m gonna see it.

Rob: Why so serious? I fully expect this to be dumb and bland and still make a kabillion dollars, and yes, a few of those will come from me.

Marvel’s The Defenders

Mary: OK I can’t wait for The Defenders… I’m stoked to see Jessica, Luke, and Matt together. (And I guess Danny Rand will be there, too. Nothing’s perfect.) Best parts of the trailer: Jessica cracking the beer on the subway; Luke and Jessica’s disinterest in being “superfriends” and Matt’s chuckling understanding of that; watching them all fight together; and Sigourney Weaver is, as always, formidable and compelling. My only complaint is that it seems entirely focused on The Hand storyline versus tying into Infinity Wars at all. (Oh and that Danny Rand continues to exist. Nothing’s perfect.)

Rob: Yep, there’s a lot to look forward to–even Iron Fist. I’m desperate to know if the problems with the standalone show were all about the showrunners or if Finn Jones bears some responsibility. Certainly in the trailer he had the same constipated expression and tone of voice, but maybe he’ll show some depth we haven’t seen yet. I’m as thrilled as can be to see more of the other characters, of course. I’m not as concerned about the lack of Infinity Wars crossover, because the Netflix section of the MCU seems more personal than cosmic. Seems likely that the galaxy-spanning stories will get mentioned offhand in upcoming series, ie “This is the kind of shit that happens when billionaires take off to fight space battles.”

Marvel’s Inhumans

Mary: Not a chill-inspiring trailer but I’m hopeful… Inhumans could plausibly be as good as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it’s clearly a good companion piece to that if it’s well done. I’ll admit I’m mostly excited for Iwan Rheon.

Rob: I’m pessimistic, but Rheon is always fun to watch. And they got Lockjaw right, so I presume their art direction and effects budget is well spent overall. But I’m waiting until a few episodes have aired before passing judgement.

The Gifted

Mary: I’m looking forward to this show set in the X-Men universe. It’s the classic American tale of moral certitude on an issue until it affects me and mine… in this case “mutants are evil until I find out my children are mutants.” With the blinding miracle that is Legion I’m pretty hopeful for The Gifted, and there’s at least a possibility the two could reference each other since one is on FX and the other is on Fox, and generally speaking all the studios seem to be playing nicer with each other since they realize it’s ultimately better for all of them if they do. Plus, Amy Acker. And it’ll be fun to see Vampire Bill as a suburban dad.

Rob: I had almost zero interest in this (despite Mary’s excellent points) until I saw the trailer. The effects are lovely and well deployed (though it’s hard to judge deployment from a trailer), the acting is decent enough to not scare me off, and I’m a total sucker for fugitive heroes. Plus, Amy Acker.

Star Trek: Discovery

Mary: I’m absolutely looking forward to this. I’m curious to see how the J.J. Abrams film style will influence the show, and I’m just generally hopeful for a new Star Trek series since Enterprise was a pretty big disappointment for me. The trailer itself looks like there’s good action and makes me eager to learn about the new characters.

Rob: Now it’s time for my nerd confession: I want to like Star Trek more than I actually do. I adore its optimism about our SJW future, and TOS helped form my weird little mind, but mostly the stories and characters just don’t work for me. I know. I know. Anyway, the trailer is lovely, Bryan Fuller is a remarkable creator, and the cast is fantastic (Sonequa Martin-Green! Doug Jones! Michelle Yeoh!), so…huh. I guess I have to watch it.


Mary: I’m looking forward to next season of Westworld though ultimately I’ve realized it didn’t have the lasting impact on me that other series have (Stranger Things, American Gods, and Legion to name a few). That being said I really enjoyed Dolores looking badass on the back of a horse, and I like that it opened on Bernard who I’m eager to see more of. Not enough Maeve, however.

Rob: All of that.


Mary: Oh my god I don’t care I still love this show. Unlike shows that were good and have since lost their luster, Lucifer has always been held together entirely by Tom Ellis’s cheeky charm and devilish grin. The whole series feels like you’re crashing one of Lucifer’s insane parties… there’s beautiful people and drunken debauchery and you wake up the next day thinking, “What even HAPPENED?” but honestly who cares, it was super fun. Trailer highlights: Chloe and Linda drunk, Maz and the munchkin sharing fist-bumps, hot hot Amenadiel, Lucifer in that white suit, Lucifer’s wings, and Lucifer’s true face.

Rob: This show is giving my soul diabetes, but I don’t care. I almost didn’t bother with the trailer, because the plot is irrelevant to my enjoyment and three minutes isn’t enough to get high on, but nevertheless I persisted. Good, dumb fun–take that, Westworld!

The Flash

Mary: This show is on its last legs for me (lol, legs, and he’s a speedster… sigh) but it’s not entirely dead to me yet. And the trailer actually did make me want to watch at least a few episodes. The supporting cast is so great and Grant Gustin is still an entirely likable Flash. So even though the season finale ended on a baffling note I’m gonna give The Flash another chance to win me back.

Rob: This show is entirely dead to me. I would probably watch a Grodd spinoff, though. Maybe he owns a bar? Full of lovable misfits?


Mary: Uuuuuggghhhhhh Arrow I’m so sorry. The trailer is mostly a re-cap of last season (which pretty much killed the show for me) and the other half does nothing to get me excited for next season. I don’t care.

Rob: I also don’t care. The Arrowverse is almost dead to me, except for…

Legends of Tomorrow

Rob: It’s no Lucifer, but it’s good dumb fun that rarely takes itself as seriously as its sister shows Arrow and The Flash. I’ll keep at it as long as I get to see clown punching.

On a final note, it’s great we finally have the luxury of holding all our genre entertainment to a higher standard since there’s so much to choose from. What a time to be alive!