It’s kind of surreal that after nearly a year of lockdown, it’s starting to feel like that time is speeding up, as opposed to the 5 year long month of March 2020, and the decades which followed to make up April-December 2020.
I feel like we were just embracing the possibilities of 2021, and now, here we are, about to hit the third month of this thing, our second March in quarantine, and while I feel optimism (VACCINES ARE A THING!) it’s tempered by my cynicism and still boiling grumpiness about the rest of the state of the world.
Maybe once I get a shot in the arm, and I can see my friends and family once more, it’ll be less of a thing, but until then, we sit here and wait.
How are you doing, dear friends? Feeling like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel? Or that the light only shined at how ugly this tunnel is on our way out? I would love to hear from you.
Now, onto the things…
On March 18th, the “Snyder Cut” of Justice League will arrive on HBO Max. Depending on where you land on the spectrum, this is either…
For those of you fortunate enough to not be in the first two camps, or those in those camps who’d like the 10,000 foot view of the entire saga, Anthony Breznican at Vanity Fair did the lords work in this all-encompassing piece about this little superhero movie which will hit streaming in 18 days.
Zack Snyder, the director of Justice League, has never seen Justice League. His name is in the credits as the filmmaker, but he’s never sat through the version released to the world three years ago. His wife, Deborah, who produced the movie, advised him not to.
In late 2017—months after the couple cut ties with the superhero epic amid an increasingly demoralizing battle with Warner Bros.—Deborah Snyder sat in a screening room on the studio lot alongside Christopher Nolan, one of the movie’s executive producers, as well as the director of the Dark Knight trilogy. She braced herself as the lights went down. “It was just…it’s a weird experience,” she says now. “I don’t know how many people have that experience. You’ve worked on something for a long time, and then you leave, and then you see what happened to it.”
What happened to Justice League was a crisis of infinite doubt: a team of executives who lost faith in the architect of their faltering comic book movie empire, and a director in the midst of a family tragedy that sapped him of the will to fight.
Believe it or not, its nearly been eleven years since ABC’s Lost went off the air. And more than leaving audiences with a few questions open, the end of the series also left a chasm in television watching: a truly communal series, transcending ages, audiences, and more. Lost may’ve been the last series we all watched.
Jen Chaney at Vulture digs into the history in the making which was the creation of the series’ finale, and the reverberations in culture its had since.
The two-and-a-half-hour finale, which cost upwards of $15 million to make, wrapped up six seasons of relationship and time-jumping narrative development by having Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) battle John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) — who at that point had become the human embodiment of the show’s famous Smoke Monster — in an attempt to save the island where the characters crash-landed, while revealing that its parallel, non-island timeline, dubbed the flash-sideways, was really a bardo where all the key figures from the show met to help usher Jack into the next realm. The show would culminate in the flash-sideways with Jack & Co. gathering in a church and, on the island, Jack dying in the jungle, while Vincent, the Labrador that belonged to young Walt (Malcolm David Kelley), lay down beside him.
When the finale aired, it sparked divided responses (understatement) from fans. Some loved the emotional way in which Jack’s journey and that of his fellow survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 came to a close. Others were extremely vocally angry about not getting more direct answers to the show’s many questions. Still others came away from it all convinced that the castaways had been dead the whole time. (They were not dead. They really weren’t.)
What was semi-clear at the time and is even clearer now is that the broadcast of the Lost finale would mark the end of something else: the truly communal broadcast television experience. Subsequent finales would be major events (see HBO’s Game of Thrones) and even draw larger audiences (2019’s final Big Bang Theory attracted 18 million viewers, compared to the 13.5 million who tuned in for the Lost farewell). But nothing else since has felt so massively anticipated and so widely consumed in real time the way that the end of Lost, the Smoke Monster Super Bowl, did in 2010.
This week, after 28 years of making amazing music together, Daft Punk — the robot helmet wearing music duo from France — called it quits. While they were two humans named Thomas and Guy-Manuel, they became so much more, leaving a mark which will last well beyond the nearly 30 decades of memories they gave us.
Personally, I’m marking their memory by listening to Discovery on a loop, but for those looking for more of a written eulogy, Justin Sayles at The Ringer has you covered.
On Monday, Daft Punk returned to the desert one more time, only there were no dramatic set pieces, no LED lights, and no genre-shifting performances. In an eight-minute YouTube video titled “Epilogue,” Bangalter and de Homem-Christo used a clip from their 2006 experimental sci-fi film Electroma to announce the end of their 28-year partnership. (They offered no reason for the split.) It’s a somewhat silly way to end one of the most successful musical pairings of the 21st century—the moment of self-destruction is primed to be GIF’d into oblivion itself—and it’s difficult to take two guys who never publicly took their helmets off at face value. It’s still affecting, however: Music’s most famous working Parisians, the improbable superstars who went from rave kids to dance heroes to standing next to Beyoncé at the TIDAL launch event, are apparently calling it quits after a long and fruitful career. The timing and manner of the announcement may seem odd, but it still bears mourning. From electronica wunderkinds to disco-house savants to hired-gun production wizards, Daft Punk lived many musical lives in their time together. Their influence extended to everything from Top 40 to underground hip-hop, and even in the most fallow times, they were a totem for hipster coolness, the kind that people like James Murphy invoked with a mix of deference and irony. But nearly three decades of success and several iterations of fame couldn’t change them—they were intent on keeping the helmets on till the very end, even as their progeny rose and fell around them. And if there’s one thing they understood better than any of their would-be successors, it’s that the best way to keep the mystique alive is to never reveal who’s behind it.
Another email in the books. Will I return next week? I sure hope so.
Until then: please keep taking care of yourself. We’re almost through it, and ours is a better world with you. Masks, handwashing, distance, do it all. It’s gonna make the reunion all the better in the end.