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“New Coke” Should Remind the Entertainment Industry Not to Mess with a Successful Formula.


Thanks to Stranger Things, New Coke is returning to store shelves this week. Seriously, did anybody actually want this? I mean, really?

Here’s more from the New York Times

A limited supply of the vintage beverage will be available starting on Thursday as part of a robust promotional campaign related to the coming season of “Stranger Things,” the supernatural thriller set in the 1980s.

The revival of New Coke comes as part of a large-scale marketing effort of the kind usually associated with summertime blockbusters. Netflix said it had teamed up with about 75 companies, including Baskin-Robbins, Levi’s and H&M Group, to draw attention to “Stranger Things.”

So the return of New Coke is a marketing ploy?

That’s weird, because “New Coke” has become synonymous with tone deaf marketing.

I think the hard lesson Coca-Cola learned from its utter failure should be one the entertainment industry learns from.

For those of you who are too young to remember, Coke was getting its ass kicked by Pepsi in blind taste tests back in the day. Someone in marketing came up with the brilliant idea to just “reboot” Coke.

Never mind that there were other marketing factors at play.

Never mind that Coke had a solid fan base that revolted when the formula was suddenly changed.

Never mind that they could have introduced a new product alongside old Coke to keep the old fans happy while also courting new fans.

Nope. Like much of today’s entertainment industry, everything was suddenly changed to stay current year… to disastrous effect.

New Coke was such a debacle that Coke had to re-introduce the original Coca-Cola formula a few months later as “Coca-Cola Classic.” And now New Coke is but a memory. One that’s about to dusted off thanks to Netflix.

Pop Culture Reboots, Re-imaginings and New Coke.

I often joke that unwanted reboots or re-imaginings of tried and true pop culture institutions that face backlash from their respective fandoms are “New Coke.”

One of the best examples in recent memory is Ghostbusters 2016. Nobody wanted a Ghostbusters sequel without the original cast. Certainly, nobody wanted a complete reboot of Ghostbusters. And nobody wanted a completely gender-swapped Ghostbusters for no other reason than to be current year.

The movie bombed.

A key difference between New Coke and Ghostbusters 2016 was that the Coca-Cola Company didn’t attack Coke drinkers by calling them sexists.

But just like Coca-Cola, Sony Pictures knew it had to please to please the existing fan base and it backpeddled be announcing a Ghostbusters 3 that would be a direct sequel to the first two movies. Ghostbusters 2016 was seemingly swept under the rug.

Other examples of the “New Coking” of Pop Culture includes Marvel Comics and their tendency to replace original, beloved comic book characters with dollar store replacements. Often these characters don’t come into their own, books are cancelled and the original heroes return to try and salvage book sales a few months later.

A smarter move, of course, would’ve been to introduce these new heroes alongside the existing characters so they wouldn’t be seen by fans as just knock-offs.

(The Hollywood Reporter has documented Marvel’s disastrous attempts at replacing most of its core heroes, its endless reboots and its subsequent decision to return the original characters to their respective books. Marvel is still reeling from the damage.)

Fans are loyal, until they’re spurned.

New Coke should be a lesson in what not to do when you’ve got an existing audience. While it’s true that the status quo needs to be shaken up from time to time, alienating a fanbase completely is never a smart business move.

Coca-Cola President Donald Keough said of New Coke during a press conference…

“There is a twist to this story which will please every humanist and will probably keep Harvard professors puzzled for years. The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people.”

I think it’s the same for Pop Culture. People do form an emotional attachment, and we;re learning that hell hath no fury like a fandom scorned.

[Source: NY Times]

New ‘Stranger Things 3’ Clip and Posters Hit the Interwebs


Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. Er, make that Mrs. Wheeler.

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of Stranger Things here, so we’ve been counting down the days until Stranger Things 3 drops on Netflix.

A new clip has dropped and it looks like a shirtless bad boy Billie (Dacre Montgomery) is making Mike’s and Nancy’s mom all hot and bothered. Eeew.

Nancy’s Mom has got it going on?

Anyway, Netflix has also released several new posters of the cast today.

They’re treating this almost like a movie premiere. And with good reason — Stranger Things has definitely become “event television.” Well, as much of an event as streaming television can offer.

It’s even got its own LEGO set coming soon.

If you missed the large, bold white letters on the posters, Stranger Things 3 drops on July 4, 2019.

[Source: Netflix]

New Photos from Netflix’s ‘Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’


We finally have some more photos of the upcoming Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance a prequel to the Dark Crystal from the 1980’s, that will air on Netflix.

There still is no release date for this yet, just sometime in 2019, but we do have a look at some images that were posted on Twitter by The Dark Crystal Podcast.

Personally, I love how they label these, it’s generic so it’s kind of funny. The costumes and characters seem just as detailed and elaborate as the original!

The Skeksis “Scientist”

The “Emperor”

The “Librarian”

Deet and Hup (They didn’t get a “name”)

There is a list of voice actors for this show, but I’m most excited that they are going to have Aughra (Donna Kimball) in it!

Some of the voice actors announced are: Helena Bonham-Carter, Toby Jones, Alicia Vikander, Simon Pegg, Andy Samberg, Caitriona Balfe, Harris Dickinson, Natalie Dormer, Eddie Izzard, Teo James, Shazad Latif, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mark Strong, Harvey Fierstein, Mark Hamill (yay,) Ralph Ineson, Jason Isaacs, Keegan-Michael Key, and Olafur Darri Olafsson.

It’s looking pretty good, but we don’t really have too much to go on yet. From what I’m seeing I’m hopefully optimistic that it will amazing and doesn’t go the way some redone 1980’s properties have been going.

I always loved The Dark Crystal, being a kid in the 1980’s was hard core, we had The Dark Crystal (still find the Emperor disintegrating creepy.)  My Little Ponies fought Tirak and he was pretty much a demon, oh and Care Bears had their own demon type character in Dark Heart and “The Spirit” character. How about The Last Unicorn? That one had a creepy skeleton who wanted to drink and the unicorns were all driven into the sea by a bull made of fire. Or the Great Owl in the Secret of Nimh? Went to the theater to see The Black Cauldron and that was a bit dark. Do we even want to talk about Artax in The Neverending Story? Kids from the 80’s have seen some stuff! I hope this new prequel delivers in the creepy cool 1980’s department, because it would be a refreshing change with the toned down “It’s for kids” reboot/sequel trend. (All the ones I mentioned were for kids too.)

I am going to stay optimistic as the new images look good and the sequel comic, The Power of the Dark Crystal, was done very well so I have high hopes.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!




‘Dungeons & Dragons’ Animated Characters Return for Live-Action Car Commercials!


The cast of the 1980’s Dungeons & Dragons animated series return in live-action… for a series of Brazilian car commercials?!

No, I’m not making this up. The cast of Marvel Production’s classic animated DnD series is perfectly cast for a new series of car commercials for Renault. But there’s one catch — it’s only being aired in Brazil. Thankfully you can catch the preview trailer on YouTube below.

And before that, the teaser…

The casting is brilliant. These kids are dead ringers for their animated counterparts of Hank the Ranger, Eric the Cavalier, Diana the Acrobat, Presto the Magician, Shiela the Thief, and Bobby the Barbarian. Even Dungeon Master makes a cameo in the beginning!

For those of you who haven’t seen the 1980s Dungeons & Dragons animated series, check out the intro below. It’s a classic!

The original series aired for three seasons in the early to mid 1980s, and featured a group of teenagers who were transported from a carnival into the DnD world. The series was produced by Marvel Productions, who also oversaw Transformers, G.I. Joe, Jem, My Little Pony, Muppet Babies and a host of other beloved 1980s cartoons.

According to this article, there will be a series of commercials featuring the DnD characters, and accuracy was important to the crew behind it.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look (in Portugese)…

There have also been posters of each individual character released.

I’d be down with a live-action Dungeons & Dragons movie based on the animated series, provided they nailed the casting like they have here. Then again, current year Hollywood doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the source material these days.

Check out more of our thoughts in the video below!

[Hat tip: Hans]


When Pop Culture “Journalism” Became More About Agenda Than News


Fairy tales used to start with phrases like “Once Upon a Time…” but anymore they begin with name calling and finger pointing. I’m not talking about the storybooks, I’m talking about the recent trend with Pop-Culture news sites.

Not long ago articles were focused more on fact than agenda. Of course that didn’t mean there wasn’t agenda, but the journalists would at least try to focus on facts first and opinion second.

Sadly, that type of journalism died out the same time people were allowed to have different opinions.

Lately, I see more “articles” from these journalists that focus on division, name calling, and blaming “fanboys.” Even going as far as beginning an article with an attack instead of information. Facts become secondary to the set narrative.

Today it seems that shaming people into agreeing is more important than focusing on actual facts. Most people are good people and they don’t want to be called “racists” or “misogynists” or “nazis” simply because they didn’t like a character in a movie or a story arc in a television show.

Star Wars Green Milk The Last Jedi
ABOVE: A depressed and unheroic Luke Skywalker chugs down some freshly squeezed green milk. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of the best examples of Hollywood and access media demonizing and disenfranchising a passionate fanbase. Star Wars fans who criticized the film for valid reasons were literally called “manbabies” by the film’s director Rian Johnson. Many pop culture media outlets swarmed the fandom as well, going so far to paint dissenters as “nazis” and “alt-right.” In a moment of peak WTF, a study that was conducted by a lone academic claimed that much of the hatred toward The Last Jedi was in fact caused by Russian bots. A few months later, Solo: A Star Wars Story bombed at the box office. No Russian bots were blamed. (Photo: Lucasfilm)

For a good majority of fans, these labels are unfair and a form of bullying and control.

Aside from the fact that most people aren’t the labels given to them, it’s a bad idea to attack fans. Yes, I’m saying fans because even if they don’t agree with your opinion they are still fans and not “fans.”

I think a lot of recent backlash over television shows and movies has been increased over the articles written by individuals who feel it’s more important to insult the original IP or fans than it is to try to do report on facts and aspects that could unite fandoms instead of fracture them further.  And then they try to justify their position by labeling the ones who don’t agree with the author the “vocal minority.”

Realistically, a “vocal minority” means a small group that make their presence known by loudly speaking out. The same term can be used for the extreme fans of any franchise, both for and against the IP.

ABOVE: Netflix and Dreamworks reboot of She-Ra. Oldschool fans who had issues with some of the choices made for the reboot — as well as the disrespect shown to the original show and voice actors — resulted in all dissenting voices being called things like “misogynists” and “perverts” by many media outlets. Things had gotten so out of hand that the voice actress of the original She-Ra, Melendy Britt, had to speak out against the dubious PR and marketing behind She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. (Photo: SyFy Wire)

However, a vocal minority can not tank a global box office. Either they are the “minority” or there are a lot more disenfranchised people than the studios and the media want to acknowledge.

The truth usually lies in the middle not in the extremes. General audiences decide what does well and what doesn’t. The largest percentage don’t even read pop-culture blogs and they will likely not read this article as well.

There is no way that they can all be “fanboys,” “man-babies” or “trolls.”

Somehow we’ve lost the normal fandom spectrum where it was okay to like something and okay not to. Where you didn’t have to love every aspect of a franchise or be told you aren’t a real “fan, or worse: a bad person.

Jodie Whittaker Doctor Who
ABOVE: For the first time in the show’s long history, Doctor Who has been portrayed by a woman (Jodie Whittaker.) While some fans of the series had issues with the Doctor now being gender swapped, much of the criticism of the most recent season focused on the poor storytelling, low rent special effects, and ham-fisted political messaging. Of course many media outlets rushed to call the fandom the usual assortment of names.

Does this mean that every journalist is doing this? No. I’ve seen several news sites stick to the facts and not make it a personal pedestal for attacking others that disagree. Those are the ones you should be supporting.

Fans are passionate about what they love. Passion is a good quality to have, but it can easily overtake reason.

Like Benjamin Franklin said “Passion governs, and she never governs wisely.”

Going forward we need more facts and less framing. Opinions are fine. You are allowed to like or not like things. Op-ed pieces and “news” aren’t the same thing and some people need to understand this.



‘Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers’ Movie Adaptation in the Works: They’re Going Full Alvin


Move over Alvin, Simon and Theodore, there are new chipmunks in town!

According to The Hollywood Reporter there’s going to be a movie adaptation of Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers.

Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers was a popular animated show about two chipmunks, Chip and Dale, who ran a detective agency with their friends.  The show started in 1989 and went on for three seasons and then ran for 10 years in syndication on the Disney Channel.

At first I was like “Okay! Yes! I would love to see Chip, Dale, Monterey Jack, Gadget and Zipper back in action!”  And then I read the rest of it:

Plot details for Rangers are being squirreled away, but it will not be an origin story nor detective agency story. Rather, the take is being described as being meta, something self-referential and cool. Dan Gregor and Doug Mand wrote the script.

So now I’m worried. Sounds like yet another parody for the director Akiva Schaffer. I’m really not sure I like the idea. There’s no Detective Agency either, so how is this Rescue Rangers again?

Oh AND it’s going to be a Live-Action/CG hybrid. Weren’t the four Alvin and the Chipmunks movies enough? Never go Live-Action Chipmunk!

I sincerely hope they prove my worries unfounded and it turns out to be amazing, but with what I’ve been seeing so far with these reboots, I’m going to have to wait to see more before I can get on board with it!  I think people were hoping for something along the lines of the new DuckTales. Updated, funny, embraces the source material and improves upon it, but this does NOT sound like that.

For those that don’t remember or would like to reminisce:

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, YouTube




Grumpy Cat Has Died. The Internet Mourns.

Grumpy Cat Has Died

The internet is an even sadder place to be now. Grumpy Cat has passed away at the age of 7.

The family of dear Grumpy Cat broke the news on Twitter yesterday.

The perpetually pissed off pussy accomplished more in her 7 short years than most humans, according to CNN. She was not only one of the biggest memes in internet history, but also an author, an award winner, a socialite, a fashionista and a movie star.

(Okay, okay. Maybe we don’t want to remember Grumpy Cat for the Lifetime movie.)

The Internet Mourns Grumpy Cat

While the internet is fiercely divided these days, everyone seemed to agree that the world is a worse place without Grumpy Cat. Even major mainstream media outlets mourned her passing.

And my personal favorite…

Of course, here’s The Onion’s hot take.

The secret origin of Grumpy Cat?

According to Mental Floss, Grumpy was born on April 4, 2012 in Morristown, Arizona.
Grumpy’s unique look comes from feline dwarfism and an underbite. She became an internet sensation when the owners posted a photo of her on Reddit in September 2012.

Grumpy has a brother named Pokey. “He’s black and white, but he does have dwarfism, so he’s super short and cute too,” owner Tabatha said. “His face isn’t as frowny as hers, but he does have an underbite.”

Grumpy Cat’s actual name was Tarder Sauce — not Tartar Sauce. She was apparently called “Tard” for short.

The unofficial theory is that she was originally named “Tard” because, well, reasons. But once she got famous, the owners needed to come up with a (somewhat) plausible reason for calling her that.

The official story is that she was given that name because of Grumpy’s original orangeish coloring and that the owner was working at Red Lobster at the time. (Even the New Yorker seems pretty skeptical. Heh.)

She’ll always be “Grumpy Cat” to most of the world, and she’ll be missed.

Anime NYC Bans “Fascist” Cosplay of ‘Tanya the Evil’ (while promoting it on Twitter)


You simply can’t make this stuff up.

Anime NYC has posted on their rules page that they’re going to enforce a ban on cosplay that promotes “hate groups” and “fascism” — even purely fictitious organizations. One of the anime that is strictly forbidden to cosplay as? Tanya the Evil.

And what was the official Anime NYC account promoting on Twitter just a couple of days ago? Tanya the Evil.

Naturally, some anime fans were eager to point out their hypocrisy.

Also forbidden from cosplay at Anime NYC? Real or fictitious “hate groups” including characters from Hellsing, Indiana Jones and even Captain America. That’s right — you can’t even cosplay as the Red Skull or a Hydra agent.

While a ban on explicitly Nazi cosplay might make sense in today’s political climate, I can’t for the life of me understand why they’d ban something like Tanya the Evil. The anime doesn’t even feature Nazis — it takes place in an alternate World War I.

So what else does the ban cover? There’s that mysterious “etc.,” after all. What if you wanted to cosplay as Cobra Commander? He hates the Joes and America. Is Cobra considered a “hate group?”

This is utterly ridiculous, and it leads into a bigger issue.

This is just another example of how overly-sensitive and easily offended the anime scene has become of late.

Syfy Wire is offended by the military uniforms in ACCA. Because NAHTZEES!
Syfy Wire is offended by the military uniforms in ACCA. Because NAHTZEES!

There seems to be an effort to turn anime into a kinder, gentler shell of itself. Blogs like Syfy Wire have been decrying “fascist” imagery in anime for months now, and other “geek” blogs have been taking shots at anime like The Rising of the Shield Hero and Goblin Slayer.

And many of the companies that control the American dubbed anime scene (most notably Crunchyroll and Funimation) have been accused by some anime fans of going too far left politically as of late.

Given that Anime NYC works closely with the likes of Crunchyroll, it’s no real surprise that they’d ban anything that could even remotely be mistaken for a Nazi uniform by someone who is likely both poorly educated and easily triggered.

Even if the cosplay ban overreaches and explicitly includes popular anime characters that they otherwise promote.


Anyway, check out more of our thoughts in the video below.

[Hat Tip: One Angry Gamer]

Forbes Admits that the Comic Book Industry is on the Decline (Well, DUH!)


Despite comic book industry pundits and professionals (as well as wannabes) fiercely debating comics bloggers and YouTubers about the state of the industry, the decline of the industry has just become too damn obvious to ignore.

A recent article in Forbes talking about the Oni Press and Lion Forge merger bluntly states that the comic book direct market is declining and that comic shops are dying.

“Industry representatives will be quick to note that 2018 was the biggest year on record for the business, and that publishers brought in nearly $1.1 billion in sales,” says Kidman. “But that number hasn’t changed a great deal in the last four years, and most of the growth was in children’s graphic novels (sales at Scholastic book fairs are way up), not in issues of superhero comics from Marvel or DC. Sales at comic book shops have been declining.”

Well, that took them long enough.

At best, comic shop sales are flatlining. At worst, they’re far more dire than we’re led to believe due to some new categories being counted (such as crowdfunding and Amazon) for the very first time in 2018.

Hey, comic shops don’t close almost monthly and publishers don’t merge in desperation in a healthy direct market. I’m just saying.

The article also goes on to state that the end goal of most comic book publishers is a Hollywood deal. Meanwhile crowdfunding is exploding, such in the case of the Earthworm Jim IndieGoGo.

Comics YouTubers have been calling this for YEARS — all the while being heckled by comics pros on Twitter, on comics blogs and elsewhere.

Check out the video below for more of our thoughts!

[Source: Forbes]

‘Batwoman’ Trailer Downvoted to Oblivion on YouTube


Move over, Captain Marvel. The trailer for the CW’s new Batwoman series has dropped, and she wants Carol Danvers to hold her beer. There’s a new HER-o in town, boys.

So far the internet doesn’t seem to be taking to the Batwoman trailer, as it currently has 35,000 upvotes compared to 79,000 downvotes on YouTube.

Yikes! That’s na na na na na na na NOT GOOD!

While some of the downvotes could be attributed to good old fashioned trolling, it would seem to suggest that a lot of people just aren’t down with what they’ve seen so far in the teaser.

Last year, Batwoman star Ruby Rose was driven off of Twitter by mob accusations of not being Jewish enough for the role of Kate Kane, or “gay enough” despite the actress being LGBTQ.

Our Opinion on the Batwoman Trailer…

Oh boy. It’s complicated.

Ruby Rose’s Batwoman mentions she’s a woman, like, 500 times in this trailer. And when she’s not telling you how kickass women are, the background music does. Is the cringe real, or blown completely out of proportion?

Check out the video below for our thoughts!