The Possibility of a 10th Kingdom Sequel


Ever since “The 10th Kingdom” aired as a limited TV miniseries on NBC back in February 2000, there has been growing fan anticipation about a potential sequel. Much of the speculation surrounding a potential sequel seems to focus on a new story line involving both Virginia Lewis (played by Kimberly Williams) and Wolf (played by Scott Cohen), who have both hinted that they would be available for a new TV series.

Speculation about a “10th Kingdom” sequel reached a peak in 2015, when the show celebrated its 15th anniversary. For young teens and adults who had grown up in the early 2000s, the re-release of this TV show triggered some strong nostalgia. But just how realistic is the possibility of a “10th Kingdom” sequel?

Streaming services are making the possibility of a “10th Kingdom” sequel more likely than you might think

The good news is that “The 10th Kingdom” is available for streaming on both Netflix and Amazon, two of the premier creators of original streaming content today. The “10th Kingdom” has been available for streaming on Netflix since August 2012 and Amazon Video since March 2013. And don’t forget – Netflix has a $6 billion annual budget to create new content. So there’s obviously a big enough budget available if Netflix wants to consider a sequel.

That’s right – the rise of streaming services like Amazon and Netflix are making the possibility of a “10th Kingdom” sequel more likely. It has now become a fairly established pattern for Netflix to dip back into the fan favorites of a generation ago for new content ideas. Even HBO is getting into the nostalgia game, with a new “Curb Your Enthusiasm” show in 2017 after a long absence. Everywhere you look, it seems, content studios are looking for former cult TV hits that can be turned into must-see streaming fare.

If you think about the original “The 10th Kingdom,” you can see how it’s the perfect format for a streaming video binge. The show, when it premiered back in 2000, appeared as a five-part show, split into two-hour episodes. That’s a total of 10 hours of content. If Netflix were to make a sequel, it could easily transform that into a 10-part series with one-hour episodes. Get ready for the binge!


A “10th Kingdom” sequel would tap into the peak popularity of the fantasy genre

Right now, we’re experiencing a level of peak popularity for TV shows in the fantasy and fairy tale genre. Think about some of the most popular movies of the past few years, like the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Think about the most popular TV shows, like HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” There’s obviously a lot of pent-up viewer demand for these long-running fantasy-themed shows.

And a “10th Kingdom” sequel would seem to be perfect for those fans – it featured trolls, dwarves and all kinds of fairy tale characters like Cinderella and Snow White. It was a magical world of Evil Queens and characters that were half-man, half-wolf. Imagine how much fans of fairy tales like “Beauty and the Beast” would love to watch a sequel!

The example of “Beauty and the Beast” is particularly important, because the new trend seems to be live-action remakes of popular cartoon fairy tales. That’s why a sequel for “The 10th Kingdom” would be so perfect – it would enable the producers to make a live-action remake of several fairy tales at one time!

A “10th Kingdom” sequel would tie together parallel fairy tale universes in a unique way

Another huge trend right now is an attempt by filmmakers and TV show producers to tie together “parallel universes.” In short, they are trying to come up with stories, in which several different cartoon superheroes can co-exist in a way that makes sense.

Marvel and DC Comics are at the forefront of this theme. Consider an example like the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok,” which combines a superhero from Norse mythology (Thor) with the Incredible Hulk. And just about any superhero film these days – think “The Justice League” – is really just an attempt to combine as many superheroes as possible in one film.

That’s why a “10th Kingdom” sequel would be genius. The story line already involves 9 magical kingdoms and a whole host of fairy tale characters: Cinderella, Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood. This is just perfect for a new parallel fairy tale universe. It’s time for Virginia Lewis and Wolf to go back to that alternative, magical world!


The social media buzz is building for a “10th Kingdom” sequel

Ultimately, a massive wave of fan support across social media might result in a “10th Kingdom” sequel. That’s the way to put pressure on studios to create a new TV series. We’ve seen it again and again – a show goes off the air for several years or longer, and a sudden viral video on YouTube paves the way for the show to return. And there has always been an undercurrent of support on social media for “The 10th Kingdom.”

The former cast members of the show, too, have turned to social media. They’ve hinted that a sequel is a possibility, and all that is needed is for a TV studio to green-light the production. If NBC is not interested in a limited TV series, surely Netflix would be, right?

In fact, there are already fan fiction videos on YouTube showing “fan trailers” for a sequel. One is called “House of Wolves” and it focuses on the character of Wolf. This fan fiction tactic is also a classic way to build grassroots support for a sequel – if these videos get enough attention online, it’s a way to signal to TV producers that it’s time for another “10th Kingdom.”

Based on the above, it would seem that the possibility of a sequel to “The 10th Kingdom” might be more realistic than it first seems on the surface. There are so many macro-trends that seem to support a sequel, such as the current mega-popularity of fantasy TV shows and cartoons-turned-into-movies.

The world of the 9 Kingdoms was very special indeed. It’s easy to imagine a sequel in which Virginia Lewis, Anthony Lewis and Wolf return to that world to solve some new crisis involving witches, trolls or other things that go bump in the dark.


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What Season 2 of “This Is Us” Will Include


For nearly a year, fans of the acclaimed NBC drama “This Is Us” have been eagerly anticipating Season 2. The show, when it premiered in September 2016, was an immediate breakout hit and became one of the most popular shows on NBC. So it’s no surprise that fans have been sharing their own ideas and thoughts about what Season 2 of “This Is Us” will include. At the same time, the show’s cast and producers have been leaving their own clues.

Season 2 of “This Is Us” will provide a final answer to how Jack died

In many ways, the death of family patriarch Jack Pearson (played by Milo Ventimiglia) is going to be the defining storyline of Season 2. So much of the drama that happens in “This Is Us” can only be understood as a story of Jack and his wife Rebecca, and how they helped raise a family of triplets (Kate, Kevin and Randall).

So far, however, NBC is keeping tight wraps on the final answer to how Jack died. Both Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley (who plays Kevin, one of the triplets) have appeared in an interview with TV Guide, and all they could say was that, “People should brace themselves” for the final reveal.

In that same interview, they also discussed some of the more outlandish fan theories about Jack Pearson. One theory, for example, suggests that Jack is really an alien. Others have suggested that the entire Season 1 was just a massive dream sequence, and we’ll start the action fresh in Season 2. Finally, others have suggested that perhaps Jack faked his death, and his really still alive. However, both Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley have shot down all those story developments.

Season 2 of “This Is Us” will pick up the action almost immediately after Season 1

The show’s producers have hinted that the action in Season 2 will start up almost immediately after the events of Season 1. There will be two parallel storylines – the first one involves the present day Pearson family, while the second one involves Jack and Rebecca from their old Pittsburgh days.

Here’s what we know: Episode 1 of Season 2 will start on the 37th birthday of the triplets, just like the pilot for Season 1. And Episode 1 will also pick up the action the morning after the big fight between Jack and Rebecca ended Season 1.

Season 2 of “This Is Us” will continue to flashback and jump-cut between time periods

One of the distinguishing narrative tools used by creator Dan Fogelman was the constant cutting back and forth between the present day and the past to explore the history of the Pearson family. Expect more of that to continue in Season 2.
And here’s the really fascinating part – the show’s creators have said that Season 2 will focus considerably on the “struggles of Jack.” Thus, even though he has died, his character is not going away! And the show’s creators have also suggested that we’ll see a lot more of Rebecca in the present day.

Season 2 of “This Is Us” will build out a storyline involving Miguel

In Season 1, Miguel was Jack’s best friend and confidante. He ended up marrying Rebecca after the passing of Jack, and so the show’s creators have decided to really extend the plotline and narrative surrounding Miguel.

This might not be something that fans are looking forward to, however. Some fans even have conspiracy theories that Miguel might have been responsible for Jack’s death. That theory, if true, would put his relationship with Rebecca and the triplets into a much different light! But the show’s cast has not given any evidence or tips to support that crazy idea. So, we should look carefully for any signs or tips about Miguel’s behavior.


Season 2 of “This Is Us” could explore the theme of adoption much more

One of the most emotionally resonant storylines of Season 1 was the decision by Jack and Rebecca to adopt Randall. And now it looks like we’re going to get some really dramatic explanations about that adoption. The show’s creators have teased a clip in which Randall and Rebecca have a very emotional and heart-to-heart conversation about his adoption. From what we know, Rebecca wasn’t initially supportive of the idea – it was Jack who pushed forward the idea of adoption.

And there’s more – one big question on the minds of fans is whether or not Randall and Beth will end up adopting a child. The decision of whether or not to adopt could be based very strongly on what Randall finds out about his own adoption.

Season 2 of “This Is Us” will include a guest appearance by Sylvester Stallone

Perhaps the buzziest news around Season 2 involves the guest appearance by Sylvester Stallone in one episode. This is where things get very complicated, because in the 2006 movie “Rocky Balboa,” Milo Ventimiglia (Jack Pearson in “This Is Us”) played Rocky’s son. There’s a famous scene in “Rocky Balboa” where Rocky gives an inspirational speech to Milo about bouncing back from adversity.

So how does Sylvester Stallone fit within the “This Is Us” universe? The current thinking is that Sylvester Stallone will play himself. He will become a mentor to Kevin, who was working on a movie project in Season 1. In Season 1, it was Ron Howard who had called Kevin about the movie, and now it looks like Stallone is going to co-star in the movie with Kevin and become his mentor. Mind blown, right?

The great news for “This Is Us” fans is that NBC has already approved a full Season 3 of the show. So right now, it looks like we’re getting 18 new episodes starting in September, and then another 18 more episodes starting in 2018! And NBC has even hinted that there would be a special “This Is Us” episode that will air directly after the 2018 Super Bowl.

This could be a huge second season for “This Is Us.” In 2016, the show burst into the cultural mainstream and became a huge fan favorite. Now it looks like the show is going to become even bigger in 2017 with the involvement of Stallone and a special Super Bowl episode. Just imagine what’s going to happen if the Pittsburgh Steelers are playing in the Super Bowl next year (just like in the show) – fans are going to go crazy with new ideas for future seasons of triplets born during the Super Bowl!


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When Will the “Planet of the Apes” Franchise End?


With each new “Planet of the Apes” movie, we’re getting closer and closer to the end of an epic journey that started nearly 50 years ago with the original 1968 “Planet of the Apes” movie starring Charlton Heston. And, yet, judging by the massive critical acclaim surrounding this new film (a 93% freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes) – the third in the much-hyped “Planet of the Apes” reboot – we might have at least one more film to go before the end of this popular franchise.

#1: This is the best “Planet of the Apes” yet

Once again director Matt Reeves has delivered a masterpiece, picking up on the action as we left it at the end of the “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and focusing once more on the sentient ape Caesar (as played by Andy Serkis) as he faces off against the megalomaniac military veteran known as The Colonel (played by Woody Harrelson).

Everything about this “Planet of the Apes” is better – the music, the cinematic sweep and especially the motion-capture technology. Everything about these apes appears to be so realistic – you can literally feel and see the wet fur of our simian rivals. And the eyes, too, are just so remarkable. At one point, a character looks into the eyes of one of the apes and is blown away by how “human” they look.

But that’s not all – director Matt Reeves has a deft hand for the pacing and narrative arc of this blockbuster. The first two-thirds of the film set up an epic climax at the end, in which the rogue military colonel must do battle with Caesar to determine the future of the world.

#2: You’ll actually be rooting for the apes in “War For the Planet of the Apes”

Surprisingly, the underlying narrative of “War For the Planet of the Apes” is not one of war, but of humanity and morality. Throughout the film, we are asked to explore what makes us human and distinct from the apes. Is it our morality? Because at times, the apes appear to act better than the “monkey killers.” Is it our compassion and ability to forgive? Because Caesar comes a lot closer to this than Woody Harrelson. Is it our humor? Well, there are plenty of apes – including the new “Bad Ape” – who bring a new kind of feeling and emotion that is nearly humanlike.

It all adds up to the fact that you might be rooting for the apes and not the humans by the end of this film. It is the apes – including both Caesar and Maurice, the kindly orangutan – that are embarked on an epic quest for revenge, but as we find out, it is the apes who actually hold the upper hand. Apes fight only when their survival has been challenged, unlike humans, who have a variety of reasons to embark on warlike behavior.

#3: The cinematic value of “War For the Planet of the Apes” is unsurpassed

It’s a no-brainer that this “Planet of the Apes” is going to do very well around Oscars season, at least in the technical categories. Fans and critics can’t stop talking about the photorealistic motion capture, and how life-like the apes look. Andy Serkis, in his role as Caesar, is just phenomenal.

Combine that with the cinematic sweep of the movie and this is a clear winner. The crisp, dark images and gloomy colors on screen lend a brooding mood and atmosphere, as well as a sense of tension. The musical score, too, is ominous and dramatic, but not to the point where it overshadows the action taking place on the screen.


#4: “War For the Planet of the Apes” is not your typical summer blockbuster

Judging from the title alone, you’d expect “War For the Planet of the Apes” to be filled with battle scenes and epic explosions. Yet, as hard as it may be to believe, there were probably more explosions and battle scenes in the earlier “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” And what war-like action takes place here does so in the final third of the movie, as it builds to a dramatic climax.

And the look and feel of this movie pays homage to so many other genres because it is so richly textured. For example, part of the movie plays out like a 1950’s Western movie, with a band of adventurers traveling through the Colorado Rockies. Another part of the movie will be reminiscent of WWII prisoner of war (POW) movies. The character of Woody Harrelson as the rogue military leader will remind you of Kurtz from “Apocalypse Now.” And still other scenes will evoke classic military films like “Full Metal Jacket.” There’s a lot more here than just chimps and guns.

#5: “War For the Planet of the Apes” provides tantalizing clues about what comes next

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been nearly 50 years since the original “Planet of the Apes” movie with Charlton Heston. That movie really forced us to consider so many future scenarios, including one in which simians take over a planet that humans have somehow lost control over. How did we go from our present reality to that dim future where apes rule the planet?

This film is billed as the end of Caesar’s journey, but it does not mean that it is the end of this film franchise. There’s a clue nestled inside this movie, and it comes in the form of a young girl named Nova (planned by Amiah Miller), who may be the secret to the future of humanity. In the film, she is aided by the apes and not the humans, and that opens up all kinds of other ambiguities.


War For the Planet of Apes” may be the last official film in the trilogy involving Caesar, but the franchise as a whole has a lot of staying power. There may still be a few more gaps to fill in before you want the “Planet of the Apes” franchise to stop.

By the end of this very thought-provoking film, you’ll be saying things like “Apes together strong” and wondering what difference – if any – exists between “good apes” and “bad humans.” That might be the real magic of this film, beyond all the truly transcendent CGI and motion capture work – forcing movie audiences to re-think what makes us truly human after all these years of evolution.


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Why “10 Things I Hate About You” Is Still the Best Rom-Com


It’s been nearly two decades since “10 Things I Hate About You” was released on the big screen, but it’s still the best-ever romantic comedy after all this time. The film combines a great cast, a spirited musical soundtrack and a timeless story of unrequited love of literally Shakespearean dimensions (the film itself was a modernized production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”).

Let’s take a closer look at what has made the film such a timeless rom-com hit…

#1: The amazing ensemble cast

Looking back at those glorious days at the end of the twentieth century, it may not have been obvious, but we were having a good look in this film at some of the most famous actors of a generation: Heath Ledger (as Patrick Verona), Julia Stiles (as Kat Stratford), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Cameron James) and Larisa Oleynik (as Bianca Stratford). Heath Ledger grew up to become a cult Hollywood hero before his untimely death, Julia Stiles has been delighting us in all the recent Jason Bourne movies, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been in films like “Inception” and “The Dark Knight.”

Is it possible to think of two people we’d rather fall in love with than Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles? Despite being the unpopular outsiders in the film, they were ultimately the type of people we’d fall in love with if we could back in high school.

#2: The story of teenage angst and high school rebellion

The core of any great teen movie is rebellion against the system. In this case, we have the rebellious characters of Kat (who seems to hate all boys and isn’t adapting well to teenage life) and Patrick (who’s the classic “bad boy”). We also have the rebellious character of Bianca, who desperately wants to date boys, but can’t because her father (played by Larry Miller) has set a family rule that she can’t date until her older sister has a suitor. On top of that, you have all the classic elements of teenage angst. This show was set in a high school, of course, and so you have all the hidden cliques and social games that go on with young adolescents.

#3: The elements of classic Shakespeare

There are so many subtle nods to Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Let’s start with the names of the characters – there’s Patrick Verona (a nod to the Italian town of Verona, where the play takes place); the Stratford family name (a nod to Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-on-Avon) and the name of the high school – Padua High School (a nod to the Italian town of Padua). The characters of Kat (Shakespeare’s “Katherina”) and Bianca are directly named for characters from the play.

There’s also a classic line from the film – “I burn, I pine, I perish” – that’s a direct quote from Shakespeare’s classic play. In “10 Things I Hate About You,” it’s the line spoken by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, as he alludes to the deeply burning love that’s consuming him.

Finally, there’s the name of the movie itself – it’s essentially a parody of the famous sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” (You can think of the parody as “How do I loathe thee?”) In the movie, it’s a line adapted by Julia Stiles, who’s reciting a poem that she’s made about Heath Ledger. She ends up breaking into tears as she reads the poem: “But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.”


#4: The great soundtrack

It’s impossible to think about the film without thinking about the final scene of the movie, where the band is playing Cheap Trick’s classic song, “I Want You to Want Me” on the roof of the school. And it wasn’t just that one song – there’s also the great Nick Lowe song “Cruel To Be Kind.” Both songs are crucial to driving forward the narrative of the story, and both are so great because they feel like they’ve been crafted specifically for this one romantic comedy. Back in 1999, reviewers specifically pointed out the soundtrack to the film, with many songs performed by Letters to Cleo. This is just great music for a rom-com.

#5: Classic teen fare that’s pure of heart

“10 Things I Hate About You” was light teen fare that, 17 years later, is fun to watch for adults. It’s not the sickly sweet romantic comedy we see in cinemas today, and it’s not the teen gross-out movie that we’ve come to expect. It featured great acting and makes us nostalgic for the 1990s.

This film still feels like it’s safe enough to take your teens to without cringing in your seat. Remember Larry Miller, who played the father of Kat and Bianca? He had some of the best lines of movie. (Except, of course, for perhaps the best line ever – “Kat. Meow.”)

#6: Unrequited love in all its forms

But mostly, the real reason why “10 Things I Hate About You” is such a great romantic comedy is because it’s all about the story of unrequited love. Actually, it’s two stories of unrequited love – there’s the story of Patrick and Kat, and there’s also the story of Bianca and Cameron. We can’t wait to see how Patrick will win over Kat, and how Cameron will use every trick in the book to woo Bianca. It’s never straightforward, but always fun, even when we know the ending.


For all these reasons, it’s clear that “10 Things I Hate About You” is still the best rom-com. It was romantic and funny before we even thought of combining the two of them into a single category. It’s a modernized Shakespeare production that made us feel grown up and smart for loving “The Taming of the Shrew,” but not so bookish that we couldn’t wait to see the teenage couples make out behind the school. And the stellar music soundtrack is just the best way of enjoying a romantic comedy  – the songs are from the heart, pure and fun, and not at all contrived. There’s nothing to hate about this film, and everything to love.


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Is “A Dog’s Purpose” Worth the Watch?


If you love wonderful scenes of cute dogs doing heroic deeds and playing with boys and girls, you’ll love “A Dog’s Purpose,’ the new film by director Lasse Hallstrom. The film will warm your heart and may even convince you to go out and buy a dog (if you don’t already have one). Yes, the film goes a bit too far with all the sentimentality. And, yes, as a piece of cinematic fare, you can do better. But the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Let’s start off with the storyline of “A Dog’s Purpose,” which is based on a novel by W. Bruce Cameron. It’s the story of a devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who discovers the meaning of its own existence – to make humans happy – after living, dying and then being reincarnated as another canine. And so the cycle continues over the course of five decades. Each time, the dog comes back as a different breed, and sometimes even a new gender. But each time, there is one constant: the dog is just so lovable and cute.

This is where the film starts to veer off course with all kinds of dog clichés. You see, the problem is that we’re given a deliriously stereotypical view of the world, in which dogs do everything they’re supposed to do – they play games with kids, they fetch items for you, and they comfort you when you’re feeling blue. And then, they do all the super-hero feats that have been ascribed to them for centuries – in this film, the dog rescues a child from a raging river and tries to save people from a burning home. It’s completely acceptable for one or two dog clichés to make their way into a film. But when you’re presented story after story, and the clichés just won’t go away, that’s when you literally start to cringe in your movie seat.

At times, it seems like the key goal of the film is to help you dredge up your sentimental childhood memories. The filmmaker, Lasse Hallstrom, knows how to tug at your heartstrings, and that’s why the film can be so difficult to watch at times – you know what’s going to happen next, and yet, you’re powerless to stop it. You feel the tears welling up in your eyes, and you want to hold them back, but you won’t be able to stop. You just want that dog to do the right thing every time.

The main story that will have you crying at the end is that this one dog – Bailey – stays true to the one child (Ethan, played by Bryce Gheisar) who owned him first. Decades later, we meet up with this child and now he’s a man (played by Dennis Quaid). He sees a dog that acts just like his beloved Bailey that he had as a kid. But it can’t be, can it? Oh, but of course, you know the answer to that! It’s been five decades, but the special love between boy and dog has been kept alive in the heart, and now they are reunited in the end. Cue the sappy music.


In short, the film is not bad filmmaking, it’s just that it’s so emotionally manipulative. But there’s something great and wonderful about the film – and that’s how unabashed it is about showing us life in America as it once was. Back in the 1950s and 1960s and 1970s, America was picture postcard beautiful. Neighborhoods were family-friendly, everyone owned a pet, and the future seemed bright. It wasn’t yet a tired cliché to talk about a dog as “man’s best friend.” You could take a pet dog with you on a date with a cute girl, and nobody would think twice.

And then reality happened. If you think about American pop culture today, everything has to be dark and twisted or sarcastic and ironic – even the cartoons. There’s no such thing as “baseball and apple pie” America anymore. Kids aren’t eating apple pie –they’re off smoking (legalized) pot, and nobody watches baseball anymore because all the athletes are cheaters who use steroids.

Thus, for all the critics who have unanimously panned “A Dog’s Purpose,” here’s a message: the film is perfectly OK, but the filter has changed. It’s no longer allowed for a critic to love a film that’s essentially G-rated without any irony. There always has to be a “dark and twisted” version of America nostalgia, or some epic plot to save the world. There’s nothing particularly epic here, unless you count the act of being reincarnated over and over again as something that meets the definition of epic.

The other “problem” with the film, according to the critics, is that the humor is just so ridiculously childish. The film uses humor to explain all the unexplained actions of dogs – why they love to eat food in the trash, what they’re really thinking when they stare up at you with their big puppy dog eyes (you’ll cringe when you hear the answer), and why they love to play with humans. Some critics have called the humor “insipid.” Ok, but we can still enjoy some jokes about dogs and bacon, right?

So here’s the final answer to the question if “A Dog’s Purpose” is worth the watch: if you have young kids and want them to have a moment to explore America as it once was, and to enjoy lots of scenes with dogs, then by all means, take them. You don’t get many chances like this. This is pure Americana. The answer is yes – it’s worth a watch but only under these conditions – don’t go on a date with a cute girl to this film and don’t go with your drinking buddies.

So what if the film is sugary, sentimental and clichéd? The film is great as a way for a family to spend some time together. It’s a different type of “escape” – not an escape to intergalactic space empires, but an escape to a time and a place in America that no longer exists. Forget the haters. They probably own cats, anyway. Do yourself a favor – go to a cheap matinee and see “A Dog’s Purpose” with someone very young. It could change your life and it will most certainly change theirs.


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