Something to watch tonight: Wednesday 29 November
Marvel Studios: Assembled (2021-2023)
Every Friday night for over a year, I have been appearing on RNZ Nights to recommend film, tv and streaming content and help people navigate their viewing weekends.
The 9.40 timeslot eats into the evening a bit, but I am very grateful for the opportunity and have enjoyed chatting to the various hosts who have been looking after the show since Bryan Crump moved to Concert: Karyn Hay, Todd Zaner, Susanna Lei’atua and, lately, Mark Leishman.
Finishing my working week as the pips signal the ten o’clock news means that our own Friday night viewing can’t be too intellectually or emotionally challenging. We veg out, frankly, and that’s why we still have our Disney+ account. Because nothing is as ‘in one eye and out the other’ as Marvel or Star Wars, no matter that we probably won’t remember too much about each episode the next morning.
They’re not all as good as each other – certainly not all as good as Andor – but they are relaxing and comforting and … always seem to be there.
I don’t need to sell you on individual series at this point – although I may later on – but I do want to alert you to another of our regular viewing options, the behind-the-scenes documentaries called Marvel: Assembled that show up at the end of each season or when a new film drops.
BTS or EPK content is usually easily skipped corporate fan service – and these shows certainly serve the Disney megalith – but because they are at least a commercial hour (45 minutes plus) they have an ability to stretch out and talk to story makers as well as stars; craft teams as well as executives.
I sometimes find these programmes to be more enjoyable than the shows that inspired them (although you need to have seen what they are talking about – you can’t go in cold).
Every episode of Ms. Marvel, for example costs about US $25m – more than a Game of Thrones episode – and it’s great to see that put up on screen, and the work that has gone into it all.
As a reviewer, it’s important to be reminded every now and then, that the creatives behind a show have thought about it for longer than you have, by a factor of several thousand.
Season Two of Loki, which has just finished, is the best designed and art directed Marvel product I have seen. There’s so much wit and thought gone into everything and this show gives you a closer look at those details and lets you awe in the craft of prop makers, costume makers, VFX designers, etc.
If you have a kid who likes making things, show them some of these programmes and be prepared to pause so they can zoom in on the details. I love the dedication, perception and skill of these amazing people and Marvel: Assembled does too.
I only wish that the Star Wars section of Disney’s empire would be as open and as celebratory. There’s no equivalent for Andor, for example, and I wish there was.
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Where to find Marvel Studios: Assembled