In Christopher Storer’s The Bear, we follow the employees and cooks at the dirty, failing Italian beef sandwich shop, the Original Beef of Chicagoland, as its owner has died by suicide and his brother, Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto (played by Jeremy Allen White), takes over. Carmy, an experienced chef with fine-dining experience, wants to change the way things are done in the restaurant much to the frustration of some of its employees, including the de-facto manager of the shop, Richie (played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach), who is the most unruly of the bunch.
Show Created by Jessica Gao — Directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia.
The first Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe series, WandaVision, was released in early 2021. Now, in October of 2022, Marvel Studios has fully released eight different Marvel series on the Disney streamer. While I’ve enjoyed watching all of them, I really do think that many of them would’ve been better as films, as these shows — like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier — still swear by the classic Marvel template. Honestly, I think only WandaVision, Loki, What If…?, and Ms. Marvel were right to be made into series rather than films. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, however, is the kind of story that feels appropriate for the streamer as a series. It doesn’t take the overarching Marvel storylines all that seriously and, even though I’m a fan of the MCU, that feels really refreshing.
A couple of days ago, I noticed that a new horror film had been released on Disney+ (on Hulu in the U.S.), and, since it was a title that I had heard absolutely nothing about, I was somewhat puzzled. Where had this been hiding, why did Disney/Hulu acquire it, and why are they now releasing it without any fanfare? I assumed that it was a bad sign, just like how January has previously been known as a bit of a dumping ground for movie releases. I was right. I take no pleasure in writing highly negative reviews, but I think this is a big miss. It is an ineffective and quite bland horror film with no staying power, even though its general interest in how parents want to control what their children see online is an interesting premise for a horror film.
Directed by Michael Giacchino — Screenplay by Heather Quinn and Peter Cameron.
Since the launch of Disney+, Marvel Studios has pumped out a plethora of straight-to-streaming series. It has, honestly, been a little bit overwhelming at times, and not all of the shows are equally good. One of the things that excited me about this streaming service, and the potential for Marvel Studios on it, was the general idea that this gave Marvel an opportunity to break from their formula and try new things. To give examples, Marvel has done that somewhat with Ms Marvel but also with She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, which is this sitcom that doesn’t take the overall universe as seriously as most of the Marvel films do. With Werewolf By Night, Marvel Studios has released their first so-called ‘special presentation.’ This is essentially a Halloween special just like how we know a Christmas special is coming down the line from James Gunn and the Guardians of the Galaxy cast. And think outside of the box they certainly have, as Marvel Studios have hired their frequent composer Michael Giacchino to direct for them on the streaming service. and this special presentation proves that if they need a director for a future feature-length theatrical project, then Michael Giacchino could very well be their guy. Werewolf by Night is surprisingly good.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) — Screenplay by Patrick Aison — Story by Patrick Aison & Dan Trachtenberg.
When I was a kid, my father would often want to watch the Alien and Predator films with me. Truth be told, I was probably a little bit too young to watch them when I did, but I didn’t mind and they never gave me nightmares. Instead, for me those films helped to create a love for sci-fi action and sci-fi horror, and I really love watching them over and over again, even though not all of the films are great. As a kid, I vividly remember that, to me, mindblowing moment when an easter egg in Predator 2 revealed a connection between those two franchises.
Show Creator: Bisha K. Ali — Show Directors: Adil & Bilall, Meera Menon, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
It’s interesting to me that most of the Disney+ shows thus far have really been aimed at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s mainstream die-hard audience. I sort of expected Disney+ to get into more shows that focused on family fun. I think Hawkeye felt like a family show, but no show has been as close to feeling like a Disney Channel show as Ms. Marvel did. Don’t misunderstand me. That isn’t a diss or a criticism. I think it’s refreshing to see a true young adult family-oriented MCU show. I also think that is the right way to introduce this fan-favorite character to the mainstream audience. I’m glad they gave her a Spider-Man: Homecoming-esque Disney+ show.
Show Creator: Jeremy Slater — Show Directors: Mohamed Diab and Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson.
My most anticipated Marvel Studios Disney+ series thus far was, without a doubt, Moon Knight. Ever since I first started reading comic books about him on Marvel Unlimited several years ago, I have been waiting for the chance to finally see this character in live-action. When it was announced that two of my favorite actors — Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke — were going to be in it, my excitement for the show reached a fever pitch. I’ve now seen the show, so how is it? Well, overall, it’s quite good, but it still suffers from some of the early Marvel-Disney+ problems that we saw in many of last year’s Marvel Cinematic Universe shows.
Disney’s Marvel Studios — the masterminds and architects of the global cinematic sensation, the Marvel Cinematic Universe — now also spends a lot of time on TV/Streaming shows due to the arrival of the streaming service Disney+, which Disney knows can thrive on several shows aimed at the Marvel and Star Wars fandoms. In the first year with MCU content straight-to-Disney+, Disney and Marvel Studios gave us four live-action series and one premier animated show. In this article, I’ll take a look at each of the ‘first-year’ shows in bite-sized reviews.
Directed by Mimi Cave – Screenplay by Lauryn Kahn.
Modern dating can be difficult. We all like to think that we can have a grand love story and just meet someone out of the blue, but, nowadays, many people find their eventual partners through online dating. In Mimi Cave’s FRESH — her feature debut as a director – Noa (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones) is tired of spending so much time finding potential suitors on the online ‘meat market.’ Her online dating usually ends with disappointing dates with rude men or with men sending inappropriate images that she never once asked for. So, it is understandable that she excitedly chases romance when she meets and flirts with the undeniable charming ‘Steve’ (played by Sebastian Stan) in a local supermarket. In spite of obvious red flags (he has no Instagram account!), she decides to go away with him on a weekend vacation, where she will soon find out that he has an uncommon ‘hobby’ — to say the least — and that his intentions aren’t good.
In 2021, both the film and television industries tried to play catch-up after films or seasons had been delayed and pushed out of 2020. This meant that Succession: Season Three finally came out this year, for example. But something new also happened in 2021. That year marked the debut of Disney+ Marvel Cinematic Universe Live-Action series, and we got a lot of those, most of which I really liked. So, today, let’s have a look at what shows I thought were the very best in 2021.