Random Nerdery: The City and The City, Higher Power, FLCL, The Expanse, Legion

China Miéville, shoestring budget superheroics, crazy anime, gritty sci-fi, and mutant psychic weirdness.
Legion
FX’s Legion

Random Nerdery is a regular Opus feature covering the latest nerdiness from the worlds of film, TV, literature, comic books, video games, technology, web development, and more.


The BBC Adapts China Miéville’s The City and The City

China Miéville’s The City and The City has an intriguing premise: two cities, one rich and the other poor, coexist right alongside each other. However, each city’s citizens are trained from childhood to ignore the other city’s existence, or else face dire consequences. But when a young woman from one city turns up dead in the other, a detective finds himself facing a conspiracy that threatens both cities.

I liked Miéville’s original novel well enough, though I ultimately found it a bit anticlimactic in light of the utter strangeness of the premise. But the thought of a television adaptation intrigues me. I’m curious to see how the series depicts the cities’ strange coexistence, and the rest of the novel’s often surreal mythology. The City and The City will begin airing on BBC 2 on April 6, and hopefully an American release won’t be too far behind.


Higher Power: Good-Looking Superheroics On a Shoestring Budget

It’s a given that superhero movies, with their massive effects-laden derring-do, will cost a pretty penny. (For example, the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel are rumored to have a $1 billion budget.) But then along comes a film like Higher Power, which based on the trailer, proves that you don’t need hundreds of millions of dollars to make a good-looking film. All you need is $500,000.

Higher Power has a pretty typical superhero origin story (i.e., average guy is subjected to strange experiments which give him godlike powers), and its aesthetic is pretty heavily inspired by Chronicle, another low budget superhero movie. But if it can prove to be as novel as Chronicle, then it could be something special — and it’ll look darn good at the same time.

Higher Power will become available in theatres and on demand on May 11.


FLCL Returns to Adult Swim

When it first landed on Adult Swim, the bizarre animé series FLCL guickly garnered a cult following. That was back in 2003. Now, 15 years later, Adult Swim has announced two new seasons of FLCL. The first one, titled FLCL: Progressive, will begin airing on June 2nd, while FLCL 3 will air in September.

If nothing else, the trailer makes it clear that FLCLs original madcap style is still in effect, from the bass-wielding heroine to the strange alien monsters to the absurdist sense of humor. If you were a fan of the original FLCL, then chances are, you’ll probably dig this latest iteration. If not, you’ll probably find it annoying as all get-out.


The Expanse Returns For Season Three

We cancelled our Amazon Prime membership last year, and to be honest, I don’t really miss it — except for the fact that it was how I watched the first season of The Expanse, and now that season three of Syfy’s series is about to start, I’m tempted to re-up our membership.

Based on James S. A. Corey’s acclaimed novels, The Expanse is set centuries in the future after mankind has begun to spread out into the solar system. Tensions and hostilities between Earth, Mars, and other colonies have been simmering for years but a conspiracy threatens to destroy them all.

What I’ve enjoyed most about The Expanse is its grittiness and real-ness. Like Battlestar Galactica, the focus isn’t on gadgets and technobabble, but rather, the people and their plights (though, thankfully, there’s no convoluted mythology… yet). And The Expanse is populated by characters that, despite being deeply flawed, are always fascinating nonetheless. Like Chrisjen Avasarala, who really is the best.


Legions Second Season Looks Just as Wonderfully Bizarre as Its First

I think it’s safe to say that FX’s Legion is straight up the weirdest superhero movie or TV show out there; it’s also one of the most delightful. Loosely connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Legion is about David Haller, a man whose schizophrenia is actually the manifestation of vast psychic powers (which he inherited from his father, Charles ​“Professor X” Xavier).

After he escapes his psychiatric hospital, Haller ends up at a secret facility called Summerland, where he meets other individuals with strange powers (like siblings who coexist within the same body). But he soon comes into conflict with the Shadow King, a powerful mutant psychic drawn to Haller’s powers, as well as Division III, a government agency that studies mutants.

I loved Legions first season thanks to its unique and trippy visuals, quirky characters, and Noah Hawley’s bizarrely compelling approach to story-telling — and, above all else, that it never lost sight of the Haller’s plight in the midst of its considerable weirdness. That weirdness looks to be back in full effect in season two, from more Lenny Busker shenanigans and strange mutant powers to a dance sequence or two.