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The best movie & TV posters of 2017

The best posters of 2017 were for the TV series Stranger Things.

Stranger Things

Not too many posters these days are illustrated. There was a time when all posters were, but that time ended with the advent of Photoshop where photos of the actors could be used in lieu of having an artist draw/paint them. But recently that’s changed a bit, especially with the company Mondo creating old-school illustrated posters. And to a certain extent Hollywood’s followed their lead and has produced a number of illustrated posters for big-budget movies. So it’s no surprise an outlet like Netflix would have one of their shows feature an illustrated poster too. What is surprising is how well the illustrated poster for Stranger Things turned out. Illustrator Kyle Lambert created this poster and the attention to detail on it is astounding. This poster manages to be both modern and have a classic 1980s movie poster touch at the same time.

I also like the non-illustrated posters for Stranger Things too. They all work together well as a set and evoke the theme of the series in just a few images.

Thor: Ragnarok

The posters for Thor: Ragnarok shouldn’t work, but they really do. The colors of them are hyper acidic and I get a sugar high just looking at them. I think what makes these posters work is that they still look like the standard Marvel movie posters, but because of the choice to use these colors make them unlike any Marvel movie poster that’s come before. I know I’ve always said I judge the best posters of the year based on whether or not I’d like to have them hanging on the walls of my office. But the posters for Thor: Ragnarok might be the exception to the rule. I adore these posters, but having to stare at them every day on the wall my be too much for my weak psyche to take.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Much like with the posters for Thor: Ragnarok, the posters for Star Wars: The Last Jedi don’t look like any other Star Wars poster I can think of yet still feel like posters for a Star Wars movie. To me the standard Star Wars poster has a bunch of characters on either black or white, and if the movie came out pre–2015 was probably illustrated by Drew Struzan. Except the posters for Star Wars: The Last Jedi look nothing like this. From the teaser poster to character to final, they have characters colored red on a while background. Which makes these posters totally different in the pantheon of Star Wars yet none-the-less still amazing.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

I’ve been in love with the playful designs of the Spider-Man: Homecoming posters since they started dropping earlier this year. These posters look like they’re capturing discrete moments in Peter Parker’s life balancing things as your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man like hiding clothes in a backpack or getting ready to leap off a tall building along with being a regular New York teenager. I especially like one of the posters where Spider-Man is framed perfectly in the center of the image but the background is askew. The first time I saw it and noticed that, and realized the angle that Spider-Man’s really at and it literally made me a bit dizzy.

Star Trek: Discovery

I don’t know if it’s the colors, the blocky typography or the design of the USS Discovery on the poster, but I’ve been a big fan of the teaser poster for Star Trek: Discovery every since it debuted last summer.

Wonder Woman

I really wanted to include the teaser poster for Wonder Woman last year, but I like to include posters for movies in my best of review that premier in the same year as the review. So I sat on this poster for a long time. It’s so simple, with just a near-silhouette of Wonder Woman over an orange and blue sky with the words “Power Grace Wisdom Wonder” below. It’s practically the perfect poster for this movie.

Ghost in the Shell

The Ghost in the Shell movie might have been a disappointment at the box office, but this poster is anything but. It features star Scarlett Johansson becoming invisible via a suit utilizing futuristic technology over the garish neon-infested city the movie takes place in.


The poster for the FX series Legion, which features the mind of the main character of the series exploding into a nebulous pink/blue mass is the perfect summation for the awesome-weirdness that is this show.

Blade Runner: 2049

It’s interesting to see how the designers for the posters to Blade Runner: 2049 handled things since Ghost in the Shell deals with many of the same themes this film does. Here, they chose to focus on the main characters of the movie like Ghost in the Shell, but to present them in such a way that their photos are totally colored either an intense orange or blue with just the actor’s name and movie title below.

The Dark Tower

The minute I realized I was looking at a city upside down with the negative space of the sky actually forming another city outline from below with the characters of the movie standing in the sky as it were made this poster go from “oh well” to “oh WOW!” for me.

Direct Beam Comms #63


Humans Season 2, Episode 1 Grade: B

Bishop: “I prefer the term ‘Artificial Person’ myself.”

The whole idea of synthetic people, robots, androids, call them what you will, gaining, or trying to gain sentience is really nothing new. Data, on Star Trek: The Next Generation spent seven seasons of TV trying to do just that and I think there’s an argument to be made that HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey gained sentience, and that’s what drove him nuts. But just because all this has been done many, many times before doesn’t mean that story creators shouldn’t be using those same types of characters or exploring those same kinds of stories today. Even if they’re treading over the same story ground that others have already gone over before their stories will be different since they’re creating them through the lens of the present.

I don’t know if it’s the world we’re currently living in or something else but stories about robots becoming self-aware is really popular these days, with movies like Ex Machina and Ghost in the Shell and TV series like Westworld and Humans all exploring this same idea and coming at it in very different ways.

Humans is a series that originates in the UK and aires here in the US on AMC, the second season of which debuted last week. The series takes place in a very-near future world where “synths” are everywhere, do all the jobs that most people really don’t want to do and have even started turning up in homes to act as housekeepers, cooks, nannies, etc. But one scientist invented a code that made some synths self-aware, and in the first season these synths start coming together to try and escape the officials who want to wipe their memories since the fear is that self-aware synths would be the first step in knocking mankind down a few pegs on the evolutionary ladder.

The second season of Humans continues the story of the synths on the run and introduces a few new characters, namely Dr Athena Morrow (Carrie Ann Moss) who seems to have come up with the next step in computer artificial intelligence except she needs more computing power, and sees these self-aware synths as the final step in her AI quest.

Humans reminds me the most of the movie Blade Runner, in so much as it has the synths on the run from people who are out to kill them. But not so much in the tone and feel of that movie to the TV show. In many ways Humans is a bright series that takes place in gleaming offices and warm homes. I’d say that in tone and structure Humans is more akin to a 1990s series than the more modern series of today — and I don’t mean that as an insult.


Ghost in the Shell trailer #2

“They created me, but they cannot control me.”

The Reading & Watch List

Rumor Control

So far this year I’ve got articles written, or mostly written, to ones that will start publishing in early April. I’ve got one on Kong: Skull Island, Power Rangers almost complete and my annual summer movie preview in the works too. And another article after that which will either be about movies of 2007 or more probably a self-examination of my TV watching habits then we’ll be in the summer article season. I’ll tell you, it’s much better to be looking forward out a few months to things I’ll be writing when the weather’s started warming up than looking out a few months to things I’ll be writing about when it’s cold and cruddy outside.

This week in pop-culture history

  • 1932: Majel Barrett of Star Trek is born
  • 1969: Thomas Jane of The Mist and The Expanse is born.
  • 1982: Swamp Thing premiers in theaters
  • 1985: Brazil opens
  • 1993: Army of Darkness opens in theaters