The PopCulteer
February 26, 2021

Your PopCulteer is still a bit under the weather due to a Myasthenia Gravis flare-up, so for the second week in a row, we’re just going to bring you some short Pop Culture news items.

Hasbro Almost Has Toy News

We will have more toy industry news in the coming days, but Thursday, when Hasbro held their virtual investor’s conference, they talked way more about television projects than they did about new toys.

In 2019 Hasbro purchased EntertainmentOne, a massive world-wide entertainment conglomerate, and as a result, this subsidiary of Hasbro has their hands in everything from two upcoming feature-film musicals from Steven Speilberg to animated and live-action TV series based on Hasbro properties and a world-wide network of movie and television distribution deals.

In the coming year we can expect a new animated Transformers series on Nickelodeon, another animated Transformers show for younger kids on Netflix, a live-action GI Joe series for Amazon Prime that focuses on Lady Jaye, a CGI My Little Pony series for Netflix and if you dig deep enough, you find an animated series based on Micronauts toys, which doesn’t have a home yet.

It’s a little bizarre to learn that Hasbro controls not only GI Joe and Transformers, but also PJ Mask and Peppa Pig…and Deathrow Records and the merchandising rights for Wu Tang Clan and The Lumineers.

Hasbro previously announced a slew of projects like G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes, which is due in theaters in October after being delayed from last year; a Dungeons & Dragons feature film starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and Rege-Jean Page, and an animated television series based on the board game Clue.

In addition, the toymaker revealed plans for unscripted projects based on Monopoly, Mouse Trap, Easy Bake, Operation, Nerf and Play-Doh. Yep, they’re making reality and game shows, too.

In toy news, they did announce that Mr. Potato Head will be dropping the “Mr.” and will be sold as male, female and child tubers. I’m certain that some far-right-wing news outlets will fly into a rage over this so that they can continue to ignore the fact that the last Republican President attempted to engineer a violent coup to overthrow Democracy.

They also announced that characters from Lord of the Rings and Warhammer 40K  will be turning up in Magic: The Gathering later this year.

The Big Show Changes Channels

Paul Wight, the large athlete formerly known as “The Big Show,” made a big jump this week, leaving WWE after more than twenty years to jump to AEW, the upstart rivals who offer serious competition for Vince McMahon’s wrestling behemoth.

This is actually a rare instance where the move will probably turn out for the best for all three parties.

The Big Show (who will no longer be able to use that name) was not happy with the new contract that WWE offered, which was reportedly a “Legends deal,” where he would be paid a stipend to make public appearances, but would be considered semi-retired from the ring.

Basically, WWE, which has a problem right now attracting younger viewers, didn’t have a place for him to work full-time. Big Show’s WWE-produced sitcom for Netflix, The Big Show Show, was not renewed for a second season (it was unwatchably awful) and even though Wight is in really good shape, they just couldn’t justify paying him what he felt he deserved.

Meanwhile, AEW swooped in and signed Wight to a contract that will have him acting as a commentator for a new weekly YouTube series, and working the occasional match in the ring. For AEW it’s a visibility-raising move, bringing in somebody that wrestling fans have been watching for more than two decades, but not forcing him to carry the wrestling end of their show.

For Wight, this keeps him in the public eye, and gets his very large foot in the door with Warnermedia, who broadcast Dynamite, AEW’s flaghsip show, on TNT, in case they want to develop a project for him that isn’t as awful as The Big Show Show.

Wight is a very likeable, gifted comic talent who has proven that he can hold his own in an acting setting, if he isn’t saddled with poor material. Wight gets instant street cred by working with the hipper, younger new wrestling company. Plus he can now use his real name, and build that as a brand, instead of just being a WWE trademarked character.

AEW gets the rub by having a popular legend on the staff who has great recognition among non-wrestling fans. I know they just added Sting to their roster late last year, but to non-wrestling fans, “Sting” is the guy who used to sing for The Police, not some guy who dresses like The Crow. Wight has a higher “Q” rating, and that can’t hurt.

WWE doesn’t have to figure out how to make a guy who’s pushing fifty seem fresh to a viewing audience that’s been steadily shrinking for twenty years. It’s a shame that they probably won’t put The Big Show in the WWE Hall of Fame any time soon, but the last thing they need right now is another wrestler past the age of forty chasing their major championships.

It’s a win-win-win.

Sir Paul Writes A Book

It has been announced that Paul McCartney, who has resisted offers to write an autobiography for decades, will be releasing a book on November 2 that will come pretty darned close to telling his life story.

The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present will present annotated lyrics to every key song McCartney has writen to date. The pre-order price is a hundred bucks, for 960 pages in two volumes, enclosed in a slipcover.

Let’s just quote the PR:

A work of unparalleled candor and splendorous beauty, The Lyrics celebrates the creative life and the musical genius of Paul McCartney through 154 of his most meaningful songs.

From his early Liverpool days, through the historic decade of The Beatles, to Wings and his long solo career, The Lyrics pairs the definitive texts of 154 Paul McCartney songs with first-person commentaries on his life and music. Spanning two alphabetically arranged volumes, these commentaries reveal how the songs came to be and the people who inspired them: his devoted parents, Mary and Jim; his songwriting partner, John Lennon; his “Golden Earth Girl,” Linda Eastman; his wife, Nancy McCartney; and even Queen Elizabeth, among many others.

Here are the origins of “Let It Be,” “Lovely Rita,” “Yesterday,” and “Mull of Kintyre,” as well as McCartney’s literary influences, including Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, and Alan Durband, his high-school English teacher.

With images from McCartney’s personal archives―handwritten texts, paintings, and photographs, hundreds previously unseen―The Lyrics, spanning sixty-four years, becomes the definitive literary and visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

If you wish the pre-order this epic tome, check it out at Amazon, and set aside a few weeks to read it.

And that is this week’s PopCulteer. I hope that this MG flare-up subsides so I can bring more cool news, photos and reviews. I’ve got a teetering stack of cool stuff in my living room, but haven’t felt like jumping into it. We will have fresh content every day, as well as all our regular features.