Tag Archives: Star Wars

#TBT: Sorry Jar Jar, the ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ is George Lucas’s Most Embarrassing Creation Ever


For this week’s Adweek #TBT, I revisited the single most embarrassing artifact from the Star Wars Universe (yes, even worse than Jar Jar Binks): The Star Wars Holiday Special, which aired one night only, on Nov. 17, 1978, and was never seen again (legally, anyway). As I wrote at Adweek,

It was immediately clear to anyone who tuned in on Friday at 8 p.m. ET that the show was a train wreck. If the 10-minute dialogue-free Wookiee sequence wasn’t awful enough, then the virtual-reality sex scene—which still haunts my dreams, and in which Diahann Carroll urged Chewbacca’s father, “I am your experience, so experience me. I am you pleasure, so enjoy me!”—sealed the deal.

I rewatched the whole, interminable debacle for this story, and it’s even worse than I remembered — which made it even more entertaining to write about. Here’s the promo that CBS aired the week leading up to the show’s debut:

#TBT: Sorry Jar Jar, the Star Wars Holiday Special is George Lucas’s Most Embarrassing Creation Ever

Why You Shouldn’t Get Too Excited About Marvel and DC’s Long-Term Movie Plans


Yesterday, Marvel announced its Phase Three slate of films, two weeks after DC Comics unveiled its own ambitious lineup, stretching into 2020. Both announcements whipped fans into a frenzy, but as I wrote at Quartz, you shouldn’t start locking in your 2019 plans just yet:

It’s a potentially thrilling lineup of films to anticipate for many, many years to come. And there’s admittedly a lot to be excited about, particularly the introduction of Marvel’s first female (Captain Marvel) and black (Black Panther) superhero standalone films. Yet at the same time, there’s also a very real chance that despite all these company’s meticulous long-term plans, one—or all—of these franchises could veer wildly off-course, as soon as one of these films stumbles at the box office.

Why you shouldn’t get too excited about Marvel and DC’s long-term movie plans

‘Phineas and Ferb’ Pilot Disney’s Premier Voyage into ‘Star Wars’

phineas ferb star wars

When you have two young kids, you’re subjected to a lot of awful children’s TV shows. But there are a few diamonds in the rough: a very limited number of programs that are even more entertaining to parents than they are to kids. And Disney’s Phineas and Ferb is at the top of that list. On the heels of last summer’s successful Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel, the show’s creators, Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, have taken on an even more ambitious crossover: Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars.

While I was in L.A. for TCA summer tour, the pair invited me to their offices (which, not surprisingly, is packed with super-cool Phineas and Ferb swag), where I talked to them for this Daily Beast profile. Among many other things, they explained how they pull off that rare feat of appealing to both parents and kids:

That’s because Povenmire and Marsh emulated the Chuck Jones formula of layering their shows with jokes that viewers will appreciate even more as they grow older. “When we watched them again in high school and college, you catch all these other levels of humor,” says Povenmire. “To me, that’s the best thing. The kids who are watching Phineas today will see it again with their kids someday, and they’ll get a whole other level of jokes that they didn’t get before.”

Adds Marsh, “We tell the guys, ‘You’re not writing kid jokes. Write funny jokes.’ You can never go wrong betting on the kids being smarter than everybody gives them credit for. Never. If we just did jokes that went over the kid’s heads, that would be a problem, but trust me, the next one we tell is going to be stupid. We’re going to follow it with a song called, ‘Squirrels in My Pants.’ You can guarantee that following the joke about existentialist trading cards will be a classic piece of slapstick.” Povenmire interjects, “Kids love jokes about Nietzsche. They eat that stuff up.”

Povenmire and Marsh also talked how Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars is “perfectly accurate” with the events of the original Star Wars (which unfold in the background), the future of Phineas and Ferb and which Disney-owned property they hope to tackle next.

‘Phineas and Ferb’ Pilot Disney’s Premier Voyage into ‘Star Wars’

How Apple Can Make Its Streaming Service Better Than Netflix

apple streaming service

Last night, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is in talks with Comcast to team up for a new streaming-television service that would use an Apple set-top box. At Quartz, I suggested four ways that Apple could make a splash and make its new service instantly better than Netflix. For starters, Use the Force:

In 2010, Apple finally landed exclusive digital rights to the Beatles catalog. Now, it should aggressively pursue the holy grail of exclusive movie digital rights: the Star Wars films, which still have yet to be released via any digital platform. (Remember, Lucasfilm is now owned by Disney, whose chairman and CEO, Bob Iger, sits on Apple’s Board of Directors.) Using the films to launch Apple’s streaming service, especially as anticipation builds toward the next Star Wars film, due out in December 2015, would be reason enough for many viewers to immediately get on board.

Assuming Apple goes ahead with the service, it needs to once again embrace its traditional role of innovator, not follower.

How Apple can make its streaming service better than Netflix

Disney’s Brilliant Plot to Buy All of American Pop Culture

star wars atlantic

Here’s something unexpected. Quartz’s sister publication, The Atlantic, picked up my Quartz story from this morning on why Disney is buying all our favorite childhood icons, and republished it on its own site. Unfortunately I don’t get paid a second time for the story, but at least I can say now that I’ve been published by The Atlantic!

Disney’s Brilliant Plot to Buy All of American Pop Culture

Why Disney Keeps Buying All Your Favorite Childhood Icons


It’s taken some time, but I feel like I’ve finally found the sweet spot for making entertainment news palatable to Quartz readers. My latest Quartz story was the best example of that yet, as I reflect on why Disney keeps snapping up everyone’s most beloved childhood icons like Star Wars and the Indiana Jones films:

Disney’s decades of cultivating its own franchises–via movies, TV shows, its theme parks and of course, incessant merchandising–has given it a viable blueprint as it seeks to make the most of its new purchases.

It’s so rewarding to discover that I’ve finally cracked the code on these Quartz stories, which have been both great fun and highly educational to write.

Why Disney keeps buying all your favorite childhood icons