Scott Hardie | November 28, 2021
As previously announced, we're getting ready to watch the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe in order and discuss it. I hope you'll consider joining us! This should be a lot of fun!

The project won't begin until the first week of January, but its page on Funeratic is now online, including the anticipated schedule of titles to watch. Most weeks will have 2 to 2.5 hours of material, with no week exceeding 3 hours.

Each Saturday night at midnight ET, a new discussion will automatically appear for the next week. Watch at your own pace and discuss anything you'd like about the movies and shows, skipping over any titles that you don't want to see. Comments should be flagged as containing spoilers for specific future titles, and when reading, you'll have to click to reveal those (unless you want to see spoilers).

If you're wondering what subscriptions you'll need to enjoy the MCU, it's mostly just two: Netflix currently has 60% of the content, while Disney+ has 30% and slowly rising. (Hulu has 7.5%, YouTube has 0.5%, and the other 2% will have to be rented, bought, or otherwise found elsewhere. I calculated this based on minutes of runtime.) A few obscure titles are in a state of flux -- the "Marvel One-Shot" short films were just available on Disney+ a few weeks ago, but today they are quite annoyingly absent -- so I'm just going to wait until their weeks come up and post directions for seeing them at that time.

There are two new subscriptions available, one a weekly reminder when there's new content to watch, and the other a notice when someone writes a comment.

I'll comment here again on January 2 to remind everyone when we begin. Until then, I'd love to hear any comments, questions, or concerns that you have. Thanks!

Evie Totty | November 28, 2021

Also: apparently totally forgot you had SMS available..

Scott Hardie | November 30, 2021
I hope you'll join in, Evie! I was going to message you separately but it saves me the trouble if you saw this already. :-)

Matthew Preston | December 1, 2021
So looking forward to this! There are quite a few shows/one shots/etc. that I have never heard of (mostly the Hulu exclusives). Here's to the next 2 solid years of MCU fun!

Scott Hardie | January 2, 2022
It's January 2. Let the conversations begin!

I tried to think of some kind of recurring thing that we can count (or do, or whatever) as we progress through the series. But other than Stan Lee cameos/references, I can't think of any frequently recurring Easter eggs or in-jokes to count, nor can I find any online. I remember one writer trying to count vending machines during an MCU marathon and growing to hate it as a pointless, arbitrary exercise. So, it's probably best not to try to count every instance of X or whatever, but here's mentioning it in case you have an idea.

Scott Hardie | February 11, 2022
The six Netflix MCU originals are leaving Netflix at the end of February. (Spoilers for Hawkeye and Spider-Man: No Way Home in there.)

Well, I didn't see that coming! I knew that Disney regained the rights to make new content with those characters two years after each show ended, but I figured that the old shows would stay on Netflix indefinitely. Marvel must have gotten smarter with their partnership deals over the years and stopped making agreements that last in perpetuity. :-)

Regardless of whether new shows happen, people online are speculating about what will happen to the old shows. I see four possibilities:

Scenario 1: They move to Disney+. This seems extremely unlikely to me. They're all TV-MA; even the tamest of the bunch is unsafe for kids. I suppose Disney could try releasing Bowdlerized versions but they'd be about 3 minutes per episode. Not even Punisher's opening credits, with their fetishistic guns and smoke, would survive a trim.

Scenario 2: They move to Hulu. This is likeliest and would be fine with me. I don't know if anyone out there would resent having to get another subscription, though.

Scenario 3: They disappear entirely. This seems very unlikely to me. Even if Disney wants to strike them from any possible canon, they represent the work of too many people (with agents and guilds and production deals behind them) to disappear completely. More likely they'd be tossed into some remote corner of Hulu and receive no promotion at all.

Scenario 4: They move to one of the above streaming services, but only after some time has passed. This is the one that worries me. Four months passed between the short films disappearing from Disney+ and reappearing in a new promotional collection, and there were only five of those suckers! How long will it take Disney+ to integrate 13 seasons of TV with 8-13 episodes each? We're supposed to start watching the first series in June, but it might not be possible. :-\

Samir Mehta | February 11, 2022
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | February 11, 2022
Well, you have a healthy perspective on violence, unlike most Americans. :-) To a lot of people, this scene of an Avenger getting badly injured is not as bad as this scene of a Defender washing his hands, because the latter is bloody and up close. And they're both preferable to two Netflix characters having sex, because WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN.

But yes, 5 is definitely too young for any MCU content, and 8 is scarcely better. Eventually the time will come if they want to see it. A friend of mine has a 15-year-old who was never allowed to watch violence, until the kid got tired of being made fun of by her peers for not knowing anything about Marvel or Harry Potter or whatever kids like these days and asked for permission. Now Mom is watching the entire MCU with her kid (just the movies) and talking through each one, and it sounds like it's going well for them.

Scott Hardie | March 1, 2022
Samir, it's been bothering me what I wrote on February 11. I thought it was a little condescending, but I was in a hurry. I'm sorry about that.

Anyway, I'm absolutely floored at today's news that the Netflix originals will be on Disney+ (along with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which is no surprise). Even with the safeguard of the parental controls, it stuns me that the streaming service that famously added fake CGI hair to cover the rest of a mermaid's barely-visible butt would ever permit the ridiculously violent Netflix originals. Someone's kids are going to see that, parent groups online are going to raise a stink about it, and it's a potential PR mess. Then again, maybe they're playing the long game, anticipating future R-rated content like Deadpool 3 and the platform's own eventual plateauing of growth if it doesn't broaden its audience. It seems to me that among the announced technological features to make this work, they should precede each adult-oriented episode with a loud sound effect, something attention-grabbing like Netflix's loud click-and-hum, so that parents at least have a chance to hear from the other room if their kids get into the gory stuff.

Also, I enjoyed this tweet today.

Samir Mehta | March 2, 2022
[hidden by request]

Evie Totty | March 20, 2022
AAAAAND HERE IS THE META DISCUSSION - I'd forgotten I'd saved it. So to reiterate in that other thread: my apologies for falling behind - I literally kept my Disney+ subscription just for this project.

Scott Hardie | March 20, 2022
It's all good. I'm aware of several people who were excited to start the MCU Project in January and then ran into unforeseen circumstances. I'm a couple of weeks behind schedule myself, due partly to other plans and due partly to watching at Kelly's pace and competing with some of her favorite shows. We'll all catch up. :-)

Scott Hardie | May 26, 2022
As time goes by and we watch more TV than movies, it has become really clear to me that I messed up the schedule by not capping the number of titles per week.

Originally, the weekly limit was just 3 hours of content. But outside of the feature films, a single long binge is not really how we consume content. We (Kelly & me and I assume most other people) sit down to watch individual episodes, so four 45-minute episodes are harder to finish in a week than three 1-hour episodes. As far as I can tell, nobody is completely keeping up with the schedule and it's only getting worse.

So, I have imposed an additional cap of 3 titles per week, not counting shorts of 15 minutes or less. This should make it easier to keep up. I was worried about it slowing down the overall project, but it only adds four months to the current plan. You now have 7 fewer episodes to watch to be completely caught up.

Switching this was an easy decision. The harder choice was whether to make it retroactive to the beginning of the project, which would mean moving some comments to other weeks. Ultimately we're still early enough in the project (and enough weeks so far would be unchanged due to the movies) that I decided to make it retroactive. About 15 comments have shifted to a different week, or been split into two comments across two weeks. I have carefully reviewed every conversation so far to ensure that they still make sense. The new-content highlighting and some old subscription data might still be a little bit off.

If the schedule changes again in the future, it's not likely to be retroactive like this.

Thanks for participating so far! I'm still really enjoying this project. It's neat to see the titles play off of each other and set each other up in ways that I never would have known about otherwise. I hope you're enjoying it too, whether you're watching everything or sticking just to the movies or sticking just to your favorites or whatever. :-)

Scott Hardie | August 7, 2022
Next week, we'll see our first web series, season 1 of WHIH NewsFront. Some of it is on Disney+ if you dig into the Ant-Man extras, but not all of it, so I recommend simply watching this playlist for the entire portion on our schedule next week.

Kelly and I are busy at the moment with summer travel plans, so I haven't been able to watch or discuss anything lately. I plan to resume by the end of the month.

Erik Bates | August 11, 2022
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | October 3, 2022
Because Erik and I have each fallen far behind, and because 3 episodes per week are just too many for Kelly and me when there's so much other great TV content coming out, I have reluctantly slowed down the schedule again. We will now watch either one movie or two TV episodes per week, not counting shorts. I had reasons for not wanting to go this slowly, but it's clearly the right pace.

This change is retroactive, and old comments have been reassigned to different weeks as appropriate. (The yellow highlighting of new content will be off for a bit; sorry.) So, this week we're back to concluding Daredevil season 1, which is just slightly behind where I was and just slightly ahead of where Erik was.

If anybody else wants to catch up on the entire MCU so far, it's now much easier. Of course the invitation still stands for anyone to watch only the content they care about and drop in with comments in those weeks only.

Erik, I appreciate your insights, especially as someone who has seen and not seen different titles than me. Thanks for continuing with this. :-)

Erik Bates | October 3, 2022
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | July 10, 2023
Great. Runaways is no longer available on Disney+ or Hulu, which will become annoying when we get to it in the MCU Project, and it might not be the last title to get deleted. It can (for now) still be watched on other streaming services if you want to pay $2 per episode, or on DVD if you can find a Region 1 set on eBay. I don't know how the reporter wrote that whole article about it without one joke about the show's title.

I'm frustrated and worried by this trend of streaming services removing original content that becomes hard or impossible to find anywhere else. First HBO Max did it, then Disney+ did it, and now Paramount+ is getting in on the action. Look, streamers: I can't keep up with everything. Trying to watch TV these days is like trying to sip from a fire hose. Please keep the content around long enough for me to have a chance.

Erik Bates | July 11, 2023
I don't understand the logic here. With Netflix, I get it. They have agreements with distributors, etc. They don't get to just stream those shows at no cost to them. But if you own the content? Why would you pull it? It's not like you're deleting it from your servers. If nobody watches it, nobody watches it. I have a shirt in the back of my closet that I don't wear anymore. It costs me nothing to keep it back there. Maybe some day I'll pull it out for nostalgia and put it back again. Maybe I won't.

Not the best analogy, but it sorta works.

Scott Hardie | July 11, 2023
The shows and movies are pulled to save money.

Part of the savings comes from no longer paying residuals to the actors, writers, directors, and so on, which is a poke in the eye to the people who agreed to make those works on the basis of anticipated future residuals. See tabloid coverage of Geoffrey Owens after Bill Cosby's crimes got The Cosby Show pulled from syndicated reruns for what happens when an actor suddenly can't depend on residuals any more.

But most of the savings come from manufactured "losses" that reduce a tax burden. Remember, Disney isn't just one huge company; it's a conglomeration of many smaller companies. The company that operates Disney+ has to pay a licensing fee to the other company that produced and owns the content, which is necessary for several reasons, including the aforementioned residuals that guilds have negotiated with studios. If Disney+ drops a movie, and the company that made it can't license it anywhere else because of contractual agreements, then that company has been "forced" to "lose" revenue and thus can cite the project as a loss on their tax return, which is why most of the removed content was released within the last twelve months. This whole shell-game practice is ridiculous and needs to be stopped ASAP by guilds and/or lawmakers, because it incentivizes every streamer to do this to ALL new content: Release it for a few months, then yank it and plead impoverishment to the IRS, all while denying viewers what they've paid for and denying creators what they've worked for.

Earlier this year, Cory Doctorow wrote a great think piece about what he called the "enshittification" of tech services. (I'm grateful to Kelly for bringing it to my attention.) In short, Doctorow argued that services first try to lock in users by offering a great product, then they try to lock in business partners by taking advantage of their users, then they screw over business partners in order to hoard all of the profit for themselves, ruining their service for everyone. A form of that same process is playing out now with streaming services. First, they lock in users: Do you want to be the bad parent who cancelled your kid's beloved Disney+ subscription, or be the only Marvel or Star Wars fan in your circle of geeky friends who can't watch the latest new series? Then they lock in collaborators, such as (to name one of many possible examples) the actors who are under decade-long contracts to reprise the same MCU character at Marvel's beck and call. Now, they've started harvesting more revenue from the service by doing things that screw over both parties, and it's making everything and everyone miserable.

And I was looking forward to watching Crater. :-(

Scott Hardie | July 12, 2023
Kelly asked an interesting question about this topic: Will music services like Spotify go the same route as TV & movie streamers, dropping recent releases from their libraries as a tax write-off?

I suspect not, for a few reasons. One, I'll bet that a lot more people listen to old music than watch old shows and old movies, so the outdated content remains lucrative. Two, the relatively stable music streaming industry is not due for a contraction like the over-saturated TV & movie streaming industry. And three, the record labels are not (yet) launching their own streaming services to compete with the established platforms, so there's no incentive for music streamers to remove songs this way; someone else really would get the tax write-off, as opposed to pretending. I suppose the record labels could write the ability to remove songs into their contracts with the streamers, but Spotify would lose revenue under such an arrangement and they have the clout to refuse.

Then again, music industry accounting is almost as notorious for screwing over artists as Hollywood accounting, and most of the major music streamers are publicly owned and thus under pressure to eke out any possible profit, so it wouldn't surprise me if things went differently.

Scott Hardie | November 9, 2023
This isn't about the MCU Project specifically, but it's so good that I wanted to capture it somewhere. Discussing Marvel's glut of disparate content since the start of the pandemic, some anonymous commenter said, "Everything after Endgame has been like playing a video game and going back and playing side quests after you've already completed the main story."

Erik Bates | November 9, 2023
Man, that is the most appropriate analogy I have heard in a long time.

Want to participate? Please create an account a new account or log in.