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The Reel Critic: Fan Expo, SAG Strike And ‘Swagger’

Written by on August 7, 2023

Reggie “The Reel Critic” Ponder spoke with director Reggie Rock Bythewood about the second season of his show Swagger on Apple TV+, and how one episode in particular touches on youth incarceration. He also breaks down what listeners can (and can’t) expect from the upcoming Fan Expo in Rosemont, with regard to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA actors and writers strike.

Despite the ongoing SAG-AFTRA actors and writers strike, the upcoming Fan Expo in Rosemont will present many celebrity appearances. This event, on August 10 through 13 at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, hosts voice actors, authors, comic creators and more. Due to the strike, many actors have not been conducting interviews or promoting content for their latest projects — so Reggie “The Reel Critic” Ponder anticipates bringing listeners behind the scenes interviews with directors, producers, costume designers and more from the expo as it unfolds.

Last week on “The Reel Critic,” Reggie talked with the brilliant mind behind the Apple TV+ series, Swagger, meeting with director Reggie Rock Bythewood to talk season two. Swagger explores the world of youth basketball: the players, their families and coaches who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, and opportunism and corruption. They discuss episode five of the series, where the basketball team interacts with incarcerated youth. In the episode, Bythewood notes he chose to focus on classroom scenes rather than the exploitative side of the prison system.

“What we do on Swagger is we reach for the humanity,” Bythewood told Ponder. “We’re not a show about prison reform … But in the context and the confines of our show, we can lean into some ideas … [like] how can [incarcerated youth] can come back into society?”

Additionally, Reggie discusses the SAG-AFTRA strike and what that means for “The Reel Critic” in the future. Listen to this segment of “The Reel Critic” on Spotify. Swagger, seasons one and two, is currently available for streaming on Apple TV+.

Check out more reviews and interviews from Reggie Ponder here, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram

“The Reel Critic” is hosted and produced by Reggie Ponder

Introduction written by Imani Warren and Morgan Ciocca

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