As the title suggests, the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.
Old Han Solo is in this one.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, over the past six months you may have noticed that there have been a ton of ads on TV for not just the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens film, but also for an obnoxious amount of Star Wars toys, video games, food, sex toys, make up, etc.
The one thing that we’ve noticed that these ads all having common (besides the obvious theme) is the fact that they aren’t marketing the traditional products (toys, video games, etc.) to kids. Continue reading
Looking far more like a Star Wars trailer and far less like a J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek trailer, a new international trailer for the upcoming seventh installment of the Star Wars movie franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, dropped in Japan overnight because as usual, the Japanese get all the cool stuff before we do. Continue reading
Last week there were rumors swirling that season two of the Netflix hit series adaptation of Marvel Comics’ Daredevil would feature popular anti-hero character, the Punisher and popular villain/long-time Daredevil nemesis, Bullseye.
Well, we can stop speculating on at least half of that because today Marvel announced that the The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal has been cast as in the role of Frank Castle, New York’s most notorious and bloody vigilante known as the Punisher.
Following in the footsteps of HBO and making a big to-do about nothing, Showtime, the network you really only subscribed to for Dexter (…and maybe Homeland), announced today the launch of their HBO Now-like standalone service in July, simply called – wait for it… – Showtime.
What Showtime the Showtime (the name for the service that we’ve made up for free) didn’t spend on marketing to come up with a clever three-letter name like HBO Now (it’s safe to assume “Showtime Ass” was pitched at least once for a variety of metaphorical reasons at some point but was rejected) is being used to pass savings on to the glorious cord-cutting 6% of U.S. households that don’t already subscribe to cable or satellite television services giving them the pleasure to pay $10.99 ONLY for an app that is accessible for free with a Showtime (not to be confused with Showtime the Showtime) cable/satellite subscription along with a dozen other Showtime channels included for roughly the same price in a cable or satellite subscription… waitaminute… let’s walk that back a bit.
Like with HBO Now, the only cord-cutters that will be able to pay more to get less will be Apple device owners (right now). Come to think of it, “paying more to get less” perfectly describes Apple device owners regardless of these standalone services.
Confused? Well, allow us to set you straight.
These standalone apps are a sham and have very little impact on 94% of the television viewing audience who already subscribe to cable or satellite. Why? Well, this is why…
The Internet-based cord-cutting warriors have convinced themselves and their followers that these standalone services exist based as a reaction to the premise that people hate their cable/satellite provider sooooooooo much and want a la carte programming options sooooooooo badly because they’re sick of paying for channels they don’t watch that they can’t wait for an opportunity to cancel their subscriptions so they can subscribe to a HBO (or… Showtime… we guess).
And there’s the fallacy. NO ONE is subscribing to cable/satellite for the privilege of then paying an additional fee to subscribe to premium channels. They may not care for HGTV but they DO watch other networks and they didn’t just subscribe to cable just to watch flipping Game of Thrones! Anyone who claims that this is the case and that these services are designed with that in mind is just completely full of crap. They are designed to do exactly what has been alluded to multiple times here: tap into the 6% of the audience that doesn’t subscribe to cable/satellite.
Forget all the hype, forget all of the dire predictions from re: the demise of cable/satellite because of these standalone apps from financial news outlets that really should know better, this nonsense isn’t about taking down cable with a cord-cutting revolution, it’s about getting to customers who never had a cord to begin with (or did but cut it beforehand). It’s a tiny sliver of the market that has no impact on cable/satellite providers. It’s not about them, it’s about competing with Netflix… duh.
From The Street:
HBO CEO Richard Plepler repeatedly rejected the notion that an HBO stand-alone service will cannibalize pay-TV. The decision to go “over-the-top,” the industry term for set-top boxes that stream video to the television, Plepler said, is all about going after the 10 million U.S. homes that have an Internet connection but don’t subscribe to pay-TV. It’s about going after the additional 70 million homes that get pay TV but don’t get HBO.
Dopey trailer and press release below…
Via Press Release…
SHOWTIME® TO OFFER STAND-ALONE SERVICE OVER THE INTERNET
Service To Launch In Early July To Apple® Customers
NEW YORK – June 3, 2015 – For the first time ever, SHOWTIME will be offered over the internet as a stand-alone streaming service launching in early July, with Apple as its first partner. The stand-alone service will be called SHOWTIME, a brand already embraced by consumers as the home for cutting-edge original programming, sports and movies. The launch of SHOWTIME will coincide with the new seasons of the critically-acclaimed, hit series RAY DONOVAN and MASTERS OF SEX, premiering on Sunday, July 12th.
iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® and Apple TV® users will be able to subscribe to SHOWTIME as a stand-alone service on the SHOWTIME app anywhere in the U.S., for one monthly price ($10.99) to view on all Apple devices. To learn more about SHOWTIME, watch and share: http://s.sho.com/1FTryf8. Additional platforms and providers will be announced soon. The announcement was made today by Leslie Moonves, CBS Corporation’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and Matthew C. Blank, Chairman and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc.
“Going over-the-top means Showtime will be much more accessible to tens of millions of potential new subscribers,” said Moonves. “Across CBS, we are constantly finding new ways to monetize our programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology. This works best when you have outstanding premium content – like we do at Showtime – and when you have a terrific partner like Apple – which continues to innovate and build upon its loyal customer base.”
“At Showtime, we’re excited to offer consumers the opportunity to subscribe in new ways, by simply having an internet connection,” said Blank. “Our intent is to make SHOWTIME available to viewers via every manner possible, giving them an enormous amount of choice in accessing our programming, starting with the season premieres of our award-winning series RAY DONOVAN and MASTERS OF SEX.”
“We’re excited to offer Apple customers SHOWTIME’s live channels and extensive on demand library of great TV shows and movies, without a cable or satellite subscription,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV customers will now be able to subscribe to SHOWTIME directly and instantly start viewing their favorite programming with the same simplicity as buying an app.”
Subscribers will have unlimited on demand access to every season of award-winning SHOWTIME original series, and hundreds of hours of movies, documentary and sports programming, as well as the live broadcast of the east and west coast feeds of SHOWTIME. Showtime will offer a 30-day free trial to new customers who sign up through Apple in July. Apple users simply need to go to the SHOWTIME app on their device to sign up and create a SHOWTIME account. Subscribers can use their SHOWTIME account to watch the service across all supported devices, as well as online at www.showtime.com.
Showtime and its acclaimed original programming continues to make its mark on the cultural landscape. The network is home to one of the most successful programming line-ups in all of television, with hits that include HOMELAND, RAY DONOVAN, THE AFFAIR, MASTERS OF SEX, PENNY DREADFUL, SHAMELESS, HOUSE OF LIES, NURSE JACKIE, HAPPYish, EPISODES, and the anticipated new series BILLIONS and the limited series TWIN PEAKS. Original series play a key part in the network’s programming mix, along with box office hits, comedy and music specials, provocative documentaries, and hard-hitting sports programming, including the flagship franchise SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® and the news magazine programs 60 MINUTES SPORTS and JIM ROME ON SHOWTIME. The network’s diverse slate of films includes Boyhood, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Philomena,St. Vincent, The Imitation Game and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
Just when we thought LEGO would stop looking for more ways this year to take money from our pockets (LEGO Jurassic World, LEGO Dimensions), yesterday, LEGO Worlds, a sandbox style open-world game in the tradition of Minecraft, dropped on Steam for early access. Imagine being able to build all those worlds as seen in The LEGO Movie. Well, now you can!
It’s that time of year again for limited series and great shows that just don’t have the strength to stand on their own during the regular season with audiences. But for us, this is the time of the year when we find some of the great cult-following and niche programming.
The full schedule is posted at the bottom but we wanted to share with you the highlights among the new series and the returning favorites. This will be a three-part monthly feature appearing on the first of July and August, as well.
Welcome to the first post back after a long hiatus! What can I say other than life gets in the way… as does trolling asshats on Facebook at a professional level. But we’re back and I’m retired from trolling and we’re looking to cover not just TV, but the cool stuff in pop-culture that interests us.
As noted by the very unambiguous title, gaming is going to be one of the topics we regularly cover and one of the most obvious stories to tackle on this, the first day of June, 2015 is a comparison of the free games offered to Sony PlayStation Plus members in the Instant Games Collection and to Microsoft Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers via Games with Gold program this month. Continue reading
Here’s part four of our series on shows you might want to check out this summer. Just one show today and since it’s a returning show that I am quite familiar with, I’ll throw in a review, as well. Scroll to the bottom for the previous entries.
Orange Is the New Black is an American comedy-drama series created by Jenji Kohan and first released on Netflix on July 11, 2013. The series, produced by Tilted Productions in association with Lionsgate Television, is based on Piper Kerman’s memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, about her experiences in prison. The series revolves on Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a bisexual woman living in New York City who is sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prisonfor transporting a suitcase full of drug money to her former girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), who is an international drug smuggler. The offense occurred ten years prior to the start of the series, and in that time Piper had moved on to a quiet, law-abiding life among New York’s upper middle class. While in prison, Piper is reunited with Alex, and they re-examine their relationship and deal with their fellow inmates.
The highly-anticipated second season of Netflix’s drama (comedy-drama? No.) Orange is the New Black goes live at midnight and I’m thrilled because it ties in perfectly with our series of 37 Shows You Want to Check Out This Summer and because it allows me to finally get a whole bunch of things off my chest that the gushers (both audiences and critics alike) don’t seem to want to address about this series. Don’t get me wrong, I actually do enjoy Orange is the New Black (or else I wouldn’t be recommending it to check out this summer), but the show is far from perfect and the problems that it suffers from are glaring and unavoidable.
One of the first things that caught my attention in the pilot was the cheap premium cable device of gratuitous nudity and sex in order to hook an audience. HBO has been doing it for years (and I’ve been subsequently complaining about it for years) and whereas at one time it was used as an obvious gimmick when the writers had gone to the well one too many times and couldn’t come up with new ideas, it has now become obligatory with every show that the network airs. It’s not that I have an issue with sex and nudity on television, the issue is that when it’s vulgar and obvious and now since HBO does it all the time, so do all the other premium networks, including Netflix. NOTE TO NETFLIX: When you throw that much gratuitous sex and nudity into a pilot, it’s clear to astute audiences that you are compensating for what you lack in other areas.
So, what does Orange lack? Well, first and foremost, although the plot is compelling enough for me to want to keep watching it, it’s a slog. On more than one occassion, I have thought two hours had gone by because the show was dragging so much. I don’t mind a slow burn, but each episode is a slow-burn without much of an emotional payoff at the end. The only reason this show has found the success that it has is because it’s available for binge viewing because if it was a weekly series audiences wouldn’t have tolerated how slow it is past the third episode.
One of the other problems that I have with this show is that the producers have gone out of their way to say that the show isn’t Oz (well, no sh*t) but it’s obvious to anyone watching it that it certainly is an attempt at Oz (ultra-) light. It’s so blatantly ripping off aspects of Oz that you’d have to be an idiot not to see it. The crisis-of-the-week that revolves around a different main character with flashbacks of the character’s pre-prison life and backstory to develop that character? Nooooo, we’ve never seen that before. For crap’s sake, that’s not even unique to Oz. Lost did that for six seasons better than any show in history. That’s just the most glaring example of Oz ripoffs, I’m not going to get into all of them (recycled plotlines, stereotypical characters and situations, etc.) and honestly, it doesn’t really bother me that much because it does help develop the characters but it’s worth noting.
Speaking of character development, that is certainly one area where Orange excels with each primary cast member of the ensemble being given a good amount of screen time and attention by the writers. This may sound very fanboyish of me but I don’t think that anyone is going to dispute that the best performance of all on this show is that of Star Trek: Voyager‘s Captain Kathryn Janeway herself, Kate Mulgrew as the Russian mother-figure to the women, Galina “Red” Reznikov who runs the kitchen.
Equally notable is the underrated performance by the gorgeous Taryn Manning as the incredibly emotionally unbalanced, hillbilly meth addict, Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett. Manning really is quite outstanding and it should be noted what an incredible job the makeup department has done in “ugly-fying” her for this role and how she herself has been able to accomplish that job through her performance.
What hurts this show immensely, however, are the main protagonists and I guess the only reason I’m calling them the main protagonists is that the character of Piper (Taylor Schilling) is who the show is about and the other two, Larry (Jason Biggs) and Alex (Laura Prepon) are the two other sides of the “love triangle” as it were. Do you know what the problem is?
I hate them. I hate them all with a passion. They are the most spoiled, selfish, self-centered, self-righteous and arrogant characters on this show and they are completely unsympathetic. This is what I mean by how stupidly audiences and critics gush over this show. How is it possible that anyone who watches this show doesn’t want to just punch these people? Hell, how does one not want to punch the most annoying no-talent actor in Hollywood, Jason Biggs, to begin with, his performance on this show not withstanding? How the hell did he get this role to begin with? Seriously, his only claim to fame is that he f*cked a pie in an incredibly overrated teen comedy over a decade ago.
As for the other two, it’s not that Schilling or Prepon’s performances are bad, it’s that their characters (like Larry) suck and they are completely unlikable. They’re rotten, they treat people rotten, everything they do is about making themselves happy and they NEVER learn from their mistakes. It’s one thing to have your main characters be so flawed at the begining of a season, especially on a show set in a prison, it’s another thing not have the characters “grow” one iota between episode one and episode 13. These characters have actually regressed since episode one.
To put it simply, we’re supposed to hate the vile “Pornstache” (Pablo Schreiber). I get that. But we’re not supposed to hate our protagonists and that’s what the reality is of this series. They simply don’t have very much redeeming about them whatsoever.
Again, the real saving grace on this show is the performance from the supporting cast and the fact that I’m a sucker for decently done serialized drama and at the end of the day, Orange is the New Black is decently done, if not great. The key is to not expect more out of this series than it can give or you’ll be disappointed.
As for our multi-part series, 37 Shows That You Might Want To Check Out This Summer, here are the previous entries: