Articles on this Page
- 03/16/15--10:13: _Here's a supercut o...
- 03/16/15--10:15: _How D'Angelo and Qu...
- 03/16/15--10:58: _Scientifically accu...
- 03/16/15--11:10: _Kanye West tweeted ...
- 03/16/15--13:40: _The price of fame o...
- 03/16/15--14:04: _Kal Penn talks Nati...
- 03/16/15--17:57: _Meghan Trainor dish...
- 03/16/15--19:57: _Hip-hoppers Run the...
- 03/17/15--06:33: _These 12 bands are ...
- 03/17/15--07:16: _Azealia Banks poses...
- 03/17/15--08:02: _Jimmy Kimmel and Ma...
- 03/17/15--08:44: _Here comes Apple's ...
- 03/17/15--08:52: _'Subway Stories' lo...
- 03/17/15--09:21: _Personalize an epis...
- 03/17/15--10:33: _'Community' kicks o...
- 03/17/15--12:12: _Season 3 of 'Twin P...
- 03/17/15--19:12: _Discovery Channel f...
- 03/18/15--05:30: _YouTube's Physics G...
- 03/18/15--06:19: _Jimmy Kimmel tricke...
- 03/18/15--06:42: _Adam Sandler saves ...
- 03/16/15--10:13: Here's a supercut of 89 of the most iconic dance scenes in film
- 03/16/15--10:15: How D'Angelo and Questlove trolled South by Southwest
- 03/16/15--13:40: The price of fame on YouTube is candidly captured in ‘The Creators’
- 03/16/15--14:04: Kal Penn talks National Geographic's new big data show
- 03/16/15--17:57: Meghan Trainor dishes out new video for 'Dear Future Husband'
- 03/16/15--19:57: Hip-hoppers Run the Jewels attacked on stage during SXSW
- 03/17/15--06:33: These 12 bands are defining the next wave of emo and pop-punk
- 03/17/15--07:16: Azealia Banks poses nude for Playboy, talks about reparations
- 03/17/15--08:44: Here comes Apple's TV streaming service
- 03/17/15--08:52: 'Subway Stories' looks for talent beneath the streets
- 03/17/15--09:21: Personalize an episode of 'Mad Men' with your Facebook photos
- 03/17/15--10:33: 'Community' kicks off its 6th season with a promising start
- 03/18/15--05:30: YouTube's Physics Girl is science-loving superhero
- 03/18/15--06:19: Jimmy Kimmel tricked SXSW attendees into praising fake bands
Actors are great, but sometimes you just want them to shut up, and, well, dance. Thanks to a supercut video, viewers can experience the joy of the best movie dance sequences in the history of film for 3 minutes and 19 seconds.
The video pairs indie-pop band Walk the Moon's “Shut Up and Dance” with iconic dance sequences from films, including Big and Little Miss Sunshine.MsTabularasa, the video’s creator, isn't new to the compilation game. She’s also made supercuts of actors crying and a compendium of all of Barney Stinson’s life lessons on How I Met Your Mother.
The dance video, however, has taken off more than others, possibly because at least one featured dancer took notice; actor Mark Ruffalo, who’s included in a clip from 13 Going on 30, shared the clip on his Tumblr.
The annual South by Southwest conference in Austin won't begin its official music panels and showcases until Wednesday, but it’s been scooped by Samsung yet again. Two years ago, SXSW’s fever-pitch appearance was a Samsung-sanctioned Prince performance. In 2014, Jay Z and Kanye West packed an arena’s worth of Watch the Throne pyrotechnics into a music hall equipped for ’90s nostalgia touring rock bands. Sunday at the pop-up Samsung Studio, mythical kraken D'Angelo crept upstairs and jammed.
It was the ultimate marketing troll move: Camp out next to the convention center and open up shop with something all of those badge-donning suckers can't get into. The event was billed as the Samsung Supper Club, and it played out like an American wedding with about 100 guests. By posting up an intensely high-profile performer that is literally critics’ most beloved artist—and eventually parlaying the performance into a streaming exclusive—Samsung goes home with a treasure trove of style points.
Mary J. Blige is slated to turn out the same space Tuesday. Samsung promised another camp-out-for-wristbands concert announcement early this week.
It helps that Samsung at some point embraced and actively catered to its African-American and minority audience with its mobile marketing. The event’s populace was aggressively diverse, and as a brown dude, I can't shy away from how welcoming and loose the thing played out. Apple is an urban and millennial experience with glass-store products that last 15 months. You buy Samsung phones in the kiosk outside the Apple Store, and there's an urgent spirit to these functional boxes.
Legacy brands are here to engage and offer the latest in buzzwords, and this global product synonymous with expensive soccer jerseys is evoking the nostalgic sympathy of a groom on game day: “Hi, how do you know Samsung?”
Mick Boogie and Questlove of the Roots spun records that are secretly the best songs ever, like T.I.’s “What You Know.” He rocked an ironic shirt that added plain English to the sleazy nature of the SXSW game and read "no head no D'Angelo ticket." Invites were reportedly dished out to local wanderers, too. A tall and inebriated stranger gave me a passing bear hug because, yo, we made it.
Oh right. D’Angelo and his four-piece band strolled through a brutally brief, five-song set that lasted maybe 30 minutes. He is the only man on Earth bold enough to rock an aqua fedora while singing a transfixing set of “Betray My Heart,” “Spanish Joint,” “Really Love,” “Send It On,” and “Brown Sugar.”
Welsh 57-year-old session legend Pino Palladino handled bass, having contributed dirty lines to 2014’s Black Messiah, and his pace on the fretboard needs a warning label. The clap-along breakdown of “Brown Sugar” could have lasted an hour and didn’t stop until the whitest people in the room were barking “I want some of your brown sugar” in unison.
It was a vulnerable space filled with peers in the business and Chef Paul Qui’s Berkshire pork shoulder. But the subtle range of his almost-mumbled lyrics dialed in the house. We ate out of his hands.
Photo via Getty/Samsung
We may have figured out why Brain was so hellbent on world domination.
Pinky and the Brain usually only shows the infamous lab rats at night, so what happens to them during the day at the hands of their human holders has been a mystery—or a dark, dark reality we’ve been trying to ignore all these years. Luckily, Fox ADHD is on hand to ruin that particular part of that childhood for us.
With the amount of tests Pinky and Brain could’ve gone through, we’re surprised they made it out long enough to attempt taking over the world once, let alone every night. And Brain’s intelligence would’ve made his suffering even greater; at least Pinky had the advantage of not really knowing any better.
We find ourselves rooting for them now more than ever.H/T Uproxx | Screengrab via Animation Domination High-Def/YouTube
Kim Kardashian hit 30 million Twitter followers Monday, and her husband, Kanye West, celebrated by tweeting a few nude photos of her.
It was a big day.
Kanye felt #blessed.It's a classic "I love my wife!" shoutout, a level of praise every proud hubby should try to emulate—the 2015 version of Lloyd Dobler's boombox in Say Anything.
But Kanye added a zesty twist, a little garnish on his tweetstorm: the word "swish!!!," in all caps.The term caught on quickly. SWISH became a meme within minutes. So! What is swish? Where did it come from?
It's been on Urban Dictionary for a while. The most common definition is the sound a basketball makes when it flies through a hoop without touching the rim—nothin' but net. "Swishy" is also a somewhat derogatory phrase for gay dudes, and "swish" is a slang term in the U.K. that means "cool."
Kanye's probably alluding to basketball here. It's a lovely, triumphant phrase, evoking a clean Stephen Curry three-point shot, accompanied by a fist-pump and a sprint down the court. It's also a little sexual: a ball plummeting into a net without a bit of interference.
Here's to SWISH!!! You've got about seven days to use it freely until the brands discover it……LOL, never mind. Photos via Kanye West
2015 has marked the ultimate explosion of YouTubers into mainstream media. In just the last three months, major creators have been called upon to conduct interviews with President Obama, Grace Helbig announced a premiere date for her talk show on E!, and Zoella, a U.K. beauty vlogger with 7 million subscribers, outsold J.K. Rowling in book sales in a controversial coup.
There is no denying YouTube’s influence, but even as the platform grows, there is still a lack of clarity around what YouTube is and why Gen C prefers it to any other form of entertainment. I commonly find myself explaining to a group of shocked faces that YouTube isn’t just cat videos and fail compilations anymore.
And that’s where The Creators comes in. The documentary, directed by Oscar nominee Nanette Burstein, the film follows three of the U.K.’s biggest channels—TomSka, Zoella, and Niki & Sammy—to document what those creators’ lives have become since rising to YouTube stardom. Each star appeals to a different audience: Zoella is a beauty and fashion vlogger with 7 million subscribers; TomSka (Thomas Ridgewell) creates comedy, action, and cartoon shorts for his 3.3 million fans; and Sammy and Niki are identical twins who make videos about everything and anything. The overall result bridges the gap between die-hard-don’t-own-a-TV YouTube fans and first-time viewers.This documentary is incredibly intimate, capturing both major perks and hardships these four creators have faced by choosing to put their life on the Internet. On the one hand, Zoella and TomSka both talk about how making people happy and being able to make a living doing something they’re passionate about is the greatest gift to come out of YouTube. But TomSka also talks openly about his decision to talk with his fans about his battles with depression and weight loss, while Zoella explains her tumultuous relationship with severe anxiety and panic attacks. It’s these honest moments that have only increased fans’ love for their favorite creators.
YouTube fame has become a double-edged sword. As Zoella (Zoe Sugg) explains, she—and many other YouTubers—never intended to become recognizable, let alone so famous she can no longer leave her house without being swarmed by fans. This topic of redefining relationships between fans and YouTubers was one of the biggest conversations across YouTube in 2014. Started by Zoella’s best friend Louise Pentland from Sprinkle of Glitter, the conversation was covered in videos by nearly every major creator including Charlieissocoollike, Alfie Deyes, Hazel Hayes, Hazel Hayes, and Carrie Hope Fletcher.
This isn’t the first documentary to dive into the world of online video. Two years ago, journalist Ben Cook released the brilliant series Becoming YouTube, a series that follows Cook’s journey to understanding and becoming a YouTuber himself. Both these series are vital in continuing to expose new audiences to the magic of YouTube.
Screengrab via The Creators/YouTube
Would you expect grasshoppers to be the best way to produce efficient protein, or that an uptick in STDs in Florida can be traced to a retirement home in Florida?Kal Penn is ready to take the fear out of big data with his new National Geographic Channel show, The Big Picture With Kal Penn.
Using his mix of public and private sector experience as both a lauded actor an a former associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Penn said the show aims to put big data into a human perspective."We wanted to take these big data concepts and find human interest stories within them to explore in a documentary style," Penn said.
While Penn says he had some familiarity with the concept of big data, he didn't really dive deep into the topic until taking part in the show with National Geographic Channel.
"As we started developing the series … and were putting together the individual episodes, right around that time there was a lot of news narrative about things like the NSA, and a lot of chatter on Twitter about things like privacy," he explained. "We all thought that was particularly interesting because it seemed to paint a more nefarious picture of things like big data than what we thought was a more complete picture. Certainly those are stories we should explore and look at. I felt like that makes fantastic cable news more than it makes reality."
Penn points out that we may not be reading all the terms of service, but we are agreeing that these companies can collect data on us.
"We thought why not look at the broader picture of what big data means and how we interact with it," he explained.
The show drills down on different data points, drawing its topics from the data sets available, not, as many would guess, coming up with ideas and looking for data that supports a theory. The show uncovers surprising statistics, like the state with the highest drug addiction rate (Vermont) or which state consumes the most pizza (Florida, not New York or Illinois like one might assume).
"The pizza was the biggest shocker," he explained. "I grew up in New Jersey, and I live in New York. Who prides themselves on having the best pizza? It's us."
Penn, who had previously been to Austin for the release of Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, said making the trek to SXSW for National Geographic is much different than for an iconic stoner comedy.
"I love that I can learn about both sides of South By," he laughed."That was the big stoner film premiere, and nobody was sober around you. This is like, everybody is sober; it's an educational program."
The Big Picture With Kal Penn premieres March 30, at 9pm on National Geographic Channel.
Screengrab via DailyDot/YouTube
If you're looking to learn how to steal the heart of America's bass-loving sweetheart, then you're in luck. On Monday Meghan Trainor dropped the music video for her latest single, "Dear Future Husband."
In the video for the doo-wop track, the 21-year-old singer belts out her list of expectations for her future beloved backed by the sultry sounds of a barbershop quartet. One by one, a slew of suitors turn up at the door to win her affections, yet each forgets to heed her rules of courtship and gets kicked to the curb with massive a"FAIL."
Hopelessly she scrolls through Plenty of Fish for the perfect match, until she finds the man of her dreams and the two decide to meet up for a meal. Instead of trying to impress her with the cliche chocolates, flowers, or feats of strength, he whips out a pizza and quickly becomes the future Mr. Trainor.
Screengrab via MeghanTrainorVevo/YouTube
Hip-hop duo Run the Jewels was attacked Monday during a Spotify-sanctioned live event at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. An unidentified man approached rapper El-P mid-song and attempted to swing at him. Rapper Killer Mike stepped in to protect his bandmate almost instantly.
Immediately after, Killer Mike yelled at the would-be assailant through his microphone and started a "fuck boy" chant that the crowd was happy to engage in.
The man was quickly rushed offstage with security. He was also taking indiscriminate swings at who appear to be the group's security guards. No word yet on his motives, though El-P was quick to laugh it off on Twitter and credit his security's swift action.
Here's the assailant's initial swing.
Last year, four pop-punk teenagers from Australia exploded on the music scene. Boy-band charm and Blink-182 hooks sent their self-titled debut to No. 1 in over 11 countries, making 5 Seconds of Summer one of the most successful bands of the genre before they could legally drink stateside.
5SOS’s success mirrors a new shift in alternative music, one that hasn't truly been felt in a decade. Emo, pop-punk, whatever term feels most fitting—it’s in the midst of a glory moment.
The diversification of the genre makes emo especially interesting in 2015. For the older set, the Emo Revival (if you can call it that) is in full swing, taking a DIY punk-rock and post-hardcore scene from Midwestern basements to sold-out shows at L.A.’s Echo club. But we’re focusing on the younger generation of teenage fans. Legions of kids on Tumblr and YouTube have wielded their immeasurable influence to send a new fleet of bands to stardom and massive Internet fame. Here are our picks for the bands you need to know now.
1) State Champs
If there's a label to look to for the best and brightest young pop-punk bands around, it's Pure Noise Records. If there's a band to focus on, it's State Champs. The Albany, N.Y., band crafts massive pop hooks with infectiously modern melodies, somehow acting as a head nod to the Warped Tour acts that pre-dated them while feeling as classic as the genre will allow. If that’s not convincing enough, it should be noted that State Champs were invited on the road with All Time Low on their massive North American theater tour this year.
Sleeping With Sirens is one of the most reblogged bands on Tumblr. They’ve been around for a while now, forming in 2009 at a time where you could throw a rock in any American suburb and hit a post-hardcore band with too many members.
What separates Sleeping With Sirens from the rest is its young, loyal, and ever-growing fanbase. The group's last album, Feel, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, a pretty absurd feat for a band with breakdowns. If the name is unknown to you now, pay more attention next time you're walking through a mall. These guys are as ever-present as My Chemical Romance were in the mid-aughts. They will lead the next stage of modern metalcore.
It almost seems silly to include We Are the In Crowd on a list like this, but the group’s influence is undeniable. The Poughkeepsie, N.Y., band formed in 2009, debuting an energetic pop-punk sound in its first full-length, Best Intentions, in 2011. Their second and most recent release, Weird Kids, debuted at No. 29 on the Billboard chart—again, an impressive feat considering the pop acts they were up against last year. Also noteworthy: WATIC is fronted by a woman, Taylor Jardine, proving that pop-punk isn't a boys club—or that the space occupied by women wasn’t just formed and filled by Paramore’s Hayley Williams.
Against the Current owe a lot to We Are the In Crowd. Hailing from the same upstate town, ATC are managed by WATIC’s Mike Ferri. The difference is that Against the Current possess a fandom that veers slightly younger. It’s directly related to 19-year-old frontwoman Chrissy Costanza and her new and immense Internet popularity as both a singer and a YouTube makeup vlogger.
Unlike the pop-punk bands of past or present, ATC welcome a sort of YouTube-bred fame: They cover massive pop songs and write their own. They bridge the gap between pop-punk and mainstream pop. Judging by their Tumblr following, it'll pay off soon enough.
5) Real Friends
Real Friends were one of the most exciting acts on Warped Tour last year, perhaps rivaling only State Champs. Their sound is similar to bands like early Taking Back Sunday and later Saves the Day, a bit more pop-rock with bitingly honest lyricism. They haven’t been around for very long, either: They formed in 2011 and released their debut full-length last year, and the album hit No. 24 on the Billboard 200.
6) Title Fight
With a shoegaze-y sound and and bratty vocals, Title Fight is hard to categorize. It's one of many emo bands fighting against and for the genre, existing comfortably within this world and stretching its limits.
The result? Tunes that play well in the NPR and Alternative Press crowds.
7) Joyce Manor
Joyce Manor fans intersect with Title Fight diehards. Both bands lean toward an older fanbase and exist in harmony with longtime Pitchfork readers and the new-school Warped Tour crowd. California’s Joyce Manor is more punk-pop than pop-punk; the songs are heavier without sounding sludgy, and they carry the melodic influence of punk stalwarts like Jawbreaker and Screeching Weasel.
Metalcore is making a comeback too, and right now the band to keep an eye on is Stick to Your Guns. Its latest album, Disobedient, debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes metal chart, above nü-metal classics System of a Down's Toxicity and Korn’s Greatest Hits. In 2015, that's no easy feat. Stick to Your Guns’ sound drips with more machismo then, say, Sleeping With Sirens’.
Issues, on the surface, is also largely a metalcore band, but it bucks expectations by venturing into unfamiliar pop and R&B territory. Issues’ brand of 20-something angst is ambitious but not overdone. Combining abrasive sounds and breakdowns with Top 40 hooks, it’s simultaneously groovy and nasty, synth-heavy and scratchy, and it somehow works. The fans on Tumblr will be the first to tell you.
10) The Story So Far
The Story So Far is another example of a band that’s been around almost a decade. With each passing year, they seem to grow in success, gaining new fans with each record. There’s nothing too complicated about their brand of pop-punk, but they’ve earned a reputation for just being, well, good dudes. Frontman Parker Cannon made news last year when he jumped offstage at a Montreal Warped Tour set to assist a fan who was allegedly being choked by security.
5 Seconds of Summer, in three short years, managed to accomplish what pop-punk has been trying to do since Blink-182 landed hit after hit on Total Request Live: reach superstardom. With 5SOS, this meant almost completely selling out their first stadium headlining tour, hitting the road with the biggest act out there—One Direction—and having their debut album hit No. 2 stateside and No. 1 in many more. The reason for their success is completely founded on an unrivaled teen fanbase. It started with a YouTube account and a tweet from 1D dreamboat Louis Tomlinson, and it snowballed into something much bigger, something undeniable. If they’re unfamiliar to you now, you probably haven’t visited Tumblr once in 2015.
12) Tonight Alive
There’s a select crew of major-label pop-punk acts that resonate internationally but have a special place in the hearts of American teens. Warped Tour will do that to you. Much smaller than fellow Aussie outfit 5 Seconds of Summer, Tonight Alive is a power-pop five-piece from Sydney. Their big break came when they caught the attention of Fearless Records (Plain White T’s, At the Drive-In), eventually landing a deal with Sony. Tumblr fandom discovered the band when Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus guested on the track “Thank You & Goodnight” and frontwoman Jenna McDougall began collaborating with Good Charlotte and Simple Plan.There’s a lesson to be learned here: Team up with your fellow pop-rockers. Then take over the world, one reblog at a time.
Photo via MelissaRose14/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Rapper Azealia Banks is courting controversy once again with a new photoshoot and interview with Playboy.
Banks posed semi-nude holding a pair of cats, a surefire way to get the Internet's attention. Azealia Banks for the next Catwoman, anyone?
Along with the eye-popping photo shoot, Banks aired some of her characteristically forthright opinions on sex, fame, and racism.
"It’s always about race," she said, commenting on why people object to her Twitter presence. "Lorde can run her mouth and talk shit about all these other bitches, but y’all aren’t saying she’s angry. If I have something to say, I get pushed into the corner.
"Y’all motherf**ers still owe me reparations!" she added. "That’s why it’s still about race. Really, the generational effects of Jim Crow and poverty linger on. As long as I have my money, I’m getting the f**k out of here and I’m gonna leave y’all to your own devices.
"Black people need reparations for building this country, and we deserve way more f**king credit and respect."
As Banks repeatedly shuts down the interviewer's attempts to find middle ground, you sort of get the impression that he tried to bite off more than he could chew. Even when they redirect the conversation to the traditional Playboy topic of her sex life, Banks explains that her unapologetic views on race and gender often prevent her from getting laid.
"Whatever," she says. "I’ll just hang out with my mother. It’s okay, because pussy is way more sacred than penis."
We have to say, this is one of the best Playboy interviews we've read in a while.
Photo via Azealia Banks/Instagram
It seems like just yesterday we were all visiting Blockbuster to rent movies and TV shows. Blockbuster and many of its competitors have since been crushed by online streaming services like Netflix, but one video rental store, Vulcan Video, presses on.
Vulcan Video offers Blu-ray, DVD, and even VHS rentals of popular movies and TV shows. Given its persistence, Kimmel wanted to show everyone what made the store special—other than the fact that it still existed—so he brought in some star power, in the form of local actor Matthew McConaughey.
The report claims the service will be available on all iOS devices and will be offered for $30 to $40 per month. It will include approximately 25 channels, with broadcasters CBS, ABC, and Fox making up the core of the plan.
NBCUniversal, parent company of Network mainstay NBC and cable channels such as Bravo, MSNBC, and USA, is notably absent from the current lineup. The Journal’s sources sight a breakdown in negotiations between Apple and NBCUniversal parent company, Comcast Corp., for the absence of these channels.
Nevertheless, these plans mark the possible culmination of years of on-and-off negotiations between Apple and major players in television. The long-anticipated move will likely establish the tech giant right away as one of the premier providers in the industry, but comes at a time of intense competition for the hearts and minds of “cord-cutting” consumers.
With its offering of 25 channels, Apple looks to be entering the market for customers who want to downsize from bloated cable packages that include dozens of seldom-watched channels and hefty price tags.
Even with this strategy, however, Apple will face stiff competition from other slimmed-down subscription services like Sling TV, a streaming platform announced in January by Dish Network, which comes with a price tag of $20 per month. Sony will also enter the fray soon with a streaming bundle of its own.
Apple is used to leading from the front and creating demand out of thin air for newly invented product genres. As the company continues to settle into its mature tech heavyweight status, however, it will be tested on its ability to lead from behind in existing markets. Time alone will tell if Apple’s legions of devoted customers can make it a significant player in the already competitive field of streaming TV.
H/TThe Wall Street Journal | Photo via tsmall/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
Street musicians. No other profession is possessed with the same wild dichotomy between an artistic representation and the way in which they are actually perceived; passengers hurriedly skid pass them, heads down in the bowels of the subway, yet onscreen there is an assumption that, behind their opened cases and music stands, they are inherently interesting or wise.
And things are no different in Gariné Tcholakian's Subway Stories, a series of five vignettes featuring some of Toronto's buskers. It is the sort of production that allows the musicians to spout cringey, cod-philosophical assertions like "music is poetry" and then leaves these hanging, uninterrogated. It is a product of the reverence towards its subjects, a tone which is palpable, and frankly, considering what we are shown of these musicians, mostly misplaced.
It's not that these men—and all five featured are men—aren't talented. They surely are, but they are all so monotonously similar and entirely predictable in their perspective that Subway Stories is less the intended character-study of those who soundtrack the daily commute and more a procession of variations on how they each "love music," how their life "is music," and how they "could not imagine doing anything else."
They may well mean every word, but where's the drama or the friction? It's rare that anyone is entirely happy with anything, so how has Tcholakian found five who are so entirely positive? They all see themselves as messengers, bringing their music to the masses. Surely they are at least slightly peeved that this ambulating audience will only ever hear, at most, a few seconds of their creation?
And so it's not until we get to see behind the performative sheen of the gushing minstrel—in the fifth and last episode, featuring Roger Ellis—that all this blind, generic adoration for music is momentarily put aside and we finally feel as if we are meeting one of the subjects. Ellis, who was in the band Edward Bear (best known for the 1972 hit "Last Song") speaks of his earlier success and the impact that his now-deceased wife had on his music, and in doing so, he shows something of himself as well as the direction that the rest of this series should have taken.
Screengrab via Gariné Tcholakian/YouTube
It took AMC’s Mad Men a mere 12 episodes to evolve from interesting new period drama to one worthy of awards and accolades.
Even casual Mad Men fans point to “The Wheel” as the best of the series’ 85 episodes, the one which first revealed the softer side of Don Draper’s complex persona. To commemorate the past and tease the upcoming final season of the show on April 5, AMC has teamed up with Facebook to present an app that personalizes the key scene in that memorable episode.
Embroiled in a deep family crisis, Draper is pitching a new concept to the management team of Kodak. In a dramatic moment of historical fiction, the ad man uses the slide projector armed with a wheel that moves slides along, to depict the meaning of sentiment. The kicker is Draper’s metaphoric name for the slide accessory—the Carousel. Overcome with emotion, those at the table become teary-eyed, and a weeping Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) runs from the room.
To update and add some magic to the season 1 scene, Facebook combs through a user’s photo library and replaces the pictures from the original show with four selected personal images that dot the 45 seconds of the video app.
Much like for its end-of-year video collage, Facebook’s algorithm that selects the photos appears to be based on pure randomness, rather than specific images that might carry some meaning. In the case of its Mad Men promotion, users can expect a mix of truly heartwarming pics with a few oddballs tossed in. Yes, that great piece of peach cobbler I ate four years ago sure looks good against Don Draper’s soliloquy.
Photo via AMC-TV
Change is coming to Community whether the students and staff of Greendale like it or not.
That’s one of the main themes holding the first two episodes of the show’s sixth season, which premiered on Yahoo this morning, putting the site right in the mix of original streaming content with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. After the show was rescued from the darkest timeline of cancellation, expectations for the cult comedy were high.
After all, the fandom chant is now almost complete.It’s not Yahoo’s first time tangling with TV, and based on the first two episodes out of the gate, we’re finally starting to return to the Community we remember—even if it’s a little hard to believe that a college would use Yahoo email addresses. But if any of them would, it’d definitely be Greendale, the fifth highest community college in Colorado when ranked by alphabetical order.
“Ladders” and “Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care” faced the difficult task of setting up the new season, addressing exits and entrances without it feeling too forced, providing plenty of meta commentary, and bringing the laughs. And in that, the show mostly succeeds.
"I'm worried you're not distinct enough from Annie, both in terms of physicality and purpose," Abed Nadir says early on about Paget Brewster’s Frankie Hart. "I can't determine if you have any specific flaw, quirk, or point of view that makes you a creative addition to the group."
It’s just as much a comment about the character as it is the show. Shirley Bennett has “spun off” to Atlanta to take care of her ailing dad (in a move similar to real-life). And while we've just seen a few fleeting cameos so far, they are very much welcome.
We’ve yet to see much of newcomers Brewster or Keith David (who’ve made smaller appearances before) beyond the episodes in which they are introduced—Frankie has a much smaller role in the second episode—but there’s just enough spark to to make us want to see where things go and how they’ll mesh with the rest of the dwindling study group.
Out of everyone, TV- and pop culture-obsessed Abed Nadir is the one most willing to embrace the reality of fixing the school. But no matter how much he or anyone is willing to change, it doesn’t take long before minor chaos rules again—or one too many frisbees end up on Greendale’s roof.
But once order is restored—sort of—we’re left with something we haven’t really seen in awhile: outdoor scenes and everyone’s lives outside the four walls of the study room, giving us a bigger sense of the friendships (and less of the romance) between the characters, like just how willing everyone is to go on lying and going behind Britta Perry’s back to make sure she’s loved and taken care of.
Would NBC have let Community get away with even more mocking of its failing lineup or let it shoot an end tag spoofing Gremlins entirely in Portuguese? We will never know for sure, but we’re all for the weirdness.
Community creator Dan Harmon confirmed at South by Southwest Sunday that there would be yet another paintball episode—the show’s third. And while fans complain about the show rehashing old ideas, it—along with Community’s new direction—serves as a reminder. Change is good, but it doesn’t always hurt to look back.
New episodes of Community will premiere on Yahoo! Screen Tuesdays.
Screengrab via Yahoo! Screen
The Twin Peaks saga continues.
Over the weekend, director David Lynch told interviewer David Stratton that there were “complications” with the new reboot, which was announced last fall and scheduled to debut on Showtime in 2016. Back in January, Lynch tweeted out that original cast member Kyle MacLachlan would return to the show, but we didn’t have much more to go on than that. Lynch further worried fans this past weekend when he told an interviewer that he “hasn’t returned yet,” and that contract negotiations were still happening.
However, a source told EW that “Nothing is going on that’s any more than any preproduction process with David Lynch,” adding that “[e]verything is moving forward and everybody is crazy thrilled and excited.”
Showtime has also reportedly received Lynch’s scripts, but if the reboot is allegedly moving forward, hopefully it's with Lynch in the director’s chair. A third season of Twin Peaks without Lynch is like cherry pie without coffee.
Tapping into the same audience that built Discovery Networks into a $13 billion media powerhouse, CuriosityStream enters the on-demand streaming market set on similar lofty goals.
“It’s the third step in the media revolution,” John Hendricks, CEO of CuriosityStream, founder of Discovery Networks, told the Daily Dot.
The third step Hendricks refers to is the evolution from broadcast to cable, and from cable to on-demand streaming. When he launched Discovery in 1985, Hendricks took his queue from the burgeoning success of HBO; for CuriosityStream, he points to Netflix as the bellwether for disruptive ways of delivering content.
CuriosityStream is a subscription-based streaming, video-on-demand service that features what Henricks calls curated factual programs in the areas of science, technology, civilization, and the human spirit. In order to capture and maintain the attention of younger audiences, the content generally falls under eight minutes in length. The service includes original works and licensed content from the BBC, NHK, and Flame Distribution, and is priced based on the consumer visual experience—$2.99 per month for standard resolution and $5.99 for HD.
Hendricks left Discovery Networks in March 2014 to pursue the idea behind CuriosityStream. The idea is based on a programming concept that dates back to 1987. Discovery had produced and aired a documentary called In the Company of Whales. Saddled with an expensive piece of programming, Hendricks looked for a means to recoup the company’s sizeable production investment.
“We used an 800 number to sell videocassettes,” explained Hendricks. “After four-to-five years, we sold about 40,000 copies at $19.99. People sent us the amount of their monthly cable bill (at the time) to get control of their own content.”
Out of that trial, Hendricks learned three lessons which he's implemented in building CuriosityStream: Consumers want to have more control over what they watch and when; they will migrate to platforms that offer an experience that is closer to reality; and they want to watch without commercials.
In summary, Hendricks said, “People are willing to pay for convenience.”
As with other on-demand, streaming programmers, CuriosityStream is aimed at the cord cutter as well as what Hendricks calls “the light TV watcher.” And as with Discovery, the plan is to tap into those who have a thirst for knowledge and information.
“We recognize that our service will not appeal to 75 percent of all viewers,” explained Hendricks, “but 25 percent are eager to use media to learn something about the world. Our intention is to program to the lifelong curious.”
Hendricks estimated that of the 118 million households in the U.S., 18 million have neither cable nor satellite but have fast broadband. He characterizes them as faithful Netflix subscribers who are 25-to-35 years of age, and hopes to offer a programming option that satisfies viewers’ curiosities to complement other streaming options that focus on entertainment.
“I am revisiting where I was 30 years ago,” Hendricks said of his new service. “But now, I am packaging lifelong learning content for an entirely new audience.”
Photo via Matt Gibson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Dianna Cowern, known on YouTube as Physics Girl, has done the impossible: made physics interesting and accessible to the general public. And if I—a double humanities major who normally avoids physics like a New Yorker avoids making eye contact—can say that, you know it’s true.At first glance, Cowern breaks every stereotype I previously had of physics enthusiasts. With flowing blond hair, an affinity for sandals, and a contagious charisma, Cowern has an enthusiasm for the subject that makes her an incredible addition to the education community on YouTube. After joining the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) faculty as a Science Outreach Coordinator, Cowern started making videos under the name “Physics Girl” in the hopes of sharing science knowledge in a fun and entertaining way.
Cowern is an interesting study herself. Born in Hawaii, she was just 12 when she invented the pineapple gin, which revolutionized pineapple farming and set her on a path for MIT, where she graduated with a B.S. in physics in 2011. Following college, she spent six months completing an Astronomy Research Fellowship at Harvard University before shifting gears and heading back to San Diego.
It is my personal theory that while the rest of the world has 24 hours in a day, Cowern has 36. That’s the only way to explain this timeline of extraordinary achievements and her superhero status.While her channel has been around for a couple years, it didn’t start gaining real traction until 11 months ago. Since then, she’s had viral hits and collaborated with huge YouTube heavyweights such as Veritasium (2.2 million subscribers).
There are many things that make Cowern truly special. For one, she plans, writes, films, produces, and edits all of her own content. And like Emily Graslie and Vanessa from Braincraft, she’s changing the way viewers approach and enjoy education. Physics is an incredibly daunting subject, but that’s where Cowern steps in, explaining how physics affects your everyday life. With sexism still so prevalent in the STEM fields, Cowern is an incredible ally and role model for women to have access to.
By building a career out of what she loves, Cowern has shown young viewers—especially young female viewers—that it’s OK to not only pursue science, but to rock it.
Screengrab via physicswoman/YouTube
There are so many bands at any one music festival that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all of them—but people will pretend to know them all anyway when asked about it on camera.
And that’s when Jimmy Kimmel’s Lie Witness News segment works best. Sure, bands like Mary Kate and Nasty, Cheez Whiz Khalifa, and Vlad and the Putins don't exist, but they could. And when you ask South by Southwest attendees about these and other fake bands, as Kimmel's crew did, they're going to lie their pants off about their musical knowledge.
With just a little persuasion from the woman holding the microphone, people will even offer their thoughts on the nonexistent bands' music/
Considering some of the names of actual SXSW bands, can you really blame these people?Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube
The new trailer for Pixels gives us a glimpse of some of these beloved, classic arcade characters from the 1980s, all of whom are doing horrible things to the human race. Aliens are responsible for the killer video game characters who attack Earth in reaction to a NASA time capsule that was supposed to be a message of peace.
It’s basically Independence Day meets Wreck-It Ralph, with Dinklage rocking long hair and a beard.Pixels is slated for a summer 2015 release.
Screengrab via Sony Pictures Entertainment/YouTube