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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    While Sony is launching what appears to be a competitor to Netflix's streaming service, Netflix says it's going global.

    According to Sony, this year the company will establish a 4K video streaming service called Ultra, which will provide those who own 4K TVs in the U.S. more content to watch. As ComputerWorld notes, Ultra will show new and older Sony Pictures movie releases on Android TVs.

    Sony Pictures has begun shooting movies in 4K at a resolution which is four times higher than today's high definition TVs and delivers brighter blacks and whites and more colors, thanks to high-dynamic range (HDR) information in the stream. It will be delivered via Internet connection and thus bypass cable providers.  

    The Verge reports that 40 to 50 movies titles will be available when the Ultra service launches, including Men in Black 3, Pineapple Express, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

    Meanwhile, here's what Netflix had to report.

    But not everything Netflix has in its library can be shown globally yet due to territorial licensing.

    According to the BBC, Netflix said it would also start offering HDR content in its streams and that it would begin service in 130 additional countries (but not in China, North Korea, Syria, and Crimea).

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company is still trying to infiltrate the China market. 

    "It's a very large country—you know, a billion Chinese [who] we want to give access to the Netflix content," Hastings said at CES in Las Vegas. "In China, you need specific permission from the government to operate, so we are continuing to work on that and we are very patient."

    Photo via mxmstryo/Flickr (CC by 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman


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    Rand Paul took shots at several of his fellow presidential candidates and their policies during a chat with Stephen Colbert.

    In a discussion covering Paul’s haircuts, his choice of suits, and how they weren't going to discuss pot, Paul, the Kentucky Republican senator, noted that there was “a certain seriousness to leading a nation of 300 million.” He went after Donald Trump and Chris Christie (the latter of whom he called “the big guy from New Jersey”)  for how eager Trump was to use the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal and Christie’s plans to bomb Russia. He also said he was troubled by Hillary Clinton's desire for a no-fly zone in Syria.

    “I think that’s an important part of these debates is you want someone with judgment, someone with wisdom, and someone with restraint,” he said. “And I am worried.”

    Interestingly enough, Colbert told Paul he had 30 seconds for a rebuttal after Jerry Seinfeld insulted his hair on The Late Show. If that’s the case, Trump will have a lot more time to respond to the jabs from other candidates if he ever returns to Colbert's show.

    Screengrab via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube


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    North Korea claimed it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb Tuesday night—a claim about which many experts are skeptical—and while nearly everyone has criticized Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un's regime for the test, people on the streets of Los Angeles felt differently.

    While Jimmy Kimmel and his crew have been tricking people into believing fake headlines for some time now, the late-night host decided to do something a little different this time. What would happen if his crew just told people the truth? After all, they’re on the West Coast, so North Korea's aggression might be cause for serious concern.

    But as Kimmel and his correspondent learned, you can get people to celebrate just about anything—even potentially horrible news—if you deliver the news cheerfully enough.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    Hulu is giving Hugh Laurie a Chance

    The streaming site has ordered two seasons of the Laurie-led drama, which is based on a Kem Nunn novel. Laurie is set to play Eldon Chance, a forensic neuropsychiatrist living in San Francisco who "gets sucked into a violent and dangerous world of mistaken identity, police corruption and mental illness." Apparently Laurie is really good at playing tortured doctors with last names that are nouns. 

    Room director Lenny Abrahamson is also set to direct episodes, adding another buzzed-about name to the project. This announcement kicks off a big year for Hulu, which is attempting to position itself as a go-to for original series. J.J. Abrams' and Stephen King's 11/22/63 is set to debut in February and Aaron Paul vehicle The Path in March, along with second seasons of Casual and Difficult People

    Chance will premiere this year. 

    H/T Variety | Photo via Thomas/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    How you choose to watch a show can partially impact your enjoyment of it—whether it’s live or binge-watching sessions—but watching the Lost series finale on Netflix can give you an entirely different experience, particularly when the version on the site isn’t the same one that aired on TV.

    Lost fans on Reddit have noticed as early as last May that “The End,” the super-sized Lost finale that divides fans to this day, is missing more than 18 minutes of footage. The version that aired on ABC May 23, 2010 has a runtime of 104 minutes, while the version on Netflix comes in at 86 minutes on the U.S. site—two parts that are 43 minutes apiece.

    For instance, a copy of the script and the episode’s transcript list the first scene in the finale as a flash sideways of Christian Shephard’s coffin being unloaded off Oceanic Flight 815. The scene doesn’t feature any of the big players or any dialogue, but it’s a small piece in the larger picture—and Christian’s coffin plays a role in the finale’s big emotional reveal.

    However, the Netflix episode starts on a different scene: Kate Austen is staking out the church where Christian’s coffin is being delivered.

    The worry over whether Netflix’s version of “The End” was missing footage came up again in r/lost around three months ago, where redditor JustDandy07 listed at least three other scenes throughout the finale that were missing.

    1) Interaction between Jack and "Locke" when they're lowering Desmond into the cave. Locke said something about how it reminded him of the hatch. Jack says something about how he's not Locke and he is dishonoring the memory of the real Locke by wearing his face.

    2) Someone makes a small comment to Richard on the plane about how he's got some gray hair.

    3) Hurley and Ben interacting outside the church. Hurley telling Ben he was a good Number 2 and Ben telling Hurley he was a good Number 1.

    Fans were divided on whether the footage was missing from Netflix, but some had managed to find even more instances of scenes that didn’t appear on Netflix.

    While some of them already reached out to Netflix about the concern, Lost fans now have showrunner Damon Lindelof advocating for Netflix to bring the version of the finale that he helped to make. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Lindelof believes an edited version (one made for international markets or later airings) made its way to Netflix by mistake.

    “I am totally befuddled by all this. Love it or hate it, the finale that aired is the definitive finale and to alter it in any way defies explanation. Something tells me that this isn’t Netflix’s fault … that it’s an honest mistake and something got miscommunicated — I seem to remember ABC had to make an edit for rerun airings that tightened the show into ‘format’ (42 minutes to accommodate commercials), and somehow that [version] mistakenly got sent to Netflix. This sometimes happened with our finales — we’d ask for extra time and ABC would agree to air, but then we had to do another tighter version for subsequent airings and/or international [markets]. We usually left these (painful) cuts to the discretion of our editors… but as the show lives on in DVD form and on Netflix, there is ZERO reason to have the shorter version out there.”

    Update 4:40pm CT, Jan. 7: Netflix says it will restore the original version of the episode, and admits it hosted the wrong one.

    H/T Entertainment Weekly | Screengrab via Netflix


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    Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, the legendary lead singer and bassist of the metal band Motörhead, died Dec. 28 at the age of 70, and his loss has reverberated throughout the hard rock community ever since. But even if you can't make the trip to Hollywood for his funeral, fans will still have the chance to say goodbye.

    That's because his Saturday afternoon funeral will be livestreamed on YouTube and will be available at this link.

    Wrote Motörhead on its YouTube channel: "We want you ALL to be a part of this memorial service. So wherever you are, PLEASE get together and watch with fellow Motörheadbangers and friends. GO to your favorite bar, or your favorite club, make sure they have access to an internet connection and toast along with us.  Or simply invite your pals around and celebrate Lemm’s life at home. Whatever your venue, and however you can, let’s be sure to gather globally on Saturday 9th and celebrate the life of our dear friend and irreplaceable icon."

    The funeral will begin at 3pm PT at Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery, but the band has asked fans not to attend the ceremony because of limited space.

    And for those who want to keep celebrating Kilmister's life after the funeral is complete can head to the Sunset Strip.

    H/T the Guardian | Photo via Chicks With Guns Magazine/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    The Puppy Bowl is now the official alternative to the Super Bowl, but this year, Animal Planet and Geico found a way to make it even more engaging: virtual reality

    Starting today, fans can watch Puppy Bowl scrimmages via the DiscoveryVR app, which offers 360-degree views of puppies play-fighting, running, tumbling, snarfing, barking, and playing with toys that are thrown in slow motion. The practice matches can be watched on the Animal Planet site, YouTube, or with Google Cardboard or Samsung Milk VR. Even better, Animal Planet reportedly partnered with 44 animal shelters across the country to recruit players for #TeamFluff and #TeamRuff. 

    The Puppy Bowl airs Feb. 7 on Animal Planet. In the meantime, reach out and touch fluff. 

    H/T The Wrap | Screengrab via Animal Planet/YouTube 


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    The Internet is infatuated with Netflix's Making a Murderer, more specifically Steven Avery's two defense lawyers, Dean Strang and Jerry Buting. Fans even created an early Valentine's Day card celebrating the pair. 

    Now Tumblr has turned its gaze to Strang—who has reached Oscar Isaac levels of fandom—and his cool-dad fashion sensibilities, which are very much on display in the series. The Tumblr StrangCore is devoted to "the early-mid 2000s normcore style of Dean Strang." 

    A woman named Chloe, who is the Sydney, Australia-based creator of the Tumblr, told the Daily Dot how she started the blog due to popular demand. There were others out there with a "thang for the Strang." 

    "Watching the show, I was struck by Strang's integrity, kind nature, and passion for his job," she wrote via email. "But my skill set lies more in fashion commentary and all things Internet, so I opted for a blog depicting his amazing style as my own form of appreciation."

    Chloe also took note of a recurring theme. 

    "It was so funny to see the people independently flocking to Twitter after watching [the series], with no external influences, and writing things along the lines of 'might just be me, but so attracted to Dean Strang,'" she said. "I think the Internet has fallen for the Strang for reasons mentioned above, but also because something about his character inherently taps into all of us. I'm not 100 percent [sure] why, or what it is." 

    This isn't the first time the Internet has fallen for supporting characters involved in a very depressing murder trial: People are also pining for Making a Murderer's reporters Angenette Levy and Aaron Keller. And the series has seeped even further into pop culture: Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach's band the Arcs just released a song inspired by Making a Murderer. Perhaps this is just how we cope with our broken, soul-sucking justice system.  

    Image via StrangCore/Tumblr 


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    Jesse Sandler has a great knack for knowing when to buy tickets off StubHub. But StubHub wasn't quite as good at delivering on the tickets for which he paid.

    As Sandler told The Lead this week, he originally bought four tickets to the final Lakers home game of the 2015-16 season for $906. Three weeks later, superstar player Kobe Bryant announced his retirement and seat prices appreciated nearly 1,000 percent. StubHub responded by telling Sandler that his tickets had been voided because he originally had paid too small a price.

    The story has bounced around the Internet for the past two days, but on Wednesday, the eBay-owned, secondary-market ticket seller responded with an apology and a promise.

    The problem for Sandler began last November when he bought four tickets to the April 13 Lakers-Jazz game. He had an inkling that it might be Bryant's final game and he paid $906.77 total for the tickets, taxes, and fees.

    Bryant announced his retirement November 29, and not surprisingly, the ticket price for the season finale (and Bryant's career finale) shot up. In an email to The Lead, Sandler wrote:

    "The tickets I paid $900 for were now retailing for about $6,000. ... That's when everything fell apart and StubHub screwed me over in a manner I still find incomprehensible. A little over two weeks after Kobe made his announcement and over a month since I had bought and became the rightful owner of my tickets, I received this typo-filled email from the world's worst ticketing company:"

    Flabbergasted, Sandler wrote an email back: 

    "When I bought the tickets, they were at the correct market value price. I do not know how you and the seller can back out of the deal, stating that, 'Tickets were listed incorrectly.' I cannot believe that this would happen and that you would allow this to happen."

    Sandler continued to argue with StubHub representatives over the phone and the company offered him as much as $250 in compensation along with his refunded money. Eventually, a supervisor explained to him that StubHub charges the seller 20 percent of the original sale price if the seller backs away from a deal that already been made and that the seller could be banned temporarily from selling on the site.

    "In other words, StubHub's official policy incentivizes sellers to renege when prices go up more than 20 percent," Sandler wrote in his email. "In my case, where the tickets appreciated almost 1,000 percent after I bought them, it's in the seller's best interest to cop out ... It also means that no tickets you ever buy on StubHub—ever—are actually your tickets. The seller can just change his mind at any time and take them back. This makes no sense and reveals their entire operation as a complete sham."

    StubHub customers apparently experienced similar problems when Yankees star Derek Jeter announced his retirement.

    A StubHub representative told SFGate.com that the company's user agreement states that sellers are not allowed to cancel orders at one price and then repost the same tickets at a higher price.

    "Our User Agreement is 100 percent accurate and should have been implemented in the case of Jesse Sandler," the StubHub spokesperson said. "The handling of this situation was an error that should have not occurred. We hold our sellers to a high standard and we absolutely do not condone market manipulation like this ... We take our customer service very seriously. This was a mistake that we will learn from and we will do everything in our power to make sure this doesn't happen to one of our customers again."

    Sandler, though, doesn't need any help from StubHub. According to a follow-up post from The Lead, a different ticketing website called Tickets For Less gifted provided him "with four (slightly better) seats to witness Kobe's send-off. Jesse got his happy ending, but for this story to truly conclude on a high note, StubHub needs to fix its product ..."

    Or to put it another way.

    H/T The Comeback | Photo via Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    In a sea of gameplay clips, challenges, and family vloggers, the gang from SourceFed is looking to break out as YouTube’s premier sketch comedy troupe with their new channel, Nuclear Family.

    “You see [sketch comedy] on TV already, and it does really well,” explained Nuclear Family co-founder Bree Essrig. The idea behind Nuclear Family is “How can you see something on the Internet that’s different?”

    Essrig is joined by fellow SourceFed talent Matt Lieberman and Steve Zaragoza on the project, as well as outsider talent, in developing weekly sketches for the Discovery Networks-backed channel. Jeremy Azevedo, head of Discovery Digital Networks, told the Daily Dot that while easier-to-produce vlog-style content crowds the marketplace now, he wanted to find a way to help the SourceFed team showcase their comedic strengths.

    “The interesting thing about the SourceFed brand is they’ve got all these talented writers and performers,” he explained. “It’s difficult to find the incentive to put time and resources into making more complicated productions. But with the support of Discovery and the support of YouTube, it makes it easier to explore that.”

    Longform and scripted content has been on the forefront of YouTube in recent months, with the launch of Red and the YouTube Originals initiative that will see YouTube-produced films and series available exclusively on the platform. The more sparse landscape in sketch comedy is, according to Azevedo, a plus for Nuclear Family’s prospects.

    “There’s not a lot of competition,” he said “If you’re looking for that kind of content, you can count on one hand how many channels are really doing it at a high level. So that tells me there’s a need to fulfill.”

    Nuclear Family has already stockpiled 18 sketches, and the channel will be releasing videos every Wednesday. So far, two are live: one parodying BuzzFeed’s “X Try Y For the FIrst Time” format with heroin as the gag, and a convention on Internet trolls that reveals their secret friendly nature. The channel is bolstered by a backlog of a handful of videos on the channel previously under Phil DeFranco’s ForHumanPeople brand. Azevedo says the tone of the sketch videos fit well under the overall SourceFed and Phil DeFranco umbrella of connected properties.

    “Our audience is really smart and sophisticated,” he explained. “We’re talking about topics we know our audience is passionate about, because we run a news show every day, and we’re reaching out to new audiences by doing different types of content that they’ve never seen us do before.”

    Having that established audience gives Nuclear Family the leeway to jump into more controversial topics.

    “We can move a little faster and be more reactive,” said Azevedo. “They kind of dip their toe into some pretty hot social issues and find the comedy in the way people talk to each other online [about] all kinds of topics you may be afraid to talk about.”

    Essrig said they’re not worried about backlash or controversy delving into issues like gun control or vaccination in the highly combative waters of YouTube.

    “As long as you’re making the type of comedy that you personally like to consume, I don’t think you necessarily have to worry—especially when you’re making satire,” she said. “I think a younger audience is really craving that now.”

    Screengrab via Nuclear Family/YouTube


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    Only one person can raise the hype factor on a Beyoncélip-sync performance.

    On the latest episode of Lip Sync Battle, Channing Tatum faced off against his wife, actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum. The episode already had a Paula Abdul cameo, “Let It Go,” and a scene straight out of Magic Mike XXL, so Tatum had to top himself. He did so easily, appearing on stage atop a fake horse and donning one of the outfits that Beyoncé wore in the “Run the World (Girls)” music video. He even had the same hair.

    The performance itself is great, but it becomes an instant classic when Beyoncé herself takes the stage. It’ll be incredibly difficult to top this.

    Screengrab via Lip Sync Battle on Spike/YouTube


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    BY EMILY BICKS

    Superstar singer Adele may seem like a supernatural being when she’s belting out hits like “Hello” and  her recent single “When We Were Young,” but when it comes to hitting the gym, she is merely mortal.

    RELATED: Miss Piggy calls Kermit in the perfect spoof of Adele’s ‘Hello’

    Posting a hilariously relatable photo on her Instagram account, Adele shows her true angst towards working out, captioning the photo: “getting ready…” and she is clearly miserable while trying to get some weight-lifting in.

    RELATED: Adele’s ’25’ officially breaks records with first-week album sales, has another famous fan

    Maybe the gym isn’t for the 27-year-old singer, but it’s not like she’ll be sitting on the couch eating bonbons this year. Between keeping up with her 3-year-old son, Angelo James, and preparing for her upcoming world tour for her record-breaking selling album, “25,” Adele will be working out plenty.

    However, she has always been open her body issues. “I do have body image problems, for sure,” she said at the SiriusXM Town Hall in Nov. “But I don’t let them rule my life at all. There’s bigger issues going on in the world than how I feel about myself and stuff like that.”

    Amen, Adele.

    Screengrab via Adele/Instagram


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    Paying homage to NSYNC is all the rage this week.

    First, pop-punk bank Fall Out Boy filmed a continuation of the band’s iconic “It’s Gonna Be Me” video, and now YouTube darlings Postmodern Jukebox have taken on juggernaut “Bye Bye Bye” as a ’60s surf rock cover.

    The track features Tara Louise on vocals in her debut PMJ performance. The group found her during a talent search it conducted via social media.

    To help her in her first PMJ outing, the band also brought back some veteran talent. That's right, our favorite tambourine guy, Tim Kubart—now a Grammy nominee for his kids music album—makes a boisterous appearance. He even brings in some new, NSYNC-inspired choreography and gets the rest of the band in on it.

    If you’re hoping to catch a live version of this surf rock cover, Postmodern Jukebox are hitting the U.K. and Europe next on an international tour.

    Screengrab via Postmodern Jukebox/YouTube


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    What happens when you give the world free viral content that spreads joy far and wide? If you’re Matt Little, the man behind Pizza Rat, a Gothamist reporter will suggest you staged the whole thing.

    On Thursday a Gothamist post by John Del Signore drew a through line between New York City's recent flurry of viral rat content to the Upright Citizens Brigade improv theater, and a mysterious, rat-training woman who goes by Zardulu. 

    Little scoffs at the suggestion his Pizza Rat sighting was anything more than a coincidental hit.

    “[Del Signore] called me [Wednesday] and sent me the link [Thursday] morning,” Little told the Daily Dot. “He said he still believes it was faked and he wants to prove it. I was like, ‘This is hilarious. Great job.’”

    Little is baffled and amused by the allegations, he said. In fact Little said he's already addressed the notion that he staged a rat holding a slice of pizza, crawling down public stairs.

    “I mean I put up a video addressing this [idea] the week [Pizza Rat] came out.”

    Although Little said he created the videos independently, the article makes much of Little’s ties to the UCB. “I love that,” said Little. When asked to describe his affiliation with UCB, Little responded, “I don't have any. I host a show there and do [a wrestling show called] UCBW but they've said neither of those shows merit inclusion on their performer’s page. I think it's hilarious.”

    As for Eric Yearwood, a UCB performer who did share his own participation in a hoax rat video with Gothamist, Little says he has no ties to him. “I don't know who he is. It's possible I met him before but when the reporter asked if I knew him I asked if it was the guy that owned pizzarat.com.”

    The Daily Dot reached out to UCB Digital, the department responsible for UCB’s digital content for comment. Nate Russell, who oversees UCB’s Digital Teams gave this cheeky reply: “UCB is not behind these videos. But if we were, we would deny it.”

    When asked if UCB Digital has any plans to create viral rat-themed content Russell responded, “UCB Comedy has plans to create both viral content, and rat-themed content. But we do not want any of our rat-themed content going viral for reasons we would not like to disclose at this time.”

    As for Zardulu, the supposed puppeteer behind all this viral rat media, the only trace we could find of her is a Facebook page with three Likes. The page gives little clue as to the mystery artist’s true identity, or what she’s creating at all, but it is littered with cryptic posts like this one.

    The only evidence we have that Zardulu is exists is an appearance in the Gothamist story, and well, she didn't say much. Zardulu told Gothamist, “I'm not interested in an interview and I'm not interested in the story.”

    The national success of Pizza Rat has certainly inspired copycats looking to recreate the viral magic. Zardulu may have very well trained rats to act in them alongside actors. But for now, there is a lack of clear evidence that the infamous original was a fake.

    Photo via Matt Little/Facebook | Screengrab via Matt Little/YouTube


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    Since debuting in 2002, HBO’s The Wire has developed a devoted following, one in which friendships can be made and broken by how you answer the question “Which season is the best?” The opening sequence, scored by the Blind Boys of Alabama, became instantly iconic, and Bay Area designer Elliot Lim recently debuted his own animated take on it. 

    The Wire hit me harder than anything else I had seen on TV,” he told the Daily Dot. “I loved the characters and the raw perspective that it offered, and I’ve always wanted to make something that showed my appreciation. That idea had been sitting with me for some time, but finally I was able to find the time and motivation to make it happen.” 

    Why has the show’s fandom endured for this long? Lim points out that the themes of the show extend beyond the screen. 

    “It’s a fantastic show, with amazing writing, great acting, great characters,” he said. "But to me the thing that keeps resonating is its illumination of the class struggle in this country, which is something that is clearly ongoing. What also struck me is how complicated the truth is; it's not easy to pass judgement on anyone, no matter what preconceptions you might have." 

    Screengrab via Elliot Lim/Vimeo


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    BY TODD LONGWELL

    Netflix and DreamWorks Animation announced an expansion of their current multi-year deal that will make the streaming service the global home (outside of China) for several new original family series from the studio starting later this year.

    Titles include a reimagining of the Transformers-like animated series Voltron: Defender of the Universe and Trollhunters, a new series from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak) about two best friends who make a startling discovery beneath their hometown.

    Under the terms of the deal, a number of new original series will be developed and produced by DreamWorks Animation for Netflix based on recent and upcoming feature films from the studio, as well as preexisting IP.   

    The deal also extends Netflix’s rights to current original DreamWorks original kids series—including The Adventures of Puss in Boots, Dinotrux, Dragons: Race to the Edge—in the streamer’s operating markets, and gives it second window rights to the series around the globe, outside of China.

    Streaming services from Amazon to YouTube have been steadily building out their children’s programming, which is seen as a valuable “sticky” that keeps people enaged and subscribed.

    Netflix expanding children’s slate includes the new DreamWorks Animation series Dawn of the Croods, which premiered on Christmas Eve. Its other kids content partners include PBS, Disney Channel, DreamWorks Animation, Mattel, Hasbro, Scholastic, and Lego. 

    Screengrab via disneybooks/YouTube 


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    It was an awkwardly long process, but Kanye West is ready for you to listen to new music.

    On Friday, West released one full song, "Real Friends," and a snippet of another duet with Kendrick Lamar, "No More Parties in L.A." via his website, Twitter, and SoundCloud. The track would be deleted three times on Friday, however, and his SoundCloud page appeared to instantly go dark upon its upload. It's finally back. 

    But more exciting is that the enigmatic West may be using Fridays as a recurring occasion for new, freely accessible songs—at least that's what Kim Kardashian hinted at this week.


    In 2010, West spent Fridays from August to December offering up new material leading up to the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, a mushroom cloud of a rap album with hoverboard technology and cinematic pacing. Even better: Yesterday's music is profound and captivating—for now quelling speculation that his upcoming album, reportedly titled Swish, is secretly terrible

    Last week, West rang in 2016 by making dad jokes and venting about failed business ventures with Nike. The resulting song, "Facts," was a comprehensive clunker. Here West is examined and sharp—self-loathing about family obligations.

    "I'm a deadbeat cousin," West raps, before admitting he's no good at birthdays and forced interaction: "Maybe 15 minutes. Took some pictures with your sister. Merry Christmas."

    Unhinged lothario Ty Dolla Sign blurs lines and sings big, while production credits go to West, Frank Dukes, Boi-1da, and Havo for the understated but thick, rattling instrumental. At the end, West says a cousin extorted him for his laptop and he coughed up $250,000 for it.

    The Lamar teaser doesn't reveal his guest verse, and only plays scattered West raps over a Madlib-produced, warm-soup soul sample. It's telling nonetheless. Despite the Paul McCartney sessions, bombast of last year's "All Day," and winter-storm paranoia of fashion line-adorning "Wolves," it sounds like West abandoned those sonic tunnels and is instead preparing a quiet, groove-laden LP that stays out of the way of his cranky raps. Or maybe he'll discard these in a few weeks, but at least his output is forming some kind of cogent through line in terms of what type of music he's hoping to bundle.

    For his part, Lamar debuted "Untitled 2" Thursday night on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

    Winter is coming.

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    A thriller about a time-traveling James Franco attempting to stop the JFK assassination sounds like something out of a stoned fever dream, but it is very real and coming to Hulu next month. 

    Finally, we have the full trailer for 11.22.63, the original eight-part Hulu series from producer J.J. Abrams—he had a little hit called Star Wars: The Force Awakens last year—and based on the novel by Stephen King. Chris Cooper stars as the man who sends Franco's high school English teacher Jake Epping back to Dallas (apparently via a closet) to stop John F. Kennedy's assassination, "but his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, falling in love and the past itself, which doesn’t want to be changed." 

    We don't get much in terms of actual time-traveling mechanics, but the show shares some stylistic cues with Amazon's original hit, The Man in the High Castle. The series premieres Feb. 15. 

    Screengrab via Hulu/YouTube 


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    BY SAM GUTELLE

    Snoop Dogg isn’t just a rapper, actor, YouTube content creator, and Reddit expert—he’s also a big sports fan. In his newest webseries, “Coach Snoop” hangs out with a selection of athletically inclined friends and discusses football.

    The series is called Turf’d Up, and it can be found on Snoop’s WestFestTV YouTube channel. In the first episode, Snoop explains why he loves the gridiron so much. “Football in particular is special,” he says, “because it teaches kids things in ways that no other sport really does, like the fact that no one player is bigger than the team.” He then welcomes his first guest, Terrell Owens, and proceeds to sit down with the former NFL wide receiver for a candid discussion about sports and pop culture.

    Turf’d Up isn’t just an entertaining venture for sports fans; it also functions as promotional material for the Snoop Youth Football League charity. Snoop will also highlight the SYFL in an upcoming AOL webseries that will focus on the league’s top teams.

    Former NFL players will make up a large portion of Turf’d Up’s guests, but Snoop will also welcome several other personalities to his studio, including sports journalist Rich Eisen, comedian George Lopez, and YouTube star iJustine. “This whole process has been an absolute dream,” said Snoop in a press release. “Sports is a true passion of mine and being able to create a show where I get to invite my friends to talk about all things sports is something I have always wanted to share with everyone. Turf’d Up takes a different, more playful approach to the average sports show so I am sure that everyone who tunes in will really enjoy it.”

    Turf’d Up is produced by the Cashmere Agency and sponsored by Adidas Football. It will run for eight episodes, with a new one arriving each Wednesday.

    Screengrab via westfesttv/YouTube


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    Lenjamin is going bi, but after a subpar date with gender-fluid Freckle, he runs into an interested Karen, who’s on an equally subpar date with straight Billy, who Caleb is secretly in love with while also holding a FaceTime-based romance with his international beau Benicio.

    If you’ve got all that, then you’re now part of The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo, the new webseries that snappily addresses this web of interpersonal drama in its 20-minute pilot, now available on YouTube.

    The series is the work of Los Angeles actor Brian Jordan Alvarez, who plays the title character and whose biggest viral hit previously was “What actually happens when gay guys see other gay guys and straight people aren't around,” achieving over 2.5 million views. After making videos that clocked in at under a minute on YouTube for the past year, Alvarez decided to graduate to longform work of his own design after partnering with Brad Wergley on the webseries Boy Toys, which followed the absurdities of looking for love in L.A. After that finished, Alvarez realized what he really wanted was to write a whole story from his own point of view.

    “I had a gut impulse to write something that’s super me and super free,” Alvarez told the Daily Dot. “Essentially making exactly the show I want to make, because I have this power position where my YouTube channel is going to get attention either way. It was a very sort of freeing inspiration. I went for a drive one day on some Red Bull and thought of this whole plot, basically.”

    While Alvarez sees himself more as part of Hollywood than part of the YouTube community, his frustrations with the limitations of Hollywood led him to YouTube as an outlet for creativity.

    “I was going out for auditions all the time, but it was very disempowering,” he said. “Most of these shows weren’t even good. I think everyone would admit that. There’s some really great TV now, but most everything you go out for as an actor you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m funnier than this part I’m trying to get right now.’”

    The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo, on the other hand, is laugh-out-loud funny just as often as it’s painfully relatable and hold-your-breath emotional (especially the last few minutes of the premiere, which volleys from touching to pure exuberance). From the speed of the dialogue and use of texting and FaceTime to the simple back-and-forth of a day of endless phone calls between friends, Alvarez weaves a thick and relatable web of character and plot into a short 20 minutes. The show has the polish of an expensively produced pilot, but Alvarez went at it without the help of a production company and just $10,000 from an investor, which he’s split among the first three episodes.

    “I should have asked for more, and I knew that when I was asking for it, but I’d never really asked for a big chunk of money,” Alvarez laughed.

    Alvarez has been making films since childhood, which helped him craft something high-end with minimal budget. Despite his agency Paradigm shopping the finished pilot to potential backers, Alvarez is forging ahead with his intended five-episode run. 

    “I watched the Mark Duplass talk at SXSW where he was like, ‘You need to just be making stuff, you need to not be waiting on executives to develop your stuff,’” Alvarez explained. “Even when they move into development, because you have so much heat around you, keep making content yourself because it kind of gives you this power of, ‘I don’t care, I’m just going to keep doing it either way.’”

    Alvarez definitely has heat on him. He was a participant in 2015’s CBS Diversity Showcase—alumni like Kate McKinnon have gone on to top-tier success—and even had his own SNL audition this past August. (Lorne Michaels' reaction, according to Alvarez: “Like so deadpan. And then occasional light chuckles.”) He’s now guest-starring regularly on the CW’s hit Jane the Virgin as he continues to audition for more leading roles.

    “I want to be a fucking movie star,” he laughed. 

    If you’re jealous of everyone who got into Broad City when it was Web-only, The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo is your required new obsession. Love this now and feel superior when Alvarez takes it to the big time.

    Screengrab via Brian Jordan Alvarez/YouTube


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