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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    The NFL officially announced on Tuesday night that the St. Louis Rams would move to Los Angeles in time for the 2016 season, and there's a good chance the San Diego Chargers will follow suit so the two can share a stadium and (of course) make tons of money in their new home.

    But as of Wednesday morning, the Rams' official Twitter account could still be found at @STLouisRams. The team's official website also is listed at stlouisrams.com, even though the NFL website now refers to the organization as the Los Angeles Rams.

    While it appears that the domain name, larams.com, is available, it might be a little trickier for the Rams to procure the Twitter account it might want. That's because @larams is already taken. Well, actually it's @LaraMS, and it's owned by Lara Sasken, the director of communications at GoPro.

    And it seems as if she's having fun with her sudden notoriety.

    Good for Sasken, who very well could give up the Twitter handle she's owned since 2008 if the price is right. And why shouldn't she make a chunk of change off her account? After all, the NFL didn't mind screwing over the longtime St. Louis and (maybe) San Diego fans in order to make more money in L.A.

    And let Sasken's potential good fortune be a lesson for somebody who has the entrepreneurial spirit. Particularly since the Oakland Raiders were denied the opportunity to move to L.A. and have, in the past, flirted with moving their organization to San Antonio, Texas.

    Photo via Erik Drost/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 


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    Last year was one of the biggest ever for Netflix, but 2016 looks to be even bigger, with tons of new shows, returning favorites, and even a crop of exclusive feature films. It could be overwhelming, so let us be your guide. Strap in and check out what’s to come from Netflix in 2016. (For another look at Netflix’s original series specifically, see our previous guide.)

    1) Chelsea Does (Jan. 23)

    E! staple/comedian Chelsea Handler has two shows hitting Netflix in 2016, but first up is Chelsea Does, an unusual departure from her usual fare. In the new documentary series, Handler dives deep into four subjects that fascinate her: marriage, racism, Silicon Valley, and drugs. She should just combine all of those and investigate the wedding of a racist, drug-addicted Silicon Valley tycoon. I’d watch the shit out of that. Look for appearances by Willie Nelson, Al Sharpton, and a creepy, interrupting robot head.

    2) Love (Feb. 19)

    What happens when you combine Judd Apatow, Britta from Community, and a remake of a Greek soap opera? We’ll find out next month with Love, which stars Community’s Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust (who co-created the show with Apatow and Lesley Arfin) in a "down-to-earth look at dating" that follows “the awkwardly hilarious beginnings of Gus and Mickey’s relationship, as they navigate the good and bad, the exhilarations and humiliations on their way to Love.” Having Apatow in the stable can only be a good thing for Netflix, and the Netflix head honchos obviously like what they’ve seen: They’ve already ordered two seasons of the show, with the 10-episode first season arriving just in time for everyone’s post-Valentine’s Day bout of romantic repression.

    3) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (Feb. 26)

    Netflix continues its trend of resurrecting things you’d never expect with this sequel to Ang Lee’s Academy Award-winning 2000 martial arts epic. Legendary Chinese martial arts choreographer/director Yuen Woo-ping is at the helm for the sequel, working from a script by John Fusco, who previously created Netflix’s Marco Polo series. The cast includes Donnie Yen and Michelle Yeoh in “a story of lost love, young love, a legendary sword, and one last opportunity at redemption.” Netflix is seriously ramping up its feature film slate in 2016, and Sword of Destiny is leading the charge.

    4) Fuller House (Feb. 26)

    Speaking of unlikely resurrections, now we come to Netflix’s sequel/reboot to a beloved family sitcom that has been off the air for two decades. Cut it out, it’s Fuller House, the Full House follow-up somebody somewhere probably demanded, maybe, I guess. I’ll concede I’m not the target audience here, but Full House fans should be excited since nearly the entire original cast is returning for more adventures of the Tanner family (the Olsen twins opted out, apparently). It’s probably too much to hope that one of the episodes will feature Bob Saget delivering one of his notoriously filthy stand-up sets, but one can dream. Thirteen episodes of TGIF silliness will be available for streaming next month.

    5) Marseille (March 2016)

    Netflix has been dipping its toes into the waters of international productions from the start of its original programming push, beginning with the underrated Norwegian/American series Lillyhammer. This March it’ll be bringing us the French drama Marseilles, starring Gérard Depardieu. He’ll play Rober Taro, for 25 years the mayor of that scenic coastal city, now squaring off against a former protége (Benoit Magimel) in an upcoming election. His role is unsurprisingly drawing comparisons to Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, as well as Kelsey Grammar’s role in the short-lived Starz series Boss. The first season will run eight episodes.

    6) Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (March 2016)

    Paul Reubens’ gleeful manchild returns to the spotlight after a long absence with this year’s Netflix film. In Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, “A fateful meeting with a mysterious stranger inspires Pee-wee Herman to take his first-ever holiday in this epic story of friendship and destiny.” Big Holiday marks Judd Apatow’s second Netflix project of 2016 (he’s producing the flick with Reubens). The cast also includes two True Blood veterans, Tara Buck and Joe Manganiello, which is a weirdly specific coincidence. In the meantime, feed your Pee-wee cravings with Big Adventure, Big-Top Pee-wee, and Pee-wee’s Playhouse on streaming.

    7) Special Correspondents (April 29)

    Netflix’s third original film of 2016 stars is a remake of a 2009 French comedy from writer/director Ricky Gervais, who also co-stars alongside Eric Bana, Vera Farmiga, Kelly Macdonald, Kevin Pollak, Benjamin Bratt, and America Ferrera. Bana plays an arrogant New York radio journalist whose career is on shaky ground. He tries to revitalize things by faking “front-line war reports”—all while hiding out above a Spanish restaurant in Manhattan. Gervais plays his technician, who helps maintain the ruse.

    8) The Crown (2016)

    Peter Morgan earned an Oscar nomination in 2006 for his script exploring of the life of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, and this year he’ll turn back the clock to explore her earlier years in The Crown. Described as a “gripping, decades-spanning inside story of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Prime Ministers who shaped Britain’s post-war destiny," The Crown stars Claire Foy (Wolf Hall) as Elizabeth; Doctor Who’s Matt Smith as her husband, Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh; and John Lithgow as Sir Winston Churchill. The first season will run 10 episodes.

    9) Flaked (2016)

    Netflix must be great to work with, because the streaming network not only consistently attracts top-tier talent, but that talent often sticks around for other projects. Case in point: Flaked, which reunites Will Arnett (BoJack Horseman) with Arrested Development maestro Mitch Hurwitz for a comedy about a self-help guru doing his “honest best to stay one step ahead of his own lies.” Arnett does smarm better than just about anybody, so getting to see him play a selfish self-help huckster should be a treat and a half. The first season will run eight episodes.

    10) Frontier (2016)

    Game of Thrones’ Jason Momoa stars in this six-episode adventure drama from San Andreas director Brad Peyton. Told from multiple perspectives, Frontier will examine the violence and power struggles of the 18th century fur trade, including clashes between settlers and Native Americans. Done right, it could be Deadwood with more hatchet fights. If you’re only familiar with Momoa from Game of Thrones, you can see more of his acting chops in the two-season SundanceTV series The Red Road, available to stream on Netflix Instant.

    11) The Get Down (2016)

    Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield) are two talents I never would have expected to collaborate, but that’s exactly what’s happening on The Get Down, and the show sounds just as bizarre and fascinating as that pairing would suggest. Set in 1970s New York, The Get Down is a musical drama described as “a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk, and disco." Honestly, you had me at “created by Baz Luhrman and Shawn Ryan,” but this has the potential to be truly amazing, and it’s great to see Netflix continuing to take chances. Season 1 will comprise 13 episodes, and anybody who name-checks Cop Rock gets a black eye from yours truly.

    12) Jadotville (2016)

    Starring Fifty Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan, Jadotville is a war drama based on the real-life 1961 siege of Jadotville in the Central African nation of Congo. A group of around 150 Irish U.N. troops had been stationed in the mining town of Jadotville to help protect the citizens from local unrest, but they soon found themselves pitted against some 3,000 Congolese troops, as well as French and Belgian mercenaries under the employ of the mining companies. Fun fact: Jadotville was written by the same guy who penned the 1996 Steven Seagal/Keenen Ivory Wayans joint The Glimmer Man. Here’s hoping for a Seagal cameo.

    13) Lady Dynamite (2016)

    The time-honored tradition of “professional funny person stars in a show loosely based on their own life” continues with Maria Bamford’s Lady Dynamite, a mockumentary-style series from—yet again—Arrested Development’s Mitch Hurwitz. Hurwitz co-wrote the show with South Park’s Pam Brady, and will involve “occasionally surreal episodes, refracted across multiple periods inspired by the actor/comedian’s life, [telling] the story of a woman who loses—and then finds—her shit.” Confirmed guest stars include Sarah Silverman, Patton Oswalt, Mira Sorvino, and Tig Notaro. In the meantime, go watch Bamford perform standup to her parents—and only her parents—in The Special Special Special.

    14) Marvel’s Luke Cage (2016)

    Marvel’s collaboration with Netflix is two for two after the amazing Daredevil and the arguably even better Jessica Jones. Next on deck is Luke Cage, introduced in Jessica Jones and preparing to take the spotlight in his own series later this year as we continue down the road toward the eventual Defenders miniseries. Mike Colter returns in the lead role as Luke, a former convict who uses his unbreakable skin and super-strength to help clean up the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. Veteran actress Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave) is signed on for all 13 episodes, and Rosario Dawson’s Claire “Night Nurse” Temple will continue her trend of appearing in all the Netflix/Marvel shows so far. We wouldn’t be surprised if Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) put in an appearance as well. The show is said to force Luke to “confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.”

    15) Mascots (2016)

    Christopher Guest has already explored quirky subcultures such as rock music (This Is Spinal Tap), dog shows (Best in Show) and folk music (A Mighty Wind). In 2016, he’s delving into yet another weird corner of our world with Mascots, which is set in the world of, you guessed it, competitive professional mascots. More specifically, it tracks the fierce competition of the “8th World Mascot Association championships,” the winner of which will take home the prestigious “Gold Fluffy Award.” The cast includes Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch, John Michael Higgins, Fred Willard, and Harry Shearer.

    16) The OA (2016)

    Not to be confused with The OC, The OA is a mysterious new Netflix project from indie darlings Britt Marling and Zal Batmanglij. The two previously collaborated on the headtrip that was 2011’s Sound of My Voice, in which Marling played a cult leader who may or may not be from the future. Netflix is keeping mum about the concept behind The OA, but it should be fascinating to see what Marling and Batmanglij have concocted this time around.

    17) The Ranch (2016)

    Given their tendency for latter-day revivals, Netflix may eventually get around to sequelizing That ’70s Show, but in the meantime fans will get a miniature reunion when The Ranch pairs that series’ stars Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson. The duo will play brothers who run a Colorado ranch together, butting heads after Kutcher’s character ends a stint as a semi-pro football player and returns home to help manage the family business. The multi-camera comedy was created by Two and a Half Men showrunners Don Reo and Jim Patterson, and 24’s Elisha Cuthbert has also joined the cast. Interestingly, the first season is set to run 20 episodes, but the plan is allegedly release it in two batches at different points during the year.

    18) A Series of Unfortunate Events (2016)

    Daniel Handler’s beloved series of children’s novels had the unfortunate fate of being adapted into a franchise non-starter back in 2004, but thankfully it’s getting another shot courtesy of Netflix. The streaming net is producing a new series based on Handler’s children’s books (written under his pen name of “Lemony Snicket”) about a three orphans who are thrown through… well, a series of unfortunate events after the deaths of their parents. The books are delightfully dark and funny, and the movie itself actually wasn’t half bad, even if it failed to spawn a sequel. Hopefully the Netflix incarnation will prove to be a series of fortunate events—at least when it comes to longevity.

    19) Stranger Things (2016)

    Fox’s Wayward Pines was a surprise mind-bending hit last summer, and now the creators of that series—Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer—are headed to Netflix with Stranger Things. Set in the 1980s in Montauk, New York, Stranger Things is a mystery/drama centering on the disappearance of a young boy from Montauk. Reports suggest there are some sort of supernatural elements involved, and it’s described overall as “a love letter to the ’80s classics that captivated a generation,” It’s only appropriate, then, that the cast is headed by Winona Ryder, who put her own stamp on the ’80s in the form of Beetlejuice and Heathers, as the mother of the vanished kid.

    20) 3% (2016)

    Continuing its international forays, Netflix’s upcoming 3% is a Portuguese-language sci-fi drama shot in Brazil. It unfolds in a dystopian world where society has become sharply divided between “progress and devastation,” but where some small number of the unfortunates on the “devastation” side—around 3 percent—are given the chance to relocate into the greener pastures of “progress.” Exactly what all that means or how it all works remains to be seen. Maybe a talent show? Director César Charlone, who handled cinematography on 2002’s City of God, told Variety, “Ultimately, the series questions the dynamics of society that imposes constant selection processes we all have to go through, whether we like it or not.” The series actually began life as a pilot back in 2011, which you can still watch on YouTube; the first episode is below.

    21) War Machine (2016)

    Based on Michael Hastings’ bestselling book The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan, War Machine is one of Netflix’s biggest theatrical acquisitions yet. War Machine was written and directed by David Michôd (The Rover), who describes it as a satirical comedy exploring “the sprawling, complex, cumbersome and crazy machinery of modern war and the many lives it touches.” Brad Pitt stars as a four-star general (based on the real-life Gen. Stanley McChrystal) struggling to win an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. Netflix COO Ted Sarandos called War Machine, “a rip-roaring, behind-the-facade tale of modern war decision-makers, from the corridors of power to the distant regions of America’s ambitions.”

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    For the first time in boxing history, a heavyweight title fight will be streamed live on YouTube. But it won't be just one single championship bout. It'll be two.

    With two recognized heavyweight titlists holding a total of three belts and with the other belt currently vacant, two of those titles will be up for grabs this Saturday when Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 knockouts), the first American titleholder in more than a decade, defends his trinket against Poland native Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KOs) and American Charles Martin (22-0-1, 20 KOs) fights Ukraine native Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-0-1, 13 KOs) for the vacant version of championship.

    And you can watch them here beginning at 10pm ET on Saturday.

    It's a part of a free preview weekend for the Showtime network, and it showcases in the main event Wilder, the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native who's one of the best heavyweight fighters in the world. (Due to the nature of today's boxing environment, winning a world title doesn't necessarily mean that the victorious fighter is actually one of the best pugilists in his division.)

    Wilder is also a proponent of social media, especially if he can have a public Twitter fight with an opponent he's about to battle or one that he could face in the near future.

    "[Social media] is a great outlet for us," Wilder told the Daily Dot in October. "Everyone loves the beef with a fighter... I try to stay away from the beef stuff. I like to show you in the ring, but it's entertaining for the fans. It is good for business. People love to see what two men are going to do to each other. The more a person can talk, the more hype the fight will get."

    Wilder also doesn't mind physically humiliating trolls and blasting out the results on YouTube. Which is exactly where you can find him on Saturday.

    It seems like a good idea for Showtime as it tries to compete with HBO for premium cable boxing cards and the sports fans that might follow.

    As sports media blog Awful Announcing wrote, "It’s another way for Showtime to reach fans who normally would not have access to the fights and to attract potential new subscribers... If Showtime can gain new subscribers through the YouTube experiments or finds a lot of people viewing online, perhaps we could see more fights there in the future."

    Photo via Stephanie Trapp/Showtime


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    After almost three months of paid subscriptions on YouTube, at least one creator believes he can answer the question of who's worth more to his channel—an ad-supported viewer or a paid subscriber?

    YouTube implemented its subscription service, YouTube Red, starting in October, which promises ad-free viewing and other perks for subscribers willing to pay $9.99 per month. All YouTube channels that monetize their content were required to agree to the terms of Red, with channels getting a payout of 55 percent of revenue, based on watch time. 

    Fans and creators were each initially unsure of if the system would benefit them, but after a few months of payouts, YouTubers are starting to open up about what Red means for their paychecks. YouTuber TotalBiscuit, also known as John Bain, took to Twitter to explain how Red is especially helping his bottom line in January.

    Bain addressed the standard downturn in ad rates in January, when advertisers are pumping less dollars into the economy because consumers have less money to spend after the holiday. He pointed out that YouTubers push subscriptions during this time, because, according to him, "CPM has fallen 75 percent compared to December."

    However, Bain said he's seen YouTube Red payments make up for this problem, and outlined why he's seeing returns on the pay-per-month subscription service in a series of twitlonger posts. By his math, a Red viewer is worth 20 times more than a normal ad view on his channel.

    Before now, I was unable to prove exactly how much a Red viewer was worth vs a regular viewer in terms of revenue. I can now clearly determine how much Red views are worth vs normal views. If I did my math correctly, since Red started, a Red view is on average worth 20x that of a normal ad view. This calculation is based on taking the total revenue the channel has generated via Red and dividing it by the total number of Red views since Red was first launched, then multiplying that number by 1000 to find the effective CPM of Red. Then I took the total ad revenue over that same period of time then divided it by the number of total channel views in the same period making sure to subtract the Red views before doing so, then multiplying by 1000. This gives you whats called eCPM or Effective CPM, which is how much money you make per 1000 views (this takes into account unserved ads, which can be caused by adblocking, ad fill rate per country, ads simply not displaying on certain devices or on embeds etc etc, all the factors that cause an ad not to play). CPM in itself is not a useful number, eCPM is, because there's no point in having ads that pay a lot of money per view if people aren't being displayed the ads. 

    While some called out Red as the reason for this January advertising downturn, Bain pointed out that CPM rates are actually up compared to last January. He went on to explain how the content and demographics behind his channel favor Red viewership.

    Red users tend to be older. Kids don't pay for Red. My main demographic is 25-34 year olds, followed by 18-25. My biggest single region demographic is the US, which is where Red is available right now. My content is on average very long and my average watch times very high in comparison to normal channels. As a result I get higher than average Red returns. 

    While Bain has not claimed that his numbers are the same as everyone else, he does believe that Red is good for creators based on this model, and based on how it helps during CPM downturn months like January.

    "Red is obviously going to benefit channels to a greater or lesser extent but the universal truth would appear to be that Red benefits channels, period," he wrote. "No question, the numbers don't lie."

    YouTube has yet to release any official data on Red subscriptions or payouts.

    Illustration by Jason Reed


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    BY TODD LONGWELL

    At Monday’s Television Critics Association Winter 2016 Press Tour, Amazon announced the premiere dates for four original series—freshman shows Mad Dogs and The New Yorker Presents and the second seasons of Bosch and Catastrophe.

    Premiering Jan. 22, Mad Dogs follows the reunion of a group of longtime, 40-something friends whose reunion in Belize devolves into a nightmare of lies, deception and murder. It stars Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Billy Zane (Titanic), Romany Malco (Weeds) and Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line).


    Produced by Condé Nast Entertainment and Jigsaw Productions, The New Yorker Presents is a half-hour documentary series that aims to bring the pages of the venerable publication to life via documentaries, short scripted narrative films, comedy, poetry, animation and cartoons. It will premiere one new episode each week beginning Feb. 16.


    Premiering on March 11, season 2 of Bosch will have LAPD detective Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver, Lost, The Good Wife) investigating the murder of a Hollywood producer who laundered money for the mob, while he simultaneously pursues a serial killer. In addition to Welliver, other returning cast members include Jamie Hector (The Wire), Amy Aquino (Being Human), Lance Reddick (Fringe, The Wire) and Sarah Clarke (24).


    Created by and starring American comedian and author Rob Delaney (Key & Peele) and Irish actress Sharon Horgan (Pulling), Catastrophe explores the struggles of a couple thrown together into parenthood and a long-term relationship as the consequence of a one-night stand. Carrie Fisher (Star Wars) and Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty) co-star. It premieres on April 8.


    Screengrab via Amazon Studios/YouTube


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    YouTube's most subscribed-to personality is about to get his own network.

    Disney's Maker Studios announced Wednesday that it's partnered with Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, to back a network filled with programming that the YouTube star will get to run himself. 

    It's called Revelmode, and the plan is to develop "original shows, games, charitable programs, community events, merchandise and more" with a focus on gaming and pop culture.

    The YouTubers who have been announced as Revelmode collaborators are all (obviously) less high-profile than PewDiePie, but they reportedly have more than 100 million followers across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. According to AdWeek, they include: 

    • CinnamonToastKen (Ken Morrison) – Indie and horror gamer known for cameos in PewDiePie content.
    • CutiePieMarzia (Marzia Bisognin) – Italian fashion and beauty expert and video game aficionado.
    • Dodger (Brooke Lawson) – Upbeat gamer known for her weekly nerd culture news shows and wide range of game content.
    • EmmaBlackery (Emma Blackery) – Quirky British vlogger, singer, comedian, and gamer.
    • JackSepticEye (Sean McLoughlin) – Video game commentator known for his comedic "let's play" and vlog content.
    • Jelly (Jelle van Vucht) – YouTuber known for his comedic vlogs and video game commentary.
    • Kwebbelkop (Jordi van den Bussche) – Comedy and gamer extraordinaire based in the Netherlands.
    • Markiplier (Mark Fischbach) – Actor, comedian, video game commentator, and philanthropist, specializing in "let's play" content, most commonly survival horror and action games.

    Maker Studios has previously partnered with high-profile people to develop series—James Franco has four new webseries in the works with them—but this is the studio's first foray into allowing someone to build an entire network for them.

    Plus, Kjellberg still has the YouTube Red deal he announced in November for a horror webseries he's releasing in partnership with The Walking Dead. Basically: It's a good time to be PewDiePie. 

    H/T Adweek | Screengrab via PewDiePie/YouTube

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    The Internet has been honoring the late David Bowie through its favorite mediums since the rock icon's death Sunday: heartfelt status updates, retrospective blogs, throwback pictures. On Wednesday Austin, Texas, resident Christiane Swenson added another to the mix: Change.org petition.

    In the wake of Bowie's death, Austin fans replaced the regular sign for Bowie Street with a homemade David Bowie one. Officials have allowed the tribute to stay up even though it's technically vandalism, and Swenson's petition is asking the city to consider keeping the sign up permanently.

    Austin is traditionally very proud of its arts community. Every spring it hosts the South by Southwest festival (SXSW's offices just so happen to be on Bowie St.), and it's also known as the Live Music Capital of the World.

    So, as Swenson points out, if this town has a Willie Nelson Boulevard, why not a David Bowie Street? 

    The petition is almost halfway to its 500-signature goal.  

    Update:

    SXSW is on board with the cause! 


    Photo via thierry ehrmann/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    Appraising Year of the Snake comes with a bit of a conundrum: Is it possible to gauge whether something is successful if you can’t even work out what it trying to be achieved?

    Watch a few minutes of this webseries and you’ll soon understand the problem. It’s an onslaught. Some may too easily classify it as a “mashup” of sci-fi, horror, slapstick, and Spicoli & Mork buddy comedy, but really it’s more of a genre dump: Every part—including the noise punk soundtrack from band Evasive Backflip—is flagrantly discordant with everything else.

    You can take the easy option and just dismiss Nic Collins’ series as garbage or a noisy mess. And indeed when I saw the first episodes a couple of months ago, I did. But it improves. Delving further into the series, the narrative gains some cohesion, and the bombardment of ideas is backgrounded. Absorbing the experience becomes less tiring.

    The core setup is an engaging one. Snake (Patrick Lindhorst) has been sent by the enslaver of his planet’s people to kill the “Special One,” a stoner named V (Danny Backer). But the assassin, loving and becoming a product of his new human form, develops an affection for his target. 

    When the series keeps to its structure, progressing this storyline, it can be quite effective. Sure, some of the jokes miss, and the editing can still be jarring, but there’s something validating about an alien discovering the virtues of humanity. And when that journey is placed front and center, the clowns in showers, female rape gangs, and the flashing Myspace-esque visual palette become secondary and are no longer the compelling impetus to stop watching that they were before.

    It’s still a mess. But if there’s a purpose somewhere, that has never been a problem. Year of the Snake spends too long in the thralls of the corybantic, but when it locates its heart it proves to be, at the least, a cool trip.

    Screengrab via Year of the Snake/YouTube


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    James Corden went home to London for the holidays and spent some time belting out tunes with his friend Adele, proving that he may have had the best Christmas of any of us.

    While “Carpool Karaoke” is a staple on The Late Late Show, the guests Corden brings with him on his commute guarantee that the segment never gets stale. Adele belts out some of her most famous songs with ease, but even she’s surprised at how well she and Corden harmonize together in between snippets of her semi-normal life.

    She nails “Hello” and “Someone Like You,” but just wait until she starts singing the Spice Girls and rapping Nicki Minaj’s “Monster.”

    Screengrab via The Late Late Show with James Corden/YouTube


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    President Obama’s final State of the Union address covered a vast range of topics, but it might be best remembered for the sick burns he delivered.

    The president's “subtweeting”—calling out people without naming them, especially as practiced on Twitter—was in rare form on Tuesday night. With the entire country (and much of the world) watching, his targets just had to take it until the speech ended—especially if they happened to be in the same room as the president. And on Wednesday night, The Daily Show's Trevor Noah is on-hand to decode all of them.

    Between Ted Cruz’s carpetbombing comment, climate change deniers, and a leading Republican presidential candidate's Islamophobic rhetoric, Obama had plenty of targets to hit. And as Noah showed, he got them all good—even if they later denied it.

    Screengrab via The Daily Show


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    BY TODD LONGWELL

    Netflix got good news when the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced this morning in Beverly Hills. For the second year in a row, the streaming service earned an Oscar nomination in the Best Documentary Feature category, this time for What Happened, Miss Simone?

    Last year, Netflix earned a nomination for the documentary Virunga, director Orlando von Einsiedel’s exploration of efforts to protect the world’s last mountain gorillas against the threats of war, poaching and oil exploration. It ultimately lost to the Citizenfour, about the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden.

    This year’s (preliminary) Oscar victory is sweeter for Netflix because What Happened, Miss Simone? marks the first documentary commissioned by its in-house team headed by Lisa Nishimura, VP of original documentaries.

    Directed by Liz Garbus (Bobby Fischer Against the World, Love, Marilyn), the film explores the life and legend Nina Simone, the supremely talented but deeply trouble singer, pianist and civil rights activist labeled the “High Priestess of Soul.”

    Like preceding Netflix Original documentaries The Square, E-Team, and Mission Blue, Virunga was an acquisition. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2014, where it was nominated for Best Documentary Feature, and went on to win Audience Favorite at the Hot Docs Film Festival and Best of Fest at AFI Docs before being picked up by Netflix in the July of that year. The streamer subsequently brought on Leonardo Di Caprio as an executive producer on the completed film, presumably in a bid to boost its awards season profile.

    The morning was not without disappointment for Netflix. It failed to score any nominations in narrative categories, where its original feature Beasts of No Nation, an African civil war drama written and directed by Cary Fukunaga (True Detective, Sin Nombre), was seen as a contender.

    Read the full article on the Video Ink.

    Screengrab via Netflix US & Canada/YouTube


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    Amid reports that Oscar voters feared a repeat of the #OscarsSoWhite backlash they received last year, giving due to some of the great performances by people of color this year felt like a no-brainer. But after Thursday morning’s announcement of the latest nominations—not so much.

    We saw some first-time nominees as well as some repeats among the 20 actors and actresses nominated for major acting awards, but as was the case last year, every person nominated was white.

    As people expected (and the Academy likely feared), the backlash was swift as people used plenty of metaphors to describe the state of the nominations. One person even made the point that all of the Best Actress nominees could easily be the same person.

    As April Reign, the managing editor of BroadwayBlack.com, noted, the lack of diversity among all of the Oscar nominations (not just the acting categories) is even worse than it was last year when she started the now-viral #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. (Reign could not be reached for comment.)

    The lack of diversity among the nominees, both in front of the camera and behind it, is a huge factor for fans and critics, especially when they felt there were plenty of worthy candidates throughout the past year. The biopic Straight Outta Compton, which received an Original Screenplay nomination, was critically acclaimed with praised performances. Idris Elba, who received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in the Netflix film Beasts of No Nation, was passed over for other actors. Will Smith, nominated for the Golden Globe for Concussion, was also snubbed.

    And while Sylvester Stallone received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for reprising his role as Rocky Balboa in what some critics said was the best Rocky movie since Rocky, star Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler were both passed over. It’s their Creed, which appeared on numerous “best films of 2015” lists, that especially stung with fans.

    The other issue, which came up two years ago after Jared Leto won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, is when a cis actor is rewarded for portraying a transgender character instead of a transgender actor playing a transgender character.

    This year Eddie Redmayne was nominated for portraying transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl while Tangerine, which stars two trans women of color, was snubbed in the acting categories. Even if Redmayne ultimately loses on Oscar night, the viewers still remember.

    Oscar host Chris Rock, who penned an essay in 2014 calling Hollywood a “white industry,” will almost certainly address the lack of diversity among the nominees when the awards air Feb. 28. But for those calling for more diversity among the actors and filmmakers being recognized and awarded, it likely won’t alleviate the sting of #OscarsSoWhite all that much.

    Photo via Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    After having one of its biggest years ever, Netflix is ramping up to top itself in 2016 with dozens of new shows and feature films on deck. But it hasn’t neglected to renew fan favorites that have made Netflix Originals the successful household name we know and love. Here’s a look at the series returning to the smallest screen in 2016.

    1) House of Cards: Season 4 (March 4)

    When last we left President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), it looked like his seemingly invincible marriage had finally come apart at the seams, with his formidable wife Claire (Robin Wright) announcing that she was leaving him… and leaving us speechless. The fallout from that decision will undoubtedly cast a long shadow over season 4. Will Frank and Claire get back together? Should they? Regardless, Frank may finally have encountered the one opponent he can’t outthink, sneak around, or intimidate. It should be a match for the ages, or at least some seriously explosive makeup sex whenever (if ever) they reconcile.

    2) Marvel’s Daredevil: Season 2 (March 26)

    Daredevil was a massive hit for both Marvel and Netflix last year, showing fans a darker side of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and finally giving old hornhead the live-action adaptation he deserved. In 2016, Matt Murdock will have plenty more on his plate, including the return of an old girlfriend who also happens to be a goddamn ninja assassin (Élodie Yung as Elektra) and the appearance of another vigilante in Hell’s Kitchen—this one calling himself The Punisher (The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal). Netflix’s Daredevil finally gave the devil his due, so dare we hope this will be the kickass version of the Punisher fans have been waiting decades for?

    3) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 2 (spring 2016)

    Creators Tina Fey and Robert Carlock knocked it out of the part with this sitcom about a delightfully innocent former bunker-living cultist adjusting to life in the big city, and thankfully a second season is due out sometime this spring. Details are sparse at this point, but we know that Ellie Kemper will continue to be a delight, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for more Jon Hamm, and shots of Kimmy dressed like an elf suggest we might just get a holiday-themed episode of some sort. Or maybe she’s just dressed like an elf for no reason. Who cares? It’ll be adorable. Guest stars are rumored to include Girls’ Zosia Mamet, Pitch Perfect’s Anna Camp, and Tina Fey herself.

    3) Marco Polo: Season 2 (June 2016)

    Netflix’s ambitious Marco Polo earned comparisons to HBO’s Game of Thrones… but unfortunately most of those comparisons were negative, and included some form of the word “wannabe.” Still, even though the critics weren’t always kind, Marco Polo was at the very least gorgeously staged, and it can always rally and improve in season 2. Just recently Netflix posted the one-off prequel “Christmas special” Marco Polo: One Hundred Eyes, which tells the origin story of the show’s warrior monk. As for the next full season, it will be hitting Netflix this summer with 10 more episodes of Marco’s adventures in the court of Kublai Khan.

    4) Orange Is the New Black: Season 4 (summer 2016)

    Netflix’s prison dramedy has been a staple of the summer season for three years now, so while there’s no official release date, we should expect more OITNB in June or July. Being set in a prison, new arrivals are inevitable, and Under the Dome’s Jolene Purdy has been confirmed for a recurring role in the new season. Rumored storylines for season 4 include an overcrowding problem, a vengeful Alex, and a possible romantic entanglement for Crazy Eyes.

    5) Narcos: Season 2 (summer 2016?)

    Filmed in Colombia, Narcos tells the real-life story of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, and the various U.S. government agents dedicated to toppling his empire and stopping the flow of cocaine into the United States in the ’70s and ’80s. Like many Netflix shows, Narcos was renewed shortly after its initial premiere, but the series has recently hit some turbulence with the departure of showrunner Adam Fierro. Season 2 was originally slated to bow on Aug. 2, 2016, but the behind-the-scenes drama could very well delay the show, possibly even into 2017. This is the second time Narcos has lost a boss, after co-creator Chris Brancato left for a deal with ABC Studios last April. In the meantime, executive producers Jose Padilha and Eric Newman are running the show. Fingers crossed that the changes don’t hurt the show in the long run.

    6) Bloodline: Season 2 (mid-2016)

    The potboiler family drama from the creators of Damages flew somewhat under the radar last year, in spite of plenty of critical praise and a stellar cast that includes Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Sam Shepard, and Sissy Spacek. Thankfully, the show nabbed an early renewal less than two weeks after it premiered on Netflix last March. Filming was under way last month, with season 2 targeting a mid-year release. If you haven’t given the show a chance, it’s thoroughly bingeworthy, even if it’s sometimes a slow burn. John Leguizamo is slated to join the cast in season 2, playing “a man from Danny's past.”

    7) Between: Season 2 (2016)

    Netflix partnered with the Canadian network CityTV for this high-concept teen thriller series about a town that’s quarantined after everyone over the age of 21 begins dropping dead. When it premiered last summer, it was noteworthy mainly for breaking with Netflix’s normal “all episodes at once” model and instead rolling out one episode a week, after each one premiered on the Canadian home network. The show was largely overshadowed by Netflix’s returning favorite Orange Is the New Black and the ambitious Sense8, but fans will be happy to know that it’s coming back for season 2 this summer.

    8) Black Mirror: Season 3 (2016… hopefully)

    The news that Netflix was giving the world a third season of the acclaimed British anthology series Black Mirror was one of the best announcements of 2015 as far as we’re concerned, and new episodes can’t get here soon enough. But we may have to wait a while, because as of now there’s no confirmed release date or even release window. However, the show was one of the most buzzworthy topics of 2015 pop culture, thanks largely to its appearance on Netflix Instant, so a 2016 release would not surprise us at all. It’s already been over a year since the last original episode of Black Mirror—the Christmas special “White Christmas”—first aired. We do know that, whenever it comes, the third season will run 12 episodes, up from the first two seasons’ three each. Thankfully the full series and the Christmas special are currently available on Netflix Instant, so binge away if you haven’t already sampled this show’s brilliance.

    9) BoJack Horseman: Season 3 (2016)

    Bojack Horseman handily wins the title of “weirdest Netflix original series,” with Will Arnett voicing a washed-up former sitcom star who also happens to be a, well, horse-man in a world populated by both humans and anthropomorphic animals. Netflix ordered a third season of the animated series last July, shortly after the second season premiered. Like Orange Is the New Black, it’s been a Netflix summer stable staple for several years now, so it would be hugely surprising if season 3 didn’t come out the gate around the usual time this year. But at least we know it hasn’t been put out to pasture.

    10) Grace and Frankie: Season 2 (2016)

    Another of Netflix’s smaller, more under-the-radar premieres from last year, Grace & Frankie stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as two women who can’t stand each other brought together by an unlikely bonding moment: their respective husbands (Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen) falling in love and running off with each other. The show was created by Marta Kauffman (Friends) and Howard J. Morris, and has included an impressive lineup of guest stars, including Corbin Bernsen, Craig T. Nelson, Ernie Hudson, and Michael Gross. Details about season 2 are few and far between, but Netflix has already renewed the show for a third season. Season 1 premiered in May last year, so a late spring/early summer return would make sense.

    You’re not just getting more Longmire; you’re getting more more Longmire.

    11) Longmire: Season 5 (2016)

    One of several Netflix “rescues,” Longmire was given a fourth season by the streaming network after its original home of A&E decided three seasons was plenty for their liking. Thankfully fans and crusty sheriff Walt Longmire got the chance to pick up the story last September on Netflix, and word is that season 5 will ride on down the trail around that same time this year. That’s especially good news, since season 4 ended on a cliffhanger, with a mysterious intruder busting into Walt’s home and ruining his sexytime with Dr. Donna. More good news for Longmire fans: Each of season 5’s 10 episodes will run a full hour, abandoning the network-holdover 42 minutes from season 4. You’re not just getting more Longmire; you’re getting more more Longmire.

    12) Sense8: Season 2 (2016… maybe)

    Netflix embraced high-concept head-tripping weirdness with last summer’s Sense8, a collaboration between the Wachowskis and Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. And, like everything from the Wachowskis, the results were both ambitious and divisive, unfolding a sprawling story that stretched across the globe and large cast in a tale of eight strangers who suddenly become psychically connected. In spite of not being a runaway hit, the show was renewed for a second season, and many fans were hoping it would arrive in the same early summer slot this year as it did last. However, a recent interview with cinematographer John Toll suggests we’re going to have to wait a bit longer for more Sense8, as shooting on the new season won’t even begin until March. That gives you plenty of time to give the show a chance if you haven’t already.

    Screengrabs via Netflix | Remix by Jason Reed 


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    It was a meeting of the pantsuits when YouTuber GloZell Green sat down with presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton for a candid chat.

    Clinton was joined by GloZell and other established female entrepreneurs like Maya Washington and Chriselle Lim on Amanda de Cadenet's show, The Conversation. After airing on Lifetime on Wednesday, the show is now available on YouTube.

    Clinton spoke with the women about her mother, personal worries, being a woman in a male-dominated field, and other topics—only broaching actual politics and intended presidential policies 14 minutes into a 19-minute interview. 

    Green is no stranger to politics, as she was one of the YouTubers tapped to interview President Obama after last year's State of the Union. The president will sit down with three new YouTubers on Friday as part of his final State of the Union. 

    Screengrab via Amanda de Cadenet/YouTube


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    With only about a year left on his second term as president, Barack Obama, at some point, will have to figure out what he's going to do with his life post-politics. A suggestion: How about getting back into sports and making a concerted effort at remaking himself as the solid basketball player he once was?

    That's what SB Nation writer Tom Ziller would like to see once Obama returns to public life. In fact, Ziller created a White House petition that would place Obama in the 2017 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

    As Ziller writes on the description:

    The 2017 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game will be held on February 17, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. As of the publishing of this petition, former Education Secretary Arne Duncan holds the record for most points scored in a Celebrity Game with 20.

    With all due respect, this is a soft record. President Obama will have a month out of office to train for the game, and there's no question he can destroy Mr. Duncan's record and the will of the opposing team.

    This is your chance to finally make history, Mr. Obama. Seize it.

    The petition was created Thursday, and as of 1pm CT, 397 people have signed it (meaning only 99,603 more signatures are needed to force a response from the White House).

    But it might be tough to lure Obama back onto the court in a full-time manner. As longtime NBA writer Alexander Wolff told the Wall Street Journal, Obama hasn't played in high-level games regularly since 2010 when he suffered a bloody lip that needed 12 stitches to close.

    Also, at the age of 54, Obama most likely wouldn't be the star for whichever team he competes.

    "He hates being a weak link," Wolff told the newspaper. "The irony of that is he has pretty consistently been the least accomplished player on the court, but he always found a way to fit in, figured out whose hands to get the ball into... The bloody lip happened the Friday after Thanksgiving and he had just scored and went to play tight defense. His opponent did that natural thing players do when someone is in tight. He showed the ball and swung it left to right. Obama was right up in his grill and got the elbow. He was crowding his space and probably being annoying on defense, but maybe that is presidential prerogative."

    So, this petition, even if does get the 100,000 signatures it needs to garner a response, seems destined not to succeed. But it's a good try. And hey, at least we didn't get another petition asking Obama to drink his own piss.

    Photo via U.S. Embassy, Jakarta/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)


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    Not sure what you're up to this weekend? No worries.

    Amazon announced on Thursday that it will be making seasons 1 and 2 of Mozart in the Jungle available to watch for free in celebration of its Golden Globes wins. 

    Starting at 9pm PT Friday, and concluding at 11:59pm Sunday, anyone will be able to stream the series online or through any device that carries the Amazon app—no Prime membership required. 

    The series, which is about the very eccentric conductor of a New York City orchestra and a plucky oboist, took home two of Amazon's four Golden Globes this past weekend: best musical or comedy series, and best actor in a musical or comedy series for lead Gael García Bernal.

    Lola Kirke (sister of Girls star Jemima Kirke) and Bernadette Peters also star.

    If your schedule's clear, keep it that way. You've got plans. 

    Screengrab via Amazon/YouTube


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    YouTube's favorite lipstick-smeared comedian and songstress Miranda Sings will make the jump to Netflix with a new scripted series in development with the streaming network.

    Miranda Sings, real name is Colleen Ballinger-Evans, will partner with Netflix for Haters Back Off, a half-hour sitcom following an talentless star on the rise. She announced the series on her own YouTube channel with a vlog titled, “I’m Pregnant!”

    In addition to her popular YouTube clips, Ballinger-Evans also notably appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, and Seinfeld took Ballinger-Evans along for an appearance on a Tonight Show appearance. 

    Netflix has given Ballinger-Evans an eight-episode order for the series. This is not the first network that’s given a chance to a YouTuber. Grace Helbig helmed a weekly talk show for E! last year, and the RocketJump team recently finished an eight-episode stint on Hulu

    Screengrab via Miranda Sings/YouTube


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    Movie directors know how to manipulate your emotions. They do it with music, carefully crafted shots, and other little psychological tricks to give you the biggest emotional bang for your buck.

    Now, they can tap right into your brain. 

    Lightwave is software that couples with wearable technology and measures bioactivity. But instead of measuring steps and calories burned, it measures emotion. 20th Century Fox partnered with Lightwave to see the rise and fall of the audience’s emotional arousal during a recent screening of the western survival movie The Revenant.

    In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio plays a frontiersman who is attacked by a bear and later abandoned by his party. The physical and psychological thrill of the movie proved to play out in the audience’s responses.

    Lightwave gave monitors to the audience that tracked their heartbeats and movements (or lackthereof—audience members stayed very still while they were transfixed on some of the film’s tensest moments).

    “What we aim to do is to take what historically happens in a lab setting and bring it to an environment where people can behave naturally,” Rana June, CEO of Lightwave, told the Daily Dot. June herself is a DJ and has a background in big data analytics. She thinks Lightwave can help entertainers use data to enhance the emotional payoff of their performances.

    Lightwave also helped track the emotional peaks and valleys of a raging dance party thrown at South by Southwest in 2014.

    For The Revenant, Lightwave used data trackers capable of monitoring people’s heart rates at a rate of 10Hz, much faster than the typical fitness tracker.

    “That’s a different scale of data that allows for applied neuroscience techniques to be used,” June said. The trackers also monitored skin conductivity, a signal often used in the laboratory to measure states of emotional arousal like surprise and suspense.

    While the technology has an obvious benefit for companies and performers to use data to make better, more emotional entertainment, June said that consumers are interested, too.

    “In a sporting event or a music event, [Lightwave] provides the ability for the audience member to feel like they’re a pixel in the show,” June said. Just as people are interested in seeing their daily activities plotted over a chart throughout the day with fitness trackers, people are also interested to see their emotional states plotted over the course of a night out.

    “We are really, truly passionate about being able to make this something that becomes a new standard of human engagement,” June said. “Not just on the website clicks level, but from an experience level.”

    Lead image provided courtesy of Lightwave


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    BY BREE BROUWER

    YouTube channel BrooklynAndBailey reached the 1 million subscribers milestone in September 2015. Now, the titular 16-year-old twin sisters behind the channel have a new reason to celebrate. Brooklyn and Bailey have launched a new YouTube channel dubbed Squared, filled with content created only by identical or fraternal twins. It’s kind of like the Twins Days Festival in Twinsburgh, Ohio (yes, it’s a real thing) come to life in the form of millennial-and-younger-oriented online video entertainment.

    Named for the algebraic term for multiplying a number by itself (and because twins!), Squared arrived online during the 2015 holiday season, and already boasts over 157,000 subscribers and more than 2.9 million total video views after its six short weeks of existence. The channel features vlogs, advice, music covers, sketch comedy, beauty and fashion tutorials, twin myths and insights videos, and more teen-centered lifestyle content from creators around the world.

    Seven sets of twins will contribute to Squared, which include Teagan and Sam from Australia’s Got Talent, Nashville singers Jordan and Tyler, new U.K. vloggers Frankie and Izzy, U.S. college students Jess and Jenna, 12-year-old Michigan natives Evelyn and Titi, Canadian college students Samantha and Madeleine, and sketch comedy creators Deja and Di-V.

    “We started Squared because people always seem to have a fascination with twins. Most people often wonder what it would be like to have a twin, so as twins, we are all here to help!” Brooklyn and Bailey explained to Tubefilter. “We also know that part of the success of our own BrooklynAndBailey channel comes from the fact that we’re identical twins. People are drawn in to our weekly videos, trying to learn how we are different, how we are the same, and how we interact with each other as twins! Although multiples are a small percentage of the general population, we wanted to create a place where twins could be featured and people could learn more about them!”

    Brooklyn and Bailey said Squared will occasionally have themed weeks mixed in with more “spontaneous” content. The twins helming Squared also noted future videos will feature special guests. While the majority of these guests will be twins (of course), Brooklyn and Bailey said other types of programming “might be other YouTubers pretending to be twins” (because everyone, at sometime or another, loves to be twinsies).

    You can watch a new video from one of the sets of twins every day at 2pm CST on Squared’s channel.

    Screengrab via Squared/YouTube


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    It’s not often that a musician drops a secret album on their fans, and it's even rarer for a filmmaker to reveal a secret movie. But that’s exactly what J.J. Abrams’s production company Bad Robot did on Thursday.

    Paramount and Bad Robot released a trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane, a movie that nobody had heard of before. It was attached to 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi and appeared online Thursday night. Buzz and speculation quickly held that it was a sequel to Abrams’s 2008 film Cloverfield, particularly since the first trailer for Cloverfield was released in a similar, secret manner.

    While Abrams shot down the idea of a straight sequel, he did confirm the two movies were related.

    “The idea came up a long time ago during production,” Abrams told Collider. “We wanted to make it a blood relative of Cloverfield. The idea was developed over time. We wanted to hold back the title for as long as possible.”

    Two years ago, Dan Trachtenberg was hired to direct a film called Valencia, but then nobody heard anything about it after that. It looks as though this is what Trachtenberg was doing.

    Even without its ties to Cloverfield, 10 Cloverfield Lane manages to ramp up the suspense in seconds. John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher, Jr. are all in a bomb shelter of sorts, protecting themselves from whatever is outside, but tensions quickly rise as one of them tries to escape—a decision she’ll likely regret.

    10 Cloverfield Lane will be released on March 11.

    Screengrab via Paramount Pictures/YouTube


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