[VIDEO] Binging with Babish: Freddy’s Ribs from House of Cards 

Frank Underwood is many things: A husband. A politician. A duplicitous, machiavellian psychosexual deviant with a bloodlust for power. A purveyor of fine Carolinian barbecue. Opening just for him at 7:30AM is Freddy’s Ribs, a southern barbecue joint that we can surmise is serving ‘cue up in the style of Underwood’s hometown of Gaffney, South Carolina. Just in time for Father’s Day, here’s three different means by which to achieve that genuine Southern barbecue, even from the confines of a 4th-story walkup. Read the rest of this entry »


Bill Nye, Progressive Science, and the Threat of Nature

Alastair's Adversaria

Over the last couple of days, I’ve seen a number of people sharing clips from episode 9 of Bill Nye’s new Netflix show, Bill Nye Saves the World. The videos in question were of two segments of the show. In the first, Rachel Bloom of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend sings and raps rather discordantly about not ‘boxing in’ her ‘sex junk’. She tells people to get off their ‘soapbox’, declaring ‘sex how you want: it’s your goddamn right!’

In the other video from the show, much the same message—that there are ‘lots of flavours to sexuality’—is communicated using anthropomorphized ice creams. Vanilla starts a group for ice cream conversion therapy, declaring that, as vanilla, he feels that he is ‘the most natural of the ice creams’ and that to ‘get right with the big ice cream in the sky,’ the others should change their flavour by wishing to be vanilla. The…

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Barbie Legacy Preservation Effort Scores Success: Amy Schumer Exits ‘Barbie’ Movie 

Barbie Fans Breathe Sigh of Relief

Justin Kroll reports:Amy Schumer has parted ways with Sony’s live-action “Barbie” over a scheduling conflict, Varietyhas learned.

“Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts,” the actress said in a statement to Variety. “The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”

The big screen adaptation of Mattel’s iconic toy line was expected to start production this summer on June 23, but Schumer’s busy schedule includes a lengthy promotional tour for her new Fox comedy “Snatched,” which opens in May, as well as an upcoming shoot for Rebecca Miller’s “She Came to Me” opposite Steve Carell.

[Read the exclusive story here, at Variety]

Sony needed to stick to its June 29, 2018 release date since Mattel already has merchandise and product cycles in motion–shifting the production to accommodate Schumer would have put on a strain on other partners on the film, according to insiders. Read the rest of this entry »


Camille Paglia: Feminism, Free Women and Free Speech 

Foto: TomCabral/ SantoLima Data: 13-11-2010 Ass: Fliporto 2010 em Olinda - PE. Na foto Camille Paglia.

The ‘dissident feminist’ on the intersection between feminism and debate.

Camile Paglia writes: History moves in cycles. The plague of political correctness and assaults on free speech that erupted in the 1980s and were beaten back in the 1990s have returned with a vengeance. In the United States, the universities as well as the mainstream media are currently patrolled by well-meaning but ruthless thought police, as dogmatic in their views as agents of the Spanish Inquisition. We are plunged once again into an ethical chaos where intolerance masquerades as tolerance and where individual liberty is crushed by the tyranny of the group.

[Order Paglia’s book “Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism” from Amazon.com]

The premier principles of my new book, Free Women, Free Men, are free thought and free speech—open, mobile, and unconstrained by either liberal or conservative ideology. The liberal versus conservative dichotomy, dating from the split between Left and Right following the French Revolution, is hopelessly outmoded for our far more complex era of expansive technology and global politics. A bitter polarization of liberal and conservative has become so extreme and strident in both the Americas and Europe that it sometimes resembles mental illness, severed from the common sense realities of everyday life.

[Read the full excerpt here, at Time.com]

My dissident brand of feminism is grounded in my own childhood experience as a fractious rebel against the suffocating conformism of the 1950s, when Americans, exhausted by two decades of economic instability and war, reverted to a Victorian cult of domesticity that limited young girls’ aspirations and confined them (in my jaundiced view) to a simpering, saccharine femininity.  Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] ‘War Machine’ Official Trailer (2017) 

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[VIDEO] REWIND: ‘The Big Short’ and the 2008 Financial Crisis 

The arrival of The Big Short in 2015 – available on streaming services now – and its subsequent nominations at the 88th Academy Awards, has reignited interest in the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.

[Armond White Reviews The Big Short]

The film would have you think that private greed on Wall Street and a lack of regulation caused the economic crash. While stories like this might make for a fun movie, The Big Short fails to align with the facts.

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[The Big Short Spins Historical Lead into Oscar Gold]

Learn more about the 2008 financial crisis in Peter’s book “Hidden in Plain Site: What Really Caused the World’s Worst Financial Crisis and Why It Could Happen Again


[VIDEO] Jimmy Fallon Makes 2016 Presidential Candidates’ Voices Sound Like Pee-wee Herman

The late-night host replaced the voices of Cruz, Trump, Sanders and Clinton.

Jimmy Fallon aims to please. A Tonight Show viewer wrote in to Fallon’s suggestion box saying that she’s “in a pickle” because she wants to watch the 2016 presidential election coverage but she also wants to watch the new Pee-wee Herman movie on Netflix.

“Can you help?” she implored in her note.

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Fallon responded by taking footage of the current 2016 presidential candidates and replacing their voices with Pee-wee Herman-inspired vocals…(read more)

Source: Hollywoodreporter.com


#Media: 10 Publishers Account For Half Of All Online News, MSN.com Scores Highest Traffic at Over 27 Billion Combined Page Views

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The biggest online news publisher for the U.S. audience was MSN, owner of MSN.com, with just over 27 billion combined page views across mobile and desktop, followed by Disney Media Networks, owner ofESPN and ABC News, with 25.9 billion….(read more)

Source: mediapost.com


Too Much TV? 2015 Had Record 409 Scripted Shows

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Executive: ‘This statistic is staggering and almost unimaginable’

James Gibbered writes: If you feel like there’s an overwhelming number of TV series options, there’s a very good reason for that.

“The unprecedented increase in the number of scripted series has reached a new milestone in 2015 with a record 409, nearly doubling the total in just the past six years.”

FX has calculated that in 2015 networks and streaming services had a record 409 dramas, comedies and limited series — and that’s not even including unscripted shows or TV movies. Digging into the data, the number of scripted series this year was up 9 percent over 2014, and has doubled since 2009 — while network ratings have, on average, declined.

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“This was the third consecutive year that scripted series count has grown across each distribution platform – broadcast, basic and pay cable, streaming — led by significant gains in basic cable and digital services.”

“The unprecedented increase in the number of scripted series has reached a new milestone in 2015 with a record 409, nearly doubling the total in just the past six years,” said Julie Piepenkotter, executive vice president of research for FX Networks.

This statistic is staggering and almost unimaginable from where they were a decade ago.”

“This was the third consecutive year that scripted series count has grown across each distribution platform – broadcast, basic and pay cable, streaming — led by significant gains in basic cable and digital services. This statistic is staggering and almost unimaginable from where they were a decade ago.”

[Read the full story here, at EW.com]

If you assume each show is 13 hours (which is really conservative given that many hour-long broadcast dramas have 22-episode seasons), that would mean there were 5,317 hours of potential scripted TV to watch this year. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] 快乐光棍节“节 Kevin Spacey Wishes China a Happy Singles’ Day

“Good evening to the great people of China. I am the 45th president of the United States, Frank J. Underwood. And tonight, I wanted to take a moment to say hello to all of you out there to wish you a happy Singles’ Day.”

Felicia Sonmez and Gillian Wong report: Is Frank Underwood a fan of online shopping in China? We couldn’t possibly comment.

On Tuesday, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba rang in China’s Singles’ Day online shopping holiday with a star-studded gala at Beijing’s Water Cube. The event included a video appearance by actor Kevin Spacey, who plays the scheming politician Frank Underwood in the hit U.S. TV series “House of Cards.” The show airs online in China and is a favorite of China’s anticorruption czar – and perhaps even its top leader.

“Good evening to the great people of China. I am the 45th president of the United States, Frank J. Underwood. And tonight, I wanted to take a moment to say hello to all of you out there to wish you a happy Singles’ Day,” Mr. Spacey says in character in the video, which shows him seated at a presidential desk….(read more)

Source: China Real Time Report – WSJ


Netflix to Launch In South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong & Taiwan In ‘Early 2016’

Netflix just dipped its toes into Asia with a launch in Japan this month, and now the U.S. video streaming service has revealed plans for a major expansion that will see it hit four more countries…(read more)

Source: TechCrunch


Apple Exploring Original Programming Move, Could Compete with Netflix

Sources indicate the Cupertino, Calif. colossus has held preliminary conversations in recent weeks with executives in Hollywood to suss out their interest in spearheading efforts to produce entertainment content. The unit putting out the feelers reports into Eddy Cue, who is Apple’s point man on all content-related matters, from its negotiations with programmers for Apple TV to its recent faceoff with Taylor Swift.

An Apple spokesperson declined comment. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Chicago Imposes 9% ‘Anime Tax’, Begins Enforcement of Anime Control Act

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[Also see – Chicago to Apply 9% ‘Amusement Tax’ for ‘the Privilege of Chewing Gum’]

[More  – Chicago to Apply 9% ‘Netflix Tax’]

 


Chicago to Apply 9% ‘Amusement Tax’ for ‘the Privilege of Witnessing, Viewing or Participating in the Chewing of Gum’

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[See also – Chicago to Apply 9% ‘Netflix Tax’]


Chicago to Apply 9% ‘Netflix Tax’ for ‘the Privilege to Witness, View or Participate in Amusements that are Delivered Electronically’

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“The amusement tax applies to charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in an amusement.”

Netflix service in Chicago is about to get notably more expensive. On the hunt for new revenue, Chicago’s Department of Finance is applying two new rules that would impact companies like Netflix and Spotify. One covers “electronically delivered amusements” and another covers “nonpossessory computer leases”; together they form a unique and troubling new attempt by cities to tax any city resident that interacts with “the cloud. According to the Chicago Tribune, streaming service providers need to start collecting the tax starting September 1.

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“This includes not only charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in amusements in person but also charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in amusements that are delivered electronically.”

The new tax is expected to net the city of Chicago an additional $12 million annually.

“The amusement tax applies to charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in an amusement,” states the city’s new ruling (pdf).

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“This includes not only charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in amusements in person but also charges paid for the privilege to witness, view or participate in amusements that are delivered electronically.” Read the rest of this entry »


‘Hot Girls Wanted’ Trailer: Amateur Porn Documentary Debuted Today On Netflix

This Rashida-Jones produced documentary looks at the amateur porn industry. Directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, Hot Girls Wanted follows the several 18- and 19-year old pornographic actresses. The picture debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was picked up by Netflix….(read more)

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CW Orders ‘Flash’-‘Arrow’ Spinoff ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,‘ Julie Plec Outbreak Drama, More

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Natalie Abrams and James Hibberd report: CW is stocking up on superheroes, giving a series order to the Arrow-Flash spinoff DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, EW has learned. Julie Plec outbreak drama Cordon and Rebecca Bloom’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also scored series orders.

In Legends, when heroes alone are not enough, the world needs legends. Having seen the future, one he will desperately try to prevent from happening, time-traveling rogue Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) is tasked with assembling a disparate group of both heroes and villains to confront an unstoppable threat—one in which not only is the planet at stake, but all of time itself. Can this ragtag team defeat an immortal threat unlike anything they have ever known?

The drama—which hails from Arrow and Flash executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti, as well as Arrow boss Marc Guggenheim and Sarah Schechter—also stars Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom), Wentworth Miller (Leonard Snart/Captain Cold), Dominic Purcell (Mick Rory, Heat Wave), Victor Garber (Martin Stein/Firestorm), Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders, Hawkgirl), Franz Drameh (Jay Jackson) and Caity Lotz… though it’s still unclear whether she’ll be portraying a new role, since her Arrowcharacter, Sara Lance, died earlier this season.

With the spin-off going to series, that means Berlanti will have four superhero projects on the air next season following CBS’ pickup of Supergirl. The project—which aims to honor the great team up movies—joins a long line of comic book properties that are either coming to or are currently on television. For its part, Warner Bros. has Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, iZombie and Gotham. Read the rest of this entry »


[REWIND] The Pros and Cons of ‘HBO Now’

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Back in September, there was plentiful speculation about HBO’s rumored streaming-only service. Now that the service is here, how did the speculation stack up to the reality? Here’s a trip back to some of those early predictions.

Sept. 16, 2014Chris Osterndorf writes: For TV junkies of the Internet age, the promised land may be on the horizon. That’s right, HBO may start offering streaming-only service

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Speaking at an investment conference earlier this week, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said that the company is “seriously considering what is the best way to deal with online distribution.” For the many who have been pushing HBO to package HBO GO as a separate entity for awhile now, this is no small statement. And with Netflix marching ever forward to corner the streaming market, this could be a crucial moment for HBO.

Yet offering HBO GO without a subscription to HBO presents a number of difficult questions. While it’s undoubtedly a tantalizing possibility, there are as many challenges inherent in this scenario as there are benefits.

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Pro: Easier for “Cord Cutters” and Millennials to Watch Their Favorite Shows

Offering HBO GO sans HBO already gels with the way a large number of millennials watch television. According to newfound data, this is a demographic that ingests three times more TV online than their older counterparts.

[Read the full text of Chris Osterndorf‘s Sept. 16th article here, at The Daily Dot]

These millennials are often lumped in as part of a larger group that’s been dubbed “cord cutters,” aka people who’ve dumped cable entirely to watch television through the Internet. And they’re a group that’s growing. A study that came out in June found that 2.9 percent of pay-TV consumers in this country are planning on canceling their cable service and joining the ranks of the cord cutters in the next year. This doesn’t sound like much until you take into account that this number is up from 2.7 percent last year, which was up from 2.2 percent the year before that, indicating American cord cutters are rising steadily.

Together, as millennials and cord cutters reject cable, they are changing the face of American television. HBO GO becoming its own service would be a huge victory for them, and for the shifting trends they represent.

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Con: Harder for HBO to Create Content

However, offering HBO GO separately from HBO could come at a price. Because for now, HBO, and all the content they provide, are still very much entrenched in a classic model of distribution.

When viewers first started to clamor for standalone HBO GO accounts several years ago, Ryan Lawler at TechCrunch observed, “HBO currently has about 29 million subscribers and reportedly receives around $7 or $8 per subscriber per month. So HBO could, theoretically, get more per subscriber than it’s currently making. But that doesn’t include the cost of infrastructure needed to support delivery of all those streams, including all the CDN delivery and other costs that would come with rolling out a broader online-only service.”

He continues, “More importantly, it wouldn’t include the cost of sales, marketing, and support—and this is where HBO would really get screwed. Going direct to online customers by pitching HBO GO over-the-top would mean losing the support of its cable, satellite, and IPTV distributors. And since the Comcasts and the Time Warner Cables of the world are the top marketing channel for premium networks like HBO, it would be nearly impossible for HBO to make up for the loss of the cable provider’s marketing team or promotions.”

What does this ultimately mean for you, the consumer? In short, it means that if HBO suffers, their output also suffers.

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So far, HBO is doing just fine in their fight against Netflix. Of course, they’re not able to provide the same wide array of movies and TV shows from other networks, but they’re as prestigious as ever, and they have several huge hits on their hands. In fact, Game of Thrones just surpassed The Sopranos to become their highest rated show ever. Read the rest of this entry »


5 Free Apps Aimed at Netflix Users

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Netflix giveth, and Netflix taketh away. Content is removed from Netflix each and every month, but new content is added as well. The problem is keeping track of all those additions and subtractions, and finding good content to watch when you want to watch it.

There are a wide range of services that aim to make it faster and easier to find and watch good movies and TV shows on Netflix, and today we’re sharing five apps in particulat that will make it easier than it has ever been before to find great movies and TV series on Netflix.

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Andy Greenberg: Inside Popcorn Time, the Piracy Party Hollywood Can’t Stop

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Popcorn Time’s BitTorrent-for-dummies approach has become the virtually undisputed future of video piracy

 reports: Popcorn Time was an instant hit when it launched just over a year ago: The video streaming service made BitTorrent piracy as easy as Netflix, but with far more content and none of those pesky monthly payments. Hollywood quickly intervened, pressuring Popcorn Time’s Argentinian developers to walk away from their creation. But anonymous coders soon relaunched the copyright-flouting software. Today, Popcorn Time is growing at a rate that has likely surpassed the original, and the people behind it say they’re working on changes designed to make the service virtually impervious to law enforcement.

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 “We’re like Google. scraping for new content all over the internet.”

— Popcorn Time’s anonymous developer, known here by the popcorn-box mascot name “Pochoclin”

As Popcorn Time celebrated the first anniversary of its rebirth, WIRED chatted via email and instant message with a software developer from Popcorn-Time.se, one of the most popular of several reincarnations of Popcorn Time. (The anonymous developer asked us to use Popcorn Time’s smiling popcorn-box mascot “Pochoclin” as his or her pseudonym.) Popcorn Time’s masked spokesperson says the streaming movie and TV app is flourishing—in defiance of many of the world’s most powerful copyright holders and EURid, the domain registrar that seized the original site’s web domain last year.

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“After everything we went through, this will be our sweetest revenge.”

— Anonymous Popcorn Time spokesperson

Popcorn-Time.se, Pochoclin says, has millions of users and is growing at the mind-bending rate of 100,000 downloads per day. He or she also hinted that a forthcoming switch to a peer-to-peer architecture will make the service far harder for copyright cops to attack. “We’re at the threshold of one of the most exciting times since we started this project,” Pochoclin writes. “Making all our data available via p2p will mean that Popcorn Time will no longer rely on domains and centralized servers but only on its user base.”

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“After everything we went through,” Pochoclin said, “this will be our sweetest revenge and our biggest victory.”

When Popcorn-Time.se started responding to WIRED’s questions in November, Pochoclin said the reborn project already had 4 million users. But it had taken a serious hit a few months earlier, when Brussels-based domain registrar EURid revoked its website domain, Time4Popcorn.eu. At its new Swedish domain, it’s only recently returned to that earlier adoption rate. (Pochoclin wouldn’t reveal the size of its current user base for fear of drawing more attention from law enforcement or copyright holders.) “[EURid’s domain seizure] was just a small setback … a small but painful kick to the balls,” the spokesperson says. “We’ve grown this project tremendously since we picked it up … The numbers just keep rising.”

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A chart of Google searches for Popcorn Time over the last year, showing its quick growth since the shutdown of the original site in March of last year. (Source: Google Trends, which shows only relative search trends rather than absolute numbers of searches.)

For any other year-old startup, those numbers would seem ludicrous. But Popcorn Time is giving away Hollywood’s most valuable content for free, and making that piracy easier than ever. Download Popcorn Time’s app and in seconds you’re offered a slick menu of streaming TV shows and movies at least as easy to navigate as Netflix or Hulu—but with higher-quality video and hundreds of recent movies and TV shows paid services don’t offer. Read the rest of this entry »


That’s It, House of Cards. You Lost Me

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Nick Gillespienick writes: A show that was once darkly great has descended into prosaic moralism. God save us from fictional pols who are serious about jobs programs.

Is anybody else kinda-sorta done with House of Cards? Not literally but figuratively. Season three is a real letdown, but not because the Netflix series is, in the words of one reviewer, too “bleak” or negative or dark.

“House of Cards is going softer than President Frank Underwood’s gut. The first two seasons were a palate-cleansing, tit-for-tat inversion of Aaron Sorkin’s cloyingly earnest West Wing, where even the bad guys tended to be good-hearted, if ideologically misguided.”

It’s the exact opposite: House of Cards is going softer than President Frank Underwood’s gut. The first two seasons were a palate-cleansing, tit-for-tat inversion of Aaron Sorkin’s cloyingly earnest West Wing, where even the bad guys tended to be good-hearted, if ideologically misguided.

[Read the full text of Nick Gillespie‘s savage complaint here, at The Daily Beast]

But in just three seasons of House of Cards we’ve gone from Underwood (Kevin Spacey) not thinking twice about shoving under a train the unethical journalist he was fucking to a world where he actually takes seriously the idea of a federally funded jobs program that will—finally! seriously! emphatically!—end unemployment as we know it. He actually seems to earnestly want to do something for people and not simply because it will give him more power. Hell, at one point, he echoes FDR talking about how the “country needs bold, persistent experimentation” to turn the economy around and approaches his “America Works” program as something other than the shovel-ready malarkey the old Frank would have gleefully exulted.

Do we really want the characters in House of Cards to start developing consciences and to grow into moral actors? Please, the whole kick of the show is precisely that its universe is inhabited only by ethical gargoyles. 

Even more disappointing is the devolution of First Lady Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) from a ruthless operator who puts Agrippina the Younger to shame into a latter-day Lady Macbeth filled with doubts about her and her husband’s patently unredeemable actions. “We’re murderers, Francis,” she says at one point in the new season—as if that’s a bad thing.

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What’s going on here might be called the “Archie Bunker Effect,” and it’s no prettier than when All in the Family’s protagonist would belch loudly after chugging a beer while sitting in his favorite living room chair. When All in the Family started in the early 1970s, its protagonist was supposed to hold up a mirror to America and depict the petty and base racism, sexism, you-name-it-ism of the working class. Bless their hearts, Hollywood big shots such as creator Norman Lear just wanted to ennoble the little people.

“He actually seems to earnestly want to do something for people and not simply because it will give him more power. Hell, at one point, he echoes FDR talking about how the ‘country needs bold, persistent experimentation’ to turn the economy around and approaches his ‘America Works’ program as something other than the shovel-ready malarkey the old Frank would have gleefully exulted.”

“By giving bigotry a human face, Lear believed, his show could help liberate American TV viewers. He hoped that audiences would embrace Archie but reject his beliefs,” wrote The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum in an essay inspired by Saul Austerlitz’s 2014 book Sitcom. But as Nussbaum puts it, “‘A funny thing happened on the way to TV immortality: audiences liked Archie,’ Austerlitz writes. ‘Not in an ironic way, not in a so-racist-he’s-funny way; Archie was TV royalty because fans saw him as one of their own.’” Probably even worse for Norman Lear, in many ways the ultimate limousine liberal, was that the show’s resident liberal mouthpiece, Mike “Meathead” Stivic (brilliantly portrayed by Rob Reiner), was the show’s true laughingstock.

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“We’re murderers, Francis,” Claire Underwood says at one point in the new season—as if that’s a bad thing.

[Read the full text here, at The Daily Beast]

But if there’s something more frustrating than fans misunderstanding a character and a show’s dynamics, it’s when producers do. All in the Family quickly became increasingly less funny and more preachy until it finally transmogrified into the godawful Archie Bunker’s Place. That last, comedy-free permutation was set at a bar Archie owned and operated. He still mangled the language (gynecologist became “groinacologist,” for instance) but Archie was now a standup guy who literally took in and cared for orphans.

“For all that, we are reminded time and again—and without irony—that leaders and policymakers are constantly balancing an impossible array of interests and tradeoffs.” 

Similarly, the third season of House of Cards spends a hell of a lot of time humanizing the Underwoods and other characters. To be sure—spoiler alerts!—recovering alcoholic and chief of staff Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) is still capable of going on booze-and-sex benders and killing innocent people, but even he thinks twice before finally dispatching the prostitute Rachel, a loose thread whose existence threatens the president’s reelection. Read the rest of this entry »


TELEVISION: Catching Up On 2 Seasons Of ‘House Of Cards’ Depressingly Manageable

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SOMERVILLE, MA—Noting that he only needs to watch 26 full episodes of the political drama, local man Ben Atwell revealed Thursday that catching up on the previous two seasons of the Netflix show House Of Cards should be depressingly manageable. “I shouldn’t have any trouble getting through both seasons in the next few days,” said Atwell, who told reporters that he currently does not have any obligations in his life that might prevent him from maintaining a comfortable, extremely sad pace of watching six or seven of the hour-long episodes each day. Read the rest of this entry »


Vera Farming Fans, Start Your Engines

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Season 2 of Bates Motel is Coming to Netflix on February 7

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Are Netflix and iTunes to Blame?


Overflowing Abundance

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Why not stay home and shop? At one of our Amazon links, for example…

DRUDGE


FCC Revises Plan To Regulate Internet

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler

For The Daily CallerGiuseppe Macri reports:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is changing the agency’s recent proposal to regulate broadband Internet after a wave of public outcry asserted the agency’s plan would set up a hierarchy of slow-to-fast Internet traffic, and mandate higher payments for acceptable speeds and unfiltered content.

Nomination Hearing Held For Thomas Wheeler To Chair The FCC

(Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images)

The Wall Street Journal reports the new proposal will make ”assurances that the agency won’t allow companies to segregate web traffic into fast and slow lanes,” but will still let Internet service providers broker deals with Internet content creators to pay for faster content delivery to customers under the agency’s supervision.

Read the rest of this entry »


In Joint letter to FCC 150 Tech Companies Press Government for Net Neutrality

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AFP reports: Google, Facebook, Amazon and other online giants warn that the Internet faces a “grave threat” if service providers are able to prioritize or restrict usage based on negotiated payments.

In a joint letter Wednesday, some 150 companies told the Federal Communications Commission its proposed rules over net neutrality would permit phone and cable firms to discriminate “both technically and financially” against companies providing online services.

“Instead of permitting individualized bargaining and discrimination, the commission’s rules should protect users and Internet companies on both fixed and mobile platforms against blocking, discrimination, and paid prioritization,” they said.

They said the regulations “should make the market for Internet services more transparent” and warned that fair rules “are essential for the future of the Internet.”

The letter challenged the FCC’s proposed rules on how Internet service providers — mainly a handful of telecommunications giants who control the transmission of data via cable and airwaves — can negotiate individual deals over access levels, speed and priority with online companies rather than keeping access completely neutral. Read the rest of this entry »


‘House of Cards’: Kate Mara talks The Thing That Happened to Zoe

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This isn’t really a spoiler, by this stage. It’s not new. But the interview with Kate Mara, about her character, Zoe, is definitely worth reading if you’re a House of Cards fan.


House of Cards: ‘Is it possible, then, that we’re watching a conservative show? Well, no. And also yes…’

spacey-bwThere’s a lot to chew on in House of Cards, and much has been written about it, but this one has the finest blend of humor and insight. For a primer on Andrew Klavan (besides his book) check out his YouTube videos on the P J Media channel.

For City Journal, Andrew Klavan writes:  House of Cards, the Netflix series about a lethally unscrupulous Washington politician, is a wonderful show, but it does sometimes stretch the limits of credulity. I have no trouble believing that a Democratic congressman would push a reporter in front of a train, but the idea that anyone in the press would try to expose him for it is flat-out ridiculous. After all, Barack Obama has been pushing reporters under the bus for six years and nobody’s said a word. Ah, well. If the show gives leftist politicos nightmares about being held accountable for their actions by American journalists, they can simply keep repeating, “It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie.”

“…After all, Barack Obama has been pushing reporters under the bus for six years and nobody’s said a word.”

House of Cards does pose a more realistic threat to leftists, however: their 40-year monopoly on artistic political house-of-cards-kevin-spacey-image-2statements—and their tacit blacklist of anyone who tries to make opposing statements—may finally be coming to an end. House of Cards is not, as left-wing activist Randy Shaw wrote in a blithering and inattentive piece on Huffington Post, a “Republican fantasy world,” but it is not pure leftist cant, either. And that in itself makes it something of a New Thing on the show-business landscape.

“…the actual political maneuvers that move the story forward are ideologically muddy and unrealistic. Democrats seek serious entitlement reform, but Republicans are reluctant to go along. Really? Democrats circumvent teachers’ unions to reform education. Dream on!

Let’s set aside the bigger issues for a moment and consider one small scene in the third episode of the second season. Reporter Janine Skorsky—brought to vivid life by the perfectly cast Constance Zimmer—has left the Washington rat race to teach journalism at an unnamed college in Ithaca, New York.

[Andrew Klavan‘s novel A Killer in the Wind” is available from Amazon]

We find her lecturing the class on how a media-manipulated narrative can outweigh the facts. Her example? In 1992, led by the New York Times, the left-wing media reported that President George H.W. Bush was surprised to see a barcode scanner in the checkout line at a grocery store. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Censors Have Kept Their Hands Off ‘House of Cards’

Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix, via Associated Press Kevin Spacey as the ruthless American politician Francis Underwood with Robin Wright as his wife, Claire. Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix, via Associated Press

Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix, via Associated Press Kevin Spacey as the ruthless American politician Francis Underwood with Robin Wright as his wife, Claire. Nathaniel E. Bell/Netflix, via Associated Press

For the NYTimesAmy Qin and Shanshan Wang write:

“Mao is dead. And so is his China.” So says Vice President Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, to Xander Feng, the corrupt Chinese billionaire played by Terry Chen, in the newest season of “House of Cards,” the highly acclaimed Netflix political drama about the machinations of a ruthlessly ambitious American politician and his wife.

“I heard that some government officials are actually quite fond of the show,” said Mr. Zhang. “And that’s why we haven’t met with any trouble.”

It’s not often one hears a line this politically provocative on a Chinese state-regulated entertainment platform. But with more than 15 million total views on Sohu, one of China’s leading Internet portals, the latest episodes (and this line) have been played many times over since the much-anticipated release of the show’s second season last week.

The new season of “House of Cards” focuses on a host of issues that would typically be regarded as sensitive by the Chinese authorities: cyber-espionage, currency manipulation, tensions between China and Japan in the East China Sea, and the extravagant and corrupt lifestyles enjoyed by the offspring of China’s revolutionary leaders.

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Netflix Is Building an Artificial Brain Using Amazon’s Cloud

Illustration: Hong Li/Getty

Illustration: Hong Li/Getty

Klint Finley writes:  Nothing beats a movie recommendation from a friend who knows your tastes. At least not yet. Netflix wants to change that, aiming to build an online recommendation engine that outperforms even your closest friends.

The online movie and TV outfit once sponsored what it called the Netflix Prize, asking the world’s data scientists to build new algorithms that could better predict what movies and shows you want to see. And though this certainly advanced the state of the art, Netflix is now exploring yet another leap forward. In an effort to further hone its recommendation engine, the company is delving into “deep learning,” a branch of artificial intelligence that seeks to solve particularly hard problems using computer systems that mimic the structure and behavior of the human brain. The company details these efforts in a recent blog post.

Netflix is following in the footsteps of web giants like Google and Facebook, who have hired top deep-learning researchers in an effort to improve everything from voice recognition to image tagging.

With the project, Netflix is following in the footsteps of web giants like Google and Facebook, who have hired top deep-learning researchers in an effort to improve everything from voice recognition to image tagging. But Netflix is taking a slightly different tack. The company plans to run its deep learning algorithms on Amazon’s cloud service, rather than building their own hardware infrastructure a la Google and Facebook. This shows that, thanks to rise of the cloud, smaller web companies can now compete with the big boys — at least in some ways.

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Netflix is Outperforming HBO and Showtime with its Buzzy Original Shows

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The second season of Netflix’s hit show House of Cards was released last night and consumer perceptions of the streaming service—which were already at levels that HBO and Showtime could only envy—are soaring.

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Quartz


“It’s no secret that film festivals tend to skew more toward liberal or progressive subjects…”

Sundance-rotating1Variety‘s   reports:  Over the years, Sundance has been famously friendly to eco-themed docs, providing high-profile premieres for films such as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “The Cove,” as well as political hot potatoes like “Why We Fight” and “8: The Mormon Proposition.” Among fests, Sundance is hardly alone in offering a platform to left-leaning docs. Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, while Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side” is just one of many lefty Tribeca offerings.

“…I had one tell me they couldn’t stand the sight of the people in (‘Caucus’)”

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By contrast, “2016: Obama’s America” co-directors Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan avoided the U.S. fest circuit altogether — and it doesn’t seem to have hurt the film in the slightest. “2016” earned more than $33 million, making it the second-highest-grossing political doc after “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

“…I actually get a lot more of what I describe as left-wing propaganda films.”

For most nonfiction pics, however, the fest circuit is a vital component of a film’s life cycle, which is why businessman-turned-documaker Dennis Michael Lynch submitted his “They Come to America” to nearly 30 U.S. festivals, to no avail. He contends the film was rejected on the basis of his conservative stance on immigration, as opposed to the film’s quality. Lynch went on to self-distribute and decided not to “waste a dime on festivals” for the sequel.

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Addict Alert: ‘Breaking Bad’ Final Episodes Hit Netflix on Feb. 24

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Todd Spangler  reports:  Netflix subscribers in the U.S. will get access to the last eight episodes of “Breaking Bad” on Feb. 24, the company said.

The last half of season 5 of the Emmy-winning drama finished its run last fall on AMC. Series, which stars Bryan Cranston as a New Mexico teacher turned crystal-meth overlord, is produced by Sony Pictures Television.

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[VIDEO] House of Cards Season 2 Trailer [HD]

Get ready for another lost weekend, another bout of binge-viewing, here it comes…

Netflix [HD] – YouTube

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AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Marathon: Your Survival Guide

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Help! I’m trapped watching AMC’s Breaking Bad Marathon. I forgot how addictive it is. From EW.com, here’s a Breaking Bad survival guide, in case you’re similarly afflicted.

  writes:  Sure, DVDs and Netflix have sort of ruined the fun of a good, old-fashioned scheduled TV marathon. (They’re not exactly special when you have the power to make them happen any time.) But it’s still hard not to get excited about AMC showing all 62 episodes of Breaking Bad over the course of four days — even if the network totally missed the opportunity to call this marathon “Four Days In.”

Never seen an episode of Breaking Bad? You’re gonna want to watch this. Devoured every episode of Breaking Bad multiple times already? You’re still gonna want to watch it, or at least part of it. But when should you pay close attention, when should you keep one eye on the TV and another on your laundry — and when should you order the chicken? Worry not; EW’s got you covered. (All times are ET/PT)

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WHOOSH: Netflix Blasts Past 40 Million Global Subscribers in Third Quarter

Felipe Caicedo/ Getty Images

Felipe Caicedo/ Getty Images

Andrew Wallenstein reports: Netflix added 1.29 million subscribers in the three months ending in September, according to the third-quarter earnings report issued Monday.

Netflix stock soared  in after-hours trading approximately 10% on news of the growth. In a move that could also be significant for Netflix’s stock, the streaming service also announced that it would accelerate its schedule of spending on original programming.

That brings Netflix’s domestic streaming audience to 31.9 million. Together with the addition of 1.44 million international subs, that brings Netflix’s global sub base to over 40 million. Read the rest of this entry »