Ridley Scott Redeems Himself With “Alien: Covenant”

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Ridley Scott is one of the most talented directors in the Hollywood today. He is simply brilliant at what he does. He has directed some of the best movies in the history of cinema, including Blade Runner, Gladiator, Alien, Body of Lies, Hannibal, and the list goes on. But, when he came out with Prometheus in 2012, the fans were not amused. In fact, they were befuddled. They were frustrated that their favorite director had dished out an excuse for a movie in Prometheus, far from the worthy installment of the Alien franchise it was supposed to be. There was a minority that tagged the film ‘smart’. But, the popular verdict was that the film was not Ridley Scott level.

Prometheus failed the audience on multiple accounts. When the movie was announced, everybody was promised an origin story for the Xenomorph. It was this alien creature that had turned many people to the alien and sci-fi genre. The icing on the cake was that Prometheus was to be directed by none other than Ridley Scott. Who better to tell the origin story of the monster than the man who introduced it to us in the first place! But, it turned out to be a huge mess. The only two things good about Prometheus are the exquisite visuals (which, by the way, is a trademark of every Ridley Scott movie. So nothing out of the ordinary there) and Michael Fassbender. Needless to say, it was not enough. There were so many unanswered questions and glaring plot holes that the audience could simply not ignore. Bluntly put, Prometheus was a colossal disappointment. They did not forgive Ridley Scott for this. After all, he was supposed to be the genius behind the camera. It looked like Ridley would never be able to live it down. Until now, that is.

In 2017, Ridley Scott is back with Alien: Covenant, which has been dubbed as a sequel to Prometheus, and a prequel to the super-successful, Alien. You heard it right! The events of this movie continue from where Prometheus concluded. So, Ridley Scott has not completely abandoned his earlier work. But, why? It appears that Ridley Scott is looking to redeem himself by making another attempt at answering questions that Prometheus left hanging. So, did he succeed? Let’s find out.

Alien: Covenant begins with a team of highly qualified pilots, scientists, and engineers waking up from hypersleep. They are transporting colonies in space to a distant planet. They have a pre-decided destination and a route to follow. However, soon enough, they stumble upon another planet. Coincidentally, this planet appears to be a better planet for humans to live on. Since a qualified group of professionals are on board, they discuss this new-found option. They finally arrive at the decision to abandon the original plan and land on this new planet. Then begins the suspense! And man, is it good! Different members of the group become infected by the incumbent parasite. They become host to this alien parasite and the story takes a horrible turn.

Now, you have to remember here what Ridley Scott is trying to recreate. He is going back to the 1979 Alien. This is a film that gave us one of the scariest monsters in the movie history. The older movie kept the monster in the shadows. You could hardly ever see it. The audience’s imagination made the Xenomorph and the movie so much more frightening. In Covenant, you can see the creature in front of your eyes in all its glory, and not shrouded in any kind of mystery. This is not to say that the action scenes are not good to watch. They are a treat – they do create a lot of anxiety and anticipation. Moreover, you get to see how fast, ferocious, and dangerous the Alien really is.

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You have to give Alien: Covenant for the amped up emotional quotient. The director has done it in many ways. It is scary to see all these people bursting up as the parasite tears out of them. The scenes are more gruesome than any of the earlier movies. What makes these scenes even more heart-wrenching is the fact that the story humanizes all the crew members. You are told their stories. So you know and care about them. Ergo, when they die, you are more affected by their death than you would be of a random guy on the spaceship. Then, there is the crew which is almost entirely composed of couples. It is difficult to fathom such a crew in real life. But, on screen, this dynamic plays out pretty well. Why? With every death of a crew member, their respective partners feel a lot more pain than they would feel with the death of an acquaintance. It makes the movie more impactful and make the death of each of the crew members more heart-wrenching. Such cold-blooded killings also make you fear the Alien more. This is something that the original Alien movie did very well. When you saw the first movie all those years ago, you connected with the characters and felt bad when they died. Prometheus, not so much. But, by adding this little detail, Ridley Scott has made his audience care more about these crew members on the damned ship.

The beginning and even the climax of the movie (which we are not giving out) is similar to that of the seventies movie. However, the movie is a sequel to Prometheus as well. So, it has to have that philosophical tone to it, which comes in the second act. But, don’t fret. Ridley Scott has exercised a greater sense of restraint in this part of the movie than he did with Prometheus. There is no excessive symbolism to take away from the movie. It has its philosophical moments, but there are none of the long silences for the audiences to endure through. Ridley Scott has chosen a simpler path this time. He has learned his lesson from Prometheus and has stuck to what his fans like best. He has made sure that this time around, it is more about the horror and not the mythology. Prometheus was not scary at all. On the other hand, Alien: Covenant will have monsters running towards you with all their might. It is an adventure, which will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Apart from the high octane chases and action scenes, the story line of the new movie is much more in line with what the audience wants to see. So, it is a better story. Alien: Covenant comes with some pretty satisfying answers to questions that Prometheus did not explore. First of all, Alien: Covenant has successfully showcased how these monsters were created. It is not only visually striking to watch it, but it also falls within the parameters set up by Prometheus and Alien.

Alien: Covenant also features Michael Fassbender. It was his character that made Prometheus watchable, and here too, he has delivered flawlessly. He is calm and composed, even amidst all the chaos surrounding him. His character connects the movie to Prometheus in a good way.

Lastly, it is the nostalgia factor that plays really well for Alien: Covenant. While watching Prometheus, the audience wanted to relive the old Alien movie. But, they were starved of it. But, Ridley Scott does not make the same mistake with Alien: Covenant. In this movie, you will see how the small aliens infect humans, make them the host, and kill them to finally take their form. You get to see how this mighty species breeds and comes back to kill the humans. All of this will take you back to the original movie. Most of the successful franchises are producing more installments to cash in on the nostalgia effect, and Alien: Covenant has been able to successfully deliver the same.

Alien: Covenant is sandwiched between two of Ridley Scott’s very dear projects, and it fares very well. It projects all the philosophical and intriguing ideas of Prometheus without being boring, and also scares people with the horror that the original Alien was able to instill. It has managed to capture all the good parts of both the movies. The actors have performed well too. Needless to say, Alien: Covenant is a believable, interesting, and a worthy origin story to the legendary 1979’s Alien. This was the exact balance that Ridley Scott had aimed to strike with Prometheus. He might have failed in 2012, but he has more than made up for it with his 2017 Alien origin story.

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Why “American Gods” Is Socially Relevant

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When British science fantasy writer Neil Gaiman published “American Gods” back in 2001, he delighted fans with his unique mix of dramatic storytelling, Americana, and ancient mythology. It was a fin de siècle novel that captured unique insights into the end of the 20th century. Now that the TV version of “American Gods” has been released for streaming on Starz and Amazon Prime Now, it’s stirring new debate. There are several reasons why “American Gods” is socially relevant.

#1: A parable about immigration

One major plotline of the show is that the ancient gods of mythological lore are now hanging out in America, just scraping by while trying to fit in. Some cultural commentators have latched on to this idea, using it as a parable for immigration and the high cost of cultural appropriation.

In short, generations of foreigners have come to America, but have been forced to fit in and acclimate, while sometimes giving up their careers and lives in their home countries. They have often been forced to “Americanize” their identities. And Bryan Fuller, the producer of “American Gods,” has supported that line of thinking by saying, “We are a country of cultural appropriation.”

In fact, the tech blog Gizmodo ran an extensive piece about “American Gods” and “the high cost of immigration to the U.S.,” commenting on the role of the nation’s immigrants. America has always relied on new waves of immigrants to keep the American dream going. In the process, these immigrants have sometimes suffered greatly, and may have even been forced into ghettos or other communities, while being forced to change their names to those that sound more “American.”

Case in point: one of the “abandoned” gods in America is Mad Sweeney (played by Pablo Schreider), who is representative of the wave of Irish immigrants to America. At one time, waves of Irishmen came to America, and packed into East Coast cities. Other than a few parades and a major holiday, the Irish contribution to America has been largely forgotten. And there is Bilquis (played by Yetide Badako), the Queen of Sheba, who is now reduced to using online dating as a way of finding romance. At one time, she was one of the greatest gods, but now she is just getting by.

All of this is particularly relevant, given the enormous public debate that America is now having about immigration. While this theme of immigration may have been present in the original 2001 novel by Gaiman, it’s something that resonates particularly in today’s political climate, where there are weekly rallies in support of immigrants and where even members of the political establishment are deeply divided about the prospects for building a border wall with Mexico. We are all re-assessing what it means to be American, and whether certain immigrants should be here at all.

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#2: A cultural critique of America’s “new gods”

Embedded in “American Gods” is the plotline of the coming battle between the “old gods” (as personified by people like Odin, the Norse god) and the “new gods,” which Gaiman has characterized in the form of characters such as Media (played by Gillian Anderson) and Technology (played by Bruce Langley). This, too, is a trenchant social criticism of the current American tableau.
When Gaiman wrote his novel back in 2001, he had in mind the great dot-com wave that made companies like eBay, Amazon and Google household names. Now, 15 years later, they have been superseded by the likes of Facebook, which is arguably the most powerful technology company on the planet today. We are now starting to question the role of social networking companies in limiting our privacy, and the role of Silicon Valley in helping the government control its citizens by offering them state-of-the-art surveillance tools. These tech companies are the “new gods.”

And, making “American Gods” all the more relevant is the fact that we are having a national debate about the role of the mainstream media and the prevalence of “fake news” everywhere. The “new gods’” have failed us, it seems. We put so much faith in them to keep us safe and give us a better life, and they may have done precisely the opposite.

#3: The notion of two different Americas

Finally, it’s hard to ignore the fact that America is deeply divided right now. There are, as many political and social commentators have pointed out, two different Americas. You can think of these as the typical supporters of both President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. On one side, you have the poorly educated white male in a declining industry like coal. On the other side, you have the liberal media elite and the urban working poor. Although those are very simplified representations, they give you a sense of the stark divide in this nation.

Thus, when Gaiman posits that there will be a clash between “old” and “new,” it’s possible to see this as a clash between two rival political parties, or two rival socio-political blocs. As “American Gods” suggests, there is no way to settle this divide except by war. And both sides are struggling to round up as many supporters as they can to ensure that they can emerge victorious. That, too, is what we are starting to see. There is no common ground, it appears, between Trump and Clinton supporters.

Of course, there’s more to “American Gods” than just a social critique. And, certainly, when Gaiman wrote his novel 15 years ago, he couldn’t have predicted the current state of affairs in America. But he correctly nailed the rise of media and technology as two prevalent forces at work in shaping the new America, as well as the untold stories of American immigrants.

It’s here that Gaiman has been most outspoken. He has been very critical of the way that the American myth largely obscures the fact that the first white settlers to America dominated the local Native American population, and then set into motion a system in which institutions like slavery could flourish. The original signers of the Declaration of Independence, in fact, owned slaves. So you can understand why Gaiman is particularly sympathetic to the plight of American immigrants.

You can watch “American Gods” as just a science fantasy tale of Shadow Moon (played by Ricky Whittle) and Mr. Wednesday (played by Ian McShane), or you can watch it as an illuminating social critique of America. Certainly, “American Gods” is socially relevant and has a lot to say not just about the present of America, but also its future.

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Emma Watson Shines in “The Circle”

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The star that makes “The Circle” go round is the very young and captivating Emma Watson. While much of this dystopian tech thriller may be flat and repetitive, it’s hard to argue that Emma Watson turns in a worthy star performance. In short, Emma Watson shines in “The Circle,” the new film from director James Ponsoldt.

Emma Watson is the best in a star-studded cast

There are a bevy of big names in “The Circle” – including Tom Hanks (as Eamon Bailey), Patton Oswalt (as Tom Stenton) and Bill Paxton (as Vinnie Holland), but Emma Watson (who plays Mae Holland, a young tech worker) outshines them all.

The problem here is that Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt are unconvincing as villainous Silicon Valley types. There’s a reason why one reviewer called Tom Hanks a “charming, folksy Dad type” in this film – he’s hardly believable as the type of person who’s running one of the most important tech companies in the world. Are we really supposed to believe that he’s the tech genius who is behind a sinister plan to shape the future of privacy, ethics and personal freedom?

That leaves it up to Emma Watson to make this movie work. She is the engine that keeps the movie moving, even when dialogue that seems a bit too scripted bogs it down at times. She is eager and wholesome at just the right time, and perfectly embodies the kind of energy and naïveté that you might expect from a recent college graduate embarking on a career at a company like Facebook, Twitter or Google. And so this film is really about her character “waking up” to the reality of the evil tech company, known as The Circle.

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Emma Watson makes us challenge the role of future technologies

The basic plot is one that’s immediately recognizable to anyone who’s seen an episode of “Black Mirror” on Netflix. That is to say, technology that might once have seemed capable of changing the world is now changing humanity in ways that can be dark and sinister. Think of hidden surveillance cameras all over the world, which are taking stock of your every action, and people in your social network judging you on a real-time basis. You, too, would want to present a perfect façade to the world, to hide your deficiencies and avoid a negative judgment.

The person who becomes our point of entry into this world is, of course, Emma Watson. She engages in an experiment at her company – The Circle – that could impact the future of her friends and family. Emma Watson senses that something strange might be happening at the company, and she’s the key to unlocking the message at the heart of the movie: Be very wary of what Silicon Valley is promising you. (And, whatever you do, always check your Facebook privacy settings!)

To make the Silicon Valley morality tale complete, all the action takes place in a glass, doughnut-shaped building that bears an uncanny resemblance to the new Apple headquarters being built in California. This is the future – but it is definitely the near future.

Growing up with Emma Watson

Let’s face it – many of us grew up with Emma Watson in “Harry Potter.” Now she’s growing up, and we’re growing up with her. So it’s only natural that one of her first new films after “Beauty and the Beast” (where Emma was amazing, by the way!) would be one featuring a key moment in the transition from adolescence to adulthood – the “first real job.” In the case of her character Mae Holland, it’s the dream job of working at the world’s foremost social media company. For her, working at The Circle is what one of us would feel if we landed a job at Facebook or Google.

And we see how Emma Watson makes sense of this workplace around her. The drama unfolds around The Circle events, The Circle housing and The Circle healthcare. Everything is The Circle. We’re eager to see if Emma Watson can pull it off, much as we wondered if Tom Cruise could pull it off when he worked at The Firm.

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The perfect embodiment of a young 20-something at work and play

The director of the film, James Ponsoldt, is also the creative force behind the teen coming-of-age story “The Spectacular Now,” so it’s no surprise that he’s so effortlessly able to convey the sense of what it’s like to maintain a precarious balance between the worlds of adulthood and adolescence.

In this case, the two worlds also include are the physical and digital worlds. Mae Holland is most at home in the physical realm – where her ex-boyfriend leads a non-digital life and her parents are good, down-to-earth people who don’t “get” the whole concept of the Internet and social networking.

That’s why Emma Watson is so able to help us live vicariously in the world of young adolescence. What adult reviewers of the film may not get is the strange nature of purely digital relationships, where it’s possible to date someone and break up with someone, entirely by text message.

Emma Watson brings this story to life

Part of the difficulty of telling any tale of technology is the fact that so much of the story is hard to show on a big screen. How do you show what’s on a computer screen, or the contents of an email, or the contents of a text message? That’s why it’s so important that Emma Watson be able to convey such a rich and dynamic range of expression in her role as Mae Holland. We see her in the workplace, and it’s her reaction to what’s happening on the computer screen that’s critical for grasping what’s happening in the film. Her facial expressions are priceless.

Ultimately, it’s possible to love Emma Watson in this role and not love the film. The film only has a score of 5.4/10.0 on IMDb, and a score of 43% on Metacritic, so this is not going to be a huge critical hit. Without Emma Watson, though, this film would have bombed.

And remember – the film was made with a budget of “only” $18 million. The focus was not on making a huge blockbuster hit (even if Tom Hanks does have a huge role in the film) – it was presenting a cautionary tale of technology and of technological hubris. As part of that story, Emma Watson is simply outstanding. She’s the key to unlocking the message of the film, and she shines in every scene in which she appears.

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VR Deserves All the Attention It Can Get From Entrepreneurs and Startups

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Virtual Reality is no more the hobbyists’ garage adventure it used to be; major technology and entertainment players like Facebook, Samsung, Google, Sony, and many others are betting big on the new technology. They have already poured massive amounts of money into it, and each of them envisions different future applications for VR. They all agree that VR is where the future battles for consumers will be fought, so what does this mean for other players in the market?

An Explosion Waiting to Happen

A typical lifecycle for every new technology is comprised of 4 phases – ideation, early adoption, maturity, and obsolescence. Ideation is the riskiest phase for businesses. The idea is untested and it is not even clear whether the theory will translate into an implementable form. If the idea works out, the rewards are immense! Then comes the early adoption phase: during this phase, there is enough proof that the technology is fully implementable. Perhaps, there are multiple prototypes of the technology too, but its commercial success is still unknown. This is the phase where entrepreneurs and startups with high risk appetite enter: they are instrumental in making new technology mainstream and will reap all the rewards of an early mover. Right now, Virtual Reality is in this phase.

VR is currently a tested product, yet there are still a lot of unknowns. We still don’t know how to make the VR experience as intuitive as, say, a touchscreen. Naturally, there isn’t much content created for VR; however, this is also the perfect time for businesses to develop a VR strategy so that they can ride on the huge VR wave on the horizon. Pokémon Go has already showed us what Augmented Reality can do for us, if implemented correctly. VR does not have any dearth of applications either — from gaming to education to adult entertainment and more, there is a whole world of opportunities for VR technologies. As touchscreens revolutionized the smartphone industry, an intuitive VR experience can give it the necessary push for wider consumer adoption. Considering the massive support this technology has in the industry, it is bound to happen sooner than later. This has serious implications for small time players.

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Education

Humans are imaginative organisms; everything we think, we do it in images. However, our instruments of education – black boards, projector screens, computer screens, etc. – impart knowledge through 2D models. Not all students have the same mental faculties required to interpret 2D images and form 3D mental images. This makes for a disastrous limitation in learning for students of all ages. VR seeks to change all of this. VR technology will revolutionize the learning experience for the next generation of students; it will be richer and more effective in delivering knowledge to students in a way that is more readily absorbed by the young minds.

The good thing about this industry is that there is an immediate demand for this technology. Universities, colleges, and schools are competing to differentiate their programs from their competitors, and VR enabled classroom technology will help them make the next big leap. Interested businesses can easily gauge the demand for such products by talking to institutions in their markets, and then embark on developing education oriented VR technologies for them. That’s a highly profitable and relatively low risk option.

Social Applications

Let’s face it: video games have been eating up family time. Players are spending less and less time socializing with their family and friends, and spending more of their time playing games. But VR takes it even further. Frankly, VR is probably the single most isolating experience humans have come up with so far; however, it also has the potential to be a powerful socializing experience. Thanks to VR, we will soon be able to play video games, watch movies, and have face to face conversations with each other without being physically present at a place. Imagine this. You don’t have to suffer through the traffic to gather at your friend’s house to enjoy a game together. Similarly, you can play multiplayer videogames with your friends who are located in a different part of the world. You can enjoy live concerts, boxing matches, and other events with your friends using VR technology, without even sharing the room with them.

The social aspect of VR will be one of the next big applications of VR. In a world dominated by a very few social giants like Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp, any business that offers VR enabled social media platform can easily become a giant in itself.

These two VR applications come with enormous potential for rewards and a lower risk factor. For businesses looking to diversify or for startups looking for a promising revenue source, now is the time to invest in VR solutions.

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What to Expect From Netflix’s “Casting JonBenét”

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It’s been more than 20 years since the tragic, unsolved murder case of six-year-old beauty pageant competitor JonBenét Ramsey, but it’s clear that the case still resonates in the minds of many Americans as one of the most scandalous and sensationalistic murder cases in recent memory. As a result, filmmaker Kitty Green’s new documentary – Netflix’s “Casting JonBenét” – could provide new insights about this crime and a public venue to reflect back on the murder’s tragic legacy.

The documentary that’s not really a documentary

To call the new Netflix film a “documentary” is perhaps misstating what the film really is. It’s more of a “faux biopic” told through the eyes of nearly two dozen actors and actresses auditioning for roles in a fictional film that’s not really being made. What’s interesting – and also a bit disconcerting – is that the voice of the documentary filmmaker (Kitty Green) is never actually heard in the film. We don’t hear the questions that she is asking off-camera, and there’s no narrative voiceover telling is what’s happening, or summing up all the facts of the case in a way that makes the story easier to follow. The story unfolds in front of our eyes, and we’re not sure whom to trust.

But that was done intentionally. Several other documentary films have employed this approach, with varying results. The feeling one gets from watching this documentary on Netflix is that the true facts of the case may never be known. One actress after another discourses on the meaning of the case for them, and what they think of the Ramsey family. Some are clearly sympathetic to the father and mother (John and Patsy), while others clearly suspect them of having murdered their child. At times, the two views are presented one after another, leaving you guessing as to how the documentary filmmaker actually feels about the subject.

Sensationalism and exploitation

It’s hard not to expect Netflix’s “Casting JonBenét” to delve into the lurid details of the death of the young beauty pageant contestant or to add another sensationalistic layer to a case that captivated nearly everyone in America at one time in the late 1990s. The stated goal of the film is to explore the tragedy and its aftershocks in Boulder, Colorado, but it’s clear that a hidden goal of the film is to re-open the Pandora’s Box of media sensationalism. After nearly 20 years, we’re pulled back into the world of gossip, media sensationalism, and exploitation.

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Unreliable narrators and bizarre conspiracies

Part of what made the JonBenét Ramsey murder case so compelling to follow at the time was the proliferation of so many theories about what actually happened. Some are convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that it was the father. Some are certain that it was the mother. Some are certain that it was the father and mother, acting together. And others believe it was one or more children – including, perhaps, JonBenét Ramsey’s own 9-year-old brother – who might have dealt the final, lethal blow.

And, as if to illustrate that fact, the documentary has child actors perform a bizarre task – trying to smash a melon with a flashlight while dressed in a raincoat. A few children are actually able to summon the strength to shatter the melon, thus leading to potential speculation that one of the kids might have killed JonBenét in a similar way.

The film becomes engrossing and impossible to turn away from when the actors and actresses auditioning for the roles start espousing some conspiracy theories of what happened. Some appear to be deeply obsessive, having studied every fact of the case in preparation for these roles. Others are more detached, but just as quirky. For example, there’s the actress who talks at length as to why she’s wearing a strand of pearls (for her, this was part of the iconic image of Patsy Ramsey, not her red dress).

The search for a bigger idea

Implied, but never stated outright, is that this film is about something bigger. It could be a broader rumination on the role of the media, the increasingly early sexualization of young girls, or the culture of violence in the United States. In the murder case of JonBenét Ramsey, all three of these ideas collided with maximum impact.

But, yet, there’s something about the documentary that doesn’t quite ring true. At some point, we suspect that the big idea is that there is no big idea: This was a case of senseless violence, in which there were only victims. As if to reinforce that idea, many of the actors and actresses also ruminate on topics like depression, abuse and family life. It’s at that point that the “fake biopic” begins to feel almost like a confessional. Here we have adult actresses looking back at their own personal lives, for any clue whatsoever to this murder case.

Certainly, the idea of using real actors as fictional actors to tell the story helps to reinforce the fact that this was a non-linear narrative from the very beginning. It’s impossible to trace the story of the murder and expect that a trail would lead from A to B to C. Instead, the media inserted itself into the narrative, turning the face of a six-year-old child into a symbol of mid-1990s America.

Plenty of question, but no answers

If you watch the entire 80-minute documentary, you probably are wondering what the filmmaker herself thinks of this murder mystery. One clue is her use of moody lighting that at times almost seems sinister. It’s almost as if she is using the lighting and soundstage to give subtle clues about how she feels about the case.

But – as noted above – there’s no final recap, and no final explanation. Instead, there’s a scene where the actors and actresses auditioning for roles begin to act out the events leading up to the murder.

Even if you never followed this 1996 murder case on TV, this is compelling filmmaking. Kitty Green’s film is a reminder that the neat, storybook endings found on TV bear no resemblance at all to real life, which is messy, clumsy and full of different interpretations. These events, when re-examined 20 years later, bring no additional clarity. All we’re left with is the haunting beauty of a child and the macabre legacy of a brutal murder.

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Is “Riverdale” Worth the Watch?

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If you’re expecting a bland, by-the-books re-creation of the storied “Archie” comic franchise with the release of The CW’s “Riverdale,” you’re going to be very much surprised at how show creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (of “Glee” fame) has completely modernized the look, feeling and atmosphere of the old, time-worn comic (which dates all the way back to 1941). So is “Riverdale” worth the watch?

The show still has all the old characters who have instant name recognition – like Archie Andrews (played by K.J. Apa), Betty Cooper (played by Lili Reinhart) and Veronica Lodge (played by Camila Mendes). But somehow, they’re all different. Archie, for example, is not a redhead with a beat-up jalopy and hardly any money for a weekend date with a girl. He’s now a muscled kid with six-pack abs. People still occasionally refer to him as “Lil Archie,” as they do in the old comics, but he’s not the old Archie you might remember.

Remember Jughead (played by Cole Sprouse)? Now he’s an emo hipster. He’s a melancholy writer working on his next book that may or may not turn out the way he’s planned. Or how about Cheryl Blossom (played by Madelaine Petsch)? She’s now a wealthy queen bee and a troublemaker at the high school. Or how about Veronica? She’s now the daughter of a disgraced New York City businessman who’s new to Riverdale and presumably there to shake things up.

And something very strange has happened to the whole town of Riverdale. It was always an iconic small town with strong American values. But now everything seems a bit dark and twisted. There’s a murder mystery that people are trying to solve. The adults all seem somehow compromised or corrupt. And all the people in the town shown in the series seem to be united by dark, tragic secrets that everybody is afraid to mention.

And the characters themselves act, well, in ways that you really wouldn’t expect. They’re always dropping knowing pop culture references, or acting just a little too cool for school. For example, there’s a scene where two of the female characters want to impress the “queen bee” – the high school cheerleading captain Cheryl Blossom. So they pull off a lesbian kiss in front of her, much as we’ve seen celebrities do (Madonna and Britney!), purely for shock value. But that doesn’t shock Cheryl, who dismisses the whole act as a stunt that hasn’t been cool for a while.

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So, for viewers, this presents a very interesting conundrum: What exactly are we supposed to make of this series? If you were expecting “Riverdale” to be just a paint-by-numbers re-creation of the original comic, this is something very disappointing. It might not be worth the watch. It would be like revisiting the beloved Winnie the Pooh cartoon and finding out that the show featured a hipster bear who had a fondness for cannabis instead of honey. Like, that would be too weird for most people, and they wouldn’t watch.

But, think of this show from a millennial perspective. After all, this IS a teen drama/mystery. Young millennials grew up watching shows that pushed the boundaries of TV, and that’s exactly what “Riverdale” delivers. It’s meant to be a bit edgy.

Some reviewers have compared “Riverdale” to “Gossip Girl” and “Pretty Little Liars.” Others have called it a strange mash-up of “Dawson’s Creek” and “Twin Peaks.” Both analogies are not far off the mark. And that’s what makes the show so watchable.

Certainly, fans agree. Right now, “Riverdale” has a rating of 8/10.0 on IMDB and an 86% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Clearly, people who have watched the show (it premiered on January 26) love it.

And there are several good reasons why it’s so watchable…

The first is that “Riverdale” is just such riveting television. Consider the main plotline, which involves the mysterious and tragic death of Jason Blossom (the twin brother of queen bee Cheryl). That murder mystery establishes the pacing and narrative arc of the entire series. Instead of being a random series of events that happen each episode, as might be the case in many sitcoms, we’re instead treated to an expanding and almost impenetrable storyline.

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If the original comic was largely defined by the romantic dalliances linking Archie, Betty and Veronica, this new show is defined by the murder mystery. It takes a little while for the whole murder plot to get moving, but by the fourth episode, it’s clearly the major story.

And it’s combined in a way with a whole multigenerational conspiracy that makes it such compelling TV. In some ways, it’s these older adults who make the show so much fun. They are adults who are behaving badly. Either they are teachers engaging in inappropriate behavior with their students, or they are parents seemingly hiding a dark and tragic secret from their kids. This is hardly wholesome 1950s America.

Second, you’ll really grow to appreciate the characters and how they are delineated in the series. At first, of course, you’ll pine for the Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper of your memory, but you’ll soon realize that these characters are just way better. It does feel very “Gossip Girl” at times – like when Veronica and Ethel investigate a “shame book” that the high school’s football players are using to humiliate some of the girls at the school.

Third, you’ll love the whole “Twin Peaks” nature of this show. This really is the story of a small American town rotting from the inside. It’s dark, and it’s weird, and it keeps you wondering what’s really happening in this small town. It lends the show a very unique visual style that’s compelling. It’s so much darker than the comic, but it comes off as being very fresh and experimental.

It’s for good reason, then, that one prominent reviewer called this a “crazy… dare of a TV show.” That’s right – “Riverdale” basically dares you to watch it. It’s not trying to depict the wholesome America of the 1950s anymore. There’s lying, deception, murder, and even hints of scandalous sexual activity. It’s meant to be shocking and it’s meant to challenge your view of what TV can be. Coming from The CW, it’s probably a good hint of what’s coming next in the whole genre of teen drama and mystery. So, yes, “Riverdale” is definitely worth the watch.

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What To Expect from “Death Note” on Netflix

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After nearly a year of anticipation, Netflix finally released a teaser trailer for “Death Note,” the supernatural thriller based on the popular Japanese manga series by Tsugumi Ohba, and it looks incredible. The trailer is just a minute long, but it suggests that this Netflix Original, scheduled to debut on August 25, is going to be just as dark and melancholy as the Japanese manga original. So far, this is what we know about “Death Note.”

#1: The plot and narrative will remain loyal to the manga classic

From what we know from director Adam Wingard, all attempts are being made to stay as loyal as possible to the manga classic (which appeared in serialized form in Japan from 2003-2006). So that means we know the basic storyline, as well as the key characters involved.

“Death Note” tells the story of a magical notebook that gives Light Turner (played by Nat Wolff), a genius high school student, the power to kill anyone whose name he writes down in the pages of the notebook. Obviously, that’s quite a power to have, and he decides to use the notebook to kill criminals and evildoers, and by so doing, to change the world.

He soon attracts the attention of an Interpol inspector – known only as Detective L (played by Keith Stanfield) – who is trying to figure out who is behind all these strange deaths. That leads to a cat-and-mouse game between L and Light Turner, and involves the presence of other individuals with the same power as Light Turner.

#2: The film is going to have to deal with claims of “whitewashing”

Any time you’re going to make a Hollywood version of a Japanese classic, you’re going to run into problems with the original’s loyal fan base. Netflix is finding that out the hard way – when it cast Nat Wolff in the lead role as Light Turner, it was immediately hit with charges of “whitewashing.” In fact, a petition to boycott the film has already picked up the signatures of more than 12,000 people.

According to these fans, the lead role should have been given to an Asian-American actor. Even more disturbing, according to these fans, Netflix has changed the name of the lead character from Light Yagami to Light Turner. That might not sound like a big deal, but what if a Japanese movie studio made a remake of “Star Wars” and called the lead character Luke Yagami instead of Luke Skywalker? And, adding insult to injury, Asian-American actor Edward Zo auditioned for the role, but wasn’t given the part.

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#3: Plenty of enigma and mysterious elements we need to piece together

When the teaser for “Death Note” dropped on March 22, fans immediately scrutinized it for clues and hints as to what they should expect when the film premieres on Netflix in August. The teaser was just that – a “tease” – but still, certain facts are now known.

For example, we’re shown the mysterious “Death Note” falling from the sky and landing on Earth. We’re given a brief summary of how the “Death Note” works – it requires the owner to write down the name of the person who must die within the notebook itself. We’re also shown an apple, which could be a way of representing the temptation faced by anyone given such God-like powers.

However, what’s really fascinating is that there are no signs of Ryuk the Shinigami, the Grim Reaper-like figure who sent the Death Note into the world. Instead, at the very end of the trailer, we hear a voice ask, “Shall we begin?” This voice sounds exactly like Willem Dafoe, who is scheduled to voice the role of Ryuk.

And there’s one other element of the trailer that’s a bit mysterious – we see the phrase “Justice for Kira.” In the original, Japanese “Death Note,” a Kira was an owner of a Death Note. The word “Kira” is actually a Japanese pronunciation of the word “killer.” And in the original, there were at least two other Kira in addition to Light Yagami, including one girl who becomes a romantic interest of Light Yagami.

And, finally, we’re shown the context of where the film is going to take place. One of the scenes shows us the iconic Seattle skyline. And we’re also shown some very brief scenes of a high school where, presumably, Light Turner is still a student.

#4: Questions of morality

According to the creator of the original Japanese “Death Note,” Tsugumi Ohba, the manga series was really a rumination on different moral themes. Most likely, the film will develop these complex themes, such as the difference between “vengeance” and “justice.” It will also ask, at least indirectly: Who has the ability to judge others and play God with their lives?

In some ways, then, the film might be similar to previous Hollywood films that have explored the role of vigilante justice. Often, acts carried out in the name “justice” or “security” go too far, leading to horrific mistakes. That could be the case with “Death Note,” where Light Turner has the ability to play God with people’s lives.

#5: The cat-and-mouse game between Light and L

We don’t really see any of it in the teaser, but a core plot narrative in the original was a cat-and-mouse game between Light and L. On one hand, you have the Interpol detective trying to figure out who is behind all these strange deaths. On the other hand, you have the genius high school student is trying to figure out the real name of L. (Presumably, once he knows his full name, then he has the power to write the name into his supernatural notebook.) As part of this drama, L begins to interact with Light’s family members and romantic interest, which raises the stakes even higher.

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It will certainly be interesting to see what director Adam Wingard comes up with as a finished product. As the former director of “Blair Witch,” it’s likely that we’ll get a supernatural horror aspect to this version that the original didn’t have. But with a great cast – Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, Keith Stanfield and William Dafoe – “Death Note” looks like a real winner.

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Why “Steven Universe” Is Such a Hit

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Every now and then, there’s a TV show that completely changes what we expect from a genre. And that’s exactly the case with “Steven Universe,” the highly acclaimed animated TV series from Cartoon Network. Created by Rebecca Sugar, “Steven Universe” has now gone on to four successful seasons, and has already been renewed for a fifth. So what exactly has been behind its phenomenal success?

#1: A coming-of-age story with a twist

For any TV series to be successful over a long period of time, it has to have strong characters that viewers can identify with and want to follow. In the case of “Steven Universe,” the main character is Steven Universe, who lives in Beach City with the “Crystal Gems,” magical humanoid-looking aliens sent to protect planet Earth.

It’s a coming-of-age story because Steven Universe needs to come to grips with his unique powers, like the power of “fusion,” in which the Crystal Gems can merge their bodies and abilities. He must also deal with the story of his mother, Rose Quartz, who was actually a Crystal Gem but gave up her powers in order to have a child on Earth.

And, finally, he must  grapple with the fact that he is a “half-Gem” – someone who is part human and part Gem. You can easily read this as a metaphor for someone who is biracial or multi-ethnic: it can be difficult understanding who or what you are, and what your “real” nature is. According to the show’s creator, Rebecca Sugar, many of the ideas for what happens to Steven Universe is based on her reflections and memories of growing up in beach towns in Delaware like Rehoboth Beach. So it really is a way to tell the story of what it’s like to grow up.

#2: Fantastic girl power

What’s truly unique about “Steven Universe” is that, even though the series is ostensibly about a young boy, it’s a very girl-focused series. That’s partly the result of the show having been created by Rebecca Sugar. She is, in fact, the first-ever sole female creator of an animated cartoon series on Cartoon Network, and her feminine touch is evident throughout the show.

Take, for example, the character of Steven Universe himself. He is very much in touch with his feminine side, and he has absolutely no problems expressing his rawest emotions or hanging out with females.

And, of course, you can’t talk about “Steven Universe” without also talking about the Crystal Gems, who exude magical girl power. In talking about the series, Sugar once remarked that her goal in creating the series was to explore “the semiotics of gender in cartoons for children.” And that’s exactly what she has done – she has created unique, powerful and interesting female characters that challenge our notions of gender.

#3: A remarkable science fiction fantasy narrative

This show is, at its core, a sci-fi series. And the entire milieu has been constructed in fantastic detail. Each episode is only about 10 minutes long, so the show’s creators had to be very precise in laying out the entire background of the series within each new episode.

The result is really an epic science fiction tale, filed with female alien superheroes who defend the Earth, a great interstellar civilization, a narrative about saving the planet, and a full explanation of all the magic powers and how they were created and can be used. In many ways, say reviewers, this is not just a cartoon for kids – it’s also a cartoon for adults that includes as much detail as you’d expect from a TV series created for an older demographic.

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#4:The Comic-Con effect

The show’s original success has spawned an entire franchise around “Steven Universe.” There are books, comics, video games and toys. And the TV series has become popular at Comic-Con, where it has gone on to pick up many more fans. In fact, the show made a splashy debut at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con event, and has been a fan favorite ever since.

And, of course, there’s also the music from the show. For some people, the music is one of the highlights of the TV series. What makes it special is that the rap artist Estelle is actually one of the voices of the Crystal Gems, and some of her music appears in the TV series (like the song “We Are the Crystal Gems”) The show’s creators, who use the lyrics of the songs to help tell the story, think up how these songs can move along the dialogue and narrative.

#5: The cartoon binge experience

We all know that people love to binge-watch popular dramatic shows that appear on TV or on Netflix. And “Steven Universe” has been able to piggyback on that phenomenon. Unlike other cartoon series, which release one new episode per week, “Steven Universe” often releases episodes of five within the same week. There might be several weeks without any new shows, and then all of a sudden, there are five waiting to be watched!

For that reason, the show’s fans refer to these as “Stevenbombs.” The fans look forward to bingeing on this episodes, and when they don’t appear, they get worked up into a frenzy. That brings even more attention to the TV show. In fact, Cartoon Network has noticed that there are very regular ratings spikes for “Steven Universe” that occur every time there is a new “Stevenbomb.”

#6: Pioneer of a new genre

It’s easy just to refer to “Steven Universe” as “an animated TV series” or as a “fantasy science fiction cartoon.” But that hardly does justice to what Rebecca Sugar has created. She has referred to the unique “reverse escapism” aspect to the series, in which fantasy characters become infatuated with the real world around them. They are escaping from fantasy into reality!

And, given the strong female presence throughout the show, it’s unlike any other cartoon in how it challenges gender roles in society. In that regard, it’s similar to some versions of Japanese animation, in which girls have magic super powers.

For all these reasons, then, it’s easy to see why “Steven Universe” has become such a breakout hit for Cartoon Network. It’s simply unlike anything else you’d watch on TV. And the characters and milieu are so artfully created that it almost seems to be made for adults as much as kids. It’s no wonder that fans binge-watch the series and keep waiting for the next big “Stevenbomb” to drop. Subscribe to a satellite TV package today to catch “Steven Universe” on Cartoon Network!

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Comcast Customers Will Now Have a New Wireless Option: XFINITY Mobile

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Comcast is already one of the nation’s biggest telecom giants, offering XFINITY TV, home Internet and home phone service in markets across the nation. And now it wants to sweeten that package of offerings with a brand new wireless service, known as XFINITY Mobile, which it plans to launch by mid-2017.

For now, Comcast is positioning XFINITY Mobile as a value-added service for its 29 million customers. It will also be available to potential new cable TV and Internet subscribers who live within its service area.

For example, if you already have bundled together your cable TV and home Internet service with Comcast, why not just add in your wireless service as well? Instead of getting two different bills each month – one from your cable provider and one from your wireless provider (e.g. AT&T or Sprint) – you’d presumably have the option to get just one.

What’s new about XFINITY Mobile?

What makes this offering unique is that it is not a de novo wireless network. In other words, Comcast didn’t go out and build a brand-new 4G network to handle all that wireless traffic. What it is doing, instead, is partnering with Verizon Wireless.

However, Comcast is not branding the network as Verizon Wireless – it’s calling the network XFINITY Mobile. As a result, some customers might not even realize that Comcast is leveraging the Verizon network. (Although, in a wink and nod to Verizon Wireless, Comcast will note that “the most reliable 4G LTE network” powers its network. Sound familiar?)

All of this is possible because Comcast has 16 million Wi-Fi hotspots scattered around the nation. And, as part of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement with Verizon Wireless that dates back to 2011, Comcast can fill in any coverage gaps with the Verizon Wireless cellular network. So you can think of XFINITY Mobile as being a hybrid network that builds on an existing infrastructure.

XFINITY Mobile plans to automatically connect users’ smartphones to Wi-Fi when it’s available via those hotspots. That’s a clever way of leveraging the network that Comcast already has in place. And customers, too, should like it, because it will save them from consuming data on a wireless network. According to estimates, 80% of all data is consumed via Wi-Fi, so customers may not even notice that they are being switched to slower Wi-Fi networks.

Why did Comcast create XFINITY Mobile?

In a world where customers already have a choice between wireless providers like Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, it might seem like Comcast is trying to re-create the wheel by launching its own rival wireless network.

But that’s not how Comcast views it. As representatives from the company have pointed out, “We’re not taking on the entire wireless industry.” And, indeed, as pointed out above, this is not even a new wireless network. At best, it’s a hybrid version of the Verizon Wireless network that’s being re-branded as XFINITY Mobile.

One reason for launching the service is simply to get a new incremental revenue stream. If Comcast can convert even a small share of its 29 million customers, that could have a big impact on the company’s bottom line. What’s interesting, though, is that Comcast doesn’t appear to be going out and actively convincing customers to switch.

It’s not paying “switching fees” or “termination fees” to sweeten the pot for consumers who might be on the fence. (Compare that to the world of cable, where Comcast is a lot more aggressive.)

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So you could argue that Comcast is not trying to poach customers from other service providers – and certainly not from Verizon Wireless, which is a partner. One strategic option for Comcast might be to use XFINITY Mobile as a sort of trial balloon – if all goes well, Comcast might consider building its own 4G or 5G network. Or, it might decide to gobble up one of the smaller wireless service providers, such as Sprint.

That’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility, given the fact that all the telecoms these days are turning into rival behemoths. In order to compete with the likes of AT&T, a telecom giant has to offer every possible service to customers.

That’s because the way customers consume content continues to change rapidly. One good example: consumers now enjoy watching TV on the go, right on their mobile phones.

That’s an entirely new customer behavior, and one that a traditional cable giant just couldn’t accommodate. But if you offer a wireless option to customers, that frees them up to consumer content wherever they go, on any digital device.

Case in point: the new AT&T/Time Warner mega-entity is now offering AT&T mobile subscribers with unlimited data plans the chance to watch HBO (which is part of Time Warner) for free on their mobile phones. That’s a powerful incentive to switch to AT&T, right?

How much will it cost?

Comcast is apparently pricing its new XFINITY Mobile service so that it will be affordable enough for most consumers to consider. There will be two different options: an unlimited data plan available for $45 or $65 per month (depending on which other Comcast services you currently are signed up for), and a “pay-by-the-gig” plan, in which customers will pay $12 per gigabyte (GB).

XFINITY Mobile customers will also have the option to mix-and-match plans within a family. Thus, one line on an account might be the “unlimited” plan, and another would be “pay-by-the-gig.”

That seems to be very flexible for customers – but it might be confusing in reality. What happens if someone in the family uses another person’s phone, and racks up a lot of data charges by binge-watching TV shows on the go?

Does it make sense to join XFINITY Mobile?

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to sign up for XFINITY Mobile might involve other factors, not just cost. For example, there’s the whole question of “equal access.”

If XFINITY Mobile users and Verizon Wireless users are essentially sharing the same wireless network at times, will Verizon Wireless users get priority of any kind when it comes to speed and quality?

And then there’s the whole question of which phones will be eligible for XFINITY Network. At launch, it looks like only new iPhones and a few high-end phones from Samsung and LG will be eligible. Customers won’t be able to bring their own phone to the service, so that will obviously slow adoption.

Conclusions

Overall, XFINITY Mobile is an interesting new addition to the wireless scene. More competition should be good for consumers. However, it is getting harder and harder for consumers to understand all of the competing offers and services from the top telecom and cable giants. It will be interesting to see what FCC has to say about all this.

All of them now offer a mix of media, entertainment, wireless and broadband services, and it’s up to consumers to find the right combination that’s right for their own lifestyle.

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What To Expect From Season 2 of “Sense8”

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The Netflix Original Series “Sense8” is coming back for Season 2 on May 5 of this year, and fans couldn’t be happier. When “Sense8” premiered back in June 2015, there was a lot of buzz about the first-ever TV series directed by The Wachowskis, known for their legendary “Matrix” films. Here’s what we know so far about Season 2 of this exciting new science fiction drama.

#1: This series will take us around the world to 8 different cities

8 sensates, 8 cities. That was the fundamental premise of the first season, and it looks like that’s the focus of Season 2 as well. In Season 1, we met Nomi from San Francisco, Lito from Mexico City, Will from Chicago, Riley from London, Wolfgang from Berlin, Capheus from Nairobi, Kala from Mumbai and Sun from Seoul.

According to Netflix, “Sense8” has been shooting all over the world, including London, Reykjavik, Nairobi and Mumbai. That means this is going to be another great TV series spanning the globe. The one city to keep an eye on is Reykjavik. The other three cities mentioned by Netflix all match up to the homes of one of the sensates. But none of them are from Iceland. So this could be a major clue to understanding the show and what happens next.

#2: 7 of the original 8 cast members are coming back

The first season featured an ensemble cast from all over the world, who are linked mentally and emotionally by the mysterious death of a woman. Doona Bae (Sun), Jamie Clayton (Nomi), Tina Desai (Kala), Tuppence Middleton (Riley), Max Riemelt (Wolfgang), Miguel Angel Silvestre (Lito) and Brian J. Smith (Will) are all coming back for a Season 2. But there was one cast member from the original eight – Aml Ameen – will not be coming back after a dispute with one of the Wachowskis. Instead, Toby Onwumere will replace him in the role of Capheus, the sensate from Kenya.

Other recurring members of the cast from Season 1 – Daryl Hannah (Angelica), Naveen Andrews, Freema Agyeman (Amanita), Terrence Mann (Whispers) and Anupham Kher – are also expected to come back.

#3: The show will continue to tackle issues of sexuality, religion and gender

Before Season 1 launched, Lana and Lilly Wachowski said that they wanted to make a science fiction TV series to tackle some of the big issues – like politics, sexuality, identity, religion and gender – that are not typically covered in science fiction shows. So expect a good part of the next 10 episodes comprising Season 2 to include plenty of thematic elements that explore concepts like gender and identity in a global, multinational era.

#4: We’ll learn about the linkages between each of the sensates

In Season 1, the eight people from across the globe were able to connect with one another’s thoughts and actions despite never having met in person. In Season 2, we’ll likely learn more about the links between all eight of these sensates, and why they are so unique. From what we know so far, the sensates are able to tap into shared skills, shared knowledge and even shared language skills. Netflix has hinted that we’ll see more of this “expanding mind” in Season 2.

However, in terms of the actual action that we’ll see in Season 2, it’s still rather opaque. Netflix’s plot summary is vague at best, saying that the 8 sensates will “come together both physically and mentally, plunged into the middle of each other’s tragedies and triumphs.”

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#5: We’ll find out more about the shadowy organization tracking them down

In Season 1, there’s one sensate known as “Whispers” (played by Terrence Mann) who is part of a mysterious, shadowy organization who’s trying to track down these sensates. But we don’t really know who he is, or why he is doing this. All we know is that the sensates represent some kind of threat to the global order. Presumably, we’ll find out more in Season 2.

This idea of a shadowy, governmental organization trying to clamp down on certain technologies or certain powers being made available to certain members of the public is a staple of science fiction movies and shows (e.g. “X-Men”), so it will be interesting to see how “Sense8” develops this further.

#6: This series will reflect the vision of Lana Wachowski

The first season of “Sense8” included Lilly Wachowski, the co-creator of the show as well as its co-director. This season, though, she will not return, handing off the executive producer and director duties fully to Lana Wachowski. So, unlike the previous season, which was billed as a production of “The Wachowskis,” this season will be much more of a solo adventure. That means we’ll see a series that’s largely shaped by the creative vision of Lana, not Lilly. The good news here, though, is that Lilly has said she would return for a Season 3, if Netflix decides to green light it.

#7: We’ll learn more about the true story of the sensates

The one strand that tied together Season 1 was the mysterious death of the woman known as “Angelica.” All of the eight sensates saw visions of this same woman, and all of them were haunted by her violent death. But who was she, really? And why was this such a catalyst for the sensates to come together? We’ll surely get more answers to these questions in Season 2.

Every great science fiction has some kind of “origin story” that helps everything to make sense, and it’s likely that the origin story for “Sense8” will explain better the role of Angelica. We might also get a better idea of why there were only 8 people around the world who are linked, as well as the special significance of each of the chosen 8 cities. After Season 1, some fans complained that the series just didn’t make sense, so it will be the job of Season 2 to tie up all the loose ends and have everything make sense.

If Season 2 ties up all the loose ends from Season 1, this could really be an exciting science fiction show when it comes back to Netflix on May 5. It has so many great factors in its favor – the Wachowski brand name, the young multinational cast, a great story, and globe-spanning adventure and drama. Most likely, fans of the show will eagerly binge-watch all 10 episodes of Season 2 as soon as they’re made available. This is one Netflix Original Series you won’t want to miss, and you don’t have to when you sign up for an excellent internet connection in your home.

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