TV News | TV Reviews | TV Trailers Sun, 28 Apr 2024 16:35:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 TV News | TV Reviews | TV Trailers 32 32 210963106 Why has ‘X-Men ’97’ discouraged James Gunn from reviving ‘Justice League Unlimited?’ Sun, 28 Apr 2024 16:35:02 +0000 The Marvel show has been a big success amid MCU's mediocre run.]]>

Now that X-Men ‘97 is a major hit, it’d make sense for others to want to capitalize on its success and try to revive other superhero animated shows from the 90s and 2000s, specifically James Gunn, who has the extensive DC catalog at his disposal and the responsibility to make it a success. But he’s absolutely no plan to jump on this train.

Long before its release, X-Men ‘97 was heavily hyped up with merchandise, an epic trailer, endless rumors, and more. Since it hit Disney Plus, fans and critics have only fallen in love with it more, and have given it a near-perfect score on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, the success of the MCU directs questions at the still-trying-to-find-its-feet DCU.

On X (formerly Twitter), user @iamthelangston asked the powerhouse director and Co-CEO if he’d be willing to give the fans a reboot of Justice League Unlimited because Beau DeMayo gave everyone “the gargantuan hit X-MEN ‘97.” In response, Gunn wrote that X-Men ‘97 “is fun because it’s unique and not desperately trying to follow the trends of everything around it. So I’d rather just keep doing that.” Many other X users backed up Gunn’s response in the replies section, giving him props for wanting to focus on telling great original stories instead of following what’s hot.

The thing that makes X-Men ‘97 great is that it was a totally unexpected serving from Disney. With the countless Marvel movies and shows the studio has released, one would assume that the franchise would follow the same format, and just work on expanding their universe. Instead, they decided to throw a curveball and bring back something that would not only spark nostalgia in Gen X’ers and Millennials but also give younger X-Men fans something fresh and fun (that isn’t tied to the MCU). 

As for James Gunn, if he were to recreate Justice League Unlimited, he likely would be met with scrutiny for it for a variety of reasons, including accusations that he is just copying X-Men ‘97’s success and not genuinely making the show for the nostalgia and love many have for it. While he doesn’t say it, there is also the fact that the animated DC series had a solid run and ended on a perfect note.

Based on more recent moves and comments, it’s obvious that the studio executive truly is focusing on new stories and refuses to be dependent on the old stuff or cater to what everyone else wants. Back in 2022, he was quoted saying that DC would be going through an “unavoidable transitional period” via People. And allegedly, it was he who made the controversial move to cut ties with Henry Cavill, whom fans were expecting to see in another Superman movie, though he denied the same. The same goes for Gal Gadot’s canned return as Wonder Woman.

David Corenswet is now Clark Kent/Superman in a revamped storyline. There’s no news yet about a new Wonder Woman, but when there is one, the person will most likely be introduced to a fresh take on the Amazonian warrior.

Gunn’s assessment of X-Men ‘97 also confirms that Justice League Unlimited won’t be part of his plans for the DCU anytime soon. Now, there is no need to feel all disappointed since he has been busy with other IPs and working on the stories he is passionate about. The newest Superman will be released next July, which many fans are waiting for anxiously. While the director ended his MCU run on a glowing note, it’s the arrival of the man in the red cape that will decide whether his design for the shaky cinematic world of DC will restore stability to its new run.

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Why is self-proclaimed ‘Martha’ from ‘Baby Reindeer’ calling Richard Gadd a bully? Sun, 28 Apr 2024 15:29:27 +0000 The woman claims to be the actual victim.]]>

The drama-thriller Baby Reindeer has been airing on Netflix for a couple of weeks, and it’s taken the entertainment world by storm. The series depicts the real-life experiences of Richard Gadd — a Scottish writer, actor, and comedian — who also wrote the story and stars in it.

Gadd, who’s now 34, was stalked and sexually assaulted in his twenties. In the show, he plays Donny Dunn, a fictionalized version of himself. Donny is stalked by Martha Scott (played brilliantly by Jessica Gunning), a former lawyer with a criminal past who becomes obsessed with the struggling comedian when he offers her a free cup of tea at his job working in a pub.

It’s a terrifying story that prompted iconic horror author Stephen King to post a frank two-word review on X (formerly Twitter). Those words were “Holy s**t,” which says everything you need to know about the brand-new Netflix offering.

However, in a recent interview with the Daily Mail, the self-proclaimed real-life Martha Scott — who remains anonymous — claims the tables have turned and that she’s now the victim, being bullied by Gadd in his pursuit of fame. She stressed that he is using the show to stalk her.

What is the woman saying?

baby reindeer netflix richard gadd
Image via Netflix

The woman told the British newspaper, “He’s using Baby Reindeer to stalk me now. I’m the victim. He’s written a bloody show about me.”

She claims that aspects of the drama are inaccurate, saying, “I’ve never owned a toy baby reindeer and I wouldn’t have had any conversation with Richard Gadd about a childhood toy either.”

According to the woman, the fictionalized version of her isn’t representative of her appearance, either. She said, “She sort of looks like me after I put on four stone during lockdown, but I’m not actually unattractive.”

A decade ago, over a four-and-a-half-year period, the woman was said to have bombarded Gadd with 41,071 emails, 744 tweets, letters totaling 106 pages, and 350 hours of voicemail messages.

Gadd and Gunning have pleaded with Baby Reindeer fans not to conduct detective work to uncover the woman’s identity after several claimed to have found her on X. Gadd wrote in an Instagram story, “That’s not the point of the show.” He hasn’t addressed the accusations leveled against him by this “Martha” nor has she shared any further comments on the show currently making a killing on the streamer.

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Who was Sonja Christopher, ‘Survivor’s first ever voted off contestant, and what was her cause of death? Sun, 28 Apr 2024 14:37:02 +0000 Thanks for the memories and the laughs, Sonja!]]>

Remember the first time you had to say goodbye to someone on Survivor? It was way back in 2000, and the person with the dubious honor of being the first ever voted-off contestant on the show was Sonja Christopher. Well, sadly, we’re saying goodbye to Sonja for good now.

At 87 years old, she’s passed away, leaving behind a legacy that’s about more than just being the first to hear “the tribe has spoken.” 

Born in Olympia, Washington, Sonja eventually made her way to Walnut Creek, California, where she settled into a life that was anything but ordinary. At 63, she’d already faced her fair share of challenges – a battle with cancer and a breakup that left her feeling like she needed a change. That’s when Survivor came calling.

The lady with the ukulele

Survivor is a reality television show that first premiered in the United States on May 31, 2000. The show is based on a competitive format where a group of contestants are isolated in a remote location, typically a deserted island or a similarly challenging environment. The contestants, referred to as castaways, must fend for themselves by finding food, water, and shelter while competing in various challenges to earn rewards and immunity from elimination.

Sonja’s time on the island was marked by her infectious spirit and her trusty ukulele, which she often played to lift the spirits of her fellow castaways — providing one of the first instances of what would become a Survivor tradition i.e., personal items that tether players to their identities beyond the game. But even more, she showed us that Survivor wasn’t just for the young and that age is just a number. So, it’s never too late to take a chance and do something crazy.

Despite her enthusiasm and the unique charm she brought to the game, Sonja was the first person to be voted out from the show. Her elimination came during the first Tribal Council of the series where the contestants vote to eliminate one of their own until only a few remain.

What happened to Sonja?

Sadly, on April 27, 2024, we learned that Sonja had passed away. Details of how Sonja died are not yet known as her family’s keeping it private.

The news was announced by fellow Survivor contestant Liz Wilcox on Twitter/X, and it quickly spread throughout the community.

Fans and former players alike shared their memories of Sonja, remembering her as a true original and a shining example of what it means to live life to the fullest. Joel Klug, who competed alongside Sonja in Borneo, shared a touching tribute to his former tribemate on Facebook.

“I just learned that Sonja Christopher has passed away… If not for Survivor we would have never crossed paths in life…We kept in touch over the past 25 years and I can honestly say, we never had a negative interaction. She was a funny and exceptionally kind person. We were in touch last month…she said she was doing what we both had experience in, Surviving. She will be missed.”

So, here’s to Sonja, who showed everyone how to play the game with grace, humor, and a whole lot of heart.

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Where is Abby Lee Miller, JoJo Siwa’s famed instructor? Sun, 28 Apr 2024 14:01:27 +0000 In her career as a famous dance instructor, she has been equally admired and hated.]]>

Abby Lee Miller has been a prominent figure in the world of competitive dance for decades. But what happens when the cameras stop rolling and the dance studio lights dim? As it turns out, Abby Lee’s off-screen life has been just as eventful as her time on the show.

Miller’s reputation as a tough-as-nails teacher and choreographer was cemented through her appearances on Dance Moms, where she coached aspiring dancers, including the now-celebrity JoJo Siwa. The show, which ran for eight seasons, showcased Miller’s strict (sometimes openly disliked) teaching methods and her unwavering dedication to pushing her students to their limits. While her approach was often controversial, it undeniably produced results, with many of her students going on to achieve great success in the dance world.

However, life took a dramatic turn for Miller when she found herself embroiled in legal troubles. In 2015, she was indicted on charges of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy assets, and false bankruptcy declarations. These charges stemmed from allegations that Miller had hidden approximately $775,000 of income from her appearances on Dance Moms and related spinoff shows. After a lengthy legal battle, Miller pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison.

As if legal woes weren’t enough, Miller faced a series of health challenges that tested her resilience. In 2018, she underwent emergency spinal surgery after an infection in her spine was detected, post which she was diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

After undergoing chemotherapy and months of rehabilitation, Miller announced that she was cancer-free in May 2019. However, she has been using a wheelchair since her spinal surgery and has been open about her rehabilitation journey.

Despite the hardships she has endured, Miller’s passion for dance remains undiminished. In a reunion special for Dance Moms, many of her former students, including JoJo Siwa and Chloé Lukasiak, gathered to reflect on their experiences. While Miller was notably absent from the event, with some cast members reportedly refusing to participate if she were involved, her impact on the lives of her students is undeniable. JoJo Siwa, in particular, has spoken openly about her close relationship with Miller, mentioning that they communicate weekly and that she considers Miller a significant figure in her life (via People).

Today, Abby Lee Miller continues to be involved in the dance world, although in a different capacity — she is still the head of ALDC (Abby Lee Dance Company) in Los Angeles, where she coaches aspiring performers; she also hosts dance workshops and Zoom events.

While her journey has been far from perfect, it’s a reminder that life is full of unexpected twists and turns. But as Abby Lee herself might say, “Save your tears for the pillow, kid. The show must go on!”

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Why was ‘NCIS Hawai’i’ canceled? Sat, 27 Apr 2024 20:25:30 +0000 The most diverse 'NCIS' spinoff got axed after three seasons.]]>

On April 26, fans of the procedural crime series NCIS: Hawai’i received the bitter news that CBS canceled the show. Hawai’i’ was the fourth title in the iconic NCIS franchise.

NCIS follows a fictional team of special agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a U.S. Navy unit responsible for investigating crimes in the Navy and Marine Corps and working for the security of America, including in terrorism cases and cybersecurity issues. Airing since 2033, NCIS is one of the biggest hits in the history of television, which of course, led CBS to invest in several spinoffs. NCIS: Los Angeles lasted fourteen seasons, airing from 2009 to 2022, reaching a natural end for the story of its special team. On its turn, NCIS: New Orleans aired for seven seasons between 2014 and 2020 – still a good run for a TV show.

Unfortunately, NCIS: Hawai’i joined the CBS cemetery after only three seasons.

NCIS Hawai’i failed to bring the same audience as its sibling series

CBS didn’t provide any official statement explaining why NCIS: Hawai’i got canned. However, we can make an informed guess based on the series ratings.

While the procedural drama still managed to grab the attention of millions of viewers, NCIS: Hawai’i‘s ratings were still below those of the main series and the previous spinoffs, according to the Nielsen scale. In fact, for the three seasons it aired, NCIS: Hawai’i numbers remained close to the last seasons of NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. So, it’s not exactly a surprise that the spinoff won’t return for a fourth season.

While we can understand CBS’s decision to cancel the show and invest in more profitable spinoffs for the NCIS franchise, it is still a shame that NCIS: Hawai’i won’t return for Season 4. The show was the first entry in the franchise to be led by a woman, i.e., Vanessa Lachey’s Special Agent in Charge, Jane Tennant. The spinoff was also the first chapter in the NCIS franchise to feature an LGBTQ+ agent, Yasmine Al-Bustami’s Lucy Tara. So, as cast member Tori Anderson said, Hawai’i being axed “is a huge loss for representation.”

This cancelation doesn’t mean the franchise is at risk. The mother series, NCIS, got renewed for its 22nd season. Meanwhile, the first international spinoff of the show, NCIS: Sidney, will return for season 2. Finally, a prequel series called NCIS: Origins is in production for a 2024 premiere. Origins will follow the early days of Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the NCIS team, revealing more about the iconic character played by Mark Harmon in the main series. There’s also a spinoff based on Michael Weatherly’s Tony DiNozzo and Cote de Pablo’s Ziva David in early development but concrete information about when or if it will come to CBS has not been revealed.

The series finale of NCIS: Hawai’i premieres on CBS on May 6.

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Will there be ‘Road To Kingdom’ season 2? Sat, 27 Apr 2024 18:43:16 +0000 More special performances in K-pop, please!]]>

Road to Kingdom helped multiple underrated K-pop boy groups reach new levels of success when it first aired in 2020. It’s been years since the first season premiered and with more groups promoting than ever before, it’s about time for another season. 

Before Road to Kingdom, Mnet, the broadcasting company behind shows like Produce 101, released a new reality show called Queendom in 2019. Queendom was different from recent Mnet shows in that it pit established girl groups and artists against each other in exciting live stages. It hearkened back to special stages from circa 2010 (a bygone era by K-pop standards) and gave fans some unique performances to enjoy. Road to Kingdom had a similar premise, but with a caveat; the show featured boy groups who had yet to win on a music show. These lesser-known groups would compete against each other and the winner would go on to compete in Kingdom, which would feature more established boy groups. 

Premiering during the Covid-19 pandemic, Road to Kingdom gave K-pop fans, who were stuck at home, an escape from their woes. It also helped groups like ONF, whose performance of “The ‘We Must Love’” went platinum in my home, and The Boyz, who won the competition, gain new fans and exposure. Surely, Mnet’s not canceling this show? 

Is there going to be a season 2 of Road to Kingdom?

Road to Kingdom will be returning, and soon. In a statement acquired via Soompi, Mnet confirmed plans to air a new season of the show later this year. Aside from a tentative date in late 2024, the show is still in the planning stages so there is no other information at this time. 

The first season featured the groups  ONF, The Boyz, Golden Child, MCND, Pentagon, VERIVERY, and TO1. We can’t wait to see who competes this year! 

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Margot Robbie was spotted with Sarah J. Maas — Are they producing an ‘ACOTAR’ series? Sat, 27 Apr 2024 15:50:46 +0000 Are they just friends or are they plotting something great? ]]>

Margot Robbie reportedly met up with Sarah J. Maas for a recent lunch. Normally two successful women meeting up wouldn’t be news, but speculation over the two teaming up for an ACOTAR adaptation is running rampant. 

Robbie’s been on a producing roll lately; her production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, has been behind some of the best movies and TV (Dollface, Barbie, Saltburn) in recent years. And while LuckyChap has tackled several genres, it has yet to produce anything fantasy. ACOTAR — also known by its full name, A Court of Thorns and Roses — is a perfect candidate for a live-action series. It has faeries, magic, romance, action, and political intrigue. What more could a viewer ask for? 

Is Margot Robbie producing a series for Sarah J. Maas?

As of now, we have no idea if Robbie is working on the ACOTAR series but we sure hope she is. What we do know is that an ACOTAR series is definitely in the works, or at least it was as of Nov. 2023. Showrunner Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander) was last said to be working on a series with Hulu but that’s where our intel stops. 

It’s very possible Robbie’s interested in ACOTAR, but may I remind you, dear reader, that Maas has other books primed and ready for a live-action adaptation? Like, Throne of Glass, is right there, Robbie! Make it happen! Regardless of whether it was a business meeting or two fans meeting to gush over each other’s work, I hope to see more great work from Luckychap Entertainment and Maas in the future.

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What Happened to Rachael Ray? Fri, 26 Apr 2024 20:35:29 +0000 The Emmy Award winning TV Host has been busy since ending her talk show. ]]>

Rachael Ray is not just another TV personality who made things easier for us in the kitchen; she became a piece of pop culture. Her show; simply titled after her name, lasted 17 wonderful seasons. Many of her fans now wonder what she has planned as she becomes one of the first faces of lifestyle and food culture in America.

The Rachael Ray Show now airs in syndication, so check your local listings if you would like to go back and revisit 17 years of the daytime talk show that blended itself with her talents in the kitchen. However, for most of 2023, Ray enjoyed much-deserved time away from the camera. She vacationed on the coast of Italy over Labor Day back in 2023, stating that this was the first time in many years she had the holiday off.

Ray’s heartfelt goodbye from the show didn’t come without the groundwork being laid for what was to come for the television star. In summer 2023, she announced her new production company, Free Food Studios. With this new brand being in the zeitgeist, Rachael Ray has also had her hands in a healthy line of food for pets, cookware, and some meal kits for Home Chef.

Rachael Ray has also been aiding the people of Ukraine over the past few years since the country has been in peril due to the Russian attacks. She has traveled to Ukraine to help teach cooking classes, as well as partnering with brands that send a portion of their earnings to Ukraine to help the people of the country.

If you can’t tell by now, the Emmy Award winner enjoys using her brand to assist people, and in late 2023, she went even a step further. Her new show, which is currently streaming on Hulu, called Rachael Ray’s Rebuild, follows the lives of people who had their homes crumble due to natural disasters or accidents like a house fire, for example. Rachael Ray swoops in to save the day by piecing the home they love back together. The show premiered on October 23, 2023.

It seems that although Rachael Ray is not on television screens Monday through Friday for her daytime talk show, she is still making her presence felt in the world of streaming and behind the scenes for the greater good. Yeah, maybe other chefs who turned into celebrities like Anthony Bourdain took shots at her from time to time, but in the end, she’s just tried to maintain a positive impact on society.

With her iconic voice and her effervescent appearance in front of the camera, Rachael Ray has pressed on even despite some critiques of her personal life. She’s pivoted many times while not losing sight of her brand. That’s why her fans are always eager to see what’s next from her.

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Latest Marvel News: ‘The Marvels’ failed so hard it might’ve killed off Disney Plus plans as Scarlett Johansson’s MCU comeback takes shape Fri, 26 Apr 2024 18:52:23 +0000 Welcome back, ScarJo!]]>

It’s a good thing that Marvel has Deadpool & Wolverine, perhaps its most hyped release since 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, to get fans distracted, because behind the scenes there’s a lot of major restructuring happening when it comes to future plans for the MCU.

Deadpool 3 will no doubt make a killing at the box office this summer, but the last Marvel movie to release was The Marvels, which infamously went down as the worst-performing MCU film of them all. And it’s just possible that its failure was so embarrassing it immediately killed plans for a spinoff.

Monica Rambeau series was reportedly cancelled in the wake of The Marvels bombing

Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau in The Marvels
Image via Marvel Studios

The Marvels‘ post-credits scene was perhaps the most memorable thing about it, as it brought back Kelsey Grammer as Beast. It was also interesting that it was Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau who ended up in the X-Men’s universe not Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel. According to new rumors, that’s because this was supposed to lead into a Photon series set for Disney Plus… However, this is 100% canned now due to the film falling flat. We’ve been assured that Monica’s story will now continue elsewhere, although it’s anyone’s guess where that could be.

Scarlett Johansson’s first MCU project since Black Widow could be a Disney Plus show

Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff wields a weapon while dressed in her White Widow suit in a photo from Black Widow.
Photo via Marvel Studios

Don’t forget, while Marvel no doubt scrambles to tempt Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans into returning to the fold for Avengers: Secret Wars, Scarlett Johansson is already back in bed with the MCU for an upcoming project. The only thing is she’ll be serving as a producer rather than appearing on screen. For the longest time we’ve had literally zero information about the form of this mystery project, but the latest intel indicates that it will be a Disney Plus series. Given Johansson’s name behind it, presumably this show will be set in the Black Widow universe. Maybe it could be some kind of follow-up to Thunderbolts, which features Yelena, Red Guardian, and Taskmaster.

Mahershala Ali needs to get his ice skates on as Wesley Snipes’ Blade could be coming soon

Producer/Actor Mahershala Ali from Apple Original Films' "Swan Song" attends Deadline Contenders Film: New York on December 04, 2021 in New York City.
Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Deadline

Here’s your periodic reminder that Mahershala Ali was announced to be playing Blade in summer 2019… and we still haven’t seen him on screen?! Currently the Blade reboot is scheduled for November 2025 but it’s all but confirmed it’ll get pushed into 2026. Ali might want to hurry up and show his face, though, otherwise he might just be beaten to the punch by Wesley Snipes, who — rumor has it — is in talks to reprise his iconic ’90s role somewhere in the Multiverse Saga. For context, this is like if Tom Holland was cast as Spider-Man in 2016… and then never showed up before Tobey Maguire came back in 2021. What is going on, Kevin?!

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Will there be ‘Heartbreak High’ season 3? Fri, 26 Apr 2024 18:21:53 +0000 Please Netflix… no cancellation shenanigans this time. ]]>

As soon as the credits rolled, fans swarmed social media to demand a third season of Netflix’s Heartbreak High. The show’s frank portrayal about all the harsh realities of adolescence has clearly scored major points among the streaming platform’s audience. But will Heartbreak High’s overwhelming popularity translate into a third season? After all, there’s no way Netflix could leave all these cliffhanger unresolved… right?

Season 2’s reception 

Season 2 of Heartbreak High saw the return of most of the original cast, led by Ayesha Madon, Thomas Weatherall, Chloé Hayden, James Majoos, and more.  During the 8-episode run, the youngsters continued to navigate the trials and tribulations that Hartley High continuously presented. The season also introduced new factions within the school, including Zoe’s “Puriteens” and Spider’s “Cumlords,” adding layers to the already intricate social dynamics of Hartley High. 

At the center of it all is Amerie, played by Madon, who continues her journey of self-discovery and leadership, while also dealing with the mysterious “Bird Psycho,” a faceless character hellbent on returning Amerie to the bottom of Hartley High’s food chain.

Although season 1 received rave reviews, season 2 was fairly polarizing. Nonetheless, the general consensus remains that Heartbreak High is a fresh entry into the teen drama genre, and boasts a strong cast. 

Information about Heartbreak High season 3 

Netflix is yet to officially announce a season 3 renewal for Heartbreak High. However, given the streaming platform’s history of renewing shows based on viewership numbers, fans remain hopeful. The first season’s success led to a swift renewal for a second season, and if the pattern holds, an announcement for season 3 could be expected around May or June, 2024. Altogether, anticipation for the next installment is pretty strong, especially considering the cliffhanger ending of season 2, which left several storylines open for exploration.

What to expect from season 3

While the future of Heartbreak High hangs in the balance, the potential for a third season is ripe with possibilities. Theories abound following the dramatic conclusion of season 2, where Hartley High faced a literal firestorm. Fans have since speculated that the upcoming season could delve deeper into the aftermath of the fire. Other definitive plotlines include: the evolving dynamics of the student body, and the personal growth of Amerie and her friends.

Viewers can also expect to see how the show addresses the departure of key characters, as well as the potential redemption arcs for controversial figures like Anthony Voss. The show’s ability to tackle relevant social issues through the lens of its diverse cast has been one of its strengths, and season 3 is likely to continue this trend. And so, even though the renewal of Heartbreak High for a third season is yet to be confirmed, it’s pretty likely that the show isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

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Why the ‘Shōgun’ season finale is actually great: An evolution of subtle storytelling Fri, 26 Apr 2024 18:03:42 +0000 A perfect ending to a perfect miniseries.]]>

The unconventional ending to Shōgun has left a lot of fans baffled, but only because this historical epic, in a way we’re not quite used to in today’s entertainment landscape, gradually refined the art of subtle storytelling until the season finale brought it to a satisfying climax.

I say what we’re “used to” because Shōgun is not the first of its kind, and nor even the first adaptation of James Clavell’s novel. With these historical dramas, the idea is to capitalize on the political intrigue and use action to fuel audience anticipation and hype.

The show itself certainly gave us enough reason to believe that Lord Toranaga and his perceived enemies were heading towards an inevitable clash. All that talk of “Crimson Sky” and saving the Taiko’s heir from ambitious men, and what we got in the season finale was just a calculated execution of Toranaga’s plans — plans that may have stretched over months, and possibly years.

The Toranaga this show unveiled in its season finale is a far cry from the noble warlord we were led to believe in originally. If anything, Toranaga is not even a warlord. He was never going to fight Ishido and his cronies, because he didn’t need to fight them. Toranaga was a deft political schemer, a Machiavelli of the East, who used his wits and vassals to the full extent of their usefulness to achieve his vision: That of setting up the greatest Shōgunate Japan has ever seen.

Shōgun is not the story of a single man. It’s not about the pilot John Blackthorne, or Toranaga-sama, this honorable chieftain whose mere presence sparks loyalty. Shōgun is the founding of a new era in Japan’s rich history, and the way it is handled within the context of a television show’s narrative is brilliantly reminiscent of Bushido (Samurai’s “Way of the Warrior” code) itself. Because as we’ve come to know, the Japanese are nothing if not subtle.

The man at the top dances to the very rhythm of the wind

via Hulu

Shōgun has been praised for its near-perfect faithfulness to Japan’s culture. The traditions we see played out in each episode are historically accurate, and even the Japanese the cast speaks is a version of the language spoken in the Edo period, and not the one you hear today.

At the same time, Shōgun prides itself in painting a very vivid image of both Bushido and Shinto, which inform the prominent religious and cultural tenets of the Japanese. That isn’t unconventional in and of itself, as many movies and television shows have been intrigued by the notion and tried to portray it to one extent or another in the cinematic medium, but what I find incredibly fascinating about Shōgun in particular is the show’s ability to weave the very essence of Shinto into the plot itself.

For the Shōgun writers’ room, things like Confucian ethics, codes of honor and responsibility, and even starkly brutal concepts like seppuku (ritualistic suicide) aren’t just elements that make up the plot or clutter the show’s runtime. As the show builds towards its finale, these ideas take on a life of their own as archetypes, and overwhelming the plot, they then determine how the story itself is going to play out, unbound by the medium rulebook or the expectations of an unsuspecting audience.

Granted, even James Clavell’s novel ends in a similar manner and only alludes to the era-defining Battle of Sekigahara in an epilogue, but a 1-1 adaptation would not have worked here.

Let’s look at our main characters as exmaples. Shōgun initially portrays John Blackthorne as a vicious scoundrel hell-bent on defeating his Catholic enemies, and Toranaga-sama as an honorable daimyō looking out for the realm’s best interests. By the show’s finale, we learn that Blackthorne is actually a man of conscience, while Toranaga is a ruthless manipulator with no compunctions about who he ends up sacrificing to reach his goal. Even Lord Yabushige, originally coming off as a callous murderer, is no worse a man than Toranaga. He simply isn’t possessing of the same brainpower.

Outwitted and outmatched, the feudal lords of Japan now have to bend the knee to a new Shōgun, with near-limitless power to back up his rule. Shōgun ends with Blackthorne looking up at his liege lord, forsaking any dream of ever leaving Japan, and realizing, just at that moment, the true extent of Toranaga’s keen intellect. The camera then cuts to a medium shot of Toranaga, depicting the warlord (and soon-to-be Shōgun) as he once again reflects on his decisions and tries to “study the wind,” as he told Yabushige. And who can tell what he will come up with next?

Nuanced storytelling should be adopted as the new norm

shogun john blackthorne mariko
Photo via Hulu

Nuanced narrative design goes in the face of transparent storytelling. In one form, you expect the audience to pick up on clues and learn to read the subtle distinctions in the way you set up the mise-en-scène. That could be anything from where characters meet, how their facial expressions change by the moment, and what little dialogue they speak to each other. (A feature further bolstered in Shōgun thanks to the language barrier between Blackthorne and the rest of the characters.)

In the second form, the predominant form of today, every emotion and every little detail or change is spoken out loud, leaving nothing to the audience’s imagination. The second form is overt, more a literary expression than anything cinema could account for, and leaves little room for interpretation.

Now we might ask: What was Shōgun really all about? Well, we know that the series has gained a lot of acclaim and notoriety over the past couple of weeks, but if you were to seriously ask people what made them fall in love with this period drama that came, quite literally, out of nowhere, you might get a plethora of answers, each dissimilar in its own unique way. For some, it may be the historically-accurate sets and accents and clothing. For others, it might be the extremely believable characters. For many, it’s the high-quality, no-nonsense period drama that the medium was lacking in recent years.

Whatever the answer may be, Shōgun is a showcase of nuance in storytelling, which is also what lends it incredible flexibility of interpretation. I’ve seen a lot of commentary on how “they don’t make shows like this anymore,” and our frenzied age of content compels me to agree with that sentiment, but the point of this interlude is ultimately to say that if more shows want to be as successful as Shōgun, then it’s not in the genre or time period or the depiction of one specific culture that they will find deliverance, but through this underappreciated, daring, and often neglected form of storytelling.

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What kind of animal is Knuckles? Fri, 26 Apr 2024 17:36:31 +0000 He's gotten a serious glow-up in his new standalone show, but what inspired him in the first place?]]>

Sonic the Hedgehog has recently taken a backseat as Knuckles officially punches his way to TV stardom.

Now that the fierce character has received his very own miniseries (and trust me, it’s amazing!), Sonic’s former rival and current best friend is finally taking center stage. Just as fans were initially curious about what kind of animal Sonic is, all eyes are now on Knuckles, whose shape and design are quite unique. Just who is this lil hothead, and what kind of animal is he?

Who is Knuckles?

Knuckles is, of course, a fictional character from the long-running Sonic the Hedgehog series and was introduced by Sega in 1994. He made his first appearance in the game Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and has since become a beloved member of the Sonic universe. A miniseries titled Knuckles, which centers on the character of the same name, was officially released on Friday, April 26, with Idris Elba reprising his voice role from the live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movies

Knuckles is known for his strength, tough demeanor, and his role as the guardian of the Master Emerald on Angel Island. He’s often depicted as Sonic’s ally, though the pair has had moments of rivalry, often due to misunderstandings. Knuckles is distinguishable by his red fur, white crescent-shaped markings on his chest, and ability to glide and climb walls using his spiked fists. Beyond his physical appearance and abilities, though, Knuckles embodies relatable characteristics that resonate with fans around the world. He is often portrayed as strong-willed, loyal, and sometimes hot-headed, but has had moments where his lovable, goofy personality shines through.

What animal is Knuckles?

Fans of the video games will have an easy time deciphering what kind of animal Knuckles is. In several installments in the universe, Knuckles is actually referred to as “Knuckles the Echidna.” Unlike Sonic and his speedy allies however, Knuckles possesses a distinctive appearance that reflects his real-life counterpart, the echidna. But, what exactly is an echidna? 

Echidnas are fascinating mammals native to Australia and New Guinea. They belong to the monotreme group of mammals, which means they lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. Echidnas, along with the platypus, are the only surviving monotremes in the world today.

In the Sonic games, Knuckles uses his powerful spiked fists to climb walls and glide effortlessly, and these are traits inspired by the echidna’s natural abilities. However, in the real world, echidnas are known for their solitary and nocturnal nature. They also have a specialized diet consisting mainly of ants and termites, which they capture using their long, sticky tongues. Additionally, they have a keen sense of smell, which helps them locate food in their underground habitats.

While Knuckles shares many physical traits with real life echidnas, he possesses enhanced abilities that make him a formidable and dynamic character in the Sonic series. So the next time you see Knuckles gliding through the air, remember that he is more than just a character… he’s a tribute to an extraordinary animal.

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