Arts and Culture quiz of the week!

What to expect on the Small Screen

With so many shows out now and coming soon, here is a brief rundown of some of the television to look out for.

 

 

Watchmen

Where: Sky/HBO

When: Out Now (new episodes weekly)

Set in the dystopian comic universe published by DC Comics, Watchmen (2019) tells a new story, acting as a sequel to the original graphic novel. Starring Regina King, Don Johnson and Tim Blake Nelson.

 

 

Living With Yourself

Where: Netflix

When: Out Now

This comedy follows the story of Miles Elliot who, after going through an unusual treatment in the hope of enjoying life again, discovers that he has been replaced by an identical clone. Starring Paul Rudd, Paul Rudd, and Aisling Bea.

 

 

Bojack Horseman (Season 6)

Where: Netflix

When: October 25th

Returning for its final season, with part one being released this month, the titular horseman has gone to rehab in hopes to make up for the mistakes of his past. This zany and dark animated dramedy stars the voice talent of Will Arnett , Alison Brie and Paul F. Tompkins.

 

 

The Crown (Season 3)

Where: Netflix

When: November 17

This historical drama returns for its 3rd season with Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies taking over the roles as the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh respectively. This season will be set between the years of 1964 – 76, with Prince Charles and Camilla being a central focus.

 

 

Rick and Morty (Season 4)

Where: Adult Swim

When: November 10 (new episodes weekly) (UK Dates TBC)

Expect more sci-fi hijinxs with Rick and Morty’s 4th season featuring dragons, space snakes and Morty going insane – standard fare for Dan Harmon’s bizarre comedy. Featuring the voice talent of Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell and Spenser Grammer.

 

 

 

Entertainment review: March 8th

Liam Mackay and Olivia Hill round up this week’s entertainment news. Topics include the new Game of Thrones season 8 trailer and the latest releases.

Review: Derry Girls

The girls from Derry are back, and they might be even better than the first time around.

This week, over a year from when it first appeared on our screens, saw Lisa McGee‘s Derry Girls return to Channel 4.

Set in 1995, the Troubles serve as a grim background to the girls’ – and James’ – antics as they navigate their teenage years. Reintroducing Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), our narrator, as she lies in the bathtub revives the comedic value these characters created in the previous season. Orla (Louisa Harland) walking in, and interrupting Erin’s imaginary interview with Terry Wogan, mirrors the first glimpse we had of Derry Girls – Orla reading Erin’s diary.

derry girls

The girls and James set off on an outward-bound weekend with the Londonderry Boys Academy (Credit: Channel 4)

The rest of the group – Clare (Nicola Coughlan), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), and their wee English fella, James (Dylan Llewellyn) – turn up before they all head out on their trip to “make friends across the barricade” with the Londonderry Boys Academy. Despite claims that the weekend away is all about “doing it for peace”, they all have their own motivations for bonding with the Protestant boys. Erin and Michelle want to experience the “moves” of boys who aren’t James – and James just wants friends who aren’t girls.

The outward-bound weekend gets off to a rocky start with the return of Father Peter (and his beautiful hair) who’s all too keen to lead a few workshops. He asks the group, “What do Protestants and Catholics have in common?” Obviously, he isn’t expecting differences – and only differences – to be shouted by the teens.

“Protestants keep toasters in cupboards.” “Protestants are taller.” “Catholics have more freckles.” And of course, Orla’s contribution into the chaos: “Protestants hate Abba.”

It’s not long before the Differences board is crammed full with many more of these quirky accusations. This scene is a hilarious. It’s absurd and witty, but there’s a few true issues hiding in there. McGee does something amazing with the humour of Derry Girls – she shows the Troubles through the lighter, and almost naive, perspective of teenagers.

Of course, it is only when darkness falls that the true motivation behind the girls’ decision to “make friends across the barricade” comes out in full force. They, and James, ambush the dormitory of a Londonderry group with music, drinks and that keen teenager’s belief that an epic party is about to take place.

It’s predictable that things do not go to plan. Orla and James end up overly latching on to their buddy, Clare tries to one-up goody-goody Jenny Joyce by going from workshop buddy to fully fledged Catholic-Protestant friends, Michelle finds out what her Londonderry boy’s bracelet means, and Erin…

Well, Erin fails at flirting with Dee, her Londonderry buddy – so much so that he thinks she was having a breakdown. It’s clear Erin still has a lot to learn.

The morning after the night before sees Clare dangling off a cliff edge, screaming that her buddy is “a fenian-hating madman”. As it turns out, the boy is deaf in one ear – and it isn’t Catholics he hates, it’s athletes. This causes a full-on fist fight between the boys and the girls, with Our Lady’s Sister Michael and Londonderry Academy’s Ms Taylor watching on as Father Peter tries to break the fight up. Only when the parents are called does Erin finally realise what they all have in common, and adds it to the Similarities board – they all have interfering parents.

And this is only the comeback from our favourite girls (and James – is it wrong if I just group him in with the girls?). Season two, if episode one is anything to go by, will be the craic.

Episode two will be aired on Channel 4 Tuesday at 21:15, and you can catch up on season one and the first episode of season two here.

EN4 News Movie and TV Round-up

Liam Mackay and Olivia Hill round up this week’s entertainment news. Topics include the Oscars and the latest movie releases.

For more discussion on the Oscars, check out our Oscars reflection podcast here.

You can also check out Michaella Wheatley’s review of Fighting with my Family, or Olivia Hill’s review of Netflix’s Paddleton.

Netflix Vs YouTube: The battle for online views

bird-box-wide

Netflix Original Bird Box was watched by 80 million households in its first month. Image: Netflix

Netflix released their earnings report last night, and the most interesting part of it is where they say that they have lost most of their viewership to people watching Fortnite on YouTube, rather than HBO or Hulu. 

Netflix’s quarterly earnings report revealed a bright future for the streaming giant, with Netflix having more than 139 million paying subscribers, adding another 8.8 million over the past three months.

Netflix claims it owes its success to Netflix Originals. Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock,  was watched by 80 million households in its first four weeks after release and Elite, a Spanish drama, was watched in 20 million households within its first four weeks as well. Analysts have estimated that Netflix spent $13 billion on original productions over the past year, and Netflix says that their spending is likely to increase.

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix addressed its competition, saying that it isn’t concerned about rival streaming services such as Disney+ or Amazon Prime, but are trying to win against all entertainment options. They said: “we compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO.”

Netflix added that “when YouTube went down globally for a few minutes in October, our viewing and signups spiked for that time.”

It is no surprise that Netflix feels threatened by YouTube — the Google-owned website rakes in amazingly high watch times, with over 1 billion hours of YouTube being watched every day. This is more than Netflix and Facebook Video combined.

We know that Netflix creates award-winning original content, so why does YouTube give Netflix so much competition?

YouTube is available in 80 languages, which is 95% of the online population and is free to use. Although there are advertisements on YouTube, it does have a premium service that removes ads. YouTube Premium costs £11.99 a month and the price of Netflix in the UK ranges from £5.99-£9.99 a month. YouTube premium is more costly, and in my opinion, the benefits of a subscription do not come close to what Netflix offers. This, however, does not change the fact that standard YouTube comes free.

Although the premise of YouTube is that anyone can upload essentially any video they want, the quality of these videos has increased dramatically. Expertly made documentaries, groundbreaking journalism and hilarious comedy sketches are becoming more and more frequent on the site. The average length for a YouTube video is only around 10 minutes long so a user can ‘dip in and dip out’ with little to no commitment, while most shows on Netflix have 30-60 minute long episodes.

The video creator, the ‘YouTuber,’ has become a phenomenon in itself. These YouTubers have become celebrities in their own right, some earning way above the average salary. People can identify with them because almost all YouTube channels began from humble beginnings, and they have achieved success from little more than hard work and commitment.

PewDiePie

YouTuber PewDiePie currently has over 81 million subscribers, currently the most-followed creator on the website.

A testament to YouTube’s popularity is the Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie, who has more than 81 million subscribers. Although subscribing to a channel on YouTube is free, it is still worth considering that one man has over half the number of subscribers as Netflix.

Netflix also mentioned Fortnite as a competitor, a video game that has achieved stunning and rapid success in the last year. Fortnite has streamers (people who stream themselves playing games to a live audience) and is increasing in popularity incredibly fast. Tyler Blevins, or ‘Ninja,’ became the first person to achieve five million followers on Twitch, and he also has over 250,000 paid subscribers on his channel. It is no wonder that Fortnite caused Netflix concern, it was a totally unexpected phenomenon.

Although YouTube may be causing Netflix’s numbers to drop, I don’t think there is any cause for concern. They both cater to different entertainment needs, and I can’t see one putting the other out of business. There will always be a place in the market for television shows and films, and nobody can predict how YouTube will continue to grow in popularity – but I am certain that the two can co-exist in a world where online content is essentially endless.

 

 

Jessica Jones – A mixing pot of neo-noir mystery and female empowerment

Kirsten Ritter as Jessica Jones Image Credit: Netflix

Arguably the best of Netflix Marvel’s TV returns for a second season- providing a perfect cultural avatar that reflects the outrage and unity of the Post #MeToo world.

The second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones was released last week to coincide with National Woman’s day. This happened for a very important reason. IT is a show created for and about woman.

Each of the 13 episodes in the second season was directed by woman and, while Marvel do often have strong female characters in their films and tv shows. This is their first creation with a female lead.

It is no secret that the world of comic books and their mainstream superhero’s has been a male dominated market. All the recent Marvel success’ – Avengers Assemble, Spiderman: Homecoming, Captain America, Thor – all feature men as the main hero, idols of super strength and unatural power.

Scarlett Johansson as Marvel’s Natalia Romanoff ( The Black Widow) Image Credit: Marvel Studios

However the woman in the Marvel universe usually fall within one of two categories.There is the ‘love interest’, or to put it more accurately, the damsel in distress. The classic narrative trope of man saves woman, who seems to get into trouble at every turn. Then there is the ‘flawless’ heroine. With their flawless fight sequences where their hair and make-up are always precise, clad in skin-tight spandex, and always equipped with a sarcastic line or funny quip as a comeback.

It was then that Jessica Jones broke the mold. Jones lives by herself, runs her own private investigator business, and is the very definition of anti-social. A woman dealing with the horrors of her past and is angry being labeled and told what to do by others. Oh and just so happens to have super strength as the result of being experimented on.

Jones is angry at the world. She and those closest to her where victim to many horrendous crimes and injustices. Repeatedly and often brutally committed by mostly men. Jones has been orphaned, raped, exploited, and generally abused by those in positrons of power. Both human and Superhuman in nature.

And it’s the ways she copes, or doesn’t, with her anger, superhuman alcoholism and tendency to rely on her fist to solve her problems that made her an icon. An embodiment of all the emotions in this post #MeToo age.

Kirsten Ritter, the actor who plays Jones, has had many people come up to her with praise for the character.

Real women on the street came up to me in tears because this was the first time they felt represented by the lead; it made them feel so much better about their own traumas,” Ritter says. “Even hearing women saying they were excited to see a badass female character was great: people responded to her in such a huge way.”

The series broaches some serious issues, such as abortion, rape, domestic abuse, and addiction. But it does so with a deft hand. Offering a new perspective on trauma, that even those with power can be rendered defenseless. That these issues can be subject to anyone. It re-writes the victim narrative so that the viewer can begin to understand a fraction of how abuse can affect someone.

Overall the show offers a message of hope and inspiration. Showing the difficulties that survivors face, that opening up can help even though its hard and that most of all , Jones wasn’t to blame. This is all the while fighting her demons, both metaphorically and literal.

Watch the season 2 trailer here:

Oprah Winfrey for President?

Her Golden Globes speech touching upon black and female empowerment went viral so far as to spark hopes of a 2020 presidential bid.

When asked if she would run for president, her partner Stedman Graham said she would “absolutely do it.” 

Oprah has said she would be interested

President Trump responded quickly to the idea: 

Oprah Winfrey has long been celebrated as a strong female role model, hosting her talk show for nearly three decades . She was accepting the lifetime achievement award when she made the speech.

She praised those who have stepped forward with their stories of sexual harassment and promised that ‘a new day is on the horizon’ for women everywhere.

%d bloggers like this: