If you haven’t seen J.J. Abrams’ TED Talk from March 2007, stop what you’re doing and watch it now. In it, the prolific filmmaker talks about his “mystery box.” When he was young his grandfather Harry Kelvin would take him to a magic store in New York City called Lou Tannen’s Magic. One day his grandfather bought him Tannen’s Mystery Magic Box, a box embossed with a giant question mark filled with $50 worth of magic tricks for the low price of 15 bucks. To this day, Abrams’ mystery box remains sealed and it sits on a shelf in his office at his production company Bad Robot. He reveals his reasons behind not opening it and keeping it after all these years: it represents his grandfather–an important figure in his life–and the notion of infinite possibility.
“…It represents infinite possibility. It represents hope. It represents potential. And what I love about this box, and what I realize I sort of do in whatever it is that I do, is I find myself drawn to infinite possibility and that sense of potential. And I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination… I started to think that maybe there are times when mystery is more important than knowledge.”
Think about to some of Abrams’ most prominent creations. Lost was one giant mystery box full of potential and engrossing enigma. Did we ever really need to know what the Island was or even represented? In the end, no, we did not; Lost was about a group of plane crash survivors finding salvation and hope in each other. Look at Cloverfield; Abrams unleashed an exciting campaign leading up to that monster movie by not revealing what the mysterious otherworldly creature actually looked like. And then there’s the dearly departed Fringe; that show was literally about infinite possibilities and holding onto hope in the worst of times.
Seven years after introducing that box on stage at TED, Abrams is releasing his very own mystery box for you to put up on your shelf. Bad Robot teamed up with Theory 11, an online source for high-grade magic products, to create and produce a handcrafted, wooden Mystery Lockbox. It’s made of 100-year-old reclaimed wood, the lid is iron-branded with the Mystery Box emblem (it’s a giant question mark undoubtedly inspired by Tannen’s box), and each box sold is locked with an alphanumeric combination lock. The Lockbox includes a letterpressed note from J.J. Abrams enclosed in a kraft paper envelope stamped with a black wax seal. The main contents of the box are 12 decks of Mystery Box Playing Cards and each deck is individually wrapped in letterpressed kraft paper. Art direction for the box and deck of cards are by Abrams and Theory 11′s Jonathan Bayme.
The Lockbox with the letter and 12 decks of cards is on sale now for $149.95. The cards are also sold separately at $9.95 per deck. Bad Robot will donate $1 per deck purchased to 826 National, a non-profit dedicated to promoting creative writing in schools and workshops around the America.
Now the decision remains: do you open the box or do you remain inspired by the mystery inside like Abrams does with his? Abrams, in his letter to Mystery Box owners, puts it like this: “The choice to open the box, or not, is yours.” (Click here for more…)
Sarah confronts Rachel. Cosima battles a sickness. Alison gets abducted. And Rachel gives Paul an ultimatum.
Orphan Black returns with new episodes April 19 on BBC America, and the addicting clone fest starring Tatiana Maslany gets teased in not one but four clips embedded here. One up top, the other three after the break. Enjoy, Clone Clubers. (Click here for more…)
It was originally imagined to be an EP to bridge the gap between Indicud and 2015′s Man on the Moon III but somewhere Kid Cudi decided to turn it into a full-fledged new album; Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon released digitally on Tuesday, February 25 comprised of 10 tracks. Cudder produced the entire album with help from his WZRD collaborator Dot da Genius. R&B musician Raphael Saadiq is the sole feature artist on the record. Even though it morphed into a full-length album, Satellite Flight still fits in place like puzzle piece in Cudi’s discography; it resumes where Indicud left off and it teases the third and final chapter of the MOTM trilogy. Download Satellite Flight at iTunes today. Alternatively, you can wait until Cudi drops the physical album in stores which he teases will include additional bonus tracks currently not for sale digitally. There is no street date for the physical release but signs point towards later this month.
Kid Cudi is on fire right now. In addition to releasing fourth studio album, Scott Mescudi stars in Need for Speed alongside Aaron Paul (which hits theatres March 14) and it was recently announced that he will star as Ari Gold’s new assistant in the upcoming Entourage movie. Catch up with Cudi in this extensive Complex interview that came out late last month.
Coldplay fans are due a new album. Their last album, Mylo Xyloto, released way back in 2011. And if you look at their release track record, they’ve drop a new album every three years starting with their splendid sophomore effort A Rush of the Blood to the Head (2002). So we’ve made it to 2014 and whatddya know–Coldplay leaks out a new single called “Midnight” with an accompanying music video (see above). The song’s lyrics are quite simple; what’s most (for lack of a better term) fascinating about the track is its synthy sound and how much it resembles another artist who goes by Bon Iver. In “Midnight” Coldplay frontman Chris Martin plays around with his vocals using a vocoder and there’s no denying the similarity to Justin Vernon’s performance style. That said, the song represents Coldplay’s continued journey into pop-rock experimentation following 2008′s Viva la Vida and Mylo Xyloto. If you are a fan of those releases then it would appear you’ll be totally into what Coldplay has in store next. If you reminisce about the “Clocks” and “Yellow” days then this might not be your cup of tea. Regardless, Coldplay is readying new music and you best be prepared so mash play and vibe out to their latest visual featuring trippy negative imagery.
Update (3/3): We now have confirmation that Coldplay is indeed releasing a sixth studio album called Ghost Stories and “Midnight” is a track plucked from it. However, it is not the official lead single; “Magic” has the honor of being that track and you can hear the soft tune after the break. Ghost Stories, out May 19, is available to preorder at iTunes today and a Target-exclusive physical CD will include three bonus tracks. The album cover and tracklist are also after the jump. (Click here for more…)
A couple months after dropping a teaser, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have released the first full-blown trailer for the upcoming reboot Godzilla. As is a trailer’s nature, it’s certainly bolder and more revealing than the preceding teaser, plus it’s got a whole lot more of Bryan Cranston.
Godzilla roars into theatres May 14.
Save the cheerleader, save the world. But it didn’t stop there…
Like FOX is doing with 24, NBC is bringing back one its most popular and lucrative series back to the air with Heroes: Reborn. And just like 24: Live Another Day, Heroes: Reborn is being labeled as an “event series” that will produce 13 episodes for a shorter-than-normal broadcast season. Mostly everything is being kept under wraps for now; all we know is that the new season of Heroes will be shepherded by series creator and executive producer Tim Kring and it will tell a brand-new standalone story-arc with new characters. NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke shares that existing characters introduced during the show’s original four season run may show up in the revival; her statement in full:
“The enormous impact Heroes had on the television landscape when it first launched in 2006 was eye-opening. Shows with that kind of resonance don’t come around often and we thought it was time for another installment. We’re thrilled that visionary creator Tim Kring was as excited about jumping back into this show as we were and we look forward to all the new textures and layers Tim plans to add to his original concept. Until we get closer to air in 2015, the show will be appropriately shrouded in secrecy, but we won’t rule out the possibility of some of the show’s original cast members popping back in.”
Heroes, an imaginative series about ordinary people who discover they have superhuman abilities, premiered to much fan-fare in 2006. Viewership was high and so was critical acclaim. Watching ordinary people like Peter Petrelli, Mohinder Suresh, Hiro Nakamura, Niki Sanders, and Claire Bennet discover their respective abilities and eventually all coming together to work towards a common goal of destroying the compelling villain Sylar was more than entertaining to watch. While many shows suffer from growing pains in their first seasons on air, Heroes managed to shine creatively from the get-go; in my opinion Heroes season 1 is one of the best premiere seasons of any show out there. Unfortunately, things went quickly downhill from there; though season 2 is manageable the plot and the characters get seriously bogged down in season 3 and if I’m being honest I’ve never even felt compelled to watch the fourth and (then) final season. Without getting into the nitty gritty details of it all the show simply lost itself creatively and the Heroes introduced in season 1 started to feel tired and without the same purpose they shared across the brilliant first 23 episodes. The original idea behind Heroes was to intro a new crop of characters to follow each season, but following Sylar’s quick getaway at the end of season 1 it was decided that our Heroes were here to stay. Though fans of the series may be divided on the return of the show, perhaps we can all have some faith that a new series reborn featuring all-new Heroes might finally inject some excitement and fresh storylines into a show that once carried incredible potential.
NBC aired a brief 21-second promo announcing Heroes Reborn during the Olympics on Saturday and you can watch it after the break. It teases a 2015 launch, and fans can also look forward to a digital web series that plans to introduce the new characters before the show premieres in earnest. (Click here for more…)
Seth Meyers said goodbye to Saturday Night Live on February 1 and tomorrow, February 24, he takes over Late Night with his very own show. To celebrate Seth, his fellow SNL cast members and Weekend Update writers said their farewells and reminisced about the good times they had working with the former cast member, Weekend Update anchor, and head writer. Seth will certainly be missed, but if there’s anything to glean from this video it’s that Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett are a comedic force to be reckoned with.
Hideo Kojima’s next installment in the Metal Gear franchise arrives next month, so Kojima Productions is giving gamers a closer look at the new title that’s coming to next-gen consoles (namely Xbox One and PS4) as well as their predecessors (Xbox 360 and PS3). The video embedded above shows how Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will look on all four consoles. Graphics are stunning on the next-gen platforms, of course, but this clip is absolute proof that last-gen hardware still has much life left in it. Take a look for yourself.
Note: The Xbox One version of the game runs at 720p while the PS4′s runs at 1080p; they both, however, run at 60 frames-per-second. As for last-gen hardware, the game runs at 720p and 30fps on both. View screenshot comparisons here.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes releases on all aforementioned platforms March 18.
Behold, the very first trailer for James Gunn’s Marvel superhero movie Guardians of the Galaxy. The ragtag team of space misfits includes Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill (aka Star-Lord), Zoe Saldana’s Gamora, a raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), Drax the Destroyer (played by wrestler Dave Bautista), and a giant tree named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). Quill is the main attraction in this first look at the flick; he steals a mysterious orb in the opening shots and there’s no denying an Indiana Jones vibe. Gunn, the man behind Slither and Super, feels at home here. It’s an epic adventure in space but the director isn’t taking it all too seriously. Though the trailer contains plenty of high stakes action, the majority of it is quite humorous and light in nature. It may turn out to be a very polarizing initial glimpse at Marvel’s (potentially) next big franchise, but in my opinion it really works. If there’s anything we learned from the Iron Man movies it’s that action plus humor equals success. Also, there’s a freaking gun-toting raccoon for Pete’s sake.
Guardians of the Galaxy releases August 1.
Update: Jump after the break to watch character vignettes focusing on each member of the GOTG. Though brief, you will catch glimpses of behind-the-scenes footage and in Rocket’s you get to see Bradley Cooper provide his voice! At the bottom of the page you’ll a new, cheeky poster, too. (Click here for more…)
That’s no typo. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue the zine is plastering not one but three models on the cover this year. They are Nina Agdal, Lily Aldridge, and Chrissy Teigen. Agdal, 21, first splashed onto the SI Swimsuit scene in 2012; Aldridge, 28, is a Victoria’s Secret “Angel” and this is her rookie year as a Swimsuit Issue model; and Teigen, 28, who recently married R&B singer John Legend, has been featuring in the Issue since 2010. After ogling the cover above, click the respective links above to “get to know” these bombshells better and a video sits below the break.
We are less than two months out from the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones. To help pass the time between now and then, watch this nearly 15-minute featurette that is a behind-the-scenes preview of the upcoming season. You’ll hear from EPs David Benioff and D. B. Weiss as well as the majority of the expansive cast. The stars answer fan questions and a new character, Oberyn Martell, is discussed. You’ll also get an inside look at King Joffrey’s wedding to Margaery Tyrell. A few choice quotes follow.
Fans of Tyrion, beware: ”This is definitely the most dangerous season for Tyrion. It seems like almost every episode he’s in jeopardy of getting his head removed from his shoulders,” warns Benioff.
Benioff on Danyrs’ dragons: “With each season they grow and become more dangerous,” he says. And now? “They’re not babies anymore.”
How does season 4 compare to previous ones? “It’s more thrilling throughout than season 3 was,” says Jon Snow’s portrayer Kit Harington. “There are more climactic events in season 4 than there ever have been before,” shares Weiss. And Benioff adds, “Some of the most shocking and mindblowing scenes of the entire series come at the end of this coming season.”
Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 6.
Levitation, telekinesis, the ability to control nature, see the future… since she was born, Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has had gifts she could neither fully understand nor control. But now that she is 10 years old, her powers have become stronger and the threat from malevolent forces that would use her abilities to control the world has grown more dangerous. With her life and future in jeopardy, Bo’s protector, Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo, The Chicago Code), turns to an unlikely source to keep her safe – Tate (Jake McLaughlin, Crash), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate who’s lost his will.
Tate and Bo begin an extraordinary journey, one in which trust must be earned. On the run and traveling from city to city, every place they stop and everyone they meet will be changed forever. But they’ll have to keep going to stay one step ahead of the sinister forces after Bo’s power… because it will take a miracle to keep them safe forever.
That’s how NBC sets up Believe, the latest series from J.J. Abrams–the creative mind behind Lost, Fringe, and Person of Interest. Joining Abrams behind the scenes is Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón who serves as executive producer and director of the pilot episode.
Get acquainted with the cast and auspicious behind Believe in the clip embedded above. The exciting opening sequence brilliantly executed by Cuarón is on display and you’ll hear from him, Abrams, and some of the stars. “It, to me, was one of those great opening scenes that, when Alfonso described it, I had that sense of, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not changing the channel until I know exactly what’s going on,” gushes Abrams.
Believe premieres March 10. Watch a sneak-peek trailer after the break. (Click here for more…)
If you’ve managed to binge all the way through House of Cards season 2 this weekend then you were sent off with some exciting news. The second season of another Netflix-exclusive hit series, Orange is the New Black, now has a launch date. A title card at the end of the 13th episode of HOC exposed the date: OITNB returns with 13 new episodes this summer on June 6. Watch a brief teaser above featuring flashes of some of your favorite Litchfield Prison inmates. After her nasty outrage at the end of season one, it looks like Piper Chapman won’t be getting out of there any time soon. Hooray for us.
Some of literature’s most terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and iconic figures from the novel Dracula are lurking in the darkest corners of Victorian London. PENNY DREADFUL is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together these classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama.
That’s the current logline for Showtime’s upcoming psychosexual horror drama Penny Dreadful starring Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor), Eva Green (Casino Royale), Billie Piper (Doctor Who), and Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights). The 8-episode series hails from James Bond filmmakers John Logan and Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road).
There will be blood, and sex and scares. Watch the first trailer for Penny Dreadful above, and jump after the break to screen previously released teasers. It premieres May 11. (Click here for more…)
Horrible fans, here’s a quick update for you on the status of the return of his Horribleness. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, songwriter Jed Whedon perpetuated the notion that a sequel to the highly lauded Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is still most definitely in the works.
We know we have spoken publicly about a sequel in the near distance and our passion to create it, and I promise we have not been insincere. Horrible is still one of our favorite creations by humans who were also us. We have many songs written and the plot outlined, but needless to say, we’ve been busy. Joss has had a hectic couple of years and is in the middle of the busiest year of his life, as is Zack and as are we. Also the actors have other things they’re acting in, I think. So the future is uncertain, our passion remains. DH2 will exist, in some format or another, at some point in the future. Unfortunately, the when is still unclear.
It simply hasn’t happened yet because all those involved are busy these days: Neil Patrick Harris stars in CBS’s How I Met Your Mother and pops up as hosts of award shows and in the movies quite often these days; Nathan Fillion is enjoying a very popular season of Castle; Felicia Day is running her YouTube channel Geek & Sundry; Jed and his wife Maurissa Tancharoen are showrunning ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Jed’s brother Zack is involved with Sundance’s upcoming drama The Red Road; and the eldest Whedon brother Joss, of course, is steering the Marvel Cinematic Universe and working on the Avengers sequel.
In closing, it’s not a matter of if but when. So keep your head up, Billy buddy.
If you flipped on your Xbox One over the weekend then you were privy to the console very first significant update. Though the majority of new improvements are under-the-hood (namely stability and bug fixes), users will notice a few changes in appearance and functionality. A tiny yet welcome addition to the home screen is a battery indicator letting you know how much juice is left in your controller; if you don’t see it simply tap the Xbox button on your pad and it’ll reveal itself. Additionally, the My games & apps section has been updated and organized separating installed games and apps into respective folders. You can now “manage” games and apps; you can view how much space they take up and delete them from you console if you so choose. Also, users can see exactly how much space they have remaining on their HDDs. A download queue is also located inside the My games & apps section; you can pick the order in which you want your content to load from there. Lastly, the One now works with any USB keyboard–browsing with Internet Explorer just got a lot easier. Jump after the break for the full update breakdown.
The update rolled out to Xbox One owners over the weekend. If you have the “Instant On” feature enabled then your console will automatically download the update while it’s in sleep mode. If you turned that feature off then you’ll be prompted to download and install the update the next time you boot up.
Microsoft says this is phase one of a two part update coming to Xbox One. The next update will roll out in March and it promises improvements to the multiplayer and party systems. Stick it here to find out when it drops.
Sonic the Hedgehog is racing back into the limelight with a new video game, animated TV series, and a fresh toy line. It’s all being introduced under a new Sonic brand called Sonic Boom.
The game is being developed by Big Red Button Entertainment and Sanzaru Games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, respectively, in collaboration with Team Sonic. According to a blog post, the game will “introduce exploration, combat and a new Enerbeam tether mechanic that will allow the Sonic Boom world to be discovered in totally unique ways.” A launch date for the title has not been announced yet.
The game serves as a prequel to the TV series which is also called Sonic Boom and is being co-produced by SEGA of America Inc. and OuiDO! Productions. The CG show is described as “an ensemble comedy consisting of 52 x 11-minute standalone episodes packed full of high-adrenaline action. Every episode starts from a small character-driven story and explodes into an epic tale of saving the world, robot battles and more.” Sonic Boom is schedule to premiere during the during the 2014/15 season on Cartoon Network.
The Sonic Boom franchise features classic characters like Tails, Knuckles, and Doctor Eggman but with a twist; their physical attributes have been updated–as you can see in the image above Knuckles has bulked up quite a bit and Sonic wears a brown scarf around his neck. Toy partner TOMY “will develop a comprehensive toy range across a broad number of categories including plush, action figures, RC, role play, vehicles and novelty.”
Sega’s John Cheng commented on the latest Sonic revival: “We want to ensure that the Sonic brand continues to evolve and appeal to new generations of Sonic fans and this different look introduces a fresh approach that will be at once both familiar and new to consumers. We are committed to supporting this initiative to provide great entertainment to fans for all aspects of their lives.”
Check out clips from the upcoming game and TV series after the break. The title looks extremely engaging and I’m excited to see how the development teams tap into the unique Wii U GamePad and 3DS’ functionality repertoire to control Sonic and friends. The show looks like a ton of fun. Scroll to the bottom of this page to view concept art from the game and the show.
Bill Gates. Steve Ballmer. Satya Nadella. On February 4 Microsoft appointed its third CEO in its 40+ year history. Under Ballmer’s management, Microsoft couldn’t compete with the likes of Apple and Google on the mobile front (Windows Phone is in a distant third place in terms of adoption rate behind Android and iOS) and Windows 8 could not surge the waning sales of PCs. Additionally, Microsoft’s tablet entry the Surface didn’t make waves when it hit the market; Apple’s iPad and the many Android powered slates continue to dominate the field. So this past summer the enthusiastic Ballmer announced his retirement from the company after 33 years and over a five-month period Microsoft vetted various industry players to take over the coveted top position and in the end Mr. Nadella was named company Chief Executive Officer.
Nadella is no stranger to Microsoft; in fact he’s been with the company since 1992. As Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group he oversaw the company’s move to the cloud and the development of massive cloud infrastructures supporting Bing, Xbox, Office and other services. Nadella, 46, was born in Hyderabad, India; like Bill Gates he has a background in computer science, and like Ballmer he also has a business background.
“During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” said Gates in a press statement. “Satya is a proven leader with hard-core engineering skills, business vision and the ability to bring people together. His vision for how technology will be used and experienced around the world is exactly what Microsoft needs as the company enters its next chapter of expanded product innovation and growth.”
“Microsoft is one of those rare companies to have truly revolutionized the world through technology, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been chosen to lead the company,” Nadella said. “The opportunity ahead for Microsoft is vast, but to seize it, we must focus clearly, move faster and continue to transform. A big part of my job is to accelerate our ability to bring innovative products to our customers more quickly.”
In addition to naming Nadella CEO, Microsoft also announced that Bill Gates, previously Chairman of the Board of Directors, will assume “a new role on the Board as Founder and Technology Advisor, and will devote more time to the company, supporting Nadella in shaping technology and product direction.”
Jump after the break to watch Gates welcome Nadella as the new CEO and get to know Nadella in a brief interview clip. Click here to learn more about MSFT’s new CEO.