Took ’em long enough! Today Netflix finally made the inevitable official: Stranger Things will return in 2017 with a second season. The 80s nostalgia-infused sci-fi adventure was the streaming service’s breakout hit of the summer, and it was widely expected that The Duffer Brothers would be given the opportunity to explore Hawkins, Indiana, The Upside Down dimension, and beyond with more episodes. In fact, the new season ups season 1’s episode count by one. And get this–all nine episodes have already been titled and the Duffers included the “chapter” names in the Season 2 announcement video embedded above. Can’t help but wonder about “The Lost Brother!”
Now, as excited as we all are about more Stranger Things in the pipeline, the series will be returning without its short-lived and most beloved character. That’s right, I’m talking about Barb. Poor Barb. Barb, who was kidnapped by The Demogorgon and ultimately swallowed up by the creepy-crawlers of the Upside Down. Or was she…
I’ll just come out and say it: this year’s Super Bowl, commercials and all, was a snoozer. The Big Game, which pitted the Carolina Panthers against the Denver Broncos, was not a very exciting matchup to begin with and unfortunately the players on the field couldn’t manage to muster any memorable moments. Peyton Manning, backed by an impressive defensive unit, ended up beating Cam Newton and the Panthers, 24-10.
The hype, however, remained omnipresent throughout the game. Lady Gaga started things off on the right note with a strikingly beautiful rendition of our National Anthem (watch it here). At halftime, Coldplay stormed the field to play some tunes (new and old), with much needed assistance by Beyoncè and Bruno Mars. Don’t get me wrong–I’m a massive Coldplay fan; they simply didn’t own the night as Queen Bey and her “Formation” ladies and Mars and his “Uptown Funk” gang stole the spotlight. I was looking for Left Shark to make a reprise; turns out he did. Wah wahh.
Despite the relatively boring game and equally lackadaisical commercials (more on those in a moment), a whopping 111.9 million people tuned into the Super Bowl last night. As big as that number is, it’s not a record-breaker. Last year’s SB, in which the New England Patriots triumphed over the Seattle Seahawks, attracted 114.4 million and that game remains the most watched telecast in U.S. history.
Super Bowl 50 also couldn’t live up to last year’s Super Bowl ads. Instead of being funny and relevant, they were trying too hard to “go viral.” A prime example is the bizarre “puppymonkeybaby” as featured in Mountain Dew’s commercial that aired early in the game. It went instantly viral (it remained a top trending topic on Twitter all night), but ultimately failed to capture my imagination–it was just plain stupid. Across the board, this year’s ads simply did not live up to last year’s actually funny, emotional, and sometimes poignant clips. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at my favorite spots all the while keeping in mind that these companies paid $5 million for 30 seconds of fame! READ MORE ‘Super Bowl 50’ commercial & movie trailer round-up inside→
This month, rapper B.o.B (“Nothin’ on You“) made it apparent on Twitter that he truly believes our planet Earth is flat, not round. I’ll give you a second. Okay, moving on. In a series of tweets (you can scour his conspiracy-laden feed here), he could be seen waxing philosophical (I’m stretching the phrase there) on the “mounting evidence” proving we live on a flat planet. “A lot of people are turned off by the phrase “flat earth” … but there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know… grow up,” he tweeted. Things began to escalate when renowned astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil deGrasse Tyson caught wind of B.o.B’s utter nonsense and fired back with his own series of tweets. Of course, these are backed up by actual evidence and you’d think NDT’s involvement would put an end to this. But no, this Twitter beef was only getting started.
B.o.B wasn’t going to go gentle into that good night (Interstellar space reference, boom!) and so he quickly pumped out a new rap called “Flatline” in which he spits, “Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest, they’ll probably write that man one hell of a check.” Yeah, it’s that bad. Anyway, NDT would go on to slam dunk over the rapper again, but this time with a rap of his own! Turns out Neil’s nephew has the acumen to produce a record in-studio, and under the name TYSON he invented a “diss track” aptly called “Flat to Fact.” Against a backdrop featuring the same beat used on Drake’s Meek Mill diss track “Back to Back,” the younger Tyson fired back at B.o.B with amazing verses like, “I’m bringing facts to combat a silly theory because B.o.B’s gotta know the planet is a sphere, chief, woah!” He even had his uncle record some of his original tweets aimed at B.o.B to include in the track. NDT would go on to publicly back his nephew’s swing.
In its latest installment of Honest Trailers, Screen Junkies takes on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and nothing is off limits. It’s true: Captain America: The Winter Solider “literally blew up” the show’s premise by wiping out S.H.I.E.L.D. entirely. [Side note: That being said, the show dramatically got better after it embraced the Marvel Cinematic Universe goings-on.] The “honest trailer” goes on to poke fun at the myriad Marvel superhero name drops, the frequent uses of the words protection and protocol, the wacky holograms, Grant Ward’s redemption indecision, and even the way Coulson walks!
If you’re a fan of the ABC sci-fi drama, it’s pretty much a must-see. You’ll laugh and realize just how silly the show can be when all of these elements are squeezed into one fast-paced clip. It can also be appreciated because at the end of the day, we know that MAoS rather quickly developed into an exhilarating series for its loyal core audience. So enjoy this fun jab, and get ready for its anticipated March 8 return. READ MORE Protect the protocols! ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ gets the Honest Trailers treatment→
Who knew The Walking Dead‘s Ross Marquand (he plays Alexandrian native Aaron) is such a gifted impressionist? Well, if you watch TWD‘s companion after-show Talking Dead, you only glimpsed at his arsenal of celebrity impressions when he teased his take on Matthew McConaughey. Thanks to Vanity Fair, you can now experience Marquand’s remarkably vast range; from Michael Caine to Aaron Paul he nails it. Hear all 17 of his “nano-impressions” in the video embedded above!
Schmoyoho (“accent on the yo“), the musical YouTube troop behind viral sensations like “Auto-Tune the News” and the “Double Rainbow” and “Bed Intruder” songs, is back with their latest autotune-infused single and this one came out right on the heels of President Obama “dropping the mic” at his final State of the Union address. It’s got that classic Schmoyoho charm, from the twisted crowd reactions to the inclusion of a remarkably catchy tune with fun lyrics that remix parts of the President’s speech. The best part? The seamlessly choreographed dancing paired with Speaker Paul Ryan’s absurd facial reactions; watch out for those! Now get it like it’s 1999! READ MORE YouTubers mashup Obama’s SOTU address into fun, catchy tune→
The Norwegian brothers who answered the longing question, “What does the fox say?” and attempted to explain “Stonehenge” are back with a new trancing music video that takes on the a cappella craze that’s still storming the nation (see: Pitch Perfect and its sequel, The Sing-Off, Pentatonix). In it, Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker are members of an a capella group whose apparent sole mission is to stave off bullies by making pit stops along their tour route at schools where children need a helping hand, er, voice. This latest viral parody by Ylvis includes the tried-and-true ingredients they’ve used before: it’s very silly while simultaneously wanting to be somewhat serious as it makes fun of a cappella tropes and takes down bullies in the most non-violent manner possible. Oh, and no surprise here–the song happens to be extremely catchy so I’ll save you a step in finding the tune for keeps. Catch a funny behind-the-scenes look after the break.
Every Halloween Jimmy Kimmel tells parents to prank their children by telling them that mommy and daddy ate all their candy. You’d think that some kids might catch on to this annual, cruel joke. Some do! But for the most part, the joke lands and it lands hard. Turns out children are wired to completely freak out and cry in sadness and anger when they’re told that all of their Halloween candy is gone. Parents and Jimmy Kimmel Live audiences (myself included!) can’t help but belly-laugh at the mere sight of these ridiculous reactions. It’s schadenfreude at its finest, and it never fails to completely and utterly entertain.
Great Scott, we made it! In Back to the Future Part II, Doc Brown and Marty McFly travel to the future, specifically October 21, 2015. And that day is today! No, we don’t have flying cars, but the Cubs are in the playoffs and Biff is running for president! To celebrate this special occasion, check out this BTTF reunion staged by Jimmy Kimmel. Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox return in character for a fun, 10-minute conversation about the present future they arrive in, via Delorean DMC-12, of course. Then, jump after the break to watch Lloyd as Doc once more in a special announcement hyping the Blu-ray trilogy.
In other BTTF news, Nike has announced a followup to its Nike Mag sneaker. Unlike its predecessor, the 2015 Nike Mag will, in fact, feature power laces that lace themselves, just like they do in the movie. As we near the end of 2015, more details are bound to surface so stick it here for when that happens.
Are you a fan of the Internet pranks that truly terrify people in the name of good marketing? Well, today’s your lucky day. I’ve got a juicy one here for you, and it comes from Paramount, the studio behind the Paranormal Activity franchise. To boost awareness for The Ghost Dimension, the sixth and final film in the franchise, PA producer Oren Peli has dropped this highly entertaining prank video that follows unsuspecting house hunters entering the original haunted house featured in the 2007 original film. Peli shared the clip on his Facebook page with the caption, “Can you blame me for selling my house?” Fun fact: Peli, who wrote and directed the first one, shot it in this very San Diego-based home that he owned at the time. Now watch as the open house hauntings make those who enter quake in fear and scream bloody murder.
The next Tonight Show Digital Original sketch is the Empire parody we should have gotten months ago when SNL didn’t quite hit the mark with theirs. This short is nothing short of hysterical.
Jimmy Fallon stars as Lyon patriarch Lucious. His Terrence Howard impression is one of his best to date; he’s got Howard’s shaky voice cadence down to a science. The premise borrows from the Fox soap. Jimmy’s vetting his inner circle to pick his heir to The Tonight Show, or as it’s aptly called here, the “Jimpire.” The late-night talk show host is self-deprecating at the top of the pre-taped sketch–he makes fun of his finger injury that’s seemingly taking forever to heal.
So who are Jimmy’s possible successors? There’s Questlove of The Roots, the Tonight Show‘s bandleader who harbors “a little secret.” Clearly this is a take on Empire‘s Jamal, but the secret isn’t what you think. Roots MC Tariq is another candidate, and he channels Hakeem with some drip-dripitty-drop-ing. Andre, the eldest Lyon, is also accounted for and the sketch has fun with the character’s temperamental mood swings. And finally there’s Tonight Show announcer Steve Higgins playing Higgy, the Cookie sendup here. He’s just as outrageous in the role as you think he’d be, and more.