Technology Talk


If You Aren’t Watching Bates Motel, You are Snoozing

Earlier this year, A&E announced that they renewed their horror drama series Bates Motel for a fourth–and fifth!–season, which is projected to air in 2016 and 2017. This decision made Bates Motel the longest-running original drama to air on A&E in the history of the network. Fans of the show were not surprised by the renewal, nor were most TV fans who have kept up with the reception of Bates Motel by both audiences and critics throughout its three year run (so far).

The premise of the series is fairly simple: it is a prequel to the hit 1960 horror film, Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock; although there is one distinct difference: the film, which was based on a novel of the same name by Robert Bloch, is set in 1960 while the prequel sets events in contemporary times.

The show stars Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates and Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates. Each season explores the growing darkness in both Norman and Norma, who are anything but (excuse the pun) normal. The idea behind the series is to give viewers a glimpse of what happened before the infamous events of the Psycho film and novel: how did Norman Bates become the Norman Bates we know and fear in the Hitchcock film?

In addition to Highmore and Farmiga, who have both earned critical praise and even awards for their performances in the series, the show stars: Max Theirot as Dylan Massatt, an estranged son of Norma who does not appear in the film or the book; Olivia Cooke as Emma Decody, Norman’s best friend who suffers from an illness that ultimately makes Norman fiercely protective of her; Nicola Peltz as Bradley Martin, a classmate of Norman who has a tumultuous relationship with him; Nestor Carbonell as Sheriff Alex Romero, the sheriff of the small town Norma and Norman live in; as well as Kenny Johnson as Caleb Calhoun, Norma’s older brother who knows more about Norman’s psyche than even his own mother.

Bates Motel has a lot to offer viewers, whether they are huge fans of the original Psycho film or book or are simply looking for an interesting drama with a scary spin. If you aren’t yet watching the show, you should really catch up—still need convincing? Let’s take a closer look at some of the best reasons you need to be watching Bates Motel.

Freddie Highmore gives a terrific performance

norman bates

Most people will remember Freddie Highmore in far more innocent performances: he is best known for starring as Charlie Bucket in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as his role in Finding Neverland, a film about the real-life ‘Peter Pan’ author, J.M. Barrie.

Here, Highmore’s role is far more complex—and far more sinister. Highmore gives a terrific performance as the fragile, conflicted and ultimately dangerous Norman Bates, who struggles to come to terms with his dark deeds and conflicting emotions. Highmore has been nominated for numerous awards due to his performance in the show—and each nomination is well deserved.

Vera Farmiga is fantastic as well

bates motel

If there is one actor in the show who can match Freddie Highmore’s performance, it’s Vera Farmiga, who stars as Norman’s mother, Norma. Vera Farmiga’s performance has been so critically recognized that she was even nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance as Norma Bates. Farmiga and Highmore have the perfect chemistry together—which is definitely necessary for the bizarre, inappropriate, and ultimately destructive relationship that the two share. Fans of the film will delight in seeing Vera Farmiga’s interpretation of the younger, but still quite mad, Norma Bates; who must struggle with her own demons while recognizing that her son has darker ones that she could have ever imagined.

It fits perfectly with the Hitchcock film

norma bates mom extraordinaire

Bates Motel isn’t a replacement for the Psycho film, or the book for that matter, nor are they technically considered a “canon” prequel to either version of Psycho. However, Bates Motel plays plenty of homage to the original story and the result is a prequel series that fits perfectly in with the tone, madness and sense of dread that Psycho brought (and still brings!) to the table.

If you’re a fan of the Hitchcock film, you won’t be disappointed by Bates Motel—in fact, you’ll probably get hooked!

The seasons aren’t too long

bates motel kissing

Each season of the show is 10 episodes long, which is perfect for this type of series—it doesn’t introduce a bunch of filler or pointless storylines or characters that go nowhere just to pad out 22 episodes. The ten episode format is perfect for portraying the slow decline and madness of Norma and Norman Bates. And it makes it easier to catch up if you haven’t yet started watching the show!

It’s a bit retro


Some fans were disappointed to learn that the show would not be set in the 1960s, but in the contemporary era. However, the show does maintain a somewhat retro vibe, especially when it comes to Norma and Norman. Both characters dress in a somewhat vintage style, and Norman even dabbles in retro hobbies like listening to record players.

The town is creepy on its own

bates motel norman confusion about sex

Most shows would have set Bates Motel in a quiet, charming town that becomes uprooted by the violent actions of the troubled Norman Bates. Bates Motel, however, doesn’t go with that clichéd route: instead, the seemingly small, innocent town that Norma and Norman move into has its own dark, troubled secrets. The town is in a way a metaphor for Norman’s own psyche: on the surface it appears sweet, charming and friendly, but there is something rippling underneath that façade that bubbles to the surface every so often. This unique take on a “small town” makes the show doubly interesting to watch, and helps keeps viewers on their toes, since they never know what might happen in the town next.


Let’s Pick at American Pickers: Real Or Scripted?

Since its premiere in the summer of 2010, American Pickers has become one of the most popular shows to air on the History Channel—and one of the most popular antique and collectible based shows on television. The premise of the show is fairly simple: the show’s two hosts, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, have a resale shop where they sell various antiques and collectibles that they purchase during “picks.” The “picks” are outings where the pair visit various locations—which include private homes, antique shops, garage sales, and more—and buy items in order to resell them at their shop. In addition to the two hosts, the show frequently features their friend and co-worker Danielle, who is the coordinating assistant for the shop.

American Pickers is just one of many “resale” shows to crop up in the last several years. Shows such as Storage Wars, Thrift Hunters, and of course American Pickers, all seem to follow a similar formula: depict the host or hosts finding items to sell; they occasionally find very rare and collectible pieces as well as the occasional fake or disappointing item to add some drama into the mix.


But just how much of the show is real? American Pickers is a reality show, after all, and numerous exposes on reality TV have shown that producers aren’t afraid to fake everything from drama to storylines and even personalities. Does American Pickers fall under “too good to be true” TV? Let’s take a closer look at some of the aspects of American Pickers that have some reality TV watchdogs looking for the man behind the curtain.

Danielle, Frank and Antiques Archeology

Danielle, who is the ‘smiling face’ behind the desk at the main Antique Archeology store, is a longtime friend of store owner Mike Wolfe. The show doesn’t hide their friendship, but it does muddle the details of when exactly Danielle began working at the store. Danielle did not work at the shop until after The History Channel gave Wolfe the greenlight for the show. Some skeptics have wondered if Danielle even does any work around the shop, since almost all of the footage of Danielle in the shop shows her sitting behind a desk answering or making calls on the phone.

roy williams on american pickers

Likewise, Frank was not Mike’s business partner until after the show was greenlit by The History Channel; before that, he was a fire inspector who sometimes sold antiques and hobby items on the side. They were not longtime “picker friends” who owned the shop together, as the show suggests. Instead, Frank was brought on board as part of the sales pitch, likely since having two hosts with two different personalities makes for more engaging and interesting television.

When Producers Pick

In real life, you could easily stop at an antique store or even a private home (with the owner’s permission, of course!) to “pick” items for your shop. On reality TV, this simple act is more complicated than the show would have people believe. The show depicts the “pickers” learning about interesting ‘pick’ locations from Danielle or other sources, and then going to those locations unannounced in order to look for some sellable items. But there is something that the show does not depict: the producers visiting each location first.

In order for the show to film at any location, the show’s production team must get written consent from the owner and anyone who may be filmed at the location for the show. In other words, no, Frank and Mike don’t just pop by a random location unannounced.

10 cent sodas

The producers also reserve the right to look through each location for items that may be interesting to the show’s hosts. It is unknown whether or not the producers plant items—as the producers from the A&E show Storage Wars have been accused of—but it is very probable that they make sure each location has enough items that Frank and Mike would buy on the show before deciding to include the spot on the program.

High Hopes—and Estimates

Most of the antiques and other finds that Frank and Mike purchase on the show are given an estimate which would make for a pretty valuable return, sometimes as much as more than 200% or more of what they paid! The show also makes it seem like it’s fairly easy for someone with knowledge of antiques to find items for a cheap price that they can turn around and sell for big bucks.

The reality, however, is that many of the items featured on the show simply do not have the resale value that American Pickers would have viewers believe. And, as just about anyone who does make a living selling antiques without the benefit of a TV show, it is much harder than it looks.

american pickers

For example: One of the staple purchases on the show is vintage or antique advertisement signs, usually made from tin. There is a market for these signs, but almost all of them do not have exceptional value unless they are in great condition—which means bright colors and no bends, indents, or other damage. Yet the signs purchased on the show are frequently damaged with missing paint, scratches, bent corners, and are generally in poor to fair condition. One particular sign from the show’s third season was purchased for $250, despite having very obvious damage, and was estimated to sell for $500—yet secondary market values for those types of signs in 2013 did not go above $400 for pristine signs, much less ones with such obvious damage.

The Verdict

American Pickers, like any reality TV show, has elements which are staged by the show’s creative team, producers, and the hosts themselves. The extent of scripted elements on the show is not exactly known; however, we can ascertain that Frank and Danielle’s involvement in the shop was added just for the show, producers definitely scope out locations well before the pickers arrive, and the prices of items featured on the show aren’t always realistic.

The IDEAL TV Plan?

How the hell did we all end up paying for two year contracts for cable in the first place? My roommate John asked me the other day. To be honest, I had no idea. After we cancelled our XFINITY subscription, we decided to look into the stats behind the tv cable business. We broke down the info we found:

  1. Satellite TV provides for 35M Households
  2. Cable TV provides for 48M Households
  3. Phone Companies (U-verse, CenturyLink, FiOS) provide for 7M Households
  4. Millennial Cable Cutters ( YAY! ) 21M Households
  5. Netflix provides for 40M US ONLY Based Consumers (Holly crap, I bet this wasn’t at this rate two years ago.)

After seeing the facts, I started thinking about the specs of a cable package that encompasses all of the needs of its users. The majority of services that we have access to right now are kind of sketchy, or expensive. How is it that for an individual channel on we are being asked to pay  $6? That is a meal out of the month spent on maybe the option to see the new Late Show with Steve Colbert?

The best of streaming services- like Roku, Amazon Prime, and HBOGO- can only stream so many shows at a good quality- and live. Let’s not forget that hour wait after you know all of your friends have seen the new Game Of Thrones episode (no one wants to be that pal that’s ‘so last hour.’) We have grown so sick of the extra monthly fees for set top boxes or DVR, terrible customer service, and overpriced deals and contracts.

With more and more people entering the services we want on demand- just gotta have it, we would need a plan that accommodates to the following:

-No contract, no credit check.

-170 (at least) channels for like $30. Locals included. With our favorite morning weather reports from: ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS.

-A system that supports 5, or more, simultaneous streams per account (compared to the lame Dish Sling that can only stream on 1)

-SPORTS CHANNELS (for suuure)


Basic at $30 (175 Channels)


Destination America
Smithsonian Channel
Discovery Channel
MTV Hits
ABC Family
Discovery en Español
Galavision Cable Service
MTV Jams
Spike TV
Discovery Familia
Game Show Network
Sportsman Channel
American Heroes Channel
Discovery Family Channel
Great American Country
Animal Planet
Discovery Fit & Health
BBC America
Disney Channel
Hallmark Channel
Música y Más


Disney Jr.
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Nat Geo Wild
Big Ten Network
Disney XD
National Geographic
DIY Network
History Channel
History en Español
NBC Sports Network
The Longhorn Network
Nick Jr.
ESPN Classic
Nick Too
CBS Sports Network
Nick Toons
Travel Channel
Trinity Broadcast Network

Investigation Discovery
Outdoor Channel
TV Land
Universal HD


Lifetime Movie Network
Food Network
Lifetime Real Women
PAC 12 Network
Comedy Central
Lifetime Television
Velocity HD
Cooking Channel
Fox Business Channel
Crime & investigation
Fox Deportes
Military History
VH1 Classic Rock
Fox News Channel
Science Channel
VH1 Soul
SEC Network

reasonable price television stream online

 We also want to be able to stream on all of our devices with no restrictions. Those being:

Smart TVs

Streaming media players (roku, chromecast, apple tv)

Our beloved Laptops and desktops (It would be nice to have on Apple Watch as well.)

The Party starters. (Video game consoles. Everything from ps4 to the xbox one, but not disregarding the Wii U, nor the PSPs/Nintendo 3DS)

Our mobile devices, and tablets (Kindle Fire, Ipads, Elipsis 8, etc…)

Blu-Ray Players

We need to be saved from calling mom and dad for the HBOGO passwords. Need to be saved from the hours of waiting to get the satellite stream back up while the storm moves along. We need to  be able to stream what we want, wherever we want it, at a reasonable cost- without worrying about spam, commercials we do not want to see, nor viruses attacking our devices while we are just trying to watch Gilmore Girls for the Nth time.

So where is this pseudo-youtube-like wonder that we would love to have? Nowhere to be found.


UPDATE: We creeped hard on the internet to find it, and we found the people developing this very same plan!!! But because it has not been released yet, we are trying to send out more info directly to the people. Want to see what it is all about? Fill out below!

the future of television


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The Newest Advances in TV Technology

Modern life is different in so many ways to what our parents, and especially our grandparents, new to be life. Even in the past ten to twenty years, we’ve had an explosion of technology, lifestyle changes and interconnectivity – we’ve lived through the rise of the internet. We’ve lived through a massive recession which has altered how the economy works. We’ve seen innovation come and go, and the way we live our lives has changed accordingly.

However, one thing hasn’t changed since the 50’s. The living room is the TV room. The television is a constant in our lives, as it was in our parent’s lives and our grandparent’s lives. Even with the onslaught of alternatives, televisions remain the main piece of furniture in our living rooms.

Yet, the type of TV certainly has shifted. Gone are the massive monitors that took up half a room, which have all been replaced by sleek designs. We have high definition television, smart TV’s that are powerful like computers, computer gaming and 3D TV. For a technology that operates in the same way to those first television sets decades ago, there sure has been a lot of innovation.

It all must have you wondering what’s in store.

This article will give you a rundown of some of the technologies which are brand new, or so new they are still coming to fruition in the year 2015. 

hdr-videoHigh Dynamic Range.

Don’t get high definition confused with High Dynamic Range. One has been with us for a while now, and one is just surfacing on our screens. Televisions with High Dynamic Range are better able to show brightness – meaning darker darks and brighter whites. This makes a huge difference in picture quality. The upgrades from this year are huge in terms of technology – going from 750 to 1000 nits; an increase of one third.


OLED TV’s have crystal-clear pictures. Especially when combined with 4k, which we’ll talk about later. LG lead the way in the manufacture of this type of television, which creates color richness beyond what a normal HDTV can produce. To this point, OLED has not been affordable – but LG seem to have cracked the code of manufacture at an affordable price for consumers, so expect to hear more about this in the near future.

Quantum Dots

Samsung is putting its back behind Quantum Dots as opposed to LG’s OLED above. This will spark a war – as both technologies are different means of attaining the same thing; better pictures with more richness and quality. The quantum dot type of picture production first appeared in 2013 in a Sony television. The technology definitely works, and definitely produces a high quality picture. The war between Samsung and LG will decide which technology is better – but as consumers, a tech war between these two television giants is good for everyone.

More Smart TV stuff.

Smart TV is one of the technologies of the past few years which have yet to realize its potential. It seems that between computers, internet television and gaming consoles, the Smart TV has yet to find its place in the consumers mind. This year, improvements to television web browsing, gaming and more content providers looking to Smart televisions as platforms of their own will likely shift the balance in the direction of making smart TV’s more of a force.

4ktv4k Programming.

If you’re into television and technology, you’ll probably already be aware of 4k television. You might even wonder why it’s made our list – after all, 4k television has already been around for a while, and televisions have it built in. Yet, content providers have been lagging behind for some time. Essentially, the technology is there, the content isn’t. This is now changing, with content providers such as Amazon providing more and more 3D content.

Curved and Bendable Screens

So far, Samsung are the only manufacturers to take the curved screen seriously as relevant new technology. Yet, their insistence that curved screens aren’t just a gimmick means that undoubtedly, other manufacturers will want to see if they can grab a piece of the market share. The next year or so will be a deciding factor as to whether curved screens will be the future, or a relic of history.


Just as content providers are starting to catch up with 4k technology, there exists a new technological high point on the horizon: 8k programming.

Phillips have announced that they will have 8k televisions available to the public by 2016, and LG, Samsung and Sharp are at least level with them, if not ahead – having already shown 8k prototypes at various tech shows previously.

In built gaming

One of the most exciting things about smart TV’s that has yet to manifest is their ability to play games. Whilst Smart TV’s have built-in games, they have been completely outclassed by the various offerings from games consoles. However, this year will see the first Smart TV’s with access to PlayStation Now, the online store which lets you download games. You’ll be able to do this for the first time without owning a console. This will make a huge difference in the technology.

Bigger screens.

Just in case size matters for you, good news: Even bigger screens are on the horizon. Whilst this isn’t a new “feature” per se, the fact that televisions have bigger screens every year, and this trend is continuing, shows that end consumers have the capacity to build their own cinema systems that get ever closer to actual cinemas.

energy-efficient-tvEnergy efficient TV’s

Televisions use a lot of power. They have a relatively huge carbon footprint. So any news about them becoming more energy efficient is to be welcomed. Also, with the range of technologies listed above, television use is going to be ever-more expensive and power-hungry, and so there will be moves by television manufacturers to limit this; after all, the reason plasma televisions never took off was because they couldn’t maintain output at a low power level. With HDR, this will be an area manufacturers need to research.

Will On Demand Services Defeat Traditional TV?

By the 1990s, nearly every household in the country had a television set. Today, nearly every person in the country has a means of streaming video from the internet, and it’s leaving traditional TV users to question whether their monthly subscriptions are worth the cost, or if they should begin to go elsewhere to satisfy their in-home entertainment needs.

The 21st-century has seen a lot of changes in the world of digital, but is that really a threat to traditional TV? Many people think that the end to cable and satellite will be coming in the next few years, but researchers have estimated otherwise.

While typically viewed as two separate sources for movies and television, on-demand services (like Hulu) have long been trying to steal the spotlight from traditional TV providers, and in some ways, they’ve succeeded. Netflix and Hulu offer something that traditional TV hasn’t (or didn’t): on-demand television and movies.


In today’s world where everyone wants instant answers and instant results, there was obviously a need for instant-streaming as well. As soon as the opportunity to instantly stream your favorite shows and movies popped up, millions rushed to the market, but it wasn’t what everyone hoped. Hidden behind the convenience of instant streaming was the fact that the selection was rather small and very outdated. Since services like Netflix were huge competitors against traditional TV, very few networks would sign over the rights to their shows and movies.

Overtime though, Netflix and similar services persevered, and today nearly fifty-percent of all American households are subscribed to Hulu, Netflix, or another online streaming service. The market share is enormous and growing by the day, but the original issue is still present: the selection of these services – while growing – simply isn’t comparable to that of traditional TV.

With so little variety, why would so many Americans say they want to switch? Because the selection of traditional TV comes with one downside: cost. But, even with our frugal society, only 22% of those who say they will drop their cable (or satellite) actually do. This number makes it clear to the industry: selection wins, even if it comes at a slightly more expensive cost.

While some of those who have promised to drop traditional TV have followed through, the market is still devoted to the hundreds of channels and 24/7 always-on availability that traditional TV provides. In fact, researchers found that most of the 47% of American households that are subscribed to on-demand streaming services are also subscribed to traditional TV. This makes one thing clear: people want both the selection of traditional TV and the availability of instant streaming. While the cost of both can quickly rack up, if you choose your services wisely, you’ll be able to have the convenience of movies and shows that can be instantly streamed online, and the wide selection of shows and movies that are always playing thanks to your cable or satellite provider.


Together, on-demand streaming and traditional television satisfies the needs of any household, and many traditional TV providers have already realized the opportunity. Dish and other TV companies have begun offering their own on-demand streaming services that allow subscribers to instantly watch re-runs and the latest episodes of their favorite shows (and, in some cases, movies). This opens up a new door for traditional TV users, as it gives them the convenience of on-demand and the selection their cable/satellite subscription already provides (plus, most companies aren’t charging extra). But with this option, why are so many Americans joining up with other on-demand services?

The battle between on-demand and traditional TV companies has been raging for a few years now, and it’s now seemed to have reached its peak. With many traditional TV providers offering their own on-demand services, and even some networks selling online subscriptions to their channel (like HBO), why do Netflix and Hulu stand a chance? Researchers have three answers: commercials, cost, and originals.

While some services, such as Hulu, are sticking with the traditional television setup with short advertisement breaks, others (like Netflix) are keeping their platforms 100% commercial-free. Obviously, there’s really nothing to dislike about watching TV shows and movies uninterrupted. Along with commercial-free or minimum-commercial viewing comes an affordable price. Most of these services start at just $10 a month. But, users have to remember that this cost also means less selection, unless you count the original productions that are starting to spring up.

Hulu originals, Netflix originals, and even Amazon originals, on-demand platforms found an interesting way to fill the selection gap: original series. And many of them have been rather successful. Researchers say that aside from the factors of cost and less commercials, many subscribers are choosing to sign-up for these services due to the original series that can only watched by users, and it’s proving lucrative for the companies.


While nearly half of American households are signed on to on-demand services, over 80% of all American households are also users of a traditional TV service, leaving researchers to conclude with one solution: traditional and on-demand TV services should be combined for the most customer satisfaction and the best results.

Quantum Dot Technology


Quantum dots also commonly go by the names nanocrystals, QD, or Qdots, and mention of them has been all over CES this past year. They can exhibit quantum mechanical properties because they are very small. Alexey Ekimov was the first person to ever make the discovery of quantum dots. This took place in a glass matrix in the year 1981, and four years later in 1985, Louis E. Brus discovered them in colloidal solutions. Mark Reed was the person who named them “quantum dots.”

Quantum dots have been considered for a myriad of different purposes. A few examples include LEDs, transistors, diode lasers, solar cells, and even medical imaging. They have in fact been around during the 1990s, used then in lighting technology. The release of the Sony XBR X900A series was the first time quantum dots were released commercially. This took place in 2013 when the flat panel televisions were officially released. Recently, in the last couple of years, quantum dots have begun to be utilized by TV makers.


What exactly are these new TVs? They are essentially a new kind of LED-backlit LCD TV. In one way they are made a lot like an LCD screen, but the color is much better due to the quantum-dot technology. Just like LCD TVs, the blue LED light is responsible for the blue hues, but the quantum dots create the green and red lights. Quantum dots are excellent at emitting color, broadcasting the colors at much higher quality. The size of each quantum dot actually determines color, and overall they are all quite small and all are similar in shape as well as size, but the larger ones emit a red hue and the smaller ones emit a green hue. The bigger ones are about 50 atoms in diameter, and the smaller ones are only about 30.

Aside from being the source of better colors, quantum dots also have a higher efficiency at a lower cost, both of which are also attractive to TV buyers and TV manufacturers alike. 4K TVs used to be the big thing, and they’ve gone from costing 4 grand a few years ago to costing only about 1 grand now. Of course, now manufacturers and consumers are on the prowl for the next high-end thing, and from the looks of it it’s going to involve quantum dot technology. While the last 4K sets had an abundance of pixels, now the focus is not only on quantity, but quality of the pixels.

The highlight of quantum dot technology is that colors a


re brighter, more accurate, and even more saturated, meaning that there is much less light being wasted. Of course, the next big question on the agenda is how expensive is this new colorful technology going to be? The good news is that they will ultimately cost less than OLED TVs because they don’t cost as much to make. OLED TVs do still have the advantage in some areas, such as the contrast and wide viewing angles, but quantum dot technology will definitely have an edge on the color-end which is still a major plus.



Things You Didn’t Know About The HBO Vice Series



Vice News is a documentary, television series created and hosted by Shane Smith of Vice magazine. Like the magazine, which focuses on the exploration of arts, culture and various other news topics, the documentary has a similar role in its creation. The show is executively produced by Bill Maher, Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti. The show’s consultant is CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

Using of an immersionist style of documentary filmmaking, Vice create an entirely new experience for watching documentaries. The show originally debuted in April 2015, and has since been renewed for an additional two seasons by HBO. The third season began on March 6th of this year. The fourth season is set to begin in 2016, likely in April.


The show has received a mixture of positive and negative reviews, mostly due to its unique mixture of journalism and television entertainment. Rolling Stone magazine wrote that “It feels a little like your buddy from the bar just happened to be wandering through eastern Afghanistan with a camera crew.”

During its first season, the hosts of Vice were criticized for using their knee-jerk stunts to elicit a larger fan base. Their credibility was drawn into question, as was their style and brand of journalism. Their exploitation of the North Koreans was especially criticized, as was their stunt with sending Dennis Rodman as an American ambassador overseas.

Initially, Vice brushed off these criticisms, but seemed to take them to heart if their season two premiered episodes were anything to go by, focusing more on the journalistic approach than the shock-and-awe factors from the previous season. Vice vowed to remain true to their journalistic roots and produce material of more quality substance than earlier.

Instead of season one’s collection of humorous stunts, season two opening with executive producer Shane Smith investigating the billions of taxpayer dollars that America has thrown at the reconstruction of the war-ravaged Afghanistan.  Vice has revamped their image and doubled their efforts to bring actual news to their audiences, and not just glamorous pictures and funny stories.

It was only three years ago that Vice were in a verbal confrontation with The New York Times, who called out Vice and company for being sensationalist journalists at best. David Carr had had enough when the guys from Vice—literal nobodies at the time—said their small venture into journalism was better at uncovering stories than anything anyone else had done. In that moment of arrogance, the boys from Vice were put into their places and shown what real journalism is. But since then, Vice has grown up some, becoming a more reputable crew of journalists and reporters.

With the continuous growth of the show, and the crewmembers taking on a more serious approach to journalism than before, many who initially supported Vice are questioning its credibility as hipster journalists. Despite their change towards a more serious, less prankster approach towards reporting serious topics across the globe, Vice and company have not lost the essence of what originally made them hipster journalists. In their daily professional careers, there’s still off-the-handle remarks, the occasional swear while on air, and most definitely the old and familiar brutal honesty of the hosts. Click right here to find more more home entertainment opportunities with AT&T U-verse Internet Plans.

Why Was Season 5, Episode 5 of the Walking Dead Almost Pulled From the Air?

Comic-Con Trailer: The Walking Dead: Season 5 (Screengrab)

Michael Cudlitz, the actor who plays Abraham in The Walking Dead, revealed on Twitter that the show’s fifth episode–aka the episode where viewers decided they hated Eugene–was almost pulled from the air by the FCC. This may not come as a surprise to regular viewers of the Walking Dead—even diehard fans of the show have been surprised at the amount of violence and gore that the show has been allowed to air. But fans might also notice that the episode was not nearly as violent or gory as previous installments. Why, then, was the fifth episode of season five almost pulled from the airwaves?

There are two likely culprits which may have led the censors to object to the episode. The first is a scene where Abraham beats several men to death with his own two hands—and a can of beans. His family flees after the incident and Abraham later found them lying dead in the grass. The scene showed an explicit shot of Abraham’s dead and partially eaten wife—and his two dead and, once again partially eaten, children. A shot of two dead children may not have set well with the censors, although it wouldn’t be the first time that the show depicted dead children.


The more likely culprit is something that may have fans rolling their eyes: a scene between Abraham and Rosita where the couple is obviously engaging in intercourse while Eugene watches from behind a bookshelf. The scene wasn’t particularly explicit, but considering the fact that television censors are often far more considered about nudity or implied nudity than they are gratuitous violence, it would not be surprising if the objectionable content was not violence—but an implied and relatively tame scene depicting two consenting adults together.

This particular theory is bolstered by the fact that the AMC network’s social media accounts have been contacted by numerous parents complaining about the sex scene in the current season’s fifth episode; these same parents, however, had no objections to the gratuitous violence in the show, nor did they apparently pay attention to AMC’s warnings about adult content prior to each return from a commercial break.


Unfortunately, this would not be the first time that parents—and television censors—objected to sexual content while ignoring gratuitous and extreme violence.

Thrilled that censors didn’t pull epsiode 5 from the airways? You need this hoodie in your closet.


Will Sacha Baron Cohen Play a Villain in the Upcoming Alice in Wonderland Sequel?

Disney’s live action Alice in Wonderland film, starring Mia Washikowska as the titular Alice and also starring Johnny Depp as the wacky Mad Hatter, was not exactly a popular critical success. Many critics disliked the slick look of the picture and the somewhat confusing way that Disney decided to adapt the book’s storyline as a “sequel” of sorts. Despite mixed critical reviews, however, the film has quickly become a fan favorite and based on the strength of the film’s box office and merchandise sales, Disney quickly lit the green light for a sequel.


The sequel, Through the Looking Glass, is currently set to come out in 2016. It is unknown exactly what Disney will be doing with the plotline of the film. The first film worked very loosely with the mythology and storyline of the Alice in Wonderland series, and it is likely that they will do just the same with this sequel. The first film turned the story into an action-adventure fantasy which borrowed elements from the original book; the first Disney animated film, as well as other books in the Alice in Wonderland series.

It was recently revealed that Sacha Baron Cohen has been tapped to play a villain in the upcoming sequel. The particular role is unknown, and there are a vast amount of villainous characters in the Alice mythology that may come into play. Sacha Baron Cohen is no stranger to villains, working with Johnny Depp or director Tim Burton.


He starred as the ridiculous but ultimately gritty and threatening Pirelli in the film version of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, which starred Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, and was also directed by Tim Burton. Although the sequel will be directed by James Bobin, who recently directed The Muppets, Tim Burton’s direction-style will no doubt influence the second film.

Sacha Baron Cohen has proved himself more than capable of playing villains, ridiculous or otherwise, and Disney would be wise to tap into his popularity with male audiences, who may be less likely to watch a film about the adventures of an (adult or otherwise) Alice in Wonderland.

Cohen has yet to be cast in the film, but sources say that he is interested in taking on the role and his previous experience with Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton will likely sway the casting direction in his favor. Go to to find more entertainment news, muse and reviews.

The ‘Magic’ Origins of Darren Criss

To most people, Darren Criss is best known as one of the breakout stars from the hit TV show Glee  His character, Blaine, began his fictional life as a supporting and temporary side character meant to help the character of Kurt deal with coming out and moving to a new school. The popularity of Criss’s character, however, and his relationship with Kurt quickly led to the role becoming a full-time staple of the show. And with that, of course, came more exposure for Blaine’s actor—Darren Criss.
But Darren Criss was not always a popular television actor who snags roles on Broadway and sings with some of the most popular singers in the world. The origins of Darren Criss are, like so many other actors before him, rather humble.
Criss began performing at an early age and took violin lessons for 15 years. When he was just 10 years old, he was accepted into the American Conservatory Theater Young Conservatory Program, where he studied acting and continued to study and play musical instruments.  He composed his first song when he was only 15 years old.
After high school, Criss attended the University of Michigan and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in theater performance and a minor in musicology and the Italian language.
It was in 2009 that Criss became a YouTube sensation. Along with various friends from the University of Michigan  Criss helped write and starred in an unofficial musical parody of Harry Potter. The show, titled A Very Potter Musical, was performed for University of Michigan Students. The show was recorded by the student-based theater company and put on YouTube for posterity. The show quickly became an internet sensation, reaching over a million hits in a matter of days, and its popularity led to the forming of “Starkid Productions,” of which Criss was at the helm. Criss, who played Harry Potter in the parody musical, quickly gained a fan base that arguably led to him being considered for the role of Blaine on Glee.


Criss went on to star in two more Harry Potter musicals from the Starkid Production company  including the fully staged A Very Potter Sequel in 2010 and the last Harry Potter musical for the company, A Very Potter Senior Year, which premiered as a staged reading due to the schedules of the actors in 2012.