Westworlds Third Season Is a Good but Exhausting Reboot

For some time now, Westworld has felt like HBO’s troubled child. Just before its launch in October 2016, it was expected to be “the next Game of Thrones,” but after an uneven first season and a second one that was almost ambitiously incoherent, it did not live up to that hype. Having a break between those first two seasons that lasted more than a year didn’t help, either, especially for fans trying to keep track of its high-concept, puzzle-box premises. Considering its star-studded cast and premium cable pedigree, one may have thought the reboot of writer Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi movie—in which guests at a Western-set theme park witness an uprising led by its robotic “hosts”—would have been a straightforward …

Locally Grown Is PBS for the Streaming Age

This is what channel-surfing used to be, what it ought to be. Tune in and the first station is airing Pressure, Horace Ové’s tough-minded 1976 movie about London youth and racial disillusionment. It’s a somewhat obscure release, but also a pioneering one: Ové’s was the first feature by a black filmmaker made in the UK. Switch the channel and there’s an episode of the sci-fi anime Cowboy Bebop on; a few clicks past that, Janet Jackson’s 1998 Velvet Rope Tour performance at Madison Square Garden is playing. Keep flipping and it’s one rare and poignant find after another. That is the essence of Related Stories 8 Free Streaming Services to Save You From Subscription Hell copyright Cecilia D'Anastasio There Were …

ILM Used Fortnite Tech to Make The Mandalorians Virtual Sets

George Lucas was dreaming of a Star Wars live-action TV show long before The Mandalorian got off the ground. One of his collaborators at Industrial Light & Magic, Richard Bluff, remembers Lucas talking about it as far back as 2008. There was just one problem: Going to a galaxy far, far away on a TV budget was nearly impossible. “At the time, he felt he was limited in regards to how he was able to tell the story based upon the vast number of locations and worlds we would need to go to for the small screen,” says Bluff, a visual effects supervisor. “But the audience simply wouldn’t accept a Star Wars without them.” A decade-plus later, things have changed. …

Utopia Falls Is a Bold Attempt to Make a Better YA Dystopia

Watching Hulu’s latest science fiction drama, Utopia Falls, feels like tripping headfirst into the young adult shelf at your local bookstore. The heroes are teens—spunky, rebellious teens even. They live in a futuristic utopia (or is it a dystopia?). The entirety of their short lives has been leading up to this moment, which is a sort of selection process, a great sorting. The Chosen Ones are then thrust into a competition their whole world will watch. It’s a great honor to be chosen. Everyone says so. That is, until the teens begin to doubt the premise of the game and the society that conceived it. Eventually, they must rebel. Except this time, the revolution is hip-hop. Hogwarts and All Emma …

There Were 646,152 Things to Watch on TV Last Year

Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED’s entertainment news roundup. So, now that you’ve recovered from your Oscars hangover, are you dying to know what’s been happening in the world of entertainment and culture? You are? Good. Here we go. There Were 646,152 Things to Watch on TV in 2019 Folks like to joke that there’s just too much TV to watch, but rarely do they back it up with facts. Now, they can. reportedly joining Tom Hiddleston, Sophia Di Martino, and Owen Wilson in the forthcoming spin-off, which is set in the Marvel universe. As with most things Disney/Marvel, though, exactly which character she'll be playing is not known. In other Thor-adjacent news, recent Oscar winner …

Cantina Talk: The End of Rise of Skywalker Will Melt Your Mind

It came in too late to be included in the last roundup, but everyone has met the Sith Trooper that got revealed in the run-up to Comic-Con International, right? Surely you've spent as much time as we have trying to work out just what that name and color scheme means. Are these the next generation of stormtroopers, or the next generation of the Imperial Guard? Are they actually Sith? Or simply choosing the name? What are J.J. Abrams and Kylo Ren up to? So many questions. While we all collectively ponder these queries, let's catch up on all the other Star Wars news out there. The End of Rise of Skywalker Will Melt Your Mind The Source: Kevin Smith, of …

A Black Lady Sketch Show Is a Much-Needed Jolt to TV Comedy

The exact particulars of the apocalypse are unclear—what caused the disaster; what precise form, or forms, the fury took—and all that we, the viewers, know of what happened is that it’s referred to as The Event and that Earth’s remaining survivors are four black women. Fortunately, post-Armageddon life comes with delightful upsides."We don't have any mediocre white men getting promoted over us," one points out. "We don't have Sally Mae calling us all the time like I'm fucking her man," adds another. The scene, which jolts and spellbinds with the affecting draw of a Last Poets cipher, is just one of several fluorescent currents from HBO’s dynamic and dynamite six-episode series A Black Lady Sketch Show, which debuts tonight on …

Jennifer Lawrence to Play Real-Life Mobster

Good day! Welcome to a new edition of The Monitor, WIRED's pop-culture news roundup. We're still in a bit of a post-Comic-Con slump, but that doesn't mean no stories are breaking in the world of entertainment. Like, for example, Los Espookys is coming back, and Jennifer Lawrence might be joining a mob (movie). Here we go! Los Espookys to Get Paid to Haunt HBO for Second Season Today in Good News For People Who Like Scary News, HBO announced this week that it's renewing Los Espookys for a second season. No word yet on when the oddball comedy, led by Portlandia's Fred Armisen, will return, but it will no doubt be full of strange delights. Jennifer Lawrence to Play a …

Star Trek: Picard Shows Where the Franchise Is Boldly Going

Few things are surer to get applause at Comic-Con International than bringing the actor Patrick Stewart onto a stage. As both Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation (and movies) and Professor X from one of the X-Men movie timelines, Stewart is (as one panel moderator put it) the O Captain My Captain of a generation. When CBS announced last year that the network's second new Star Trek series to run on its streaming network would center on Picard, well, that was like replicating red meat for the base. Bringing Stewart to Comic-Con's Hall H to talk about boldly going back to playing Picard? That's tectonic. Peter Rubin Comic-Con's Batman VR Experience Soars—While Others Fall Flat Angela Watercutter …

Snowpiercer, Picard, and More Awesome Trailers Hit Comic-Con

Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), the beloved captain of Star Trek: The Next Generation's USS Enterprise pins on his comm badge and comes out of retirement for what might be one last mission, with a new, young crew and guest appearances from his old crewmates and old enemies (and writing from Michael Chabon, the novelist who wrote The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay). "We pointedly wanted to not make a sequel to Next Generation,” said executive producer Akiva Goldsman. "It's slower, more gentle, more lyrical. It is certainly more character-based. It also takes on the same thing that the original series took on, that Next Generation took on , that Discovery takes on, which is hope for a future that …

Netflix’s The Witcher Makes a Play to Be the New Game of Thrones

Parks and Recreation's Ben Wyatt once not-quite-famously said of Game of Thrones that it was "not just for fantasy enthusiasts. They're telling human stories in a fantasy world." He was right. And now that Thrones is over, every network is looking to claim the crossover fantasy hit crown. Today, Netflix threw its hat—er, sword—into the ring at Comic-Con International with The Witcher. Peter Rubin Marvel's Games Are Starting to Feel a Lot Like Its Movies Adam Rogers So Long, You Weird, Space-Time-Defying Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. WIRED Staff It, Top Gun, His Dark Materials Trailers Rock Comic-Con Based on a book series by Andrzej Sapkowski that later got turned into a videogame franchise, the story follows Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill, …

Storyboards, Marvel’s Parts Unknown, Is Coming to Disney+

Ever since Disney announced its forthcoming streaming service, Disney+, there's been a question in the back of comic book fans' minds: What about Marvel? There's been talk of stand-alone shows for Loki, Wanda Maximoff, and Hawkeye; an animated series based on the Marvel's What If … ? comics is also in the works. Yet those shows are expected to be a year or two away. Today, Marvel is finally revealing one of the shows that'll arrive when the Disney+ service launches: Storyboards. Adam Rogers Here's How Disney+ Will Take Over the World Angela Watercutter John Wick's Writer Is Heading to Marvel's Falcon & Winter Soldier Brian Raftery The Streaming Wars Began in 2018—and They'll Only Get Worse Unlike the Star …

John Wick‘s Writer Is Heading to Marvel’s Falcon & Winter Soldier

Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED's pop-culture news roundup. Today's a busy one: In addition to Marvel's forthcoming Falcon & Winter Soldier series getting John Wick's writer, we also have a funny item about the Momo Challenge meme (yes, really), and news about the Suicide Squad sequel. Let's jump right in. John Wick's Writer Is Heading to Marvel's Falcon & Winter Soldier Derek Kolstad, the writer who gave fans the world of John Wick, has a new gig: working for Marvel. Kolstad, according to the Wrap, is joining the writing team for the studio's upcoming limited series Falcon & Winter Soldier. The show will star Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, …

In Season 3, Stranger Things Rediscovers Its Groove

For all the talk about New Coke being a "plot point" in the third season of Stranger Things, rest easy: The infamous 1985 reformulation doesn't prove toxic to creatures from the Upside Down, or anything else remotely pivotal to the story. It does, however, provide the new installment's most self-aware moment. Late in the season, during a rare moment of no one's life being in immediate peril, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) cracks a can of the stuff, much to the gang's disgust. "How do you even drink that?" Mike (Finn Wolfhard) asks. "Because it's delicious," Lucas responds. "It's like Carpenter's The Thing. The original is a classic, no question about it. But the remake?"—and here he takes a comically loud gulp …

Cantina Talk: What Do The Rise of Skywalker‘s International Titles Mean?

If you're already at the stage where you can't help but wonder how you're going to spend the next few months until the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, here's some good news: At least you can wait impatiently on some high-end Star Wars-inspired furniture. Yes, high-end Star Wars furniture. The best item in the collection? The Chewie rocking stool, but we can't deny that the Sidious Easy Armchair looks pretty comfortable, too. What else is happening in the galaxy far, far away? Cantina Talk starts now. But What Could Dawn of Skywalker Possibly Mean? The Source: The internet, noticing international titles for Rise of Skywalker Probability of Accuracy: Well, the titles are accurate, at least. The Real …

The New Charlie’s Angels Trailer Is Here

Hello, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED's pop culture roundup. Today we have the first trailer from the new reboot of Charlie's Angels and a whole lot of news about Netflix. Let's get going. The New Charlie's Angels Trailer Is Here OK, so maybe we don't need another Charlie's Angels movie, but dammit—this looks really fun. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, who also plays Bosley, the film stars Ella Balinska, Naomi Scott, and Kristen Stewart—who is having the most fun—as the Angels and also Patrick Stewart as another Bosley. The movie, which seems fully dedicated to the notion that Kristen Stewart should face-punch bad guys in every film and possibly be the new 007, hits theaters in November. …

Toy Story 4 Just Crushed the Box Office

Good day! Welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED's roundup of pop culture news. The big thing you missed over the weekend? Toy Story 4 giving Disney yet another massive opening following the successes of Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, and Aladdin. And, as always, Netflix keeps making stuff. Let's get going. Toy Story 4 Tops Box Office With $100 Million-Plus Debut Another weekend, another chance for Disney to cobble together buckets of cash. The latest hit to come from the factory: Pixar's Toy Story 4, which nabbed $118 million at the box office in North America this weekend. That number is slightly below expectations, which were in the neighborhood of $140 million, but still enough to give Pixar's corporate …

2019 Needed a Hit as Bleak as Chernobyl

Animals are dying in droves across the globe. It's 123 degrees in India. US politics are a garbage fire. Diseases eradicated by science have been reanimated by ignorance. Technology meant to unite people has divided them instead. Adam Rogers The Chernobyl Disaster May Have Also Built a Paradise Emily Dreyfuss Game of Thrones Is the Last Great Show to Bring Us Together Peter Rubin Calculating the Ecological Impact of Game of Thrones' Dragons But, hey, at least we're not dealing with a nuclear meltdown! On Monday nights for the past 5 weeks, 6 million people cumulatively have tuned in to watch HBO's Chernobyl, which by some estimates is now the highest-rated show ever to air on television. (Though as we …

Cantina Talk: Meet the New New Class of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Hello, and welcome to a new edition of Cantina Talk, WIRED's look at everything happening in the world of Star Wars. But first: If you haven't already read it, open another tab immediately and bookmark this oral history of Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, because, really, there are some droids in there you've probably been looking for. But if you're not in the mood for revisiting the way the movies looked a long time ago, perhaps you'll be happier with these glimpses of what's to come. The Next Movie Is About Millennials, Kind Of Source: The man behind Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, J.J. Abrams Probable accuracy: The thing with thematic descriptors is, who can really say what …

Disney May Stop Filming in Georgia Over Abortion Ban

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of The Monitor, WIRED's roundup of entertainment and culture news. It's only been two days since our last installment, and man, a lot has gone down. For one, Disney could possibly stop setting up shop in Georgia if the state's anti-abortion law goes into effect. For another, Jessica Jones' third and final season is heading to Netflix in just a few short weeks. Finally, Tom King is working on the script for Ava DuVernay's The New Gods movie. Let's get to it. Disney May No Longer Film in Georgia Over Abortion Ban The list of Hollywood productions considering leaving Georgia over the state's new abortion ban continues to grow. Netflix voiced its intentions earlier …