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7 binge-worthy shows: The uncanny list

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7 binge-worthy shows The uncanny list

Last month’s list of 12 binge-worthy shows was so popular, I thought I’d add 7 more to the list. Unlike most, this and the previous list do not include shows that everyone is already seeing; no Breaking Bad or The Wire on our lists. Instead, we’ve selected the best shows that fewer people are seeing, shows that deserve to be more in the spotlight based solely on their quality.

As usual, no spoilers.

If you’re wondering why this uncanny list is shorter than the unconventional list of the past, it’s because we’re very particular. Only shows that absolutely deserve to be mentioned will ever make our lists. Otherwise, it’s just filler and you can find plenty of those lists on other sites.

Also of note is that we won’t be repeating shows from the previous list. Those are still very relevant, so check them out first if you haven’t already.

Here we go…

7. Pine Gap

I really, really hope we get to see another season of this Aussie drama. It follows the mysterious real-world installation of Pine Gap, a campus as shrouded as NORAD and as controversial as Area 51. But this isn’t a standard espionage show. It dives into the personal relationships and awkward real-life trials of those who work in the secretive base.

Binge-worthy show: Pine Gap is both thrilling and enlightening

https://noqreport.com/2018/12/23/binge-worthy-show-pine-gap-thrilling-enlightening/Based on the real Pine Gap base outside of Alice Springs in the heart of Australia, the show speculates on what really goes on at the top secret facility. It’s a joint operation between the United States and Australia that feeds intelligence to the NSA, CIA, and Pentagon as well as the Australian counterparts. Nobody knows the full scope of what goes on at the base because it’s been shrouded in levels of secrecy that make Area 51 seem like an open book.

The first thing to know about this show is that it’s quite authentic. Only after watching it did I learn 18-year Pine Gap veteran David Rosenberg consulted on non-critical aspects of the show such as language, processes, and at least a glimpse into the politics. Even without this knowledge, one becomes acutely aware that this couldn’t be based purely on speculation. Everything seems so realistic that it can actually get a little boring watching these cool cucumbers making decisions off of intelligence on their screens.

6. Broadchurch

Of all the shows I list as binge-worthy, this is the first one I’ll mention that doesn’t necessarily require you to watch it all the way through. I loved season 1, hated season 2, and was okay with season 3 (which some consider to be the best). Nevertheless, this crime drama is not cut from the same mold as Luther or Sherlock in that the detectives aren’t exceptional in any way. The crime wasn’t exactly mind-blowing, either. Nevertheless, it’s an extremely interesting character-driven work that just happens to also be a crime drama.

Broadchurch Is Brilliant on BBC America

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/broadchurch-is-brilliant-bbc-america-601957Broadchurch, an eight-part drama on BBC America (Wednesday, 10 p.m.), is a textbook example of excellent writing, well-developed and complicated characters, superb acting, a perfect sense of place and, perhaps most important, just the right number of hours to tell a murder mystery without unnecessary padding or corner-cutting cheats.

In short, it’s the anti-Killing. But even bringing that up to show the disparity in execution does a disservice to Broadchurch, because it has been crafted in a galaxy far above what went down at AMC.

5. Black Mirror

Okay, so this isn’t exactly an unknown series, but I was surprised to learn how few people are watching it. I really expected it to be one of the most popular shows on streaming television based on its quality and dark content, but I was wrong. This is a mistake. It should be widely watched, even if only as a warning against the direction that much of society is heading today. Be warned. Some of the episodes will leave you really concerned about how events in the world are unfolding around us.

What Bandersnatch means to the future of entertainment

https://noqreport.com/2019/01/01/bandersnatch-means-future-entertainment/Much has been published about the groundbreaking Bandersnatch interactive story released this week by Netflix. The story is the first on the platform to give the viewers choices on how the narrative will play out on the screen in the same basic way that old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books captivated kids (and adults) in their heyday.

This won’t be a review of the story (I loved it overall) or a a list of the possible endings that had many reviewers going through it time and again for hours in order to get the full picture. Instead, let’s talk about what this may mean for entertainment in the future.

4. Counterpart

Of all the shows on this list, Counterpart may be the most enigmatic. In many ways, it was a huge disappointment. I expected more action, less dialogue, and much less lesbian sex. But J.K. Simmons shines in his dual role, giving a master course on how to play two similar characters by highlighting their differences without making them parodies of each other.

Binge-worthy show: Counterpart works because J.K. Simmons is incredible. Twice.

https://noqreport.com/2018/12/14/binge-worthy-show-counterpart-works-j-k-simmons-incredible-twice/With season 2 of the Starz hit Counterpart getting going, I thought I should go ahead and binge the first season to see if it’s one to follow going forward. Despite a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and universal acclaim, I’ll admit I probably wouldn’t move forward to season 2 if it weren’t for two letters and a surname: J.K. Simmons.

Very minor spoilers ahead for the sake of understanding why you should see this show.

Imagine if the world we know copied itself 30-years ago. These two worlds continued without knowledge of each other, save for a select few on each side who are aware of the tunnel below a building in Berlin that connects the two worlds. Now, imagine if both sides kept the existence of this secret from everyone, even most of the world’s governments, and instead ran a shadow organization in the building above the tunnel that allowed the two sides to cooperate.

3. The Night Manager

Tom Hiddleston in his best role to date.

There, that’s all I need to say.

Binge-worthy show: The Night Manager shows why Tom Hiddleston should be the next James Bond

https://noqreport.com/2018/12/10/binge-worthy-show-night-manager-shows-tom-hiddleston-next-james-bond/He’s too posh. He’s too pretty. He isn’t intimidating. He’s too big as a Marvel character. There are many reasons people have dismissed the notion of Tom Hiddleston playing the role of James Bond in the famed series. All of these reasons can be dismissed by watching The Night Manager.

Available on Amazon, the AMC-BBC collaboration is six episodes long. There are reports that it could be brought back for another series, but if it never comes back, rest assured the single series is still worth a watch. The funny part is that Hiddleston might be the main draw, but he’s not even the best overall performance. That honor goes to Hugh Laurie, the well-mannered villain of the show.

2. The Americans

I know what you’re probably thinking. This isn’t “uncanny” like the list claims. It’s quite popular, actually, in both viewership and at the awards table. But here’s the thing. This is one of the best dramas ever on television, and as long as there are still a large number of people who haven’t seen it, I’ll keep reminding them that they need to. The 80s called. They want their excellent spy game back.

The Americans ends as it lived: Tense, affecting, and one of the greats

https://tv.avclub.com/the-americans-ends-as-it-lived-tense-affecting-and-o-1826435707The end was written in the history books. Philip and Elizabeth Jennings were on the losing side of The Cold War, and The Americans never gave any indication that it was going to revise the outcome of that long-concluded conflict. The Jennings were destined to fail, and The Americans’ challenge was in making us care about the people caught up in that downward spiral, a task it met by keeping the stakes high but the scale small—it isn’t until these final few hours of the show that the Soviet sleeper agents are caught up in anything that could truly shift the balance of power between the United States and the USSR. After all those near misses with stealth technology, biological weapons, and agricultural sabotage, the end of the Jennings’ time in the U.S. comes down to a plot to unseat the most powerful man in the Soviet Union. According to showrunners Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, those details were determined early on, and as seen in “START,” they landed on a conclusion that reflects the series as a whole: Tense, understated, affecting, and one of the greats.

1. Travelers

Are you surprised to see a time-traveling science fiction show set in modern day as the #1 pick for this list? Then you haven’t actually watch Travelers. If you had (and you should), you’d completely understand why I’m so smitten by this Canadian show. I even put out my own little fan theory about the ending of the last season that you obviously shouldn’t read if you haven’t watched the first three seasons yet. But if you have, then I encourage you to check out my theory.

What Travelers season 3 ending really means and how season 4 will likely play out

https://noqreport.com/2018/12/20/travelers-season-3-ending-really-means-season-4-will-likely-play/This is a totally spoiled fan theory, so only click on the link if you’re already seen the first three seasons of the show. Otherwise, it’s time to have your mind blown.

If you haven’t watched it, what are you waiting for? This is listed as one of my favorite shows for a reasons. Excellent acting, incredible storylines, epic cliffhangers, stupendous conclusions – this show has it all.

What did we miss? Are you ready to start binging one of these shows, yet? Or are you waiting for The Mandalorian on Disney+? My prediction: don’t wait. You’ll be disappointed. Watch these shows instead. They’re available now.

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Entertainment and Sports

Interview with Christopher Shaw

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Interview with Christopher Shaw

I was given the opportunity to interview Christopher Shaw. He is the director of the upcoming movie, Church PeopleChurch People is “romantic comedy satire” about a celebrity youth pastor caught up in the marketing machine of his mega church. In the interview, Christopher discusses the redemptive story arc involving what is a sad reality within churches today.

But the journey leading up to this movie was no cakewalk. Christopher’s start came from making Youtube videos. He then built a network of Christian comedians on Facebook, most notably the relationship between he and Thor Ramsay, the writer and star of Church People. They finally began their working relationship at the 168 Film Festival back in 2010. During this festival, they produced the short Skip Listening in a short period of time, the entire process taking no more than 18 days. Skip Listening won accolades at the festival and so the two have continued working together ever since.

As a Director, Christopher appreciates a high quality film. This was his critique of faith based movies, however he emphasized his optimism for how much the category has improved over the years. Passion of the Christ, he says was a breakthrough in closing this disparity. Since then, a number of faith-based films have proven to be remarkable returns on investment. As I pointed out in the interview, Christian comedy, remains rather untapped in its potential, which is a reason I sought to interview someone behind Church People.

Because this interview was for Startup Christ Presents, one of the goals of the interview is to tap their entrepreneurial wisdom. Christopher was not lacking for advice to give. The theme of the advice can be summarized by saying unless God is saying otherwise, start making content. Technology has increased the ease of entrance with film and distribution of content.

These are some of the highlights from the interview. You can watch, or rather listen, on youtube, and if you feel so inclined, subscribe to Christianity Visualized, a new channel I am working on. More to come on that later.

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Conspiracy Theory

No, Symeon Star-Eyes is not the Night King

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No Symeon Star-Eyes is not the Night King

A week ago, HBO dropped the long awaited and highly anticipated Game of Thrones final season trailer. This take may be late take, but oft times, I believe in letting the hot takes simmer down so the voices who aren’t seeking quick views for their lackluster analysis stand out. Now a lot of fan accounts on Youtube have boasted finding all these “easter eggs” in the trailer that just are not there. Particularly a lot of people are being misled by the theory that the legendary Symeon Star-Eyed is the Night King. The theory has the vote of confidence from Cosmo and its readers.

This theory existed on Reddit long before the trailer dropped. It goes so far to suggest that Symeon Star-Eyes was perhaps a Stark, but definitely from the North because the “North would want their own hero amongst the greatest heroes in Westeros history.” There is no evidence to suggest why Brandon the Builder, Breaker, Shipwright, and Burner aren’t sufficient legends. Knighthood is tied to the Seven, so it is unlikely he was from the North… But I need to slow myself down. The Game of Thrones trailer featured a star-eyed Night King reigniting this theory.

image

The seven pointed star is symbolic of the Faith of the Seven, the religion of the Andals, which would make, according to this theory, the Night King an Andal in origin. The belief that the Night King is the Andal Symeon Star-Eyes, a fabled knight from the Age of Heroes, is self defeating. Let’s first address the proposed evidence.

“There was a knight once who couldn’t see,” Bran said stubbornly, as Ser Rodrik went on below. “Old Nan told me about him. He had a long staff with blades at both ends and he could spin it in his hands and chop two men at once.”

“Symeon Star-Eyes,” Luwin said as he marked numbers in a book. “When he lost his eyes, he put star sapphires in the empty sockets, or so the singers claim. Bran, that is only a story, like the tales of Florian the Fool. A fable from the Age of Heroes.”

AGOT Bran VII 

Now, it’s important to note that White Walkers, which are referred to as Others, have not directly appeared in the books. In the lore, the Others are always depicted as having blue eyes, like when the when the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch (allegedly) had sex with one.

“A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well. He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will.”

AGOT Bran IV

That man was known as the Night’s King, which is a far more plausible than Symeon Star-Eyes for being the Night King. This of course would only be true if the Night King was not an original amongst the Others. For this is generations after the Others were defeated, hence why there is a Night’s Watch. The idea that the Others have changed leadership is a major supposition not supported by either canon material or even the show who depict neither a queen nor power struggle which would likely still remain if an Other form of Symeon Star-Eyes usurped power to declare himself Night King.

And that is the less obvious reason why this fan theory is the Fake News of Game of Thrones theories. The most pressingly clear reason is that there were no Andals during the Long Night. The Andal Invasion did not occur until well into the Age of Heroes. The argument I’ve seen in response to this pressingly obvious fact is that history in Game of Thrones is unreliable. George RR Martin is intentional about using non-reliable narrators as well as writing a history of Westeros that is entirely contingent upon the interpretation of its multiple writers. Therefore the exact timing of the arrival of the Andals is subject to debate. This is all true. However, there is nothing to suggest that the Andals invaded during the Dawn Age. The Age of Heroes began after peace was made with the Children of the Forrest, as explained in the show in season one.

The First Men, who are the other predominant race in Westeros have the Others embedded in their culture, while the Andals generally believe the Others to be no more real than grumpkins and snarks. By the time the Andals arrived in Westeros, we are well into the Age of Heroes. Let’s go into more detail. When the Andals arrived they carved runes of seven pointed stars and brought their faith with them. Their invasion was repelled by the Stark Kings of Winter. Thus, the North remained primarily First Men and worshiped the old gods. House Stark remembers the Others, hence Winter is Coming. The Arryns of the Vale were established towards the very beginning of this time, for the Vale is the nearest landing spot. House Arryn is one of the oldest and purest of the Andal houses, until the current storyline. The Long Night is not in their culture. Lann the Clever had already taken Casterly Rock and established House Lannister. House Lannister bares a maternal lineage to Lann the Clever, a First Man, and has taken on an Andal line. There are FOUR Lannister POV characters. None of them reference their ancestors fighting Others. As you can see, the Andal houses did not experience the Long Night, meaning they Others invaded long before they arrived. So once again, how can Symeon Star-Eyes be the Night King.

Explanation

There are two reasons why the Night King’s, and by extension all Others’ eyes would be shaped as a seven-pointed star. The first is that a dragon must have three heads and a star must have seven points. This is to say that HBO is blowing smoke up people’s asses. The second is that the Children of the Forrest created an abomination to the old gods, whom they worship along with the First Men. This abomination bore resemblance to the faith of the seven, much like how the god Baal resembles numerous other false gods. As for me, I believe the former because the show-runners are not that intricate.

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Conspiracy Theory

Sci-Fi short film offers terrifying future of authoritarianism after 2nd Amendment repeal

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Sci-Fi short film offers terrifying future of authoritarianism after 2nd Amendment repeal

Warning: Adult language and some adult content.

The folks over at Dust have mastered the art of the short science fiction film. Their take on an authoritarian future is no exception and strikes a little too close to home for conservatives.

Imagine if nanotechnology became so advanced that it could do nearly anything to a person even at the genetic level. New hair color? No problem. Longer life? Done. Special “powers”? Sure.

What if the government could track our incapacitate anyone remotely thanks to this nanotechnology? In the scenario detailed in this short film, the government has decided to repeal the 2nd Amendment since there’s apparently no need for an armed citizenry in such a society.

For the rest, you’ll just have to watch the video. It’s 14 minutes yet terrifying nonetheless.

The combination of advancing technologies and authoritarianism in Washington DC could make for a truly horrifying future if we’re not careful. When they say something is being done to improve the collective, be skeptical.

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