Netflix’s Anything-Goes Philosophy Gets to Parody Rap with Lonely Island’s ‘Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience’

After surprising Super Bowl 2018 viewers with an ad announcing that sci-fi movie The Cloverfield Paradox would be arriving imminently, Netflix chose not to make a habit of similar ambushes. Instead, it left that practice to the musicians. Beyoncé, Frank Ocean, Eminem, Death Grips, Drake, and Beyoncé again (this time as half of The Carters) have all leveraged the factory-free nature of the streaming industry in recent years to unleash albums with little to no advance warning.

Well, Netflix seems to be warming up again. In April, its partnership with horror studio Blumhouse Productions spawned two separate cinematic jump-scares, Mercy Black and Thriller. Earlier this month, Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth snuck onto the platform with nary a US trailer or official acknowledgment. Each makes sense in its way; genre fans were presumably likely to find the newcomers in their suggested new releases, simply by virtue of their viewing habits.

What’s a little [...]  read more

WIRED’s 14 Must-Read Books of Summer

Can you feel it? Summer is upon us! You know that that means: Plenty of time to soak up the sun, go to barbeques, and watch sports! Or, if you’re a bookworm like your friends at WIRED, spend those long, lazy weekends with your nose in a book. Now is the perfect time to start plowing your way through an ambitious summer reading list, and we couldn’t be more ready to help. Below are WIRED’s picks for some of the best tomes coming out in the next few months. There’s a little bit of sci-fi, a little bit of internet culture, and a lot of smarts on this list, so fire up the Kindle and get cracking.

Troll Hunting: Inside the World of Online Hate and Its Human Fallout

Hardie Grant

Fair warning: Troll Hunting is not a light beach read. It begins with journalist Ginger Gorman getting a skin-prickling Twitter message about a recent double murder and ends with her admission that writing the book has left her “in shreds.” But the intervening pages are the best researched, most comprehensive work on trolling [...]  read more

Depth of Field: ‘Game of Thrones’ Was Always Doomed to Disappoint

I’ve never seen an episode of Game of Thrones, which, in this case, makes me the perfect critic. I come with no bias, no allegiance, no screwball theories as to how the series finale failed to rise to to the level of its previous seasons (as I’ve heard). All that I know of Game of Thrones I’ve acquired via Twitter. What I’ve mostly discerned is this: It’s a show about sex and dragons and dragon sex (I’m actually not sure about the latter, but if I’m being honest—and I always strive to be—that’d be incredibly cool); Peter Dinklage has a role on it; there was a very-hard-to-see (literally) battle at night where the Night King (the blue-faced Darth Maul–looking dude) died; no one is quite sure what is west of Westeros (LOL); there are a ton of badass women rulers; some guy named John (Jon? Jean? Ján?) Snow was dead then, magically, not dead. Also: People just seem generally upset about the state of the world—which, fair!

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‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Trailer: Linda Hamilton Has a Big Gun

Linda Hamilton is as badass as ever in the new Terminator: Dark Fate trailer.

Kerry Brown/Paramount Pictures

Greetings all, and welcome to the latest installment of The Monitor, WIRED’s roundup of all things pop culture. What’s in store today? First up, we have a new trailer for the latest Terminator flick. Second, there’s another John Wick movie coming in 2021. Finally, Christoper Nolan keeps adding to the Murderers’ Row of a cast he’s assembling for his next movie. Let’s get started.

Linda Hamilton Has a Big Gun in the New Terminator: Dark Fate Trailer

Hey Terminator fans, have you ever sat around and wondered, “Man, I wonder what happened the day after Judgment Day”? Good news. You’re about to find out! Terminator: Dark Fate picks up where Terminator 2 left off, and features not only the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800 but also Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. Naturally, she shows up with a giant gun to blow things up. Dark Fate, directed by Deadpool’s Tim Miller, hits theaters November 1.

The Fourth John Wick Movie Is Coming in 2021

Hot on the heels [...]  read more

Netflix’s ‘See You Yesterday’ Challenges the Meaning of Time Travel

Everyone knows the time-travel rules: Don’t go back and meet your previous self; don’t crush on your mom; and, as tempting as it is, don’t try to kill an evil tyrant. Despite their obviousness, these tropes are still trotted out in most time-travel movies—including, most recently, Avengers: Endgame. See You Yesterday considers that history and says: We can make it better.

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The new Netflix sci-fi movie isn’t concerned with stopping robot uprisings (Terminator), writing a high school history paper (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), or re-living the 1980s (Hot Tub Time Machine). Rare for the genre, See You Yesterday imagines time travel as a way to correct a societal wrong, to undo evil of a more on-the-ground variety: Its protagonists, teenage [...]  read more

Can Tech ‘Objectively’ Assess Pain?

Pain flickers across people’s faces in inconsistent, contradictory ways. Charles Darwin, ever the meticulous observer, noticed this problem early: “The mouth may be closely compressed, or more commonly the lips are retracted,” he wrote in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. “The eyes stare wildly as in horrified astonishment, or the brows are heavily contracted.” And the experience of pain differs just as widely as its expression—tolerance is a matter of genetics and life experience. What’s agony for you may be merely uncomfortable for someone else.

 [...]  read more

James Holzhauer’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Greatness, in Charts

James Holzhauer returns to Jeopardy! tonight, following a well-deserved two-week break for the Teacher’s Tournament. We’ve written before about what makes him so dominant—and had Ken Jennings weigh in, as well—but for a quick refresher, it helps to see it in chart form.

No scatter plot can fully capture Holzhauer’s strategic chops; how he starts at the bottom of the board to amass a war chest and hunts down Daily Doubles like a bloodhound. But they can give you a better sense of what rarified space he occupies in the Jeopardy! firmament.

You can’t win 22 games of Jeopardy! in a row, and rack up $1,691,008 in winnings along the way, without knowing your stuff. Holzhauer takes that to the extreme. Prior to his Monday return, he has given 803 correct responses out of 830 attempts, according to statistics compiled by Jeopardy! enthusiast site The Jeopardy Fan. That puts him second only to Jennings for total correct responses—and Jennings played 87 games.

It’s [...]  read more

‘Game of Thrones’ Recap, Season 8 Episode 6: The Endings We Choose to Believe

Game of Thrones has always been a story about stories, a fantasy that wanted to change how we thought about fantasy while spinning a fantasy of its own. It’s over now, though its audience will probably never agree on how it “really” ended, or if it ended at all; like so many myths that fractured into multiple truths through multiple tellings, it will always be replete with alternative interpretations and theories, debates about what it meant and revisionist histories that imagine it through the lens of whatever people want to see. In that sense, it has truly come to embody stories—and histories—in all their slippery glory and their power to remake the past and shape the future.

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It was often hard to know what to make of the series as its characters, politics, and themes grew dull, sacrificed [...]  read more

‘John Wick’ Shot Down ‘Avengers’ at the Box Office

Happy Post-Game of Thrones-Finale Day and welcome to another installment of The Monitor, WIRED’s roundup of the latest in pop culture news. What’s happening right now? First of all, the Avengers have finally abdicated their perch at the top of the box office charts. There’s also another movie based on Mortal Kombat coming and a new trailer for Westworld. Want more? Read on.

John Wick Shoots Down Avengers

It was bound to happen sometime, and this past weekend Avengers: Endgame was finally bested at the box office. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes came in second after John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum, which made $57 million domestically. The Avengers, on the other hand, brought in $29.4 million in their fourth weekend in theaters.

Here’s Your First Look at Westworld Season 3

As part of its Remember We Have Other Shows Besides Game of Thrones! campaign, HBO released a new trailer for Westworld on Sunday night. It features Aaron Paul as a vigilante (maybe?) who discovers Evan Rachel Wood’s Dolores (or a version [...]  read more

How All of the Surviving ‘Game of Thrones’ Heroes Got Here

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than eight years, but that’s how long it’s been since HBO premiered Game of Thrones on April 17, 2011. In the near-decade since the show launched—it was during President Obama’s first term—a lot has happened in the world of Westeros. Yet if we put on our Three-Eyed Raven goggles, it’s possible we might be able to see where all of this is going by returning to that very first episode.

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“Winter Is Coming” begins by setting the stage for the Army of the Dead, which was marching down from the north to end all life in the Seven Kingdoms. The White Walkers are no longer a threat—Arya squashed that when she stabbed the Night King earlier this season—but a lot of what unfolded in that premiere is still very relevant. In anticipation [...]  read more