Posts with «humanities» label

Marvel’s X-Men ‘97 will pick up from where the 90s animated series left off

Disney+ has released the first trailer for its upcoming animated series X-Men '97, and it feels like a blast from the past for fans of the animated series that aired in the 90s. Its story picks up from where the old series left off, with the trailer showing how the team makes an effort to work together after the death of Professor X who was seriously injured by the end of the Saturday morning cartoon. That means viewers can expect the same roster of mutants from the original show, including Cyclops as team leader, Wolverine, Jean Grey, Beast, Storm, Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee and Bishop. By the end of trailer, we also get a glimpse of Magneto, who apparently inherited everything Professor X had left behind. 

X-Men: The Animated Series was arguably the best adaptation of the comic books. The new show has a similar look and feel to it, but its animation quality thankfully looks a lot better. It features voice actors already known for the role, including Alison Sealy-Smith as Storm and Cal Dodd as Wolverine, but it also features new ones like Ray Chase as Cyclops. According to Entertainment Weekly, Divergent star Theo James is also part of the cast, but showrunner Beau DeMayo refused to reveal who he's voicing other than saying that it's a "fan-favorite character." Marvel Animation's X-Men '97 starts streaming on Disney+ on March 20 and will have 10 episodes in all. The streaming service has yet to reveal its release schedule, but it typically adds an episode a week for its shows — whether it'll also release an episode every Saturday morning remains to be seen. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

A One Piece anime remake is in the works from Netflix and Wit Studio

Right now’s a really good time to be a One Piece fan. Netflix announced on Sunday that it’s working with Wit Studio — the animation studio behind the early seasons of Attack on Titan and Vinland Saga — for a new anime adaptation of the long-running series. It’ll start fresh from the East Blue saga, or the beginning of Eiichiro Oda’s manga, which is now in its final saga and expected to wrap up in the next few years.

One Piece follows the adventures of the rubber-limbed pirate Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, known as the Straw Hats. Both the manga and the original anime series have been ongoing since the late ‘90s. And, just this summer, Netflix released a live-action One Piece adaptation that was surprisingly well received considering Hollywood’s track record with live-action anime remakes. 

As many have been preparing for the inevitable void that will be left when the manga and original anime come to an end, the latest announcement couldn’t be better timed. There’s little information available about the new series at this stage beyond the fact that it will be called The One Piece and “will recreate the story of the original One Piece manga.” We don’t have a release date yet, but Netflix says it’s in production now.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’ breaks into song

The following article contains spoilers for “Subspace Rhapsody.”

At some point in the ‘90s, it became law that all genre shows with a certain flexibility in their premise must do a musical episode. Xena, Ally McBeal, Buffy, Psych, Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs have all done one, as has Supernatural, Once Upon a Time, 7th Heaven, Supergirl and The Flash. Now, it’s Strange New Worlds’ turn to make its characters spontaneously burst into song as it drops “Subspace Rhapsody” as the penultimate episode of its second season.

It’s clear from the start that Strange New Worlds was well-suited to do a musical given how broad its range is. In the last four weeks alone, we’ve had goofy comedy served up back to back with serious meditations on empathy and redemption. This is the first live action Trek of the streaming era to remember the franchise gets better when it allows itself to be goofy. The only surprise is that this is coming so early on its run; this is just the nineteenth episode of the series overall.

Musical episodes serve several purposes: It allows the cast to show off their hidden talents and lets the production crew indulge their latent musical theater nerd. They’re also, in many cases, a useful narrative crucible, forcing characters to reveal secrets they’d otherwise never let out. It’s an old trick to use the primary colors of a rousing number to drop something deep and dark on an audience. This comes in handy given the number of running storylines in the back of each episode, which get resolved more or less all in one go.

Michael Gibson/Paramount+

Uhura’s opening narration informs us the Enterprise has discovered a large subspace fissure. Spock believes it could be used to speed up communication over long distances, but despite several tries, he and Uhura can’t make it work. Not until Pelia suggests they test the system using music, so Uhura fires up Anything Goes and sends it into the ether. Before you can say that’s-a-good-macguffin, a large subspace wave hits the ship and sends everyone singing.

As this is happening, Pike and Batel – who I can’t believe Pike didn’t dump after arresting and prosecuting his first officer – argue about holiday destinations. Chapel has received word she’s been accepted for a prestigious fellowship with a high-profile academic. She’ll be away for a while but declines to share her news with Spock after the fraying of their relationship last week. And, to further complicate matters, James T. Kirk is back on board to shadow Una in preparation for his own promotion. But when they start spouting technobabble as lyrics and feeling the urge to dance, we’re straight into an acapella rendition of the theme tune.

I’ve pointed out, too frequently this year, the confidence Strange New Worlds has in its own execution. This is the second time in three weeks that it’s not just screwed with its format but also its packaging in the form of its opening credits. It’s evidence of a show that knows it has the patience from its audience to play around with its formatting.

Urged on by Pike, stuck firmly in his eyebrow-raising sick-of-this-malarkey mode, the team find they’re trapped in a state of quantum uncertainty. They’re in a universe that follows the rules of a musical, so when emotions are high, people are likely to burst into song. That’s bad for La’an, who is struggling to contain her feelings with her alternate-history beau on board, especially since she’s prohibited from talking about it. Pike, too, starts to confess his misgivings about the holiday he and Captain Batel have been planning. La’an gets a solo about being emotionally shut off from the rest of the crew, followed soon after with a duet with Una talking about why it’s good to open up.

The improbability field starts to expand, encompassing more starships in the area and reaching Klingon territory. They soon dispatch a cruiser to shut it down, but the Enterprise crew discover that shooting the fissure will release enough energy to wipe out the quadrant. Uhura posits that, if they’re in a musical, their behavior might have to follow the tropes of the genre. Armed with a tricorder, she drags Spock to the bar where he bumps into Chapel, who then dumps him with a full-cast song-and-dance number about the importance of her career. He responds by singing his own solo in engineering in which he talks about his abandonment of logic and reason for love, a mistake he won’t make again.

La’an, who has spent more and more time with Kirk, decides to open up a little bit only to find her advances rebuffed. Not because he doesn’t feel similarly, but because he’s in an on-again, off-again relationship with a scientist called Carol. And that Carol is currently pregnant with Kirk’s child, who we might not get to see again until Kirk looks a lot more like William Shatner. (This episode has more than a few moments where it’s consciously drawing attention to its “evolution” into The Original Series.)

Spock’s judgment may be clouded but Uhura, whose awareness of musical tropes has been key all episode, spots the solution. In order to pop the uncertainty field, the whole crew needs to do a big full-cast finale, but not before Uhura gets her own solo. At Pike’s urging, Uhura gets on the ship’s PA and inspires the whole crew – complete with dancing redshirts and balletic starship dances to produce a showstopper climax. We even get a blast of the Original Series’ theme to underpin their victory, while Spock goes off to smooth things over with the Klingons and get over his split with another round of heavy drinking.

Much as the ending is ostensibly happy, with everyone learning the lesson to be more honest and authentic with each other, there’s trouble on the horizon. Batel has to cancel her holiday with Pike, she’s being sent on a top secret mission which, I’m sure, is our lead in to the finale. Spock’s nursing his grief, and the rest of his supersized emotions, while La’an has to deal with the ramifications of her not-quite-requited love.

Michael Gibson/Paramount+

It’s almost pointless to try and judge a musical episode by the standards of its peers given how different it is from the norm. The script, credited to Dana Horgan and Bill Wolkoff, efficiently and effectively works in the musical universe concept without a lot of setup. Demott Downs’ direction blends the closed nature of Strange New Worlds’ standing sets with the necessary scope a musical demands. And the songs, from Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley and Tom Polce, are perfectly fine. Musical lovers will have a greater appetite for enjoying each track on a loop, but as a casual enjoyer of the artform, I’m not sure how many would enter my regular Spotify rotation.

Obviously, much of the dramatic weight of the episode hangs on the shoulders of the cast members who can sing. Christina Chong, Jess Bush, Rebecca Romijn, Ethan Peck and Celia Rose Gooding all get showpiece numbers and boy, can they all sing. But that’s not to shade the names not on that list, especially those who are getting by with the help of autotune. It’s hard enough to sing and dance even if you’ve got years of experience behind you, let alone if you’re dropped into the deep end in an acting job. Now, onward to the finale!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Hulu debuts hub for adult animation and anime

Animation is big business for Hulu, as the streamer’s roster of cartoons regularly rank in the top ten for hours watched on the platform, thanks to shows like Bob’s Burgers, Futurama, King of the Hill and many more. Seeking to capitalize on the popularity of adult animation, Hulu’s launching a sub-brand to house all of its animated and anime-based content, as originally reported by Variety. Animayhem is now the home for legacy content like the above titles and original content like Solar Opposites and Koala Man.

All told, the hub/sub-brand allows access to 2,600 episodes of traditional animated programming, spread across 46 series, and a whopping 18,400 episodes of anime, spread across 435 series. That’s over 20,000 episodes of cartoon goodness, for those keeping count. As such, Hulu is advertising the platform as the streamer’s “Animation Destination.”

The surprise-launch of Animayhem comes just two weeks before the latest Futurama reboot, and that’s just the start of the streamer’s plans for animation domination. Hulu’s ordered new episodes of Mike Judge’s King of the Hill and it plans on having a heavy presence at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, promising an immersive experience called “Hulu Animayhem: Into the Second Dimension.”

In the meantime, the hub’s already available as part of the standard Hulu subscription, so go ahead and binge Archer, Family Guy and all the hundreds upon hundreds of available anime series like One Piece and Naruto.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

‘Among Us’ cartoon coming from teams behind ‘Infinity Train’ and 'Star Trek: Lower Decks’

Hit video game Among Us is getting the cartoon treatment, as originally reported by Variety. CBS Studios is behind the venture, partnering up with Innersloth, the game studio originally responsible for the indie sensation. There looks to be plenty of talent behind the scenes here, as the showrunner is Owen Dennis, the creator of the criminally-underrated Infinity Train. Titmouse Studios is handling the animation, after successful work on shows like Star Trek: Lower Decks and Bigmouth.

If you are at all familiar with the game, the series description will seem like deja vu. The show will feature the crew of a spacecraft as they are murdered and replaced by an alien shapeshifter in an attempt to sabotage the ship and cause mass confusion. In other words, it’s the game, only with professional voice actors instead of your friends and family.

There’s no voice cast yet, or even some simple still shots of the animation. There hasn’t even been a streaming platform or network announced to house the cartoon, but with CBS Studios bankrolling, Paramount+ is a good bet. Though, Paramount+ has been doing that thing modern streamers do where they not only cancel shows but immediately delete them, so who knows.

Should you be excited for this animated series? Creator Owen Dennis cut his teeth on the critically acclaimed Cartoon Network series Regular Show before moving onto the absolutely stellar Infinity Train. Dennis served as showrunner throughout all four seasons of Infinity Train before it was, you’ll never guess, canceled and then completely erased by Max. There’s no official DVDs or Blu-Rays, but you can purchase the episodes digitally via Amazon and Apple to see what all the fuss is about.

In the meantime, the Among Us series has no release date, though the show is covered by The Animation Guild and not the WGA, so work should be able to proceed without crossing picket lines.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Supreme Court’s Warhol decision could have huge copyright implications for ‘fair use’

The Supreme Court has ruled that Andy Warhol has infringed on the copyright of Lynn Goldsmith, the photographer who took the image that he used for his famous silkscreen of the musician Prince. Goldsmith won the justices over 7-2, disagreeing with Warhol's camp that his work was transformative enough to prevent any copyright claims. In the majority opinion written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, she noted that "Goldsmith's original works, like those of other photographers, are entitled to copyright protection, even against famous artists." 

Goldsmith's story goes as far back as 1984, when Vanity Fair licensed her Prince photo for use as an artist reference. The photographer received $400 for a one-time use of her photograph, which Warhol then used as the basis for a silkscreen that the magazine published. Warhol then created 15 additional works based on her photo, one of which was sold to Condé Nast for another magazine story about Prince. The Andy Warhol Foundation (AWF) — the artist had passed away by then — got $10,000 it, while Goldsmith didn't get anything. 

Typically, the use of copyrighted material for a limited and "transformative" purpose without the copyright holder's permission falls under "fair use." But what passes as "transformative" use can be vague, and that vagueness has led to numerous lawsuits. In this particular case, the court has decided that adding "some new expression, meaning or message" to the photograph does not constitute "transformative use." Sotomayor said Goldsmith's photo and Warhol's silkscreen serve "substantially the same purpose." 

Indeed, the decision could have far ranging implications for fair use and could influence future cases on what constitutes as transformative work. Especially now that we're living in the era of content creators who could be taking inspiration from existing music and art. As CNN reports, Justice Elena Kagan strongly disagreed with her fellow justices, arguing that the decision would stifle creativity. She said the justices mostly just cared about the commercial purpose of the work and did not consider that the photograph and the silkscreen have different "aesthetic characteristics" and did not "convey the same meaning."

"Both Congress and the courts have long recognized that an overly stringent copyright regime actually stifles creativity by preventing artists from building on the works of others. [The decision will] impede new art and music and literature, [and it will] thwart the expression of new ideas and the attainment of new knowledge. It will make our world poorer," she wrote. 

The justices who wrote the majority opinion, however, believe that it "will not impoverish our world to require AWF to pay Goldsmith a fraction of the proceeds from its reuse of her copyrighted work. Recall, payments like these are incentives for artists to create original works in the first place."

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Pokémon-inspired art collection comes to LA this summer

A Pokémon-inspired art collection is visiting Los Angeles this summer. The Pokémon × Kogei craftwork exhibition is a collaboration between The Pokémon Company and LA’s Japan House, a space dedicated to spotlighting Japanese culture. The collection includes more than 70 pieces of art crafted by 20 artists, each piece filled to the brim with pocket monsters.

The exhibition focuses on crafts over drawings and paintings, as the art spans multiple mediums like lacquer, ceramics, textiles, metalwork and more. The artists involved with the collection include metalworks legend Morihito Katsura and sculptor Taiichiro Yoshida, among others. The collection is arranged into three sections.

The “Stories” section emphasizes franchise mascot Pikachu. A much-anticipated piece here is called “Pikachu Forest,” which is made from more than 900 strands of lace suspended from the ceiling to create, well, a forest populated by electrified yellow rodents. The “Appearance” section includes many pieces featuring Eevee and its various evolutions, like Jolteon, Vaporeon and Flareon. The final section, called “Life”, seems to be a hodge-podge affair with many different Pokémon.

The exhibition starts on July 25th and runs for five full months, all the way until January. Admission is free and the gallery is open seven days a week. Japan House also says they'll be hosting events related to the exhibition but has not announced any details. In any case, this seems like a great place to meet friends for some Pokémon Go action.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

German artist refuses award after his AI image wins prestigious photography prize

There's some controversy in the photography world as an AI-generated image won a major prize at a prestigious competition, PetaPixel has reported. An piece called The Electrician by Boris Eldagsen took first prize in the Creative category at the World Photography Organization’s Sony World Photography Awards — despite not being taken by a camera. Eldagsen subsequently refused the award, saying "AI is not photography. I applied... to find out if the competitions are prepared for AI images to enter. They are not."

Eldagsen's image is part of a series called PSEUDOMNESIA: Fake Memories, designed to evoke a photographic style of the 1940s. However, they are in reality "fake memories of a past, that never existed, that no one photographed. These images were imagined by language and re-edited more between 20 to 40 times through AI image generators, combining ‘inpainting’, ‘outpainting’, and ‘prompt whispering’ techniques."

In a blog, Eldagsen explained that he used his experience as a photographer to create the prize-winning image, acting as a director of the process with the AI generators as "co-creators." Although the work is inspired by photography, he said that the point of the submission is that it is not photography. "Participating in open calls, I want to speed up the process of the Award organizers to become aware of this difference and create separate competitions for AI-generated images," he said.

Eldagsen subsequently declined the prize. “Thank you for selecting my image and making this a historic moment, as it is the first AI-generated image to win in a prestigious international photography competition,” he wrote. “How many of you knew or suspected that it was AI generated? Something about this doesn’t feel right, does it? AI images and photography should not compete with each other in an award like this. They are different entities. AI is not photography. Therefore I will not accept the award.”

Shortly thereafter, the photo was stripped from the show and competition website and organizers have yet to comment on the matter. Edalgsen actually traveled to London to attend the ceremony and even got up on stage (uninvited) to read a statement in person. 

It's not clear if the organizers knew the work was AI-generated or not (Eldagsen said he told them it was). In any case, rather than shrinking from the situation, they should be embracing it. AI-generated art has entered the culture in a huge way over the past year, with AI winning both photo and art competitions over the past few months. Eldagsen's piece is bound to create conversations about how to handle it, particularly when it encroaches into traditional mediums. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

‘Scott Pilgrim’ is coming back as a cartoon with the film’s entire cast

Rumors of an animated Scott Pilgrim show have been swirling around for years, though Netflix officially confirmed those rumors last year by announcing it was working on something. More details just dropped, however, and not only is the Scott Pilgrim anime a real thing, but it is currently in production and features the entire cast of the original 2010 movie.

We mean the entire cast, including Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ellen Wong and Mae Whitman. Some cast members have become major stars in the years since the film’s original release, but they are also returning. In other words, expect to hear the dulcet tones of Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Kieran Culkin and Aubrey Plaza as they reprise their original roles.

This is not a drill! This is happening!

After much musing over the years about there being potential for an anime adaptation of ‘Scott Pilgrim’, I’m thrilled to say one is IMMINENT, with the whole cast back together and… you are going to lose your minds.

— edgarwright (@edgarwright) March 30, 2023

There’s also plenty of behind-the-scenes folks coming back for this animated follow-up. The big name here is original director Edgar Wright, who is returning as an executive producer and seems to be heavily involved if his tweets are any indication. Bryan Lee O’Malley, the original creator of the Scott Pilgrim comic, is one of the showrunners. Wright even tweeted to suggest that the film’s original composers, legendary chiptune band Anamanaguchi, would be back in some capacity.

You will be very happy.

— edgarwright (@edgarwright) March 30, 2023

Netflix has dropped a trailer, but it does not feature any actual footage, so the look and feel of the animation are still unknown. Additionally, no official release date has been announced, so it may be a while before we see what this new interpretation looks like. It’s time to play the waiting game again, but at least we know it’s actually coming this time. In the meantime, there is the original movie to watch, comics to read and a video game to play.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Netflix's ‘Stranger Things’ stage play will debut later this year

Netflix has revealed more details about a Stranger Things prequel that you'll need to get off your couch to experience (at least for the foreseeable future). A stage play called Stranger Things: The First Shadowwill premiere at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End later this year. Netflix announced the production last year.

The play takes place in Hawkins in 1959, over two decades before the beginning of the '80s-set sci-fi/horror series. It will feature younger versions of key characters, including Joyce Byers, Jim Hopper, Bob Newby and Henry Creel (aka Vecna). Netflix says The First Shadow "will take you right back to the beginning of the Stranger Things story — and to the beginning of the end." That suggests the play will tie into the show's fifth and final season, which doesn't have a release window as yet.

Welcome to Hawkins, 1959. Before the world turned upside down…

Stranger Things: The First Shadow. A new story live on stage.

London | Late 2023 |

— Stranger Things On Stage (@STOnStage) March 1, 2023

The First Shadow comes from the minds of series creators Matt and Ross Duffer, Stranger Things writer Kate Trefry and Jack Thorne, the writer of Enola Holmes 2, which features Millie Bobby Brown. Trefry wrote the play, which is being directed by Tony and Emmy winner Stephen Daldry. Tickets will go on sale this spring and Netflix says those who register at the play's website will jump to the front of the line.

Netflix has already expanded Stranger Things to several other mediums, including games, comics, novels and a drive-thru experience. The First Shadow is the company's first live stage production. It remains to be seen, however, if a filmed version of the play will hit the streaming service at some point so those who can't make it to London (or, perhaps, Broadway) can see it.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at