by Josie Kafka
SPN in the NYT
Some people must feel that this week’s New York Times coverage of Supernatural heralds the end of the world: why on earth would the Gray Lady cover a long-running cult show that is loved by fans and unknown by everyone else? Then again, why not? The New York Times’ profile of SPN and its two stars doesn’t contain much new information—other than the fact that Misha Collins worked in the White House, which is fascinating—but it does have some interesting ruminations on why the show has had such success, as well as a great conversation between Jensen and Jared in which they finish each other’s sentences like an old married couple.
The Star Wars EU
The Star Wars “Expanded Universe” (EU) includes novels, comics, and video games—and it’s all being rewritten. According to the LA Times, “Lucasfilm is officially writing off all Expanded Universe properties that have been produced to date.” The previously-produced material will all still be available, but is now slotted under the umbrella category of “Legends,” and “those stories will have no bearing on what happens in the films, TV shows, novels, comics or video games that Lucasfilm creates going forward.” Here’s a video in which the Lucasfilms story development team discusses the new content alignment:
Last weekend’s Wondercon in Anaheim included a panel on “Whedonversity,” which relayed information about the Serenity: Leaves on the Wind six-issue series from George Jeanty and Zack Whedon, who said “Part of the...idea was to break [the Firefly crew] apart and bring them back together, and [to] watch them struggle to come back together." Buffy: Season Ten, on the other hand, will emphasize the Scoobies working as a team for the first time in a long while.
Whedon in Tribeca
If comic spinoffs aren’t your thing but you’re craving more Whedon, you’ll be happy to know that His Jossiness’s most recent film premiered this week at the Tribeca film festival. In Your Eyes, which stars none of the usual Whedonverse stable of actors, is about “Rebecca, a soft-spoken doctor’s wife living on the East Coast, and Dylan, an ex-con struggling to make a fresh start in New Mexico, who somehow find themselves inexplicably and metaphysically connected,” according to Entertainment Weekly. Click here for a trailer for the film, which is sadly not yet available on YouTube.
There Will Be True Blood
Omar Comin’ to Amazon
Starting May 21st, Amazon will offer most of HBO’s back-catalogue for free streaming for Prime members. Shows like The Sopranos, Deadwood, The Wire, and early seasons of True Blood will be available right away, as will many HBO original movies, like the Danny Strong-penned Game Change. Newer seasons of True Blood may take a while, though, and True Detective seasons won’t be available for streaming on Amazon until three years after the original air-date. Game of Thrones will remain the exclusive property of HBO, because HBO doesn’t want to upset the dragons.
This deal is a big deal: Amazon will be the exclusive purveyor of HBO streaming content (other than HBOGo, of course). Netflix has been shut out of the deal, which must provoke the ire of Netflix honcho Reed Hastings, who said last year that “the goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” But HBO isn’t becoming Netflix. Instead, HBO is outsourcing the labor of creating a viable streaming platform—one that doesn’t crash for big events like the Game of Thrones season premiere or the True Detective finale—in order to limit the growth-potential of Netflix.
The jury is still out, though, on exactly what this means for Amazon: shares for the company dropped after the release of its first-quarter earnings. Amazon has a history of convincing shareholders not to worry about profits now, but instead to allow the company to operate at a loss while building its monopoly, eventually taking over the world, and then replacing us all with Kindlebots. Internet pundits, however, wonder if Amazon investors are losing patience with the wait-wait-wait-and-someday-we-will-see strategy.
And the HBO/Amazon deal might not have good long-term consequences. Andrew Leonard, addressing what he refers to as this week’s “cascade of news-breaking developments all but overwhelms our ability to make sense of them,” argues that “the economic model that currently underpins television (and bankrolls our amazing proliferation of high-quality productions) is under sustained assault,” and if net unneutrality, an cord-cutting, and cable mergers continue to increase, the “golden age” of television will come to an end. His article is too long to adequately summarize here, but I recommend checking it out.
Cats: The Next Frontier?
Here at Doux News, we pride ourselves on bringing you the most up-to-date scientific research in the important area of Cat Studies. Back in February, we posted “The Science of Cats” video, and in January we discussed the new book Cat Sense from a University of Bristol biologist.
But recent research calls all of our diligent work into question. Science magazine scribe David Grimm recently wrote Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs. In an article for Slate, Grimm describes the impossibility of truly knowing the “black box” of a cat’s mind: he called numerous researchers, looking for information about cats, only to be told that “we did one study on cats—and that was enough!” and “I can assure you that it’s easier to work with fish than cats.”
Many cats “drop out” of experiments, or refuse to participate, which can make it difficult to assess whether or not cats have a true “theory of mind” like dogs. However, aptly-named researcher Brian Hare, who has predominantly focused on Dog Studies (aka “canine cognition”), hasn’t lost hope: he claims that “cats are going to be the next frontier” in pet neurobiology. Perhaps then he can explain this, because I sure can’t: