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The latest news on TV from Business Insider

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    stranger things season 2

    Warning: Minor spoilers ahead for "Stranger Things" season two.

    The long-awaited follow up to Netflix's smash hit original series "Stranger Things" arrives on the streaming platform Friday, October 27. While superfans of the original will still find joy in the '80s nostalgia and stellar cast, cocreators The Duffer Brothers may have bit off more than they can chew when it comes to new characters and the way their storylines thread together.

    Why should you care:

    After viewing all nine new episodes, I believe "Stranger Things 2" (as The Duffer Brothers dubbed it) is still a worthy viewing experience that hits the right notes and expands on the compelling story of Eleven, the Upside Down, and Hawkins, Indiana.

    As you probably know by now, "Stranger Things" is arguably one of Netflix's most popular original shows of all time (though precise viewing numbers aren't currently available). The first season debuted in June 2016, and dominated the pop culture conversation for much of the year. 

    stranger things season 2

    What's hot:

    As with its first season, the standout performances of "Stranger Things 2" come from the young cast. Noah Schnapp plays Will Byers, a character who was offscreen or unconscious for nearly all of season one. Schnapp gives a fantastic performance that ranges from endearingly vulnerable and understandably frustrated by the constant coddling of his friends and family, to a convincingly frightened and terrifying centerpiece of the season's spookiest plotline.

    We won't spoil Will's journey here, but know that Schnapp blends seamlessly in with the core cast from season one and holds his own as a leading character. While there was never going to be a way for The Duffer Brothers to recapture the unexpected blockbuster success of season one, "Stranger Things 2" delivers enough magic to keep the hype going.

    stranger things season two

    Another standout from the kids is Finn Wolfhard's portrayal of a more angsty Mike Wheeler. Believing Eleven is gone forever, Mike has strayed into rebellious preteen territory for the second season. The coarseness and cynicism embedded in Mike's evolving new personality is a compelling turn for his once eager and optimistic character. The heartache you feel for both Mike and Eleven is an emotional keystone throughout the season.

    Millie Bobby Brown is also stellar as the resident superhero Eleven, though parts of her season two journey are too meandering and begin to veer off track before coming back for a solid finale episode. 

    netflix eleven stranger things

    The score remains impeccable, and if the numerous references to existing pop culture sat well with you in season one then you'll love how The Duffer Brothers and their team double down for "Stranger Things 2." They also seem to be accutely aware of criticism lobbed at them for pulling too much from Spielberg and other titans of kid-centric genre movies. At one point a veteran character recounts the season one events to a newcomer, who dismisses the tale as fiction and says it's "derivative" and unoriginal.

    Also, Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) once again emerges as my favorite character I didn't see coming. Who knew the surprise baseball bat beatdown of a Demogorgon could be improved upon?

    What's not:

    The biggest problems with "Stranger Things 2" stem from the expansion of the world. While it's great to have new faces and characters to explore, the pacing goes a bit off the rails midway through the nine episodes. I found myself impatient with meeting new characters who didn't seem to fit into the main arc. 

    The first season of "Stranger Things" was successful in its ability to sit with a scene or moment and let the emotional impact gently build. "Stranger Things 2" felt over-manufactured during certain episodes, and the result was hollow moments I knew were meant to tug at my heartstrings but ultimately fell flat. New characters are only as good as the additional impact they bring to a scene, and for a couple new faces I found myself wondering why they were added. 

    Billy Stranger Things season two

    As I already mentioned, "Stranger Things 2" doubles down on its inner-referencing to '80s pop culture. From Sean Astin's clear purpose of being a "Goonies" reminder to notes taken from "Gremlins" and "The Exorcist" or other familiar thriller/horror tropes. If you didn't like those homages during the first season, things will only get worse for you.

    The season also relies more on unnecessary attempts at jump-scares or quick cuts and flashbacks that don't add to the mood but instead felt inserted just for the sake of it.

    The bottom-line:

    If you love "Stranger Things," season two will deliver on core ingredients that made the first season so delightful to millions of fans. The final two episodes alone are worth sitting through some of the mishaps along the way. The pitfalls of any second season — retreading familiar ground and overplaying your hand when it comes to going "bigger"— are there, but in the end it's still recognizable as our beloved "Stranger Things."

    Grade:

    B+

    For me, the first season of "Stranger Things" was an A+ debut that could have stood alone as a one-off miniseries. So with the bar set high, a B+ sophomore season is about as good as it gets.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's what that square patch on your backpack is actually used for


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    carl gun the walking dead 801

    Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead for "The Walking Dead."

    Sunday's eighth season premiere of "The Walking Dead" managed to bring together it's entire large cast to screen, while also finding time to introduce one more character who should become important this season.

    Early on the episode, Carl comes across a man ranting about getting shot and having a microwave thrown at him. He then starts citing quotes from the Quran. If you can't recall it, AMC released the scene ahead of the season's premiere. You can watch it here.

    TWD 801 siddiq

    Later on the episode, we get a good look at the man's face when Carl returns to the abandoned gas station to bring him food. 

    While some viewers may have been groaning over the addition of yet another character to the bloated cast, comic fans were hyped to see the character. That's Siddiq! 

    Who is Siddiq? 

    siddiq walking dead

    Siddiq is an Arab-American who's introduced in issue #127 of the comic

    His entry onto the show is a little surprising now because he doesn't appear in the comics until after the "All Out War" story arc occurring this season. At that time, the comic flashes forward two years and Siddiq is part of a construction crew building up Alexandria's thriving community.

    In addition to being a handy man, Siddiq is a skilled fisherman in the comics. It's a chance meetup with Michonne while out at sea that lands him in Alexandria. 

    Will this be a different version of Siddiq? 

    avi nash

    In April, TVLine reported that "an innately likable Muslim American" would be joining the cast. The casting call referred to the character as "Abbud," but shows and films are known to put out fake names during casting. "The Walking Dead" casting directors told INSIDER when they were casting for Negan, he went by the name of Orin.

    During the episode premiere, Entertainment Weekly's Dalton Ross confirmed that was indeed Siddiq

    Avi Nash ("Silicon Valley") was cast for the part, even if it is a slightly different interpretation of the character. Fan favorites including Carol and Michonne have had some big screen departures from their original comic counterparts.

    According to TVLine, "Abbud" the character has been on his own for a while and it's caused him to be a bit jittery.

    Why his entrance onto the TV show is interesting

    In the comics, we learn Siddiq was a member of the Oceanside community. That's the very same group viewers saw on the show's seventh season. 

    oceanside walking dead

    The only difference is that the show version of Oceanside is an all-female community. Tara was told that Negan's men killed off all of the men in their group. It's not clear whether or not Siddiq will have an altered background on the show or if he'll wind up being a lone male survivor of the Oceanside community who hasn't been able to reunite with his people.

    The character will almost certainly cross paths with Rick this season

    rick walking dead

    If you paid close attention to the season premiere, some of Rick's final words on the episode are, "Have mercy prevail over my wrath."

    Those words should sound familiar because they were uttered by Nash's character when Carl ran into him.

    rick siddiq my mercy prevail over my wrath

    "That has a significant place in terms of a character that's introduced,""The Walking Dead" executive producer and episode director Greg Nicotero told INSIDER of the repetition of the quote on the season premiere. 

    We'll have to wait until next week to possibly see more of Siddiq. Until then, follow along with more of our coverage from the season premiere here

    SEE ALSO: Here's the preview for the rest of 'The Walking Dead' season 8

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Trump once won a lawsuit against the NFL — but the result was an embarrassment


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    HBO The Newsroom Jeff Daniels

    Throughout its history of original programming, HBO has delivered some of the greatest TV shows of all time, including "The Wire,""Deadwood," and "The Sopranos."

    But with every string of success comes at least some failure. Although HBO hasn't made nearly as many terrible shows as networks like CBS, NBC and ABC in the long run, it's certainly released quite a few stinkers. 

    But which HBO shows are the worst? We ranked its shows according to their ratings on Metacritic, which aggregates critic reviews and assigns each season of a show a score between 1 and 100.

    For shows with multiple seasons, we averaged their scores. And to break ties, we brought in the audience score.

    Here's how HBO's shows rank, from worst to best, according to critics on Metacritic.

    (Note: We left off animated, children's, documentary/reality, and foreign programming, as well as miniseries, with a few notable exceptions.)

    SEE ALSO: The 6 worst TV shows of the fall 2017 season, ranked

    16. "The Newsroom" (2012-14), three seasons

    Average Metacritic score: 61.7

    "The series is kind of a mess ... but one you can't really look away from."— SFGate



    15. "Carnivale" (2003-05), two seasons

    Average Metacritic score: 61

    "A bloated mess ... 'Carnivale' is a little too full of itself. Believing that it has a fascinating story to tell with all the complex themes you could imagine, the series nevertheless fails the first test of television: Move forward."— SFGate



    14. "Unscripted" (2005), one season

    Metacritic score: 60

    Audience Score: N/A 

    "A faux documentary on actors who are not famous but who are struggling to be isn't inherently interesting to non-actors ... 'Unscripted' isn't a complete flop. It's just rare that HBO fails like this."— The San Francisco Chronicle



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    marisol nichols

    • Marisol Nichols plays Hermione Lodge on The CW's "Riverdale."
    • The actress spoke with INSIDER about the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
    • She said she is most angry at the "complacent" people around him. 
    • She also spoke about her foundation, Slavery Free World.
    • It works to combat human trafficking and the child sex trade. 

     

    Marisol Nichols is angry at the people who knew about Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual harassment and assault and ignored it. 

    The 43-year-old actress, known for playing Hermione Lodge on "Riverdale," told INSIDER she is happy the stories are emerging but mad at those who brushed Weinstein's behavior aside for years.

    "The people I am most mad at in that whole scenario with Harvey Weinstein are the people who knew and were just like, 'Well, that's just Harvey,'" Nichols told INSIDER. "That 'no-responsibility, brush-it-under-the-table, everything's-fine, that's-just-the-way-it-is [response]' — that complacency kills me. That's what bothers me the most, that so many people knew about it and brushed it under the table."

    Since the bombshell reports from The New York Times and The New Yorker dropped earlier this month, numerous celebrities have come forward with stories of their own experiences of alleged sexual assault or harassment. Other stars have shared stories they were told by other people.

    Nichols' "Riverdale" costar Skeet Ulrich recently told Cosmopolitan that he knew about Weinstein because "one of the most famous women on the planet" told him her experience at dinner. Ulrich didn't come forward at the time, because the actress didn't want to and he declined to reveal her identity as she has yet to come forward. Nichols declined to comment specifically on Ulrich.

    "These are the conversations that we need to have to start opening this door to the dark side of society that seems to get brushed over," the actress said. 

    Her unwillingness to sit idly by is how Nichols founded her organization, Slavery Free World

    hermione lodge riverdale

    The nonprofit works to combat human trafficking and the child sex trade. 

    The actress said she first learned about trafficking as a child. One year, her family was unable to travel to her mother's hometown of Laredo, Texas, because girls were disappearing. As she got older, she began to ask more questions. 

    "I just couldn't sleep. I can't know about this and then go about my day as if it doesn't exist," Nichols said. "The world changed from the moment I learned that that was happening ... I had to form my own organization, and I had to get involved and do everything that I could and still can and still do, because I honestly can't put my head on the pillow unless something's being done about it. It scares me what the future's going to be like."

    In 2017, Nichols spoke at the United Nations on behalf of her foundation.

    Despite everything, Nichols said she strongly believes that the world can change. 

    "I will never believe that's just the way [the world] is. Where would we be if people said that along the way?" she said. "Our world grows because people believe in change. Just even the conversations we're having now and the hashtag campaign #metoo and all of that. I'm so happy about it."

    If you are a victim of sexual assault, you can visit RAINN or call its hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I won't trade in my iPhone 6s for an iPhone 8 or iPhone X — here's why


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    men in black

    While some memorable titles will be leaving Netflix in November, the streaming service is also reupping with more quality content.

    Arriving titles to check out include the first "Men In Black" film, the baseball classic "Field of Dreams," and a slew of new Netflix originals. 

    Among the upcoming original titles are the streaming service's Oscar-contending period film "Mudbound" and the second season of comedian Maria Bamford's "Lady Dynamite." 

    Here's everything that's coming to Netflix in November (we've bolded the titles we think you should watch):

    SEE ALSO: Here's everything leaving Netflix in November that you need to watch right now

    Available November 1

    "42"
    "Casper"
    "Chappie"
    "Charlotte’s Web (2006)"
    "Field of Dreams"
    "Men in Black"
    "Michael Clayton"
    "Oculus" 
    "Scary Movie"
    "Silent Hill" 
    "Stranger: Season 1"
    "The Bittersweet"
    "The Pursuit of Happyness"
    "The Reader"
    "The Whole Nine Yards"
    "To Rome with Love"
    "Under Arrest: Season 7"
    "Undercover Grandpa"
    "Where the Day Takes You"



    Available November 2

    "All About the Money"
    "It’s Not Yet Dark"
    "Ten Percent (aka Call My Agent!): Season 2" — NETFLIX ORIGINAL



    Available November 3

    "Alias Grace" — NETFLIX ORIGINAL 
    "Eventual Salvation"
    "The Big Family Cooking Showdown: Season 1" — NETFLIX ORIGINAL



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Dora the Explorer Nickelodeon Swiper

    • Paramount is moving forward with its "Dora the Explorer" adaptation, which will be produced by Michael Bay.
    • Nick Stoller ("Forgetting Sarah Marshall,""Neighbors") will write the script.
    • In the movie, Dora will be a teenager instead of a 7-year-old girl.
    • The studio is eyeing a 2019 release date, though other details are scarce.

     

    After languishing in development for the past two years, Paramount is finally moving forward with its "Dora the Explorer" adaptation, bringing on writer Nick Stoller to write the script. This "Dora the Explorer" live-action movie was first put into development exactly two years ago, when the studio brought on Tom Wheeler (Puss in Boots) to write the screenplay.

    There has been no movement on the project since then, but now it seems that the studio is moving forward with a new writer working on the script, and the studio eyeing a 2019 release date, with Michael Bay producing alongside his Platinum Dunes partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller.

    The project will be developed under the new Paramount Players division of the studio, which is devoted to producing films based on properties that fall under the banner of Paramount's parent corporation, Viacom, which include Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and BET. Brian Robbins, creator of AwesomenessTV, was brought in this summer to oversee this division.

    It seems the formation of this new Paramount Players division was enough to put this project back on the right development track, although it remains unclear if Nick Stoller is starting from scratch with a brand new script, or if he's rewriting Tom Wheeler's script for this live-action adaptation.

    Dora the Explorer Nickelodeon kittens

    While plot details are being kept under wraps, this report claims there will be one major change from the TV series. In the original animated show, Dora is just seven years old, but in this live-action movie, Dora will be a teenager, who moves to the big city to live with her cousin Diego. It remains to be seen if movie will include Dora's pet monkey Boots, or the villainous Swiper will be featured in this live-action movie or not.

    While it's likely still to early for the studio to consider casting yet, it will be interesting if the studio casts an American Latina actress for the role to stay true to this character, and possibly avoid any "whitewashing" controversy.

    The original animated show ran on Nickelodeon from 2000 to 2014 for eight seasons, with often large gaps between the seasons, like the four year gape between Season 4 and Season 5. Nickelodeon produced 172 episodes of the hit series, which spawned a number of TV movies like 2007's "Dora the Explorer: Dance-Along Musical Adventure," 2008's "Dora the Explorer: It's a Party" and 2009's "Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure," along with video games such as 2007's "Dora the Explorer: Dora Saves the Mermaids" and 2010's "Dora the Explorer: Dora's Big Birthday Adventure." The franchise also spawned a slew of merchandise, LEGO sets and even live stage shows.

    Jason Segel Forgetting Sarah Marshall

    Nick Stoller started his career as a writer for "Strangers With Candy" and "Undeclared," before making his feature writing debut with "Fun With Dick and Jane," followed by "Yes Man," both of which starred Jim Carrey. He made his feature directing debut with the 2008 comedy "Forgetting Sarah Marshall,"which he followed up by writing and directing the 2010 comedy feature "Get Him to the Greek."

    He went on to direct "The Five-Year Engagement,""Neighbors,""Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising" and "Storks," along with episodes of the Netflix series he created, "Friends From College." He also wrote the scripts for "Gulliver's Travels,""The Muppets,""Muppets Most Wanted,""Sex Tape,""Zoolander 2" and this year's "Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie." This report from The Hollywood Reporter also reveals that he wrote the movie "Night School" that is in production with Kevin Hart starring.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Meet the three women who married Donald Trump


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    In the online streaming video business, there's Netflix — and everybody else. That's true not only when it comes to the number of subscribers, where Netflix leads by far, but also in terms of the devotion of those customers. 

    The vast majority of Netflix customers don't subscribe to any other streaming video service, as we can see in this chart from Statista, which is based on data from research firm Second Measure. Netflix's customers are far more likely than customers of other streaming video services to only subscribe to its service. Indeed, DirecTV Now, Netflix's nearest competitor in terms of subscriber exclusivity, has half the rate of customers who only subscribe to its service. 

    One way Netflix has been able to encourage its customers' devotion is by maintaining a diverse library of movies and television shows, including a growing collection of original videos. The company's service is already home to cult shows including "Stranger Things,""Orange is the New Black," and "House of Cards." And Netflix expects to keep bulking up its offerings, saying in its recent earnings call that it'll likely spend between $7 billion and $8 billion on content in 2018. 

    COTD_10.24

    SEE ALSO: Three years after it launched, Apple Pay is finally starting to gain traction with retailers

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Netflix just crushed earnings, but can it grow to $300 billion?


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    streaming4x3

    The Insider Pick:

    • A media streaming device can transform your so-called dumb TV into a smart one that plays shows and movies from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Prime Video, and other streaming services. The best of the bunch is the Roku Ultra with its easy-to-use interface and 4K video streaming.

    The world is changing. Gone are the days when a cable subscription was necessary to watch all the latest and greatest TV shows. These days, the best TV shows are coming out on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. Of course, the best way to take advantage of services like Netflix is by streaming shows straight to your TV.

    There are plenty of streaming devices out there to help you connect the latest and greatest video streaming services to your TV, and they’re not all created equal. Before buying, you’ll want to consider a few different things.

    For starters, you’ll want to think about whether you want a fully-fledged streaming box, which comes complete with its own operating system and allows you to download and install apps. The alternative is a device like the Google Chromecast, which basically streams content from your phone or computer. With a streaming stick, instead of installing Netflix on your TV-connected device, you’ll install it on your phone or computer and then stream from your phone to the streaming stick, which is plugged into your TV's HDMI port.

    Next up you’ll want to keep in mind the specs of your TV. Not all streaming sticks and boxes are able to handle 4K content, so if you have a 4K TV, you’ll want to get one that can stream 4K videos. Last but not least, it might be worth considering the ecosystem you’re most plugged into. For example, Android users might be able to get more use from an Android TV device, while those using an iPhone and Mac might prefer the Apple TV.

    We've done the research to find the best streaming sticks and boxes to turn your dumb TV into a smart one that can access videos from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and more. Read on to see which of our picks is best for you.

    Updated on 10/25/2017 by Malarie Gokey: Added the 2017 Roku Ultra and the 2017 Roku Streaming Stick. Also adjusted copy to reflect that Amazon's 2017 Fire TV is now available, and also a great buy.

    Although the Roku Ultra is our top pick, for the reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the NVIDIA Shield, the Apple TV 4K, the Google Chromecast Ultra, the Roku Streaming Stick, and the new Amazon Fire TV. We also break down the new Roku lineup so you know which one is right for you.

    SEE ALSO: The best HDTV indoor antennas you can buy

    The best streaming box overall

    Why you'll love it: The Roku Ultra streams in 4K and HDR, has voice search, comes with a remote control, and costs just $70.

    Roku's Ultra is more streaming box than most people need. It supports 4K video at 60 frames per second and HDR content for just $99. If you have a 4K TV, this is the streaming device you want.

    Roku may not necessarily be linked to your Google or Apple account, but it can still connect to all the streaming services you enjoy. You’ll be able to install Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and more using Roku's operating system. Just connect the box to your TV via the HDMI port, and connect all your favorite streaming services to get started.

    As mentioned, the device also supports HDR, which basically means that it’ll show richer colors and better contrast, which is always a good thing for TV lovers. The device even supports 4K video at 60 frames per second, which is something most media streaming devices don’t currently support.

    Of course, to take advantage of that 4K content, you’ll need a decent connection. Thankfully the device can connect to your internet through Ethernet or over Wi-Fi.

    The Ultra also comes with a remote control so you can adjust the volume, turn on your TV, and search for content with your voice. 

    The Roku Ultra is perfect for most people with a 4K TV. And for $70, it's a steal. Expert reviewers give the Ultra high marks.

    Pros: 4K and HDR streaming, affordable, good remote, lots of apps, improved Wi-Fi connection, Ethernet, microSD port

    Cons: Pricey

    Buy the Roku Ultra on Amazon for $99



    The best Chromecast

    Why you'll love it: The Google Chromecast Ultra is quick to set up, easy-to-use and works great, but best of all, it costs just $70.

    The Google Chromecast is arguably the original streaming stick, and it’s loved around the world for its simplicity and excellent price. The Chromecast Ultra is different than many of the other devices on this list, largely because it’s built solely to stream content from your phone or computer to your TV. That means there’s no user interface, no apps to install — nothing. Just find the content on your phone and hit the “Cast” button.

    Chromecast was first introduced a few years back, and it has gone through a couple of updates since then. Now, the flagship Chromecast is the Chromecast Ultra, which sets itself apart from other Chromecasts with its ability to handle 4K streaming, which is a pretty big deal. You’ll need a good internet connection, though.

    One of the great things about the Chromecast Ultra is that it interacts with your other Google devices. For example, you can tell a Google Home speaker to search videos on YouTube or play music on your TV through the Chromecast.

    Then there’s the affordable price. The Chromecast Ultra costs just $70 — a price many reviewers, including us, love. TechRadar gave the Chromecast Ultra 4/5, while Pocket-Lint went a step further with a 4.5/5 star review.

    Pros: Inexpensive,easy-to-use, works with smart speakers

    Cons: No interface might frustrate some

    Buy the Google Chromecast Ultra on Jet for $69.00



    The best Amazon Fire TV

    Why you'll love it: The new Amazon Fire TV streams video in 4K straight to your TV for $70.

    Amazon recently launched a brand-new Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and HDR support. This slim dongle plugs into the HDMI port in the back of your TV and comes with a remote control for easy access to play, pause, stop, volume up/down, and more.

    Fire TV works with Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Hulu, HBO, and many other video streaming apps. You can download all your favorite apps on it to play shows on SlingTV, PBS, and more. Since it's part of Amazon's ecosystem, Fire TV works with Alexa voice controls. You can tell your TV to play "Game of Thrones" without lifting a finger.

    The streaming stick has a faster processor and 802.11ac Wi-Fi to ensure smooth streaming on your TV without any annoying glitches. So long as your Wi-Fi is good, you shouldn't have a problem.

    If you're a Prime subscriber and an Echo fan who needs a streaming stick, it's a great buy.  Expert reviewers from The Verge, CNET, TechRadar, and Engadget gave it high marks as an affordable, 4K streaming option.

    All of the reviewers more or less agreed that Alexa voice search works well and it's very affordable for a 4K streaming stick. The only downside is the current lack of 4K content, but if that's what you're really looking for, you'll have to pay more and grab an Apple TV.

    Pros: 4K streaming, Alexa voice control, affordable, easy to use

    Cons: Pricier than budget sticks

    Buy the Amazon Fire TV on Amazon for $69.99



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    cole sprouse

    • "Riverdale" star Cole Sprouse was on "Late Night With Seth Meyers" Tuesday night.
    • The host brought out a poem Sprouse had shared on his Twitter that he had written to his mother as a child.
    • Sprouse recited the creepy poem aloud.
    • It read: "I love you mom, you are the best/You're better than all the rest/And if anyone ever takes us apart/I'd repeatedly stab them in the heart."
    • Sprouse plays the angsty Jughead on The CW show which airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.
    • Watch Sprouse's segment below.

     

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Scientists think they've finally solved the mystery of the 'alien megastructure' star


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    Stephen Colbert CNN apple YouTube CBS

    • Earlier this week, CNN ran an ad called "Facts First" that caught attention for its subtle jab at President Trump.
    • On Tuesday, Stephen Colbert came up with a more "honest" version of the ad.

     

    On Monday, CNN launched a new advertisement that took jabs at the "fake news" craze, as well as President Trump. But Stephen Colbert felt it needed to be less subtle.

    The original CNN ad features a red apple with a voiceover saying:

    "This is an apple. Some people might try to tell you it's a banana. They might scream 'Banana, banana, banana,' over and over and over again. They might put 'banana' in all caps. You might even start to believe that this is a banana. But it's not. This is an apple."

    The ad then ends with the words, "Facts First."

    Colbert played the ad Tuesday night on "The Late Show." He was impressed, he said. But he had decided to create "a slightly more honest version."

    Colbert's version of the ad is in the same style as CNN's, with a white background and a red apple. But the voiceover says things like:

    "Sarah Huckabee-Sanders might get on TV and say, ‘Banana-nana-fo-fana, fee-fi-mo-mana, banana!’ Even though your question was about tax returns ... They’ll say, 'The banana did a great job helping Puerto Rico.' You’ll say, ‘Actually, most of the island is still lacking' ... 'Stand for the national bananthem!'"

    The ad ends with the voiceover: “Now orange you ready to im-peach?” while showing an orange and a peach.

    The words "That was about Trump" then appear.

    Watch the Colbert "ad" below:

    SEE ALSO: Here's everything coming to Netflix in November that you need to watch

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's why people are afraid of clowns — and what you can do to get over it


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    tim cook carpool karaoke

    • Apple CEO Tim Cook delayed the release of "Carpool Karaoke," an Apple original series, to edit out profanity from the show, Bloomberg reports.
    • "Carpool Karaoke" was meant to be the company's first move into original TV shows and movies before the delay.
    • Apple is reportedly seeking clean shows and movies with "broad appeal," and it plans to invest $1 billion in the effort.

     

    Before Apple released "Carpool Karaoke" in August, its CEO, Tim Cook, delayed the release of the series — which would have been the company's first original show — to have his staff edit out profanity and "references to vaginal hygiene" from the show's episodes, Bloomberg reports.

    The show's delay was first reported in April, and Apple did not specify the reasons for the delay at the time.

    "Carpool Karaoke" has featured celebrities like Pharrell Williams, Chelsea Handler, and, before his death, Chester Bennington of Linkin Park singing along to songs and conversing in a moving car.

    A spin-off from a popular segment featured on James Corden's "The Late Late Show,""Carpool Karaoke" was meant to be Apple's first move in a $1 billion investment in original TV shows and movies. Instead, the company moved ahead with "Planet of the Apps," a "Shark Tank"-like reality show for app developers, which it released in June.

    According to Bloomberg, Apple is pursuing only shows and movies with "broad appeal" while avoiding nudity, profanity, and violence — all of which are staples of most hit shows nowadays.

    As a result, executives at Apple are turning down pitches for "edgier fare," as they reportedly did with a prospective eight-part series from the Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón ("Gravity") and the actor Casey Affleck.

    Read Bloomberg's article here.

    SEE ALSO: The best movie of every year since 2000, according to critics

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    Insecure HBO

    HBO has made many of the best television shows of all time, including "The Sopranos,""Game of Thrones," and "The Wire."

    And the network is often credited with jump starting the Golden Age of television with its dark, ambitious dramas. 

    But drama isn't HBO's only strength. It also has excellent half-hour comedies including "Curb Your Enthusiasm,""Insecure," and "Silicon Valley."

    But which HBO shows are the best of the best?

    We ranked its shows according to their ratings on Metacritic, which aggregates critic reviews and assigns each season of a show a score.

    For shows with multiple seasons, we averaged their scores. And to break ties, we brought in the audience score.

    Here are HBO's best shows of all time, ranked:

    (Note: We left off animated, children's, documentary/reality, and foreign programming, as well as miniseries, with a few notable exceptions.)

    SEE ALSO: The 16 worst HBO shows, according to critics

    23. "Dream On" (1990-96), six seasons

    Metacritic score: 80

    "This is a rare TV union where cast, writers, and directors appear to be of a single comedic mind; the humorous results speak for themselves."— LA Times



    22. "High Maintenance" (2016), one season

    Metacritic score: 81

    Audience score: 6.2

    "'High Maintenance' stands out, not just because it's on the front end of what is apparently a reefer TV trend, but because it's so precisely made and has such an ambling, open heart."— Vulture



    21. "Getting On" (2013-15), three seasons

    Average Metacritic score: 81

    Audience score: 7.8

    "It's a dark and astonishing gem of a show, with a bravely skillful cast juggling the petty obsessions of the workplace with Much Bigger Issues."— LA Times



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    Eleven and Mike on a bike Stranger Things

    Netflix's hit series "Stranger Things" returns for a second season on Friday.

    In case you haven't had time to binge the first season again, we're here to remind you of all the key details from the finale. "Stranger Things 2" picks up nearly one year later, but retreads storylines from the past that you'll definitely want to remember.

    Keep reading for a look at where the first season left off.

    After making a deal with Hawkins Lab, Hopper and Joyce entered the Upside Down to rescue Will.

    Hopper and Joyce were caught trying to break into Hawkins Lab, so Hopper made the secretive government agents a deal: If he could enter the Upside Down to save Will, then Hopper would tell them where to find Eleven.

    Joyce and Hopper went into the Upside Down and rescued Will, while the Hawkins Lab leaders headed to the middle school where Eleven was hiding with Mike, Dustin, and Lucas. 



    While in the Upside Down, Hopper had a series of flashbacks to his daughter's illness and eventual death.

    By the season one finale, it was clear Hopper was carrying the weight of grief with him over his daughter Sarah's untimely death. His resolution to find and rescue Will seemed to stem from the fact that he was unable to save his own child years ago. 

    Though the first season of "Stranger Things" never explained what exactly happened to Sarah, David Harbour (Hopper) said her cause of death is something that will be explored with his character on future seasons.



    Barbara Holland was found dead in the Upside Down, and five others went missing but weren't acknowledged in the finale.

    Barb was taken by the Demogorgon into the Upside Down after Nancy semi-abandoned her during a small party at Steve Harrington's house. Barb wasn't as lucky in the Upside Down as Will — the Demogorgon killed her and appeared to be using her body to slowly feed. 

    While a lot of attention was paid to Will on the finale, not much was said about Barb's death nor the other reported missing people who were likely snatched by the Upside Down's monster. But don't forget, the Hawkins Lab agents staged clues (like putting Barb's car at a bus station) to make it look like she had simply run away.



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    hermione and hiram

    • Hermione and Hiram Lodge are complicated.
    • The "Riverdale" couple has a history that's never been explained.
    • Marisol Nichols, who plays Hermione, told INSIDER she made up her own background for the couple.
    • She also talked about what Hermione's biggest fear is.


    Hermione and Hiram Lodge have an extremely complicated relationship on "Riverdale."

    And though their past has yet to be explored on the hit CW drama, Marisol Nichols, who plays Hermione, told INSIDER that she created her own history for the characters. 

    "I had this wonderful idea that she had the choice between Fred [Andrews] and Hiram, and she made the wrong choice," Nichols said. "Fred was the love of her life, but Hiram was intoxicating. So maybe it's that? Who knows what the writers have planned, but I like it."

    Nichols isn't sure the character's history will be explored more because she said the focus now is "in building the future with them," but viewers have a little bit of the background story.

    Hermione and Fred used to date. 

    hermione and fred

    While in high school, Hermione and Fred had a brief relationship. The characters touched upon their romantic past while at the Twilight Drive-In before it closed back on the fourth episode of season one.

    Fred mentioned a date to the drive-in the two had their senior year where they kissed. Hermione called it "the briefest of flings." 

    Later the next day, Fred asked her out on a date, but Hermione turned him down because the both of them were still married to other people. Fred, though embarrassed, understood. However, that wasn't the end of a rekindled romance between the former flames. 

    They had a brief love affair as adults. 

    hermione and fred riverdale

    After Fred hired Hermione as the bookkeeper for his construction company, the two ended up kissing. Veronica, Hermione's daughter, ended up seeing the intimate moment through a window and confronted her mother about it at home. This led to Hermione forging her daughter's signature and then a fight between the two.  

    Hermione later explained to her daughter that she had feelings for Fred but was trying to figure it out. When Hiram found out about the affair, he sent people to damage Fred's construction equipment.

    Hermione finally told Fred that Hiram was the buyer of the drive-in lot, which ultimately led Fred to end their fling.  

    Hermione and Hiram's complicated romance.

    hermione hiram riverdale

    With Hiram out of prison, the dynamic between husband and wife has shifted, and Hermione has to get used to the old order of things, Nichols said. 

    "It's complicated. I would say that at one point, they loved each other. I think that they admire each other's strengths. I think that they're a f---ing great team," she said. "At the same time, when Hiram went away, it was sort of a wake up call for Hermione and she started to look at things differently. Then, unfortunately, he came back, and so she has to go back into the dynamic that they are used to, and we'll see how long that lasts."

    On Wednesday's episode, Hiram threatened Hermione if she tried to ruin his relationship with Veronica. Despite his treatment, Hermione still lies for him and stands by him. Nichols thinks there is only one thing Hiram could do that would be too far: harm Veronica.

    "If he hurt Veronica, that would be it," Nichols said. "If he was willing to expend her and put her in direct harm's way, then absolutely, that'd be done."

    Nichols said that Hermione just wants to keep Veronica safe above all else. 

    "I think her hope was that Hiram was going to be gone for a long time and that she'd get that opportunity to start over like she did last year," she said. "I think her hope is that he will love them enough to not put them in harm's way. Like if she just tries enough, if she just brings them together enough, if she just supports him enough, he'll see it."

    Now that Veronica wants in on the family business, there's no way to avoid some secrets being revealed. 

    "I think that Hermione is realizing that she's not going to be able to keep Veronica at bay and the choice is more of how do we involve her rather than if," she said. "It's kind of unavoidable I think. How much do we tell her and how much do I even know? We'll see."

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    stranger things

    The 21st century has been a particularly good time for television so far. As you well know by now, we’re living in the thick of a second golden age for TV, and we have been for a while. And as you’ve probably heard if you follow any TV critics on Twitter, we’re also in the midst of “Peak TV.” So not only is TV really good right now, there’s a lot of it out there. If there’s a downside to that, it’s that there’s literally too much television for any one person to watch. However, one of the less-often discussed upsides is the rise of Horror TV programming, an often bone-dry landscape that has absolutely flourished over the last two decades.

    Of course, horror and genre-themed shows have been hits long before the turn of the century, and a lot of it was excellent. However, as with all of television at the moment, never has there been more of it and never has there been such a commitment to production value and fearlessness of storytelling. In short, it’s a very, very good time to like serialized scares — which also means there’s plenty of good stuff that didn’t make the cut.

    Some of the runners-up: Scream, MTV’s serialized adaptation of the Wes Craven slasher classic, which is fun but too focused on teen drama; Scream Queens, Ryan Murphy‘s cheeky but slightly-too-bitchy slasher series; The Returned, a lovely remake of a superior series but a remake of a superior series all the same; Fear the Walking Dead, AMC’s The Walking Dead sibling series, which outshines the original in character drama but skimps on the horror beats; and Preacher, which is gleefully gory, absolutely twisted, and may soon earn a spot on this list if the second season holds up.

    As for what you’ll see on the list, we’re sticking to live-action, scripted programming that began after the year 2000. Which means that though Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files technically ran into the 21st century, but they are very much products of the ’90s. And the new Twin Peaks isn’t on here simply because we haven’t even seen a full season yet.

    Check out the picks for best horror TV shows of the 21st century below:

    SEE ALSO: Netflix's 28 original drama films, ranked from worst to best

    "Vampire Diaries"

    Now that The Vampire Diaries is finally laid to rest, it’s a bit easier to take stock of the legacy left behind by The CW’s long-running vampire soap. In short, it wasn’t always good, but when it was, it was absolutely fantastic. Created by Scream and Dawson’s Creek scribe Kevin Williamson and his long-time collaborator Julie Plec, The Vampire Diaries quickly evolved from a limp supernatural teen drama into some of the most ballsy, break-neck (often literally) genre storytelling on TV. Following Nina Dobrev‘s Elena Gilbert and her entangled affairs with the brooding teen vampire Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and his bad-boy brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder), The Vampire Diaries was relentlessly propulsive, burning through plot and fan-favorite characters with abandon.

    A no-bones-about-it teenage soap opera with a flourish for genuinely shocking violence, The Vampire Diaries both embraced and subverted the YA label, breaking love triangle-torn hearts as freely as it ripped them, still-beating, out of the chests of beloved characters. The edges eventually dulled and the stakes disappeared after one (or ten) resurrections too many, but we’ll always have the memory of Mystic Falls at its peak.



    "Slasher"

    Nothing coy about this one. The title says it all and what you see is what you get. Chiller’s first original TV series delivers on that simple promise with an engrossing, genuinely surprising small town hack ‘em up series with truly disturbing kills. It also happens to be the first title in years to make me cover my eyes and scream at the screen, so points for that. Slasher stars Katie McGrath, a woman who returns to the small town where her parents were murdered by “The Executioner” on the night of her birth. She’s not home more than a week before a new series of murders begin, each one a grotesque punishment for violating one of the seven deadly sins.

    None of this is groundbreaking, and series creator Aaron Martin enjoys indulging in familiar slasher archetypes, but what he does with the twisted small-town mystery is much cheekier and gutsy than your average fare. Every character in Slasher has a secret dramatic enough to spawn a series of its own, and as the mask is pulled off of one twisted resident after the next, the payoff is a rollicking horror-mystery hybrid that always goes for broke.



    "The Walking Dead"

    Love it or hate it, there’s no denying the immense cultural impact The Walking Dead has had over the last seven years. Inspired by Robert Kirkman‘s long-running graphic novel series, The Walking Dead began as a passion project for The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist director Frank Darabont, positioned as a horror prestige drama, and credit to the network, that’s a bold move since “horror” and “prestige” are not typically associated. Since then, the series has seen a revolving door of new showrunners, become a ratings juggernaut, spawned a companion series, and completely redefined the popularity of the zombie genre.

    Viewers follow Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his ragtag band of survivors through hell or high water (except the death of Daryl, in which case, they would riot), and while the series narrative stalled out a while ago (new location, new bad guy, bad guy kills beloved character and destroys location, repeat), The Walking Dead has never faltered in delivering some of the most stunning effects work ever put on screen — and that includes film. Genre vet Greg Nicotero and his team are doing unbelievable work with their creatures, and even if the human drama grows tiresome, there’s never been a better one-stop shop for high production value zombie action.



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    donald trump and anna wintour

    • Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue and artistic director for Condé Nast, was on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" Wednesday night.
    • When asked who she would never invite back to the annual Met Gala — which she hosts every year — she answered "Donald Trump."
    • Wintour's legendary reputation inspired Miranda Priestly, the character played by Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada."
    • Wintour also said she never met Bob Marley, who she reportedly slept with.
    • On the show, she played "Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts," which involved her eating a bacon-wrapped pizza.
    • Corden ate a bull penis.
    • Watch Wintour's appearance below.

     

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    toni topaz riverdale

    Warning: Spoilers ahead for season two, episode three of "Riverdale," titled "The Watcher in the Woods."

    Wednesday's episode of The CW's "Riverdale" brought some revelations and even more mysteries to the small town.

    Moose and Midge are alive, Polly Cooper is leaving the town to stay safe, and fans finally got to meet Toni Topaz, a Southside Serpent who showed Jughead around his new high school. But the mysterious "Black Hood" is targeting the town's sinners and Archie wants to do something about it. 

    INSIDER worked with Archie Comics to shed light on some fun nods to the original comics and pop culture references.

    Here are six details you might have missed from Thursday's episode of "Riverdale."

    SEE ALSO: Every major character on 'Riverdale' and what you need to know about them

    Archie pulls out a comic book called "The Red Circle," a reference to Red Circle Comics, an Archie Comics imprint, and the Red Circle characters.

    Some Red Circle superhero characters were actually introduced in the 1930s and 1940s before Archie Andrews was around. The characters have gone through multiple incarnations. Red Circle Comics was launched in the 1970s, and the Archie Comics imprint was reinvented as Dark Circle Comics in 2015. The Mighty Crusaders were first introduced in the 1960s and a new iteration of the superhero league is launching this December



    The Red Circle also becomes the name Archie and his gang of teen vigilantes call themselves.

    Archie spreads flyers around to gather a group together. 



    The "Black Hood" villain takes his name from a Red Circle vigilante character.

    The Black Hood vigilante has been around since the 1940s. His most recent incarnation was featured in the 2015 graphic novel, "The Black Hood Vol. 1 — The Bullet's Kiss." 

     



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    archie red circle riverdale

    • There are few clues on who the "Black Hood" is on "Riverdale."
    • The cast also has no idea who the attacker is.
    • Marisol Nichols, who plays Hermione Lodge, told INSIDER that the cast doesn't know anything until they've gotten the script.
    • So far, they have only filmed 10 episodes. 

     

    The "Black Hood" is terrorizing Riverdale and fans are on trying to figure out who it is. Turns out, the "Riverdale" cast is too.

    "We do have theories, but I can't say what they are because I can't tell you if they're true or not," Marisol Nichols told INSIDER. 

    Nichols, 43, plays Hermione Lodge on the hit CW show. She said the answers to all of the mysteries are always a surprise until the cast has received the script. 

    "The first place we looked was to all the parents and the adults because that was last year... and no one knew Jason’s killer until the script came in," she said.

    Theories for the masked killer have been popping up since the show returned for its second season.  Some people have suspected Hal Cooper, Betty's father. Others have guessed that Hiram Lodge might be involved. 

    hermione hiram riverdale

    Nichols isn't sure how deep the Lodges' involvement could go or if they're involved at all. 

    "I don’t know where the Lodges are going. I know our hands are in Riverdale. I know as the season goes on it's more and more and more of that, but I couldn't tell you what the end game is and neither could Mark [Consuelos]," she said. "We have no idea. We bought the diner. Apparently we have a lot of money still... somehow."

    But without knowing, Nichols revealed she is suspicious of Hiram. hiram lodge riverdale

    "We're only [filming] on episode 10, so I'm only getting answers as we go, but I'm like, there's gotta be dead bodies somewhere," she said. "The fact that he would threaten Hermione? I mean, I think Hermione is afraid to push him too far, because she doesn’t know what he's capable of."

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Natalia Dyer Nancy Stranger Things red carpet

    Warning: Minor spoilers ahead for "Stranger Things" season two.

    The second season of "Stranger Things" is streaming now on Netflix, and the cast and creators recently celebrated the premiere in Los Angeles. While the adventurous characters are often dirtied up from exploring the Upside Down or dressed up in 80s style costumes, the cast cleans up nicely on the red carpet.

    Keep reading to see what the main characters of "Stranger Things" look like in real life.

    SEE ALSO: 'Stranger Things' season 2 takes a big risk while reminding you why you fell in love with it in the first place

    Jane (best known as Eleven) is the star of the series with her telekinetic/psychic powers and a tragic backstory.



    In real life, 13-year-old actress Millie Bobby Brown often wears her hair more straight.



    Mike Wheeler is arguably the leader of his friend group (which they call the "party" due to their Dungeons and Dragons obsession).



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