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HBO’s Silicon Valley came out of left field a few years ago, airing just after each episode of Game of Thrones’ fourth season. Now airing its own fourth season, Silicon Valley has managed to stand on its own as a draw for HBO subscribers without the aid of Game of Thrones, which has been pushed back later in the summer.

Even back when it was first airing, Silicon Valley felt unique. On the surface, the toilet humor, weed jokes, and awkward interactions that are commonplace in many other comedies is present here. However, when digging below the surface, Silicon Valley is actually quite different from most other comedies.

Silicon Valley thrives off of two specific themes in its jokes: self-awareness and parallelism. This show knows exactly what it is and it completely rolls with it. The writing, acting, and ad-libbing are incredibly stereotypical of various comedies out there, which is done on purpose with a unique twist. It knows it’s a comedy and it has a lot of fun with the various character archetypes they play around with and the self-fulfilling prophecies that occur as a result of these archetypes.

The parallelism of Silicon Valley is something that isn’t really evident until moving beyond the first season. In each and every successive season, the same basic plot is reused. The team has a new idea that Richard gets very nervous about, Bighead gets an amazing new deal with his life, the team squabbles over how to operate, Gilfoyle screws over Dinesh, Erlich does something really stupid but somehow saves it, Hooli tries to get involved but it backfires on them, and the team prevails due to a combination of dumb luck and Richard’s technological prowess. However, instead of being done in a generic way like with The Hangover trilogy, it’s done quite intelligently.

This parallelism of plot is entirely intentional. As part of the self-fulfilling prophecy and self-awareness I was talking about earlier, Silicon Valley has fun with each of these plot points. This is always done in a new way that always manages to be funny no matter how many times I’ve seen the same thing happen. In fact, starting up a new season is very exciting for me because I’m eagerly anticipating how Bighead will get some ridiculous social stature for doing nothing and what stupid thing Erlich will get himself into next. I know what’s going to happen but I have no idea how or why it’ll happen nor will I know how ridiculous it’ll be, in a good way. What makes every season so much fun for the audience is how much fun the actors and writers have with this self-aware parallelism. They even reference this style of humor a few times in the most recent episodes. It turns out when the people working on a fun comedy have fun with the comedy it ends up being pretty good.

I spend most of my days working towards my Writing and Rhetoric degree at the University of Central Florida, but I spend a lot of my down time keeping up to date on the best TV, movies, and video games the industry has to offer. Here I put all of that extended time to use discussing each of them in-depth.

Geek Culture

‘Amazing’ Final Fantasy Movie Inspired The Marvels Director

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Generally, The Marvels is good. It has a 59 on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t great, but it’s better than Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and Disney+’s Secret Invasion. Perhaps director Nia DaCosta’s video game inspirations contributed to that.

The American filmmaker said Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children influenced her latest film at a press junket with IGN. “It’s just an amazing movie, with great fight scenes and a great ending sequence with the main character being thrown into the sky by all the other characters,” she said.
Despite poor reviews upon release in 2005, Advent Children has become a Final Fantasy cult classic. DaCosta seems to agree that the film is a classic. PlayStation exclusives also influenced the Marvels.

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In the interview, she said she didn’t want the superhero film to look “too much like a video game” but did draw from Sony’s biggest franchises, like The Last of Us and Horizon Zero Dawn. “For me, it was from the best games, the best stories that you get, that sort of inspires me to play, and I think inspires people to watch movies like this,” she said.

Since movies have shaped video games since their inception, it’s interesting to see the dynamic slowly changing. Now that technology and interactive storytelling are more complex, filmmakers are looking to PlayStation for inspiration.

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Geek Culture

Netflix raises prices again after strong subscriber growth

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Netflix reported third-quarter earnings and is doing well. Revenue increased as the company added 9 million subscribers worldwide.

Netflix is also using this opportunity to raise the prices of some of its U.S., U.K., and French plans to differentiate ad-free plans from its entry-level ad-supported plan. New subscribers to the most expensive plan will pay $22.99 per month.

Let’s step back and examine Netflix’s current situation. Netflix cracked down on password sharing in its home market and dozens of others in May. The third quarter is the first full quarter under the new rules, so we can see the effect of password sharing.

The company removed the basic tier in the U.S. and U.K. two months ago to simplify its offering. People must pay a lot to remove Netflix ads.

Reports suggest that many customers are experiencing subscription fatigue and considering canceling some streaming subscriptions, but Netflix still has room for growth, especially with advertising revenue.

The company has 247.15 million subscribers. The number of subscribers increased 8.76 million this quarter. Netflix subscribers haven’t grown that much since Q2 2020, when Covid lockdowns were enforced worldwide.

Netflix earned $3.73 per share on $8.5 billion in revenue this quarter. As ads plan subscribers rise almost 70% quarter-over-quarter, ads are contributing more to the bottom line. Nearly a third of new subscribers use ads.

Netflix shares are up 13.75% pre-market ($393.79 per share) on good news for shareholders. However, subscribers will be unhappy because the company will raise prices for some plans again in three key markets. Full breakdown here.

In the U.S.:

  • Standard with ads: $6.99 per month (no change)
  • Basic (no longer available): $11.99 per month (up from $9.99)
  • Standard: $15.49 per month (no change)
  • Premium (with 4K streaming): $22.99 per month (up from $19.99)

In the U.K.:

  • Standard with ads: £4.99 per month (no change)
  • Basic (no longer available): £7.99 per month (up from £6.99)
  • Standard: £10.99 per month (no change)
  • Premium (with 4K streaming): £17.99 per month (up from £15.99)

In France:

  • Standard with ads: €5.99 per month (no change)
  • Basic (still available in France for now): €10.99 per month (up from €8.99)
  • Standard: €13.49 per month (no change)
  • Premium (with 4K streaming): €19.99 per month (up from €17.99)

New subscriptions start at these prices today. Bills for existing subscribers will rise in the coming weeks.

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Geek Culture

Last of Us HBO Showrunner Quietly Removes Name from Troubled Borderlands Flick

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When your writer—one of Hollywood’s hottest—tries to hide their involvement, it’s a bad sign. The Borderlands film’s original script was written by Craig Mazin (The Last of Us, Chernobyl), who recently asked the WGA to use the pseudonym “Joe Crombie” instead of his name.

We hope this means Mazin considers Joe Abercrombie, Lord Grimdark, the grittiness GOAT, but that theory is unproven. Since Mazin wrote the script in 2015 for Eli Roth to direct, a steady stream of writers has been brought in. Aaron Berg, Chris Bremner, Sam Levinson, Zak Olkewicz, Tony Rettenmaier, Juel Taylor, and Oren Uziel have put around 70 fingers in the honey pot.

The name change likely avoids confusion. Mazin probably doesn’t want to be blamed for Jack Black/Claptrap madness, but he wants to keep his rights.

To clarify, the Borderlands film finished filming in 2021, but Roth was replaced by Tim Miller (Deadpool) in January.

When this surprising star-studded film (Kevin Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis, Cate Blanchet) limps out, what are your expectations? We think this was supposed to coincide with Borderlands 3’s 2019 release, but it’s overshot the mark.

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