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Gaten Matarazzo’s new hidden camera ‘prank’ show for Netflix sounds extremely ill-advised

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Gaten Matarazzo Prank Encounters
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In a truly baffling, very ill-advised move, Netflix announced today that they’ve ordered to series a new “epic hidden-camera prank show” called Prank Encounters hosted by Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo.

While none of that right there sounds particularly troubling, it’s the so-called “terrifying and hilarious” plot of the show that has stirred up quite a bit of discourse on social media today, and rightfully so.

According to the show’s official logline, Prank Encounters “takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job. It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares.”

Frankly, I don’t even know where to begin with this shit and I could probably write a thousand words about what a Bad Fucking Idea™ this show is, but, for my sake and yours, I’ll keep my thoughts here short, sweet, and to the point: playing “pranks” on jobless people who think they’ve finally found employment for the “entertainment” of others is insanely mean-spirited and everybody involved with this project should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.

TV prank shows always have been and always will be pretty dumb, but this is just the worst of the worst right here and it’s bizarre to think that Netflix, which generally puts some fairly decent original content, thought this would be a good idea to begin with, and I truly hope the controversy Prank Encounters seems to have already sparked will make them rethink their most unfortunate decision to greenlight this garbage idea of a show.

UPDATE (10:00 p.m. PT, 6/17/19): A Netflix spokesperson reached out to Silver Screen Beat on Monday night with the following statement: “The pranks in Prank Encounters are spooky, supernatural, and over the top, and everyone had a great time. All participants came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time.”

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Hallelujah: HBO is renewing Danny McBride’s ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ for a second season

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Righteous Gemstones
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Danny McBride‘s new series The Righteous Gemstones isn’t even halfway through its debut series — episode four just aired this past weekend — and yet HBO has already opted to renew it for a second season, the network announced Monday morning.

“Danny, Jody [Hill] and David [Gordon Green] are among our favorite collaborators and we’re thrilled that their take on a family comedy has been met with such enthusiasm,” said HBO programming executive vice president Amy Gravitt. “We cannot wait to share the next steps in the Gemstone family’s epic journey.”

Written, created, and executive produced by McBride, The Righteous Gemstones follows “the world famous Gemstone televangelist family, which has a long tradition of deviance, greed, and charitable work, all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The series features one hell of an ensemble cast that includes the likes of McBride along with John Goodman, Adam DeVine, Edi Patterson, Tony Cavalero, Cassidy Freeman, Skyler Gisondo, Gregalan Williams, Tim Baltz, Dermot Mulroney, and Walton Goggins.

Between Eastbound & Down, Vice Principals, and now Righteous Gemstones, McBride, Hill, and Gordon Green produce some pretty spectacular shit for HBO under their Rough House Pictures banner and I’m thrilled to see a show like Gemstones get renewed for another season. Hallelujah, baby.

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Phoenix: Come see Amazon Prime Video’s new animated sci-fi series ‘Undone’ early and for free

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Undone
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Amazon Prime Video will debut their new animated series Undone on September 13 and they’re giving Silver Screen Beat readers in Phoenix a chance to attend an advance screening of the show before it officially debuts on the streaming service.

Our readers in Phoenix can click on this link right now to grab their free passes — good for you and one guest — to attend an advance screening of Undone happening Monday, September 9 at 6:00 p.m. at Alamo Drafthouse Tempe. (Each attendee will receive complimentary popcorn and soda!)

However, keep in mind that these free passes are distributed on a first come, first served basis, so be sure to claim yours as soon as possible before they run out. Below is the official trailer for Undone as well as some additional details about the series.

Created by: Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Kate Purdy

Directed by: Hisko Hulsing

Voices of: Rosa Salazar, Bob Odenkirk, Angelique Cabral, Constance Marie, Siddharth Dhananjay, and Daveed Diggs

Synopsis: Undone is a groundbreaking show that utilizes an animation process never seen on TV before and blurs the lines of dark comedy, drama, coming-of-age, and sci-fi genres. The story centers on Alma (Salazar), a Mexican-American woman in her late 20s who is struggling with the demands of her family and is bored of the rut her life is in. However, she is thrust into a new journey as she finds herself exploring the elastic nature of reality after getting into a near fatal car accident. Alma begins having vivid hallucinations of her late father, Jacob (Odenkirk), who urges her to access her astral (non- or metaphysical) self and go back twenty years to discover the truth about his death.

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Will Poulter will play one of the lead roles in Amazon’s really expensive ‘Lord of the Rings’ series

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Will Poulter Lord of the Rings
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In what is continuing to be a pretty damn good year for Will Poulter, Variety is reporting that the young Black Mirror and Midsommar star has been cast in one of the lead roles in Amazon’s billion-dollar budget Lord of the Rings series.

“The exact nature of Poulter’s character is being kept under wraps,” Variety notes, which seems to be the case for a lot of other details regarding the series. I mean, we don’t even have a an official logline or plot synopsis or anything yet!

At this point, all we really know is that the show “will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring” and, if I had to guess, will likely chronicle the creation of the Rings of Power by Sauron and the Elves of Eregion or something along those lines.

The series is shaping up to be the most expensive in television history with its $1 billion budget, $250 million of which was spent on securing the rights from the Tolkien Estate and Trust — that’s a lot of fucking money to spend on a TV show.

However, given the fact that Amazon paid no federal taxes on more than $11 billion in profits in 2018, I’m sure they won’t be breaking the bank anytime soon. So, uh, hooray for capitalism, I guess?

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