Tuesday, July 31, 2018

FOX TV Mulling “24” PREQUEL Series with Young JACK BAUER

In 2001, Fox wowed the world with the inaugural season of action-drama series “24”, starring actor Kiefer Sutherland. He played the role of Jack Bauer, a federal agent of the Counter-Terrorist Unit (CTU) agency. For several seasons Bauer, finds himself juggling between duty and personal life when complex terror threats are leveled against the US within the tense period of one day, divided into 24 hours counted as episodes. The series was a hit worldwide, codifying Sutherland’s Bauer as an agent archetype who beats terror suspects during interrogations while yelling “Who are you working for!” How did a man like Jack Bauer become like that? We may soon find out.
Entertainment Weekly has it that Fox is bouncing ideas around for a new “24” series. Unlike the 2014 limited series that served as a distant sequel, this show is being developed as a prequel set in the past featuring a Jack Bauer that is yet to cement his reputation to viewers as one of the greatest antihero characters in recent fiction. The original creators and show-runners of “24”, Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran, are looking to conceptualize new stories about Bauer with input from the franchise’s executive producer Howard Gordon.
This story is not anything new. Fox chair and CEO Dana Walden once remarked in 2017 that the network is interested in making new installments of the “24” franchise. While constantly following the same core group of characters for 9 seasons and a TV movie, an anthology storytelling format has been put forth as an alternative. This was already attempted in “24: Legacy”, which aired on Fox in 2017 but was cancelled with only 12 episodes. Its lead, Corey Hawkins who plays a new main character, was eventually released by Walden from commitment to future additions to the “24” franchise.
Despite the short run of the most recent “24” series, Dana Walden insists that the network had nothing but good feelings for most of “Legacy”. It was a hard decision to make, whether to bring it back or not,” she noted. “We let Corey out of his obligation so he could do his Broadway play.” “24: Legacy” only managed 6.08 million viewers on average for its 12 episodes, and scored only 1.6 in rating for adult viewers aged 18 to 49. Kiefer Sutherland had insisted on not appearing there as Jack Bauer, though he did serve as an executive producer.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

MOZILLA Changing FIREFOX ICON; Designing Icon “SYSTEMS” for Related Apps

Fifteen years ago the Mozilla Organization released the internet browser Firefox, born out of the open-source release of the base code for the older and formerly-celebrated Netscape Navigator from Netscape Communications.  Firefox was a standalone application that was supposed to be a solution from browser suite software bloat, and its first users were impressed by its surfing speed and online security capabilities. Over the years the browser application was a familiar sight on computer desktops thanks to its distinctive fox-themed logo. But Mozilla feels that it is a good time for a change, and they are asking users for help.
The Verge reports that Mozilla is taking steps to revamp their logo for the Firefox browser, recognizable with its red fox outlined curled around a blue globe. What is more, this is not just a one-off revamp. Mozilla is interested in designing an entire Firefox icon lineup. Each icon is supposed to be a fit for every online facet of Mozilla applications, whether they might be a browser for desktops, mobile devices and VR equipment. To make things easier, Mozilla has come up with two sheets with icons of two distinct styles, and they are putting choice to a vote.
Mozilla’s icon designers wrote on their blog post announcing the icon design “contest” that they have determined that the one original Firefox icon is now too limited in representing “the entire Mozilla products family”. Thus they have developed the two (competing) icon systems. One icon each stands above the rest as the “master brand” that denotes the whole Mozilla Firefox family as so; the original Firefox icon has been relegated to being one of the browser icons for System 1, with a new logo evocative of a fox’s head facing front as the master brand.
System 2 on the other had has a master brand that copies the circling fox, only this time it looks like a stylized tail and lacking the globe. The “subordinate” icons under each system’s master brand are classified into “general” browser-use, “singular focus” browsers, and a reserve for future Mozilla apps and services. Mozilla even showed edited photos of said icons in action, either as office signage, mobile desktops or as designs on Mozilla-branded clothing.
Thus far only two icon systems have been devised by the Mozilla team for the user base to choose from. They are not asking users to submit their own designs either, and that the systems as they are now remain “works in progress” and are therefore not their final forms.
Images courtesy of Mozilla Blog

Longtime “JEOPARDY!” Game Show HOST ALEX TREBEK Might RETIRE 2020

When it comes to long-running programs on television, classic game shows are among the most memorable. One of them, “Jeopardy!” has had as a secret to its success its most famous mechanic of giving “answers” to contestants who must then supply the appropriate “questions” for each. And for over three decades, the show has been familiarly hosted by Alex Trebek, and he had done so with nearly no interruption until earlier this year. But 30 years is a long time, and Trebek has begun to drop hints on his more recent appearances that he is considering retiring as “Jeopardy!” host.
According to USA Today, Alex Trebek made mention during an interview on “OBJECTified” at Fox News Channel with Harvey Levin, that his contract as host for the iconic syndicated game show “Jeopardy!” will run its course two years from now, in 2020. At which point, he says, there is but less of a “50/50 chance” that he would renew his contract and thus step down as the face of the show. Trebek came on as host of “Jeopardy!” in 1984 at the beginning of its second run in syndication, which continues to this very day.
It is understandable that Trebek was making known his desire to depart the game show. He just turned 78 years old on the 22nd of this month after all. Viewers who have stuck with “Jeopardy!” since the beginning of Trebek’s tenure would have noticed him age with the program; his present gray-haired and clean-shaven looks are a significant departure from his mustache and vibrant curls.
Of course, the “Jeopardy!” host is game for the show to continue on even when he is not part of it, and Alex Trebek has shared with Harvey Levin on the interview that he already has suggestions on who might take his place as host, one candidate for each gender.
The first choice was dropped by Trebek in the curious format of a “Jeopardy!” answer in need of a question: the play-by-play announcer for NHL team the Los Angeles Kings. That could only mean (Who is) Trebek’s namesake Alex Faust (?), who then mentioned on Twitter how flattered he was that he had been considered.
Trebek’s female host suggestion was more straightforward: attorney, CNN legal analyst and commentator Lauren Coates. Her own Twitter page reaction notes that she herself is a “Jeopardy!” watcher, and is honored at also being considered.
Alex Trebek may have made the assurance that he can imagine life without hosting duties on “Jeopardy!” But certain other members of the audience have gone so far as to suggest that the venerable game show be cancelled in 2020 when Trebek finally steps down.
Images courtesy of Vulture, Good Housekeeping and Wikipedia

NETFLIX Dominated Highlights of 2018 ASIA POP COMICON Last Weekend

Two days have passed since the conclusion of the 2018 AsiaPop Comic Con, and it has proven its drive to be the biggest annual special gathering of general pop culture enthusiasts and their favored media companies held anywhere in the Philippines. For three days the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia complex was host to a powerful showcase of overseas media giants detailing what they have next in store for fans. It was also obvious that these companies are dominated in terms of presentation by iconic streaming service Netflix, which had several epic showings for their Filipino fans.
CNN Philippines has it that Netflix went the extra mile in the variety of attraction booths they put up for the APCC 2018. In a way, it could be seen as an epic apology from the streaming giant following fan criticism of their small exhibit area from 2017. Now, with many other offerings in store, Netflix has been able to decongest the long comic-con lines by having fans divide up over booths representing some of the biggest shows on their streaming platform, usually the Marvel series that will stay with them even with Disney consolidating for their own streaming launch.
Once fans have had their jollies with the booths for getting “Iron Fist” tattoos or record themselves doing the signature glowing Iron Fist technique, they would then pile in for the eagerly-anticipated “Hall N” on Saturday, July 28, where Netflix held court with previews of their next big shows.
Among them are the first glimpses of season 2 for their surprise hit animated adaptation of “Castlevania”, the long-running videogame series by Konami about vampire hunters fighting Count Dracula. There were also panels showcasing Netflix “Godzilla” anime, along with the second seasons of Marvel’s “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist”. They also surprised fans by screening “Iron Fist” season 2 – episode 1.
Disney was next to impress with Hall M (their Marvel properties) and Hall D (Disney reveals). The former showed clips for a yet-to-air episode of “Cloak & Dagger” on Freeform. The latter boasted more extended footage from this November’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, showing more shenanigans between Vanellope von Schweetz and the Disney Princesses, already teased in earlier official trailers.
Other interactive booths during APCC were a retro arcade games corner and a performance of Josie and the Pussycats at a Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe set. There was also a frenzy as fans piled up to get a piece of the recently released Funko Pop! Jollibee figure.
Local celebrities spotted at the APCC over the weekend include GMA Network’s Tom Rodriguez and CNN Philippines’ Chief Correspondent Pia Hontiveroz, who visited with her whole family dressed in “Star Wars” sequel trilogy costumes, with herself and her husband as General Leia and Han Solo.
Image courtesy of PhilStar Global and YouTube


When the resort island of Boracay was shut down earlier this year for an intensive cleanup and rehabilitation drive, somewhat buried under the grumbling and complaints from resort and establishment owners losing business, residents getting their movements restricted, and tourists forced to alter their travel plans due to cancelled flights, is the report that a new resort casino is being proposed for construction on the island. This Chinese-owned gambling destination was put on hold while Boracay was put on lockdown. Now, despite claims by local backers that building the resort will resume, Malacañang is giving the casino project a “no”.
CNN Philippines has it that Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque declared during a press briefing this Monday, July 30, that the planned Chinese casino resort will not be seeing the light of day after all. This came in the wake of a statement given Friday last week by Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) that they are still on track to construct the complex for Galaxy Entertainment Group, a major casino operator in the Macau SAR. Katrina Nepomuceno, VP legal affairs for LRWC, insisted that their project has fulfilled all necessary requirements for construction, even before the April closure of Boracay.
The LRWC points to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) having given Galaxy Entertainment a provisional license to build a hotel-casino resort on the island in March, a month before the closure went into effect. Nepomuceno’s assertion that this gives their company the green light to resume construction once Boracay reopens was refuted by Harry Roque. “The provisional license is not a license itself,” said the Presidential spokesperson during the briefing. “It is conditional. It is provisional. It is subject to the happening of conditions, which will never be fulfilled because the President said he will not allow it.”
Roque was referring to a statement given by President Rodrigo Duterte back in February, where he has called for a moratorium on the construction of additional resorts and business on Boracay connected to gambling. His reasons for this was his opinion that there is already a potential “over-supply” of casinos on the island, which is notoriously congested with business establishments as it is. While Galaxy and LRWC may have already set aside $500 million, or P26 billion for the building of their resort, the Presidential pronouncement is already authoritative enough to put a halt to it, according to environmental officials.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Boracay Island will officially reopen to tourists and businesses this October 26, once the collaborative inter-agency cleanup and rehabilitation efforts conclude.
Image courtesy of Twitter


Aside from the various electric-powered automobiles that are its stock-in trade, Tesla Motor also offers a wide variety of merchandise to catch the fancy of collectors and fans of Tesla. These range from simple items like shirts and caps, to more evocative products like a scaled-down Tesla Model S as a ridable children’s car with a top speed of 6 miles per hour. This is in tune with the merchandise cooked up by Elon Musk’s companies like a general-consumer flamethrower for The Boring Company. Recently, Tesla offered new piece of merchandise, surfboards. But not anymore; they were all sold out.
As The Verge tells it, this Tesla-branded merchandise that was gone all too soon was put up only on the evening of Saturday, July 28, at the electric car company’s official website. The official product description relates that the surfboards were a collaborative effort between the Tesla Design Studio and a tandem of two major names in custom high-performance surfboards, regular World Surf League Championship board shaper Matt Biolos and Lost Surfboards. Much like an earlier merchandising product, a leather jacket, Tesla Motors also boasted that the manufacture of their branded surfboards included elements from their famous electric car series.
The materials that went into the Tesla surfboard read like a justification for its $1,500 asking price. Each piece is made to order, with a deck strengthened by lightweight carbon fiber “Black Dart” and the same matte and gloss finish that go into every Tesla Model S, Model 3 and their brothers. The board series comes in two variants, red and black. Both have tonal logos for decoration, with red having the Tesla name and black bearing its hood logo. Tesla even claimed that the boards are just the right size to be “accommodated” by their vehicle fleet, whether a Tesla-driving surfer stows it inside, or straps it on outside.
This information was made available during the weekend when the Tesla surfboard launch, along with their quantity in stock: just 200 made to order. Well, despite costing one and a half grand each, customers briefly flooded the website listing and made off will all the Tesla surfboards on stock, with shipping for their orders taking anywhere from 2 to 10 weeks. Some of the buyers naturally acquired the Tesla boards to resell at borderline-robbery prices. An eBay listing might go all the way to $5,000. The empty listing is still on the Tesla site, though time will tell whether it will be restocked or not.
Image courtesy of  Electrek