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Why More People Should Watch the 2nd Best TV Show on Netflix

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The OA is classic trippy TV storytelling.


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Two slightly different shows about a girl with supernatural powers came out in 2016.

One of them was Stranger Things. The other was a mind-bending mystery set in a small town with a scientist villain who conducted inhumane experiments.

One of these shows is no longer running. And yet The OA is still the second-best TV show sunk into the mines of Netflix. The best show is German sci-fi thriller Dark, but The OA isn’t far behind.

The OA is difficult to describe, because it sews a handful of different genres into its own ethereal plane. The OA is surreal at times. Yet instead of floating images gently knocking against each other, the sci-fi here is delivered with the grounded assuredness of a Christopher Nolan movie. It moves with the same relentless force.

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Some messed up things happen in The OA.


JoJo Whilden/Netflix

Our anchor and main heroine is Prairie Johnson. In the very first scene, Prairie, a young blonde woman, jumps off a bridge. When she wakes up, she’s back home. She’d been missing for seven years.

No one knows what happened to her. Her return is a miracle. Even more shocking: Once blind, she can see again.

Prairie has scars on her back and experiences traumatic episodes, but won’t burden her adopted parents with her story. Instead, she takes to the internet, finding like-minded friends via the medium of YouTube.

From here, the story functions a little like the mystery in Yellowjackets. We don’t know whether Prairie is telling her new friends the truth or not. We don’t know whether she truly has supernatural powers. To them, it doesn’t entirely matter. She brings unhappy, trapped people together, showing them the same kindness and understanding they’ve afforded her. Showing them an escape.

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Yes, Zendaya is in this show.


Netflix

The OA comes from longtime creative team Brit Marling (who also stars as Prairie) and Zal Batmanglij. The show feels like the product of buzzing minds excitedly throwing out idea after idea. The OA is as intense as it is dense, exploring the human condition, mortality, the afterlife and… the multiverse.

That’s right. Forget Marvel. This is the show to watch if you want a rich, existential look at the interconnectedness of all things. The world of the OA is vast and the way it works follows the most unexpected rules.

The OA doesn’t abide by any strict TV series formula either. The opening credits don’t appear until 57 minutes into the show. It was written like an eight-hour film, with a novelistic approach. You don’t meet some of the main characters until a third of the way through.

And season 2 is even better than the first. It becomes a noir detective story set in Silicon Valley, where kids, one of whom is played by Zendaya, are disappearing after competing in a VR game on an app. Shot with a more polished look, season 2 is slightly less bleak than the character drama of season 1. There are even attempts at humor — Marling is no stranger to comedy, appearing in Community and British series Babylon.

Occasionally, The OA’s literary voice hits a gem. “To exist is to survive unfair choices,” someone tells Prairie.

So it’s a little baffling that Netflix canceled the show after two seasons. Somehow this ambitious, genre-straddling ball of tangled strands is a coherent, life-affirming experience.

It glues itself together with realistic, loyal characters bonded by their harrowing shared ordeals. There’s even a believable love story, a flicker of warmth amid the creepy science, cryptic puzzles and trippy imagery.

Netflix made a mistake by canceling this show. Many fans believed it was a publicity stunt — there was no way the streamer would stop funding this acclaimed, if expensive, series intended for five seasons, each wildly different in style and setting from the previous.

Surprisingly, the ending of season 2 almost works as a finale for the whole series. Still, Marling and Batmanglij have the real conclusion tucked away somewhere. Let’s pray they have a chance to bring season 3 to the screen. Someone please hop dimensions and rescue this show from the realm of canceled TV.



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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect

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Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Blizzard

Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

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Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


Blizzard

For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.



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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists

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Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.





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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor

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Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More



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