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The Best And Worst Of WWE NXT 1/15/20: Survivalism – UPROXX

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 11:24 am

Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT: The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic kicked off, the womens division showed out, and Johnny Gargano cut a John Cena-esque promo. Fine speech, indeed.

If youd like to read previous installments of the Best and Worst of NXT, you can do that here. Follow With Spandex on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter.

And now, the Best and Worst of WWE NXT for January 15, 2020.

Hes on vacation! Im Scott Heisel. I write for this website too. In fact, I wrote the B&W of NXT column from 2017-2018. Good to see you again! Lets get into it.

This weeks NXT starts off with Keith by god Lee, who is still massively over and is headed into a North American title match next week with Roderick Strong. So, of course, Lee is almost immediately interrupted by the Undisputed Era, who puts a beating on him, in heaaaaaavy quotes. Seriously, yall wanna complain about the Dark Orders punches when Kyle OReilly is striking like this? Cmon, man.

Lee gets his ankle Pillmanized (off the second turnbuckle, natch) and Tommaso Ciampa runs out for the save, only for Lee to immediately get back to his feet. Dude, your ankle should be broken. Maybe limp a little?

We get a variation of the same segment a half-hour later, only this time Ciampa comes out and gets jumped by TUE, only to be saved by his former tag team partner and sometimes-blood rival Johnny Wrestling Gargano, which results in an impromptu #DIY reunion, all for the sake of a one-off match at Worlds Collide against Mustache Mountain. This is getting dangerously close to the whole character alignments dont matter, its about BRAND SUPREMACY schtick we deal with every November, and while Im sure some folks are happy to have Ciampa and Gargano back on the same page, Im over here still waiting for the final blowoff to their epic feud. I wouldnt mind if this added any layers to their relationship, but given that both men are embroiled in separate feuds and both have matches at Takeover: Portland already, its strictly fan service to goose the WWE Network viewing numbers for Worlds Collide.

Its worth mentioning, however, that the Velveteen Dream was mentioned by both Lee and Ciampa in their respective promos. If we say his name one more time, maybe hell show up in Enzo Amores old Beetlejuice suit. #saveusy2v

Cathy Kelley promises us a medical update on Lees condition, but instead, he randomly shows up in the next segment at 100 percent to throw some Full Sail security guards through bushes and car windshields. I guess that ankles fine after all!

I gotta be honest: I didnt like any of this. I get that Keith Lee essentially had the A-story of the evening, but having two separate good guy gets beaten down by heel faction, another good guy comes out for the save segments within 30 minutes both featuring the same players just seems superfluous. Put it all in the opening segment and lets move on. There are fewer things I dislike on a wrestling show than hearing a wrestlers entrance music more than once. Once the audience pops, theyre not gonna get up again for it, especially in the case of Ciampa, who had his entrance music played twice in under a half-hour. Pops are special, and a finite resource. Lets not waste them.

The first round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic continued with the Broserweights having one hell of a fast-paced match against NXT UKs Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster, a team that should not exist (mods and punks are enemies, damn it!). I dont think anyone was surprised that Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle rolled here heck, they already have matching gear but Mandrews and Webster put up a surprisingly good fight for a pair of guys that just had the shit kicked out of them in a ladder match.

The match itself was perfectly cromulent (although it at times gave me that same feeling of anxiousness like when I accidentally play a podcast at 1.25 speed), but nobody in that room thought the Broserweights were going to lose, no matter how many nearfalls they teased us with. (That said, the jackhammer into a rollup false finish made me laugh, and also made me wonder why no one ever did that to Goldberg before) Even Dunne seemed to get sick of the match taking so long when he flat-out punched Mandrews in the damn face after he attempted a flip off the top rope. Pin them and move on already.

One of the most memorable moments of AEWs tournament to crown their first tag team champions was the first round upset between Private Party ostensibly the 8 seed and the Young Bucks, clearly the 1 seed. It was exciting and surprising, and not something WWE really ever dabbles with, presentation-wise. Which is why, to be completely honest, I kinda zoned out during this match between the reunited Time Splitters Kushida and his old IWGP partner Alex Shelley and the Grizzled Young Vets from NXT UK. Knowing that the winner would go onto face Kyle OReilly and Bobby Fish the same team that beat the Time Splitters for the IWGP tag straps years ago made this feel like a foregone conclusion. Imagine my surprise when Shelley took the pin! Considering the Dusty Classic has been incredibly predictable this time around, it was nice to have something different happen, especially involving a special guest of sorts.

(Supplemental Best to Alex Shelley having the Teenage Bottlerocket logo on his tights. Shut up and get rad.)

Next, we get the first mention of the NXT Cruiserweight Championship since Angel Garza won it a month ago and apparently he has to defend it against three other competitors at Worlds Collide. Very well. Its an excuse to put together an absolute ripper of a triple threat match to earn a spot in that fatal four-way between NXT OG Tyler Breeze, former champion Lio Rush and up-and-comer Isaiah Swerve Scott. If theres one match you watch in full this week, let this one be it: It was full of creative, blood-pumping spots (seriously, how is Lio so fast??), and all three competitors looked great throughout.

While it wouldve been nice to see Breeze get the spot, that ship has long since sailed (say what you will about Sami Zayns main roster mistreatment, but at least the dude got to win the NXT championship once Breeze hasnt sniffed gold since FCW). The money match is Garza/Rush III, so might as well let Swerve get the Worlds Collide spot and save that for a Takeover. Plus, Swerves JML Driver looks insane, so expect him to hit it on one of the NXT UK competitors then get tossed out of the ring by Garza for a sneaky pin to retain.

Tonights main event was a blast for a number of reasons seriously, who doesnt like a good ol battle royal? but it will likely be remembered for the glorious return of Shayna Baszler, who hasnt been on NXT TV since dropping the womens title a month ago. She makes her impact felt immediately, eliminating a full third of the field, including pretty much all the cans (sorry, MJ Jenkins and Kayden Carter) but also a big-time player in Mercedes Martinez when the two of them were staring each other down, it felt like I was watching Looper.

It was also the return of Tegan Nox, who was rocking a killer Nine Inch Nails tee earlier in the show (shout-out to Trent Reznor, who is not only already halfway to an EGOT but just got inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame yesterday) and who had the funniest spot of the whole match when she chokeslammed Io Shirai onto Shayna Baszler. Bah gawd! Of course, her presence summoned Dakota (Cobra) Kai, who eliminated her and then chucked Noxs old knee brace at her head for good measure. Thatll be a fun feud.

There were a lot of fresh faces in this match, which made it easy to lose track of folks. That made the eventual reveal of Shotzi Blackheart as the whoops, Im not eliminated after all entrant at the end of the match that much more surprising. She had the crowd behind her big time, which will be helpful once Shayna murders her on live TV next week. They can all donate to the Gofundme her family will start for her funeral expenses.

Our final two came down to Io Shirai and Bianca Belair, with the EST eventually getting the better of the genius of the sky. Even though the crowd was firmly in Ios corner, Im okay with this. NXT is already giving a massive face push to the current male crowd favorite, Keith Lee, because they can run him against Roddy and his shitty little boots. Ios still technically a heel, even with the crowd support, so if you were to run her against Rhea Ripley this soon, it would be all the more damaging to whoever has to lose that match. Now, Ripley gets to square off against Belair in a Wargames rematch of sorts, and Im looking forward to all sorts of absurd power moves from each woman. Is hoss a gender neutral term? It should be. Hoss fights forever.

Thats it for this weeks Best and Worst of NXT. Drop down into our comments section below to let us know what you thought of the show (and how wrong I am about all the Lee/Ciampa/Undisputed Era stuff), and give us a share on social media to help spread the word. Thanks for reading this far. Brandon will be back next week!

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Bitcoin Indicator That Called Rally to $14000 Flashes Again – BTCNN

Posted: at 11:24 am

Once again, analysts have started to flip bullish on Bitcoin again. Sure, the cryptocurrency is still down some 40% from its $14,000 peak from last year, but per a number of traders, an array of key technical indicators have suggested that BTC is ready to return higher once again.Related Reading:Crypto Tidbits: Elon Musk Pokes Bitcoin Bear, Japanese Giants Delve Into Cryptocurrency Mining, Baidus Blockchain BetaKey Bitcoin Buy Signal Flashes For First Time Since MarchFinancial Survivalism, the cryptocurrency trader that last week called Bitcoins surge to above $8,000, recently noted that the Lucid Stop and Reversal indicator, which signals a stop and an entry in the opposite direction when it reverses, just printed an extremely bullish signal.Per the one-week Lucid SAR, Bitcoin just saw its first buy signal since March 2019, with the trend as defined by the SAR turning bullish.

The Lucid SAR is a full stop & reversal system. When the SAR reverses it signals a stop & an entry in the opposite direction.Since Aug 2018 the Lucid SAR is beating #Bitcoin by over 1,000% & we just got the first buy signal since March 2019. pic.twitter.com/Hm74gOISd9 Financial Survivalism (@Sawcruhteez) January 10, 2020

This is important as the one-week Lucid SAR has eerily predicted Bitcoins medium-term trends over the past two years; in 2018, the signal flipped bearish prior to Bitcoins 50% crash to $3,150; and in March 2019, it predicted a macro reversal at around $3,500.Related Reading:Ethereums Price Chart Just Printed This Extremely Bullish SignalNot Only Bullish IndicatorThe bullish signal printed by the Lucid SAR isnt the only technical indicator that has Financial Survivalism optimistic. Per previous reports from NewsBTC, the analyst in a recent TradingView looked to the following technical factors to back his assertion that BTC is ready to return higher in the coming months:

The Average Directional Index on a daily basis has seen the first bullish crossover since March 2019.The one-week Relative Strength Index for Bitcoin is getting ready to test 50, a level that if broken through may imply dramatic upside.The one-day Ichimoku Cloud has formed a bullish TK cross.

Related Reading:This Late Night Host Just Exposed Millions to Bitcoin, AgainAs to what these technicals mean for Bitcoin, the prominent analyst wrote that they show BTC could retest $20,000 by July 1st of this year, just months after the block reward reduction.Although a 150% rally in six months may seem ludicrous at the moment, there are a number of chart observations that analysts have cited as evidence that crypto is about to go parabolic yet again.Not to mention, the halving is expected to play an extremely positive role in influencing Bitcoins supply-demand dynamics to a point where prices should appreciate.Featured Image from ShutterstockBitcoin Indicator That Called Rally to $14,000 Flashes Again was last modified: January 12th, 2020 by Nick Chong The post appeared first on NewsBTC.

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Bitcoin just cracked $8,500, and it means bulls are taking control – CryptoSlate

Posted: at 11:24 am

Over the past few hours, Bitcoin has exploded higher. Since the close of Mondays daily candle at 23:59 yesterday, the cryptocurrency has gained 6 percent, surging as high as $8,580 from $8,100 as buyers stepped in en-masse.

While the buying momentum has slowed, with BTC retracing to $8,475 as of the time of writing this article, analysts have said that this move is only the start of something bigger. Backing this sentiment is both technical and fundamental factors, these analysts say.

Theres no denying this move in the crypto markets caught many traders with their pants down, so to speak. Per data from Skew, a cryptocurrency data firm, this move liquidated around $30 million worth of Bitcoin short positions, wiping out a lot of wealth in this space.

But now that analysts have caught up to the price action, theyre saying its a precursor to a potentially even stronger move higher.

Mohit Sorout, a partner at Bitazu Capital, noted that with BTCs latest spike higher, it has broken above two key downtrend resistances that have constrained price action for the past seven months. Not to mention, the one-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) and On-Balance Volume (OBV) indicators have broken past similar downtrends, suggesting more upside is imminent.

Financial Survivalism, a pseudonymous cryptocurrency trader that called BTCs ongoing price explosion when Bitcoin was in the low-$7,000s, noted that the Ichimoku Clouda sort of all-in-one indicator showing key price points and trendsis fully bullish, with the indicator printing three distinct signals that suggest prices will appreciate.

On the fundamental side of things, the CME Group just launched its Bitcoin options on Jan. 13, giving institutional investors, miners, and other players in this budding market a chance to better hedge risk and to make potentially more trading profits.

Although options may not be directly bullish for Bitcoin, executives like Changpeng CZ Zhao of Binance and Galaxy Digitals Mike Novogratz have said in the past that institutional involvement should lead to price appreciation in the crypto market.

Yes, the technicals and fundamentals are leaning bullish, but there are a number of resistances above the current Bitcoin price and bearish factors that may act as a roadblock to the ongoing rally.

For instance, trader CryptoISO has noted that the BitMEX funding rate has forayed well into the positive territory, with long position holders now paying a relatively large fee to short positions holders.

While not a decisively bearish sign, former Wall Street analyst turned Bitcoin trader and educator Tone Vays said in a recent edition of his YouTube cryptocurrency market analyses that the negative funding rate in the BTC market has him worried about a potential retracement.

Bitcoin, currently ranked #1 by market cap, is up 4.55% over the past 24 hours. BTC has a market cap of $154.58B with a 24 hour volume of $29.7B.

Chart by CryptoCompare

Bitcoin is up 4.55% over the past 24 hours.

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Ethereum Forms a Bearish Rejection Just Below a Key Resistance Level – Ethereum World News

Posted: at 11:24 am

Ethereum has seen some sizeable gains over the past several days and weeks, although this uptrend may be short lived due to a top formation that it just posted on its daily chart right below a key resistance level.

This comes shortly after the cryptocurrency broke below its macro adoption curve, and the confluence of these bearish factors may suggest that ETH is primed to see significant near-term downside.

At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading down over 3% at its current price of $161, which marks a sizeable retrace from its intra-rally highs of over $170 that were set early yesterday when the cryptos recent rally turned vertical.

The gains that have come about over the past couple of weeks have been quite significant for ETH, as the cryptocurrency has been able to rally from lows within the $120 region to highs of over $170.

This massive rally has occurred in tandem with the uptrend seen by Bitcoin and most other major altcoins and has led many investors to grow increasingly bullish on the markets.

This bullishness may be short lived, however, as Ethereums decline from its recent highs seems to mark a rejectionjust below a key resistance level, signaling that it may soon retrace much of its recent gains.

Livercoin, a popular crypto analyst on Twitter, pointed this out in a recent tweet, in which he concisely says yikes while pointing to the below chart showing the cryptos daily price chart with highlighted resistance levels.

This isnt the only bearish factor currently counting against Ethereum, as the crypto also recently broke below its macro adoption curve, an important level that it has yet to regain.

Financial Survivalism, another popular cryptocurrency analyst, spoke about ETHs decline below its adoption curve in a recent tweet, noting that if it becomes resistance, it could spell trouble for the altcoin markets in general.

Bear Case: There is a strong case to be made that $ETH recently broke down its adoption curve, and that this is just a throwback to retest prior support for resistance. If that is the case then it would indicate a macro shift in the trend for $alts in general, he noted.

If ETH is unable to reclaim this key level, and shows further signs of reversing its recent uptrend, it could be in for a significant drop in the near-future.

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The Explosion In This One Metric Is Bullish for Bitcoins Price – Ethereum World News

Posted: at 11:24 am

At the end of 2017, the CME launched Bitcoin futures contracts on its world-renowned derivatives exchange, opening up the cryptocurrency market to a swath of new investors, namely institutions and other large investors that couldnt hedge their bets in this market as well before the launch.

Although the futures are cash-settled meaning that no on-chain Bitcoin changes hands in trading these contracts trading on the exchange purportedly has a large effect on the underlying market.

Indeed, one simple chart suggests that the strong growth in the contracts open interest metric means the price of BTC will soon explode higher.

The official CME Twitter handle on January 9th posted the below tweet, showing that the open interest metric in BTC is up 59% from the year-end open interest reading, which is staggering considering how little time has transpired between New Years Day and now. Notably, the BTC contracts volume is still far from all-time highs, but the growth in open interest is a positive sign.

According to a textbook chart shared by Murad Mahmudov, CIO of Bitcoin fundAdaptive Capital, this open interest growth is extremely bullish for this nascent market.

The below chart which shows what trends in an assets volume, open interest, and price means for said assets future trajectory indicates that the most optimistic scenario for any market is if the assets price, volume, and open interest for its futures market rise in tandem, suggesting strength, bullish price action, and an overall trend of prices rising.

And what do you know! Bitcoin, over the past few weeks, has seen its price, volume, and open interest increase all at once, showing effectively no signs of weakness.

Since last week, the price of Bitcoin has risen 15% and the volume, according to one report from a cryptocurrency research firm, has nearly doubled, boding well for bulls if momentum can be maintained.

Mahmudovs chart isnt the only thing that has traders optimistic.

Financial Survivalism, the cryptocurrency trader that last week called Bitcoins surge to above $8,000, recently noted that the Lucid Stop and Reversal indicator, which signals a stop and an entry in the opposite direction when it reverses, just printed an extremely bullish signal.

The signal being a reversal just this past week, the first of its kind since March 2019, prior to an over 300% uptrend that surprised the cryptocurrency world.

These two analyses in tandem suggest Bitcoin is ready to start trending higher once again.

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Why An Analyst Thinks XRP Price Has Further to Fall – Ethereum World News

Posted: at 11:24 am

Per a prominent trader, third-largest cryptocurrency XRP is still approximately 40% above a potential price range at which it will bottom, the $0.13 to $0.15 region.

As to why $0.13 to $0.15 may be the final bottom, the analyst has looked to a number of signals in the past.

Firstly, he noted the other day that XRPs chart is showing clear signs that a bearish fractal is playing out. As he notes, the current price action for the cryptocurrency is looking almost identical to how it did from July to October of last year, which was marked by a consolidation after a dramatic sell-off, a secondary drop and flash recovery, then a plunge to fresh lows. The fractal playing out in full implies a price of $0.15.

Also, per previous reports from Ethereum World News, a leading analyst said that he is looking to buy XRP next around $0.15, which is around 25% lower than the current price of $0.2154. He added that hes looking towards this target because his analysis suggests BTC and crypto remain in a bear market despite the recent (and expected) relief rally, the bears still have control.

Not to mention, $0.14 is where key supports from a macro perspective lie, meaning that the cryptocurrency should hold that level to stay in its macro uptrend.

While XRPs price has been relatively independent of Bitcoin, with the cryptocurrency falling by 50% in 2019 while BTC gained 95% in that same time, XRP is likely to follow the market leader, wherever it goes next. This means that should Bitcoin pump from here, a crash in the popular altcoin to the aforementioned price points can be easily avoided.

But can it happen? Can BTC price higher to allow the second-largest altcoin by market capitalization to maintain key supports?

Per a number of analysts, for sure.

According to a previous report from this very outlet, Byzantine General recently pointed towards Bitcoins one-week chart in conjunction with its Relative Strength Index reading. He showed that per historical analysis, applying previous market trends to the current, the bottom is in, noting that the RSI has made a perfect re-test of a key support.

Financial Survivalism, a trader who called Bitcoins spike to the $8,000s last week, has added to the bullish sentiment. In a TradingView post, he gave a number of key technical reasons why he expects for BTC to test $20,000 by July 1st of this year.

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Would a Virginia bill really ban dads from teaching sons how to use hunting rifles? – PolitiFact

Posted: December 18, 2019 at 8:52 pm

A state senate bill would "criminalize a father teaching his own son how to use a hunting rifle."

Mike Adams on Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 in a blog.

ByWarren Fiskeon Tuesday, December 17th, 2019 at 6:00 a.m.

A prolific conspiracy theorist is sounding a "TYRANNY ALERT" about a bill introduced in the state Senate that he claims would ban firearms training and martial arts instructionin Virginia.

"It would even criminalize a father teaching his own son how to use a hunting rifle," wrote Mike Adams in a Nov. 27, 2019 post on NewsTarget, one of several websites he operates thatare anti-vaccine, critical of science, and promote guns and survivalism.

Adams is based in Cody, Wyo. In June 2019, Facebook revoked an Adams page promoting alternative medicine for violating spam rules. The page, called NaturalNews, reportedly had 2.9 million Facebook likes.

Adams recent post on Virginia centers on a bill recently introduced by state Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, that would add restrictions to Virginias paramilitary activities laws. Passed in 1987, the laws make it a felony to assemble - or teach how to assemble - guns, explosives or incendiary devices with the intention of abetting civil disorder. Violators face a maximum 10 years in prison and $2,500 fine.

Lucas bill would also make it a felony for people to gather "with the intent of intimidating any person or group of persons by drilling, parading, or marching with any firearm, any explosive or incendiary device, or any components or combination thereof." It comes after the August 2017 white supremicist rally in Charlottesvillethat left one counterprotestor dead and others injured.

Adams wrote that the bill, in addition to banning a father from teaching his son how to hunt with a rifle, "would also criminalize all firearms training classes, including concealed carry classes."

He added, "The law would instantly transform all martial arts instructors into criminal felons."

In fact, the legislation would do none of these things.

Lucas bill, as we noted, adds to the list of illegal acts and Virginias paramilitary laws. But it leaves intact the next section of the code, whichwhich exempts from paramilitary laws:

*"Any activity, undertaken without knowledge of or intent to cause or further a civil disorder, which is intended to teach or practice self defense or self-defense techniques such as karate clubs..."

*"Lawful activities related to firearms instruction ortraining intended to teach the safe handling and use of firearms."

*"Lawful sports or activities related to the individual recreational use or possession of firearms."

We tried to contact Adams, but received no reply to three emails sent to an address on one of his websites for media inquiries. A person answereing the phone in Adams' media relations office, who didnt give her name, told us "there probably wont be a response."

It should be noted that Lucas introduced identical bills in each of the last two years that were killed in Republican-controlled Senate committees. GOP senators voiced concern that the bill would be hard to enforce and might violate citizens constitutional right to assemble. Videos of the hearings show no one raising concerns that the bill would affect firearms training or self-defense instruction.

The bill may face better prospects this year, with Democrats controlling both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time this century. Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, has endorsed the legislation.

Our ruling

Adams wrote that a bill in the General Assembly "would criminalize a father teaching his own son how to use a hunting rifle."

Thats flat out wrong. The bill would add a clause to the states paramilitary laws making it a felony for groups to train or march with weapons with "the intent of intimidating others." The bill, however, does not change a code section that exempts from the paramilitary act "lawful activities related to firearms instruction."

Another ridiculous Adams claim: The bill "would instantly transform all martial arts instructors into criminal felons." State paramilitary laws specifically exempt common efforts to "teach or practice self defense or self-defense techniques such as karate clubs."

Adams claims are devoid of truth and inflammatory. We rate them "Pants on Fire."

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Amazon’s holiday gift to Orlando’s sci-fi fans is a revitalized season of ‘The Expanse’ – Orlando Weekly

Posted: December 13, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Say what you want about Jeff Bezos not too loudly, Alexa is listening but the man has decent taste in science fiction. The Amazon founder and CEO has peppered his career with Star Trek references, hired Snow Crash writer Neal Stephenson to work at his space exploration company, Blue Origin, and last year took it upon himself to personally announce that Amazon was going to rescue the critically acclaimed former SyFy Channel space drama The Expanse from cancellation. Amazon's Christmas gift to sci-fi fans returns to the airwaves netwaves? this week after a year of production and reminds us why The Expanse captured the attention of so many in the first place.

Those wondering how the sudden influx of Amazon-level money would affect the show need not worry. The CGI may be sharper and the look of the show may be more cinematic, but the show feels essentially the same at the core. We get some new sets, but the heart of the show politics in space remains intact.

Of those new locations, the planet of Ilus the one demanded by the plot of the book upon which the season is based is intentionally desolate, reflecting the hardscrabble survivalism of the Belter refugees who have settled there. Their presence ruffles the feathers of an Earth-based corporation with a mining charter, however, resulting in a political tinderbox that's primed to blow at any moment. U.N. Secretary-General Chrisjen Avasarala (played with gleefully foul-mouthed zeal by the great Shohreh Aghdashloo) sends James Holden (Steven Strait) and the crew of the Rocinante to keep the peace and investigate alien superstructures dotting the surface of the planet, no big deal.

While Holden along with drawling Martian pilot Alex Kamal (Cas Anvar), Belter engineer Naomi Nagata (Dominique Tipper) and weirdly sympathetic psychopath Amos Burton (Wes Chatham) dips his toes into that hornet's nest, we get our first extended look under the domes of the Martian Congressional Republic as recon marine Bobbie Draper (Frankie Adams) gets involved with the rise of a criminal element in the shadow of a planetwide economic recession, brought about in part by the cessation of hostilities between Earth and Mars. The Expanse has always had a strong sense of realpolitik, and in this season it acknowledges that "peace" is just a different set of problems.

While we don't get much in the way of character-building in the first six episodes of the 10-episode season, season standouts include Wes Chatham's Amos along with Burn Gorman's (Game of Thrones, Torchwood) take on the season's villain, Adolphus Murtry. Amos, the Rocinante crew's muscle, carries the same sense of cold practicality to his sex life, we discover, as he does to applying violence wherever necessary. The situation with his new sex-interest, Chandra Wei (Jess Salgueiro, Letterkenny), is complicated by the fact that she's Murtry's second-in-command.

Cibola Burn, the book on which the new season is based, is often cited as a low point in the series by James S.A. Corey (a collaborative pen name of writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). Amazon seems confident that the showrunners can overcome the book's faults and the decision to give Avasarala and Bobbie plenty of screen time is a good start. The show has been renewed for a fifth season, already in production. For once, passionate fans get to relax, take a breath and rest easy knowing that their show is in good hands.

This story appears in the Dec. 11, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.

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Market Experts Weigh in on the Next Major Mergers & Acquisitions in Media – Observer

Posted: November 21, 2019 at 5:41 pm

AT&T and Time Warner, Disney and Fox, Comcast and Sky. Which conglomerates are on the hunt for major mergers and acquisitions? Pixabay

A food chain is defined as a hierarchical series of organisms dependent on the next as a source of food. This suggests that the entropy of the unchecked wild is merely instinctual, natural order masquerading as chaos. Sharks eat minnows, lions eat gazelle, and the whole world keeps on turning. We understand that the natural world is governed by such linear survivalism, but rarely do we acknowledge that the unnatural world we createdthe one of business and economicsis also dictated by the same Darwinian laws.

The strong prey on the weak, or, at the very least, eye every conceivable opportunity to grow strongereven at a cost to others.In the media and entertainment landscape, this is regularly accomplished through mergers and acquisitions. AT&T acquired Time Warner in a landmark $85 billion deal; The Walt Disney Co. gobbled up 20th Century Fox for $71 billion; Comcast dropped $39 billion on Sky; and Viacom and CBS re-merged to form a new company valued at roughly $30 billion. Scale in media is purely carnivorousone company feeds on another. Its almost Shakespearean in its lethal simplicity.

SEE ALSO: Hollywood Is Running Out of Room, and It Might Be Hurting Your Favorite Movies Most

While major dominoes have already fallen, there is undoubtedly more still to come. A tiger cant change his stripes, after all, and the increasingly volatile entertainment media industry cant be satiated in a time of conglomerate hunger. So we talked to a handful of industry experts in an attempt to identify realistic potential mergers and acquisitions on the horizon.

Mary Ann Halford, a former Fox EVP and senior advisor at OC&C Strategy

Halford believes the first question to tackle under this umbrella topic is identifying the major players who are still left in media and entertainment. To her, that list that includes AMC, Discovery, Lionsgate, Sony, Imagine Entertainment and MGM Entertainment.

Of course, regarding Discovery and Lionsgate, Liberty Media (controlled by John Malone) has a significant interest, which could make for interesting dealmaking, Halford said.

Steve Birenberg, Founder of Northlake Capital Management

An expert in the financial field, Birenberg is eying Lionsgate for an acquisition. Im not exactly sure by whom, he says, but ViacomCBS makes the most sense if and when they prove their merger is working and their stock prices is way, way up from here.

Despite ongoing speculation throughout the industry, Birenberg does not believe Apple will acquire a studio as he doesnt deem it necessary to further their product services priority. If Apple were to acquire anything, I think Roku would be the smart move, he noted.

Similar to others quoted here, he views Discovery Communications as a prime target, thanks to its high floor non-fiction strategy and healthy balance sheet. While no obvious partner comes immediately to mind, there are non-traditional alternatives that Discoverys unscripted content lends itself to.

Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst for Comscore

Dergarabedian believes we are witnessing the greatest amount up upheaval in the media industrys history. From a practical perspectivebecause there is so much content that it can be overwhelmingthe future may revolve around consolidation, he says. The question on his mind is: How do we get all of this content in one place?

Outside of Roku and Apple TV housing streaming apps for several services, the competitors are not concerned with making it easy for consumers to access a wealth of content. The sheer volume of options may be the primary barrier of adoption for some.

Future merges will be dictated by technology with unexpected players that may not even exist yet driving the industry, he predicts. We need to open our minds to the intersection of technology and content. Sony was a tech-first company when they acquired Columbia Pictures; Netflix began by selling DVDs and is now a full-blown studio. If we travel 20 to 30 years back, we couldnt have envisioned the entertainment industry of today with streaming and everything. So the future will likely be a manifestation of what were not even aware of yet.

Mark Williams, Chief Revenue Officer, Americas, for Merrill Corporation

Williams notes that merger and acquisition deal-making in the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sector remains healthy, with $324.2 billion in 2018 and growth expected to continue in 2019 and beyond. As we discussed in our recent Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) M&A Spotlight panel, this is a result of technology being so embedded in the business world, that the M&A opportunity lies not within technology or a specific industry, but at the intersection of them both, he said.

Based on discussions from Merrills(TMT) M&A Spotlight panel, interactive content such as video gaming may provide the greatest growth potential within TMT moving forward. This lane is expected to emerge as a long-term catalyst for M&A deal-making, Williams explains.

Gaming has evolved, becoming very social, multi-player, and online driven. This shift can be attributed to technology itself. People tend to start playing video games on their mobile devices, and in time, as players become more committed to gaming, they often subscribe to cloud-based platforms.

Dock David Treece, Senior Financial Analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com

On Disneys earnings call earlier this month, CEO Bob Iger said the company was not looking to add any major pieces following the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox over the last 15 years. But how long will this stance hold, especially with Iger stepping down in 2021?

It makes sense that Disney would slow down merger and acquisition activity in the near future as it tries to absorb Fox, but this break will likely only be temporary, Treece said. In the meantime, I think we can look for additional acquisitions from Netflix, which has only dabbled in acquisitions today.

Treece expects Netflix to target smaller production companies and minor streaming services that offer technological innovations that Netflix would like to own. He also pinpoints Discovery as a potential mover-and-shaker.

Each of these companies has net revenue over $1 billion annually (about 10 percent of Disneys net earnings) and will likely try to take advantage of Disneys slowdown to grow strategically to compete with the new giant of Disney-Fox.

Sam Williamson, Founder of Streaming Movies Right

Williamson highlights a specific niche that Apple should target if it is indeed hunting for an acquisition.

What weve noticed is that horror is where Netflix have a clear advantage over Disney, and many people love the horror content that Netflix puts out, he said. So if Apple want to enter this horse race, the next big acquisition we may see could be Apple attempting to acquire one of the more successful horror studios so they can place more horror content on their platform.

Williamson notes that Netflix is producing at least one decent horror film per month while Disney has a bank of horror films to last them for a while. Though Apple has signed a multi-picture pact with indie studio A24, the latters production cycle generally produces three horror movies per year. I dont think that output would be enough to draw people away from Netflix, so theyll likely have to step up the production of content, he says.

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Market Experts Weigh in on the Next Major Mergers & Acquisitions in Media - Observer

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A brief history of John Krasinski’s transformation into a guy who absolutely loves the CIA – Business Insider

Posted: at 5:41 pm

For a long time, John Krasinski was America's boyfriend. His most famous role Jim Halpert on "The Office" became his de facto identity, and he appeared to shareJim's defining character traits: sensitivity, intelligence, humor, unabashed Snow Patrol fandom.

But as you and I both know insert a knowing look at the camera here nothing gold can stay, and now Jim Halpert is waxing poetic about the CIA.

The interview went viral on Twitter yesterday. While the clip itself appears to be from 2018, when "Jack Ryan," Amazon's splashy show about Men Who Blow Things Up, initially premiered, it elicited a strong reaction for good reason: Listening to Jim Halpert talk about how he "nerded out" when he got to the CIA and how we should "be saying thank you every single day" to the organization is an incredibly jarring experience. (The endless stream of Jim Halpert reaction gifs in the replies doesn't hurt, either.)

As MEL's Miles Klee argued, "one can no longer deny that Jim from 'The Office' is a cop." Judging from the responses on Twitter, many people were surprised by Krasinski's transformation. But this is merely the latest chapter in Krasinski's curious journey from lovably rumpled sales guy to special-ops acolyte.

In 2016, he starred in a movie about Benghazi directed by wait for it Michael Bay, which was criticized for, among other things, being inaccurate. (He also got buff.)The same year, he also talked about how he almost played Captain America, the ultimate stars-and-stripes macho man.

In 2018, he directed and starred in "A Quiet Place," which centered on a family that must remain silent lest they tip off the murderous aliens inhabiting the planet. Though it was generally well-received, it was also deemed a "fantasy of survivalism" with questionable politics by The New Yorker. Some criticized its gender dynamics, while others wondered about its ostensibly pro-gun messaging. It also featured Krasinski in a familiar role: bearded white patriarch fighting back against "foreign" enemies.

Yet nothing has done more to solidify his patina of red-blooded Americana than his role as Jack Ryan. The first season of the series, which is based on the novels by Tom Clancy, was described as a "patriotic nightmare" by Vanity Fair, and focused on Ryan's hunt for a terrorist named Mousa bin Suleiman. The second season hasn't fared much better: It's been criticized for its muddy and one-dimensional portrayal of the region's politics, and for its conflation of American intervention with American heroics.The trailer even drew outrage from Venezuela's culture minister Ernesto Villegas, who called it "crass war propaganda disguised as entertainment."

Meanwhile, in a different interview about the show, Krasinski claimed that many people who work for the CIA are "apolitical," which seems questionable given the group's history in several different countries, but who's counting?

Anyway, Jim Halpert is gone, and now we have a veritable Abercrombie model devouring a piece of steak with his bare hands instead. You win again, 2019.

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