A List of Projects I’d Like Meghan Markle, My New Favorite Narrator, to Consider

Image Source: Getty / Joe Maher

Disney’s new nature documentary Elephant has quite a bit of allure. There’s beautiful footage of elephants (obviously), gorgeous landscape scenes, and, oh yes, Meghan Markle’s narration. Now, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about one of Earth’s most beautiful creatures, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also totally entranced by how soothing Markle’s voice is.

The film — which Markle joined to help support Botswana-based conservation organization Elephants Without Borders — follows the annual journey of an elephant herd traveling across Africa’s Kalahari Desert in search of water. It mostly focuses on three elephants: Gaia (the herd’s matriarch), Shani (Gaia’s sister), and Jomo (Shani’s son). Markle’s charm effortlessly shines through as she details the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of the expedition. When Gaia shows her leadership skills, Markle sounds genuinely proud; when Shani protects the herd from rivals, she sounds earnest; and when Jomo is being adorable, she sounds delighted. Markle also sounds especially moved while talking about Shani’s safeguarding of Jomo. She likely relates to the maternal instinct since she and husband Harry share 11-month-old son Archie.

Hearing Markle’s calming voice got us wondering: what else could she narrate or do a voiceover for? A lot of things, actually, whether it’s for relaxation or pure irony. So, without further ado, here’s a list of everything we’d love Markle to lend her voice to.

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'The Simpsons' Aspect Ratio Problem on Disney+ Will Be Fixed in Early 2020

Update 4/2/20: Today, Disney+ released a statement on Twitter saying they expect this process to be completed by the end of May 2020.

Our original article from November 2019 follows.

Disney+ arrived this week to much excitement and glee from fans anxious to stream everything from the new live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian to Disney classics The Lion King and everything in between. However, one of the more enticing library titles from Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox immediately disappointed fans. But thankfully, it’s about to be fixed.

Every single season of The Simpsons is available on Disney+ right now, but when it comes to the first 19 seasons of the show, there was an issue. The aspect ratio for those episodes was presented in the widescreen 16:9 ratio, the shape of your average television today. But those episodes from the first 19 seasons aired when the full screen 4:3 ratio was the standard for television. The result was episodes that lost visual quality and some hilarious sight gags. But Disney+ will have The Simpsons aspect ratio problem fixed in the near future.

Disney released a statement announcing their plans to have The Simpsons aspect ratio problem fixed:

“We presented “The Simpsons” in 16:9 aspect ratio at launch in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons. Over time, Disney+ will roll out new features and additional viewing options. As part of this, in early 2020, Disney+ will make the first 19 seasons (and some episodes from Season 20) of “The Simpsons” available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, giving subscribers a choice of how they prefer to view the popular series.”

The reason this fix only applies to the first 19 seasons and some of the 20th season is because halfway through that season, The Simpsons started broadcasting in widescreen. So every episode after that was made for the 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s a shame fans will have to wait as much as a few months for something that should have been available right out of the gate, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.

With Disney+ promising “new features and additional viewing options,” hopefully this means they will also start adding the episode commentaries that were available when entire seasons were previously made available on FX Now. The streaming service could really set themselves apart from the rest of the competition by offering unique special features and bonus material, especially if it ends up being stuff you can’t get on the home video releases of certain titles, like the recent Avengers: Endgame deleted scene that was made available on Disney+. Stay tuned as the streaming service continues to adapt and grow.

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Doc Antle Has Changed the Way I See These Cultural Moments Forever

Mahamayavi Bhagavan “Doc” Antle (known in school as Kevin), is an animal trainer, businessman, self-proclaimed conservationist, and one of many anti-heroes in wildly popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness.

On screen, Antle is portrayed as a slightly more level-headed model of the show’s flamboyant main attraction, Joe Exotic. As entertaining as Antle is in the series, it's important to note that he's been accused of some terrible things (allegedly putting tiger cubs who've grown to old for petting in gas chambers, for one). While the series doesn't touch on all of these accusations — it does, however, delve into Antle’s cult-like Myrtle Beach Safari venture, and (however briefly), his experiences in Hollywood. Tiger King presents Antle’s show biz ventures as one would their crazy uncle’s chance encounter with Mariah Carey at a Pizza Hut in 1996, but after further examination it seems like the doctor of “mystical science” actually has quite the IMDb page.

From late night talk shows to the actual 2001 VMAs stage with Britney Spears (!), here are some of Antle’s most memorable (and categorically bizarre) forays into the mainstream spotlight.

The David Letterman Show

In 1992, a mustachioed, mullet-wearing Antle (clad in a jumpsuit and carrying a black leopard), made an appearance on Letterman’s talk show as an assistant to zookeeper Jack Hanna.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

Why Jim Carrey didn’t secure the rights to the Doc Antle story decades ago will forever consume my thoughts. Antle served as “principle animal trainer” on both the 1994 and 1995 films.

The Jungle Book and The Second Jungle Book: Mowgli & Baloo

Lucky for Antle, sequels are apparently all the rage in the animal-centric film world. He worked as a trainer on the ’94 film, and returned for the second installment in  ’97.

Janet Jackson’s “Together Again” Music Video

Antle said he worked with Jackson “a couple of times,” including the video for her 1997 single “Together Again.”

Doctor Dolittle

Though he isn’t credited on IMDb, Antle’s animals were used in the film.

Mighty Joe Young

Antle served as both an animal trainer for the 1998 film and an uncredited “Party Guest Grabbed by Joe.”

Nas and Diddy’s “Hate Me Now” Music Video

Antle worked with Nas, Diddy, and two adult tigers on set in 1999. Antle said he warned Diddy, who wears a giant white fur coat in the video, that the tigers would try to grab the coat. Diddy told him that was fine. As expected, the tiger went for Diddy’s coat. “Not a flinch,” Antle said of Diddy’s reaction. “Everyone else in that situation falls apart,” he added. “The crowd ran for the exits.”

Britney Spears’s 2001 MTV Video Music Awards Performance

Remember the 2001 VMAs? Britney (bitch), a skimpy green two piece, a python that doubles as a scarf? Well, there’s one detail you may have overlooked. Ms. Spears begins her performance in an elevated rotating cage, standing beside a white tiger and …. BHAGAVAN DOC ANTLE. He supplied both the tiger, whom he described as “Mr. Cool,” and the snake.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Antle visited the show in 2001 and then again in 2002. He wore what appears to be the same outfit for both visits.

Doc Antle and Jay Leno - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 9
Doc Antle and Jay Leno - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 10

Ashanti’s “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)” Music Video

Antle provided Ashanti with Bubbles the Elephant, whom she rode in her 2003 music video.

Good Morning America

In 2011, Antle went head-to-head with Robin Roberts (whilst bottle-feeding a massive tiger), defending a 17-year-old’s decision to sleep with an adolescent tiger in her bed every night. “That Felicia is risk-free is by no means true,” he told the GMA host, “but neither are most 17-year-olds behind the wheel of a car, right?” he went on, “They die like flies, across the country.”

Beyoncé. Just Beyoncé.

Antle met Queen Bey when she visited Myrtle Beach Safari in 2014. They even fed a baby tiger together (slide 2). In my mind, this trip also provided the inspiration for The Lion King: The Gift.


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'Cursed Films' Review: Shudder's Fascinating New Series Explores the Urban Legends Surrounding Classic Horror Films

Have you heard the rumor that real skeletons were used in Poltergeist? Or how about all the mysterious incidents that surrounded the shooting of The Omen? If you’re a horror fan, you’ve heard these stories – and more. Certain iconic horror films are surrounded by this sort of legends – the type that make an already scary movie extra scary, as if the very film itself was emitting bad vibes, or toxic fumes.

These rumors, rumblings, urban legends, and more, crawl out of the shadows and into the light in Cursed Films, a new Shudder docu-series from director Jay Cheel. Each episode attempts to get to the bottom of these stories, and, should they be total bunk, track their origins. In doing so, Cursed Films uncovers dark secrets and stark realities harsher than any mythical curse.

Baseless speculation and bits of trivia don’t exactly make for a compelling TV series, and thankfully, Cursed Films rises above all that. It’s not interested in spreading rumors, but rather in digging as deep as it can to get to the truth – or some semblance of the truth. The two episodes provided for critics, focusing on Poltergeist and The Omen, are both unique in their approach. The Poltergeist episode is the better of the two, primarily because it feels like the most in-depth. So much of the stories surrounding The Omen – planes hit by lightning, IRA bombings, and more – have always seemed so secondary, so tacked-on – as if fans are so desperate for a curse that they’ll force a square peg into a round hole to make it work.

But Poltergeist is a different story. There’s the rumor – a true rumor, in fact – that real skeletons were used as part of the film’s climax. And then there’s the sad fate of two of the film’s actresses – Dominique Dunne and Heather O’Rourke. Dunne was murdered by her ex-boyfriend at the age of 22, while O’Rourke, who would appear in both Poltergeist 2 and 3, died at 12 from cardiac arrest and septic shock caused by intestinal stenosis. These tragic outcomes have hung over Poltergeist like a dark, ominous rain cloud ready to burst – but do they really indicate a full-blown curse?

Dealing with such difficult topics isn’t easy. A lesser filmmaker could’ve gone for something far more exploitative here; crasser; crueler. But Cheel finds the perfect balance here, touching on these troubling subjects with as much grace as possible. It’s all part of the plan to effectively tamp down any future talk of curses. Yes, real skeletons were used in the film – but real skeletons were used in many other films as well – films that have never suffered anything resembling a curse. And yes, Dunne and O’Rourke died tragically young.

But is that really a sign of some ghoulish, ghostly, otherwordly curse – or more of an indication of the cruelty, and randomness, of life? Or, as Craig Reardon, a make-up effects artist on Poltergeist so succinctly puts it, “The idea of having a few [skeletons] on the set of Poltergeist, and having that kill two young girls, is a pernicious idea. It’s an insult to the memory of a very sweet little girl, Heather O’Rourke. And it’s worse than for Dominique Dunne, who was strangled to death by her boyfriend. Which had fuck-all to do with a skeleton.”

That’s not to say Cursed Films is out to scold its viewers. It understands that belief in such paranormal happenstance is only natural for most people. Rather than admonish, the series hopes to educate. But that doesn’t mean there’s no entertainment to be had here. The series is a horror fan’s delight from top to bottom, providing insight from folks involved with the films in question as well as several renowned horror film experts and aficionados. Anyone who ever grew up pouring over old issues of Fangoria or Rue Morgue late at night under a bedsheet with a flashlight is going to be enthralled with what Cursed Films has to offer.

Cursed Films premieres on Shudder April 2.

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'Locke & Key' Officially Renewed for Season 2 By Netflix

Locke & Key debuted on Netflix this February to fairly positive reviews and word-of-mouth buzz. And now, a little more a month after the highly anticipated adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez’s acclaimed horror comic book premiered, Netflix is officially renewing Locke & Key for a second season.

Locke and Key Season 2 Announced by Netflix

Netflix got straight to business with its tweet about the Locke & Key season 2 renewal, but not without the tongue-in-cheek humor that has become typical of its social media posts. The NX Netflix Twitter account announced that Locke & Key has been renewed for season 2 with a video of several of the characters in the series devouring food and the caption, “If you’re hungry for season 2 of Locke and Key, we’ve got good news for you.” This is a reference to the key-hunting demons in the series, who possess human beings and imbue them with a ravenous hunger.

Developed by Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, and Aron Eli Coleite and based on the comic book series of the same name by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, Locke & Key tells the story of the three Locke siblings who discover their ancestral home is full of magical keys, and must battle a mysterious demon who stop at nothing to steal those keys.

Locke & Key received mostly positive reviews from critics, including one from /Film’s Rafael Motamayor, who wrote in his review: “Locke & Key is immensely rewarding for fans who have waited years for an adaptation of the comic, and it remains an intriguing and twisting tale of trauma and magic that will captivate a whole new audience. Let’s just hope that the door to this world stays open for years to come.”

The first season of Locke & Key is now streaming on Netflix.

After their father is murdered under mysterious circumstances, the three Locke siblings and their mother move into their ancestral home, Keyhouse, which they discover is full of magical keys that may be connected to their father’s death.  As the Locke children explore the different keys and their unique powers, a mysterious demon awakens — and will stop at nothing to steal them. From Carlton Cuse (Lost, Bates Motel) and Meredith Averill (The Haunting of Hill House), the series is a coming-of-age mystery about love, loss, and the unshakable bonds that define family.

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'Westworld' Season 3 Featurette Takes You to Warworld

The most recent episode of Westworld, “The Winter Line,” took us to a whole new park – one set-up to resemble Nazi-occupied Italy. The official name of this locale is Warworld, and a new Westworld season 3 featurette goes behind-the-scenes and focuses on all the tiny details that went into creating this new park. Watch it below, unless you haven’t seen the episode yet. Then maybe wait.

Westworld – Warworld

How did Westworld create Warworld? It went to Spain. Bethulu, Spain, to be precise – a little town that hasn’t changed much since the 1940s. “Even though this is set in Italy, we felt like Spain was a better option for us,” explains production designer Howard Cummings. “Bethulu was pretty frozen in time, and its main feature was this…12th-century bridge.”

The most impressive thing in this video is the reveal that the moment where everyone freezes in place while Thandie Newton‘s Maeve walks casually among them was done practically. They choreographed a bunch of extras to stay perfectly still, while using devices to hold certain people in positions to make it look like some of them were falling down, or flying backward after getting shot. Then those devices were digitally erased.

Season 3 is setting a large part of its action outside of the park system, so it’s unclear if we’ll be getting any more new worlds outside of Warworld. We did catch a glimpse of elements of Medieval World last week, in the form of a big Game of Thrones cameo. But it’s doubtful we’ll end up seeing the Medieval-themed park itself.

HBO released a behind-the-scenes video for the first episode of the new season as well, so there’s a good chance they’re doing one of these every week. Stay tuned.

Follow the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin in this dark odyssey that begins in a world where every human appetite can be indulged. Aaron Paul, Vincent Cassel, Lena Waithe and Scott Mescudi join Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris and more for the upcoming third season, which will explore questions about the nature of our reality, free will and what makes us human.

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'The Magicians' Lays the Groundwork for the Series Finale With a Musical Heist Episode

If you ever wanted to watch a musical version of an Oceans movies set in a hotel not unlike The Continental from John Wick: Chapter 2, then look no further than this episode of The Magicians. We start “The Balls” in the gang’s New York City apartment, where Marina walks everyone else through the intricate plan they must enact in order to steal the World Seed from The Couple’s stronghold in the Nave Hotel. 

I won’t go into many of the delightful details of the heist here (suffice it to say it involves a knock-off purse with magical incubator properties, a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck, and overcoming golems who can sense microaggressions), except to note that the gang will all be able to communicate during their elaborate robbery through a Conductor Spell that Zelda knows. 

Given that this is this season’s musical episode, we’re ready for it when the spell, given the wonky magical circumstance on Earth, goes a bit wrong. After Zelda casts it, the gang is visited by everyone’s favorite sexist pig, Sir Effingham, who wants to shoot Julia for being the force that will bring the end of Fillory. Things get heated (although luckily for Sir Effingham, Julia along with Penny23 are the two who aren’t part of the World Seed heist), and the strong emotions cause the Conductor Spell to go awry, forcing everyone—including Sir Effingham—to take part in a song and dance number of Nick Lowe’s “Too Cruel To Be Kind.” 

This group musical performance is the biggest one of the episode; unlike previous years (The Magicians has a musical episode in each of its five seasons), the songs in “The Balls” are mostly smaller affairs, more intimate ballads between a handful of characters rather than full-out musical showstoppers. Season 5 has been a quieter and sadder season than years before it, however, and this relatively toned-down musical performance (emphasis on the world “relatively”) fits the overall arc and mood of the season. 

The songs also don’t seem to be as plentiful as previous musical episodes, though I admit my memory could be off here. Even if I’m remembering correctly, however, fewer songs are okay—we still get oeuvres that move us, such as Eliot and Alice’s rendition of Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush’s “Don’t Give Up,” and we also still get exciting ensemble pieces, such as the aforementioned “Too Cruel to Be Kind” and a golem-fighting finale where the gang breaks out of the Nave with the World Seed to the tune of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated.” 

Also unlike some other musical episodes of years past, there was a non-music-infused storyline this episode as well—Penny23 and Julia track down Penny’s mother in order to better understand how having a Traveler baby will impact Julia’s sanity. Both of their interactions with Penny’s mother are heartbreaking. It’s been years since she has seen Penny, since she gave him up as a child because she wasn’t mentally capable of taking care of him. To the surprise of Penny and Julia, she’s better now, but soon hears voices when Penny talks to her. It turns out there’s a magical connection between the two, one where Penny literally drives his mother mad. And while Julia tries to salve this decades-long wound, to let Penny’s mom know that she could likely use magic to prevent that from happening again, Penny’s mother refuses—she’s been through too much already, and she thinks going through it again will kill her. 

It’s a more bitter than sweet moment when Julia gives Penny a photo of him and his mom—her last gift to her son, and the message is a painful one: loving someone does not mean that you’ll be there for them. This message doesn’t provide happy foreshadowing for Penny and Julia next week, and I’ll be bracing for them to face some heartache in the season (and series!) finale. 

We end the episode, however, at the Nave Hotel, where the gang is getting a getaway lift from Alice’s old cell neighbor, Santa Claus, who greets them with a cheery F-bomb-laden greeting before we cut to credits. And now we have one more episode left, our last 45 minutes or so with the characters we love. (Before we start the 5-season re-watch, of course. I have some extra time on my hands lately, who else is in?) Knowing next week is the series finale, I’m both eager and anxious to find out where everyone will end up. I’m guessing some new world will be created with the World Seed. And I hope it’s a good world, one where our complex characters can thrive and finally be happy. 

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Avengers Endgame: This character ‘LIED’ to Tony Stark – Could he have saved his life too?

Avengers: Endgame might have turned out differently if it weren’t for the actions of Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), one Reddit user and Marvel fan has theorised. Posting on the online forum, they branded the sorcerer a “liar” and even went as far as to point out a way he could have saved Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr) life.

The Redditor called Doctor Strange’s assertion that the Avengers only won in one out of 14,000,000 possible outcomes “a lie”.

They went on to point out how the Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton) had been unable to see any future beyond her own death on Doctor Strange’s solo movie.

Thus, maybe Doctor Strange was unable to see a future beyond the Avengers’ final battle against Thanos in a number of potential courses their lives could have taken, not because they lost but because he died in those scenarios.

“Obviously, Doctor Strange would be able to see past his ‘Snap death’ because it wasn’t permanent and his life and future would continue after,” they said.

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“But what if Doctor Strange died battling Thanos on Titan or in the final battle in Endgame? He wouldn’t be able to see past that moment.”

Marvelbuckyfan98 continued: “My theory is that the Avengers DID win more than one version of that final battle, but Doctor Strange died in the other outcomes.

“Therefore, he wouldn’t be able to see past his death and whether the Avengers actually won or not.

“So he picked the one where he definitely survived, and knew the Avengers definitely won!” they added.

“Probably another reason why he didn’t give Tony any tups on how to bring hem back. 

“He didn’t know what the Avengers did to bring him back. Just that they won in the end,” they concluded.

When another Redditor commented on how intriguing the theory was but claimed Doctor Strange’s actions wouldn’t exactly constitute “lying”, Marvelbuckyfan98 replied: “I think he did know he was being deceptive.”

They also pointed out that the theory would imply Doctor Strange chose his own life over that of Tony’s.

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“He knows Tony is going to die, and that he could potentially stop it by dying in his place,” they said.

Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo previously addressed Doctor Strange’s visions of all 14,000,000 potential outcomes for the Avengers’ fight against Thanos.

In an interview with Wired, Joe posited the sorcery did indeed die in the majority of the scenarios he visited.

“He has to physically live and then die in each of them,” he said.

“And right before he died, he had to reset it, as we saw at the end of Doctor Strange, and do it again and take copious notes each time he does it.”

The process could have been even more excruciating than Marvel fans might have realised as well, according to Anthony, who noted the “immense amount of energy” it took Doctor Strange to go to such lengths.

“Strange has to exert an immense amount of energy to go into that state, and the amount of time he’s in this state, as we know from the history in his own standalone film, Doctor Strange, he could be in that state for who knows how long,” he commented.

“So it could have taken Strange an immensely long time to actually review all these scenarios.”

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