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The Fast Five: The ‘90s Are Back, and So Is That Episode of ‘Black-ish’

August 18, 2020
5 min read time

Two years after it was pulled from ABC the week it was intended to air, the infamous Black-ish episode that was censored for unknown reasons has finally been made available through Hulu. The show is incredibly tame when looked at through a 2020 lens, but is well worth watching to see what kind of storytelling was considered taboo for a major media conglomerate in 2018. Nostalgia also reigns supreme this week with the return of Blockbuster, ‘90s CD-Rom games, and old Ryan Reynolds movies.

The Danger of Remaking A Popular Show
Avatar: The Last Airbender is a genre-defining show that taught the art of serialized storytelling and character development to a new generation of writers. It’s incredibly rare for a genre series based on an original concept to break through the way Avatar has, and thanks to Netflix, the show is being discovered by new audiences. The streaming service is developing a live-action remake and enlisted the only people who could properly fulfill that vision: original creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. Fans rejoiced and hoped for a series that would cleanse the bad taste that M. Night Shyamalan’s feature adaptation left in their mouths. Unfortunately, that may not be the case, as DiMartino and Konietzko have walked away from the project, saying that “whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what (we) had envisioned or intended to make.” After two years of development, it seems like Netflix and the writers had creative differences that caused the two sides to split. That's always the risk when adapting a popular series. Fans will want the original creative team in charge because they have earned the fans' trust, but the network may not want to give up the control that creators crave. The writers could have acquiesced to Netflix's demands so they could stay in charge of their project, but at what point is their reputation with fans more important than steering a sinking ship in the right direction? There's a reason novelists are rarely given the job of adapting their own books. When a writer is really close to a piece of material they may not be willing to go in a direction that wasn’t part of their original vision, whereas a new writer can bring a fresh eye to the adaptation. There is no further info on how Netflix is proceeding now that the original creators are off the project.

Black-ish Episode Finally Gets Uncensored By Hulu
Two years ago, ABC and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris were at odds when Disney asked for an episode of the sitcom to be pulled from the schedule. The move ended up being the first crack in the armor that resulted in Barris signing a massive deal with Netflix. While both sides came out publicly to say the decision was amicable, rumors swirled over the reason the episode was pulled. Did a conversation about kneeling in the NFL make Disney nervous because ESPN had the rights to Monday Night Football? Was the studio walking on eggshells because it was closing a deal to buy Fox and didn’t want negative statements about President Trump to complicate the deal? Well, after nearly two years, Disney has made the episode available via its streaming service Hulu. So what was all the fuss about? Nobody can really figure it out. Reviews have painted the episode as “bland” and “intentionally simple.” Maybe Disney was just being overly-cautious while trying to purchase a studio from a conservative media conglomerate. Maybe the last two years have just jaded us to the point where something that was controversial in 2018 is just a drop in the bucket in 2020. Either way, it’s well worth the watch just to see what was considered censorable material for network television two years ago.

So You Want To Be A ‘90s Director?
1996 was a much simpler time. Independence Day and Twister were normalizing the summer event blockbuster that we’ve all come to know and love. Everybody was listening to Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill. NBC’s Must See Thursday was killing it in the ratings, giving the network the season’s top 6 shows, and Steven Spielberg was right in the middle of his, “I’ll do anything for a paycheck” phase. The director was endorsing cartoons, theme park rides, and even a PC video game called Steven Spielberg’s Director’s Chair. Using the hottest PC gaming technology 1996 had to offer, the game allowed players to become a director and take a project from the script phase through to editing the final product. If you want to experience what it’s like to sit in a 1996 director’s chair, you can take a trip through time thanks to an unofficial remake. One bored developer upscaled the footage and remade the game to be more like a Choose Your Own Adventure show, allowing the player to choose between takes with performances by Jennifer Aniston and Quentin Tarantino. Do you have what it takes to put together a movie worthy of rivaling The English Patient for Best Picture? Give the game a try and put your storytelling skills to the test.

The World’s Last Blockbuster Becomes an AirBnB
While we’re reliving the ‘90s, why not get a heavy brain-dose of nostalgia by spending the night in a Blockbuster Video? For readers who are too young to have experienced the video store, imagine a physical version of scrolling through Netflix for an hour trying to find something to watch. Except when you finally settle on something, it’s not actually available. And at some point you get kicked out of the store if you don’t choose a movie so you can’t spend all your time browsing without actually watching something. And back in those days of VHS, you could also sneak away from your parents to visit the horror section and look at all the box art. Since that’s how people made their rental decisions, even the cheapest straight-to-video horror movies had amazing covers. It’s where 80% of their budget went. Now you can experience it all for yourself, as the last Blockbuster in America has become an AirBnB for a limited time over in Bend, Oregon. Guests will be given a pull-out couch to curl up on, a ton of snacks, a TV, and free range of the store to browse and watch whatever they want. It’s a unique way to keep Blockbuster alive and will hopefully continue beyond the limited engagement so that everybody looking for a nostalgic trip can enjoy the experience.

Ryan Reynolds Launches His Own Streaming Service
Ryan Reynolds is always looking to expand his portfolio. The Aviation Gin investor and spokesman recently picked up stake in Mint Mobile, a low-cost, prepaid mobile service provider. But how do you continue to expand when you already own alcohol and a telecommunications company? How about jumping into the packed waters of streaming media? Ryan Reynolds teamed up with Mint Mobile to offer the world the free streaming service Mint Mobile+ and they have a robust offering available. From the 2003 Canadian action film Foolproof to the 2003 Canadian action film Foolproof, Mint Mobile+ is your one-stop shop for all of Ryan Reynolds’ 2003 Canadian action films called Foolproof. The service, which actually works but only lets you watch Foolproof, is another clever way Ryan Reynolds and this team have managed to go viral to promote their products. 

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