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SYFY WIRE The Umbrella Academy

WIRE Buzz: Amazon launches watch parties; The Umbrella Academy drops teaser-filled poster; more

By Jacob Oller
The Umbrella Academy Season 2

The pandemic-driven phenomenon of socially-distanced shared viewing isn’t stopping any time soon — and it’s even getting more official support from streaming services. Watch parties have found helpful sites, apps, and widgets to help coordinate disparate viewers’ timing and enjoyment of films and TV. Now Amazon is introducing an official way for its subscribers to watch together...apart.

According to Deadline, the new feature is simply called Watch Party and allows up to 100 Amazon Prime Video subscribers to hop onto “thousands of titles” simultaneously. That means synced playback controlled by a single host and a concurrent chat scrolling on the sidebar a la YouTube or Twitch livestreams. 

Looks like all those jerry-rigged viewing experiences will get a little bit long as everyone’s got a Prime login. Those without may find themselves stuck with the scrappy apps helping fans sync up Netflix, Hulu, and other services’ offerings.

The new Amazon feature begins rolling out this week, first coming only to laptops.

Next, The Umbrella Academy has continued its valiant fight against giving fans a trailer for the Netflix adaptation’s second season (fans have photos and that's it) by releasing a poster filled with Easter eggs. Based on Gerard Way’s superhero sibling comic, the series wowed fans in the first season before thrusting its screwed-up family back in time. Now a new poster teases what fans can expect from round two — all within the reflections of some cool shades.

Check it out and start zooming in:

The Umbrella Academy S2 poster

The same image was tweeted out by the official Umbrella Academy account with the phrase “They’re back…in time” — and that’s the least interesting thing about it. The poster comes after the same account posted a series of throwback gifs and images showcasing a ‘60s and ‘70s style: color blocks, groovy fonts, and olive-filled jello salad. But what exactly is shown in those glasses?

“War declared,” says the newspaper headline, which features a subhead with the words “Kennedy” and “Red Attack.” Perhaps the Cold War heated up in this botched timeline? There are also Civil Rights protests, cult/festival hands (Woodstock or another hippie gathering, perhaps?), a rural Norman Rockwell-esque scene, and a portrait of the kids themselves. Basically, it’s a lot over a lot of decades. What did you find?

The Umbrella Academy returns for Season 2 on July 31.

Finally, take a step back from game night to watch this documentary trailer about all the different ways fans are experiencing game night. Directed by Charles Mruz, Gamemaster digs into the world of tabletop gaming beyond Dungeons & Dragons and Settlers of Catan. Those are definitely included, but the board gaming boom is built on blockbusters and indies alike.

The doc’s first trailer features interviews with luminaries like Catan creator, Klaus Teuber, and many more industry leaders while focusing on the surprisingly mainstream popularity the previously geeky, ultra-niche industry has earned in recent years.

Take a look:

Those hitting the hobby shop every weekend will be thrilled to dig a little deeper into a world that occupies large percentages of comic conventions, genre-focused stores, and nerds’ free time.

Gamemaster goes straight to VOD on July 7.