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WIRE Buzz: Critical Role is back, Vagrant Queen canceled & The Beach House terrifies in new trailer

By Vanessa Armstrong & Benjamin Bullard
Critical Role & Joe Manganiello

Critical Role, the much-loved group of gamers who started out live-streaming Dungeons & Dragons campaigns, was one of the many in-person entertainment ventures that have had to shut down production for the last few months. On Thursday, however, Creative Director Marisha Ray announced on Critical Role’s YouTube channel that the show would be coming back on July 2, albeit in a new, socially distanced format.

The cast will now play at individual tables anywhere from 7 to 20 feet apart and will be filmed with a skeleton crew. Those who come into the studio will also be tested for COVID-19 every 1 to 2 weeks to make everyone as comfortable and safe as possible.

In addition to the safety measures outlined above, the show will also be pre-recorded rather than streamed live. Ray explains that the organization is taking this step to help them adhere to health and safety guidelines and to make sure they’re not, as Ray explains, “having the pressures of a ticking clock that we have to work against.”

If responses to the YouTube video and Critical Role's Twitter account are any indication, fans of the show are excited to have it back in any format. You can check out the next episode of Critical Role — their 100th, in fact — on the series' Twitch channel at 7 p.m. PT on July 2.

Vagrant Queen, the TV adaptation of the Vault Comics space opera series, has been canceled at SYFY. The series’ single season aired its final episode on June 4, with the network deciding not to renew Vagrant Queen due to low ratings. The show originally aired on Fridays, before being shifted to Thursdays from its fourth episode onward.

Based on the comic book series written by Magdalene Visaggio and illustrated by Jason Smith, Vagrant Queen follows Elida (Adriyan Rae) from child queen to orphaned outcast, skirting the Republic government set on ending her bloodline after former childhood foe Commander Lazaro (Paul du Toit) takes up a galaxy-spanning pursuit. With help from her old friend Isaac (Tim Rozon), who claims her mother Xevelyn is still alive, Elida teams with new ally Amae (Alex McGregor) in hope of rescuing Xevelyn — even if it means charging straight into the treacherous heart of her former kingdom. 

Developed for television by co-executive producer and showrunner Jem Garrard, Vagrant Queen was a co-production done in partnership with Blue Ice Pictures. Lance Samuels and Daniel Iron also served as executive producers, along with F.J. DeSanto and Damian Wassel, who served as executive producers for Vault Comics.

Shudder revealed last fall that it had picked up The Beach House, a film-festival crowd pleaser that turns a romantic sandy getaway on its head with an eco-horror twist. Now the movie, the first from director Jeffrey A. Brown, has a creepy new slow-burn trailer. Come for the blue beauty of bioluminescence; stay for its mind and body-altering effects:

A seaside retreat seems like the perfect path to romantic reconnection between couple Emily and Randall, but an older couple with ties to Randall’s estranged father take more than a neighborly interest in the two once they show up at the family beach house. After a pleasant dinner invitation leads to strange environmental phenomena taking a turn toward the contagious, Emily begins piecing the mystery together — but will it be too late to save them both?

Starring Liana Liberato (Banana Split, Hulu’s Light as a Feather), Noah Le Gros (A Score to Settle), Jake Weber (Dawn of the Dead [2004], Meet Joe Black) and Maryann Nagel, The Beach House washes ashore at Shudder on July 9.