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The Week in Geek: Us freaks us out, Google goes gaming, and Disney eats Fox

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Mar 22, 2019

Congratulations. It's the end of yet another week and we are still here. Lots of things have changed. Companies merged, Red Angels revealed, and sporks became toys. It was a lot!

But, what were the stories that held us most in their thrall? Only one way to find out! Here they are — the five biggest stories from... The Week in Geek!

IT'S US

Jordan Peele sent audiences to the sunken place (and made many white Americans think twice before saying they wished they could've voted for Obama a third time) time two years ago when he released his cinematic directorial debut, Get Out. The horror film, which spoke directly and clearly about race in America, stands as one of the biggest out-of-the-gate successes in the history of cinema.

Which is exactly why all eyes are on Us, Peele's follow-up out this week. It's a film about... well, it's about a lot of things. One of Us's strengths is in its willingness to leave it to the audience to find those meanings. But, playing with the concept of dopplegangers and what it means to view ourselves through the lens of our most desperate selves is, at the very least, relevant to today. Hooray, we're living it!

As of this writing, Us is shaping up to make at least $50 million in its domestic opening weekend. Which, in context, puts it ahead of Get Out and A Quiet Place and puts it in closer standing with last year's Halloween.

GOOGLE GOES GAMING

Stadia. Sounds like a new prescription drug, doesn't it? Maybe a sugar substitute? The name of your time traveling boyfriend who is from the vague future times when names are the same but also just a little different?

Stadia is actually Google's attempt to enter the console gaming market. No box. No actual console. Just the concept that many gamers have been dreading for years: gaming without true ownership.

Console games have had a fascinating journey from the arcade to the home. First, it was cartridges, then discs, and, eventually, we didn't even need the discs anymore; just a built-in hard drive.

Stadia, however, circumvents even the need for downloading. Yes, we've seen this idea before. PlayStation Now, for example, already holds a host of games that are played, not on the PlayStation console itself, but through it. Games can be held on servers and then played purely through high-speed internet.

That is Stadia's goal — to remove all need to download, to remove the requirement for updating consoles in the home. After all, if the game is playing from a powerhouse server somewhere else, the only thing you need is access to it, right?

Access, of course, is the problem. Google, themselves, have said that 25-megabit internet speeds will be required in order to achieve a signal with 1080 progressive resolution and 60 frames per second. In the United States, the average internet speed is 18.7 megabits. Global average? 7.2. So. You see the problem. Unless internet speeds increase across the board immediately, Stavia will only be useful to those lucky enough to live in a place where true high speed internet is available and privileged enough to be able to afford it.

Also? You won't really own your games anymore with a concept like Stadia. Both Microsoft and Sony have tinkered with employing a similar concept. So, pretty soon, you may not own many (if any) games, period. Just a series of subscription services.

Disney corporate website

Credit: Disney

DISNEY OWNS EVERYTHING EXCEPT US BASICALLY

We've known for a while that the day would come when 20th Century Fox would be bought out and folded into the House of Mouse. This week it happened. The Simpsons, The X-Men, an entire Planet of Apes — all owned by Disney.

"What does that mean?" That is the question people are asking. Does it mean there won't be any more R-rated Deadpool movies? Does it mean we'll never see a movie like Logan again? Does it mean the fish man from The Shape of Water and his sexy butt will join the Avengers?

The future of fiction remains unclear. However, here, in the present, layoffs have been swift. Some 4,000 people will likely lose their jobs, and that number may balloon to 10,000. A number of major Fox names have already been let go including domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson, president of product strategy and consumer business development Mike Dunn, and worldwide theatrical marketing president, Pam Levine.

Then there's Elizabeth Gabler and the sum entirety of Fox 2000 Pictures, which has been shuttered. That was the place so many mid-tier budgeted films found their voice. Now that means to amplify voices is silenced.

I know everyone's excited for a Storm movie or whatever, but this merger is already having enormous consequences and we've barely seen the tippy top of the iceberg. It's real swell that Disney often makes movies whose message may somewhat align with your politics, but, frankly, a shrinking number of ever-more-powerful corporations owning all IP doesn't bode well for creators or fans.

But, sure, Captain Marvel and Rogue might meet now.

IS LITTLE BO PEEP EVIL NOW?

Anyway. Speaking of Disney franchises, Toy Story 4 dropped its latest trailer. Do we all remember how Little Bo Peep wasn't in Toy Story 3? I don't recall there being a #JusticeForBoPeep hashtag going around, but in any case, she's back and she is tough. Maybe too tough? The trailer shows her leading Woody away from the world of being a toy for the sake of a child. Wait, is Little Bo Peep the villain? Maybe!

But also there's Forky, the spork who is now a toy. Forky doesn't want to be a toy. Forky wants to be a spork. Ethical questions regarding identity through the lens of toys and plastic cutlery is not where I thought 2019 was going to go, but here we are. It's a funny, sometimes sinister, but always dada-esque timeline.

C2E2

Somewhere in a small, never-heard-of-it city called Chicago, SYFY WIRE is hosting yet another series of stages. This time it is for ReedPop's C2E2. There will be a mini Clueless reunion. A Freaks and Geeks reunion will happen there as well. The voice actors from Animaniacs will also be there. And so will a host of comics creators.

It'll be a time. If you're at the convention, obviously come check out what SYFY WIRE is up to. Last time, we hung out with surprise monkeys. Who knows what might transpire this time? If you can't be there, remember: everything will be streaming live throughout the weekend.

And that's it. Your Week in Geek is over. Go in peace.

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