Was Your Show Cancelled or Renewed?

By: Carter Caldwell

Just as all things have life cycles, so do our favorite TV shows.  When the end of a season rolls around, fans (and sometimes, those who work on the show) are constantly wondering if their show made it.  Generally, networks keep the shows that have large fanbases, but loyal fans are always a big plus.  Shaky ratings, on the other hand, are typically a sign of cancellation, as are consistently low ratings.  

Fortunately, cancelled shows can only lead to newer (and, logically, better) shows, and renewals promise a return of familiar characters.  Due to the volume of networks, this article will cover only renewals and cancellations made on CBS, NBC, and ABC, the “Big Three” networks of American television.

CBS

In a relatively unsurprising move, CBS opted to renew popular shows such as The Big Bang TheoryMadam Secretary, Blue Bloods, the NCIS shows, MacGyver, and Hawaii Five-0.  Surprising on the list is Criminal Minds, which suffered low ratings following the suspension and removal of Thomas Gibson, who played FBI Special Agent Aaron Hotchner. Other CBS renewals include Kevin Can Wait, Bull, Scorpion, Zoo, Mom, Superior Donuts, The Good Fight, Life in Pieces, and Man With a Plan.  Next season, CBS will be saying good bye to American Gothic, BrainDead, The Odd Couple, Doubt, Pure Genius, Rush Hour, and Training Day.

NBC

Despite fan backlash, NBC risked becoming a little more fanless with the cancellations of Powerless and Timeless, but fans of the latter can rest a little easier knowing that the showrunners are trying to find a new home.  Other NBC casualties are Aquarius, Grimm, Emerald City, and Heartbeat, while The Blacklist, Blindspot, Shades of Blue, Taken, The Carmichael Show, and The Good Place all return.  Noteworthy This Is Us acquired a special two season renewal, and all Chicago shows survived except Justice.

ABC

Disney’s ABC decided to wait until many of its shows came off the air to decided their fates, and as a result many producers finished filming without knowing what to do.  American Crime, The Real O’Neals, Last Man Standing, Mistresses, Secrets & Lies, Conviction, Notorious, Dr. Ken, The Catch, and Imaginary Mary are all goners, leaving plenty of room for new shows to accompany the renewals.   Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, and Scandal all return unsurprisingly, as do Modern Family and Black-ish.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Once Upon a Time will be coming back also, but in the dangerous Friday night slot, with the latter also losing many cast members.  The Goldbergs, American Housewife, and Designated Survivor also live on, ensuring ABC a very diverse schedule.

Summer 2017 Movie Lineup

By: Carter Caldwell

The summer movie season is always one that guarantees fun, and this summer is no exception.  This summer will see the release of upwards of 40 films, including horror, drama, superhero, and comedy films.  On June 2, right after school lets out, Wonder Woman will be the first modern day superhero movie centered on a female superhero.  Also released on that day will be Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (based on Dav Pikley’s best-selling series) and Dean.  Released independently in August of 2016, Dean is the story of a stylistically simple cartoon artist and the chaos that develops in his life.

June 9 will see the release of The Mummy, the first film in Universal’s “Dark Universe,” which will center on monsters such as Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Invisible Man.  It Comes at Night, a psychological horror film starring Joel Edgerton, will also premiere, as will My Cousin Rachel, Megan Leavey, and Beatriz at Dinner.  My Cousin Rachel is based on the 1951 novel of the same name, while Megan Leavey is based on the true story of a Marine and her combat dog who saved many lives in Iraq.  Beatriz at Dinner has been called “the first great film of the Trump era,” and focuses on an immigrant health practitioner who “collides” with an opinionated billionaire at a dinner party.  A week later, on June 16, Cars 3, Rough Night, All Eyez on Me, and The Book of Henry will premiere.  The third installment in Pixar’s Cars franchise, Cars 3 will focus on an aged Lightning McQueen, whose sponsors attempt to save his image by asking him to retire.  All Eyez on Me is the story of hip-hop artist Tupac Shakur and is named after his 1996 album, while The Book of Henry centers around a waitress and her sons who try to “save” a neighbor from her police commissioner stepfather.  On June 21, Transformers: The Last Knight will be the only film released, and the fifth film in Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise.  It will pick up relatively soon after Age of Extinction, which was released in 2014.

On June 23 audiences will be treated to the Jaws-esque 47 Meters Down, which follows two sisters who get stuck at the bottom of the ocean in a cage surrounded by sharks.  47 Meters will compete with The Bad Batch, a horror-comedy about a couple who find themselves vacationing among a community of cannibals.  Additionally, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled and Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick will be released.  Baby Driver, the story of a reluctant getaway driver who falls in love, will be released on June 28.  Closing June will be Despicable Me 3, The House, Amityville: The Awakening, and 2:22 on June 30.  Despicable Me 3 is actually the fourth film of its franchise, and it will explore Gru’s relationship with his long-lost brother.  For those looking for something more adult-oriented, Amityville and 2:22 promise edge-of your seat suspense, while The House (starring Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler) will keep the laughs rolling.
  
July also looks promising for cinemas, and it will start with the newest Marvel film, Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 7.  A week later, Andy Serkis’s War for the Planet of the Apes and Wish Upon.  Apes is the third film in its franchise, while Wish Upon is a horror film about a girl whose wishes come true, but only at a price. On July 21, Christopher Nolan’s new war drama based on World War II, Dunkirk will premiere in cinemas, as will sci-fi adventure Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and rom-com Girls Trip.  The following week will close July with Atomic Blonde, a spy film starring Charlize Theron, adult comedy Brigsby Bear, pop culture comedy The Emoji Movie, and Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.  

As summer closes, August 4 will bring a more serious lineup of movies, with the sole comedy being Ingrid Goes West, in which Aubrey Plaza’s Ingrid moves West to become friends with social media star Taylor Sloane.  Detroit, a period crime film detailing the events of Detroit’s 1967 12th Street Riot, will also come out that day, as will the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series starring future James Bond Idris Elba.  Accompanying them on August 4 will be Wind River, in which a US Fish and Wildlife Service agent works as a tracker against the elements.

August 11 will bring the fourth installment to the Conjuring franchise with Annabelle: Creation.  Another franchise film to be released that day will be The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature.  The third film to be released on August 11 is The Glass Castle, based on Jeanette Walls’ 2005 memoir.  Brie Larson will headline, along with Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.  In contrast, August 18 will bring three original films, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Logan Lucky, and Patti Cake$.  The first two will sport star-studded casts including Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, and Academy Award winner Hilary Swank.  Patti Cake$ does not have the big name draw of its competitors, but it’s comedic synopsis (a New Jersey girl seeks fame as a gangster rapper) promises to draw interest.  Closing the summer is Leap!, an animated story about a poor girl who aims to become a ballerina and her inventor friend.

OPINION: Social Media: Waste of Time or Information Cache?

By: Carter Caldwell

Social media is taking up more and more time on a daily basis, with many reports claiming that teenagers are spending around 8 hours a day on social media sites or apps.  Among the biggest of these are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube.  While some of these sites may hold true educational potential, it is how they are used that ultimately determines whether or not time spent on them was worthwhile.

For instance, there are some who claim that social media provides students with the ability to communicate easier and in turn make educational progress, with a study by the National School Boards Association revealing that 59% of teens admit to having used social media to “discuss educational topics,” and another 50% having used social media in direct relation to assignments.  These numbers are not surprising, as mobile sites especially are making the spread of information much more accessible and verifiable.  Sites like this also make new discoveries and/or studies more available to the public, which makes for a more informed and better prepared society.  

Conversely, social media also opens many new doorways for cheating, with apps like Snapchat (which allows users to share pictures that disappear after a certain amount of time) in particular encouraging these behaviors.  Social media also taps into the brain’s reward circuitry, which could lead to users feeling the need to constantly check social media and as a result lose productivity, which supports a handful of studies that found non-social media users to have higher GPAs and score higher on tests. There is also the question of online safety and privacy.  Sites can be counted on asking for at least some pieces of information that leave you wondering what they could need them for, especially personal things such as addresses and phone numbers.  Coupled with the ominous possibility of companies being hacked, sharing such information should be valid grounds for concern.

Today’s world is changing faster than ever, and it’s often a relief to have something to mindlessly scroll through, especially when one is bored.  In an attempt to curb possible distractions, many schools have simply taken to barring all phone use in class.  In many ways this is an understandable solution: since cell phones are a new phenomenon, there is no time-tested way to deal with them so why deal with them at all?  However, many of these same schools are also finding themselves taking advantage of the Internet in classrooms, resulting in new “paperless” systems.  In some ways, this makes for an almost ridiculous contradiction.  If Internet usage is so distracting for students, why make it a central part of their education?

“Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2” Premieres in Hollywood, Challenges High Expectations

By: Carter Caldwell

On April 19, Marvel’s long awaited Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 premiered at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood leaving the audience more than satisfied.  The film, which takes place in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which was praised for its comedy, soundtrack, and visual effects.  For the sequel, Marvel writer/director James Gunn returns.  Gunn also acted as an (uncredited) director and writer for a scene in Doctor Strange, and will be an executive producer for Avengers: Infinity War, as well as returning to write and direct Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3.

The Guardians debuted in the comics in 2008, as a revamp of the late-sixties team of the same name.  Originally an obscure property, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige singled out the team for a film in 2010, and then again in 2011, culminating in the announcement in 2012.  Although it featured relatively unheard of characters, the film’s trailer was viewed upwards of 22 million times within 24 hours, and the song “Hooked on a Feeling” (sung by Blue Swede in the trailer) saw a 700% increase in sales.  

“Hooked on a Feeling” was part of a widely acclaimed soundtrack of songs from the seventies and eighties that topped several charts.  This set the bar very high for Vol. 2, but Gunn claims that the new soundtrack surpasses it’s predecessor in diversity and features former chart-toppers “My Sweet Lord” and “Southern Nights.”  All songs were worked into the script by June 2015, and Gunn announced them via Twitter on April 19, in tandem with the film’s premiere.  Also in a similar fashion to Vol. 1, Vol. 2’s trailer had 81 million views in its first 24 hours, which set the record for Marvel Studios films, and also pushed Sweet’s “Fox on the Run” to the top of the iTunes Rock Chart.

The premiere was essentially a who’s-who of the MCU, attended by actors such as Clark Gregg and David Hasselhoff, as well as prominent filmmakers such as Joss Whedon and Taika Waititi and mainstay Stan Lee, who cameos in the film.  With a run time of 2 hours and 16 minutes, the film has been praised for its visuals and humor (much like its predecessor), but has been criticized for overusing the once-new ideas used in the original.  However, it is unlikely that any criticisms would impede the film’s box office potential, as the MCU is the highest grossing film franchise of all time, with each film averaging a worldwide gross of $779,557,590.  If Vol. 2 could reach this total (and thus out-gross Vol. 1), it would be an almost surefire bet that Marvel will put out a Vol. 3 someday, especially with Gunn recently announcing that he would return to write and direct such a film.  Until then, audiences will have to wait until May 5, and then again when Avengers: Infinity War is released on May 4, 2018 to see the team again.

High Expectations and New Coaches for Bellbrook Track

By: Carter Caldwell with input from Jaimie Franz

Track season is racing toward us, and the first meet is on March 28.  The team has been officially practicing since March 6, but the team has been lifting and conditioning since the end of winter break, on January 4.  Last season, the Eagles sent senior high jumper Melissa Wahl to the State meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at the Ohio State University.  Wahl placed fifteenth with a height of 5’2’’.  This year the team welcomed Coach Wilson, who after coaching in Xenia decided to come to Bellbrook, despite having told the team he had been worried they would be “stuck-up.”  Coach Wilson specializes in sprints, and a sophomore on the team said he has expressed the belief that the team can make many improvements.  His diversification of the workouts have reportedly helped the team grow.  Another new addition to the coaching staff is Coach Reagan, who coaches the pole vaulters.  Reagan vaulted through high school and at Kent State University, and according to one athlete his coaching has led to much progress being made on the team.

The team’s first home meet, the Golden Eagle Invitational, will take place on April 13 at the stadium.  It will be senior night.  As mentioned, the team has been working at it for quite some time, and their diligence shows through in their performance.  To further motivate the team, Coach O’Dell uses a pyramid made up of painted cinder blocks, which are earned by accomplishing whatever is on the block.  Said a second-year member of the team: “The pyramid is a goal for the team and it builds people’s integrity to get as many blocks stacked as possible.” They discussed at great lengths the importance of encouraging one other, to push one other to the breaking point of physical endurance. Junior Sierra Hessinger causally joked that she was going to “die” after practice because she put in 100% to each drill, so she could perform better.

While it is still too early to determine how the Eagles will perform this season, if last year’s results are any indicator, Coaches Reagan and Wilson are looking to have a respectable start to their season.  Last year the girls’ team placed first in their first six meets and second in the next two (including SWBL), and the boys placed no lower than fifth in all but one of their meets, and managed a third place finish at the league meet.  

Aside from track, this year will also be Bellbrook’s first season with both men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.  In the past lacrosse players joined local club teams.  Bellbrook baseball’s season last year ended with a loss to Badin, but the team has been hard at work since the day after the game, and softball will start their season on March 25 at Southeastern High School.

Athlete of the Week: Justin Boreman

By: Carter Caldwell

As the winter season draws to a close and the state tournaments begin to start, senior Justin Boreman’s qualification for the 2017 Ohio High School Diving Championship is making quite the splash, in part due to Boreman’s attendance of the Ohio High School Cross Country Championship earlier this school year.  Boreman qualified individually for cross country with a time of 16:46.74, earning him 20th place and an automatic advancement to the state meet, where he finished 101st with a time of 16:33.00, a personal record.  

In diving, Boreman again qualified individually with a score of 258.8, earning him the spot of 23rd qualifier.  The diving meet took place at 2:00 pm on February 22, 2017, at C. T. Branin Natatorium in Canton.  When asked about how he felt when he first found out he would be advancing to state in cross country, Boreman said he was surprised to realize that qualifying was not as impossible as it first seemed.  He also credits cross country coach Mike Baumer as the reason he worked to get to the state meet in diving, too, as Baumer encouraged him to reach for his goals and work hard on the way.  

Despite not making it to a state meet prior to his senior year, Boreman said he was not nervous at the cross country meet, as it was very similar to other meets throughout the season.  However, he did admit that he is “a little bit more nervous” because of the other divers and the fact that there will be more people watching than usual, but he is happy that he qualified and his goal is “just to enjoy the experience.”

After the diving championships, Boreman will be a part of the track team, where he will run primarily distance events.  He says that he would train hard to go to the Ohio High School Track Championship later this year, but he feels like track will be the most difficult of his sports to qualify in.  After track is over, Boreman will be attending the University of Cincinatti, where he will study aerospace engineering.  Although he won’t be a part of any teams there, Boreman does plan on joining a running club.  

Boreman’s favorite memory from high school sports are the team dinners in dive and cross country, because he enjoys spending time with friends, “especially while eating food.”  When asked if he had any advice for underclass athletes, Boreman says the best advice he can give is to get to know your teammates, because after the excitement of the race is over, your teammates will always be there to pace you and help you to improve, which he believes is the best way to become a better athlete and enjoy being part of the team.

New England Patriots Perform in Historic Super Bowl

By: Carter Caldwell

On February 5, American football entered a new era with Super Bowl LI.  For the New England Patriots, who were appearing for a record-setting ninth time, a win would have been another step towards becoming the team with the most Super Bowl wins, dethroning the Pittsburgh Steelers who have six wins.  Meanwhile, the game was the Atlanta Falcon’s second appearance and a chance to win for the first time.  

During the coin toss, performed by George H. W. Bush and his wife, the Falcons picked tails, and after their win chose to defer to the second half.  The first quarter of the game proved to be a scoreless struggle between the two teams, with the most notable play being Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman’s 37-yard carry, which ended up being the longest run of the game.  

The second quarter, on the other hand, was action-packed from the start, when New England’s Tom Brady threw a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Julian Edelman.  However, a fumble on the following play led to a series of passes and carries that put the Falcons up 7-0.  Soon after that, the Falcons scored yet another touchdown, marking the furthest behind Brady had ever been in all of his Super Bowl appearances, which was only elongated when Atlanta’s Robert Alford intercepted a pass and ran 82 yards to bring his team to a 21-0 lead.  Desperate to answer their opponent’s undeniable momentum, Patriot kicker Stephen Gostkowski managed to kick a 20-yard field goal with two seconds left on the clock, bring the score at half to 21-3.

At halftime, pop singer Lady Gaga delivered what some reported was the most-viewed musical event in history. Accompanied by a fleet of 300 drones, the singer performed a total of seven tracks, starting the show with an undeniably political mashup of “God Bless America” and “This Land Is Your Land.”  Viewed by some as a slight remark upon President Donald Trump’s controversial policies, the show still garnered appreciation from critics as well as the public, with many believing the show to be one of the best halftime shows ever.

At the beginning of the second half, the Patriots were unable to score, leading to Atlanta’s opportunity to score yet again and bringing the score up to 28-3.  Despite things looking bleak for the Patriots, they managed to go 75 yards in 13 plays to score a touchdown, but kicker Gostkowski’s extra point attempt proved unsuccessful, leaving the score at the end of the fourth quarter 28-9.  The Falcons were forced to punt to start the fourth quarter, and despite trailing for the first three quarters, the Patriots bounced back in the end to score an unanswered 19 points, tying the game and making the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.  

The Patriots then went on to win the overtime coin toss, greatly boosting their chances of winning the game.  In a stunning overtime, Brady and his team pushed forward, and in the end running back James White scored the game-winning touchdown by reaching the football into the end zone before he was brought down by Atlanta’s defense.  Along with being the first Super Bowl to go into overtime, upwards of 30 records were broken during the game, mostly by the Patriots.  Quarterback Tom Brady became the only person to win four MVPs, and running back James White caught a record-setting 14 passes.  Because of that performance, Brady stated after his MVP win that he felt White was more deserving of it.  The Falcons also became the first team to intercept a pass in the Super Bowl and still fail to win the game.