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July 7, 2018

Here’s what we’re reading, watching, playing, and listening to this week

by John_A

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How we’re spending our leisure time.

Everyone has a bit of quiet downtime once in a while. Whether you’re sitting quietly at home or trying to relax on a plane or just giving your busy mind and hands a break, it’s important to relax.

A good way to do that is to read a book, listen to some music or watch a movie or show. See what’s caught our attention for the week of July 7th.

Ara Wagoner

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June was a very busy month for the only mobile game I play religiously, Disney Emoji Blitz, a match-3 game that unlocks emoji in an Android keyboard as you unlock characters and items in the game. Most months, Blitz only has 2-4 events, and June had 5 events, and Blitz is going to have 7 events in July, and they’re all winners.

We’re currently in the middle of the Snow White Villain Event, but next week we’re having a two-day event that combines my favorite event type and my favorite Disney movie. Food fights are quick player-vs-player events that let me see how other Blitzers handle playing emoji they might not normally use. Adding to my delight, the prize for this event is King Triton, a powerful emoji that has only been available twice before — and only via expensive Diamond Boxes. The Food Fight is going to give this previously-exclusive character to scores of newer users that weren’t able to buy him in past events, which is awesome.

Daniel Bader

There’s nothing like bingeing on a great TV show, and Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G… was not one of them.

The 10-part fictionalized USA series, which aired earlier this year, follows the detectives behind the eponymous murders of two of rap’s best MCs, and makes a slightly less convoluted narrative of the real tale behind the 1996/1997 crimes.

Starring Josh Duhamel (who’s not great), Bokeem Wood (who’s better, but still not great), and Jimmi Simpson (who is terrible) as the cops and Wavyy Jonez and Marcc Rose as Biggy and Tupac, respectively (both of whom are excellent), the show uses the unsolved murders as a way to convey the dysfunctional and often-corrupt relationship between the LAPD and organized crime in the late 90s.

Given that the title gives away the ending — both murders are still unsolved today and no one has been charged in connection with either case — it’s a little anticlimactic, but as poorly acted and ham-fisted much of the story is (and let’s be clear, much of it is a story), the show is eminently watchable if only for the fraught relationship between Biggie and Tupac themselves. The episodes that focus on their short-lived friendship and longer-lived eastcoast-westcoast feud are magnetic, especially when “villain” Suge Knight gets involved.

As the story jumps between the mid 90s and late 2000s, spanning two separate investigations (one right after the murders, one nine years later), we follow the cops chasing conspiracy after conspiracy, and while the ending satisfies from a narrative perspective, I found it hard to shake the feeling that if the series was half as long, it would have been twice as effective.

Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G is streaming now on Netflix.

Joe Maring

Panic! At The Disco’s new album, Pray For The Wicked, has been on repeat pretty much nonstop since it came out late last month.

I’m still not entirely sure if I like it more than Death Of A Bachelor, but there are a lot of great songs on here — some of my favorites being Hey Look Ma, I Made It, High Hopes, Dancing’s Not A Crime, and Old Fashioned. I’ve got tickets to my boy Brandon in January and I cannot wait to hear this album in person.

On the watching side of things, I recently got around to seeing Dirty Dancing for the first time. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorite movies, but even just for its soundtrack, it was a fun way to kill a couple hours.

Harish Jonnalagadda

There’s no shortage of British crime dramas, and Line of Duty may just be one of the best ever made. The series follows AC-12, an anti-corruption unit that investigates potential violations within the force, and each season focuses on one central character.

What makes the show great is that there’s an overarching theme that connects seemingly unrelated incidents, and without giving a lot away, it’s safe to say that the storyline will hook you in after a few episodes. There are currently four seasons of the show, with six episodes each season. The fifth season is set to debut sometime next year, followed by a final sixth season.

Netflix is handling distribution outside the UK, so you can stream the show from right here.

Quentyn Kennemer

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Luke Cage is back! Well, I can’t say I’m actually watching it anymore. More like watched. I binged the hell out of that show from start to finish the day it dropped on Netflix. No spoilers, of course, but this season completely trounced the first, and I thought the first was great. My next task is to burn through The Defenders, because there were a lot of moments in the second season of Luke Cage that I didn’t understand due to the connectedness of the two shows.

Between all that, I’ll be continuing my grind on the 14th season of Diablo 3. I made a monk for the first time, and while it was a rough start that had me wanting to switch characters mid-way, I’ve finally gotten to a point where I feel untouchable. Now, it’s all about farming bounties and rifts to optimize my gear and clear the highest Greater Rift level I can. A little bit of For Honor is reserved for when I’m thirsting for head-to-head combat.

Your turn

What are YOU reading, watching, or listening to this week? Let us know in the comments!

Update, July 7th, 2018: This is a bi-weekly series where we tell you what we’re into, so check back every other weekend!

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