The Ali-G mastermind takes aim at America

It’s been a while since Sacha Baron Cohen has graced the silver screen.
His edgy, tongue-in-cheek take on pop culture and more gained him notoriety back in the day on shows such as Ali-G – but how well does his unique brand of abrasive comedy fit more modern views?

Who Is America? (Channel 4) sees Cohen return to what he does best – causing controversy.

Described as a ‘political satire mockumentary series’, it involves Cohen disguising himself in a variety of different get-ups; as an Israeli gun-enthusiast, a liberal free-thinker, and a conservative journalist in both episode one and two.

There’s something charismatic about the undercover comedian – he’s able to carry out undercover work with perfect stealth, never once seeming to break his poker face.
He comes out with the most random things whilst in character, many of them very crude and controversial.

One scene sees Cohen (in the guise of a former Israeli soldier) meet with some members of the National Rifle Association (NRA), trying to encourage them to buy into his new scheme – guns disguised as teddy bears, bunnies and unicorns to train toddlers in pre-school to tackle school shootings with guns of their own.

“My son was involved in the first scheme, may he rest in peace,” a disguised Cohen says to Philip Van Cleave, head of the Virginia Citizen’s Defence League, and who doesn’t even bat an eye at the revelation.

While it seems ridiculous to you and I that anyone in their right mind would want to train children who can’t even read or write to use a gun, Who Is America? shows us that not everyone believes that.

Several of America’s Republicans and NRA representatives endorse the scheme on camera, and while the segment is likely to garner a horrified laugh or two from the audience, it paints a scary reality.

Episode two is just as controversial, as a young reality star encourages viewers to “donate to support child soldiers” in Sierra Leone.

Cohen engages with actual politicians and real-life representatives of politics and culture in the show, duping them into expressing their true feelings in front of a camera, meaning that ‘The Puppy Pistol’ could be a not-so-far away reality.

Whether this is Cohen’s intention or not is yet to be seen.
Does he want us to realise that the comedic scenarios he’s painting could manifest in the future, and that there’s a serious undertone to the one-liners he manages to slide in?
Considering Who Is America? has only just started, these questions have certainly piqued my interest to keep watching …

Eleven Sports service hopes to score a hit

Football fans whose interest extends beyond the Premier League may want to check out a new streaming service that is launching next month.

Eleven Sports are to launch two channels in the UK and Ireland and have already pulled off a major coup by snaffling the rights to Serie A and La Liga from BT Sports and Sky Sports respectively.

With Cristiano Ronaldo recently completing his move to Juventus, interest in the Italian league is sure to grow in the coming season.

“Cristiano is a world-class player who has broken several records domestically and in European competitions,” said Danny Menken, group managing director of Eleven Sports.
“He has the ability to light up a stadium with his amazing skills and incredible athleticism.

“He is a true winner in every sense of the word, and as we have heard from his comments today, he aims to continue winning and break even more records with Juventus.

“We are very excited that Eleven Sports will be the only place where football fans can watch his debut Serie A season with Juventus in the UK and Ireland.”

The company have also secured the rights to the Chinese Super League, the Dutch Eredivisie and the Swedish Allsvenskan.

Eleven Sports 1 and Eleven Sports 2 will launch via an online streaming platform and iOS and Android mobile and tablet apps next month.

Eleven Sports 1 will exclusively feature football while Eleven Sports 2 will feature premium fights sports (they are rumoured to have secured UFC rights), esports and extreme sports.

No subscription prices have been announced yet, but the company say they are hoping to make their pricing structure as affordable as possible.

New Netflix feature offers a way to have Smart viewing

The ability to download Netflix and take shows on the go has been a lifesaver for those of us trapped on long commutes, heading off on holidays or if we find ourselves without an internet connection.

Now, Netflix has introduced Smart Downloads to make binging the latest series even easier.
When you finish watching the latest downloaded episode of a series, Smart Downloads will delete the last episode, and then automatically download the next one for seamless viewing.

It isn’t a compulsory setting, so users can turn it on and off if they want to, meaning viewers remain in control of their screen time.

Smart Downloads are currently only available for those with Android devices.

Streaming shows dominate Emmys

The Emmys, the biggest awards in television, announced their nominees last week, and saw shows from streaming networks triumph in the nominations ahead of the glittering awards ceremony in LA on September 17.

Netflix and Amazon Prime both had a number of shows nominated in several of the categories for this year’s ceremony, which saw streaming’s biggest year yet in the awards.
Shows such as Amazon’s The Americans, Killing Eve, and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel all received nods, in total receiving 22 nominations.

Out of the 22 nominations, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel bagged the online-retail giant’s streaming service a whopping 16 nominations. Netflix received 112 nominations in this year’s awards, making history as being the first streaming platform to receive the most nominations in the Emmys.

Popular shows such as Stranger Things and The Crown got a number of nominations, with the likes of GLOW, and Queer Eye receiving nods.

Royalists rejoice – The Crown unveils its new Series 3 cast

Following the news that there would be an all-new cast for Season 3 of The Crown, the exclusive first peek at the new line-up has been unveiled by Netflix.

It’s the same characters – but with a new cast, as it takes place after significant time has passed, with the cast being replaced every two seasons as new decades of Queen Elizabeth’s life are explored.

The first shake-up of the main cast sees Claire Foy replaced by Olivia Coleman in the role of Queen Elizabeth, while Helena Bonham Carter takes over the role of HRH Princess Margaret. Ben Daniels will also join the cast as Antony Armstrong-Jones, also known as Lord Snowdon.

Season 3 of The Crown is expected to premiere on Netflix in early 2019.

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