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4 Hidden TV show gems from the sci-fi genre

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Get ready to discover some four of our favorite hidden sci-fi gems from television!

The sci-fi genre is now very popular. Shows like Stranger Things and Doctor Who prove that. Yet there are also those sci-fi shows that for whatever reason don’t take off as much. Some of them might be popular to a certain extent or for a while, but they don’t quite have the same level of recognition that the more popular shows get. So, we’ve decided to make a list of our favorite hidden sci-fi gems from television.

Most people have probably heard of Stranger Things and Doctor Who, but have they heard of Orphan Black? Or Humans? Probably not.

Luckily, we’re here to help you discover these hidden gems of the sci-fi genre, to broaden your horizons. While these shows all have their fans, they are not as well known or recognizable as Stranger Things or Doctor Who. Perhaps they will be in time.

Sometimes the best shows are the ones that are somewhat ahead of their time. And that could certainly be said of many of these shows. These gems of the sci-fi genre often ask provocative and intriguing questions of their audiences and feature well-written characters and interesting plots.

Hidden sci-fi gems: Orphan Black

The first hidden gem of the sci-fi genre is Orphan Black. Orphan Black tells the story of Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany), who witnesses the death of a woman who looks just like her. Sarah is confused but decides to take the woman’s identity and take over her life fully, finding out that the woman, Elizabeth Childs, is a detective.

Sarah also finds out that she’s not the only one with her face. And neither was Elizabeth, or Beth, as she’s more commonly known. Actually, both Sarah and Beth are clones. There are several clones, all across North America and Europe. Sarah meets many of them throughout the show, and as you can imagine, hijinks ensue.

However, the show is not all fun and games. The clones are being observed by monitors, who are placed into their personal lives by the Dyad Institute. This is all done, supposedly, to study the clones, but it is a real invasion of privacy. The Dyad Institute isn’t the only group that knows about the clones, the Proletheans know as well.

They are a religious group that believes clones are abominations, and therefore send one of the clones, Helena, to kill the others. The series follows Sarah as she attempts to protect herself, her fellow clones, and her daughter from both the Dyad Institute and the Proletheans. Sarah’s daughter Kira is of particular interest to both groups as she is the only known offspring of a clone since the rest of them are sterile.

Orphan Black makes its fans think about the ethics involved in human cloning and how it would affect the identities of the clones themselves. It’s also loads of good sci-fi fun, with Sarah regularly needing to pretend to be other clones. Hilarity ensues. There’s also a lot of well-written, well-developed characters. And the plots are intriguing without being nonsensical. What more could you want?

Hidden gems of the sci-fi genre: Orphan Black

Photo: Cosima (TATIANA MASLANY) and Sarah (TATIANA MASLANY) .. Image Courtesy BBC America

More hidden sci-fi gems: Humans.

Humans takes place in an alternate universe where many people own what are known as Synths. Synths are robots who act as servants for humans, yet they look similar to real human beings. This understandably freaks some humans out, though others accept the Synths eagerly into their lives. The story follows Joe Hawkins (Tom Goodman-Hill) and his family as they purchase a new Synth, who they name Anita (Gemma Chan). When Joe’s wife Laura (Katherine Parkinson) comes back home from a business trip, she has to deal with Anita, who she feels is replacing her in the lives of her husband and children.

The show also gives its viewers insight into what Anita was like before she was bought by the Hawkins family. She and other synths were on the run with a human named Leo (Colin Morgan). Some synths are capable, it seems, of feeling emotions like humans do. Because of that, they need to be on the run from powerful forces that seek to make all synths completely emotionless.  Humans asks some compelling questions of its audience: does technology improve our lives? Or does it make us, in a way, somewhat less than human?

The show also makes its audience consider whether or not humans are the only beings capable of doing what humans do: loving, helping, caring, working. Humans also features compelling characters, both human and synth. The plot is intriguing as well, full of action. And then, of course, there are the questions it provokes in its audience. The show is definitely good sci-fi.

Hidden gems of the sci-fi genre: Humans

Gemma Chan as Mia, Katherine Parkinson as Laura – Humans _ Season 3, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Ollie Upton/Kudos/CH4/AMC

Hidden sci-fi gems: Sense8.

You may have heard of Sense8 a bit as fans fought hard to get the show renewed after it was canceled by Netflix. This led to a finale special episode being filmed and released in 2018. This gem of a show follows eight main characters, who are known as sensates. They include Capheus (Aml Ameen/Toby Onwumere), Sun (Doona Bae), Nomi (Jamie Clayton), Kala (Tina Desai), Riley (Tuppence Middleton), Wolfgang (Max Riemelt), Lito (Miguel Ángel Silvestre), and Will (Brian J. Smith). The first season mainly develops the connection between the characters as they go about their lives. Due to their connection, they are able to help each other get out of difficult situations, which happens a lot.

The main characters have to deal with their everyday problems as well as an organization known as the Biologic Preservation Organization (BPO), trying to hunt them down. BPO has a sensate of their own, known only as Whispers (Terrance Mann). Luckily, the main characters also have another sensate helping them, named Jonas (Naveen Andrews).

During the second season, they learn more about how to use their sensate abilities and how to temporarily stop using them to avoid detection by Whispers. They also learn more about their “mother” Angelica, who “birthed” them as sensates. It turns out she was involved with BPO.

The overall synopsis might not sound the most exciting at first glance, but trust us, it’s an action-packed show. The characters in Sense8 are also top-notch. They’d have to be, as an ensemble show that’s so based on how the characters interact with each other.

The show also asks provocative questions such as: what does it really mean to be human? can human beings truly coexist, with all our differences? and what is the importance of empathy?  Sense8 is sci-fi at its best.

Hidden sci-fi gems: Legends of Tomorrow

The next hidden gem of the sci-fi genre is Legends of Tomorrow.  Ok, so this one is the least hidden. Though it isn’t as popular as some other Arrowverse shows, it is still relatively well-known. Regardless, it is still a bit of a hidden gem, as it is probably not as popular as shows like Stranger Things or Doctor Who. Legends of Tomorrow follows a group of misfits who time travel and fix problems to the best of their ability.

Said misfits are initially recruited by Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) to help him stop the murder of his family by Vandal Savage. The group in season one consists of Sara Lance (Caity Lotz), Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh), Martin Stein (Victor Garber), Jefferson Jackson (Franz Drameh), Kendra Saunders (Ciara Renée), Carter Hall (Falk Hentschel), Mick Rory (Dominic Purcell), and Leonard Snart (Wentworth Miller).

Legends of Tomorrow — “Swan Thong” — Image Number: LGN515c_0059b.jpg — Pictured: Caity Lotz as Sara Lance/White Canary — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2020 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Along the way, some of the above characters die or leave, while others join in. For example, Kendra and Carter leave at the end of season one. During season two, Nate Heywood (Nick Zano) and Amaya Jiwe (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) join the Legends. The show never loses its charm, though. And part of that is in the sheer amount of zany sci-fi antics that occur.

Despite its zaniness, the characters of Legends of Tomorrow are one of its greatest strengths. The plots are also good. They’re just nonsensical enough to be amusing, but not so nonsensical that they’re confusing or badly written. We’d definitely recommend spending some time enjoying the antics of the Legends. You won’t regret it.

Next: Canceled shows that would’ve been better on Netflix

What hidden sci-fi gems did we miss? What is your favorite show that made the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Playing Blackjack

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Blackjack is the most popular casino game in the world. The card game, sometimes referred to as ‘21’, accounts for an average of 31 percent of all casino table traffic – this is consistent both online and in physical casinos. For reference, the second most popular is roulette (24%) followed by poker (21%).

It’s easy to understand blackjack’s popularity. It’s a simple game to grasp and offers players a mix of luck and skill: luck in the cards that are drawn, skill over how those cards are dealt and a player’s eventual hand. Compare that to roulette, which is based entirely on luck, and poker, which has a huge skill element to it.

However, while the beauty of blackjack is in its simplicity, there are also a number of complexities to the game, and as is the case with almost anything in life, you learn more from mistakes than successes.

With that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid when playing blackjack that can significantly increase your chances of winning, while limiting your losses.

Choosing the Wrong Table

Before a single card is drawn, being at the wrong table – whether live or online – is the first mistake to avoid.

First of all, each blackjack table will have different minimum bet requirements so avoid choosing one that is out of your budget. For instance, if you choose a table with a $100 minimum bet and your budget is $200, you might only play two hands.

Secondly, check the payout odds on the blackjack table. These are typically 6:5 and 3:2 and will affect how much gets paid out when you hit blackjack and land other bonus wins. Where possible, choose a 3:2 table as it pays out higher.

Thirdly, choose between a virtual and a live table. This is not so much a mistake to avoid but more comes down to personal preference. Virtual tables allow players to play against an automated computer, so you can play at your own pace, while live tables are usually quicker paced as human dealers are keen to move the game along.

When to Hit and Stand

As a general rule, most blackjack players know to hit when the hand is 12 and to stand when the hand equals 17. However, there are plenty of variables to consider that could influence when to hit and stand. Getting these right can really boost your chances of beating the house, while getting it wrong could prove costly.

One key move to implement is to always hit on a soft 17 – when the two cards are an ace and a six. This means that if you draw a 10 or picture card (jack, queen, king), then you convert your hand into a hard 17. It also gives greater flexibility if you draw a smaller value card as the ace can be used as a one.

While many players adopt a strict ‘never bust’ policy, meaning they always stand when their hand equals 12 or more, this can be ill-advised as it depends almost entirely on the dealer going bust.

Instead, analyze the value of your two cards compared to the dealer’s first card and weigh up the risk factor in drawing another card before the dealer draws their second. As a strict rule, if your first two cards equal 17 or more, then stand – anything else can be hit depending on the situation.

When to Split and Double

If you are playing in a blackjack tournament, either online or live, learning when to split and double can make all the difference to your chances of success. The same also applies to individual games of blackjack.

Click here to check the best tips on blackjack tournament strategies: https://extra.betamerica.com/casino-news/blackjack-tournaments-rules-strategy-and-where-to-find-them/

Splitting is when you split two cards when dealt the same value cards, so a pair of eights for example. Doubling is when you are given the option to double your bet after being dealt your initial two cards.

While it can be tempting to split and double at every opportunity to increase your winning, doing at the right time is the key.

It is not recommended to split when:

  • You are dealt two picture cards or two 10s
  • You are dealt two 9s
  • You are dealt two 5s
  • The dealer holds a 10 or picture card

It is best to split when:

  • You are dealt two 8s
  • You are dealt two aces
  • The dealer holds a 5 or 6 (as this is the highest probability of a bust)

Similar to knowing when to hit and stand, take a brief moment to assess the dealer’s drawn card compared to your own two cards and determine whether the probabilities are in your favour.

Likewise, knowing when to double down – when not to double down – can change the complexities of your blackjack game. A simple rule to know when to double is if your two cards equal 10 and the dealer’s card is between 2-9. Additionally, if you hold an ace, you can consider a double as these have the flexibility of playing as 11 or 1. But if the dealer’s card is an ace, ignore the double.

Conclusion

Blackjack may be a simple game but there are some important strategies to keep in mind next time you head to the virtual or live table. The game itself is still rooted in luck so there are never any guarantees to long-term success. However, by keeping these three important rules in mind, you can at least avoid making avoidable mistakes.

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Top 5 Entertainment Activities for College Students

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The life of college students is sometimes too complicated. They have to face tons of homework assignments that steal their time. Many students get stressed because of continuous learning. They seem to forget how to relax. If you’re a busy student, you should remember that you’re still young and shouldn’t waste this precious life stage. You can undertake some entertainment activities sometimes. Take your friends and organize funny games to unwind and let off some pressure. We asked writing experts from a professional essay service Smart Writing Service to share their ideas and provide you with top-5 entertainment activities for college students you may like. 

Who Are You?

Students, especially freshmen, don’t know each other perfectly. They may be taken by surprise when some of them tell something quite unexpected about their hobbies, preferences, and so on. If you want to know other students better, suggest playing a game called “Who Are You”.

Form at least three teams. If there are many folks, you can form more teams. Choose a speaker of the game. It may be even one of your teachers or professors. All groups will be given topics to discuss. The speaker is supposed to announce a new topic every few minutes. You may discuss and answer the following topics:

  • What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
  • What do you like or hate most about yourself?
  • What is your greatest value in life?
  • What emotions do you express easily?
  • What is the most valuable thing in friendship?
  • Who you want to become in five years?
  • What is your major objective for next year?
  • Is there something you want to improve about yourself?
  • What motto do you try to live by?
  • Where would you like to travel?
  • If you were to study abroad, what country would that be?

Students should write their answers on index cards. The speaker should gather the answers of every student and shuffle them. Afterward, he/she redistributes them randomly to students. Each person should guess whose card he/she is holding. Play this game after you spend some time together and already know at least something about one another.

Sentence Completion

Another fun activity is “Sentence Completion.” Most people like it because it’s commonly accompanied by laughter and good mood. It’s necessary to prepare a list of sentences. Those sentences should have a beginning, but with no end. Every student should finish the sentence he/she gets. Oftentimes, students give funny answers. At times, they are quite serious, and we can learn something important about other students. Here are several sentence beginnings you may choose:

  • Before I came to college, I was interested in…
  • When I was a child, I wanted to become…
  • The best moment I remember most about high school is…
  • My favorite pet is…
  • The things I value most are…
  • Five years from now I hope to be…
  • My greatest personality trait is…
  • My favorite subject at high school was…
  • If I could change one thing in the world, it would be…
  • My greatest fear is…
  • After I graduate from college, I…

The Reception Line

You may likewise try another entertaining activity for college students. It is called “The Reception Line.” Gather all the mates eager to participate. Divide yourselves into two groups. If you form more, it won’t fit the rules of the game. Each person talks to the person in front of him/her until he/she must move. The person at the end of one line goes to the end of the other line. This method makes it possible to meet new people. Thus, students will learn more about each other. You can make shifts every next topic or set a limit. For example, the pair should discuss 5 topics and afterward move to change partners. Here are some interesting topics to discuss:

  • Where would you like to travel?
  • What motto do you try to follow?
  • What is your favorite movie?
  • What music do you like?
  • What is your favorite hobby?
  • Why did you choose this college?
  • What do you like about college life the most?

Take Sides

You can likewise suggest a game, which offers only two options. It’s called “Take Sides.” Create a list of questions with two answers. Students should obligatorily choose one of them. Afterward, you may discuss the answers. Let everyone explain his/her choices. Thus, you’ll learn more about each other, and it will bring you closer. Here are several suggestions:

  • Watermelon or banana?
  • Sweat or bitter?
  • Short trips every weekend or a journey around the world for three months?
  • Partying or hiking?
  • Listen or speak?
  • Rock or pop?
  • Morning or night?
  • Superman or Batman?
  • Robocop or Terminator?
  • Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings?
  • Los Angeles or New York?
  • Liberal or conservative?
  • American football or ice hockey?

My Most Embarrassing Moment

You can likewise tell each other about the most embarrassing moments. It’s important to be honest and don’t imagine a story that never took place. All the participants should agree on this term. Commonly, it is a very entertaining activity. Students tell funny stories they’ve been through. It commonly makes them closer.

These activities for college students are very simple to follow. They are really entertaining. Mind that we have mentioned only 5 of them. However, you can try a hundred activities more. Use our examples to have fun and relax. They may inspire you and your friends to look for other entertaining activities.

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5 Of The Best Gambling Scenes Of All Time

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Gambling can be one of the most dramatic and engaging pastimes to play so it is no wonder then that it has been used as a device to build drama in films for decades. Some of the world’s best movie directors have incorporated American Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em Poker and European Roulette into their blockbusters to build tension and keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

Here’s a list of the top 5 thrilling gambling scenes of all-time, the ones that got the blood pumping and went on to become iconic in their own right.

Casino Royale (2006)

Gambling has always been synonymous with James Bond from the early Ian Fleming books to the multi-million-dollar budget films that we enjoy today. Owing to its name alone Casino Royale was always going to feature some pretty exhilarating gambling scenes and it does not disappoint.

The entire movie features a number of casino scenes, but the best comes when 007 faces off against arch-villain Le Chiffre at a high-stakes poker table. In the early exchange Bond loses out to his rival, failing to notice his bluffs.

These early losses are vital to Bond though as in the final hand, with $100 million at stake he calls Le Chiffre’s bluff and wins a dramatic, if not slightly improbable hand. Whilst the scene may have caused many poker enthusiasts to question its realism, it undoubtedly adds an exceptional amount of drama to the film making it iconic.

Never bet against James Bond

The Hangover (2009)

In the 1988 hit film Rain Man, Tom Cruise’s character harnesses his autistic brother’s mathematical prowess to beat the casino and win big on the blackjack table. 21 years later comedy classic The Hangover pays tribute to the iconic scene in hilarious fashion.

Alan, the quirky and somewhat odd brother of the groom dresses up and heads over to the blackjack table. As the cards are dealt a series of complicated equations appear on the screen as Alan appears deep in thought.

After watching the cards intently Alan starts to bet big and ends up winning! There isn’t much in the way of drama and tension in this scene as The Hangover is a comedy first and foremost, but it makes our list because of the way it throws back excellently to Rain Man.

Unfortunately for those playing online, you’ll be unable to recreate Alan’s heroics as trustworthy sites like 888 online casino have Random Number Generator’s in operation, this is a complex computer program that is responsible for generating numbers in a random manner, making it impossible to count cards, but you can still find plenty of the fun and drama when you login and play American Blackjack.

This hilarious scene pays homage to the classic Rain Man film in fun fashion

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Despite being released over 50 years ago this iconic film still has enough drama and action to captivate modern audiences. The movie’s main protagonist Luke Jackson – portrayed excellently by Paul Newman – is a decorated war veteran who is sentenced to two years in a chain gang prison camp for destroying parking meters after a night of heavy drinking.

Initially Luke struggles to find his place in the prison hierarchy but he does earn a modicum of respect from his fellow prisoners after not throwing in the towel during a brutal prison fight.

He does fully win the respect of the other inmates though after successively bluffing his way to the jackpot in an intense and dramatic game of poker. His final bluff leads one of his fellow players to utter the most iconic line from the move, “sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand.”

Paul Newman is exceptional in his portrayal of Luke Jackson in this classic film and plays it real cool in this iconic poker scene

Rounders (1998)

Throughout the years plenty of directors have tried and failed to produce a movie based solely on the premise of gambling. So many efforts have failed that many within the industry thought the 1998 film Rounders was doomed to failure.

The film followed Mike, a naïve student who gambled away his tuition money, his girlfriend, his law degree and almost his entire life. In a desperate move to repay his debts Mike ends up borrowing $10,000 from his old university professor to buy-in to an underground poker game.

Ultimately Mike pulls off an insane bluff to win the jackpot and get his life back on track, but to viewers his win never feels like a certain thing. The director and writers work together to build a scintillating scene full of subtle nuances and individual moments of drama that make this film and absolute must-watch.

Films about gambling usually fail to hit the mark with audiences but Rounders bucks that trend, particularly with this insanely dramatic poker scene

21 (2008)

Everyone loves a fantasy film but what truly captures the imagination of an audience is a film inspired by true events. Starring Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne and Jim Sturgess 21 is the story of the MIT team that used their mathematical skills to count cards in some of America’s biggest casinos.

Ben, the lead character puts together a team of mathematics majors that count cards at blackjack tables to earn huge amounts of money. The most iconic scene in the movie comes when the team puts on disguises to head back to Planet Hollywood, a casino they have already duped.

In the scene the team scam their way to $640,000 in winnings before being spotted by casino staff and making their great escape. In a final twist as Micky, one of the team members is making his escape in a limousine he releases his chips are fake and that he’s been set-up.

Without ruining the ending of the film, this realisation sets the film up for a pulsating finale that will have you on the edge of your seat throughout.

21 is so captivating because it is based on the real-life antics of a MIT card counting team

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