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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Wizards: Tales of Arcadia’ on Netflix, the Latest Continuation of Guillermo del Toro’s Animated Saga



It almost all comes down to this: Wizards: Tales of Arcadia will not quite wrap up Guillermo del Toro’s epic animated saga for Netflix. The ambitious story — set in the suburban American town of Arcadia Oaks, which is kind of a Hellmouthy place of scary monsters and battles between good and evil and all that stuff — began with fantasy series Trollhunters, and its popularity led to 52 episodes and novels and comics and toys and a video game and many awards. Then came the sci-fi portion of the franchise, 26 episodes of 3Below. And THEN came Wizards, a 10-episode arc that’ll lead up to a grandly conclusive fiery cataclysmic big crunch in the form of 2021 movie Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans. And maybe it’ll all be over by then?

Opening Shot: The flying black cat with glasses from the end of 3Below swoops through the clouds over a medieval city. Subtitle: LATE 12TH CENTURY CAMELOT.

The Gist: Brief hierarchy inventory: The flying black cat with glasses is Archie (voice of Alfred Molina), the “familiar” (translation: assistant) of Douxie (voice of Colin O’Donoghue), a wizard-in-training under the tutelage of Merlin (David Bradley), no introduction necessary, in pretty much any context. He is Merlin; Merlin is he. All Douxie does is sweep the floor, and get in trouble when he tries to use magic to sweep the floor. He whines, Merlin lectures, “Magic is mastery over life, so first you must learn how to live, and then your days of pushing brooms is over.” Douxie looks hopeful.

UNEXPECTED SUBTITLE: NINE CENTURIES LATER. A broom in a cafe. Pan up. It’s Douxie. He hasn’t aged a day, but he’s still pushing some serious broom. His magic has gotten better, though — here in Arcadia Oaks, he and Archie (who also hasn’t aged a day) hunt down slithery iridescent creatures with more eyes than sense, capturing them in bubbles and banishing them to Limbo. Merlin appears, and tasks him with rounding up the Guardians of Arcadia, and please do hurry up because it’s urgent. So he tracks down Tobias (Charlie Saxton), Steve (Steven Yeun) and the troll AAARRRGGHH (Fred Tatasciore), all adventurous suburban dudes (except for the troll) you know from Trollhunters and 3Below. They meet up with Merlin at GdT Arcane Books, which surely stands for “God damn Trouble” and not “Guillermo del Toro.”

And yet, it’s trouble they find. A group (Pack? Murder? Conglomeration? Snack?) of the slithery creatures attacks and they whoosh up to Merlin’s floating castle in the sky, which is POWERED BY TIME ITSELF, and where the good guy Jim is held in stasis so he won’t die, although I’m pretty sure it’s more complicated than that, but hey, I’m not here to give everything away. Claire (Lexi Medrano) from 3Below is there, and so is the great and mighty knight Galahad (John Rhys-Davies). Something called the Arcane Order is gathering, led by someone who looks like Sauron in his armor before he lost the ring, and it’s bad news. Bad, bad news. It involves some of the villains from earlier Tales of Arcadia series, all coming together to destroy and/or rule things. Then guess who shows up in a giant skull to destroy and/or rule things? Right: the Not Sauron, but probably just as terrible as Sauron. So Merlin conjures a rip in space-time so they can escape, but Douxie, Steve, Claire and Frozen Jim fall through it, leaving the others behind as the gap closes. Merlin calls this a “temporal accident,” but I’d say it’s more like “the beginning of a 10-episode arc.”

Wizards: Tales of Arcadia
Photo: Netflix

Our Take: Wizards is very much the continuation of the Arcadia chronicle, and stands on its own as well as a worm stands on its legs. Starting here isn’t a big deal, as long as you don’t mind being 78 episodes behind.

This is a very plot-dense, action-packed, character-jammed 24 minutes of TV. It doesn’t really let up. There’s a lot to cram in before getting to the meat of the story, which already rolls fast and heavy downhill with the momentum of everything that came before it: classical myths reimagined with modern sensibilities, with vivid animation, crisp comedy and a muscular, but not too heavy, sense of drama. Del Toro’s hand guides the series into creative avenues without ever being off the rails; it’s clever enough to entertain adults with a proclivity for fantasy tales, but absolutely aimed at the TV-Y7 audience. So far, Wizards ropes in some favorite characters from before, shuffles in some new ones, and barrels ahead at full speed.

Sex and Skin: None.

Parting Shot: Douxie, Steve, Claire and Frozen Jim land in medieval Camelot, surrounded by KAAAA-NIG-ITS! One of them says — as one of them absolutely must say, per the Hallowed and Ancient Edicts of Fantasy Storytelling — “What manner of sorcery is this?”

Sleeper Star: If you think the flying cat with glasses voiced by Alfred Molina isn’t the sleeper star here, you must be one of those DOG PEOPLE.

Most Pilot-y Line: “The world as you know it is about to end. Meow.” — Archie says what I’m pretty sure my cat says to me every morning unless I feed him right NOW.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Troll on.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream Wizards: Tales of Arcadia on Netflix


Disney Plus Mulan Fails to Make an Impact




Disney Plus’s most anticipated movie of the year was Live-Action Mulan, the infamous remake of the 1998 version of the Disney classic Mulan. With a budget of almost $200 million and alot of hard work involved, the film release’s expectations and excitement were at an all-time high. Disney’s marketing team left no stone unturned in promoting the film throughout the world as Mulan was one of the most influential female protagonists in a Disney movie. 

Mulan was known for her power and courage to take a step towards change and create a name for herself instead of becoming a burden for her family. She brought them honor but not through finding a compatible suitor, but through her bravery in fighting amongst the opposite gender when it was considered a taboo. 

But did the real Mulan walk in the footsteps of the animated one? Did it create an impact as strong as the classic version, which people love and adore even after 23 years? Sadly, no. The live-Action Mulan was nothing like the 1998 Mulan because it was not supposed to be that way. 

The old Chinese folklore inspired the Live-Action Mulan. The Balad of Mulan, which was different, more serious, and portrayed a much more feminist approach by eliminating any romantic or cartoonish elements or characters from the remake. 

The elimination of the character of Mushu came as a surprise for all the die-hard Mulan fans who were anticipating the voice-over of Eddie Murphy in a better-animated dragon who is by Mulan’s side, aiding in tough times. We did see a dragon, but it was a silent companion only coming in need. The remake also got rid of all the eventful songs which were hummed as we watched the animated version all the time.

Another setback was the mediocre release of Mulan during the Pandemic, which basically ruined the official March release. Mulan eventually made the screen on September 4 on Disney+ Premier Access, a pay-to-view for $30 across the US. In contrast, countries where Covid-19 was under control, saw a theater release like China. But that hardly made 50% of the total movie budget. Disney hoped to make some dollars in China by accurately depicting the Chinese culture and actors, but that didn’t happen either. 

Viewers with access to Disney+ also did not venture enough on the Premier Access service. What further disappointed the release was Mulan’s availability on multiple torrents and platforms for free in HD quality on its release. VPN users worldwide watched the movie for free without paying a whopping amount of $30 for a single film, while the whole service along with other streaming services cost ⅓ of the price. 

Live-Action Mulan was also under scrutiny for shooting in the Xinjiang, the region of China where Uighur Muslims were detained and imprisoned in concentration camps. This sparked outrage over the entire social media, where Muslims worldwide protested against the Chinese government’s actions. Disney+ did not state an official apology on their platform, nor did they acknowledge their wrongdoings, probably to stay clear of the Chinese government’s atrocity. 

Meanwhile, even within China, Mulan failed to impact the Chinese audience as they have a much better take and approach to recreating any Chinese epic or myths. Their cinema is far more advanced in portraying their culture with local actors and a local production house. As we all know, China has a strict censorship policy on international content, and they have an alternate of their own. It applies here as well. 

Lastly, the ill-natured tweet of the lead actress Liu Yifei, openly supporting the Hong Kong Police’s atrocities when China was implementing new security policies on Hong Kong, claiming it as a part of the Chinese government. The Hong Kong police came under fire for mistreating peaceful protestors and using harsh means to disperse the crowd. This tweet leads to #boycottmulan across the regions of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand. 

Liu Yifei made no outright apology. 

Despite so much anticipation, live-action Mulan came under alot of controversy and failed to make a solid impression on the audience, despite holding a strong message for its feminist audience. Wrong timing and a few wrong decisions cost Disney millions of dollars and somewhat tarnished the reputation of their remake sagas. 

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5 Underrated Shows on Netflix USA You Must Watch Right Now!




American Netflix is home to hundreds of TV shows across multiple genres. Still, it could be hard at times to find something binge-worthy on it. Now we all have that one friend that’s perfectly content with re-watching their favorite TV series, but the rest of us normies find it a tad boring. We’re on a never-ending hunt for the next big show hoping to inject some excitement into our otherwise mundane existence. However, with so much to choose from, it’s only natural that a few gems go unnoticed when scrolling through the recommendations. 

Don’t sweat it! After spending endless hours of research, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 underrated shows on Netflix USA that are definitely worth your time.

Can’t access US Netflix in your home country? There is an easy way around. Just download a Netflix VPN, connect to a US server, and start streaming. 

  1. 1994

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 5 episodes

Year of release: 2019

1994 is a modest 5-episode docu-series offering the perfect guilt-free, binge-watching experience. The show revolves around a promising presidential candidate in Mexico who stands to threaten the status quo. Seen as a threat by the powerful elite, he gets shot during one of his televised political rallies. If the events of the first episode seem unusual, then what follows is downright bizarre. 

Viewers are in store for surreal events backed by actual interviews and real-life footage that ups the ante with each passing episode. 1994 is a fascinating, informative, and rich account of one of the most turbulent times in Mexico. It not only gives viewers a glimpse of the past but also a story that follows a narrative very close to what we’re seeing in our present political climate.

  1. Rise of Empires: Ottoman

Genre: Drama

Season(s): 1 season; 6 episodes

Year of release: 2020

Following the wildly popular show Ertugrul—at least in the eastern part of the world—Rise of Empires: Ottoman features a historic mix of immaculate production value and dramatic re-enactment of the 1453 fall of Constantinople. A Turkish production, the show is entirely in English and revolves around the life of a young Ottoman Sultan named Mehmet. It shows how the 21-year old leader risks everything to conquer a city his father and so many others failed to take before him.

This point marked a crucial juncture in history: The fall of the Roman Empire and the transition of a local regional entity to that of a global superpower. While the show does have its set of drawbacks (such as the frequent History Channel-type flashbacks), the appeal of our protagonist is sure to have viewers in for a memorable ride. 

  1. Wild Wild Country

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 6 episodes

Year of release: 2018

The mere mention of Wild Wild Country in front of veteran Netflix viewers is sure to garner you some respect points. Based on a true story, Wild Wild Country tells the tale of an Indian cult that’s decided to relocate to Oregon. What ensues is a series of unusual events as the locals struggle to come to terms with the new inhabits and in particular, the eccentric leader of this cult: Bhagwan. This mini-series manages to capture and re-tell a significant—albeit unusual—event in American history and media and retell it in a way that’s sure to leave some viewers scratching their heads!

  1. Lenox Hill

Genre: Documentary

Season(s): 1 season; 9 episodes

Year of release: 2020

For those looking to embark on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, look no further than Lenox Hill. While we do recommend this docu-series especially if you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy or ER, Lenox Hill is not your average watch. It’s a far cry from what you’d call a feel-good series as it reveals the brutal reality associated with people diagnosed with really bad things.

Set in New York, the show follows the story of an ER physician, an OB-GYN, and two brain surgeons that are part of a small-time hospital competing with bigger establishments. It lifts the curtain from the otherwise romanticized emergency-ward that we’ve grown accustomed to and accurately depicts the struggles of both patients and doctors.

This highly emotional series might not sit well with everyone but if you want to watch a story about individuals that sacrifice everything to save others then this one’s for you.

  1. Borderline

Genre: Comedy

Season(s): 2 seasons; 12 episodes

Year of release: 2016

The Office is the most viewed show on Netflix according to Chicago Tribune which is a pity because its contract is set to expire on January 1, 2021. Enter Borderline, a British comedy series and ‘mockumentary’ of sorts that follows a similar pattern and humor as The Office. Set in the fictional Northend Airport instead of an office, viewers are quickly introduced to a slew of funny and ridiculous personalities.

The best part of the series is that it has its own version of Pam, Dwight, Jim, and a Michael type-boss. It also doesn’t try too hard to resemble its more popular counterpart and a few episodes are enough to make you wonder why more people aren’t watching it!

Agree with our list? Know of some underrated shows that need more love? Let us know in the comments section below!

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The Advantages of Online Casino Welcome Bonuses




When it comes to online gambling, the industry is thriving in 2020. Although casinos are banned in many countries, people still find ways to enjoy their favorite games of chance. However, considering the level of competition on the market, it may be difficult for a beginner to find a good online platform and take advantage of all offers. In this article, you will learn the benefits of casinos’ welcome bonuses.

What Is a Sign-Up Bonus?

As we have already established, the industry is growing rapidly and companies are desperately looking for new ways to attract customers. A welcome bonus is often used by online casinos to get new leads and players in the future. However, the best casino bonuses can be easily used to the player’s advantage. Here are the main reasons you should not neglect this offer.

  1. It saves your money

Quite obvious, right? Well, this is the main reason why you should always use welcome bonuses in online gambling: it is always better to not risk your own money. It is especially true for beginners. Since they have no experience, it is fairly common for beginners to lose their initial investment and be done with gambling for good. However, if you use your welcome bonus as a way of getting the basics skills, the chances of success will rise significantly.

  1. It allows you to try several games

Another common issue beginners face is a lack of understanding of which types of games they want to try: slots, roulette, baccarat, blackjack, etc. If you use your sign-up bonus, you will be able to play several games and choose the ones you like better. Moreover, you can take advantage of a welcome bonus on several online gambling platforms. That way you will try out even more options.

  1. It will make future gambling more profitable

Besides beneficial sign-up bonuses, good online casinos usually have great loyalty programs. For instance, the company may double up to five first deposits on the platform. If you invest 100 USD, you will get 200 USD to your account. More money — more games — more chances of winning.

Although a welcome bonus is a great way of upping your gambling game, there are a few things you should pay attention to. Firstly, a good bonus does not equal a good platform. Before choosing a casino, make sure that the company is legal and trustworthy. Since there are many scams right now, it is essential if you want to save your money. Moreover, check the available deposit/withdrawal methods and their terms.

We hope that this article has shown the true power of online casinos’ welcome bonuses and how you can use them to your own advantage. Follow our tips while choosing a platform and enjoy the best gambling experience.

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