TIME Television

The Magicians Trilogy Coming to Television

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Syfy announced a 12-episode adaptation of the best-selling books

The Magicians trilogy, the best-selling fantasy book series from author Lev Grossman, is headed to television.

After giving the green light to a pilot last year, Syfy has ordered a 12-episode series that starts shooting in Vancouver this July, the channel announced Monday. “Ever since The Magicians was published I’ve wanted to see this story on screen,” said Grossman, who is TIME’s book critic. “The people, the school, the other worlds, the magic. I’m so thrilled that it’s finally happening, and I’m beyond thrilled that we found the right people to do it.”

Jason Ralph will star protagonist Quentin Coldwater, a gifted college student who enrolls in a magical university. Hale Appleman, Summer Bishil, Arjun Gupta and Stella Maeve have also been cast in the adaptation of the series, whose first installment, The Magicians, was published in 2009 and spawned two sequels: The Magician King in 2011 and The Magician’s Land in 2014.

[Deadline]

TIME Internet

Brands Can’t Stop Tweeting About Star Wars Day

Star Wars Day
Antonio Masiello—NurPhoto Star Wars Day, cosplayer dressed as a "Star Wars" character in Milan Center on May 3, 2015.

There has been a (brand) awakening

Much like like Mean Girls Day (it’s October 3) or Miss Congeniality Day (April 25 — not too hot, not too cold), May 4 became an unofficial Internet holiday once Star Wars fans noticed that “May the Fourth” sounds like a lot like “May the force be with you,” that iconic benediction from a galaxy far, far away.

Brands have tried to get in on the action in years past, but with new Star Wars films on their way, the excitement was strong in these ones.

Below are some of the highlights from CNN media reporter Frank Pallotta’s comprehensive roundup. Some posts are ingenious; others are desperate. But regardless of whether these brands were on the dark side or not, it’s probably safe to assume that at least one of these tweets was written by a twentysomething who hasn’t seen the originals:

TIME Music

Let Miguel and Wale Wake You Up With Some Fresh ‘Coffee’

The pair's morning pick-me-up revamps a song from last December

As you probably gathered from its profane parenthetical, Miguel’s song “Coffee (F-cking)” has very little to do with caffeine, but it might help you get through this Monday nonetheless. The “Adorn” singer, who has written for Beyoncé, Jessie Ware and Usher, blows out this dreamy ode to morning sex and pillow talk—to date Miguel, you must be down with early a.m. rounds of Would You Rather?—with the same fuzzy guitars and hazy atmospherics that made his Girls soundtrack contribution one of the best songs of last 2014. The Wale-assisted release is an updated version of a song Miguel put out on an EP in December, but even old Miguel is welcome Miguel if it means Wild Heart, the follow-up to 2012’s Kaleidoscope Dream, is coming soon.

TIME Television

Mad Men Recap: ‘Lost Horizon’

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Justina Mintz—AMC Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in "Lost Horizon."

Don, Joan and Peggy struggle to adjust to their new jobs at McCann-Erickson

Up until this week’s episode of Mad Men, I assumed the man falling between skyscrapers in opening credits was strictly a metaphor. A few events in “Lost Horizon,” however, made me wonder if Don’s demise was on the immediate horizon—and whether it would involve heights. The “previously on” recap at the start of the episode included Roger’s remark about how Don will probably die in the middle of a pitch one day, and Don himself spent a lot of time staring out the windows of his new office, perhaps realizing that a flimsy piece of glass is all that’s keeping him from plummeting to his death. (Or escaping from his life, if the plane flying in the distance has reignited your interest in the D.B. Cooper theory of Mad Men.)

Don didn’t end up jumping, but he did go a little off the rails as one of many characters having a hard time adjusting to McCann-Erickson’s absorption of SC&P. It’s not just the overwhelming size and corporate culture of his new job that’s messing with his head, though—it’s his continuing obsession with the enigmatic waitress Diana. After a skipping a few important client meetings and going AWOL, much to the concern of new boss Jim Hobart—who referred to Don as his “white whale” after trying to hire him for a decade—Don starts having sleep-deprived hallucinations of the late Bert Cooper while driving to Diana’s old home in Racine, Wisconsin. That’s not even the weirdest part of an episode that features Peggy drunkenly roller skating around the old SC&P office (more on that later), but it becomes perhaps the most disturbing once Don assumes a fake name and pretends to be delivering sweepstakes prizes in an attempt to learn Diana’s whereabouts.

The new wife of Diana’s ex-husband welcomes Don inside their suburban home while Diana’s surviving daughter lurks on the staircase like something out of a horror movie. The visit turns hostile, though, once the husband returns home from work and sees through Don’s pretense. He doesn’t buy Don’s story about delivering contest prizes, nor does he buy Don’s back-up story about being a collection agent when his first cover is blown. Apparently, Don’s not the first man to be so consumed with Diana that he came to Racine to track her down. “You can’t save her,” the guy tells Don, “only Jesus can.” Now, Diana has more or less already said the same thing to Don, but maybe he’s treating her like a project to save himself from feeling so obsolete in his life: Joan and others don’t need him to save the day anymore, Betty’s finding her passion, his kids are fine on their own. Maybe Don will take the message to heart and finally take no for an answer now that he’s hearing it from someone who isn’t Diana. We’ll find out next week when he returns from his impromptu road trip, assuming the hitchhiker he picked up in the final scene doesn’t turn out to be a murderer or something.

Don can take his time coming back, though, because this episode’s MVP was, without a doubt, Joan. Remember when Joan talked about wanting to burn the whole place down after some McCann-Erickson bros spent a meeting making comments about her body? It’s almost a surprise this episode didn’t end with Joan walking down the streets of New York with the building going up in flames behind her, given what she had to put up with at McCann. After Dennis, one of the jerks from that meeting, derails a client phone call by showing up unprepared, Joan goes to Ferg Donnelly and asks if someone else can handle the business instead. Ferg decides to take matters into his own hands, which at first seems like a blessing—he gets Dennis out of the picture and keeps Joan in charge of her accounts—until he lets her know repeatedly that the only business he wants to do with Joan is that kind of business.

So Joan seeks help again, this time from Jim Hobart, who isn’t so sympathetic to her requests for autonomy. Hobart tells her he doesn’t care about her former partner status at SC&P and that she can take half the money on her contract and get lost, lest she wants to get a lawyer involved. But Joan threatens to do just that, name-dropping the ACLU and reminding Hobart that she’s probably not the only woman in McCann who’s been made to feel uncomfortable by Ferg. (Note to men: if you have to defend your company to a woman threatening sexual harassment litigation with the words “Women love it here,” there’s a good chance they don’t.) Joan seemed ready to fight, but Roger convinces her to take the money—not because she’s wrong, but because he nor anyone else would be able to help her: Hobart’s threats about the consequences and ostracization she would face are no joke. Joan doesn’t need to work, but with two episodes left in the whole series, it’s disheartening, if not infuriating, to see someone as competent and ambitious as Joan lose the battle against workplace sexism.

Unless, of course, she and Peggy run off to form their own agency, which a lot of people on Twitter are crossing their fingers for. We don’t yet know how Peggy will handle the culture at McCann-Erickson, as the company thought she was a secretary and didn’t have her office ready, but if Joan’s experience is any indication, Peggy’s relationship with the company might go up in flames, too. While waiting for her new office, Peggy tries to work from the abandoned offices of SC&P in scenes that feel a bit like Elisabeth Moss went and followed January Jones to the set of Last Man on Earth. First she spills coffee all over the floor and leaves it there (between this and the red wine in Don’s old apartment, Mad Men is really into upturned beverages as a sign of decay), then she wonders if she’s hearing ghosts before finding Roger eerily playing the organ by the stairwell.

They end up spending the rest of the day drinking together, which leads to Peggy putting on the roller skates and Roger giving her both some career advice (“This business doesn’t have feelings”) as well as Bert Cooper’s old octopus painting, which she initially resists. “You know I need to make men feel at ease,” she says. “Who told you that?” he fires back. On one hand, that’s an empty retort for Roger to make considering he later tells Joan that, actually, making men uneasy isn’t worth it and she should take the money. But on the other hand, the GIF-able moment it inspired—Peggy slow-mo walking through the halls of McCann, sunglasses on, cigarette lit, octopus painting under her arm—could be their redemption. If Joan’s not going to burn this place down, maybe Peggy will.

Read next: Here’s What Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner Loves About Serial

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

Correction: The original version of this story misidentified the athletic footwear Peggy wore in the office. They were roller skates.

TIME Music

Review: Ciara Stays in Her Lane on Jackie—And That’s A Good Thing

Jackie by Ciara
Epic Records Jackie by Ciara.

The singer plays to her strengths on her sixth album, out now

If pop stardom is a high school—Beyoncé the straight-A valedictorian, Katy Perry the cheerleader, Lady Gaga the theater geek—then Ciara is the track star. It’s not just because of her athleticism, though her superhuman thighs and gravity-defying back-bends make for must-see videos and should probably be studied by scientists. And it’s not just because Ciara seems to play in a whole other league from the aforementioned artists, kept in the same breath as those women thanks more to the fervor of her fans—her die-hards’ devotion earned a New York Times mention—than record sales. (Though that may not be entirely her fault.)

No, it’s because, over the course of her 12-year-career, Ciara has developed a very specific set of skills, limited in breadth but impressive in their singularity. Like the best Olympic runners, watching her do her thing never gets old, even when you realize she’s technically running around in circles. If you made a drinking game around every time Ciara has asked you to “turn it up” in her career (“it” being the volume, the energy, your sex life), your night would go south very quickly, but to be mad about that would be to misunderstand the whole point of Ciara. Once billed as the first lady of Crunk&B, she’s become one of the most reliable suppliers of frothy, light-on-its-feet party music, mixing the freshest parts of R&B and hip-hop with the drum-machine beats of decades past. Yet though we typically demand two club-banger singles from our divas before a ballad ever hits radio, Ciara also routinely launches album campaigns on the strength of her breathy slow jams. Favoring friskiness over filthiness, they make the club feel like the bedroom and the bedroom feel like the club. She’s basically the closest thing millennials have to their own Janet Jackson.

Ciara’s sixth album, Jackie, named in tribute to her mother after Ciara welcomed a son with ex-fiancé Future last May, continues to hone those skills and then some. The singer’s best album will probably be the greatest hits album she has yet to release, but at least Jackie rivals 2013’s self-titled quasi-comeback as Ciara’s most consistent and self-assured record to date. That record opened with “I’m Out,” a single-ladies anthem that captured the messiness of break-ups in the Instagram age and contained one of Nicki Minaj’s finest guest verses. The new record, too, bursts out of its starting blocks with “Jackie (B.M.F.),” which aspires to expand our hashtag vernacular (picture #bmf — bad motherf-cker — alongside #flawless and #feelingmyself) while also featuring her most adventurous production since linking up with Danja (Britney Spears’ Blackout) on 2009’s Fantasy Ride. Wisely, Ciara keeps the alterations to her training regimen to a minimum.

In fact, nearly every song on the record feels like a companion to at least one other proven track in her back catalog. If slinky, synth-driven Ciara is your preferred event, “That’s How I’m Feelin’,” redeems its Pitbull contribution with a rare (if unremarkable) anchor leg from Missy Elliott. If her EDM workouts make you sweat, “Give Me Love” keeps up the pace of Ciara highlight “Overdose.” And if you’re making room on your calendar for upcoming body parties, save the date for second single “Dance Like We’re Making Love,” a minimal Doctor Luke production that sensually draws out its lo-o-uh-uh-o-ove hook without sounding too pornographic.

Despite the dramatic changes in her personal life—motherhood, a high-profile split with Future that inspired the bittersweet (and controversial) lead single “I Bet”—the album’s most significant evolutions aren’t so obvious. For an artist who dodged using profanity for years, the sheer quantity of F-bombs she drops in the the title track signals more confidence and attitude than ever. That Ciara includes a song called “One Woman Army,” presumably the years-old title track to the scrapped project of that name, shows some artistic conviction, even if its robo-military march is too busy for its own good. Her stabs at more straight-forward pop—”Only One” and the Diane Warren-penned “I Got You”—are fairly conventional. But when a common Ciara criticism holds that tracks can swallow her voice’s personality whole, the fact that she sounds like she could break down and cry while singing about doing so? Now that feels like a step forward.

Staying in your lane doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as Jackie proves. Watching Ciara compete with herself is the more entertaining race to watch.

TIME Music

Hear Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea’s New Song ‘Pretty Girls’

Is this 2015's song of the summer?

It’s the battle of the “Fancy” sequels: Charli XCX may be dropping that kitty with Ty Dolla $ign and Tinashe, but Iggy Azalea and Britney Spears are making a power play for 2015’s song of the summer with their hotly anticipated collaboration, “Pretty Girls.” The Australian emcee begins her verse with a Fugees-Roberta Flack reference, as if to convince skeptics of her hip-hop credentials following last year’s backlash, while Britney alerts listeners that, despite the outer-space album art and her vocoder-heavy “Tom’s Diner” cover, she’s still capable of sounding like a human being.

The track leaked just a few days ahead of its planned May 4 premiere, but it’ll still make a hip addition to your Cinco de Mayo playlist—no one will be sick of hearing it yet.

TIME Music

Disclosure Wants to Get You Twerking With New Song ‘Bang That’

Samsung Launches the Galaxy S 6 and Galaxy S 6 edge in New York
Neilson Barnard—Getty Images Howard Lawrence and Guy Lawrence of Disclosure arrives on the red carpet at the Samsung Galaxy S 6 edge launch in New York City on April 7, 2015 in New York.

"We wanted to give you guys something for the summer"

Success in the U.S. came slowly to British electronic duo Disclosure, as their Sam Smith collaboration “Latch” became a sleeper hit two years after its U.K. release once the “Stay With Me” himself singer started blowing up stateside. Now with a Grammy nomination and a Mary J. Blige co-sign under their belt, the brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence are back with their first new song in years — and hopefully DJs around the country will latch on a little quicker this time.

Like other tracks on their debut, Settle, “Bang That” features a rubbery dance beat built around a sample (from 313 Bass Mechanics’ “Pass Out” ) that barks at listeners to start twerking and getting freaky. Though it’s unclear whether this is the first taste of their upcoming Settle follow-up or just something to tide you over, the band was right in thinking it’s a welcome gift as the weather heats up.

“As work speedily progresses on our next record, we wanted to give you guys something for the summer,” the boys wrote in a message on SoundCloud. “[We’ve] been playing this one in our DJ sets for a while now and couldn’t resist putting it up!”

TIME Music

Ciara Snags Missy Elliott and Pitbull for New Song ‘That’s How I’m Feelin”

Jackie by Ciara
Epic Records Jackie by Ciara.

It's off her new album, Jackie, out May 4

If Ciara’s “Heavy Rotation” and “Gimme Dat” had a body party and made a baby, “That’s How I’m Feelin'” would be the resulting love child. The upbeat, synth-powered number isn’t the second single off her upcoming sixth album, Jackie—that would be “Dance Like We’re Making Love”—but a guest spot from Pitbull means it probably was in the running to follow up the old-school break-up ballad “I Bet.”

Mr. Worldwide can be a polarizing figure in music (to say the least), but Ciara does chase his verse with an appearance by Missy Elliott, so permission to lose control is now granted.

TIME Music

A Russian Politician Thinks U2’s Album Cover Is ‘Gay Propaganda’

Songs of Innocence cover

Songs of Innocence is apparently not that innocent

Bono-hating iTunes users weren’t the only ones who were mad when U2’s Songs of Innocence album suddenly descended from the Cloud last September. Now add Russian politician Alexander Starovoitov to the list.

According to The Guardian, the member of Russia’s conservative LDPR party has asked his country’s attorney general to investigate Apple, which gave away the band’s latest album to more than 500 million iTunes customers, for distributing “gay propaganda” to the youths of Russia.

The offending material isn’t the music, however, but the album cover—and not the sparse, all-white one that came with the iTunes version, but the one that was released with the physical edition of the record. The image by Glen Luchford depicts U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. hugging the waist of 18-year-old son and, according to the band, shows “how holding on to your own innocence is a lot harder than holding on to someone else’s.” But because neither father nor son are wearing shirts in the image—and, okay, because fathers and sons don’t usually embrace like that—Starovoitov thinks the cover promotes gay sex instead.

If convicted, the report adds—one pro-Kremlin paper even quotes a lawyer who says he’s prepared to sue on behalf of his own son—Apple could have to shut down in Russia for up to 90 days or pay up to some $20,000 in fines. So let’s hope U2 doesn’t get stuck in a lawsuit it can’t get out of.

[The Guardian]

TIME Media

How Critiques of Baltimore Media Coverage Echo 1992

Critiques of this week's news stories will sound familiar to those who followed the L.A. riots of 1992

The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart wasn’t the first to compare this week’s rioting in Baltimore to the 1992 Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles, which were sparked exactly 23 years ago, and he likely won’t be the last — not just because of the confluence of dates and events, but because of how the media covered those events.

During his opening monologue on Tuesday, Stewart called out what he sees as one of the media’s worst habits: a tendency to search for the most sensational images at the expense of context. He compared coverage of Baltimore to similar footage of white people rioting after sporting events and a pumpkin festivals, and he took particular aim at CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who said, “It’s hard to believe this is going on in a major American city right now,” just a few months after making similar comments about Ferguson.

“These cyclical eruptions appear like tragedy cicadas,” Stewart said, “Depressing in their similarity, predictability and intractability.”

Even President Obama expressed that he shared Stewart’s frustrations with the media during a Tuesday press conference. “If we really wanted to solve the problem, we could,” he said, noting that coverage of the violence dwarfed coverage of peaceful protests from previous days. “It would require everybody saying, ‘This is important, this is significant,’ and not just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns or a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.”

Those criticisms will sound familiar to those who read TIME critic Richard Schickel’s take on the Los Angeles riots in the magazine’s May 11, 1992 issue:

Television’s mindless, endless (generally fruitless) search for the dramatic image — particularly on the worst night, Wednesday — created the impression that an entire city was about to fall into anarchy and go up in flames. What was needed instead was geography lessons showing that rioting was confined to a relatively small portion of a vast metropolis and that violent incidents outside that area were random, not the beginning of a concentrated march to the sea via Rodeo Drive.

More than that, TV needed to offer perspective. Anchors everywhere plied field reporters with Big Picture questions. But that wasn’t their job. Their job was to create a mythical city, a sort of Beirut West, views of which would keep many viewers frozen in fear to their Barcaloungers. And, incidentally, send a few of them out to join in the vicious fun. Their masters provided these journalists with almost no opportunity to do what many of them manifestly wanted to do: interrogate authority about strategy and timetables; question experts who knew something about the patterns of urban unrest; follow up a hundred human-interest stories.

…The basic function of journalism is selection. It is through that skill that a medium earns civic responsibility and achieves public trust. Just because we have evolved a technology that can create the impression of encompassing events instead of merely observing them — and a race of iron-bottomed anchorpeople to lend friendly authority to this illusion — does not mean that either should be employed without restraint.

Read the full story here: How TV Failed to Get the Real Picture

Read TIME’s cover story about the Los Angeles riots, here in the TIME Vault: The Fire This Time

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