TIME Television

Lucy Lawless Joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Lucy Lawless
Lucy Lawless Jeff Kravitz—FilmMagic/Getty Images

Details are scarce

The Whedonverse is getting a dose of the warrior princess — although it’s unclear exactly what kind.

Lucy Lawless is joining the cast of Joss Whedon’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for season two, TVGuide.com reports, but specifics about her role aren’t yet known.

In addition to playing the title character in Xena: Warrior Princess, Lawless has also had stints on Parks and Recreation and Battlestar Galactica.

The second season of the Marvel Comics-inspired show about a peacekeeping agency operating in a superhero-filled world returns Sept. 23 on ABC.

[TVGuide.com]

TIME movies

Watch Benedict Cumberbatch Crack Codes in The Imitation Game Trailer

Keira Knightley joins the Sherlock star for this suspenseful World War II drama

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Alan Turing was a British mathematician and computer scientist who, among his many accomplishments, helped break Germany’s “Enigma” code during World War II. He also was prosecuted for homosexuality under an 1885 law, a conviction that the Queen of England only pardoned at the end of last year.

He’s also the subject of an upcoming movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley that’s already been dubbed “Oscar bait” because it’s, well, a World War II movie coming out in the fall, a particularly jam-packed time for award-worthy releases. Though the trailer focuses mostly on his wartime accomplishments, the movie is said to cover Turin’s entire life story.

The Imitation Game opens November 21.

TIME Video Games

The Destiny Beta Just Went Dark Until Wednesday

Bungie

If you can't log in, that's by design, and the whole thing should be back in roughly 48 hours.

So that’s it PlayStation owners, the horn just sounded and it’s time for everyone to climb out of the pool: Bungie’s Destiny beta, which arrived last Thursday for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 owners, is now offline for a two-day maintenance hiatus.

Don’t worry, it’ll be back on Wednesday (this week) at 10 a.m. PT, at which point PlayStation players will be able to log back in, this time joined by their Xbox One and Xbox 360 friends across the aisle — though that aisle is technically uncrossable: the game doesn’t support cross-platform play.

In fact it doesn’t even support same brand play, which makes sense if you’ve read Bungie’s thoughts on the matter, namely that screen resolution and detail levels do matter when you’re talking about information that might convey critical advantages to one player or another.

The beta will officially wrap for everyone on July 27 at 11:59 p.m. PT. In the lead-up, Bungie’s planning a Beta Rally on Saturday, July 26 that kicks off at 2:00 p.m. PT. If you’re present during the rally (read: “stress test”), you’ll receive a beta tout you can bring to the final version of the game.

The final — or perhaps we should just say “launch” — version of Destiny arrives for Xbox and PlayStation platforms on September 9.

TIME Books

J.K. Rowling to Write a Lot More Cormoran Strike Novels

J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling at an appearance to promote her book "The Casual Vacancy," at The David H. Koch Theater in New York, Oct. 16, 2012. Dan Hallman—Invision/AP

The crime series could become the Harry Potter author's other legacy

If you thought J.K. Rowling’s recent short story about the Harry Potter gang was putting her on the path back to the wizarding world, guess again. The beloved author says she’ll likely write more than seven Cormoran Strike novels, outnumbering the series she’s best known for.

Rowling has published two novels about the military-veteran-turned-private-eye , The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

“I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” Rowling said at a crime-writing festival, the BBC reports. “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

Rowling says she’s halfway through the third Cormoran Strike novel and has already begun planning the story of the fourth. The series is not her first post-Potter release — that would be 2012′s The Casual Vacancy — but Rowling said at the festival that she wrote it under a fake name to see if she could “get a book published on the merits of the book.”

[BBC]

TIME Television

Good News for Fans of Good TV: FX Picks Up New Seasons of Louie and Fargo

LOUIE: Episode 14: "Pamela Part 3" (Airs Monday, June 16, 10:30 pm e/p). Pictured: Louis C.K. as Louie. CR: KC Bailey/FX
Louis C.K. as Louie. FX Networks.

2015 will bring the fifth and second seasons, respectively, of the two acclaimed shows

It’s not a huge surprise, but FX announced today that Louie and Fargo will both be returning to your televisions sometime in 2015. Louie, which wrapped its fourth season in mid-June, will have just seven episodes (down from 13 or 14 in each of the first four seasons), but any Louie is better than no Louie at all.

Initially, Fargo was intended to simply be a one-off, but the critical acclaim garnered by the show’s initial ten-episode run likely inspired FX to change that plan. The new season will feature a new story, a new setting and all new actors — most crucially, however, showrunner Noah Hawley will return to steer the ship. It’s a little sad imagining a Fargo without Molly Solverson (Allison Tolman) or Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks), but there’s no reason to believe that Hawley won’t have as much success crafting Fargo‘s second season as he did its first.

Related video:

TIME Music

REVIEW: Alvvays Make Sunny Guitar-Pop Gold on Self-Titled Debut

Polyvinyl / Transgressive

The Canadian pop band's sunny debut puts lead singer Molly Rankin in fine company

From laconic, wise-cracking slackers like Stephen Malkmus and Bethany Cosentino to starry-eyed romantics like Stuart Murdoch and Tracyanne Campbell, the history of left-field, literate indie pop is littered with idiosyncratic, effortlessly charming vocalists. Molly Rankin, the woman who leads Canadian five-piece Alvvays, is a descendent of both lines; she’s a madcap schemer and a bleeding heart, equally likely to scamper away after tripping over her own feet and to plead a male pal to reconsider his disdain for the institution of marriage. Her actual genealogy is just as impressive as her musical ancestry: Rankin is a member of the Rankin Family, Canadian folk luminaries who have written and toured across the country for decades. She cut her teeth as part of the family’s band before striking out on her own with a 2010 EP; that solo project gradually picked up friends and nearby musicians and morphed into Alvvays. The band’s eponymous debut full-length is smart, sharp guitar pop, with songs shaped by lyrical playfulness, chiming, melodic leads, and Rankin’s bell-clear, yearning voice.

The band’s songwriting is possessed of both an impressive ear for structure and a remarkable generosity. Songs build in discrete steps to emotional crescendos, then hang there or ascend to an even higher level, rewarding listeners with a new melody or another round of a potent chorus; crisp, clean lines like the ones that mark “Adult Diversion” and “Archie, Marry Me” return for curtain calls, unfurling over top of simple, metronomic rhythms. The high level of execution is a necessity: many bands have written songs like this before, and well, so each new track requires a certain indelibility in order to stand out. The band is also differentiated by lesser peers by the strength of Rankin’s character. She’s immediately familiar and relatable, fully realized in a way that’s quite impressive given this is Alvvays’ debut; she could be the girl sitting across from you in a seminar, speeding with intent down a bike lane, relaxing in a park with a wide-brimmed hat. She spends a lot of time singing about love, and navigates that fraught terrain with an exuberance and palpable anxiety that belies her youth. It’s a perspective that equally suits jangling, up-tempo cuts like “Adult Diversion” and “Atop a Cake” and dreamier, more wistful songs like highlights “Ones Who Love You” and “The Agency Group.” Her voice, pure as spring water and able to easily reach lofty, piercing notes, is best served by the latter pair of tracks; she has a deft hand with heartbreak.

In the moments when listeners are able to tear themselves away from the band’s sticky, simple guitar lines, they’re rewarded with a lyrical wit and intelligence that nicely complements Rankin’s erudite persona. Spend enough time around smart people and you’ll meet characters who clearly derive personal satisfaction from putting together exquisite sentences and dropping ten-dollar words; it’s a precious source of joy, sure, but it’s infectious all the same. The members of Alvvays fit that mold: when Rankin tries to convince a romantic partner to stick around on “Party Police” by telling him that “we can find comfort in debauchery,” it’s easy to imagine the sparkle in her eye and the half-grin plastered on her face. It’s to the band’s credit that their toying with vocabulary and phrasing feels inclusive, rather than smug, and those aforementioned melodies act like gateways into their wordy world. It’s those two strengths, and Rankin’s innate likeability, that separate Alvvays from their peers in a genre that’s always ripe with aspiring stars.

TIME celebrities

Prince George Celebrates His First Birthday

The son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge celebrates a birthday

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Prince George, son of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, turns one on Tuesday, July 22nd.

At the royal baby’s Tuesday birthday party, the guest list is slated to be an intimate one, with only close family and friends apparently invited. The event will take place at the family’s Kensington Palace home.

In the pint-sized prince’s first royal portrait, the heir to the British throne can be seen walking completely on his own, a great milestone for the soon-to-be one-year-old. His father Prince William even joked that Prince George would soon be outrunning him.

TIME celebrities

5 Things We Learned from Kanye West’s GQ Interview

Kanye West
Kanye West attends the 2014 Cannes Lions on June 17, 2014, in Cannes, France Didier Baverel—WireImage / Getty Images

Did you know? He's a blowfish!

When Kanye West spoke to GQ magazine last month, it was mere days after his news-making wedding to Kim Kardashian. Now, though it may already seem that married-Kimye has existed since the beginning of time, the results of that conversation — including new information about the wedding — are finally available for public consumption at GQ.com. The many things can be learned include:

West has a new album on the way, but he’s not sure he wants to be the biggest name in rap: In addition to a forthcoming menswear line, West is working on an album. He still doesn’t have a release date, though September looks like a possibility. But, he says, Drake is now the most popular artist in the genre — and when asked whether he feels the urge to best his rival, he equivocates. “It’s a real question for me,” he tells GQ. “Do I want to?”

His speech at his wedding was about the state of celebrity: Though wedding toasts are more typically the land of drunk maids-of-honor recounting embarrassing stories, West himself spoke for an extended period of time at his reception. Though previous accounts had said that he talked about himself, he says that what he discussed was “the idea of celebrity” and how he and Kardashian planned “to find to raise the respect level for celebrities so that [their] daughter can live a more normal life.” There’s a class system among celebs, he said, with people like the Kardashian family not as well respected as high-fashion figures or film auteurs; both of those groups were represented at the wedding (by Carine Roitfeld, whom West calls “the Walt Disney of what Tumblr is today,” and Steve McQueen), all spending time together. West plans to erase the lines between which the celebrities who receive respect from audiences and paparazzi and those who don’t.

He wants to make being a dad cool: West admits that he doesn’t like to do anything that might be perceived as uncool, but he also knows that he has “the ability to make things cool.” The next thing on his list is being a family man. “Going home to one girl every night is super cool,” he says. He also shares the reasons he fell for that girl: her body, face, style, niceness, financial independence and family-orientedness. (Also of note: West apparently calls her “Mom.”)

He’s a blowfish: “I’m not a shark, I’m a blowfish,” West says, speaking of his relationship with the paparazzi — meaning that he doesn’t go after anyone, but he will defend himself when necessary. He also compares himself to a porcupine to make the same point.

He’s a fan of Step Brothers: He is, he says, the ultimate embodiment of a motivational speech from the 2008 Will Ferrell comedy Step Brothers. Even as his star rose, he says, he never lost track of what he was looking for in a relationship — his, as he puts it, dinosaur:

There’s more where that came from — including West’s take on which of his tracks contains the best rap verse ever — over at GQ.

TIME Television

Troubling Times for Chalky White in the New Boardwalk Empire Teaser

Things seem to have gone from bad to worse for the once-powerful leader of Atlantic City's north side

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When Michael K. Williams revealed that Boardwalk Empire would jump forward to 1931 for the HBO drama’s final season, the time-jump brought with it the possibility that Williams’ Chalky White may have improved upon his diminished circumstances from Season 4′s finale. If the new “St. James” teaser that HBO released last night is any indication, however, Mr. White seems to be in even worse conditions than when we last saw him.

Though the teaser isn’t totally explicit, it seems Mr. White has spent — or is currently spending — some time in prison. Also in a bad way is Gillian Darmody (Gretchen Mol), who appears trapped in some sort of straightjacket/bathtub contraption. We also get quick glimpses of Nucky (Steve Buscemi), Margaret (Kelly MacDonald), Nelson Van Alden (Michael Shannon), Dr. Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright), Al Capone (Stephen Graham) and Charlie Luciano (Vincent Piazza), but the brief 53-second clip doesn’t hint much about what they’ll be up to in Season 5.

Boardwalk Empire returns on HBO on Sunday, Sept. 7.

TIME Music

REVIEW: 2 Chainz Returns to Form on Freebase EP

Freebase EP
The Real University

The rapper's new E.P brims with menacing swagger and ferocious beats

This post is in partnership with NME.

2 Chainz is back with a bang. Compared to his last two overcooked albums, 2013’s B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time and the 2012’s Based on a T.R.U. Story, Freebase is solid southern hip hop. ”I keep shitting on the competition, so I’m put me out a shittape” he brags on the title track; and the rest is equally hubristic. Though the themes are over-familiar hustler fare — “Trap Back” is about drug dealing, “Crib in My Closet” has him and A$AP Rocky boasting about their ”designer shit” and “Cuda Wuda Shuda” is a diss track to all his envious rivals — the EP brims with menacing swagger and ferocious beats. Lyrically 2 Chainz knows he’s no street Shakespeare, but as this EP shows, he certainly knows his way around an arresting tune.

More from NME: Listen to a teenage Eminem rapping on track ‘Pooh Butt Daily’

More from NME: 9 Stunning Photos Of The Beatles And Other Counter-Culture Icons By Photo Legend Terry Spencer

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