Remember when "squee" was a thing? Is it still a thing? Because we're feeling a little bit like doing that today.
Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.
Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.
Language barriers be damned. The first trailer for the French film Le Petit Prince is adorable, touching and features dual art styles – Pixar-style 3D animation for the story of a young girl finding joy in The Little Prince's story, and what appears to be hand-crafted stop-motion for the prince and his stellar adventures.
Le Petit Prince is due in theaters in France on October 7, 2015.
Serial, the real-life murder-mystery podcast from This American Life hosted by Sarah Koenig, will debut its season finale episode on December 18, next Thursday. This will be episode 12 and the end of Serial's first season. Serial rapidly shot to podcast stardom this year, now with more than 5 million downloads on iTunes – and it was the fastest podcast to ever hit that number.
Serial is, first and foremost, a journalistic, fact-crunching podcast. Koenig presents the seemingly bungled case behind the incarceration of Adnan Syed, a man convicted in 1999 of murdering his ex-girlfriend; he's been in prison ever since. With the journalistic pedigree behind Koenig and This American Life, it's silly to bet that the season will end wrapped in a perfect Hollywood bow, and Koenig has repeatedly warned that there probably won't be a storybook ending to the podcast. We may be left with the same questions we have now, and they may never be answered. Such is life – real life, that is.
Sony Pictures' internal servers were hacked and thousands of pages of emails, contracts and messages between actors, producers and heads of companies have leaked onto the internet. It's speculated that North Korea might be behind the hack – that country's government opposes the coming Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy, The Interview, in which the duo plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – but that has not been confirmed.
The hack has exposed enough industry drama and information to keep tech and entertainment blogs churning out content through mid-2015, it seems. Some of the information is relevant and important – the battle over piracy between Google and major motion picture companies, for example – while some of the stories uncovered in the emails are more ... light-hearted – such as Joel McHale requesting a discount on a Sony TV after Community was canceled.
Harry Potter fans get 12 days of treats on Pottermore from series author JK Rowling, starting today, December 12. The celebration's Facebook page reads as follows:
"Christmas is coming early to Pottermore. Starting Friday, December 12, we'll be releasing a surprise for you every day on pottermore.com at 1pm GMT (8am EST). With wonderful new writing by JK Rowling in Moments from 'Half-Blood Prince,' shiny gold Galleons and even a new potion or two, make sure you don't miss out – just visit pottermore.com and answer our rhyming riddles to unwrap a #PottermoreChristmas surprise every day."
Today's treat revealed the first interactive chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm, the first two Cormoran Strike detective novels by Robert Galbraith, are turning into a TV drama on BBC One. Harry Potter series author JK Rowling announced the deal on Twitter, for some reason (yes, we know the reason).
My friend @RGalbraith's first novel is going to be a TV drama on @BBCOne. He's very excited, but expressing it with characteristic silence.
Screw presents – we just want to watch the Christmas episode of Doctor Who. It's called "Last Christmas," it stars Santa Claus and it airs on December 25 (Christmas day) at 6:15PM GMT (1:15PM EST). It's widely thought that this could be the final episode for The Doctor's current companion, Clara Oswald, played by Jenna Coleman.
The Hemingwrite is an old-school-style tool for trendy techstars and writers of all kinds – it's a distraction-free typewriter with an e-paper screen and connection to the cloud, designed to streamline the writing process for hopeless internet addicts. It's been building up buzz for a while now, but the Kickstarter is the first time we've gotten a price, and that price is $500. Yikes. Some early bird backer tiers offer the Hemingwrite at $370 or $400, though the $370 option is a limited quantity.
The Kickstarter seeks $250,000, and in two days it's raised that and more. This thing is ridiculous, yes, but it's also so sleek.
And he's a lucky guy. Stephen Colbert, noted JRR Tolkien super-fan, got to dress up as characters from Peter Jackson's Hobbit films, and it looks like he had a blast doing it. Also, who wouldn't? Party Poopers, probably. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is out in theaters on December 17.
And Colbert interviewed Smaug and it was awesome.
But – do you know what's even more awesome than Smaug? Smeowg.
[Images: Paramount Pictures France, Eloisa Conditt]
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