Review: Kanye West – ye

Featured artists: Ant Clemons, Ty Dolla $ign, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Jeremih, Kid Cudi, Charlie Wilson, 070 Shake

Producers: Kanye West (also exec.), Mike Dean, Francis and the Lights, Ché Pope, Benny Blanco

“I love myself way more than I love you.” It’s the most Kanye West line you’ve ever heard, yet the line before it gives it a whole new dimension – “I think about killing myself”. It’s within this contrast that we find a summary of West’s latest project ye; a splintered vision, a genius torn between different ideologies and sounds, trying to find a happy medium. He can work on an album for two years, stick to a strict plan for seven songs, then ditch the entire album and re-record after a dodgy TMZ interview. It’s not the first time Kanye’s done this; 808s & Heartbreak was recorded in the space of three weeks, and The Life of Pablo was rebooted about three times before release. ye has a bit more to prove though, given Kanye’s activities outside of music, including his outspoken support of Donald Trump and his mental breakdown at the tail end of 2016.

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Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – Season 5

Cast: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, Natalia Cordova-Buckley

Writers: Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, DJ Doyle, Nora Zuckerman, Lilla Zuckerman, Drew Z. Greenberg, Craig Titley, Brent Fletcher, Matt Owens, James C. Oliver, Sharla Oliver, George Kitson, Jeffrey Bell, Iden Baghdadchi, Mark Leitner

Directors: Jesse Bochco, David Solomon, Kevin Hooks, Stan Brooks, Clark Gregg, Brad Turner, Nina Lopez-Corrado, Garry A. Brown, Eric Laneuville, Kate Woods, Kevin Tancharoen, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Jennifer Lynch, Cherie Gierhart, Jed Whedon

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in a very strange place right now. Its first episode way back in 2013 peaked at 12.12 million viewers; the finale of season five struggled to get 1.88 million viewers. So it’s no surprise that the show’s been under threat of cancellation for quite a while, and at the advent of this season, that threat was very real. Co-showrunner Jed Whedon said earlier this year: “We’re ready for it if this is the end.” Despite this, the show’s just been renewed for an abbreviated 13-episode season next year. With this context, this season had to fulfil two roles: a satisfying conclusion to five years of story and character arcs, and an open end for the show to continue. Has the show done enough to satisfy both criteria?

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Review: The Defenders – Season 1

Cast: Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Finn Jones, Eka Darville, Elden Henson, Jessica Henwick, Simone Missick, Ramón Rodríguez, Rachael Taylor, Deborah Ann Woll, Élodie Yung, Rosario Dawson, Scott Glenn, Sigourney Weaver

Writers: Douglas Petrie, Marco Ramirez, Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Drew Goddard

Directors: S. J. Clarkson, Peter Hoar, Phil Abraham, Uta Briesewitz, Stephen Surjik, Félix Enríquez Alcalá, Farren Blackburn

So here we are at the end of the so-called “Phase 1” of the Marvel/Netflix saga. We’ve witnessed the trials and tribulations of our four titular Defenders separately, to varying results. The general consensus is that the quality has dipped steadily since the first season of Daredevil (although personally I regard the first season of Jessica Jones as the best project that’s come out of this endeavour) – so viewers, while hopeful, came into The Defenders somewhat hesitantly. So is this a crossover worth watching? WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

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Marvel and Netflix: Approaching the Defenders

Netflix and Marvel TV embarked on an ambitious project only two years ago: 4 full-fledged, R-rated series building up to a crossover miniseries, featuring some of Marvel Comics’ most praised characters, set in the all-encompassing juggernaut that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The overall reception has been extremely positive so far, but it’s far from perfect. And with that big crossover series, The Defenders, beginning soon, it’s a good idea to look back and see how this project has worked out so far. Spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned.

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The best albums of 2017 so far

We’re roughly half-way through the year (well, a bit over, but shush), so let’s look back at what the best releases have been in 2017 so far. There are still quite a few albums I need to catch up with, especially non-rap releases, so this isn’t necessarily an indication of what the best albums of 2017 will be by the end.

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Review: Doctor Who – Series 10

Cast: Peter Capaldi, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas

Writers: Steven Moffat, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Sarah Dollard, Mike Bartlett, Jamie Mathieson, Peter Harness, Toby Whithouse, Mark Gatiss, Rona Munro

Directors: Lawrence Gough, Bill Anderson, Charles Palmer, Daniel Nettheim, Wayne Yip, Rachel Talalay

It was only less than three years ago that Matt Smith said goodbye and regenerated into Peter Capaldi. Since then we’ve had an incredible stretch of Doctor Who stories, with a much darker tone and incredible performances from our lead actor. But now, we’re nearing the end, with Capaldi’s final full series before his last episode at Christmas. Steven Moffat’s tried something different with this run (also his last as lead writer), aiming to make it as accessible as possible to new viewers, a back-to-basics approach with a new companion.

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E3 2017: A cynical breakdown of Sony’s conference

It’s yet another breakdown of the E3 2017 press conferences – this time focusing on Sony’s exploits. Sony’s pretty much been the winner of E3 for the past couple of years, filling their conferences with game after game after game, wasting absolutely no time. If they take this approach again, we could be in for a treat.

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E3 2017: A cynical breakdown of Nintendo’s conference

It’s time for yet another cynical breakdown of E3 2017, and now we’re focusing on Nintendo. For the past few years Nintendo’s existed in its own sort of bubble, opting for a digital stream instead of holding an actual press conference at the event. Last year’s stream opted to only show two games over the space of 90 minutes. But with the Switch in full swing, Nintendo should show a lot more this time, and hopefully we’ll get some interesting surprises.

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E3 2017: A cynical breakdown of Ubisoft’s conference

Hello! You’ve returned to my breakdowns of all the conferences at E3 2017. In this instalment, we’re dealing with Ubisoft. Ubisoft’s conferences are always an odd kettle of fish, sometimes brilliant, sometimes disappointing, but always downright weird. However, this year’s conference is without regular host Aisha Tyler, which is already a bad start. Hopefully the games can make up for it.

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E3 2017: A cynical breakdown of Devolver Digital’s conference

It’s another cynical breakdown of E3 2017, this time focusing on the conference from Devolver Digital. Devolver typically helps publish small indie games so this could be a refreshing break from the mainstream nature of E3, and a real chance of exposure for indie developers because the PC Gaming Show has been so bad at it before now.

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