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Friday, August 17, 2018

Patrick Stewart Returning to Star Trek

Written by Jon Williams

In an age of reboots and revivals, it takes a piece of seriously big news to command the attention of the pop culture landscape. That’s exactly what happened recently when first rumors started to swirl and then actual confirmation happened that Patrick Stewart would return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard in a new Star Trek series being developed. The series will explore the further adventures and later life of the beloved man who once commanded the bridge of the iconic starship Enterprise.

Although he had already been acting for many years, many people, especially in the United States, had their first exposure to Stewart when Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted in 1987. That show breathed new life into a popular franchise that, nevertheless, had been off television for nearly twenty years. It worked; the show ran for seven seasons and then, like the original series before it, spawned several big-screen adventures, with Stewart continuing to lead the cast from the show. All in all, he ended up portraying Jean-Luc Picard for fifteen years. It’s been sixteen years since the last time, in the 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis, and fans are eager to see what has become of the intrepid captain in the meantime—just as Stewart is himself, calling the opportunity to return “…an unexpected but delightful surprise.” Although he was initially skeptical of performing in a sci-fi television show, he eventually came to appreciate the reach the show had and the impact it had on fans’ lives.

Seeming to confirm his initial skepticism, though, for a time the popularity of Star Trek: The Next Generation hindered him from landing other roles, as filmmakers felt that having “Captain Picard” show up in their project would distract the audience. Stewart finally got around this by jumping into a similar part in another sci-fi franchise. In 2000’s X-Men, he portrayed for the first time Professor Charles Xavier, who runs a school to teach youngsters with freakish abilities (called “mutants”) how to control and use them responsibly. As with Star Trek, the role lingered, with Stewart playing Professor Xavier in a total of seven movies, most recently (and for the final time) in 2017’s critically acclaimed Logan.

Despite the typecasting, Stewart’s talent has won out, allowing him to carve out quite a nice and well-rounded acting career for himself. Prior to Star Trek he had roles in such films as Hennessy, his 1975 film debut, Excalibur, and Dune. He showed off his comedic side as King Richard in the 1993 spoof Robin Hood: Men in Tights, just before his Star Trek role jumped to the big screen in Generations. On television, he has brought a number of literary and theatrical classics to life, including I, Claudius, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Hamlet, and Macbeth, to name just a few. And with his deep, distinctive voice, it’s no surprise that he’s also done quite a bit of voice acting. He recently had a memorable role in The Emoji Movie, and has also lent his voice to such favorites as The Prince of Egypt, Chicken Little, and Gnomeo & Juliet. He maintains a recurring role on the long-running animated series American Dad!, and his association with creator Seth MacFarlane led to him serving as the narrator for both Ted and Ted 2. He also narrated the Tim Burton classic The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Patrick Stewart is an actor whose performances are always incredible, and the news that he’s returning to Star Trek is sure to put his work in the spotlight as never before. Make sure you have The Next Generation shows and movies on your shelves for patrons to discover or relive, and SmartBrowse his name on our website to see a full list of what we have to offer from his impressive career. And for more Star Trek, be sure to pre-order the first season of Discovery, available in November, before the second season premieres in early 2019.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Hot This Week: August 13

The remake of the 1987 comedy Overboard leads three new movies for the week. There are four new albums on the music chart, led by the latest from Kenny Chesney, while Drake remains at #1. The President Is Missing returns to the top of the fiction chart, joined by a new novel from Catherine Coulter, while non-fiction sees additions from Greg Gutfeld and Dinesh D'Souza.

  1. Overboard (Blu-ray)
  2. Rampage (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Ready Player One (Blu-ray | 4K)
  4. Super Troopers 2 (Blu-ray)
  5. I Feel Pretty (Blu-ray)
  6. A Quiet Place (Blu-ray | 4K)
  7. Blockers (Blu-ray)
  8. Truth or Dare (Blu-ray)
  9. Tully (Blu-ray)
  10. Dark Crimes (Blu-ray)
  1. Drake, Scorpion
  2. Kenny Chesney, Songs for the Saints
  3. Post Malone, Beerbongs & Bentleys
  5. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Soundtrack
  6. Halestorm, Vicious
  7. The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
  8. Daughtry, Cage to Rattle
  9. Cody Jinks, Lifers
  10. Luke Combs, This One's for You

  1. The President Is Missing, James Patterson and Bill Clinton
  2. Paradox, Catherine Coulter
  3. The Outsider, Stephen King
  4. The Other Woman, Daniel Silva
  5. Cottage by the Sea, Debbie Macomber
  6. Star Wars: Thrawn - Alliances, Timothy Zahn
  7. Clock Dance, Anne Tyler
  8. The Perfect Couple, Elin Hilderbrand
  9. All We Ever Wanted, Emily Giffin
  10. Spymaster, Brad Thor
  1. The Russia Hoax, Gregg Jarrett
  2. Liars, Leakers, and Liberals, Jeanine Pirro
  3. Educated, Tara Westover
  4. Indianapolis, Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic
  5. Calypso, David Sedaris
  6. The Gutfeld Monologues, Greg Gutfeld
  7. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  8. Death of a Nation, Dinesh D'Souza
  9. How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan
  10. The Soul of America, Jon Meacham

Monday, August 6, 2018

Hot This Week: August 6

The blockbuster hit adaptation of Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One leads three new entries on this week's movie listing. The soundtrack to the Mamma Mia! sequel is the only newcomer on the music chart, while Drake holds onto the top spot for yet another week. Popular sci-fi author Timothy Zahn's latest contribution to the Star Wars universe wins the week in fiction, while a new exploration of the big political news story debuts in non-fiction.

  1. Ready Player One (Blu-ray | 4K)
  2. Rampage (Blu-ray | 4K)
  3. Super Troopers 2 (Blu-ray)
  4. I Feel Pretty (Blu-ray)
  5. A Quiet Place (Blu-ray | 4K)
  6. Blockers (Blu-ray)
  7. Truth or Dare (Blu-ray)
  8. Traffik (Blu-ray)
  9. Isle of Dogs (Blu-ray)
  10. Tomb Raider (Blu-ray | 4K)
  1. Drake, Scorpion
  2. Post Malone, Beerbongs & Bentleys
  3. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Soundtrack
  5. The Greatest Showman Soundtrack
  6. Taylor Swift, Reputation
  7. Luke Combs, This One's for You
  8. Maroon 5, Red Pill Blues
  9. Imagine Dragons, Evolve
  10. Ed Sheeran, Divide
  1. Star Wars: Thrawn - Alliances, Timothy Zahn
  2. The President Is Missing, James Patterson and Bill Clinton
  3. The Other Woman, Daniel Silva
  4. The Outsider, Stephen King
  5. Ghosted, Rosie Walsh
  6. Cottage by the Sea, Debbie Macomber
  7. The Perfect Couple, Elin Hilderbrand
  8. Spymaster, Brad Thor
  9. Clock Dance, Anne Tyler
  10. All We Ever Wanted, Emily Giffin
  1. The Russia Hoax, Gregg Jarrett
  2. Liars, Leakers, and Liberals, Jeanine Pirro
  3. Educated, Tara Westover
  4. Calypso, David Sedaris
  5. Indianapolis, Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic
  6. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Neil deGrasse Tyson
  7. How to Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan
  8. The Soul of America, Jon Meacham
  9. The Plot to Destroy Democracy, Malcolm Nance
  10. Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Friday, August 3, 2018

R.L. Stine Continues to Frighten

Written  by Jon Williams

The calendar may have just flipped over to August, but as far as we’re concerned, it’s never too early to start thinking about Halloween. You can look forward to plenty of Halloween media ideas from us between now and October, and what better way to kick it off than with a master of the creepy tale, a man whose work has been the basis for countless pleasant shivers in the dead of night? After an early career writing humor aimed at kids, R.L. Stine eventually came to the conclusion that he’d rather frighten them. His first kids’ horror novel, Blind Date, was published in 1986, and the rest is history. According to his website, he’s written well over 300 books in the intervening 32 years, including a number of wildly popular series.

By far his most well-known series is Goosebumps. Begun in 1992 with Welcome to Dead House, the classic series ran through 1997 and comprised a total of 62 books. Goosebumps has taken on a life of its own with a number of spinoff and companion series, some of which continue to this day. One of those is called SlappyWorld, featuring Slappy, a ventriloquist’s dummy come to life with scary stories of his own to tell. Slappy made his first appearance very early on, in 1993’s Night of the Living Dummy, and became a primary antagonist in the 1995 follow-up. From there he took on a life of his own, so to speak, appearing in several HorrorLand books (yet another Goosebumps-adjacent series) before spawning his own series in 2017’s Slappy Birthday to You. There are currently five books in the series, with Escape from Shudder Mansion just releasing late in July, and more to come.

Of course, popular as it was and still is, Goosebumps was not Stine’s first book series. That honor goes to Fear Street, which started in 1989 with The New Girl. Recent titles in this series include Party Games and Don’t Stay Up Late. Also released in late July, You May Now Kill the Bride is the first book in a new Return to Fear Street series. And Fear Street fans can look forward to renewed interest in the series, with Fox recently announcing plans for three theatrical films to be based on stories from the books.

And although Stine has made his name in the world of publishing, he is certainly no stranger to the screen. As his writing career was gaining traction in the early 1990s, he helped create and wrote for the children’s TV series Eureeka’s Castle. Shortly thereafter, Goosebumps was turned into an anthology TV series that ran for four seasons. In 2007, the movie The Haunting Hour: Don’t Think About It was made, loosely adapted from a book of Stine’s short stories, and that too was spun off into a successful anthology series, winning a number of Daytime Emmys among other awards. And in 2015, Goosebumps became a feature film starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine himself. A sequel, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, is due in theaters in October.

R.L. Stine has been giving young readers the creeps for more than thirty years now, and in so doing, has inspired generations of kids to develop a love of reading that has carried them into adulthood (and adults who grew up reading him as kids should check out Red Rain, his grown-up horror novel written in tribute to longtime fans). As his popularity expands with each new book and movie, continue to share his work with eager young readers and listeners. You can search his name on our website for all his works we carry in audiobook and Playaway, and point your patrons to hoopla, where they can find a wide selection of his books in both audio and eBook.