‘Blackout’: The Podcast That Hardly Anyone Is Talking About

What’s poppin’, y’all?  Those of y’all that’ve been reading my blog for the past few months know that lately I’ve been obsessed with all things Rami Malek aka Elliot, and I’m sure some of you are sick and tired of me talking about him.  Well, that’s just tough, because I have yet again another Rami Malek inspired article.  However, it has nothing to do with Mr. Robot or Bohemian Rhapsody.  This is all about Rami’s podcast, Blackout.  Yes, you read that correctly.   It’s a podcast.  Here’s the trailer below:

In Blackout, Rami plays a DJ named Simon Itani that lives in a small New Hampshire town named Berlin (pronounced BURR-lin, which is the cherry on top of the weirdness), that suddenly loses all its electricity, including their landlines and cell phones.  Simon tries to use his position at the radio station to be a voice of reason and bring the community together, but after it’s revealed that the power outage hasn’t just occured in Berlin, but other areas of the country, he and his family soon learn that the idyllic little town they’ve called home is full of nutbags—and I mean serious nutbags.  Prime example, less than 24 hrs. after the power goes out, some dudes start patroling the streets with assault rifles claiming to be part of the neighborhood watch.  I’m assuming they’re part of the George Zimmerman chapter, but I digress.   As more time goes on, it appears that some of those nutbags may have been the cause of the power grid going down.

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This is my first time listening to a serial podcast, and I’m seriously enjoying Blackout.  The series is four episodes in, and it gets better and better each week.  This show is the perfect way for me to partially quench my thirst during my long and torturous Mr. Robot drought.  When it comes to expectations, however, I have to say the same thing I said during my Us movie review.  The same way you shouldn’t go into Us expecting Get Out, you definitely shouldn’t listen to Blackout hoping for an audio clone of Mr. Robot.  Whereas Mr. Robot is about a young man that is very reliant on technology to help people (although his assistance usually blows up in his face), Blackout tells the tale of a man that has to try to protect his family now that technology is scarce to the point of almost being non-existent.  Not only that, but the character of Simon Itani is an affable, sociable, laid back family man in his late 30’s.  Elliot Alderson, on the other hand, is a single man in his late 20’s that’s the complete opposite of sociable, unless you count his long conversations with Mr. Robot, who only exists in his head.

All the actors do a terrific job with their roles, and although you can’t physically see what’s happening, the well-written script and impeccable performances allow you to visualize this dystopia in the making.  Of course, I have to give individual props to my boy Rami, who also serves as a producer to this project.  Rami continues to prove why he’s been showered with numerous accolades in the past few years.  When I first heard that he was going to play a DJ, it was hard for me to visualize that, considering his signature slow and smooth voice.  If anything, I figured he’d be hosting the Quiet Storm.  However, he pulls it off with ease, showing what a great character actor he is.  It’s easy to see an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy Oscar, Tony Winner) in his future.  He’s already well on his way.  My only gripe with the podcast is the commercials.  Unfortunately, each episode contains about five or six annoying (and mind numbing) commercials that take you right out of the exciting story line.  There’s even an advertisement that plays before the start of each episode in the series.  And OMG…they all seem to drone on forever.  Thankfully, you’re able to skip over these atrocities and get back to the good stuff.

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There is one other thing that’s bothering me considering Blackout….no one’s really talking about it.  There were a few articles discussing it before it was officially released, and there’s been about one or two reviews written since the podcast aired.  Aside from a couple of viewer comments I’ve seen on some lesser known sites…that’s about it.  Rami doesn’t really have the time to do a press tour for Blackout; he’s busy filming season four of Mr. Robot in NYC (yay!).  Now that four episodes have aired, the word is starting to pick up just a little bit, and writer/creator Scott Conroy is taking on some interviews discussing the show’s content.  There’s even some talk about QCode—the studio, who along with Endeavor Audio, helped produce Blackoutcreating another podcast with Bad Times at the El Royale’s Cynthia Erivo.  Hopefully in time, the show will build up enough steam to really get people to have conversations about it.   The Deadline article mentioning Cynthia Erivo’s new podcast also claims that Blackout may be made into a series.  I haven’t seen any other reports stating that, but I really hope it’s true.  If so, I hope Rami continues to play Simon, seeing how he’s been killin’ the role so far.

I know that folks haven’t been into radio plays since Ralphie was gifted his Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas and advised to drink his Ovaltine (all fans of A Christmas Story already get this reference), but Blackout is a great podcast and it’s well worth your time.  It’s action packed, suspenseful, and engaging (folks from New Hampshire may not care for the Bostonian accents most of the characters have, though).  You can stream the podcast for free via Apple Podcasts (or your ITunes/Apple Music account on your PC; this method won’t work on your Android) or Google Podcasts.  I suggest that all of you check this series out and let’s get the word out about it.  I need more people to start talking about one of my favorite shows!

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Blackout airs every Tuesday on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

—Written by Nadiya

Have you listened to Blackout yet?  Do you like it?  If you haven’t listened to the series yet, are you interested?  Do you think more people should be talking about it?  Let me know in the comments section! 

Congrats To Rami Malek and Darren Criss!

What’s up, y’all?  The 2019 Golden Globe Awards aired last night (Sunday Jan. 6, 2019), and two of the big winners were Darren Criss and Rami Malek for their respective roles in American Crime Story:  The Assassination of Gianni Versace and Bohemian RhapsodyDarren took home the award for Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie, whereas Rami aka Elliot (I told y’all, he’ll always be Elliot to me) walked away with the Best Actor in a Motion Picture statue.  Bohemian Rhapsody also won Best Motion Picture Drama over A Star Is Born.  The Twitter backlash was real (but not as bad as the nonsense Bruno Mars went through last year after his Grammys sweep.  Don’t get me started on that bullshit).

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I have to be honest…I’m a bit disappointed that neither Black Panther, BlacKKKlansman or If Beale Street Could Talk didn’t win, but I loved Bohemian Rhapsody, and I love me some Elliot, so I can’t complain.

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All my loyal readers know that these wins have a special place in my heart because last year, I absolutely adored both these projects.  Watching The Assassination of Gianni Versace on FX was the perfect way to start 2018 and seeing Bohemian Rhapsody in theatres was a great way to bring the year to a close.  Despite all the backlash I’ve heard regarding the series (some people didn’t care for the story being told backwards, apparently) and the film (I’m sure y’all have heard all the flack Bohemian Rhapsody is getting for not being historically accurate, which is a subject I plan to touch on later), these actors did bang up jobs and deserved their just due.  They didn’t just portray these real life characters, they pretty much embodied these men and drew the audience into their worlds.

My mother and I were having one of our mother-daughter days when we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody, and halfway through the film, my mom told me that her heart was beating super fast.  I told her to take deep breaths and let me know if it got any worse.  After the movie ended, I asked her how she was feeling, and she said she was better, and then added, “I think I got excited from the movie.”  There were moments during The Assassination of Gianni Versace that I would find myself sitting on the edge of my seat, fighting back tears, screaming at the TV screen, or or staring in awe at Andrew Cunanan being absolutely fierce at a high school party.  If Rami and Darenn didn’t kill it, I don’t know who did.

Congrats to these fellas and all the other winners.  Now I have to wait on pins and needles for the Bohemian Rhapsody Blu-Ray and the last season of Mr. Robot!

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—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about The Golden Globes?  Did you watch it last night (I have to be honest, I didn’t, but I kept track of what was happening via social media)?  Are you happy that Rami Malek and Darren Criss won?  Were you disappointed that A Star Is Born lost?  Who were your favorite winners of the night?  Which movies or TV shows did you want to win?  Did any of your favorites win?  Let me know in the comments section!

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Movie Review

What’s poppin’, y’all?  I saw Bohemian Rhapsody this past Saturday (Nov. 10, 2018), and I have to say…it was a killer movie (slight pun intended…you know, like “Killer Queen”?  Y’all get it!).  Just a bit of backstory:  I didn’t realize Queen existed until Wayne’s World was released back in 1992.  I was 10 years old.  Wayne, Garth, and a few of their other friends were listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and I when I saw them bobbing their heads to the music, I fell in love with the song, although it was one of—if not the—most unorthodox compositions I’d ever heard in my young life.  My mother informed me that “Bohemian Rhapsody” was actually a popular song back when she was in high school, and that Freddie passed away from AIDS some time ago (a few months prior to the movie being released, to be exact).  That last tidbit made me sad of course, but nonetheless, I was a Queen fan for life.

So, when I heard about Bohemian Rhapsody being released November of this year, I had to see it.  The trailer appeared to be excellent, and I’ve always loved music biopics.  I wanted to watch the movie when the film premiered the week before last (Nov. 2, 2018), but between me being extremely sick and having money issues, it wasn’t a possibility.  But, I was finally able to see the film I’ve been waiting the last few months to watch this past Saturday night, and I was extremely pleased.

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Bohemian Rhapsody focuses on Queen’s early days from 1970, when Freddie first joins the band, and chronicles their time together up until 1985.  Although the film is described as a Queen biopic, the majority of the focus is on Freddie and his relationships, romantic and platonic.  There were rumors swirling around of the film being “heterowashed” simply because the trailer mostly focused on Freddie’s longtime girlfriend, Mary Austin.  This allegation is false.  The movie details Freddie’s romances with men and women, including the one person he was seeing that made you wanna come through the screen and slap him/her (no spoilers).  The audience also learns a lot about how the band created most of their iconic songs, and the experimentations they did to make the music come to life.

Rami Malek, aka Elliot from Mr. Robot (he’ll always be Elliot to me) crushed it as Freddie Mercury.  At the very least, he should be nominated for an Oscar and/or Golden Globe.  Gwilym Lee, the actor who portrays Brian May, looks like an exact duplicate of the real musician.  To be honest, Rami looked like Freddie come to life again (aside from the change in eye color).  Joseph Marzello is hardly recognizable as John “Deacy” Deacon (that’s the kid from Jurassic Park, by the way).  Ben Hardy also did a great job as Roger Taylor.  Mike Meyers makes an appearance in the film as well (a callback to Wayne’s World).  If you plan on seeing the movie, I dare you to try and point him out.

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A lot of people have reservations about the film due to some of the historical inaccuracies, but in my opinion, they don’t take away from the movie as a whole.  To be completely honest, all biopics take creative license.  There were historical inaccuracies in well-renowned biopics such as Ray, Walk the Line, The New Edition Story, Straight Outta Compton, and What’s Love Got to Do With It, just to name a few.  My advice is to not let a few changes to the real story deter you from watching it if you really want to see it.  My only minuscule gripe with the film is how certain events in the beginning and end of the flick happen too perfectly.  For example, at the start, Freddie meets the band literally five seconds after they lose their lead singer and wastes no time asking to be his replacement.  Now true, I just finished saying that creative license doesn’t take away from the film as a whole, but at the same time, you can’t help but think yourself, “I know he didn’t get in the band that easily.”  Like I said though, that was a small gripe.  I can suspend my disbelief and still enjoy the scene, as well as the last “perfect” scene (once again, no spoilers, y’all).  To be honest, the last perfectly put together part of the film made me a bit misty-eyed.

Bottom line y’all, this movie was boss.  If you’re a Queen fan or not a Queen fan, or you’re just a neutral person that’s just realizing that you’ve heard some of their songs on movies, TV shows, and commercials, but never knew it, go out and watch Bohemian Rhapsody.  The acting is superb, the script is well-written, and the music will have you flocking to your Apple Music and Spotify accounts to download any Queen songs you don’t already have.  This flick is well worth your money.

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—Written by Nadiya

So what did y’all think about Bohemian Rhapsody?  Did the creative license throw you off or were you fine with it?  Did Rami Malek do a great job as Freddie Mercury?  Did you think Freddie was “heterowashed” in the film?  Are you a Queen fan?  What made you become a fan to begin with?  When did you first hear the song the movie is named for?  Let me know in the comments section! 

‘Mr. Robot’ Logs Out After Season Four

Hello, friends.  I have some bad news for those of y’all that are fans of Mr. RobotSeason four (which will be premiering sometime in 2019) will be the last one of the series.  😢😢  I’m sure y’all have heard this news already, considering that it was announced a few weeks ago, but I’m still hurt about it.  I didn’t become a fan of the show until late last year, and I hate that I’ll only have one more season to watch before Elliot, Darlene, Angela, Tyrell and Mr. Robot himself (who we all know actually is Elliot) logoff for good.  I know I should be grateful that I have one more season to enjoy before Mr. Robot ends—and I am—but I’m still upset that it’ll soon be over.

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To celebrate the genius of Mr. Robot and how much joy it’s given us these past three seasons, I’ve written an article for Viral Hare discussing my favorite scenes from the show.  Here’s the link:

Goodbye, Friend:  My Favorite Scenes from Mr. Robot (So Far) 

I hope y’all enjoy it!  Peace out!

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One of the few times Elliot is actually smiling.  😃😃

What do you think about Mr. Robot ending?  Do you believe it’s run its course, or do you think it’s time for the series to end?  Will you miss it?  What made you a fan of the show?  Let me know in the comments section!