Momentarily cure your depression caused by 2017's never-ending stream of bad news with these pop culture delights
It's hard not to be bummed out by the end of the week. Between natural disasters, toxic politicians, endless revelations about sexual misconduct and mass murders, good news can seem fleeting or non-existent these days.
So to get your weekend off to a good start, we have combed the headlines for some great bits of news and promising updates from the world of pop culture, because you deserve it.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" director James Gunn raised $45K for Puerto Rico relief
James Gunn is one of the most outspoken, fan-friendly and social media-fluent filmmakers in Hollywood, and he doesn't just use his platform to promote his work or offer empty platitudes about social causes. Case in point: Gunn collected 10 of the 500 limited edition Funko Pop! dolls bearing his likeness that were sold at New York Comic-Con, raffled them off to fans for $1 a ticket, and donated the proceeds to relief efforts in Puerto Rico. The event raised a whopping $45,000 for the island’s devastated citizens, and likely inspired plenty of fans to donate more.
"Stranger Things 2" hits Netflix
The wait is over! Over a year after the first season of the loving ‘80s sci-fi pastiche became a surprise runaway hit and internet sensation, Netflix has released the second season. This weekend, you can escape back to the troubled little town of Hawkins and reunite with its rambunctious nerds -- including Eleven, who is very much back. Paul Reiser and Sean Astin add a fun new dimension, too.
Disney Channel announces its first LGBTQ main character
This is both groundbreaking and about damn time. Disney Channel, purveyor of wholesome kids entertainment, is introducing its first LGBTQ character, on the second season of the show “Andi Mack.” The character actually already exists -- Cyrus, the 13-year-old best friend of the titular main character, will realize he has feelings for Andi’s crush, Jonah. So it'll be a big part of the plot, instead of a token wink wink.
"Thor: Ragnarok" is the best-reviewed Marvel movie yet
Marvel Studios has been churning out major crowd pleasers for nearly a decade now, and clearly it isn't slowing down, having just scored its biggest critical hit yet. It's just a bit strange that it's a Thor movie, since the God of Thunder has traditionally been a weak link in the studio’s lineup. But the switch to director Taika Waititi’s comedic approach is clearly paying off, as the movie has a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, one percent above the original MCU movie, "Iron Man," and a full 16 slots above the last place movie, which just so happens to be the last Thor movie.
Netflix’s true crime satire "American Vandal" renewed
Another surprise meta Netflix hit! A satire of the slew of big true crime shows that have been hits for Netflix, the eight-episode series follows a few students as they try to crack the mystery of just who graffitied big red dicks on 27 teachers' cars. It could have been a one-note (very funny) joke, but instead it was an engrossing look at modern high schoolers, the quiet biases that shape their lives, and how society fails people. But don't worry, it was also hilarious, and now it's going to have a second season. Binge it now!
SNL's David S. Pumpkins holiday special airs on Saturday
A goofy nonsensical sketch with Tom Hanks in a pumpkin suit and wig became a cultural sensation last year, perhaps because we all needed some silly relief from the election season. Well, nothing has gotten better politically, but at least "SNL" is now given us a whole animated DSP special, with Hanks back to provide the voice of the new icon.