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'Serial' podcast makes Thursdays a Must-Listen event

A long time ago, Thursdays were known for Must-See TV. But this October, Thursdays have become a can’t-miss pop-cultural date for a completely different reason: an audio podcast.

Ira Glass and the folks behind This American Life radio recently launched a new podcast, titled “Serial,” an addictive podcast about a gruesome murder and the curious court case that convicted a 17-year-old kid. And it’s better than the best episode of Law & Order because it features the actual people who lived through the tragedy—plus, you have no clue how it’s going to end. It’s narrated by former Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Koenig, who accepted the challenge to re-investigate the 1999 strangling of a Baltimore teenager named Hae Min Lee. Her ex-boyfriend, a son of Muslim immigrants named Adnan Syed, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, but he’s always maintained his innocence.

In the podcast’s first six episodes, listeners have been riveted by the details of the case; Koenig has tracked down old witnesses, old associates of Hae and Adnan, and old police recordings and court transcripts. The case against Adnan appears flimsy: There was no substantial physical evidence linking him to the crime, and the prosecution relied heavily on cell-phone records and the testimony of a slightly sketchy witness named Jay. A friend of Adnan’s, Jay claimed to police that he’d helped his pal dig the shallow grave in which they dumped Hae’s body after Adnan had killed her.

But there are so many loose threads in the conflicting stories, loose threads that may lead to something—or nothing. The truth seems just inches beyond Koenig’s reach, as she tries to reconstruct the events and the relationships that led to tragedy, but with every episode, it almost feels like the truth is further away. Some listeners have compared it to True Detective, but I think a better cinematic comparison is David Fincher’s Zodiac, because like Jake Gyllenhaal’s obsessive detective, Koenig has fallen through the rabbit hole where every answer inevitably leads to two more questions. Why did Adnan’s friend, Asia, sign an affidavit stating she spoke with him at the library at about the time of the murder—and then back away from that statement when it could’ve made a difference? Why didn’t Adnan’s attorney push harder against the damning cell-phone data that proved to be very convincing, but on closer examination, is revealed to be shredded with holes and inconsistencies? But what about The Nisha Call, the phone call that likely only could’ve been made by Adnan at a time when he claims he didn’t have his cell phone? READ FULL STORY

Horror comes from surprising places in new 'Sabrina' and 'Memetic' comics

There’s always been a strange dichotomy to horror as a genre. There’s the real, hard-edged, genuinely scary stuff, but also the cheesy and hilarious, where we delight in the misfortune of the characters we watch instead of fearing for them. But where things get really interesting is when those lines get blurred, intentionally or not. That’s when you get scary things coming from places you wouldn’t expect, or the unintentional comedy that comes from something trying really hard to be scary.

With October being the designated month for all things spooky, and Halloween just hours away, now’s the perfect time to consider two of the most interesting horror comic books that debuted this month: Archie’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 and Boom! Studios Memetic #1.

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Taylor Kitsch blasts through a futuristic war zone in 'Call of Duty' trailer

Another Call of Duty, another live-action trailer to accompany its debut. Every year, publisher Activision puts together a star-studded trailer to promote one of its biggest franchises, and this year, they’ve enlisted a Dillon Panther to help.

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Watch Stephen Colbert interview Anita Sarkeesian about Gamergate

On last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, the Comedy Central host took on Gamergate, gaming’s biggest controversy. The segment also included a surprise guest—feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian.

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Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer, & Miranda Sings show up in new trailer for 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee'

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, the show that turns a basic premise into an outrageous display of hijinks, released a new trailer for season five, and yes, there is an episode with Miranda Sings.

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Funny or Die spoofs viral New York City street-harassment video

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Recently, a striking video circulated around the Internet showing the street harassment one woman endured during 10 hours of walking around NYC. Funny or Die has responded with a video showing what it’s like to walk around the city as a white man. It’s, well, different.  READ FULL STORY

Jim Carrey reprises his Matthew McConaughey impression on 'Letterman'

Sometimes, one actor rolls along who just invites parody—these days, that actor is Matthew McConaughey.

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Spider-Man fans, Marvel's next Summer 2015 teaser is for you

Marvel has put out another one of its mysterious Summer 2015 teaser posters, and it’s a doozy for Spider-Man fans. Illustrated by Adam Kubert, the teaser is titled Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows and despite being a simple image, it’s absolutely loaded with callouts to some of the most controversial moments in Spidey history.

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Cookie Monster spoofs 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'

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Harry Potter, who? Sesame Street‘s Cookie Monster becomes his own Triwizard champion of sorts in Furry Potter and The Goblet of Cookies.

The video—a parody on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—acts as a lesson in listening. Professor Grumblemore (get it?!) gives Furry Potter three challenges (hence the Triwizard joke!) with very specific directions. In each challenge, Furry Potter has to sort the cookies and place them in the appropriate jar. When he follows the directions, he gets one step closer to the Goblet of Cookies.

“My favorite part of cookie magic, to make these cookies disappear,” Furry Potter says upon completing the challenges. Take a cue from him, and watch the video here.

Study: Pop stars die 25 years earlier than U.S. population average

The road to pop stardom is paved with a fast-paced lifestyle—one that may be shortening the lifespans of many pop musicians, according to a new study.

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