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DID YOU READ

E3 2012: “Halo 4” demo and gameplay promises “everything matters”

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LOS ANGELES, California — The Electronic Entertainment Expo is fully underway in Los Angeles, and even with hundreds of games for attendees to see, it’s easy to argue that “Halo 4” is one of the most hotly anticipated titles in attendance. Microsoft and 343 Industries announced the follow-up to “Halo 3” last year at E3, and this year they brought a demo and some playable elements of the game for a select few to check out.

IFC was lucky enough to sit down for a demo of the game hosted by executive producer Kiki Wolfkill and franchise development director Frank O’Connor. Both seemed very aware of the legacy “Halo 4” is continuing, and they seemed ready to face that challenge head-on.

“With ‘Halo 4,’ we do look at it as the start of the next 10 years, the start of a new saga for ‘Halo,'” Wolfkill said, adding that they have identified the strengths of the franchise as something to focus on in this installment. “Our aspirations are definitely to deliver on an epic sci-fi experience. I think that’s a key piece of ‘Halo,’ and be able to deliver on that mystery and that awe and that sense of wonder of being somewhere new and alien.”

Though “Halo 3” seemingly concluded main character Master Chief’s adventures, there have been other “Halo” games released since. “Halo: Reach” took place before the events of “Halo,” while “Halo Wars” and “Halo 3: ODST” expanded the story in tangential directions. There have also been countless novels written that take place in the “Halo” universe and elaborate on the series’ mythology. But according to O’Connor, that was all in preparation of “Halo 4.”

“We realized that these things that take place in the alleyways and corners of the ‘Halo’ universe aren’t nearly as compelling or satisfying as the mainline story and the characters that people are familiar with. So it was a really simple decision: From now on, everything matters,” O’Connor said. “So every piece of story content that we’ve added to the universe since that point will actually pay off in ‘Halo 4.’ The characters that you’ve learned about, the technologies you’ve learned about, the mysteries of the Forerunner universe: everything’s going to be in ‘Halo 4.'”

“Halo 4” takes place five years after the events of “Halo 3.” As players who completed “Halo 3″on legendary difficulty will know, Master Chief was left in crysoleep in orbit above a mysterious alien planet. “Halo 4” will pick up right from where that left off, with Chief landing on the planet and facing off with new enemies there.

Those enemies will be called Prometheans, which are “effectively” Forerunners, as explained by O’Connor. The species was introduced in the “Halo” novels written by Greg Bear, and is the first set of new aliens that have been brought into the game franchise since the Covenant in the first “Halo.”

That’s not to say that the Covenant won’t be present in “Halo 4” as well. Whatever uneasy alliance there was at the end of “Halo 3” has since dissipated.

“The alliance with these particular Covenant is gone. Every Covenant that you encounter in ‘Halo 4’ specifically is a bad guy, and that will be very apparent why at the start of the game,” O’Connor said. “[The Covenant and Prometheans] will interact with each other and in various different ways. Sometimes they’ll be cooperating with you and other elements they’ll be resisting each other.”

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.