If you fell out of love with “Stranger Things,” the new season might be enough to win you back. But if not, then “The Expanse” might be a good rebound. Also this week: We’re getting stuck in The Last Clockwinder and reeling over outlaw nuns who are on the run.
‘Stranger Things’ is back
I lost interest in “Stranger Things” after the second season; there’s only so much “retro meets gore” I can take. Still, the show has clearly become a cultural phenomenon, and the three-year gap between seasons three and four only seems to have rekindled the fire. When the fourth season finally debuted on Netflix last weekend, it instantly became the service’s most-watched English-language show to date. Which is a very long-winded way of saying: Fine, I’ll give it another try this coming weekend. How about you?
The Last Clockwinder's puzzles will get you
The Last Clockwinder is an intriguing new VR puzzle game with a bit of a backstory: You get to save a mysterious clocktower from sinking by solving a series of puzzles. Some of the tasks are pretty repetitive, but that’s by design: Instead of doing the same thing over and over again, you get to train gardening robots to do them for you by recording small loops of your actions. At first, the set design may be a bit underwhelming — the clock tower basically consists of a series of floors that look very much alike, and there are a bunch of decorations that you can’t interact with at all — but soon, the challenges draw you in, and seeing all those gardening robots work in unison feels oddly satisfying.
‘The Expanse’ is the perfect summer binge
“The Expanse” has a very dedicated fan base, but it doesn't have a whole lot of name recognition beyond that base. That’s what led to SyFy pulling the plug on the show after season three aired in 2018, resulting in a fan campaign to save the show, which in turn got Amazon to buy and run three additional seasons.
The show itself is set in a universe where civilization is split into three factions: Earth, ruled by a much more gung-ho version of the U.N.; Mars, whose inhabitants want to turn it into a better version of Earth; and the Belt, an industrial zone home to the universe’s underdogs. There’s a constant threat of war between those factions, coups, deceit, aliens — and, somehow, a small gang of friends with a stolen ship and a no-nonsense attitude always finds itself in the middle of everything. Amazon streams all six seasons of “The Expanse” to Prime subscribers, making it the perfect show to binge this summer.
The tale of the outlaw nuns
Looking for an escape from all the bleak news these days? Then dig in and read the tale of the Belgian nuns who quietly sold off their convent’s possessions, acquired all kinds of interesting and odd stuff and fled the country in the dead of night. Someone should turn this into a movie!
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