Big Bang Theory goes from fiction to fact with new scholarship

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Cast and crew have contributed to help needy students attend UCLA for math and science.
Cast and crew have contributed to help needy students attend UCLA for math and science.
Photo: Warner Bros. Television

Nerds and geeks alike are satirized and celebrated in CBS’s hit television show The Big Bang Theory, which has aired since 2007.

The very same intelligent kids that the show lionizes will now have a chance to study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects at UCLA, thanks to a new endowmnent from show co-creator Chuck Lorre and some of the cast and crew of the show.

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. Maybe one of the recipients will become the next Steve Wozniak or Bill Gates.

Apple’s Watch gets updated and their television gets scrapped on The CultCast

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Photo:

This week: ok sure, Apple may have forever shelved plans for a proper television, but reports of a souped-up Apple TV debuting at WWDC will make you forget all that. Plus: the good stuff in Apple’s first Watch update; new Macbook Pros and iMacs get faster specs and bigger price tags; and Steve Jobs teaches bad actors a lesson they shan’t forget.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Squarespace 7 is live, and it’s their biggest update in years. Now building a beautiful website is faster and easier than ever. Learn more at Squarespace.com/seven and use code “CultCast” at checkout for 10% off any order.

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Show notes ahead!

How real historical intrigue inspires Game of Thrones

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The Lancasters always pay their debts. In blood.
The Lancasters always pay their debts. In blood.
Photo: TED-Ed

You know nothin’, Jon Snow. Especially how much more full of shifting alliances and intrigue The Wars of the Roses was than your epic television series is able to show. Game of Thrones superfans may already know that 15th-century England inspired much of the structure of George R. R. Martin’s overarching book series, but having it all laid out — lovely animations and visuals to support the historical information — is our first exposure to that fact.

The short animated video, written by Alex Gendler and animated by Brett Underhill, even illustrates how Game of Thrones matches directly to historical facts with some fun Pop-Up Video-style flourishes. You’ll love it.

Up, up and away! First Supergirl trailer has us cautiously optimistic

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She's not just here to look good, but to do good.
She's not just here to look good, but to do good.
Photo: CBS

It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s not a man. It’s Supergirl.

Seeing Kara Zor-El finally embrace her amazing Kryptonian powers in this trailer for the upcoming CBS television series Supergirl is an eye-welling moment of pure awesomeness for men and women alike who appreciate the Super myths from DC Comics.

Watching her bumble her way through cheesy, flirty moments as the gopher for media conglomerate owner Cat Grant (played by Calista Flockhart) and giggling through her scenes with beefcake James Olson, however, is a cheesiness that rivals some of the worst of Smallville, so color us warily excited. Check out the trailer and make up your own mind.

The Muppets get their own Office-style sitcom

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Modern jokes with modern pigs. Photo: Disney/ABC Studios
Modern jokes with modern pigs. Photo: Disney/ABC Studios

What can he say? Kermit is attracted to pigs.

In the one-camera mockumentary style made popular by both versions of The Office, The Muppets are poised to take over ABC this year as they star in their first TV series since their original show back in the mid-1970s.

Take a look at this hilarious, witty trailer for the upcoming show, complete with an absent-minded Miss Piggy and a world-weary yet optimistic Kermit the Frog along with a cast of familiar and new characters.

The trailer pokes fun at the new format of the show along with the Muppets themselves–it’s worth a watch.

5 great TV shows you should catch up on over the holidays

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Prepare to meet -- and subsequently love -- Ron Swanson. Photo: NBC
Prepare to meet -- and subsequently love -- Ron Swanson. Photo: NBC

A lot of TV happens every day, and it’s understandable if you can’t watch all of it. Maybe you have a job or read or something. But now, the holidays have given you the gift of several days off with nothing to do but open presents, eat and watch television, so you might as well make up for lost time.

Here are five TV shows you should cram into your face like so much Christmas goose before you have to go back to work.

‘Thank You’ offers fans a graceful, defanged goodbye to True Blood

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It's hard to say goodbye. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO
#GoodbyesSuck Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

It’s time, Tru Believers, to watch the very last episode of HBO’s vampire romantic drama, True Blood.

Overall, this final episode is slow and sweetly-paced, funneling down from the crazy, too-many-characters and plot lines of the past several seasons to a gentle, musing (and ultimately narratively safe) tale of people trying to find themselves and growing up in the process.

Luckily, since this is TV, they all eventually do. Hoyt and Jessica, Jason and Bridgette, and — of course — Bill and Sookie all find their own version of a happy ending, with very few surprises along the way; it’s a very safe finish to seven seasons of fangbangery.

As always, spoilers ahead. So keep reading at your own peril.

9 awesome comic books ready to blow up your TV set

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Preacher, based on the ultra-violent and incredibly profane comic book series from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon at Vertigo, is a not-so-safe bet. That’s why we’re super-glad that AMC (The Walking Dead) has picked up this amazing look at American culture and its obsession with big guns, Christianity and hyper-masculinity, all filtered through a Texas setting. The show reportedly will debut in 2015.

Preacher, based on the ultra-violent and incredibly profane comic book series from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon at Vertigo, is a not-so-safe bet. That’s why we’re super-glad that AMC (The Walking Dead) has picked up this amazing look at American culture and its obsession with big guns, Christianity and hyper-masculinity, all filtered through a Texas setting. The show reportedly will debut in 2015.


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Elementary! Sherlock returns for fourth season plus Christmas special

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Sherlock

The official BBC One Twitter account had a surprise for fans of its hit show Sherlock Wednesday with a tease that the oft-delayed series about a modern Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick John Watson will be returning.

Constantine TV show could nail comic’s smart-ass tone

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He's got the attitude down, at least.
He's got the attitude down, at least.

As a huge fan of Vertigo Comics’ Hellblazer, about hard-bitten wise-cracking paranormal detective John Constantine, I’m warily excited about the upcoming TV series on NBC. Wary because of the totally off-base movie of the same name. Excited because, well, it looks like they got a bunch of things about the character and universe in which he lives “right.”

“I think as with the source material,” says series lead Matt Ryan in an interview with IGN, “there’s so much to draw from in terms of the character and the balance of humor and wit and dark and gritty. It’s great, because John has this kind of real sarcastic, ironic British wit. It’s funny, but at the same time it’s serious and dark and gritty. It’s got it all, I think.”

At first glance, the trailer (below) looks like the show creators understand more of the character than the 2005 movie starring Keanu Reeves ever did, including emo angels, a world-weary John Constantine and his famous trench coat.