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They might be immigrants from Transylvania, but the Hauntley family has been welcomed into U.S. homes with open arms...

Disney Junior's VAMPIRINA is a series that I pegged as a hit months in advance of its Fall 2017 debut, and that's something that was quickly proven true. Today, Disney announced that they've officially ordered a second season of VAMPIRINA, setting the stage for even more supernatural adventures for the younger crowd. The series follows young Vampirina (aka "Vee") as she faces the joys and trials of being the new kid in town, including making friends and attending a new school in the human world. VAMPIRINA stars Lauren Graham, James Van Der Beek and Isabella Crovetti as the Hauntley family, friendly vampires who have recently relocated from Transylvania to Pennsylvania.

If you happen to have run into me at an event over the past few years... or perhaps even run across a photo from such an event, you may have noticed that more often than not, I'm wearing "my own brand." Custom apparel is certainly not a new thing, nor is the idea of showing support for your favorite brands and personalities than rockin' their logo on a tee. It's taken a little bit, but after being gently nudged a few times, I'm happy to reveal that The Rock Father™ T-Shirt Collection is now available, exclusively through TeePublic! The initial launch collection features familiar designs - the logos I'm often seen wearing, each available in both men's and women's styles, with numerous color combinations available. 

As a new trailer was recently released for 2018's refreshed take on the TOMB RAIDER franchise, many were curious not about the visuals - but about the song. Continuing a trend of slowed-down, haunting versions of famous pop songs in trailers and commercials (and it's a growing list), this time around it's "Survivor," the 2001 hit by DESTINY'S CHILD getting the re-working. With the socials lighting up to locate the artist, we now have the answer: 2WEI. The German duo is responsible for the music heard in many movies, trailers and commercials, and their cover of "Survivor" is just the latest to gain attention. Stream the track and see the new trailer below, then look for 2WEI's version to hit Spotify very soon... They say it's Beyonce-approved!"

Behind-the-Curtain: Some words about the business...

In the summer of 2016, I made a rare appearance at a conference in New York City - Blogger Bash. The event was a presentation of the team behind The Toy Insider, and at the time I'd just become a member of their Parent Advisory Board and a regular contributor to their publication (read my January 2018 column here!). Paired with Sweet Suite (a must-attend gathering for the toy industry) the event brought together a wide array of media from traditional press to social media influencers and everyone in between. Following breakfast, I was having a conversation with a group who was at first surprised that I was actually able to exist in the physical realm rather than as a voice that lives only within their digital devices (I'd become known as a conference-avoider). Where I'd raised a few eyebrows and turned a few neighboring heads was when I stood there, drink in-hand, and casually made the comment that "you should never use the term 'influencer' in a front-facing manner." When asked why, I said it was "because it can be construed as being condescending to your audience." Two years later, I stand behind that statement, because "influencer" is a behind-the-scenes title that should never be pointed at an audience, and right now that's more important than ever. 

Last week, I took you inside DreamWorks Animation for a sneak-preview of DreamWorks' Trolls: The Beat Goes On! Now that the first season of the series (and yes, there will be a second - I can confirm that) has been released for streaming on Netflix, it's time to delve even deeper into the world of the Trolls, and that means going off-screen to look at the latest toys from my friends at Hasbro, who are bringing Troll Village to life with a whole new collection. DreamWorks and Hasbro recently sent us an assortment for review here in The Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ, but before we get going on that, lets first take a look at the new Trolls: The Beat Goes On! Season 1 Featurette, in which Skylar Astin (voice of Branch) and Amanda Leighton (voice of Poppy) throw down some details about their new adventures...

I've been trying to stress this for years, but now is the last time I'm going to say it: If you are a fan of the STAR WARS films that's been hungry for more, yet doesn't typically venture into the expansive world that Lucasfilm has long-explored in comics, books, games and more, you need to be watching STAR WARS REBELS. As the series heads toward its conclusion with the last run of episodes, now is the time to catch-up on the four-season series to see how it all wraps up. Set in the years prior to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Rebels is a fitting example of a Star Wars tale that can introduce new characters into the timeline established by the feature films, while showcasing new adventures in new corners of the galaxy that have previously remained unexplored. This spirited adventure is very much in-line with where I personally hope that Rian Johnson will take his currently-in-development New Trilogy. See the mid-season trailer below, complete with the return of Emperor Palpatine, making his series debut in these final episodes, voiced by actor Ian McDiarmid from the original films!

Over the years, despite having enormous respect for the band, I've not usually considered myself a big fan of MACHINE HEAD - more of a casual one. My favorite album by them is THE BURNING RED, which tends to get knocked as being a blight on their back catalogue - but it's the one I fall back on. Now, as their their new album CATHARSIS approaches, I've found myself revisiting their past works thanks to Spotify, and enjoying them more than ever, while at the same time loving each new track released from CATHARSIS. Now comes a new one, with "Kaleidoscope" taking things pretty literally on the visual front. Check it out below, and look for the new record on January 26th via Nuclear Blast Entertainment.

The original PARTY OF FIVE was a 90s staple of Fox - the tale of the Salinger siblings, a family dealing with the loss of their parents in a terrible car accident. When news hit my inbox that a reboot was coming, the immediate "HOW?" was answered with a timely, very Trump-era twist that is, as the saying goes, "ripped straight from the headlines." 

I am notoriously "anti-football." After enjoying the sport as a child, I completely lost interest in high school, and as an adult have come to largely despise the game and much of the culture that surrounds it. That said, I still find myself able to enjoy some football-based entertainment (movies like Wildcats, Necessary Roughness, Any Given Sunday), and now I'm intrigued by a documentary series that I had no idea was coming - despite my association with the Netflix Stream Team. Coach Snoop follows legendary rapper Snoop Dogg as he ventures outside the studio and onto the field as he coaches a team of teenagers in the Snoop Youth Football League. The eight-episode season offers an intimate look at Snoop and the players as they chase a championship and deal with adversity off the field. Check out the trailer below...

Nickelodeon will introduce kids to the wild and amazing world of animals with the brand-new clip-based series Zoofari, premiering Monday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. (ET/PT).  Made up of hilarious live-action footage, Zoofari (20 half-hour episodes) showcases the most adorable and incredible animals from around the world--from furry to feathered, scaly and more.  Created and produced by Cisneros Media’s MOBIUS.LAB Productions, a new episode of Zoofari will premiere every weekday through Friday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.  The series will also begin airing internationally later this year.

Thursday, January 18 2018 09:14

2018 Disney Preview: MARY POPPINS RETURNS

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2018 Disney previewPreview Coverage of the 2018 Motion Picture Slate from The Walt Disney Company...

In Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” an all new sequel with a fresh sensibility that celebrates the spirit of the original, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Emily Blunt (“The Girl on the Train,” “Into the Woods”) stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “Moana”) plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.

2018 Disney previewPreview Coverage of the 2018 Motion Picture Slate from The Walt Disney Company...

“Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” leaves Litwak’s video arcade behind, venturing into the uncharted, expansive and thrilling world of the internet—which may or may not survive Ralph’s wrecking. Video game bad guy Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) must risk it all by traveling to the world wide web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, Sugar Rush. In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet—the netizens—to help navigate their way, including a webite entrepreneur named Yesss (voice of Taraji P. Henson), who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site “BuzzzTube.”

Thursday, January 18 2018 09:05

2018 Disney Preview: THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS

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2018 Disney previewPreview Coverage of the 2018 Motion Picture Slate from The Walt Disney Company...

All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.

Thursday, January 18 2018 09:00

2018 Disney Preview: CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

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2018 Disney previewPreview Coverage of the 2018 Motion Picture Slate from The Walt Disney Company...

In the heartwarming live action adventure “Disney’s Christopher Robin,” the young boy who loved embarking on adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood with a band of spirited and loveable stuffed animals, has grown up and lost his way. Now it’s up to his childhood friends to venture into our world and help Christopher Robin remember the loving and playful boy who is still inside.

2018 Disney previewPreview Coverage of the 2018 Motion Picture Slate from The Walt Disney Company...

It was three years ago that Marvel's ANT-MAN first hit the big screen, and after appearances in Captain America: Civil War and the forthcoming Avengers: Infinity War, he'll be back in his second full-length movie, ANT-MAN AND THE WASP this summer. It's a team effort this time around, and the whole crew from the first film is back for another adventure...

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