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Why Is There So Much Religion in Netflix’s ‘Away?’

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Hilary Swank in Netflix’s “Away”

(Warning: This post does contain some spoilers for “Away” on Netflix).

Do you need faith in a higher power to get through a strenuous mission to Mars? In Netflix’s Hilary Swank-led space drama series “Away,” showrunner Jessica Golberg found the oh-so-subtlest ways to ask that very question with an intertwining theme of faith and religion — which we just couldn’t help but notice.

For instance, consider how one of the five astronauts on the mission to Mars, Dr. Kwesi Weisberg-Abban (Ato Essandoh), was left orphaned when his birth parents died and was then adopted by a Jewish woman and her husband. Throughout the eight-month mission, Kwesi often prays openly, and in the final episode he even ends up swaying the usually agnostic Dr. Lu Wang (Vivian Wu), who asks him to lead them in prayer as they approach their difficult and potentially fatal landing on Mars.

Then there’s that scene where Commander Emma Green’s (Swank) daughter Alexis (Talitha Eliana Bateman) attends a Catholic mass with her boyfriend — not your average activity for a couple of love-struck fifteen-year-olds.

Throughout the series, the astronauts are guided through every terrifying moment where something goes wrong by a sense of “hope,” which might as well be synonymous with faith — whether that’s in God, science, or something else entirely is up for interpretation.

“When you talk about the universe, it’s hard to eclipse those questions of faith,” Goldberg told TheWrap. “We did a lot of research, we talked to a lot of astronauts, and one thing we kept hearing was when you’re up there, if you’re atheist, you’re even more of an atheist, or if you believe, you become a deeper believer. I think because we were having those conversations in the [writers] room, they just worked into the larger fabric of the show.”

It should come as no surprise to fans of the sci-fi space travel genre that a mission to Mars also brings up the ultimate question: are we alone?

“When you’re questioning about going to the moon or Mars or other planets, you’re questioning, ‘Is there life in other places? Are we the only life?’ The sort of Russian doll of questions that you start to ask ends up always coming around to faith in some way,” Goldberg continued. “We felt that a lot of scientists are agnostics, are atheists, but it felt important to have someone up there who had faith and believed. And you hear about people having experiences in space.”

Even astronauts who don’t necessarily believe in God have reported feeling something close to the divine when peering out of that little window down at that blue marble, Earth, Goldberg said.

“We talked to Don Pettit, who didn’t believe in God, who’s been in space for hundreds of hours, and he felt more a spiritual sense with the Earth,” she said of the American chemical engineer and NASA astronaut. “Some people experience little lights and have more of a religious experience.”

“In our [writers] room, we’d be talking about these things, and then it would definitely evolve back to, ‘Is there a God? Do you need faith to get through these kinds of missions? What happens if you believe in nothing? What if there is other life out there?’” she continued. “If we get to go on and have a Season 2, that question will play even more deeply because the question of life on Mars is the scientific basis, you know, it’s the holy grail of what Mars could possibly hold.”

Could there be little green men on Mars? Do they know something about a higher power that we don’t? Let’s hope “Away” gets a second season so we can find out.

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Bad Bunny Is Releasing A Line Of Glow-In-The-Dark Crocs

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There’s a trend of musicians partnering with shoe brands, like Travis Scott working with Nike, Kanye with Adidas, and J. Cole with Puma. Add Bad Bunny to the list. The Puerto Rican singer unveiled his own collection of footwear, soon to release a line of his very-own Crocs.

Bad Bunny’s eye-catching Crocs, which are apparently making a comeback, have a special feature. While at first glance the shoe boasts a stark white exterior in Crocs’ original design, his version are able to completely glow in dark when the lights are turned off. Of course, no pair of Crocs would be complete without their plastic accessories, Jibbitz, which Bad Bunny made sure to insert into his collection. The charms include stars, planets, as well as Bad Bunny’s signature logo.

In a statement about the collaboration, Bad Bunny said he’s been a “longtime fan” of the shoe brand: “I believe in being true and not placing limitations on myself, which is also something Crocs represents, and this is the message I always want to make sure I send out to my fans. As a longtime fan creating my own design for Crocs was a lot of fun. I hope they inspire others to have their own fun with their personal style and wearing what makes them happy.”

Check out photos of the Bad Bunny Crocs collaboration above.

The Bad Bunny x Crocs Classic Glow Clog hits online stores 9/29 at 12 p.m. EDT. Get them here.

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Watch Mastodon, Russian Circles Members Cover Alice in Chains

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Mastodon’s Brann Dailor and Russian Circles’ Mike Sullivan joined for a collaborative version of Alice in Chains’ “Rain When I Die” as part of the “Two Minutes to Late Night” quarantine cover series.

Dailor plays drums on the colorful rendition, adding harmony vocals alongside lead singer Justin Suitor (Painted Wives). Sullivan and Stephen Brodsky (Cave In, Mutoid Man) nail the song’s wah-wah guitars, and host Gwarsenio Hall adds bass. Midway through the track, the quintet break into the riff from another Nineties rock classic, Soundgarden’s “Spoonman.”

“Martin Scorsese’s Alice in Chains doesn’t live here anymore,” reads the video’s YouTube caption. “We covered ‘Rain When I Die’ and we did it with some added panache!”

The Alice in Chains cover is the 23rd installment of the “Two Minutes to Late Night” series, which features bedroom-style videos that benefit the participating artists through Patreon. Recent installments have included a take on Robyn’s “Ever Again” (featuring members of Mastodon and Royal Thunder) and an all-star version of Rush’s “Anthem” (with members of Mastodon, Coheed and Cambria, Tool and Primus).

In early September, Mastodon issued Medium Rarities, a 16-track compilation album featuring covers, soundtrack songs (including “White Walker” from Game of Thrones), live takes, instrumentals, B-sides and one previously unreleased cut (“Fallen Torches”). The band released a new track, “Rufus Lives,” as part of the Bill & Ted Face the Music Soundtrack.

Mastodon have reportedly started work on their eighth studio LP. They’ve yet to announce a release date for the project, which which follows 2017’s Emperor of Sand.

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Fleetwood Mac Shot Up The Spotify Charts & It’s Probs Due To That Dude Vibing On His Skateboard

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Remember that TikTok of the dude just vibing to “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac while skating down the highway? It’s probably the reason you’ve had the song stuck in your head over the past few days, and why a decades-old song is suddenly the 90th most-streamed song on Spotify globally.

The TikTok blew up outside the app when it was shared to Twitter on September 26 with the caption: “I don’t use this verbiage often but this is a whole vibe. Simple as that.”

Within just days it copped well over 200,000 retweets and over 828,000 likes. The view count has clocked an astronomical 21.3 million views and counting.

That’s not to mention the amount of times this video was embedded into other tweets, themselves getting tens of thousands of likes.

Now, it seems, all of us at home have had “Dreams” stuck in our heads and have been vibing with the dude from afar.

In Australia, “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac (specifically the 2004 remastered version) had been hovering around the 100-mark on the Spotify Top 200 chart for the past few months.

On the day the tweet went viral, the song shot up to 55 on the charts. The day after, it rose to become the 48th most-streamed song in the country.

It’s a similar story in the US, where the song went from hovering around the 200-mark all the way to being the 24th highest ranking song in just a couple of days. In the UK the song went from sitting comfortably around 150 on the charts to number 53.

In New Zealand – where people are apparently obsessed with the Fleetwood Mac banger – there was still a noticeable jump in the last couple of days days.

On the normal day across the Tasman, “Dreams” is apparently the 50th most-streamed song on Spotify, which is both nuts and awesome. However after the tweet blew up, it’s now the 33rd most-streamed song.

Globally, the song’s gone from not charting in the top 200 at all to suddenly being Spotify’s 90th most-streamed song around the world.

The original TikTok has also done pretty well. It’s got almost 15 million views and over three million likes since being uploaded less than a day before it blew up on Twitter.

@420doggface208Morning vibe ##420souljahz ##ec ##feelinggood ##h2o ##cloud9 ##happyhippie ##worldpeace ##king ##peaceup ##merch ##tacos ##waterislife ##high ##morning ##710 ##cloud9♬ original sound – gillytheanswer

@420doggface208 aka Nathan Apodaca was apparently known as Tío TikTok (Spanish for “Uncle TikTok”) but now the masses have simply crowned him as the Vibe King.

“Yesterday after I did that video, as you guys know the shit went viral – holy sheep shit,” he said in a followup TikTok.

“I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart from DoggFace, me and my family, to all you guys.”

It was enough for the official Fleetwood Mac Twitter account to share the video themselves, saying: “We love this!”

In one of the wildest comebacks of the year, a single TikTok has managed to make a mid-2000s remaster of a song from the 70s suddenly explode on Spotify.

“Reach for the stars,” Apodaca said in a message to fans.

He’s not wrong. Let’s see how high it ends up charting.

Image:
TikTok / @420doggface208 | Getty Images / Kevin Mazur

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