It’s been 25 years since 76 members of a religious sect died, horribly, in a fire at their rural Texas compound following a 51-day standoff with law enforcement. At the time, the Waco Seige dominated headlines, and updates on the status of the standoff were must-see-TV back when 24-hour news networks were still young. Waco, the new six-part miniseries that dramatizes the fall of the Branch Davidians, is equally as compelling to watch. It’s also extremely unpleasant, because it doesn’t shy away from brutal violence or the uncomfortable reality that this was more than just the story of some crazy cultists.

Tonight, at 10 pm eastern, Waco becomes the first scripted drama on the Paramount Network, a newly rebranded channel that emerged from the ashes of the bro-centric Spike. The limited series is so serious that it’s almost a mission statement: “We are not the Ultimate Fighting or Stripperella channel anymore.” This could be a problem, as television isn’t lacking ultra-grave and serious dramas, but Waco’s handling of a tragic, fascinating, and misunderstood event in fairly recent history elevate things.

Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights fame stars as the leader of the Branch Davidians, David Koresh. He’s skinny, and sporting a distinctly ‘90s (and slightly off-putting) mullet, but you can tell Koresh is a charmer, in his own way. Deeply smart, charismatic, and devoted, showrunners Drew and John Erick Dowdle chose to depict Koresh as a likable person, rather than just the dead cult leader he’s remembered as. But, he still was a cult leader, and Waco deftly toes the line of making him sympathetic even as he’s marrying multiple women, possibly having children with his underage wives, and stockpiling illegal guns.

Those upsetting aspects of Koresh’s religious sect were what got the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives interested, and they wanted to raid this kooky cult to score a much-needed PR win. This didn’t go as planned, and due to a series of blunders and miscommunications, things turned deadly. The 51-day siege is the most endearing aspect of the Waco story, but the miniseries unflinchingly confronts viewers with a bloody and horrifying firefight, one that left several dead on both sides.

Waco doesn’t fully paint the ATF or FBI as the real bad guys, though. Michael Shannon’s FBI negotiator Gary Noesner wants to understand the Branch Davidians, and desperately wants to avoid further bloodshed. Sadly, there’s not enough of that understanding to go around, and Waco agonizingly shows how that, in and of itself, is a tragedy.


This is not The People v. O. J. Simpson, another recent look at a big ‘90s event. That great show had dramatic moments and offered insights into the case that, in some respects, defined the time period, but it was fun to watch. (David Schwimmer sure said “Juice” a bunch of times while playing Kim Kardashian’s dad!) Waco doesn’t have that.

The biggest thing missing from popular conceptions of the Waco Seige was the graphic understanding of how senseless and sad all everything was. If Waco’s hard to watch, that’s kind of the point. It always should’ve been hard to watch. 

Waco premieres on Wednesday at 10 p.m. Eastern on the Paramount Network.

Photos via Paramount, Paramount Network

Another odd-numbered week in Fortnite Season 5 means another treasure map Challenge, and Week 5 has players “follow a treasure map found in Snobby Shores.” But what location does that treasure map lead to?

Week 5 downtime began at 4 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, but the Challenges didn’t officially roll out until 9 a.m., confirming the leaked Challenges from earlier in the week that includes teleporting through rift portals.

Rockstar Games warned us that a new Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer was coming, but we still weren’t ready for this. The company released a jaw-dropping gameplay video on Thursday morning, offering a look at the beautiful upcoming video game and revealing a ton of exciting new details

You can check out the full gameplay trailer up top, but if for whatever reason you can’t watch a 6-minute video right now allow us to break it down for you. Here are 10 things we learned about Red Dead Redemption 2.

After two months of agonizing silence, Nintendo is finally set to reveal some fresh details about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in a Direct livestream that kicks off later today. We’re not sure what to expect, but the pre-recorded video could divulge new characters for the Ultimate roster, along with new stages, new modes, information on how online play will work, and more.

Toward the end of Fortnite: Battle Royale Season 5, strange things started happening on the island. Rifts began to appear and then disappear hours later, taking with it some signs. One of the signs was the famous Durr Burger sign that eventually reappeared in a California desert, and new leaks show that giant Tomato Head sign will also return to the game.

Shovel Knight is coming to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate… sort of. The protagonist of the popular indie Kickstarter game Shovel Knight is, at last, joining the latest installment of Nintendo’s crossover fighting game series, but as (wait for it) an Assist Trophy.

Yeah, I know.