Tag Archives: TV

Geek Recreation Day: Boozin’ and Streamin’

man_high_castle_tv_series_mapIn a somewhat-of-a-stretch Beastie Boys homage, I thought I’d bring you all a geeky report on the televisual marathon some of our gaming group just had…

  1. The last episode of the first season of Man In The High Castle, the “the Axis won” Amazon alternate history series based, as is everything else, on a Philip K. Dick story. The series is pretty good, we want season 2 to come out!  The finale was – well, not quite as murderfesty as the end of a Mario Puzo novel, but still reasonably dramatic. For this, we drank two Apple Brandy Spritzers (pronounce it really German-ey! Apple brandy and club soda.).  Last time we watched this series we went to the liquor store trying to find German and Japanese booze, and it was an eye opening experience, because they don’t have any that’s any good.  (Beer and sake don’t count). We’re not frat boys so we’re not drinking Jagermeister or Goldschlager, so some questionable German brandies and some sake were all we could muster from our friendly Twin Liquors.  Even in the show the Nazis drink “American brand whiskey.”  Perhaps their lack of decent distilled spirits was the bond that brought the Axis together (same deal with the Italians – Galliano?  Campari?  They all taste like ass juice.). The powers of gin, vodka, and whiskey came together to tamp their evil asses back into place. Let that be a lesson to you.
  2. Next, a shot of Patron Roca tequila and the pilot of the Amazon series of The Tick.  A lot higher budget and more actioney than the previous ill-fated Patrick Warburton live action adaptation.  Not quite as cool as the cartoon version – the actor for the Tick only 80% sold me on it. He was saying the quotes, but saying them and not feeling them. I’d like to see a full season, but with some Tick improvement.
  3. Then, some Courvosier and the Amazon pilot of Jean Claude Van Johnson, a weird show where JC Van Damme plays himself, but himself as kinda retired and washed up, both from movies and from being an actual black ops agent called “Johnson.” He gets back into both chasing an old flame, to mixed results.  It was entertaining enough but it was a very odd tone – and I don’t think that tone would be sustainable over a series, I think it would inevitably go goofy serial Burn Notice or something, so I don’t think it is a go.
  4. We decided to graduate to movies.  The Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse was entertaining since I was a Boy Scout in my youth, and zombies, and just enough boobs for an R rating.  Champ from Anchorman is the scout leader and the ginger from Workaholics is the first zombie kill, and Cloris Leachman is the crazy cat lady. That’s it for people you’ll recognize. Not quite Shaun of the Dead, but not Zombeavers or Zombie Strippers bad.  For this, more tequila, now sipping not shooting.
  5. Next up was The Sasquatch Gang.  Like Napoleon Dynamite but not as good, but vaguely entertaining. We had to turn on the closed captions since the blond shirtless guy mumbles the whole way through Boomhauer-style and the chick gets her jaw wired shut and then hiss-mumbles the rest of the way through. It has the kid from Live Free Or Die Hard and a bunch of other people you don’t know except for a cameo by Napoleon Dynamite. (The similarity to N.D. is neither accidental nor subtle.)  It’s about finding Sasquatch tracks and some small town geeks who do the foam-sword thing and Carl Weathers shows up in a cameo as some glory-chasing cryptozoological expert. For this we had to break out a custom drink I call the Krusty the Klown – it’s Southern Comfort and cherry juice.  Tastes like cherry cough syrup.
  6. And finally, P-51 Dragon Fighter.  This is a goofy made-for-SyFy type movie where Allied pilots in North Africa fight the newest Nazi weapon, dragons, complete with swastikas tattooed on their wings. By the guy who did Jack the Giant Killer and Sand Sharks (man, Sand Sharks sucked).  This was weirdly uneven.  Some of the acting was really good. The sound work was pathetically awful.  We had to turn off the closed captioning nonetheless since it lagged the movie by a full minute. The CGI was halfway decent.  But the costuming budget was approximately $200 total.  They managed to cobble together one halfway decent Nazi uniform and had sadly blank ones on the two other high ranking Nazis; none of the Allies wore anything other than a tan shirt as best as I can remember. Those who had to drive couldn’t drink for this one; luckily it was at my place so more Krusty the Klowns sufficed till the SoCo was gone.

All went according to plan – as we got more drinks in us, worse and worse movies were entertaining and not trying!  I am not sure any of those three movies are watchable fully sober, and I know the latter two certainly are not.  I feel like I’m not remembering some other drink we had, we did something else sippy with ice early on, but I fear the other 8 or so drinks have elided it from memory. This is over like 8 hours though, so it’s not like we were ultra-snockered. Some ice water and cheesesteaks were involved partway through as well.

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Gamer TV 2

Well, I decided since a year has passed, it’s time for a refresh posting of Gamer TV, a poll I did for my gaming group as to what TV shows they’re watching.

In my last Gamer TV poll, there was a lot of unity around a number of shows.  However, now, not as much. A lot of good shows many of us watch are on hiatus (or cancelled, who can ever tell) – Walking Dead, V, Stargate: Universe, Psych, Warehouse 13, Sons of Anarchy, Burn Notice, Metalocalypse… And what’s left isn’t that compelling, especially in the SF/fantasy/horror/geekitude arena. Here’s the poll results, sorted by number of votes and rough level of enthusiasm (some respondents provided categories of enjoyment).

Gamer Approved TV

  • 30 Rock x3
  • Supernatural x3
  • Tosh.0 x3
  • Being Human (US) x3
  • Being Human (British) x2
  • Castle x2
  • Daily Show x2
  • Chuck x2
  • Sons of Guns x2
  • How I Met Your Mother x2
  • S#*t My Dad Says x2
  • Doctor Who x2
  • Archer x2
  • Big Bang Theory x2
  • Fringe x2
  • House x2

Random Might-Be-Interesting TV

  • Southland
  • Gold Rush Alaska
  • Lights Out
  • Modern Family
  • Traffic Light
  • Community
  • Perfect Couples
  • Modern Family
  • Covert Affairs
  • White Collar
  • Glee
  • Kitchen Nightmares
  • No Ordinary Family
  • Simpsons
  • Mythbusters
  • Eagleheart
  • Justified
  • The Middle
  • Raising Hope
  • Better with You
  • Fringe
  • Avengers
  • Young Justice
  • Family Guy
  • Rules of Engagement
  • Shameless (British)
  • Detroit 187
  • Mr Sunshine
  • Outsourced
  • Onion
  • Primeval
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Robot Chicken
  • The Cape
  • Kitchen Impossible
  • Renovation Realities
  • Kill It Cook It Eat It
  • House
  • Bizarre Foods
  • Bitchin Kitchen
  • The Colony
  • Top Chef Allstars
  • Chopped Allstars
  • Kathy Griffin Life on the D List

The thing that struck me about this was the wide variety. Some of the picks (like the cooking shows) are from our groupies, not the gamers per se. Yes, it’s odd, our gaming group has groupies. But there’s a lot of diversity even taking those out of the lineup. Six respondents, only 3 votes for any single show. Last time, nearly everyone watched Dollhouse, for instance.

Volume varied a lot, too.  One guy only watches three shows.  One submitted thirty-three! (I only watch seven, not counting all the ones on hiatus.)

The biggest change is that Big Bang Theory used to be quite popular but has  dropped way down the list. I know I used to watch it and don’t any more, it got boring.

Being Human, Doctor Who, Fringe, and Supernatural are the only “genre” shows making the cut for us right now.  Note to the networks, we don’t love SF or whatever so much we’ll watch the shit you shovel out. In fact, all the Fringe watchers say that it is on its way down hard and they only watch it out of habit now (Heroes/Lost syndrome).

What about you?  Anything we missed, that you think has wide gamer appeal?

D&D on TV: Community

If you missed the D&D-themed episode of Community on NBC, the whole episode is online. It’s mighty funny.

Best parts:

  • The Chinese guy done up as a drow
  • The hot crazy chick proclaiming for gnome’s rights (we had a hot crazy chick who was all about monster’s rights in our epic campaign back in Memphis)
  • Chevy Chase (in general)
  • “Huzzah!!!  Is that right?”
  • The chick playing “Hector the Well Endowed” seducing the elf maiden while the other folks take notes
  • “I won Dungeons & Dragons!  And it was advanced!”

I thought it was interesting that it was pretty true to D&D.  The DM did all the rolling, like Zak with the “D&D with Porn Stars” group, which is mildly unusual but good for novices and more freeform older ed play where  you don’t have to roll 10 dice a round.

Adventure Time!

For those of you with kids or who are young at heart…  There’s a new cartoon on Cartoon Network called “Adventure Time” that is a kinda young, demented version of D&D.

It stars a kid named Finn who is a self-described “adventurer” always on a quest, and his intelligent transforming animal companion Jake, a dog who can grow big and stretch, who often serves as a mount.  Finn calls himself a “paladin” in one episode, and when asked to kill a “Neutral ant” without provocation, responds “No way man, that’s against my alignment.” They are fighting a Wall of Flesh in a dark, evil forest even as I write.  If you want to get your kid interested in D&D, there are worse places to start!

Forget misguided attempts to get kids into gaming with dumbed-down-but-still-complex-D&D-variants – this is custom made.  An “Adventure Time Adventure Game” with simple rules would be a huge win for kiddos RP’ing.

Gamer TV

As we all know, gaming is just part of an overall geek package of entertainment that all, for some reason, resonates with us nerds.  Our gaming group talks a lot about what TV, movies, webcomics, webseries, etc. we are into, and I took a quick survey and figured I’d share with y’all, so you can find out about any geek friendly entertainment you don’t know about!  Out of 5 gamer geek responses to “what shows do you watch regularly,” it’s:

  • Dollhouse x5
  • Big Bang Theory x4
  • Fringe x3
  • Sanctuary x3
  • Castle x2
  • Chuck x2
  • Heroes x2
  • 30 Rock x2
  • Family Guy x2
  • Venture Brothers x2
  • Modern Family x2
  • How I Met Your Mother x2
  • Sons of Anarchy (on hiatus) x2
  • Simpsons
  • American Dad
  • Daily Show/Colbert Report
  • Clone Wars (on hiatus)
  • Warehouse 13 (on hiatus?)
  • Legend of the Seeker
  • Supernatural
  • House
  • Better Off Ted
  • Bored to Death
  • Ugly Betty
  • Defying Gravity (on hiatus)
  • Damages (starting again soon)
  • NFL
  • The Middle

If it got 2+ votes, it means “if you’re a gamer you should take a look and see if you like it, there’s a quite good chance you will.”

And a special shout out to (semi-)new channels Chill and Sleuth.  As SyFyLys has decided to show wrestling and ghost chaser shows rather than anything meaningfully SF, those two channels will often have something good on.

And some pans… About everyone in the group used to watch them some Stargate of one or more flavors, but now NO ONE mentioned it.  I know for a fact some people watch SG: Atlantis still (when it’s on) but I thought it was interesting no one remembered to mention it.  I’m pretty sure people are under-reporting above based on group conversations, but I think ones that came to peoples’ mind to write down on their list reflect the ones they enjoy more.  Also, no one said “all the weird Battlestar: Galactica spinoff crap they drizzle out.”  Despite everyone watching BSG faithfully of course.  And some people have stuck with Heroes, but no one has stuck with Lost.

TV for Gaming: Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire

I’m catching up on my DVRing, and finally got to watch last week’s premiere of Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, a fantasy show satire on Comedy Central.

I was unsure if it would be decent going in, but I enjoyed it.  It wasn’t hilarious, but it was funnier than all the usual Scary Movie etc. satire movies and I got a laugh out of a lot of the dialogue; the slapstick was weaker.  The fight scenes were even better than the standard Hercules/Xena/various knockoff trash (nice effect when he sticks his flaming sword through an assassin and withdraws it!).  And the pole dance from the female lead sealed the deal.

And boy, they left no sexual stone unturned for the jokes.  Homosexuality, gangbangs, bestiality, rape…  Only necrophilia and watersports are left for the rest of the series!

I guess that’s my real concern – the premiere was good enough, but I wonder how they’re going to carry the gag for a whole series.  We’ll see – I didn’t expect the live action Tick to be any good either and I was surprised.

It was notable for its poking fun at all the generic tropes – the bad guy who kills everyone around at the drop of a hat, the hero who always jacks it up whenever he’s doing something badass, the worthless henchman.  Would it hurt to run a real game like this sometime?  Frankly, some of our campaigns sounds like an episode of Krod Mandoon at the table; we try to keep the joking “out of character” but it might be fun to play a parody from time to time.  Humor in gaming’s hard to carry out though.  Toon and Paranoia always delivered, but efforts at D&D style humor often sucked – WG7 Castle Greyhawk, I’m looking at you.

So if nothing else, it’s a good laugh for those who find themselves in similar situations to Krod frequently – you know, fighting an oppressive empire, liberating slaves, and hacking evil minions.  And don’t we all?

TV for Gaming: Deadliest Warrior

I read about this new show, Deadliest Warrior, earlier today on Topless Robot and then watched it this evening.  It’s on Spike TV, and it’s like Mythbusters meets the Military Channel.  They take some historical warriors, do a bunch of tests on the weapons and moves they use, feed it into a computer, and run a simulation 1000 times to determine who would win.

This first episode was “Viking vs. Samurai.”  They get both Viking combat experts and samurai guys to whack on sweet ballistics dummies (with skeletons and all, a step up from Mythbusters) with greataxes and katanas and all. Biggest revelation?  The katana’s kind of a bitch weapon.  I say this because it’s an RPG tradition to give katanas the biggest damage bonus because they’re so uber.  But here, the longsword is the one that totally decapitated the dummy.  They could cut through two pigs with the katana, but when pitted against a similar pig carcass in chainmail it did exactly jack crap.

There’s a lot of simulationist love to get out of their weapon trials [Obligatory 4e jab: unless you’re playing 4e, which has deliberately rejected all that historical trivia like real world weapons and armor (no really, they say that in Worlds & Monsters p.15)].  And just watching them cleanly shear off a thin segment of hair flesh, skull, and brain gave me a lot of new combat-description fodder.

It’s not perfect, they set up a kinda artificial round-by-round thing where the combatants exercise their long range weapons, then medium, then short.  The Viking doesn’t employ his shield against the samurai’s yumi (bow), instead just sucking up a couple shots and leaving his shield for the “special weapons round,” but eh, it’s good fun.

The samurai won by a slight margin (522/1000 trials) but I think the Vikings got ripped off!  They have a complete episode, “Apache vs. Gladiator,” up on their Web site.  Check it out!