List of Top 15 TV Shows I Watch (and why you should or shouldn’t watch too)

This is a list of 15 shows that I’ve been watching as of recent.  They are in no particular order.  I’ve also provided a small critique of each one, as a couple of them I have had to stop watching…

Orphan Black:

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If you are not watching this one, you should be! I’m in love with the Clone Club and it’s just pure fun and entertainment to see Tatiana Maslany in the various roles.  The story telling here is top notch, and the score is perfect in each scene.  Helena quickly became a favorite simply because she just simply refuses to hold back.  I’m hungry for some scorpion now…

The Strain:

This show started out fun, however, in recent episodes, I feel that it is slowly going downhill. I admit that I have not read the book, so I really do not know how different the show is from the book. What bothers me about the show, however, is that all of these vampires are running around, but the general populace seem to know nothing about them. Even the main characters are running around hunting these vampires but in the background we can see people hailing for taxi cabs, we see people shopping, we see people in business suits walking (to work perhaps) casually. One would think the populace would be going through mass panic.

MTV’s Scream:

I’ve tried to stay with this one, and I will continue to record it, but… As of my writing this article it had 3 episodes left, the past two I ended up watching on fast forward. It started off cool, but there is only so much you can do to drag things out. I no longer even care who the guy (or gal) is behind the mask, I just don’t care. As mentioned, I will record the final three episodes, but as it is right now… I’m losing interest quickly.

Maron:

I can’t get enough of this show. Perhaps one of the reasons I like it so much is because it’s about a guy that has a very successful podcast that he does out of his home. That’s a character I can easily identify with. The humor is dry and effective. The entire show is telling a story. You can watch the episodes out of order and you won’t really miss anything but it’s best to watch in order because as the show progresses so do the characters.

Under The Dome:

Sorry Steven King… I tried to stick with it, I really did. I watched all of the 1st season and the first few episodes of season 2, but when it quickly turned away from the book (this book i did read), I started to lose interest. I tried to watch it just to see how they would resolve things, but so far, it’s just… it’s like the writer’s are making stuff up just to fill an hours worth of time without giving any actual thought to the end game. I stopped recording this one.

Fargo:

I really liked the first season, up to the final episode anyways. It was as if they had all this extra material for a second season and things were being set up for a second season but then they decided to end this story. The final episode of season 1 just happened too fast. Season Two starts up soon, however, it will take place several years prior to Season One. This is not going to be a prequel, but rather will be a different tale of similar Fargo story-telling. I am looking forward to this.

Humans:

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I dunno where AMC keeps getting these kick ass shows, but I love em!  This one is very Asimovian in nature.  Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep indeed!  This is one I’ve quickly become addicted to watching.  A small group of androids trying to figure out what they are (and possibly who).  I hang on every episode!

Wayward Pines:

Everyone has tried to compare this show to Twin Peaks.  Twin Peaks it is not, although the beginning of the show it does have that strange ethereal feel to it.  That’s the only similarity it shares.  I mean.. Apples and Oranges both grow on trees.. but that’s it.  Wayward Pines is based on  a set of novels by Blake Crouch.  For the most part it follows the books fairly closely and the endings in both are sortav similar… Sortav.  Speaking of Twin Peaks…

Twin Peaks:

This is the most important television show in history of television shows.  It was about 25 years ahead of it’s time.  It was among the first of shows to cater to a week by week progressive story line, and one in which so much happened from week to week that if you missed one episode, you were screwed.  All told, I’ve owned 2 VHS copies of the entire series, as well as 2 DVD copies, and a blu-ray copy.  For a long while it looked like we were all going to have to suffer not knowing how the hell Annie was, but recent news states that David Lynch is directing 18 (yes, eight-teen) new episodes (Season 3) set to be aired on Showtime sometime in 2017.  I just hope I don’t die between now and then.

Breaking Bad:

Yeah, I know, it is over.  But thankfully I have it all on blu-ray so it is never over!  Nothing stops this train!  Breaking Bad is perhaps among the BEST television shows in the history of television.  Do I really need to keep praising it?  Exactly.  Speaking of Breaking Bad

Better Call Saul:

Not exactly a prequel to Breaking Bad but kinda sorta it is.  The 1st season was great.  The only issue I had is that we did see Jimmy officially turn into Saul.  But I’m okay with a slow burn, it makes the joint fun last a little longer.  Over the 1st season we see important characters come into play from Breaking Bad, but that don’t matter because these are the versions of themselves before the Baby Blue came about.  Vince Gilligan has also stated that at some point Walter White WILL make an appearance.

The Walking Dead:

Zombies.  Need I say more?  Okay, I will.  For 5 seasons we have been captivated by this show.  It loosely follows the events portrayed in the comic book of the same name.  For those keeping up, the final episode of Season 5 matches up with Issue #77 of the comic book.

Fear The Walking Dead:

I’m still not head over heels with the title, but it’s another show from the guys that made The Walking Dead, so I’ll take it.  Yeah, I know it’s not on tv yet, but I am still looking forward to watching it.  Rumors are spreading like the zombie virus that it may very explain the origin of the zombie outbreak and may even show us Patient Zero.

Doctor Who:

Listen.. I’ve been watching this show since the late 70’s.  Yes, it took a break for a few years, and there are several early episodes I’ve not seen, but for the most part I have seen all of the recent episodes from Eccleston’s Doctor on.  This is science fiction at it’s best.  It’s a show that does not take itself too seriously, but can also pull a tear from your eye when you lose yourself in the tale.  I’ve even got my kids into the show and they have seen every episode from Tennant’s Doctor on.  We cannot wait for the new season to start up in a couple of months!

Game of Thrones:

Sorry folks, I cannot comment on this one.  I’ve heard great things about it, but I’ve never seen it.  I don’t have HBO or whatever channel it airs on, and I can’t justify dropping cash on the dvd’s of it just yet.

 

I hope you check out at least a few of these shows.  Oh admit it, you have seen several of these already.  What are YOUR thoughts on the shows I like to watch?  Leave me a comment!

Archie vs Predator – Comic Review

I’ve seen some odd crossovers but this may very well be the strangest yet…  This is a very unique combination of worlds in the geek and horror universe!

A Little History First:

The year 1990 saw the release of Predator 2 in the movie theater.  Towards the end we were treated with a super cool scene in which the camera slowly pans over a small closet filled with different skull trophies that the Predators had taken.  One of the skulls was an Alien skull.  Yes, as in the same monster from the movie Alien (and it’s sequels).

BUT.. Did you know that this was not the 1st time these two creatures had a crossover?  In 1989 (November and December) we saw two issues of a Dark Horse Presents comic (issues #34 and #35) that each detailed out a separate storyline, issue #34 for Aliens and issue #35 for Predator.  In February, 1990, issue #36 came out and so began the 1st official crossover.  Aliens Vs Predator soon became a major deal (and I like to believe that it is because of these comics that we saw that Alien’s skull in Predator 2) in the geek world and it spread like wildfire.

Soon AvP comics were everywhere and the what if scenarios seemed to have no end.

Aliens vs Predator was successful, to put it mildly.  On it’s heals came many other crossovers; Superman and Batman vs Aliens and Predator, Aliens vs Predator vs The Terminator, no to mention the countless AvP spinoff comics.  There have even been popular fan man videos of Batman vs Predator (Batman: Dead End look it up) posted on Youtube.  To say that we hunger for this franchise would be an understatement.

Okay, enough history..  On to the review!

I was cruising through my local bookstore (sadly we do not have a comic shop where I live) and I chanced across issue 3 of Archie vs Predator from Dark Horse Comics.  What in the world is this?  Is this THE Archie that we all know and love?  Is this THE Predator that we all know of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 movie?  Yes, indeed!

How can this be?  I mean, this idea is absurd (in a good geek way)!  It makes no sense!  Archie comics have been around since the late 1930’s and a crossover like this just makes no sense (in a thrilling I’ve never thought about this before kind of way)!

I HAD to have it.  I thumbed through and found issues 1 and 2 and bought them all right there on the spot.  I really wanted to do a review of each one, but since this is a 4 issue series I decided to compact my review into 1 post.  I also decided to go a different route with this write up.  Normally I would detail out what happens in each comic, but I decided to gloss over the story itself (I mean.. that’s the whole point of this review is to get you interested in buying them to read) and detail our some of the finer points of the comics themselves.

The short version: GO BUY THESE NOW.

The long version:

I really don’t want to give out any spoilers, but I will give a little info about each issue.  You can also click on each cover to link directly to Dark Horse Comic’s page to read more about each issue (or you can hit up your local comic shop if you have one).

In each issue; Alex de Campi did the script with Fernando Ruiz doing the penciling,  Rich Koslowski did the inking with Jason Millet doing the colors and John Workman doing the lettering.

Issue 1

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The cover says: Beach games… Party games… The most dangerous game!

Ruiz, Koslowski and Miller did the standard cover art with Eric Powell doing a variant cover art A and Fransesco Francavilla doing variant cover art B.

This issue was released in April of 2015, it runs just over 20 pages.  Spring Break is here and the gang is trying to figure out what to do.  Jughead busts open a bag of Tayto-Chips and the gang has won a free tropical vacation to Los Perdidos Resort.  Okay, I need to pause here.  Once on the island, as you can imagine, things go wrong for our gang.  As mentioned I really do not want to give away the storyline so I’ll stop right here, however…  Los Perdidos…  It means The Lost.  Now, what’s REALLY cool about these 4 issues are all of the Easter Eggs hidden within!

Examine the pages of each issue closely and see how many you can find!

Issue 2

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The cover says: Back in Riverdale, safe and sound!

Don Parent with Jason Millet did the standard cover art for this issue.  Dustin Nguyen did variant cover A and Robert Hack with Stephen Downer did variant cover B.

This issue was released in May of 2015 and has just over 20 pages.  Again, no spoilers but I will say that the death toll continues to rise!  Sabrina the Teenage Witch is in this issue and speaks some words of Cthulhu origin.  We learn that evidently Predators are known by some of the people in the Archie world and have been known for quite some time.  Listen, the artwork here is fantastic, the pages are bright and colorful and slick.  The adventure continues into…

Issue 3

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The cover says: More victims!  More mutilations!  More Milkshakes!

Gisele with Maria Victoria Robado did the standard cover art for this issue.  Paul Pope with Shay Plummer did variant cover A and Kelly Jones with Michelle Madsen did variant cover B.

This issue was released in June of 2015 and has just over 20 pages.  Don’t let the cover fool you.  The Predator is not a friendly being and the death count continues to grow.  Speaking of covers.. for collectors there are a few different variant covers out there of each issue (as I have detailed out).  Some are a bit darker than the whimsical ones I am presenting to you here.

Issue 4

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The cover says: Frenemies No More!

Andrew Pepoy with Jason Miller did the standard cover art for this issue.  Faith Erin Hicks with Cris Peter did variant cover A and Joe Quinones did variant cover B.

This issue came out Today, July 22nd (2015) and has just over 20 pages.  This issue is the final one in a 4 part series.  It is also chock full of action and mayhem!  Pay real close attention to panel 1 on page 4.  There are some throwbacks to earlier Archie comic crossovers (more Easter Eggs alluded to in my Issue 1 portion up above).

I really have nothing more to add.  This was a rip roaring fun and insane crossover, something I’m very pleased with running across.  I cannot recommend this 4 part series enough.  If for any other reason just to have it to collect.

Speaking of collecting…

Hard Cover Edition of Archie vs Predator

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Due out in November of this year (2015) is a special Hard Cover edition…  If you head over to Dark Horse Comics now (you will actually be directed over to Things From Another World – a great place to buy comics online), you can pro-order it for only $15.99!  As soon as payday hits, I’m pre-ordering one for myself!

 

That’s it folks!  Bottom line is.. check this comic out!  It’s a quality comic done up right on quality paper, it has a solid story and is just plain old fashioned comic book fun!  Buy it!

Now.. if I can just figure out a way to convince Dark Horse Comics to entertain a pitch I have for my comic book…

 

Legions of Steel PC Game Review

The Past has hit the Present with an all new way to play the classic board game, Legions of Steel.

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For those wanting to get familiar with the old (okay it’s not old-old but it is from the early 1990’s) board game, check out my review from 2013 here:  Legions of Steel – Miniatures Game
Now.. what’s interesting about that post is.. you can take a look in the comments section and see where a loyal reader posted about a Kickstarter campaign to turn Legions of Steel into a iOS, Android, and PC title.  I threw a little cash that way but I guess the world was just not ready as the funding was not successful.
This is also a prime example of how wrong some people are as to how Kicksterter works.  Some assume that a product is complete and that a company only does a Kickstarter to simply get a little more cash and publicity out of the product.  Obviously, that didn’t happen.  I can’t say that does not ever happen, but it certainly didn’t in this instance.  I mean.. This attempt was done in October of 2013, and the game is just now coming out, almost two years later..!  Okay, I could probably write up an article about Kickstarter alone (and I probably will in the future) but for now, let’s talk some STEEL!
This game was released yesterday ( July, 16th, 2015) on the PC.  I heard about it last night, and instantly started doing research about it.  As mentioned before, I tried to help with the Kickstarter and after it didn’t go through, I was bummed.  Yes, I probably could have tried to keep up with the Legions of Steel news and watched it develop, but I didn’t.  Call me lazy, or busy, but for whatever reason it dropped off my radar.
Right now I’ve played about 5 hours of the game.
Holy crap is it fun!  I didn’t even bother to run the tutorial or the rules, I wanted to approach it with the rules I learned when playing the board game all those years ago.
Let me tell you, while it’s not identical to the board game, it’s really damn close!  I mean, it would be impossible to mimic every element of the board game, but to be honest, some of those rules were thick to understand to begin with.  This PC version takes the guesswork out of it and inject pure fun into your eyes.
The graphics are wicked cool, the music is haunting and exciting at the same time.
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The Setting:
The Future.  Okay, we just took the Past, mashed it with the Present, and now we are flinging it into the Future!  Whhheeeeeeeeee!!!!!
The League of Aliens and the United Nations of Earth (U.N.E.) have teamed up to keep at bay a new threat to the galaxy, The Machines.
GamePlay:
Legions of Steel is a tun based game.  Each unit has it’s own set of skills and characteristics.  Different weapons can be used and sometimes you have to use the map as a weapon itself!
You can also choose to play singleplayer missions or go against another player in multiplayer mode.
In the board game’s set up, players took turns setting up snap together cardboard tiles that created the scenario you were to play in.  As best as I can tell so far, you do not do that here, all of the maps are premade.
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Platforms:
Right now Legions of Steel is available for the PC and iOS.  At the time of this writing there is no release date yet for Android but I will update with one when I find out!
The Cost:
You can purchase it for a measly $18.00 from Steam or from the iTunes store!  EIGHTEEN bucks!  That’s dirt cheap for this wicked cool game!  Hell, the board game itself was about $60.00!
The Game In Action:
Wanna check out the game play?  I recorded my first mission (thank goodness I won otherwise I’d look silly!) and have posted it onto YouTube.  I also added some speed to some of the turns (it actually took me about 18 minutes to play the 1st mission so I wanted to speed that up for my viewers).  Check it out!

Bottom line..  GO GET THIS GAME!

Official Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Hoodie Revealed

So this is pretty cool…

Black hoodie will release in October alongside the game

Birmingham, UK, July 14th 2015, – Merchoid today revealed the first official Assassin’s Creed Syndicate hoodie, dubbed the Black Rook Hoodie. The (real-life – not in-game!) hoodie is black with copper highlights, a stitched AC Syndicate logo and a hood shaped like the game’s male protagonist, Jacob. Officially licensed by Ubisoft, the hoodie is due for release at Merchoid on October 23rd, in line with the global release date for the latest instalment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise.

Merchoid’s official Assassin’s Creed Collection has previously included hoodies for both Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed: Unity. Fans are able to preorder the new Syndicate hoodie now for £39.99/$54.99/€59.99 (which includes free shipping worldwide).

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Company Director Simon Ward says:

“The reaction to our previous Assassin’s Creed hoodies was incredible and we expect this latest one to be just as popular. With the game’s iconic stylish hoods, the Assassin’s Creed franchise works amazingly well as a hoodie, which is why fans love them so much.”

Earlier this month, Merchoid showed off their upcoming range of official Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate T-shirts, also set for release in October. The T-shirt collection features imagery from the game’s twin protagonists and the London based Industrial Revolution setting. Simon also adds that the new London based game has them excited:

“We can’t wait to play the final game. As a UK based company, we’re especially interested to find out the accuracy of the cockney rhyming slang!”.

The t-shirts are available to preorder now for £14.99/$22.99/€21,99 at Merchoid.

 

Jurassic World – A Roaring Review

Jurassic World – A Roaring Review

As the tag line states, “The Park Is Open“, however, I am still a little unsure why they are calling this one ‘World’ (but we will get to that much later in the review).

I recall back in 1991, being a guy the age of 18, I sat down to read Michael Crichton’s book, Jurassic Park.  A little over 2 years later I was parked on opening night in a crowded theater watching the movie version of said book.  It was beyond exciting, yes it was different than the book and I didn’t care.  I was blown away by the visual.

It took me back to being 8 years old and playing with tiny plastic dinosaurs (really, what 8 year old didn’t like the idea of dinosaurs roaming around?) and imagining what it would be like if they existed today.  I was captivated and loved every moment of Jurassic Park.

1997 rolled around and again I found myself planted in a movie theater on opening day to see The Lost World: Jurassic Park.  I can’t say I was totally blown away this time.  The story was okay, it just lacked the same feel as the first movie did.

In 2001, when Jurassic Park III came out, I waited a week before I went to go see it.  Nothing really stood out on this one either, I mean, it was a fun movie, but it did have some slow moments.

Okay, enough reminiscing about the past, let’s talk about Jurassic World!

Based on the previews, this movie looked exciting!  Based on that I knew I had to see this one as soon as I could.  June 13th was the day!

As of this writing, Jurassic World has already broken records at the box office, bringing in just over $500 million worldwide.

Put aside your scientific mind and ignore elements of “but dinosaurs are extinct half of these shown never existed together and the way they present their DNA explanations is just not realistic therefore this could never happen” and just sit back with your overpriced soda and popcorn and enjoy the movie for what it is; a fun thrill ride.

Spoilers ahead?  Possibly. But I’ll do my best to keep the secrets in the dark.

Jurassic World takes place about 20 years after the events that took place in Jurassic Park.  Only two from the original cast appear in this one; the T-Rex and Doctor Henry Wu (well.. and a statue of Hammond.. and a book that features Ian Molcolm – but those don’t count do they?).

The park has been in operation for about 10 years without incident. The events that took place in The Lost World and in Jurassic Park 3 still happened (but remember they took place on Isla Sorna – a secret test island and Jurassic Park and Jurassic World take place on Isla Nublar), however it appears that the dinos have been contained and bigger and better buildings have been built.  Not much was mentioned about Isla Sorna, but they do show in screen a brief mention about the Northern tip of Isla Nublar still being a wild zone – but nothing was ever spoken about it again, as in, it did nothing to the plot.

Due to declining visitor metrics to the park, Doctor Henry Wu has been tasked by InGen (Hammond’s scientific group) to engineer a “bigger, faster, louder, better” attraction (dinosaur) and creates the Indominus Rex (Latin for ‘fierce or untamable king’).

The story follows two boys, Gray (played by Ty Simpkins) and Zach (played by Nick Robinson) as they visit their aunt Clair (Bryce Dallas Howard) who run the park itself.

They check out various attractions, including a Sea World (ish) exhibit of a Mosasaurus jumping out of a massive water tank to chomp down upon a Great White Shark (had to be an easter egg paying homage to Spielberg’s Jaws) and splashing water upon everyone watching.  Question though… How did they get the DNA for THIS one???

We are introduced to Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) who is training Velociraptors.

Okay, that sounds a little hokey, I’ll admit, but in the confines of the movie it makes sense.  Owne explains that velociraptors are pack animals (much like a dog).  He imprints upon them when they are born and they see him as the Alpha (dog).  While they are still wild, they will, more or less, look to him for “commands”.

Hoskins (played by Vinccent D’Onofrio) is head of InGen and see only dollar signs and wants to weaponize the velociraptors that Owen has been training.  This is a small subplot that plays out during the course of the movie.

The Indominus Rex finds an escape and thus begins a chaotic journey through Isla Nublar to hunt her down.

I’m trying hard to leave out any spoilers (or reveal too many easter eggs), but I did mention up top about the name of Jurassic World.  I have to give this one away because it’s just bugging me…  I really expected this to show us dinosaurs somehow getting off the island and reaching the main lands.  Why else call it World ?  That never happened (unless some ptersaurs made it that they didn’t show on film).  The only thing I can think of is that the ones running the park (the characters within the movie) wanted to rebrand the park to detach themselves from what happened roughly 20 years prior..

Overall I have to say that this is a MUST see, especially if you have watched the original Jurassic Park movie.  If you haven’t, go rent it or buy it and watch it, then go watch Jurassic World.

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