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Episode 119 – Too Much Content

Episode 119 – Too Much Content

WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew plays Overcooked! with Taylor Katcher while Dan watches Crazyhead on Netflix.

PHOENIX FALLING?: The Phoenix Comicon has come under scrutiny recently as it became public that, essentially, people would have to pay to be volunteers at the show by paying dues to become members of the Blue Ribbon Army Social Club. Dan and Andrew discuss the issues surrounding this controversy, such as “Why is this a controversy at all?”

Sources:

UPDATE: Square Egg CEO and Phoenix Comicon director, Matthew Solberg, has resigned his position on the board of the Blue Ribbon Army.

MINDING THE NUMBERS: In Bleeding Cool article covering December’s comic book sales numbers, Andrew and Dan dive deep into 2016 sales by Marvel and DC and compare their respective performances and draw some interesting (if very not scientific) conclusions from the data.

D. Bethel’s Exhaustive Data Collection

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Nerd Law” by D. Bethel
-“Bleeding Me” by Metallica

Episode 116 – Craftcraft

Episode 116 – Craftcraft

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WEEK IN GEEK: In honor of the 53rd anniversary of the show, Andrew watched the 1970s Doctor Who serial, “Day of the Daleks,” and follows that up with the new timey-wimey show, Timeless. Dan gets nostalgic to re-read X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson and finds, to his estimation, that it holds up rather well.

WAR KIND OF CHANGES: Andrew picks up Fallout 4 on PS4 and talks about what he’s seeing with Dan, who still hasn’t beaten it.

THE CRAFT OF CRAFTING: Building off of Fallout 4‘s systems, Dan and Andrew talk about the rise of crafting mechanics in video games, from Minecraft to Diablo II to Skyrim.

Leave your thoughts as comments at forallintents.net. Be sure to join the official Facebook page and YouTube channel for all the latest updates, videos, and listener conversations. To help spread the word, please subscribe and review the show on iTunes.

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“It’s All Over But the Crying” by The Ink Spots
-“Building the Deathcoaster” by Joseph LoDuca (from Army of Darkness)

Episode 115 – The Eye of Agamemnon

Episode 115 – The Eye of Agamemnon

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WEEK IN GEEK:  Andrew finally sat down and saw Marvel’s newest addition to its cinematic universe, Doctor Strange, while Dan sits down and replays the opening of Mass Effect 2.

BETWEEN TWO WORLDS: After being pushed back in the movie schedule before getting removed completely, The Inhumans finally gets a release date…on television…kind of. While it’s premiere will be in IMAX theaters for a few weeks, Marvel announced that a The Inhumans tv show will air on ABC alongside Agents of SHIELD. Dan and Andrew talk about this newest plan and what it says about the static between Marvel’s movie house and television studios.

NEW WHO, IN COLOR: The Second Doctor’s premiere story, “The Power of the Daleks,” is getting a DVD release in fully animated form (due to the original episodes getting wiped by the BBC in the 1970s), but more interestingly the release will be getting an extra feature of the whole story in color. Andrew and Dan discuss this feature as well as the state of missing Doctor Who, based on the News Blast Andrew wrote about this announcement.

Leave your thoughts as comments at forallintents.net. Be sure to join the official Facebook group for links and conversation with other listeners. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch Andrew and Dan play video games. If you want to help the show, be sure to subscribe and review the show on iTunes to spread the word to new potential listeners.

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“More Human Than Human” by White Zombie
-“I Am the Doctor” by Jon Pertwee

Episode 113 – The Lord of Clapation

Episode 113 – The Lord of Clapation

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WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew wades through the neck-deep waters of Civilization VI and loves every second of it while D. Bethel watches the crowd-funded fan film, Cable: Chronicles of Hope by K&K Productions.

WHAT’S NEXT?: Considering the imminent political event happening in the United States of America, Dan and Andrew examine how television has taken a look at the presidency by comparing and contrasting the pilot episodes (mostly) of The West Wing and House of Cards (though they specifically already discussed the House of Cards pilot in Episode 37).
*Audio clip captured from The West Wing, “In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, Part II.”

INFINITE CRISES IN INFINITE MOVIES: This week, news hit that director Rick Famuyiwa left the DC/Warner Bros. film, The Flash, late into pre-production. This is the second director to leave the project, and the third to leave a film set in the DC Universe established with 2013’s Man of Steel (before this, Michelle MacLaren left Wonder Woman). Andrew and Dan examine the state of the DC Universe movies and wonder what the outcome may be for this grand experiment. Referenced in this segment is the Ghostbusters v. Star Trek Beyond discussion from Episode 101, if you want background on that controversy.

Again, D. Bethel’s webcomic, Long John, has finished up its second chapter. We encourage you to give it a look and to share if you like it.

Leave your thoughts as comments at forallintents.net. Be sure to join the official Facebook page. Subscribe to the show on iTunes and also help spread the word by leaving a review on the iTunes store. Subscribe and like the videos found on our YouTube Channel.

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“The West Wing Opening Theme” by W. G. Snuffy Walden (performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra)
-“I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock of Seagulls
-“House of Cards Main Title Theme” by Jeff Beal

Worth a Look: Luke Cage Edition

Worth a Look: Luke Cage Edition

Marvel/Netflix’s Luke Cage has a lot of people talking a mere week and a half after being uploaded to Netflix’s servers, and for good reason. While ostensibly linked to the more popular popcorn faire that is the “superhero genre” of films created by Fox, Sony, Warner Bros., and Marvel over the last sixteen years, Netflix has done more to push the genre forward and upward with its four seasons of shows than has really been done since The Dark KnightLuke Cage alone has elevated the discourse in our popular culture to the point where the greater populace can not only talk about blackness in America, but it’s getting white America to listen to conversations about blackness in America. The last time a live-action superhero production instigated a larger conversation about deep-seated issues in America was not this summer’s Captain America: Civil WarBatman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, nor X-Men: Apocalypse, but last year’s Jessica Jones––a Marvel/Netflix (Martflix?) show. Like Jessica Jones before it, Luke Cage approaches its issues in a variety of incredibly subtle, as well as not so subtle, ways, but the fact that it’s approaching them at all––and giving these issues narrative prominence––sets it apart from most other entries in the genre.

source: BlackNerdProblems
source: BlackNerdProblems

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m an English teacher (albeit not one of Literature, but of Composition and Rhetoric), but I noticed right away how many books dominated the show (at least in the front half––I’m not quite done with the season yet as of this writing) and how diverse Cage’s tastes were––in terms of race, sure, but also in terms of genre.

Dr. Tara Betts briefly discusses the books given center stage in the show, but expands that view into a full reading list that addends and complements the show. Some are a bit jokey (the Where’s Waldo? choice), others are referential (picking a Geoffrey Canada book since the writer was referenced by Cottonmouth at one point), and others are thoughtful on a pedagogical level (Acres of SkinCutting Along the Color Line), all of which could be used to describe the show itself.

Like I did for the “Worth a Look” about Stranger Things, I’m featuring this article even though I didn’t read it yet because it boldly sports a spoiler warning, and I––wishing to hold onto some aspect of nerd integrity––want to watch the rest of Luke Cage clean.

source: iO9.com
source: io9.com

Evan Narcisse’s article is presented as a dialogue between four writers discussing the major cultural issues as presented and challenged in Luke Cage. In fairness, many articles have been written about this aspect of the show, but this gathering of different points of view on the same subject is an attractive and important approach. Especially as a white dude from the coast of California––and as a teacher––it’s these discussions that I need to find and listen to.

Episode 108 – Private Reasons

Episode 108 – Private Reasons

108showcardWEEK IN GEEK: Andrew started playing World of Warcraft…again while Dan sees a trailer for Steven Okazaki’s documentary, Mifune: The Last Samurai, and they talk about killing your idols.

TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT?: Dan and Andrew examine the sudden and growing trend of bringing back notable 1980s’ franchises back for modern audiences…but on television. Lethal WeaponThe ExorcistMacGuyver, and even Magnum P.I. are heading to television. What does it mean? What can we expect? Can they be any good (were they any good in the first place)?

ROBOTS IN DISGUISE: Since he started uploading Let’s Play videos, Andrew has run into the static generated by YouTube’s content monitoring algorithms, which take down videos that may have copyrighted audio embedded in the video. They talk about this trend and how its damages may extend much further than lost revenue for both YouTube streamers and copyright holders.

Leave your thoughts about this week’s topics as comments at forallintents.net. Join the official Facebook group to keep up with latest posts as well as engage in conversation with other listeners. Check out our YouTube channel for all of the latest videos. Be sure to leave a review on the iTunes store to help spread the word to new potential listeners.

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Magnum, P.I. Theme” by Mike Post & Pete Carpenter
-“Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell
-“Scene Change” by Johnny Douglas & Robert J. Walsh (from The Transformers)

Episode 105 – Conditional Evil

Episode 105 – Conditional Evil

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WEEK IN GEEK: Andrew watches a classic Doctor Who stories, sequels of each other, in the Fifth Doctor adventures “Kinda” and “Snakedance,” while Dan watches two episodes featured in Amazon.com’s sitcom “Pilot Season”: The Tick and Jean-Claude Van Johnson.

NERD AUTEURS: Starting with the reveal trailer at this year’s Gamescom for Konami’s surprise, Metal Gear Survive, Dan and Andrew discuss the impact of public-facing creators of popular nerd franchises and what happens when they leave those properties. What should be expected? How important are the creators? What about the creators’ next projects?

PAX

Andrew is going to be at PAX West this weekend, check him out as helps out with gameplay demos of the card game, Yukon Salon, on Friday 9/02. He will also be helping to run the Watch the Skies Child’s Play benefit game, put on by Seattle Megagames, on Saturday 9/03.

CrockerConSmall-500x221

On Thursday, September 8th, from 5-9pm, D. Bethel will be an exhibitor at Crocker-Con. This is a nerd culture convention held at Sacramento’s Crocker Art Museum and costs $10 to get in or free if you’re a member of the museum. There are also student discount admissions available with proper identification. Dan will be premiering (and selling) Long John, Volume 2 at the event, and friend of the show, Josh Tobey, will be sharing the table, selling prints of his paintings.

Leave your thoughts about this week’s topics as comments at forallintents.net. Be sure to follow the show at its official Facebook and Google+ pages. To help the show, please leave a review on the iTunes store.

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith
-“Noble Farewell/Finale” by Mel Brooks & John Morris, perf. Hollywood Studio Symphony Orchestra (from Blazing Saddles)

Worth a Look

Worth a Look

While not about a particular aspect of nerd culture, Frankenfield’s article finds a thread strung through most aspects of geekdom: a legitimate choice between independent and “mainstream” products. In most nerdy and geeky venues, these exist side-by-side––I think of the gaming scene (specifically video gaming; Andrew will have to answer for the tabletop angle) where venues as amalgamated as Steam as well as the more hierarchical PSN or XBox Live give independent products prime real estate in an effort to get both triple-A and the snarkily titled “triple-I” titles on players’ screens. For all the drama that has surrounded video games press in the last few years, it has acted to level the playing field, not through any particular agenda as much as finding good indie games and wanting to share. For all nerdy avenues, Kickstarter and other crowd-sourced funding platforms have been key in getting independent products more mainstream attention, even if it never officially achieves that status.

Comicsverse

More than ever, the line between “independent” and “mainstream” is blurring, and I think it’s a good time to ask some simple, problem-posing questions: how and why? I think the second question is easier to answer than the first. The divide is closing because traditional “mainstream” products have become less satisfying over time. Perhaps that’s the wrong word; mainstream products have become predictable and staid even though they still rake in profit. But we see this most popularly, I think, with television (though an argument could be made for any nerd media right now). Even though the major networks are still the ratings kings and producing the most popular content, the revered content is made outside of those avenues, the top producers of which are probably HBO and AMC, currently. It was them, and networks like them, that pioneered the “new golden age of television” in which we now find ourselves. NBC, CBS, and ABC are not the trailblazers here, even if they are the “winners” using outdated metrics.

As for the “how”, that is an answer that produces the most consternation and danger as this movement progresses. The nice thing about the mainstream system is that it provides traditional and, for the most part, proven processes for bringing projects to life. The problem is that, over time, the process became corrupted by brown-nosing who-you-knows with impenetrable baselines for entry. The rise of the independents, as Frankenfield illustrates, took advantage of new media and presented new content on its own terms, letting the audience find it, even if that audience was niche. The problem with this is––and I saw this all the time in webcomics––that, arguably, the independent road to success can only be travelled once. Again, with webcomics, the success of strips like Penny Arcade or PvP or Axe Cop led to unwarranted (and unproven) codification of paths to success and many eager creators became wrapped in false righteousness when their duplication of Penny Arcade‘s arc didn’t provide the same results for them.

With new media––specifically, internet-based media––it seems that roads to success are made out of sand and are erased as soon as they are coursed. It makes “success” a much more malleable phrase for independents than a mainstream product ever could find. It’s why maintaining a self-sufficient comic through ads, Kickstarter campaigns, and regular Patreon contributions could be seen as more of a success than the new Ghostbusters, even though its gross revenue is approaching $220 million dollars (I’m this fully cognizant of the fact that those returns are less than the production budget and marketing budget combined, but there was also Zoolander 2; check those numbers).  Whether it’s in the black or not, people still paid $220 million dollars to go see it, which is impressive from an indie standpoint, but to many it’s a mainstream failure, whereas in the context of self-sustaining webcomics we could mean an amount that simply covers hosting costs. If anything, its this relative definition of success that’s going to be making the biggest marks on pop culture in the future, and Frankenfield points to specific examples of this––Louis C.K. and Chance the Rapper––to get this point across.

It’s no secret that I hold Marvel’s persecuted mutants close to my heart, and to that extent, I cherish the filmic versions a bit more dear than many MCU properties if only because of my nostalgic tie to them (while wholly acknowledging that Marvel makes better movies, on the whole). That being said, I have long felt that it would be a mistake for the X-Men and their associated titles to move from Fox to Marvel Studios. To be frank, I was hoping to write an article about it, but Kyle Anderson at Nerdist hit that nail before I did.

source: Marvel
source: Marvel

I echo Anderson’s point wholeheartedly that the X-Men work best when mutants are the only super-powered people on the planet. I realize this only really exists in the context of the movies as they have been wholly integrated into the Marvel Comics universe since their inception, but as an easily digestible metaphor that can make the largest impact, it’s a context that is much more effective than if they had to interact with super-soldiers and aliens (though X-Men: Apocalypse got a bit close to that mark and, according to Bryan Singer, is a direction he wants to go in the future).

But, referring to what guest Elijah Kaine said during our Shortcast, there currently is room in popular culture for more than one continuity. Naturally, we all assumed it would be a stark line between Marvel and DC because that’s how it exists in the print world. However, we aren’t seeing an effort really coagulating on the DC/Warner Bros. side of things despite their best efforts and it’s also smart to think of things existing more broadly. We have the MCU, we have the Arrow-verse, and we have the X-Men continuity, among others. It’s a much more nuanced and multi-faceted world we live in than, perhaps, we want, but I think, overall, it is better for it.

NOTE: Kyle Anderson is the co-host of a podcast I’ve talked about before––Doctor Who: The Writer’s Room––in which he and Erik Stadnik talk about the writers from classic Doctor Who (1963-1989). They provide incredibly in-depth critical analysis of scripts and their writers that, I would argue, makes it essential listening if you are a fan. This may also make me a bit biased toward Kyle Anderson’s argument, though I didn’t realize he was the author until after I had read the piece.

and, in a slightly different interpretation of the column’s title, here is a video that is “Worth a Look”:

In reverence for the 30th anniversary of The Transformers: The Movie, everybody needs to watch this.

Episode 102 – An Existential Poem

Episode 102 – An Existential Poem

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WEEK IN GEEK: To serve the purposes of research, Andrew punishes himself by rewatching Torchwood: Children of Earth while Dan listens to John Carpenter’s sequel to 2015’s Lost Themes album of original music, Lost Themes II.

THINGS ARE STRANGE: Dan and Andrew dive deep into the latest Netflix phenomenon: Stranger Things. They talk about its influences (and reference this interview with creators, the Duffer Bros, at Nerdist), its use of Dungeons & Dragons and its Lovecraftian influences.

CAN’T CAGE ME IN: The new, more fulsome trailer for the next Marvel-Netflix series, Luke Cage, hit the internet and Andrew and Dan dive into what seems interesting, troubling, and exciting about it (mostly exciting).

Leave your thoughts on this week’s topics, and read exclusive new content, at ForAllIntents.net. Be sure to join the official Facebook and Google+ pages  for exclusive links and conversations.

For all intents and purposes, that was an episode recap.

FEATURED MUSIC:

-“Stayin’ in Black” by Wax Audio
-“Stranger Things Theme” by S U R V I V E
-“Heart is Full” by Miike Snow (Run the Jewels remix)
-“Persia Rising” by John Carpenter

News Blast: Lovecraft-Based TV Show In Development

News Blast: Lovecraft-Based TV Show In Development

A sneaky bit of news hit the internet recently when word got out that Legendary Entertainment was developing an anthology television show based on the works of cosmic horror writer, H. P. Lovecraft.

LEgendary

According to Bleeding Cool and Dread Central, not much is known as only a pilot script exists, to be used to shop around to networks at the moment. The pilot is written by Matthew Francis Wilson––who, based on my research, may have previously gone by M. Francis Wilson, is a newcomer to television writing and it is unknown whether he pitched the show or was hired to write it.

Aside from the Lovecraft brand itself, the producers of the series bring the most clout to the project. Lorenzo Di Bonaventura––who was the tip of the spear when it came to developing the Michael Bay-helmed Transformers series––and Dan McDermott––a screenwriter and producer who seems to have worked on mostly short-lived but interesting television shows.

Legendary Entertainment has made quite a mark as being a rather prominent producer of successful, if not critically consistent, genre films. Big hits for the relatively new studio––established in 2000––300, The Hangover, Inception, Pacific Rim, Man of Steel, Crimson Peak, WarCraft, Gareth Edward’s Godzilla, Jurassic World, Straight Outta Compton, and basically all Christopher Nolan movies since Batman Begins.

Their expansion into television is relatively new, but rather high profile with the Netflix exclusive, Love, having garnered a bit of attention on its initial release, as well as the SyFy adaptation of the beloved James S. A. Corey book series, The Expanse, which friends-of-the-show, Nerdhole, discussed in-depth recently, and Colony, created by LOST writer, Carlton Cuse, for USA Network. The latter two debuted this year and are renewed for second seasons.

Probably the most faithful HPL adaptation made so far, and it's a silent movie. source: cthulhulives.org
Probably the most faithful HPL adaptation made so far, and it’s a silent movie. source: cthulhulives.org

So, while to some the credentials (or lack thereof) of those directly involved with this new series may seem troubling or make a fan circumspect, Legendary itself has a respectable track record on television even if they are rather new to the medium.

The show seems peculiar because, as sources described, it is unclear whether these will be adaptations of Lovecraft stories or new stories leaning on the Lovecraft stories. Bleeding Cool described the show as including “characters, locations and story-lines from sixteen of Lovecraft’s most popular tales” while Dread Central says the show will “feature characters, narratives, and locations from sixteen of the late American author’s titles.” Both sources cite that the show will specifically draw from “The Call of Cthulhu“, “The Dunwich Horror“, and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” Since H. P. Lovecraft had published over fifty stories in his lifetime and collaborated on almost another fifty with friends and as a ghost writer, there is no shortage of material to draw from.

While this is the first time a show has been explicitly based on Lovecraft’s work, the father of cosmic horror is no stranger to television. His stories have been adapted to varying degrees of faithfulness on horror anthology shows, with Rod Serling’s Night Gallery being the most prominent adapter. In most cases, Lovecraft’s work served as direct or indirect inspiration for stories and series. From the 1991 HBO noir movie, Cast a Deadly Spell to an episode of The Real Ghostbusters titled, “The Collect Call of Cthulhu”, Lovecraft’s creatures and themes have often served as a great starting point for new stories rather than go through the difficulty of adapting his somewhat anachronistic and often problematic work directly. Lovecraft himself even appeared in the season six episode of Supernatural, “Let It Bleed.”Adapting Lovecraft’s work until now has been a particular tough nut to crack. Most famously, Guillermo Del Toro tried for years to get his version of “At the Mountains of Madness” off the ground, only to have funding pulled out from under him for creative and monetary differences. The closest and, perhaps, most successful adaptations come in the form of the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s (HPLHS) cinematic adaptations and their full cast audio drama adaptations of his stories.

For years, Guillermo Del Toro has tried and failed to adapt the late-era mythos story, "At the Mountains of Madness." source: geekscape.com
For years, Guillermo Del Toro has tried and failed to adapt the late-era mythos story, “At the Mountains of Madness.” source: geekscape.com

The main aspect of Lovecraft that seems to clear the hurdle from page to screen are his monsters, which arguably hopscotches what his stories are actually about. While his creatures indeed played an integral part to many of his stories, they were rarely about the monsters, but rather the existential dread they represented.

Which type of Lovecraftian adaptation we’ll see on screen––either monster stories, pessimistic existential epistolary narratives, or something in between––remains to be seen. Either way, there hasn’t really been a Lovecraftian tv show or movie that has really appeased the devoted fan base as well as broke through to mainstream appreciation. With luck, this new series, if picked up by a network, can bring what so many people love about his stories and mythology to a new, broader audience.