This Week in Geek (20-26/08/12)


DVDs: Community Season 3, what hardcore fans may well end up calling "the last real season" with Dan Harmon out of the picture, is, despite the hiatus in the middle and some hastily put together episodes towards the end, just about as good as the previous two. Not only are there some excellent concept episodes - the standout being the parallel timelines one, but I could mention this year's fake clip show, the History channel documentary, the musical or the 8-bit episode - but they often end on a heart-warming character moment, which is rather rare for comedies about extreme personalities. That said, I'm not a particular fan of Professor Spacetime. I'm afraid it's not Whovian enough for me. I don't know what Community will be like without Harmon pushing for its darker aspects and genre-bending. Likely, the crazy characters will carry the show through standard sitcom plots. Might be enough to be a good show, but not a great one. The DVD includes fun commentaries on every episode, tons of very dirty outtakes, some deleted scenes, and making of featurettes on the musical and documentary episodes.

1911 is historical epic about the revolution that toppled the Chinese Empire, and feels a heck of a lot like it was made to order by the State. Its problem, beyond its forced patriotism (although it's possible to see it as a call to revolt against Communism too), is that it is trying to do too much. We might follow Jackie Chan as a haunted revolutionary, or the political story, or the crooked prime minister, or the compelling Empress Dowager and her son, but the film (at a trim 99 minutes) keeps jumping around between them at a furious pace, filling in the blanks with tiny tiny historical subtitles which you can hardly read at the same time as the dialog. It's too bad too, because individual scenes are expertly shot and stylish, and the acting is excellent (except for the labored English or French-language stuff, where terrible accents and wooden delivery reigns). This might have been THREE good films, but as a whole, doesn't amount to much. A thing of parts. The DVD includes some good deleted scenes and a half-hour of raw behind the scenes footage without even the benefit of subtitles. A number of modern Chinese DVDs include this, but it's very dull to get through.

RPGs: Played Hong Kong Action Theater this morning, a gun fu scenario I called Bullet Ballet (unrelated to the Japanese film of that name), more or less in the style of John Woo. It was based on a scenario in the core book about a trio of Triad members trying to protect a ballerina who ran afoul of their boss' plans. Good fun with room for both action set pieces and character moments, and I think an inspired choice of soundtrack (if I do say so myself), with a performance of Swan Lake playing in the background during the climax, the beats of which affected or reflected game play satisfyingly. I posted the review and poster on our fake movie studio website.

Fanzines: Diary of the Doctor Who RPGs #5 (Dec. 2010) includes a fair bit of variety. Its main articles are a list of SF films that can inspire Doctor Who games, a nut'n'bolts discussion about how to convert any number of d6 rolls to d10 rolls (useful for game design, but nerdy in how complete it is), a detailed convention report (Chicago-TARDIS-2010, which seemed outrageous fun), and somewhat disappointing GM tips on pacing, wielding time management like a club rather than a scalpel. There are also articles on post-game player etiquette, adventure scenarios (a time-loopy race to find a hard drive is fairly good, but I rather like the players on trial on a robot planet better - it's entirely insane, which is awesome), reviews (my CCG pal Simon's Solitary Story game, and FASA's Rebel's Gamble solo adventure), and a few other shorter features for amusement's sake. As usual, the pdf fanzine is abundantly illustrated and in full color.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
III.iii. The Confessional - Zeffirelli '90

Your Daily Splash Page this week features a splash from every DC title, alphabetically, from Aquaman to Armageddon.


Anonymous said...

Ah, "Community".

One of the joys of the entire show is how the women weren't just there in service to the men-folk. The show could have easily made Britta a mere prop for Jeff to win, but she became a full and complex character in her own right. Same with Annie. Harmon made for damn sure there were as many women writers on the show as men, and it really shows in the finished product.

A small quibble: the "History Channel" bit was actually PBS, i.e. Ken Burns's "The Civil War". Just wanted to be sure you understood the specific reference; as a New Brunswickian you may not have been immersed in "The Civil War" PBS pledge drives for a decade. Very much worth your time if you want to understand the United States, and even our idiotic schizophrenic nature to this day.

A clip from the first episode:

Advance to 1:40, I think you'll recognize parts of the "Community" episode.

Siskoid said...

Thanks for the insight.


Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Class Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers FW Team-Up Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Shut Up Star Boy Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Streaky Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Orville The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zero Hour Strikes Zine