This Week in Geek (20-26/05/13)


Just a quick buy for a future Kung Fu Friday: Thunderbolt Fist. Just the title makes it irresistible.


DVDs: Racing through my Warehouse 13 DVDs, I flipped seasons 2 and 3. In 2, a new and unusual villain is introduced that really adds something to the show and to the world's mythology. And I think this is the season that got me laughing out loud at the comedy too. I find that's a byproduct of investing in characters for a goodly length of time. It elevates everything. The DVD package is a good one, and includes energetic commentary on selected episodes, a lot of deleted scenes, a gag reel, a making of that focuses on the tone of the show, a featurette on the aforementioned new villain, another on art direction and design, a photo gallery and web marketing featurettes (video blogs). I didn't really need the Eureka crossover episode because I've got a full set of Eureka DVDs, but I guess my only real complaint is that the Christmas episode isn't on there (because of the release dates), but the gag reel obviously includes material from "Secret Santa", so you're left flicking around trying to find the episode. It's included on the Season 3 DVD (which in turn doesn't have that year's Christmas episode).

Season 3 sees the addition of new agents, new villains, new Regents, etc. There's a lot of new people, so it's not inappropriate for there to be a DVD featurette on casting where they freely admit they specifically targeted actors with sci-fi cred. I was going to comment on it. If I go by their other names (for nerd-fun), these two seasons have featured Kylie and Simon (again a couple), Odo, the Relic Hunter, the Bionic Woman, Iceman (or Jimmy Olsen), Captain Janeway, Ianto Jones, and more. This is also a much darker season, and though I enjoy being filled with dread during key episodes, I did think Myka had a sad face all season long and that's not her best look. Let's see some more laughs in Season 4, a DVD I await with anticipation (later this summer, looks like). The DVDs again have commentaries, deleted scenes and a gag reel, as well as the webcast "Of Monsters and Men", amounting to a half-hour episode in which some of the stars are trapped inside an old E.C. comic. Amusing, but not as crisply written as most episodes.

Ringo Lam's Full Contact (1992) was the week's Kung Fu Friday selection, a down and dirty (and crazy) gangster film starring Chow Yun-Fat, Anthony Wong and Simon Yam. The latter looks incredibly young in this and plays an outrageous psychotic gay killer-thief-magician. Another villain is a psycho nympho they call Virgin. It's that kind of a movie. Action films tend to have very simple and repetitive plots (in this case, one crook is betrayed by his partners and comes back for revenge) so it's usually about memorable characters and set pieces. Full Contact has both those things. There are surprising moments of violence, but while much of the filming looks "guerrilla", Lam still has a sense of the gorgeous. It's very much in the tradition John Woo was just establishing (with some of the same actors) at the time, and a lot of fun. Don't let the generic English title put you off. The DVD's picture quality isn't awesome, but it's not bad either, and it includes a commentary track by film expert Ric Meyers.

Audio: John Dorney's Echoes of Grey, like most 2nd Doctor Companion Chronicles, failed to grab me. It's not that I don't like Wendy (Zoe) Padbury as narrator, in fact she's the best thing about the audio play. She can do Jamie's accent and even Troughton's speech patterns, and I like how the framing tale gives Zoe the opportunity to be a hero in the present day (i.e. when she's in her 50s) as well as in the past (when she was traveling with the Doctor). And I've liked Dorney's other stuff (recently, I loved The Rocket Men). But for some reason, this story about medical experiments gone wrong didn't quite feel original. Not a whole lot happens until the final act, and then it's a zombie show with a repeated catch phrase (could have been a New Who script). I've very ambivalent about this one.

RPGs: Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG. The Shepherd Season 2 Episode 4: Man'o'War
Last Monday's role-playing session gave friend, colleague and former roommate Joelle her first RPG experience, and no surprise to me, she was a natural. There's the improv experience, of course, but she's enough of a New Who fan that she often had the best ideas. After three sessions with no character to fill the physical niche, it was nice to have an athletic character that could fight, do stunts, etc. Joelle based her adventuring archaeologist on Angelina Jolie's Tomb Raider, and created a backstory I had to fit into the adventure I'd prepared. Emma Gonzales is from a future colony that has lost all its men and has turned to cloning. She's searching for elusive male DNA and finds it encrusted on a shard of solid time, the blood of Corey, the Shepherd's companion. Well, it gets them all together and in transit to have Corey poked and prodded on New Venice, the TARDIS is pulled off track to Moncton (where we actually live), late November 1970, around the time the NBTel Tower was built. Basically, it's The War Machines with local venues instead of London and the Post Office Tower. ODIN instead of WOTAN (and a player played the Bad Wolf card, so Norse myth is to become a recurring motif up to the season finale), Men'o'War instead of War Machines, and so forth. I really want to develop Canadian locations in the game, leaving Britain to the Doctor while our own Time Lord mucks about in the Great White North.

Episode 5: Formula D
Yep, got to play a second session just this morning. A couple of guests - Marty played guest-character Herbert "Herbie" West, a racecar driver with daddy issues who almost  rams the TARDIS during a pole position heat and gets embroiled in events at the 2129 Grand Prix in Monte Carlo; and Furn as co-GM, basically running a Formula D game (the fun racing board game, as seen on Tabletop). I like to incorporate mini-games into my sessions sometimes. Anyway, "Formula D" is a chemical that bonds you to a vehicle and gives you the Transport skill (because the Shepherd and Corey never invested in it), allowing them to replace pilots hurt via sabotage. The players have to navigate inside track politics as well as do their best in the race and prevent pure a-hole Sven and his cheat-car Mjolnir from capturing the trophy. My main players each used a Story card - Corey had a Flashback that allowed him to seduce the villain's girlfriend and turn the sabotage against him, and the Shepherd became Interested in the throwaway idea that Norway was now a corporation, which will become important later on, I promise. An amusing change of pace which also tickled our board game gene, and got Corey both laid and punched out.

Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
IV.v. Ophelia's Madness

Your Daily Splash Page this week features a splash from every DC title, alphabetically, from Justice League Task Force to Kid Eternity.


Pout (Shepherd) said...

"Shepherd became Interested in the throwaway idea that Norway was now a corporation, which will become important later on, I promise"

Oh good. I was going to ask for my story points back! :P *kidding*

Siskoid said...

As you know, the all flood back at the start of the next session.

Your Bad Wolf and This Interests Me will both be resolved by the climactic season finale.

Which should coincide with Fred (Corey)'s departure for the summer...


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