This Week in Geek (28/10-03/11/13)

Buys

Couple of Canadian buys this week. "Worst. Person. Ever." by Douglas Coupland, and Primeval: New World on DVD, more for completism's sake (as a fan of the UK series) than any expectation of quality.

"Accomplishments"

DVDs: The Guild Season 6 is likely to be the famous webseries' last, and though the cast isn't so sure in the DVD extras, Codex's character really has gone through a complete arc and the last shot mirrors the first. Not to say these characters couldn't have further adventures in the future, but there's the feeling that the story IS complete (I encourage Felicia and friends to do more Guild comics though, those were awesome). So this season, Codex is working for the creator of The Game, which becomes a meditation on Internet fan criticism of sorts, and gives the show an excuse to spend even more time in-game (Zaboo falls in love with an NPC which is pretty well done). Everyone gets a story, of course. Clara and Bladezz team up on a You-Tube channel, Vork goes Occupy for The Game's many injustices (i.e. bugs), and Tink might just discover the meaning of love isn't materialistic. I wasn't sold on the convention season (the fifth), but this feels like a return to form, getting beloved characters back to their roots while still moving them forward. The DVD has a raucous cast commentary, two making ofs (one focusing on behind the scenes footage and the crew, the other more talking heads and discussing stories with the cast), a gag reel, and the video for "I'm the One That's Cool" which might as well be my personal anthem.

Republic of Doyle Season 4 ups the ante in several ways for my favorite cast of Newfoundland criminal investigators, though we're definitely at the point where they're bringing back favorite guest stars just for the hell of it (but that's not necessarily a bad thing). Bennett goes undercover in the entourage of one of the more dangerous villains to grace the show. Tinny graduates from police academy, following in the family tradition. And Paul Gross is made a recurring character as Tinny's criminal father who by the end teams up with the Doyles' archnemesis, played by Gordon Pinsent (if you were a fan of Due South, you'll know why this is delightful). Otherwise, the surprise guest star of the season is Luis Guzman with a dynamite vest strapped to his chest. So as strong a season as any, though I'm now wondering if Des isn't getting hit in the head a little too often, and if that's what's giving Mark O'Brien permission to become more of a cartoon character over the course of 13 episodes. Watch the brain damage, Des! The DVD includes commentary on a couple episodes, a "making of" that's a pleasant assembly of web material (I gather), including exclusive bonus scenes, usually funny business with Des, a featurette on the crew members so often ignored on stuff like this, a time-lapse bit shot on set and a blooper reel. The DVD package is as fun as the show.

If you were paying attention, you know what I thought of Doctor Who's 40th Anniversary Flash animated serial Scream of the Shalka (one to discover), but now that it's available on DVD, let's look at the extras. The commentary track has old faithful Toby Hadoke more or less interviewing one person in each episode, writer Paul Cornell, director Wilson Milam and producer James Goss each talking over two 15-minute episodes. Since this isn't a well-known Doctor Who story, it never feels like anecdotes you've heard or read before. The production notes do go on a lot about previous drafts of the script, but the making of gets to the nitty-gritty of producing this thing when the BBC doesn't care about it one iota. Fascinatingly, it was a terrible experience for most involved, though ultimately rewarding. Interviews with the cast and director back in the day show a more positive side (the recording of it), though Richard E. Grant is notably absent (Derek Jacobi too, but I wasn't expecting him to appear). There's also a cool, and for me very nostalgic, documentary on the BBC website, especially as relates to cult TV and Doctor Who. Brought back a lot of memories, not all of them so far back in time. It's my favorite thing on here. A small photo gallery from the recording sessions and a complete soundtrack album complete the package.

RPGs: Justice Legion - A Fragile Peace, episode 5.5: Operation Atlantis Part 2
5.5? Yes, I imagine this adventure of our 28th-century Justice Legion campaign as a flip-book, one with the Advance Team (last week) and one with the Combat Team (this week). It's how the DC Heroes Suicide Squad module Operation Atlantis is structured, with players taking on different members of Task Force X depending on skill set, on two linked missions. I filed off the numbers, gave my players villains to play/babysit alongside their heroes, pulled a lot of switcheroos on the Atlantean cast (a criminal Aquaman for Marine Marauder and Aquagirl for Mera last time, Mera for Aquaman and Black Manta for Ocean Master this time) which helps keep the familiar-yet-different feeling of the future we're building, but kept the essential plot. After the Advance Team prevented Atlantean terrorists from nuking Poseidonis to prevent it from joining United Earth, the Combat Team is sent to the Middle Realm ("Middle-Earth" in an old 70s All-Star Comics, an underground kingdom rules by alien trolls) to stop Manta's plan B, unleashing an ionizer device that will kill all sea life. It really WAS combat-heavy, and if I wasn't worried about some players needed to leave for work etc., I would have made sure to do more character-centric scenes, and get to know the new goodies and baddies we made use of (character sheets below). Ah well, victims of the module's structure, I suppose. Needless to say, the action was still pretty crazy, with lots of reversals of fortune, though I suspect the villains weren't in the heroes' league.
 
 
 
Hyperion to a Satyr posts this week:
IV.vi. Hamlet's Letter - Olivier '48
IV.vi. Hamlet's Letter - BBC '80
IV.vi. Hamlet's Letter - Zeffirelli '90

Your Daily Splash Page this week features a splash from every DC title, alphabetically, from Starfire to Steel the Indestructible Man.

10 comments:

Lowell Francis said...

Very cool- I love the write up. What system is that you're using?

Siskoid said...

I've merged DC Adventures with Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space in an effort to get the d20 out of the former.

Lowell Francis said...

The sheets look great- very sharp.

Siskoid said...

You can find more by writing Justice Legion in the search bar. Thanks for the compliment!

JDF said...

Damn, I wish I lived in Moncton! Then I would stalk you until you let me join your DWAITAS game...

Siskoid said...

Probably wouldn't need much convincing.

JDF said...

I have a friend who lives in Moncton. I'm perpetually trying to get him into Doctor Who, but he's intimidated by the half-century of continuity.

I explained that this is like refusing to get into Superman because you haven't read everything since Action Comics #1, but he's not convinced.

Siskoid said...

Haha, is your friend Furn AKA @Idiotbrigadier? Cuz he's actually IN my gaming group (just not the Who campaign) and uses the same argument, yet finds a way to watch 80s exploitation films over and over again. Time is relative I guess ;)

JDF said...

I know, right? :-) I'm the typical North American "1980s PBS Tom Baker" fan, but that limited exposure didn't deter me from watching New Who when it debuted.

I am now systematically buying and watching the classic series on DVD (currently watching "The Mind of Evil"). Now that I think of it, missing some of the classic episodes might be a good thing for the would-be Whovian...

Siskoid said...

It's a journey that can be taken many ways, from different starting points or haphazardly through the canon (and extracanon).

 

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