This is my first blog post for this, hopefully, long running blog feature. I wanted to create some posts that contained a quick run through of some of my current favorite things. This could include books, movies, video games, or pretty much anything of recent interest (but let’s be honest, it will probably mostly be movies and video games). Some times these posts will probably also feature things that I tried recently but did not enjoy. I may come back to some of these items later for a more in-depth review, but I will probably try to mostly include things in these posts that I do not see the need for a full write-up. So, with that out of the way, let’s look at some of my current favorite things.
Television Show: Continuum, Syfy Network, 2012-Current
Currently Watching: Season 2 on Netflix
Continuum follows the typical SyFy channel cop/drama formula utilized by many shows on that network. Something unexpected happens which hurtles our main character in to a scenario they never saw coming. They then use their technology, magic, artifacts, super powers, magic creatures, etc. to solve crimes and also try to reveal the secret behind what happened to them. Examples of this include Warehouse 13, Eureka, Sanctuary, Alphas, and the list goes on. They also always meet some often kooky and questionable characters along the way who they frequently utilize to help solve crimes (many of them alumni from previous SyFy shows or even SciFi shows). But in spite of this generic formula, SyFy channel still manages to make many of these shows fun and interesting (just don’t try to analyze them too much if you want to enjoy them). In Continuum, a special agent from the future is pulled back in time with a group of terrorists, and she must try to stop them from drastically changing the future. I think Continuum is one of the higher quality shows done recently by SyFy channel due to its, on average, stronger actors, better written dialog, tendency not to go too over the top (it does get crazier as the show goes on though), and intriguing premise. The show’s story arcs, which often center around ideas related to fate, terrorism, and the role of corporations in people’s lives, feature many twists and turns that keep the show interesting. Not every episode feels meaningful or important, some of the action scenes feel awkward and forced (let’s have another several minute fist fight!), and characters suffer from ‘soap opera’ type personality shifts some times, but in general I find the show very enjoyable.
Video Game: Batman Arkham City, Rocksteady Studios, 2011
Played Amount: Completed Story but not Most Side Quests
If you played through Batman Arkham Asylum, then you should pretty much know what to expect when playing Arkham City. Arkham City takes many of the elements which made Asylum so much fun and just slightly tweaks and improves upon them. For instance, Batman has a couple new gadgets and an open world type city to explore this time, which includes tons of side quests and hidden items. In Arkham City, a sinister character named Hugo Strange has trapped all of Gotham’s most dangerous criminals in to a small jail city called Arkham City, and Batman must find out what his true motives are. One of my favorite parts of both games is that Batman’s character is both a tough guy and an intelligent detective, something I always felt was sorely missing from any of the movie versions of Batman. I experienced some frustrating moments against thugs armed with guns, but in general combat is fast, fun, and smooth, and Batman has tons of nifty gadgets to use in combat (or to set up traps before engaging enemies). If you enjoyed Arkham Asylum, or are a fan of Batman in general, you will almost certainly enjoy this game.
Documentary: Birth of the Living Dead, Directed by Rob Kuhns, 2013
Watched: Finished on Netflix
An intriguing look in to the production of the original “Night of the Living Dead” film by George Romero, which is considered the first modern zombie movie. The documentary is almost entirely told through interviews with individuals who were associated with the film. Many of the more interesting segments relate to how they were forced to improvise with much of the special effects, story, and setting due to very tight budget restraints, which probably ultimately lead to the some of the movie’s appeal and conventions that zombie movies follow today. The interviews with George Romero are especially interesting because he is very open about discussing the problems with making the movie in a down to earth and often humorous manner. The film features many interesting tidbits and stories for horror movie fans (which actually, I’m not even in to horror movies all that much, but I do enjoy ‘end of the world’ movies). One interesting story is that the film was originally played for children at a drive in theaters, which was unfortunate since many adults supposedly left theaters due to shock and disgust. Check it out if you are a fan of zombie movies or want to learn about the original inspiration for modern shows and comics like “The Walking Dead”. This documentary might be too slow-paced for some though.