Monthly Archives: October 2011
I just finished the second season of AMC’s amazing series Breaking Bad. 26 more episodes and I will be caught up with the rest of everyone who appreciates good television, but I had to comment on the series as soon as I could. I’m also going to put out there that AMC seems to rarely misstep with their series. How can Mad Men, The Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad all exist under one roof? How can other networks compete, and why aren’t they trying harder to compete?
For the uninitiated, Breaking Bad is the story of Walter White, a man diagnosed with lung cancer years after his work as a chemist. In the first episode, he watches a drug bust and finds that one of his former students (Walt begins the show as a high school chemistry teacher) is a methamphetamine cook. Walt tracks down his former student, Jesse Pinkman, to teach him the art of cooking meth. Why? Walt does not want to leave this world without providing as much as he can for his wife and impaired teenaged son. Despite his pure intention, he is traveling down a dark path that seems to slowly corrupt him. As the show progresses, audiences start to wonder if Mr. White is a protagonist, an anti-hero, or even a villain protagonist. It is really hard to say. In just two seasons, he has made some truly dark and questionable decisions. Read the rest of this entry
I’m sharing this on the off chance that you somehow missed this. I’m both pleased (due to the quality) and displeased (because no proper scifi show has reached the level of storytelling of this sitcom’s scifi episode) to report that this, so far, is the best episode of science fiction television of the current fall season. Why do I say it’s so good? Because while superficially the episode is all about the gimmick, the episode is really a brilliant character study made possible by analyzing the current state of the characters but in different situations at the same point in time. Think about it.
I probably shouldn’t admit that I’m overall fine with the hacking of accounts of big corporations, even if the hackers have no other motive than a few laughs. Hack Apple and Sony all you want. But leave any and all aspects of Sesame Street alone! There is no reason to go out of your way to potentially expose children to pornography, and there is no reason to dirty the name of a brand whose purpose is education. Furthermore, they’ve always done a good job of being both entertaining and informative. They have definitely made mistakes along the way, like Cookie Monster’s saying that cookies are a sometimes food and Oscar the Grouch’s living near recycling bins, but those errors are on the side of positive messages. Hacking Sesame Street is basically akin to saying, “Hey, I’m an absolutely horrible person.” Yes, you are.
I discovered Steve Jackson’s Munchkin a few years ago. A friend of mine challenged a group of us to a game of Star Munchkin, the science fiction variant. Immediately striking about these series of games is that they are parodies of their respective genres. Star Munchkin chides the penchant that future tales have for laser blasters by providing several in the game that can connect to one another. Their names include laser, dazer, bobaser, and the dreaded bananafanafofaser. The name of the Star Munchkin expansion? Star Munchkin 2: The Clown Wars.
I moved away shortly after that, and no one I knew played or even mentioned Munchkin. A few months ago, I decided it was time to experience the game again. I picked up the original Munchkin set, which parodies fantasy. A few weeks later I picked up one its six (soon to be seven) expansions, Clerical Errors. Then another (Unnatural Axe). Then another (Demented Dungeons). Soon I found myself picking up another deck – Munchkin Bites, the White Wolf/vampire/werewolf/monster film parody set. Then its sole expansion, Pants Macabre.
I admit that I am a bit hooked on the game, but it wouldn’t have happened without a good gaming group. People convene weekly in my apartment to play a game of Munchkin. One game. Because it’s very unlikely you’ll get through two games in an evening. The game takes at least two hours to play. Not only that, but someone will be frustrated by the end of it. Yeah, it’s that kind of game. Read the rest of this entry