Geeks of the Round Table

Geekasaurus Mike is a proud affiliate of Geeks of the Round Table at http://geeksotroundtable.blogspot.com/

12/23/12

Mike Overthinks: The Holiday Classics

Mike takes a look at some of our most cherished Christmas songs in order to point everything wrong/depressing/horrifying about them.

12/21/12

The Incredible Hulk: SNES


From the depths of yet more computer issues, a new review arrives! Could this be one of the good superhero games out there, or is this in league with the dreaded Superman64?

12/14/12

Just one thing.

I don't care if you're for or against more gun control policies. I don't care what you think of the second amendment, or any other political or philosophic stance you may have on this matter.




All I ask is that you, right now, show those whose lives were lost today the respect of a moment's silence.












Thank you.



*any comments regarding any kind of debate on the subjects mentioned above, or against any previous commenter will be deleted, as soon as I see them, without warning. The scheduled video will be posted tomorrow.

12/10/12

Trailer Trasher: The Croods


Is this caveman adventure story going to be a family classic, or will it be dead as the neanderthals?

12/5/12

Trailer Trashing: Man of Steel


So the last Superman movie  (Superman Returns) was not the comeback DC wanted for the Man of Steel. Sure, it didn't bomb like, oh, I don't know, movies about an anti-heroine with a penchant for feline emulation, but it just wasn't what the company needed to bring the Superman movies back. I think a lot of this came down to the story. Brandon Routh was a decent last son of Krypton as far as his acting, though I think people were bothered by how skinny he was.


Jeez, someone get Superman a sandwich.
But the story is what just killed this movie. It wasn't bad, per-say, it was just bland. Lex Luthor has an evil plot to get rich, Lois Lane is kidnapped and a call is sent to Superman, who Luthor repels with kryptonite but ends up saving the day anyway.

There were NO surprises in this movie, except maybe that Superman had a son with Lois Lane who kind of has super powers. Even that little twist works against it, however, as Superman doesn't actually take any responsibility for the boy in the end. Defender of truth and justice indeed, though I must admit, I enjoyed how everyone but Lois Lane at one point or another suspects that Kent is Superman. I don't know, I was amused.

Whoa, whoa. Kent might be Superman?!

That wasn't enough to save the movie, however, and the rebooted Superman movie franchise died as quickly as it had come.

But now with the monumental success of “The Dark Knight” trilogy, DC is ready to try again with another Nolan piece, “Man of Steel.” There's only one trailer out for the movie at the time I'm writing this, and it's...well, interesting is certainly a word that would fit.



So, is “Man of Steel” some kind of metaphor for a “Deadliest Catch” movie? That's Henry Cavill as Superman, who you should recognize as Theseus from “Immortals” or as Albert Mondego from “The Count of Monte Cristo.” But how convincing will he look in the blue tights?



Well, if nothing else, Cavill has sheer size on Routh. Looking at the two, who would you think of more as a super strong, invincible hero? Yeah, Cavill wins that hands down. Going back to the trailer, what is with them being on a boat, or with Superman just wandering down the street? Why is the music painfully clearly form Lord of the Rings?

Here are my theories: in this movie, Nolan isn't going to focus on the powers, but how a supernaturally powered alien would feel, well, alienated from his surroundings. It's the kind of realist approach that made the Batman movies so great, after all. This Kent may well be on the boat and the street because it lets him keep his distance from the rest of the world, which could be supported by the speech from who I'm guessing is either Pa Kent or Jor-El. In it, he's urging Clark/Kal to use his abilities to make an impact on humanity, be it for better or worse. I think Superman's real journey is going to be coming to terms with his status as an alien while still working for the benefit, and possibly acceptance of his adopted world.

But why is he in handcuffs in the picture above, surrounded by soldiers? I think he's trying to show the world he's not a threat by willingly going into government custody. If you look at him, he's not beat up, he doesn't look like he was hit with kryptonite, those are ordinary handcuffs, and hell, his HAIR isn't even out of place. To me, this all points to him stating “I'm not here to hurt anyone, see? I'm going quietly, though I could clearly escape if I wanted and there is jack-point-nothing you could do about it if I did.”

The villain of this film is going to be General Zod, who I think is perfect for the kind of movie I've predicted above. Zod is Clark's philosophic opposite, believing that his inhuman powers give him authority to rule over humans rather than the responsibility to defend them from their midst. He doesn't have any cronies that I see in the IMDB cast list, which gives him alone more freedom to be a foil to Superman.

Honestly, my hopes are really high for this movie. We're not given a lot of what it's about from the promotional material, as is the way with Nolan, but I'm excited about what we are getting to see.

As for the Lord of the Rings music...er...put it in the same category as the giant rabbit from Iron Man 3.



12/4/12

Iron Man 3: The Trailer

So if we make it past Dec. 21, then we'll probably be around for the third installment of the Iron Man series with Robert Downy Jr.

Man, that trailer is dark, isn't it? The hero getting the snot kicked out of him, a real feeling that maybe this one won't have a happy ending, that maybe these odds are truly insurmountable?
Does anyone else just think “Dark Knight Rises” from that description? I mean, okay, it's obviously got some differences, being Iron Man and all, but my first impression of the trailer was that it was trying to look like the end of the Nolan trilogy.

Except for that bunny. The hell was with that?

So let's get down to the brass tax with this trailer. Going on with the tradition of each movie having a new suit that improves on the last on, Tony Stark's new armor can fly through the air to him piece by piece, obviously an upgraded version of his armor at the “Avenger's” climax which could automatically deploy, but was a little slow in getting on him. Also, the star-spangled armor is obviously War Machine.

But then we have this bizarre moment where Tony is in bed with Pepper, and she is grabbed. It's really quick, but we see the Iron Man armor standing over them. My prediction? That's just a dream, as he mentions he's having nightmares.

Obviously the villain is the Mandarin in this one. The rings are just a dead giveaway. It looks to me like they're going to go the Joker route with his character: not really a front-line guy, but a planner with frankly ridiculous resources. The “the thing about heroes” lines really sounded like something the Joker would have said in that interrogation scene.
AND he has a viking beard? Can he be stopped!?

So what about the armors exploding? What about Pepper with that other guy? Or Tony on the surgical table? I don't think the armors getting destroyed is part of the missiles from the helicopter, but that the trailer wants us to think that they were. I wouldn't be surprised if this went the Spider Man 2 route, where Tony Stark tries to give up being Iron Man and destroys his suits. Maybe he thinks War Machine has it handled, or that the world doesn't need him anymore. Maybe he just wants to escape the nightmares.

Of course, if this is the case, the villain will show up, he'll be forced out of retirement, and he'll find that the world will always need him.

Now I'm not saying this is definitely how the movie will go, but it's the impression I get with the trailer. It looks like the Dark Knight Rises trailer, advertising for a Spider Man 2-like plot. I think it will be a lot more light-hearted than the trailer is letting on, but will hopefully be a more solid picture than Iron Man 2.

Although seriously, what the hell was with that bunny?

I mean...really.

11/30/12

11/23/12

11/16/12

Unsung Heroes: Animal Man


Dr. Humphry Wimbletington takes you on another journey on knowledge to bring you some facts about DC's Animal Man

11/15/12

For the Children.

Well, as much as I hate to admit it (and I REALLY hate to admit it until Thanksgiving is over), the holiday season is coming around.

Regardless of whether you love or hate the Christmas season for all its commercialism and rampant consumerism, you really can't argue with the more wholesome aspects. Well, I guess you can, but its hard to hate the alms giving, drastic increase in charitable donations of food and clothing, and general upswing in philanthropy without coming of as Scrooge's even more douche-y cousin.

  Not all charities require standing out in the cold or buying canned food, however. Anyone who knows the internet is probably at least aware of the the webcomic Penny Arcade. If not, I am disappoint.
And so is this turtle. You monster.

One of the many programs Penny Arcade runs outside of their comic strip is the annual “Child's Play” charity drive. Participants in the drive take donations of either money or games and toys to be donated to children's hospitals all over the country. There are several organizations outside of Penny Arcade that participate in the event, including hilarious internet sketch comedians, and major influence of this site, Loading Ready Run. If you don't know who they are, I am again disappoint.
STOP DISAPPOINTING THE WILDLIFE!
 But you can make up for this disappointment by tuning in for what is easily the greatest charity event and video game marathon on the internet, “Desert Bus for Hope.” The premise of the drive is fairly simple: the group plays the game Desert Bus on the Penn and Teller: Smoke and Mirrors game for the Sega-CD for literally days. So many of you may be asking, “wait, what is this Desert Bus game, and why does it warrant a gaming marathon?” First off, stop talking to your screen, I haven't worked out how to hear you just yet. Second, Desert Bus is a game in which you play as the driver of an empty bus making its way from Tuscon, Arizona to Las Vegas, in real time. This means 8 hours of non-stop gameplay. There is no pause, there is no saving, there are no continues. The road is completely straight, and completely deserted save for your bus. Also, and this is real kick in the teeth, the bus veers slightly to the right, so you can't just leave the console on for eight hours and win. You have to keep tapping the d-pad to keep from going off the road. What happens if you go off the road? You crash, and you are towed back to Tuscon, in real time. If you make it, you get one point, and the option of driving back. As you can probably imagine, this game would drive a lesser mortal insane in roughly two hours, but the people at Loading Ready Run have broken records playing the game, with drivers playing for 24 hours straight. For the children. Of course, watching this sounds almost as boring as playing it. One of the things people should really be tuning in for are the guest celebrities, which in the past have included Zero Punctuation's “Yahtzee”, nerd-idol Wil Wheaton (no, not the evil one) and even Penn and Teller themselves. During that time, viewers of their live stream can make donations, either for challenges (as in, “I will donate $25 to see X person sing X song) or in the prize auctions. I'm not going to lie to you, Loading Ready Run manages to get some really amazing prizes for this drive, including hand-made video game paraphernalia, limited edition or even one of a kind merchandise from major game studios, and more awesome collectible geek stuff than I could shake four dozen fists at. Beyond guest appearances and cool stuff, the general silliness of getting a room full of comedians for days on end, and the highly interactive viewer chat-log make the live stream of the event more than worthy of at least running in the background of your PC. You know, that and the fact that it's for a good cause. Desert Bus for Hope 6 starts tomorrow, so do me a favor, check out Desert Bus at http://desertbus.org/.
FOR THE HORDE-I MEAN CHILDREN!

11/8/12

Warning: This post is not for the faint of heart

People, I need you to sit down for this one. I don't know why you'd be standing up while reading this, but seriously, sit down. I am about to say something so shocking, so unheard of, so unspeakable that I feel slightly sickened with myself for doing it.

Are you ready?

Dark Shadows is....NOT a better love story than Twilight.





I know, I know. Sorry, I had to brush my teeth after letting that come out of my mouth. But I had to say it. This movie is terrible, and the worst part, the absolute, bottom of the barrel worst part in it is the "love story" between Johnny Depp's Barnabas Collins and Victoria. Why?

Say what you will about how vapid the love story in Twilight is. I certainly said it in my rant on the subject (look through the archives for the video) but you know what? As stupid as it was, it at least existed. At least we saw Edward and Bella together, DOING things. Here, you see Victoria near the end of the movie and you're just like, "who is that? Oh yeah, that girl we've seen for a total of about seven minutes of screen time. More like two minutes if you're talking about her with Depp's character.

Sure, Bartholomew talks about loving her once or twice, and asks people how to woo a woman in this new day and age (for those of you who don't know, Barnabas was locked in a coffin for 200 years and was let out in 1972), but we never see him try any methods of getting her attention. He just says he loves her near the end and she just kind of says "Sweet, I love you too."

 In fact, the whole movie's problem is that they just talk about things. We hear about how the young Collins son is considered to be deranged after the death of his mother, but we never see any evidence of it. He dresses as a ghost to try to scare people? He plays with dinosaur toys? Man, this kid must be a real wacko for an eight year old.

 

The second message of the story is told to you so blatantly that they may as well put up a large neon sign with it: Family is the only real treasure. Again though, we never see any of it. Barnabas likes to talk about how important family is, but we don't really see him interacting with the modern-day Collins family. There's one scene where he tells the young boy's womanizing sleazebag father to shape up or get out of his son's life. So, naturally in the theme of the movie he realizes his mistakes and learns to put family fir-OH WAIT no he just takes a bunch of money and ditches the kid. Real nice.

Huh...may have busted out the spongebob pic too early.

There also this "HUGE" plot twist in the end about how each family member is supernaturally cursed, the daughter is a werewolf, the son communicates with vengeful spirits of the dead, but who cares? There's nothing leading up to the daughter's condition, so we're just left going "...huh. So I guess that's a thing".

Heck, the movie isn't even about the family. It's about Depp's character and the witch who turned him into a vampire because he wouldn't love her. There's this whole dilemma of Barnabas hating her, but he can't resist sleeping with her (or, rather, jumping around the room with all their clothes clearly still on). But even THAT is underdeveloped because it takes time out to try to cram in all the other underdeveloped, for lack of a better phrase, "plot points."

Visually, sure, Depp makes a decent vampire. Sure, the castle is cool looking. It's not enough to save this however. I wouldn't tell you to go watch Twilight instead (unless you have the rifftrax or something), but save your money and rent almost any OTHER vampire movie.


p.s. How did the Collins family survive? We see Bartholomew's parents get killed, and we never see any brothers or sisters. We aren't told he had kids in the 1700's so what the hell?


10/23/12

10/22/12

So you want to be a superhero? (Halloween for Guys)

Let me get this out there right now: I love Halloween. It is arguably my favorite holiday, simply because I thoroughly enjoy coming up with creative costumes. Take this one for example:

Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to build this...
In any case, many people may be considering being a superhero for Halloween. Unless you can afford a muscle-suit or the armor pieces to pull off a good batman, however, you may be lost on how to be a superhero without breaking your budget. Well, here are a few heroes that you should be able to throw together at the last minute:

1. Cloak
What you need:
1. A cloak.
2. That is all.
Okay, so maybe you'll want to wear black underneath the cloak, but seriously, this is the simplest of the simple. Get Cloak, wear Cloak, DONE.

2. Phantom Stranger
What you need:
1. A suit
2. A fedora
3 A gold circle for the medallion
4. A cloak. (cloaks are important)
Potentially an eye-mask, but it isn't required. All right-thinking people already have a fedora.

3. You, if you were chosen to be a green lantern.
Okay, this sounds lame, but bear with me:
1. Black pants.
2. A green lantern T-Shirt, available EVERYWHERE.
3. A green lantern ring, or just a green ring. Again, shouldn't be hard to find either online or at a store.
Again, a mask is optional. I just put Baz up there to show that the costume doesn't really need to be all that complicated. Have fun with it.

4. Tony Stark

Not Iron Man, just Tony.
1. Jeans
2. Any shirt that an LED light can show through, or just a tank top.
3. Arc Reactor toy or costume piece. 
4. Fake facial hair or grown facial hair is optional.
Just stick the chest piece under your shirt, and bam, you're basically done.

5. Any superhero t-shirt with normal clothes over it.
Okay, this one takes a bit of imagination and acting. Here's what you need:
1. A t-shirt with a superhero logo on it.
2. A button up shirt.
Now, all you do for the night is wait for people to ask what you are. Before you answer, pretend to hear something in the distance, then dramatically pull open your shirt to reveal the logo, and run off. Or just pull open your shirt dramatically. Either way.

I hope this helps. I will be trying to come up with a women's list shortly.

10/11/12

PETA used parody game! It's not very effective...

(I have to preface this article by stating that if you are a vegetarian, a vegan, or an animal rights activist, I am in no way trying to disrespect you or your choices. There are perfectly legitimate reasons for the lifestyles, and I am in no way trying to tell anyone they're wrong...except for incompetent ass-hats.)


PETA, you and I were never friends. Don't get me wrong, I like animals. I have no less than four in my care as I am typing this. Heck, I even like OTHER animal rights groups, like the Humane Society. I can even go as far as standing those anti-animal abuse commercials with Sarah Mclachlan where you hear the "In the arms of the angels" lyrics and just go "OH GOD TEH POOR ANIMALS, CHANGE TEH CHANNEL BEFORE THEY STARE INTO MY SOUL!" and then what feels like an hour later you flip back to the same channel and are like "OH GOD HOW IS THIS STILL RUNNING WHAT IS I DON'T EVEN...!" and then go about hating yourself for the rest of the day. I don't like to sit through them, but at least they're good at what they're there for: making you feel guilty.
Well, there's goes all my good feelings for the day.
You PETA, on the other hand, are not good at this. I would go as far as to say that you are terrible at this. Let's look at your advertisements, shall we? You seem to have two horses in your stable: overly sexual, and overly horrific. Let's see why neither works.
Er...what?
If I saw this advertisement in passing, I wouldn't stop because I care about the cause. Hell, if I found it on the internet, I wouldn't stop at all for fear that I had somehow gotten to that dark part of the web that is only heard of in the hushed whispers of 14 year-olds who figured out the wi-fi password. But hey, let's say it worked as intended, and we stopped because of the model. How exactly does this make us feel motivated to help elephants? Sex makes things seen, to be sure, but how are we taking anything but the sexualization out of this? If it's the guys with what I'm guessing are spears, then it's not clear enough to get our attention away from the foreground.
But hey, let's see your other stuff and maybe we'll...
HOLY S**T! Woah! Just woah!
Do not take my shock as a good job on your part. It really isn't. Why? Because again, I don't come away with this ad with a desire to help animals. Animals don't even cross my mind for awhile. There is a value to shock, but too much of it and your original point is lost.
So let's compare the two media campaigns: one is a heartfelt plea featuring pictures of actual downtrodden animals and the assurance that there is something you can do to proactively help, and the other is focused on playing to your most primal senses and beating you in the face with how terrible of a person you are.

So at this point, you're probably wondering why I'm talking about this. After all, PETA is not geeky or superhero-y, so why do I bring it up. I bring it up because PETA decided it was going to go after something I am very fond of.
Oh. Hell. No.
My first pokemon game was Blue version on Christmas of 1998. I started with squirtle (because turtles are awesome and he was on the cover.) I currently own sapphire, diamond, pearl, heartgold and white (my blue and silver no longer work, sadly.) I own each and every one in a living pokedex up to gen 4.
I hope you realize who's tree you just rustled PETA. I don't call myself the geekasaurus (entirely) for the fun of it. I am a seven foot tall man who speaks a little Russian, which is all the motivation I need right now to make an Ivan Drago reference.
I must break you.
Now, for those of you who are unaware, pokemon is a franchise in which you are a pokemon trainer, collecting and battling various magical monsters you find all across the land to prove that you and your team of monsters are the very best. PETA saw this and went "OMG ANIMAL ABUSE!"
Now if you have no experience with the actual games, and only have the most basic understanding of the franchise, you may not understand where PETA is going wrong. Well, fortunately you have me.
The fallacy is in thinking of pokemon as dog-fighting, wherein the owners force their otherwise peaceful dogs to cruelly maul each other to the death for their entertainment. That is sick, and it still annoys me that Michael Vic is playing football again.
In the actual mythos of the show, however, pokemon goes out of it's way to show that pokemon fighting is more like competitive martial arts or boxing. There are several instances where it is mentioned that pokemon will battle each other in the wild as a form of strength-building. The pokemon trainer is just that: a trainer. It is the trainer's job to raise the pokemon to be the best that it can be, and that is what the pokemon wants, as demonstrated by it's happiness gauge, which can rise and fall based on how it performs in battles.
In the games, and especially in the show, good pokemon trainers care for their pokemon, even ones not suited to battling. An injury is a rush to the pokemon center, being knocked unconscious means that the fight is over. As an 8 year old, there was real tension in hoping that you could get your poisoned pokemon medical attention before it fainted, not because there was any penalty (there really wasn't) but because that was your pet and you cared about it.
Now, there are trainers who treat pokemon as tools, as weapons to fight, and to whom no weak pokemon can have any kind of worth. Those are called the bad guys. And it is for those exact reasons that you are going up against them. Once pokemon battles stop being friendly competition and start going into that dark territory, it is made totally, impeccably, and undeniably clear that they are cruel people who should never be emulated.
So to bottom line this: pokemon and their trainer are not a tortured pit bull and a jackass on a power trip. They are Bruce Lee and Ip Man, coach and player. It's about care for each other.

But you didn't know any of that PETA, did you? You didn't bother to actually take the time to understand just what the hell you were talking about. You took the show on it's most basic mechanics and decided to fling yourself onto your high horse with the speed of a rapidash on carbos and tout just how horrible something you had no concept of was. You had to go back through fifteen years and slap each and every child who found themselves immersed in a magical world where being good means being loving and being bad means being selfish right in the face.
Because that's who you are PETA. You are that ignorant hipster in every college philosophy class touting your superiority on issues you don't actually get. You want to shock us into complacency, showing us startling images to tell us that even though we don't actually see your point, you must be right. Your head is shoved so far up your own ass that you are pressing your ear to your own bleeding heart.
In actuality however, this campaign doesn't matter. It is a gigantic waste of your time and money. Anyone who buys the crap you are touting here obviously was never into pokemon in the first place, and anyone who is or ever was into pokemon can smell your bullshit a mile out.
Even those people who don't know pokemon know you though, PETA. Remember that whole tanuki suit campaign? Remember the children's books on how owning pets made you the devil?

 The world knows you're a joke.

...
...
Sorry for swearing so much, readers.

10/9/12

Loki vs. Zod


So if there is one thing that any alien would-be overlord loves, it's people kneeling before his greatness. The big question however, is who does it better? Vote by commenting below!

10/8/12

TV4U: Who wants to be a Superhero?

It should come as a surprise to precisely no one that I am not a fan of reality television. Big Brother, Survivor, especially toddler's in tiaras, just serve to remind me that there is probably no hope for the future of mankind, and that your average person is, in fact, a sheep who will gladly flock to what is blatant exploitation of people who in reality are just characters fabricated by producers and editors.
I'd put "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" here, but not living on this planet wouldn't erase the memories...
I could go on and on about how reality television is a sham (how did you switch to an angle behind them, but the camera that was in front of them has disappeared?) but what we're here to talk about today is a reality show that I not only watched, but thought was amazing. It was called "Stan Lee's: Who Wants to be a Superhero?"

The premise of the show was simple: Stan Lee would gather a group of people playing original superheroes, and he would present them secret tests of character to find how which would be the most fit to be adapted to comic books.
Now, I will admit that my memory of the second season (the one depicted in the picture) is spotty. I mainly recall the first. Interpersonal drama was at an absolute minimum, and the focus of each episode was clearly on the challenges the potential superheroes would face.
One that sticks out in my mind most is the race at the very first episode. The heroes were told that they had to find a secure location, change into their costumes and reach a finish line in the best time to win. What they were not told was that the race didn't actually matter. Just before the finish line, they placed a girl asking loudly where her mother was. The heroes who would really win the challenge would be the ones that put the race aside to help her. Only two heroes did, as I recall, going by the names of Fat Momma and Major Victory.
I remember almost exclusively tuning in to watch Major Victory. He was almost like a non-asshole Zap Branigan. He devoured entire sets full of scenery with a performance so hammy that Vincent Price would tell him to tone it down a notch.
Each show was like that. There was a challenge that wasn't really a challenge, but a secret test to see if the contestants were really heroes, whether it be their willingness to put aside their goals for others, protecting their secret identity, or just being honest with each other. It was a reality show, yes, but it was about finding the good in people, not exploiting the laughable or creating drama through the most vulgar means.
Sadly, the show only had two seasons in the US, though I've heard something about a British version. If you ever see SyFy running reruns of it, be sure to give it a watch. I guarantee it will be worth your time.

10/1/12

TV4U: The decay of Family Guy

I loved Family Guy. I thought it was creative, energetic humor that didn't constrain itself to things like practical sense or formula. Of course, you can argue that it was a Simpsons clone, and you would not be entirely wrong, but when I was in High School, Family Guy was kind of animated comedies.
THERE ARE NO SIMILARITIES HERE, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT SHUT UP

I find that either one of two things is happening now though: either I'm getting older, and the Family Guy of the past just has a nostalgic ring to it, or that the show itself has gotten substantially worse. Of course, there is nothing one can say about nostalgia in the sense of an argument. Nostalgia is just the rose-colored glasses that tint our past, and nothing can really be said outside of that. So I will try to keep my reasoning in the latter possibility, and just look at what has changed about the show.

1: Characters.
As with any show that doesn't have an overarching narrative, the characters have to carry a lot of the burden of keeping things interesting. You didn't watch the episode of Meg working for the paper because it was a high school girl in the paper, you watched it because it was a character you knew and enjoyed put in a new situation.
So let's start off with Meg. Does she do anything anymore? Meg was supposed to be the most understandable character of the show. Sure, we all laughed when she got rejected, and no one liked her for seemingly no reason, but that's how a lot of people (especially girls) have felt at one point or another. It was funny because we went "oh, I know what that's like." They even started doing a good thing, where she became more self-assertive and abrasive with her often neglectful family.
Then she just kind of...faded out, only to be brought back as the butt of all jokes. Because, you know, people can't handle development and character, they just want to go "hur hur, it's funny because we hate her." And while we're on the subject of one dimensional characters...
I will say nothing on the issue of homosexual politics, but if I was of that persuasion, I would be straight up insulted by the way that Seth MacFarlane portrays gay people. For someone so obsessed with pushing the liberal agenda (more on that later) he kind of sort of utterly fails at it. Stewie started off as a mad, homicidal baby who was never taken seriously do to his age. It was hilarious. Now...he's gay. That's it. 90% of the time that is the only actual character trait he shows. I have the same beef with the neighbors in "American Dad." It is as though they can have no other sense of self outside of their sexuality. Real gay people, like say Neil Patrick Harris, are not like this. Yes, it is a part of their lives, but not every single decision they make or word they say comes back to it, and assuming that they are so one-dimensional is almost a higher insult than most things.
For the rest of the major characters: Peter has just gone full-retard, usually not even learning from his mistakes, Chris is just brain dead and like Meg has lost his interesting character development (his passion for art) and Lois has gone from the voice of reason to a just plain bitch. We will get to Brian in a moment.
Minor characters have also suffered greatly. Quagmire remains mostly unchanged, but Joe is now just pissed off all the time, Cleveland has his own show, and most others were one-joke props to begin with.
2: MacFarlane himself.
I know that most of these problems can be traced back here, but I feel that this deserves a special mention. MacFarlane has sadly seemed to have taken the road that George Lucas (and to a lesser extent, Stephen Moffat, but more on that in another article) have taken. All three of them NEED someone to tell them no sometimes. Sadly, once they became popular enough, or gained enough power, no one was able to do that. The best Family Guy came when MacFarlane had someone to answer to. Granted, he needed the right kind of person who would let him explore, but he still needed someone to say NO when he strayed too far. Now, he is too successful to be argued with, and that is when many an art dies. People have great ideas, but those ideas often need to be tempered by co-workers or superiors. Once you've risen above that, well, you're going to make mistakes, and no one will have the balls to point them out.
1: The textbook liberal agenda.
Tell me if this sounds familiar: Brian believes in a liberal cause. Another character doesn't. By the end of the show, the conservative character has realized how foolish they've been and concede that Brian was right the whole time.
That should sound familiar, as it's essentially the crux of Brian's character nowadays. Having a message is fine, but MacFarlane will often go the worst, most insulting route imaginable to get his point across. If there's a debate, you can put money on the conservative side being portrayed as morally bankrupt, grossly incompetent, or downright sadistically moronic. There was a brief abortion debate in one episode where the pro-life argument was given by a woman who literally spoke with a speech retardation.
Screw. You.
I don't care if you're pro-choice, or whatever side of any argument you're on. In the name of progress and reason, you do NOT portray everyone who doesn't agree with you like this. That is not enlightened thinking, that is not being the reasonable one, this is straight up, unfiltered propaganda, and I could rant about it for pages.
Another thing I could rant about is the stance on religion. I will hold my own religious views, because this site is not supposed to be about it, but McFarlane has a tendency for portraying religious followers as even worse than standard conservatives. For the sake of this show, being religious equals being a brainwashed, dogmatic zombie.
Grow the hell up.
A lot of people believe in religion. Good, honest, self-thinking people who believe in a greater power than themselves, and don't just take every word of any scripture for granted. You do not get to just throw a blanket stereotype on all of them like this, and still take yourself seriously.
That's probably what annoys me the most about the preaching. It halts the jokes and starts taking itself seriously, like MacFarlane is going to teach you the right way of thinking. You are a cartoonist MacFarlane. You wrote an entire episode based around "The Bird is the Word." You are welcome to your opinions, you are even more than welcome to express them. When you take it upon yourself to go out of your way to insult anyone who opposes you, however, you cross a line.

And that's why my current favorite animated show is Archer.

/rant.

9/13/12

TV4U: Clone High

Hey, do you guys want to hear a joke? MTV.



That's it. That's the joke. The best description I've heard of this network today is a "cesspool of cultural filth." There is not a single show, person, and I'd almost be willing to bet THOUGHT related to that station that wouldn't make Darwin think natural selection had started running the other way.

But it wasn't always that way.

There was a time where MTV stood for something besides everything wrong with the world. There was a time where they played shows that challenged our perception of what could and could not be televised entertainment. There was even a time when the station played music, believe it or not. MTV was the voice of a new generation, and the voice of an entertainment revolution. It was during the dying days of this credibility that MTV came out with what was easily one of their best shows, and one of my personal favorites: Clone High.

Now, I could go on describing just what this show was about, but I think I'll let the opening theme do it for me.


This is what MTV had in 2002 that most stations lack today. Imagine you're a network executive, and someone proposes a parody of a high school drama where everyone in the school is a clone of a famous person. Name a network that would actually look at that idea and go "green light it."

As to the show itself, what truly made it great were the characters. Yes, the stories were amusing, but with no overarching plot, it had to be character-driven. There was John F. Kennedy, the jock/womanizer and his girlfriend (on and off), the promiscuous Cleopatra, and the love triangle featuring the two and a tall, awkward Abraham Lincoln.

The other two main clone characters went completely the other way with history. Joan of Arc and Ghandi, both buckling under the pressure of living up to their clone parents became a goth girl and a party animal respectively. The two are Lincoln's best friends, and Joan has an exceptionally obvious crush on him. Well...obvious to anyone who isn't Abe. Other historic figures like Ghengis Khan, George Washington Carver and, most hilariously, Paul Revere take cameos every now and again.

Outside of the clones we had Principle Scudsworth and his robot servant Mr. Butlertron (he called everyone Wesley...no one knew why...) Scudsworth was great in that he was so outrageously insane that literally anything he did was funny. He spend an entire episode screaming STAMOS!! in a rage filled madness against his arch-rival John Stamos, and it makes me chuckle to this day.


But apart from that, the best thing about the show was its use of subtlety. Did you catch in the intro theme that when Ghandi made a finger-gun at JFK, Kennedy recoiled instinctively? Dark yes, but the show is full of blink-and-you-miss-it jokes like that.

So why did the show only last for a year? Well, it got fantastic reviews from both critics and audiences, so what went wrong? One reason was Ghandi. There was unfortunate timing with the anniversary of his assassination, and protests of his portrayal in Clone High were across India, even though the show goes out of its way to say that the clones are NOT their originals, and that Ghandi is the way he is because of the stress of having to try to be as great as the original was. Either way, there was political pressure.

But I think there was another reason. See, this was the transitional period in MTV from showing features like Clone High and actual music, to the state that it's in today. Had Clone High come out a few years prior, I think it would have had a decent run. As it stood, it just didn't fit the image that MTV was starting to create for itself. Many of the episodes can be found on youtube, and I highly recommend that you check out this forgotten, under appreciated masterpiece of a show.

9/9/12

The Hypernaturals

As Mike ends his video hiatus with a review of "The Hypernaturals", dark forces are preparing to make their move. Also, hippies.

8/2/12

6/25/12

Jersey Shore Shark Attack

Every once in awhile, a movie comes along that challenge our notions of good and evil. A film where we must wonder who is truly the monster. A movie that turns our nightmares, into our friends. I can say, good people, with great confidence, that Sci-Fi has created such a masterpiece. They called it: Jersey Shore Shark Attack.
Oh this si just going to be a treat...
For indeed, who could not have empathy with the noble creatures of the sea as we follow their plight against the nightmarish, alien creatures that haunt the shore?
HIDE YOUR WOMEN AND CHILDREN!!
I'm sorry, but the actually citizens of the titular Jersey Shore cannot possibly be the heroes of the movie. Each and every one is a vain, loud-mouthed, self-centered lunatic, and frankly, you'll hope to see more get eaten with each passing scene. At least it's an "original" cast, with such memorable characters as "The Complication" and "Nookie." I bet you can't think of a single specific other program that has used names incredibly similar to that.

So what is this movie about? Well, the story goes that a greedy oil tycoon...or business owner...something like that, is using some kind of underwater tool that is attracting "albino sharks" to the shore. The sharks eat a few people (FAR too few in my opinion) the main cast catches on to the threat and proceeds to...throw fireworks at the sharks. Yes. That is plan A. Of course it doesn't work and they end up blowing up the boat of the people we're clearly not supposed to like, but who, frankly, have every good reason to hate the main characters given the whole, you know...blowing up their boat thing.
THESE people. I cannot even bring myself to side against THESE people.
Easily the best character of the flick is former singing icon Joey Fatone. His performance of an old singer wondering just what in the hell has happened to his career to lead him to Jersey Shore is just spot on. You can really tell that he is almost living his performance.
I'm sorry, you want me to act in WHAT?
Yeah, some other stuff happens, but I suppose you'd have no reason to see the movie if I told you about it here. However, do I recommend you see it? Well, almost every aspect of the film is so terrible its funny, so I suppose if you have nothing else to do with your evening, you might just find a chuckle with this flick.

5/25/12

The Doctors of Doctor Who: Tom Baker


After John Pertwee left the show in 1974 and the then unheard of Tom Baker (who was, at the time of selection, working construction jobs. ). They had no way of knowing, however, that they had selected who was to becoming the longest running, and most iconic image of the Doctor, if not in the whole series, then in the classic serial.

After the third Doctor contracted a fatal case of radiation poisoning, he regenerated at the end of Planet of the Spiders. The new man eagerly ditched Earth to once again roam amongst the stars.
So long and thanks for all the fish...or jelly babies...

This Doctor would probably be the one that those familiar only to the new series could pick up on the most. Baker was silly, manic, had a niche for technobabble, but still had a dark, brooding, if not downright sinister side. This was the Mad Hatter of the Doctors. He was also far more distant and solitary, considering himself at home neither on Gallifrey nor on Earth. He was still interested in humanity (even calling them his “favorite species”) but it was definitely from an outsider's prospective.
This was also one of the more confrontational Doctors, having to issue with using weapons (non-lethal and otherwise) as well as taking the martial arts expertise of his immediate predecessor. Oh, and there were jelly babies. Oh so many jelly babies.

Of course, the thing that everyone remembers about this particular Doctor is his appearance. Tom Baker sported absurdly curly hair, eyes that continually bugged out, and very prominent teeth. To add to this already striking visage, the doctor wore a 14 foot long, multicolored scarf allegedly knitted for him by Madam Nostrodamus.
This is either a kookey alien or a Bond villain...I'm not sure which

As with any series that lasts as long as Baker's, the story style changed throughout his tenure. At the beginning of the run, the show seemed to lean more towards horror and suspense. Although many fans of the classic series view these as the best stories of the whole show, the darker and darker tone was under a lot of criticism, and admittedly did not play to Baker's strengths. Therefore, 1977 saw a switch over to a lighter, more humorous style of show. It was during this time that author Douglas Adams began writing for the show, to mixed reactions. Some believe that the Hitchhiker's Guide author was a flop, while others rave that he was the best thing since regeneration.

Finally, the show went an entirely new, sombre direction, as the Doctor began to become more melancholy to the point of near-depression. This theme of grim decay continued all the way to his regeneration in Logopolis, where he suffers a fatal fall from a high wire.

Baker did not appear as the Doctor in any subsequent specials (his role in The Five Doctors being comprised of unused shots from his original run) and seemed to dislike his unbreakable connection to the character. Despite him, however, the fourth Doctor continued to be the hands-down favorite of the audience, losing in only two polls for “Best Doctor” to Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor) and David Tennant (the 10th).

But, as long lasting and popular as he was, Tom Baker had to eventually step down, and the studio decided, once again, to in a completely new direction with the character...
You may be a doctor. But I'm the Doctor. The definite article, you might say.

5/24/12

Podcast #1

The first Geekasaurus Mike podcast! Avengers, and Spiderman and site news...oh my?

5/7/12

The Insurance League!

Watch the full Insurance League of America short film here! Otherwise this bunny will continue to be sad.

It's a fuzzy ball of sorrow. How adora-tragic.

5/4/12

5/2/12

Superman64/solitaire Let's play!


Hey kids! It's shameless pandering time!

So as some of you observant ones may have noticed, I have a twitter feed and a facebook page! Since no one seems too keen on joining the forums (it's still there, in the upper right hand button!) I'd like to get a better gauge on how many people actually visit the site.

So go ahead, follow on twitter or like it on facebook! I don't bite. Technology hasn't even gotten to the point where that's even an option for me. Why would you even think that I'd do that? Sheesh. You people.

Here's an adorable picture to get your attention.

4/29/12

Let's Play: Superman 64!

Mike searches for a good Let's Play title, leading him tot he most infamous superhero game: Superman 64!

4/28/12

The Insurance League of America: The Trailer

Here's the trailer for the communications project I've been working on. Enjoy!

4/26/12

Let's Play: Captain Novolin

How bad can a game about a diabetic superhero be? Well...let's find out.

The Amazing Spider Man: Reboot

Okay, so I know everyone has been asking why Spider Man needed a reboot.I mean, the Tobey Maguire versions only came out...in 2002. Huh, ten years ago. Man, I'm old.

Fine, so it has been a decade since Maguire's version. So how does the movie look? Well, story-wise, it looks fine. It's the origin story again, and I don't see anything from the trailer that indicates it's going to be a betrayal. I could be wrong, but it looks fine so far.

So what about the costume?
Again, nothing wrong with it. It has a more detailed, high-tech look about it, which raises questions about how a kid like Peter Parker was able to get it, but hey, maybe they'll explain it in the movie. I guess this costume is based more on the Ultimate universe, keeping in line with most of the Marvel movies coming out now.

There is, however, one glaring problem I have with this reboot that irritates me every single time I see news about it: the casting and costume design for Peter Parker. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Andrew Garfield as a person, and I'm sure he's a great guy and all, but just look at this picture.
Man, I am so fashionably nerdy it hurts.
This is not a socially award geek. This is the popular image of a geek that girls are thinking of when they wear their "I <3 Nerds" t-shirts, aka not really a nerd at all. Pro-tip: that statement really translates out into, "I <3 hot guys who wear glasses. That's really what I <3."

Say what you will about Tobey Maguire's personality, or professionalism on the set, but he was a nerd. He was pale and socially inept, like Peter Parker should be. This Peter Parker looks like he's going to go take some artsy photos before going to play bass in his indie garage band. You want to know what's a media that got nerds right?
Feast your eyes ladies. That's the haircut, nose and complexion of the homo geekus.
Howard from "The Big Bang Theory" is a nerd. Go ahead an compare the two pictures. I'll wait.
...
...
You done? Good. I hope you found the differences between the two. Now, this is not rage against hipsters, despite the indie band comment, it's just that the Maguire movies got the character of Parker down so well, and I can only bring myself to dread what's going to happen to him in this flick.
Mind telling me HOW your hair remained perfectly styled after taking your mask off?

4/20/12

Let's Play: Ultima VI, part 4!

So...much...text...

Forums? On MY Website? It's more likely than you think.

Hey everybody, guess what? Geekasaurus Mike now has a Forums page! That's right, at the upper right hand corner, just under the title and just left of the twitter feed, there is now a forum link. Go, log on, frolic through the fields of threads! Well, growing fields of threads...

The first person on gets...er...my gratitude, I suppose.

Anyway, while I've got you all here, the new Ultima Let's Play will be up as soon as I get to somewhere worth making a video about, otherwise it'll just be me walking through some woods. New Third Panel Review is written, and I'm putting a much free time as I can into getting production on it going. Keep in mind, though, I'm still trying that whole graduating college thing, and finding a job, so my time may be limited. All I ask for is your patience.

Anyway, that's all the news I have for you guys today. See you next time.

-Mike