Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Box Set Blues: True Blood, Series 1

Ah, Vampires. Savage, blood sucking monsters who descend in the hours of darkness to defile innocence and cause the ruin of all that touch. Somewhere along the line this became a romantic ideal, and whilst I'm not sure why, the pointy toothed fiends seem to be everywhere at the moment, running around and waving their subtext in everyone's faces. On the whole the Vampire hasn't done much for me since Near Dark, but the one show I have been recommended from a couple of places is True Blood, the HBO adaptation of the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlene Harris. So onto my Lovefilm queue they went, and now we've seen the whole first series, I can answer the big question of was it worth it?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thinking: Rating Troubles

Right, so we're going to watch
this film till you rate it correctly.
Our eldest offspring is 10 later this year, and his growing interest in games, and movies and the like has left me with a problem I've not faced for a couple of decades - that of age ratings. In some ways he's determined to like his own things, not things that his terminally uncool parents like, but in others he's growing into a geek, child of geeks, and is therefore despite himself interested in the films we are into, and games we are into. Which is leaving us with a problem - what do we let him watch when? 

On the face of it, it's all very simple, right? Some nice man or woman at the BBFC (in the UK at least) watches all this content and plonks a sticker on it that says an age advisory and there you are. Except that the ratings don't make a lot of sense to me in some ways, especially for games, and suddenly things don't look so simple after all. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

TV Review: Sherlock, Series 2

The first series of Sherlock was one of those genuinely surprising pleasures that no-one - especially the BBC which stuck it on in the middle of summer - seemed to expect would be half as good as it turned out to be. I don't recall it getting a lot of publicity, or much advance buzz, and the concept of a "modern day Sherlock Holmes" didn't really fill me with warm expectations, even given my pretty warm feelings towards Stephen Moffatt's run on Doctor Who. But how things change - the second series comes around with both leads enjoying growing profiles, a large expectation and a great schedule slot from the Beeb, as well as the promise of hitting three of the most famous Holmes stories in three feature-length episodes. So from unexpected pleasure to anticipated flagship, how does it fare second time around?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic: The First 10 Levels

One of the things I've said a couple of times over the new year period was that quitting World of Warcraft was a great decision, as it freed up a lot of time that we then spent consuming games and TV that otherwise we would have missed out on. So naturally, signing up for another MMO sounds like an act of madness, right? Well perhaps. But the one thing that kept up playing WoW long beyond we would otherwise have got bored of it was it was a game we shared - a game we not only played together but a game we played with a wide array other people. And we're both big Star Wars nerds, and big fans of Bioware games, so Star Wars: The Old Republic was like a big gaming lighthouse, calling us in.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011 in Review

Well we're now six days into 2012, and who remembers 2011 eh? That's the fast moving world of the internet for you but I still wanted to put out some sort of thoughts on the years entertainments, and after a brief delay caused by the year starting with the house being broken into, here it is.

I've got to start with the podcast. Dissecting Worlds has now put out nearly 40 episodes and not only have I had a fantastic time making it (because arguing with one of my oldest friends is always fun!) but I've also met a lot of new people and been pointed at a lot of new media to try. I've still little to no idea how many people actually listen but meeting the few who approached us at Thought Bubble was a great (but slightly weird-feeling) experience. And this year we've had a load of guests on, and they've all been great, lovely people. Cliched but true!

Entertainment wise the best thing we did the whole year was quit World of Warcraft. Not out of any real antipathy for a game me and Z have played a lot, and will almost certainly go back to in the future, but simply because we ran out of things to do that seemed worthwhile, and just eased away from it. What it did do it turn me into a much wider consumer of media, and my reading, TV and gaming consumption shot up through the back half of the year, so we've caught up on a lot that I suspect we'd otherwise have missed out on.

That said, I'm not sure it's been a year that anything leaps out at me as particularly outstanding. I've become completely hooked on Fringe, for instance, but I've seen nearly it's full run in the last 12 months so it's hardly a 2011 revelation except for lazy catch-ups like me. Similarly I've discovered A Song of Ice and Fire and Atomic Robo and the HP Lovecraft Literary Podcast this year after somewhat criminally letting them pass me by in earlier years. Stuff new to this year? Nothing quite so striking.

On the other hand, on the gaming front there is possibly more striking and interesting games than I can successfully differentiate, especially only the indie gaming front. Bastion was great, for instance, and the number of hours I've ploughed into small titles like Dungeon Defenders dwarfs my time on the big AAA games like Uncharted 3 or Arkham City, both of which were great in their own ways. That said, if I had to pick a Game of the Year it would have to be the moody, atmospheric, thoughtful, and ever-so-slightly flawed Deus-Ex: Human Revolution, just I just found deeply interesting and compelling just to be in that world, even if my view of it was largely from hiding behind a desk.

For the sake of completeness I think I'd better mention the disappointments - largely the personal one that I didn't produce enough material for either this blog or for the commitments I made over at Geek Syndicate, a problem caused mostly by going back to college in the last quarter of the year and finding myself generally a little over-extended. I fully expect to make the same sort of error this year!

So, that was 2011. Here's looking forward to 2012...