Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Things on a Friday: Full-On Geek Mode Edition

I already picked the Seahawks, so let's talk about something else.

The game Dungeons and Dragons turns forty years old this year, and to commemorate, Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast are launching a new (5th) edition of the tabletop ruleset, a new set of multi-platform video games, and a new comics-style Event called the “Tyranny of Dragons.”  So far, I like what I’ve seen of the new ruleset, but really, I’m just mentioning this now because it is an awesome excuse to show the following piece of D&D promotional art, released last week.

Promotional material for WotC's "Tyranny of Dragons" event,
in which you and your team can (eventually) battle Tiamat.

I guess my favorite thing about this particular event is that it looks like it's going to be 100% appropriate for kids, and my own kids have been pestering me to run another series of D&D encounters for them for a couple of weeks now.  I've not had time to put a whole adventure set together, and anyway, making stories for kids isn't always my best thing.  Plus, the girls will like the idea of fighting dragons, so we may well buy this thing and run it verbatim.  

Now that I'm thinking about it, I really hope we get the chance to do exactly that.

2014’s forthcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) movie has caught a lot of flak from the nerd-o-sphere ever since it was announced that Michael Bay was one of the movie’s producers, especially since it didn’t look like he cared much for the source material.
I like the Turtles quite a bit, and with that in mind, I felt a lot better about the movie after seeing some of the character designs, which also came out this week.  I still don’t know that this movie is necessarily going to be as good as super-fans think that is probably could be, but I will say that they at least appear to be taking the source material seriously, that these characters look like badasses, not poorly-designed jokes for a campy send-up.

Leonardo and the Shredder, per movie designs released just this week. 
3.  Is it weird that I’m excited for this weekend’s mid-forty degree weather?
Seriously, the mid-forties is the warmest it’s been around here in months.  And yeah, maybe that’s sad, but I’m still looking forward to being outside in it for a little while.
Y’know, I can appreciate that Gregg is still fired up about his show, that he thinks it’s good, and that it’s a slow burn that’s (hopefully) going to get better.  But.  I think the consensus view amongst geeks is that the show’s not bad, but it’s also not great, which is damningly faint praise considering the source material and the traditional geek love for all things Joss Whedon.  
Moreover, a lot of the problems aren’t plotting problems.  They’re basically network TV problems, i.e. the cast is too “pretty”, which is unintentionally ironic in a Marvel property considering how nearly 100% of Marvel’s characters are fundamentally flawed, nerdy people.  Plus, the show itself just isn’t exciting enough on a regular basis.  I mean, it’s not bad, but it comes across like a typical network police procedural--think CSI: Marvel Universe--and that’s just not what folks were looking for.  There are already at least a million procedurals on TV.  No one wanted another one.  Finally, when compared to, say, Arrow, the fight scenes--though vastly improved of late--come across stale.  My personal opinion is that they could get a lot of mileage out of hiring a better stunt/fight coordinator and spending more time on the simple mechanics of the show’s action sequences.
Look, I like Clark Gregg.  I like Ming-Na.  But everything else about the show could literally go up in a ball of fire, and I’d never miss it.  They could re-boot the show from scratch using an entirely new cast save those two, and I doubt they’d lose a single viewer.
The book is normally $10.99, now on sale for $1.99.  That’s a 90% savings; not a bad deal.  

Plus, the book itself is terrific.  It’s not exactly the Marvel movie universe, but a lot of the ideas in the movie universe came out of the early Ultimates work, and for that reason alone, I’d call it a must-read.  Honestly, the scene at the end where Captain America goes one-on-one with the Hulk is worth $1.99 all by itself.  It’s excellent, really.  Right up there with the end of the Dark Knight Returns, when Batman says, “This is the end, Clark.  For both of us.”  It’s that good.

No comments:

Post a Comment