2016 is near its end or it’s over based on when you read this. It was a rough year in many respects, but it gave us a ton of excellent pop-culture. 2017 as of now promises to do the same. There’s SO much to look forward to. To list it ALL would take forever so I thought I’d just focus on a few things here and there.
NETFLIX is hitting hard with a multitude of shows debuting or returning. Amongst them: Degrassi: Next Class Season 3 – Available January 6, 2017. A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 1 – Available Jan. 13
Santa Clarita Diet: Season 1 – Available Feb. 3 Marvel’s Iron Fist: Season 1 – Available March 17
Sense8: Season 2 – Available May 17
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later- Date TBA
In terms of Network television I can highly recommend the 12th and final season of BONES on FOX premiering Jan 3rd. I’ve seen the first three episodes and they are very hard to comment on without spoilers, but plot twists, reveals, robots and one of the greatest actors of any generation Hal Holbrook are involved.
The reimaginging of the L. Frank Baum saga by Matthew Arnold finally happens with David Schulner (creator of Do No Harm) and so far poorly reviewed but keeps getting work Tarsem Singh at the helm. If anything NBC’s Emerald City looks like it’ll be definite event TV or fail drastically and get cancelled before all 10 episodes even air. One or the other should be fascinating to watch.
In terms of films I’d have to say LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is high on my anticipated list. Sure it’s not by the actual writer/directors of Lego Movie (they’re busy making Lego Movie 2) but it has a good pedigree and every teaser and trailer has me excited.
I’m also intrigued by Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. For his first follow-up to Instellar to be a WWII flick is fascinating. It’s also his first SOLO project since Inception as brother Jonathan was busy creating and developing the excellent Westworld. Equally fascinating is the amount of work put into this film. It’s not a remake of the late 60’s film, so it’ll truly interesting to see what stories Nolan chose to build upon to coney emotion, gravitas, and character even when the lead character is still the operation and Dunkirk itself (the film was actually filmed there).
Also pulled in by the adaptation of Dave Egger’s The Circle with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. James Pontsold makes visually enticing, perfectly paced films and chose the easiest and simplest yet not simple Eggers novels to turn into a film.
There’s a ton of amazing video games coming 2017 too but this site is still without an XBoxOne or PS4 so the focus is on PC games but those that will not require a $5000 rig to run.
First up on the excitement board is Full Throttle Remastered the next rebuild of the classic Lucasart’s games designed by Tim Schaeffer which Double Fine was able to get the IP rights back for. I’m really curious to see how they update some of the worse parts of the game like the combat and the maze puzzles. I’m not completely sold on the art actually but I’ve been happy with DF so far, so I’m in.
Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Season 3: A New Frontier (First Chapter out, but the rest hits 2017) is awesome. I already reviewed it and I’m excited for the rest.
and most especially, Ron Gilbert, Gary Winnick, David Fox and teams’ THIMBLEWEED PARK, the pixel point & click dream of a game I think many thought Broken Age would be. I loved Broken Age, always will, but Thimbleweed Park is looking bigger and better then I ever imagined it could be. I didn’t get to back when I wanted to, but I wouldn’t been able to back what I wanted anyways. This is probably number one on my experiences for 2017 I look forward to.
There’s a share of BOOKS coming out as well.
First up two genius female writers tackling heroes from Marvel and DC.
If you’ve never read The Best Awful, the amazing insane crazy follow-up to Postcards from the Edge you’ve truly missed out. Carrie’s usage of her real life to create a heart breaking, brutal, visual brilliant word play was IMHO her tour de force. While her multiple memoirs are just as breathtaking as well as her one person show, her ability as a novelist while “NYT Best Selling” needs to be more acknowledged. She came from a crazy childhood, led a crazy life and in spectacular fashion she had what could be considered a crazy death. Died like she lived… A Princess Warrior and General of the Resistance.
When you go into anything associated with Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead you know to expect dread, pain, and situations in which you feel that everyone was in a “screwed if you do, screwed if you don’t, so may as well just screw it” place in their thought patterns. From the comics, to every season of the AMC series, and through Telltale’s now 4th game its an inescapable feeling. You go in with the intention that you’re about to have your heart strings pulled, that people you like or even love quickly might die, with that gripping of wanting to turn away and leave because you can, unlike the characters stuck in the universe of the walkers, factions and a falling down society. Yet you don’t, you venture forth, with each death, with each kill, your eyes and/or ears stay affixed.
In the case of The Walking Dead from Telltale Games it becomes even more painful. You are at times deciding who lives and who dies, you are struggling with the difficult decision of who to trust, of what is the right plan of attack. Just as in the earlier versions of the game, it never feels like you are making a small choice either. While some things will happen no matter what you decide, just as Season 1 and Season 2, A New Frontier presents you with choices that will definitely make you wonder “what if?”.
For my first playthrough in terms of writing up the game and presenting it to you I chose to come in as if I knew nothing. It might be hard to actually say how effective this was since I’ve got that tight connection to Clementine from being a previous player, but I really feel the writers did their best in allowing someone to come into A New Frontier completely blind, new to this world of The Walking Dead, pulled in by the shows recent resurgence of popularity.
The Telltale series has really been an interesting ride. I’ve written about TWD Season 1 but never got to tackle Season 2 as much as I should have and since it’s creation, the company has since explored the shows popular character Michonne, delved and reimagined Batman, made an original story based on Minecraft and next year tackle Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
It found it actually fascinating in Season 1 that you played a character with a slighty scewed moral code, only for season 2 to toss you into playing the girl who went through hell and back in season 1 only for her to go back to hell and maybe stay there but keep surviving. With season 3 here we are leaping into another character with an interesting backstory that gets established but not completely covered by the end of episode 2. We get a new layer to the girl we’ve been living with Season one, or if you are new to the series a character you quickly find intriguing simply because Clementine is a truly intriguing character. The flash back sequences flesh out the new character you control in Javier, and then flesh out his new “partner in crime” in flashbacks. It might be jolting for new players to be thrusted so quickly into a new character after starting with Javier like this, but it’s done so well it can be forgiven.
What can’t be forgiven, but I also let it slide is that at times with QTEs (and yes, the game is full of QTEs) I had to switch back and forth between controller & mouse/keyboard because of the response time. You can and will die in this game and unfortunately sometimes the checkpoint between when you died is just a tad long in the tooth. It was actually in two particular instances (one in Episode 1, another in Episode 2) where I found myself getting a little frustrated by game mecahnics. Yet, at the same time without these, it wouldn’t be a game, it’d just be a choose your adventure which is something some players have complained about in the past. The delicate balance Telltale works on to create interactive story versus actual game are actually intriguing.
Another small nitpick is that my gear can handle TWD at the highest graphics with ease, while Batman still has to run at the lowest possible. Are we not sharing engine fixes at Telltale between teams?
What can’t be denied (at least for this player/viewer) is the emotional investment quickly gained which caused screams of NO, AH, and even AWWW at times. And at the end of Episode 2, you don’t have a “Wait, WHAT?” moment, you are a strange non existing being and must be expelled with a crowbar to the head like the little walker you are.
The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier Episode One: ‘Ties That Bind’ Part I & Episode Two: ‘Ties That Bind’ Part II are now available for download.
These first two of five episodes in The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier are available starting today on PC from the Telltale Online Store or Steam ,
2016 isn’t over but it will be soon. It’s been a really rough year for many folks, for pop-culture, for the world as a whole. Yet, many of us still stand and we can’t just stop. We must keep going. On that fact I want to reflect on the good things that happened in 2016. For myself, for my friends, for pop-culture, so I’ll do my best. In terms of movies, TV and music I’ll only mention those that were at least from my view less mixed and truly favorable opinions of what was delivered and even if some mixed what I felt were a really nice thing to make 2017 look happy and smiley. These are incomplete lists, not definitive and just trying to capture some of the good in such a bad year. This also was an incredible year for professional wrestling. From debuts, to folks making it to a bigger show, to smaller shows becoming bigger, it truly was way too many grand things to truly list.
MOVIES (this list should probably be longer, but I’m way too critical and also have not seen many of the films being given FYCs for Awards)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Jungle Book
Captain America: Civil War
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Disney’s Alice Through The Looking Glass
The Secret Life of Pets Nerdland
La La Land
TELEVISION (both Network, Cable, and Internet)
Mr. Robot Season 2
Gravity Falls – “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls”
Regular Show in Space
The Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker Trial
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
The DCTV CW Crossover (and all of Supergirl, Flash, Legends… only some of Arrow)
Lucha Underground Devs Play by Double Fine X 2 Player Productions
The Venture Bros.
Planet Earth II
Royal Pains final season
Girl Meets World
Degrassi: Next Class
MUSIC (This is way more a personal thing)
Green Day – Revolution Radio
Good Charlotte – Youth Authority
Sixx A.M. – Prayers For The Damned and Prayers for the Blessed
Lady Gaga – Joanne
Panic at the Disco – Death of a Bachelor
Miike Snow – iii
Sia – This Is Acting
Animal Collective – Painting with
Cheap Trick – Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello
Pet Shop Boys – Super
Travis – Everything At Once
Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway
Sabrina Carpenter – EVOLution
Waterparks – Double Dare
David Bowie- Blackstar
VIDEO GAMES (again this is personal and to stuff I played & loved and stuff I wish I gto play but didn’t have the console of required PC power) Oxenfree Not A Hero
Amateur Surgeon 4
Batman – The Telltale Series
Dots and Co.
Watch Dogs 2 Day of the Tentacle Remastered
The Final Station
The Witness Small Radios Big Televisions
Mother Russia Bleeds
The Banner Saga 2
This is the Police
No Man’s Sky
Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre
Let it Die
The Last Guardian
The Walking Dead – The Telltale Series: Season Three
COMICS (this is personal as because of limited funds and the higher cost of comics while pay checks stay the same I don’t get to read as much as I like these days and hence do not get Previews to explore independents more then I’d like)
West Coast Avengers
Howard the Duck
Future Quest, Wacky Raceland, The Flintstones, and even Scooby Apocalypse (the HB reboots)
Sugar & Spike-Metahuman Investigator from Legends of Tomorrow The Adventures of Miru
The Twilight Children (Darwyn Cooke’s final published to date interior art work)
CAGE by Genndy Tartovsky & Stephen DeStefano
Superfuckers Forever by James Kochalka The Red Hook by Dean Haspiel
and here’s a few PERSONAL highlights for the author of this (me)
Kaiju Big Battel with Liza followed by FTW Wrestling where I hung with the workers during. Saw Scotty Too Hotty do the worm.
Day out at mall in CT with mom, Al’s and Al’s family.
Becki’s Moving Party.
Passover with mom, Al and Al’s family.
Mike and Lauren moving into a house.
Trip to Philly with Nick and Terri.
Best man at Nick and Terri’s wedding.
Guns n Roses: Once in a Lifetime with David S.
Tarin becoming a full fledged hairstylist.
Hanging out with Brad at my place and his place and other places.
Hanging out with David at his places, other people’s places, parties, events.
Robots Will Kill 15 Year Anniversary.
Ad Hoc 10th Anniversary party.
Here’s hoping 2017 will be better in the ways that 2016 was not and that in terms of pop-culture things will continue to be excellent.
Jervis Cottonbelly and The Hobo are currently one of the top tag teams appearing on CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING FROM HOLLYWOOD. Collectively they are known as Friendship Express. Both men have traveled as singles around the U.S. making a mark for the last 3-4 years in very colorful characters. It is impossible to miss that the Hobo’s voice makes him a dead ringer for Rowlf the Dog (played famously by Jim Henson). On that concept I saw for a long time trying to decide if Jervis was Fozzie, Kermit, or maybe even Gonzo. It was the Rowlf and Fozzie performances that helped me cement the choice though. It took me a long time to finally buckle down and take the concept from idea to drawing, but I did and Jervis and especially Hobo truly loved it and now I share it here on PCS.
As anyone who pays attention to me or this infrequently updated site (which is why there’s a twitter feed running and links to all my social media elsewhere), I am a huge Doublefine Games fan. They’ve yet to make a game I haven’t enjoyed even if the genre was not to my liking. Be it Dear Leader in Amnesia Fortnight, Costume Quest, or even Dropchord.
Well they’ve done it again in collaborate distribution with [adult swim] games for Headlander. Lee Petty’s crazy yet simple concept of a man or woman (you can choose your head) who leaps from robot body to robot body to explore properly this extreme weird future in which a huge and brilliant backstory exists. To give it away is to essentially give the game away. That said, there is a section in the game involving a huge action oriented chess board. If done as it’s own separate game it probably would’ve been appreciated. There’s actually tons of little bits like that throughout the game that show a larger world then the game that would be fascinating to explore as mini games, comics, cartoons and more because that’s what the team at Double Fine do when they develop worlds.
I feel it is the script and the design of characters that is the crux of this 2.5 D side scrolling Metroid like platform shooter. It’s a genre I tend to get annoyed and frustrated with. My hand-eye coordination is just not the greatest when it comes to video games, I have to readjust my eyeline (which I’ve become very good at especially in real life); Yet there’s SO much happening on screen it can be quite difficult. It’s done in such a charming, enjoyable, beautiful way though that even when you’re ready to give up you just keep trying it and trying till you beat it.
The music (masterfully written and performed by David Gregory Earl and an amazing soundtrack in its own right) , sound design, visuals, make it all worth it. Just when I just wanted to throw my controller at the screen, I breathed, put it down and felt that need to come back and figure it out. I’m betting so will you if you haven’t played it.
I’m not set up with a rig to do a Let’s Play, so you have to trust my words. You could also go check out trailers and videos online to get your own impressions, but then you’re not listening to what I’m saying which is just go experience it for yourself.
I enjoyed Headlander so much I went and used my limited but still better then most Photoshop skills to design a new avatar for the excellent, supportive and loving DoubleFine Forums.
ZOOLANDER 2 was lame. It was the dumbest fucking movie. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are old and they suck. That shit wasn’t funny. Pathetic film. So many idiotic cameos. Why this movie be having everyone in it? That’s just dumb. Stupid and gross. That plot too, what was that thing? They got some monkey’s up in there writing this stuff?
Could Penélope Cruz be more ugly too? Those big nasty breasts, that horribly perfect butt?
Then wrapping everything up? What movie does that? Garbage movies only!
My new favorite movie y’all. Six out of Five Stars! Watch that thing on repeat!
-Don Atari’s review of Zoolander 2
I have noticed that there are people who have completely hated on ZOOLANDER 2, which means my using the sarcastic laden style of Don Atari might fall on ears/eyes the wrong way. I absolutely LOVED the film. There wasn’t a thing I didn’t like. Every character, every nuance, every cameo, the structure of the script. It was solid and I recommend it.
At 9:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on May 22nd, 2016 the 100th episode of “BOB’S BURGERS” will air nationally in the U.S.
Before that at its regular time slot of 8:30 PM EST the 99th episode shall air titled “Secret Admiral-irer”.
Now you would think 100 episodes means pull out ALL the stops and go crazy and maybe even overboard. I can assure you that Loren Bouchard and the staff did not do this.
Instead the 100th episode titled “Glued, Where’s My Bob?” is actually one of the tamest, clear cut episodes ever. It’s funny and set up in a way that it could’ve easily been the pilot episode. I say this in a good way. It doesn’t waste time reintroducing the characters or anything, but the episode is centered on the restaurant and the foibles of a basically traditional yet weird family who work together to run a simple burger shack. All the staples are there, the Burger of the Day, some conflict, wife and kids being super crazy and weird to Bob’s perfect deadpan in the chaos and even a fun musical number. This time an awesome duet between H. Jon Benjamin and Kristen Schaal that could come out of Bob’s Burgers: The Broadway Musical (if there ever was to be something as ridiculous and ludicrous as to ever happen).
On that I’d settle for a 3 disc The Music of Bob’s Burgers: The Best of Seasons 1-6. Will we ever get that? Maybe. There’s been Simpsons CDs and Family Guy CDs and the music of Bob’s Burgers is just as good if not better.
Getting back to the 100th episode and the show even reaching this point. The show has for me its highs and it has definitely had its lows and when I say lows I mean lows, but when I say highs I mean making ME laugh (and I DO NOT LAUGH). Throughout it all though one always had to love the characters, the designs, the personalities and the voices. Literally one of the best casts ever. It’s proven that a super talented cast doesn’t always mean super success or always brilliant production but I’d like to take a little time to admire and gush about some of the cast of Bob’s Burgers because they are some of my favorite actors period be it voice, stand up, comedy or just acting.
I first discovered H. Jon Benjamin though Dr. Katz and followed him through Home Movies to eventually Archer and of course Bob’s. Bob might be the closest animated character to the real Jon there ever was which is both hilarious and wonderful because you can’t really imagine any of the roles he’s done before to be voiced by anyone else despite him looking nothing like those folks. It should be noted that Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard and H. Jon go back as far as Dr. Katz if not sooner and have stayed together through various cartoons since.
Eugene Mirman has been a NYC stand up standout since the early 90s and I’m pretty sure as a I’m a guy who since High School has had random nights in this city has seen him at least once or maybe up to five times. At least that’s how I remember things. I know he did stand up in the 2000s and I saw that too. Also, he was on Home Movies, and on that other show Loren and H. Jon did together, “Lucy, Daughter of the Devil” and he did stuff on “Flight of the Concords”. He’s a funny guy.
Speaking of “Flight of the Concords” that is probably where I first really noticed Kristen Schaal and have been smitten since. She’s had experience working with H. Jon before as well on “Freak Show”. It was definitely her work on “The Heart, She Holler” that I became completely enamored. Throw in “Gravity Falls” and of course Bob’s and she’s just a joy to hear, see… whatever it is. Louise Belcher is just the best.
Taking nothing away from Bob, Gene, Linda or Tina. Especially cause John Roberts and Dan Mintz’ deliveries add so much to the show that without them it wouldn’t be the hilarity that it is.
So tune into the hilarity this Sunday and then of course in the already confirmed 7th and 8th seasons on the ride that is the Belcher family. If you’ve never watched, well get started, if you used to and stopped, get back to it. If you already watch? Well, you probably stopped reading, because you’re already sold.
The Burger of the Day is: Drop It Like It’s Hot A burger with a fried egg and jalapeno sauce. (I made this up).
Today ABEA calls for bloggers to discuss the bookish things beyond traditional novels that we enjoy. For me that’s an easy discussion because after I became a reader on my own at a very young age I found myself introduced to comics.
My mind is a bit confused of where my comics love started though. It is one of two stories. I don’t know which came first or which was the cementing of “COMICS!!!”, but I’ll tell them both and then how they’ve influenced my life as a writer, blogger, etc.
On the shelf of one of the earliest production companies I worked for as an actor at 12 years old was a copy of Watchmen. This was in 1988. The collection was brand new. Something about it called to me and started reading it and falling in love. The producer decided if I loved it so much it should be mine if my parents were okay with it. My parents were weird. They didn’t seem to care how violent or sexual something was. I mean I was reading Stranger in a Strange Land before this. I don’t know if they didn’t know, didn’t care or just trusted my brain to be adult enough to handle it. I still have that copy of Watchmen today.
There was a comics shop that was fairly large next to the Midway Movie Theater on Queens Blvd in Forest Hills. As I said I can’t recall if I was already into comics from Watchmen or if Watchmen called to me cause I was into comics. I do remember this shop really well though. The location its in is now a restaraunt. It’s been many things throughout the years. For the longest time it was a shop though and I shopped there. The first comic I remember seeing there that BLEW ME AWAY was Scott McCloud’s DESTROY!!. I knew somehow it was meant to be a pastiche and it was what basically made me appreciate the form from all elements.
By coming into comics through two books that defied what comics were about it prepared me better for an appreciation of all comics. I like all of it. Straight forward superhero, autobiographical introspection, sci-fiction, horror, comedy, dark comedy. What’s wonderful is the format of comics allows it to be as broad and diverse as prose. There are no rules. Create something and let it live.
That is books, that is writing, that is creation. It is why I am still a reader today even with so much media coming at me from movies, television, internet and video games.
To introduce myself to a whole new group of potential new readers or friends isn’t the easiest thing.
I’ve been lucky enough to be at Book Expo America since 2009 since it was in my hometown. As most who do Armchair Book Expo probably know, and it’s why they Armchair, traveling to another state for an expo is no small financial affair. Travel, place to sleep, food, money for experiences, mailing costs, it all adds up. When all I had to do was take a subway and that was my ONLY expense for the week, BEA became magical.
Here I am though, 2016, wishing I was there. I guess I should get to it, since I’ve already probably broken all the rules of Armchair already.
1. What is the name you prefer to use?
Reid Harris Cooper is my name. It’s what people call me. You can call me Reid, Reid Harris, Reid Harris Cooper or RHC. 2. How long have you been a book blogger?
As I’ve never really considered myself a BOOK blogger but just a journalist who covered everything from comics to movies and in between, I’m going with 20 years since I started doing actual reviews on a website. 3. Have you participated in ABEA before?
As stated before I have not. Just when I thought I would probably become involved in it, BEA moved to NYC permanently for six years.
4. Do you have a favorite book?
Forced to answer this I’d have to go with Restaurant at the End of the World by Douglas Adams. It would be literally the 4th book I read on my own when I started reading. Before those came The Twits and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein and then the first Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book.
5. If you could create a playlist that reflects your bookshelf, what would be the first song you choose?
“What Is It?” by Faith No More
“Walkabout” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Insane in the Membrane” by Cypress Hill
6. How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all? (#ABEAShelfie)
For a long time I tried my best. There is a rhyme though. Autobio and non-fiction are all together. Graphic Novels are all together. There’s a cook book section. Then it gets pretty crazy though. I feel like fiction is fiction is fiction, be it fantasy, mystery, sci-fi, young adult, erotica, whatever, so I gave up and just try to keep authors together.
7. If you could choose three characters to have lunch with, who would they be and why?
Someone has to pay for it all so maybe Gatsby, he’s crazy and eccentric but hey money. Then Zaphod Beeblebrox and Willy Wonka. Oh wait, they have money too so… maybe Alice, but AFTER she’s experienced all of Wonderland or Dorothy but after a few Oz books.
That’s me. I’m weird, I’m strange, and I’m all over the place with books. Also I’m here, but I really don’t fit into the Book Blogger realm. Things like Diversity, or other subjects are not of my concern. I like all kinds of stuff. I identify as non human multi sexual agnostic atheist spiritual believer so be free, love books.