Urban Fantasy, what is it? And how do you create good urban fantasy? I’ve mentioned Urban Fantasy before in some articles, but I wanted to delve deeper into it and provide some more examples beyond my normal one. Urban fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has […]
Tag: Stranger Things
I don’t remember what my previous years list was, but let’s see if my tastes in TV shows has changed at all. This is also likely going to be the last post of the year, though there might be a New Years Eve post, but I took Christmas week off from work, so it’ll be devoid of any new updates on the website until the very end of 2018 or 2019.
Pretty easy choice for me, easier than some previous years, but Psych is just that perfect blend of parody/satire that I can really enjoy. The whole premise just works as well, someone who is hyper observant helps the police while pretending to be a psychic in a comedy format. The characters are also really good as well. They all grow and develop over time while not changing who they are as core characters.
2 Stranger Things
Creepy and classic, Stranger Things is probably a show that everyone knows about, but is so well done. It follows around different groups of people through the town of Hawkins as crazy things are going on in the town. It pulls from horror greats like Stephen King, John Carpenter, and others. It’s definitely my cup of tea as well because it takes place in the 80’s, and I’ve always just enjoyed that aesthetic.
While Stranger Things has that creepy classic horror vibe feel, Dark is actually just creepy and so well done. In the US it is on Netflix, and I’m not sure where it was released in it’s original German. I would say that you should watch it with sub-titles if you can because some line in English can be half as long or twice as long as it takes to say in German. I’m always on the lookout for good Time Travel and Dark does an amazing job with it. It could be a tough show to watch for some people though because it is very thematic and deals with dark themes, as the name would imply. I’m waiting on the second season, hard to believe it will be as good as the first, but one can hope.
This is a show that I’m not completely caught up, but the adventures and monsters that the Winchester brothers have to face off against just makes a good show. I like the horror aspects of it, the monster of the week, and the really campy nature of some seasons as well. I can’t say that I’ve loved every season of Supernatural, there have been so many and they can get a little bit repetitive, but they tend to do a good job of having enough unique episodes and evolving the show over time that it works well. If you aren’t in for the campy or you aren’t in for the horror, the show might not be for you, because it does both at different points in times throughout the various seasons.
5 Stargate: SG1
This show almost made my list last year, and after watching the very first episode again after a long time, it reminded me of why I like it. There’s the nostalgia of it as it was the first big Sci-Fi epics that I watched. And then it goes all over the map, but they do a good job of creating an interesting story throughout most of the seasons, and there is a certain campiness that I enjoyed about it. While there are certainly better critically acclaimed Sci-Fi shows out there, SG1 is my favorites.
Another tough list to make and a lot of change. The biggest thing is that Doctor Who has fallen off of my list. There are just so many shows that putting down a list of 5 was hard to do.
What are some of your favorite shows? Are there any shows on the list that I have that you want to check out? Or do you have suggestions for shows that I might like based off of my top 5?
If you go into Fantasy Flight Game Center (or to their website), you see loads and loads of board games that have Star Wars on the side of the box. They have X-Wing, Armada, Rebellion, Imperial Assault, Legion, and Destiny, and I’m probably missing a couple, […]
Today, we’re continuing along with our series of articles about getting to know your nerds — this time, we’re going with Television Series.
I didn’t talk about this last time, so I’ll mention it now — what criteria do I have for picking my favorites for a top five list? First for me is enjoyment of the thing — which is obvious; if I don’t enjoy it, why would I have it on my list? But that enjoyment can come in many different forms. For example, with Lord of the Rings, I enjoy it because of how it shaped the works of fantasy that came after it, and because it’s a great trilogy, but when I compare it to something like Dresden Files, it’s clear that I enjoy them in different ways. For example, there’s more humor with the Dresden Files, and there is a more enjoyable escapism element for me with those books. Then compare that with Swallows and Amazons, which is a children’s/young adult book that hasn’t really influenced anything — while there’s a fantasy aspects to the series, you know it’s just the kids’ imaginations. Another of my criteria is how absorbed I get into the book/show/movie/game. Is it a form of escapism for me? If it is, it’s probably going to be higher on the list because something new, exciting, and fantastical that I can escape into is always fun.
So with that out of the way, here are my top 5 TV Series:
5. Stranger Things
This one isn’t on Amazon, sorry — but there’s a link for the soundtrack (part 1 of it, anyway). So why do I love Stranger Things so much when it’s had only one season on Netflix and I’ve only seen it once? One of the big reasons is that I love the 80’s. That Stephen King, John Carpenter, Goonies type of horror that happens in this show is amazingly fun to watch. I also love it because the characters seem real. They aren’t always the smartest, they aren’t always the bravest, and pretty often they make bad decisions. Every character has a past, and though not all of them are troubled, they do all feel like they have things shaping their story.
As compared to Stranger Things, Eureka is a silly romp in the park. And a lot of the time when watching TV, that is what I want/need. Eureka follows a normal sheriff in a town full of geniuses, and problems ensue. It’s a show that is pretty episodic, but there was almost always a bit of a story that ran throughout the seasons. Colin Ferguson does an amazing job playing the normal Sheriff who has all the slapstick things happen to him. The show does a good job of keeping things light a lot of the time, but there are stories that take seasons to fully run their course and that make you think and care about the characters. The show is done now, and I don’t know that it is still on Netflix, but if it is, it’s a show that clearly I loved and I would highly recommend. That said, it’s a show that builds into being great (granted, this is common for most shows), but for a silly show, it’s worth being patient with it.
You can probably see a theme in what I love — horror, monsters, and fantastical at this point in time. Supernatural has that in spades. Now, with a show that has run as long as Supernatural, there are ups and downs. Some seasons are amazing, some are good, and some are average. I don’t personally think they have had a major failure in any season. So how does Supernatural stay fresh? It started out being a horror show with a monster-of-the-week feel and a little through-arc; then it really leaned heavily into through-arcs and having things tied together for some seasons, and it’s become much more self-aware as well. Supernatural is just fun, too; I’m the type of person who finds it fun to be a little bit scared.
Shawn Spencer is a lazy, bored twenty-something who hasn’t done anything really worthwhile in his life; in fact he’s still trying to rebel as much as possible. The one skill that he’s good at is noticing things, since his father, a detective, trained him in that, to his chagrin. He has used his talent to help the police solve a few cases, as he calls in tips while watching the news. But his knowledge is so specific that they start to suspect him for one of the crimes he calls in about, so he pretends that he is a psychic and opens up a fake psychic detective agency. Psych is an absurd show that is played for laughs 95% of the time. The characters are really likable, and they grow and develop over time, and it’s a ton of fun to watch. The different episodes have different themes to them (most often based in the 80’s, and I love the 80’s), so one might be a murder at a summer camp where Shawn and his friend Gus had gone as kids, or a mystery at a sorority, or infiltrating a street racing gang. It’s so silly and so very fun.
1. Doctor Who
A time traveler, trips to different planets, aliens — this show is fantastical, absurd, heartfelt, and heart-breaking, sometimes all in the same episode. Doctor Who, a very long-running show, follows the exploits and adventures of a Time Lord known as the Doctor, who travels in his T.A.R.D.I.S. (Time and Relative Dimension in Space), most of the time with a human companion who aids in his adventures and keeps him grounded to humanity. The show has been going for over 50 years, so how do they get around having a really really old actor playing the Doctor? The Doctor (and all Time Lords) can regenerate — that means they can renew their form. When this happens, a new actor takes over the role. It works well because it allows the creators to tweak the show for each version of the Doctor. Each Doctor needs grounding in a different way, and while there are always things that feel like the Doctor about each iteration, the story is able to change over time and keep it fresh. I’d recommend watching what’s known as “New Who,” which started in 2005. Be aware that some of the first season is a little rough in terms of cheesy alien effects, but if you stick with it, it does get a higher budget later on, and the writing and storylines get better. Like Supernatural, there are some seasons that are rougher than others, but it is worth sticking with it because there are a lot of great seasons and episodes throughout.
Quickly, some honorable mentions that I hated leaving off of the list. Stargate SG1 is a fun long-running sci-fi show. Haven is a show based off of Stephen King’s work that is more supernatural-feeling than horror. South Park is an irreverent show that takes the lowest common denominator all the time and is still one of the smartest shows you’ll watch. Warehouse 13, Killjoys, Firefly, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are all a lot of fun as well.
What are your five favorite TV series?
Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!
Fall is here, and with it comes the return of so many great shows, along with premieres of new ones. Peder and I have already been availing ourselves of the wealth of new episodes coming out for some of our favorites, like Killjoys, Brooklyn 99, and Bob’s Burgers, and we […]