Stormtrooper Terry

Stormtrooper Terry

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Entertainment Weekly's Best Show on Television Tournament

A few days ago, I came across this page on, where Entertainment Weekly talked about how, on their Sirius radio station, they'll be running a tournament to find out the best show on television, and they had a picture with the opening round brackets of sixty-four different shows.

So me being me, I decided to download that picture and fill it out the way I see it. Because all that matters is how I see it, right?

Click to enlarge!

A few notes. I haven't seen all the shows, so in a case like that, for example, Scandal and The Amazing Race, I usually gave the more critically acclaimed show the nod. Also, reality shows lost automatically as a rule because I consider them a blight on the television landscape. The exception to that rule was Face/Off beating Girls, because I just hate that show and all its characters so goddamn much.

I don't think the way it all shook out will surprise anyone who really knows me. The match-up that gave me the most trouble was Breaking Bad and Doctor Who; picking a winner between the two of them was not at all easy, but in the end, the Doctor won because of all the feels.

But feels or not, not even the Doctor could defeat Game of Thrones. Blame it on the Tyrion factor.

I know, I know... this should be a picture of Tyrion, but I just had to...

Now, I'd absolutely loved it if this led to a conversation about what all you people out there think about the brackets and who should win and what's the best show on TV and etc., etc., and so forth, so hit up the comments!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - Wayne of Gotham

Wayne of GothamWayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickman

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I've always been a fan of Tracy Hickman, and I've always been a fan of Batman, so this felt like it would be a match made in heaven. Sadly, if this book came from anywhere, it was hell. Don't get me wrong; Hickman crafts a good story but it isn't a Batman story. In fact, it shows little to know knowledge or respect for the character or the seventy-three-year-old mythos that surrounds him. Hickman's writing shows no understanding of the characters' voices or how they view and interact with each other, giving us an Alfred and Bruce Wayne who are barely civil to each other and a Commissioner Gordon who claims to have always hated Batman and been waiting for the day he could take him in. Likewise, Hickman ruins Batman's sainted parents by first presenting a Thomas Wayne who was fine with freakish human experiments and then giving us a Martha Wayne who has no romantic interest in Thomas until she sees him beat someone up... but, what a twist, that isn't him doing the beating, it's someone dressed up as him. Then there's a part where he hear a recording of Thomas Wayne saying, "he wanted his sons to know the truth." Except Bruce Wayne is an only child, right? So you expect this to be a plot point. It isn't. Batman doesn't even react to what's said and it's never mentioned again. As if that wasn't enough, Hickman seems determined to give us a Batman we can't even enjoy, as his Batman is over-the-hill and over-reliant on an amped-up Batsuit that he can barely carry on his own. This entire book was just awful. And this might be petty, but I hated this book so much I'm going for it: the spelling of a character's name changes from Lew to Lou and back again multiple times with no explanation. Crappy writing or crappy editing? You be the judge. Hickman fans who have no interest in Batman might enjoy it, but for Bat-fans, it's trash.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Mets Monday - Just One

Happy Memorial Day, y'all. If you're an avid follower of my blog (and let's face it, you probably aren't), you'll notice this is only the second Mets Monday post I've done this season. It's something I try to do fairly often this season, but, well, the Mets kind of suck. And when I say kind of, I'm being generous.

This is cogent to my point because Bobby Bonilla is the Mets' highest-paid outfielder this year.

Right now the Mets are eleven games under .500. The games are painful to watch because the team can't hit worth a damn so even if the starters throw a shut-out, they still lose. And when they do manage to throw a shut-out and the team hits, the bullpen coughs it up. And yet, I still watch the games (most of the time; sometimes those Big Bang Theory marathons on TBS look so much better...) because I'm a Mets fan and I love this team and as such, I know not to ask too much of them. Generally speaking I ask for just one thing to look forward to, just one reason to watch.

And that's what they give me.

Pitch with a bloody nose? No problem. Here's a strikeout for you.

That one reason is Matt Harvey, a 24-year-old starting pitcher who is currently 5-0 with an ERA of 1.93, 74 strikeouts and just 17 walks over 70 innings pitched in ten starts. Oh, and he's only come within a hair of both a no-hitter and a perfect game this season. His starts are the reason to watch the Mets this year.

Which is a shame, because with the Subway Series starting tonight, he can only pitch just one game, and that's tomorrow night. I'm not really expecting the Mets to beat the Yankees, who are the exact opposite of the Mets at eleven games over .500 and really are just a better team at this point (yes, it kills me to say that, but let's be honest here, there aren't many teams that aren't better than my Metsies, so it isn't an accomplishment, Yankees fans). No, the Mets aren't going to win the series, although I'd love it if they did. Hell, I don't really expect them to even split the series, which would only take two wins. I feel like two wins in four days might just be beyond them at this point. All I ask them to give me is one win tomorrow night.

Just one.

Friday, May 24, 2013

2013 Summer Shows

We all know May means all the shows that started in the Fall as well as the replacements that started in Winter or early Spring are coming to an end. It used to be that that meant nothing but repeats on television all summer long. Or baseball games, if baseball floats or your boat. Or not, if baseball floats your boat but your a Mets fan and you're sick of them by July... but I digress. Now, however, thanks to various pay and free cable networks in the original content game not just producing quality shows but shows of higher quality than a lot of the regular networks do, instead of reruns Summer means more new shows; ones that air back-to-back without repeats.

And more importantly, ones that really don't suck. There are a few that I'm excited about, and since I haven't posted anything that wasn't a book review in weeks, I thought I'd give y'all a list of them.

Of the seven I'm looking forward to,two of them are brand new, so we'll have to see if they make the cut.

It's a miniseries based on a Steven King novel. Need I say more? Because if I do... The Stand. 'Nuff said.

The second new show, Ray Donovan, is from Showtime and stars Liev Schrieber as a fixer for the mob who is married and his father-in-law is the kingpin or something. I'll be honest, I haven't looked into the plot too much because I'm not too sure about this one; between the Liev factor and how similar it seems to The Sopranos I might not be too interested. Then again, Jon Voight plays the father-in-law...

Showtime is also giving us the final season of Dexter. I can't lie, I have no idea how this shit will end, but I'm sure it'll be a fun ride all the way to the finale. You can expect a featured blog post to follow once the finale airs for sure.

And speaking of final seasons...

Though not coming back til late in the Summer in August, AMC is giving us the final season of Breaking Bad, one of the best shows on television and another show that I have absolutely know idea how it will end.
Also another one you can probably expect a dedicated blog post for once the final curtain closes.

Franklin & Bash is back on TNT for a third season, something I'm sure no one expected. Which is a shame, because this legal dramedy is absolutely hysterical. Gosselaar and Meyer have ridiculous chemistry together, Malcolm McDowell is as great as you'd expect, and now they have Heather Locklear? Good show.

And that brings us to HBO, folks...

The very definition of uneven over the years, True Blood finished season five very strong and has me looking forward to season six in a way I haven't looked forward to this show since season three started. And if they actually kill off Bill, I'd throw a party.

Lastly, the show I'm most looking forward to:

Aaron Sorkin is my second favorite television writer behind Joss Whedon, and this show was just brilliant last season. His writing performed by as talented a cast as this show has is a treat to watch. If that quality continues (and if Sam Waterston keeps stealing scenes like a one-man crime spree) this will easily be my show of the Summer. Again.

What about you fine people out there reading this? What are you looking forward to watching this season? Hit up the comments, let's talk about it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - Star Wars: Shadow Games

Star Wars Shadow GamesStar Wars Shadow Games by Michael Reaves

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book a lot. Good plot, interesting characters, decent action, and a fun use of foreshadowing not just for the book but for the events of the original trilogy. I'd have given it four stars, but it has just the most boring and anticlimactic ending I think I've ever read so I had to drop it an entire star. Seriously, the ending was so disappointing. Other than that, it was a good read.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - Orcs: Inferno

Orcs: InfernoOrcs: Inferno by Stan Nicholls

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is the sixth and... I hope... final installment in Nicholls' Orcs series. I say I hope it's the last installment because the books weren't that good to begin with and they've gotten progressively worse with each installment. The characters are for the most part all weak and one-note but at least in the previous books you could respect the orcs for their sense of honor. Even that is blown away in this one when they reprehensibly burn down a forest and kill all the creatures within it just so they can get through. Most of the plot doesn't make a lot of sense, and what does make sense only does so because it is repeated over and over and over again. In the previous books there was always at least a strong action presence but even that disappoints here as most of the action scenes are repetitive and fleeting, especially the climactic confrontation and it's results, which are glossed over so completely it's insulting to the reader. The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one is that it just isn't as bad as the books I've given only a single star to.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - NOS4A2

NOS4A2NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read Joe Hill's other books and always loved them, but with this one, he steps his game up to a whole new level. Honestly, it felt to me like it was closer to his father's work than his own previous novels; I don't say that to be pejorative or hint that he's following in his father's footsteps though. I just mean in terms of tone as it addresses childhood traumas and the supernatural power of natural objects. Beyond that, it is all Hill's, and it's all awesome. Usually when I read a novel of nearly 700 pages, I find myself looking at chapters here and there while I read them and say to myself, "This is totally unnecessary, if it was removed the book would be much better." There is not a page of this story where I thought that. Each and every page had me hungrily turning to the next one, and if not for the constraints of life and time, I think I'd have done nothing but sit and read this until I was finished with it in one sitting. The characters are fantastically realized. The plot is tight and creative and enthralling. The imagery... well, I'll just say this book gave me a nightmare so intense I actually woke up mid-yell. I can't recommend this book enough.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Iron Man 3

Let me start off with a spoiler warning. I'm going to talk about things pretty openly, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, you might want to turn away after looking at this delightful movie poster...

"Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, what are you?" - Steve Rogers, The Avengers, 2012

We all know Tony Stark had a glib response ready to go when Cap asked him that in the heat of the moment in last year's biggest Summer blockbuster, but that's all it was: a glib response. The real answer to that question? Well, that's exactly what Iron Man 3 is all about. The movie gives us a Tony Stark freshly traumatized and paranoid after the events of The Avengers, not sleeping and keeping himself locked away making Iron Man suits. The suit he rode into a wormhole was the Mark VII. As in, seven. The latest one we see him working on in IM3? The Mark XLII. Yes, forty-two.

Tony's been a busy boy. The ironic thing is that the plot of the movie keeps him out of any kind of armor for I'd say at least 75% of the time. He wears the barely functional Mark XLII to survive an attack on his home by the Mandarin and then has to drag it's powerless carcass through the snow in a truly beautiful bit of cinematography that we all saw from the trailers..

Tony spends the next hour or so of the movie showing just what he can do without the suit. He shows off some great detective skills, uses his vaunted skills as a mechanic and engineer, and gets into and wins some fairly awesome fight scenes that lead me to believe he's been hanging out with the Black Widow in his spare time.

Admit it, you would too, if you could.

Of course, it wouldn't be Iron Man if he didn't get back in the suit, which, with the help of his buddy Rhodey (who also gets a lot more to do both in and out of his War Ma... excuse me, Iron patriot... suit this time around) he eventually does after a thrilling aerial rescue sequence. In fact, he gets into a lot more than one suit for the film's climax. To fight off the Extremis-enhanced goons of Aldrich Killian, he summons all forty-two of his suits in what was one of the greatest action movie climaxes I've ever scene. I won't go and spoil the ending, but it's pretty glorious.

Now, mentioning Aldrich Killian, I can't bring him up without getting into the "controversy" over how the movie treated the character of the Mandarin and the way people are saying he was turned into a joke. Yes, the character Sir Ben Kingsley played was a joke... but he wasn't the Mandarin. He was just an actor. As Killian himself says as one of his final lines. HE was the Mandarin. He was the Mandarin the whole time. As far as I can see, there are two reasons for the change. One, the way the Mandarin is in the comics... well, he really is a racist caricature that probably wouldn't play well in the movies. And two, making Killian the Mandarin really ties the whole trilogy together and goes a long way towards answering the question Captain America asks Tony.

Think about it. The opening scene of IM3 goes back to 1999, to a party after the speech Dr. Yinsen mentions he met Tony at way back in IM1. If Tony hadn't played Killian for a schmuck in that scene, maybe Killian never goes bad. The Iron Man series has always been about Tony having to pay for his own mistakes, and this was a big one. But think about it even more. Killian says he was ALWAYS the Mandarin. He's not just talking about the events of this movie. The terrorist group is he is captured and held by in IM1 is the Ten Rings, and they use the same logo we see at the start of each of the Mandarin's videos. The Ten Rings worked for the Mandarin. They worked for Killian. Everything that happened to Tony in the cave in Afghanistan happened because of Killian, and it made never have happened if Tony wasn't a dick when he was younger.

And that answers Cap's question. Who is Tony Stark without the armor, besides a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist? As it turns out, also a pretty good detective and fighter. But more than that, he's a man who makes up for his mistakes, and, in his own words, protects the people he put in harm's way.

In closing, IM3 is a great movie with the performances you'd expect, with the right mix of action and humor. As far as Marvel movies go, I'd say the only ones better are IM1 and The Avengers. Do I think it's RDJ's last outing as Iron Man as people on the internet are speculating? No. He'll definitely be in The Avengers 2. I do think, though, that this might be his last solo outing. It felt like the end of his story, and Marvel has plenty of other characters they can focus on. So if it is the end of the Iron Man series, well, it was a hell of a ride.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Happy Star Wars Day!

You know I couldn't let today go by without posting something, right? It started with the book review directly below this post, and now, with that out of the way, the main event of my Star Wars Day plans... a musical ode to Star Wars! Seven videos, one for each of the released chapters and one for the new one coming up. And without further ado...

The Star Wars That I Used to Know!

Star Wars Cantina!

We Didn't Start the Star Wars!

The Saga Begins!

Livin' La Vida Yoda!

Fett's Vette!

And my personal favorite, Galactic Empire State of Mind!

Of course, there are dozens, if not hundreds, more. So if you have a favorite I didn't list feel free to share a link below. And while I know it's crossing the sci-fi stream, the Whovian in me couldn't resist...

Goodreads Book Review - Star Wars: The Old Republic - Revan

Revan (Star Wars: The Old Republic, #3)Revan by Drew Karpyshyn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If I have to be honest, there isn't a lot I can think of to say about this one. It wasn't bad; in fact, I enjoyed it. But it was short... too short, I think. Three years went by in the turn of a page, and even without that, the whole thing felt pretty rushed. In the span of a few pages characters went through the kind of personal growth that should take chapters to be believable. Pacing issues aside, the plot was fun, and the action scenes were good, so it gets an average score of three stars.

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