Shopping Suggestions 3: Season of the Which
As these suggestions have been readily received, I’ll continue the sequel-itis and dig deeper into the forever fun and oddball ideas for your friends and family – or that person you don’t know that well which you’ve been saddled with for some stupid “Secret Santa” situation at your job.
I’ve covered movies, basic tabletop games, comic series in general and books that I enjoy. While the realm of DVD is dying off slowly as it becomes simpler to download or join an online service, sometimes it’s nice to have some programs in a ‘hard copy’ form. These shows, whether released on TV, IP or otherwise, are all great to have in whatever version it’s feasible to get them in. Legally, of course.
- The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. originally aired on the Fox network in 1993/94 and ran a long single season. It starred fandom favorite Bruce Campbell as Brisco, a bounty hunter in California of 1893. It’s a wild series loaded with science fiction elements, bizarre humor and over the top fun. It hearkens back to 50’s Western shows while being modern and employing storylines that you just can’t help but watch. It also starred Julius Carry who was remembered for being Sho’Nuff in the LAST DRAGON movie, and Christian Clemson who gained awards galore not too long ago for his regular role on Boston Legal. If you don’t find something in this show entertaining, such as John Astin’s bizarre Professor Wickwire, the kooky, comic-booky gunplay, the anachronistic machines or the incredibly sexy Kelly Rutherford’s performance as Dixie Cousins, well, you’re just dead inside. Brisco!
- Rick and Morty is an animated show of just two seasons, presently. It airs on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and at least the first season has been released to DVD. Rick Sanchez is a scientific genius with no morals or ethics, living with his daughter Beth’s family, including husband Jerry, daughter Summer and son Morty. Rick tends to take Morty with him whenever the need arises, regardless of Morty’s safety. The actions Rick takes during his trips through the universe, varying dimensions or just in town have deep, delightfully dark repercussions throughout the series. The show is hysterically funny, mean, vile and strangely, very, very smart in the science fiction. You can’t go wrong with this show unless the viewer is overly sensitive, easily grossed out or might be ‘politically correct’. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub! Rick and Morty also has a comic book series from Oni Press, which can be located HERE.
- New Tricks airs currently on BBC1 with ten seasons behind its belt. It’s essentially an hour-long police procedural set in London’s Metropolitan Police, where a new unit of retired officers is gathered around a much younger Detective Inspector Sandra Pullman, which is then called UCOS (Unsolved Crime and Open case Squad). The show essentially works out as a younger/older schism of work ethic in police investigation but grows to something much greater, with lots of laughs amongst the serious storylines. It’s not exceptional television in the way of many programs I prefer, but the writing is so vastly different from Hollywood and their often repetitive styles it must be seen. Fans of and American crime shows would do themselves a justice watching New Tricks. Unless you’re a regular viewer of British television, you likely won’t know the main cast beyond Alun Armstrong, who’s appeared in everything from KRULL to BRAVEHEART to THE MUMMY RETURNS. You’ll end up loving the cast though, even through to the eventual changes that occur. New Tricks Season One.
- Justice League/Justice League Unlimited aired on various networks, ending on the Cartoon Network when Warner Bros. signed a significant deal with them. This animated show remains one of the best iterations of the DC Comics characters ever put to the screen, big or small. While the four seasons of these shows (two with each title) is a direct sequel to both the Batman Animated and Superman Animated series done in the same style, if you haven’t seen those it won’t deter enjoyment. The voice cast is above par, with characters from all corners of the entire DC Universe appearing, if not at least having an active role. The series is run like a comic book, with many multiple part episodes that interconnect and single episode tales which break up the longer stories. Now that the characters of Superman, Batman and many of the others have all been filmed with a darker, uglier tone, or have been changed in even more ridiculous ways in the comics, at least this series was done where light and dark were a bit more defined. Justice League.
In all the time I’ve been associated with comics and games, I’ve met a great amount of people who I’ve retained as, at the least, friendly colleagues. I would be incredibly remiss if I didn’t cover some of their fine products for this Xmas gift buying season.
- To the Nines is a fine book written by Anthony Pioppi now in its second printing. A review and listing of nineteen of the best nine hole golf courses in the United States, it’s a great resource for the golf pro, amateur or your Uncle Joe who just golfs when he finally recycles all his cans. For you regular golfers, if you don’t have this book already, then you’re behind the curve. Tony is a well-regarded writer for a number of golfing publications, visiting and reviewing redesigned courses often. Find it HERE! You can also read Tony’s golfing blog for added information.
- The Barrow is a fantasy novel written by Mark Smylie, creator of the comic series Artesia and former publisher of Archaia Studios Press. The Barrow is actually a prequel novel set prior to the events of the three completed Artesia series, centered on her brother Stjepan. It’s a dark and dangerous world in transition as ancient allies and enemies begin to stir in opposite directions, with Stjepan and his comrades skirting the shadowy parts. If you’re unfamiliar with Artesia, you won’t be lost with The Barrow. The book does leave the reader wanting for more, which can be found with the Artesia series. Neither Artesia nor The Barrow is for younger readers, with detailed sex and language that would keep the books in customs at the Canadian border for years. If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, this will sate you in a way you’ll bless me for. It’s better. The Barrow was published by Pyr and can be found HERE. Artesia is getting hard to find, but should still be available if you know where to look. For my own review of The Barrow, visit my old blog. More details on Artesia, Stjepan and their world can be located HERE. Tell Mark I sent you.
- Zach Glazer is the supreme power behind Lesser Gnome, a game company started in response to the large and increasing interest in “old school” role-playing, essentially older rule sets that were more open, as well as being out of print, in most ways. Whisper and Venom was Lesser Gnome’s first publication, a box set including adventure books, dice, maps and metal figures that put the company on the map for fantasy RPGers as a quality operation. Death and Taxes is due up next and The First Sentinel adventure is still in print for you completists. All products are available HERE or HERE. Zach and the Gnomes will be pleased to learn you bought from them.
- Olde Burnside Brewing is one of Connecticut’s oldest craft breweries and one of my favorites. They produce my ultimate favorite beer, Dirty Penny Ale, a dark, malty beverage that puts hopheads into a tizzy. For those that enjoy a flavorful, rich drink that won’t have them sucking their cheeks in from bitterness (like me), this is perfect for them. Dirty Penny is available in 12 ounce 4 packs and big ol’ growlers for the thirsty drinker. And if Dirty Penny is too dark, there’s the lighter Ten Penny Ale or the seasonal Father Christmas as well. Olde Burnside is in East Hartford, CT with their beverages available far and wide beyond state borders. Visit the Olde Burnside website HERE for accessory ideas and locations to buy the beers!
Finally, for those of you that prefer to send gifts in a different direction or just want to help during the colder months, Libby Carrier continues to run the Operation: Comfort collection of goods for nearby homeless through her Heart of Gold non-profit. You can learn the whole tale of Operation: Comfort and Heart of Gold at her YouCaring site. If you feel that tangible items are more your thing, she’s also willing to receive those. If you’d like to send something through standard mail or want a list of what she’s collecting, contact us here at the blog and we’ll get the message through to her.
Happy Festivus to you all.