Black Swan Movie Poster

Open Thread: Holiday media consumption

Despite having a significant amount of time off, the holidays can be quite a stressful time with all of the traveling, shopping, and family interaction (your mileage may vary on the last one). For the lucky ones that will truly have time to themselves over the next couple of weeks, this is also a great time to catch up on your nerd quotient. Most television shows are on hiatus, theres a lull in video game releases, and plenty of sales out there to entice your credit card to jump out of your wallet. Time to hit your nerd media hard, and get started on some new stuff too.

Here’s what I’ll be catching up on this holiday vacation. Put your plans and recommendations in the comments. And remember, this a Spoiler Free Zone.

 

Television

The Walking Dead: I’m not a zombie guy, but just on personal recommendations and buzz alone I want to jump right into this. The first season is available on Amazon VOD in HD, and the first episode is free, to boot.

Battlestar Galactica: It’s hard to admit that I wasn’t on board with this from the beginning. I’m primarily a video game guy, and don’t leave a lot of room for television. Unfortunately, this was one of the shows that fell through the cracks. Fortunately, this series became available on blu-ray through Netflix within the past year. It gets better. BSG is now available on Instant Watch, with PS3 supporting HD streaming and 5.1 surround via Dolby Digital Plus technology.

Recommendations: Sanctuary, Persons Unknown, Fringe, and Caprica (R.I.P.)

 

Video Games

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood: In the process of trying to 100% all of the memories, I started to realize that I stopped “playing” the game. I put this one down for a while, and have come back with a new focus on enjoying the story, the excellent visuals, and all of the creative ways I can eliminate my foes. In a recent commercial there’s a clip of Ezio jumping off of a horse to a beam, swinging, then killing a dude on a horse that was following; is that entire move actually in-game? If so, I want to go to there.

Fable III: Not quite a crowd favorite anymore, I’m still a fan of the series. Peter Molyneux’s experiments with social interaction and decision making in gaming are entertaining. And, although the Kinect support rumored for this game never came to pass, I still feel compelled to see this series through to the end. I mean, I’ve got Fable II save data and all, might as well make the most of it and have fun with this one.

Metro 2033 (PC): File this under, “PC games still look amazing”. I picked this one up as part of a Steam promotion / sweepstakes. After a couple of chapters I still don’t quite have a feel for the gameplay, but there appears to be aspects of stealth combat, ammo management, and gear selection / customization; sort of a thinking-person’s-FPS. The simplest way to put it (although possibly not the most accurate) would be if Fallout were linear, and more FPS than RPG. Either way, let this be a reminder that PC graphics can still melt your face.

Recommendations: Alan Wake, RDR: Undead Zombie Nightmare, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dead Space (get ready for sequels!)

 

Movies

Jeff Bridges: Right. Not a movie title, but you know what I’m talking about. Is there anything that he’s not in right now? I heard he has a cameo in Yogi Bear (not really). Tron might just be worth a trip to the theater to see it in 3D, and True Grit ain’t looking too bad either.

Black Swan: “Hello, this is Natalie Portman, I’m in a psychological thriller with Mila Kunis.” Me: Let me stop you right there. Sold.

Recommendations: Inception, HP 7: Part 1, Scott Pilgrim, and Shutter Island.

 

Books and Comics

Clearly not my forte, so I’ll defer to the masses here, but I’d like to finally get around to starting Ender’s Game. Also, a nice hardcover compilation of the Star Wars: Dark Empire comic series was recently released. It’s a strong recommendation for fans of the earlier EU novels, post-ROTJ. Finally, time is running out to plow through the Harry Potter series in anticipation of the final film next summer. It’s a fast read, and you’ll enjoy the films more for doing it.

 

So, what’s on your radar this holiday season? There’s a lot of stuff out there, both old and new. Like me, you’re just going to have to pick your battles.

Scott

Hi, I’m one of the founders of Nerd Appropriate and the Rated NA podcast. I like good and bad sci-fi films and tv, pho, and the retrofuture. I am primarily an Xbox gamer, but also do some PC and Wii U gaming as well. By day, I am a research scientist, mostly in topics related to human-computer interaction and user experience. Before all this, fellow NA co-founder Matt and I played music together in various bands. I also used to make "comedy" videos for my high school morning news program before there was a place to post them online. Favorite Star Wars character? Admiral Ackbar. Best Bond era? Timothy Dalton (Craig a close second). Game of all time? Maybe System Shock 2. Thanks for being a part of this labor of nerdy love with us.
  • Sons of Anarchy is my new favorite. If you haven’t seen this, you are really missing a great show. It’s Hamlet done as a motorcycle club. You don’t even have to like bikes. Just watch this show or I will call you gay.

  • Ash

    Great list man. I was fortunate enough to catch Battlestar as it was airing. I remember telling my wife ” So, I watched the pilot for this show… and I think i really like it”. Battlestar isn’t even “about” space, it’s about people. Adama is one BMF.

  • helloscientist

    I’ll tell you the biggest thing that helped me out in Metro 2033 was planning out every move. Also, stealth is your best friend. Take the stealth suit when you get the chance. I thought it was a great game even if I didn’t fully understand the story, maybe someday I’ll pick up the book if I can find it in english.

    • Yeah, I had to go back and replay even the first section of the game where I had an equipment choice. Metro 2033 is surprisingly stealth oriented.

  • Madson

    One of my kids let me borrow fable 3, I have the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy, and I also have a new Zombie board game called Last Night on Earth that I wanna try. Those diversions will be competing with my family and my prototype for my focus until Jan 10. Luckily, we don’t have a ton of plans for the break.

    • Ash

      That sounds like a good time. Let us know how the board game works out.

      • Madson

        We could get together and give it a shot if you guys are interested. Jen and I played a practice round to get the basics down, but it’s really made for 4-6 people.

  • dtmexploded

    Excited for True Grit. Also been digging into some old SNES games (mostly Final Fantasy 3).

    • matt

      which emulator did you end up with?