The Casual Geek

You don't have to be an expert to enjoy pop-culture!

Category: Television

When is a Zombie also a Realtor?

When Drew Barrymore is rocking it out!

This Netflix show premiered yesterday, Feb 3rd and I binged hard on this show. 

As many of you have seen, Netflix has been pushing this show really hard in the last few weeks. From the two or three “diet advertisements” that gave absolutely no hints what the show was about, to the few traditional trailers, I have been curious to check this show out. 

The basic run down of this show is Sheila (Barrymore), husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant), and daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) live the cookie cutter life in the suburbs. Sheila and Joel are struggling realtors who live between a dickish Sheriff’s deputy and a Santa Monica policeman who are in a perpetual pissing match. Abby is the typical 16 year old, rebelling against her parents. Joel was the High School Prom King to Sheila’s Prom Queen, a classic situation where the husband peaked in High School. To start off, this show looked kind of boring. Well, that changes fast, at a home showing Sheila vomits A LOT, now you may think that I meant more than just a bucket, I am talking wall covering, humans don’t have that much liquid in their whole body vomit. It was CRAZY! Shortly later, Sheila lacks a heartbeat and hungers for uncooked meat. She is undead. There are jokes thrown here and there with her situation making her ravenously sexual and her lack of self-control. Like all undead shows, she quickly discovers that she craves human flesh and kills her first victim. What follows are hijinks, such as Sheila killing a man and freezes his body in a storage unit, hiding the fact that Sheila eats human flesh from Abby, a funny scene about Polish desserts, “ant” spray, a stepson trying to get back at his stepdad, and peppered throughout is a good story about a family trying to stay together in a situation that is beyond comprehension. The jokes go from tongue and cheek, fast sexual ones, and ones that build as characters develop.

The episodes are fast paced and after watching six in a row, you will be surprised where the time went. I felt that character development is solid for a show that plays more on the jokes than the drama. The writers put in solid storytelling for a basic plot.

What makes this undead (they don’t like the Z-word) show different than all the other shows (TWD, Izombie, and more) is the story that is focused more on what life is like after the changes. Sheila is more worried about being a better mom than finding a cure. She is bold, empowered, and aggressive, all qualities she self-described did not have beforehand. Joel has found a purpose and is trying to adjust just as much as Sheila. Abby doesn’t know what to make of it and knows that her parents are hiding something from her.

I look forward to the second half of the season and I think that Netflix has found a possible, offbeat hit.

 

2017 Television Reviews (Ongoing)

I will be the first to admit I have been slacking. With the current events happening so far this year, work as been hectic. The New Year brought a new administration that has been changing the game at bullet speed. That being said, I have found myself woefully behind on new TV shows this year. Every time I try to sit down and binge (or at least watch even one episode) life gives me something that needs more immediate attention. Next thing I know it is 10pm and time for bed.

But for you dear readers, I trudged up the snow-covered mountain and watched into the wee hours of the morning, plus Sundays are made for laziness to give you a handful of thoughts on some new shows. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Young Pope (House of Cardinals) Review

 

 

Young Pope (HBO)

Jude Law as Pious XIII

In a nutshell, this is a 10 episode “limited series” about the first American elected to Pope. Jude Law plays Lenny, a boy dropped off at a Catholic orphanage at an early age who becomes Pope Pious XIII. I have to get this out of the way; Jude Law has an American accent that needs some work. His accent is non-regional but has been mixed with a jumbling of accents. There are times that you want the scene to change just so he stops talking but he is very charismatic no matter the scene. Pious XIII is only 47 years old (the youngest in hundreds of years) and was elected not by his merits but as a political move by one of the Cardinal factions. The show makes a point to reinforce that fact that very little was known about his view of the Catholic Church prior to his election. People just made assumptions based on their own conclusions. The Cardinals think they can manipulate him to their will and be the ones in charge. How far from the truth they go!

Pious XIII is far from what the Cardinal suspected. He is abrasive, independent, and a paradox. He is shown to be deeply faithful one scene (privately praying) and then telling a priest he doubts God’s existence another scene. He wants to bring people closer to God, but does not want to be seen by the public (going so far as to darken the balcony for the first Papal address) at all. He is an obviously kind man but also merciless when he is speaking to others. He loves being the Pope, but hates the ceremonial duties. There are so many more but more than all, he will not be controlled by anyone.

This show is a great demonstration of sometimes the Devil that you do know is better than the Devil that you do. Before Papal election, ANY research was done about Lenny, he would have shown to be a TERRIBLE choice as the Pope. One of my favorite stories he tells has him punishing Bishops and Cardinals by sending them to Alaska (TWICE).

That being said this show is GREAT! The mix of dark humor, power jockeying, political intrigue, and a fantastic ensemble cast of characters makes this show addictive. I watched all four (what is currently available) episodes back to back. The three main story arches are building gracefully but one of the aspects of Pope Pious XIII that I am most interested in is: “Is he just playing everyone?”. There is a level of the character that does things so outlandish and there are snippets of dialogue where maybe there is more than meets the eye. He is a person that never had control until now and yet he does not come to me as power hungry. There is a smirk at the end of the title sequence that I think is the most telling of the whole show. Maybe all of his wild new rules are part of one larger scheme he has created. We will have to wait and see!

San Diego Comic Con Bingo Cards

Welcome to another post by ME, The Casual Geek, I am getting back into the swing of things. Comic Con season has begun for me. Like many, I have been CONSUMING information regarding San Diego Comic Con 2016. So much of what I have heard from people that have gone in the past are blah, blah, all you will do is wait in line, blah, blah, be prepared to spend all this money, and such. Well there is so much more to this colossal event. After watching a great video about free swag and the importance of experiences over just spending money at SDCC. I made up bingo cards of different things to look for and created a simple game for my fiance and I to play while we are there for the two days. Perfect for 1-10 people. Please feel free to use any of these cards for yourself! They ten cards are a mix of about 55 different items I thought would be fun. I know some are common place, but give me suggestions and I will make more.

Let me know what you think!

Rules:

  1. First one to get 5 in a row wins (Duh). Photo or Physical evidence is needed to get the square. (We are playing that you need to be in at least 50% of the cosplay pictures)
  2. Only one person can claim the same “item” (I.E. two people don’t get credit for the exact same person cosplaying as Mexican Batman). Flip a coin to see who gets credit.
  3. Have Fun with the catagories! Here are some of my ideas
    1. Hearts Desire – Freebie, but has to be something you like
    2. WTF Costume – A Cosplayer that you have no idea where it comes from
    3. Booth Employee – Must have company logo (will break a tie if said employee is in costume)
    4. Cosplay in a wheel chair – There are some GREAT costumes where people have tricked out their chairs.

 

Bingo Card 1Bingo Card 10 Bingo Card 9 Bingo Card 8 Bingo Card 7 Bingo Card 6 Bingo Card 5 Bingo Card 4 Bingo Card 3 Bingo Card 2

Tips and tricks for Comic Cons

For the first time goer, it can seem very daunting when you attend you first comic con. It was very much for me. I’ll give you a little background. I went to one or two “comic cons” when I was a little kid when they were really just comic themed swap meets. Nothing like it is today. My first comic show as an adult wasn’t until 2014 here in Texas. It was at the Irving Convention Center and I had NO IDEA what to expect.  Since then, I have gone to shows across the country of varying sizes from small intimate ones in hotel conferences rooms to one of the largest in the world. I have learned a lot since the beginning. This is really a “if I knew then what I know now” letter.

Meeting Celebs:

One of the biggest draws to conventions is meeting people. From A list to D list celebs will be there. Two things that people often forget are that for the most part they are just normal people who are just as happy that you enjoy their work as you are and that they are also there to work. Have a normal conversation with them but like I said, they are there to work. One of the most shocking things to me when I went to try and meet Steven Amell is that he charged $50 for an autograph. There is a small group of guests that you can just go up to and shake their hand at no cost. Most of the time though, guests who don’t charge for just meeting will charge a nominal fee if you just want to take a quick selfie with them. The best advice I can give is if you don’t want to pay for a signature or take a picture is ask one of the staff there if you have to pay to meet.  Most guests are so nice and there are certain guests that will talk with fans for minutes, regardless of line size.

PLANNING:

I have fallen victim to this more times than I would like to admit but conventions can get expensive quick and there is so much to do while you are there. The best advice I can give is figure out what you want to do there. Are you looking for a certain item? Do you want to get a photo opportunity/signature with a guest? Are you going to catch all the panels? Figure out what you want. I am a strong supporter of paying with cash only so I don’t go wild on the shopping side and planning my trip before I even set foot at the convention. Most cons have pretty up to date websites that announce their schedule at least a week in advance. Take a look at what excites you and draw up a little schedule. This may sound silly but you don’t want to schedule a photo op or waiting in line while the panel is going on. If you are going with someone, scheduling also helps out the other person by ensuring that everyone gets to see what they want. Also, bring snacks and a water bottle. These are life savers.

PANELS:

YES!! So many times over, YES! This is by far my favorite activity (second is hunting for comic signatures) to do. Based on the guests and what fandom interests you, you can learn about upcoming info on shows, behind the scenes details, and see the humor of celebs. I strongly encourage going. Bits of advice, most panel rooms will have a finite amount of seats and very rarely do they allow standing room. This being the case, you may have to stand in line for seats based on how big the panel is. Most places empty the previous panel but it is always good to check the conventions room clearing policy on their website. Panels are so much fun.

COSPLAY:

You will see people dressing up as their favorite characters all over the place. Some are very elaborate with many working parts, other people may just have a simple mask that they made or bought that day. In my experience, there is no bad cosplay and people are enthusiastic to show off their character interpretation. That being said, feel free to ask them if you can take a picture of them or with them but do not just try and take a picture without consent. As the tagline goes: “Cosplay is not Consent”.

A COLLECTOR’S LIFESAVER

I wanted to share something with people that I find very helpful. I like to collect comics and have a respectable collection (nothing that would cause eye-popping, but I think it is very respectable). I know some people collect movies, games, and others prefer music. Well as you may know, keeping track of all of them can be a pain in the butt. Some people have everything jotted down in a book (we have all seen them in the store) or they keep an excel spreadsheet with all the information. That is good and well, but what if you leave your book or cannot remember if you have something or not? I have a terrible memory and I have fallen prey more than once of getting excited about finding a comic, taking it home, and discovering I already had a copy. It is the worst but I found a solution!

My friend Fabio, an ardent Batman fan, introduced me to an app called CLZ Comics. This was a game changer for me as a comic book collector. The basic premise is that you put in all of your collection, you can scan the barcodes or type in the title and the app will pull up the comic and store it in a database that is right there at your fingertips. The app auto-fills all the details including the people involved in creating the comic, a short premise of that issue, and a nice copy of the cover. Why it is so great is that you can search by artists, writers, titles, or characters and the results will pull up based on your criteria. Going to your next Con and want to see what parts of your collection an artist was involved in? Just search that name and POOF! Right there.

They also have similar apps for movies, music, and books. Based on the size of your collection, the prices vary between $1 and higher.

Click on the icon to check out their website and see if the app is right for you. ENJOY!

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