Totally Geeked is a new feature to Professional Geek Podcast's blog where you'll get an inside look at what our staff are geeking out about today.
Blaire Knight-Graves, Host & Executive Producer
It probably goes without saying that I love TV. So if I say I've been on a binge-a-thon of sorts throughout the month of February, I mean I've been very seriously watching a lot of television. Many of the shows I've been binging are from the 80s and 90s (see: Cheers and Charmed) and a few are modern (see: Taboo and 3%), but one is a sort of obscure zombie-themed miniseries produced by the BBC from 2008. That's right, I recently became obsessed with Dead Set.
Dead Set is a show that any zombie lover -- and any reality TV lover -- should definitely check out. Set on the production set of Big Brother UK, a few reality stars are a few of the only survivors when the zombie apocalypse strikes. And these reality stars are as whacky and colorful as those in the United States. This show is nasty and willing to go the extra mile with practical body injury effects, but it is also one of the only zombie stories I've ever seen that pairs horror and humor seamlessly, without ever being a “funny show.” For those who aren't sold yet, Bodi from Star Wars: Rogue One is also one of the stars. It’s currently on Netflix and only five episodes long, so definitely go check it out!
Mark Beers, Host & Guest Manager
As Professional Geek’s resident DC Comics expert, I was drawn to the premise of NBC’s Powerless, a workplace comedy set in the DC universe that explores the lives of the “regular” people who live in between falling buildings and alien invasions common in a world full of super-beings. The show stars Vanessa Hudgens as the bright eyed and naive Emily, who is new to Charm City to begin a job leading a team of product designers at Wayne Securities, the division of Wayne Enterprises which makes products to help the regular citizens cope with life in a world of superheroes and villains. Featuring Teddy (Danny Pudi), Wendy (Jennie Pierson) and Ron (Ron Funches) as designers, and longtime geek favorite Alan Tudyk as Van Wayne, their egotistic and pampered foil of a boss (distant cousin of Bruce, of course). Rounding out the cast is Christina Kirk as Van’s weary, put upon assistant Jackie.
It has elements working in its favor, but after 4 episodes I’m still unsure about it. The cast is strong, and the premise is full of potential humor, but it feels like it’s struggling to make the best use of that potential. The antics of Van and Jackie have made me laugh on several occasions, but at this point I am still waiting for them to make better use of, in particular, the trio of Teddy, Ron and Wendy. Most episodes rely on Van doing something impulsive and wacky to try and appease his corporate overlords while the rest of the team tries to undo the damage he causes. The opening credits is a thing of beauty, though, as we are introduced to our players through a sequence that zooms into the backgrounds of notable covers from DC’s publishing history to find our characters lurking in the background. In the lives of Charm City citizens, we’ve been introduced to the ideas of fantasy superhero leagues, something I’d be TOTALLY into, and what happens when your new boyfriend is the Riddler’s henchman. For the DC nerd, references to the larger comics universe come thick and fast.
I feel like this is as close as we’re going to get to seeing our favorite DC Comic’s characters on screen, however. At present, the show often feels like it is struggling to be more than a standard sitcom with DC references, which is part of why I was turned off by the early seasons of The Big Bang Theory. I’m excited to see what the show can be if it allows the characters to grow. There is pretty good potential for humor between the skill of the cast and the world these characters inhabit, if the they can pull back the silliness factor half a step.
Zach Weiss, Blog Manager
Are you sick of green screen blunders and CGI fakery? Did Mad Max excite you with their practical stunts? I’m here to let you in on a little cinematic secret: Movies used to be all about highlighting all the cool things that humans could do! This month I’m totally geeked about specifically 90s action movies.
The movies that got me geeked this month were Goldeneye and Point Break, films that I should’ve seen a long time ago. Both movies have amazing scenes of actual extreme sports. Goldeneye starts with Bond bungee jumping over a dam: the shot is filmed with a lens with a long focal length and feels like it was an excuse to get some incredible footage into a movie. This opening scene ends with an unmanned airplane driving off a cliff, with James Bond B.A.S.E. jumping into the cockpit to pull up at the last second. I’m sure the stuntman didn’t actually jump into the cockpit, but the plane pulling up at the last second and the B.A.S.E. jump are filmed beautifully, in real life. And in Point Break, Keanu Reeve’s character Johnny Utah infiltrates a group of adrenaline junkies who are robbing banks. The shots of real life surfing are incredible, but there’s so many more actual stunts done in this film that you just don’t see anymore.
I need more of these films, because even though they’re pretty formulaic action movies, they are advanced through thrilling scenes where the plot is advanced by showing audiences real human feats of extreme activity. These action movies could teach modern day Hollywood the lesson that just because you CAN fake action scenes with technology, that you SHOULDN’T, because it’s worth so much more when you show the audience the gravity of actual stunts.