Saturday, December 27, 2014

Five Things to Binge On for the Rest of the Holiday

Christmas is over. Hanukkah's over. Your obligations to your family, hopefully, are over. And now you're sitting in the house, wondering what you're going to do until New Years. Now's the perfect time to start binging on your favorite geek entertainment. But there's so much to choose from these days - what should you watch or play or read, and what's a waste of your time? Here's our top five recommendations, as put together by the Ace of Geeks Staff.

Marco Polo
Where to get it: Netflix

Netflix's first attempt at having their own Game of Thrones, Marco Polo is the story of the titular explorer's time as the prisoner/servant/butler of the Kublai Kahn. As a Netflix series, you can watch the entire show right this damn minute, and you should. While it might not have the zeitgeist of Thrones, Marco Polo has been full of the kind of intrigue and excitement fans of Martin's books and show have been craving. Lead actor Lorenzo Richelmy - an actual Italian, playing an Italian, imagine that - has been playing the explorer with a swagger that's fun to watch, and the rest of the cast is just as good. Since the show takes place in Mongolia, we're blessed with a whole host of really talented Asian actors, something that television has been sorely lacking these days. Spend a few hours checking up a romanticized version of a fun story.

Other Drama Recommendations: Downton Abbey, before the new season starts January 4th.

Where to get it: Hulu

And speaking of talented Asian-American actors finally getting their due, here's John Cho, everybody. We were a little tepid on Selfie when it first premiered, but since that time the unfortunately-cancelled show has come into its own. The entire season (so far) is on Hulu right now, and you owe it to yourself to check out the excellent chemistry between Karen Gillian and John Cho. This is one of the few sitcoms of the last few years that's managed to make me laugh consistently, and at least two other members of our staff agree. Worth your time, despite the stupid name.

Other Comedy Recommendations: Community; Marry Me; The Colbert Report

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
Where to get it: Steam, Xbox, Playstation

Some of my staff suggested Skyrim. (Ok, a lot of my staff.) Others suggested Dragon Age: Inquisition, which we were a little divided on. But for my money, if you're going to sink hundreds of hours into a game this week, it should be Shadow of Mordor. The plot may be a little thin, but you cannot beat the fun of Mordor's Nemesis System. The game continually creates legions of named Uruks, with their own quirks, strengths, and weaknesses, and sends them after you with aplomb. Everyone has their own favorite pet Uruk, the one who came back to challenge you again and again, no matter how many times you put him down. Mine was named - I shit you not - Duch the Poet. He wrote little limericks for me every time I put him down. I was really sad the last time we faced, and I took off his head.

Other Game Recommendations: Dragon Age: Inquisition; Skyrim; Halo: Master Chief Collection; Bayonetta 2; Your Steam Backlog.

Where to get it: Crunchyroll

Parasyte tells the story of a boy and his hand. No, not like that. In the world of this new anime, alien parasites have replaced the brains of some of humanity, taking over their bodies and turning them into warped monsters. Shinichi Izumi is similarly attacked, but the alien is only able to replace his hand, giving it infinite transformations and mutations. The two quickly bond, and begin defending themselves against antagonistic Parasites. It's certainly a weird (and graphically violent) concept, but it's a lot of fun to watch as the pair become friends and do battle with all sorts of weird looking alien creatures. A great mix of comedy and body horror.

Other Anime Recommendations: Sword Art Online II; The Devil is a Part Timer; The Legend of Korra (Did I just start a fight in the comments by calling that an anime?)

Where to get it: iTunes

If you haven't heard of it, you will. The first podcast to truly go viral, Serial is being listened to by your coworkers, your friends, your family, even your enemies. Do you want to go into your next swordfight to the death and not have a witty quip about Best Buy and payphones to make? In all seriousness, though, Sarah Keonig's investigation into the 1990s murder of Hae Min Lee is a fascinating listen, with a ton of surprising twists and turns. Now that the entire season is out, it's the perfect time to catch the whole story. Just don't expect a perfect resolution - like real life, the truth may not be as simple or as easy as we'd like.

Other Podcast Recommendations: Welcome to Nightvale, The Thrilling Adventure Hour, The Nerdist Podcast, The Ace of Geeks Podcast. (Come on, I had to.)

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