Thursday, February 24, 2022

TV Roundup, Episode Five

I've been watching what feels like an extraordinarily large amount of "TV" (i.e., streaming series) lately, so much more so than usual (which is already a lot) that anime has - gasp - sort of taken a back seat for the moment. So, I figured I'd write a TV Roundup post. Then I found out that the last TV Roundup post I did was from November...not 2021, but 2020. What the heck? Did I go a whole year+ without watching any good shows? No, I just got distracted. That happens. Also, I've been talking about a lot of shows on my band's podcast instead of in this blog, so there's that (those shows include Alice in Borderland, Sweet Home, Rick and Morty, Shadow and Bone, Dota: Dragon's Blood, Titans, Squid Game, Solar Opposites, Inside Job, Hellbound, Arcane: League of Legends, Peacemaker, and The Legend of Vox Machina).

Anyway! (and beware, there might be slight spoilers)

The Book of Boba Fett
I'm familiar with all the criticism, and I agree with some of it, but I feel like the question you have to ask is: did I enjoy watching this show? And the answer is yes, yes I did. So, isn't that sort of the point? To be entertained? The one thing that does still bother me is that (spoiler alert? Has anyone reading this blog NOT seen this show yet?) a Naboo starfighter is not really the best mode of transportation for a bounty hunter, even if the vacated droid port makes a perfectly cute baby seat for Grogu.

(on Disney+)

All the Marvel Shows on Disney+ So Far
Have I not talked about any of these yet? Wandavision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, Hawkeye, What If? Yes, I've watched them all, of course (along with their associated "Assembled" making-of specials). Heck, they could make up their own TV Roundup post. Suffice it to say that Disney/Marvel can't put these things out fast enough.

(on Disney+)

As We See It
A dramedy about three autistic young adults navigating life, this show is a breakthrough for representation in that its leads are all actually autistic. I've read some of the criticism from the community, and trust me, I totally get it. Still, though, I think it's another step in the right direction, so progress is being made, even if it's slow. Heck, the show even casts neurodiverse people in neurotypical roles. If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you check it out and decide for yourself - aside from the autism angle, it's really pretty touching and heartfelt.

(on Amazon Prime)

Brews Brothers
This comedy about two brothers who run an independent brewery/brewpub actually came out in 2020 but for some reason I just found out about it recently. Needless to say, its setting, premise, and juvenile gross-out sense of humor are all right up my alley.

(on Netflix)

A superhero show from last year that is based on a popular comic book series that ran from 2003-2018, despite its family-friendly appearance this one is definitely not for's more for fans of things like The Boys. Which I guess makes it that much more subversive.

(on Amazon Prime)

The Wheel of Time
I actually tried reading the first book of the series upon which this show is based a few years ago after hearing how good it was, but - sorry, Randlanders - I just couldn't get into it for some reason. I think I had more patience for extremely long descriptive passages when I was a kid, but now it's kind of my least favorite thing not only to read, but to write as well (which is partly why I love writing screenplays, because they're mostly action and dialogue). I picked up the book again when this show came out in an attempt to do a simultaneous read-and-watch sort of thing, but, well...the show just kind of took over. For what it's worth, I did enjoy the show a lot and especially love the world-building. Looking forward to the next season.

(on Amazon Prime)

The Chair
I actually watched this one, a dramedy about a newly appointed English department chair at a fictional university, when it first came out last summer. I enjoyed it (the celebrity cameo in the penultimate episode was especially fun), and I was reminded to talk about it here because Sandra Oh is returning in the fourth and final season of Killing Eve next week.

(on Netflix)

Blade Runner: Black Lotus
I mentioned this show in this previous Status Updates post, saying that it could be technically considered an anime but I decided not to count it as such for various reasons that I didn't want to get into. And I still don't! Anyway, it's an Adult Swim/Crunchyroll joint production (like Fena: Pirate Princess) and is part of the whole Blade Runner continuity, focusing on a period of time in between the events of Black Out 2022 and 2036: Nexus Dawn. I think it captures the moody, broody noir style of the franchise perfectly, and it contains a lot of fun Easter eggs for hardcore fans (like me). Also, the animation - especially the fight scenes - is absolutely breathtaking.

(on Crunchyroll)

So yeah, that really IS a lot of TV! This roundup didn't even include new seasons of old favorites like Cobra Kai and Miraculous Ladybug, or The Man in the High Castle (which I didn't talk about because I'm still in the middle of catching up with it - no spoilers, please!) I know I've said before that I don't consider it unhealthy because as a writer, it's sort of my job to keep up with this stuff (and also, most of the time I exercise while watching), Either way, I'm sure it won't take me another fifteen months to post episode six of this roundup series (or maybe it will, who knows).

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Second Player Score Live Interview Tonight!

That's right - tonight at 6pm Pacific, my band Second Player Score will be doing a live interview with our good friend Bob Minter from WCZR Code Zero Radio in Wisconsin!
We'll be talking about our latest projects as well as all things in the SPS-Verse. Be sure to check it out at this link!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Beer & Ramen

Last week, my band Second Player Score hit the recording studio to lay down tracks for our latest upcoming EP. Which EP would that be, you ask? Well, since the previous two EPs were Four-D: The Winter Suite and Four-D: The Autumn Suite, then it must be either Four-D: The Spring Suite or Four-D: The Summer Suite, right? Wrong.

It's Beer & Ramen (yes, that's the title).
That's right, we're interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a project that was born partly out of our recently-formed partnership with Visual Reel Entertainment in Japan and partly out of my desire to fulfill a years-long jonesing to sing and record songs in Japanese.
There will be seven tracks on the Beer & Ramen EP (three covers and four originals):

- Ue O Muite Arukou, or, as it's more commonly known in the states, Sukiyaki.

- Go Go Kikaida!! the main theme song to the '70s tokusatsu show that I talked about in this previous post. If you've read that post, then you know that when I was five years old, I spontaneously volunteered to sing this song to my kindergarten class for who knows what reason... foreshadowing, perhaps?

- An as-yet-to-be-titled song that, right now, is called "The Collab Song." It's called that because it'll be a collaboration between us and the CEO of Visual Reel, our buddy Andrew Kaiama. It's a tribute to the anime series Tokyo Revengers (covered in this Anime Roundup post) and we're doing the choruses (in English, boring) while Andrew will be doing the verses (in Japanese, since he's way more fluent than I am). Once he finishes his lyrics, we'll be giving the song a new title. Or maybe not?

- Gloria (off our first album, Fortress Storm Attack), Eye of the Needle (off our third album, Glorified), and Ragged Town (ditto), all redone with the verses in Japanese. Yes, I'm singing them. I even did the translation, which I'm hoping is acceptable (Andrew proofed it, so I'm sure it is). Weird thing is, I did those translations a while ago just for fun, thinking that maybe it would be cool if one day they could be used as the theme songs to an anime adaptation of Glorified. Little did I know that years later, we'd actually be recording them! And while the anime adaptation is not a thing just yet, who knows what might be in store...

Anyway, we're hoping to release the EP in May or June, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Kikaida's first broadcast date in Japan on July 8th. Stay tuned for more details! (and yes, we'll be resuming our work on Four-D later this year)

Thursday, February 3, 2022

A Post That Is Sort Of About Football, Post-Season Edition (Plus Bonus Super Bowl Prediction)

This is the sixth time I've done one of these posts. The first five times were prior to the 2016 season, the middle of the 2016 season, the end of the 2016 season, the beginning of the 2020 season, and the beginning of the 2021 season. Why so random and sporadic? Because, as regular readers of this blog know, random and sporadic are how we do things around here.
Arizona Cardinals: I called them a "JUGGERNAUT" (yes, in all caps) in the aforementioned beginning-of-2021 post, which was not actually written at the very beginning of the season but after they had blown out the Titans in the season opener. They continued their juggernaut-y ways for a while after that, winning their first seven games before wilting down the stretch. Jinxed? You tell me.

Atlanta Falcons: Not much to say here.

Baltimore Ravens: That backup quarterback of theirs looks pretty good? I guess?

Buffalo Bills: Note to selves: don't start celebrating until the game is actually over.

Carolina Panthers: Maybe try to trade for Aaron Rodgers?

Chicago Bears: Honestly, I had never heard of Matt Eberflus before now.

Cincinnati Bengals: In my pre-2020 post, I said "Joe Burrow? Well, I guess he won a national championship." Then in my pre-2021 post, I said about Joe Burrow, "I'm sure they're glad he's back." Just how glad they would end up being, I had no idea. Honestly, even now, Joe Burrow is the only guy on this team I can name. But look, I was rooting for you guys throughout the playoffs, and now I'll be rooting for you in the last game of the year (see "Super Bowl Prediction" below).

Cleveland Browns: In my pre-2021 post, I said "could maybe, finally, be starting to turn the corner." Um, well... hey, at least those Baker Mayfield commercials are pretty hilarious.

Dallas Cowboys: I swear, I have sworn off schadenfreude. It's not good for the soul.

Denver Broncos: Will Hank Scorpio buy the team and give it to Homer Simpson? And then try to trade for Aaron Rodgers?

Detroit Lions: So I guess Matthew Stafford wasn't the problem...?

Green Bay Packers: Look, I know you all are saying that you want Aaron Rodgers back next year, but I mean, c'mon, you're eleventy billion dollars over the salary cap, you have another quarterback that you traded up to draft in the first round entering the third year of his rookie contract, and, well, what has Mr. Rodgers really done for you lately? I know, it's probably just good P.R., since it seems like he'll be the one to decide that he wants to leave or retire. Then again, maybe this is all just overblown quarterback drama (trust me, I know all about that).

Houston Texans: Eeeyeah...

Indianapolis Colts: I can feel your pain. From here. Still.

Jacksonville Jaguars: At least you have the number one overall pick in the draft. Again.

Kansas City Chiefs: Apologies, Chiefs fans, but I was actively rooting against your team in the playoffs. Only because I'm jealous of how good that Mahomes guy is.

Las Vegas Raiders: It's funny, because I've been talking about the Seahawks trying to get Gus Bradley to come back for years now. Could this be the year? Probably not.

Los Angeles Chargers: See what happens when you move from San Diego? Now you're like the younger kid brother to the most popular guy in school (see Los Angeles Rams, below).

Los Angeles Rams: I called them a "JUGGERNAUT" (yes, in all caps) in the beginning-of-2021 post, and, well, looks like I was right. No jinx there...yet (see "Super Bowl Prediction" below). But seriously, this team is stacked. They're like the Los Angeles Dodgers of football, or something. I mean, Cooper Kupp AND Odell Beckham Jr.? Jalen Ramsey, Aaron Donald, AND Von Miller? Ugh.

Miami Dolphins: Did you know that dolphins can go without sleep for up to five days?

Minnesota Vikings: Maybe try to trade for Aaron Rodgers? Although, I guess Kirk Cousins got selected as a Pro Bowl alternate, so whatever.

New England Patriots: Now you know how that whole getting-blown-out-by-a-team-that-is-running-up-the-score thing feels.

New Orleans Saints: I couldn't believe that Sean Payton had been there for 16 years. I still remember when he was an assistant at Dallas.

New York Giants: Honestly, I had never heard of Brian Daboll before now.

New York Jets: I guess the extra first round pick from the Seahawks last year didn't help that much? Honestly, I don't even know who you guys used it on. Jets fans, can you tell me? Oh, and as far as this year's first round pick goes - you're welcome. Use it wisely.

Philadelphia Eagles: Hey, at least you guys made the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers: So, Ben Roethlisberger has finally retired. Maybe try to trade for Aaron Rodgers?

San Francisco 49ers: I called them a "JUGGERNAUT" (yes, in all caps) in the beginning-of-2021 post, and, well, they made it to the NFC championship, didn't they?

Seattle Seahawks: Well, now, THAT didn't quite work out, did it? Really, though, even with the whole Russell Wilson injury thing, they lost five games by only three points or less. Turn those five around, and suddenly you have a 12-5 record instead of 7-10. Anyway, I've heard a lot of talk about how the team needs more "stars" and that maybe they should follow the Rams' model and trade all their first round picks for the rest of eternity for said "stars." But! In my post-2016 season post, I said that the team has become "too star-dependent." Yes, I really said that! And it's not like they DON'T trade high draft picks for "stars" - see: Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, Jamal Adams. I actually think this team works best when they take "non-stars" who have been overlooked and thus have chips on their shoulders, and then let them unleash their vengeance on an unsuspecting league (also, the Rams actually have more "homegrown" players than you would think). Anyway, I think that if you can get the late-season version of Rashaad Penny to play like that all year next year (FINGERS CROSSED, KNOCK ON WOOD, LIGHT SOME INCENSE, ETC.), and you hire a defensive coordinator who knows how to get the best out of Jamal Adams, then things should be okay. I hope.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: FINALLY. So... maybe try to trade for Aaron Rodgers?

Tennessee Titans: Not much to say here.

Washington...Commanders? Okay, then.

BONUS SUPER BOWL PREDICTION: I really want the Bengals to win, not only because it's a cool story, but also because there's usually a Super Bowl hangover for the loser of the big game and I would looooove it if the Rams were not as annoyingly good next year. That said, like I mentioned above, the Rams are stacked. So, I'm conflicted here. Do I go with what seems like conventional wisdom (the Rams are currently favored by something like 4.5 points, it fluctuates) and say Rams 23, Bengals 19? Or do I go with my feelings and hope that the positive thinking vibes will help propel an underdog team of unknowns to their franchise's first title? I say... the latter: BENGALS 28, RAMS 27 (I'm not betting any money anyway, so who cares)