You can check them out at the links below:
What I’m Watching
If you’re a geek who loves the small screen, it’s a hell of a time to be alive. At this juncture it seems there are almost too many TV shows to choose from hitting the streaming services. As such, I’ve found myself passing up good shows for great ones… or at least, shows that are more enjoyable to watch.
Despite my better judgment, I decided to give Rings of Power a try. Yeah, I just couldn’t do it. It’s not just that the showrunners didn’t respect the source material, it’s also apparent that they don’t know shit about it. Plus, it’s a show that’s littered with lazy writing. That sucks, because the opening fight scenes in E1 were pretty badass. But, it’s still a hard pass for me. 5/10
The Imperfects is one of those shows that’s a guilty pleasure for me, much like Teen Wolf and The Order were. It’s obviously aimed at a much younger audience, and that’s why I like it. The show offers lots of silly humor, it doesn’t take itself seriously, and the characters are likable enough to keep me watching. 7/10
She-Hulk was a welcome surprise from Disney, and my wife and I are both enjoying it. Again, this is a silly, lighthearted show that offers plenty of laughs, but you have to take it for what it is—and an Avengers sequel, it is not. This is a superhero sitcom, and when taken as such it’s quirky, entertaining fun. 8/10
(EDIT: We watched E9 of She-Hulk a few days after I wrote this post. Wow, but did that show go off the rails in the season finale. I think we can all agree that the major fourth wall break in E9 was an experiment that fell flat. Still, it’s supposed to be “Ally McBeal” with superpowers, not “Avengers XVII” with the courtroom as a backdrop. Context matters.
Speaking of which, at least Marvel Studios is experimenting now instead of making the same thing over and over again like they did for oh, a decade or so. While this show is not everyone’s creative cup of tea, I think we as fans need to allow creators the room to try new and interesting things. Producing shows for the small screen allows for this kind of experimentation, and I for one welcome it.
Yes, sometimes it’ll end up being a disaster, or we won’t get what we want from an adaptation of a favorite franchise. Folks, that’s the cost of living in a day and age when we have so much choice in film and TV entertainment. You can’t cry for variety and then complain when you get it.
Rant over. Despite the show’s obvious flaws, for the above reasons I stand by my earlier assessment.)
The Old Man doesn’t qualify as a supernatural or superhero TV show, but who cares? It’s a gritty, bloody action thriller, and that’s why I like it. Fair warning, E1 takes about 20 minutes to deal with character, stakes, and setting, then it takes off… and man, does it ever. If you enjoy flicks like Taken and Get Carter, you’ll like this series. 8.5/10
What I’m Reading
I’ve recently been returning to fantasy classics, like Usula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea novels, and Roger Zelazny’s Amber series. Maybe it’s just nostalgia that brought me back there, but those books hold up, and for entirely different reasons.
LeGuin’s style, combining flaired prose with light exposition, is a welcome relief from the modern style of fantasy writing, which tends toward expositional monotony. I also appreciate that the series is full of hope, even when her very flawed main character’s selfish and petty actions throw his world into chaos.
As for Zelazny, it’s easy to forget just how groundbreaking this series was when it was released. While it contains many classic fantasy tropes (monsters, magic, teleportation), the world and magic system are as far from Tolkien as you can get, and that was saying something in 1970.
Even today, most fantasy series are set in Tolkienesque worlds, or they’re based on the same. And let’s face it, core D&D is Tolkienesque. D&D has influenced so much of modern fantasy fiction, it’s often hard to identify where the influence starts and ends in a given author’s oeuvre. Thus, modern fantasy works that reflect pop-culture trends lack the originality Zelazny’s works offer (and yes, this includes my stuff).
Bottom line? If you’re looking for something that has the feel of classic sword and sorcery novels, but with a unique anti-Tolkien twist, you’ll enjoy the Amber novels.
Besides my return to classic fantasy novels, I’m also reading the Twenty Palaces series again. Connolly just dropped a new novel in the series, so I decided a re-read was in order before I tackle the latest entry. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Butcher this series isn’t. But if you like your fantasy a bit darker, you’ll enjoy these books.
What I’m Playing
I haven’t had much time for gaming lately, but I did purchase Weird West for my Playstation. It’s an isometric action-RPG set in a Wild West where the supernatural is as common as gunfights and cattle rustlers.
The game released to little fanfare earlier this year, which is a damned shame because it’s a blast. Is it perfect? Far from it. The combat system is frustrating and the NPC AI does odd things at inopportune times.
Yet, if you want a game that you can jump in and out of that’s not your typical FPS, JRPG, or MMO, you’ll enjoy Weird West.
What I’m Writing
I’m dead in the middle of penning Druid’s Gamble, and having a blast writing it. As I deal with my current health issues, I’m having to work around travel for treatment and diagnostics. That means focusing on one project at a time so I get more done in less time, which is fine by me.
Meaning, the book is coming along great. It’s a bit of a departure from other books I’ve written, but I believe that readers will enjoy it.
Whether it will cap off The Trickster Cycle remains to be seen. I have other ideas for where Colin is headed in the future, and there are a few ideas that are just begging to be written. We shall see.
I’ve hinted at some of those story ideas in the last few books, but I’m holding my cards close until I’m ready to announce which project I’ve chosen. Stay tuned!