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The Joy of Film Podcast, Episode 8:

Our Favorite Science Fiction Films of All-Time

On this episode of The Joy of Film Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) are going "high-concept" to discuss what is arguably the most varied and fascinating genre ever to grace the silver screen: Science Fiction. From 2001: A Space Oddyssey and Blade Runner, to Minority Report and Ex Machina (and everything in between), the only limit here is the filmmaker's imagination. These films are able to make the impossible possible and transport us to a speculative future world full of aliens, robots, crazy technology and a variety of potential outcomes for humankind (few of which are ideal). So yeah - it's a pretty wide field. 

Consequently, choosing our three favorite sci-fi films of all-time was no easy task (even with the added leeway of a few honorable mentions each), so we've narrowed things down a bit and excluded pretty much everything that falls into the "popular space opera" category. In other words, you won't find Star Wars or Star Trek on any of our lists. Is this a shocking omission on our part, or a necessary narrowing of a potentially gargantuan list? You be the judge, as we joyfully celebrate our favorites and wrestle with each and every difficult decision. 

But first, we discuss some of the latest news coming out of...well, Hollywood, presumably...including some Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Extended Universe news, updates on Rogue One, Star Wars: Episode VIII, and the Han Solo "Solo" film, and some new insights into - of all things - Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. And finally, we give you our thoughts on some of the films we've seen recently, including Kubo and the Two Strings, Pete's Dragon and Don't Breathe. As podcasts go, this one's pretty feature-complete.

In other words - if you want to know why Kubo is "ridiculously emo," whether Pete's Dragon is better than the original, or who's rumored to be playing the young Lando Calrissian in a movie that's more than two years away from release, you've come to the right place. This...is the Joy of Film!
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The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 57:

Gamescom 2016 and Games We Like (More Than Most People Do)

On this episode of The Joy of Gaming Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kelsey) discuss the latest news coming out of Gamescom 2016 - including our thoughts on Metal Gear Survive, new Pokemon Sun and Moon details, the Lego Dimensions Supergirl Starter Pack and more - before diving into a lively discussion about a topic we're calling: "Video Games We Like (More Than Most People Do)". And yes, we could just call them "Underrated Games," but some of these picks may have earned their less-than-outstanding Metacritic and GameRankings scores, despite our intense enjoyment of them. Have we peaked your interest? If so, our individual Top 3 lists will no doubt spark some friendly disagreement, and we each throw in a few super-controversial honorable mentions to help stoke the flames.  

But before we set the internet on fire with mild controversy, we warm things up with a discussion of the games we've been playing over the past few weeks, including: Kirby Planet Robobot, Hearthstone: One Night in Karazhan, The Banner Saga, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Hyrule Warriors, Ben Hur, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Batman Arkham Knight and Warriors Orochi 3. We also discuss some of the big goings-on in the world of gaming, including the incredibly mixed response received by No Man's Sky, the current state of Pokemon Go, and much more. We also wax nostalgic about the glory of gaming magazines of the past like Nintendo Power, Electronic Gaming Monthly and GamePro.

So join us, for a discussion of the video games that make us love video games, even if they make other gamers want to run for the hills. Okay, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is that this...is The Joy of Gaming! 


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The Joy of Comics Podcast, Episode 11:

Suicide Squad Aftermath & Our Favorite Batman Villains

Here in the aftermath of Suicide Squad's release, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) have decided to honor that film's source material by turning our attention to one of the most colorful, creative and fascinating collections of villains in all of comics - the Batman Rogues Gallery. From widely known superstar villains like The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin and Two-Face, to slightly lesser-known baddies like Clayface, Hush, The Court of Owls and Catman, we're diving deep into the Batman mythology to discuss our favorites. 

We also discuss a variety of new details that have emerged since the release of Suicide Squad, and offer our evolving opinions on the film we all saw in theaters, as well as our thoughts on how it may have differed from Director David Ayer's original visionAnd of course, no episode of TJOC would be complete without a rundown of the latest breaking news coming out of the world of comic books, films and TV shows, as well as a discussion of some of the best comics we've been reading over the past few weeks. And to cap off the proceedings, we tell you what comic-related media we're most excited about in the weeks and months to come. 

So just imagine that it's new comic book day and you're about to dig into your new read pile. Suddenly you think "Oh hey, look! The Joy of Comics is right on top! Nice! I've been waiting for this issue all month!". Or at least that's how things might go down if this episode was actually a comic book instead. Yeah I know - it's kind of a bad analogy, but you get the point. This...is the Joy of Geek!
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The Joy of Television, Episode 7:

The Best Characters on TV

On this episode of The Joy of Television Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) celebrate what is arguably the most important part of any great TV show: its cast of characters. After all, masterpieces of modern TV like Lost, Game of Thrones, Fargo, How I Met Your Mother, Mr. Robot, Hannibal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. depend on their fascinating and/or relatable characters to keep viewers engaged and coming back to see what new adventure each episode holds. And because there are so many different types of characters, we've broken things down award-show style, into a number of different categories. 

The Categories Include:

Best Hero 
Best Villain
Best Dramatic Character
Best Comedic Character
Best Supporting Character 
Best Animated Character
Most Relatable Character
Most Surprising Character

We also discuss the latest television news - including our usual rundown of superhero TV show reveals and announcements - and chat about some of the shows we've been watching lately, including Stranger Things, Mr. Robot and Bojack Horseman.

So join us, as we celebrate the funniest, most compelling, most animated and outright surprising characters that modern TV has to offer. This...is the Joy of Television!

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The Joy of Film Podcast, Episode 7:

Suicide Squad Review

On this episode of The Joy of Film Podcast, we're reviewing DC's Suicide Squad - and it just may be the most fascinating and divisive film of the year. For the occasion, we've rustled up an epic-sized panel - including Joy of Geek regulars Rich, Jordan and Kevin, and special guests Katie and Holden. It's a packed house, and we each have some strong feelings about the film, so get ready for a throw-down. But first, we can't talk about Suicide Squad without a nice healthy dose of hype and backstory to kick things off.

After years of anticipation and speculation, the time has finally come: Suicide Squad has been released. This is the movie that everyone was counting on to single-handedly redeem and re-invigorate the critically-maligned DC Comics Extended Universe, and wash away the dark clouds left by Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. And while resting the entire future of the DCEU on any one film is a risky proposition, it becomes even more dangerous when the film in question is an action-comedy starring the self-admitted "Worst Superheroes Ever." Sounds either totally crazy or totally brilliant, right? Or like a recipe for certain disaster. This is the tumultuous geek culture stew that David Ayer's film was dropped into this past weekend.

And while there's no doubt that Suicide Squad was up against some tough odds, there was good reason to hold out hope. This is the world of superheroes, after all, where people are capable of amazing and supernatural feats, and comeback stories are the order of the day. And judging from the string of diverse and fantastic trailers Warner Bros. released over the past year, it appeared that  they finally cracked the code and learned how to successfully translate the DC heroes to the silver screen. But does Suicide Squad live up to any of the hype, self-imposed or otherwise? Our five-person panel is here to weigh in. 

We discuss the film in-depth, giving our thoughts on Jared Leto's Joker, Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn, Will Smith's Deadshot and the rest of the cast of characters, as well as the film's plot, tone, main villain and other creative choices. We also discuss the variety of controversies surrounding the film, including the multiple competing final cuts, Joker and Harley's relationship, the behind-the-scenes antics of the cast, and much more. 

We're diving deep into this review - so don't be surprised if Killer Croc happens to swim by while we're talking. And regardless of our final thoughts on Suicide Squad, one thing is certain: the comic book movie landscape just got a whole lot more colorful with its release. This...is the Joy of Film!


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The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 56:

Nintendo NX and the Attack of the HD Remasters

We (Rich, Jordan and Kelsey) are back and better than ever, with a super-sized new episode of the Joy of Gaming Podcast! And here in the calm after the storm that was this year's E3 and San Diego Comic-Con conventions, there's quite a bit to talk about - most notably, the recent rumors surrounding the Nintendo NX, big news on the Sonic the Hedgehog and Hearthstone fronts, and a number of exciting new game releases. But if there was one theme that emerged again and again at this year's big gaming events, it was that of the "HD Remaster". What's old will truly be new again over the next few years, as the games of yesteryear are re-released on today's consoles - but is this a good thing for the industry? We'll let you know what we think. 

But first, it's been a while since our last episode, and we have a lot of games to discuss. First on the agenda is Zero Time Dilemma, the final entry in the Zero Escape "thrill"-ogy of visual novel games. This time, however, series writer/director Uchikoshi has taken the game in a number of new and different directions (literally), and we've got more than a few strong opinions to share on the subject. Next, we dive headfirst into a discussion of the other games we've been playing, including: Song of the Deep, Pokemon Go, Hearthstone, Mighty Number 9, The Banner Saga, The Division, Splatoon, The Binding of Issaac: Afterbirth, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Just Cause 3, and many more.  And then, just when you think this episode couldn't get any "gamier," we move to the main event. 

From the reveal of 2K's Bioshock: The Collection, to the announcement (and subsequent delay) of the Batman: Return to Arkham collection, to the staggering success of the recent re-release of Red Dead Redemption (as a backwards compatible game on Xbox One), to the ridiculous anticipation already brewing for the forthcoming The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition and beyond, one thing is clear: HD Remasters, Re-releases and "Ultimate Collections" of relatively recent games are coming in greater numbers than ever, and from just about every major publisher. But is this trend just another avenue for enjoying our favorite games, or a foreboding sign that developers are abandoning the development of new IP for the cheaper and safer alternative of re-issuing past favorites? We discuss the topic in depth, including a list of our favorite remasters of all time, our individual wishlists for games to be remastered in the future, and our thoughts on what ingredients make for a successful remaster

And you know what? That doesn't even scratch the surface of what this episode has in store. It has more games, more excitement, and more Cory Barlog than any episode that has come before. Yeah, you remember Cory Barlog, right? The guy who directed God of War 2? Of course you do. This...is the Joy of Gaming!


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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Special Edition:

San Diego Comic-Con 2016 Extravaganza 

Yes, It's that time again - time for San Diego Comic-Con 2016 - the biggest, most star-studded and news-filled comics convention of the year! And although the convention has evolved into much more of an all-inclusive geek culture celebration in recent years, comics (or at least comic-book-related movies and TV shows) have remained at the forefront of the proceedings. For fans of modern entertainment of all varieties, it's one of the most exciting and important events of the year, and we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) are here with a rundown of the hottest news that came out of this year's con. 

This year's SDCC 2016 was more action-packed than any in recent memory, and filled to bursting with new trailers for upcoming Marvel and DC films and TV shows. Most notably, we witnessed new trailers or footage from the upcoming Justice League, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, and Doctor Strange films, and TV shows including The Flash, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders (sort of), newcomer Legion, and more. We also saw a new trailer for Neil Gaiman's American Gods, got some big news about the new Star Trek (online?) TV series, learned about new casting for Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and witnessed the controversy surrounding The Killing Joke animated film. There were also some big new video game announcements, including two great-looking new Sonic titles, the reveal of Marvel Ultimate Alliance parts 1 and 2 for modern consoles, and some new Paper Mario: Color Splash gameplay.

And that summary doesn't even scratch the surface - SDCC was ridiculously massive this year, so if you missed something, don't worry.  We're here to bring you our thoughts and feedback on all of the festivities, and celebrate the best that TV, Movies, Comics and Video Games have to offer. This...is the Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Film Podcast, Episode 6:

The Joy of Film Review - Ghostbusters (2016)

Welcome to a brand new era of Ghostbusters, right? It's pretty incredible just how different this new 2016 team is from the original. First of all, it's completely made up of women, and they're some of the biggest names from Saturday Night Live and comedy today. Actually, now that I think about it, that last part's not so different from the original film after all. Hmmm. Well one thing is definitely clear - there's a lot of talent and star power in this film's corner. After all - the film stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the eponymous team, and it's directed by Paul Feig, the man who brought us Bridesmaids in 2011 and Spy just last year. Heck, it's even produced by original Ghostbusters creator, screenwriter and star Dan Aykroyd. All things considered, Ghostbusters (2016) looks incredibly promising...but is it good? 

That's what we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) are here to discuss. And while I won't give away the answer here, I will say that our opinions varied pretty wildly. In the court of public opinion, this new Ghostbusters has faced its fair share of both positive and negative reviews, and it's not surprising; as a total reboot of a classic and almost universally beloved 80's franchise, this film was shackled from its conception with some Stay-Puft-sized expectations. The film did manage to bring in $46 million in its opening weekend at the box office - not too shabby a figure, but also not as large a haul as its studio and creators had hoped for. Did the film deserve to do better? Is there hope for a sequel? Did Chris Hemsworth nail his role as the Ghostbusters' IQ-challenged secretary? We'll weigh in on these questions and a whole lot more on this Class 5, Full-Roaming Vapor of an episode.

In other words, fire up your proton packs, kick out a ghost trap or two, and get ready for some decidedly dissenting opinions. Oh, and w
e also dive into some exciting new film news, including a brief overview of Star Wars Celebration 2016 and some assorted DC comics movie rumors and speculation. Did you expect any less? This...is The Joy of Film!
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The Joy of Comics Podcast, Episode 10:

Adventures at HeroesCon 2016 

With HeroesCon 2016 now officially in the books and the amazing adventures we had at this year's event still swirling around in our minds, it's time to sit back, relax, and try to make sense of it all. And to do that, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) have gathered in a secure location and invited a special guest - Lucas Santos - to give us his take on the con as a first-year attendee. How will his experience compare to that of us grizzled con veterans? You'll have to tune in and see.
 
But if you're anything like us, these events are all about the comics and the creators - and we'll be discussing as many awesome artists, writers and books as one podcast can contain. We begin by taking a brief trip down HeroesCon-memory lane, and follow-up with an extensive journey up and down the wonderful weaving aisles of artists alley to chat with the likes of Jeremy Haun, Brendan Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Matt Fraction, Justin Greenwood, Rebecca Mock and more. And for the big finish, we discuss the many books we purchased in the exhibitor's area, and give you our thoughts on the ones we've managed to read so far.
 
Over the course of the weekend, deals were found, a lot of cosplayers were photographed, and more than a few rookie mistakes were made, but we made it out alive and very happy with this year's HeroesCon. So come along as we discuss this awesome celebration of comics. This...is the Joy of Comics!


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The Joy of Comics Podcast, Episode 9:

Exploring Millarworld with Talent Search Winner Cliff Bumgardner

On this special edition of The Joy of Comics, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) welcome local NC writer/filmmaker Cliff Bumgardner to the party for a conversation of all things geek. And let's just say that the timing couldn't be better. Cliff is one of the winners of Mark Millar's recent Millarworld Talent Search, and the short story he penned (based on the lesser-known Millar series American Jesus) will be appearing in the Millarworld 2016 Annual, due out on July 13. And if that weren't enough, the film company he works for is about to unveil their new documentary about NC Comic Con - a sort of "primer" on what it takes behind-the-scenes to organize a local comics convention. 

Our conversation starts with a look back at Cliff's journey to the precipice of film and comics stardom, and includes some fascinating stories about the crazy things that happened along the way (a major movie deal that fell through at the last second? Really?). From there we chat a bit about where Cliff's Millarworld story - "Undeath" - fits into the American Jesus mythos, and then digress into an awesome discussion of all the cool things we've each been reading, watching, playing etc. Oh, and by the end we will totally be spoiling the series finale of 90's TV show Dinosaurs - listen at your own risk

So to recap: if you're a fan of controversial Scottish comics scribes, anthropomorphized baby dinos, creation myths in comics and in real life (see what I did there?) and a whole lot of geek-culture inside baseball, you should feel right at home. We always do. This...is the Joy of Comics!

Want more info on Cliff's work? You can find him @cliffbumgardner on Twitter. 


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