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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 64:
Fall TV Upfronts 2018 - Trailers, Renewals and Cancellations

On this very special episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we dive headlong into the 2018 TV Season with a look at all of the newly-released trailers from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and The CW. From ABC’s Cop Drama The Rookie starring Nathan Fillion, to Fox’s Zombie-Pandemic sci-fi show The Passage, to the new reboot of Charmed on the CW and beyond, we watched the best and the worst that this year’s TV Upfronts had to offer, and we’re here to tell you all about it.

We also discuss some of the most notable renewals (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Lethal Weapon, etc.) and cancellations (Lucifer, Last Man on Earth, etc.) as well as the near-instant revival of Brooklyn Nine Nine, and the shows we’re saddest to see come to an end (Deception, iZombie, etc.). And as a note, The Expanse had yet to be revived by Amazon at time of recording, but it’s fantastic news.

So join us, as we continue our annual tradition of watching trailers, making a list of shows we want to check out, and then cautiously tempering our expectations. This...is The Joy of Geek!


The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 71:
God of War Spoiler-Free Discussion, Resident Evil Zero and More

On this episode of The Joy of Gaming, we (Rich and Jordan) discuss one of the biggest gaming releases of the year, God of War. The game’s creative director Cory Barlog has long been a subject of interest and speculation on the podcast, and now we finally know what he’s been doing for the past five years. This ambitious reinvention of the God of War franchise takes Kratos out of Ancient Greece and into the world of Norse mythology, and has been garnering near-universal praise from fans and critics alike. We dive into a spoiler-free discussion of the first half of the game, weighing in on the revamped combat system, the Mjolnir-like Leviathan axe, the game’s new setting of Midgard, the story and addition of Kratos’ son Atreus, and much more.

But before we journey to the Lake of the Nine for some much needed R&R, there is some recent gaming news to discuss, including: Destiny 2’s new game mode and Warmind expansion, SNK Neo Geo Mini reveal, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and its lack of single-player, a new trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2, Labo’s sales success, new Overwatch updates, and more. We also have some other game’s we’ve been playing recently to talk about, including: Resident Evil Zero Remaster, Just Cause 3, Far Cry 5, What Remains of Edith Finch, a brief discussion of the SNES mini, and more.

So join us, as we grab our Leviathan Axe, greet Freya in her turtle lair, and set out to spread the ashes of our beloved from the highest point in the Nine Realms. This...is the Joy of Gaming!


The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 63:
Avengers: Infinity War Review and Westworld Season 2 Premiere 

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) are here to discuss Avengers: Infinity War - one of the biggest and most anticipated films of our time. Infinity War is the 19th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, serving as the culmination of more than 10 years of films and bringing together heroes from every corner of the galaxy for an epic confrontation with Thanos. In our Spoiler-Filled Review, we’ll cover all aspects of the film, including: the portrayal of our favorite heroes, the overall narrative, standout character moments and story beats, that insane ending, and much more. We’ll also devote ample time to the film's villainous centerpiece - The Mad Titan Thanos - and debate his overall place in the pantheon of cinematic Marvel villains.

A new Avengers film would usually be more than enough excitement for one episode, but there’s another epic confrontation that demands our attention - this time between humans and hosts. That’s right - HBO’s Westworld is back for Season 2 - and we have some surprising thoughts to share about the blood-soaked premiere and the very different version of Dolores it presents. We also take a few minutes to discuss some of the other media we’ve been enjoying lately, including Deception, The MentalistPaper Girls, Descender, Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, and more.

So join us, as we descend into madness on multiple fronts - attempting to save the universe and discover the cost of true freedom - all in one episode. This...is the Joy of Geek!


The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 62:
Ready Player One Review, A Quiet Place, Unforgotten and More

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) review the film Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the 2011 novel by Ernest Cline. The film is a celebration of 80’s pop culture and the history of video games, and is set in the year 2045 where the desolation of the real world leads most of humanity to escape to the OASIS - a virtual reality utopia where anything is possible. Ready Player One is one part rollicking, Indiana Jones-esque adventure film, and two parts pop-culture fan service turned up to 11, with everyone from King Kong to Tracer from Overwatch making an appearance, and a scene from Kubrick’s The Shining thrown in for good measure. And in theory, this sure sounds like a recipe for pure, escapist fun.

But does Ready Player One deliver on its tremendous promise, or buckle under the weight of too much fan service and an overblown production budget? To decide, we’ll weigh in on all aspects of the film - from the cast, to the narrative, to the special effects - and yes, the myriad pop-culture references - and let you know how it all comes together, in our SPOILER-FILLED, Joy of Geek Review. We also discuss some recent comics and TV news, and discuss what we’ve been watching and reading lately, including: A Quiet Place, Westworld's Spoiler “Strategy”, HBO’s Bill Hader dramedy Barry, DC Comics’ Doomsday Clock, Unforgotten on Masterpiece, SyFy’s Wynonna Earp, Hamilton on Broadway, and more!

So join us, as we enter the OASIS in search of fame, fortune and the secret of happiness. Hint: it’s LOVE. Well, that, and taking Tuesdays and Thursdays off from video games. This...is the Joy of Geek!


The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 61:
YA Author Scott Reintgen on his novel Nyxia and "How To Get Published"

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) interview Scott Reintgen, author of the new Young Adult Sci-Fi Novel series Nyxia (Crown). The interview is taken from a panel we hosted at Oak City Comic Con titled “How to get Published,” and Scott shares the story of how he turned his passion for writing into a career, including advice on: pitching to literary agents, how to handle rejection, and perhaps most importantly of all, how to take your writing to the next level. Scott also goes in depth about the writing process for Nyxia, and the even more daunting task of writing the second and third books in the trilogy.

So join us, for a look at what it takes to get the ideas in your head out onto the page, and then into the hands of readers everywhere. This...is the Joy of Geek!

(Scott has an excellent blog/website with more tips on writing and links to preview his novel Nyxia.)


The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 70:
Monster Hunter World, Celeste and March 8th Nintendo Direct

On this episode of The Joy of Gaming Podcast, we (Rich and Jordan) are back and ready to talk about all of the games we’ve been playing recently. Leading the conversation are two games that couldn’t be more different, but have each won over fans and critics alike. First there’s Monster Hunter World, which marks the return of the series to home consoles, and has sold in excess of 6 million copies since its February launch. We’ve both been slaying our fair share of monsters, and offer our thoughts on the subject. And on the opposite end of the gaming spectrum, there’s Celeste, a retro-styled indie title from the developer of Towerfall that has been praised for its fun-but-unforgiving platforming and unforgettable story. But was our journey up Celeste mountain a memorable one? We’ll let you know at the top.

That, however, is just the beginning, as the Nintendo Direct on March 8th was certainly one for the history books. We talk about all of the big announcements, including Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, the new Splatoon 2 DLCLuigi's Mansion 3DS, WarioWare Gold, Mario Tennis Aces, and much, much more. We also have some other recent games to discuss, including: Nier: Automata, Bayonetta 2 on Switch, Steamworld DigDarkest Dungeon, and more. And to round out the proceedings, we go head-to-head to debate Breath of the Wild’s overall quality as a Zelda game, discuss the recent (official) announcement of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and offer a mini-review of the new Tomb Raider film.

So join us, as we slay a large number of Anjanaths, take a spiritual journey up a treacherous mountain, choose sides in a war between androids and robots, and watch Alicia Vikander do some serious raiding. This...is the Joy of Gaming!


The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 60:
Annihilation Review and Spoilercast, Lady Bird, and More

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) dive headlong into the "shimmer” to discuss the new film Annihilation. This is director Alex Garland’s highly-anticipated follow-up to 2015’s Ex Machina, and it stars Natalie Portman as a former soldier turned biologist on a mission to save her husband - and possibly all of mankind - from a mysterious shimmering cloud that threatens to consume the earth. And if that brief synopsis sounds a bit hard to pin down, there’s good reason: Annihilation is a mind-bending Sci-Fi journey of the first order, full of challenging questions and unsettling answers. But is it a good film?

To answer that question, we are initiating the SPOILERCAST protocol (or in other words, we’ll be discussing Annihilation in full detail - so if you haven’t seen the film yet, consider this a SPOILER WARNING). We’ll take a look at the film from all angles, including the cast of characters, important story beats, overarching themes, music, and performances, and also discuss some of the real-world challenges Garland faced in trying to bring his vision to the big screen (after all, Annihilation is being released direct to Netflix in most of the world).

And if that wasn’t enough, we round out the episode with a look at what we’ve been watching and reading lately, including our (arguably very late) thoughts on Lady Bird, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams vs. Black Mirror, Redneck by Donny Cates, and more. We also discuss the recently announced DC Comics Black Label imprint and some of the titles and creators that have us excited for its launch.

So join us, as as we enter into a universe full of twisted flora and fauna, meet the scariest bear of all time, and are forced to question the very nature of human existence. This...is the Joy of Geek!


The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 59:
Black Panther Review and Spoilercast

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) discuss the biggest movie of 2018 thus far - Marvel’s Black Panther - which has made more than $700 Million to date and is showing no signs of slowing down. And to help us discuss director Brian Coogler’s unique vision of Wakanda, we welcome special guest / writer / comics afficianado, Quin Melvin. Quin will be hosting a panel later this month called “Writers of Wakanda,” and he shares with us his unique insights about the comics and the film, and some of the important social implications of the series.

This episode is a SPOILERCAST in the truest sense of the word, and we go in-depth to discuss all aspects of Black Panther, including its overall structure and plot, colorful cast of characters, unique Wakandan setting, and the nature of heroes and villains (or anti-villains) in the film. On that note, we also take also take a deeper dive into Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Kilmonger, who is clearly the film’s standout character, and a subject of much celebration and debate since its release.

And to round out the festivities, we switch gears slightly to discuss Marvel’s recent announcement of “A Fresh Start” (AKA, their May relaunch) when their comics universe will be shaken up with an assortment of new titles and writer/artist pairings. We also discuss the movies, TV shows and comics we‘ve been enjoying lately, with Annihilation, Altered Carbon, The Frankenstein Chronicles, CW’s Black Lightning and DC’s Mister Miracle serving as particular highlights.

So join us, for an epic podcast journey - deep into the heart of Wakanda - that leaves us teetering, breathless, on the precipice between life, death and the Ancestral Plane. This...is the Joy of Geek!


The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 58:
The Best Movies of 2017 (The Year in Geek, Part 4)

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) bring you the final installment in our “Year in Geek” celebration, with a discussion of The Best Movies of 2017. We start off the festivities with a look back at the year as a whole, discussing notable trends, highly-anticipated new entries in beloved franchises, and our thoughts on the overall quality of 2017’s filmic crop.

Next we shift into the awards portion of the evening, and get down to the serious business of honoring the best actors, actresses, directors, cinematographers, writers and films of 2017. This year’s categories include:

Best Actor and Actress
Best Character
Best Cinematography
Most Disappointing / Worst Films
Most Surprising Film
Best Screenplay
Best Director
And of course, The 3 Best Films of 2017!

So join us, as we conclude our 2017 celebration of media, with a look at what is quite possibly the most challenging, beautiful and unforgiving art form of them all. This...is the Joy of Film!


The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 57:
The Best of TV 2017 (The Year in Geek, Part 3)

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) continue our “Year in Geek” celebration with an epic discussion of The Best TV of 2017. We start by talking about the current (amazing) state of television, the insanely large number of scripted shows released each year, and the continued dominance of streaming giants Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. And of course, with great new shows from FX, AMC, Fox, NBC (and so many more), there’s plenty of love for traditional TV, too.

Once that's out of the way, it’s time to get down to the serious business of awarding the best shows, actors, episodes and stories that graced TV screens in 2017. This year’s award categories include:

Most Surprising Show
Most Disappointing Show
Best Character 
Best Episode/Writing
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best TV Moment of 2017
And of course, The 3 Best TV Shows of 2017!

So join us, as we wade through the treacherous waters of nearly-limitless TV viewing choice and attempt to choose the best of the best - or perhaps just our favorites - or maybe (hopefully) both. This...is the Joy of TV!


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