The weekend is upon us, and with it, a chance to sit back, relax and consume massive amounts of sci-fi, fantasy and horror pop culture. In The Geekender, our writers share a bit about what they're reading, watching and playing -- and we want to hear from you. Let us know what's on your plate in the comments!
Trent Moore: Though it can be a bit predictable and cheesy, I've always had a soft spot for the ol' Stargate franchise. I loved the 1994 film as a kid, and Stargate SG-1 created the kind of massive universe of space adventures that it's hard to find on the air today. Some of the most fun came in the spinoff series Stargate: Atlantis, which ran from 2004-2009 and found a team of explorers sent off to explore a new galaxy that is home to a city built by ancient aliens. So, I've dug out some choice episodes from Stargate: Atlantis for a rewatch. It's not as clever as Farscape or highbrow as Battlestar Galactica, but if you're looking for mid-frills space adventure, you could do far worse.
Tara Bennett: I happen to be a fan of black comedy and, right now, there's nothing more delightfully disturbing than Fox's animation series Golan the Insatiable. The show has been buried within Fox's Sunday night Animation Domination lineup at 9:30-10:00 p.m. ET/PT without much fanfare, so it's not surprising you might not even know it exists. However, if you're a fan of subversive, unapologetically unsentimental and smart, dark comedy, then give Golan a try. The best way to describe it is as if the classic ABC Beetlejuice cartoon were re-imagined more perversely ... in a weirdly good way. The Betelgeuse and Lydia of yore are updated as displaced demigod Golan (voiced by Rob Riggle) and his tiny acolyte with anger issues, Dylan Beekler (voiced by an energetic Aubrey Plaza). Be warned: The show isn't for everyone. It's definitely for me (and probably Cher, too), and that speaks volumes.
Ernie Estrella: I like to save my more think-heavy comics reading for the weekend, and it's time to dive into Boom! Studios' Arcadia, a dystopian, concept-rich vehicle that feels like it's bred from long nights of computer programming, lucid beer-fed philosophical discussions and conspiracy-filled politics. As the real world is crumbling from an epidemic, much of the world's population has been digitized and transferred onto a giant server/virtual world. Survivors salvage what little remains in their life by protecting their virtual loved ones -- a complicated and dangerous ordeal. There was a time when sci-fi comics stopped with Peter David, Warren Ellis and Brian K. Vaughn. That narrative's changed recently, and newcomers Alex Paknadel and Eric Scott Pfeiffer are doing slick, veteran work. Arcadia is a rare package, a thought-provoking comics mystery, and satisfying in every way.
Carol Pinchefsky: I've been going through an X-Files rewatch ever since the news of the new mini-series was announced in March. But when I say "rewatch," what I mean is I first read every "Top 10" list ever compiled on a TV show, then I find a site like ranker.com. After compiling the episode titles, I now have my own greatest-hits playlist. And hits like "Beyond the Sea," "Die Hand der Verletzt" and "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" are as fabulous as ever. Fun fact: I didn't know this at the time, but it seems that Samantha Carter from Stargate (Amanda Tapping) was Walter Skinner's dead hooker in "Avatar." The proof is out there.
Jeff Spry: In a build-up to the release of Batman: Arkham Knight later this month, I'm ceremoniously cracking the cellophane seal on Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City over the weekend. I'd bought it on discount for my birthday last October after skipping the 2013 Arkham Origins prequel because of uninspiring reviews, and its stark cover has been calling out to me for months. Now I can practice my stealthy Bat skills against Hugo Strange and The Joker and indulge in the anarchy of Arkham's super-max prison in advance of Arkham Knight in the quiet comfort of my log home, while conveniently avoiding herds of boisterous bullriding fans in town for the annual Rodeo Weekend. Yee-haw!
Matthew Jackson: I have a real soft spot for the DC Comics of the late '80s and early '90s, as evidenced by my growing collection of old issues of Legends of the Dark Knight. This week, I took a look back at one the best incarnations of the Justice League ever assembled, and read the first volume of Justice League (later Justice League International) by Kevin Maguire, J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen. There are very dramatic plots woven into this, but the banter between heroes never stops, making it a combination of funny and epic that I think more comics could learn from these days.
Aaron Sagers: The League of Regrettable Superheroes, by Jon Morris, is a gorgeous, humorous valentine to the less memorable characters who have emerged from the funny pages over the decades. This Quirk Books collection of 100 less-than-super heroes is lovingly presented with vintage art to accompany the pithy commentary and wacky origins. The book is a great item for those with an interest in comic book history -- and for die-hard fans of Dr. Hormone, Nature Boy and Skateman.
Don Kaye: I am currently re-watching the third season of Star Trek (the original series). Long derided by fans as a massive drop in quality and production values from the first two seasons, this collection of 24 episodes has gotten a bit of a critical reappraisal in Marc Cushman's exhaustive These Are the Voyages books on the show's production. Watching them again now, with some of Cushman's observations on my mind and with relatively fresh eyes (it's been a while), I have to say that the season still remains largely a letdown, although some episodes have improved with time. My favorites are the same ("The Tholian Web," "Day of the Dove"), and the worst ones also remain unchanged ("Spock's Brain," "For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"), but I've actually gained a bit of respect for segments like "Plato's Stepchildren" and "The Paradise Syndrome." I doubt, however, that my opinion of "The Way to Eden" will change very much ...
Krystal Clark: I'm still on my journey through the DC animated universe, with the addition of another original film. Following last week's Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox (2013), I'm taking on Justice League: War. Both movies were directed by Jay Oliva, with War being released in 2014. The film pits the Justice League against a very familiar foe -- Darkseid. It features a pretty geek-friendly cast, including Alan Tudyk as Superman and Sean Astin as Shazam. Darkseid and his army of alien invaders don't stand a chance!
Dany Roth: Even if you're the zaniest flea-market-going, VHS-movie-collecting weirdo on the planet, I guarantee you've still never seen anything like The Toxic Retards. Somewhere blended within a story about aliens, terrorists, mutants, secret agents and sexy co-eds (naturally) lies a fragmented look into the psyche of filmmaker Carl J. Sukenick. The Toxic Retards splices together 35+ years' worth of Sukenick's horror films, which are equal parts exploitation and home movies. The result is something truly original. Is it art? Yes. Is it good art? I'll let you be the judge. What really sets The Toxic Retards apart, though, is how Sukenick's filmmaking became a means to deal with his own schizophrenia. In turn, this newly edited cut (done all on VHS, of course) becomes, in part, a means to better understand some of the challenges of living, day to day, with mental illness. But if you're just looking for a trainwreck you can't turn away from, you can rest assured you'll get that, too. The Toxic Retards has a little something for everyone.
Lisa Granshaw: I started watching Yahoo! Screen's original sci-fi comedy Other Space this week. After seeing positive reviews and some Red Dwarf comparisons, I was excited to see what this series featuring a ragtag crew lost in space was all about. So far, I have not been disappointed! It's entertaining and funny, with lots of great classic science fiction elements thrown in. It's only eight episodes, sadly, but I'm looking forward to binge-watching the rest of Season 1 this weekend!
Matt Dorville: Every now and again, a movie theater that you love decides to play a classic movie you've never seen on the big screen, but should have. If you're lucky, they'll even play it in 35mm. This week, the local theater is playing Buckaroo Banzai in 35mm, and I can't emphasize fully enough how excited I am. I've never seen the movie (I can hear your gasps) (For real, Matt - Ed.), but I've read incredible, amazing things, and multiple friends of mine have named it one of their favorite films. I'm expecting all sorts of awesome '80s weirdness combined with a killer soundtrack to match.
Evan Hoovler: This weekend, I'm rewatching my favorite sci fi/music synchronization: The final scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey and Pink Floyd's Echoes. A lot of hype is given to Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz, but this is one hundred times better. Whereas, with Dark Side/Oz you'll find yourself saying dumb stuff like, "Hey, that guy did something at the same time a song started," and, "Look, it's a witch at the same time the singer said 'which,'" with Echoes/2001, you'll simply say, "Oh, this obviously matches. They probably were inspired to write this song after seeing this scene." Plus, the brilliantly arranged music is a much-needed replacement to the audio from that scene (which, at times, sounds like a bunch of bees attacking). Here's a great link to experience it in full 1080p:
Adam Swiderski: Yesterday, I finally started watching The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. About 10 minutes in, I exclaimed, "Why do I care about any of these (expletive deleted)s??" I am, however, a completist, so I'll be spending time over the weekend dragging the bloated husk that Peter Jackson has made out of the last installment in his The Lord of the Rings prequel trilogy around, Weekend at Bernie's-style. If there's still time once the credits roll and I haven't self-immolated, maybe I'll even have the chance to wash the bad taste out of my brain by watching the extended edition of The Two Towers, so I can remember an era when Jackson still had his fastball and all was right with the world ... an era now, sadly, faded into shadow.
Cher Martinetti: I completely forgot that Dying Light was in my GameFly queue until it popped up in my mailbox a few days ago. I'm hoping it will hold me over until Batman Arkham Knight comes out. Since I'm just starting this game this weekend, I don't really have any opinion of it yet, but judging by what I've read online it's supposed to be good.
You've heard what we're up to - now it's your turn! What movies, books, comics, shows and games will you be diving into this weekend? Let us know in the comments!