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: With college football season now officially underway, I'll be spending most of my Saturdays munching on burgers and mainlining ESPN. But there's a much more geeky endeavor I'll also be enjoying: The season premiere of Syfy's Continuum tonight. The time-travel series is looking to wrap up one of the most ambitious storylines you're probably not watching. Seriously, home
team network or not, this show is fantastic. It features one of the smartest takes on time travel this side of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and isn't afraid to dive into the gray area between good and evil. The final season has some major storylines to wrap up, and I'm strongly hoping they can stick the landing.
Ernie Estrella: I've reached that pivotal point in my duty as a geek dad to decide what to show my 5-year-old son in the lore of Star Wars. We ripped through A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, and I'm torn about what to show him next. Sadistic as it may seem, this is the only time (if there is a time at all) to show him the prequels, then jump back to Return of the Jedi, especially since there is the background established with Emperor Palpatine. It's been interesting to re-experience Star Wars through a child, since I don't remember much of my own first exposure (legend goes, I fell asleep in the theaters during Empire, but I was 4, after all.). To see the love of Han, R2-D2 and Yoda ignite while a genuine rooting against Darth Vader builds has been a joy. It goes to show what about this story is timeless. I know he'd like the pod racing, and he's curious about the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi and "Luke's dad" (I think he's in denial). I'd teach him to hate Jar Jar during his first screen appearance. Let's not forget that Clone Wars (which we're chipping away at too) makes a lot more sense without the need to explain every character when they pop up, but part of me just wants him to get to the Rancor, speeder bikes, Ewoks and "Yub Nub." Geek dad problems.
Carol Pinchefsky: The Martian won’t be released until Oct. 2, 2015, but the book by Andy Weir, about an astronaut stranded on Mars with dwindling supplies, is out now. I started it only a few minutes ago, but already it’s flying by. The prose is straightforward and breaks down complex ideas clearly and simply. I immediately sympathized with our astronaut hero Mark Watney, even though I know very little about him, personally. But readers immediately learn how he thinks. And he has a lot of thinking to do. So far, every solution of survival he’s landed upon has created at least three more problems. I’m looking forward to this trip to Mars.
Jeff Spry: This weekend, I'll be intermittently absorbed in a beautiful slip-covered coffee-table book bestowed upon me as a Christmas gift -- The Art of Guardians of the Galaxy. Upon rewatching the film a few weeks ago, I was reminded of what a brilliantly realized comic-book movie James Gunn created, and this bulky book is stuffed with 335 pages of cool conceptual art, production design sketches and character costumes conjured up for the finished film. The Milano, Necrocraft, Dark Aster and other spaceships are magnificently rendered by dozens of insanely talented artists, and the special section on The Kyln and Knowhere illuminates much more about those cosmic destinations and how much love and detail was put into the preproduction process. I can't draw a stick man to save my life, so I'm a great admirer of these deluxe art books, and this one celebrating Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best I own.
Krystal Clark: Earlier this week, I started watching From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series. It's based on the 1996 film of the same name, which was directed by Robert Rodriguez. Therefore, it's no coincidence the show airs on the director's El Rey Network. I'm a few episodes in, and so far the first season (10 episodes) is a retelling of the movie, but with more flourishes. There's additional backstory given to Seth and Richie Gecko (D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz), and the infamous Santanico Pandemonium (Eiza Gonzalez). It also dives deep into the mythology of those lizard-faced vampires. The show's currently on the third episode of the second season. It co-stars Wilmer Valderrama, Jesse Garcia, Esai Morales and Danny Trejo.
Lisa Granshaw: Inspired by the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition's last DLC, Trespasser, I've decided to return to the game and get back into a playthrough I left unfinished a few months ago. The Inquisitor I'm starting up again is a rogue archer dwarf with an American accent who prefers her bow and arrows over any other weapons. I'm about halfway through the game so far and trying to choose different options from the ones I chose in the two playthroughs I finished over the last year. One of those differences is that, this time, I'm romancing Iron Bull, which I have to say is quite interesting as a short dwarf! Of course, I'm going through this game knowing full well that I won't be able to play the last DLC anyway, since I'm using my Xbox 360. It's frustrating that I can't see how the story ends, but I can understand why they stopped releasing content for the older system. Since it's motivated me to play again anyway, I might have to check out the DLC that I can get on the 360 this weekend, at least, since I haven't played any of it yet. That will have to hold me over as I continue to debate buying a Xbox One.
Matt Dorville: Like Bowie going on a farewell tour, Hideo Kojima has said that the latest Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, will be his last more than a few times. Call me crazy, but I actually believe him this time. And if you’re going to go out, it’s best to do it with some of the best reviews of a videogame in years. This Metal Gear Solid has a 94 Metacritic rating and about 12 voicemails on my phone asking me why I haven’t started playing yet. This weekend, I will return those calls and wreak some havoc. Snake is one of the great characters in videogame history, and from all the attention this game is getting, I’m hoping that this will be his best adventure yet.
Evan Hoovler: This is a weekend I look forward to every year: my annual fantasy football auction. This is our 15th season, so we are holding a destination auction in Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada. We look forward to this event so much, we call it "Christmas" (except instead of gifts, we receive giant, muscular athletes). Whoever took a look at football and commented, "This is fine, but it could really use a lot more Dungeons & Dragons nonsense" will forever hold the key to my heart. While at the retreat, I will be examining portraits of kraken. In the ARG I run (think Werewolf or Mafia), this week's challenge is to draw a picture of the mysterious kraken posing as one of the players. I have decided to let my 2-year-old children be the judges, which has led to a lot of submissions like the following.
Matthew Jackson: I absolutely adore the new Syfy series Killjoys, and no, I'm really not just saying that because Syfy owns Blastr. In the wake of Firefly and, more recently, the space adventure Guardians of the Galaxy, it's exactly the kind of show I want. It's swashbuckling, it's funny, it's inventive, and it goes to dark places while never being afraid to come back out into the light and take itself a little less seriously. It's the sort of show I've enjoyed so much that I'm rationing it, hoarding episodes on my DVR so I won't have to be finished with the first season. Now that I know Season 2 will, indeed, arrive next year, though, I think I'm ready to finish these episodes off.
Don Kaye: This weekend, circumstances (and my 4-year-old daughter's personal whims) permitting, I hope to visit California State University at Northridge to check out "Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby," billed as one of the largest-ever exhibitions of the work of the legendary artist and co-creator of much of the Marvel Universe. The exhibition focuses on Kirby’s later work, from about 1965 on, but will nonetheless document his entire career, which lasted more than half a century and involved almost every major publisher in comic books. If you're a comic-book or Kirby fan (the two are basically interchangeable) and you live reasonably close to Northridge (about 20-30 minutes north of Los Angeles), you probably want to see this too. The exhibition runs through Oct. 10, and more info can be found here.
Aaron Sagers: A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I was slipping into autumn by ratcheting up some horror-genre viewing. That continues this weekend with the release of The Visit and Goodnight Mommy. I had missed a couple press screenings of M. Night Shyamalan's latest effort about a scary visit to grandmother's house, so I'll be footing the bill for this ticket. (C'mon, Night, don't let me down; I want you to be back in a big way, and not ask for a ticket refund.) Meanwhile, Goodnight Mommy is an eerie-looking Austrian flick about twin brothers who believe something is very wrong with their mother after her cosmetic surgery. The trailer alone is pretty disturbing, and the word of mouth is solid, so I'm going in with high hopes. On a non-horror front, I need to catch up on Star Wars Rebels, because everyone is bugging me to watch it, and I need to prep for its showing at New York Comic-Con. Hopefully it won't be the thing that scares me this weekend.
Adam Swiderski: My niece is turning 10 in a couple of months and is a total bookworm ... but she's reading a lot of really bad children's fantasy "novels." (Have you read this Septimus Heap garbage? Ye gods.) So this weekend I'll be compiling a list of classic kid-friendly sci-fi and fantasy books I can put together as a gift for her birthday. So far, I've got Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence, Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall trilogy (training wheels for Dragonriders of Pern, A Wizard of Earthsea and A Wrinkle in Time. These books captivated me when I was a kid, and I'm hoping they'll do the same for her. And, hey, I'm taking suggestions, so if you have any ideas for great genre fiction that'd be good for a 10 year-old, let me know in the comments!
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!