5 Kids Shows That Need a Mature Reboot

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There are a lot of shows that we all loved as kids. Most of those shows do not stand up to the ravages of time, nor the march of progress, and get left by the wayside. Sure, you probably look back on them fondly, but that’s about it. 

But what if we could look forward to them again?

I know that reboots, preboots, prequels, and sequels can be touchy subjects. On the one hand, we really like to see more of our favorite characters and settings. On the other hand, we crave original content. I don’t know if there is a balance that can be struck between these, but what I do know is that sometimes (read: most times) nostalgia wins out.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, while not a perfect show—it definitely went downhill in its later seasons—was proof that those old intellectual properties could be infused with new life. It took something I’d known for most of my life and it made me look at the story and characters from a different perspective. 

A REALLY different perspective

Granted, I don’t think every show needs this kind of treatment, but here are five blasts from the past that, I think, deserve a second chance.

1.) Scooby-Doo

This show has been around since 1969… 1969!! There are so many different versions of it that I can’t even deign to list them all, lest I get heckled for forgetting one. It also means that it’s still around, so the big question becomes, why reboot a show that’s constantly being rebooted anyway?

My answer to myself is that it’s always being rebooted for children. Sure, Be Cool Scooby-Doo had humor for adults to enjoy, and Mystery Incorporated managed to have a truly grand overarching story, but for the most part, they were still created for children… 

…and me. 

What we need is a mature version of Scooby-Doo. I want to see the gang solving a murder that occurred in their hometown. I want to see them solving smaller mysteries every episode as they try to learn who killed old man Jenkins. And I really want to see them running from a guy in an old diving suit through the corridors of an abandoned aquatic research lab. Not sure why, but that last one is non-negotiable. 

Basically, I want to see Scooby-Doo done by the guys who made Veronica Mars

Come on, you know it would be great. 

2.)The Secret World of Alex Mack

I’m not sure if this one is too obscure, or too old… or both for that matter. 

Either way, the original Nickelodeon show was pretty good. It was about this girl (Alex Mack) who was involved in a chemical spill on her first day of junior high. Shortly after the accident, she realizes that she has some amazing new abilities. 

Like the ability to move things with her mind. Or turn into a puddle of liquid. 

While the original show focused mainly on Alex’s school life, it did have a large subplot involving her trying to avoid the company that owned the tanker of experimental chemicals that gave her powers. 

Now, imagine moving Alex up to high school, or even college. You could still have the interpersonal drama (my least favorite part of any show) and whatnot, however, you could really play up a cat and mouse narrative. Like, they are looking for her so that they can perform experiments, and she’s investigating them at the same time. 

It would basically be a superhero show, but without all the tropes getting in the way… 

Or at least I would hope that they wouldn’t let the tropes get in the way. 

3.) So Weird

So Weird was a monster-of-the-week show that aired on the Disney Channel in the late ’90s. 

It was about a young girl named Fiona Philips who traveled from town to town with her mother’s band. While they were crisscrossing the country, she would encounter various strange and bizarre phenomena, including, but not limited to:

  • Ghosts
  • Tulpas
  • Changelings
  • Time Warps
  • And Trolls

Basically, it was Supernatural, but for 90’s kids. The main story even had Fiona looking for clues about her father, who died while investigating strange occurrences. 

I propose that, for a mature reboot, the show focus on an older version of Fiona who lived with her father until his recent death. He was always into the occult, and though she loved him, she always thought that he was a little crazy. Now, she is forced to travel the country with her mother’s band, but she begins to see strange things that may prove that her father wasn’t crazy after all.

You could basically take all the best parts of Supernatural, sprinkle in some X-Files, and then serve with a side of angsty teen.

4.) Space Cases

 This was basically the show that started my interest in sci-fi. 

It’s about a group of kids who attend a school in space. One day, while everyone else is attending a lecture or something, a group of problem students—and two teachers—accidentally make their way on board a mysterious alien ship that warps them to the other side of the galaxy. 

If that was not problematic enough, the ship registered the kids as the main crew, leaving the adults in a bit of a sticky situation. 

What I loved about this show was that it was silly and bizarre, but also had some weirdly grounded aspects. There was an entire subplot in the first season about how the human character’s dad fought and died in a war against the andromedans. This makes the human kid prejudicial against one of the other kids, who is an andromedan. While it was played pretty seriously in the show, it was still undercut by the low production value and spotty acting. 

Basically,  I want this show to be Farscape, but with better graphics and a slightly younger cast. I mean, it was basically the precursor to Farscape anyway, since it came out three years before Farscape even started.

Okay, I say that, but Farscape was nearly perfect (to me, anyway). What I really want to see from a Space Cases reboot is a show with more focus on the relationship between the crew members while they try not to die in a distant corner of space… 

So I guess it would be more like Stargate Universe, just with a younger cast… of aliens.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

5.) Wizards of Waverly Place

This Disney Channel original was always a bit all over the place. It eventually settled into something resembling a coherent show, but for the most part, it was just slapstick magic fun. 

However, If you delve into the story and lore of the show, you start to see the potential in creating a more mature version of this children’s show. 

The main story focuses on the Russo family. The mother is a normal person, but the father was born to a wizard family. Now, he is not a wizard, and that’s because only one child per wizard family gets to keep their magical powers. So of his three children, only one will get to keep their magical abilities. 

Now, this is where the true potential of a reboot comes in. 

You see, it’s not a genetics thing that lets a kid keep their magic as an adult. Nope, they basically have to compete against their siblings for the right to keep their magic. The other two are left to live normal lives and know that they will never again be able to perform even the simplest of spells. 

Can you imagine a gritty retelling of this story? It would be amazing. It would be like a less lethal Hunger Games, pitting a bunch of wizard children against each other while their parents basically help train them to ruin each other’s lives… to a certain extent. 

If you add all the vampires, werewolves, and such on top of that, you have the potential for a pretty riveting show.  

So, Netflix idea curators, if you’re reading this—and I know you are—you need to get on this shit. Chop chop.


6 Webcomics To Read If You’ve Never Read a Webcomic 

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not really a comic book person. There are some graphic novels that I really enjoy, but for the most part I usually stick to video games, television, and movies. However, I have found that I do enjoy webcomics to an almost absurd degree.

This wasn’t always the case. I used to think they were these chintzy things that were, for the most part, not well done. In fact, I would probably still be avoiding them if a friend of mine hadn’t made some recommendations.

Turns out the joke’s on me. Some of them are pretty awesome. So if you’ve ever wondered about webcomics and are looking for somewhere to start, let me introduce you—in no particular order—to some of my favorites.

The Last Halloween by Abby Howard

This comic is a bit of a weird one, but it’s all the better for it. 

The story revolves around Mona, a ten-year-old girl, who finds herself alone on Halloween night. When a giant monster breaks into her house and attacks her, she flees into the night, only to find a monster apocalypse in full swing. Can she survive the night or will it be… her Last Halloween? 

There are a couple of things about this comic that I really like. 

  • The Lore: What starts out as a relatively simple premise eventually gains an amount of breadth and width that gives the story a solid foundation to stand on.
  • The Aesthetic/Atmosphere: The comic is done completely in black and white, and the style uses negative space in interesting ways. The artwork is somehow simple, and yet it is also complex in its execution, and sometimes I don’t know if I love it or hate it. 

I mean, it’s also funny, and at times actually kinda terrifying, which is a combination that always piques my interest.

The only downside to The Last Halloween is that it is updated very infrequently, so you might have to wait long chunks of time between new pages.

Broodhollow by Kristofer “Kris” Straub

This is probably one of the best iterations of cosmic horror I’ve ever seen. It takes place back when door-to-door salesmen walked the earth. The story focuses on Wadsworth Zane, a down-on-his-luck encyclopedia salesman who receives an inheritance from a distant relative. In order to claim that inheritance, Wadsworth travels to the town of Broodhollow, where all is not as it seems.

What really makes Broodhollow stand out is how the horror is presented. Most of the art in the comic is pretty simplistic and straightforward. However, when an otherworldly horror or misbegotten creature appears, the art style changes completely. The creatures are usually very dark and drawn with a level of detail several orders of magnitude over the normal characters. This juxtaposition of art styles really helps to sell the horror of Broodhollow.

My personal favorite part of Broodhollow is the mystery. You never really get the big picture, nor is a ton of explaining done. So you are left to piece the puzzle together alongside Wadsworth (and a few others who seem to know that something isn’t right). 

This is another comic that, unfortunately, sees infrequent updates, but it’s totally worth the wait. So if you’re down for an intriguing mystery with a heap of cosmic horror thrown in for good measure, I recommend you give Broodhollow a shot.

Guilded Age by T Campbell, Erica Henderson, & Phil Kahn 

Guilded Age is an amazing webcomic that is hard to describe without ruining certain aspects of it.

It is, ostensibly, about a group of adventurers that form a guild for the financial and social benefits that it provides. Unfortunately for them, their guild quickly rises to infamy and becomes embroiled in the affairs of ancient kingdoms, diabolical wizards, and endless wars. 

While this premise sounds like every other high fantasy show/comic/game, I guarantee that Guilded Age will surprise you. I really can’t get into why, because honestly it’s the kind of thing you really need to read for yourself. I will say that the characters are very well written, the overall story is good, and the art is solid throughout (even if it changed artists part way through its run). 

Fortunately, Guilded Age is completed, so you’ll never have to wait for additional pages to be available. Unfortunately, once you’ve finished it, you might wish that there was more on the way. 

Paranatural by Zack Morrison

Paranatural starts off pretty rough. Not story or character-wise, but art-wise. The beginning is all in black and white with some of the sketchiest artwork I’ve seen in a webcomic. (Sketchy like a sketch… not dubious in any way.) It does, however, get leaps and bounds better, to the point that you would never guess that the current work is from the same comic. 

The story follows Max, a kid who has just moved to the town of Mayview. He quickly realizes that something isn’t right in the small town when he starts to see spirits and ghosts. He eventually joins his school’s “Activity” club, which is, of course, full of other kids who can see and interact with the supernatural world. 

What I really like about Paranatural, aside from its story, is how it grows as it goes along. I mean, most webcomics grow over time, but Paranatural grows by leaps and bounds as it progresses. Not only does the art improve, as I mentioned earlier, but the way it handles its characters and themes grows as well.

Paranatural has six complete “chapters” and is currently on its seventh. It is generally updated every Tuesday and Friday. 

Atomic Robo by Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener

Atomic Robo is near and dear to my heart. I love pretty much everything about this comic. So just be aware of my bias while reading this. 

The comic is about the adventures of Atomic Robo, a sentient robot with an “Automatic Intelligence,” created by Nikola Tesla in 1923. As such, he has been alive for over a century and had many adventures and experiences.

What makes Atomic Robo stand out, to me, is the way in which the story is told: in individual installments, and not necessarily in chronological order. 

The first time you meet Robo he is fighting against Nazi Scientist, Dr. Helsingrad, in 1938. The second, he’s fighting giant ants outside of Reno Nevada. From there it just gets nuttier. He fights a time traveling dinosaur with a dubious PhD. He fights a Lovecraftian horror through the better part of a century. And he saves the only human to survive vampire dimension.

While all of that might sound insane, I assure you that it is. It’s crazy, hilarious and will often have me literally laughing out loud. However, it will also sometimes punch you in the gut with  subtle, thoughtful, moments that you aren’t expecting. Atomic Robo manages to walk the line between the two extremes beautifully,

Atomic Robo updates at least a couple of times a week, but can have long hiatuses between chapters. 

GunnerKrigg Court by Tom Siddell

GunnerKrigg Court has been around since 2005. Back then, it was a quaint little comic that had a decent aesthetic, a serviceable story, and the ability to make me smile. Much like Paranatural, GunnerKrigg grew over the years and has turned into one of the finest webcomics available. 

The story follows Antimony “Annie” Carver, a young girl who lives at GunnerKrigg Court (a large industrial complex that also functions as a school). There, she encounters increasingly bizarre and strange phenomena including, but not limited to, ghosts, living shadows, sentient robots, the Minotaur, and a giant crab monster.

To make matters worse… or more interesting… Gillitie Woods, a magical forest where sprites, pixies, and gods dwell, sits across a large chasm from the court. 

What’s really striking about Gunnerkrigg Court is how the little details matter. Things that you thought were throwaway jokes or stupid sight gags will almost certainly become very important later on in the story. This means that later chapters are full of references to things that happened previously, but it’s all done in such a way as to be completely unobtrusive.

Gunnerkrigg Court updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so you’ll never be lacking for content. There are also talks of a TV show in the works for this one, which, I have to say, is probably the best news I got in 2020. 

Though, we’ll just have to wait and see if that pans out. 

Recommendations, Video Game Reviews

5 Games That Should Have Had Sequels By Now

Some games have stories that just can’t be told in one installment. Others are so complete that all we want to do is spend more time in their world. This usually leads to a sequel or two for most games. However, there are occasions when an amazing game comes out and we spend years waiting for the announcement of a sequel, only for none to appear. 

I submit to you a list going backward in time of five games that desperately deserve a sequel.

Bulletstorm (2011)

Bulletstorm was an amazing first-person shooter during the PS3 era. The graphics were on point, the voice acting was top notch, and the story was better than it had any right to be.

It was about Grayson Hunt, a disgraced former soldier who wants revenge on the general that used him, and his team, to assassinate innocent civilians. So during a random encounter with the general after years on the run Grayson attacks the general’s ship and they both crash onto a nearby planet brimming with deadly creatures and insane psychopaths.

There were two things, however, that helped this game stand above its peers. 

The first of which was the Skillshot system. This allowed you to receive experience points for killing enemies. Shoot a guy in the head, you get 25 points. Shoot them in the groin and then kick their head off? Well, that’s worth 100 points. You see, the point of the Skillshot system was to encourage you to kill your enemies in the most insane ways possible, and with the game’s many guns—with multiple firing modes— there were a lot of insane ways to kill your enemies. 

The second thing that helped Bulletstorm to shine was its humor. There is barely a moment in this game where your character isn’t yelling about dicks or asses, or dicks in asses. While juvenile, and a little abrasive at times, most of the jokes actually do a pretty good job of landing properly. I will still, to this day, quote many of my favorite lines from this game simply because they bored directly into my mind with how funny they were.

Sure, the game hasn’t aged perfectly, but it was such an interesting title that it really deserves to have a follow up. This is especially true because it was clearly setting up a sequel, and I want to know what happens, damn it!!

Brutal Legend (2009)

There are few games that dare to do something different. So, when one takes the leap, it can really stand out. 

Brutal Legend is just such a game.

It’s about a roadie named Eddie Riggs who’s transported backward in time when a stage prop crushes him during a concert. In this version of the past, demons rule the world and humans are merely slaves.

At first, Eddie is unsure of his place in this primordial era, but when he discovers that his favorite music (METAL) is the source of all power, he steps forward to lead a revolution and defeat Doviculus, the demon that has subjugated mankind. 

What made this game so special was the way it smashed two completely different game genres together. It was part hack and slash RPG adventure with a large helping of real-time strategy on the side. 

You spent most of the game driving around in your sweet ride—The Duce—trashing enemies and finding new songs for “The Mouth of METAL” which was the name of the radio in your car. Then, every once and a while, you would be thrown into an RTS battle where you still played as your character, but you used them to command troops against an enemy army. While this was a little cumbersome at times, it was an amazing way to marry the two genres.

My personal favorite aspect of the game (beyond the fact that Jack Black, Tim Curry, and Jennifer Hale were the voices for the main characters) was the mythology that the developers created for the game. They have an entire creation myth that you could piece together, and not only is it amazing, it ties directly into the story and completely incorporates the game’s musical motif.

I don’t know where a second game would go, but I’d love to find out.   

Bully (2006)

Bully was developed by Rockstar games, the team that continues to bring more Grand Theft Auto into the world. And by all accounts, it was an amazing game. 

You play as Jimmy Hopkins, a kid who is being forced to attend Bullworth Academy after being kicked out of seven other schools. The game takes place over the course of one year at the academy and chronicles the rise of Jimmy from new kid to king of the schoolyard. 

While similar to previous Rockstar games, Bully stood out for a number of reasons.

For one, it had much more structure than its predecessors. Sure, you could run around and cause all sorts of mayhem, but you also needed to attend classes, and engage in other activities to boost your social standing. These were key mechanics to not only keep your character from being expelled, but also to assert your dominance over the other cliques and their leaders. The game also changed aesthetics from season to season, which was something you rarely saw in games of the time. 

While it had its fair share of bugs, Bully is fondly remembered by those who played it, and most can’t stop thinking about the amazing things that a follow up game in this day and age could bring. 

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (2002)

There are few games that I remember as fondly as Eternal Darkness

Wait, did I say fondly? I meant, there are few games that I remember as terrifyingly. 

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is a survival horror game that was published by Nintendo… That sentence really says it all. It was the first time Nintendo, a family friendly company, decided to try their hand with something a little more mature.

Boy, did it pay off. 

In Eternal Darkness, you play as Alexandra Roivas, who returns to her family home in Rhode Island after the brutal murder of her grandfather. Upon arriving, she finds a book bound in human skin titled “The Tome of Eternal Darkness.” Within its pages, she finds disturbing accounts of people dealing with eldritch horrors dating back thousands of years. So, she begins investigating the book to see if it had anything to do with her grandfather’s death. 

There were a couple very innovative things this game did to stand apart from the Resident Evil’s and Silent Hill’s of the time. 

The first was how the stories were told. Since Alexandra was reading a book, she didn’t necessarily read it in order. This made the narrative a little more dynamic and added to the mystery surrounding the book and her grandfather’s murder. 

The second, and the one everyone knows about, was the sanity system. Throughout the course of the game Alexandra, would lose her sanity for various, usually terrifying, reasons. While this mechanic has been used in a lot of games since, Eternal Darkness really went the extra mile. You see, as Alexandra lost her sanity weird things would start to happen, and not just to her. 

I remember once seeing a fly crawling across my screen… well, it turns out it was the game screwing with me. That was just the tip of the iceberg. The screen would go to “Video” mode, because that was a believable thing to have happened back then.

There were a ton of these little mindfreaks, and the game was made slightly better by each one. 

I shudder to think what could be accomplished with the amazing features of today’s console systems.  

Secret of Evermore (1995)

Secret of Evermore is one of my most beloved childhood games. In fact, I still play it every couple of years just because I can. 

This SNES game was developed by Squaresoft, and was one of the only games that they released exclusively outside of Japan. It follows the adventures of a young man who is transported to the land of Evermore. There, he battles across prehistoric jungles, ancient cities, and medieval castles to find his way home once more. 

While the story is simple, and more than a little campy in places, it had some really interesting features for a game that came out in 1995. 

The first of those features is that you have an AI companion with you (the main character’s dog) throughout 90% of the game. He helps you in combat, helps you solve puzzles, and even searches for items that you would spend way too much time looking for without him. You can even take control of the dog if you want…

I mean, it really didn’t help most of the time. But you could do it, by gum!

The other standout feature that anyone who played the game will remember was the alchemy. This was basically your magic system. You could combine two types of ingredients, as long as you had the recipe, and create a myriad of effects. You could combine water and ash to create acid rain, or wrap some clay around a crystal to create a homing rock lovingly dubbed “Hardball.” This system made it so that you had to, sometimes, manage your magic usage, because you could run out of crystals at an inopportune moment. 

I don’t know what I would want to see more, a sequel to Secret of Evermore or a remake. I think either has an amazing amount of potential, but the likelihood of seeing either after twenty-six years seems unlikely. 

 I know it’s wishful thinking, but hopefully, one day, this list will have fewer entries. 


How To Share a Love of Video Games With Your Significant Other

When my wife and I first met, she was a gamer who only played one game: The Sims. She might occasionally find other games intriguing, but—for the most part—none of them appealed to her. If I asked her about trying games other than The Sims, she would say that she really didn’t “play video games.”

Well, after a while, I began to understand that when she said “video games” she was talking about the fast-paced, and often technically-demanding, games that I was playing. She was looking at Call of Duty and Dying Light and assuming that all of the games I played were chaotic, gory, and overly complicated. 

She thought ALL video games looked like this.

The Beginning of a Journey

At first, I asked if Vii would be willing to try some side-scrolling platformers, retro arcade games, or some other games that I’d deemed to be “Beginner Games.” She agreed to play a couple and see how it went. 

It… didn’t go well.

She lost interest very quickly. She also felt that the controls were too complicated and that the games we were playing required timing and reflexes that she just didn’t have. 

It was a little disheartening. Gaming has been a huge part of my life since I was a wee lad, and I really wanted to be able to share that part of my life with the person I loved.

Eventually, I understood a few very important things:

  1. Vii might never develop an interest in gaming, and I had to be okay with that
  2. I was the one dictating our approach to gaming
  3. Point two might have been affecting point one

So, I took a different approach. I asked her what she liked about the one game she did play.

She told me that she liked:

  • That she got to pause and think about her actions
  • That she could play with the genetics of sims and see how the children turned out
  • That she got to make decisions for her sims and see what the outcome would eventually be
  • That she could stop at any point and pick it back up when she wanted. 

With those points in mind, I asked her if she would be willing to scour STEAM for games that met her criteria (that I might also enjoy), so that we could try playing something together.

The two games we ended up buying were Massive Chalice and Darkest Dungeon. Both were turn-based strategy games, with some decision making and resource management. Massive Chalice had the added benefit of having a genetics aspect, while Darkest Dungeon’s aesthetics and impeccable voice work managed to pique her interest.

To this day, those are two of her favorite games. I attribute some of that to nostalgia, but the truth is that those were games that she was interested in, and they allowed her to see what “video games” had to offer her specifically.

> Half Way

When I talk to a lot of gamers—who also did not marry gamers—I often hear that their significant other “won’t even try playing” or that they “tried them, but didn’t like them.” 

Some people really — probably — don’t like video games in general

If your significant other really doesn’t like video games, that’s fair.

More often than not, however, I believe the gamers I was talking to were approaching this the wrong way. When I asked what games they were asking their partners to try, it was always a game with a high bar for entry. They were trying a first person shooter or an action RPG. Even the most tame version of either genre requires a degree of hand-eye coordination and a familiarity with the subject matter. Just because Ni No Kuni looks adorable and is pretty forgiving by my standards doesn’t mean that a complete novice will be able to pick it up easily. 

So, you really need to meet your significant other where they are, rather than where you are. Even meeting them halfway is still a big ask.

The Deep End

A lot of people will say that the best way to learn something is to jump into the deep end. While that might work with some things, there is a very simple reason that you can’t just throw your partner into the deep end with something like video games…

…they drown.

Basically, it takes all the fun out of playing.

Starting with a game that requires you to know how to use two control sticks, previous knowledge of how action-RPGs work, the prerequisite reflexes to be effective, and the genre savviness to know not to shoot the red barrels when you’re standing next to them is completely insane. You don’t start them with a Dark Souls game. Hell, you don’t even start with Mario Odyssey

You start where they are most comfortable.

If that means starting with a point and click adventure, or a visual novel, or even a dating simulation game, then that’s what you have to do. 

Playing games is about having fun, and if your significant other isn’t having fun, then there’s no point. You could get them to try some of the best games in the world, but they wouldn’t be able to appreciate them.

Even we gamers did not spring forth from the womb with a controller in hand, ready to play every game. We learned slowly over time, and if your significant other has never played a video game, then they need to learn just like you did. 

A Gradual Incline

Once you’ve figured out exactly what your significant other would enjoy playing, and if they would like to continue to pursue gaming as a mutual hobby, then it’s just a matter of introducing new concepts gradually.

Did your significant other enjoy playing turn-based games? Great, maybe try a real-time strategy. Were they really feeling the visual novels? Maybe try something like Valkyria Chronicles that combines strategy with a story that unfolds as a visual novel. 

It’s about finding out what they love about games, and then exploring new ones together. 

After playing Massive Chalice and Darkest Dungeon, my wife and I played The Wolf Among Us, so that she could see if she liked adventure games. We then moved on to quirkier titles like Crypt of the Necrodancer and Shovel Knight. Games that were a little more difficult, but had simple controls that were hard to master. 

These days we can play games like Skyrim or Hades, which require spatial awareness, fairly quick reflexes, and the ability to navigate and remember several menus at a time. 

This doesn’t mean that we play all games together…

I still play this one on my own

…but the overall number of games that Vii is willing to try has increased from almost none to over half of the games I play.

This is because she has a better overall understanding of what video games are and how they operate. She also has the confidence to know what she likes about them and what her skill level is. She even seeks out games that she knows I have no interest in, but that she would really enjoy.

She now “plays video games.” 

Fun and Games

Now, I’m not saying that what happened with us will happen for everyone. 

Some couples may try several types of games and never really develop a taste for it. Others may find one game, or genre, and decide to stay there. No outcome is “bad,” they’re just different. It’s all about comfort levels and fun, because if no one is having fun, then there is no point.

So, if you are a gamer and would like to try sharing your interests with your significant other, remember that handing them a controller and a copy of Call of Duty is not the way to go.

 That’s just frustrating for everyone involved.

Instead, take the time to see things from their perspective. Find out what they like and what they’re interested in, and see if you can find a game that really speaks to them. Because while it’s sometimes true that people “don’t play video games,” I honestly believe that there is a game out there for everyone. 

You just have to find it first.

And that game could lead to another, and another. And that could lead to a passion that you and your partner can share. 

Recommendations, TV Show Reviews

8 Animated Shows For Adults That Are Well Worth Your Time

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Cartoons, more often than not, get a bad rap as just being for children. Back in the 90’s that was largely—but not exclusively—true. 

Since then, the number of cartoons aimed at adults has increased at an explosive rate, and I could not be happier about that. I love most animated shows anyway. I mean, my tastes have gotten a little more discerning in recent years, but not by much. 

So, as a connoisseur of all things animated, I just wanted to offer up some cartoons that are specifically aimed at adults. The following list is but the tip of a much larger iceberg, but hopefully this will give anyone uninitiated an idea of what the world of adult animation has to offer.  

Corner Gas Animated

The original Corner Gas is a Canadian sitcom that aired on CTV from 2004 to 2009. It was basically the most quintessentially Canadian television show ever made, and it was awesome. It was about a small gas station in the fictional town of Dog River, Saskatchewan and the eccentric townsfolk who frequented the establishment. 

Well, back in 2018 CTV Comedy Network continued the show in the form of Corner Gas Animated. Which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s Corner Gas, but animated.

This is great for a couple of reasons. The first is that the cast has aged quite a bit since then, so having them animated allows for their ages to remain the same. The second is that they got most of the cast to reprise their roles, so it feels like nothing really changed, except that they can do more extreme cutaway gags with less effort. 


Archer is ostensibly an animated show about the worst spy agency in the world. It’s run by a narcissistic alcoholic, their best agent is a man-child who never learned what consequences are, and the office staff doesn’t seem capable of doing even the most basic tasks.

Needless to say, it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. 

This show has perfected the running gag. There are jokes that were in the first episode that they continue to use throughout the series. These jokes just seem to get funnier every time, and there is nothing sadder than when they retire one of them.

Of course, there is also nothing funnier than when they bring them back from time to time just to make you chuckle. 

It’s also a show that decided to go completely off the rails starting with season 5 (aka Archer Vice). In this season they flipped the script in a number of intriguing ways. Then they decided, with season seven, to completely abandon the spy thriller aesthetic, put the show in Los Angeles, and turn their organization into a detective agency. Season eight saw the cast as old school noir characters. Nine had them as Indiana Jones-style adventurers, and ten had them in space.

So, what I’m trying to say is that they are willing to take risks. 

Star Trek: The Lower Decks

For me, Star Trek: The Lower Decks is something I didn’t know I wanted, but that I desperately needed. In fact we said as much in our review of it, which you can find here.

Usually, a Star Trek show follows the bridge crew. You know, the captain, first mate, pilots, chief science and engineering officers… those guys.

The Lower Decks instead opts to follow the nobodies who work in the bowels of the ship, and the misadventures that they have while the bridge crew is trying to save the universe.

There are a few of reasons The Lower Decks is worth your time. The first being that the show has a surprising amount of heart for a joke-version of an existing franchise. The second is that the characters are actually interesting and manage to grow over the course of the series. The third would be that while it has all the trappings of a Star Trek show, it manages to stand apart from its source material and do it’s own thing. 

Final Space

Final Space really came out of left field for me. I didn’t even hear about it until the second season was about to come out. Then, when I finally sat down and watched it, I was… underwhelmed.

The first couple of episodes were only so-so. The story was a bit “Meh” and the sophomoric humor, while funny, wasn’t really impressive in any way. 

Well, it turns out if you keep watching, Final Space will surprise you. By the end of the first season it became something worth watching. The story becomes both massive in scale and importance. It manages to find its stride with humor, and its characters go from being two-dimensional cutouts to people you actually care about. 

All that being said, the humor is still pretty sophomoric, but, sometimes, it makes you think. 

The Venture Brothers

The Venture Brothers ran on tv for almost fifteen years, even though there were only seven seasons. It was a master class in what adult animation could be. It took a simple premise (which was, admittedly, a little lackluster in its first season) and grew it into something else entirely. 

It starts off as a satire of the Hanna Barbera cartoons of the mid-to-late sixties, such as Jonny Quest, and slowly builds upon itself. By the time you get to the third and fourth seasons, The Venture Brothers has managed to—without punching you in the face with exposition—created an entire world with a rich and storied mythology. You start to see how the events of the past ripple into the present, and how that influences each character’s motivations. 

Of course, on top of all of the meticulously crafted worldbuilding is a ton of irreverent and sometimes off-the-wall comedy, which makes this bizarre show worth every second.

I will throw in a disclaimer here. Some of the early jokes haven’t aged well over the last seventeen years. So, be aware of that. 

Samurai Jack – Season 5

Samurai Jack aired on Cartoon Network from 2001-2004, and was about a samurai warrior on a quest to slay a shapeshifting demon. 

During its original run, it did some things that a lot of cartoons would have never dared. For example, there are several episodes with little-to-no dialogue. What’s more is that those are some of the show’s best episodes.

Samurai Jack also won several awards, including 8 Emmy’s.

Needless to say, it has long been one of my favorite shows. However, it always had one glaring flaw; It was incomplete. It ended after four seasons, and the final episode resolved exactly nothing. 

It was something I was bitter about for roughly twelve years. 

Then, in 2017, something glorious happened. Somehow, Samurai Jack was renewed for a fifth and final season. What’s better is that the final season wasn’t for children. The overall tone of the show was much more serious, they exchanged robotic enemies for ones with blood and guts…

It had become a show for adults.

Honestly, I can only recommend this show if you’d be willing to watch the first four seasons, but if you do (or if you were already a fan and didn’t know that they’d created a fifth season) then I strongly recommend that you do yourself a favor and watch this miraculous fifth season.

Rick and Morty

If you haven’t heard about Rick and Morty, that’s very impressive. It’s consistently praised as one of the best animated series on television, and honestly has some of the most mind-bending episodes of any show I’ve ever seen. 

The show is about the smartest man in the multi-verse and the insane—and often disturbing—adventures he goes on with his grandson.

The show is mostly overt toilet humor with a sprinkle of violence and just a dash existential dread. That might not sound like the greatest set of things for a show to offer, but Rick and Morty does a couple of things so well that it’s hard not to love it. 

The first is how mind-blowing the show can be. The way they conceptualize the universe and how things could operate within it is often disorienting, but in the best way. There are episodes where multiple timelines are shown on the screen at the same time, with different versions of the main characters trying to kill one another from across the timestream, and other episodes where there are universes contained within universes, which are all contained in a car battery. 

The second reason to love Rick and Morty is the heavy hitting morals… or lack thereof. Sometimes you feel like you walked away learning a deep and valuable lesson from the episode you just watched. Other times you walk away with the knowledge that the universe is merely chaos and you are but a speck of dust within the cosmos.

If none of that is your thing, it still has an amazing amount of toilet humor, which is just the best. 

Oh, and if it turns out that you like Rick and Morty, or you already know that you do, you should check out Solar Opposites on Hulu. 


Invincible—based on a series of comics by the same name—is currently still airing its first season. Usually, I would reserve my judgement until after I’ve seen the whole thing, but currently I’m only a few episodes in and I don’t think I could recommend this show enough. 

It takes place in a world a lot like the DC-comics universe, and follows a kid who is basically the son of the in-world Superman. The story begins just as this kid’s powers are starting to develop, so it’s a bit of an origin story. However, what sets this apart from something you might find on Cartoon Network is how seriously the show takes itself. 

It does not pull any punches. It shows what really happens when a supervillain shoots a death ray into a crowd, or when a superhuman who can break the sound barrier punches someone in the face. This can get a little gruesome, but it sure does make for some powerful scenes. 

Because it plays everything straight, it shows the psychological side of what it would be like to become a hero. The main character does not start off saving everyone, and unlike children’s cartoons—or even the Marvel movies—the stakes are, more often than not, deadly for everyone. 

There is also an incredible/terrible scene at the end of the first episode that is so compelling that you don’t really have any choice but to continue watching the show to see where it’s going.

It’s also worth mentioning that when the first part of the credits starts rolling, the episode is not over. 

So make sure you keep watching.


5 Killer Musicals for People Averse to Musicals

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Let’s face it: not everyone is into musicals. 

I, myself, only really came around to them within the last few years. I didn’t hate them before, but I mostly ignored anything labeled “musical.” 

These days, I know several people who have opened me up to the larger world of musicals. This is mostly because of the myriad of newer, more interesting, musicals that have come out within recent years, Like Dear Evan Hanson, Hadestown, and Hamilton. I mean, I’ve warmed up to some of the older ones, but things like Grease have not aged well enough for me to embrace them.

This change in how I viewed musicals was not sudden. It was slow, laborious, and multi-layered. It wasn’t that someone showed me Hamilton, and it blew my mind. Nor did any of the speeches people gave saying “but musicals are just as good as other movies” have much effect.

No, what finally brought me round was watching some select musicals that were not exactly traditional. They were musicals that were intriguing because of their inherent genre, or story, and which seemed an odd choice to make into musicals in the first place.

So, for anyone who’s not really into the idea of musicals, I offer this list of five musicals—that aren’t from Disney—that helped me better understand the breadth and scope of what musicals could accomplish. 

Anna and the Apocalypse

This one is the trifecta. It is a musical, a zombie apocalypse movie, and a christmas movie all rolled into one. 

The movie focuses, of course, on Anna Shepherd, a young woman who is about to finish high school and is considering taking a year to travel before she goes off to college. On the night of the school’s big Christmas show, a zombie virus sweeps through the town. The next morning, Anna heads off to school to find that her town is overrun with the living dead.

What I find so compelling about this movie is that they were brave enough to try three different things at the same time. A zombie musical would have been enough, but nay, they decided to add in the Christmas thing just for kicks. Granted, the Christmas part is more incidental than the other two, so very little of the music focuses on the fact that it’s around Christmas. It’s mostly the backdrop for this brazen genre mashup.

It’s also a movie that manages to be funny while still taking the zombie apocalypse pretty seriously from time to time. 

Stage Fright

Stage Fright feels a bit like an experimental film. It’s basically an 80’s slasher movie smooshed together with a musical.

The story begins with Broadway sensation Kylie Swanson being murdered by a man in a phantom mask during her production of “The Haunting of the Opera.” It then jumps to ten years in the future where her children, Camilla and Buddy, are being raised by Roger McCall, Kylie’s former lover and the owner of a struggling musical-theatre-based summer camp. 

When the camp decides to put on a rendition of “The Haunting of the Opera,” Camilla decides that she wants to throw her hat in the ring and audition for the part. When the stage director offers her the part in exchange for some “favors,” Camilla is torn between her love of theatre and her moral compass. However, before she can make a decision, the stage director is brutally murdered by an assailant in a “Haunting of the Opera” mask.

What follows is your basic slasher movie, interspersed with musical numbers. 

While it never really wowed me, the idea of a musical slasher was just too novel to pass up. So, if you’re a big fan of slasher films, this is a good way to dip your toe into the proverbial waters of musicals.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd got its start in the penny dreadful’s of the mid-to-late 1840’s. Over a hundred years later, the titular barber received the stage treatment, and became a Tony award winning musical. However, the version I’m writing about is the 2007 version directed by Tim Burton and starring who else but Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. 

Johnny Depp plays Benjamin Barker, a barber who was wrongfully convinced of a crime by a corrupt judge who only wanted Barker’s wife for himself. Upon returning from his exile fifteen years later, Barker seeks revenge on those who wronged him. So, he takes up the alias “Sweeney Todd” and lures the unsuspecting marks into his barber shop where he slits their throats and has his accomplice, Mrs. Lovett, turn them into meat pies. 

While it can get pretty gory, the dark aesthetic of Tim Burton, and the insane acting (I’ll let you decide if that means it’s really good, or really crazy) of Johnny Depp really help to make this movie shine.

Also, the music isn’t half bad. 

Little Shop of Horrors

Another title that’s life started well before the musical in question, Little Shop of Horrors is the charming tale of a young man who works at a florist shop, and the man-eating plant that tries to convince him to murder people. 

Rick Moranis (from Honey, I shrunk the Kids) plays Seymour, a down-on-his-luck florist’s assistant who is in love with his co-worker. When he inadvertently stumbles upon a bizarre plant that only seems interested in drinking human blood, he puts his florist shop on the map. Unfortunately for Seymour, as the plant begins to grow, it demands more and more blood. Eventually, Seymour can no longer sustain the plant himself, so the plant suggests he murder someone to feed it. 

What I love about this movie is how dark and funny it is in equal measure. Watching Rick Moranis bumble his way through murder and dismemberment is as unsettling as it is hilarious. I mean, it also helps that Steve Martin is there to spice things up as a dentist that will give you second thoughts about going to your bi-annual checkup. 

Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

This is most definitely a case of saving the best for last. Not only does this musical star Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion, three of my all-time favorite actors, but it is also a superhero movie to boot. 

NPH stars as an aspiring supervillain who goes by the name Dr. Horrible. However, he is constantly stymied by his arch nemesis, Captain Hammer. Luckily for Dr. Horrible, the Evil League of Evil is giving him one last chance to prove how evil he is. While attempting to fulfill his objective of joining the League, he also tries to woo Penny, an activist who frequents the same laundromat as Horrible’s alter ego, Billy.

That description, unfortunately, does the movie no justice. NPH is hilarious as the protagonist, and Nathan Fillion’s Captain Hammer is the worst/best example of an arrogant hero. The movie is only 42 minutes long, so it’s really more of a short film, but an awful lot is crammed into this lovingly crafted musical. 

So, that’s it. Those are the five I would recommend if you are curious about what the world of musicals has to offer. They show that musicals are more than just My Fair Lady or The Sound of Music. There are a myriad of other genres and stories to be told… just in song.