Listen to Our Hiatus Special, “2016: The Buffy Season 6 of Years”

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The Gobbledygeek hiatus special, “2016: The Buffy Season 6 of Years,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

We’re back! Sort of. Before Gobbledygeek‘s official return next month, Paul and Arlo explain the terrible real-life circumstances that led to the hiatus. The boys discuss grief, loss, tragedy, depression, and a whole bunch of other super fun and upbeat things! To end things on a positive note, they also discuss some happy news and the pop culture they’ve enjoyed during the hiatus (Westworld! Arrival! Moonlight!).

Next: the show returns toward the end of next month to make another journey to a galaxy far, far away with a discussion of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

(Show notes for “2016: The Buffy Season 6 of Years.”)

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Listen to ‘Gobbledygeek’ Episode 291, “Grendel: Part 6 – God and the Devil, Part 1”

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Gobbledygeek episode 291, “Grendel: Part 6 – God and the Devil, Part 1,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Q: How many drugs was Matt Wagner ingesting during the creation of Grendel? A: All of them. Paul and Arlo arrive at this conclusion in another Four-Color Flashback installment discussing Wagner’s comics magnum opus, after reading chapters 1-6 of the “God and the Devil” storyline, collected in Grendel Omnibus: Vol. 3 – Orion’s Reign. After the four-part “Incubation Years” arc leapt through time in bold and bizarre fashion, “God and the Devil” finds our heroes (just kidding, there are no heroes) in the year 2530. The world has gone to shit, with the Catholic Church going back to its Inquisition roots under the reign of Pope Innocent XLII. Meanwhile, both corporate auditor Orion Assante and drugged-out street rat Eppy Thatcher fight to bring down the Church…only one of them wears the mask of Grendel, but will both be consumed by his/its force? Plus, Arlo’s sick again and the boys pay tribute to Gene Wilder and David Lavery.

Next: Wesley “Wezzo” Mead returns for another episode in our ongoing series discussing the seminal sci-fi show The X-Files. This time, we dig into season 3; yes, that’s the one with “Jose Chung’s.”

(Show notes for “Grendel: Part 6 – God and the Devil, Part 1.”)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 24

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The Avatar Returns episode 24 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Amon wants a revolution, but first we get a revelation. Chapter 103, “The Revelation” to be precise, wherein we learn that the leader of the Equalists, while really scary and kind of a dick, might possibly have a point? Paul and Eric are in full-on fanboy mode, but Arlo is initially uncomfortable with the muddy moral waters this new series is treading in, with “villains” that are actually the oppressed and “heroes” that could in fact be the oppressors. But Amon has a plan, and it involves taking away people’s bending abilities! And in chapter 104, “The Voice in the Night” haunts Korra with the fear of that very thing. We talk again about how The Legend of Korra is the Angel to Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, exploring more mature, challenging, and morally ambiguous subject matter than perhaps its parent series. Also, we meet the wonderful Asami (we’ll get through this love quadrangle stuff, I promise), the adorable Pabu (he’s a friend, not a snack), and we jump to some disturbing conclusions about the Republic City Council, start to get really worked up about it, and then realize that we may already be falling for Amon’s propaganda crap.

Oh yeah, and we finally, officially settle on a time for the live-action The Last Airbender film. We will suffer for your entertainment.

Next: we hit the Korra Book One midpoint with chapters 105-107, “The Spirit of Competition,” “And the Winner is…,” and “The Aftermath.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 24.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 3

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The Avatar Returns episode 3 is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

How is Avatar: The Last Airbender like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Well they both favor stylish yet affordable boots, obviously. But there’s more to it than that. The guys discuss the ideas of chosen ones and found families as we reach our first two-parter with chapters 7 and 8, “The Spirit World (Winter Solstice, Part 1)” and “Avatar Roku (Winter Solstice, Part 2).” Meanwhile, “The Waterbending Scroll” and “Jet” divide our hosts. One favors the story execution in the former, another prefers the character development shown in the latter. The third host just wanted it all to end in blood and misery and crippling failure. Because that host is evil.

Also…Monkey Yahtzee. You heard me.

Next: four more chapters, 11-14, “The Great Divide,” “The Storm,” “The Blue Spirit,” and “The Fortuneteller.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 3.)

Listen to ‘Smoke Gets in Your Ears: A Mad Men Podcast’ Episode 17

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Smoke Gets in Your Ears: A Mad Men Podcast episode 17 is available for listening or download right here, and on iTunes here.

Let’s get liberated. AJ, Kenn, and Joe continue their discussion of Mad Men season 4 with a look at “The Rejected,” featuring a Peach Pussy Power Play; “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,” wherein Roger makes a bunch of racist jokes (what else is new?); and “Waldorf Stories,” in which that curse from Buffy that made Jonathan all cool and famous is apparently still strong enough that he got to be on Mad Men. Plus, don’t miss another exciting installment of Hamm Watch!

(Show notes for Smoke Gets Your Ears episode 17.)

Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Comics of 2012

We’ve already listed our favorite TV shows and movies of last year, and we’ve got a couple more lists just before the new season begins. Here are our favorite comic books of 2012; check back tomorrow for our favorite albums (though, considering our extensively detailed history of not knowing how to talk about music, with YouTube clips instead of commentary).

PAUL: 10. THOR: GOD OF THUNDER (Marvel)

Thor in 'Thor: God of Thunder' #1. Art by Esad Ribic.

There was a period of time when Thor was my favorite character in comics. The golden Walt Simonson era was for me the height of otherworldly sword and sorcery super heroics. And while its been quite some time since the character has achieved anything close to that level of wonder, in recent years he’s enjoyed something of a renaissance. From his “death,” to his literal return to Earth under the guidance of J. Michael Straczynski, to his big screen debut, the petulant son of Asgard is kind of back in a big way.

Thor: God of Thunder is the newest incarnation of the title, with the unlikely writer Jason Aaron giving us a triptych of thunder gods, a tale of an alien butcher seeking to torture and destroy all deities told across three different periods of Thor’s life. We see young, arrogant Thor (pre-Mjolnir) and his first meeting with Gorr the God Butcher; modern-day Avenger Thor going full CSI trying to solve the mystery of who or what Gorr is; and far-future Thor, old and broken, sitting on the throne of an empty Asgard, the last surviving god, waiting for Gorr to finish him. It’s a brutal, bloody, and fascinating premise, though I do wish Gorr was slightly more imposing-looking rather than just being a Voldemort rip-off. Aaron creates a genuine mystery and sense of danger with real stakes for our hero, and the painterly art of Esad Ribic suits the romantic epic nature of the story. It’s not quite Simonson-level Mighty Thor (there’s thus far no Beta Ray Bill here), but Thor: God of Thunder is the best the character has been in a long time.

AJ: 10. ANGEL & FAITH (Dark Horse)

Angel, Willow, Connor, and Faith in 'Angel & Faith' #14. Art by Rebekah Isaacs.

I know Whedon fandom is crazy, but I might just be the biggest Buffy fan on the planet. That’s a huge claim, and while I haven’t tattooed James Marsters’ face on my ass or anything (yet), it really is difficult to describe how much Joss Whedon’s world means to me. Without Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I wouldn’t be here today. You wouldn’t be reading these words and I would have even less of an idea of what I want to do with my life. So it pains me greatly to say that the canonical Season 8 and Season 9 comics, though they have certainly had their moments, are largely disposable and occasionally worse. But then there’s Angel & Faith, which has done the impossible, making a monthly comic book series feel like the weekly television shows we fell in love with all those years ago. Christos Gage knows these characters inside and out, both their voices and their motivations. It’s never a question of if the comic will tie back into the shows’ stated mythology, but when and how spine-tingling those connections will be. These are the characters I have loved for a good deal of my life in a story that’s being brilliantly told by Gage and brought to life with wonderful clarity by artist Rebekah Isaacs. If you’re skeptical about Buffyverse comics, you have every right to be, but this one should be a priority.

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Paul & AJ’s Top 10 Films of 2012

Last week, we discussed our favorite TV series of the last year. This week, we turn to the big screen.

PAUL: 10. DJANGO UNCHAINED (dir. Quentin Tarantino)

Jamie Foxx in 'Django Unchained'

With Django Unchained, director Quentin Tarantino takes us once more back to a terrible moment in our history, and once again asks us to indulge him his little anachronisms and revisionist revenge fantasies. This time, instead of Nazis and baseball-bat-wielding Jews, we get slavers and bounty-hunting dentists. Set in the pre-Civil War Deep South, Unchained is Tarantino’s homage to the Spaghetti Westerns of Leone and Corbucci, which he prefers to call his Spaghetti Southern. I’ll say that the absence of editor Sally Menke is sharply felt here, though. If I, of all people, notice the nearly three-hour runtime, then there could’ve been some tightening. The cast is great across the board, including a list of hidden cameos longer than my arm (among others, original Django Franco Nero makes an appearance). Jamie Foxx is great in the title role, though I imagine what Will Smith could’ve done with the part, as was the original intent. Leo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, and Walton Goggins all shine in their respective roles. Kerry Washington was reduced to little more than the damsel in distress, however, which is unusual for a Tarantino picture. But the standout here is Christoph Waltz. He is every bit as charmingly heroic and admirable this time as he was charmingly repulsive and hateful in Basterds.

AJ: 10. MOONRISE KINGDOM (dir. Wes Anderson)

Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman in 'Moonrise Kingdom'

Wes Anderson’s films often have a childlike quality about them, whether it be his colorful storybook compositions or the petulance of many of his characters. So it’s fitting that he’s finally made a film about children, one in which the kids are on the run from what’s expected of them and their adult guardians are forced to accept the roles they’ve played in their children’s abandonment of them. Newcomers Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, both in their first screen acting roles, give perfectly awkward performances. Anderson regulars Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman are in their element here, while Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton join the auteur’s troupe with ease. Perhaps most encouragingly, Moonrise Kingdom is the first sign of life in years from Bruce Willis–who, with a movie soon to appear on our lists, proved later in the year that he’s most definitely still kicking–and Edward Norton, two actors who really needed a movie like this.

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