Hi everyone, hope you all had a good Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever (or indeed however) you may celebrate! Hope you all ate too much, drank too much and got some good presents!
For the final Seriously Geeky Sundays of this mad-as-cheese year we call 2020, Just Geeking By’s all-powerful creator, Heather herself, patron saint of lost bloggers, has formulated a series of questions that go back through the year… a summary of geekdom, if you will!
Let’s get the official mission briefing, shall we?
It’s the final SGS of the year and let’s be honest, 2020 has been awful. Our fandoms have gotten us through a lot this year and we’re here to celebrate them (and shame them) this week.
Question 1 – Which fandom was the highlight of your year?
As of a month or so, the wife and I went through all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe again, from 2008’s Iron Man all the way up to last year’s Spider Man: Far From Home.
If there’s one thing that watching these movies back to back clarifies, it’s that they keep up the high quality and excellent casting throughout. Almost very entry is fantastic in its own way (apart from Thor: the Dark World, man that one’s dull), and the more recent entries, Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther and Captain Marvel have had absolutely killer soundtracks, as well as being three of the best. It’s also massive fun to whisper “hail Hydra” to unsuspecting victims! (as long as they’re in your household!)
As for my favourite characters… it’s Thor from the more recent movies, Drax and everyone’s favourite Skrull, Thalos! Oh, and Goose the “cat” too… as well as Tony’s poor robots.
Question 2 – Which one surprised you the most?
It’s got to be The Mandalorian!
A bit of background on the Star Wars franchise and myself: I enjoy the movies well enough, apart from Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones they all have something good going for them. I like all the OG trilogy and also enjoyed the last trilogy also (yes, even Last Jedi and Rise of Skywalker, come at me internet!)
But the vocal minority of that fanbase really ruins it for me! Whinging about women being major characters and OMG why was Luke Skywalker grouchy and milking that thing?… who cares!? It’s about space battles and laser swords, let people enjoy it! I didn’t even mind the Emperor/his clone/whatever being at the end, bit weird yeah, but entertaining enough.
Ahem, so when Mandalorian was announced, and the world went mental over baby Yoda, I kind of switched off from it all. Until, that is, my brother, the least geeky person I know, started insisting that I watch it. And yeah, it’s brilliant!
It has a real Spaghetti Western/Akiro Kurosawa feel to it, the intimate tale of a lone bounty hunter and the mysterious little tyke he rescues from the claws of the Empire’s remnants. Each episode has a great story and the effects and action are brilliant.
And, I must admit, the child is heckin’ cute!
Question 3 – Did you revist an old fandom?
Okay, I’ll have to explain a bit more than that, eh? I watched the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer again, all seven seasons, the good, the bad and the plain ugly. I first watched them all when I met my now-wife, back in 2012. She was mortified that I’d not seen it and moved quickly to remedy this gross injustice!
Watching it again, years later, has been great fun, even though there are times when the characters get really annoying or massively out of character and, for some travesty of a reason, they had 2 seasons which didn’t prominently feature Anthony Head as Rupert Giles, Buffy’s wise, incredibly English watcher.
Question 4 – What was the best new release of this year for you?
I haven’t really watched that much 2020 content that stuck with me, and played even less games I really enjoyed, but I’ve read some excellent books from this year which I’d like to tell you about!
- Each Little Universe by Chris Durston – Chris is a good friend of mine online, a fellow writer for The Well Red Mage (he’s the Vaguely Philosophical Mage) and author in his own right. Each Little Universe is Chris’s debut novel, an excellent blend of comedy, sci-fi and modern society which I strongly recommend you read. I actually reviewed it myself earlier in the year! (Careful though, the review contains spoilers!
- Moon Sitting by Emma Mort Harding – Emma is a fantastic author hailing from Wales. Moon Sitting really reflects her strengths, a poignant, heartfelt tale about a world recovering from an apocalypse-level event after a moon-like artefact crashes down onto the surface of the planet Infinity. Our protagonist, Lucky, is a “moon sitter”, essentially running a monitoring station keeping an eye on the mysterious moon. But all is not as it seems, and trouble is brewing in the heart of the moon.
- The Kavordian Library by Chapel Orahimm – Chapel is not only a talented writer, but also a dab hand at illustration as well! I admit, I’m not massively far into this one yet, indeed I’m still in the grips of the first story, Fyskar. I’m really enjoying this mysterious tale though, following the mysterious plague doctor, Eoin, as he returns home after many years on a quest for revenge. There’s some fascinating twists and turns to be had, and the character building is sublime.
Support indie writers folks, there are some real gems out there!
Question 5 – What fandom was the biggest let down?
Let’s just get it said, shall we: Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Yeah, come at me internet.
I think I had two issues with the much hyped, voraciously defended Remake: pacing and really boring boss battles. To explain in more detail, some sections of the game were needlessly dragged out. Whilst some additions were quite fun, such as the trip up to Jessie’s parents house, others just went on and on. The whole Wall Market section bored me to tears and the final round of side quests that covered all of the Midgar slums was even worse.
And the bosses! They just go on and on and on, massive health bars that take centuries to reduce just doesn’t do it for me. I actually gave up toward thr end of the game, the Arsenal boss in Shinra HQ being enough to make me throw in the towel!
Appreciate we all have different opinions, and many of you loved it, but nah, give me 1997’s version any day!
Question 6 – Who were your favourite characters of 2020?
Okay, roll call! Here are my favourite characters that I have encountered this year! They aren’t all from 2020, but come on, they’re making the list!
The Robinson family – Lost in Space.
I was looking forward to watching this series for a long time! I love sci-fi, always have time for stories featuring epic adventures and was already a fan of Toby Stephens from his portrayal of Captain James Flint in Black Sails, so my hype levels have been pretty high!
I racked my brains for which member of the Robinson family were my favourite, but they all won me over in the end. Be it brave father John, super smart matriarch Maureen, genius doctor and athelete Judy, plucky and resourceful Penny or the ever unbeatable, robot fanboying Will, they all have a lot to bring to the table.
Thomas Angelo – Mafia Remastered
Technically this counts, as Mafia has been remastered this year!
Tommy Angelo works as a good character because he isn’t a good person. Sure, he has the odd flash of conscience at certain points in the game (that invariably get him into trouble later) but overall he’s more than happy to lie, steal, assault and even kill police officers for the Salieri family and a nice wedge of moolah. A paragon of heroism wouldn’t work in a game like Mafia. Even the ending paints him as kind of an asshole, but that makes his appearance in Mafia 2 all the more enjoyable.
Nebula – The MCU
Having marathoned all of the MCU movies over the last few weeks, I’ve come to realise how good a character Nebula is! Thanos’s adopted daughter/assassin extraordinaire starts out as a villain, especially for her “sister” Gamora, who betrays them to join Peter Quill and company to save the universe. Nebula’s hate and rage stems from the fact that she could never please Thanos, always being bested by Gamora, and every time this happened Thanos replaced another part of her with robotic parts, in an attempt to improve her.
Each time she appears in a movie, she has some fantastic development, ending up with her actively helping the Avengers in Endgame to rid the world of her evil “father”for once and for all. The sorrow she displays when Thanos urilises her weakness to come after her new friends is very genuinely heartbreaking, she just wants to do good in the world at this point!
So yeah, there we are, the last Seriously Geeky Sunday of the year is good to go! As ever, please check out all of the other writers under the #SeriouslyGeekySundays hashtag for more excellent answers and, of course, hav a great festive season and stay safe!
See you in 2021!