TV Show Reviews

  • Icons - Oddworld Inhabitants

    Oddworld Abes Oddysee CoverMy first exposure to the G4 network was its acquisition of TechTV in 2004, my absolute favorite station on cable at the time. I was obsessed with The Screen Savers and all the schlubby hosts the channel featured. TechTV embraced nerdom while G4 mocked it, this wasn't a happy marriage and I bailed almost immediately, along with most of the original hosts.

    I've carried a hatred for G4 ever since, and find schadenfreude in its slow demise and collapse. However, amidst all of the grating personalities G4 featured about eight years ago, there were a few interesting TV shows that caught my eye. One of them was Icons, a half-hour documentary on different visionaries, studios, and game series in the industry. Spanning five seasons on a range of topics from Atari to the history of E3 to Tim Schafer, even die-hard enthusiasts would probably learn something new when watching.

    I surely won't be covering every episode (famous last words), but I'll start where Icons began, with the developer studio Oddworld Inhabitants, who obviously made the Oddworld series for the PS1 and Xbox. But before I begin, take a look at the episode list of Icons, it mirrors the fall of G4 rather well as the first four seasons are about actual video game related topics while season five covers The Onion, Lollapalooza, and Kevin Smith.

  • Code Monkeys

    Code Monkeys CoverI finished watching the first season of Archer a few weeks ago and loved it. The show is a perfect storm of black humor mixed with modern office politics and 60’s era spy agency spoofs. I laughed out loud like I was watching Arrested Development all over again.

    Unfortunately, I’m not writing about Archer as it really has nothing to do with video games. Instead, I’m here to tell you about Code Monkeys, a somewhat similar television show in that it shares the office politics and back-in-the-day setting. What it doesn’t share, however, is the humor.

    Running between 2007 and 2008 on the G4 network, Code Monkeys features just two seasons and 26 episodes. Created by Adam de la Peña, the show follows the goings-on of a game development studio in the early 80’s. The series is entirely available on Netflix Instant Watch where I watched the first two episodes.

  • Captain N: The Game Master

    Captain N The Game Master Cover

    Captain N: The Game Master was a animated television series that aired for three seasons in the late 80's and early 90's. It was set in an imagined Nintendo universe, where most of the major Nintendo games along with a few games from third-parties come together to fight evil. While they made over 30 episodes, four from the first season were available for instant streaming over Netflix so I took the opportunity to check them out. If the rest of the series is anything like the four I watched (Kevin in Videoland, Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain, Videolympics, Mega Trouble for Megaland), then I don't think I'll be continuing on. It's an interesting premise though, and the following is simply some random thoughts about the episodes I watched.

  • The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series

    Legend of Zelda Animated Series CoverThe Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series is a 13 episode series that aired along with the Super Mario Bros. Super Show back in 1989. It features everyone's favorite skirt wearing hero, Link, and his chaste damsel, Princess Zelda. Don't forget about Ganon, Link's archnemesis and ever-persistent bad-guy-with-a-losing-plan. Throw in the Triforce, the Master Sword, and tons of swashbuckling adventures, this is probably the Legend of Zelda you know and love, right?

    Well, maybe not. Remember, this was 1989, the mysterious time between The Adventures of Link and A Link to the Past. The characters were about 20 pixels high on the screen and the only real art we had from them was in the instruction booklets, not much to go on for an animation team to create a whole cartoon around. So Link really does look like he's wearing a skirt, Zelda looks like a twig at six feet tall and 100 pounds, while Ganon is sporting his classic pig design. A similar predicament faced the art team of the Panasonic CD-I Zelda games (yeah, those). There's a great interview over at Hardcore Gaming 101 detailing some of these problems.

    So nothing formal here, let's just discuss some of the things I noted while watching The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series. The show is available over Netflix Instant Watch, check it out!

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