Thursday, December 31, 2015

Devlin's Domain - My Only Friend, The End ( 2015 Year In Review)



Of course I have waited until the last minute to throw together my review of 2015. While 2015 was a personal disaster for me, I have managed to find some pleasant distractions from the perils of this hollow existence. I'm not going to do a top ten list or declare anything the best. There's so many things I've managed to enjoy and it would be difficult to assign one thing a better position than another. What I will do is talk about different categories of entertainment, for better or worse, that I have an opinion of. So enter the Domain and see what has been brought to us in this foul year of the Dark Lord, 2015.

The First Annual Little Seven Awards, Who We Lost is 2015, and Looking Ahead to 2016




Do you remember Married with Children? In a sign the powers that be running networks have no clue, it was decided the Bundy family needed a new young and cute child to help grab the ratings demo that goes for that sort of thing. They introduced the character by having another branch of the family tree show up and eventually leave with them the child they couldn’t be bothered to care for. This was Seven, and it was a colossally bad idea. The character added nothing to the type of show that Married with Children was, and after a couple of episodes it was clear the writers had no idea what to do with him outside of setting up a few weak gags. Eventually the character was written out of the series by being sent upstairs to his room and then simply never coming down again. Essentially, the creative team decided that this creative misfire was best dealt with not by a convoluted storyline removing him from the show, but rather by simply acting like the idea to introduce the character never existed to begin with and letting people forget about him.

In honor (Dishonor?) of this character, I give you the First Annual Little Seven Awards. These are things we saw in 2015 where the ideas behind them were so bad they never should have happened, the things that ran their course a long time ago and still dragged on, and their kindest fates for 2015 will likely be, like Seven himself, eventually being forgotten by most people out there.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Phantom Troublemaker’s Best of 2015

Art by Captain Lovehandles!
Hey, Phantomaniacs - it’s time for the biggest awards event that Needless Things produces all year long! That’s right, just like every other site on the internet, at the end of each year I put together a list of the very best stuff.

Monday, December 28, 2015

One Heck Of A Year: Christina's 2015 Year-End Review

Writing!  Arrows!  Speeders!  Martial Artist!  Cosplayers!  Tabletop Games!  Geek & Sundry galore!  Hunters and the Mark of Cain!  No, this is not me singing my own version of “My Favorite Things.” Although I could.  Badly.  These are but a few of the things that made up the highlights of a nerdy, busy, sweaty, fast-paced 2015.  Everyone has their whirlwind stories about what made it great for them and what made it not so great.  The highs and the lows, the shockers and the “Well I saw that coming” moments.  Here is a look at the things that made a tough year manageable for little old me.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Needless Things Podcast 87 – Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Live from the Phantom Zone! Phantom Troublemaker sits down with Jason Frazier, Noel from DorkDroppings.com, Sean Reid, Arian, Chad J. Shonk, and Gary Mitchel from the Revcast to discuss the newest entry in the Star Wars Saga!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 in the Rearview Mirror




We’re about to exit the Year of Our Lord MMXV, and, wow, has it been a weird ride. Seen some neat stuff, seen some not so neat stuff, and seen some OMG that’s awesome stuff. I’m pretty sure everyone else will be doing Best Of/Worst Of lists, so I’m just gonna wing it here instead. I present to you the random misfirings of my brain as I look back on the things I noticed in 2015. Word of warning- It’s been a long two weeks. Times like this really get my sense of humor into an odd place.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What Christmas Means to Me

Christmas is a powerful and important time of year for me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Toy Review – The New Batman Adventures Poison Ivy from DC Collectibles

It will be Christmas in just a few days, so I wanted to be sure this post had some Holiday spirit! And what’s more appropriate for the holidays than Ivy?

Wait – crap. Holly is the Christmas plant. Or poinsettias. Ivy has nothing to do with Christmas.

Oh, well. Let’s move on.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Phantom Channel Listings for Christmas Day, December 25, 2015!

As a wise man once said, what’s good for Halloween is good for Christmas, too!

I’m pretty sure nobody ever said that.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Before & After- A Spoiler Free Look At Star Wars: The Force Awakens


I am writing this just a few hours before I go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Like millions of geeks around the world, I am very excited. You might think oh, he's just another Star Wars fan who grew up with it and played with all the toys. Well, you would be wrong. Despite being thirty seven years old, I did not grow up with the movies. As a kid I didn't own a single Star Wars action figure. You might be asking yourself, how is this possible. Well, I don't really have the answers to that except me and my friends were just more interested in riding our bikes and watching the movie RAD then watching battles in space.

Of course I knew about Star Wars, knew the characters, and knew most of the storyline but never saw the three movies until I was a teenager which was early to mid nineties. I know this is shocking news so I will let all of this sink in.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Needless Things Podcast 86 – Christmas Movies

Live from the Phantom Zone! Phantom Troublemaker sits down with Jason Frazier, Noel from DorkDroppings.com, Sean Reid, and Mike Gordon from the ESO Network to talk about their favorite Christmas movies!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Last Minute Holiday Geek Gift Guide





Christmas is almost here. You’ve looked and looked for that… something… for that friend or family member who has pretty much everything they like that you might otherwise get them. You could always ask some friends for advice on odd little items the person might not have, but odds are your friends are their friends and they’ve already heard about what you’re about to find out about. So I’m here to help with at least a few people you might know.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Good, The Bad, And The Jessica Jones



When Netflix announced their deal with Marvel a few years ago, it was pretty exciting. I am what is known as a cable cutter, which means I cut ties with the cable/satellite companies and have gone rouge. I now pay thirty dollars a month for my television watching which includes the WWE Network, Hulu, and Netflix. I pay for exactly what I want and not a billion channels that I don't. Sure I miss the good old days every now and then but I'm much happier than when I paid a hundred and fifty bucks a month for a lot of stuff I didn't want. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Phantom Channel Listings for December 14, 2015

As a wise man once said, what’s good for Halloween is good for Christmas, too!

I’m pretty sure nobody ever said that.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Needless Things Podcast 85 – Indiana Jones

Phantom Troublemaker and the ESO Network's Mike Gordon share their thoughts about one of the greatest adventure film franchises of all time!


Still Fighting: Fight Choreography Part 2



Welcome back to my mentally challenged world!  I mean… my discussion about fight choreography.  In my last post on this subject we discussed the differences in professionally trained fighters in movie and television fight scenes verses untrained actors who busted their tails to learn the trade, and if/how you can spot the difference.  Today we’ll talk about people who punch each other repeatedly with no damage, fly through the air and land on a branch with ease, and go through A-Team style bodily harm, walk away without a scratch and get to kiss the girl/guy.  I’m talking of course about Hollywood fight scenes and their believability verses how these things actually work in real life.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Doctor Who in 2015

I left the Earth Station Who podcast earlier this year. I haven’t talked too much about the reasons why I left, and the reason I haven’t talked too much about why I left involves the reasons I left.

It makes sense, I promise.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Devlin's Domain - Enter The Void





Many of us have pondered the question of "what happens when we die?". Some believe we merely decompose into the earth and only live on in other's memories. I'm guessing the majority believe in some sort of after-life. Some say there's a Heaven for the righteous souls and a Hell to torture all those who are unworthy of eternal happiness due to living a life of corruption and debauchery. Some look to be reincarnated as someone else or perhaps something else. Of course the favorite belief for a lot of people is the promise of 200 virgins upon death. Can't beat that right? Unfortunately the only people that know haven't bothered to come back to tell us. Leave it to the artists to fill in the blanks and whether there is truth to it or not, there will be entertainment. Are you ready to take a trip to the beyond?

Comic Book Wednesday – Previews November 2015: “Star Wars Section No More!”

If you don’t know, Previews is the catalogue that Diamond Comic Distributors use to offer the products they distribute to comic book stores around the country. This is where you can view and order (through your favorite Local Comic Book Shop) comic books, trade paperback collections, t-shirts, books, media, and toys and other collectibles from hundreds of different vendors that deal in geek-oriented merchandise. The genius part is that you actually have to pay for your copy of Previews for the privilege of ordering other things to pay for. It’s like the Ren Fest except without the horse poo smell.

So every month a new edition of Previews is sent out to comic book stores. Contained in the pages within are products that might be currently available or could be released anytime in the next year; but typically about two months away. Or sometimes never. I’ve ordered lots of things that have just never come in. Without getting into the specific politics of Diamond, let me just say that they aren’t quite a monopoly and also aren’t quite the worst distributor anybody has ever dealt with in the history of the universe.

But I’m not here to discuss that. I’m here to discuss a few of the weird and/or wonderful items offered in this month’s edition.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Why I Like Firefly Better Than Buffy (Sometimes)

I might get in a lot of trouble for this. Maybe even "me not liking Hawkeye" kind of trouble. This originally started out as me trying to decide which show was better, but after a lot of thought (and threats of divorce from Mr. Tibbs) I realized that I just couldn't make that sort of decision. I also did a lot of viewing, and took a huge amount of notes on both shows. So this isn't about trying to tell you which show is better. It's more of a preference justification.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Saurod from Mattel

While I have a fondness for the live action 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, I haven’t been overly excited for any of the figures from it. The vintage versions weren’t exactly great representations of the on-screen characters and the Classics updates – while much better action figures – were obviously being done in the Classics style. I’ve always dreamed of a line of more realistically proportioned movie figures, like Mattel’s Movie Masters.

I realize how ridiculous that is and that virtually no other Masters fan would agree with me on that point, but the heart wants what it wants.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Needless Things Podcast 84 – MST3K

Phantom Troublemaker talks to Chad J. Shonk (writer of Dakota Sky and the novel Proxy) and Beth V. about the history of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the Kickstarter campaign that is currently underway to revive the much-beloved series.

Test Your Might: Fight Choreography In Film



I’ve been busting my balls (so what if I’m a chick.  I’ve got more balls than most men, thank you) the past year on a book that I’m quite proud of.  It’s a non-fiction project in the martial arts genre tentatively titled “Finding Your Way: A Guide To Your Path In The Martial Arts.”  It’s a short guide of sorts to help people in the way of finding the right school/style/Instructor for them, knowing what to look for in your contracts as well as school set-ups and safety, knowing what is expected of them as a student and of the Instructor, sparring and daily practice tips, etc.  I hope to see this published by this time next year, fingers crossed.  In the spirit of a martial arts book, I thought I would throw pop culture and the martial arts together and talk about the wonderful world of martial arts in the movies.  Let’s talk about fight choreography, shall we?
 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Fixing the WWE?




I’m not going to be quite the alarmist that others are being right now. I don’t believe that the WWE is in drastic peril just quite yet. It is however having some serious problems. While nothing anyone can suggest will guarantee a quick or surefire fix, there are steps that can be taken now which might begin to bring the WWE out of its seeming long-term nosedive.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Toy Review – DC Icons Batman from DC Collectibles

Apologies, Needless Things readers – I had said that the reviews of the Deadman and Batman Icons figures would be up last week. I got struck down by a horrendous Virus From Outer Space that resulted in my not giving much of an eff about anything. So now I’m catching up.

I can hear you now – “Oh, great. Another Batman action figure. Let me guess – it has a cape and fists?”

Let me assure you that for several reasons this Batman figure is unlike any other you might own. Probably.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Toy Review – Masters of the Universe Classics Evil Seed from Mattel

This 200X sub-subscription has been providing some of the best figures the Masters of the Universe Classics line has seen. It’s almost like they’re from a different company. I don’t know how much of a hand Scott Nietlich had in the development and final production of these figures, but whoever is responsible for the design and quality should be commended.