Thursday, December 31, 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.

They say you should leave the best for last, but in this case we’re just going to get this out of the way right now with our pick for the first winner.

#1 -Josh Trank, Gregory Goodman and all the rest of the people behind Fantastic Four

So, you have a beloved comic book franchise in your hot little hands that’s produced two okay to good films. Sure, they could be improved upon, but that’s easy to do. Maybe you want to pick the story up with a new (or partly new) cast and do some fine tuning work. Hell, you’ve gotten the origin story out of the way, so why go there again? Maybe you want to go there again, feeling that it wasn’t quite right before, and do a reboot where you keep what you felt worked and stayed truer to the property and bringing everything that didn’t quite work in line with the property. Either way, if you would have gone either of these two paths you would have been a more suitable shepherd for Fox’s 2015 Fantastic Four than anyone who was actually involved with it.

I’m honestly not sure what the thought process behind the 2015 reboot was or how anyone thought this was a concept to greenlight. Not only did they throw out those things that audiences and genre fans had placed in their “Needs Work” files on the two films, they threw out everything that conceptually resembled anything audiences and genre fans found enjoyable about the first two films and the property itself. Sure, we’ve all seen studios take a comic property and change things around a bit, sometimes while using “grounding a property in reality” as code for avoiding looking like a comic book property, but they still sometimes get the tone and style right. But this was bad in a way well beyond that.

It was bad enough they took the FF and worked up a film that conceptually would fit in better as a double feature with Prometheus than it would Iron Man or Spider-Man, but to then additionally make random statements to the entertainment media that came across as almost disdain for the idea of having a film that resembled the original property was well into bad news territory for fans. If you’re going to alter something that radically, why not make a film not based on an existing property and thus have it judged on its own merits without comparisons or lists of what you “got wrong” using the property? Although, to be honest, the film was ultimately such a mess that even this might not have saved it.

There have been a lot of comic book based properties that made it to the big screen in a form where they only loosely resembled the actual property, but few in recent memory were this badly conceived and executed. For that reason, Fantastic Four is a film truly deserving of the Seven treatment.

#2 - Pretty Much Every Minute of Fear the Walking Dead until the last Two Minutes

It’s a good idea to play around with genre concepts. Robert Kirkman created The Walking Dead because he also wanted to see what happened after the credits of the average zombie film rolled and the lights came up in the theater. Throughout the history of zombie cinema, that was a concept that was discussed, but it remained absent from the big and small screen. The closest we saw was Resident Evil, and, with the films at least, the continuing story was never more than wash, rinse, and repeat with better FX. Essentially starting the story in the moments after we see the credits roll and following that story of survival was a good idea.

A not quite as good idea was declaring that a new series was coming that would allow us to see what we’ve seen for decades now- the zombie outbreak that brings us to where the credits usually roll. Don’t get me wrong, there was still some interesting potential there. The Walking Dead has been a largely solid show, and seeing what twists the creative minds behind it might throw into the zombie apocalypse did have some appeal. Little did we know the twist we would be given in the first season was not actually having any real zombie apocalypse worth speaking of.

It was maybe an understandable fear of the creative team. The gimmick for the show was asking people to tag along to see Kirkman’s version of the fall of civilization to the jaws of the undead that led to the day Rick woke up and stumbled out of the hospital and into The Walking Dead. From everything we’ve been shown in The Walking Dead, we know this is not a particularly large time window. Even if you give them the benefit of the doubt of Rick being shot after the initial events shown in Fear the Walking Dead’s first episode have started, you’re not looking at a lot of storytelling time before Fear the Walking Dead becomes The Walking Dead West. Once they do that, they either kill the show off or pray that they can run both shows without running the concept down and seeing a loss in viewer figures.

So I can understand their desire to go as slowly as they can with regards to eating up that window of time between the dawn of the zombie takeover to just before the day Rick wakes up. The problem, well, one of the problems, was their way of keeping the series going in the outbreak time period for as long as they can.

Their game plan seems to be dragging out the outbreak period storylines as long as possible, and that’s not actually a bad idea. Where it stumbles is in the execution of the game plan. They could have very easily taken a WWZ (book, not god-awful film) approach to the story by giving us one to four episode stories following different characters and events at different locations during the time Rick was doing his Rip Van Winkle impersonation. This would have given them a much greater ability to tell different stories and show us many different aspects of the fall of humanity to the undead than they’re doing now. You also have the ability to stretch it out a bit since you could literally have six different stories happening in the exact same seven day period without any problem. The problem was their deciding to get locked into the TV 101 blueprint of having to have a set cast of characters and following a linear narrative. And that cast of characters…

They’re the other big problem. The characters in Fear the Walking Dead are written in a manner so as to be largely unlikable. Maybe their unlikable natures would be less annoying if the threat of undead death was a bit heavier in the air, but it’s not. By the time we got to episode 6, I was rooting for the zombie apocalypse to hit just so that some of these people might actually die.

And we STILL didn’t get to see the start of what may or may not be the real start of their undead apocalypse until the damned episode was all but over with.

I really like The Walking Dead. I’d decided I’d give Fear the Walking Dead a try for the entire 6 episode season. I won’t be back for season 2, and the poorly conceived execution combined with the largely unlikeable characters is why. The Walking Dead has earned its place in zombie history, Fear the Walking Dead– or at least the first season -deserves to be given the Seven treatment when the history of zombie entertainment is written for future generations.

#3 - Reality TV Sex Shows

While visiting a friend’s house, the following conversation took place.

Me - “WTF is this?”

Friend - “Sex Box.”

Me - “What?”

Friend - “Sex Box. Couples have sex and talk about their relationship and sex hangups.”

Me – “And you’re watching this why? Hey, wait… Is that Mariella Frostrup? Is this a Steve fantasy?”

Yes, I really said that last bit, and bonus points to you if you get the reference.

It was one of a number of moments in 2015 that made me feel that maybe not having cable for the prior six years hadn’t really been such a big loss. Doing some digging, I discovered that Sex Box (along with Seven Year Switch and Neighbors with Benefits) was following in the footsteps of VH1’s Dating Naked with giving basic cable viewers the promise of not actually but maybe, kind of, almost nudity and sex as a focus of the show. Apparently they had little else to offer as well given that all of them other than Dating Naked apparently flamed out horribly and got canceled in rather short order. 

Seriously, who in the hell thought these were winning concepts on basic cable? What person in charge of their network- especially given one of the networks in question was A&E –thought that contrived, stilted, and boring setups leading up to not actually doing anything that can’t be shown on basic cable was going to be a ratings winner with their audiences. Yeah, the old adage is “Sex Sells” and it may in fact be true to a degree, but I’m pretty sure even the most desperate person is not getting sold on a program that’s 95% bad “reality” acting and 5% not actually what they’ve been talking about in the previous 95% of the show.

Sex and/or nudity can be a totally legitimate part of storytelling. It’s something I don’t have a fundamental issue with by any measure. But, networks, can we please learn from 2015’s failures? Selling a concept so bad on the hopes that never fulfilled not quite promises of sex and nudity when you could have put something created with more thought behind it than what you might find listening in on a group of fifth graders spitballing what they want to see in a TV program is insulting to the audiences.

Hopefully, this is a reality TV concept that will be treated to the Seven fate it so richly deserves.

#4 - Clara Oswald Companion Syndrome

With the exception of a few episodes, 2015’s season of Doctor Who was by far better than what we saw in the previous couple of years. Peter Capaldi found his Doctor’s center and ran with it for all it was worth; delivering some great performances and selling lines some may not have been able to get over with audiences while making well written speeches seem epic beyond words. Even Steven Moffat, who has been writing less than satisfying stories for a couple of years now, wrote a couple of the best Who stories in recent years.

Almost all the pieces were there to be a damned near perfect season of Doctor Who. The biggest stumbling block to it reaching that potential was the presence of only one piece. The piece in question was Clara Oswald as the center of all things.

The new Doctor Who series- and, damn, does it now feel weird to call a show that started in 2005 the “new” series –has had this companion problem to lesser degrees since day one. Rose was built up as the Bad Wolf before being built up as the tragic love lost in the Doctor’s life. Martha became the love ignored, having an obvious to everyone watching at home thing for the Doctor even as he was oblivious to it while still throwing around references to Rose.

Oh, we also had Jack, but Jack was cool.

Donna was a welcome relief from what we’d seen, easily becoming, much to my surprise after her original appearance, my favorite companion to that point, and working just as a traveling companion and stand-in for the viewer when things needed explaining. Of course, by the end of it they’d explained to us that she was so important to the Doctor that her absence from their first meeting would have led to his death. This was quickly followed by her becoming the Doctor Donna and, if only by accident, helping to create the human Doctor who would live happily ever after with a returned and the removed Rose.

Then we had Steven Moffat take over and give us Amy.

I have to admit, I didn’t have as much of an issue with Amy and Rory as some others did. While they centered the focus of several seasons on her, it still felt like the focus was more about the Doctor’s many enemies using someone traveling with him as a trap or a pawn in a plot against him. While rescuing her may have been the focus of the arc, it still played like it was ultimately about the Doctor. But, yeah, Amy and Rory, especially Amy, started becoming more important to some stories than many a companion before them.

In a way, it began to border on bad Doctor Who fanfic. Rather than simply being the vessel that stood in for the average viewer so the Doctor or others could explain to us what we needed to know in a quick, efficient manner so that we could get on with the story, Amy became what you might see from a diehard fans writing themselves into lesser quality Doctor Who fanfic. Amy often became almost the most important thing to the Doctor, just like young fans dreaming of finding a big blue box around the corner would make themselves in their minds.

Then Clara Oswald came along and quickly crossed that border to venture far, far into the territory of bad Doctor Who fanfic and wish fulfillment. Clara wasn’t just the most important thing to the Doctor, Clara was the most important thing in the story.

Clara was the Impossible Girl showing up across multiple timelines and identities to help save the day. Clara was the girl who split herself into multiple facets of her being, having them spread across the Doctor’s timeline in order to save all of his lives. It was even Clara who was now standing there to tell the first Doctor to steal the TARDIS he’d been using throughout the series because that one would be more fun. It’s even through Clara and her actions that we get our first look at the War Doctor.

Soon after this arc the show seemingly became The Adventures of Clara Oswald featuring Her Pal the Doctor. In Season 8 we saw more of her life, and the Doctor trying to fit into her life, than we’d seen with any other companion before her. Her dating life felt as if it had become more important to some of the stories than the Doctor’s actual adventures. For the season finale, it was even her dead boyfriend and their love for each other that ultimately saved the day.

The Christmas special and Season 9 seemed to pull back from that a bit. Clara was an important part of Last Christmas and the early stories in the season, but she wasn’t the most important part of them. It didn’t feel like the universe of Doctor Who was revolving around Clara anywhere near the degree it had been. The bad Doctor Who fanfic vibe seemed to be finally going away or at least being toned down a bit. Then the last part of the season aired. They killed her, and it only made the problem worse.

In death, Clara took her final step towards becoming the companion that represented a bad character as substitute for the writer of fanfic made canonical television. Undoing Clara’s death becomes the ultimate quest for the Doctor. He can’t live with the idea that Clara of all companions is dead. He puts himself through billions of years of torture to reach Gallifrey “the long way round” just to rescue Clara from death. Then by the end of it all, Clara is off on her own with her own TARDIS and her own companion getting ready to embark on Doctor styled adventures in essentially the role of the Doctor. She’s not the companion who was left behind or who died only to become a bittersweet memory. No, she’s the companion who became more important than the Doctor and eventually flies off into the sunset in her own TARDIS as the Doctor(ish) for bigger and better adventures.

As we enter 2016, my one hope for Doctor Who is that Moffat has finally gotten this out of his system. Really, the show is Doctor Who and not The Companion. The companions serve an important role in the show, but they should never serve as the most important role in the show.

The idea of what a companion should be as personified by Clara Oswald is perhaps more deserving of the Seven treatment than anything else I’ll name here. The concept needs to go upstairs and disappear, and the more classic model of companion needs to make its return to Doctor Who.

#5 - The Evil Owner of the Company in Wrestling

A friend and I were talking the other day about the column I wrote a while back about things I’d like to see fixed in pro wrestling. We had a moment where we felt old as hell. Why? Because we were discussing our mutual desire to see the evil authority figures go away for a good long while, perhaps even having some of their storyline needs being taken care of by managers. A mutual- and much younger –friend questioned how that would work since that’s always how it’s been. Our response?


We didn’t say that with regards to our friend’s wrestling knowledge not extending beyond when he started watching, but rather the realization of just how long the evil authority figure has been a constant fixture in the mainstream wrestling scene. Evil Vince, the man who uttered the line about Bret screwing Bret and had one of the more memorable Stone Cold feuds, was birthed in the wake of the Montreal Screwjob.

We’re just shy of two years away from that being a full twenty years ago. It will be twenty years since Bischoff revealed his onscreen role with n.W.o. later this coming year. Even after Bischoff “went fly-fishing” and WCW became Russo territory for a bit, we saw Russo morph into that character. There are a lot of fans alive right now who can say they’ve been fans most of their lives, many coming in young in the big buzz days of the Monday Night Wars, who have never known a major wrestling company that didn’t use this character. Hell, even with smaller companies we’ve seen it. Dixie swore she wasn’t going onscreen in a number of interviews, but we got her onscreen doing the role.

It’s a gimmick that’s become so ingrained into the concept of pro wrestling I’m really not sure if some people can figure out how to make a major company work creatively without the evil authority figure. Even now on recent WWE television it’s been used as the storytelling shortcut fallback to try and get wrestlers and angles over. But, you know, I’d like to see them try to do without it for a while.

Before the era of the evil owner/authority figure as a constant, we saw a lot of title matches fought over a lot of different reasons with a lot of different angles. Yeah, sometimes even that got stuck in a rut for a bit in some territories, but even then they still managed to keep the focus on the wrestlers and the belt. Way too often these days an angle with the title means the evil authority will be involved in the most ham-handed way possible.

Seth Rollins held the WWE title for seven or eight months. Most of his title run was centered on the shenanigans with and around the evil authority figures and their minions. Roman Reigns wins the title only to have Sheamus cash in Money in the Bank on him. Was the moment about Sheamus? Nope, it was about the evil authority figures telling Reigns he would still be champ if only he would have shaken their hand and done business. Reigns wins the belt back from Sheamus. Who is he fighting? Well, basically the evil authority and the now returned evil Mr. McMahon. Sure, he’s going to square off against Sheamus again, but, in the end, it’s all about The Authority and Mr. McMahon.      

You know, I’d really like to see it be about the wrestlers a little more again and a lot less about evil authority figures and owners. Don’t get me wrong here; it can be a good gimmick. Hell, when you find that elusive combination of a Vince McMahon and a Stone Cold Steve Austin, it can be absolute magic and then some. But it can be the dead horse getting beat  as well.

It’s time to retire the gimmick. Give the gimmick its much deserved Seven treatment and let it stay upstairs in its bedroom for a good long while. Have the creative teams venture back into finding other reasons to have drama and suspense around the title picture, and start to re-explore older concepts like stables and managers again. It’s not like it won’t come downstairs again eventually, seemingly everything “forgotten” in wrestling does, but maybe when it finally comes back downstairs there’ll be a combination of authority figure and wrestler in place worth making the trip over.

#6 – It’s Over/Overexposed!

No it’s not, and you, be you fan or professional commentator, sound like a twit doing a bad Chicken Little impersonation.

Every year we get some in the fan commentary, which isn’t really as annoying as it could be, and the professional entertainment news commentary, which is somewhat annoying in its stupidity at this point, desperately betting on genre failure by declaring that whatever it is they don’t particularly like, while almost always claiming to be a big fan themselves, is done. It’s over, it’s overexposed, it’s destined to bomb because the public has finally come to their senses.

One notable example in 2015 was The Daily Beast publishing the article “‘Ant-Man’: Marvel’s First Big Bomb” and then sharing and resharing it for weeks on its social media platforms. The writer discusses its box office faceplant while referring to Ant-Man as Marvel’s first genuine flop. The movie’s failure is even described as the first noticeable chink in Marvel’s cinematic armor. The thing is, the article was written and released before the ultimately rather successful film even had its first weekend in the box office.

We saw it with Guardians of the Galaxy the year before. We’re seeing it here and there with Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman. I’m sure we’ll see it with Doctor Strange and other Marvel properties to come as well. The rationale behind many of the claims is that superheroes are at the saturation point if not already overdone. We’ve now seen, so we are told, so many superheroes on TV and in theaters that we just can’t put up with seeing anymore of them. It’s been done to death and it’s just not what audiences want to see anymore.

Of course, they’re never right about this. They’re never right no matter what the genre or the subject matter. But after a while they come across as a demented version of Chicken Little, not so much fearing the sky is really falling as much as declaring it is at every opportunity so as to leap on any show or movie that falters in order to claim how right they were in their observations (and just ignore the small army of failed predictions thank you very much.)

It comes across less as reporting on what’s actually happening in entertainment and genre and more like trying to shape the narrative and influence events because they don’t like something and want it gone. It’s a trend with many professional writers I’d love to see get the Seven treatment, and here’s why.

I have a simple philosophy when it comes to writing about entertainment and genre. With some obvious exceptions (like this article) I largely do not write about things I dislike. Sure, when it comes to social or political matters I can be a negative as the best of them, but you may have noticed my articles here are based more often than not on things I like. I’ll write about conventions I like, podcasts I like, indie created films and books I’ve discovered, horror hosts, and a host other topics around things, new favorites or old, I like. There’s a reason for that.

That’s the kind of entertainment writing I like to read. I’ve never cared for the writers who seem to spend more of their time trashing something because they don’t like it than they do talking about what they enjoy. I don’t care about the writings of someone repeatedly predicting Pixar, Marvel, or fill-in-the-blank is about to fail big time with their upcoming project in the hopes of eventually claiming a successful prediction. I want to know about the stuff that seems worth it to look into, not why someone thinks I’m going to hate next week’s big release.

Sure, sometimes there’s just not enough new stuff coming out in some fields to fill several times a week deadlines, but that’s only true if you stick with what’s coming out as major releases. Can’t fill the deadlines with that? Go indie. Haven’t been keeping up with the indie scene enough to go indie? Write about a cherished favorite from yesteryear that you feel deserves more love from modern audiences. But spending so much time writing like a misfiring Cassandra with less accuracy than a carnival air rifle? Not interested.

Please, can more people in 2016 give this Chicken Little routine the Seven treatment in a big way?                 

#7 - Kanye West Speaking in Public

Really, do I need to explain why this is an idea that deserves the Seven treatment? Yeah, it’s a cheap shot, but it would probably do him some good.

In Memoriam

2015 was a rough year. In some cases there were some hideously rough days depending on your geekdom.

We lost TV and screen legends like Christopher Lee, Richard Johnson, Leonard Nimoy, Omar Sharif, Yvonne Craig, Maureen O’Hara, and Rod Taylor. We lost a man, Wes Craven, who seemingly reinvented every few years for the better the genre he played in most. Gunnar Hansen, one of the most horrific characters ever on screen, one of the nicest people I’d ever met at a convention, left a giant hole in the hearts of horror fans with the news of his passing.

Old school wrestling fans were devastated this year by the deaths of Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, Verne Gagne, Nick Bockwinkle, (the often underrated) Buddy Landel, Cora Combs, and Ashura Hara.    

Meadowlark Lemon, arguably the greatest of the Harlem Globetrotters, certainly the most famous, left the court for the last time.

B.B. King joined his brother in the great beyond. Scott Weiland finally freed himself of his demons in the worst way possible. December closed with news of the passing of the gruffest, most gravelly voice to tear down a house, Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister.

This is a fraction of the list of the people who made the art we love that passed away this year, but they’re the names that most powerfully hit me. They created the art that I most loved growing up and continue to love now. They, and others, will be greatly missed.


Looking Ahead to 2016

What’s in store for us in 2016? What’s your poison?

Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm gave us one of the biggest betting odds upsets in the history of mixed martial arts with then challenger Holm dominating the now former champ, and now we have Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm 2 on the schedule to look forward to. A lot was happening in Rousey’s life that could impact how she performed, but, on the other side of that fight coin, Holm was ready and had a great game plan. Will Rousey vs. Holm 2 prove this was a Buster Douglas moment, a fighter catching a dominant champ at a bad time, or will Holm prove that she’s the real deal who can bring the goods every time? I don’t know the answer to that, but you can bet a lot of people want to find out.

Jon Jones is making his way back to the UFC, and everyone wants to see the former champ take on the current holder of the belt, Daniel Cormier. Not to stray too far into MMAth territory, but it’s an interesting fight. They faced off once before with Jones getting the decision win, but the Cormier who fought that fight seemed like a Cormier off his game; struggling through big fight jitters and having Jones in his head a little too much. Cormier would later defeat Alexander Gustafsson by decision, a man who was defeated by Jones in a decision victory but seen by fans as a fighter who should have won that fight. Then there’s the time Jones has been out of the octagon. There are so many factors going into this fight that it’s not as easy a call as some want to claim it to be. This should be an event fight, and one worth checking out.

Cain Velasquez is looking to reclaim his lost title from Fabricio Werdum, but Werdum isn’t likely to let go of it any time soon. I think everyone is looking forward to seeing Michael Bisping get the crap kicked out of him by Anderson Silva, but only because Bisping is better than most pro wrestlers these days at selling a fight heel style until people are begging the UFC to take their money for the chance to see someone… anyone… beat the snot out of him.

And then, well, Conor McGregor. Nuff said.

The Walking Dead is returning in 2016, and it’s bringing Negan with it. If you don’t know the comic series, everyone is going bat guano crazy over this news because of the insane ride that’s likely in store for us. Think the Governor if that character was in the midst of severe roid rage, slightly more insane, and about 10X more dangerous.

Arrow and The Flash have been growing, and fans can’t wait to see the DC world expand and grow in those shows. But we don’t have to be locked into just those two shows. No, CW is bringing us Legends of Tomorrow, and the show looks to give us the closest thing we’ve seen so far to the most awesomely crazy (but good) live action comic book stories brought to life (versus animation) on the small screen.  

DC is also coming back to the big screen with Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad. Different people have different opinions about the two properties, but fans of the properties will likely be loving each of them.

Marvel is trying not to be outdone with multiple films on multiple fronts. Marvel itself is giving us the hugely anticipated Civil War and the long awaited big screen debut of Doctor Strange. The X-Men are coming back with a take on the classic comic story Age of Apocalypse. We’ve also got everyone’s favorite foul mouthed, fourth wall breaking nutcase, Deadpool, clawing his way to big screen fame.

And then, well, Netflix and Marvel. Seriously, this looks like it’s going to be the year to watch the Netflix Marvel productions.    

Other franchises will continue on this year as well. The world of Harry Potter is coming back but moving away from the safe confines of the school with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Star Wars takes a break from the new trilogy in 2016 and delivers instead Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Pixar is looking to bring new installments of Cars, Toy Story, the Finding Nemo world, and Monsters Inc. into theaters in 2016 and 2017. ID4 is having its long discussed sequel film roll out this year as well. The first film was a massive hit, but everyone loves to make fun of it now. It will be interesting to see how it does at the box office.

Dragon Con is turning 30. I anticipate much fun over and above the usual too much fun to cram into four days in Atlanta, Georgia. Yes, I volunteer. No, I have no more actual info right now than anyone else attending. My advice? Keep an eye on the Dragon Con website, keep an ear on the ESO Dragon Khan reports in the coming year at their website or on iTunes, keep an eye right here on this website and an ear on the Needless Things Podcast, and keep an ear on 50 Days of Dragon Con on iTunes or the Unique Geek website. Then keep up with the resources they tell you about.

Seriously, Dragon Con is the most fun four days you can have in a fandom/geekdom environment. This year is guaranteed to be a blast just because it’s Dragon Con, but I think everyone is going to be even more revved up over this being the big 30th. 

With regards to my friends on the indie and indie(ish) scene, 2016 looks to be the year of some big steps. Tom Gore, Bill Mulligan, Jaysen P. Buterin are working on a fantasy film that just landed Judith O'Dea in a key role. Jerry Moore’s Monster Madhouse is making inroads on the West Coast as well as making inroads and potentially life changing deals in Japan. Krista Cagg has dealt with a lot of personal disasters in 2015, but ended the year with a new book in the horror genre and has started setting her sights on the 2016 convention scene. Look for her as a guest or dealer. Adrenalin Productions and Sick Chick Flicks are hard at work on a number of shorts as well. Look for them at a film festival and convention in 2016.

All three of my favorite families of podcasts are looking to do bigger things in 2016 as well. The ESO Network continues to grow in a number of ways, Gruesome Magazine’s Horror News Radio and Decades of Horror continue to expand their horizons and make live appearances on the convention scene, and the Kaijucast podcast is promising some big things for 2016 as well. If you’re not regularly filling your geek listening time with some or all of the above, you should be.

Oh, and the boss is looking to take the Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show on the convention road this year. Trust me as I say this now in the exact same way I would if I didn’t start writing for the site in 2015. If you see the Dirty Dirty Con Con Game Game Show Show at a convention you’re attending, get there and get there early. If you’re not prudish or faint of heart you will laugh until your ribs hurt. The line to get in exceeded the room’s capacity by no small number of people at 2015’s Dragon Con. Look for it, then go see it.

And with that, I am out. Wait... One more thing.

Now I'm out of here. Happy New Years!

Jerry Chandler is a lifelong geek, dabbling in just about every genre but finding science fiction and horror to be his primary comfort zones. He has also had a lifelong devotion to that form of entertainment known as professional wrestling. When not worrying that his coworkers are going to inflict bodily harm onto him over his sense of humor, he enjoys hitting the convention scene or making indie films with his friends. He also finds talking about himself in third person to be very strange.

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