2015 is coming to a close as we enter the holiday season. This week marks one of our favorite holidays – Thanksgiving. A time when we eat until our stomachs rupture, like that guy in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
But this holiday is more than gluttony and watching football in food-induced comas. It’s a time to reflect on the things we’re grateful for. Jon, Andy and I will be with our families, so we’ll save the mushy stuff for them.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t other things we’re thankful for.
Doctor Who and Video Games
Mike: I’m thankful Disney bought Star Wars and Marvel Comics. Both of properties needed to be in their hands. Chide Disney all you want, but they know how to craft a story.
I’m also thankful for the realization that video games are a fucking waste of money. I’m not down other’s getting their kicks from video games. To each their own. They’re just not for me anymore. I’ve owned the NES, GameCube, Gameboy Advance and Wii; Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Saturn and Dreamcast; Xbox and Xbox 360; and Playstations 1 through 3. With the exception of the NES, all were bought at full retail. You do the math, I won’t because it makes me sad.
I’m thankful the 9th season of Doctor Who is head and shoulders above the 8th season. The two-part episodes are a better at developing episodes and characters. And while the season feels a bit more serious than last, the writers are still having fun with it.
Other things I’m grateful for: Google hasn’t become self-aware and destroyed us, libraries offer digital book rentals, and I haven’t gone crazy from incessant political coverage.
Sci-Fi and Netflix
Andy: Mostly I am thankful that I finally decided $10 a month was worth it and started streaming Netflix. Oh the places we have gone this year. We have been across the galaxy with Star Trek: The Next Generation and into the Delta Quadrant with Star Trek: Voyager. We have explored the expanse in Enterprise and the worst parts of Hell’s Kitchen in Daredevil.
Plus, I have gained a newfound appreciation for Kevin Spacey with House of Cards.
Oh the places we have been and will continue to go. I have plans to visit Africa with Idris Elba and do crime with Jessica Jones. I am sure there are more stars to Trek and plenty of other aliens to visit.
Speaking of stars to trek, I am also thankful that Paramount finally decided to do something with the Star Trek series. After fifteen years, there will be a new captain for my nerdy friends and I to debate where he falls in line with the rest (Picard is #1 and anyone who says otherwise is no friend of mine).
Finally, I am thankful for comic book television shows that aren’t terrible. Last year I ranked some of my favorites and this new season they keep getting better. It’s weird to say this, but thanks CW for not screwing it up.
All in all, it’s been a great year for the nerdy side of me. I will get one more gift before the end of the year with the Sherlock Christmas special where they will finally be going back to the stories I love.
Nothing But Star Wars
Jonathan: Ah, Thanksgiving. It’s the time of year we look back over the past year and we tell each other what we’re thankful for. This year, I’m thankful for Star Wars.
When I was a kid everything was Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Star Wars was great, The Empire Strikes Back was okay, and Return of the Jedi was awesome. If my mom didn’t have the patience of a saint, replacing all the worn-out copies would have driven her mad.
Then there were the toys. The awesome toys! We had it all, or as much as my mother could afford, floating around the house. There were X-Wings and Tie Fighters on shelves next to hummels and books. Figures were stuck in flower pots and vases. If it wasn’t a lego being stepped on it was a Star Wars figure. Oh, the profanities and threats that followed after stepping on a jawa or a Yoda, or even worse, R2-D2.
But something happened along the way to adulthood. No more toys were being made. No more movies came out or were even being planned. It seemed Lucas had abandoned Star Wars. I did what every fan did during those dark years, I watched and rewatched the trilogy again and again.
Something else happened on this journey to adulthood. I realized Star Wars wasn’t the best movie in the original trilogy. The Empire Strikes Back, with its darker themes, was. Adult me realized Return of the Jedi, geared more for a kid-friendly audience, wasn’t as awesome as I remembered. Don’t get me wrong, Return of the Jedi isn’t a bad movie (How could you not like Princess Leia in that outfit?). Over the years, it became more popular not to like the movie. You wanted to be one of the cool Star Wars kids so you say you don’t like Return of the Jedi.
In May of 1999, the Star War-less years were over! That was the release of the first new Star Wars movie in over twenty years. Even better, it was the first of a new trilogy! Three new Star War movies? Yes, it was true. Lucas was giving us three movies for our long wait. It was going to be great!
We should have been thankful, and we were, when Lucas announced he was making the first three movies. No one cared that he had only directed three other movies before Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. We forgave him for Howard the Duck because he produced the Indiana Jones movies. We were just thankful the wait was over.
Oh, how we were blinded. Blinded by how great these new movies were going to be. Blinded by the years between the last Star Wars movie and the new ones right over the horizon. Blinded by the promise of Star Wars. Boy were we wrong.
Plenty was said about the movies since Revenge of Sith premiered in 2005. Critics and fans alike point out Jar Jar Binks as the major flaw in the new trilogy. If Jar Jar was the only problem, then relegating him to cameo appearances should have meant the last two films would have been better, right? Alas, bad writing, bad acting, and bad plotting hurt the entire trilogy. One character couldn’t have made these movies any better or any worse than they already were. Let’s face it, the whole trilogy was bad.
Then, in 2012, Lucas sold Star Wars lock, stock, and barrel to Disney. I wasn’t mad at Lucas like a lot of the Star Wars fans were. I wasn’t angry that my beloved childhood memories were sold to Disney for four billion dollars. Like it or not, Disney makes good movies (It’s also popular in our geek world to hate anything Disney has its hands in just because it’s Disney. Except, Marvel movies).
I was thankful Lucas stepped out of Star Wars altogether. There would be more Star Wars movies! Before the sale, Lucas said there wouldn’t be anymore because he didn’t have a story. Now there were going to be more movies! Of course, I was thankful. Thank you, Mr. Lucas, for selling Star Wars to a company that would actually make Star War movies.
Which brings me back around to what I’m thankful for this year. I’m thankful that a new (and same) Star Wars universe will expand in front of us. I’m thankful Lucas is only a “creative consultant.” Hopefully, his creative consulting doesn’t go past a phone call.
I’m thankful J.J. Abrams took the job helming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He’s a Star Wars geek like the rest of us. Judging from the many trailers and teasers, he gets Star Wars. There’s no goofy characters bouncing around like clowns from a vaudeville circus. There’s no CGI characters that look CGI (Yoda, people, I’m talking about Yoda). There’s an epic amount of action, adventure, explosions, and everything else we loved from the original Star Wars movies.
I’m thankful for a return to the Star Wars from my childhood. A Star Wars worthy of the name. I can’t wait.