Archive for October, 2011

Nerd Lunch Episode 7: Does it live up to the hype?

Posted in books, comic books, movies, podcast, TV shows with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2011 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Welcome your faces to Episode 7 of the Nerd Lunch Podcast.  This week we are joined by Robert from the blog To The Escape Hatch. Our topic is “Does It Live Up to the Hype?”

Braveheart

We each took a TV show or movie that has been recommended/hyped up to us over the years that we never got around to watching and…we watched it. Some of the things we watch include Braveheart, Mad Men and The Wire. Do they live up to the hype? Listen to the podcast to find out.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Forever Knight (1992)

Posted in monsters, pop culture, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , on October 18, 2011 by Paxton

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Day 2 of vampire TV week.  Yesterday we talked about Dracula The Series from 1991.  I mentioned that one of the guest stars in that show would go on the next year and star in his own vampire series.  That vampire series was Forever Knight.
Forever Knight title This show originally began as a 1989 TV movie named Nick Knight on CBS starring Rick Springfield. For the broadcast series, CBS recast the lead with Geraint Wyn Davies and renamed it Forever Knight.

In a way, this show was sort of a precursor to Angel. Nick Knight is a Toronto police detective on the midnight shift. Nick is also an 800 year old vampire. Born in Roman times, Nick was once a very violent vampire reveling in chaos. Nowadays, Nick refuses to feed on human blood and subsists only on bottled animal blood. He keeps his vampiric nature a secret and occasionally uses his supernatural abilities to catch the bad guy. Some of Nick’s abilities include super strength and speed, heightened senses, flight and low level hypnotic/psychic powers.  There is one human, the city medical examiner, who is aware of Nick being a vampire.  Two other former vampire acquaintances of Nick show up later on and continually try to lure him back into his less than civilized ways.

Forever Knight

The show ran for three seasons and has garnered quite a cult following.  In 2004, TV Guide listed it #23 in a list of the top 25 “cult shows” of all time. There were three books released based on the series. The books contained original stories that furthered the story from Season 3 after the show was canceled.

There was also a soundtrack released for the show and the entire run of episodes was released on DVD.  You can get all three seasons as well as the original TV movie with Rick Springfield off Netflix.  Neither have been added to streaming, however you can watch them on Amazon Instant Movies.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Dracula the Series (1991)

Posted in Dracula, monsters, pop culture, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2011 by Paxton

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Thus begins week three of AWESOME-tober-fest. This week begins TV week. Let’s start things off with a little known Canadian vampire TV show, shall we?

Today, we are looking at Dracula The Series.  This show originally aired in 1991.  In this show, Dracula poses as a wealthy tycoon named Alexander Lucard (A. Lucard…get it?  Like we don’t get enough backwards Dracula references).  Dracula had plans every week for some dastardly doings.  The group opposing him was led by Gustav Van Helsing and his nephews Max and Chris.  At the very least, the show followed the lore of the books in that Dracula could walk in the daylight, but loses his powers when doing so.

The show had several guest stars that were famous in Canada. Geraint Wyn Davies would appear in several episodes as Gustav’s son who was turned into a vampire. For those that don’t know, Geraint would go on to star in his own vampire TV show one year later. But I’ll talk more about that show tomorrow.  Other guest stars include Kim Coates who has starred in tons of movies and TV shows like Waterworld, Prison Break and Sons of Anarchy as well as Barry Morse from The Fugitive and Space: 1999.

Here’s the intro to the show:

You can also watch several of the episodes on YouTube starting with Episode 1.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: The Dracula Tape by Fred Saberhagen

Posted in books, Dracula, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2011 by Paxton

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Today is the final day of Dracula book week. Yesterday I looked at Bram Stoker’s original Dracula novel. Today, I take a look at a semi-sequel to that novel.  Fred Saberhagen’s The Dracula Tape.

The Dracula Tape

If this seems familiar, I reviewed a similar Saberhagen book back in 2009 called The Frankenstein Papers. My theme that year was, obviously, Frankenstein and I had just read Mary Shelley’s book.  It seemed like fun to read a sequel to such a seminal work in horror literature.  Saberhagen’s book told Mary Shelley’s story from a different point of view.  Most notably, the monster’s.

Well, after deciding that I was going to try, again, to read Stoker’s Dracula, I wanted to read another book that did the same thing.  Well, as the fates would have it, Saberhagen did the same thing with Dracula.  He wrote this book which looks at the events in Dracula from the Count’s point of view.  And it’s all narrated by the Count himself.  Saberhagen’s Dracula would become fairly popular and would spawn a series of books featuring the title character.  The second book even features Dracula facing off with Sherlock Holmes.  So, needless to say, I thought this sounded very interesting so I read it.

Dracula Tape book cover
(Via Robert Adragna)

This story is actually very interesting. Like I said, the conceit is similar to The Frankenstein Papers. The events in Bram Stoker’s novel are told from the perspective of Dracula himself. Saberhagen’s Dracula is much more refined than Stoker’s. He paints the group of vampire hunters in Stoker’s tale as a group of misguided bufoons. Especially Van Helsing who comes off as a bully or a thug. Many of Van Helsing’s actions in the original novel are called into question by Saberhagen’s Count, especially his decision not to tell anyone about Dracula being a vampire until it was too late. It was actually very entertaining reading passages of the book I had trouble following in Stoker’s novel told in a more clearly defined way in Saberhagen’s book. It made my understanding of the original more complete. Even more so than the Cliff’s Notes I purchased (Yes, I purchased the Cliff Notes for Dracula).

So, I can recommend this book.  I don’t even think you need to read the original Stoker novel because this just goes over the same territory and does it more clearly. Reading it may help for you to get the experience of seeing the events from Dracula’s eyes as opposed to the original novel, but I just don’t hate you enough to tell you to read Stoker’s novel.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Posted in books, Classic literature, Dracula, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, reviews, Uncategorized, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2011 by Paxton

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Day 4 of Vampire book week. Today, we look at the original vampire novel. The one that began the popularization of the vampire myths. Let’s take a look at Bram Stoker’s original Dracula.

Dracula novel

I really enjoy doing AWESOME-tober-fest. It has given me a reason to read and watch books and movies I’ve always wanted to but never really “sucked it up” and made the commitment to do. Two years ago I read Shelley’s Frankenstein and I was surprised at how readable it was. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And based on that success, I was anxious to read Stoker’s Dracula.

Now, to be fair, I tried to read Dracula once already. It was back in the late ’90s when I was going through my “must read classics” phase. I couldn’t get through it. I remember thinking the first third of the book was good, but it completely fell apart after that.  However, being older and wiser, I thought I could better appreciate it now.  Besides, while not the first vampire novel, it certainly is what made them popular.  Plus it influenced the original Universal Dracula with Bela Lugosi which would further the ingraining of vampires into popular culture.

Like I said, Stoker’s 1897 book was not the first vampire story.  An essay published in the periodical Ninteenth Century in 1885 called Transylvania Superstitions discussed the mythical creatures.  Lord Byron created a vampire story during the same night of ghost story telling that Mary Shelley created Frankenstein.  Byron wouldn’t finish the story but John Polidori would polish it up and finish it as The Vampyre in 1819.  However it was Stoker’s Dracula that popularized the monster.  But it wouldn’t be until Universal’s 1931 movie based loosely (and I mean loosely) on the novel that Dracula would receive the popularity it currently achieves.

Stoker's Dracula
(Via Draculas.info)

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