Best and Worst of Last Week’s TV: 3/15/15- 3/21/15

Anne's boobs

I have been anything but devoutly faithful about doing this article.  If anything it is probably one of the bigger regrets that I have about the site—not keeping up with this.  Well let’s see how quickly we can change that by going out and doing some writing on a weekly basis and posting things on this site again!  Woo internet things!

Bob’s Burgers: Season 5, Episode 15


Where: Fox
When: 7:30 EST on Sundays
This episode had a chinchilla in it.  Not only did it have one, it basically revolved around the little guy.  Longtime fans of the site will not only know that I am a huge fan of the creatures, but I also own one and think he is just the best.  This episode also has a chinchilla, and while not nearly as central to the plot as it should have been, that was brought up almost entirely through the episode as the pivotal character it is almost worth letting slide– we all know it should have been 30 minute of a chin cam.  Who knows, maybe I am a little too fond of the concept of chinchillas and upset at their lack of presence in our society to fairly judge this episode.  On the other hand, no. I am not.

I love Bob’s Burgers, even when the show is bad it still manages to be just a little something for me to look forward to at the start of a week, like a smiling face beaming at me and reminding me that life isn’t always as terrible as I keep telling myself it is.  That said, this episode would have been wonderful if the show didn’t always seem so concerned about what was going on with the entire family during every single showing.  Take, say, this time; everything would have been perfectly fine if it had been mainly focused on the children/chinchilla escape escapades.  Instead we had a weird date that we got to watch Bob awkwardly screw up, and then save.  Thankfully there was a chinchilla.

The Flash: Season 1, Episode 15

Sadly this was the most interesting image I could find of the episode

Where: The CW
When: 8:00 PM EST on Tuesdays
I enjoy watching TV while I play video games.  There is a logic behind this that many people don’t really back me up on, understand, or think is “a good use of my time.”  My theory is that there are a ton of games that I like that there is nothing really but dead periods and repetitive actions over and over and over and over and over again, and while I enjoy those— in the same way that I am pretty sure that Pavlov’s dog loved getting that treat when he rang the stupid, delicious, bell—there is always the feeling that I kind of want the other half of my brain to be doing something that only ever requires less than the remaining portion.

Thankfully every show from the CW pretty much fully fits this bill, and The Flash just happens to be the most super hero, DC based, clearly marketed to the late teen early 20s demographic, one that I can stomach.  It is weird that the show will go from trying to explain away super villains and ultra science to the thin line of romance that must be walked when you are both a super hero AND painfully handsome.  It is odd that the moment that people are placed into a series of well-lit environments how they seem to lose so many of their interpersonal skills that most people developed around the same time that they were fumbling around in the dark at a party trying to make out with their middle school girlfriend.  Maybe that is why all sitcoms have people that just can’t seem to get together, they never had a dark enough area to let their pre-teen selves get all the angst out.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 2, Episode 13

Yeah, I get that

Where: ABC
When: 9:00 EST on Tuesdays
I think I know why people gamble.  The feeling and the rush that you get when you allow something really stupid to go on for entirely too long and it pays off in amazing and really undeservingly spectacular ways is rewarding.  Agents has been just that, borderline painfully terrible for a good chunk of the first season as you could watch it flounder around trying to find its weird fish/lizard legs while it learned to walk, now it is almost like a real show that you can proudly admit to your friends that you watch and pay attention to plotlines and everything—and not even do it sarcastically or because, you know, Marvel.

This season has even managed to be a double shocker as it started off twice as strong as the last season finished and continued to find ways to improve the show by following the less learned from last time of “people don’t like to watch boring things.”  They were even kind enough to, during the annoying mid-season break thing that all the cool shows are doing now, replace themselves with half a season of Agent Carter — which ended up being so much better than the show that it was emulating.  The worst part is that now that Carter is on break and we are back to watching S.H.I.E.L.D. I get to be reminded that, while still one of the better regular shows on TV, the show based in the 50s that is supposed to be the kid brother to it not only managed to get the actual stars (plural) to back to be main characters, they also managed to be way more watchable.

Workaholics: Season 5, Episode 10

Remember when I was in stuff?

Where: Comedy Central
When: 10:00 PM EST on Wednesdays
Workaholics is a show that grew on me in a way that I really wasn’t expecting.  At no point in my past can I look back and say when I started to enjoy it, mainly because I can’t ever seem to find an episode that I liked.  It is the sum of the episodes together that I found enjoyable, for some stupid “I enjoy watching bad movies,” kind of way.  It is the show that you watch and think was way funnier three days later when you are imagining it and your memory manages to insert better, funnier, handsomer actors into it.  It is basically every Jack Black movie that has ever been, which is odd because Nacho Libre himself had a part this season.

This episode was based around the concept of bar trivia, and mainly its focus on the 80s.  It also has to do with the repeated attempts for one member of the group to grow up and maintain a job where they do not have to constantly run scams to consume food between paychecks, but that is quickly forgotten because no one wants to deal with issues and adult thoughts.  Not only is it impressive how every single time the trio manage to hang onto their– what I am assuming are– below minimum wage job, but how Anders (Anders Holm) continually manages to brown noise just enough to land interview after interview for better jobs.  I am sure the formulaic nature of the show will never allow him to achieve that victory, but I guess one can always dream.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 2, Episode 19

You mean ice cream trucks can be fun AND murder?!

Where: Fox
When: 8:30 EST on Sundays
You know that show that you watch and snippets just keep popping in your head throughout the week making you smile?  For me that is Brooklyn Nine-Nine.  I picked up the show because one of my wife’s friends made a stupid remark about it being the funniest and smartest show that has ever been on TV (and we all know that is Community), and for some unknown reason I felt like I needed to prove her wrong by watching the entire first season in one sitting.  I think there was both logic and more to that plan, but it kind of fell apart pretty quickly as it managed to rocket up to Community levels of amazing in the first handful of episodes.  That super worries me because everyone knows we can’t have good things for long on Network TV.

The core concept is that you take an episodic cop show and make it star the guy from the “Dick in a Box” SNL skit.  I would love to say that there is more addition involved, but it is really just as simple as basically taking talented, funny people and allow them to be morons in front of a camera with lines written by funnier, more talented people who are probably less good in front of the camera.  That said, this is a terrible episode for anyone who is not already devoted to the show to jump in on; between the random in jokes and the plot this time revolving around a story arch that has been happening for the entire season (19 episodes), this is not the one to tell people that they should start with.  That said, it is a great pay off for those of us who may have picked this up around the start of the year and have been riding high as this season continued on. Also, I have learned that the first four hours of living in an ice cream truck are nothing but glamorous, even when kidnapped.

Community: Season 6, Episode 1 (and 2)

That does look amazingly fun

Where: Yahoo! Screen
When: 8:00 PM on Tuesdays

Not only do I love Community, and feel that it is awesome that it has come back in any form at all, but am kind of super excited that these aren’t even bad episodes that are airing.  The problem with this episode(s) is that you can basically tell that the people that are left are the ones that are never going to leave the show, regardless of how little funding it is given or how few episodes they are allowed to make per season.  Core members of the cast have been picked off one by one due to being a complete and total ass (Chevy Chase) or because they managed to make a surprising second non-serious career suddenly worth mentioning on The Today Show (Donald Glover dancing around with a Grammy Nomination placard, I assume).

I understand that the show is quickly approaching the point where it has been on forever (even though many people have attempt to make that otherwise) and that normal people do tend to leave a job after half a decade for green pastures or simply because they are getting bored of people loving them for no reason.  That doesn’t mean that any of the episodes where a new character is introduced directly after can ever feel like they are anything less than forced, and even though Community managed it slightly better than most shows could have—it still feels they just want you to stop noticing that Smithers was once black.

Double Special Secret Worst:
Top Gear: Season None, Episode Not Airing

James May, the only person with something nice to say!

Where: Inside our hearts
When: Maybe always now

I have spoken of Top Gear before, at length.  It is a British show about cars and adult men who do some of the stupidest things that they can possibly manage to do with a car at any given time.  It is estimated, via the Top Gear wiki, that the show gets around 750 million viewers.  That basically means that one in ten people on the planet are watching the show.  There are tons of other stats that you could throw out, but it is pretty much easier to say that the show is unobtainablly huge and as such one of the hosts has gotten in enough trouble (for the second time this season[but after a long series of times in his life]) to get the show cancelled; even though there are episodes that have been filmed and are ready to go.

Jeremy Clarkson does stupid things, very often.  Things come out of his mouth on such a regular basis that it is mildly amazingly that he hasn’t managed to insult enough countries to cause a war.  At the start of this season he and the entire cast almost got lynched over a license plate on a car he was driving, directly after/before (I am unclear on the exact timing of it) that he was put on –what Americans would call—a final warning for using a racist slur.  Now he has managed to get the show pulled from the air while the BBC investigates an “incident” he was involved in, and by “incident” I mean that he punched a producer in the face for their not being any hot food at the ready when they showed up at a hotel.

Keep in mind that most of the information that is known, in anyway, about what happened is so third hand at this point that it is almost worthless; but this is what appears to have happened:  After doing some kind of event that required driving across England the three stars showed up at the hotel they would be staying at rather late at night, there was no food for them at all.  Clarkson lost his collective shit and went off on the producer that was responsible, it escalated, it is rumored he punched the guy.  All that aside I am happy to report that we do know for a fact that James May was black out drunk while the entire thing was happening.

Since I started writing this the BBC has decide to not renew Clarkson’s contract, meaning he is gone.  The problem then comes in that (James) May and (Richard) Hammond have repeatedly and publicly stated that they won’t do the show without him.  The thing is, that isn’t even really a bargaining chip for them; the man literally invented the show.  Top Gear was a thing before (Jeremy) Clarkson, kind of, but he changed the format, style, and everything about it in such a way that until last year he owned all those things–at which point he sold them off to the BBC for about 75 million dollars.  Make of that what you will.

Anime of the Year 2014

It’s that time of year again, a time to make lists of awesome things and rank them in a manner that will either cause massive joy or intense butthurt.  This year I’ve decided to reduce the “clutter” of previous years by removing the sub-categories and sticking with a solid top 10 list.  Have a favorite that didn’t make the list?  Post in the comments below, everyone loves the potential for pointless debate and flamewars!  But seriously, every now and then someone comes up with a hidden gem, so post away.

Disclaimer:  Yes, I know this is a bit late.  Blame me for getting into Freedom Wars and binging on the Awesome Games Done Quick marathon when I should have been working on this.

Gillman Edit Note: I put this up over a month after I got it.  That is on me.

10) Kill la Kill
Kill_la_kill txt: The woman that reminded us we are all just pigs in human clothing.

Studio Trigger’s first major TV anime, Kill la Kill, was also one of this year’s most talked about anime.  Kill la Kill presented us with the wacky, over the top struggle of man versus super-clothing, along with tons of action, comedy, and unapologetic fanservice.  The folks at Trigger let loose with everything they had on this series, and it resulted in one of the most amusing shows of the year.  This show has been haunted by massive amounts of hype and hate from every corner of the internet, but do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself if you have not done so already.

9) JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure:  Stardust Crusaders

This is David Production’s adaptation of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure manga, and it has continued to prove itself as one of the best manga adaptations around.  In this part Jotaro Kujou, a rebellious Japanese high school student, discovers he has a strange power known as “Stand”, a being he can summon at will with incredible power.  Eventually he ends up on a long journey to Egypt in order to save his mother from a stand user named Dio, whom is also an old enemy of the Joestar family.  While the Stardust Crusaders arc is considered to be one of the “weaker” stories within the JoJo saga, it is hard to deny that this is still incredibly entertaining.  SC won’t wrap up until the next season concludes this year, but this show was awesome enough to make the list.

8) Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?
(Is this order a rabbit?)

What’s this?  An AOTY ranking with slice of life in the list?  You better believe it, this isn’t Anime News Network after all.  Gochiusa, for those that don’t want to have a mouthful every time they name the show, is a comedic slice of life about cute girls working in a coffee shop, and maybe even something about an old man turned into a fuzzy bunny.  While this may not sound incredibly interesting, Gochiusa is a fun and silly romp with quirky characters and charming humor.  This type of show isn’t for everyone, but if this is something you can get into you won’t be disappointed.  For additional fun, watch for the occasional nods to Metal Gear Solid.

7) Hitsugi no Chaika: Seasons 1&2
(Chaika the Coffin Princess)

Chaika is one of those rare treats when an LN adaptation is not only concluded, but is also concluded within the same year.  This is the story of a young girl that lost her memories, and is searching for the remains of her father so she can have his funeral.  The problem is her father was the infamous Emperor Gaz, a man responsible for a massive war that almost destroyed the continent several years ago.  Chaika soon seeks the aid of a pair of mercenary “Saboteurs”, a class of fighter that uses magic to hone themselves in battle.  Chaika takes place in a unique and interesting fantasy realm, reminiscent of something one would find in a JRPG.  This show had lots of great things going for it, including an amusing cast of characters, a fascinating setting, and plenty of action and adventure.  Good fantasy anime doesn’t come around often, and Chaika fills the void nicely.  While some feel the ending has a bit of a “rushed” feeling (and it honestly does), I still loved this show and felt it came to a satisfying conclusion.

6) Knights of SidoniaKnights_of_Sidnonia

Sidonia is a “love it or hate it” sort of show.  Most of the criticism surrounding it is focused on the fact that it is entirely animated in CG.  While full CG anime does have a different “feeling” about it, especially with the way human characters move, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out.  Sidonia is a mecha anime about a war between the remnants of the human race and the Gauna, a race of aliens that drove mankind out of the Solar System.  Sidonia is full of unique designs and interesting lore, and will keep you hooked all the way to the last episode.  The story will continue later this year.

5) Selector Infected Wixoss/Selector Spread Wixoss

Wixoss is yet another show that aired two seasons in the year and came to a conclusion.  I had originally passed on this show because it was made with the intent to promote the Wixoss card game, an otaku-oriented battle card game similar to Yu-gi-oh or Pokemon.  I honestly never thought something like this could end up as one of the best anime of this year, let alone good enough to watch.  Wixoss starts off looking like a fairly cute, innocent show about friends playing a card game together.  One day Ruuko gets into the game in hopes of making some new friends, but she discovers that one of her cards can talk.  Ruuko finds out she is a “selector”, a girl who can “battle” in Wixoss against other selectors for the prize of having a wish granted upon winning enough victories.  Of course, none of this is quite as pleasant as it sounds.  Wixoss quickly becomes a grim tale full of twists and turns, and it is amazingly well done.  I never thought I would be singing the praises of a card game anime, but now I’m putting one in my top five anime of the year.  What crazy times we live in.

4) Grisaia no Kajitsu
(The Fruit of Grisaia)

Grisaia is an adaptation of one of the most popular visual novels in Japan.  It tells the story of Mihama academy, a special school for troubled youths.  A young man named Yuuji is the first male to attend this school, and the story is centered on his encounters with each of the other students and their pasts.  Oh, and did I mention that Yuuji is one badass motherfucker?  Grisaia appears to be a typical harem/ecchi anime, but you will soon find this one hits with a much more dramatic punch thanks to its cast of severely troubled characters.  If you are wondering how well the adaptation was handled compared to the game, you will find lots of varying opinions.  As someone that has actually played the game, I can say that there were many cuts here and there (the game is fairly long) and some of the character arcs were not as well done as others.  That being said, I felt they managed to do a great job of taking on the monumental task of adapting such a big game into a 13 episode anime.   This was a great watch, and the other two games of the trilogy have been announced for anime adaptations as well.  Of course the game is better, but the anime is worth checking out.

3) No Game No Life

No Game No Life was another one of this year’s more popular shows, meaning for every person that enjoyed it there is that anti-fanboy frothing at the mouth with rage over it, lurking the internet and waiting to attack anyone for praising the show.  Despite all the flamewars and nonsense surrounding this show, it still wound up in my top 3.  NGNL is about a pair of NEET siblings, Shiro and Sora, who are drawn into another world by a mischievous god named Tet.  This world is ruled by a set of commandments that allow people to take power and property from one another through wagers and games, something Sora and Shiro have a passion for.  NGNL is one of those anime that people will often label as “otaku pandering” because it displays a strong affection for, and many references to, modern otaku culture.  This may be a deal breaker for more casual fans of the medium, but it is also part of what makes this show so entertaining.  NGNL is an incredibly fun show with a goofy cast of characters, lots of intensity, unique designs, and awesome animation.

2) Yuki Yuna wa Yusha de Aru
(Yuki Yuna is a Hero)

A surprise hit of the year, Yuki Yuna (or Yuyuyu) was described as a slice of life/magical girl show.  What they did not say was that Yuyuyu is a really damn amazing magical girl show.  This is about a group of friends that are drawn into a fight against the Vertex, beings from another realm seeking to destroy the human world.  With the power of the “Hero System”, these girls can transform and fight the Vertex with superhuman abilities.  Unfortunately not everything is a clear cut as it seems, and with great power comes great sacrifices.  A lot of people tend to compare this to Madoka because it is a magical girl show that gets darker as it progresses, but I hate making that comparison since this show stands out so much on its own.  Yuyuyu has moments of being cute and fun, moments of incredible action, and moments of gripping drama, and executes all of them to near perfection.  Add to that some cool designs and an excellent soundtrack, and you have one of the best anime 2014 had to offer.

1) Rakuen Tsuihou: Expelled From Paradise

In a decision that is likely to rustle a few jimmies, my anime of the year is a full-CG film.  Stay with me here, I’ve got good reason for it.  This is a story about an agent of Diva, a satellite nation in orbit around Earth where mankind is “digitized” for their survival, who is sent to a post-apocalyptic Earth in a physical body to hunt down a hacker capable of breaking into the “world” of Diva.  This anime takes a lot of the “old school” themes of 80s and 90s sci-fi anime, and combines it with modern style and animation techniques.  While many “purists” have a hatred for CG animation, this film demonstrates CG can be pushed to make some really incredible anime.  The “cel-shaded” look maintains the typical anime aesthetic, while at the same time unleashing incredible, fast-paced action sequences that rival some of the greatest anime of all time.  This film has a good mix of action and story that fits well within the time allotted for a movie, something that seems to be a lost art in anime films.  Rakuen delivers amazing visuals, a good story, a great voice cast, and some generous helpings of fanservice.  This is 2014s “must see” anime, don’t miss it.

Spoony Bard Podcast: Episode 79: Game of the Year 2014

datassAs late as always and as almost off topic as always, Gillman and Stark come from the shadows with their best of the year contest to talk about what really worked for them… two months ago.  While it might not be as timely as other sites you get the added bonus of all of these games coming with a pretty hefty discount at this point, and listening to the two of us call each other morons for the better part of two hours.



Mygamer Video Cast Awesome Blast! Heroes of Might and Magic III: HD

Have you ever wondered what a stream would be like if one of the people on it really didn’t like the game and the other person wanted to defend it until the end of time? That is this stream, and that is what we are doing this week on the Mygamer visual cast. Zack finally decided to open up and share something that he once enjoyed with Gillman, and it promptly got destroyed for every reason that anyone could think of. Isn’t friendship grand?

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The Tale of Loader and Bucket


Construction Simulator 2015 will forever be known to me as The Tale of Loader and Bucket. It is the journey of two best friends who are only looking to load up on some gravel and lay some mean pipe down at the job site. That is of course until “the man” got in their way and separated through harsh acts of physics, will power, and just being a dick. I will miss you bucket. You were my best friend.

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