(You're reading all posts by Rob LeFebvre) Anchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef
About Rob LeFebvre
The residents of Bon Temps are reeling from the latest deaths in the town, Sookie is mourning Alcide but keeping a stiff upper lip, and Arlene is finally chosen to be vampire food in “Death Is Not the End,” the fourth episode in this final season of HBO’s long-running vampire romance drama based on the Charlaine Harris novels. The episode is full of callbacks to the first season, as the last few shows have been. The True Blood team really wants to bring everything full circle, and this week they’ve succeeded more than expected.
While death may not be the end for vampires, it’s certainly the end for a host of folks in this forsaken little southern town. The shockers continue this week, not the least of which is Eric Northman with ’90s hair, some fantastic Pam lines, and a funny little scene as Sam and Jason go to inform Deputy Mayberry’s next of kin that he’s dead. “Kevin was a good man,” says Jason. Pause. “With a funny voice.”
Flipping the Buffy paradigm
Sure, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a movie that became a TV show that ended up as a comic book, but it’s a fine example of the cross-media value of certain nerdy properties. Comic book movies and television shows are all the rage right now, with Marvel and DC superheroes packing the theaters and shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Arrow filling the little screen.
But there are plenty of comic books that don’t feature superheroes, and we think they’d be a great match for the home television market, as they have less reliance on big-budget special effects and can sustain longer story arcs than a movie can. With that, then, here are our picks for the best non-superhero comics we’d really like to see come to a television screen near you. Or us.
Forget the insipid Once Upon A Time: We’d love to see Bill Willingham’s opus Fables fill the “fairy tales come to the real world” niche. It’s a highly charged story based on characters from fairy tales come to the real world of New York, hidden in plain sight thanks to some magical glamour.
There are smaller stories to be told about Snow White, Bigby Wolf, Prince Charming and Pinocchio, as well as a larger story arc about the adversary, a great threat from back in the land of fairy tales that's out to conquer our own mundane reality. It’s ripe for a cable outfit that could handle both the larger-than-life characters and sets that such an undertaking would require as well as the smaller, character-driven focus that makes the book such a hit.
A Powers pilot got shot in 2011 and is currently in development as a streaming show for PlayStation 4, but the potential of this crime drama about a police unit that deals with superhero crime is huge.
There is some superhero meta-fiction at play here, but we're hoping for a truly mainstream Powers television show on the strength of its non-metahuman storylines, with the aging detective and his young, newly assigned partner as the focus of the show. It could be a nice alternative to shows like Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D., which are getting along just fine, thank you, with very little big-budget superhero effects.
Saga is one of our favorite current comics, and hoping for a television show is pretty far-fetched, especially given the little screen time true sci-fi shows are getting outside of Syfy channel these days.
That said, this is a delightfully funny and poignant story that uses the trappings of sci-fi to tell a truly human tale of love across racial lines, like Romeo and Juliet in space (if Juliet was a badass soldier with angel wings and Romeo sported a set of ram’s horns on his philosophical head). It’s a fun romp with some serious themes, and if it were to show up on television, maybe even as a TV miniseries, we’d be all over it.
We’re certain TV execs are all looking for the next Game of Thrones, and Neil Gaiman’s seminal series The Sandman is the iconic comic book title they should turn to. It’s got a fully realized supernatural world based on all sorts of myths, fairy tales and horror stories from the world’s cultures, all blended together and powered by a masterpiece of a storytelling engine.
The TV show could focus on Morpheus, the emo god of dreams, and spend time fleshing out the memorable stories and characters that made this Vertigo-published book a huge hit in the late '80s and '90s.
Transmetropolitan is a sure bet for any comics nerd’s heart, with its irreverent take on politics and journalism, set in a near-future tech dystopia where privacy is a thing of the past and body modification is rampant.
This one has it all — sex, drugs, violence and a whip-smart take on our own cultural mistakes — making it perfect for one of the cable outfits like HBO or AMC. Spider Jerusalem is one of the most enduring characters in modern comics, like a post-cyberpunk Hunter S. Thompson come to monologue on the evils of society while he gets it on with your hot wife. This is one comic book property that could really take the sci-fi craze to its highest satirical potential.
If you want to delve into the deep end with a massively online battle arena game, you can head on over to Riot Games’ League of Legends or Valve’s own Dota 2 with your computer, download a free copy of each game, and then dive in.
Or, you can grab a copy of Fates Forever, a surprisingly well-tuned and deep version of the popular game genre and eSports phenomenon. It’s been over a year in development by the team led by the founder of proto-Game Center Open Feint and one of the first hit game devs on the iOS platoform (Aurora Feint), Jason Citron.
When we spoke to Citron last summer, he was full of excitement about his promising game-in-development. The wait has been worth it, as Fates Forever puts on an impressive show, squeezing a fully-realized MOBA game complete with distinctive heroes and cunningly designed infrastructure that can encourage and include everyone, from those brand new to the genre to the more veteran MOBA players, all on the iPad.
This is a fantastic game, and you’ll want to check it out right now.
If you think that the conceit behind Ubisoft’s hacker-themed video game Watch Dogs isn’t real enough, be sure to take a look at this website.
Watch_Dogs We Are Data takes real world, publicly-accessible location-based data and parses it into a display ripped directly from the video game of the same name. You can visit Berlin, Paris, or London, and zoom on down into the various regions of each city to see where mobile phones are, read tweets originating from specific spots, and see icons that represent CCTV feeds, traffic lights, and more.
If this doesn’t freak you out even just a little, then more power to you.
A brilliant computer programmer living in a future dystopian totalitarian state must prove the Zero Theorem, in which 100 percent equals 0, or all is nothing. He’s got a touch of social anxiety (“We do not like to be touched!”), a seriously bald head, and a variety of future-weird outfits that he wears in each scene. Sound like fun?
If you’ve seen any of Terry Gilliam’s similar work, like 12 Monkeys or Brazil (or even if you just dig Apple’s similarly themed 1984-esque commercial by Ridley Scott) you’re going to want to check this one out. The gloriously wacky and edgy trailer is below.
The deep synth pad from M83’s “My Tears Are Becoming A Sea” fills the air with an ethereal sound in this new trailer (below) for an upcoming video game. We watch a strange winged creature land on the ground just in time for a lithe foot to strike nearby. It’s a elf-like warrior archer, and she’s running for her life.
Saved by a golden steampunk robot character, the archer gets up and re-takes her place in the battle against hordes of robotic enemies, alongside a bunch of other heroes, including a blood-red dual-sword-wielding elf-dude with long hair as well as a massive dude with a gigantic gatling gun, like something out of Team Fortress 2.
All of this takes place in cinematic-styled slow motion, with M83’s music as the perfect match to the trailer’s action. “This is something to take seriously,” the trailer seems to say. “This is a game you’ll want to play.”
This is Battleborn, the upcoming “hero-shooter” from 2K games and Gearbox Software, the publisher/developer team behind the highly-successful Borderlands series.
Arguably the most-anticipated game for the new generation of consoles, Destiny aims to be a sci-fi first-person shooter from the same folks who all but created the genre with Halo back in 2001.
Today, Bungie put out the call: pre-order the game now (which is set to launch to retail in September) and get early, exclusive access to the Destiny beta.
PlayStation 4 owners will get to play first, with a July 17th beta launch date, while Xbox One gamers will get to play just a week out on July 23rd. The beta itself will terminate on July 26, with a special event for all gamers who show up on the games servers before the end of the day.
Check out the trailer below for some gorgeous visuals along with a few details.
First-person shooter Borderlands 2 offers up a ton of guns and a huge, open-world map with more in-jokes and Easter eggs than you can shake a boom-stick at. With the help of our friends over at Aspyr (publisher of the Mac version of the game), we’re going to share with you four of the hardest-to-find secrets from within the post-apocalyptic sci-fi video game.
Plus, read till the end and you’ll get a special deal exclusively for Cult of Mac readers who want their own copy of the Game of the Year edition of Borderlands 2 (the one with all the DLC packs along with the basic game) at a heavily discounted price.
True Blood’s seventh and final season continues tonight with the third episode of the season: “Fire In The Hole.”
Death comes to us all, and that’s no empty promise with this series. Reverend Daniels calls it out: “Death is a dark and blinded motherf-cker, whether you see it coming or you don’t,” he tells Sam Merlotte.
This week’s episode is all about love. Sookie’s unequal love for Alcide, Pam’s love for Eric, Sam’s love for his lost fiancee and unborn child, Reverend Daniel’s love for Lettie May, and Andy’s love for his daughter Adilyn. All the characters act out of love and sometimes lust, but even the good guys are going to need more than blind faith in each other to survive.
Spoilers below, so consider yourself warned.
I’ve been playing music for coming up on 30 years now, and I’ve tried a ton of music gear. These days, I run a fairly bare-bones setup, with a smaller amp for those close venues, a couple of dual-effect pedals (Visual Sounds’ Route 66 and H2O), and a Boss VE-20 vocal harmony box to thicken up the background vocals in my disco band.
I’ve always had a thing for multi-effect boxes, though, running through my share of a few complicated ones that never quite gave me what I needed in terms of both effects sounds and onstage ease-of-use.
When I heard about TC-Helicon’s new VoiceLive 3 mega-stomp box, with a huge range of guitar effects and amplifier modeling, an amazing vocal-harmony processing system and a stage-quality looping feature, well, I had to try it out.