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Jason Panella

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  1. So the show had three seasons on SyFy before being canceled. Amazon Prime picked it up (Bezos is a fan) soon after. The fourth season—the first for Prime—premiered last month. It's good. I recently rewatched the prior seasons. They're also good, but suffer from the "we're on TV, let's kill time with new subplots!" problem that shows up with lots of adaptations. The fourth season? Doesn't have this problem. We also have a standout performance from Wes Chatham, who plays the interesting character of Amos Burton. I really can't think of another character like him currently on TV.
  2. McCallany is giving my favorite performance of the show. I 100% about the authenticity of the role (he reminds me of some of my friends' parents), and some of the choices Tench makes in the second season in regards to his family are simultaneously understandable and heartbreaking (like, I don't think I would know what to do with his situation if I were in his shoes).
  3. Thanks, Ken and Andrew. I think things are improving (slowly) on the health front, but slowly is better than not at all. And yes, D&D is definitely experiencing a revival. It's weird, seeing kids who would've picked on me in middle school for liking RPGs are now playing D&D and recruiting their friends to play. Game conventions, even small regional ones, are packed with new players. The scene is shifting demographically, too, which I love—many more women, LGBTQ+ folks, people of color. I sometimes wonder if or when the bubble will burst, but as of now, it's been fun riding the wave a bit.
  4. Reading through these posts has been fascinating. I kind of forced myself to like Achilles Heel when it was released, but deep down I wasn't as into it. I was bummed about Bazan's apparant "slide" away from his faith, and I wasn't into the music that much. Fast forward 15 years and this is the Pedro album I come back to the most (and, maybe, resonate with the most?). I've always been a music-first kind of guy, and I have to admit that I've become a big TW Walsh fan. His work on this album is boss.
  5. I believe that Penhall is acting as showrunner while Fincher is executive producing (and director, in some cases). Season 2 had some nice work by Andrew Dominick, a presence I've missed on the big screen. The show was filmed primarily where I live, so I have a hard time watching it and not thinking, "Oh, hey, that's my old workplace," or "Gee, Atlanta looks a lot like Ambridge." Still, I like the show. A lot, I think, though I sometimes have a hard time juxtaposing "like a lot" and "serial killers." As someone pointed out on Twitter, one thing that enthralls me about the show is that so much time seems to focus on people listening. I like that. Aside from a few weird choices, though, I think I liked season 2 a bit more than the first.
  6. Hi all. I don't post there that often these days, but I wanted to share something I'm excited about. I've been quite busy the past year or two. This is partially for a not-awesome reason—my wife is chronically ill. But much of it is cool. A friend and I pitched a proposal for a Dungeons & Dragons adventure to the official organized play program and had it accepted. We wrote the adventure last year, and it debuted at a Pittsburgh-area convention in March. It's now for sale online here: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/285292/CCCCOS01-The-Only-Way-To-Be-Sure It was a lot of work, but very rewarding. It had a very warm reception with the people who played it, and it's become a best seller since it went up for sale in August. I pitched another idea and had it accepted as well, and I'm deep in the writing process. This next adventure will be out next year.
  7. Keep in mind that this is a Living Card Game, with (as of now) over 50 expansions. They want you to buy more stuff, including more Core Sets. And, as someone who owns most of those expansions, it's very much a deckbuilder. Certain "types" of decks have different strategies, but that's stuff that's not really evident in the core set or its encounters. The rules in the core set are trash (FFG recently released a completely new version that has much, much better rules, from what I've seen), and the game is more of lifestyle choice than one-and-done deckbuilder. If you just want a single game box to play on occasion, Legendary is probably the better choice. But--looking at the whole expanse of what's been released for both games--the amount of diversity in quests, cards, and options in the whole of LotR blows Legendary out of the water. Oh, and I should add—I think Legendary is a really good game (especially the Encounters version of the system), but the nuance of LotR, which really starts becoming clear with the third big-box expansion and its connected quests--is right up my gaming alley. EDITED: Also, the game does have a tableau-building aspect—you're playing cards that (hopefully) stay on the table for a bit—but deckbuilding is a huge focus. If you're just playing with the Core Set, you're probably not seeing this; there are barely enough cards in the Core Set to make a "real" deck (at 50 player cards), let alone a good one. Once you begin adding more cards to the card pool, card draw and deck fishing become more and more important.
  8. They have Patchwork? I need to check their collection out more often.
  9. Really thorough look at these games, Ken. Thanks. I'm interested in Betrayal Legacy. Betrayal at House on the Hill is a really flawed game, but it's still goofy fun. The Legacy version is, from what I've read, a soft reboot and refinement of the existing rules, which can only be a good thing.
  10. Which season are you playing? I played season 1 on its release—it wasn't my favorite game, but it was hands down the best board gaming experience of my life. I've heard raves about season 2, but don't have a consistent enough gaming group to play it just yet.
  11. My wife and I bought the super-special Blu-ray version on deep discount not long after one of her many surgeries a few years ago, and we plowed through the trilogy as she recovered. I think Fellowship still holds up as a genuinely good movie (with major flaws). The other two? Ugh. All of the criticism here for the past few pages is accurate, I believe. It's interesting how bulletproof the movies are in fantasy geek culture, too (outside of Tolkien fans, that is). Last year, I made a comment while playing D&D with my regular group about how hokey and goofily gratuitous the Helm's Deep / Battle of the Hornburg section of the Two Towers film was, and I immediately got pushback from everyone else. Tolkien's version was too boring and short, they said. Ooooooookay.
  12. Perhaps I'm missing something, but the linked article doesn't seem to be written by Chaon (or mention him).
  13. I've been listening to Omnibus regularly, and it's jumped to the top of my "favorites" list. From the website: I think what makes this a tad different from other "wow, crazy history/facts!"-type shows (which the How Stuff Works network seems to thrive on) is the hosts. Ken and John are Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy! fame, and John Roderick, the frontman of the band The Long Winters. They've been friends for a long time, and their banter is wonderful. If you're looking for an episode to start with, I'd recommend the one detailing the history of Milli Vanilli.
  14. I played Sagrada at Origins this past year and absolutely loved it. I'm thinking of asking for it for Christmas.
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