The Nerd is the Word: X-mas break required reading (and watching)

Welcome back to another edition of “The Nerd is the Word”, currently the third ranked show in the world about a werewolf, vampire and ghost coexisting under one roof in the hopes of retaining their humanity….wait, that’s not right, never the less.

I want to start out by thanking everyone for the outpouring of positive feedback that I received this past week about the first column. It means a great deal to me that you all liked it so much (an Australian based collectibles site, Curicon.com, tweeted about it!) Usually, things like this go for an awkward phase of trying to find their voice or audience, but apparently that didn’t happen, so I thank you all.

Now, on to the matter at hand.

As you may know (or not, I won’t judge), we here in the land of university are about to head into the wonderful realm known as winter break. What does this mean for you? Well, you’ll probably have a whole lot more time on your hands. Sure, you might have a job over break, but you have no classes, or homework, and your friends live in other places, and your siblings won’t leave you alone, and you mom keeps asking why you don’t call as much, and your weird aunt starts drinking and asking awkward questions about your love life…but I digress.

Anyway, what your free time is perfect for is to work your way through the TV shows on Netflix that you were too busy to watch during the fall term. Don’t have Netflix? Well, there’s no better time than now to sign up. For only $7.99 per month, you can watch unlimited TV and movies through your laptop or gaming console. The database is enormous and getting bigger by the day. Still not convinced? You can try it free for a month. Now that’s enough of my unpaid Netflix ad (I really believe in the product guys).

Below, I have compiled a short list of some of my favorite nerdy shows available on Netflix and a couple that I plan on watching over my break.

Doctor Who:

What list of television shows compiled by a nerd for a nerd themed column wouldn’t include the longest running science fiction show on TV? A poor one, that’s what. Because the Whovian community is so immense, I know that I’ll be preaching to the choir for many, but this is necessary. The show follows the exploits of an alien known only as The Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels through time and space with various companions in his ship, the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space) which is disguised as a blue police phone box. The show started in 1963 on the BBC, meaning that next year will see its 50th anniversary. Sound like a daunting task? Don’t worry, the show had a 15 year hiatus, being revived in 2005, bringing the season count down to six seasons (sound more manageable?) The show owes its longevity to the fact that when The Doctor is about to die, he can regenerate into a new form, allowing for a legitimate reason for actors to change. This revival sees three Doctors (numbers Nine, Ten and Eleven) and even more companions. What it lacks in state of the art effects, it excels in story. It’s generally funny, but serious when it needs to be. If you haven’t seen the show, get on it. I promise, it will consume your life. In addition, the spin-off series, Torchwood, has three of its four seasons on Netflix as well. You can also watch some of the episodes from the earlier Doctors.

Being Human (U.K. and U.S.):

I first encountered both versions of this series a year ago during winter break. Both versions follow a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost living together in a house, attempting to deal with their various “afflictions” and maintain their humanity. The U.K. version (the original) comes from BC Three, while the U.S. version is presented on SyFy. U.K. has just added its fourth season while the U.S. only has one up currently (though season two should make it online soon as season three airs in January). Both versions are innovative takes on the mythologies of the creatures and are funny, scary and absolutely fantastic. The versions have some similarities but just as many differences, which mean you can watch both and not get the same story twice.

Firefly:

Probably my absolute favorite show (I say probably because Doctor Who makes it hard to be definitive). This Joss Whedon show (of Buffy, Angel and now The Avengers fame) was perhaps the most amazing western ever conceived for television, but with space ships. Yep, that’s right, space western. The show only had a brief, 11 episode run before the monsters at Fox cancelled it (leaving three more episodes unaired). The show launched a few careers, specifically that of Nathan Fillion who played Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the shows namesake Firefly class ship, Serenity. Netflix has all 14 episodes available to watch (in their proper order, which Fox neglected to do), along with the subsequent film that was produced a few years after the show to give it a proper ending, Serenity. If nothing else on the list, this show is an absolute must watch.

Other shows available are complete series of each Star Trek series, both seasons of The Walking Dead that are on DVD. However, the ones that I am most looking forward to watching are all the various series and spin-offs from Battlestar Galactica and the complete series of The X-Files.

Now, on to this week’s pull list (for books released Dec. 5):

Daredevil: End of Days #3 (Marvel): A brilliant limited series by one of my favorite writers, Brian Michael Bendis. The series opened with Daredevil in his final fight with Bullseye, resulting in his death. As Daredevil (who is lawyer Matt Murdock for the uneducated) dies, he utters a single word, “Mapone”. Ben Urich, reporter for the soon to be defunct Daily Bugle tries to both find the proper way to eulogize his friend and uncover Murdock’s final secret. I highly recommend this series, grab the first two issues along with the third. You won’t be disappointed.

Hawkeye #5 (Marvel): One of my other writers that I admire, Matt Fraction, helms this on-going series about Marvel’s archer, who gained some prominence this past summer in a small film you may have seen called The Avengers. It has Hawkeye, a.k.a. Clint Barton, hired by S.H.I.E.L.D. to collect some incriminating evidence, and then becoming the most wanted man in the world in this first story arc. It’s a highly enjoyable book about a character that deserves prominence in the world.

There you have it lads and lasses, another installment of “The Nerd is the Word”. Don’t worry about me taking a break during…well, break, I will continue writing through the month of December.

Ian Hand will return in Back to the Future IV. In the meantime, follow him on Twitter @IanHand253.

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