Boyfights

Taking a look at a DVD series created by George Bluth, Sr.  Continue reading “Boyfights”

Embracing A Stranger Culture

A look at how a popular Netflix show has altered public perception of a game that has been played for decades.

Stranger Things: Embracing a Stranger Culture

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In 2016 we had a phenomenon of “nerd culture” and nostalgia hit us like a ton of bricks when Stranger Things was released on Netflix. It was an immediate hit among people of all ages, young people were drawn in by the story of kids tracking down the bad man and saving the day like in the old sci-fi movies that came out in the 80’s and 90’s, and the show also appealed to people who were the age of the stars in ’84, the year the show is set. The show focuses on a group of kids who are trying to rescue their friend from another dimension that was found by an evil scientist and defeat an evil monster from said dimension

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While the show is an insanely good example of excellent writing and the Duffer Bros have killed it with their story. That is not going to be the focus of this short article. At the beginning and end of the first season of Stranger Things, we see the main characters playing Dungeons & Dragons, a game that was incredibly popular among the more nerdy groups of kids in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Since then, the game stayed pretty far away from popular culture, bar a few episodes of Community which also had an eclectic and somewhat nerdy point of view on the pen and paper tabletop game.

Community D&D

Now, with this new phenomenal show, Stranger Things, we have a group of “nerdy” kids playing a nerdy game at the beginning. However, through the course of the season, ideas, terminology, and even strategy from this nerdy game were incorporated into the very real and present danger that was plaguing Hawkins, Indiana (the inconspicuous town where the gate to the other dimension is created). New life was breathed into this game because of the series. And people across the country who aren’t “nerds” began to have a newfound interest in this “nerdy” game of Dungeons & Dragons.

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At Lipscomb University in Nashville, I know of at least 5 groups of people who have begun to play Dungeons & Dragons drawing inspiration from the Demogorgon and other references to the game that are included in Stranger Things or Community. And in South Point, Ohio the hobby store is sold out of Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbooks.

Original D&D Manual.jpgWhile many still aren’t on board with the game or don’t see the appeal, there are a lot of people who used to see it as just a thing for nerds but have gained interest after it was seen in a new way and related to the dangers that the characters faced in Stranger Things. As the show continues and the references to D&D are present like they were in Stranger Things 2 (The Second Season of Stranger Things), I believe that the previously “nerdy and unpopular” game, Dungeons & Dragons will begin to lose it’s “nerdy” label and might eventually become a part of popular culture.

Sawyer C. Stephens

 

Shiro of Voltron and Capitalism

So the wife and I just finished season three of Netflix’s Volrton: Legendary Defender and it took us forever after blowing through the first two seasons. I love the show so much because of the willingness to not just remake the original Lion Force anime or even the 1980’s American dub which I was all about in elementary school, serious I would scarf down dinner so fast just so I could be off the table and into the living room before the opening title. The brilliance of the Netflix series was the taking of story threads and changing and evolving them into new surprises for a whole new show.

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This is gonna get spoiler for anyone who has not watched any of the Netflix series yet so turn back now if you don’t wanna know stuff…………………….. still here? Cool.

So anyway, Pidge on the new series is actually a girl, she’s looking for her father and brother. Completely changing the sex of an original series character is cool to me. It came as a surprise that I didn’t see coming until the started planting pretty evident seeds that Pidge was not what he/she seemed. It was fun. The series also invited a new character named Shiro who would end up piloting the Black Lion. He has a badass Spartacus vibe about him. He’s a thoughtful and developed warrior. His death has been the season cliffhanger for the first two seasons which was a little annoying, well he disappeared and the end of season 2, not dead just gone. This was fine and the heroes journey of storytelling and all that. However, what got me was it was now leading the show into the territory of the original 80’s cartoon. Keith was piloted the Red Lion in the new series had to take over and become the leader. This is only bad because that was the exact way it was in the original. This move led to Princess Allura joining the Paladins to pilot the Blue Lion. She had massive growth as a character from the original series to the new one. She had become a general of sorts commanding the overall team in this modern version. She was her own woman. Nope, lets stick her in the Blue Lion just like in the 80’s. I got bored. Our progress through season 3 stalled for months. Even though Shiro was found alive, he was now performing the Allura duty of generally commanding the force and not piloting a Lion.

I think this situation speaks to my own personal taste of loving cover songs when a new band takes on a well played songs and then totally twists it up to be unique. If you are gonna cover someone else’s hit, make damn sure you make it your own and don’t just be a tribute band to the original. I feel the same way about this show.

Then I saw a GIF of Shiro in the Black Lion and he’s telling it to trust him again. Well Hell, now I’m back on board and finished season 3 this morning over coffee. I just read an article where the series creators said they were forced to bring Shiro back way sooner then they wanted to because the executives demanded it. They had toys to sell and the Shiro Black Lion combo was apparently a big seller. Thanks for something capitalism, and thank you for reading this blog. Happy Saturday!

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