3D lions, tigers and bears! Oh my!

Get your geek on with this week's geeky weekend activity suggestions

Happy weekend, everyone! Phil Johnson and I are back this week with some opinions on geeky-related things to do this weekend.


Let's get right to it in this week's Geekend segment:

At the movies: Wizard of Oz in 3D Imax

Description:As part of the 75th anniversary of this classic family film, we now get to see Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow and the Wicked Witch of the West all in glorious 3D (as well as huge on IMAX screens).

Keith:At first I thought this was just another 3D gimmick, but the more I think about this, the more I'm intrigued to take my family to go see it. My kids have yet to see this film, mainly because we think the kids will be freaked out by the flying monkeys as much as we were as children. Growing up in the 1970s, watching "The Wizard of Oz" was an annual event, because it was only shown once per year on network TV (yes kids, back when TV only had 3 channels instead of 300). With the creation of home video and DVD, parents could show this movie whenever they wanted to, which made it less of an event. My two older kids (ages 7 and 6) would likely love to see this, but instead of showing it to them on a smaller screen, I think I can make this an "event" in their lives by not only letting them see it on a big screen, but with the added benefit of 3D. That begs the question, should the first time they see this movie be in 3D? Phil, your thoughts?

Phil:Hmm, well, since your kids are still pretty little, and this will be their first time seeing it, I think you're taking a chance on freaking them out. Those flying monkeys were pretty scary for me back in the day when I first saw them on a crummy 21-inch CRT TV. I can only imagine how scary they might be on a big (or super-big IMAX) screen AND in 3D. Frankly, just thinking about it is giving me the willies (while simultaneously making me hungry for a box of Jujubes). Then again, today's kids are exposed to a lot more crazy stuff early on than we were, so it may not phase them. I guess what I'm saying is, if your kids see The Wizard of Oz on a big screen in 3D and aren't cowering under the seats when those monkeys take flight, they're already braver than I am (which, frankly, is quite possible).


We've seen a new generation of 3D movies at the theaters and in the home video market (as 3D TVs and Blu-Ray players hit stores), but is it still a fad that hasn't hit its stride yet? Keith and Phil discuss whether this will ever truly take off and become mainstream in this week's video GeekDebate:


Keith: While some TV shows have begun their official 2013-2014 seasons, the real start to fall TV begins next week. Sprinkled in with the normal bunch of cop shows, lawyer shows and dopey comedies are a smattering of shows that geeks and techies might enjoy. Here are a bunch of shows that we're looking forward to, along with some other commentary:

Keith's Top 4 geek-related shows:

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC): Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who appeared in several of the Marvel-based movies leading up to last summer's "The Avengers", get top billing as the leader of a team of government agents that get to continue the investigations of the super-hero and paranormal goings on in this new Marvel universe. It's a geek's dream - super-heroes, aliens, and Joss Whedon (he's the executive producer). What will be interesting is to see how much of the movie-based universe and characters enter into the show. In my humble opinion, a 5-star, must-watch and DVR every week (until someone gets killed via a Whedon-esque-spike-through-the-chest). Especially when they need to promote the new Thor movie or the Captain America sequel.

Hello Ladies (HBO): Any fans of the British show "Extras" or "Life is Short" (as well as guest appearances on "The Office") should recognize Stephen Merchant. In this show, Merchant plays a web designer "looking for love in all the wrong places" - basically, Los Angeles. Merchant's geeky delivery should be recognizably uncomfortable for geeky viewers. I love Merchant's delivery, so will watch this until it gets too uncomfortable, or brings me back to my dating days.

The Tomorrow People (The CW):A revival of a British science-fiction series, this show features a group of super-humans being hunted by scientists (boo, science!). With young and attractive super-heroes, this won't be too difficult to watch, unless the dialogue gets super-cheesy as well. But worth a few DVR recordings at least.

Almost Human (Fox): Robots! OK, Androids (not the operating system). In this science-fiction drama, we get Karl Urban (huge geek fred - he was Eomer in Lord of the Rings! Bones on the new Star Trek! Judge Dredd!) as a detective who hates technology being paired up with an android (played by Michael Ealy). Wacky hijinks and crimes being solved galore! I'm in.

Phil's Top 4 geek-related shows:Allow me to say, first of all, that Breaking Bad has ruined every other TV show for me. I'm so wrapped up in it, it's hard to envision enjoying any other show 1/10th as much. Of course, Breaking Bad has a serious geek aspect to it, with Walter White being a former chemistry teacher and all around nerdy loser - until he starts cooking meth. Anyway, don't let me get started on that show. On to my geeky TV picks…

Hello Ladies (HBO): This one's on my list, too. You don't get much geekier – or funnier – than Stephen Merchant, who is also the writing partner of the brilliant Ricky Gervais, and helped to create the original, British (and better) version of The Office. What's not to love about a skinny, tall dorky guy trying to may hay with the ladies? This has to be on every geek's much-watch list for the fall.

The Crazy Ones: Robin Williams returns to TV starring in this new CBS show as an executive at an advertising agency, where his daughter, played by Sarah Michelle Geller, is his business partner. While the show itself doesn't sound too geeky, the two stars have good geek-cred. Williams, of course, first got famous starring in Mork & Mindy (which was one of the first TV shows I really loved) and Gellar starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That's good enough reason to give his a try, IMO.

Witches of East End: You want geeky, how about a show about a single mom who's a witch, and her daughters, who are also witches? Hard to believe I'm considering trying out a Lifetime show, but this one might appeal to the lady geeks out there. 

The Goldbergs: This new ABC family sitcom takes place in the 1980s. While I'm willing to give it a try just based on the fact that it stars Curb Your Enthusiasm's Jeff Garlin, I'm recommending it to this audience because I think the potential for seeing some classic geek hardware is high. In addition to the vintage clothes, music and cars, I'm hopeful that we'll see some classic camcorders, computers and TV/stereos/phones sprinkled around. It's worth trying out if the writers manage to work a Commodore 64 or Atari 2600 into a few scenes. Let's hope!

Video game: Ummm, yeah, Grand Theft Auto V

Description: The latest version of this video game blockbuster has you playing three different protagonists within the game world of Los Santos (which looks a lot like Los Angeles), committing crimes and doing all sorts of things in an open-world setting.

Keith:Phil has admitted that he's not much of a gamer, so I suspect he won't be playing this game over the weekend. I almost want to bring this over to his house and set up a video camera to see how he'd react to this game. Once again, we'll likely hear about how violent the game is, and how today's youth are corrupted by playing a game that lets you wantonly walk around shooting people, running them over with cars and doing other sorts of mayhem. However, the intriguing part of these games (for me, at least) is to see how open the open-world system is. Rockstar is saying that you can play golf and tennis if you want - there's no requirement that you engage in the types of violent shenanigans central to the plot (although it will likely get pretty boring if you don't). I've got the game, and if I can find some free time to play when the kids are asleep, I'm definitely visiting Los Santos this weekend.

Phil:Indeed, I am not much of a gamer and I've never played any of the Grand Theft Auto games. Even though I haven't been much of a gamer since, oh, 1987 (ish), I feel confident I could still rock and roll on GTA V – assuming you control your car with one of these babies and that the game works a lot like Pitfall. The only way I see myself playing GTA is if they come out with Grand Theft Auto: Boston Commuter. Having driven in and around this town for 20+ years, I feel like I've got that down pretty well and would rock it hard. Until then, I probably won't bother.

Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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