Geek Culture Fall Season Preview
Your guide to the autumn's geekiest distractions
When I was a kid in the '70s and '80s, one of the biggest events for me was the release of the TV Guide Fall Season Preview, which highlighted the new shows coming, as well as teasers for old favorites that were coming back for a new season. Even geekier was the Saturday Morning Cartoon preview episode - several of the networks would devote a special just towards showing kids what new cartoons were going to be on that fall.
Now that I'm older, my tastes have gone beyond Saturday morning cartoons, but the fall season for me is still my favorite - both for its weather (I love chilly New England mornings) and for the new things coming down the pipeline. Presented here is a bunch of things that geeks (both cultural and techie) can look forward to over the next few months:
Aug. 28: Guild Wars 2 release date. People who have pre-ordered the game got their 3-day head start, but for the rest of us, this date is when they can experience the year's most-anticipated MMO. I've played one of the beta events and can say that a lot of the hype is justified. If you have played other MMOs and were annoyed by some of its aspects, Guild Wars 2 truly addresses those concerns and makes it a fun experience for all.
Aug. 28/29: Release of Rock Band Blitz on PlayStation Network (8/29) and Xbox Live Arcade (8/29). Forget about needing the plastic guitar and drum controllers - this downloadable game will be able to be played with just a regular controller. The game is similar to games like Frequency and Amplitude, in which notes come streaming at you as if you were on a futuristic highway. The good news - users can play songs they've previously downloaded from Rock Band 3.
Sept. 1: Doctor Who Series 7 debuts on BBC America - Episode: "Asylum of the Daleks". The wait is over for many fans of Doctor Who, both in the U.K. and over here in the U.S. The beginning of the month will see this one, and the end of the month will see the departure of two companions (Amy Pond and Rory Williams).
Sept. 5: Rumors of Microsoft and Nokia announcing a new phone, allegedly this will be the Windows Phone 8 type of phone. Stay tuned for this one. Also, the NFL Season begins with Wednesday night game - the Dallas Cowboys visit the New York Giants in grid iron action. Some may wonder why the start of the NFL season is in a list like this - let's just say that fantasy football is on the same level of geekiness as Dunegons & Dragons is for some people.
Sept. 8: Doctor Who Episode "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship." Pretty sure that Matt Smith won't say "We gotta get these (bleeping) dinosaurs off this (bleep) spaceship." But I'll geek out if they do.
Sept. 12: Be near a computer to monitor the live blogs of a rumored iPhone 5 announcement from Apple. (Note: video below is a fake parody, not the actual phone)
Sept. 15: Doctor Who Episode "A Town Called Mercy" - Doctor Who does a Western.
Sept. 18: Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition - this remake of the classic role-playing video game (Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II) will be available for the PC, but more importantly - the iPad, Mac OS X and Android platforms.
Sept. 20: Season premiere of "The Office" and "Parks and Recreation" on NBC features some of the funniest geeks out there, including IT "expert" Andy Dwyer.
Sept. 21: Rumored date for the iPhone 5 release. You might want to get in line a bit earlier than this date.
Sept. 22: Doctor Who Episode "The Power of Three" features Mark Williams (he played Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films), reportedly as Rory's dad.
Sept. 25: Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes and video games? Then you won't want to miss "The Testament of Sherlock Holmes", which will be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The adventure game features a plot where Holmes is presented as the main suspect in a crime, and Holmes and Watson must find the true criminal.
Sept. 25: World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria expansion set released. Travel to a new area of the world (of Warcraft), where martial-arts using "Panderan" (don't call them kung-fu pandas) are available to play as characters or fight with your other characters.
Sept. 25: The Avengers is released on DVD and Blu-Ray. Spend the next 6 hours watching the gag reel, special edition director's cut, deleted scenes, or just watch Scarlett Johannson as Black Widow. Hulk smash!
Sept. 27: Season premiere of "The Big Bang Theory", the ultimate geek TV show. Find out if Howard survived his trip to space (I think he does).
Sept. 28: The movie "Looper" release date - in this science-fiction action thriller, a hit man from the future uses a time machine to transport his targets back to the past, where his earlier self then does the hit. Everything is fine until the younger version comes in contact with his older self. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the same character. Like I said, science-fiction.
Sept. 29: Doctor Who Episode "The Angels Take Manhattan". This is the big one, in which we say goodbye to Amy Pond and Rory Williams (aka Rory Pond), and with the Weeping Angels involved, people have been anticipating a really big tear-jerking episode.
Some time in October (no release date yet other than the month): LEGO Lord of the Rings video game, featuring voices from the Peter Jackson movie series, and all the LEGO video game action you can handle. Control Frodo and make sure the ring doesn't control you.
Also, some time in October, rumors have it that Apple will unleash the iPad mini onto the world, for all of those tablet owners who want something a bit smaller.
Oct. 3: In the comic book world, Avengers Vs. X-men #12 comes out, completing the latest epic arc for Marvel comics, and we see the end of the Phoenix-themed arc. Who lives? Who dies? What's next?
Oct. 9: Fans of the Fable video game series get to experience the latest episode - Fable: The Journey debuts for the Xbox 360 platform. The new wrinkle in this game includes the use of the Kinect accessory to let users throw spells with their own hands.
Oct. 10: In the comic book world, this is what's next. uncanny Avengers #1 debuts, featuring a new team of heroes that features both Avengers and X-men (I guess they settle their disputes by talking it out instead of fighting).
Oct. 10: Debut of the CW TV show "Arrow", but you're not allowed to call him "Green Arrow." But we all know, it's Green Arrow.
Oct. 19: Season premiere of Community, another ultimate pop culture / geek obsession for many.
Oct. 23: Season premiere of Happy Endings - there's not much in terms of geek in this show, but it's one of the funniest shows on TV about a bunch of 20-to-30-something friends living in a big city. No, it's not "Friends".
Oct. 26: Microsoft unleashes Windows 8 upon the world, as well as its new Surface tablet that runs Windows 8. Well, sort of - this will be the RT version, the Windows 8 Pro version with the Intel chip is likely to come out in January 2013. Anyway, we'll see what the world thinks of Windows 8 on this date.
Oct. 30: Assassin's Creed 3 released. The latest chapter of the Ubisoft action video game features a setting in colonial America, and includes both Boston and New York locations. While the fighting and killing should be fun, American history geeks (guilty!) should find the locations, artwork and scenarios just as exhilarating as throwing a tomahawk.
Nov. 2: The movie "Wreck It Ralph" hits theaters. An animated feature about a video game bad guy (imagine if Donkey Kong could speak and was human) who wants to be good - he ends up escaping his game and enters a world of video games with other characters. Imagine if Tron were made by Disney - oh, wait.
Nov. 9: The latest James Bond movie, "Skyfall", hits movie theaters. Remember, it's shaken, not stirred. True techies go for the gadgets, of course, not the Bond girls.
Nov. 21: Dreamworks Animation movie "Rise of the Guardians" hits theaters - a ragtag crew of heroes gathers together to fight a common enemy. No, it's not the Avengers, but rather Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost and the Tooth Fairy. Should be a great holiday movie for the kids, but entertaining enough for their parents, too.
Dec. 14: Two huge geek-related movies. First, "The Hobbit" comes out, the latest Peter Jackson film which reportedly will be broken up into three movies instead of one (I mean two, oh, Peter, just hire an editor already). Second, musical theater geeks (yes, there are some) will be singing their hearts out for "One Day More" and "Master of the House" as the movie adaptation of "Les Miserables" hits theaters.
Did I miss anything? What other geek distractions have you excited for the fall? Let me know in the comments!
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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