Thursday, March 5, 2015

Entertainment On-The-Cheap-O-Vision

Today I turn 40 year old. Instead of boring you with "I'm too old for this shit"-isms (which, of course, I am, but I repress...), I've decided to post five online entertainment outlets I'm currently enjoying, instead.

I gave up cable TV about eight years ago and I can't say that I really miss it, like, at all. Hulu, Amazon Instant, Netflix, and a plethora of YouTube channels have since provide me with endless (and cost-effective - if not absolutely free) entertainment options. And for those moments when the moisture from my eyes has been dully depleted from hours of binge viewing, there are a treasure trove of podcasts to alternately cram into my ears.

With all the great content floating around the Internet, it's a wonder anyone would pay over $100 a month for a thousand channels of questionable content and a kagillion commercials to go along with it. Someone has to keep up with those Cardassians, I guess...?

Anyhoo, here are five of my favorite recent finds. And, as always, screw you, outside!

1. RetroBlasting (YouTube)

There are a slew of single cam, heavy breathing YouTube channels devoted to 1980's toy reviews, but none come close to the meticulous levels of production, research and execution that Retro Blasting continually provides. Created by husband-and-wife toy aficionados and collectors Michael French and Melinda Mock, RetroBlasting delivers uncompromising  (and sometimes hilariously brutal) reviews of 80's playtime plastic. In addition to reviewing toy lines such as Transformers, G.I. Joe and He-Man (and the corresponding cartoons that went with 'em), RetroBlasting also features unboxing, convention panel discussion and toy restoration videos. Mix in a dash humor, a shit-ton of nostalgia and on-the-money expertise, and RetroBlasting is your go-to source all things 1980's toy nostalgia.

2. Ron "AAlgar" Watt Reviews (YouTube)

I could watch Seattle-based Ron "AAlgar" Watt's hilariously meta-comic retro cartoon reviews all day. In fact, I have. It was one of those rare sunny day most Portlander's prey their rain-soaked hearts out for, and there I was, in bed with my MacBook in my lap, plugging one AAlgar Transformers and G.I. Joe cartoon reviews after another into my fuzzy fond  memory cortex, like some sort of Gen-X junkie vainly trying scratch an eternal fix for my youth. AAlgar's smart aleck charm is the perfect amount of Mystery Science Theater 3000-ing these ridiculous old cartoons so lovingly deserve.

3. Daredevil (Netflix/Marvel)

Everything the 2003 cinematic disaster that was Daredevil, the new Netflix series of the same name is (thank gawd) the polar opposite of. Binge-watching this amazingly written, acted and produced series, you get the idea this is what the folks over at Gotham thought they were making. Gritty, action-packed and engrossing, this practically flawless Daredevil television series hits all the right marks, while also serving to remind you how truly amazing television can be when done perfectly. Don't believe me? Here's the trailer that actually delivers on what it promises:

4. I Was There Too (podcast, Wolfpop)

When he's not James Bonding, Superego-ing, selling Volkwagons, or teaching college kids what's what, Matt Gorley takes time out of his hectic schedule to produce a podcast where he interviews actors who have starred in some of the better movies Hollywood has produced (Groundhog's Day, Aliens, Better Off Dead, etc.) It's called I Was There Too, and gawdamed if these chats herein aren't some of the best behind-the-scenes conversations to clean your apartment to. Gorley is an engaging host who never seems to ask a wasted question, and the guests he's interviewed so far all seem happy to discuss openly their experiences on-set. Film buffs, take heed! These are the discussions you live for, so get to it! And if this podcast doesn't have one of the best theme songs, then I dunno. (Actually, it does and I do.)

5.  Throwing Shade (podcast, Funny Or Die)

"Homosensual" Bryan Safi and "feminasty" Erin Gibson are dynamic divas behind Throwing Shade, one of the absolute best, highly entertaining and informative podcasts podcasting today. Each week, Gibson and Safi lay the catty smackdown on society's ills, be them homophobia, sexism, or general ridiculous and seriously silly bullshit like, oh, say, Glenn Beck's hipster clothing line (yes, this is actually a thing). Filled with hilarious banter, skits and interviews with equally witty behind-the-scensters, Throwing Shade is wickedly funny podcast your enlightened ass/ears have been waiting to hear. Now go make a Sunday night chicken while listening to Nine Inch Nails, and then this podcast!