Our monthly question about the things you watched, read, or played continues with the final month of the summer before school starts and the holiday season gets ready to rear its head.
Played: In addition to grinding and enjoying my way through Xenoblade Chronicles 3, I decided to replay some of them Saints Row games ahead of the then-incoming reboot. A few hours with Saints Row 3 and 4 were some welcome returns to nostalgia; I loved both of those games back in the PS3 and 360 days, and they remain delightfully weird as ever. But I also dipped back into it Agents of Mayhem, the other Saints Row reboot from back in 2017. The combat and three-person character swapping remains as fun as ever, as do the RPG mechanics. It’s clear that Volition had to cut some corners, though, and it makes me wish that it had Hitman 2016 release model of a new location every few months that also included three new Agents, so it could be as the globetrotting romp that it very much wanted to be.
As for Saints Row 2022 (or Saints Row: Self Made, as I’m mentally calling it)…it’s Totally Fine. Self Made doesn’t light the world on fire or go for broke with its wackiness like Saints Row 3 did, but it manages to carve an identity all its own by the end. For those split on the departure to realistic crime after Saints 2, the reboot feels like a perfect bridge between that and Volition’s much odder sequels. The bugs are gonna be the main sticking point, though; during the final showdown, my nemesis moved about five feet to the right offscreen while the camera remained fixed on where he should’ve been.
But on the other hand, Insurance Fraud is still a blast, I enjoyed the cast, and wingsuits are cool, so would still recommend.
Watched: Lately, I’ve been watching A League of Their Own over on Amazon, which I’ve been enjoying a lot more than I expected. It’s just very charming in an old school, sincere sort of way, the sports scenes are all great, and the cast is fun from top to bottom. There’s been a lot of attention given to Abbi Jacobson and D’Arcy Carden as the leads, but Chanté Adams is basically running away with the show from the start.
Like everyone else, I’ve also been watching She-Hulk. I think it would’ve been in Marvel’s best interest to release the first two episodes together, since the second gives a better idea of what this show actually is. is but i like it. The comedy works for me here more than other Marvel projects, Tatiana Maslany is endearing as Jennifer Walters, and the rotating cast of guest stars gives the show some chaotic energy it otherwise might’ve lacked. Megan Thee Stallion’s recent cameo is understandably getting talked about the most recently, but Benedict Wong’s appearance in that same episode is a good reminder of how he, like Don Cheadle, has become one of the MCU’s most reliable character actors. Even the fourth wall breaks have a certain charm to them, so I’d say it’s worth a watch, if only to determine for yourself if it’s worth the culture war it’s been forced into. (That’s a trick question, no piece of media ever is.)
Meanwhile, fellow io9 writer Linda Codega found themselves captivated by the recently released You-Oh. “Masaaki Yuasa’s newest film is captivating, energetic and full of live-wire music that resists genre conventions as intensely as the film does,” they wrote. “It’s not wrong to call You-Oh an anachronistic, a-historical musical, but that downplays the sheer artistry of the animation, the ambition of the themes, and the expansiveness of the inspiration. From Noh theater to Iggy Pop, You-Oh takes creativity from whatever font suits the story, and is better for the unique blend of storytelling and storytellers.”
Listened: Other than telling myself that no really, I should stop listening to “Renaissance” before doing it again, August was a podcast heavy month for me. A lot of it was A More Civilized Age, a rewatch podcast for the 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars series. For those into media criticism and analysis, hearing the hosts—Ali Acampora, Austin Walker, Rob Zacny, and Natalie Watson—dissect the series and figure out what does and doesn’t work for them is interesting. A simple episode-by-episode rewatch this is not; the hosts routinely talk about the episodes and arcs in the context of politics (both now and for the time), and routinely replay behind the scenes footage featuring supervising producer Dave Filoni to explore the context under which the show was made. Really fascinating stuff, and if you’re a fan of long podcasts, they are long, so go ahead and enjoy.
Finally, I started and caught up on Malevolent, a horror audio drama by Harlan Guthrie. The pitch is private investigator Arthur Lester finds himself attached to some…thing that speaks in his head, constantly berating him and getting him to do his bidding. Think Venom in the 1930s, if Eddie Brock were helpless, but not in the comedic sense.
Since it’s a podcast, the gimmick here is that the entity has control of Arthur’s eyes, meaning that the entity has to describe what he sees for Arthur and the audience. Like Guthrie voicing all the characters, it’ll feel strange at first, but becomes charming over time. When the horror elements of the show come in, they really hook you, and the episodes are short enough that they can binge for quite some time.
Let us know in the comments below how you spent the month of August.
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