Five Awesome Things to “Geek Up” Your Fall

Nerds everywhere are kinda down in the dumps, at the moment. But there’s no reason to sulk — geeky fun is on the way.

Every Friday, I’m compiling a list of five things that meet one criterion. “What is that criterion,” you ask? Well, it’s going to change every week and you’re just going to have to try and keep up.

This week…

Five Awesome Things to “Geek Up” Your Fall

It’s officially Autumn and there’s a lot of depressed nerds out there (myself partially included).

All the big comic book movies are gone – littered across the haunted graveyard that was the 2009 summer movie season. The most recent Apple event was rather underwhelming, albeit very positive. The end of Lost is coming. Teenage vampire romance has bizarrely usurped the genre throne of zombies and most media is now currently 34% less entertaining/interesting, as a result. The brief resurrection of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog on last weekend’s Emmys was delightful but ultimately, just an agonizing reminder that we don’t have Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion in our lives as much as we should. Oh, and we still don’t have dinosaurs. Sigh.

All that being said, I’m not here to bring you down. I made some calls, checked with some sources… and there’s hope for this season.

5. Gentlemen Broncos

From Jared Hess (co-writer/director of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre), Gentlemen Broncos tells the tale of an aspiring teenage fantasy writer whose story concept is stolen by a well-renowned fantasy novelist dealing with writer’s block (played by Jemaine Clement, from Flight of the Conchords). What part of that story summary doesn’t appeal to you? What if I told you that the movie also involved Sam Rockwell? How’s that grab you?

Gentlemen Broncos gallantly stampedes into theaters on October 30.

4. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

The sequel to the legendary video game that allowed us to play as Spider-man, Wolverine, Silver Surfer, and well over a dozen other classic Marvel heroes has arrived. Taking advantage of the “this would be perfect as a video game”-Civil War storyline, UA2 lets you choose a hero and then choose a side. Awesome.

No self-respecting geek can look at the large motion graphic on the game’s official website, see The Hulk catching The Thing right in the indestructible jaw with his giant green fist while Jean Grey exchanges fire with Deadpool in mid-air nearby and NOT want to get in on the action.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 is available now for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii, among others.

3. The return of Mythbusters

It’s easy to take fresh Discovery Channel programming for granted. You assume there’s a new episode of Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs coming every week until… well, until it just stops. This happens to me with Mythbusters. A lot.

Over the summer, I clicked on the digital cable ‘INFO’ button every Wednesday, hoping to read about some new myths being busted by Savage and Hyneman. Again and again, I was denied happiness. It was a tragedy – I was waiting for Discovery to unveil a new show called Hopedashers, in response. For weeks, I had no explosions. No crash test dummies. No science! Well guess what? New episodes are right around the corner. CONFIRMED.

Mythbusters returns on October 7.

2. Looking for Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes ruled the comic strip world for ten years. And then it ended. Bill Watterson withdrew from the public eye entirely, only occasionally reminding the world of his existence (either with one online question-and-answer session or by slipping autographed copies of Calvin and Hobbes books onto the shelves of his local Ohio bookstore), in the years since.

Even while respecting the creator’s wishes for privacy and quest for an untarnished legacy for his comic strip, people – as they always do – wanted to know more about this terrific and celebrated part of our culture. Author Nevin Martell set out to answer these questions with his book Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and his Revolutionary Comic Strip. Containing input from accomplished creators like Dave Barry and Brad Bird, the book presents the fascinating history of a man, his comic, and everything that came after. Anyone who likes the greatest comic strip in history or the examination of an interesting and immensely talented figure should absolutely check it out.

Looking for Calvin and Hobbes will be released on October 1, 2009.

1. Star Wars: In Concert

If you (like me) thought that you had experienced all six Star Wars films in every conceivable way, you (like me) would be wrong. I never thought I’d spend an evening at the theater, taking in a live orchestral performance of John Williams’s classic space opera scores. On top of that, I didn’t expect that philharmonic to ever perform these incredible pieces of music in front of a giant screen showing marvelously edited thematic montages from all six films. In terms of “ideas I never really knew I had but probably should have had because they’re awesome ideas,” this would probably be the best. A night at the theater… for Star Wars? I don’t know what else to say. Except “one ticket please.”

There are Star Wars: In Concert national tour dates throughout October and November.

Justin Brown is a writer and artist living in Virginia. He channels most of his mind's molten river of creativity into his blog Esteban Was Eaten!. For even more information about him, check out his website.