Return of the Forgotten Christmas Specials

So, I just realized that I skipped over talking about underrated and forgotten Christmas Specials last year. And that’s a shame because there seems to be more and more of them as time goes on.

As I said some two years ago, we just don’t see proper Christmas specials anymore and the art seems to be dying off. To that end, I’m going to attempt to breath live back into these cheap and cheerful shows and make the holiday jolly again.

Father Christmas

If the art style looks familiar to you, that’s probably because you remember seeing The Snowman once or twice in your life. That movie was directed by Dianne Jackson and she was set to return for this pseudo-sequel. Sadly, she only managed to storyboard the project before falling ill to cancer that would take her on New Year’s Day the following year.

As for Father Christmas, it’s your standard tale of Santa looking to take a much-needed vacation. It’s quite entertaining to see the jolly symbol of the holiday struggle with the usual headaches of traveling abroad and even get tanked on stiff drink (minus the usual trappings of bad Christmas comedy that those words normally follow).

It’s funny, happy, and leaves you feeling great after. What’s not to love?

Will Vinton’s Claymation Christmas

You may be too young to remember the days when variety shows existed and would go all out for the holidays to gather talent from all corners of the world to celebrate. Well, this is the stop motion version of that.

Will Vinton, famous for his work with The California Raisins ( and yes, they do appear in the special), gave us this series of comedy skits and classic Christmas carols rendered in the style that only he could produce. His stylized production may be off-putting to some but are more than made up for with great writing and amazing music.

Plus, if you like this one, Will also did a Halloween special that I may go into next year.

Ziggy’s Gift

You thought I was kidding when I said Peanuts didn’t have the market cornered comic strip inspired specials, didn’t you?

This one is kind of odd but in a charming way. The story is just the titular Ziggy just being the genuinely nice and lovable (but not at all talkative) guy his always is – even as other less wholesome people try to trip him up for their own gain.

There really isn’t much to this show, but then again, there doesn’t need to be. It’s just a series of interconnected events that come together to make you feel really good at the end of the day. And that’s exactly what Ziggy would want.

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The Agent Gets Nostalgic: Stuff From Yester-year That I Kinda Miss

So, I have literally been sitting at a blank word processor for two hours trying to think of the words to share this week and all I could do is let my mind wander aimlessly. I had nothing. For the first time in what feels like forever, nothing jumped out at me in my personal life this week to comment on.

… Until I started thinking back to the old days.

I started to think about the commonplace stuff from my day that they just don’t seem to have anymore. Things that I once took for granted that I sorely lack now.

So today, instead of sharing deep thoughts on pop culture trends or bringing obscure facts to light, I’m just going to wax poetic on the things from my youth that I miss having around.

CDs and CD Players

Carrying these bad boys around fully loaded is how we got ripped back in the day.
Source: Case Logic

I was actually born in the age of cassette tapes, VHS videos, and floppy disks. So when someone had the bright idea to slap music, movies, and games on CDs, it was a life changer for me. No more tangled or worn-out tapes that wouldn’t play anymore. Now we had durable, portable media storage with way more space to hold the stuff we love.

These days, while I’m not exactly heartbroken about DVDs and CD-ROMs being replaced by digital streaming and downloads, I do find that I miss CD quality music. I get that having your Spotify playlist on your phone is more convenient than schlepping around the mall with a backpack filled with CD binders. But I’m an audiophile (if you haven’t noticed from the many articles I’ve done on the subject of music and my weekly #TuneTuesday posts on Facebook and Twitter) and the compressed sound of today makes me feel like I’m missing something.

Music is a spiritual experience for me; my mind and body resonate with some indescribable emotion that I never feel anywhere else. I’m the kind of guy that cranks his car stereo to 60 just to feel the sound run through my veins like liquid lightning. As such, I want to make sure I experience all of it every time I hear it.

Cartoons made just to sell toys

Don’t even get me started on the ones we would “customize” from pieces of the broken ones and nail polish.
Source: Mental Floss

In one episode of my favorite cartoon of all time Freakazoid, I was introduced to the term ‘toyetic’ – an adjective used to describe an object that has the potential to be mass marketed as a toy, game, or similar product.

It was on that day that I realized that the vast number of shows I grew up with as a kid – TransformersZoids, etc. – existed for no other reason than to see how many times I would buy the same toy over and over again just because it was cool.

And you know what? I’m totally fine with that.

The reason I bought those toys (or rather, begged my parents to buy them) was because my friends and I were convinced that we had better stories to tell than the people who were paid to write them professionally. And for that short time as kids, we actually did.

Basically, I miss these toy-centric cartoons because they were my first introduction to writing. And while I’m not that into fiction anymore, I like to think that the passion still burns just a hot now as it did back then.

Speaking of cartoons…

Animated Variety Shows

I couldn’t think of an adequate picture to sum up this thought, so please enjoy this GIF of a toy that’s wildly inappropriate in retrospect.
Source: Giphy

What is an ‘animated variety show’ I hear you ask? In essence, much like how variety shows of yore were showcases for various acting, comedy, and musical talents, their animated brethren were collections of short subject cartoons from various artists and writers. And much like how actors could use those appearances as a jumping off point for bigger projects, these cartoons served as pilots for what could become a new series.

A lot of well-loved shows got their start this way; both Powerpuff Girls and Courage the Cowardly Dog got started as shorts on Cartoon Network’s What-A-Cartoon. Meanwhile, Beavis and Butthead and Aeon Flux came into their own via MTV’s much edgier Liquid Television.

I miss these cheap and cheerful parades of creative Ids gone wild because it gave us a look into talents that we very rarely would get to see otherwise. These days, such things have been replaced with soulless statistics and sample audience surveys.

There’s a reason why Youtube is my go-to place for entertainment these days; because the internet is where the people crazy enough to do something amazing can be truly free.

3 Songs You’ve Probably Heard and Loved (But Don’t Remember Where You Heard Them From)

The days before the widespread availability of the internet sucked if you wanted to learn more about something. You’d have to dig through mountains of books, newspapers, magazines, and essays to find leads. Failing that, you’d have to ask your friends who were often just as clueless as you.

These days, it’s as easy as typing a few words into your browser’s search bar. But once upon a time, movies, television, and other media loved to toy with us by slipping awesome music into their stuff and then make us freak out over where they can be found. Sometimes even the credits at the end – if there are any – provide limited information.

So, in remembrance of those days before Heard On TV and TuneFind existed, Here are some tunes that drove us crazy trying to find them.

Electric Worry – Clutch

While I don’t much care for Clutch lyrically (they can be VERY hit or miss), I will contest that they are amazing at creating a beat that’s perfect for kicking some ass to.

That’s probably why the folks behind the game Left 4 Dead 2 used Electric Worry in the TV spots that got everyone hyped for it. It certainly does its job to put you in the mood to slay some zombies.

Still, can you imagine how much of a kick in the cajones it was to get the game and NOT hear it anywhere? I mean, there’s an entire map dedicated to using the A/V gear and pyrotechnics of an abandoned rock concert to signal a rescue. That would have been the perfect time for a great big ‘F*** yeah’ song like that.

O’ Death – Jen Tidus

Now, to the song’s credit, you’ve likely heard this one off of the soundtrack for O’ Brother, Where Art Thou. But that’s not the cover of this classic that my generation remembers. Instead, we associate it with the introduction of Death himself on the series Supernatural.

I think the reason we remember this version so vividly is because of the imagery and tone it evokes. It took a folk song about a man worked to the brink of death begging for one more day and grew that emotion to cover an entire planet pleading with the last horseman of the apocalypse for mercy.

Also, we didn’t have to watch a bunch of  KKK a-holes commit an act of cultural vandalism by stealing and perverting a famous spiritual for this one. I mean, I appreciate the irony of that scene, but it was infuriating to watch.

Release The Beast – Breakwater

I find that one of the most difficult situations to suss out what song I’m listening during to is while listening to a completely different song. That’s not to say that I’m against sampling in music. As we’ve established, I’m a fan of Vaporwave and that genre is based almost entirely around sampled and edited tracks.

But what I am saying is that if it weren’t for sites like WhoSampled to help me out, I would have never known that one of Daft Punk’s most famous songs is just a short loop of a rock/funk fusion track from 1980.

Of course, I’m not trying to belittle the glory that is Robot Rock either. Minimalism is a valid artistic style after all. But that said, I’m glad to have stumbled upon Release The Beast if only to take a look at the shift in the music industry between the 70’s and the 80’s and catch a glimpse of the transition as it happened.

In fact, I encourage you to find out what songs YOU like have sampled other artists and where they got the samples from. You may just learn something about music history in the process.

3 Reasons Modern Television Bites (Made Worse By The Internet)

T.V. is bad for us, but not in the way you may think.
Source: health.howstuffworks.com

A while ago, I advised my parents to drop their cable T.V. service in order to save money as almost every service television provides can be gained from other source for less if not free.

Recently, they took a small step to taking my advise and dropped the expanded cable from their plan.

Basically, the point I’m trying to make is that, after many years, I’m starting to pay attention to T.V. again.

I’ve said in the past that the services rendered by the internet make television obsolete. But, now that I’ve seen what T.V. is offering again, I’m convinced that I’d still be finding other pastimes just because there is so much wrong with the way T.V. stations work that are unbearable on their own, but made even worse by the alternatives given to us by services like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube.

For Example…

Design by Committee

The problem with putting your show idea in the hands of a network is that you’re now obligated to do whatever they ask and make your show what THEY want if you want to keep seeing that paycheck in the mail. You’ve lost custody of your brainchild.

As a result, your show is now in the hands of stuffy number crunchers that only understand meaningless ratings and non-existent demographics. Each of them use a similar formula to maximize viewership and demand that a show be retooled to fit those perimeters, meaning that most shows play out similarly.

While this would make for boring T.V. on its own, it’s made worse by services like YouTube and Blip that have little to no involvement in the content of the videos produced (with the exception of explicit material, of course) and just give producers free reign. This provides a greater variety of content. You would never see something like the educational entertainment of SciShow or the witty parody of Dragonball Z: Abridged on cable.

NetFlix and Hulu are still somewhat limited in this regard as they’re pressured to host quality content. That said they still have an edge over T.V. because…

Network Executives Suck at Scheduling

The presence of network schedules have always hurt television. People just don’t have the time or the ability to bend their lives around the screen.

This is further compounded by the fact that a good show can ‘fail’ in the eyes of networks despite praise from fans just because of poor scheduling.

For example, you know all of those superhero cartoons that seem to disappear after a season or two despite being really good? Well, half the reason for that is because they were scheduled for a time ideal for children while the grown-ups are at work despite superhero stories being really popular with an older audience and deserving a more family friendly slot.

This isn’t an issue for streaming video services that offer their programs when YOU want them and don’t force you to bend to their whims for the sake of escapist entertainment.

Oh, and speaking of shows that are canceled…

The Dreaded Tax Write-off

Here’s something I’m willing to bet a lot of you didn’t know about. Hell, I didn’t hear about it until last Sunday.

As it turns out, if a series tanks hard as a result of incompetence (the network’s or the producer’s), the network can save their own asses by getting a tax write-off. The trade off being they can never air the series again.

In short, those shows you loved that they don’t show anymore – Megas XLR, Sym-bionic Titan, Firefly and the like? Yeah, you’re NEVER going to see a return of those shows. It doesn’t matter how many petitions you sign; they’re gone… FOREVER.

Of course, there’s always the off chance that another channel could pick it up. But, in most cases, the station they were on was the one best suited to the kind of material that show featured.

Again, streaming services like YouTube, Bilp, and others offer an alternative. Since everything is producer controlled, a rough patch that puts the show on hiatus doesn’t spell the death of the show as a whole. Though, ditching the show for any length of time runs the risk of some viewers jumping ship and forgetting about you anyway.

In closing, we need to cut out the middle man and give producers control of their properties via streaming services. That way, good entertainment has the optimal chance to succeed without network executives doing what they do best – finding something simple and complicating it.

Three Criminally Under-Rated Christmas Specials

Today, we’ll be rounding out the trifecta of Christmas cheer with one last look at an aspect of the holidays that we all share.

It’s kind of sad that we don’t see any more Christmas specials on television. Instead, we just get the same string of Harry Potter movies that we get on Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Back in my day, we got a flood of great shows and movies around this time of year. So, in an attempt to reintroduce variety, please accept this short collection of Christmas specials that time has seemed to forget.

A Wish for Wings That Work

Peanuts wasn’t the only comic strip to get a holiday special; many people tend to forget the often politicized Outland whose most recognizable character – Opus the Penguin – got a book that was adapted for T.V.

Opus laments the fact that he was born a penguin as this means he’s a bird that can’t fly. After making a wish for fight capable wings to Santa, he starts on a journey of self-acceptance and pride in who he is.

The special features amazing visuals and gives its cast tons of personality via the political and social commentary that Outland was known for. What’s more, it also features amazing voice talent and direction – including an appearance from the recently and dearly departed Robin Williams as the disgruntled kiwi George.

This special teaches the lesson that Mick Jagger taught before it: “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes,… you’ll get what you need.”

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

There have been a lot Christmas stories that attempted to revise the origins of Santa, but this one is my personal favorite.

This retelling paints the joyful holiday figure as the adopted child of immortal forces and follows his literal fight for the right to spread happiness.

As to be expected from the man who created the world of Oz, this story is grand and fantastical in scope. Combine this with the nostalgic twinge of that classic Rankin/Bass animation, and the special is a real treat.

There is a traditionally animated revision of this movie for those who hate on stop-motion animation, but I actually recommend the original for its more epic scale – especially the climax that plays out like a battle ripped straight out of one of The Lord of the Rings movies.

The Stingiest Man in Town

Another thing we aren’t lacking in the Christmas department are versions of A Christmas Carol. But, if I had to choose one, this would be it.

In the past, I’ve voiced a displeasure with musicals, but this one isn’t bad and is actually quite well written and performed. Part of that may be due to the fact that it was adapted from an original Broadway musical.

This special, although it skips over or rushes past a few iconic moments from other renditions, does so in order to expand on and focus on others. This helps us to better see and appreciate Scrooge’s transformation into the good man we know he’ll become in the end.

I could never actually choose one version of this classic, but this one is absolutely worth seeing.

Theoretically Fascinating: A Look At Interesting Fan Theories

Shown here is a simulation of my brain after finishing research on this article.
Source: LastNameFirst.tv

Fan theories are, at least from my end, a welcome addition to storytelling narratives. It lets the audience speculate and imagine, letting them feel as if they are contributing something to the story. Basically, it more deeply engages the viewer or reader while forcing them to think about something they care about in a new light.

Since one of the goals of this page is to facilitate thought (even if it is on such a geeky topic), I thought it would be good to talk about some of the theories I’ve heard that have sparked my interest and helped to change the way we look at our favorite stories.

DISCLAIMER: None of the following have been confirmed as canonical; it is merely speculation by fans. If something offends you DO NOT complain to the writers. Instead, respectfully debate the possibility of these theories being true and/or share your own theories in the comments.

Disney’s Aladdin Is A Phony Sales Pitch… Or Is It?

“If I tell you a fantastical story, will you please buy my crap?”
Source: Disney Wiki

The tale of Aladdin is a well-loved Middle Eastern tale (well, a Chinese tale actually) that has enchanted many a person over the years. But fans of the Disney interpretation have raised an interesting thought: what if the whole story was an elaborate lie from an Agrabah snake oil salesman?

In the opening moments of the film, we are introduced to a shady peddler  wandering the dark nighttime alleys of Agrabah. After addressing the audience directly and after a few failed attempts to sell a broken hookah pipe/coffee maker and a box he markets as ‘Dead Sea Tupperware’, he presents us with the magic lamp that will drive the plot.

However, certain facts don’t mesh well. If this lamp is such an amazing historical artifact, how did a common merchant come across it? Why push worthless junk first if you have something that is of true value to sell first? Why, if it’s so valuable, is it not a treasure of the royal family or in a museum? It’s more likely that this man is just making up a magnificent story in order to sell you a worthless trinket.

An alternate theory suggests, however, that the peddler is telling the truth and that he knows Aladdin’s story because he is in fact the Genie of the Lamp himself in magical disguise.

This makes some sense; The peddler’s clothes match the color scheme of the genie – a running theme in his human forms, they share similar facial features, they have identical bombastic personalities, they are the only characters with four fingers on each hand, and both are voiced by Robin Williams.

Also, watch the final scene of the movie when Aladdin wishes for the Genie’s freedom more closely. The lamp disappears from Aladdin’s hands when Genie shakes them. Could he have palmed the lamp without anyone noticing?

Sadly, we’ll never know which, if either, of these stories is true until we hear it from the creators themselves.

Majora’s Mask Is A Eulogy To Navi (And Possibly Link)

Rest in peace, mute elf boy and loudmouth lightning bug.
Source: Man vs. Game

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is easily one of the darkest entries in the series (yes, even more so than Twilight Princess). But just how dark did it get without us knowing?

Many believe that the locales that make up the land of Termina – Clock Town, Woodfall, Snowhead, Great Bay, and Ikana Canyon – and the order you are forced to visit them in are symbolic of the Kübler-Ross Stages of Grief – grief that Link feels after losing his fairy companion Navi in the previous game, Ocarina of Time.

The areas visited, and thusly the stages of grief, go as such. In Clock Town, the citizens are in denial of the moon clearly falling on their city. In Woodfall, the king takes his undue anger for his missing daughter out on a helpless monkey. In Snowhead, the ghost of the goron hero Darmani bargains with Link to use his magic to either resurrect him or give his soul peace. At Great Bay, the zora lady Lulu is in a deep depression over the loss of her eggs. It is only after confronting denial, anger, bargaining, and depression that Link scales the tower at Ikana Canyon and claims the Light Arrow – a light symbolic of the mental enlightenment that comes with the acceptance of the nature of his struggle.

Some fans have taken this theory further and suggest that Link’s grief is towards his own mortality. This makes sense according to the official timeline. In the next game, Twilight Princess, Link confronts a skeletal specter called the Hero’s Spirit who is the undead incarnation of the previous Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask and bares a strong resemblance to villains known as stalfos.

Majora’s Mask opens and closes with Link searching for Navi in the Lost Woods that, according to legends spoken of in Ocarina of Time, will turn any lost soul unfortunate enough to die there into a stalfos. Could Link have died in the search for Navi and returned as a stalfos in Twilight Princess to pass on the, “…lessons of his life to those who came after him?” We may never know.

James Bond Is Many Men With No Name

“Doe… John Doe.”
Source: Movie Roar

James Bond, for all of his many flaws, is a great character. He isn’t a perfect godsend like some more poorly written heroes. He’s clearly flawed and human… but why do those flaws seem to change with the actors portraying him?

The easy answer is differences in creative vision, but that isn’t the answer for those who don’t want to lose their sense of immersion in the story. Instead, fans have formed a brilliant explanation for these changes in personality as well as physical appearance: James Bond isn’t a real person; it’s a code name.

Seems to be a legitimate answer, right? After all, when you’re a member of a top secret government organization, you don’t want to be easily traced back to your employer if captured or killed. So you would naturally use an alias. Perhaps MI6 created the moniker of James Bond to be used by Agent 007 and continue to use it for all of his successors.

Not only is this reasonable from a practical standpoint, it also works from a storytelling view as well. So called ‘legacy heroes’ are nothing new in fiction. To use comic books as an example of this, there have been five Robins, four Flashes, three Blue Beetles, and lord-knows-how-many Green Lanterns (okay, it’s six if you only count the ones from Earth, but there’s a whole corps of them around the galaxy at any given moment).

Making a character a legacy hero allows him or her to reflect on or react to the identity of the previous mantle-holders and gives them another outlet to expand and build their own identity. Perhaps the makers of the Bond films considered this as a storytelling tool. If not, it’s not to late to consider it retroactively.

Why Spend So Much Time On Fan Theories?

As stated, part of my goal is to make people think about things in a new light and fan theories do just that. They make you reconsider the world of an author’s creation through a new contextual lens and view the characters, their struggles, and their final resolution with deeper meaning.

On top of that, it’s just a lot of fun and good for making you think! It’s almost a sport to see what hidden stories the author may have left for your imagination to work out. It’s good mental exercise to ask, “what if?”

What if Ferris Bueller was just an imaginary facet of Cameron’s personality? What if ‘The Bride’ Beatrix Kiddo didn’t actually kill Bill? What if the entirety of all stories on television took place in a daydream in an autistic child’s mind? These are puzzles of our own creation and new ones will come to forever perplex and intrigue as long as there are storytellers to leave them for us to discover.

The New Face Of Entertainment: Independent Online Shows And Why You Should Support Them

Source: grabworthy.com

You may be trading in that remote for a mouse and keyboard after this.
Source: grabworthy.com

You’d be surprised how often my friends will be talking to me about some great show on television that’s apparently compulsory to watch and then I feel stupid for not following it. Then I have to explain how I just don’t have time for regular television.

Instead, I prefer to follow independent shows that circulate on the internet. There’s a fantastic trove of quality entertainment to be found if you dig just a little.

What Makes Independent Online Broadcasting Better?

The internet is doing what television, radio, and film did when they were first introduced. It’s changing the way that we consume information and how we entertain ourselves and others. Polls show that internet usage has exceeded that of T.V. and that it’s starting to gain on T.V. as a preferred news source .

This makes sense. As we become busier, people are becoming less flexible in terms of their schedules. Television forces it’s viewers around its schedule and people just can’t find time for it anymore. DVR’s and “on-demand” services attempt to correct this, but few people are willing to pay the price tag for what amounts to a glorified bandage.

As for the independent sector of broadcasting, the kind that you regularly find on sites like YouTube, these producers and their viewers benefit from the lack of strict oversight that comes from a studio environment. Whether due to content, running time, or marketability, many of these shows would never see the light of day if a major station were given the choice to air them.

Independent online shows don’t impose a strict schedule on viewers and instead eschew demographics and ratings statistics in favor of offering a variety of content and presentation styles to choose from. In short, if the producer has a good idea, he or she won’t have to fight with channel executives to get it aired; the audience just naturally gravitates to it.

So we know why this new generation of entertainers is superior, but which ones should we follow?

VlogBrothers

What started on January of 2007 as the “Brotherhood 2.0 Project” to see if brothers Hank and John Green could replace all text based communication with video blogs on a shared YouTube channel for one year is now regarded as one the greatest (and geekiest) expressions of brotherly love recorded.

The Greens each post a new four minute episode regularly to share updates on their lives, interesting discoveries, or just things they thought were amusing. Whether it’s John doing a “critical analysis” of sports games being interrupted by animals or Hank temporarily turning off his cheery demeanor to go on 17 rants in a row, these brothers are dedicated to giving each other and their viewers their daily dose of nerd.

Hank And John have also branched out into other projects as a result of VlogBrothers success. For example, John is a successful young adult fiction writer and a regular host on Mental Floss magazines YouTube channel while Hank is a talented musician and hosts SciShow; all projects that you should look into.

Game Grumps

One of the massive changes to entertainment brought on by the internet is the “Let’s Play” culture where video game lovers chronicle their own experience of a game as they play it. Arguably, there is no one who entertains as much doing this as these guys.

Originally consisting of the duo of Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson and “JonTron” Jon Jafari (who left the show and was replaced by Danny “Sexbang” Avidan from the band NinjaSexParty, but Jon still works on his own show), The Game Grumps play through a combination of iconic and obscure games with commentary ranging from scathing to hilarious. All of this is made even more amusing when their invisible editor Barry Kramer throws in a few graphics to make his own two cents heard (or rather, seen.)

In addition to spinning off into a new series called Steam Train, this show has done more for the fan community than any other thanks to the fan-made Game Grumps Animated sequences that depict the hosts as the characters they are playing as making snide comments from actual episodes of the show and messing with the other characters.

Man At Arms

Tony Swatton is probably one of the hardest working men in Hollywood. He has brought his 30+ years of expertise in the lost art of blacksmith armoring to over 200 feature films and television series. The only problem: those weapons were all harmless aluminum props. These, however, are the real deal.

Man At Arms has Swatton recreating the most iconic weapons of film, television, and video games as real and fully functional blades. The formula draws from shows like American Chopper, but cuts out the unnecessary and annoying drama in favor of focusing on the steps to making these fine pieces of art while still maintaining a heavy metal edge (no pun intended).

Making weapons ranging from simple builds like Jamie Lannister’s sword from Game of Thrones to the absolutely “redonkalous” Buster Sword from Final Fantasy 7, Tony Swatton proves his skill and shows the beauty in this under-appreciated and often overlooked craft.

Game Exchange

The problem with geeks is that we tend to focus on a very limited field of expertise. Fortunately, we have shows like Game Exchange to broaden our horizons.

After spending two and a half years living in Japan, the host known lovingly as “Gaijin Goombah” decided to use his love of video games as a means of teaching others about significant cultural influences in the medium. While he primarily focuses on Japanese culture, his goal is to eventually cover all of the cultures of the world.

The novelty of the show comes from the presentation. In the show, Gaijin Goombah plays an actual Goomba who adopts the way of the samurai (“Gaijin” translates from Japanese meaning “Foreigner”) to stop a clan of ninja from spreading cultural ignorance and hatred.

Goombah works very closely with other producers as a member of The Game Theorists, a group of video game aficionados who analyze gaming culture. They include “MatPat” Mathew Patrick who hosts the group’s namesake series that forms theories about the strangeness of games and Ronnie Edwards who runs Digressing and Sidequesting – a show that deals with a more general analysis of games. So it would be worthwhile to check them out as well.

There is SO much more…

I could go on forever about other great shows and producers that deserve support, but this is already the longest article I’ve ever written, so let’s end this by saying that the web is where good ideas can run free and unhindered by stuff-shirt television executives that can’t understand good taste without statistics and charts. If you have an indie show you want others to see, please share it with us in the comments and let us all be entertained and informed.