Nerd Legion is a weekly podcast exploring science fiction and fantasy TV shows and films as well as other aspects of nerd culture. Featuring long-time esports casting duo Erik "DoA" Lonnquist and Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles, the show highlights their years of established synergy and banter to lend humor and insight into the latest pop culture trends.
SURF NINJAS: The BEST 90's ninja movie? Unintentionally hilarious
DoA forces Monte to watch a forgotten kids' movie from 1993, the terrible and hilarious Surf Ninjas. Clearly attempting to capitalize on the martial arts craze arising from Karate Kid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the film contains notable actors Leslie Nielsen and Rob Schneider in some of their most forgettable roles. Surf Ninjas attempts to shoehorn product placement for its own video game on the SEGA Game Gear portable video game system, using the novel approach of having the video game be used as a tool for prophecy. While completely ridiculous, Surf Ninjas does provide some accidental big laughs and can be viewed as a time capsule for terrible 90's cinema.
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER: A gruesomely fun and heavy-handed Poe tribute
Mike Flanagan's latest horror effort, The Fall of the House of Usher, has arrived on Netflix just in time for Halloween! Serving as a modernized tribute and anthology to the works of Edgar Allan Poe, it weaves together a variety of the author's short stories and poetry around a larger narrative of one family's responsibility for the American opioid epidemic. The series provides a variety of pulpy and fun moments, but struggles to contain a ham-fisted and overly preachy condemnation of capitalism. Mark Hamill, Bruce Greenwood, Mary McDonnell, and the rest of the ensemble cast shine as the deeply unlikable Usher family and their cronies, and the cinematography is also memorable and spectacular.
LOKI: Zany time travel, witty banter, and McDonald's product placement
Nerd Legion is back in the Marvel Cinematic Universe this week with the start of Loki Season 2, which, unlike the tragic Secret Invasion, appears to be well-crafted and entertaining. The three primary actors in this season, Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, and Ke Huy Quan, all excel in their roles and create an atmosphere of banter and fun. The show uses clever visual queues to make the timelines easily comprehensible to the audience and abides by its own set of rules to create an air of mystery about the TVA and guide the viewer along.
AHSOKA: Thrawn is an IDIOT, deus ex machina writing, giant plot holes
Ahsoka's first season wraps up with the reveal of Grand Admiral Thrawn, long-anticipated by fans of the Star Wars extended universe. Unfortunately, his characterization as a complete buffoon leaves Monte in shock, since he bears little resemblance to his portrayal in Timothy Zahn's novel. While the visuals and design of Ahsoka remain spectacular, the plot contains massive holes, deus ex machina writing, and non-sensical actions by the characters. DoA and Monte argue about whether anything actually happened over the course of the show's eight episodes, and DoA explains his fondness for Ahsoka in spite of its flaws.
AHSOKA: The return of Anakin, stylish Jedi battles, and Kurosawa's influence
Nerd Legions dives further into Ahsoka as the show fleshes out her character with the return of Anakin Skywalker and flashbacks to her past. The show includes incredibly impressive visuals, well-choreographed lightsaber battles, and an admirable commitment to the Star Wars aesthetic that impressed our hosts. While some rather glaring plot holes emerged and viewers are left contemplating Hera's arguably criminal parenting, Ahsoka's plot moves along at a reasonable clip and continues to deliver an entertaining experience. DoA and Monte also discuss the influence from Kurosawa's samurai films, the mythological and Arthurian references made in the show, and much more.
AHSOKA: REVIEW of Star Wars' newest show / Is it a RETCON of the sequel trilogy
New Star Wars content arrives in the form of the first two episodes of Ahsoka, with Nerd Legion here to provide an initial impression and review as the Disney+ series kicks off. DoA and MonteCristo discuss where this show fits in the Star Wars universe, if its intention is to provide a retcon of the terrible sequel trilogy, the success of the show's aesthetic, and more. Even though some scenes felt a little too drawn out and the dialogue fell flat in parts, overall the show looks to set up a highly-anticipated arc with an exciting adversary in Admiral Thrawn. Although it's not peak Star Wars yet and comes with some pacing flaws, we leave excited to watch the remainder of the series.