Podcast - This Is Only a Test

Episode 359 – Duocast – 7/21/16

Kishore and Norm preview Tested’s Comic-Con coverage, recap the announcements from Star Wars Celebration, and give a spoiler-free review of Star Trek Beyond. Plus, the return of not one but two fan-favorite cartoon series! All that and our weekly technology, science, and VR news updates.

Comments (10)

10 thoughts on “Episode 359 – Duocast – 7/21/16

  1. I would like to give a very hearty seconding to Kishore’s recommendation of the Timothy Zahn “Thrawn Trilogy.” I’m not a fan of the “expanded universe” nor of “Rebels” or really anything Star Wars related outside of the Original Trilogy (Harmy, despecialized – thanks again KylevT!). However, the Zahn books are my one exception, and they are really great.

    Thrawn is a wonderful creation and the perfect threat to follow Vader. He is not physically imposing, but he is so brilliant and subtle that he presents an entirely different type of danger that the reader actually doubts whether the heroes can counter it. Pair this with the underrated but perfect pairing with a crazed Jedi Master, and you have an evil Empire that actually exceeds the Original Trilogy. I’m afraid Rebels won’t be able to do him justice.

    More than Thrawn, though, the characterizations of the heroes are spot on, but instead of being lazy and retreading material form the Original Trilogy, Zahn smartly takes each one from where they ended in RotJ and sets them on a new story arc that is the logical next step for them as a growing character. Han, having embraced respectability, has to struggle with his new role as a responsible husband and political leader. Luke, now a Jedi, struggles with finding his way on becoming a teacher. Leia, has to find a balance between her personal life, the needs of the New Republic, and come to grips with her past (Vader as her Father). Even better, Zahn plays this out by pairing the characters with unexpected partners (pairings we didn’t get to see in the movies), so you get Leia with Chewie, Han with Lando, and Luke with Mara Jade, a truly great addition to the Star Wars universe. Talon Karrde, too, is well woven into the story as the new Lando/Han figure but without retreading old themes.

    In fact, without going into spoiler territory, if you took Mara Jade and split her into two, unequal and less interesting halves, you would get the thin characterizations found in Rey and Ben Solo. She also serves as another perfect backdrop to demonstrate how powerful Luke Skywalker is, not because of his Jedi skills but because of his actual goodness. When you compare Force Awakens to the Zahn trilogy, it doesn’t fare well at all. Zahn really respected and enhanced the original story and characters, adding to the Original Trilogy rather than taking from it or reducing it. Compare that with the resetting of both the narrative and characters in the Force Awakens (Empire using a Death Start to beat outgunned rebels, and Han is back as a scoundrel and deadbeat dad/husband, Luke is running from his responsibilities, not embracing them, no matter how unprepared he may feel inside . . . .etc.).

    For any not familiar with it, I strongly recommend it. If you can get the Audible audiobook versions (narrated by Marc Thompson), even better! They’re laced with music and sound effects, and Thompson does such a great job with the narration and voice characterizations, it’s more like a radio show than an audiobook. We played a chapter a day for my kids over lunch, and they loved it (I also printed out pictures on the internet of various new aliens, ships, and characters – like a Zahn Trilogy visual dictionary).

    Sorry for the longish post.

  2. I will be buying the NES when it comes out. Looks like they have most of the best games. Super C, MegaMan 2, Double Dragon, Super Mario and Super Mario 3, Metroid, Castlevania 2. This could be my kids first gaming console. Great way to start.

  3. Not to be a pain but its pretty difficult to hear the podcasted (non youtube) version in anything but a very quiet place (at least with my headphones and phone). But I’m assuming there’s a reason you dont boost the audio…? I wont stop listening or anything but more volume would improve the listening experience.

  4. Just as soon as you mention that you can’t hear the construction noise…. Ha! No worries though. I don’t know why people get so uppity with less than recording sound studio quality.

    Can’t unsee that vertical brick now though..

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