It’s the Fall TV season everyone, which means less and less every year. With HBO releasing some of their biggest shows during the summer  and Netflix just out and saying that they don’t care about traditional programming schedules, we’re less shackled to the idea that this one time of the year is for new television.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t still new TV though.

You’re the Worst Season 4

You’re the Worst is still the best show you’re not watching. There’s a rumour that apparently one of the FX bigwigs just really loves the show and that’s why it keeps getting renewed. If so, bless that man (or woman). There were episodes of Season 3 that only had  100k people watching. Even by the standards of a cable channel that’s depressingly low.

If you’re not familiar with the premise, it centers around the romance between Jimmy (Chris Geere)and Gretchen (Aya Cash). Jimmy is a self-absorbed writer who hates the world and Gretchen is self-destructive PR agent who hates the world. The reason this works at all is that the show masterfully sneaks humanity into these outwardly irredeemable characters. All while being genuinely hilarious.

Despite the fact that these characters are outwardly despicable, the show manages to make you care about and if not sympathize, at least empathize with them. For a show centered around people who are actively monstrous to almost everyone they meet, they become strangely endearing. Probably my favorite feat of storytelling is pulling this off.

Well measured splashes of humanity offsetting an ocean of cancerous behavior. The audience ends up actually caring about your monsters.

The show (for me) had a bit of misstep last season. Season 2 is one of the most compelling seasons of a comedy show. The through-line story deftly navigates depression in a way that doesn’t diminish it, but also manages to be funny.

Season 3 lacked such a strong driving narrative, and ultimately had to deal with the fact that Jimmy and Gretchen were now in what resembled a working relationship. And that’s kind of where it lost its way. These characters are at their best when their own shittiness is preventing them from attaining happiness. 

The show runners must have realized that their main characters being apart was a key ingredient. The finale had Jimmy proposing to Gretchen under fireworks and then immediately getting nervous and skipping town. Leaving Gretchen stranded on a hilltop in the middle of the night.

Great finale.

I’m about 3 episodes into this most recent season (as of publishing, 7 episodes have aired) and by having Gretchen and Jimmy completely fractured I’m already more invested than I was for most of last season. The show is even better by having Lindsay and Edgar (supporting cast members) thriving in their newfound careers to even further juxtapose how far the “main” characters have fallen in their self-destruction.

We get to see exactly how far Jimmy ran when he left Gretchen. We get to see Gretchen transform into a complete shut-in as she destructively avoids even remotely coping with what has happened. We get to see these characters avoid their problems with escapism, drugs and sex. We get to see them unhappy and being the worst.

Good stuff. Back on track.

Stranger Things Mobile Game

I don’t even know how I came across this. I read a lot of the internet so I’m sure it popped up into one of my feeds somewhere or another. Probably because my eyes light up like a Christmas tree light desperately trying to enable communication between horrific Lovecraftian dimensions and our own every time I heard about new Stranger Things content.

Mobile gaming is a tricky thing that usually just ends up being a cash grab full of micro-transactions.

Mobile games make the most money in a 3 step process:

  1. Get a player to download your game by linking it to a recognizable brand/property.
  2. Have good enough gameplay to get your player hooked.
  3. Slowly build up a difficulty wall that the player won’t mind spending a few bucks on getting by.

Netflix on the other hand, stopped at Step 1.

Strange Things: The Game is a lot like the original Zelda. The interface is made up of top down retro graphics where the player controls characters from the show as they navigate locations, fight monsters and unlock weapons and upgrades. Like in some later iterations of Zelda, as the game progresses you get access to powers that have applications in previous dungeons so you have to double back to get 100% game completion/access to all the powers. I’m fairly sure the doubling back is optional here in most cases.

The controls are also pretty innovative as they move that top-down game model to mobile. Instead of having a clumsy D-pad and button overlay on the touch screen (which sucks), a system is employed where your character just walks towards whatever spot on the screen you’ve touched. If you touch an enemy instead, the character will attack the enemy.

It’s not a perfect mechanic (targeting an enemy and dodging its attacks is a little cumbersome) but it is vastly superior to that “d-pad on the screen” thing that is often used in these games.

The best part though, like I said, is that Stranger Things stopped at Step 1. The mobile game is a full featured adventure that is available for free. No micro transactions. No upgrades to buy. No limited lives to refill. Just a full game that’s yours for free.

The whole thing just serving as an ad for the second season of the show that premieres on October 27th. Which is fine. If a full video game is how you want to advertise your thing and the game is actually pretty good and fun? Advertise at me baby! I’m ready!

A way for millions of people to get even more hyped for a show they’re already hyped for.

I’m about 2 hours in and 20% complete. So the game probably takes between 8-10 hours to do a full run. I’m playing on the harder of the two modes so your mileage may vary.

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to and thinking about for purposes of this week’s blog.

<3 U.

Keith does all sorts of things here on, he works with the other founders on 9to5 (illustrated), co-hosts our two podcasts: The 9to5 Entertainment System and Go Plug Yourself and blogs here as The Perspicacious Geek.

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