Saturday, April 30, 2016

Five Fandom Friday: Media You Hold Dear But No One's Ever Heard Of

Image courtesy Katelyn Jade
5 Fandom Friday is a weekly meme hosted by The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick. This week's question was originally 5 Fandoms You Hold Dear... but I changed it a little because I'm not much of a fandom person. Anyway, moving on!

1. The Abhorsen series

Image courtesy HarperCollins
Remember when Harry Potter kicked off a mania for fantasy adaptations? On the one hand, we got The Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, but on the other hand, it's too bad they never made a movie adaptation of The Dark is Rising and the disaster (though hilarious RiffTrax) that was Eragon. It took ages, but we even got a mind-blowing miniseries adaptation for Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. But no one ever has made a film or even TV version of Garth Nix's Abhorsen books. Whenever I bring up this one, it's like only super YA/fantasy nerds have heard of it. This breaks my heart, because it's miles ahead of Harry Potter in world-building, consistency, characters, and overall quality of writing, but it's JRowls who has all of the cash and acclaim and mindshare.

Life isn't fair, guys.

2. Jade Empire

Courtesy EA/Bioware
The day Bioware got bought out by EA was a dark day indeed for this original IP inspired by kung fu movies and Chinese mythology. Bioware built an entire world for this title and seemed keen to expand on it, but then Dragon Age and Mass Effect happened, not to mention some Star Wars games, and I suspect EA will be pumping them for sequels to those forever. I think I'm the only person who remembers Jade Empire these days. :( RIP best, most elegant fighting system in an RPG ever.

3. Sliders

Image courtesy St. Clare Entertainment/Universal Television

When people even remember this gem, they usually rag on it for being a poor man's version of Quantum Leap or Stargate SG-1, but those people are ignorant haters. The show definitely took some weird turns under Fox's overmuch control in the middle seasons, and Wade is the obnoxious token woman who just whines and moons after the hero, and Rembrandt might be a bit of an awful stereotype, but still.

4. The Dungeons and Dragons movie

Image courtesy Sweetpea Entertainment

I remember the trailers for this when it was first out, though I didn't see it until it was already on video. I don't remember what I thought of it back then, except that I knew it had gotten terrible reviews. But rewatching it as an adult, you know what? It's not that bad. I kind of wish it had become a full-on franchise, like every couple years we got another goofy swords and sorcery story set in a D&D campaign. Like the Dragonlance novels, only self-aware and funny. But I guess the golden age of 80s/early 90s swords and sorcery movies was over by the time Dungeons and Dragons came out.

5. Standard Action

Image courtesy Rob Hunt/Critical Success Productions
Speaking of goofy, self-aware swords and sorcery stories set in the D&D universe, how about Standard Action? Most web series are cringe-inducing, and even this one has its rough spots, but I laughed more than I groaned. Start with the first season and you'll have a few hours of binge-watching ahead of you.

Bonus self-aware D&D fantasy indie movies: The Gamers

Image courtesy Dead Gentlemen Productions

Bless Dead Gentlemen Studios, they seem to have built a pretty credible success out of their indie college production, The Gamers. I still haven't seen Humans & Households, Hands of Fate, Curse of the Blind Swordsman, or Natural One, but The Gamers and The Gamers: Dorkness Rising are fantastic.


  1. Hahaha, okay, you win! The only one of these I've even heard of is Sabriel, and I have to confess I haven't read it. We had a copy on the bookshelves when I was growing up, but it belonged to my sister and always seemed like way more her kind of book than mine.

    1. Sabriel is my flaw-free fave! If you're at all into fantasy, it's very much worth your time. Sabriel is standalone, but Lirael/Abhorsen are basically one book split into two volumes so be prepared for frustrating not-an-end feelings. Otherwise your sister has A+ taste.