1. The Walking Dead Season 3. I have been a longtime reader of the comic series that makes up the source material for this AMC drama. Robert Kirkman’s grim and unrelenting tale of the misery that makes up everyday life for a band of survivors following a zombie plague can occasionally become too dark and hopeless, but the strong characterization of Rick and company keep the comic from becoming too much of a slog. The television show, despite having moments of early greatness (Rick trapped inside a tank as a horde of walkers surrounds it, finding Merle’s hand, basically anything Darryl Dixon does) has never managed to really dig its hooks into me until this past recently-ended season. I blew through all 8 episodes in a short amount of time and the breathless pace uncompromising look at the practical relationships between these disparate people more than made up for the slog that was Herschel’s farm from last season. The show varies quite often from the comics, so I never totally know what’s coming but the presence of The Governor and his special brand of extra-strength crazy made me hopeful going in to this season and it delivered the goods. From Michonne’s katana-based bad-assery to the return of Merle, season 3 has delivered huge upticks in writing, direction, and performance that I cannot wait for the show to return.
2. The John McAfee Saga. I read the Wired article as a Kindle Single, but I have been following the mad tale of former antivirus peddler John McAfee as he went on the run from Belizean authorities following a murder charge. Reading John McAfee’s Last Stand I was able to get a sense for how absolutely insane this story was even before the murder. Between his paranoia, massive arsenal, and unspecified lab on his tropical jungle compound, McAfee comes off like a Bond villain who’s gone off his meds. Learning that the so-called meth lab on his property started out as a research platform for a freelance biochemist to synthesize new antibiotics from rainforest compounds and that he bought a whorehouse to transform it into a family-focused Studio 54-themed restaurant makes him come across more like the mirror-universe version of The Most Interesting Man in the World, except instead of arm-wrestling bears he applies for asylum in Guatemala. It’s a fascinating story, and I have a feeling it is only going to get crazier from here..
3. Hobbit Week on The Colbert Report. Last week Stephen Colbert doubled down on the Tolkein-love in advance of the new Hobbit film from director Peter Jackson. The entire Colbert Report set was decked out with Middle Earth-ian touches from wooden chairs to a stone-paved path. The guest list included all the main stars from Bilbo to Gandalf. Colbert was clearly living out his geekiest fantasies. He also get to play with the sword Sting, the One Ring, have his path barred by Sir Ian McKellan, and smoke some of that halfling weed. Whether or not Colbert makes a cameo appearance in The Hobbit, this was an awesome way to promote it.