He said/she said: 'Alcatraz'
January 17th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

He said/she said: 'Alcatraz'

Editor's note: The following is an e-mail conversation between CNN Geek Out's Elizabeth Landau and Henry Hanks. If you didn't watch Monday night's season premiere of "Alcatraz," another supernatural mystery show by nerd icon J.J. Abrams ("Star Trek," "Lost," "Fringe") don't read any further. Due to the involvement of Abrams, the cast, and the concept – which deals in both science and historical fiction – this has been a much-anticipated show by fans of both genres. Landau began by responding to Hanks' recap on CNN's Marquee Blog, which you can read here.

Landau: I had high hopes for “Alcatraz,” expecting the genius of a J.J. Abrams production and Jorge Garcia’s acting to be injected into this show. And it does have a lot of potential. I like the idea that the prisoners have suddenly shown up in San Francisco and we don’t know why. I think the most interesting character so far is actually Emerson Hauser, played by Sam Neill of “Jurassic Park” and "Merlin" fame, and I agree that he doesn’t get enough screen time. I want to know more of his back story. He obviously has knowledge that he’s not sharing, and so holds the key to uncovering why these prisoners are suddenly turning up.

But when I realized that this is going to turn into an “inmate of the week” drama, I became less interested. On “Lost,” since it dealt with a bunch of travelers trapped on an island, it felt like there was a lot more at stake for everyone involved, and it was more interesting to delve into their pasts. We get a little of that here but not enough. Detective Madsen has a personal interest in this investigation because her grandfather was one of the prisoners, but I just don’t feel enough genuine passion from her to care that much. And Garcia’s character Dr. Soto – what’s really in it for him? I feel like he needs more of a reason to care, too. Since we know him from "Lost," we want him to be comic relief but it doesn’t seem like his lines were written in quite the right way to let him shine.

Honestly I was getting pretty bored with the second episode – it dragged along as the detectives chase Ernest Cobb and he goes around killing people. But at the end of the second episode we get that big reveal that Lucy was Cobb’s doctor decades earlier, which makes it more interesting that he shot her specifically. I thought to myself “oh, wait, so this episode was important in the grand scheme of the show.” But I felt like I had to go through nearly an hour of “meh” to get to the “oh, cool” moment.

I am curious to see where this show goes but it was definitely not as stellar as the first two episodes of “Lost.” And unlike the pilot of “Once Upon a Time,” which got me feeling like I just had to know what’s driving this alternative world in which fairy-tale characters are stuck, I’m not itching to know what’s going on with these time-inconsistent inmates. But perhaps, as with “Lost,” Abrams has some major tricks up his sleeve that will wow us later.
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Life-sized Stormtrooper cake takes eaters to the delicious side
Warning: This particular stormtrooper is not edible (click the link below for a look at the cake).
January 17th, 2012
05:08 PM ET

Life-sized Stormtrooper cake takes eaters to the delicious side

A very short time ago, in Boston, Massachusetts, hungry Arisia Sci-Fi Convention attendees chowed down on what its creators described as "the world’s most epic cake."

According to Tyler Oakleaf, co-owner of Amanda Oakleaf Cakes, it took a staff of ten to assemble the 6 foot 4 inch edible Stormtrooper using 208 eggs, 20 pounds of butter, 140 pounds of sugar, 35 pounds of flour, 55 pounds of marshmallows and 30 pounds of Rice Krispies Treats.

READ ON, WATCH THE VIDEO

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Curt Schilling the dragon-slayer
Curt Schilling is now the chairman and founder of 38 Studios, a video game company that is getting set to release its first title.
January 17th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

Curt Schilling the dragon-slayer

Curt Schilling can throw a baseball far better than you can. He can also kick your dark-elf butt in a Nagafen raid or smite Deathwing the Destroyer before you get close enough to smell the smoldering embers.

Schilling is, and has been for the past 31 years, a gamer. He honed his controller skills on an Intellivision video game system. His first favorite game was - surprise - “Major League Baseball.”

“I was at the right age for consoles, when ‘Pong’ was the ‘Need For Speed’ of the day,” Schilling said. “(‘Major League Baseball’) was like the greatest baseball game ever. If you had a consistent playing partner like they do in ‘Starcraft’ now, every game was 1-0, and you had to hit a home run down the left field line.”

But that fascination didn’t last long. Schilling - who had a very successful MLB pitching career lasted for 20 season; who helped two different teams win world championships in 2001, 2004 and 2007; who was a six time All-Star and currently holds the record for postseason winning percentage - said baseball video games were never hard enough to keep his attention.

So he started playing fantasy-based, massive multiplayer online games such as “Ultima Online” and “EverQuest.”

“I was always a big fantasy guy, a big ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ kind of gamer,” Schilling said. “That was always a very big, significant piece of my gaming because I was always a very avid reader as a kid. I read ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy for probably the 20th time a couple of years ago, but that’s what got me into fantasy gaming.” FULL POST

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Hogwarts houses answer your questions
Ginny DiGuiseppi portrays a Hogwarts student responding to a viewer question.
January 17th, 2012
01:49 PM ET

Hogwarts houses answer your questions

Dana Ritterbusch and Ginny DiGuiseppi aren't your ordinary "Harry Potter" fans.

The two college students from Denver recently began a series of YouTube videos in which "Hogwarts students" respond to people's everyday questions.

The videos, called "Ask Hogwarts," are parodies of the differences between the different Hogwarts houses in the "Harry Potter" books and movies.

Tens of thousands clicked on the original video after it was posted earlier this month.

CNN Geek Out spoke to the duo, who go by the sketch comedy title, "Not Literally," about where this idea came from:
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