People love series. When we love a book, a game, a movie, a piece of artwork — whatever — we want more. Trilogies, tetralogies, quintets: people like it when there is more of what they love (usually… See: The Godfather Part III).
For the Sunday List this week, I wanted to know what our editors’ and contributors’ top _(pick a number)_ favorite series [books, games, movies, music, manga, etc.] were. My only stipulation was that they just try to keep that number manageable. They could feel free to mix and match, too; they needn’t feel limited to only one medium.
I’m gonna kick it Golden Age Detective Fiction and go with the Lord Peter Wimsey series by Dorothy L. Sayers and the Miss Marple series by Agatha Christie.
David S. Atkinson
My top numerical series is the Fibonacci Sequence.
My TOP3 (and I have honestly so many TOP3 it should be hierachized by some tricky workflow chart genius):
1) The Elder Scrolls (the continuous mythology, history and atmosphere they could keep in all games [yes also im Redguard] – just a possibility to enter a library in a random provincial town and read their textes (not necesserely a masterpieces of literature, but so funny and – honest)
2) LOST. (Because they did a poststructuralistic narrative gorgeousness from a TV series – where everybody dies – characters, author and even series viewer – and this is not a spoiler). LOST is for me a huge hope that the noble ideas of postmodernity still remain untouched by mediocricity of commercial entertainment. Because: the authors trust in recipient, and this is damn important.
3) Literary anecdotes by Daniil Kharms (which were contiunated post mortem and belong to a crucial part of Russian [and not only Russian] underground literature. Like, here: “Pushkin liked to throw stones. If he saw stones, then he would start throwing them. Sometimes he would fly into such a temper that he would stand there, red in the face, waving his arms and throwing stones. It really was rather awful!”
I could copy David and say the Fibonacci sequence because that’s pretty cool but I won’t. Let’s go with:
1) The Fast and Furious franchise because, you know.
2) Donkey Kong Country on SNES
3) Home Movies, the animated TV series, and—
4) The Redwall series by Brian Jacques just because it was such a big part of my childhood.
This will be so difficult to limit!
1) The universe as a series of scaling sizes, from planets to solar systems to interstellar neighborhoods to galaxies to galaxy clusters to superclusters and cosmic web, glued together by gravity and dark matter/energy. Also, did I mention it contains everything? The universe is truly amazing in size and content.
2) The crime TV series Midsomer Murders, which is nearly as old as the universe itself. It’s a series in the contradictory type of “cozy murders” crimes, although I doubt any murder is cozy, even if it happens in the most picturesque and peaceful-looking places. One would think there’s a limit to how many murders would happen in a string of similar romantic-looking, hedgerow-lined, thatched-roofed British villages, but there isn’t. Other notable features are sets of strange characters, mild class disagreement, town vs gown, insanity, obsession, greed, and of course, detective work. The English countryside is perhaps the series’ biggest star, even though several British actors that went on to Hollywood later have appeared in the series through the years.
3) The game series Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. In game terms this series is half the age of the universe, with seven games so far, and hopefully an eighth in development. It’s one of the two biggest stealth game series, but has gone through a lot of changes over the years. Archetypally, the game series has connections to the ancient greek god of war and the ancient greek god of the underworld, which to me sums the series up well. In the most recent game, Splinter Cell: Blacklist it was possible to play all stealth (lovely), silent attacks (interesting), or as a typical shooting game (boring). Upcoming games from the same developer, such as Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Rainbow Six: The Siege look like they will share several character animations, textures, and gadgets (and for AC:Unity, shades of the three types of playstyles) with Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
Final Fantasy has been such a huge influence on my life as an artist and person that I don’t think I’d be able to not mention it.
Neveryon by Samuel R Delany is much the same for me. Even though I only came to them a few years ago, I can’t imagine what I’d be like without it.
And then probably China Mieville’s Baslag Trilogy because of the way it opened up genres to me. Before then I thought I was too good for SFF, and now it’s sort of all I want to do.
1. Fave Mini-Comic series, The Complete TARN by Sam Spina, Birdcage Bottom Books, 2014I’m just now falling down the rabbit hole that is self-published zines and comic books, but Sam Spina’s packet of five twelve-page minis is by far my favorite. It’s the absurdist ethos of Internet cartoons distilled to their absolute silliest and printed on neon copy paper, plus it has an alligator that’s obsessed with eating butts. It’s basically tumblr. as a comic book.
2. Fave animated series: Mission Hill, The WB, 1999 – 2000Mission Hill, like many shows on The WB, was too brilliant for its own good. It blended a Day-Glo color palette, gorgeous cartoonish style reminiscent of Peter Bagge’s comic books, and razor sharp humor. It was one of the last hand-drawn primetime cartoons, too, and it featured one of the first on-screen kisses between gay men. I miss this show terribly.
3. Fave movie series, Mad Max, Kennedy Miller Productions, 1979 – Present(!) Truthfully, I could leave the first film—it’s really more of a prelude for how Max got on the road—but the aesthetic of this series and all of the intricate eye-candy (like bad cop, and Feral Kid, and the cow-hide covered car, and Tina Turner’s giant fucking earrings) just entrance me. It’s too bad that Mel Gibson is such a jerk.
Sorry about the long post. I agree that it’s so tough to limit this, especially if we’re looking at multiple media! Luckily, I tend not to read books that belong to series, so I can rule out that category. For the rest, I’ll do my best:
1) Silent Hill (video games): Outside of the books I loved as a child, I can’t think of anything that has influenced me as much as this series. It introduced me to surreal, cerebral horror; to Jacob’s Ladder, Session 9 and the films of David Lynch; and to House of Leaves. There’s no praise sufficient for the core games in the series, Silent Hill 1-4, after which the original design team was disbanded by Konami and Silent Hill became merely a good horror series with a few too many Pyramid Head references. One day, I’ll do a proper writeup on the series for Entropy, and you’ll see.
2) Dark/Demon’s Souls (video games): Simply the best sense of exploration and atmosphere in modern gaming. You have a totally unique world that draws on mythological themes but is about as far as you can get from the generic high fantasy setting most other games employ. The lore is carefully seeded into tiny snippets of descriptive text accompanying items and equipment you find, invariably, on the bodies of the dead, shoved into out-of-the-way nooks and crannies. The dialogue and voice performance is perfect; everybody is slightly unhinged and properly theatrical without being silly. I love it for so many reasons, despite the insane difficulty factor, which gets way too much coverage whenever the games are talked about, as though it were their only feature worth noting.
3) Metal Gear (video games): Hideo Kojima is one of video gaming’s grand auteurs, a batshit genius who fills his games with scores of easter eggs, metanarrative goodness, and absurd details most other designers would never consider. In one area of Metal Gear Solid, there is an elevator. If you press the call button, it arrives after a few seconds. But if you press the call button repeatedly and insistently, the elevator actually arrives imperceptibly faster. In Metal Gear Solid 2, if you phone your mission controller (who is also your girlfriend) from the women’s bathroom, she will call you a pervert and refuse to save your game for a short period of time. In Metal Gear Solid 3, there is a long and involved boss fight in the jungle against a master sniper that is mainly a war of attrition; if you save your game and set your system clock forward several weeks, the boss will have died of old age when you reload. Each of his games are full of moments like this, things that are far more important than the actual narrative, which is melodramatic but nonetheless groundbreaking.
4) League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (graphic novels): Alan Moore’s series of graphic novels, which are sometimes full text with the occasional illustration, set in a universe in which all of the great works of fiction are in fact books of history, and our own history is fiction. Thus Adolf Hitler is Chaplin’s Adenoid Hynkel, Big Brother dominated post-WWII Britain, and the Rolling Stones–pardon me, Purple Orchestra concert in Hyde Park is attended by a pre-Voldemort Tom Riddle, who is possessed by the necromantic sorcerer Oliver Haddo. The mental gymnastics Moore goes through to fit all of these characters together, as well as his aping of various writers’ styles, is well worth the read, especially in the divisive Black Dossier, which is much more a collection of curios than an actual comic book, and comes with a pair of 3D glasses.
5) Paranoia Agent (TV series): From the music to the bizarro degradation of the plot arc, this is simultaneously some of the best in television and some of the best in animation.
I would really like to include Final Fantasy, but I love only a small portion of that series (from FFVI to FFIX, plus FFXII). The most recent releases have been…uninspiring.