Remy Ransom's Top 10 Binges of 2017

Remy is the founder and overall ruler of all things Ninja Pancake. He's our first "guest" writer on the site, but really - he's family to us. Make sure to show him some love on Twitter.

I usually don't watch television, a lot of readers would probably snub their noses at me for even saying that. It's like when you get a friend who says "I don't have time for video games anymore," it's a pretty weird statement. In podcasting, I find I have to make time for pet projects and even playing video games. This year, I took a break from grinding on what I normally do to go back and watch some shows I never made time to watch through. Well, shows I never made time for. This list is solely compiled of shows that I fear weren't from 2017, some were, some were oldies that I was considering working into content somehow.

10. The Bachelor family of shows

I have never, ever, been interested in this family of television shows. They make me itch. I blame Sarah or Tinkkz depending on how you know her for this nightmare I've been living. A nightmare for some reason I can't stop watching. What these programs do is provide an interesting look into a very shitty version of speed dating. Dare I say, the art of speed dating was probably based on this program alone. It also brought up something deeper and maybe even darker. There are parties, nationwide, that exist to view this show. The rabbit hole keeps going from there, cardboard cutouts of the Bachelor or Bachelorette, betting pools on who will be finalists, even cakes made with images of these people on them, cut and served for your looking and eating enjoyment. All at the center of this program? A ringman. Someone who probably would have given Barnum & Bailey a run for their money back in the day, Chris Harrison. I'm not sure how this man is capable of saying "The most dramatic season yet," and somehow be right almost every episode, is a super power. I'm sure there's a lot more to this show and we'll be explaining it on a new Ninja Pancake production hosted by myself and Sarah this year.

9. Orphan Black

The secret to having a long distance relationship is being able to stay up really late when you're three hours ahead of your partner. The other secret is find a show you can both watch while in party chat on your console of choice. This was ours for a while. It's a story of clones, who through some means or another find eachother. There is of course an evil corporation setting things in motion, which is sort of a bland plot point but needed. The thing that really sells this show as something you should watch is it's all one actress playing these different clones. Each clone has their own personality traits, looks, speech and backgrounds. Some of these backgrounds you may even have friends who fill, which is what I'm guilty of thinking about while watching. This one manages to cover mundane to sci-fi topics in a way the viewer can understand, along with a cult. What show wouldn't be complete without some weird cult in it? One of the clones may also be an assassin. By "may", I mean definitely. Check it out if you're looking for some good ol' fashioned popcorn sci-fi.

8. Shut Eye

I loved Burn Notice -- Jeffrey Donovan was fantastic. I had wondered if I would still enjoy him outside of his bad ass spy persona. I did and he's brilliant in this show as well. This show gives a look at what a gypsy crime family could actually be like, with Donovan as our audience surrogate. Donovan plays a "psychic" under the thumb of a crime family, sometimes more than one, and the stresses he has to deal with. He also may or may not be able to see the future, which is a main storyline that he's exploring throughout the series. There's a lot of betrayals, temporary alliances and the occassional backstory sprinkled here and there. If you're a Hulu subscriber, I highly recommend a watch of it if you're looking for something outside of your viewing norm.

7. Big Brother

What can I say about a show that puts a large number of contestants in a house where they compete for a large sum of money? The first thing that would come to mind is a high school popularity contest gone wrong. I have never and I mean ever would have watched this show if it wasn't for Sarah. I can't even tell you if I enjoyed the latest season or some of the previous ones we watched. I can only tell you, I was there, man. It wasn't a life changing experience, either. It just made me become a little more thankful for some of the relationships I've built in life and dare I say it: #blessed. It's become crazy to me what the population of our country finds to be entertaining television. I watched all the way through and saw every highlighted moment, interview and competition in the house. I was even disguisted with myself for wanting to know who was going to win in the end. Ultimately, I'm glad it ended and I could go on with my week without having to ponder anything further about this show.

6. Castlevania (The Anime)

I'm pretty open about my love of Anime -- To the point where I was playing around with the of doing a sort of audio record book club about watching series and discussing them with random guests. That didn't work out so well. I did watch this though and got reacquainted with some of the characters of Castlevania's of yore and found myself really satisfied with. This beaut is set in the Dracula's Curse storyline shows Dracula coming more towards humanity and then drastically ripping it away from him again. The boys already did an episode about it but I felt the storytelling, despite it being a four episode season, was well done. It was short and sweet, which is just enough to whet your appetite. It's also a good medium for gamers who are thinking about trying out Anime to do so. 

5. Broadchurch

Originally, I was thinking about putting Mindhunter here. The problem is, the first few episodes of that were a little slow for me to get into. I was reminded when making this list about my ravenous nature of eating up content relating to one David Tennant and realized the errors of my way. Broadchurch is one of the few serial dramas on Television I've deemed worthy of my time. The writing, the setting, the emotions and all of the stories combining to this one penultimate storyline was what made it really shove its hooks into you leaving you wanting to stay up later than you ever should have as an adult and keep watching. I admit that when I was unable to view the third season on Netflix, I found more nefarious means to keep binging online. Thanks, Internet. You're just the best. To you, the reader of this, I can't recommend this show enough to you. If you're a Doctor Who fan, not only is the writer but one of the leads of this program are going to be in the newest installment of that series. So you have a lot to look forward to. If you want to understand the writing and acting styles ahead of time, sit back and enjoy.

4. The Good Place

I really, really want to type in CAPS about this one, but I feel readers would be annoyed with me. I have NO IDEA where this show came from or who dreamed this up. This is comedic genius. Sarah said to me one night: "Hey there's a show with Kristen Bell, can we watch it?" -- I had no idea who that was and I don't really care if anyone's a bit angry with me about that, my Catholic guilt will probably say otherwise though. All I could see from show page on Hulu was that it involved Ted Danson, who I knew from watching Cheers with my dad as a kid. I didn't really get his brand of delivery as a kid but as an adult I love him in this program. The premise is four strangers all arrive in Heaven on the same day into what was supposedly a eutopia created based on their needs. A lot happens and pretty quickly from that point on and I cannot spoil this darling. This show is pretty close to best writing in a comedy and I hold it pretty highly with some of my other favorites: Sports Night, Frasier, Monk and Wings. It's just really smart comedy, along with some very well timed actors.


I have need of an intermission right now, where I can type about anything at this point. My reason why? My top 3 shows I watched this year are very difficult to figure out which one is ranked higher than the others. Alright, maybe not my first choice. Numbers 3 and 2 though are pretty hard to rank. I think that counts for something here. Alright, I'm done spinning my wheels.


3. The Leftovers

I've never been more confused, or found in awe of a program the way I did with The Leftovers. A lot of people would argue that HBO has better shows you could binge. This year we got Westworld, new Game of Thrones episodes and more. I don't watch GoT so that's out for me. I did love watching a show that has a large percentage of the population go missing, leaving those leftover to cope in their own ways. Some lost their entire families, others lost a family member or a friend. It's a dramatic look into the pscyhe of human beings who have to deal with loss and try to just live. I couldn't imagine being in that position. The story follows Kevin, the local chief of police and main protaganist. I can't tell you much more as there's a lot of plotlines, intersections, religious ideaology, cults and even some science fiction. You just need to watch it. You need to stop reading this and watch. Some of the best actors I had never heard of before make up this ensemble and once you see them, you'll notice the in some of your other favorite shows as well.

2. Frasier

Oh baby I hear the blues'a'callin', tossed salad and scrambled eggs... I was working as an independent contractor for a bit this year. When I wasn't hunting down clients who owed me money, I was rewatching Frasier to keep my calm. I missed really smart television and while Frasier has it's critics, I think it's one of my favorite series of all time. I hadn't watched it in a number of years and this was the year. I didn't realize my attachment to these characters until I had caught myself smirking, especially when remembering a joke from the show I had forgotten about. David Hyde Pierce is also a native of a town near where I grew up, so I may have an attachment there as well. Frasier is just one of those little slices of life that I think people never appreciated as much as they should have, despite it's 11 season run. It gave us a slightly dysfunctional and believable family dynamic that a lot of us could have seen as being a norm, especially now. I think the most believable aspect of the show was all of the failed relationships of the titular character. I saw a lot of my friends failed relationships and even my own through watching Fraiser falling in love and being left. It's a masterpiece and I highly recommend a watch or even a rewatch if it's been awhile since the last time you saw it. 

1. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine


This was really tough for me to justify it being my Number One Binge of the year. I make a lot of weird references to shows of yesteryear I've watched. I didn't realize how many of the were Star Trek related before jumping back into a rewatch of Deep Space Nine. I love science fiction as a medium and while there are a lot of fans of The Next Generation, I wasn't as attached to it as I was with DS9. Season 2 has an episode entitled The Siege that when I was a teenager got me hooked on it. I never saw every episode, just watched it in fragments. This watch through was where I finally put the questions I may have had to bed finally. It was bitter sweet. Sort of like seeing an old friend again and embracing after a long time apart. It's a silly way to describe a show, it wasn't a huge part of my life then, but it has become that now. I watched 7 seasons of this show in a very minimal amount of time and really fell in love with the entire genre of sci-fi television series. It's to the point where Sarah refers to them as my "man soap operas". She isn't wrong, either. Television has always been boring to me but shows like this always get my interest. I mean, a space station in a prominent area, trying to combine many different races in one place? That's never been done before. Alright, Babylon 5 did it. The thing I really found fascinating in DS9 was that the characters in the show that were there before Starfleet had taken over the station were more the main characters than anyone else. Witnessing their evolution as characters and seeing their histories sometimes repeating themselves was what made this show something I was compelled to watch again. Even when there was an obvious cheaper budget episode, it still remained quality.

Colin Perkins' Top 11 Video Games of 2017

I feel like I’ve said it ad nauseum over the past few years: it’s a great time to be a gamer. And 2017 was especially great. Perhaps, one of the greatest years of releases that we’ve ever seen.  The following is a list of my 11 favorites. My justifications are short and sweet because you’ve probably already heard enough about all of these games and I’ve got a backlog to tackle.

11. Metroid: Samus Returns

The Metroid series has sadly escaped my gaming purview despite its great reputation.  Samus Returns was my first full Metroid experience and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint.  The gated progression system felt great and the abilities you gain create a feeling of true power by the end of the campaign.  More Metroid is definitely in my future.

10. NHL 18

I’ve been playing the NHL series regularly for the past 8 years, so this is sort of a required inclusion for me. Highlights include an improved franchise Mode, a more balanced online/offline Ultimate Team, and a fun new arcade mode in NHL 3s.  On ice gameplay continues to improve and manages to stay challenging for players at all levels.

9. Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

Hellblade is an incredible emotional experience and deserves your time.  Traversing a norse world, Senua’s journey reveals an internal struggle inspired by real world issues.  It’s an eye opening experience on many different levels and has completely changed the way I think about psychosis.

8. Mario + Rabbids

Turn-based strategy games are my jam, but I wasn’t expecting to like this game as much as I did.  Turns out, pitting your favorite Mario characters against the ridiculous Rabbids is more than just a silly concept.  Early encounters are very accessible, but quickly evolve into challenging situations that force you to use all of the characters and tools at your disposal.  Boss fights are delightful and there’s plenty of post campaign content that give this game more legs than expected.

7. Wolfenstein II: the New Colossus

Who knew a game about killing Nazis would be packed with so much story.  Wolfenstein II builds on an strong reboot and includes some of the craziest moments I’ve ever experienced in video games.  Say what you want about the gameplay, but the story in this game is second to none.

6. Super Mario Odyssey

Nintendo never fails to provide fresh ways to interact with their franchise character and the latest installment nails it.  The new capture mechanic is so well executed that you never feel like a challenge can’t be overcome. The various worlds are all wonderful in their own way and make hunting down hidden power moons a joy.  An easy game to pick up and play, but one that will challenge completionists.

5. Assassin's Creed: Origins

Egypt is awesome.  And not just in the TMNT definition of the word, but that old school biblical version as well.  Gameplay continues to evolve for the better with the addition of more intricate combat and a new loot system.  The campaign is solid, but the vast amount of side content is what makes this game special.

4. Prey

Prey is all about the gloo cannon.  Sure, you get to explore a corrupt space station, fight mysterious alien thingys, read dead people’s emails, and float in space.  But the that gloo cannon is really the hero of the story.   It's so so good.

3. Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda BotW combines many of my favorite things in video games: Huge open world exploration, interesting 3D puzzles, solid combat mechanics, and a charming story sprinkled throughout the experience. A number of innovative gameplay mechanics make this a fantastic entry to the franchise.  Very Zelda, very good.

2. Horizon Zero Dawn

Battling robot dinosaurs with a spear and bow and arrow is as much fun as it sounds.  Layered on top of the gameplay is an interesting world to explore and mysterious story that is methodically unveiled as you progress through the campaign.

1. Nier Automata

Nier is a beautiful game. Not necessarily from an aesthetic standpoint or really even a gameplay standpoint but in the way that it makes you feel.  The experience is intentionally thought provoking and challenges the player to consider things from a different perspective.  Also, hacking away at robots is fun.

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