Monday, February 12, 2018

Casting Conan #1 - Hither Came Amazon Studios' Conan

Hi everyone! Welcome to Casting Conan, a periodic blog series where we will speculate and ruminate on Amazon’s upcoming Conan television series. 


For the inaugural post in the Casting Conan series, let's examine the announcement regarding the upcoming Conan series from Amazon.

What We Know
The upcoming Conan the Barbarian television series being produced for Amazon will serve as a “reboot” of the character rather than a sequel to any of the prior film adaptations. The news was first reported on Deadline Hollywood by Nellie Andreeva on February 5, 2018.

Amazon seems eager to jump on the sword and sorcery / fantasy bandwagon following the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones. A Lord of the Rings series is also in production.

Here are the details thus far:

The Production Team
Ryan Condal - Conception, writing, co-executive producer. Condal is the co-creator of Colony on USA Network, and served as screenwriter for Hercules starring The Rock. He is currently working on the screenplay for a film remake of Logan’s Run for Warner Bros.

Miguel Sapochnik - Co-executive producer, director. Sapochnik directed an exciting episode of Game of Thrones, titled “Battle of the Bastards”, for which he won an Emmy and DGA Award for outstanding directing. He also directed the first episode of Altered Carbon for Netflix.

Warren Littlefield - co-executive producer, executive producer for Fargo on FX and The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu, both earning Emmy recognition for outstanding limited series and outstanding drama series, respectively.

Fredrik Malmberg & Mark Wheeler Wheeler and Malmberg produced Blood Drive on SyFy, and appear to be working toward the production of a Dark Agnes series later this year (Note: We will have to research this further!). It is worth mentioning that Malmberg was credited as a producer on the 2011 Conan the Barbarian film.

The Series
Details pertaining to the show are scant at this early stage. Condal and Sapochnik are evidently fans of the original Howard stories, and seem to be interested in staying true to the source material. Thus far, there has been no announcement regarding how many episodes will be produced for the inaugural season, no details pertaining to budgets, filming locations, casting, and no inkling about who might be in the running to portray Conan. The only tidbit of information we have is the following, from the Deadline article.
 “Created and written by Condal, Conan retells the classic character’s story via a return to his literary origins. Driven out of his tribal homelands, Conan wanders the mysterious and treacherous world of civilization where he searches for purpose in a place that rejects him as a mindless savage.”
It isn't much, but let's chew on that for a bit. Although Conan’s journey throughout the Howard stories doesn’t seem to be an overt search for purpose, he does encounter many “civilized” people who make assumptions about his intellect, values, and potential based upon his Cimmerian roots. How will the show mark a return to the character’s literary roots, and how much will Condal have to write original material to bridge any canonical gaps? Given that our knowledge of Conan’s early life is limited, this implies that the show might take some creative liberties in order to fill the gaps in the original Robert E. Howard chronology, or lean on other sources such as the Dark Horse or Marvel Conan comics. Further, fans of the original stories will know that placing the chronicles of Conan’s life into a specific, concrete order is difficult. Howard wrote the stories in no particular order, as they came to him, or in his words,
“In writing these yarns I’ve always felt less as creating them than as if I were simply chronicling his adventures as he told them to me. That’s why they skip about so much, without following a regular order.” (Letter to P. Schuyler Miller, March 10 1936). 
In many ways, this letter might serve as a platform for speculation about how Condal might approach the upcoming series and fill in some of the chronological gaps in Conan’s story. For example, we know from this same letter than Conan was literally born on the battlefield, that during the raid at Venarium Conan was 15, that he stood six feet and weighed 180 lbs, and “lacked much of having his full growth” (detailed in the story Beyond the Black River, covered in Season 1, Episode 19 of The Cromcast). We also learn that Conan is roughly 17 years old during the events of The Tower of the Elephant, which Howard refers to as his introduction to the public. Conan’s literary chronology culminates in the events of The Hour of the Dragon, during which he was about 44 of 45 years of age.

Just as interesting as what Howard says about Conan’s life is what Howard doesn’t say, and a close reading of this letter reveals that even Howard did not know all of the details of Conan’s biography. He provides glimpses of adventures that occur between the landmark stories, tantalizing clues about Conan’s undocumented adventures and travels throughout the world of the Hyborian Age, before taking the crown of Aquilonia and after. Even Conan’s ultimate fate is left unwritten and murky, lost to the pages of history in Howard’s fictional world. You can read the letter in Del Rey’s The Conquering Sword of Conan, or access a copy online.

Next time, some ideas about ways the series could be structured, literary descriptions vs. pop culture depictions of Conan, and casting speculation begins!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Season 6, Episode 5: The Bleak Shore and The Howling Tower



Welcome to the fifth episode of our sixth season! We're still hanging with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser but it seems like they're ignoring us. They just keep muttering about "the bleak shore" and looking toward the middle distance. Also, we swear we hear wolves howling. Things are weird is what we're saying and you should tune in to see what's what!



One Things
Jon: Traditional Blues sung by Brownie McGhee 
Josh:  Conan the Board Game (the Cimmerian, not the comedian)
Luke: Jack of Shadows by Robert Zelazny


Questions? Comments? Curses?
Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)
You know you want to follow us on Twitter!
Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner!
Or, check us out on iTunes!
We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play!
Finally.... Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Beginning theme: Sudden Defeat by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Closing theme: Come Sail Away by STYX All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Bourbon & Barbarians, Season 2 Prologue: Knock, Knock... Wait, Who's There?!?

Greetings, adventurers! We return with an all new season of Bourbon and Barbarians. Herein, we present a short interlude, and do a little bit of world-building for our continued campaigning...
We here at The Cromcast are continuing a laid-back modular campaign. We're using the B/X Dungeons and Dragons rules system, with a few minor additions. If you aren't familiar with the 'big bad' encountered here, this session is based on the prologue of "Vecna Lives!" This module, WGA4, was put out for AD&D 2nd Edition.
From here, our campaigning will take us into "Death Frost Doom," which is a neo-classic module for LotFP. We hope you enjoy these occasional episodes. If this doesn't happen to be your bag, just sit tight... We'll be back soon with another exciting episode of The Cromcast!
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. "Gnarled Situation" by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Likewise Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Season 6, Episode 04 - Thieves' House



Art by the late great Keith Parkinson

Welcome back, Cromrades! This week, we join Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser on a delve into the lair of Lankhmar's hidden masters. What secrets lie hidden deep within the heart of Thieves' House? Accompany us, if you dare!

This story is notable in the way it subverts your expectations. It presents a quest, then quickly glosses over that quest to show us how things shake out once the treasure has been acquired.  Leiber quickly takes the narrative in unexpected directions! What do you think of this story? Let us know!

One Things

Next week, we'll be back with a double shot of Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser! The Bleak Shore and The Howling Tower! Find them both in Swords Against Death!


Questions? Comments? Curses?
Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)
You know you want to follow us on Twitter!
Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner!
Or, check us out on iTunes!
We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play!
Finally.... Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Beginning theme: Sudden Defeat by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Closing theme: Run DMC - Run's House. Whose House?! All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Season 6, Episode 03: Jewels in the Forest



Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, by Tom Kidd

Hello, Cromrades! The new year is well underway, and we hope 2018 is treating you kindly thus far! And, we hope you are still in the holiday spirit, as we recorded this episode just before Christmas! Gather your treasure hunting effects and prepare for a journey! We have a scroll which contains a riddle to solve, and we believe it will lead us to riches beyond our wildest dreams! Join us as we accompany Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser on a search for Jewels in the Forest, and delve further into the life of Fritz Leiber! A full text of this story is difficult to find online, but you can read it in Swords Against Death (Amazon, AbeBooks).

One Things
Jon: X-Men: The Animated Series, and to a lesser extent DeWalt Cordless Drills, sponsor of our newest show segment, "Whatcha Been Drillin'?" (An Obvious Fabrication!)
Josh: Dickens! Particularly modern takes on the classic "A Christmas Carol", such as Scrooged, starring Bill Murray.
Luke: The anthology Echoes of Valor 3 edited by Karl Edward Wagner. Full of pulpy sword and sorcery! Check it out!

Next time: We return to Lankhmar to settle some unfinished business with the guild of cutthroats inhabiting Thieves' House.

Questions? Comments? Curses?
Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)
You know you want to follow us on Twitter!
Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner!
Or, check us out on iTunes!
We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play!
Finally.... Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Beginning theme: Sudden Defeat by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Closing theme: Gogol Bordello - Trans-Continental Hustle. We think the jangly sound of Gogol Bordello fits the world of Nehwon! All music was obtained legally; we hope our discussion of this content makes you want to go out and purchase the work!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Season 6, Episode 02: Ill Met in Lankhmar pt. 2 and The Circle Curse

Best drink some coffee friend and try to beat back your drunkenness. There's sorcery afoot in the city of Lankhmar tonight. This thick smoke bodes ill for us and if you hold your breath, I believe you will hear the scurrying feet of five, ten hundred rodents...



This week - we conclude our look at "Ill met in Lankhmar" the tale that brings Fafherd and the Gray Mouser together. What started as a buddy cop-romp does seem to take a rather dark turn in these last few pages. We also get to see the immediate aftermath of this story when we delve into "The Circle Curse". So saddle up, tune in, and enjoy some Lieberian goodness!



One Things

Jon: Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Luke: Index Card RPG, with banana measurements
Josh: Castlevania, the anime!


Questions? Comments? Curses?
Email us! (thecromcast at gmail dot com)
You know you want to follow us on Twitter!
Subscribe to our feed on FeedBurner!
Or, check us out on iTunes!
We're also on Stitcher Radio and Google Play!
Finally.... Call us! (859) 429-CROM!

Legal Mumbo-Jumbo
Our episode is freely available on archive.org and is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Beginning theme: Sudden Defeat by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.

Closing theme: Rats by The Kinks