The theme for April’s ZBOX was “Genius”, and featured exclusive items from Iron Man, Sherlock, Big Bang Theory, and Harley Quinn. Not a bad assortment of franchises! If you’re interested in checking out ZBOX for yourself, be sure to use coupon code TRACEY5 to get £5 off your first box!
Nerd Block Unboxing and Review for November 2015
Okay, people… *rubs hands together* It’s time to get through some of these subscription boxes from November before the ones for December start showing up!
First up on the block is the Nerd Block for November, sporting the very vague theme of “‘Tis the Season”. I held on to this box for an extra month because the reveals promised items from Star Wars, Sherlock, and Firefly, and also a vinyl figure of some sort. What’s not to love there, right? So on to the unboxing video!
“Nightmare Before Christmas”/”Back to the Future” mash-up t-shirt:
As mentioned in the video, I’m not a huge fan of t-shirts that mash together fandoms that don’t make any sense together. I could handle, for instance, multiple Disney characters together, or something with Star Wars and Star Trek combined, but a science-fiction movie from the 80’s mashed-up with a Tim Burton animated film about Halloween characters taking over Christmas? That’s a little bit of a stretch. That said, this shirt featuring the Delorean knocking Jack Skellington off his perch while Marty hangs on to a set of Christmas lights for dear life isn’t that bad a design. It’s actually pretty simple, with everything being a silhouette against the moon, and I have to admit that I actually like it. In fact, I’m wearing it as I write this post, so there you go.
Approximate value: $15
“Sherlock” Titan vinyl figure:
You guys know that I’m a Funko fanatic, but I’m growing ever more fond of these Titan Merchandise vinyl figures because they do such an awesome job on the faces. The bodies are a very basic flat mold that is painted to reflect the outfit of the character, but the faces are molded to look as close to the actor/character as possible, and this particular figure looks so much like Benedict Cumberbatch is almost frightening. But of course, since I love both Cumberbatch and Sherlock, this item gets two thumbs up from me.
Approximate value: $12
“Christmas Vacation” Moose Mug shot glass:
This item cracked me up more than a little bit. We watch Christmas Vacation every year around the holidays, and one of my favorite scenes is the one in which Clark Griswold and Cousin Eddie are drinking eggnog from these moose mugs. This is obviously a smaller version of the mug, but it’s still just too funny. It looks just like the ones from the movie, and I’m definitely tempted to mix up some kind of eggnog shooter to enjoy out of it. Too thumbs up for this super-cute idea for the “‘Tis the Season” box!
Approximate value: $8
“Firefly” Serenity ornament:
Okay, this super-heavy ornament will definitely not be hanging on my Christmas tree (even though the silver cast on it actually goes quite well with our color scheme…) but I do still think it’s a rather cute item. It’s large enough that I think it would look great hanging above my Firefly Funko Pops, which may be exactly what I do with it. I’m a huge fan of Firefly and this is the first Serenity item that I have, so I’m rather amused. Very cute!
Approximate value: Some sites are saying $10 and others are saying $20, so let’s split it and say $15.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” 16-month calendar:
As mentioned, this is probably the last thing I was expecting when I knew that there was going to be a Star Wars item. There were so many possible items, I just never would have thought of a calendar. That said, who couldn’t use a calendar? I probably won’t hang it up anywhere prominent in my house, but I could definitely hang it somewhere in the basement with my collectibles. I won’t say that I’m terribly excited about a calendar, but I’m not terribly disappointed about it either.
Approximate value: $13
Random, Mysterious Bill Murray mini-poster:
I’m still really confused about this poster. I’m not confused that Nerd Block would include a poster of Bill Murray in one of their boxes, because hey…Bill Murray. What confuses me is that there is absolutely no explanation for it. I have never received an item in any of my subscription boxes that is not mentioned anywhere in any of the included literature. It kinda makes me feel like someone secretly slipped it in the box without authorization. Is that weird? Absolutely.
Approximate value: I dunno…$2?
Total approximate value of box: $65
Total approximate cost to me: $40
So right off the bat, the value is pretty good with this box, which is good since the cost is a little steep, as I’ve been regularly mentioning. That’s definitely nice to see, and the value is actually spread out quite well among the items, with the unexplained Bill Murray poster being the only real cheapie item.
The items themselves? I don’t really have much bad to say, which is a change when it comes to the Nerd Block family of items. The shirt, while not usually my cup of tea, is actually pretty nice. The Sherlock figure is awesome. The moose mug is awesome squared. The Serenity item isn’t the greatest thing ever, but I still like it, and the Star Wars calendar is the last thing I would have expected but still a decent item. That just leaves the mysterious mini-poster, which…I don’t even know what to say about it. >.>
One thing I will mention is that a YouTube follower of mine asked how the hell this box even has a theme, and I half agree with him. The supposed theme was “‘Tis the Season”, but less than half of the items seem to follow that theme. Obviously the “Nightmare Before Christmas” half of the shirt, the Serenity ornament, and the moose mug all have a tie to the holidays, but you really have to stretch to add in the other stuff. I suppose you could say that the Force Awakens counts because it’s coming to theaters during the holidays, and I guess you could count Sherlock because there’s going to be a special Christmas episode released this season…but that still seems to be stretching it a bit.
AND THEN WHAT’S WITH THE FRIKKIN BILL MURRAY POSTER?
Okay, okay, I’m good. We’re all good here now.
Anyway, the point is that this was actually a pretty nice box and I’m glad I ended up getting it. Is it going to convince me to keep subscribing to Nerd Block? No, because I just can’t justify the cost with the Canadian dollar right now. But I did enjoy it, and if I do end up getting the next block before my subscription is officially cancelled, I’m okay with that because, hey, Star Wars.
What did you think of the Nerd Block for November? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? Do you think the theme made sense? Please share!
I’m a fangirl. Nobody who knows me personally, reads this blog, or follows my YouTube channel should be surprised by this fact. Even my coworkers know that I’m an unapologetic nerd. I scarcely get through a day on the job without making some kind of geeky reference that makes my coworkers look at each other in that, “Oh, our Tracey” kind of way.
I’m also a fangirl of equal opportunity. I love all kinds of fandoms, from the ‘Avengers’ to the ‘Green Arrow’, from ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Star Trek’, and from ‘Harry Potter’ to ‘Game of Thrones’. I’m a nerd of many colors, a geek who loves many fandoms equally.
And among those many fandoms that I do so hold dear, there are three particular television shows that have sparked a strange, combined fandom that has taken over the internet. I did not come across this multi-fandom myself. It was my husband who introduced it to me one day after stumbling across the word and looking it up in his confusion: ‘SuperWhoLock’.
When confronted with this odd amalgamation of fandoms I had to admit that I do, in fact, fall into the category of a “SuperWhoLockian”; that is, one who has a great love for the three shows, ‘Supernatural’, ‘Doctor Who’, and ‘Sherlock’. But despite my sudden inclusion into this vast community of squealing fangirls (and boys, presumably) who are quite fun-loving and amusing, my first real question was, “Why?”
Why these three shows? How and why did the internet come together and decide that these three particular shows deserve to be grouped together into some kind of mecha-fandom?
Many others have asked the same question, and no one seems to really be able to pull a real answer together. This is a curious conglomeration that just seems to have sprung out of the ether and entrenched itself in the waiting minds of the many. No one can explain the reasoning. There is no real answer.
The shows have almost nothing in common. ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Sherlock’ are both British programs, but ‘Supernatural’ is American. ‘Doctor Who’ is a very old show that has gained new success in recent years, while ‘Supernatural’ is only a decade old, and ‘Sherlock’ started as a famous series of mystery books. ‘Doctor Who’ is science-fiction/fantasy, while ‘Supernatural’ is occult/fantasy, and ‘Sherlock’ is more firmly entrenched in the realm of actual possibility (i.e. solving crimes). ‘Supernatural’ follows two young adult brothers trying to save the world from monsters and demons, ‘Doctor Who’ follows a centuries-old alien time lord traveling the Universe and trying to save everyone and everything he possibly can, and ‘Sherlock’ follows two middle-aged men matching wits against some of the world’s most notorious criminals.
There are very few ways in which you can group the three shows together. One way I’ve seen people try to explain the connection is by bringing up the intensity of the relationships. In ‘Supernatural’ we have two Winchester brothers who have literally gone to hell and back for each other and always follow each other into the fire. In ‘Doctor Who’ we find that the Doctor is so in love with the human race (and his companions therein) that he’s been willing to die for them on numerous occasions. In ‘Sherlock’, the titular character and his companion Watson become such close friends that the nigh-emotionless Sherlock risks his life for Watson multiple times.
But that can’t just be it, can it?
I’ve also heard the idea that it’s all about the light and dark of humanity. ‘Supernatural’ shows the horrible side of things, the way monsters and demons use the human emotions of anger, lust, envy, and greed to feed and further their gains, while also showing that redemption is always possible. ‘Doctor Who’ shows how, even though humanity does horrifying things, it’s a powerful race with powerful emotions and has done (and will do) amazing things as well. ‘Sherlock’ has constant comparisons of love and hate, courage and fear, terrible evil and self-sacrificing good.
But I still don’t think that’s quite it.
There are always the simple, obvious, completely meaningless points, such as the fact that all three shows feature drop-dead gorgeous actors. (For my part, my husband has added many of the characters from these shows to a mental list he refers to as “Tracey’s Boyfriends”.)
But I’d hate to think that that’s the only reason for the grouping.
Me, personally, I don’t know what the answer is, and I’m actually quite confident that there really is no answer. However, there is a connection between the three shows that binds them together for me.
I’ve written before that I’ve often been moved to tears by an excellent story, especially if that story is brought to life by excellent actors. And while there are certainly other shows and movies that I can put on the list, the three shows that make up the “SuperWhoLock” fandom are three that I have absolutely sobbed like a little baby to in more recent years.
Throughout the seasons of ‘Supernatural’ there have occasionally been deaths of important characters, because you can’t have that many episodes of a show about demons and nightmare creatures without someone eventually dying. A few of those deaths have almost killed me in turn. The most recent one was Bobby Singer, who was always one of my favorite characters and a huge father figure to the Winchesters; during that episode I had to struggle to bite back the tears so that my husband wouldn’t torture me relentlessly. Call me crazy, call me a total sob-queen, but whenever Jensen Ackles gets super-sad it makes me want to burst into tears and hug him to pieces.
Most people probably wouldn’t consider ‘Doctor Who’ an inherently sad show, but there’s at least one episode that weaseled its way into my heart and squeezed, and that is the episode in which the Doctor lost Rose to an alternate universe and used a one-time method to speak to her and explain that they would never be able to see each other again. That tore away at my insides because it seemed so much more horrible than if one of them died…to know that the other was out there, but to never be able to see or touch them again no matter what you were willing to do. It was a brilliant way to end the Rose saga, but it was also a hateful, horrible ending that made me want to curl up into a little ball and cry forever.
‘Sherlock’ also isn’t a show that many people would think is likely to be very sad, but there’s a lot of emotion involved, especially between Sherlock and Watson as they slowly become extremely important to one another. The actors did such an amazing job of bringing the relationship between the two characters to life, which made it all that much more heart-wrenching when Sherlock leaped to his death with Watson watching. Of course, having already known that this was a storyline that played out in the books and that Sherlock was going to turn out to have faked his death, you’d think this scene wouldn’t have that much of a punch, but it really did. In particular Watson’s reaction to the whole thing had me weeping like a little baby.
So maybe it’s a combination of things. Perhaps these are just three awesome shows with great (good-looking) actors, interesting takes on good and evil and humanity in general, and they also happen to evoke an amazingly emotional response in those who enjoy them. But then again, that combination of things could probably quite easily describe a great many different trios of TV shows.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever really understand why legions of fans suddenly started grouping these three shows together, but in the end I guess it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we “SuperWhoLockians” love them, hold them dear, and wish to never let them go.
each has an episode that made me bawl like a little bitch
Nerd Block Unboxing and Review for June 2015
Though Loot Crate and Horror Block continue to frustrate me with this constant showing up while I’m on the other side of the country, Nerd Block was kind enough to show up before I left for this most recent shift. So, lucky you, you get an unboxing video today!
So you may have gotten the impression from the video that I was happy, but not overwhelmed. Does that make sense? In all honestly I was expecting to be a little more impressed with the box that was going to include Doctor Who and Sherlock items, but it was still quite enjoyable overall. Let’s have a look at the breakdown.
Sherlock “Bored” t-shirt
When I heard that there was going to be a Sherlock item in June’s Block, I guessed that it would probably be a shirt, but I can honestly say that I wasn’t expecting this kind of design. The pattern is, of course, the wallpaper from Baker Street, with “Bored” painted across it to represent Sherlock’s tendency to get bored when he’s not obsessing over a case. It’s an interesting – and different – design, and it grew on me the more I looked at it. My only complaint is that it’s in a medium unisex when I had requested to have my shirt size changed to a medium women’s, but that’s a frustration with Nerd Block itself, not the item in particular. As always, we’ll assign this item the standard $15 shirt value.
Tenth Doctor vinyl from Titan Merchandise
I much prefer Funko Pop vinyls to Titan vinyls, but not everything can be a Funko all the time, and this 4.5″ Tenth Doctor is pretty sweet, especially with his little sonic screwdriver. I’m definitely quite satisfied with their choice of Doctor Who item, and I’m glad it was the Tenth Doctor, since David Tennant is thus far my favorite version of the Doctor. I couldn’t find an exact price for this exact item, so you guys can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this size Titan figure goes for about $15.
Mr Bean’s Teddy-bear
While it’s a bit of a silly item that doesn’t really have much in the way of collector’s value, I am pretty amused by this little guy. I used to watch Mr Bean all the time with my parents when I was a kid, and the hubby and I watch the Christmas episode every year, so this is an adorable little collectible from one of the funniest shows of my childhood. Double-props for the fact that he really looks identical to the teddy in the show. This little guy can be purchased for about $8.
Mr Bean “Bendable”
And here’s where things get funny. I didn’t mention this in the video because I was in a bit of a rush to finish it and my brain didn’t formulate the story fast enough, but a while back my husband came across this product in a store down home. I was at work at the time, so he texted me a picture of it, and I told him it was creepy as hell (come on, look at it!) Later he lamented that he should have picked it up because it was funny, but he didn’t, and now here it is, in all its creepy glory. Okay, okay, it’s kind of funny, I’ll admit that, but in a creepy way. ^_~ This weirdo item can be found for around $10.
Monty’s Multiple Message Magnets
I have a few friends who have these types of magnets on their fridges; if you don’t know, you’re meant to create your own sentences with the words, as kind of a fridge-game. I never picked up any of these magnets myself, but now that I’ve got a set I’m super-amused that they’re Monty Python-related. This item seems to have been designed specifically for Nerd Block, so it’s difficult to put a value on it, but based on similar magnet sets I’m going to go with about $5
Doctor Who Foes poster
This is the most recent in a slew of mini-posters that I’ve received through subscription boxes, and I think it might be my favorite. It’s an interesting design that makes it seem like the three foes are being illuminated by The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, and though I may have made a fool out of myself by not knowing the name of the third foe, I definitely appreciate the poster as a whole. These are also notoriously difficult to put a value on; I’ve valued other mini-posters at $1, but since this one is a sturdier poster board type, I’ll grant it $2.
Total approximate value of box: $55
Total cost to me: $37
So, as usual, I have to mention that the overall value of the box bothers me because of the exorbitant cost of shipping to get the box to me in the first place. If I were only paying the $20 cost of the Block, it would absolutely be 100% worth it, but because it costs me almost that again in shipping, it makes it a little harder to swallow.
That said, I did rather enjoy this box. The two Mr Bean items I could have done without (even though the teddy is pretty cute), but the Doctor vinyl, poster, and magnets are pretty awesome, and the shirt has grown on me even if it’s not the size I wanted it in. All said and done, it was an enjoyable box, and I’m glad that I stuck it out for the “British Invasion”. But will I stick around any further? Well, you’ll just have to wait and find out!
What did you think? Did you receive a Nerd Block for June? What was your favorite item? Least favorite? Can you name all three Doctor Who foes in the poster? Please share!