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Down and Nerdy: Fantasy sports and "Jekyll"

IN WHICH worlds collide as nerds embrace athletic events (heresy!) and the story of Jekyll & Hyde is updated for the 21st century.

Briana’s pick: Fantasy sports

These are hard times for dreamers, but they are sooooooooo good for fantasy sports. According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, there are 30 million fantasy players in the U.S. and Canada. That’s a 54% increase from two years ago. And where there are winners, there are trophies.

Yeah, believe it or not, trophy production is on the upswing. Fantasy football is also coming to a middle school near you. Seriously. I read about it an article this week. The National Football League opens its professional season next weekend. The question of whether or not you are ready for some football depends on whether or not you’ve drafted your fantasy football team. If you said yes, you might be a nerd. If you said no, then you are obviously a baseball fan.

Before this week I had no idea how complex and (sigh, yeah, I’ll admit it) fun fantasy football sounds. There are several different ways to play, but most fantasy leagues 1) happen online at a fantasy sports ready site (Yahoo, ESPN, and NFL all have free online gaming websites), 2) require at least 4 participants (but usually it’s more like 12), 3) draft players appropriately (fantasy football is about players, not necessarily teams), 4) put up the dough, 5) play, bench, and trade players as the season progresses.

You’ll also be happy to know that you can purchase fantasy sports insurance. Just in case a major player hurts himself in real life ‘causing you to lose points in your fake, made-up, fantasy sports life.

It’s bananas, but totally fun. Fantasy sports give people the option to interact more than ever, minus all that sweaty, physical stuff.

James’ pick: “Jekyll”

One of my true loves is British television. They do comedy better than anybody else, and their short-form dramas are always worth a look. (Someday I’ll tell you about “Blackpool,” my favorite of these.)

One of the things that makes them so great is the format – usually six or so episodes, a story with a beginning, middle and end, and it’s over. So as opposed to stories that go on and on and on with scant hope for a satisfying conclusion (I’m looking at you, “Lost”), you get a really rich experience that you can immerse yourself in over a weekend.

Right now I’m immersed in “Jekyll,” an awesome BBC production that aired over there a year or so ago, and recently available here on DVD. It’s a modern-day retelling of the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – in this case, focusing on Dr. Tom Jackman, who turns into a vicious beast at midnight. But increasingly, it’s happening when he is not expecting it, as his darker half is getting restless.

So Jackman moves out of his house (fearing for the safety of his wife and kids – Hyde doesn’t know they exist), and tricks out an apartment with security cameras and chairs with harnesses. And he hires an assistant to monitor his changes, as he tries to figure out what is going on with him.

Man, this show is good. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is sooooo addictive. Here’s the trailer that ran on BBC:

Also, I must mention that Dr. Jackman’s assistant is played by Michelle Ryan, on whom I have a major crush. She played the main character in NBC’s short-lived “Bionic Woman” remake, and she was a one-time companion to Doctor Who. Here’s a picture of her. Isn’t she dreamy?

[podcast]http://archive.wfpk.org/Podcasts/20090904-nerdy.mp3[/podcast]