TV | Fans of Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Blade Runner, Total Recall and the like: if you're not on to Syfy's new space-opera-meets-mystery-series THE EXPANSE, you're missing out. The first season of the show, adapted from a book series by the same name, just finished airing, but all 10 episodes are now streaming on syfy.com. Set 200 years in the future, humans have colonized the moon, Mars and the asteroid belt. But a major political conspiracy is afoot, and it's up to a rogue group of space attack survivors, a good diplomat and a scrappy detective to halt this threat of corruption that could spell the end of humanity. This breakout series should be lauded for both its diversity in casting and for neatly wrapping up the first season's major plot, while leaving much to be explored in the already announced second season, premiering in early 2017.
MUSIC | Three years after releasing their third studio album, the synth-poppy sounds of Ra Ra Riot are refreshed on their latest release, NEED YOUR LIGHT. Over the band's 10-year career, its signature sound has morphed from string-heavy orchestral pop into a much peppier, electronic-focused version. From start to finish, Need Your Light is cohesive and full of upbeat, dancey tracks, from the album's first song (and first single) "Water" to middle track "Bad Times," which blooms quickly into an anthemic proclamation of surging strings layered under the swelling, falsetto vocals of lead singer Wes Miles. This fourth record is a mature melding of what we loved about RRR when they broke onto the scene with the band's recent evolution of songwriting and instrumentation.
GAME | You only get one shot at saving the world in PANDEMIC LEGACY. Unlike the original game it's based on, the worldwide disease outbreak simulator Pandemic, the unique element of this tabletop newcomer is that the game permanently and uniquely changes with each copy as it's played. These irreversible alterations involve placing stickers on the game board, ripping up cards and opening secret boxes and folders when prompted. Created in the same vein as its popular predecessor Risk Legacy, but with a cooperative play focus (for 2 to 4 players), Pandemic Legacy gives players 12 "months" to save the world, with a total of 24 playthroughs to beat the increasingly complex campaign. If you fail to stop disease from spreading, strains mutate, cities begin to fall and playable characters can die. ♦