August is almost over and September is already upon us – that means schools will be back in session, the temperature will drop back to optimal TV-watching weather and, thankfully, football will be back on TV.
There’s a lot of hype around the winter months (and even a few songs to that might claim otherwise), but this is truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Welcome back to another installment of Off the Radar, a column where we uncover the best shows, movies, music and games you should be checking out with your two and a half days of respite.
Here’s how it works: Week after week, I test a TON of products – everything from fantastic-sounding headphones and Bluetooth speakers, to the latest and greatest TVs and video game consoles. While I’m writing these reviews I consume a lot of content. (I know, I know, it’s a hard job but someone has to do it.) And rather than hoard all those great shows/movies/music/games, I want to share all those recommendations with you.
This last week was spent appreciating the finer points of the game of football … er, ‘American football’ in case you’re reading this from a country where footie is actually played with your feet. That means plenty of Madden in preparation for the launch of Madden 18, Last Chance U and the appropriate mix of jock jams to get in the right headspace.
Want to join me in this gridiron wonderland? Here’s three recommendations for the weekend of August 18. (Don’t forget: If you’ve recently watched/played/listened to something good yourself, drop me a line on Twitter and I might just feature you in next week’s column.)
Watch: Last Chance U
For those who don’t think football has enough emotion to it, check out Last Chance U, a series that follows college players that have been dismissed by big Division I schools and wound up at East Mississippi Community College.
The second season just made its debut on Netflix and it’s just as wonderfully heartfelt as the first season was 12 short months ago. The new players on Coach Buddy Stephens’ team bring a different culture, their own problems and, in the end, their own storybook endings.
Ignoring the fact that the fate of the third season of the show still hangs in the balance, season two still proves that the show was more than a freshmen phenom and has all the makings of a legacy champ.
Last Chance U is available to stream on Netflix
Play: Madden 17
Madden 18 comes out in exactly a week. Before it does, however, and you embark on the brand-new Long Shot single-player mode, it might be worth breaking out a copy of Madden 17 one last time to shake the rust off.
Madden 17 might not have had the biggest improvements to the formulaic franchise, but it did solidify all the things the series had done right up until that point: namely, Madden Ultimate Team was better here than ever before.
Sure, you could wait like everyone else for the game to come out, but if you’re a serious Madden fan and happen to be an Xbox One owner you might want to consider subscribing to EA Access, EA’s game service which will allow you to download Madden 18 ahead of time and get up to 10 hours of playtime in ahead of the game’s official launch. Practice makes perfect after all.
Listen: Jock Jams playlist on Spotify
Let me hear you say WHOOP THERE IT IS. To complete the epic game time atmosphere, you need a great playlist. Thankfully, I know the perfect one: If you lived the ’90s, Jock Jams was the go-to pump up mix and could be played anytime, anywhere to get you ready to play.
While I couldn’t track down the proper Jock Jams CD anywhere on Spotify, the music streaming service has put together a pump up playlist of their own that includes a number of adrenaline pumping songs – including the seminal classic Jump Around. Toss in some modern hits like DJ Khaled’s All I Do Is Win and Eminem’s Berzerk, and your opponents might as well throw in the towel now.
Want to combine Madden 17 with a great playlist? Now that both Xbox One and PS4 owners have the ability to play Spotify in the background, you can absolutely do that.
The Jock Jams playlist is available to stream now on Spotify
That’s it for this week! Like what I'm laying down? Disappointed by my picks? Send me some feedback at Nick [dot] Pino [at] Futurenet [dot] com.
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Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.