Saturday, February 9, 2013

Television - A Normal Blog Post

A short window into my non-life of non-accomplishment (unless you consider my amusement to be an accomplishment, in which case I might go accomplish something right after this).

Enjoy:

1)  Fringe Finale and Series Review

'Pretty Fucking Shitty' - 60th percentile.

      Ordinarily I don't use this blog for what I consider to be mundane, only what others might.  However, for the sake of being a well-rounded blogger, I've decided to spare a few words for Fringe, a science fiction television show featuring Joshua Jackson (and the occasional Leonard Nimoy).

      Commenting overall on the television series, in its entirety, was entertaining in the way playing balloon keepy-uppy is entertaining. It's not quite logical, or that intelligent, but you just can't help but enjoy bouncing that damn thing.   The science is frequently off, and the writing can be transparent, with a plot that, previous to the most recent seasons, felt like a "numbers" or "house" type of format; fringe case #X.

      More recently, the show finished itself off (couldn't help it) with its series finale.  It was more illogical than usual, which is quite a stretch for the Fringe staff.  It played the emotion card, where grandeur and ominousness would have served the scope of the show far better.  The writers' lack of desire to formulate a consistent definition of time and time travel (not correct, consistent) was a real problem.  They alluded to the "resolution of paradoxes," which were hastily strewn together, and in fact, less problematic than many others.   Normally, this Fringy type of scenario wouldn't be upsetting except that I usually defer to the self-promise that it will one day improve.  Alas..

I won't go into further detail, as I'm trying to avoid specific spoilers, but it suffices to say that it was a limp-dick finale. 

2) Boardwalk Empire Series Review Thus Far

'Fucking Amazing' - 85th percentile.

      Boardwalk empire is a show which chronicles the reign of a kingpin in Atlantic City during the Volstead act (prohibition) in post-WWI America.   The viewer enjoys the view from the top, as Enoch Thompson, the merchant-monarch of Atlantic city as treasurer, attempts to maintain control of his micro-plutocracy, as well as contend with rapid expansion of his competitors, and his own voracious ambition.

      The show actually deserves a full review on its own, because the cinematography, dialogue, acting, and pace are brilliant, which isn't altogether surprising, as it is directed by Martin Scorsese (Goodfellas, Shutter Island, Taxi Driver).  It has so many memorable lines, delivered at precisely the right time. There are few shows in which I'm able to invest enough to get a little shiver up my spine, but Boardwalk is successful in doing so.

      The show features some truly amazing characters, my favourites being Richard Harrow, a terribly deformed former army marksman; a reflection of the iconic Phantom of the Opera; and Nelson Van Alden, a zealous prohibition agent, who struggles with the temptation of Atlantic city, and his own overreaching zeal. I could write essays on these characters, as they possess and portray the depths of their origins, as much as they demonstrate the direction their characters must go to evolve.

      Here I will give Richard Harrow a short shout-out:

      As a character, Richard manages to conjure your empathy, while brandishing a kind of desperate bloodlust. Richard Harrow is a shadow and a bright dream all at once. Their use of his character is somewhat sparing, but it is artfully delivered, but more is sometimes less in the case of the mysterious. 

Here is a scene involving Van Alden that was one of my favourites. Warning: spoiler. It helps with some character background, but is amusing enough as a standalone piece.

Here is another, involving Richard Harrow, and Jimmy Darmody. A great scene.

 In the case of Boardwalk Empire, do not take my word for it ladies and gentlemen.


3) Sons of Anarchy Series Review Thus Far

Somewhat fucking amazing. 70th percentile.

      Similar to Boardwalk Empire, but set in a small American town called Charming, documenting the life and times of a motorcycle club called the "Sons of Anarchy" (you guessed it!). Initially, the story begins with the club as established, focusing primarily on Clay, the club president and one of nine founders; Jackson Teller, the son of a dead founder and vice president; and Jemma, the mother of Jackson and wife of Clay.

      The cinematography is pretty good, the effects are cool, there are a lot of action scenes, yet the show possesses surprising depth at times (and also surprising flatlining).  The plot itself can be somewhat cyclical, and I noticed a trend:

1) Some enemy is revealed
2) they ride motorcycles toward that enemy
3) they shoot/maim/beat/brutalize whomever impedes them.

The real story is the internal conflict, and I won't spoil it for those who are interested.

On the downside, Jemma, played by Married With Children's Katy Sagal (the mother); is a real pain in the ass. She is often illogical, by the viewer's standards definitely, and sometimes by her own.  She can be inconsistent, or "super-consistent" as if yelling "I am X" from out of the screen.  This isn't Katy's fault, the writing didn't leave much room for her to grow (don't worry she TALKS a lot, but doesn't very often SAY much, except the vagaries of "bitch").

Overall, a pretty darn good show.  Better than Lost and worse than Dexter, it's hard to place exactly, but it worth spending an afternoon discovering if it's something you might be into. 


4)   Archer

Fucking Hilarious - 90th percentile

      An animated series which follows the daily comings and goings of a private counterintelligence agency called "Isis." The plot surrounds the protagonist, "Archer," as you might have guessed, and his mother.   For those of you who have seen Arrested Development, you will recognize many of the voices in the show, as well as several cameos from famous actors.

      Without going too much into depth (because neither does the show), I can say that Archer is hilarious.   I don't know if I've laughed out loud at anything animated except for the occasional South Park.  The jokes build very well on each other, and the humour can be unexpectedly witty.

Downsides include occasional vague references to old movies or actors, a misstep often made by Family Guy. Fortunately for Archer, they wield it without the hasty desperation that Family guy often uses to cram volume.  

5) House of Cards

Quite Fucking Entertaining

      I recently began watching a Netflix original starring Kevin Spacey, who plays the part of the majority whip for the democratic party in congress - beginning with his dethroning from a promised position of Secretary of State; and following his new mission for vengeance and power.  Thus far, the show is witty, funny, exciting, and full of political intrigue. If you like that sort of thing, it's for you.  The episodes tend to conclude in a sometimes anti-climactic way, which is largely due to the subject matter and format, so I don't hold it against the show, as it doesn't detract much from it.

      The real power of the show is a) the writing, and b) Kevin Spacey reading that writing.

Nuff said.

This concludes our "regular blog post," and the short blurbs concerning the wasteland that contains so many hours of photons pouring into my skull in the late night.

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