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Archive for September, 2013|Monthly archive page

Breaking Bad, Broke Me, in the Best Way Possible

In Television on September 30, 2013 at 10:23 pm

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It’s over. Finished. And I for one could not be happier with the ending, especially after witnessing the disgraceful ending of “Dexter” it was well worth it.

 

For those of you who live under a rock, “Breaking Bad” stars Bryan Cranston as Walter White a high school teacher who turns to making meth after receiving a cancer diagnosis and realizing just how expensive it is to treat cancer and raise a family. Enlisting the help of Jesse Pinkman, played by Emmy award winning actor Aaron Paul, White utilizes Pinkman’s street smarts in order to get in touch with the underworld and sell his perfect product. However, one cannot continue a criminal act without the assistance of a skeevy attorney, who in this case is named Saul Goodman, played by Bob Odenkirk, and becomes the third wheel to Pinkman and White, while offering his hilarious quips and lawyer help throughout.

 

“Breaking Bad” arches throughout five seasons showing how much someone can be consumed by greed and how many lives can be destroyed as a result of it.

 

And last night, this show came to an end. An ending that was everything I wanted.

 

If, you’re an idiot, and decide to continue reading this review without watching the entire show, then continue. But do so, knowing that you’re an idiot and that you are robbing yourself of a wonderful show that depicts incredibly realistic characters and has become my favorite show thus far. I feel like I’ve traveled with these characters, took a walk in their shoes, and am relieved with how it ended.

 

Let me begin by saying, kudos to Vince Gilligan for releasing Jesse Pinkman and killing Todd all in one swoop. If either of those two things didn’t happen, I would have been pissed. Kudos, to Gilligan for also having Walter finally come to terms with his greed and his ego. The line in which he says, “I did it for me”, was chill-worthy. After seeing all that he went through and finally uncovering the fact that he did it all for him, was well worth the countless hours I’ve watched of this show. Seeing him build himself up only to realize how much he has lost, was worth it. I cannot stress that enough.

 

 

I also thoroughly enjoyed Walt pulling the trigger and killing Uncle Jack before he uttered the words describing where he had hidden Walt’s money. This act was profound and allowed us, the audience, to witness how far Walt has come and how little he cares for money anymore.

 

I also liked how Walt claimed Lydia. At first, I didn’t think that the coffee shot was significant but upon the shot of Lydia, I knew what Walt had done, and I loved him for it. In typical Walt fashion, he took out as many people as he possibly could while utilizing his brain more than his brawn. Which was my question going into this scenario, how was a weak cancer ridden man going to operate a machine gun effectively. Welp, the writers thought of everything.

 

The episode was also redemptive offering a full circle view of Walt, which I loved. I remember how much I wanted Walt to succeed and how I thought it was mildly amusing how he evaded the police and Hank, mostly Hank, but as the seasons progressed, I became disgusted with Walt and his “empire” ways. My feelings soon began to change regarding Jesse and I felt towards him, what I originally felt towards Walt. Which is to say, that I wanted him to win. He was the protagonist in this story and Walt the antagonist. This last episode, my view shifted. Walt was no longer the antagonist but the protagonist alongside Jesse and it was as it should be.

Check this show out, if you haven’t been pestered enough already, because it is everything that everyone has said it is. 

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I Want to Be A Shield Agent!

In Television on September 26, 2013 at 7:13 pm

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Last night, I had the privilege of watching the premiere of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and I will be the first to admit that I won’t be the most objective of reviewers for this show because, well, I love Marvel, I love Joss Whedon, and I also love shows/movies about superheroes.

Before I delve into this show too deep, I just want  to say that I think this show quite possibly has the potential to be what “Heroes” almost was, but never quite. Granted, this was only the pilot, BUT, I liked what I saw. I really did and I think this show could do a great job at portraying superheroes without becoming mired in tediousness and utilizing abysmal computer generate graphics.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” occurs after Avengers, which is to say after a group of superheroes defended the earth from an alien invasion. Also, Agent Coulson, played wonderfully well by Clark Gregg, is alive and well and operating with level 7, I believe, clearance meaning that not even the Avengers know that he is alive. In the pilot, Coulson is putting together an elite team to monitor and understand those individuals who are “gifted” amongst humanity. Joining this squad is Agent Grant Ward, a typical loner agent who doesn’t always play by the rules, played by Brett Dalton. Agent May, played by Ming-Na Wen, is also joining the team and appears to have a troubled past that she seems to be haunted and driven by. Agent Fitz and Simmons, played by Iain DeCaestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, respectfully, are the brains of the bunch, often bouncing ideas off another while simultaneously insulting one another. Skye, played by Chloe Bennet, is a gifted hacker who’s past also seems troubled. These are the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and they are unique in their own way.

The pilot focuses on an individual who out of the blue saved the life of a potential burn victim utilizing his super strength. I won’t spoil it for those who have watched the episode, but there is more to this story than meets the eye and not all of it is answered in one episode. The reason I mention this is because the pilot set up the show to have a story arch running throughout this season and possibly the next few. I also mention it because Mike Peterson, the super strong man, played by J. August Richards, gives a moving performance about the problems that humanity faces when gods and giant walk among them. It was reminiscent of  the problems faced within “Watchmen” and I was actually quite moved by this speech because, well, how would humanity act if superheroes existed amongst them. No longer was being the President enough, now children would want to fly and become incredibly strong.

I also liked how Whedon intertwined “Ironman 3” and “The Avengers”. It was almost as if he knew when he took on the Avengers that he was going to make a television show following S.H.I.E.L.D. The continuation wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable at all; rather it felt natural and appeared to flow in relation to all the other movies.

It was also humorous and serious in all the right places and Clark Gregg gives a great performance as Coulson.

So, in conclusion, check this show out. You won’t regret it! I promise you!

“Sleepy Hollow” is Incredibly Hollow

In Television on September 25, 2013 at 7:14 pm

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“Sleepy Hollow” was another show that I attempted watching and sadly, could not get through the second episode. The pilot, I really enjoyed, but the second episode had one glaring unrealistic bit within it that I just couldn’t get passed. I blame “Breaking Bad” because that show has been incredibly realistic and it just has set the standard so high for television these days.

“Sleepy Hollow” stars Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane. In the beginning of the pilot we see Crane take on a masked man on the back of a horse and eventually beheading him. Oh, by the way, this occurred during the Revolutionary War. Now, Crane has woken up from a deep dark sleep in modern day to a world he doesn’t recognize nor understand. Appearing as if he is insane, Crane is picked up by the police and eventually meets Lieutenant Abbie Mills, played by Nicole Beharie, a Sheriff for Sleepy Hollow. Things become stranger when Mills’ mentor, Sheriff August Corbin, what a name!, played by Clancy Brown is killed by a headless horseman who has risen again! Apparently, Ichabod and the Headless Horseman’s fates are intertwined and the Horseman is one of the 4 Horsemen that appear before the Apocalypse. Oh, also a demon is involved and goes around breaking mirrors, scaring little girls, and snapping the necks of police officers.

Now, I liked the pilot. It was dark, it appeared to have an interesting storyline and I liked some of the camera angles that occurred throughout the show. It appeared to be unique in that sense.  However, the second episode had a few instances within it that I just couldn’t really conceive because well they just didn’t appear realistic.

I know what you’re going to say, a man without a head riding on a horse with red eyes is already unrealistic, but that’s not the problem I have here. I liked those aspects of the show. The one huge problem that I had, was when Lieutenant Mills does a genealogical search and finds out who the ancestor of an individual who died close to the beginning of the country, is, and does it incredibly quickly. Now, first off, how was this accomplished? It was never explained. She just does it. And would you believe it, the relatives of that individual still live in Sleepy Hollow. I’m sorry, what? People move and how did she find out who this person’s ancestor was  so quickly? I mean really, from the beginning of America, she was able to trace this individual all the way to present time. Unbelievable.

Another aspect of this show that just infuriated me was that nobody, not a single person, references Ichabod Crane as the main character from Sleepy Hollow. Why has this not happened? It’s modern day, this story does exist. Why hasn’t anyone been like, “Ichabod Crane? That’s your real name?”. Seriously? Like from the story? “ Why has nobody at least made that comment? It would be the first thing I would do!

In conclusion, I found that this show stretched the truth a little bit too much for me and didn’t react in a realistic fashion in other places. So check this show out if you like that sort of thing….

“The Blacklist” should be Blacklisted

In Television on September 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm

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September is the month of premiers and being an avid television fan I’ve decided to give several shows a shot.

Last night, I watched the pilot of “The Blacklist” with James Spader and boy could I not have been more disappointed. “The Blacklist” tells the story of Raymond “Red” Reddington, yes, that’s his name, a notorious F.B.I. agent turned criminal rogue who is a criminal mastermind, pulling all the strings. In the pilot, Reddington turns himself into the F.B.I. and demands that he only speaks to Elizabeth Keene, played by Megan Boone, a newbie F.B.I. profiler whose first day is lo and behold on the same day that Reddington wants to talk to her. Much to the chagrin of F.B.I agent Harold Cooper, played by Harry Lennix, and F.B.I. agent Donald Ressler, played by “Homeland” star Diego Klattnehoff.

Annnnnd that’s about as far I got into the show, for several reasons.

One, being the unrealistic nature of it. When the F.B.I. is told that Reddington will only speak to Ms. Keene, they  end up having about 4 cars drive to her house and a military helicopter circle over the roof of her apartment nearly clipping it and recreating a scene from “Black Hawk Down”. Really? 4 cars wouldn’t have done it? A helicopter needed to be thrown into the mix.

When Reddington is finally handcuffed and interrogated, he is placed in a specially made robotic jail cell, with a moving platform that extends him outside of his “box” to allow him to meet with Keene. Question, did they design this box especially for him? Are other criminal masterminds held there in the interim? Is Reddignton just too good for a normal jail cell, even Hannibal Lecter was kept behind bars and he was a serial killing cannibal.

Which brings me to my second point of why I didn’t like this show, it’s unoriginal. An intelligent male criminal mastermind wants to speak with a young fairly good looking female novice profiler, sound familiar? Well it gets better, during their second meeting, Reddington tells Keene that she needs to give something to get something. HOLD IT. Quid pro quo Clarice! This is where I stopped watching because it sounded exactly like “Silence of the Lambs” especially when Keene started talking about a tragic event within her youth. Done. Not interested.

So, if you haven’t seen “Silence of the Lambs” and believe that the F.B.I. will just pull out all the stops whenever possible, then this show is for you. If you, like me, like a little taste of reality in your shows, then just change the channel.

Brooklyn 99 is 99% Funny!!

In Television on September 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm

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“Brooklyn 99” is a show that just recently premiered on FOX and a show I have been following since I first heard about it, a few months ago. I love Andy Samberg and I think his humor is right  I also like cop shows, so one would assume that I would like the two of them combined. Well, it’s true. The combination of these two is quite funny and clever.

“Brooklyn 99” stars Andy Samberg as Detective Jake Peralta who is incredibly intelligent but infantile at the same time. His semi-partner Amy Santiago, who is played by Melissa Fumero, is constantly at odds with Peralta because she wants to prove that she is better then the rest, mostly Peralta. Detective Charles Boyle, played by Joe Lo Truglio, and Detective Rose Diaz, played by Stephanie Beatriz, are two exact opposites who appear to want to connect with one another. Where Boyle is soft and caring, Diaz is hard nosed and unflattering. Terry Crews also stars as Seargeant Terry Jeffords, who wants nothing more then to sit in the office and deal with administrative matters. Andre Braugher also stars in the show as the new captain to the precinct Captain Ray Holt and appears to be flexing his comedic muscles while in this show.

I got to say that right from the get-go, pilots are usually hit or miss, and mostly misses. My favorite example of this is “Scrubs”. The pilot for “Scrubs” was incredibly dark, literally, they appeared to use a darker filter, and figuratively, and unfunny. But in the second episode, the writers and the actors appeared to understand their characters and found just the right chemistry to make that show hilarious.

I thought “Brooklyn 99” was hilarious. There were random cuts that were quite funny and subtle humor that wasn’t lost upon me. I also like the cast and I think they could have a lot of fun bringing these characters to life. I liked how at times it was serious and logical, while also being hilarious. I found some honesty in this, because, well, people crack jokes at their jobs. It’s human nature to be funny every now and then and I find that “Brooklyn 99” did this realistically and successfully.

So, in conclusion, check this show out!