Sunday, January 5, 2014

What I'm Doing

Listening - Lorde

Lorde, born Ella Yellich O'Connor, is a 17 year old girl from New Zealand who is making waves in the pop music world. Although she has built a reputation pretty fast for making snide comments about Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus (but really, who could take those girls seriously anyway?), no one can deny she has a great voice and excellent writing skills. Her breakout hit Royals is one of my favorite songs at the moment. I tried listening to her other songs, and this one I've posted, Buzzcut Season, is really nice. This is the kind of song I can just play and chill out.

Reading - Captain America

Everyone knows or has a general idea of who Captain America is, and how he stands for truth, justice and the American way. But what happens if you take him out of his comfort zone and put him in a world he doesn't recognize? That's what writer Rick Remender does in this reboot of the Captain America comicbook.

For this story, Remender puts Cap in another dimension, courtesy of his arch nemesis Arnim Zola. Cap not only has to survive there with no means of getting back home, but also look after and raise a young boy he saved from Zola.

Remender has a reputation for putting his main characters in really dire situations, so this will be interesting, to say the least. I'm not excited however about John Romita's art, even though the guy's pretty well known as an artist (I'm just not a fan I guess), but I think this story arc will be worth reading, even though I'm only two issues in so far.

Watching - The Following

Retired FBI agent Ryan Hardy is called in to help recapture serial killer Joe Carroll, whom he had put behind bars nine years ago. Carroll was a university lecturer who is in love with death and considers Edgar Allan Poe his hero. Carroll had killed 14 women before Hardy finally caught him. But now that Carroll has escaped, Hardy and the feds have a new problem.

See, Carroll has built a cult during his incarceration. He has his own set of fans, made up of people from all walks of life, who are similarly fascinated by death and killing people. People who had visited him in prison. People who are willing to do his bidding when he says so. And because they're an assortment of people, they're tough to differentiate, and worse, some of them are skilled people who can infiltrate law enforcement, hack computers and are military trained too.

So now Hardy has his hands full trying to catch Carroll while saving as many victims as he can, but the bodies keep piling up, and it seems Carroll has a large number of people in place to help him stay one step ahead every time. To make things more complicated, Carroll's ex-wife Claire was romantically involved with Hardy, and she's desperate to get back her young son from Carroll, who had him kidnapped, thanks to the follower he had planted as the babysitter.

The show's first episode was excellent, as it threw many twists and turns, and by the end of it, I wanted to see where these guys could take it. However, as the show ran along, I noticed the main flaws of the series. Firstly, in their attempt to keep things unpredictable, they constantly reveal people who are not who they say they are initially. It happened so often that pretty much every other person that is introduced to the show is a cult follower, and it got more and more ridiculous as it went along. Secondly, the feds are more often than not, portrayed as incompetent, because they always let the bad guys slip away from them, or they're unable to sense that the person they're dealing with is a Carroll follower.

Apparently writer Kevin Williamson wrote Ryan Hardy based on Jack Bauer from 24, and I can certainly see the similarities between the two shows. Hardy is someone who takes a lot of emotional punishment for his failures, and is a broken man at the start of the show. At the very least, his character is well written as I keep rooting for him, wanting him to get some small victory in each episode.

Despite the flaws, I'm invested in this series, and I'm waiting to see the last three episodes this week just to see how it ends. A new season is on the horizon, so lets hope things pick up then.