The Following (2013- )

Rating: 5

For a while now, a particular department of people that I work with have been telling me that I look like a character off of the TV show, The Following. They’ve also been telling me that I aught to watch it because I apparently look like Emma Hill (played by Valorie Curry) and simply because they love the show. It took me until Friday night to watch an episode of it on Netflix because part of me was unsure about the show and I also didn’t feel like getting invested in yet another crime drama.

But I wound up loving the pilot episode that I watched; the only reason I didn’t watch another episode is because it was my bedtime.

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Potential Spoilers

In the first episode, we find mass murderer Joe Carroll (played by James Purefoy) escaping from prison, shortly before his death sentence is fulfilled. In order to recapture this infamously deadly criminal, the police call in the help of  Ryan Hardy (played by Kevin Bacon). Hardy is an ex-FBI agent and the man who single-handily caught Carroll in the first place.

As the show goes on from the initial setup, both the viewers and the police that Hardy is working with discover that the agent turned novelist is anything but a people person. Hardy was damaged during his time in the FBI, particularly during his time capturing Carroll. Besides the emotional trauma that he suffered, Hardy also has serious heart issues. And then, as he makes sure that Carroll’s ex-wife and son, along with his last victim, are under protection, Hardy finds out that the man he’s supposed to capture developed a cult following while he was in prison.

Carroll obtained these followers by utilizing the internet access he was somehow granted while in prison and through the numerous visitors who came directly to him. The above picture is of one of the followers–Emma. Think we look alike? I don’t particularly see it, except maybe similar hair styles.

Anyways, Carroll’s following quickly develop the potential of being Hardy’s major problem as they enable Carroll to fulfill his wish of finishing what he started. His last victim, Sarah Fuller (played by Maggie Grace), was the only young woman he wasn’t able to actually kill because Hardy stopped him. And the latter is fights desperately to protect her. But you’ll have to watch the episode to find out whether or not he’s successful.

I was sucked into this show by the complicated characters and the situations they were forced into all because of one man. It’s both a frightening and interesting idea–a prisoner developing a cult of devoted followers to carry out his whims, even when he’s behind bars.

Something that I found particularly interesting is that Carroll was originally an English teacher, and he still dotes on Edgar Allen Poe. He reference Poe’s works throughout the first episode both verbally and through the “artwork” he does in his killings.

I recommend you add this show to your list of show to become invested in.

“Who Am I”

In one of the scenes in” The Amazing Spider Man“, we find Peter Parker and Gwen in class with the teacher discussing plot. She tells her students that someone once said there were only 10 different types of plots, but she disagreed. In her opinion, there was only one plot line–who am I?

What do you think? Consider all of the works you’ve seen or read and all of those that you’ve created. Do any or all of them answer, or seek to answer, the question “who am I”?

who-am-i_nametagI don’t know if it’s true for every work of the world that’s ever been or will be written, but I think there’s  a possibility that it could be.

If I think of all the works of fiction that I’ve written and am working on, you could easily say that each of the main characters are, in some way, on a quest to discover themselves. And isn’t that essentially what we, as people, are trying to to with our lives? Aren’t we all trying to figure out who we are and and we’ve been put here?

Take Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, fir example. From the first day that we meet Harry, he’s trying to find himself. If you haven’t read these books, then

  1. you must read them–now. Go!
  2. I’ll explain what I’m talking about. The first time that we meet Harry, he’s living (if you can call it that) with his aunt, uncle, and cousin–all of whom hate him. Naturally, a boy of almost 10, who finds himself in this particular situation, does a lot of questioning why he’s in these circumstances along with wishing that his parents hadn’t left him to this part of their family. Then, one day, a letter comes in the mail addressed to Harry. Though they won’t admit, his aunt and uncle know exactly what this means and burn the letter and the subsequent letters that follow until (in ways that you’ll have to find out by reading the books), Harry finally gets to read one of the letters. He finds out that he’s a wizard. But this doesn’t exactly answer his “who am I” question, it just open a whole new box of questions.

Another example is Disney’s Frozen. Both of the main characters–Anna and Elsa–spend the movie trying to figure out who they are. If you haven’t seen this movie,

  1. go watch it now!
  2. read the review that I wrote of it so you can get a better grasp of what I’m talking about.

My last example is the TV show, The Blacklist. Throughout the show, the main character, Liz Keen, just wants to know who she is. It seems that she can’t pin down her past or even the true identities of the people around her. Again, if you’ve never seen this show,

  1. this is definitely a crime show worth getting in to. Go see it!
  2. I’ve written a review of this one as well.

All three of these are good examples of the plot line “who am I”. Tell me, what do you think of all this? Agree? Disagree? Examples of why for either response?

Game of Thrones

 

Just a quick note before the actual review: review posts should be returning to Monday starting next week. I simply wanted to make sure that yesterday’s post happened yesterday.

Rating: 5game-of-thrones 

If you don’t watch or read Game of Thrones yourself, you’ve more than likely at least heard of it. George R. R. Martin‘s works of fantasy have attracted many many fans. And when HBO got its hands on said books, Game of Thrones’ popularity soared.

I’m currently just starting to dig into the third book, A Storm of Swords. There are five books in the “Song of Ice and Fire” series so far (each roughly 1,000 pages long) and Martin is still writing, so I have a little ways to go.

I am, however, caught up on the TV series. The fourth season just started on Sunday, April 6 and I was able to see both it and the second episode (on Sunday, April 13) as they aired. I had to watch season three just a couple of weeks before the first episode of season four started after my fiance bought the season on DVD.

And the first two episode haven’t been a disappointment.

Part of what’s amazing about Martin’s books is the way that he organizes the timeline his characters live in. All of the main characters take turns using their own voices to tell their stories as they sometimes take part in each others’. For example, in the third book, the first chapter is told by Arya and the following by Tyrion. These two characters are both important players in the battle for the Iron Throne. And they’re also two of my favorite characters.

george-rr-martin---credit-karolina-webb_custom-f55e7468bf1390094e2995cc4f26d8e6a8f7ab47-s6-c30For someone who isn’t used to reading a book with flipping perspectives, it might be hard to get in to at first. You’d think that with the large number of characters whose minds are entered, it might be hard to get attached to said characters. But it’s actually hard not to connect to them–all of them really. From my favorites–like Daenerys and Sansa–and the ones I love to hate–like Joffrey and Cersei–I have strong emotional attachment to each of them.

And the plot is masterfully complex. There are stories and stories within stories. There are knights, ladies, kings, queens, magic, dragons, fighting, and explicit scenes. A little something for everybody really.

My one major criticism of it all is just how explicit both the books and TV series are. You can’t read this to or watch this with your children. There’s a reason it’s on HBO–language, sex scenes, and bloody violence. Even if you don’t enjoy all of that, the stories are spellbinding, and well worth pushing past what might make you uncomfortable. And, if you have DVR or opt to wait and get them on DVD, you can utilize your fast forward button.

If anything, I highly recommend that you delve into this book series. Also, I suggest you click this picture of Martin and read the post that the link reads to.

Black Sails (2014 -)

Here’s the post that I promised to give you yesterday. I’m sorry that I didn’t actually get it to you until this morning. I can guarantee that there will be a weekly quote later today because I just finished typing it up and scheduling it for later.

Rating: 4

Ever since the creators of Black Sails started releasing previews, my fiance and one of his best friends have both been super excited about it.

But Kevin was also shocked and disappointed that I, an English major, have never read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, which Black Sails is a prequel to. I informed him that I haven’t the time or money to read all the books in the world (although I’d love to), and he said it was a children’s classic. But an adventure book centered around pirates isn’t typically directed at little girls. I plan on downloading it on my Nook and reading it soon in my wealth of free time (sarcasm sign).

I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to watch this particular show with Kevin, but I wound up watching the first episode with him on Saturday night at 8 pm.

Since Black Sails is on Starz, there is the expected language, bloody violence, and nudity. I don’t find these things necessary and they can make me uncomfortable, which is why I gave this show a 4. I’m not trying to say that explicit show or movies are bad–every artist has the right to express themselves–it just isn’t my favorite thing. Also, this is probably a show that you don’t want your children watching.

SPOILER ALERT

In the first episode, we meet Captain Flint (played by Toby Stephens) and his pirate crew as they’re attacking a cargo ship.

Two men on said ship are hiding below decks–the cook (played by Joe Vaz) and John Silver (played by Luke Arnold). The two get in a fight over something that the cook is attempting to keep a tight hold of and John Silver winds up killing the man. When the pirates find him, he claims to be the cook, so Gates (Flint’s First Mate, played by Mark Ryan) accepts John Silver as a new member of their crew. Considering the fact that John Silver isn’t actually a cook, the audience is left wondering how the coward will pull it off.

But there’s more interesting drama aboard Captain Flint’s ship to distract us form something as minimal as a floundering cook. Flint has been in the pursuit of a large treasure for months. This is a prize that would surely excite any pirate, but Flint hasn’t told anyone besides Gates what he’s doing. Uneasiness and mutiny grows among Flint’s crewmen.

The ship docks in order to sell what little they’ve stolen from their last attack to Flint’s backer, Eleanor Guthrie (played by Hannah New). Gates frantically works his connections in the game of pirate politics to try to keep Flint in his current position of captain while Flint himself goes off to talk to an aristocrat to help me find his treasure.

At the end of the episode, everyone is back aboard the pirate ship. Gates’ schemes have fallen through and Flint faces a vote that won’t be in his favor. Will he be able to talk his way out of this one?

You’ll have to watch the episode to find out!