Tag Archives: journalism

TV Review: House of Cards (Season 1)

“The road to power is paved with hypocrisy, and casualties.”

I love me a good drama. I love that nail biting feeling you get after a cliffhanger. But politics? Not so much.

I think it’s safe to say that AMC’s Breaking Bad changed the realm of serial entertainment for the better, and I’ve noticed a large amount of shows focusing on stories similar to it, with the spotlight being given to people with dreams of climbing up the ladder of power and becoming the “kingpin” of sorts. The difference between Breaking Bad and House of Cards, however, (besides the fact that one takes place in a meth lab and the other takes place in the White House) is that while Walter White took his time becoming the revered Heisenburg, right from the beginning of House of Cards, we know exactly who Frank Underwood is; scheming, hungry for power, ruthless, ambitious in all the wrong ways, a villain, essentially. And just like Walter, you just can’t help but love Frank, with his 4th-wall-breaking quips to the audience and all.

Frank Underwood isn’t satisfied with his role as a congressman, and he’s set on getting to the top, whatever that may lead to. His wife, Claire, is ambitious too; perhaps not as mercilessly, but she believes in power. When House of Cards focuses on its characters, I feel it shines brightest. When the political complexities and democracy take the front stage is when I feel my attention wavering, and this seemed to happen more frequently in the first few episodes than anywhere else. But later when things inevitably heat up, I found myself thoroughly enjoying myself.

There’s one thing I noticed that I’d like to mention:

Let me bring up Breaking Bad again. Walter White was oddly successful most of the time, and it was always deeply satisfying watching him succeed. Of course, there would be instances where everything blowed over and he had to take drastic measures, but overall, he was very good at achieving what he wanted. The funny thing about Frank Underwood is that even though he seems all-powerful, his plans almost never go smoothly. He’ll ask the President for his trust, his plain will fail completely, and he’ll go back and ask for his trust again. Frank is not invincible. He’s extremely persuasive, but he can’t always rely on this to get out of trouble. He really is balancing a house of cards. When I think of Breaking Bad, I think of a Jenga tower that keeps getting taller and taller until the very end where it all just topples over. A house of cards much better fits Underwood’s situation, as everything definitely seems likely to collapse, and the wind is always blowing. This makes for good drama.

The performances are great all across the board, I absolutely love the soundtrack, the picture is fantastic, and I found myself watching episodes fly by because I enjoyed watching so much. That really is a testament to how good this show is. However, I found myself losing interest when the politics would take over and it took me a while to even realize what was going on a lot, mostly because I instinctively turned my brain off when people started talking about passing bills and acts and “Wait, what is this about?” was a question I asked an embarrassing amount throughout the thirteen episodes. All that aside though, I’m excited to dig my teeth into season 2 and the soon-to-be-released season 3.

So, what do you think of House of Cards? Perhaps you have yet to see it, and if so, are you interested?

Did you enjoy this little ramble? If so, consider following The Critic’s Canvas for all your critical needs.

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What the First Year of The Critic’s Canvas Looked Like

I started this blog on January 10th of last year, completely on a whim. I was in 10th grade, sitting in a computer class bored out of my mind, and my thoughts really kick in when I’m bored. I thought about how I had always really enjoyed writing, and how I loved reading biased criticism over stuff. So, I thought, why not try doing it myself? I was extremely excited about it. When I started, I tried to post something every single day, and it was so much fun. Seeing my site get views and new followers was addicting. Around March, I had hand surgery, and obviously that made keeping the site running pretty difficult, but I continued to write soon after. Obviously things have changed and evolved since the beginning, but I’m actually very proud of my first year. Thank you to everyone who has ever read anything I’ve posted on here, and a special thanks to everyone who has followed so far. It’s a very good motivation when people actually read the stuff I write. WordPress concocted a nifty little summary of 2014 for The Critic’s Canvas, showcasing the number of views received, most popular posts, etc. Check it out:

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Future of The Critic’s Canvas

“Hello, long time no see, it’s nice to see you again, where the hell have you been?”

Yes, I kinda fell off the face of the earth. And if anything, that time floating through the vast emptiness of space gave me lots of time to think about what my vision for The Critic’s Canvas was gonna be. My overall web traffic has been dropping tremendously over the past couple months (because I’ve been posting much, much less) and it kinda sucks. I had a good thing going for a while! My Adventure Time reviews were reeling in good views, and most importantly, I had lots of fun writing them! Eventually I became confident enough to think that I could handle covering two shows at one time, and it went pretty well. However, there would be times when I just didn’t feel like writing, and that would cause me to put off an episode review, and eventually I’d find myself forcing myself to do a review just so I could get to the next deadline. It wasn’t fun, and that’s when I stopped caring as much. My hobbie had become a job, in my mind at least, and one that doesn’t pay at that. I begun to feel like I had gotten ahead of myself; thinking I could handle all these deadlines all by myself. I mean, I probably could. It’s definitely not impossible, but I just lacked the motivation and passion I used to have.

Now understand, I’m still very much interested in keeping The Critic’s Canvas alive, but I think I’m done with scheduled episode reviews; even though they were my main source of views. But ultimately, this blog isn’t about getting views (even though I love people actually seeing my work), it’s about practice; refining my talent. Something I can show to a possible employer, to show them my worth. It’s me writing for the long run. What I want to write are series reviews (instead of individual episode reviews), Thinking Out Loud pieces, game reviews, updates about the books I might write, etc. I sincerely apologize for disappearing for so long without notice. I hope you understand.

Oh yeah, and this blog has been around for about a year now that 2015 has rolled in! I started this blog January of 2014, kind of as a “New Year goal” to better my writing ability and hopefully garner some attention. It’s been fun. Let’s see where the next year takes us.

Adventure Time Review: Season 6 Episode 1-2 (Wake Up and Escape from the Citadel)

I have proclaimed my love for Adventure Time quite a bit in the past, and what better time to begin writing episode reviews then the beginning of Season 6! Well, a better time would’ve been at the beginning of the series, but things can’t always be perfect, can they.

With the extra long Season 5 having been wrapped up around a month ago, Season 6 has come to make our Monday nights all the more extravagant. So let’s get to the review.

The Plot

Season 5 ended in a huge cliffhanger with the spirit of Finn’s greatest role-model, Billy, muttering “Your father, Finn. He’s alive!”. We begin the first 11-minute segment of the episode with Jake partying at Prismo’s, and Glob and his three other faces taking selfies on the non-functioning Lich. Prismo states that The Lich’s main function is to cause mass death and destruction, and since he can’t do that in the Time Room, he has entered a frozen state. Foreshadowing much?

20140423-160050.jpg Jake returns to the treehouse only to find Finn in a visceral state, and covered in leaves and plants for some unmentioned reason. He tell’s Jake that his true human father is alive and they must go to a dangerous space prison called The Citadel to see him.

Is This A Good Place To Start?

If you haven’t seen the show, this probably isn’t a good place to start. It continues many story arches from earlier in the show, and doesn’t really re-introduce characters from previous seasons. They expect you to have knowledge of what has happened before, and there is no “Previously On” segment. If you’ve been hesitant to begin watching, don’t be. Simply start from the beginning and at least try to watch through the first three seasons and see if you like it or not. For those of you who do watch Adventure Time, but have yet to see this episode, either because you missed it when it aired, you don’t have cable, or are considering buying the episode from iTunes or Google Play (speaking of which, these episodes are free on iTunes, so go get them!), here’s a spoiler-free verdict to see if it’s worth your time.

My “Spoiler Free” Verdict

If you’re a fan of the show, there’s no reason for you to skip out on watching it. It has some great twists and some really epic moments. There are some parts that might scare the younger kids though, so keep that in mind.

Now, if you have watched it and you just want to hear my opinion, then here it is:

My True Verdict (with spoilers)

“Oh dang.” The two words that slipped out of my mouth as I looked at the nub that used to be Finn’s arm. I felt so emotionally exhausted after watching the episode. I was literally blanketed in sweat. I immediately got on Twitter and watched as excited, shocked, and even some disappointed comments appeared. The people who were disappointed I feel didn’t really understand what the show was doing. Sure, Dad the Human was “crummier than a big ol’ biscuit.” as Tree Trunks would put it, but that’s part of what made this episode so meaningful. After the finale of last season, theories rolled in of what Dad the Human would be like; that he’d been fighting criminals in space all this time, that he was being impersonated by The Lich, however most of us still figured he’d be a heroic figure like his boy! But no, instead they do what I’ve always admired the show for doing. They do the unpredictable. When we make expectations in real life, rarely does the real thing actually satisfy. Just as we were setting up our expectations, there’s no doubt that Finn has been too, and it’s such a nod to reality when we find out that Dad the Human, or Martin as he’s named, is a total buttwad. He doesn’t remember Finn, he doesn’t care about Finn. He simply uses Finn’s desire for a father to escape from his cosmic prison. Kinda funny how this is labeled as a kid’s show, eh?

20140423-163921.jpg It was also extremely depressing to see Prismo be offed by The Lich. That was truly a heartbreaking moment. But my favorite moment:

You are alone, child.
There is only darkness for you, and only death for your people.
These ancients are just the beginning. I will command a great and terrible army and we will sail to a billion worlds. We will sail until every light has been extinguished.
You are strong, child, but I am beyond strength.
I am the end, and I have come for you, Finn.

20140423-164847.jpg

They really showed off just how terrifying The Lich is in this episode. And then they turned him into a baby, which was an awesomely disturbing scene by the way.

So what did you think of the episode? Were you shocked? Excited? Or maybe disappointed?

Also, how do you like these reviews? Make sure to let me know by either telling me in the comments, or liking the post! It means a lot!

Did you enjoy this little ramble? Well, there’s more where it came from at The Critic’s Canvas! Following might be an option to consider. I’d recommend it.

Journalism is My Passion

I’ve always had my mind set on the future, although my 8 year old self and the current 16 year old may not think the same way. My eyes have been set on journalism and writing for quite some time, and I guess you could say that this blog is my way of taking action, along with poetry and a fiction novel that I’ve been working on on the side.

Although I am quite open-minded and am willing to write about a wide array of subjects, video games are my main focus and my greatest passion, with music taking second place, of course. I know it’s probably not the classiest topic and may not impress all the professors out there, but it’s what I enjoy. I’m hoping that someday I can write for people like IGN, Revision3, or heck, why not New York Times? I’ve heard that it’s not the easiest path to go down, and I’m a bit anxious, but I really have a good feeling about this.