Tag Archives: television

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?

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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.

Legend Of Korra Review: Book 3 Episode 10 (Long Live The Queen)

Airbending just got a whole lot more interesting.

The Plot

Korra and Asami are imprisoned on an Earth Kingdom airship and are being taken into the Earth Queen’s custody; Mako and Bolin are imprisoned by the Red Lotus and are being taken into the Earth Queen’s custody. To put it simply, things aren’t looking up for Team Avatar.

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Spoilers from here onwards…

Well, I think we all know why Nick pulled Korra off the air now. Yup. That happened. We saw a villain die a rather violent death on screen. Sure, the Earth Queen is a real ding dong, but you gotta admit, that death was just screwed up.

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Not to mention the fact that every young, innocent child who saw that is probably gonna have nightmares for the remainder of their lifespan.

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So yeah, Zaheer dethroned the Earth Queen, spreading anarchy throughout Ba Sing Se, with riots, looters, you know, the whole kazoo. Obviously, the Earth Queen’s rather disturbing death is the talk of the episode, and I really don’t know what else to say about it. The rest of the episode is really just the characters trying to escape their imprisonment only to find Ba Sing Se in crisis.

Nonetheless, the episode was very enjoyable, but not to the point where I feel the need to write pages and pages of analysis and opinions.

What did you think of the episode? Did it leave you breathless? Or did it actually, like, rip the air out of your lungs and leave you twitching on the floor? Let me know!

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Adventure Time Review: Season 6 Episode 15 (Nemesis)

Protective parents be trippin’ yo.

The Plot

A passionate man, who goes by the name “Peacemaster”, is rife with angst towards the Candy Kingdom. This fury is driven by the belief that there is dark magic and secrets afoot. He knows that PB spies on her citizens, and he knows that someone in her castle is an evil-doer. Will he succeed in unveiling the true face of the kingdom of candy? Or will Peppermint Butler take it upon himself to silence the issue?

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Spoilers from here onwards…

Okay, so I’m quite torn about who to side with here:

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• There’s Bubblegum and her candy citizens who follow her to no end. PB will do anything for the greater good, whether that be leaving someone to die so that others will survive, or kidnapping someone and running dangerous experiments on said someone to receive information that could prevent possible catastrophes in the future. People often say that Bubblegum is kind of “morally grey”; she does seemingly evil things for good, kind of. But no matter what, you rarely ever hear anyone call her out on it. Finn and Jake have shown concern before, but I assure you that Finn (I don’t know about Jake) would never turn his back on PB unless things got really donked up. And yes, she has a wacked out, kinda evil sociopath as a butler. Cute as he may be, he could be extremely dangerous were he to attack the Candy Kingdom.

And then…

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• There’s Peacemaster, a guy who wants, well, peace; a world rid of evil, dark arts, and anything that could possibly influence his three kids in a bad way. Yup, he’s a family guy. Too bad these kids could care less about their father’s concern, and would honestly love to take part in some good ol’ dark arts. It’s kinda sad, really. I mean, sure, you could say that Peacemaster is kind of being a buttwad by shielding his kids so much, but to me it just means he cares. In fact, Pep But turning his kids into monsters really pissed me off.

So who do I side with?

Well, in this case, I’m gonna go with Peacemaster. It is true that PB oversteps boundaries on a far too regular basis, and honestly, I just can’t help but feel sorry for the guy.

So what did I think of the episode? I think it’s great! I was kinda becoming displeased with the lack of solid Adventure Time episodes as of late, and it felt good to see one that I actually wanted to talk about.

So what did you think of the episode? Did you shake a righteous fist of anger? Or perhaps sat back and enjoyed the episode with a bit of camomile tea? Let me know!

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Legend of Korra Review: Book 3 Episode 9 (The Stakeout)

God, this season has been so great. Like, why did it take 3 seasons for them to get it right?

The Plot

Korra and the gang travel Misty Palms in search of the treacherous Aiwie, but no matter where they go, Zaheer will always be waiting.

Spoilers From Here Onwards

The Krew’s search for Aiwie takes them to the Misty Palms Oasis, and what’s a stakeout without sneaky disguises and intense chase scenes? Yes, The Stakeout, has all of these things, but most surprising is the information gained in just the third act alone. I’m talking a massive info dump.

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Turns out our prisoner friends are really an organization called The Red Lotus. They desire absolute anarchy; a world free of kings, queens, and government as a whole. The belief that the natural order is disorder drives these people, and they want Korra to aid them in achieving their goals.

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However, the best thing about their intentions is this:

They kinda make sense.

Korra and her friends have dealt with some awful monarchs throughout the show. Some desire power so much that they’d be willing to do anything to seize it.

But this philosophy is not without flaws. One must consider that without law, people would be free to commit much worse crimes than before and not be punished. Zaheer strongly believes that disorder will bring the world balance, but such beliefs put the strong ones at the top, and weak ones at the bottom. Would it really be any better than the way things already are? Of course, his intentions are evil, but the fact that it leaves you thinking about it is a good thing.

Oh yeah, and that Pai-shodown was flamio, hotman.

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Bolin and Mako are taken by The Red Lotus, while Korra and Asami are taken by the Earth Queen. What will become of our heroes?!

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So what did you think of the episode? Did you love it? Hate it? Let me know!

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Legend of Korra Review: Book 3 Episode 8 (The Terror Within)

My Korra reviews have returned!

The Plot

Korra and the gang continue to chill in Zaofu to celebrate Opal going to the air temple to learn with Tenzin. However, there may be a few dangers lurking in the city that no one could ever suspect.

My Verdict (Spoiler Free)

A very good, action-heavy episode. It manages to fit in a few good laughs too, and they never feel like they detract from the drama. There’s no reason for you to skip over this one.

My Final Verdict (With Spoilers)

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So yes, the impossible becomes possible and the Red Lotus manage to break into Zaofu and kidnap Korra. This episode succeeds in building suspense during these scenes and you really see just how dangerous these criminals are.

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However, the action simmers down a bit in the second half, changing the focus from the Red Lotus breaking in to how the Red Lotus succeeded in doing so. It still manages to end with a bang though. Like really. There’s actually a bang. Like an explosion bang. From a bomb. It blows up. You know, bang!

The fact that the secret keeper was the traitor caught me by surprise originally, but honestly, who the hell else would it be? And seriously, that nose-to-ear piercing really is creepy.

I really enjoyed this episode, just as I have this entire season so far! I mean, this Book has really impressed me! I feel it’s what Korra should’ve been like this whole time!

So what did you think of the episode? Did it leave you on the edge of your seat? Or perhaps it left you popping more Z’s than Korra full of sleeping darts? Let me know!

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Anime: Is it worth my time?

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All my friends watch anime, and while they’re all fangirling, I sit in the corner wondering just what the deal is. They go on about the animes that you would expect: Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Deathnote, Naruto, Bleach, and Fairy Tale.

I would make a proper “Thoughts and Opinions” for this, but I don’t feel that my thoughts and opinions are at their fullest, because I haven’t had enough time with anime yet.

However, this post will serve as my thoughts and opinions before I delve into said subject matter. On first sight, I love anime. Why? I love the art styles! I find different languages interesting! That’s the first impression that anime has left with me. Now, I want to give my history, starting with when I was quite young, of when I was first introduced into the world of anime.

I am a huge fan of the Avatar series. Now, I know, Avatar is not an anime, but it is an american cartoon with anime influence. I’ve always loved The Last Airbender, and I’ve really been enjoying The Legend of Korra.

So now, currently, I’ve really wanted to start watching a real anime. So, I got on Netflix and pulled up the first anime I saw that I had heard about, and of course, I fell upon Fairy Tale. I watched the first episode, and oh my glob. It’s so freaking CUTE. After enduring about 20 minutes of absolute cuteness, my heart was practically bleeding out of my chest. From the art style, to the language, just about everything tickled my fancy. Except one little detail. I’m too busy trying to keep up with subtitles, that I can’t just sit back, relax, and soak in the wonder! I’m reading a show, not watching one! I believe that keeping up with subtitles becomes easier as you go, but I just can’t get past the fact that if I look away for an instant, I could miss a whole line of dialogue!

Also, I have one more problem with anime, something that I was aware of before I even started watching. It’s really hard to find an anime without stumbling upon some form of perversion. I just don’t find the over-sexualization of most female characters all that appealing. I mean, I am heterosexual. I find pleasure in women, but not like that. I don’t know, I guess I just don’t understand boobs the size of yoga balls.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited to delve deeper into the world of anime. Maybe I’ll even learn some new words along the way.

Now that I’m done, I want to hear from you! Are you an animaniac? Or does the sight of it make you wince? Tell me!

Also, is there anything I should improve on my blog? Does my writing need some work? I want to know!

Did you enjoy this little ramble? Perhaps you’d like more? Well, perhaps you could consider following The Critic’s Canvas! There’s more than enough thoughts and opinions to go around.