I.R.W.Y.V. (I Review What You View) – Gotham Pilot

This week began the first of four DC shows coming to TV land and here are my impressions of the Gotham pilot. Given that this is the pilot I will be a lot more lenient with the episode’s flaws. The series follows the early days of the then detective James “Jim” Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as he made it his mission to clean up the crime ridden and corrupt city that is Gotham. He is paired with Harvey Bullock (Donal Louge) to solve the high profile murder case of Thomas and Martha Wayne. The murder left a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) now under the care of Alfred Pennyworth (Sean Pertwee) grieving for his parents.

The series introduced many familiar Batman villains before they took up the names Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor), Riddler (Cory Michael Smith), Catwoman (Camren Bicondova) and Poison Ivy (Clare Foley). I felt that there were way too many villains in one episode but that was addressed by creator, writer and executive producer Bruno Heller and said that they wanted to introduce as many characters as possible in the pilot but promised the upcoming episodes to be more focused in terms of character building. Visually the show looks great. It combines the concrete jungle itself with the Gothic backdrop of Tim Burton’s take on the legendary fictional city. The city feels lived in and alive and it also feels dangerous and exciting. Whether they can replicate the stunning visuals they achieved is yet to be seen the rest of the season will be in a locked in budget.

The dialogue was something I had a bit of trouble with as it seemed to be at times cliché and predictable. There was n though providing exchanges it seemed to basically write itself since it so easy to write when on auto mode. Despite this I have faith in the narrative as I feel that the last twenty minutes of the show was showcase of what the previous thirty minutes could have been but once again this is a pilot and a show never quite reaches its potential until half way through a season. Many of my favorite shows took a while to get started so its normal if the pilot isn’t perfect. A real stand out scene was the meat locker scene as it had double crossing, faithful partner rescue and mob style executions. This was very reminiscent of old noire films as they strong shadow along with the bloody surroundings was a joy to watch. Jada Pinkett Smith’s character Fish Mooney was created for the show was an imposing figure as she set her sights on taking on Gotham’s underworld.

Perhaps the most intriguing character on the show was Oswald Cobblepot aka the Penguin as Robin Lord Taylor’s take was both intriguing and refreshing. You can feel the desperation in his beady eyes as he attempts to take out the completion so he can rise in the mob world. At first he comes across as a timid lap dog for Mooney but can be vicious and ruthless when backed into a corner. The last scene of the show was like a rebirth moment for Cobblepot as he seems to turn into a more sinister figure.

Overall the pilot was flawed as story was sacrificed to establish tone and atmosphere but it has great potential with a great cast. The dialogue can be improved but they might just be trying to find their voice as the characters get more defined as the show goes on.

This brings me to a score of: Comic book fans might be disappointed to some changes to the mythos of the source material but the show looks great and has a great to portray characters that they always wanted to see being played in live action. For the rest of the audience the show could be a great old school noire film packed into a TV show and seems to have a good appeal to most people.

#7 Symposium Pandemonium

This had a more lecture type feel to it than the previous ones but anyway onto the points.

We dealt with the different types of networks in the both the reading and tutor with Elliot as he also brought up nodes as the stations in the trains network in Melbourne. This network is much more restricted than the scale free network that the internet is as it can has no limit on how much it grows and expands. The process of using tags and categorizing our posts is a way to lead people to visit particular nodes that we want to users to see.

The site Cowbird was quite interesting as it curates the aggregation of stories submitted by users though the use of key words and categories. This is a good example to how every story can relate to each other. The whole ‘Oracle of Kevin Bacon’ thing was both humorous to think about and also a great example of links in a network. The fact that every celebrity is in some way linked to Kevin Bacon shows how easy it is to link people if we take the time to trace back the links we can go to some unexpected and strange places.

I.R.W.Y.V. (I Review What You View) – The Killing Season 4

The real AMC zombie show returns against all odds but this time on the media streaming giant Netflix. After enduring yet another cancelation The Killing was given new life and a proper final season to conclude the mostly underrated crime drama. Episodes in the fourth season have a longer running time of approximately 55–59 minutes compared to 43 minutes when the series aired on AMC with commercials, and characters are able to use stronger profanity. If you have never seen this show then stop reading and scroll down to the verdict for further instructions.

The show the mood and atmosphere of the show remained the same (dark and depressing) as showrunner Veena Sud and writers and executive producers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin all returned. The main cast member returned to reprise their roles as well as some new faces. Overall the season was a welcomed return to the gloomy and rainy Seattle where detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) and detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) are covering up the murder of James Skinner, while trying to solve the slaughter of the Stansburys. Being limited to six episodes you can’t expect the same twists and turns that the first three seasons offered but it does keep you on your toes. Kinnaman and Enos continued their great on screen chemistry as their partnership was put to the ultimate test when detective Reddick started digging into the disappearance of Skinner.

There was a particular scene that made me feel quite uncomfortable in the sense that it was such a tense and horrifying act. This may have been unable to air the scene on their former network but it didn’t necessarily feel out of place. I also got a kick out of hearing Kinnaman swear. The atmospheric and haunting score continued to add to the bleakness of the scenes as the great writing and the combination of cinematography and acting made this show so emotionally captivating. In a world of detective shows that wrap up a murder in half an hour, this show stands as a remarkably realistic approach to this genre as the characters feel real as they have faults and limitations that lead to conflict with others and themselves. Their lives are consumed with the process of detective work as it shows how they struggle with balancing their professional and personal lives but at the end of the day the most important goal is to solve the case.

The ending was a fitting conclusion to one of the most intriguing and dark TV shows that I personally ever watched. The final episode is a combination of grief (something that is very common in the show) and joy (something that was very rare) as it’s sad they the adventures of detectives Holder and Linden are coming to an end (never will hear 1 900 Linden again) but it manages to sum up their time together in triumphant end which sees both get an ending they so deserve. I was hooked since the first episode back in 2011 and it’s a shame that it never quite rose to the popularity to keep it going for longer, I am however thankful that the show was given a chance to tell its final story, something that many great shows never got a chance to do.

This brings me to a score of a: MUST WATCH. This show might be too dark for some but if you are a fan on a good detective show then this should be on the top of your list so start from season one and make you way up to four.

Week 9 Reading

This week’s reading by the fancily named Albert-László Barabás really empathized on the 80/20 rule. Now as I was reading the intro got me questioning where this was going since it took a page to give the rule context. Surprisingly the explanation that came with the rule that later turned into Murphy’s Law of Management made sense. It is in fact true that 80% of peas are produced by only 20% of the pea-pods (I actually looked this up) and back to Murphy’s Law of Management 80% of all profits are produced by 20% of all employees and 80% of customer service problems are made by 20% of customers. That is all well and good but what does this have to do with our understanding of networks? I decided to read on.

There we got into what we where talking about in the tutor where we were presented with random and scale-free networks. This gives an indication that even behind the hubs of the most complex networks, there is a power law that the network adheres to. So strict mathematical expression rules everything that we see, I guess my math teacher in grade five was right after all.

#6 Symposium Pandemonium

Another week another symposium reflection hammered out, I think I might be falling into a routine. Yeah there are going to be a lot of hammer jokes in this one so you have been warned.

Have you been asking yourself if technology neutral? Well you’re in luck because that was the main focus of this week’s symposium. After much debating and strange analogies involving hammers we got to the conclusion that technology is in fact not neutral. Yeah that whole hammer thing just made me think of parachute pants and being poor but that is post for another day. The fact that such a simple object such as a hammer can have so many relationships involving hundreds of years of research and development, is a great example of primitive technology evolving into the tool we all take for granted.

Can’t touch this, there is said it or more accurately I wrote it.

You are probably thinking “ohh he’ll just include a picture of MC Hammer haha”. Well the image below will prove just how wrong you really are.

Week 8 Reading

This week’s reading I decided to read Duncan J. Watts’ Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. It was interesting to read how reliant people, in this case Americans were to technology and I would argue even more now.

We have become accustomed to a certain level comfort. Thanks to the electricity grid that we take for granted until there is a black out something as simple as keeping food from spoiling would have been a long arduous process of preservation. The comparison of the electrical grid to the network of the internet is quite accurate as the blackout I have mentioned before doesn’t just affect one peon but a whole area that is why we check if anyone else has power because we know that we are connected. As he continued to explain we are living in a various kinds of networks including who are friends and family are as we affect each other. I guess we are just used to be in a network and this has definitely opened me to different interpretations of the word network other than obvious one attached to the subject’s name. I also apprecated the fact that we were talking about electicity and his surname is Watts.

I.R.W.Y.V. (I Review What You View) – The 100 Pilot

There seems to be a dull few weeks of Television before the end of September and start October when our screens get chocked full of new and returning shows. Personally I am most looking forward to all the DC comics shows. So with this in mind I had a look around and stumbled upon the take three CW show The 100 (pronounced the Hundred not the one Hundred because insert reason). Now this is the first show I reviewed that I did not actively look for so I knew very little about the show beforehand.

Now the premise of the show is that 97 years have passed from a nuclear apocalypse, a future most futuristic sci-fi writers predict, they seem like a delightful group. Anyway all the survivors are in this combined space station from twelve international ones to from the ‘Ark’. Since recourses are scarce they think it’s a good idea to send 100 (see the link to the title) young beautiful prisoners back to earth as guinea pigs to see if the earth is habitable again. Already I have a few problems with the plot which is actually based on the book of the same name by Kass Morgan, and developed by Jason Rothenberg. The town of Chernobyl home of the worst nuclear disaster to date isn’t inhabitable for between 180 and 320 years. I am only assuming that even Chernobyl wouldn’t be match for a nuclear apocalypse, why would it take less time for the earth to recover? Also why would they send young prisoners wouldn’t it make more sense so send much older prisoners. All these teens are attractive and fertile, if humanity is to survive they kinda need to rely on them to procreate.

Maybe it’s a bit unfair that I’m looking into the science and logic of the show, after all it is sci-fi. I was actually impressed on how good it looks. The CGI is actually pretty good, especially the space station, that is a fine lookin’ space station. As for the characters I don’t care for them. There was an instance when a presumably main character was in peril and I was actually rooting for the thing delivering the harm. They all just seem really unlikeable, maybe it’s because they remind me of a bunch of unpleasant high school students. Maybe they will grow on me when they add some dept to their otherwise one dimensional personality. They did present a mystery as to the environmental status of earth, its mutated wildlife which hardly a surprise. Look the CW actually shelled out money for this show because they have faith in it and it did get renewed for a second season. I guess they need to take the teen drama genre that the network is known for and take to space and back to earth since sci-fi is quite popular these days. I might watch the second episode just to see where they take it from there since it was just the pilot, so I’m not shooting the show down just yet.

This brings me to a score of a: if you overlook logic and science which the genre tends to sometimes as well as they teen relationship drama this can actually be a promising show so soldier on.

#5 Symposium Pandemonium

So here we again discussing what people discussed questions discussed by a class the other week. End point being there is a lot of discussions going on.

What struck me as very interesting was the about unconscious intent as before Adrian pointed out the chair that I was sitting on, I never actually felt how hard and uncomfortable it was. Intent is getting lost more and more these days as the way we are communicating is more text based we might not get all the information we need in order to accurately figure out the intent of the sender.

He also brought up the point that the intent of the author is actually irrelevant as the Bonds ad he saw that day proved this point. I can only assume that the producers of the ad never meant for it to be offensive, but it is. We had this discussion (it’s like it the bloody word of the day for crying out loud) in a past class as our intent with our posts can never hold up in an argument so if someone has a problem with it we must take it down. on the topic on irrelevance:

Week 7 Reading

Hey no Hypertext this week, it feels weird and I kinda miss it. You would think that after these few months of having a blog I would have learnt something about text based sarcasm but I digress. This week I read Culture and Technology by Andrew Murphie and John Potts. The reading first introduced the work of Raymond Williams and technological determinism which I am familiar with through histories of technologies. Technological determinism is basically states that technology does not determine human action, but that rather, human action shapes technology. There is also a counter argument made by McLuhan and claims that not only is technology independent from societal pressures, it actually impacts society. I believe that there is no real right answer there has been times in history when society affected technology and vice versa.