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Category Archives: blog

The Top 10 Television Deaths of 2013

There have been some pretty incredible deaths on television, but 2013 probably had the best so far.

Brian Griffin

Family Guy 

Family Guy | fox.com

Even though Family Guy‘s irreverent nature and cartoon format lends this one to a bit of incredulity, it was no less shocking when the famous talking dog took his final bow. Through a series of unfortunate events, Brian the dog was literally thrown under the bus – or, in this case, a passing car – and was abruptly killed off.

Sean McGinnes

Hell on Wheels

Killed by his own brother in Hell on Wheels, his death was particularly gritty considering it was his own kin that pulled the trigger. What’s more, Sean, who was going through a bit of a moral reawakening, was killed all to cover up a crime.

Matthew Crawley

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is often defined by all the twists and turns that plague not only the narrative but the characters, as well. Matthew Crawley, a man who pretty much moved mountains to be with his one true love, was killed off in a freak car accident.

Justin Ripley

Luther

The most tragic thing about the young detective’s death was the circumstances surrounding it. From the very beginning of Luther, Justin Ripley showed himself to be a man of integrity and courage and it was these very virtues that led him to pursue a deranged vigilante and – in the end – his own death.

Debra Morgan

Dexter

Debra Morgan, the no-nonsense cop whose half-brother was the notorious serial killer for whom the series was named met a very tragic end. Not wanting to burden her brother after sustaining a gunshot wound, she was admitted into critical care when complications arose. In the end, Dexter’s final kill was a mercy killing for his beloved sister.

Lori Grimes

The Walking Dead

By the time Lori was ready to leave the hit AMC series, not too many fans were really dreading it. That didn’t make the circumstances surrounding her passing any less shocking. A far cry from her fate in the comic book, Lori died during childbirth and it was up to her son, Carl, to shoot her after the fact – preventing her zombification.

Peter Russo

House of Cards

Peter was by no stretch of the imagination a saint – few people are in this show. However, his treacherous murder at the hands of his own employer only left a bitter taste in people’s mouths. Seeing Peter as a serious loose end, Frank Underwood staged his suicide by leaving him in a running car with the garage door closed…after he had finished using up and exploiting the flawed man, of course.

Joss Carter

Person of Interest

No one thought Joss Carter, the moral compass of the CBS crime drama, would take a fall. Not only was her death unexpected, it was savage and punitive – gunned down by a man with no remorse.

Robb Stark

Game of Thrones

Robb Stark’s death was especially difficult to swallow because of just how underhanded it was. Invited into the welcoming arms of an ally with his bride to be, his mother and the unborn child, he was executed slowly and with extreme prejudice. Shot multiple times in the back by archers, he was stabbed in cold blood by a so-called friend.

Walter White

Breaking Bad

It was pretty clear that Walter White wasn’t going to be riding off into the sunset by the end of the series. However, his death managed to accomplish things few series finales ever could – a very real resolution. In his final act, Walt finally did something heroic by saving his old partner in crime, Jesse, and paid for it in blood just before the cops could arrive.

2013 Indie Film Showcase

Not all films come from Hollywood or even boast a Hollywood budget. Typically, these are referred to as independent films or “indies.” Usually smaller both in scope and sheer magnitude, these films are no less powerful or inspiring, and some manage to even make it to the mainstream despite their humble beginnings.

War Witch | rebelle-lefilm.ca

Indie films usually offer an entirely different experience from their Hollywood cousins because they are not creatively-hindered by budgets. They are mostly works of art from the heart meant to tell a genuine story or convey a real emotion rather than purely serving as marketing vehicles and, in this way, indie films can actually prove to be superior to the mainstream movies.

Below are just a few of the best indie films to come out in 2013.

War Witch

Haunting and bleak, War Witch (or Rebelle as it is known overseas) is a no-less intriguing and profound commentary on the horrors of child soldiers as seen through the eyes of Komona, a 12-year-old girl made to murder her own parents and join the rebels. Using her imagination as her only means to cope; her reflection is further enhanced by a strange, hallucinogenic sap that seemingly grants her powers of perception. Unfortunately, in this world, exceptional people aren’t rewarded…they are exploited.

Much Ado About Nothing

A quaint marriage of old and new, Much Ado About Nothing reimagines the Shakespearian classic in contemporary times. While the trappings are modern, everything from the medium and the dialogue harken back to the Elizabethan roots creating an impressive and anachronistic experience. Despite the comedic and clever interpretation, the story of the twisted game of love from the original remains largely intact and no less convoluted.

The Place Beyond the Pines

What ostensibly comes off as your typical crime drama involving a heist, corruption and honor reclaimed is broadened by the genius of writer-director Derek Cianfrance. The Place Beyond the Pines tells the story from multiple perspectives starting with the criminal before jumping to the law and flashforwarding to the aftermath of what went down. There’s an unprecedented level of both depth and scope that makes this indie crime drama stand out from the rest.

V/H/S/2

Borrowing from the anthology-style format of The Twilight Zone, V/H/S/2 starts with a pair of private investigators stumbling upon a stash of VHS tapes and quickly moves on from there into a series of disjointed visceral vignettes. The schizophrenic, disconnected medley evokes a certain feeling of psychological uncertainty that becomes blatantly obvious in the investigators as the viewing continues.

Upstream Color

From the creator of the indie classic Primer, Upstream Color explores the disastrous influence of a parasitic organism on the fragile human mind while giving equal attention to the alien nature of human relationships. As the two protagonists become more and more corrupt by the parasite, they lose their hold over their identities until all they have left is their mutual bewilderment which serves as their shaky foundation. More specifically, it represents the uncertainty of life made more terrifying by the unpredictable human nature of others.

Holiday Blockbusters to Ring in the New Year

Winter is coming and, with it, a whole slew of holiday classics to warm your heart and make the season bright. You’ll certainly have your classics like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story, but if you’re in the mood for something a little more current, Hollywood certainly has 2013 in the bag.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues | paramount.com

With the end of the year fast-approaching, Hollywood is pulling out all the stops with some hotly-anticipated holiday blockbusters. If you’re looking to ring in the New Year while ending the previous one with a bang, these are some upcoming releases you won’t want to miss.

Last Days on Mars

A research crew of eight specialists makes the discovery of a lifetime when some soil samples reveal the possibility of life on mars. Unfortunately this breakthrough quickly turns into a nightmare when the biological agent begins corrupting the living and reanimating the dead. Friends become enemies as the malevolent influence of the alien organism corrupts the humans, and it becomes a fight for survival out in the middle of nowhere.

47 Ronin

In this fictional account of the real-life group of 18th-century samurai, an outcast by the name of Kai joins a group of ronin – samurai without masters – on a quest for vengeance and honor. Starring Keanu Reeves and an ensemble cast of Japanese actors, the film promises stunning visuals and gracefully choreographed fight scenes that emphasize the decisiveness, poise and finesse that the samurai were historically famous for.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

The boys are back and Ron Burgundy, Brick Tamland, Brian Fantana and Champ Kind are bringing the thunder in this hotly-anticipated sequel. After their meteoric climb to success on Channel 4, the team grows complacent and disbands where they slowly sink into obscurity…that is, until news of a 24-hour news channel is brought to their attention. Now, the group must come back together and join this channel and finally give Americans a good reason to turn on the television.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

If you missed the first Hobbit film, that’s okay – the second one is where things really heat up. Having escaped the Orc war-chief, Azog, the company continues their quest to reclaim the glory of Thorin’s birthright. This quest takes them into even darker dangers with nothing waiting for them at the end except the carnivorous maw of the sleeping dragon, Smaug. Of course, it soon becomes clear that the corruption of avarice and paranoia can be just as destructive as dragon’s breath.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese returns to form with this gritty, darkly comedic story of corporate greed and corruption on Wall Street. The 80s were good to men like Jordan Belfort, small-time New York stockbroker turned market mogul, and this movie chronicles his climb to the top and the inevitable consequences that plague the prideful. Money, power, women – for Belfort it’s never enough as he mixes and mingles while skirting the boundaries of criminal corruption and living in the moment – however short.

5 Upcoming Dramas from Across the Pond

The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has been responsible for some of the most compelling dramas ever to grace the television set. Combining award-winning actors with award-winning writing, these dramas truly raise the bar while providing thought-provoking entertainment without pandering to or insulting the audience.

Downton Abbey | bbc.co.uk

There have been some absolutely remarkable shows from across the pond and while some have run their course, others are just getting started. Below is a list of just a few of the upcoming dramas making their way out of the UK, and coming to a television set near you.

Downton Abbey

A period drama to redefine period dramas as we know them, Downton Abbey is nothing short of a masterpiece. Set in the Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, the show revolves around the lives of both the aristocrats and the servants – two worlds seemingly independent of and yet wholly codependent on one another. Powerful acting backed by powerful writing bring these characters to life as much of the tension and drama stems not from gaudy explosions or choreographed fights but conversations, loyalties, betrayals, scandal and romance. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience.

Sherlock

A clever and witty reinterpretation of the greatest detective in history, Sherlock manages to be both modern and loyal to the source. While movies and, indeed, other shows have come along all seeking to modernize Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic genius, few really do it in a way that preserves the soul and brilliance of the original like Sherlock. Clever camerawork and the use of modern-day tech not only breathe new life into the world of Sherlock Holmes, but provide insight into the thought-process of this genius – visualizing his deductive reasoning in a way that’s both chaotic and elementary.

The Musketeers

This upcoming ten-part drama takes the iconic “three musketeers” that we all know and love and explores their characters and their significance in greater detail. Starring Tom Burke and Peter Capaldi (the latest Doctor – more on that later), this 17th century adventure focuses on the virtues of heroism and justice – no doubt drawing correlations between corruption of the time and the darker corruptions of the modern age.

Doctor Who

Considered by many to be the longest-running science fiction television program, Doctor Who has been going strong for more than 30 seasons and more than 700 episodes. The show follows the time-and-space exploits of a seemingly immortal, alien time traveler and his companions. Every episode features a new threat and a new danger, all while celebrating the spirit of exploration and discovery. Really, you just never know what will happen next and that’s the beauty of a show like Doctor Who with so much imagination.

Atlantis

Fantasy and reality collide in this adventure series about a boy out of place and, possibly out of time. When Jason goes in search of his missing father, he finds himself washed up on the shores of the mythical Atlantis. Atlantis takes the classic fish-out-of-water drama and infuses it with a kind of whimsy that few shows come close to imitating. The show is fresh and imaginative without feeling “by-the-numbers” and we can’t wait to see it come back for a second series.

Blurring the Lines in Almost Human

Most people never really question their humanity or qualify it in varying degrees the way Fox’s Almost Human does in their crime drama set in 2048 Los Angeles. Humanity is just something we’re all born into and we either don’t ponder the nature of it or simply wouldn’t know where to begin.

What does it mean to be counted among the lofty ranks of humanity? The question has been asked many times by many different scholars. If you really stop to think about it, you start to realize that the concept of being human isn’t as elementary as simply being born and therein lays the existential mystery at the center of Almost Human.

Almost Human | Fox

If I were to tell you that one of these individuals is a robot, barring any prior knowledge of the show or the TV spots, would you be able to point them out? What if I told you that, in the same picture, there was a cyborg – human with cybernetic body parts?

As far as you know, these are just a bunch of regular people in a not-so regular future where the line between man and machine is constantly being blurred. And despite being a police procedural, the core of the show is the analysis of the human experience…through the electronic eyes of an advanced android named Dorian.

So, what does it mean to be human according to Almost Human?

Fear of death

All humans carry an innate fear and aversion to the fundamental finality of death. We’re taught what it is as we grow up but, deep down, we’ve always known what it is and what it means as the ultimate end. Machines have no concept of death. Neither do most of the law enforcement androids featured in Almost Human. They understand what it is to be disassembled, shutdown indefinitely or even destroyed, but none of them really have a concept of an ultimate end or death like Dorian who, despite being a machine, seems fully aware of the irreplaceable gift of life he’s been given.

Self-preservation

The drive to protect oneself is as old as humanity itself. Whether it’s protecting yourself from bodily harm or securing your legacy by securing your loved ones, self-preservation is an undeniably human impulse. Machines are typically meant to serve therefore rendering the concept of self-preservation moot. They have no concept of anything greater beyond their function and aspire to nothing else.

Dorian, however, despite being designed as a support officer for his human cop partner, exhibits willful tendencies and demands minimal decency from anyone he addresses or speaks with. This, of course, includes doing what he can to keep his partner’s human head above water if, for nothing else, to secure his own position on the police force.

Existential hopes

Dorian questions whether or not being remembered is the best way to honor the dead – that, to be remembered by those you leave behind, is proof of your existence and your connection to humanity. It’s an existential approach to validating one’s existence and something that would never fall under the purview of a machine’s programming. Your blender doesn’t question why it blends – it’s an analog machine where you push a button and it performs as desired…or doesn’t, and you throw it away.

In the end, you might argue against these traits defining Dorian’s humanity – you might argue that he could be programmed to think this way. Let me ask you: who programmed you to fear death? Who made you decide to take two cookies instead of one? Who made you feel that pang of loneliness when comparing your friend lists with others on social media?

With the exception of your parents – and we might then ask who programmed them – these are basics of the human experience that you are not simply taught, you’re born with them. Almost Human offers a view at a possible, transhumanist future by challenging the viewer’s preconceived notions of humanity. This is accomplished through the interactions of Karl Urban – the cyborg at the center of the above image – and his android partner – the gentleman to his right…a being seemingly more than almost human.

Best Television Shows of Fall 2013

The fall 2013 television schedule is filled with returning favorites and promising new shows. It’s often difficult to differentiate high-quality shows from filler without putting in the time to view entire episodes. This process can be time-consuming, and many people do not wish to spend their limited free-time viewing low-quality productions. For people wishing to only view top-quality shows premiering in the fall of 2013, this guide can help highlight the best shows premiering in the fall of 2013.

Returning Favorites
“The Walking Dead” – “The Walking Dead” has had an impressive run, and it has consistently been one of the most watched shows on television. Entering its fourth season, “The Walking Dead” is sure to bring even more high-drama mixed with violent zombie kills and interesting storylines.

“Boardwalk Empire” – HBO’s artistic period drama focuses on America’s prohibition era. “Boardwalk Empire” is often violent and combines top-notch acting with beautiful 1920s-era set pieces to produce a brutally realistic “gangster” opera.

“American Horror Story” – “American Horror Story” is like nothing else on television. The show features amazing performances from world-class actors, such as Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates, and revolves around mysterious and shocking storylines. The show is entering its third season, but its anthology-style formula means that newcomers can start watching this season without fear of missing out on previous, unrelated seasons.

“Scandal” – This political thriller started off slow, but its quality has quickly won fans over. Anchored by the spectacular acting of Kerry Washington, “Scandal” has proven that smart political drama mixed with soap opera elements makes for some great and engaging television.

“Homeland” – “Homeland” has been a critical darling since its premier. This political thriller’s main focus is America’s struggle against terrorism and the CIA agent, played by the magnificent Clare Danes, that works to combat terrorists. Smart writing and superb acting make “Homeland” a must-see show.

New Shows
“Masters of Sex” – Showtime’s “Masters of Sex” is a riveting new drama that focuses on the lives of real-life sex research pioneers Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The show has already been picked up for a second season, so audiences do not have to worry about getting involved with a show that could soon be cancelled.

“Sleepy Hollow” – “Sleepy Hollow” takes a well-known and beloved short story and adds a modern twist. The show combines elements of comedy, drama and horror and wraps them around a fresh and imaginative story. People who enjoy shows that revolve around supernatural elements will find “Sleepy Hollow” to be the perfect fit.

“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” – “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” proves that television comedies aren’t dead. This expertly-written comedy follows the exploits of an immature detective, played by SNL’s Andy Samberg, and the other officers within the show’s hilarious vision of a dysfunctional NYPD Police Department.

Best News Channels on TV

The best part about getting your news on TV is having plenty of options.  Everyone has their favorite network with the best headlines –get the funny political news with The Daily Show on Comedy Central or get a constant news flow from the news ticker from networks like CNN.  Whatever your news style is, there’s always a great channel to turn to when you want to catch up on current events.

For great news coverage, check out these TV channels to get updated:

ABC

ABC’s regular news programming includes Good Morning America on weekday mornings (and a shortened weekend version) and ABC World News on weekday nights.  You can also catch ABC’s local news broadcasts to hear about news happening nearby.

NBC

Similar to ABC, NBC is a great source for national, local, and international news. News programming consists of The Today Show, Dateline NBC, Meet the Press, and NBC Nightly News.

Fox News

Check out Fox News for in-depth news coverage of national and worldwide events.  Most programs are also available in HD, such as: Fox & Friends, America’s Newsroom, Happening Now, The O’Reilly Factor, and Studio B.

CBS News

The CBS News channel focuses on daily news reports on national stories and current events around the globe.  Programs like CBS Evening News, CBS This Morning, 48 Hours, 60 Minutes, Sunday Morning, and Face the Nation are popular on the CBS Network.

CNN

CNN is a basic cable staple for news and was started in 1980.  CBS features international and national news stories on their programs with a unique News Ticker that is constantly updated for new information. Some of their most popular programs include CNN Newsroom, Around the World, The Situation Room, Anderson Cooper 360, and Piers Morgan Live.

ESPN

If sports news is what you crave, ESPN is what you need.  Check for ESPN’s SportsCenter, College GameDay, SportsNation, Sunday NFL Countdown, and Monday Night Countdown for the latest in sports news.  Of course, you can find numerous sports games on this network too.

E!

E! is known is the Entertainment Network.  In addition to the well-known programs like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, E! News also keeps viewers up-to-date with all the latest stories in the entertainment world.  They are also known for their presence on the red carpet for a variety of entertainment awards shows.

Comedy Central

Although Comedy Central is more for viewers looking for laughs than for news, there are still a couple great programs that highlight current events and national news stories.  Look for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report for news mixed with sarcasm and funny political commentary.

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