The Week in Fist Pumps

fistpump

In an attempt to correct the karmic disarray of my life I’ve decided to finish off the working week by shining the spotlight on a few things that are making me happy outside of the cinema.

Let me know what’s making you happy this week in the comments below or tweet me @popcornjunkies.

GTA V

It’s time to join the chorus on this game because it’s crazy good so far. I’m only 20 per cent into the storyline but it feels like I’ve played five games worth of content. The story cuts across three playable characters who each bring their own personal flavour to the gameplay, and it’s the best tweak Rockstar have made to the series. John Birmingham wrote on his site Cheeseburger Gothic, ‘GTA V more closely resembles an epic, character based TV series like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos’ and the observation is spot on. The three characters have interesting story arcs which intersect and result in explosive collaborative missions. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this game but the small chunk I’ve experienced is impressive.

The Bridge

The American adaption of the Scandinavian TV series (which I haven’t seen but have heard excellent things from journalist, Gabriel Wilder: @gabrielwilder) is an ace crime drama set on the border of the United States of America and Mexico. The show features Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir playing police detectives from each country who have to team up to solve a crime. It takes about seven episodes to leave an impression, but once you’re embedded in the politics of border relations and the brutal crimes (influenced by the ‘girls of Juarez’ homicides) it’s hard to stop watching. The first season is about to end so there’s plenty of time to catch up and the show has just been picked up for a second season.

The best so far of new television

Television networks in America are rolling out new shows and there’s a few that have earned a spot on the weekly watch-list based on the pilot alone:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Easily the best of the rookie shows. It’s the cop show equivalent of Scrubs.

Hostages

A surgeon preparing to operate on the President of the United States is taken hostage, along with her family, by a group of criminals. They demand she kill the President on the operating table or her family dies. The first episode is slick and there is plenty of drama within the family dynamic, their relations with the captors as well as the political intrigue of who is orchestrating the plan and why. Toni Collette plays the surgeon and Dylan McDermott is the leader of the abductors and plays a complete bad-arse. The mind games between Collette and McDermott are going to be the guts of this show and seeing the situation escalate and how the characters survive the surmounting odds will keep me coming back for more.

Sleepy Hollow

Loosely based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane die in battle during the American Civil War and are resurrected in 2013. Crane teams up with a local police officer to stop the Horseman who is part of a much bigger evil plan. The concept sounds ludicrous and that’s because it is, but Sleepy Hollow has blind faith in the formula and it never takes itself too seriously. The more preposterous the supernatural element, the better the show gets, as well as conspiracy theories galore and Tom Mison chomping scenery as Crane adapting to modern life.

Masters of Sex

The research of real life duo, William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson, is recreated in this drama series which could easily act as a spinoff from Mad Men titled: Mad Men of Science! Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan get into the science of sex as well as the emotional complications of their work. Sheen and Caplan are both outstanding, and although the level of sex and nudity will grab headlines, the drama between the ‘no pants dance’ is where the show excels.

Marvel’s Agents of Shield

Set after the events of The Avengers and spearheaded by writer/director/geek royalty, Joss Whedon, Marvel’s Agents of Shield follows a team of special government agents who work for Shield. It’s CSI: Superheroes but with lots of references to the universe Marvel has created with their Phase One series of films. Action packed and goofy, it’s a fun show that puts a super powered spin on the police procedural genre.

Breaking Bad

There is one episode of Breaking Bad left…ever. The final season has been an absolute thrill and the show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, is an evil genius. I have loved every minute spent with this series and it will be heartbreaking to see it go, but it is definitely leaving at a creative peak unmatched by most series in a final season.

Sons of Anarchy

Now that Breaking Bad is almost done I’m searching for a group of anti-heroes to fill each week and a series about a biker gang may do the trick. Sons of Anarchy is one of those series that zipped past my attention, but I’m a quarter through season one and really enjoying it. The creator Kurt Sutter worked on one of my favourite shows, The Shield, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how this series plays out.

Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio

Argo

I hear you say, ‘Cam! I’ve already seen the movie, how much more can there be to this story?’ Curb all preconceived notions you have of Ben Affleck’s film. Yes, the book follows a similar plot, but it’s filled with more intricate details about the Argo mission and it’s surprising to read the liberties the movie took with certain elements of the ‘true story’. Mendez (played by Affleck in the film) gives a really great account of the mission as well as his career working for the U.S Government conducting various covert operations. Mendez was a master of disguise and there are stories of other projects he worked on that are amazing tales of espionage.

Grab the book via Amazon.

The Indoor Kids

IndoorKids

I went a little mad lately binging on podcasts and The Indoor Kids has become the show I salivate in anticipation of each week. It’s a podcast about videogames that strays into conversations about different elements of pop culture hosted by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. It’s funny, insightful and features lots of cool guests. The company of Kumail and Emily is so warm and welcome and I can’t survive a week without their musings.

Download the show via The Nerdist.

Ylvis – Stonehenge

Ylvis is a comedy duo who has consumed the internet with their song The Fox. While the song about the woodland creature is the most popular, their other track Stonehenge is magnificent. It never fails to crack me up.

Let me know what’s making you happy this week in the comments below or tweet me @popcornjunkies.

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