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The Leftovers: A Deceptively Excellent TV Show

by toddkelley on August 28, 2014

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I remember when I first started reading The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. I expected this ‘end-time’ story of people being raptured to heaven. That was far from the truth. It was a slow-burning dramatization of the monotonicity of life as it goes on with no answers. I didn’t get past the third chapter. It was a well-written piece of fiction, but it wasn’t the story I was looking for. Still, that gnawing curiosity stayed with me. I still wanted answers, or at least and explanation of the event.

So when the HBO series based on the book debuted, I thought maybe this would give me what I wanted. Typically, television adaptations need to be ‘dumbed down’. You can’t string the audience as long as a book because the attention-span of a watcher has reduced dramatically. Maybe they’d alter the plot/premise. Maybe I’d get scenes of God’s might hand reaching down and pulling up souls to heaven.

Uh.. that was not the case.  Unfortunately, I was given that same feeling of disappointment. The fact that the series was being developed by Damon Lindelof (Lost), I should’ve known that there wouldn’t be any answers.. at least for the next few years. In the end, it was apparent that the rapture questions I had were never going to get answered.

2% of the world’s population simply vanished. Men, women and children, good people, bad people,religious zealots, atheists, murderers, Saints… There is no pattern to who was taken.

Two episodes in, and I was ready to write this show off. You could tell that Lindelof was going for the ‘slow burn’, similar to what he did on Lost. We were entering the story AFTER the summer blockbuster and peering into this world during that space before the next blockbuster sequel.

I didn’t notice that my episode 5, I was hooked. I was all in on these random story threads that seem to be traveling their own way, unrelated in anyway. But it didn’t matter. I was invested in the characters and their journeys. Police Chief Kevin Garvey trying to keep his family and his town together, but losing on both fronts. Reverend Matt Jamison and his quest to save the souls of the members of the fringe cult, The Guilty Remnant. The Prophet Wayne Gilchrest, who seems to have a supernatural ability to take away a person’s pain. Remnant leader Patti Levin deploying her followers throughout town like chest pieces.. she and her people ready to put some sinister plan in motion.

I’M ALL IN!!! I Don’t care about The Event anymore. I just want these stories.. these people to keep going so I can see them live their lives. I know tragedy is coming by the season finale. And now I hear that HBO has ordered a second season, this has become on of my favorite shows on television right now. I am now officially a Leftover.

 

The-Leftovers

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#Watching Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons

by toddkelley on August 23, 2014

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I’ve been watching Hard Knocks for the past eight years. This is the show that signals the beginning of football season.

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I Can’t Wait To See
Mad Max: Fury Road

by toddkelley on August 17, 2014

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Binge-watching Supernatural,
Now Streaming on Netflix

by toddkelley on August 13, 2014

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Re-watching one of my favorite shows of the last decade. I can’t believe their about to go into season 10 and the show is still firing on all cylinders.

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#Watching Black Jesus

by toddkelley on August 7, 2014

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#Watching The Hooligan Factory

by toddkelley on August 2, 2014

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Season 4 of The Killing
Now Streaming On Netflix

by toddkelley on August 2, 2014

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After Season 3′s shocking season finale, I was heartbroken that AMC wasn’t bring The Killing back for a fourth season. There was too much fall out for the actions of Detectives Linden and Holder that needed to be addressed.

But this is one of those ‘little tv shows that could’. The originally got cancelled after the second season, but got a third season renewal at the last moment.

Luckily, the greatness of Netflix shines down on the Danish series remake (originally titled Forbrydelsen, translated as The Crime). We get a 6 episode season 4 that chronicles our detectives dealing with the realization of their actions, while investigating a family murder and its ties to a military academy. Everyone seems to be back and on top of their game. Thank you Netflix for giving this incredible show a short time to give these characters a proper finale.

 

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Can’t Wait To See:
The Walking Dead, Season 5

by toddkelley on July 25, 2014

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You Should Watch:
Vampire Warriors

by toddkelley on July 19, 2014

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#Watching
All Cheerleaders Die

by toddkelley on July 19, 2014

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#Watching Utopia

by toddkelley on July 18, 2014

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I’ve had the first season of Utopia for over a year now. With season 2 starting now, I decided to sit down and try to watch it. For some reason, there was always something that got in a way.  So I’ve finally finished up season one and… WOW!!

A group of misfits fighting to stop an evil shadow organization from committing genocide?

Yes please.

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#Replaying Fallout: Las Vegas

by toddkelley on July 13, 2014

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Loved this game the first time around. The innovative targeting system was a blast. Hope it’s just as fun the second time around.

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Cool Movies To Watch:
Dog Soldiers (2002)

by toddkelley on July 9, 2014

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A routine military operation in the Scottish Highlands goes horribly wrong when a British Special Ops team is being hunted by a pack of werewolves. Typical plot, but done very well. Basically your survive the night scenario. If you enjoy fun action horror, you need to get this in your life.

Luckily, the  entire film is available on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fiy4A3sbd4

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I Can’t Wait To See
Transformers: Age of Extinction

by toddkelley on July 8, 2014

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#Watching Filth

by toddkelley on July 7, 2014

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What starts off as a raunchy, wacky British comedy, turns into a dark, tragic story of a Scottish detective that slowly unravels. James McAvoy puts in an incredible performance and keeps this movie from going off the rails. With all the great movies I’ve seen this year, Filth is the biggest surprise, and may be my favorite movie of the year.

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iWant Esky Mini i8 2.4GHz Wireless Keyboard

by toddkelley on July 7, 2014

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Recently, my Logitech Harmony One universal remote AND my Apple Remote both died. They were my primary remotes to control my Media Center PC (MacMini running XBMC). I can still control it with my laptop using screen share, but a real remote is needed. I wanted to get something with a QWERTY keyboard. XBMC allows you to search your local content, but the using directional buttons to type on screen is like pulling teeth.

The  Esky Mini i8 has the form-factor of a game controller with a nice keyboard within thumb’s reach. There’s also a trackpad for using web browser, but I never do that. All I need is the keyboard and good control. I’ll be getting it in few days. Let’s hope the Mini i8 solves all my needs.

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# Watching The Last Ship

by toddkelley on July 6, 2014

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I first got a soft spot for Rhona Mitra when I saw her for the first time wearing the shorts, tank top and twin pistols of Laura Croft. I thought she’d be the perfect actress to play the role in the upcoming Tomb Raider movie. Unfortunately, what we got wa s Anelina Jolie with a horrible accent. LOL. Since then she’d shown in a few of my favorite TV shows like Strike BackStargate Universe and Nip/Tuck. And now she’s back as the only person who can  save the world in The Last Ship.

A killer virus has spread across the world, wiping out most of the population. The only person who can find a cure is a scientist and the crew of a Naval destroyer to protect her. Where 3 episodes in and i’m enjoying it so far. Time will tell, though. It’ll be interesting to see how they string the plot along. With the rest of the world on a mad hunt to find them and acquire the cure, there should be more than enough action to last the season.

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#Watching Murder In The First

by toddkelley on July 6, 2014

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#iCan’tWaitToSee: The Strain

by toddkelley on July 5, 2014

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#Watching Noah

by toddkelley on July 5, 2014

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Why I Love Doctor Who

by toddkelley on July 5, 2014

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Doctor Who is the perfect example of what a television show can accomplish if it’s given enough time to breathe. Unlike American tv shows that can get cancelled in less than half a season, a show like Doctor Who (on BBC) is an institution. It’s granted the time to TELL A COMPLEX STORY. The brilliance in having the Doctor regenerate (and recast the main role) is a great way to book-end multi-seasoned story lines.

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Both David Tenant and Matt Smith had great supporting casts that weren’t just on the show, but were integral pieces to the overall story. With Matt Smith’s 4 season run done, it was great to go back and see how Steven Moffat weaved incredible plot lines about time travel and universe-spanning doom. Russel T. Davies did the same with Tenant’s run (he as my favorite). But Smith and Moffat did an incredible job of retcon-ing the Amy/Rory/River plot line as a major event with INCREDIBLE twists and reveals.

doctor_who_50th_anniversary_wallpaper_by_mrpacinohead-d6r6owh2014 brings us our 12th Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It, In The LoopTorchwood: Children of Earth). With each new actor playing he role, The Doctor’s personality slightly changes— as if the actor is given some leeway.. to make the character his own. I’m really excited to see what Capaldi brings to the role. It he can find a way to infuse just a ‘smidgen’ of Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It, with his profane insults to bravado.. I’ll be a happy camper. Who am I kidding? I’m gonna be happy with anything Steven Moffat does.

Adventure has a new face

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#Watching
Torchwood: Children of Earth

by toddkelley on July 4, 2014

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#Watching V: The Miniseries

by toddkelley on July 2, 2014

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I Can’t Wait To Play
Civilization Revolution 2

by toddkelley on July 1, 2014

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I have a long, storied relationship with Sid Meyer’s epic strategy series: Civilization. When I got my second mac back in ’92, the first game I obsessed with was Civilization I. It was a low resolution black and white game about building an empire and defending it by researching technology and building better weapons. Later,  when Civilization II was released for the Mac,  buddy Sean would come over and we’d network our Macs and spend weekends playing multiplayer Civ (only breaking for pizza runs and bathroom breaks).

CivMac_ss_002Every version of Civilization (even the spin-offs Colonization and Alpha Centari) was a ‘must have’. Then came the Xbox 360, and Mid Meyer released Civilization Revolution in 2008. Once again, Sean and myself were multiplying and world building; this time over the Xbox Live network. To this day, six years later, Civ Rev is still the game I play the most. I gravitate to a lot of games in different genres, but I always come back to trying to take the French civilization to world domination.

As Civilization reach version IV and V, becoming more and more complex, Civilization Revolution remains more simple for quick and fast-paced gameplay. And this was the perfect version for mobile. It was only a mater of time before Civ Rev was ported to iOS. This was THE THING I was praying for. It was my favorite game of all time, now available for me to play on my iPhone and iPad. Even though I enjoy this first attempt at a Civilization mobile experience, it kinda lacked the beauty of the console version. Revolution on the Xbox 360 was perfect marriage of simplistic gameplay and beautiful 3D graphics. The mobile version kept the primary gameplay of the console, but went for a more sprite-based graphical look; similar to the first incarnation of the main game.

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 For years I’ve wondered if Sid Meyer would release an updated Revolution  on the console. I still enjoyed the Xbox 360 game, but a nice new coat of paint and updated units would be nice. Little did I know, the console version wasn’t the next to be update.. the mobile version was. My prayers have in answered as the look and feel of my favorite console version has been rebuilt from the ground up for iOS! I’m getting the fresh new coat of paint AND it’s going to be mobile first, showing up on iPhones and iPads tomorrow, July 2nd! I’m counting the hours!!

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I’m Really Enjoying Salem

by toddkelley on June 30, 2014

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Surprise tv show of the year? Salem! I really didn’t think my stay on this show for long. But they’ve done a good job of pacing out the a story. Slow burn, but it’s leading to a great finish.