Whoa, who knew Keri Russell could believably kick some major ass? One episode and I am sucked back into the cold war era 1980s. Thankfully the political climate and not the music or fashion is taking center stage next to the three main characters- Elizabeth Jennings (Russell), Phillip Jennings (Matthew Rhys), and Agent Stan Beeman (Noah Emmerich). The Jennings, unbeknownst to even their two children, are Russian spies who are in deep cover as an American family. Their new neighbor is Agent Stan Beeman, who felt something was a little off about the couple upon first meeting. One episode in and we see how a thin crack is starting to show in the Jennings’ relationship. Phillip is questioning their future and the safety of the family while Elizabeth is firmly country first.
The tension is palpable and the espionage scenes quick paced and taut. The flashbacks to Elizabeth and Phillip’s early days training and coming to America blend in seamlessly with their present day life. It will be interesting to see their story unfold as their characters get to develop. What is really working is Elizabeth and Phillip are very different individually, as parents, and as a married couple. Russell and Rhys have a lot of space to explore and fill as they get to play these characters and the parts they play while spying. The focus in episode one is on Elizabeth’s past as she is conditioned to give herself wholly to her country and Phillips’s present as he is second guessing their future. The characters start to make sense as their time lines are shown going in opposite directions.
And it gets the award for best use of Phil Collin’s In the Air Tonight since Roswell. Wednesdays on FX.
Disgraced former agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is dragged back into a case involving the serial killer, Joe Hardy, who left him with a pacemaker and enough fodder to write a book, which he did. Carroll has slyly built up a following of killers and he has created a victim filled game for Hardy to play. The first episode left me feeling a little like this isn’t new territory, that Kevin Bacon was acting too melodramatically, and as someone so eloquently put it on GetGlue “Bernie Madoff made him do it.” Knowing there are only 15 episodes in the first season is a relief, but I can’t see how a show like this can make a second season without changing the storyline (and then why keep the title The Following?). At least I hope they don’t try to make multiple seasons out of a single serial killer’s game. This show is walking a fine line between sophisticated fare like Silence of the Lambs vs. the shock for shock value’s sake of Criminal Minds. I’m a little hesitant on the use of Edgar Allen Poe as inspiration for the killer, too. With both The Following and The Raven, I kind of feel bad for Poe. Would he feel these are tributes or insults?
I forgot how much I love reading Joyce. I’m planning for a third reread of Ulysses so I’ve started rereading Dubliners to get in the mind frame. Joyce was a man of letters who could take ordinary days and write them into masterpieces. I’m anxiously awaiting to get to the end of Dubliners to read The Dead. The short story takes one evening in the life of a married couple and rattles your soul, breaks your heart, and frustrates you to no end. Dubliners is bite sized Joyce, 15 stories published in 1914. I recommend starting there. And Ulysses is a modern rework of one of the first fantasy stories, Homer’s Odyssey and also the reason Bloomsday exists. But confession time, I’ve never made it through Finnegan’s Wake. One day!
Stuff we geek out about…
- A Little Something for the Fellas (2)
- A Little Something for the Ladies (9)
- Avengers Boot Camp (9)
- Before the Movie – Trailers (13)
- Editorials and Reviews (135)
- Interviews (19)
- Miscellaneous Geekery (48)
- Nostalgia (17)
- Sandman Re-Read (11)
- Three Favorite Things (4)
What we JUST said…
- All the Posts I Meant to Write this Month, Abridged
- Hemlock Grove-A New Guilty Pleasure
- Deborah Harkness and A Discovery of Witches
- Syfy’s Defiance- Hope They Didn’t Blow the Budget on a Song
- Cover Reveal for the New Liz Long Novel Witch Hearts
- From Gen-X, To Chris Hardwick With Love
- Before the Movie: G.I. Joe Retaliation