Saturday, April 28, 2007

Passing Sentences: April 28

It's One Month Later... and everything has changed.

Well... maybe not. :)

Obviously, this week's highlight was the triumphant return of Heroes, with an episode that was very much worth the wait (that said, it's good to know there won't be any more interruptions this season). .07% delivers a bit of everything: some misdirection, some revelation, some great character moments, some long-awaited reunions, and a cliffhanger that has me on pins and needles for the next episode. I think one thing "Heroes" is doing particualrly well is applying correctives to some of the more powerful, recognizable stories in comics: Niki is essentially the Hulk except her alter ego has a personality beyond "Jessica Smash!", Linderman's scheme is an updated take on Adrian Veidt's master plan in "Watchmen" sans giant alien monster, next week's episode is "Days of Future Past" without killer robots, etc. As a rule, there are certain levels of implausibility we just have to accept when it comes to mainstream superhero stories; in fact, it's so deeply ingrained that modern attempts to invoke "realism" in the Marvel or DC universes tend to fail awkwardly (ie: "Civil War"). We, as readers, have already accepted cosmic rays and Nordic gods and giant fork-headed planet eaters, so dropping a Superhero Registration Act on top of that just doesn't work. "Heroes", having never asked us to believe in naked silver guys riding surfboards through space, is able to breach that barrier and take the whole conflation of "realistic fantasy" to a new level.

Drive was cancelled before I got a chance to check it out. Pity: I loves me the Fillion.

Christie Golden's Warcraft: Rise of the Horde ended up being a thoroughly disappointing read: pedestrian, transparent, and way too intent on making the Orcs seem like gullible, naive victims even as the narrator insists that they knowingly condemned themselves. The whole good/evil schism is taken to cartoonish extremes: the draenei are ridiculously benevolent, the Orcs shockingly simple-minded, the Burning Legion unidimensionally bad. Bo-ring.

Supernatural, Folsom Prison Blues: Another by-the-numbers episode, servicably entertaining without hitting any particular highs or lows.

The recent conclusion of Girls left me a bit cold; on the one hand, I never expected the people of Pennystown to really figure out what was going on, but on the other hand, the series ends without much closure at all, emotionally or plotwise. Given that the Lunas focused far more on the human cast members as protagonists than on the mysterious Girls, it's a bit of a surprise to see all the attention in this double-sized finale given to the "sperm-monster" and its mission - we don't really get to grieve for the dead, or see how the survivors deal with the aftermath. A disappointing end to an interesting series.

Final Fantasy IV Advance: Having completed "Dawn of Souls" (which I highly recommend), I've started the first GBA remake of the SNES trilogy. It's a bit glitchy - the buttons tend to stick, and encounter rate/ATB is way off - but the retranslated script is excellent, and the graphics have been tweaked just enough that I don't feel like I'm just replaying the same old game again.