Friday, October 25, 2013

October Pop Culture Roundup

Five items for October...

1. The fourth season of Boardwalk Empire started last month. I wasn't sure about it at first, as plot points tend to develop very slowly on this show. So that's to say I've never been sure about every season for at least the first episode or two. Since then, however, things have picked up as Capone and Lansky are starting to step up more and more, and as a new villain, Dr. Valentin Narcisse, looks to make trouble for Chalky. Narcisse is quite different from last season's crash-and-bang Gyp Rosseti, as he is more cold and calculating. In addition, there's a plotline where Nucky goes down to Tampa to buy some land, but I don't see what the point of that is yet, and another with Nucky's nephew whom they may be slowly making into the new Jimmy. Like I said, it took a few episodes to get going, but I'm now enjoying it as always.

2. We've also been watching the new Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which picks up right after the Avengers movie and follows the adventures of Phil Caulson, somehow all better from his death in the movie, and his fellow agents as they engage in mostly-undercover superhero-related work. For me the jury is still out on this show. Much like Boardwalk Empire, it's been a slow start, but the bigger narrative has yet to develop a whole lot. Besides that, however, we have the requisite Joss Whedon-esque humor, some intriguing characters who may no doubt become more captivating the further the season goes. So with that combination, I'm predisposed to give this one more time.

3. And we've also been watching Sleepy Hollow, which fits the time of year very well. Ichabod Crane does a Rip Van Winkle sort of thing, dying during the Revolutionary War and brought back to life in the modern era. Unfortunately, the Headless Horseman is also revived and their old battle (Crane is a soldier and college professor) is renewed, except there are a bunch of people in present day Sleepy Hollow who seem to have knowledge of the situation and are pulling for one side or the other. They're slowly but surely explaining this plot point, but in the meantime Crane runs around in a buddy cop relationship with a police lieutenant solving supernatural cases-of-the-week, some of which seem to tie in to the larger narrative, which is emerging as a play on the four horsemen in the book of "Revelations." We enjoy it enough to keep watching, and again it's perfect for fall viewing, but it does get a little irritating when trying to wax theological.

4. I've been reading Ganymede, the fourth book in Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series. This takes place mostly in New Orleans, where Josephine, the mistress of a...ahem...boarding house with benefits, needs to have a submarine moved from where it is hidden to a pickup location for the Union army. She enrolls Andan Cly, an airship captain who has appeared in previous books, to help her out. And there's zombies. Always zombies. I think I still liked Boneshaker the best, but they've all been very enjoyable.

5. I contributed to the Kickstarter of a colleague, Rob Leveridge, who recently completed his first worship album, Dancing on the Mountain, now available for public consumption. Rob is one of many contributing to a growing catalogue of praise music with more progressive and thoughtful themes, and he's produced a wonderful set of offerings toward that purpose. If you're a worship leader in search of new material to teach the congregation or just need your soul uplifted, this is great for both.