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Leverage Continues in Paperback Form

on Mon, 05/13/2013 - 00:00

Over the course of five television seasons, Nate Ford and his team of highly-skilled former criminals assisted an assortment of ordinary citizens who were left with little recourse in the face of corporate greed and government corruption. The TNT drama not only provided “leverage” against such injustices but hours of entertainment for fans of the series as well. On December 25, 2012, Leverage aired it series finale, bringing closure to the character arc of Nate Ford while setting up a future for the rest of his colleagues that ensured that the “little guy” would continue to have someone looking out for them, especially during situations in which the legal system failed to provide protection.

Although Leverage the television show may have ended, the story of “hitter, hacker, grifter, thief and mastermind” lives on through a series of paperback novels published by Berkley during the first five months of 2013. Instead of picking up where the series left off, however, the books fit within the narrative of season four, when the Leverage Team was based out of John McRory’s Bar and Grill in Boston. Thus while not an actual continuation of Leverage, the setting does allow all five major characters to play a role in the proceedings and the novels themselves remain true to the group’s dynamics as well as the mythology already established on the television show.

The Mop and Lucky Files Review

on Tue, 05/07/2013 - 00:00

What’s a girl to do when she’s over thirty, has no current romantic interests and no longer has the tolerance to work as a waitress? The answer is easy—form a personal espionage business with her equally bitter and unemployed best friend. That’s the premise, at least, for The Mop and Lucky Files, a comedy webseries that has won multiple awards from the Best Shorts Festival in Southern California and the Indie Gathering Film Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. Although the narrative may share similarities with the HBO comedy Bored to Death, in which an unlicensed private detective finds his cases on Craigslist, The Mop and Lucky Files uses its storyline for more than just laughs as it also examines the differences between men and women as well.

The first season of The Mop and Lucky Files is divided into five episodes, ranging from nine to twelve minutes in length, that relate the beginnings of the under-the-radar agency started by the two main characters in addition to their first case together. The idea of “personal espionage” is the brainchild of Mop (Chloe Taylor), who comes up with the scheme when her former roommate leaves behind a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Private Investigating. The bunkmate in question had suspected her boyfriend of cheating, and bought the book in order to spy on him. Rationalizing that there must be others questioning the fidelity of their own love interests, Mop convinces Lucky (Jennifer Erholm) to go into business together and offer a cheap, unofficial way to keep tabs on wandering boyfriends.

The Walking Dead and Philosophy

on Mon, 10/29/2012 - 00:00

The AMC drama The Walking Dead follows a small group of survivors as they struggle in a post-apocalyptic world in which zombies have wiped out most of mankind. Despite its roots in the horror genre, however, The Walking Dead focuses more on the “people” of its narrative rather than the zombies as they face the struggles of not only staying alive but finding food and shelter, escaping run-ins with small bands of other survivors and even dealing with questions of leadership and strategy during their continuing quest for safety. In the world that The Walking Dead has created, Rick Grimes and his fellow refugees face moral and ethical questions on a daily basis, making the series the perfect vehicle for philosophical dissertations on the very essence of humanity.

The Walking Dead and Philosophy: Zombie Apocalypse Now (Open Court, 2012) has gathered together a collection of essays written by various academic-oriented fans of the show that explore the philosophical dilemmas contained within The Walking Dead and offer insights into not only the decisions made on the series but how they relate to everyday life as well. “How should we treat one another?” editor Wayne Yeun rhetorically asks in regards to the various issues raised in The Walking Dead and Philosophy. “How should we divide the labor? Without support from things like government, law enforcement, and political correctness, are we all really equal? Can we take whatever we find? Does private property still even exist? Is the world going to be ‘nasty, brutish and short’ or will it be simply different from ours, with its own problems and hardships, coupled with its joys and triumphs?”