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Posts Tagged ‘investigative journalism’

I ran through a number of possibilities for today’s installment of #ThingsILike. Allow me to take you on a tour:
(tl;dr? Limitless is awesome:)

Option #1: Delightfully Precocious Investigative Journalist Hilde Kate Lysiak (Age 9)
Consider, if you will, the nine-year old reporter from Pennsylvania doing her best (and it’s good) to report serious news in her hometown. Hilde Kate Lysiak publishes the Orange Street News from Selinsgrove, PA, and she’s not writing puff pieces about puppies or flowers. Her story went viral when she reported on a murder that took place early April just a few blocks from her house. I can’t wait to see what she can do by the time she gets her driver’s license.

Option #2: Call A Random Swede
I also discovered that Sweden (yes, the country) has its own phone number. Dial the number (it is international, so watch those fees!) and you will be connected to a random Swede.

That’s right, thousands of people have signed up to participate in this program, and incoming calls are randomly shunted to one of them when a call comes through. Call one minute and you might find yourself speaking with a professor in Uppsala, call the next minute and you could be put in touch with a (let’s say) restauranteur from Stockholm or Volvo employee in Arvika.

No guarantees that caller and callee will speak a common language, but that’s part of the fun. There’s just no telling! Suggested topics of conversation include meatballs (yum), darkness (it’s like fine wine in France, they have a lot of the stuff but not everywhere), and feminism (yeah, my family’s ancestral homeland is awesome). All in the name of tourism, of course, but what a great way to humanize another culture.

What’s the number, you ask? Why, it’s + 46 771 793 336 🙂

Option #3: Limitless
Both of the above topics are fun, but in the end I decided to go with something a bit closer to my writerly wheelhouse: Limitless.

The show is based on the movie of the same name. (Time to fess up: I watched the beginning of the movie but somehow never quite made it to the end. It may have had something to do with the initial portrayal of the writer as unmotivated loser. Maybe;)

Here’s a short description from CBS: Limitless is “is a fast-paced drama about Brian Finch, who discovers the brain-boosting power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced by the FBI into using his extraordinary cognitive abilities to solve complex cases for them…”

Sounds like a fine (if potentially generic) crime/investigative show. Except that it is nothing like your average CSI.

When I heard the initial chatter about the series my dominant reaction was “meh.” What could they bring to the table as a series? A lot, it turns out. If you’re a fan of deep, serious drama look elsewhere (admittedly, I’m often not), but what the show does, it does very well.

I like speculative fiction and I like humor, and like peanut butter and chocolate, the two are often better together. Limitless is one such case. The writers (and everyone else involved) are blending both humor and serious stakes together into one great whole. Breaking the fourth wall doesn’t begin to capture it. We are always happy to see an episode on the PVR, but we make sure to watch it after dinner. That way we won’t be distracted by an errant tomato and miss a quip, creative visual set piece, or hilarious aside.

Sure, it’s a (mostly) lighthearted TV show, but that doesn’t mean it can’t do fun and interesting things with characters, plot, and presentation. Creative, innovative and downright fun, I’m enjoying the heck out of this show. And as I mentioned, it’s not a show I initially expected to like.

The cast features established faces (including Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Ron Rifkin) and (for me at least) newer ones, including the charismatic and entertaining Jake McDorman. While Bradley Cooper serves as executive producer and sometime guest star, the dynamics between McDorman and Jennifer Carpenter are what anchor the show. I recommend you start at the beginning of Season 1 rather than try to pop in mid-way for best effect.

Why bring this up today? Because I realized that there are only two episodes left in the season and CBS has yet to renew. Prospects look good but after all the television-related heartbreak (of course I’m looking at you Firefly, but there are many more), I wanted to speak up.

If you’re in the market for good, geeky fun dished out with sides of humor and crime-fighting, Limitless is for you.

/recommended

This has been today’s edition of #ThingsILike, sent from my writerly Headquarters (with an exclamation point!).

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