My thoughts on Legends

The first season ended a short while ago, and I watched it. I thought I would take this week to talk about it. There will be some spoilers for the earlier episodes, maybe a bit lesser spoilers for the later episodes as well.

Legends is a secret agent show starring Sean Bean as Martin Odum, the best undercover agent around. The name of the show comes from a meaning of the word Legend meaning a deep cover operative with a background able to stand up to scrutiny.

In the first episode, we are coming into the end of a months long case of Martin infiltrating an organization. It plays out pretty standardly like a case of the week style show with Martin showing off his giant brass ones by daring the villain to blow him up while they are both in the same room.

The first episode also introduces the shows central mystery, however. It is the main subplot running through the entire season, and I am happy that it’s not something that gets dragged out for multiple seasons. You will have an answer to who Martin is at the end of the first season. You might not necessarily get a resolution to the whole problem, though.

The show also attempts to shake things up by killing off the team introduced in the first episode, though the main characters eventually settle in.

Later cases are thrilling and interesting to watch. They quickly move away from just one case an episode to give a more compelling bad guys and mysteries. Martin always falls back to a previously established legend, probably because getting a new legend up to the point where they can infiltrate important organizations would take too long.

The cases keep consistently exciting with lots of getting shot at.

Sean Bean’s performance as Martin Odum is really fun to watch. My favorite parts are when Martin is discussing his previous characters, going down to the details such as manner of speaking and what happened in the past. Then, slowly and without noticing it, he drops into character and refers to the character as ‘I’. It is a great effect just seeing the transition from one character to another and much more effective than having a sudden change.

The central of myster of who Martin is drives much of his interaction with the rest of the cast. I feel his handler, Crystal was underused in the actual handling part. She felt more like another agent rather than his boss due to just how much he ignores her orders and how much their boss overrides her.

The show is exciting with all the secret agent stuff included. The mystery of who Martin is is slowly unveiled over the season and a compelling enough reason to keep watching. And just because he knows the answer doesn’t mean he has all of them. There is still a lot more to discover for season two.

Book of Life

Book of Life is the animated film that celebrated the Mexican Day of the dead. It is a fiesta for the eyes with a great visual style. Among other things, the film boasts the most spectacular scenery I have seen in quite a while. The colors are vibrant and lush, and the world is alive with character.

The plot follows a love triangle between Manolo, Joaquin and Maria, with Manolo and Joaquin vying for Maria’s heart. They inexplicably become part of a bet by the rulers of the World of the Dead.

The story is pure and simple. There won’t be any wild twists out there, but what is already known and expected really carries the movie far. It has a lot of fun along the way, and is celebratory of death. The land of the dead is where a lot of the fantastic visuals come from. It heavily contrasts with the more down to earth land of the living with colorful balloons, floating walkways and a whole new cast of wacky characters.

The songs in the film are wonderful as well. And, unlike musicals, they have a bearing on the plot.

The visual style of Book of Life really stands out. Everyone is modeled after wooden dolls, complete with joints and hinges. All of the side characters also have their unique look, some of them humorously odd. It gives the movie a great and colorful charm.

The movie is a great adventure through wonderfully imaginative places that tells the story of following one’s dream. Even the main bad guy is a likeable enough fellow, though there is a more antagonistic individual in the movie.

You won’t get many surprises or twists in Book of Life, but it’s all the more wonderful and warming for it. With great songs, visuals and characters, this is a fun movie for all to see.

Design Notes, Sorta Characters

I’ve talked a bit about the island of Sorta, so here I’ll talk a bit about the characters that populate it. There will be some spoilers here and there.

Hmm, overall, I don’t think I have that much to say on them, however. They are all as they appear. I did try to make their overall behavior different from those from Sorcnon and Betaia. They are more friendly and inviting without expecting anything when compared to Sorcnon. And they are not as rigid in structure when compared with Betaia.

After so many sneaky, manipulative types in Sorcnon, I wanted the royal family to be kind and beloved by the people. King Orimal is a fair but stern ruler. He wants what’s best for his people, which is to get them through the storm disaster. But he also doesn’t like how much influence Sorcnon and Betaia would have. I didn’t touch on it too much in the story, though.

For Prince Omil, I briefly considered having him work with Gilmott Korgan in poisoning the whole Autumnal Feast. I discarded it, though, because it’s been done a lot and it would change the feeling of the royal family. Instead, I wanted to show his anger over the Autumnal Feast being ruined by initially giving him a meek personality. Then when things go bad, he’s the one that is the most bloodthirsty about the entire thing. So he is a prince that cares too much.

Some other random information about the royal family. The queen is still alive. I did not want any kind of traitor chancellor or other high-ranking officials. I wanted Sorta to be people who believe in the king and be justified in doing so.

I also wanted a normal family for Selaf to interact with. And that would be Hyim, Basma, and, to a lesser extend, Yisma. They are Selaf’s first major interaction with a kind and loving family. Hyim’s actions make Selaf question things she previously believed, such as him wanting to save all villagers, not just the ones that matter to him. In a manner, Hyim is mostly there to help Selaf grow.

Basma is the more well-learned one of the family. Yisma is just kind of there. I got nothing for her. Also, I didn’t mention it in the story, or I don’t think I did, but the ordeal with the coeryps left her barren, so her and Hyim can’t have children. Also, Hyim did survive the events of the book, so don’t worry.

That’s all for the character’s of Sorta (that I can think of for the moment). More on other things next time!

What I want to work on for my writing

I’ve mentioned before that my writing style is, at times, like I am transcribing a visual scene directly. It leads to a lot of details, sometimes on things that don’t need it. At least that’s what I think. For instance, when I edit stuff, I sometimes cut out certain actions because a reader doesn’t need to know all of what a person did from the time they got up from bed. A simple they got ready for the day would be enough, but a lot of the time, I don’t do that. I go into a bit of their morning routine.

I actually enjoy it, since one of my favorite genres is slice-of-life. It means just looking in on everyday life.

Sometimes, I feel my style of writing doesn’t play to some of the strengths of writing.

There are certain things I want to do in writing, but it would be difficult. Since I write based on visual scenes I imagine, a lot of times I want to do funny background events, but the joke doesn’t work if you directly point out what the characters in the background are doing. And then it won’t be a huge surprise when what’s happening in the background suddenly affects the foreground since I have to mention it previously.

It goes a bit the same with giving out clues. In order to conceal them a bit, I would have to hide the clues within a bunch of other writing so the reader won’t know which one is important until later.

That’s one of the strengths that things such as TV, movie and theater can do. Another is using music to set the mood.

What writing has, however, is the ability to naturally reveal a lot of non-visual cues. It can reveal a characters inner feelings, the internal struggle they have and the reasonings they give themselves for doing certain things. Saying all of that out loud in a visual/audio can be awkward.

Writing can also provide flowing backstory on characters and settings if done well, though I usually strive to put the most important information out with character’s speaking or acting them.

I don’t do a lot of that kind of introspection, however. I don’t know if I should try to do more of it or not. I suppose there are lots of different ideas and styles. Writing has the ability to convey more information than a visual/audio medium in certain cases. And it’s harder to convey certain things in other cases.

Writing everything as if it was a scene might not be a great way to do things, but I enjoy thinking about stories as such.

This has just been some of my random ramblings. You may unliquefy your brain and put it back through your ears now.