MUST WATCH TV
Parks and Recreation
Saturday Night Live veteran Amy Poehler's show Parks and Recreation might seem like your run of the mill office sitcom at first glance, but look closer and you'll find a gem of a series oozing with brilliant humour and great writing. The series deals with the absurd world and politics of the local government of Pawnee, an obscure town in Indiana. Initially it may seem a bit similar to 'The Office' or 30 Rock, but let me tell you, Parks and Recreation has created a niche of its own.
The show revolves around Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler), a midlevel employee of the Parks and Recreation Department of the Pawnee City Council with sky-high ambition and even higher level of energy. Leslie Knope wonders around the city doing things that will 'make her career', while her colleagues are either busy partying or scheduling meetings for June 31st. Her enthusiasm and faith in the system is as extreme as her boss's jaded outlook. For example, the boss likes to think that 'birthdays were invented by Hallmark so they could sell cards'.
Parks and Recreation definitely shines through its characters; Leslie's boss Ron Swanson is without a doubt one of the funniest characters in TV. Nurse Ann Parkins (played by Rashida Jones) brings great balance to the show and her slacker 'rock star' boyfriend is hilarious. However, the show's best asset has to be Aziz Ansari playing Tom Haverford, Leslie's fun-loving Indian co-worker who considers himself a bit of a redneck.
Overall, Parks and Recreation excels in areas where 30 Rock and The Office often couldn't. Most of the humour is probably not laugh out loud funny, but they are cleverly written and re-watchable. This show borderlines cute and has heart-warming characters in a world of its own. If there is one negative, it's that the first two seasons start off a bit slow, but give it a bit of time and it turns out to be a treat.
By Munawar Mobin
Lights is a Canadian Juno award winning musician and has come out with her second studio album on the 4th of October. Her first album The Listening was compared with electronic solo acts such as Owl City, so you get the picture of the type of music she produces. It's the bubblegum electro pop - the one present in every single one of Adam Young (Owl City)'s songs.
The album starts off on a good note with the catchy 'Siberia'. As do most of the tracks in the album, this one compliments Lights' voice and cements the fact that her voice is a perfect one for the electro-pop genre.
The first single 'Toes' is one of the better tracks in the album. Its catchy chorus, fun hip-hop drum beats and the correct use of certain synthesisers makes this track a clear favourite out of the rest in Siberia. Bits and pieces of the album didn't work out as planned though, such as the addition of a little rap in 'Everybody Breaks a Glass' was not necessary. It pulled down the innocence that permeated the atmosphere of the album and if there was to be a song that ruins the album's image a bit, it would be this one. 'Banner' has a few unwanted long stretches of repetitive lyrics but both the mistakes in the two songs mentioned above can be overlooked because one can tell that Lights is experimenting with her music. As an experimental album, this was brilliant.
The best tracks on the album are no doubt 'Where the Fence is Low' and 'Cactus in the Valley'. The reason is mainly to do with the musical twists present in the album. There is a severe dubstep influence in Siberia, which is quite unnatural and unexpected from an artist who is compared to Owl City. Certainly the album isn't full of Skrillex-ish loud beats and screeches but it does boast a different type of dubstep. 'Where the Fence is Low' is the second track of the album and it's here where one can sense the dubstep presence; the surprising bit is that Lights' voice goes brilliantly alongside the beats, something which is highly unexpected from an electro -pop singer. 'Cactus in the Valley' is the song to look out for. It's the one song in the whole album which complements Lights' true vocals. With its soft chorus, heartbreaking lyrics and dubstep beats and Lights' enchanting voice, this song is perhaps one of the best songs of 2011.
Lights has the voice and the lyrics, which when set aside to the low beats, can make a song worthy of a couple of replays. If you want a taste of that or if you're a fan of dubstep then download their album and thank us later.
It has become a tradition that whenever game developers run out of ideas for a famous game, they go back to their character's origin and God of War is no different. GoW: Origins is a collection of two PSP games - Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta - remade and brought out for the PS3 this September.
Plot: In Chains of Olympus Kratos is tasked by the Gods to rescue the abducted Sun-god Helios and despite his reluctance for the task, he ends up doing it eventually. Ghost of Sparta deals with Kratos's childhood and his family as he finds out his long lost brother is still alive and he ventures on a journey to free his brother from the grasps of the Death-god Thanatos.
Pros: These games were transformed from PSP monitor to HD screens and 3D visuals. This alone makes it good enough to play the game. The legendary and brutal gameplay God of War is there, as always. Chains of Olympus at some places becomes frustrating but that is covered up by the mature graphics and amazing plot of Ghost of Sparta.
The voice acting is excellent but it would've been better if Kratos didn't shout everything he said (typical Kratos). Yet, his ingrained badassery is ever present. He butts heads with Atlas [the giant holding up the sky] and Persephone [wife of Hades and queen of the Underworld] and is blamed for the destruction of Atlantis, but he cares about as much as a star cares about meteorites.
Cons: First of all, the games are really short. It took us around 8-10 hours to complete both the games. Secondly, at some points the games looked poorly finished and lacked finesse. The weapons weren't that good and the puzzles failed to prove challenging. Even though the number of boss-fights are less, it sort of makes up for it by introducing some really cool ones.
Verdict: God of War is the kind of game-series that never disappoints fans and Origins is no exception. Readyatdawn did a good job with the game and if you haven't tried it out yet, you should, because this is probably the last time Kratos will be available at your command, unless Sony decides to revive him, but that won't be for a while and who knows how good that will be.