So, my thoughts on XIII
Being that I don’t, generally, listen to popular music, I didn’t watch the Grammy’s this year. Instead, NBC is running a mini-series based off the French comic book XII. I decided to give this show a try, mainly becuse I hadn’t read the comic book, hadn’t played the video game based off the comic book, and, frankly, I wanted to give a mini-series based off a non-Supers comic book that wasn’t from the US or Japan a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. There are some spoilers below the cut, so be warned.
So, the story of the show is, semi-Bourne-ish. Man falls out of an airplane (instead of a boat) out in the middle of West Virginia, some time following the assassination of hte first female president of the United States. He’s nursed to health by an elderly couple, and finds that he’s lost his memory, with the only leads on who he his is his rather impressive combat-related muscle memory, as well as a few other skills (including l33t hax0r skills), a micro-chip designed to be hooked up to a USB port, and a tatoo of the roman numeral XIII on his shoulder.
Not long after he shows up at the house, it’s attacked by assassins who kills the couple, XIII just barely escaping into the night. He learns he’s the assassin who killed the president, and that the conspiracy that had him do the hit is now trying to kill him, to make sure he doesn’t talk. Only, by the end of the episode, we learn that he’s actually a double-agent, the real assassin is dead, he’s posing as the assassin to try and figure out who is in the conspiracy so they can be taken down, but in order to do this he must stick with his cover – only the assassin’s identity is now publically known. To be continued… (I’m assuming Part 2 of 2 will be on the air next week).
When XIII re-starts the old couple’s internet connection (after it’s been shut down) by changing the jumpers on their Cable modem and changing the MAC address through the command line is awesome. Hacking doesn’t quite work that way, but it’s better than a lot of other ways I’ve seen hacking and the internet used in film. Opera being used as their web browser is even better (promotion of third-party browsers for Windows is a good thing) – I’d have preferred Firefox, but hey. For that matter, the way they had the USB chip working is even better.
Also, the writers did a good job of setting up how XIII had basically nowhere to turn – the Conspiracy is out to kill him, the law thinks he’s the guy who killed the President, civilians who help him can end up in deepest shit due to the Patriot Act, and the people who he’s working for in the government don’t want to blow his cover (for good reason).
Not 5 minutes after they do the awesome bit with the MAC Address, the conspiracy finds him by a NSA flag on the Roman Freaking Numeral “XIII“!!!!! Especially considering that none of the search results relate to the Conspiracy.
Overall, the show is, in short, okay. The action sequences are decent (but they’re probably saving the major stuff to part 2), there aren’t any particular major twists yet (but, really, the Bourne film* didn’t have too many major twists either – the book had twists, but that’s because we didn’t know what the people hunting Bourne were doing). The acting is decent (and Dorrf is better as XIII than David Duchovany was in the video game). Anyway, it’s part 1 of 2. We’re not going to get the payoff until the second half anyway. Thus far, it’s not stellar, it’s not horrid, it’s just decent – and it was a helluva lot more interesting than the Grammy Awards.