Tag Archives: TV

R.I.P. VII – Progress Post #2


The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as: Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

I’m going to post my R.I.P. progress on Tuesdays during September and October and link them to the review site if they contain reviews of short stories, TV shows, or movies. Books will get their own posts.

“The Case of Death and Honey” by Neil Gaiman, from the anthology A Study in Sherlock, edited by Laurie R. King & Leslie S. Klinger. It’s a gem of story covering Holmes’ time in the Far East and his sudden interest, in retirement, in bee keeping. With, of course, an oblique twist.

“The Companions” by David Morrell, from the anthology Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle. This story seemed flat to me, the first to disappoint in this anthology. It is a take on guardian spirits, but the set up was too long and detailed. In comparison, the payoff was barely a page or two. I was expecting a turn that would take the story into the realm of unsettling, which seemed warranted, but it never happened.

I also read Bradbury’s “Laural and Hardy Love Affair,” which is not perilous in the least. Yet, it served as the basis for one of the things that scared me most as a kid: The “Gotcha!” episode from Ray Bradbury Theater. According to IMDB, it was episode 4 in season 2 and aired in 1988. Meaning I was 13 at the time, but man, the ending of that episode did a number on me. Haven’t watched it since…

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Rachel @ Resistance is Futile reminded me of this story. Probably a decade ago, someone mentioned this story to me, but I forgot about it before I tracked down a copy. (The internet was a very different place in ’01/’02!) Wow, what a story. It can be read from a traditional gothic approach (bars on the window of the top floor nursary and a gate at the top of the stares) or a feminist approach (a husband *always* knows what’s best for his wife) or, you know, both. Really good literature should hit on numerous fronts. You don’t need to know the conventions of a gothic or be a feminist to enjoy the truly unsettling aspects of this story. (Read at The University of Adelaide Library)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) – If I could take the best bits of the US version and the Swedish version of this movie, it might rank in my top 20 movies. As is, I think I prefer the US version. Especially if I turn it off 20 minutes before the end.

Evening Primrose (1966) – This was a surprising fit for Peril on the Screen. I was perusing Hulu when I came across the addition of this ’66 TV musical starring Anthony Perkins . I expected light comedy. Instead, I got Twilight Zone: The Musical Episode. When disillusioned poet Charles Snell decides to live in the picture-perfect world of a department store, hiding by day and writing at night, he finds that he isn’t the first person to have the idea. An entire society exists with its own rules and its own police, the dark men that live at a mortuary. Unfortunately, Charles falls in love with social pariah and muse, Ella. Will they be able to escape back to the outside world, or will the dark men turn them into store mannequins? (Watch on Hulu)

Dexter, Season 5 – Yeah, I’m behind. I don’t have cable and we haven’t had Netflix DVD service in a while. Season 5 seemed short to me. And it’s not that it lacked plot, but it felt sort of anticlimactic. Or rather, not very perilous. (Yes, I am going to over-use the word peril in the next two months.) It never felt like wacky ol’ Dexter was in a really tight spot that he could get out of. I was pleased with the guest cast, but **spoiler** [sorry to see them go].

R.I.P. VII – Progress Post #1


The purpose of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril VII is to enjoy books and movies/television that could be classified (by you) as: Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. Or anything sufficiently moody that shares a kinship with the above.

I’m going to post my R.I.P. progress on Tuesdays during September and October and link them to the review site if they contain reviews of short stories, TV shows, or movies. Books will get their own posts.

“The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”

“The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist”

Arthur Conan Doyle

Steven Moffat has teased the three word for series 3 of Sherlock. They are rat, wedding, and bow. Of course, with the premiere a year away, speculation abounds. What canon stories could these words allude to? Which tales will be liberally adapted? Both “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor”  and “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist” have been bandied around for “wedding,” but don’t I think either are likely aside from maybe an allusions-in-passing.

Regarding “Noble Bachelor”: I forget how crisp and untagged Doyle’s dialogue sometimes is. This is one of Doyle’s one-set stories. While characters come and go from Baker Street, all the action occurs in the sitting room. Not the most exciting of Holmes stories, but probably responsible for many of my people-in-a-room-talking-and-eating scenes.

In contrast, “Solitary Cyclist” takes the show on the road. Doyle is as adept at describing the countryside as he is setting a meal a Baker Street. Tor has seemingly picked this story for “wedding” if wedding doesn’t refer to Watson’s wedding. The story is fairly sensational, but doesn’t really engage Holmes/Watson (apparently a criticism that the editor of The Strand had as well).

Murder Rooms

Murder Rooms is a BBC series. It is a *very* liberal dramatization of the mentorship/friendship between Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell. The first movie-length episode was listed as Dr Bell and Mr Doyle (2000) when I first rented it from Netflix. I didn’t know there were four other episodes (each 90 minutes in length and released in 2001) until recently.

The series is much closer to a Sherlock Holmes pastiche than a historical drama. That’s certainly not a bad thing. Doyle, played by Robin Laing in the first movie and Charles Edwards in the further episodes, is a more intellectual Watson and Ian Richardson is more of a tough-love grandfather figure than a Holmes. In fact, Dr. Bell reminds me of THE Doctor; humorous and eccentric.

As with Sherlock, the stories are not adaptations of canon, but allusions to canon. For example, “The Patient’s Eyes,” the episode I watched this past week, heavily relies on “The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist.”

Movies

The Toybox (2005) – I think I vaguely remember Mondo Movies or Mark Kermode talking about this movie as one of numerous English horror movies that involve children/youth culture vs. adults. I’m pretty sure that this isn’t the best of the lot. It wasn’t particularly scary, but the hand-held camera was occasionally nauseating. (Watch on Hulu)

The House on Haunted Hill (1959) – I rewatch this William Castle classic every couple of years. Despite the schlock, it’s so earnest. Vincent Price’s character is a bit loathsome. His wife, played Carol Ohmart, is chilly and queenly, and Carolyn Craig completely sells her mounting hysteria. It’s a Scooby-Doo of a horror movie, fun and contrived. I watched the colorized version and had to wonder whether there were production notes to follow during the process. Everyone was so drab aside from Annabelle Loren (Ohmart). Her wardrobe is purple, maroon, and baby blue. (Watch on Hulu)

I read 13% of 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz before setting it aside. It wasn’t creepy enough. The characters weren’t interesting enough. I thought about continuing to see if anything good was going to happen plot-wise, but honestly, that doesn’t happen often. I have too many other things to read.

May 1st Check In & TV Reviews of the Geeky Kind

Having finished my April goal on Tuesday, I kind of…uh…took the rest of the week off. Haven’t talked to Eric about what’s next, something I should have done. So, I’m currently somewhat goal-less.

Except! I need to get back on the submission horse. It’s time for the return of #10byThen and #2QueryTuesday. And…I really need to take care of a few other things. Yeah, this is the stuff that been harshing my over-all mellow. I need to cowboy up because avoiding things isn’t working either.

A couple reviews:

Watched the first episode of Game of Thrones. I was pretty excited about it after starting a Song of Fire and Ice reread via Tor and seeing the 10 minute preview. Unfortunately, I think my watching was tainted by my reading. The production value of the show is high. The actors are quality. But the whole thing isn’t as *grand* as it is in my head. The feast with the King at Winterfell? It looked too much like an evening in a tavern. At the wedding, where were the Dothraki horde? And without that grandeur, the heightened dialogue didn’t quite work for me.

My more anticipated premiere: Doctor Who. Season 6 has been much hyped. The Doctor is coming to America! A monster more scary than the Weeping Angels! Dark days ahead! As for the first headline, I assume they mean the first time an episode has been filmed in the US, because off the top of my head both the 1996 movie and the series 1 episode "Dalek" were set in the US. Are the Silence creepier than the Weeping Angels? Hmm… Maybe if the only episode to feature the Angels were "The Time of Angels" and "Flesh and Stone". But, no, the Angels were given time to be creepy all by themselves. "Blink" is an great horror television. The Silence are weighted down by so much else going on. "The Impossible Astronaut" promised a lot. "Day of the Moon" rushed through a lot. My criticism of the Steven Moffat era thus far: when using creepy things doing creepy time things just beyond perception, a little goes a long way.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Been working toward journaling here every other day. Unfortunately, there are days when I’m hermit-y and I don’t have much to say. Today is one of those. So was yesterday for that matter.

Missed a couple of days of reading, but otherwise I’m somewhat keeping to my plan.

Zeta Iota is up to 4K words.
Pros of bumping work to Eric and talking about the project every day: I stay on task and potential problems are nipped in the bud.
Con of bumping work to Eric and talking about the project every day: Tough when I’m having a hermit day. How did I ever work a “real” job?

No further replies on my Model Species submissions. I should take a look at where Pas de Chat is in the submission grinder, but that might require writing an email or two. *cringe*

VOTS Spring League is not currently eating my life. New Year Fest in two weeks.

Consumed most of Community before it expired on Hulu. I’ve also been enjoying The Unusuals, which I might write up as an OMM entry.

May tribbles eat your kibbles…

So, what has been going on lately in Katherine-land?  A bit of this, a bit of that.

Spent Monday whittling down Pas de Chat‘s synopsis to one page (and then shorter than one page to accommodate formatting), and by Tuesday afternoon sent her out to six more agents.  As usual, there was much moaning and fretting about guidelines. This was somewhat defused by serendipitously timed blog post by Nathan Bransford and by the longest, kindest form rejection letter I have ever received. (Three of my six submissions were by email; two of which I quickly received responses to.) The agent had obviously taken time and put forth effort in its crafting.  I try not to be grumpy at agents when all I get back is a three line email or a poorly photocopied half sheet of paper. It’s easy to forget there are people, busy people on the other end of my query letters. But it is nice to get a response (even a negative one) that acknowledges that there’s a busy person on this side of the query too.

Tuesday afternoon, we went to see Star Trek. (Over Wolverine, in fact.  I got curious.) I will confess, I am a Star Trek fan.  My mom was a big fan.  I’ve met William Shatner and I’ve accidentally tripped Walter Koenig.  I own a stuffed tribble and a small titanium insignia magnet.  I’m not a rabid fan, but fan, I am.  I had very low expectations for the movie.  A younger Star Trek.  A “reboot” of the franchise.  Directed by JJ Abrams of all people.  How could this manage to be good?  It does and doesn’t.

The science and the extension of technology from the present to future, is terrible.  Granted, if you’re staying true to the setting of Star Trek as put forth in the original series, the science and the extension of technology will be terrible.  Unfortunately, it didn’t seem particularly consistent with the original series level of technology either.  But really, I didn’t expect this aspect of the film to be any good.  The call backs and nods to the original series were somewhat poorly handled in my opinion. Those things were done for the fans, but should have been done much more subtly. There were also some joke-y aspects that I could have done without.  Often, it felt as though the writers were trying too hard to wink at and nudge the audience.  Also too many things that just struck me as incredulous.  Prime example: where exactly *is* the canyon in Iowa?

Ultimately and surprisingly, what I did appreciate the movie is the “reboot” quality.  Restarts happen often in comics, often in tabletop gaming.  I’ve even sort of done one between two novel drafts.  Essentially, you want to keep the things that are good, but tweak those things, shake them up, make relationships different. To pull this off, they had to be gutsy about it.  To the credit of Abrams and his writers, they were. They offer fans a way of excepting this new Star Trek and maybe even look forward to more stories being told in this universe.

Yesterday kind of devolved into a goof-off day.  We went out and played disc, grocery shopped, and finished watching The Wire.  If I were to be balanced, I would now go on for three paragraphs about how good this show is.  Alas, there’s usually less to say when something is good.  We watched all five seasons over the past couple of months.  I picked it from Netflix because it was an HBO show that I hadn’t heard much about.  It is very good.  It’s well written, well acted, well produced.  At its base is the crime in Baltimore, MD.  Over five seasons, the stories are told from the POV of the cops, the criminals, the lawyers, the politicians, the school system, and the media.  It gives an excellent view of the criminal organizations and the non-forensic procedural aspects.  It’s further proof that television at its best could be better than movies.

Other links of interest:

Whether ‘Terminator’ or ‘Angels and Demons,’ Films Feel the Call of Boycotters – NYTimes.com
My guess is that neither of those two films will be affected, though one might content that Angels and Demons is less reliant on the American market.

NeuroLogica Blog takes a look at something I’ve always found curious: Spontaneous Human Combustion

Amazon.com is becoming a reprint publisher.

Totally Addicted… reviews Wired passion fruit with calcium. Better known as the only palatable low-calorie “energy” drink I have left. It also mixes very well with UV Cherry vodka.

Cereal And Milk Is The New Sports Supplement
*After* exercise isn’t really what sports drinks were made for. Sports drinks are for during prolonged exercise when an athlete’s stomach wouldn’t really appreciate a bowl of cereal.

I was feeling mentally cruddy yesterday and dispelled it by lots of relaxing EverQuest, a good bit of reading, and getting laundry done. I really should make an effort to get Obscure Music Monday posts done on the weekend, but I never do. I’ve inadvertently posted Obscure Movie entries during mouths with five Mondays.

Time to get to work on actual work. We have an early disc game tonight, and I’ll have some not-actual-work to do later.

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Cable Industry Starts to Regret Putting Free Shows Online – NYTimes.com
Interesting that the headline is different between what was sent to Deepest Sender (the headline above) and what is at the to of the article: “Some Online Shows Could Go Subscription-Only.” It was the latter version of the headline that caught my attention. I took it to mean that shows would be offered through an online subscription model. Alas, no.

He said NBC Universal was testing technology to identify Time Warner Cable subscribers online, and is also talking to Comcast, Cox and other providers about similar moves.

It seems that I would still have to be a cable subscriber. Which means I’d still be paying a bunch of money for services that I do not use and am not interested in.

Also, I guess online views aren’t iincluded in ratings:

The ratings for some programs, like “Lost” on ABC, would rise as much as 25 percent if online views were included, according to the ratings service Nielsen.

Tor.com / Science fiction and fantasy / Blog posts / Tor announces The Gathering Storm, Book Twelve of Robert Jordan’s legendary Wheel of Time® fantasy series:

Tor Books is proud to announce the November 3rd, 2009 on-sale date for The Gathering Storm, Book Twelve of The Wheel of Time and the first of three volumes that will make up A Memory of Light, the stunning conclusion to Robert Jordan’s beloved and bestselling fantasy series.

It does seem fitting that the final book of the Wheel of Time should be a trilogy.

Quickie

So, I’ve been watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip while working. Produced by Thomas Schlamme and Aaron Sorkin, it has the same wit an eloquence as The West Wing.  And when I say the same, I mean *the same*.  On one level that bugs me.  On another, I really liked West Wing so why complain?  I was rather hesitant about the show due to some of its cast.  Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet are not my favorite people.  Except when they are on this show.  Go figure.  Steven Weber is also excellently cast against type.  I’m guessing that this show is no longer in production.  A shame, but it is available to be enjoyed free and legal online.  At Hulu.com for example.