Ripper Street

twop
I finished the second season of Ripper Street last night. This BBC America show takes place in Whitechapel six months after the Jack the Ripper killings (hence the name). Its citizens are on edge and jumping at shadows, fearing every death is related to the predator in their midst. In this environment, Detective Inspector Edmund Reid and the police force at Leman Street try to fight the good fight.

What I find engaging about the show is the atmosphere and the history. I'm not one to watch CSI-style shows (the show is often jokingly referred to as CSI: Whitechapel), but I think it's interesting to see the theoretical origins of forensic analysis and to witness the beginnings of medical examiners finding their way as detectives. Yes, it's fictionalized, but much of it is plausible.

On the other hand, I find two out of the three principal male characters somewhat off-putting.

SpoilersCollapse )

Amazon has purchased a third season of the show, but it's unlikely that I'll stay with it. I'm not sorry that I watched it, but there are just too many other programs vying for my attention right now.

Side note #1: I found it interesting that at least five actors from Game of Thrones have made appearances on the show (the aforementioned Jerome Flynn, Iain Glen, Joseph Mawle, Kristian Nairn, and Paul Kaye). I don't know if the sets are near one another or what, but it's been kind of fun spotting them. :) Mawle reminds me a bit of Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill The Butcher in his role as Inspector Jebediah Shine.

Side note #2: I'll grant that the show is educational: I'd never heard of phossy jaw until I watched the third episode of the second season, "Become Man." I rather wondered if the special effects team was paying homage to Sandman's Mazikeen with their depiction of the symptoms. Their visual appeared much more extreme than the sketches and period photographs of the admittedly horrible and deadly disease.

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Orphan Black

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie
"Just one?
I'm a few;
no family, too.
Who am I?"


mumpish encouraged me to watch this; I've just completed all the episodes of this show to date: I don't want to spoil anyone who hasn't seen it, so I'll put the rest of this behind a cut. If you're reading this post via RSS, those viewers don't recognize LiveJournal's cut tag, so be warned that from here on out, there may be spoilers.

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I don't have any Orphan Black icons yet, but even if I did, there are probably precious few I could associate with posts without being spoilery, so I'll just use my default for now.

Review: Only Lovers Left Alive

Yay bunny
Spoilers for Only Lovers Left AliveCollapse )

This won't mean anything to those who are unfamiliar with Vampire: The Masquerade, but in the car after the movie, I shook my head at D., smiled, and muttered, "Toreador." He grinned and said, "Ya think?" ;) (Toreador is a clan in the Camarilla faction of the tabletop RPG. They are characteristically ... well, watch the movie. :) )

Overall, I thought this film was a well-executed character study. I can see why it was nominated for a Palme d'Or, and I will almost certainly purchase the DVD - the film's languid pace is well worth savoring during repeat viewings. I won't be surprised if it turns out to be my best movie of 2014.

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Currently watching

Who's your Spydaddy?
The Americans is my current favorite television program: if you liked the 2011 remake of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, you'd probably enjoy this show; I think fans of Alias might like it, too. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it takes place in the early 1980s, during the Cold War, and focuses on a cat-and-mouse game between Russian and US intelligence operatives. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can watch the first season here.

I'm also tuning in to The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and, of course, the sixth season of RuPaul's Drag Race (I never miss it, although I strongly disagree with last week's elimination, as does the rest of the fanbase). There are many things stacked on the DVR, including The Blacklist, the new Cosmos, Orphan Black, and Ripper Street, as well as a number of movies; I hope to start on Orphan Black today.

That's the positive. As for the negative, I'm very close to dropping Game of Thrones. I wasn't inclined to watch it in the first place given that I detested the book: indeed, A Game of Thrones was the worst novel I read in 2011. However, as you likely know, it's one of the most popular television shows in the world, and so, for the sake of conversancy and water cooler discussion, I capitulated.

While I do think HBO's adaptation has improved upon the books somewhat, the relentlessly brutal violence and sexual content of the story is, shall we say, well suited for the excesses of cable television, and, for me, it gets old. It's also frustrating feeling like I'm not permitted to care about most of the characters because they're likely to be slain for shock value at any minute. The thing about shock value, though, is that if it's too frequent, it becomes ineffective: the viewer becomes inured to it, and that's not entertaining.

It is accomplished

Dr Tran
I have finished the 14 Dresden books and the short stories as they exist at the time of this writing (specifically, I've completed Cold Days).

[gently and kindly]
If you recommended them to me, it's probably best if we get to know one another better before suggesting books, films, and television shows to each other, in the interest of being mutually courteous and not wasting the other person's time.

I know y'all had good intentions. I get that you enjoyed them. I'm just not clear on why you thought I would enjoy them.
[/gently and kindly]


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This is a little old by now ...

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie
This was published back in May, but I just wanted to make a post here for my own records, because I think it's powerful.




I will miss you, Eleven

frog
I'm sure that by now you've all heard the news that Matt Smith will be leaving Doctor Who around the time of the 50th anniversary special.

I wrote a slight variation of the following over in boji's journal, and I'm sharing it here.

I gave the show up about five or six episodes after Nine's run, and went almost to the end of Ten without watching it. Insistence from friends that I give it another shot caused me to cave, so I caught up just before Eleven arrived on the scene.

I still wasn't crazy about it, and would've gladly put it down were it not the lingua franca of almost every single one of my friends. So I tolerated it for them, though I remained pretty confident that this young actor wouldn't be able to touch Christopher Eccleston.

And then, an odd thing happened: I never liked Amy (the character - I've no problem with Gillan), and I would rant regularly over the incoherence of Moffat's show direction, but Matt Smith? I stayed for him. Year after year -- his beautiful weariness kept me when nothing else about the show would've. Mister Smith, I apologize for my ageist assumptions.

I don't have a "my Doctor," but Matt Smith has demonstrated tremendous range in this role, and I'm going to truly miss him. He has moved me in otherwise mediocre episodes: The Rings of Akhaten comes to mind.

Thank you so much, Matt Smith. I've been ready to leave so many times before, and yet, I just couldn't leave without you. I look forward to seeing where your talents take you.

The Wheel of Time

Dance the spears
I finished A Memory of Light yesterday.

I'm off work today, and don't want to give my time to writing a review right now, but I did want to mark the moment.

In Memoriam

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie
Thank you, Roger Ebert.

Tonight, I'm raising a glass in your memory. You were an insightful writer who inspired many in your role as a film critic, and you inspired many more during the last eight years of your life as you faced cancer with grace and courage.

I remember taking the movie beat for my high school paper, and writing my predictions for the Oscars in the hope that I'd match or beat you. I never did, but I tried because of "Sneak Previews" (yes, I remember the PBS show) and "At the Movies."

America's most beloved movie fan is gone. Tomorrow, newspapers will be filled with political cartoons, homages, and accolades acknowledging one of their best. It will be long before we see his like again.

My sincerest condolences to Chaz, his widow. Know that we honor you, too, and all that you did to ease his suffering. He will never be forgotten.

If there is a heaven, I'd wager that Gene Siskel is there to greet his old rival and friend. Both are now at peace. Cancer cannot hurt them any more.

Is it a fwog or a squeaky toy?

frog
And now, ladies and gentlemen, the Namaqua rain frog:



Full credit to my wonderful husband for finding and sharing this one with me. :)

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