Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Heroes: "Turn and Face the Strange" - Hiro and Ando again! Yay! And a promised revelation of the start of the entire thing. I'm not that interested in the Sylar side of the story, except as it sets up conflict for Hiro to run from.
  • Red Dwarf: "Back To Earth part 1" - It's like meeting friends you haven't seen for a long time, trying desperately to still be cool, but failing. Oh, it wasn't bad, but it wasn't nearly as funny as the first couple of series. The choice to not follow directly from the last aired episode was probably a good one, all things considered. Maybe it'll improve with the next two episodes?
  • Ghost Hunters: "Titanic Terror" - What an incredible location! I wanna visit a haunted Aquarium! Ahem. The Titanic exhibit was interesting, even in the dark. The history of the second location nearly broke my heart. The family lost the house because of a tax bill. Ouch. The camera was definitely in the wrong place for the cabinet door opening. And they never mentioned if it closed.
  • Food Detectives: "New York Pizza" - The food preservatives bit was disgusting, but expected. I always tap the sides of canned soda, because I knew before this piece that tapping on the top never works. I hate thin-crust pizza, I much prefer Chicago-style, so I don't think they picked the "best" pizza, just the New York pizza. But it was interesting that the water did make such a difference. The mineral piece was cool, particularly the iron-in-cereal experiment. Good ep.
  • Dinner Impossible: "Yahoo Search Scramble" - That's an evil evil menu. I'm sorry, randomizing ingredients THAT much is insane. The two chefs had some ego-clashing, and the accidents and lack of good ingredients was also stressful. Add in Robert losing his voice, and this was an incredible episode.
  • Numb3rs: "Animal Rites" - Larry gets a new love interest? The extremism of the animal rights activists was explained quite well, but I don't think all extremists can claim that excuse. Not sure of the math in this one, either the ethics or the reality.
  • Primeval: "Episode 15" - A bit of a slow episode, with a nice haunted house theme. Lots of build up in this one with not a lot of payoff. But seriously, what is Helen up to? Her actions were very suggestive, but I don't like what they suggested.
  • Red Dwarf: "Back To Earth part 2" - This show is in desperate need of a laugh track. The meta nature of this episode was almost overwhelming and VERY cringeworthy. Rimmer had a great moment after a discussion of the morality of killing holograms, and Lister chatting with fans was pretty good too. Still, the final episode will make or break this one.
  • Supernanny: "DeMello Family" - Three young kids who never go out to play in their huge backyard, so much so that when Jo takes them out there they don't know what to do. This is the first time I remember Jo having to do the naughty chair method entirely by herself because the parents simply didn't understand it at all. And that father! He consistently underestimated his children, to the point of insanity. It was nice to see him realize just how smart his kids actually are.

This week's comic book related review is Hikaru No Go Volume 14, which arrived in the last shipment of comic books, but I saved to savor it a bit longer. I've read it twice now, and will probably read it a few more times before I set it on the shelf with the other volumes. I really love this series. In this volume, the on-line Go game between Sai and the Meijin is concluded. A lot more happens in the volume, but if you want to know what it is, you'll have to read it yourself. I particularly like Akira's utter confusion about Sai's identity. Sai's self-realization is tough to read, and disturbing as well. I kind of like how Hikaru is staying true to his nature by just moving along, but I do wonder if he's headed for another humbling moment. I didn't like Kurata at first, but I admit he's growing on me in this volume.

I found fan-translated copies of all the rest of the series on-line. I decided not to read ahead, although the fan translations are often very good. I have sometimes gone through and compared the fan versions to the official, and found some interesting differences, but it's mostly been not too difficult to wait. After reading this volume, I'm finding it much harder to wait. And I really want to see the Anime too!

This week's movie was Wonder Woman, the 2009 animated film starring Keri Russell as Wonder Woman and Nathan Fillion as Steve Trevor. This was a fun film, with lots of good moments. The opening was brutal, and seemed to get more brutal as the sequence went on. Yes, it was cartoon violence, but there were moments of "ooooo... ouch!" and even "yikes." The story was familiar, although Steve's opening battle seemed to not have enough impact on his emotions. I did like Steve's big rant about sexism in the hospital room. I also enjoyed the side story with Artemis and Alexa. Nice solid animation. This was a good one. I can only hope they produce an Aquaman movie like this some time.

My library book this week was The Winter Prince by Elizabeth E Wein. I saw this recommended on a blog, but when I started reading it I found myself saying, "Not another take on King Arthur!" Well, yes, it is and yet it isn't. This book focuses on Medraut, the eldest son of Artos and a product of accidental incest. Medraut's longing for acceptance and legitimacy drive his actions throughout the story. Add in his love/hate relationship with his mother and his younger half-brother, and you've got a distressing story. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with a child reading this, as there is more than just "simple" incest being constantly alluded to in the text, but it's certainly a powerful book.

Agatha Christie this week was Cards on the Table from 1936. The funniest part of this book is one Mrs Oliver, a mystery writer who can only be based on Christie's own experiences, who helps Poirot a little in solving this one. There is no way on earth I could've figured this one out: I don't play bridge. But I am still kicking myself for not realizing that everyone would get their comeuppance in the end. Can't leave a murderer loose in a Poirot novel! I was a little surprised to see the solution to Murder on the Orient Express casually revealed to a character at one point in the story, but that's one reason I'm trying to read these books in chronological order. I think, once I finish these books, I'm going to watch the Doctor Who episode that inspired me and see if I can catch any more references. I bet I will.