Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Red Dwarf: "Back To Earth part 3" - Way too meta. Meta beyond meta. This is The Mind Robber. It's nice to know that I exist. Um... I think the ending makes up for the rest, but I'm going to have to think about it longer to be sure.
  • Heroes: "1961" - So she had a sister. Depressing episode, and no Hiro. Lots of flashbacks, which is only to be expected with a title like "1961". The pace was a bit too slow and that made the depressing aspects worse. Not the best episode.
  • Primeval: "Episode 16" - Helen is a piece of work, isn't she? And... how is this one NOT a season finale? It sure feels like one. And once again we get the cute monsters, which I prefer to the future creatures. I'll note that this episode was up against Doctor Who, which was insane scheduling. Didn't anyone realize they'd have exactly the same audience? And now there's speculation that the show isn't long for the world.
  • Food Detectives: "Nightcaps?" - I used to drink warm milk when I couldn't sleep, I never thought it worked, but it was something I could do. Looks like the tea is a good option if you want better sleep. Perhaps I should give it a try. The blood-spotted eggs weren't appetizing, but it's nice to know they are safe. I knew about sugar already, because of the weight loss I've done. The raw foods segment seemed sort of wishy-washy with no real conclusion.
  • Heroes: "I Am Sylar" - A bit of Hiro and Ando, but not nearly enough. I think all the current plotlines were touched in this episode. That made it a bit crowded.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Crossing Over" - Wait, Ghost Hunters is calling in Ghost Hunters International? Funny. I like Jay and Grant's exit after the briefing. As for the evidence, it wasn't that impressive, but I'm sure the TAPS folks will love hanging out at a haunted inn.
  • Dinner Impossible: "Casino Craziness" - No salt, no sugar? And they change the rules on him? The house always wins, but this one is crazy. And, due to the sheer size of the place, Robert is sweating more than he ever has in a challenge. I wanted to try that VIP soup.
  • Smallville: "Stiletto" - A bit of a romp with some dark edges, mostly concerning Chloe. It's ok.
  • Primeval: "Episode 17" - And we're temporarily caught up with the show, as the crew deals with the aftermath of that non-season-finale season finale in the last episode. Throw in a complication in love life to the grief and confusion, and add a dash of evil civil servant, and we've got a good one. Helen got the wrong person, methinks.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released Apr 8th and 15th:
  • Noble Causes #40 - Final Issue. Well, the final issue of this particular run. I live in hope that there will be more. Especially after that ending.
  • Green Lantern Corps #35 - At ECCC Patrick Gleason asked me what he could do to make me like this book. So I paid extra attention to the artwork this time. My conclusion? The art isn't the problem. It's just that I don't really like cosmic type adventures, and this book is one big cosmic soap opera. Ok, the son of Daxam plot isn't bad. And I like Soranik although I don't like what is being done to her now. But the whole red/yellow/green lantern battles? Not my thing. The story is well-told, both through the art and words, it's just not a story I'm very interested in. (If I were to be goofy, I'd say the book needs more Aquaman, but according to the previews, that's what I'm going to get so I wish I'd never thought it.)
  • Green Lantern #39 - Orange and Blue, Blue and Green, Green and Orange. I'm still waiting to see the Indigo lanterns.
  • Northlanders #16 - !!!
  • Captain Britain and MI 13 #12 - Vampires bore me. Even Marvel Atlantean Vampires. Ok, that's a neat twist, but still. I just want the vampires to go away so we can have an interesting story.
  • Sub-Mariner Comics 70th Anniversary Special - I've never found Sub-Mariner to be quite as compelling as Aquaman, which is slightly odd as Namor has a more interesting history and is older by a couple of years, but he just didn't catch my imagination like Aquaman. Possibly because he looks different, whereas Aquaman could be a normal person walking among us. I don't know. But my childhood imagination took to Aquaman, not Namor. Still, I like Namor, and I like seeing his history, so I couldn't resist a reprint of his first tale. This collection has three stories, all set early in Namor's career, but all very different. The reprint of Namor's first tale is nicely done, and a good addition to any collection.
  • Supergirl #5 - It's part of a mini-series, but I'm not sure I want to forgive all the references to the previous issues. That's mostly because I just don't like this series much, not due to its actual quality.
  • Super Friends #14 - Second page squee! Aquaman is in the UN representing Atlantis! SQUEE! And Topo! Double-Squee! More Topo action, please! (squee!)
  • Tiny Titans #15 - After the Aqua-Ohs in the last issue, this one was bound to be a slight disappointment. Aqualad wasn't even at Pet Club! Oh well, it's still a very fun book.
  • Wonderful Wizard of Oz #5 - The wolves and the bees! It's nice to see the whole story told for once, even if it's a little... vicious. And the emphasis on the fact that the monkeys can be only called three times made me happy as well. Flying Monkeys aren't evil!
  • DMZ #41 - Wow, are we up to issue 41 already? This is something of a standalone that looks as Zee and what she's up to now that Matty is out of her life. Nobody's got it easy in the DMZ, but a healer like Zee has it worse than most.
  • Northlanders #16 - Ok, maybe that wasn't enough. I'm just not sure how to react to this one. A bit confused, and yet... it makes perfect sense.
I've learned that I will be getting five of the Free Comic Book Day comics from DCBS. This is probably a good thing, as it has been difficult to get through the stack of all the comics in recent years and I know I never got around to even writing my one-liner reviews for most of them. I'm not sure when I'll get them, I presume it won't be in the next shipment, but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

This week's movie was Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End. Yeah, it was only a matter of time before we finally sat down to watch this one. I have to say, my first reaction, before even seeing the movie, was that it was WAY too long. It clocks in at 167 minutes, which is about 40 minutes more than I want to spend watching pirates in one sitting. Still, despite that, it wasn't a bad movie. Too many plot threads, too much arcane knowledge to keep track of from previous movies, but mostly internally consistent. A few good fights, of course, and I'm sure it looked marvelous on the big screen. The first movie was definitely the best, and this one doesn't come close I'm afraid. And this is one movie that you have to watch until the credits end. Right, verdict? It was ok, nothing special.

My library book this week was Powers by Ursula K Le Guin. This is the third book in the Annuals of the Western Shore series, and takes place before and at roughly the same time as the second book, Voices. The main character, Gavir, was captured as a toddler and became a slave. He's never known any other life, and is loyal to his masters. But he's being trained as a teacher to the Masters' children and knowledge brings disturbing discontent. I think this is the best one yet, although all three books in the series have made me think hard on different issues. Gavir's journeys, literally and figurative, make for good, thoughtful reading. I confess, I want more of this series. I want more of Orrec, Gry, Memer and Gavir.

Agatha Christie this week was Murder in the Mews, a collection of four stories first published in 1937:
  • Murder in the Mews - A suicide on Guy Fawkes night doesn't seem quite right. I got this one shortly before the reveal, but not enough before for me to say I actually solved a Poirot mystery.
  • The Incredible Theft - Dangerous papers are stolen, possibly by a spy, and Poirot is called in. I didn't even come close to solving this one. I had the whole thing figured out, but was utterly wrong.
  • Dead Man's Mirror - Poirot is summoned to a house only to find the man who summoned him has committed suicide. And no, I didn't figure this one out, either. I should have, all the clues were there. They fairly jumped out at me once the reveal was made. It's even a method Christie has used before.
  • Triangle at Rhodes - On vacation, Poirot watches in dismay as a love triangle that will end in a death develops. I didn't get this one either, but it made good sense once it was revealed.
Taken as a whole, this is a great collection with four strong stories in it. And hey, Mr Satterthwaite makes an appearance, so I'm even more happy with it.