Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Primeval: "Episode 19" - The oddest start of an episode ever, with our team sitting in an old shack, and Connor and Abby dancing to an old record. It ramped up from there, with great thrill rides all the way through. Loved the ending, well, the ending in the ARC. The Abby ending was... disturbing.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Legends of the Dark Mite!" - Seriously, what do you expect from an episode with that title, written by Paul Dini? Very very very odd.

This week's movie was Gulliver's Travels, 1996 mini-series starring Ted Danson. We watched the first episode on the DVD, in which Lemuel Gulliver goes to Lilliput and Brobdingnag. The framing sequence is Lemuel when he returns home after being away on his journeys (unlike the books, he doesn't return home after each voyage, only at the end of all of them). He's insanely reliving this adventures, and tossed into Bedlam by the man who replaced him in his medical practice (and is vying for his wife's attentions). The action makes clear that he is telling the truth, as his son finds proof but loses it accidentally. I'm not sure when we'll watch the second half, but this was an excellent, if very quick, adaptation of the book.

This week's comic book related review is...Hikaru No Go Volume 15 by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata. I do not know how many volumes there are in this series, but I must be getting close to the end. I don't want this series to end, but I know it will happen because, unlike their American cousins, most Manga are actual stories with a beginning, middle, and end. And this volume seems to be a huge turning point in the series... only I don't know if this is the new status quo, or (SPOILER ALERT!)(END SPOILER). I'm already dying to read the next volume, and feeling deep satisfaction and sadness at this volume. Hikaru is so typical in this, although you would think he would learn something from his travels. I've gotta go reread this again. The next volume isn't due until August, I hope I can wait that long.

Agatha Christie this week was And Then There Were None from 1939. I have to point out the date in particular. The word that was used in the original title and text wasn't yet nearly as verboten as it is now, and particularly in the UK the word was used in regular vernacular up into the 1960s. Christie used the word several times before this book came out in other stories. It always gives me a jolt to run across it, but I consider the era the book was written in and forgive. A modern writer wouldn't get a pass from me.

That said, let's get to the book itself. This is a suspense thriller horror, with all the best aspects of all three genres. I loved it. Everyone was so clearly in the wrong, and the mystery of whodunnit was not one I was able to solve before the reveal at the very very end. Going back to reread, I wasn't convinced that the guilty party could have accomplished it all anyway. But it's still a great book, and surprisingly fun to read with insomnia at 3am.

My other book this week was Doctor Who: Ten Little Aliens by Stephen Cole. After getting through Agatha's book, hubby-Eric suggested I should read this book. The chapter titles are all titles of Christie's works, although the chapters themselves don't have further connections to the Christie books. The plot of the whole book starts with a lean toward And Then There Were None, but quickly forges its own path in classic Doctor Who style. The story features the first Doctor with Ben and Polly. They land in the middle of a training mission for a bunch of soldiers caught in a terrible war, and everything quickly degenerates from there. I think Cole caught the characters perfectly in this one. Polly is your standard rockin' sixties chick, but she's also very observant. Ben's ability to get along with the soldiers and his usefulness in a tight spot show his origins as a Navy man. The Doctor is at his best, both playful at times and crotchety old man. And somehow they all work in the context of the book, which has plenty of horrors. Overall, not a bad book at all.