Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Robin Hood: "Sins of the Father" - New tax collector with old grudges. Fun little episode with lots of action. And Kate moves in with the boys. Can the sheriff be any stupider?
  • Doctor Who: "The Waters of Mars" - This episode is not my favorite. It isn't as bad as "Love and Monsters" or "Fear Her", but it's not that much higher on my list. This is a fairly standard siege episode, with a handful of twists that did not make it work any better for me. (SPOILER ALERT!)(END SPOILER) There is a lot to wonder about in this one. This is a thinking episode, but despite the philosophical questions it raised, it just wasn't that great a watch.
  • Ghost Lab: "They're Watching You" - The Catfish Plantation. Nice stories. I like the whole "knife flying at a guy" thing. The moving silverware was funny. Easy to fake without any cameras on, but if it's for real, that ghost is hilarious. And if you are trying to draw out a ghost that likes to manipulate objects, what better way to attract it than with a game of Jenga? Pity they couldn't get the ghost to act on cue. The Hotel Lawrence had ok stories, nothing terribly impressive. The idea of a ghost holding a hotel door closed is a fun one. I'd like the see that door tested a little more. Two times is certainly a coincidence, if it happens consistently I'd be more convinced. Ah well, an entertaining episode if nothing else.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Pensacola Lighthouse" - I really do enjoy the lighthouse investigations. They are so freaky even without any ghosts. This was a nice looking building. Not much activity that night. I'm sorry, footsteps and banging noises don't impress me. And EVPs need to happen right after a statement, not several seconds later. Nothing there to convince me.
  • Ghost Hunters Academy: "The Honeymoon's Over" - The North Carolina. The medium again refuses to go on the tour, which may not be the best choice when you are dealing with a maze-like battleship. While I admire her insistence that she's better off not knowing the stories, she's certainly making it hard for herself to help set up. Of course, then the others got lost before they even set up the cameras. The whole thing was a fiasco. I was not impressed by the medium, in particular. I think I'd hate going on a ghost hunt with one. Ah well, I'm enjoying the look at the set-up and technique, even if I'm not impressed with the team itself.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Death Race To Oblivion" - Nice Captain Marvel pre-credit sequence. And nice guest appearances. Black Manta is a nice touch, but what is his home city? He's not from Atlantis. And the way he was taken out... Aqua-villians get no respect. The rest of the episode was pretty typical. Yay Batman.
  • Heroes: "Brother's Keeper" - Ok, Claire and Tracy make a good team with the whole she-freezes-Claire-who-heals thing going. Nice to see Mohinder again. Interesting twist with Hiro's involvement. And now I understand "Evil Butterfly Man". Don't like him any more than before, but I understand now. Actually, now that I know where he's coming from, I pretty much despise him. Because you know how his brother died.
  • Robin Hood: "Let the Games Commence" - I like the circus gal, and her attitude, right until she shows off her true colors. And Isabella is a nice addition to the cast, even if her relations are... less than impressive. Another good episode.
  • Numb3rs: "Con Job" - I like the reappearance of Buckley, because he's just funny when he's a "good" guy. This whole episode is about misdirection. Lots and lots of misdirection.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released November 4th and 11th:
  • Age of Bronze #29 - Wow. Say you want to tell about a war that drags on and on, and you need to get bits of plot in while the time passes quickly. Shanower makes a bold decision to show us key moments without heavy plot. I can't say it worked entirely for me. I suddenly felt an urge to look up more of the story to follow some of the tale.
  • Marvelous Land of Oz #1 - Yay! Tip and Jack Pumpkinhead. Good stuff. Sadly, I like the variant covers better than the main one, but all of them are nice.
  • Doctor Who Classics Series 2 #12 - Definitely stories I've never seen. The quality is a bit uneven, but I'm enjoying reading these for the first time. I suppose I could go into our Doctor Who Magazine collection and read them all, but this is a nicer format.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: Yokai - I wish this had come out in time for Halloween, as it would be PERFECT for the holiday. Fully painted Usagi Yojimbo is always a treat, and when you add in a bunch of crazy Japanese spooks, well... a great story!

  • JSA vs Kobra #6 - Did anyone actually win? Don't think so.
  • Green Lantern Corps #42 - Ok, THAT is a cliffhanger. One that will make lots of GL fans scream with joy.
  • DMZ #47 - What has Matty become? I sure don't like him anymore.
  • Incredibles #2 - I like this comic. Not as much as I'd like more of the Incredibles in movie form, but this seems to stay pretty true to them and is fun as well.
  • Doctor Who Ongoing #5 - There's the Doctor I like! That's more of what I hope to see when I read/watch Doctor Who. Against the odds, dealing with the situation.
  • Kidnapped Santa Claus - This is an incredibly fun little book. It's amusing to me that we got two works authored by L Frank Baum this week, as well. Good stuff, especially if you've read "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus".

My library book this week was The Golden Shrine by Harry Turtledove. I picked this up at the library after looking at the cover to make sure it was a standalone book and not a part of a series. There was nothing on the cover, nothing on the flaps, nothing at all that indicated this book was part of a series. So I picked it up. And once I got a couple of chapters in I was certain it was part of a series, because Turtledove is way too careful about introducing characters for him to be dropping references and characters on me like this. Sure enough, a few moments of hunting online told me that this was the third book of a trilogy. At which point I had to decide whether to continue reading or go find the first two books. I decided to finish the book and see how it stood on its own. And for the most part, it stood very well. There was always enough context to figure everything out, and the only drawback was the setup for the title object, which was no doubt done in the previous books, wasn't enough to make the revelation work. It worked in the story, but didn't have a whole lot of impact, as most of the book was about defeating an undefeatable foe. As is often the case, I found some of the action difficult to read and enjoy. There's some philosophical crudity that is... questionable. But hey, it made me think.

Agatha Christie this week was They Came to Baghdad from 1951. This was not a regular mystery, more of a mystery thriller like the Tommy & Tuppence stuff. Victoria falls for a man she meets in a park, and follows him to Baghdad. While the whole mystery side was ok, the real fun was Christie's descriptions of the places and people. She was familiar with it all, and the interlude at an archeological dig reeks of authenticity. While not my favorite Christie ever, it's fun.