Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Being Human: "Series 2, Episode 5" - Ghost babysitter isn't a job I'd think Annie would go for... George seems to be jumping the gun to me and I can't see his relationship working out well. As for Mitch, his situation doesn't look terribly good. Did his decision just put him into a world of hurt? It certainly wasn't good for the policeman. I don't know where the show can go from here, and I like that.
  • Battlestar Galactica: "The Son Also Rises" - Nice bombs. And... a cat? Not sure what to make of that. The building tension between Apollo and Adama is interesting to watch, but makes me uncomfortable. I like the new lawyer, he's a riot. Sad that a soldier got killed protecting him. The whole business with Baltar's pen was fascinating.
  • Battlestar Galactica: "Crossroads: Part 1" - I've never been a fan of trial drama. Still am not. But this wasn't too bad. The revelations and bits with the music that only a couple of people could hear was very intriguing. Want to see more... good thing we have the final episode of the season on this disc.
  • Battlestar Galactica: "Crossroads: Part 2" - More trial drama, including a dramatic speech by Apollo. That lawyer is a scum, but he knows and enjoys it. But while the trial was the focus of the show, that ending was the screaming "WHAT!?!?" of the series. Those four? No, can't be. And is the fifth one in a Viper next to Apollo, or is he having delusions?
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: "In Fear of the Phantom" - Daphne can sing. Freddy is becoming slightly less clueless. Scooby is actually jealous? Not sure what to make of this... the characters are actually developing? The artwork on the band reminds me of the best Manga, stylish and nicely done. I kind of like Hex, and their music. Daphne's "Trap of Love" was great.
  • History Detectives: "Jackie Robinson Scorecard; Modoc Basket; Special Agent Five" - The first story is about a baseball scorecard for a groundbreaking barnstorming game, one of the first with an integrated team. The second story regards an historical event I'd never heard of, about a woman named Toby Riddle who was a heroine of the Modoc war. I knew nothing of that story, and yet it's fairly local. We've driven through the area many times. The last story, about a radio show with ties to J Edgar Hoover, was just strange. Pity they couldn't find a copy of the broadcast of that particular script.
  • Global Frequency: I've never read the comics, because Warren Ellis in general doesn't agree with my tastes. And I took my time downloading this because of the comments about how the leaking of the pilot destroyed the possibility of a series. But we wanted to see it eventually, so we watched it this week for no particular reason. And man, it was good. I mean, really good. Excellent casting, wonderful concept, and a plot that moved along strongly. I can see how the concept would allow for virtually endless tales. I may have to revisit Warren Ellis works to see if my tastes have changed.

This week's movie was The Secret Garden starring Margaret O'Brien and Dean Stockwell. A very very young Dean Stockwell. This movie is from 1949, after all. It's not 100% faithful to the book, which I love dearly, but it is certainly good enough. I found it to be entertaining, and snappy. The plot moves along quickly enough to keep everything going. The scene with the doctor and the animals was just a lovely bit of comedy. I love what they did with the restored garden and the color. All in all, this is a great one, and I'm glad that TCM showed it in its restored glory so we could watch it.

This week's comic book related review is Hikaru No Go Volume 18 by Yumi Hotta and Takeshi Obata. As I said, the whole story seemed complete and settled at the end of Volume 17, and judging by the break from the storyline that this volume offers, I think that was recognized at the time as well. This has six stories that give more insights into other characters in Hikaru's universe, and each one has something different to offer. They are excellent little tales, each one solid on its own. The final story features Sai and Hikaru setting right a wrong with a good game of Go, and reminds me just how much I enjoyed the interaction between Hikaru and his ghost.

My book this week was The Flying Girl by L. Frank Baum, which you can get in Oz-story 3 from Hungry Tiger Press. After hearing about this book at the Winkie Convention, I was slightly interested in reading it. So when hubby-Eric dug out his copy of Oz-story and told me the whole book was in there, I just dove in and read it. And it's a fun little tale. Orissa Kane's brother has invented a new aircraft that can fly better than most of those around in 1910, and circumstances result in Orissa having to take the pilot's seat. It's got adventure, a bit of romance, and lots of airplanes. And it was written in an era when airplanes were very popular and not well-understood. One of my favorite quotes from the book:
The airship of the future will not be a passenger affair," he predicted, "but an individual machine for personal use. They'll be cheaper than automobiles, and more useful, for they can go direct to their destination in a straight 'airline.' Men will use them to go to business, women to visit town on shopping expeditions or to take an airing for pleasure; but I'm sure they will be built for but one person."
Well, he got the business trips correct. Anyway, it's a good little book with many of the flaws of its time but a lot of hope and cheery adventure. Well worth a little read if you have the time to spare. The book has a sequel that I'm going to make Eric dig out for me, but I'm led to understand it's even more adventure and less about flying.

Fortean Times #264 (August 2010). Love the cover of this one. It's a Viking ship facing off against a sea serpent. Wonderful artwork. The cover story is about serpents and snakes living in Sweden, in particular the lindorms, along with speculation as to whether or not they were real or an artifact of people drinking too much snaps.

Strangedays was as good as usual, starting with sea serpent tales and moving to sinkholes and artificial life. A fun Ghostwatch includes a sighting by Patrick Stewart during a performance of Waiting for Godot. Good UFO files, and Blasts from the Past looks into the history of crop circles. Another article looks into the paranormal beliefs of CG Jung, which he generally avoided talking about with scientists and collegues.

There's another article about the lost children of Hamelin, that presents the ideas of what happened to them without any conclusions. There's part two of the dictionary on Extra-Sensory Perception, which looks into Clairvoyance with some historical cases of knowing what is happening miles away without any modern tools that could facilitate such knowledge. It also covers a couple of cases that didn't work so well, including the CIA's efforts at remote viewing.

The Forum starts out with an investigation into Hieronymus Bosch's Ascent into the Empyrean which appears to illustrate a classic case of Near Death Experience but was painted 500 years before classic cases were defined by Raymond Moody. Again, no real conclusions, but the author clearly believes that Bosch had an NDE.

There was a plethora of highly rated books in the reviews this month, starting with a book about the Hollow Earth beliefs, and including a book that apparently does a thoroughly excellent investigation into one set of "black dog" sightings. There's also a book about the Pig War, an event I'm familiar with living in Washington State all my life, that's apparently Brit-centric enough to annoy the reviewer. I still think I want to read it. Anyway, all told, another great issue of one of the best and strangest magazines available.


Jared said...

Wow, did NOT expect to see an L. Frank Baum book covered in YOUR blog!

Tom Galloway said...

"that ending was the screaming "WHAT!?!?" of the series. "

No, the screaming "WHAT!?!? of the series" is the final episode. Which retroactively makes a lot of the series into WHAT?!?!.

Tegan said...

Jared: Whyever not? I don't read a lot of Baum's stuff, but some of it is bound to sneak into my reading pile. I've read Aunt Jane's Nieces, for instance. And the first six or so Oz books.

Tom: I'll take your word for it. We'll get there. Maybe even by the end of the year.