Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Being Human (US): "I Want You Back (From the Dead)" - Josh is scared of his relationship, Sally wants to date a fellow ghost, and Aidan witnesses the child he defended get hit by a car. The plotlines diverge even further from the UK show, and it's to the point where I can't tell what's going to happen. And I'm enjoying it. Very different from the original, but it's got its own strong points.

  • Who Do You Think You Are?: "Ashley Judd" - She starts by looking up a Civil War ancestor, then talks with an historian to get some information about that ancestor's story. So she next goes to find her New England roots, and is presented with an awesome family tree. She discovers that her New England roots are extremely deep, about as deep as any European-descended person can be. She goes to England to find out why her ancestor left England, and finds some good stories. All very impressive, which makes it all make sense that it's the final episode of the season.
Continuing my Ghostie Marathon:
  • Ghost Hunters International: "Amsterdamned " - Aired Jan 26. The team starts in the Huissen House of Horrors, then goes to IJmuiden Fortress, both in the Netherlands. The first location is a private home that is trying to get rid of its owner, apparently. It's history involves deaths in a flood and suicides. In the end, they didn't find anything and tried to reassure the owner, which was good. The second location was a fortress used by the Nazis, now a museum. The Germans built a ton of concrete bunkers on the island, which make up an impressive fortress mixed with the original buildings. The museum has a spooky room with mannequins, yeek. Lots of EVPs and sounds there.
  • Ghost Hunters International: "Army of the Dead" - Aired Feb 02. The team goes to the Petrovaradin Fortress in Serbia. A very very big fortress with some stern warnings for the ghost hunting crew, as some of the tunnels go deep enough that oxygen can be a problem. The location was like a maze, and I loved the walkthrough. As for the ghosts, with the tunnels open to the outside, and clearly people had gone there without permission before, I wasn't sure that any sounds they got could be taken seriously. So, of course, they got a very interesting photo. Another cool visit.
  • Ghost Hunters International: "Shadows in the Dark" - Aired Feb 09. The Ghost Hunters visit Scotland and stop in at Usher Hall and Inveraray Jail. Usher Hall had some mild but fun stories, including an opera singer who stopped in the middle of a performance because she thought someone had walked up behind her on stage, but there was no one there. The crew caught a few sounds, but nothing definitive. The jail was a very cool location, and it looked like they enjoyed the visit there. Again, not much by way of evidence, but some excellent debunking.
  • Ghost Hunters International: "Soldiers of Misfortune" - Aired Feb 16. The team heads to San Juan, Puerto Rico to check out El Morro Fortress and Tapia Theater. The fortress was pretty cool, and big. And the stories were lovely and fun. I liked that they easily debunked the orbs photo. Orbs aren't even slightly interesting to me. As for the second location, theaters are always difficult because of the acoustics, and they always seem to have a tradition of ghosts. This was a fun one, with its history and stories. I love it when they use the thermal camera. I really want one to play with.

  • Ghost Hunters: "TAPS Meets the Real Housewives of Atlanta" - Aired Dec 1st 2010. Rhodes Hall in Atlanta, Georgia. Special guest stars include a bunch of people I've never heard of, but the female Ghost Hunters seemed happy there would be more females on the team for the night. Gorgeous building. Looks pretty busy, being regularly used, and has a lot of the standard kind of reports. The guest stars were a blond named Kim who freaks me out more than any ghost. Sheree, another woman with long hair who was the only one who seemed comfortable, and NeNe, who immediately focused on staying near Jay since he's the biggest of the team. I thought they would be much more annoying than they were. As it turned out, they were fairly normal for novice investigators, and it was a normal sort of ghost hunt.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Ghosts of Christmas Past" - Aired Dec 8th 2010. A special Christmas episode, complete with new music and opening images. The crew first heads to the Christmas Farm Inn in New Hampshire, which only makes sense for a Christmas special. Lots of sounds, but not much else. Next, the gang goes to the Old Stone Fort in Schoharie, NY. A one-time church, surrounded by a cemetary, and used as a refuge during a war. Looks like a fun place to check out, but only in daylight. They did a bit of debunking, which was nice. But there wasn't much else there.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Haunted Town" - Aired Feb 23. New season, new events. This time, the entire town of Alexandria, LA invites the Ghost Hunters team in to investigate three locations that have been paranormal hotspots: Hotel Bentley, Finnegans Wake, and Diamond Grill. The reveal will be in front of a crowd instead of a single client, as well. A very strange and fun event. The investigation was neat, it may have been the first time a town shut down an entire street for them so they wouldn't get any interference. I liked the reveal with the entire town looking on, and them giving their usual "take control, don't be afraid" responses. A very different and fun episode.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Pennsylvania Asylum" - Aired Mar 02. The group is invited to Pennhurst Asylum in Pennsylvania. I love their new van. Apparently they do, too. The place looks like it's in terrible disrepair, being slowly overgrown. Considering its history, not a surprise. The tunnels were crazy. In fact, a lot of the place was insane. I love how Steve rants about how they never have the camera in the right place. Some interesting stuff there. I like the cows.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Century of Hauntings" - Aired Mar 09. The team starts out investigating a family home in Oxford, MA, that has belonged to three generations of the family and creeps out the current generation. They got some really creepy audio, but reassured the family as usual. Next they went to Philadelphia to visit the USS Olympia, a very old ship with very narrow corridors. They decide to go in without a camera crew due to the tight quarters, and instead use shoulder-mounted equipment along with their stationary cameras. It made for a dizzy investigation, as the cameras weren't as stable as with a professional crew.
  • Ghost Hunters: "French Quarter Phantoms" - Aired Mar 16. They get to go back to New Orleans, this time to visit the Old U.S. Mint, a building I've not heard of, but I loved the history of it. The whole Civil War part was amazing. The building was like a lot of old buildings. Lots of sounds, lots of echoes and strange acoustics. I admit, I loved Steve and Tango's reaction to the door opening, even if that had nothing paranormal about it. Overall, another fun episode.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Hotel Haunts Unleashed" - Aired Mar 23. The Ghost Hunters' travels take them to Rapid City, SD and the Hotel Alex Johnson. A neat old hotel that has many stories of hauntings. The crew has added a new member, a dog named Maddie. Maddie is good at detecting EMF or animals, which can help with investigations. They took her on a test run through the hotel, and she was able to detect high EMF well before the handhelds, but didn't find any animals. The hotel was neat, and I liked the response of the hotel manager once he reviewed the evidence. On to the next!
  • Ghost Hunters: "Frozen In Fear" - Aired Mar 30. The gang heads to Mackinac Island, Michigan and the Mission Point Resort that is generally closed for the winter. They are going in the icy cold, and have brought along Maddie. With the possibility of being stuck on the island if the ice locks up the ferry, Steve still chooses to go. Luckily, he manages to get the last ferry of the season. The rest of the group have to go back via plane, and the weather was so bad that the client came to the TAPS office for the reveal. Some fun bits in this one, including a computer server that sounded like someone talking, doors opening and closing by themselves, and a light turning on unexpectedly.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Residual Haunts" - The crew goes up to Fort Knox, Maine to hunt for old soldier ghosts. The investigation is in the freezing cold, and they do a bit of good debunking. Why do so many of these old museum places have creepy mannequins? Sounds, as usual, but not much else. The second location was a private home built on apparently haunted land. The woman who called them in had been living on the land for 20 years, and has had experiences for almost the whole time. The crew helped comfort her, and debunked a few of her haunts. Overall, she seemed happy with the results.

  • Destination Truth: "Haunted Island Prison/Ucumar" - Aired Mar 22. The Destination Truthers go to an abandoned prison on the Panamanian island of Coiba. As usual, Josh has some fantastic snark in Panama, particularly when the whole team gets hats. Getting to the island is a bit of a challenge, as the helicopter Josh charters can't land there in the weather, so Josh and Ryder jump into the water. Because they are looking for ghosts in a jungle, they find plenty of noises. I loved the frog. Next, they go to Argentina on the search for a bear-like creature called the Ucumar. Josh repeatedly states he loves the country, and they had a wonderful time tangoing in the street. The investigation involved lots of logistical issues, but they eventually found evidence of an endangered bear living in the area that could certainly be the Ucumar in some sightings. So it all worked out well for everyone.
  • Destination Truth: "Sandstorm Spirits/Cerro Azul Monster" - Aired Mar 29. The crew goes to the abandoned desert town of Kolmanskop, Namibia, bringing along a guest from another show, Jael de Pardo. The snark was wonderful in the Germanic Namibia, including the group eating bugs from a street vendor and the new sound engineer proving she has an iron stomach. Ryder attempts to outrun an ostrich on the long drive to the ghost town. A dune buggy trip is a great deal of fun for the group. Oh, then they started hunting ghosts in abandoned buildings. Didn't find much of anything, but it was still an interesting trip. After Africa, they head to Cerro Azul, Panama to find a strange, hairless creature. I love the bus the DT crew "stole" and their regression into children while riding in it. It was cool that they interviewed the original witnesses, the kids who claimed to have killed the creature. I have my doubts about that story, especially since the photos definitely show a bald sloth that may have been dead for some time before it was found. But any excuse for Josh to run around in the middle of the night in a dangerous jungle!
  • Destination Truth: "Jungle Temple Ghosts/Namibian Night Stalker" - The crew goes to Thailand to hunt giant ghosts called the Phret. They start in Bangkok, trying to debunk a video of a Phret climbing Victory Monument. They also free some birds at a shrine for luck, ride rapid boats as taxis, and wander off into the countryside to ride motorcycles (and crash, Ryder got stitches). Their overnight ghost hunt was at the Phanom Rung temple about 300 miles away from Bangkok. Rex got attacked by something invisible that tried to strangle him, and the crew find strange lights in the temple and a thermal hit of something they couldn't identify. Spooky. They next head to Windhoek, Namibia with Jael again, and look for an African Chupacabra. They go to Ondangwa, then to a remote settlement that had some goats killed by the night stalking blood sucker. The gang stopped at a border and stepped into Angola so Josh can claim he's visited 94 countries, and once at the destination, Ryder got painted red by the local Himba tribe (whose women were carefully blurred). They find a freshly dead goat, and see a rapidly moving animal, but can't prove the existence of any new beast. But hey, running around in the middle of the night in a dangerous area!
You know, I actually really enjoyed watching these in a marathon. I was despairing that I'd ever watch them all, but it was a lot of fun once I sat down and just watched them while I was alone in the house.

This week's comic book related review is Tron: Betrayal. This is a prequel to the movie that bridges the gap between the original Tron and Tron: Legacy. I haven't seen Tron: Legacy, and don't really plan to at this point in time, so I'm not really sure why I read this. It's clear that effort went into deciding what would happen with Flynn, and a lot of work went into the book. However, the art isn't the best (at times I cannot tell the difference between Tron and Flynn). I'm more interested in seeing the sequel after reading this than I was before, but not enough to get me to go hunt it down now. So, I guess my opinion on this one is just so-so. Good, but not great. If you haven't seen Tron (the original) then don't bother, this will just confuse you.

My library book this week was Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. This is the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy. There were certain things I suspected had to happen in this book, and most of them did. But I didn't guess very well on anything else. In fact, closing the last page, all I could think was, "Wow." I can't really give any details at all about this book without giving away spoilers, again it builds so carefully on previous books that even character names beyond the main one may give something away. So, Katniss grows up, other characters develop and change like real people, and some really terrible things happen. I was slightly disappointed by the way the book ended, until the epilogue, and by the time I read the ending I was actually actively angry at the author for what she'd put certain characters through. I totally understand why this series is so popular.

Agatha Christie this week was By the Pricking of My Thumbs from 1968. Tommy and Tuppence are getting older but they aren't out of the business of adventure entirely, and when Tuppence gets a feeling after meeting an old woman, she dashes off in danger before Tommy can stop her. A thoroughly enjoyable tale of the pair of almost detectives as they deal with getting older. It's more sparse than many of her stories in some ways, but I think it made up for it with how everything clicked together and fit. Her work has lost nothing, and I'm extremely sad that I'm getting to the end of the novels. I understand the enduring sales and fandom now, and I wish I could do what Holly did in Red Dwarf and erase them from my mind so I could reread the lot when I'm done. I'm reading them a bit slower now so as to savor them all the more.