Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Being Human (US): "Going Dutch" - Fairly predictable in some of the storylines, but the ghost story is completely different and wonderful. Actually, it's all pretty original in the way it's going. Very much a changed path. Very much a different show. I'm being surprised at every turn, some I like, some I don't like.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Joker: The Vile and the Villainous!" - An absolutely hilarious start, with the altered graphics for the opening theme. And the action of the main story starts in Atlantis, without Aquaman. At least we get The Fisherman. Batman is completely out-of-character in this one, and his "Eye of Sauron" device seems on the extreme side. It only makes sense if you think of it as being from The Joker's point-of-view.
  • Destination Truth: "Ghosts of Antarctica" - The farthest they've gone, in many ways. The crew goes to Argentina, then sails down to Antarctica to visit two haunted spots. The trip is not easy and they spend a good deal of time on the actual journeying, and the living people who are happy to see new faces at the bottom of the world. The investigations involve the crew running around in the perpetual twilight instead of full dark but manage to still be mildly interesting. Not a bad season finale.
  • Ghost Hunters: "A Soldier's Story" - The first investigation is at the Sterling Opera House in Derby, Connecticut. Lots of claims, and the location is being renovated, which almost always seems to stir up stuff. The catch only sounds. The second location is a private home, and the father of the family is in the military and stationed in Afghanistan. They find a few strange sounds, one strange regular occurance (a clock jumps off the wall), and they provide as much comfort as they can to the family so they will be ok living in their own home. Which, frankly, is one reason I love this show. They comfort people who think they are haunted with solid debunking, useful advice, and the knowledge that they aren't crazy or alone.
  • Doctor Who: "The Impossible Astronaut" - I may as well admit it, Matt Smith still hasn't won me over as the Doctor yet. He's not bad, he's just not my Doctor and I fear he never will be. That said, I like River Song quite a bit, and I'm eager to learn more about her. And Amy and Rory aren't too bad, either. As for this episode, I can't even summarize without spoilers, it's so freaking convoluted. I like the alien menace, very creepy, but not as creepy as some. Cliffhanger was ok, but I'm just waiting for something more. Maybe next week's will satisfy.

This week's movie was Toy Story 3. Yup, finally watched it. I think it was definitely better than the second movie and possibly even better than the first. It certainly had more emotion and depth than the first two. I was really touched by Andy's decisions and his despair when he thought his old toys had been thrown away. I can't imagine a better finish for the movie than what we got. A good one, but definitely builds on the first two movies, so best to watch 'em all if you haven't seen any yet.

This week's comic book related review is Lords of Death and Life by Jonathon Dalton. I picked this up at Emerald City Comicon because I love the history of the Maya and Aztecs, and frankly this just looked COOL. And it was. The story concerns a farmer having nightmares who decides to go to the city to find out what the nightmares mean. I'd rather not give any spoilers, but the book nicely portrays the culture and the people at a time of upheaval and change, and gives us a sympathetic character to follow. I really hope Dalton writes more about this character, because I'll be in line to buy it.

My Kindle book this week was The Time Hunters by Carl Ashmore. Becky and her little brother go to visit a relative for the summer and stumble upon unexpected adventures. You know, I could name at least fifteen YA books that could be described that way. Fortunately, this book takes its own path and veers away from the well-trodden adventure series into the quirky world of time travel. Becky is a strong female lead, and comes across as a fairly normal kid. She makes mistakes, learns, and basically works well for the story. The supporting cast was also strong, particularly the main characters. I found myself wanting to learn more of the stories of some of the characters. I was amused by some of the rewriting of myth in the tale. Some worked really well, other bits sort of put me off a little. As a book written for kids, it's not bad. The book was marred by some typos and other issues that sometimes managed to distract me from the story. While this is not unexpected in an Indie book, it was mildly disappointing. It probably could've done with another round of proofing before publishing. Fortunately, the errors were mostly small and the book was engaging enough that I quickly got back into it. Definitely a good read, and at 99 cents not a huge risk if you want to try something completely new.

Agatha Christie this week was Hallowe'en Party from 1969. A girl is murdered at a party after telling a crowd that she'd seen a murder once, and Mrs Oliver calls in Poirot to find out what she meant. Poirot is clearly getting older, which seems strange in some ways, and reassuring in others. His little grey cells are working just fine, though, and he clears out what sure seems to be a really convoluted plot. There is some coincidence in this one, but not as much as in other books. Another good book, and another reason to delay finally finishing them. I started this mad quest to read all of Agatha Christie after seeing the Agatha Christie episode of Doctor Who, and I have not regretted it at all. So when I finish I suppose I'll have to watch that episode again.