Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Food Detectives: "Chewing the Fat" - So, green potato chips are indeed poisonous, but you'd have to eat an awful lot of them before they would make you sick. The Low-Fat label is dangerous to dieters (no surprise). But the real story of this one is about eating bugs. Those are three really really brave food techs. I could handle the ground crickets, but there is NO WAY I would try those eggs. Or the waxworms. I suppose the giant water bug isn't any worse than lobster or crawdads, but it was still not appealing.
  • Smallville: "Eternal" - So, Doomsday gets a backstory. And Mercy is determined to force Clark to face himself. Joy. This show needs more Aquaman.
  • Dinner Impossible: "X Food at the X Games" - No offense to Chef Symon, but Chef Irvine is the perfect man for this show, regardless of how he edited his resume to make himself look good. And hey, GEO DUCKS!!!!
  • Ghost Hunters: "Soul Searching" - Reinvestigating a place they'd checked out before, this time with new equipment; it would have been nice to know more about what happened 10 years ago. I saw nothing convincing in that first place. The second place had a lot of great debunking. If EMF does have the effect theorized by the Ghost Hunters, then maybe they should have recommended getting that circuit breaker box shielded, instead of just reassuring the employees.
  • Supernanny: "Porter Family" - Common sense common sense common sense. And how do you deal with a 9-year-old princess? By talking with her, of course. I think Supernanny should be required viewing for anyone with kids or who wants to have kids. Jo is incredibly sensible, which is what families need more than anything else. Still, I wish we could get a follow-up special that shows some of these families a few years down the line.
  • Primeval: "Episode 14" - Oh yeah, they're back baby! And with an awesome new monster and a new member of the group. Hope to be able to watch the next episode soon.
  • Doctor Who: "Planet of the Dead" - Not the most Who-like opening I've ever seen. Right up until the bus, I was wondering if we were watching the right thing. Then I saw his sneakers. I really enjoyed it. Old school in a lot of ways, plenty of camp and yet a real sort of threat. SQUEE!

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released March 18th, 25th, and April 1st:
  • Justice Society of America #25 - Shazam is a bit... vindictive. If I was more of a Marvel family fan, this issue might have interested me a bit more. As it is... well. Ok.
  • Justice League of America #31 - All I could think of after reading this was, "I'm leaving the Fantastic Four!" "No, I'M leaving the Fantastic Four!" I'm not impressed.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold #3 - The President trusting Batman like that was... funny. Very funny. Isn't Batman a vigilante? Sorry, felt a little loss of suspension of disbelief there. It's still a good book.
  • Tiny Titans #14 - SQUEE! Love the cover. Love the bits inside. Fluffy being allowed on the ground because he's in a fishbowl was great. Aqualad's living underwater comment, followed by his "What?" was great. Love this book.
  • Super Friends #13 - So. Aquaman's the clown. *sigh*
  • Who Wants To Be A Superhero: The Defuser - Not half bad. Not particularly great, either, but readable.
  • Incredibles: Family Matters #1 - Pretty darn good start! Looking forward to the next issue.
  • Muppet Show #1 - This is just like an episode of the Muppet Show! Only there's no guest. And you can't actually hear the music. Well, it's worth a look, at least. I enjoyed it, but I'd prefer to have the real show back on the air with new episodes.
  • Land of Oz Manga: Return to Emerald City #4 - Oh no, it's the end! I'm not sure I buy how quickly Tip accepts becoming Ozma, but then, I didn't buy it in the source material either.
  • Usagi Yojimbo #119 - I admit that I half-expected Usagi to go with Sasuke at the end. In fact, I'm kind of surprised he didn't. I love the alternate/preliminary cover we see on the letters page. "GRAINS!"
  • Age of Bronze #28 - Oooh, Shanower does NOT pull any punches when showing battle scenes, does he? Sweat, blood, gore, dirt, all shown. No sanitized battles here. And somehow, despite the chaos of war, the story moves forward still. Great book!

This week's movie was Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D in the theatre with my family. It was a very amusing movie, with lots of nods to nerdism. It was basically a nice ride, a B movie with great effects and an attitude. I really enjoyed it, but I don't recommend it to anyone who wants high art. I really liked Colbert as the president, particularly the first contact bit. He was the perfect choice for the part. And Reese Witherspoon was great as Susan. In fact, the voice acting was spectacular throughout. It's fun, but there isn't much depth there.

My library book this week was The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. Set in the Bayou, this is a dramatic and atmospheric story of a hound and some cats and a snake and an alligator and a man with a gun. It's told it short bursts, with a lot of repetition. It's a form of prose poetry. I can't recall where I saw it recommended, but I'm glad I read it. A very strange little book, but a powerful story. Definitely worth checking out of the library.

Agatha Christie this week was Murder in Mesopotamia from 1936. This story is set right before my favorite Christie mystery (so far), Murder on the Orient Express. This one isn't nearly as good as that, but it did raise the question in my mind: Did Agatha Christie spend time on an archaeological dig? Oh yes, a little Googling will tell you all you need to know about that. You can tell from the writing that she really knows what she is describing. The story has the feel of the Middle East in it. As for the mystery... well, I forgot my number one rule of reading an Agatha Christie novel: the murderer can be ANYONE. And so, while I got the lesser mystery (as I sometimes do), I missed the big clues and didn't figure out the murderer until Poirot announced it. Argh. My little grey cells fail me again.