Sunday, June 12, 2016

Detective News - 2016/2017 - Sherlock, Endeavour, Grantchester, and more...

Coming soon (Endeavour, Inspector Lewis):

Endeavour's belated third season will finally be coming to the United States, with the first episode - Ride - airing on June 19, and the three successive episodes on June 26, July 3, and July 10. The series will see Morse coping with the dramatic aftereffects of the second season's finale, as well as trying to figure out what course his future will take. I watched the show when it came out it England, and you're in for a treat.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Man Named Moore Opposes King With Many Wives


Once upon a time there was a king who knew what he wanted. Bombastic, paunchy and orange, the king was born with a silver spoon in his mouth—a classy spoon, a whole set of cutlery, in fact, the best spoons. The orange king was flexible, changeable, a really strong man. If the king didn’t get what he wanted, he didn’t care if it meant splitting the Christian world in half, he’d get it done.

The king had a difficult relationship with his wife, largely because he was tired of just having one. “We’re gonna split up,” he said. “Maybe we’ll build a wall between us—it’ll be a yuge divorce, I mean, really big, a great divorce. We’re gonna make divorce great again.” So that’s what the king did, discarding his first wife and marrying his mistress. Even then, the king was not satisfied and sought a third, model wife. “I can’t help it, they like me. Alpha males have lots of wives,” said the king. Classy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

An Introduction to Hamilton

Marquis de Lafayette, Hercules Mulligan, John Laurens, and Alexander Hamilton

You've probably heard about Hamilton in some form or another. A musical, its opening number was performed at the Grammys, for the Obamas at the White House, and the show in its entirety is performed every week on Broadway. It's ridiculously hard to get tickets, but you can still enjoy the story from the cast album: this article is a how-to on getting started.

First of all, what is it? Hamilton is the story of the founding father, Alexander Hamilton, told through rap music. Sounds ridiculous, you say - but believe it or not, hip hop is a perfect medium to tell the story of America's youngest founder.

A poor immigrant from the West Indies, Hamilton was the illegitimate son of a penniless nobleman. The musical's first line is deliberately provocative, but also a fairly accurate description of the man: "a bastard orphan, son of a whore, and a Scotsman, born in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean, by Providence impoverished, in squalor." His career saw a meteoric rise to the top, culminating in disaster, the first sex scandal in American politics, and ultimately, violent death by the hand of his friend, Aaron Burr.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Vera Series 5 - Muddy Waters - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode, Old Wounds.

My review of the first season of Vera.
My review of the second season of Vera.
My review of the third season of Vera.
My reviews of the fourth season of Vera.

And it's back to the country - now Vera and Aiden investigate a death on a farm. We have a chilling body discovery in a slurry pit - the workers are trying to remove a blockage when up he bobs from the black goo. Whoever he was, his body was weighted down, which means this was no accident (or else a very creative suicide).

Monday, March 28, 2016

Vera Series 5 - Old Wounds - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: Changing Tides.

"Don't blame the times; blame yourself."

This is Vera’s second shot at a historical murder (first was Crow’s Trap). Carrie Telling was dumped in the woods in the 80s, when Vera was a young W.P.C. At the time, miners and coppers were at odds, resulting in several violent confrontations. The dead girl’s father, Bill, still carries a lot of bitterness from the period: not only did the police fail to find his daughter, but he was a miner. He’s quick to expect the worst of Vera and Aiden, and his temper is strong enough that Vera thinks a bout of rage may have resulted in his daughter’s death.

Vera Series 5 - Changing Tides - Episode Review

My review of the previous season finale.

My review of the first season of Vera.
My review of the second season of Vera.
My review of the third season of Vera.
My reviews of the fourth season of Vera.

The beginning of series 5 finds Vera returning from holiday. Because it's Vera, our workaholic, obsessive heroine - the holiday was occasioned by the death of a distant relative in Galway. Back at home, some things have changed. Shep has disappeared, replaced by Bethany Whelan - a returning supporting cast member from season 2. Kenny and Marcus remain, and as in series 4, have expanded roles. Most significantly, David Leon's Joe Ashworth has departed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Atticus Finch, Donald Trump, and Dragons

“It’s like being a caterpillar in a cocoon, that’s what it is,” [Jem] said. “Like somethin’ asleep wrapped up in a warm place.”
~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
There have been times in my life that I thought a fire-breathing dragon would be the best thing that could happen to my hometown. At a young age, I was more ambitious, desiring outright invasion, nuclear war, or perhaps a nice plague, just to shake things up. Of course, my conception of these disasters remained mostly in the abstract, literary plane. Once North Korean nukes had eradicated all the cities (not much of a loss), we Appalachians would be left to survive by our wits and discover adventure apart from the conveniences of civilization (think Red Dawn, but with Southern accents). What I really wanted was for someone to take our sleepy, complacent town by the scruff of the neck and shove its face in reality.

Vera Series 4 - Death of a Family Man - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: The Deer Hunters.

My review of the first season of Vera.
My review of the second season of Vera.
My review of the third season of Vera.

Despite the frightening title, Joe’s final episode doesn’t really focus on him. The most interesting change in dynamic comes from Robert Glenister’s Owen Preece, who is guesting as a rival and possible love interest for Vera. The latter half of that sentence doesn’t quite work. It’s certainly interesting to see the sparks fly when Vera encounters another authority figure (unlike Morse or comparable detective heroes, Vera has never embraced the underdog, anti-authoritarian hero storyline), but any romantic chemistry is firmly in Joe’s (and Celine’s) imagination.