Tag Archives: tv

Five days adrift

Haven’t blogged anything for a few days, because Gradwell’s hosting hasn’t been very reliable among other reasons.  So here I am.  And I guess I don’t have much to say.  Not painted anything, not done much, oh I watched some CSI.

Quite a bit of CSI.  Two Miami episodes (penultimate and series finale), one Vegas (start of new season) and one New York (start of new season).  Turn away now if you don’t like spoilers.

Continue reading Five days adrift

Christmas Eve

Welcome to Christmas Eve.  I’m just finishing a can of red bull before heading into the kitchen to make us a small fried breakfast (mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, hash browns, bacon, eggs, sausages, beans, toast).  While I’m doing that you should all go and watch a video over at Zeeker’s livejournal.

We finished season two of Black Adder last night and started season three.  I really can’t believe there’s only six episodes in each season, that’s mad.  By the way, if you’ve never seen Black Adder (because you’re too young, or you live in a country where it’s never been shown, or you’ve just not seen it) then you should try very hard to see it.  All four seasons are classic comic TV with some truly side splitting moments of laughing.  Still, I can’t beleve there’s only 6 episodes per seasons, although as Grete said, “BBC”, which explained the whole thing in one word.

We discovered half way through season two and into season three that both of us have speech patterns heavily influenced by Black Adder.

I need to write up part 4 of the painting diary after doing some more painting yesterday as well (I write them and and schedule them three days apart so that even if I don’t paint for a couple of days the diaries aren’t too far behind the miniature).

But first.

Breakfast.

Fringe and Burn Notice

I promised you I’d write something about Fringe and Burn Notice.  With Criminal Minds and CSI (Vegas) being on a break, we’ve been scouting for stuff to watch.

Fringe

This series is either going to be awesome, or going to become totally annoying.  The pilot was intriguing and promised an X Files like experience without the stupid alien story arc.  Do not watch this show if you intend to analyse the fringe science, it’ll only annoy you and it’ll only annoy us when you explain how annoyed you are.  The show follows a female FBI agent investigating weird shennanigans with an elderly formally insane scientist who appears to have been involved in a lot of this stuff, and his son.  Clearly these events are tied together with some intricate back story and there are a range of supporting cast members all generating more questions and giving no answers.

The episodes so far (5 I think) are formulaic, typical of early episodes in a series of this kind.  Something weird happens, some people are injured or killed.  The team investigates.  The insane scientist admits he was involved in this kind of thing in the 60’s, comes to a conclusion, and they either save another potential victim or they catch or don’t catch the people involved.

The characters are interesting, which is critical since the formulaic story at the moment isn’t quite enough to keep me tied in.  Sure I want to know more about The Pattern (the link between all the weird stuff), and they’re clearly laying the groundwork for some subplots (the son, there’s something up with him).

The reason geeks are flocking to the show, is that it contains a huge amount of self referrential material, injokes, scientific references and subtle facts.  For example, in one episode a character looks at his watch and it’s 3:14 and 15 seconds (Pi).

We’ll keep at it throughout the first season and see how it goes.  We miss a lot of the references, so we’re just watching it for the characters and the obvious plot.

Burn Notice

This turned out to be exactly not what I thought it was.  We saw some teaser-trailers for it and set it to record on Sky+.  It looked like a spy drama, but has turned into a one-man A-team story.  Not that it’s bad, just that it’s not what we expected.

The simple premise is that an American spy has been burned by his agency and hence has no money, contacts or anything to do.  To add to his misery he’s essentially confined in Miami (he’s told early on if he tries to leave, he’ll be activley hunted by the police rather than being just watched).

Each episode involves our main character (can’t remember his name) trying to work out why he’s been burned and who did it, while also trying to fix a problem either a friend, a friend’s friend, his mother’s friend, or some random person is having.  For example, one week he helps an airport security guard who’s basically being blackmailed to ignore illegal weapon imports.  Helping him out in his endevours are his mother, his brother, an ex-spy buddy and an ex-girlfriend spy.  As I said it’s a one-man A-team.  It’s funny, engaging and entertaining, we’ll see where it goes.

Midnight Run

In a continuing theme of finding random films on Sky Movies that I’ve not seen yet, we watched Midnight Run last night.  It’s a reasonably typical buddy-cop action comedy style movie from the late 80’s staring Robert De Niro.  The story centres around De Niro’s character, an ex-Chicago cop turned bounty hunter, his history with the mob, and a bail bond collection he has to bring back before midnight in five days from the start of the flick.

The otherwise simple collection is complication by the involvement of several other factions.  The FBI has an interest, the mob has an interest, De Niro’s ex-wife and family show up briefly, another bounty hunter is involved and the bail runner himself (an ex-mob accountant) clearly has some involvement.  The single-threaded plot moves forward at a good pace to bring all these factions together at various moments and then again for the finale.

There’s no overt slapstick here, the comic moments come from the story, characters and the dialog.  De Niro brings his usual weight to what could have been a pretty light role, adding depth and emotion to the main character.  The supporting cast is pretty good, and I enjoyed Yaphet Kotto as the main FBI agent.  The dialog between De Niro and Charles Grodin’s character (the ex-accountant) drives the story forward and makes up a good 50% of the on-screen action, so luckily it’s interesting and worth listening to.

Midnight Run is a better than average implementation of a common 80’s theme, standing above the others due in no small part to De Niro and the well written dialog.

CSI: Miami

We love CSI: Vegas (or just CSI), and we watch CSI: New York and CSI: Miami.  I’ve always felt Miami was the weakest but it’s grown progressively weaker and weaker as time has gone on.

It jumped the shark a while back – but we still watch it.

Here’s a list of reasons why it annoys me,

  1. too many plot lines directly involve the team members being stupid, screwing up or falling to temptation.
  2. too many plot lines directly related to team members being the target of crime or involved in crime.
  3. too many plot lines directly related to Cain and his bloody family.
  4. too many pointless crimes with the weakest of possible motives.  Yes, I killed those nine people because that morning they laughed at my singing.
  5. crimes getting more and more complex and clearly prone to going wrong (tonight’s story had a gun mounted under a car firing a bullet at a homing beacon on a chair in a crowded wedding which somehow managed to miss and kill the bride, no really?)
  6. totally dumb approach to actually interrogating your suspects, that always goes like this “you had a motive, so basically things got out of hand and you killed blah using foo and bar”, to which the suspect says “no, I was over there doing this” and the CSI’s have to say “well, maybe so, don’t go far”. Every.  Fricking.  Time.
  7. that. fucking. computer.  You know the one, the touch panel one.  Grrr.

Deja Vu

Time paradoxes make inherently confusing stories, so it’s critical that you connect with the characters and feel the plot has some value otherwise you’ll be left drifting.  Deja Vu manages enough to keep you interested, keep you wanting to see more, and keeps you caring about the two main characters.

The screenplay is clever but doesn’t try to overstretch and there are no attempts to explain the paradoxes, and plenty of in-story explanations of why time travel is a really bad thing[tm].

The performances are solid, Denzel is interesting and believable, Paula plays the small amount of time she has on screen pretty well.  I’m not entirely convinced their actions in the latter half of the movie make much sense, but I’m willing to suspend disbelief to let the story play out.  There’s some action, some cute effects, some nice ideas and a certain level of suspense especially towards the finale.

The ending was kept hidden pretty well, and although I finally realised how it would play out just before it actually did it was worth the wait.  No shocking last moment twists, no huge discovery, just a decent ending for a decent movie.

It’s cold outside

Hadn’t seen this anywhere until today,

… announced by Robert Llewellyn for Grant Naylor Productions this week at the UKTV seasonal press launch, the project is a short series of brand new specials to celebrate the 21st birthday of Red Dwarf.
Doug Naylor will be masterminding the four half-hour instalments, and the regular cast will all be reprising their iconic roles. They are being made by GNP for UKTV’s free-to-air channel, Dave – our new best friends!

Full details here.  But basically, it’s 2 x half hour real new episodes with the original cast, 1 x half hour behind the scenes thing and 1 x half hour ‘clips’ show.  Check the article for full info.

Rambling update

Made it through to Friday, pretty tired today generally.  Lovely weather outside, bright sunshine, crisp.  Bubbles is out there somewhere baking herself in what are probably the last few days of warm enough sunshine.  She’s got conjunctivitis the poor bugger.  We’ve got some ointment to put on twice a day, she’s been pretty good about it despite the whinging.

Watched Fright Night last night after recording it on Sky+.  Classic movie, how on earth did we find those special effects1 scary?  Not even sure why it’s an 18, I guess some of the more fleshy scenes are the cause of that.  Evan watching stuff like that the experienced is improved with the surround sound, we’re still really pleased with it.

I got sick of paying for a Sky Movies subscription and not watching anything.  It’s because we don’t sit in front of the TV these days unless we’re doing so to watch something we recorded, so I went through the entire week ahead and set 4 movies to record (Clerks II, Fright Night, Deja Vu, American Gangster) and I’m going to try and do that every few days and record anything I’ve not seen or not seen for a while.  Pan’s Labyrinth was on a week or so ago too, so recorded that and not watched it yet, and Hairspray was on Sky Anytime so I’ve ‘recorded’ that for Grete.

Still pleased with the 5.7% HbA1c result.  Found this nice little chart in case you wanted to know more about the test,

HbA1c
Normal/abnormal
Average blood glucose
4-6.5% Normal for those without diabetes 3-8mmol/L
6.5-7.5% Target range for those with diabetes 8-10mmol/L
8-9.5% High 11-14mmol/L
Greater than 9.5% Very high 15 and above

I bought a Marathon bar2 on Wednesday to eat after I got the results, either as a celebration or a commiseration depending on how the results went.  Celebration was a good option.  I never ate a lot of chocolate or sweet stuff before being diagnosed, but I did enjoy a Snickers bar every now and then.  Almost amusingly, they don’t have a totally terrible effect on my blood sugar because of the high fat content, but as you can imagine I’ve had about three since I was diagnosed.

Roleplaying tonight, 4th edition D&D, first time we’ve played (rolled characters up last week), so should be interesting.  Always takes a while to get ‘into’ any campaign, never mind one with a new ruleset so I’m expecting tonight to be pretty slow.

My good friend Simes blogged about some TV he’s been watching.  It certainly feels like the TV schedule has picked up, mostly stuffed with American TV.  The Fringe pilot was cool, the Burn Notice pilot was also interesting and we’ll be watching that to see where it goes.  We’ve got quite a wait for the new series of Criminal Minds sadly, but Bones is back on and is as good as ever (I think).

And I’ll leave you with this,

And I think Pirates would kick both their asses.

  1. special in the loose sense []
  2. yes, yes I know, but I like living in the 80’s []