Vulcan’s Peak

Archive for the 'television' category

Good bookwormy television

January 17, 2009 1:53 pm

Looks to me that Masterpiece Theater is going to be good for the foreseeable future.

They’ve been doing Tess of the D’Urbervilles the last two weeks, which I missed, though apparently they’re now putting the episodes online, in a limited-time-only kind of way.  So that one is still available, though it’s also four hours long.  I read Tess a few years ago, in the quiet evenings of my summer in New Hampshire.  I remember being captivated by it, and then somewhat frustrated by the ending.

This week and next are Wuthering Heights (clocking in at a total of a mere two and a half hours).  That was one of my big reads this summer, so I’m interested to see what they did with it.  I’m a little confused about how the book makes it onto lists of “greatest love stories of all time” when the main characters seem to resist all attempts at being made likable.  He’s a brute, she’s neurotic, everyone’s miserable.  Amusingly, in some ways it was the inverse of Tess, in that I liked the way it ended.

After that, MT is running the Sense and Sensibility that they used as part of the Jane Austen love fest of last year.  My preferred adaptation is still the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet one, but this one’s good too.

And we’re getting Dickens adaptations for the rest of the spring!  Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Little Dorrit, and The Old Curiosity Shop.  I’ve seen Oliver! (the movie musical) and I’ve been to the “Old Curiosity Shop,” but otherwise this is all new to me.

Looks like when the show turns back into Mystery! for the summer, we’re getting a few more Miss Marple stories, too.  I always enjoy those — the little old lady sleuth is so delightfully unexpected.

Catching up

January 14, 2009 4:56 pm

Well, a happy new year to you all!  Pug and I were fortunate in that we were able to spend a nice long time at home over the holidays and got to spend time with many of you!  (…she says, having only a vague idea of who might actually be reading this.)  And having been sufficiently poked about having not posted here since Halloween, here we go again!

It’s sunny and gorgeous here in the lovely southwest — cool enough to pull out jackets and maybe some sweaters, but warm enough to enjoy the outdoors.  This is great.  I love cute jackets.

Since late September, I’ve had a freelance writing/editing gig going with a company that produces vacation planning materials.  I’m still hoping for a local, full-time publishing niche to open up, but having this for the time being is very nice.  It keeps me from sitting here bored, it keeps me from getting rusty, and of course the pay is appreciated as well.

Wedding planning is moving along smoothly.  In addition to the ceremony location and the reception location, we now also have a minister and a pair of classical guitarists to play at the ceremony.  I have my dress, shoes, and veil in my closet, and Poke even has her bridesmaid dress.  (We settled on a shade of burgundy that the dressmaker decided to call “wine.”  It’s pretty.)  Next up are tux rentals and invitations, and after that, we’ll get to flowers and cake.

Pug and I are continuing our leisurely re-watch of the ever genius Babylon 5, in which we’re ready to start season 3.  We’ve also been watching the season 1 DVDs of The Big Bang Theory, which were a Christmas gift — his parents’ way of insisting that he really would enjoy it (and, of course, he does).  And one of these days I’m going to get him caught up on the current season of How I Met Your Mother.  I’m not usually much for sitcoms, but those two I like a lot.

Speaking of which, I have been “moonlighting on another blog,” as Courtney sneakily pointed out on my last post.  Courtney, my Boston roommate, has been keeping a TV review blog called Raked for about a year and a half, and I sometimes get in on the fun through ridiculously long comments on the Heroes posts and guest-blogging about How I Met Your Mother.  We enjoy it, and apparently other people out there read it too!  Amazing. I don’t use the same handles I use here, but you’d recognize me.

On the literary front, once I finished the pile of various vampire books, I moved into a category of “other people’s extra copies” — many thanks to the generosity of my friends!  I finally went back to Dune, which I  started (barely) months ago, read on the plane at Christmas time, and finally finished shortly after getting back.  It’s a neat book and I enjoyed it a great deal, but the story didn’t really start to move for me until Stilgar and his group find Paul and Jessica in the desert.  From there to the end, I was hooked.   I would ask those of you who’ve read the book, though: is it just my preference for micro over macro, or did you find Herbert’s descriptions of hand-to-hand combat more effective than his large battle scenes?  It was clear to me from the first description of training exercises in the early chapters that Herbert could write a duel, and I thought the later, higher stakes ones were captivating. Regardless, I enjoyed the subtle machinations throughout, and was very impressed by the …unique-ness of the world Herbert created.

After Dune, I flew through The Eyre Affair, a book-lover’s sci-fi mystery madness, if there ever was one!  Set in the England of an alternate universe in which the Crimean War has lasted over 130 years and French revisionists seem to be altering not just the history but the actual past, a woman named Thursday Next works for a branch of detectives who solve literary crimes and briefly gets trapped inside the story of Jane Eyre.  Hilariously good fun! I figured out the parallel between an aspect of Thursday’s life and of Jane’s well before Thursday did, which I enjoyed.  Perhaps the only weak spot in the book is that the bad guys (an unsophisticated term, but utterly appropriate) are far less intersting than the good guys.

My next read is Bleak House, by Dickens, because January seems the right time of year to read it.  (I intended to last year, but there was the whole grad school plus full-time job madness going on at the time.)  I picked up a second-hand copy a couple of years ago and it’s been calling to me to read it…  I haven’t read any Dickens except for picking up A Tale of Two Cities in high school (I’ve never even actually read A Christmas Carol) so it’s high time I started filling in some of those gaps.

Four (maybe five) unrelated topics

August 4, 2008 4:17 pm

Some can almost be called news!  All things I’ve found interesting in the past week.

– Impressive, disturbing, and a dark sort of tribute to American capitalism:  we present the Wal-Mart virus.

– By this point, I think most of you have seen Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  (And if not, it’s still available on iTunes; DVD to come out sometime soon.)  Shockingly, Pug and I thought it was fantastic, and still go about humming about freeze rays and Bad Horse.  Goodness knows it got a ton of media coverage, but I offer a couple of my favorites:  The Dr. Horrible oral history, because it amuses me, and the NPR piece, because I’m impressed that they picked it up.

– The fourth book in the Twilight series, which has been enjoying popularity among those inclined towards YA vampire-romances, came out this weekend to Potter-like midnight release parties.  I know that at least a couple of you have read the books and enjoyed them — and that at least a couple of you have read the books and offered your critiques on them.  I haven’t read any of them, but I thought this Salon article offered what seems to me like some particularly insightful commentary on them.  (And while we’re at Salon, the same writer had some worthwhile notes on Harry Potter 7.  Naturally, it’s an article from a year ago, but I just finished re-reading Deathly Hallows, so I enjoyed that one as well.  I think she’s pretty fair about Rowling’s strengths and weaknesses.)

– And Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (remember A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich ?) passed away this weekend.

Later: Woah!  They’re making a Gatchaman movie?  Carmen, did we know about this?  I don’t really expect this to be what you would call… good, but Cartoon Network ran a dubbed version called G-Force that my brothers and I enjoyed when I was nine or ten, so it might get a few nostalgia points.

Well, now that’s six unrelated topics.  Or five.  Oh well; the title sounds better as it is.

Fantastic!

March 29, 2008 9:57 pm

Donna Noble! Brainy specs! Ancient Rome! Giant bees! Robotic claw! The Ood! Martha in green slime! SO excited!

Season 4 of Doctor Who comes to the SciFi Channel on April 18 at 8:30 p.m. EST. They’re starting (as usual) with the hour and a half Christmas special from this year, and in subsequent weeks it’ll be one hour at 9:00 p.m.

Welcome…to the World of Tomorrow!

February 27, 2008 11:52 pm

Bionic Contact Lenses

I literally saw something like this on a science fiction show two weeks ago and though, “Hmm, pretty clever! That seems feasible in the near future.” I mean, not special goggles or bionic eyes or anything, just contact lenses.

Apparently that’s true for all values of “near future.”

Either that or someone at Torchwood is leaking alien technology into mainstream research firms again.

Geeking out, Trek style

November 18, 2007 11:25 pm

This was awesome.
I went to the encore showing of the remastered version of “The Menagerie” on Thursday. The theater was about two-thirds full; certainly there were no lines or costumes, although one audience member was handing out DVDs of his fan film! I took one, but I haven’t watched it yet — am planning to save it for Pug’s visit over Thanksgiving. There was lots of laughter for the best lines (often from McCoy), and the digital update of the special effects shots looked really good — but was also unobtrusive. Certainly nothing like the make-over that Star Wars got when it was re-released in theaters about ten years ago.

(Yeah, it really was ten years. Elf, didn’t we go see at least one of them together? I could be mis-remembering, but it sounds plausible for ten years ago.)

Next item, let’s look forward to the next opportunity to see Star Trek on the big screen! I’m talking about the potentially spoiler-icious link posted on Nodwick yesterday. Yes, ladies and gents, behind the cut is Spoiler City…assuming, of course, that the source is actually in the know. Which we don’t know. But just in case, you’ve been warned.

Show me more… »

Getting decorating ideas from a vampire show.

October 14, 2007 2:36 pm

Not usually recommended for those of us who identify as non-goth. However here’s an addition to my small collection of unusual bookcase designs (which includes the Sticklebook and the Sapien Bookshelf, both previously mentioned last February.) Watching the second episode of Moonlight, what particularly caught my eye was a detail of the main character’s apartment.

ML1 Ignore the brooding vampire in the foreground for a minute and check out the crosshatch-y bookcases at the left.
ML2 Here’s a closer look.

I imagine this wouldn’t hold as many books as a conventional bookcase of the same dimensions, but it is visually appealing and seems like a good way to group books into small-ish categories.

Collect the whole set

October 8, 2007 10:07 pm

Even though Heroes has killed off George Takei’s character, tonight’s episode introduced Nichelle Nichols as Micah’s grandmother. Squee! And Dominic Keating (Enterprise, Malcolm Reid) has started to show up as a minor character in Peter Petrelli’s Irish adventure. Bonus: John Billingsley (Enterprise, Doctor Phlox) is guest-starring on Journeyman.

Turns out that Wellworth Watching was…

September 29, 2007 1:20 pm

…well worth watching! (Do you remember that Mathnet, Carmen?)

But can the same be said of the genre shows that have premiered this week? Here’s a sampling:

Bionic Woman. She isn’t Seven of Nine until they put her in a catsuit.

Journeyman. I can’t make the comparisons to Quantum Leap because I never watched that.

Moonlight. Referred to in some corners of the internet as “the show that isn’t Angel.”

Show me more… »

Because Liz told me to. With good reason, too.

September 26, 2007 1:24 am

Wait. I last posted when, now? Really? Wow.

Well, when last heard from, I was with the family, nose deep in Harry Potter. Since then, I’m back in the city, back in school, and on the hunt for the elusive full-time job.

In the last month, I’ve interviewed for four positions, and the first two have already given me the “thanks, but no thanks.” The other two were both last week, so I’m waiting to hear back from those. One is a company that publishes books on religion (especially Buddhism and Hinduism), Eastern philosophies and also some fiction, poetry, and history. I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at the other one (a very well-respected medical journal), but I’m especially excited about the first one.

Show me more… »