Monthly Archives: October 2011

The idiot box update

Of the TV programs mentioned a little while ago, there has been one that has been cast off after the mandatory five episodes (my own rule) and that one is Terra Nova.

I’d pretty much decided that on the second episode but giving it three more allowed me to confirm what I already suspected that the story was going to be mainly one action-filled encounter after another and that the threat of dinosaurs was supposedly one of its key draws.

Usually you expect to get to know a little bit more about the characters and build an idea of whether any appeal to you or not. The entire cast of Terra Nova is so two dimensional that I times I feel like leaning over and pushing them to see if they topple.

In stark contrast is American Horror Story, which is becoming one of those progams I itch to watch. There is a real mix of psychological and slash horror and much as I usually shy away from slasher movies/series, this one really hits the spot. I find myself watching the program wondering which is coming first, the hair raising up on the arms or the ‘ew’ moment or the chuckle scene…the show has everything and I really am loving it. Check it out if you haven’t already…or of you dare!

Right, better go and watch the season two premiere of The Walking Dead

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Behind Kaaron Warren’s ‘Five Loves of Ishtar’

[Taken from the Gilgamesh Press website]

Here at Gilgamesh Press, we want to continue with the sneak peaks into our debut book, Ishtar!

The first story in the Ishtar collection is a historical piece, written by the lovely Kaaron Warren. Here are her thoughts behind why she wrote her incredible tale:

‘The Five Loves of Ishtar’

When I first began reading for my Ishtar novella, I was living in Suva, Fiji. The public library has two shelves of history books, all of them predating 1970, most of them donated by departing diplomats. I had sporadic internet. I also had an anthropologist as a friend, who had brought with him his enormous library. So that’s where I started.

As I read, one message emerged to me; that Ishtar was a powerful presence over many millennia. The stories told of her were in the present; as if she had lived for those thousands of years and people had actual memories of her.

I wondered how she’d change over the years, and if time made her tired.

At the same time, I wondered about her companions, and one in particular. For a long time, I’ve been fascinated about the washerwoman in history, after watching a documentary by Terry Jones, where he said that there were washerwomen who travelled on the Crusades. Women risking their lives, suffering the hunger and the privations that the men suffered, yet never named, rarely mentioned. I have the image of them working tirelessly, scrubbing, washing, drying, only noticed if they failed to do their jobs.

I wondered what sort of washerwomen Ishtar might have, and what they might know. I thought that perhaps they would know every secret; you can’t keep things from the woman who washes your underwear.


Life with the Idiot Box

Yes, it’s true, I’m becoming a little of a TV series junkie. It was noted a year or two ago when I wrote my post about favourite TV characters at that time but I’d argue that my TV watching has increased somewhat since then.

There are a few factors to this but mainly it’s the day job/Morrigan combination, making me work a lot of hours, combined with my reading a lot for the company (and now the job) and making me see reading less as the wind down that I used to.

Don’t get me wrong, though, as I still make sure to read for half an hour or so before lights out and I’m enjoying what I read. It’s just that I feel that need to sit and veg/switch off after a long day of teaching and publishing.

So being as I’m keeping up with what’s going on in the world of TV (granted mainly US programs) at the moment, I thought I’d let you in on what I’m watching. Maybe you’ve been thinking about a couple of these but can’t decide what’s worth your time, maybe you fancy them all, maybe you’re watching them all, maybe none. There’s a lot of variables to be honest and so why don’t I just get on with it.

Falling Skies:

The world’s over, aliens and have come and taken us slaves but of course we’re the human race and we have rebels, we fight back, then we fight each other, then we work together…
You know it all, you’ve seen it all but to be fair it’s done well and I liked several of the characters for various reasons. The finale hinted at something more and I’m quite sure I’ll tune in when that gets going again.

Dexter:

The sixth season premiere was too short, there was too much in it, it moved too well, too smoothly, and made me think that this season could possibly be my favourite. A tough call I know but we’ll see.

Terra Nova:

Don’t let the latin name put you off or the concept of dinosaurs-meets-future-civilisation, travelling back in time to save the earth they destroyed because even if that wasn’t enough to put you off then the weak plot, dodgy characterisation and overall silliness involved is enough. I’m on episode three now and am still watching because I have a five episode policy. Not sure it will get past that.

Ringer:

Now no sniggering at the name now or Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) as twin sisters from opposite spectrums of the social ladder because this is quite good fun. There are so obviously things that make me cringe and at times I’m wondering why I’m watching but there’s some cool stuff in this and I’m about to watch episode five this week, whilst pretty sure there will be more to watch.

Person of Interest:

Easily the silliest concept for a series ever (yes, even more so that the dinosaur time travel one) and one that niggles me every time the opening credits get going. Man creates a machine to tell the US government when there is going to be some terrorist activity in New York, based on algorithms and other clever teccy stuff that we’re not supposed to get. Bollocks I say. However, said creator gets a guilty conscience as every day there is far too much information on the server and so the server deletes the insignificant data, such as someone who works as a lawyer and may or may not be a target for a crime lord. The creator of the program pops a back door into the program which feeds him the insignificant data and then he and a crack commando ex army guy who was a homeless bum (your brain lost it yet?) sort out the case.
Sounds ridiculous and pretty much is but each episode is rather fun nevertheless. Have watched two episodes so far.

Homeland:

Was extremely interested in the first episode of this one – Claire Daines was excellent as a CIA agent going off the rails and taking anti-psycotic drugs to keep her focused. She’s incredibly suspicious of a returning war criminal from Iraq and illegally taps his home in order to prove her suspicions to superiors less than enamoured by her claims. There’s a lot more to it than that but I’m reluctant to give away much more as you really should watch it.

Supernatural:

Up to the seventh season now and I think Supernatural is destined to be one of my guilty pleasures. It moves along nicely, has some great ideas at times, terrible ideas at times, the characterisation is nowhere near as strong as other series but I still keep watching. I’ve enjoyed the start of this season and think there is some potential for it being one of the better ones.

The Secret Circle:

Well if Supernatural is one of my guilty pleasures then what is this one? Teenage witchcraft but with some serious Twilight elements. There’s two reasons for me watching this one. One is that I used the opening episode to discuss TV vs novels with my college students and they’ve now asked if we can watch the series as a regular event and discuss the plot/characterisation/use of music, location, etc. The other is that it has witches in. Those who know me don’t need that clarifying and those that don’t will find out a whole lot more about that early next year…

Fringe:

Just started the fourth season and this is one of the most consistent of the bunch. It is just so strong and the characterisation is incredible. If you haven’t been watching Fringe you need to get started and quick.

American Horror Story:

I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy this and I thought the first episode was brilliant. Yes, that’s right, brilliant! It seemed to press all the right buttons and there was a decent enough mix of the pyschological, the gore and even the quirky to make me very curious about how it is going to develop. One of those on the list I anticipate the most!

What are you watching/enjoying?