Friday, January 23, 2015

Illustrious Client

I knew that Kitty's vigilante ways from the earlier episode would come back later. Lestrade didn't mind her beating up the guy who hurt his daughter, but now he realizes that he should not have let it slide. He suspended her from consulting with the NYPD, but I don't think we actually saw Holmes tell her this news. She went to crash at Watson's place, anyway, and we finally had the reveal about Del Gruner, aka an update on the villain Baron Adelbert Gruner from the story. I thought at first that the camera would reveal Gruner's right hand to the audience, but instead Kitty recognized his voice on the phone.

When I first heard that this was going to be a two-part adventure, I had feared that they would do something cliche, like have Kitty kidnapped, and "to be continued" on the screen. But they didn't, and I'm pleased so far. I still don't know what the "V" in the brand means. If it stands for something or is not meant to be a letter at all. Anyway, next week we'll learn if Kitty gets her revenge on Gruner like she does in the story, or if they update the acid attack to something modern. February sweeps also starts next week, so I hope the ratings will be decent.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Something About Brothers

The Pinkertons TV show has a factual error in that Will Pinkerton claims that his brother Robert (working at the Chicago office) is his twin brother. This is not true, historically. William is older by two years. Robert did have a twin sister Joan when he was born, but Joan died when she was only seven years old. That same year, though, another Pinkerton daughter was born, and she was named Joan too. It's a sad fact of history back then that many children born did not survive to adulthood, and names were sometimes reused like this. (Not to mention that Allan named his sons William and Robert after his own brothers.)

Anyway, in the "Case of the Dead Dog" episode, Kate Warne claimed to have met Robert Pinkerton already, and it didn't go well. He was fervently opposed to female detectives, and perhaps that's why Allan avoided introducing Will to Kate for years. I suppose this saves on having to hire another actor, if the brother Robert ever decides to visit Kansas City. Kate is cagey about her own family. She admits to having a brother named Virgil in New York state, but neither confirms nor denies having any other siblings. I am not sure what to take as historical fact given the clear error about Will and Robert Pinkerton. The episode's mystery revolved around brothers too, and whether such bonds can survive betrayal.

It's interesting that the Empire show is about fraternal rivalries and manipulations too, even though Hakeem and Jamal like each other. And though King Lear was mentioned in the pilot, the show is about brothers rather than sisters vying for control. The creators also make analogies to The Godfather, with the criminal family and the son who is reluctant to take over the dynasty. I suppose that conflicted jealousy leads to brothers both loving each other and hating each other, trying to compete with each other and trying to protect each other, with varying results. Maybe this is what attracts me to Arrested Development as well. But there the illegal schemes and Boyfights were portrayed comically instead of with soapy, murderous drama (at least until season 4). I guess it's fitting that Imagine Television made both shows. I do wish that Netflix would make some definite announcement about a season 5. The TCA winter press tour has been going on so long, and no interesting news is forthcoming; it's just network spin and publicity.

Friday, January 16, 2015

New Shows

Of the midseason shows, so far I've checked out Galavant, Agent Carter and Empire. Other shows I'm waiting for still won't arrive until February or later. Galavant is treading a fine line with its silliness and songs, but I do love Timothy Omundson as King Richard. It's fun enough that I'll see it through to the end.

Empire is pretty good; I'm not usually into soap operas, or hip-hop music. However, I like many of the actors and enjoyed Lee Daniels's movie, so I gave it a shot. I'm most interested in Jamal's story and his struggles with his homophobic father, though Cookie is very compelling too. I'm glad that the gay couple are allowed to be sexy and romantic onscreen, just the same as any hetero couple. The brothers being manipulated and competitive is also interesting. The FBI agent in the limo being named Agent Carter was a nice touch.

As for actual Agent Carter, the first two episodes were promising, but I didn't like the third as much. I still haven't seen Angie the perky waitress do anything worthy of Lyndsy Fonseca, and Bridget Regan was unrecognizable as a blonde neighbor from Iowa. I'm not sure I have the patience for the Leviathan story if it's going to be complicated and/or related to the rest of the Marvel universe, but they do need to finish the plot in only seven episodes; maybe it will be fast, and the writers on this show do seem more competent than the ones on S.H.I.E.L.D. I also like the Jarvis actor, and I hope the fourth episode with Howard Stark will be better.

On Screens and in Theater

So the feminist S(her)lock kickstarter met (and exceeded) their goal, which is great news. I'll be looking forward to that series even though I still hate the title.

As for the more conventional TV show Elementary, it looks like next week's episode will finally feature Baron Gruner, the de Mervilles, and everything from the Illustrious Client story. I was trying to be patient with Kitty's story on the show, but the gradual buildup made it seem like they were holding the climax until the season's end, instead of midseason. I hope it will be good, and that the writers resist the temptation to link Gruner to Moriarty somehow. I don't want her back, for any reason.

I'm curious about the sudden talk of Watson deciding to become an insurance investigator, though. We barely saw her take any private cases and they mostly turned into homicides so that the NYPD could investigate. The story about her boyfriend seemed to be dropped too. I'm not sure I know where the show is going anymore, and I don't know if its ratings will help it be renewed for another season.

Also, I recently learned that there will be a play in my area soon called "The Curious Case of the Watson Intelligence" which is some kind of mishmash story with multiple Watsons and timelines. I will try to see it, if I can get an affordable ticket.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

I was very happy to read that five Guantanamo detainees were released to Kazakhstan, and that in fact, Obama had been releasing many prisoners this year, in an effort to close the prison. The NY Times article says that Chuck Hagel was trying to slow him down, but now he's resigning. I hope Obama can release all the prisoners eventually, then it won't matter that Congress always refuses to fund closing it down. So this move certainly gives me hope for the new year.

I also read that Greg Abbott asked about expanding Medicaid. He's still going to be a shitty governor of Texas, but if he'll do this, than he'll be slightly less shitty. I mean, he might take credit for helping people while pretending that it's not Obamacare, but who cares about credit, if people can get insurance? I still wish the state would turn purple, if not blue, soon.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Allan in Kansas City

I noticed that Lyndsy Fonseca has a recurring role on Agent Carter, so I will try the show for her sake. But if it's just as godawful as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then I'm bailing on it, because I'm so over Marvel.

After all, I already have a fun series about a female agent solving period cases--The Pinkertons. They've recently started rerunning the show from the beginning, so now I have seen Allan Pinkerton introduce Kate Warne to his son William. Allan describes her as his "best man" and initially brings her to replace Will on a case in Kansas City, Missouri. It began as a series of bank robberies, but soon escalates into train robbery, murder, kidnapping, and attempts to restart the Civil War by some Southern "bushwhackers." There's even mention of "coal torpedos"--bombs which are disguised as lumps of coal so that when you toss it into a furnace or boiler, there's a huge explosion. Rumor had it that a coal torpedo sank the Sultana steamboat (which was in an episode of History Detectives).