Saturday, December 29, 2012

NBC's Deception

I heard that Deception's pilot is available online, but I haven't watched it yet. I think I'll wait until it premieres on TV on January 7th. In the meantime, I am reading about it with interest.

I've never watched Revenge, which everyone seems to compare this show to, but I thought Revenge's premise was not about solving a mystery, so much as exacting vengeance against your enemies while using an alias, a la The Count of Monte Cristo. I hope that Deception will be about the murder mystery, and won't focus as much on soap opera drama. In other words, I wish it would be like season 1 of Dirty Sexy Money rather than season 2, when it made less sense, and wasted the good actors.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shootings

Just when I thought the trend of shootings occurring every few days was over, it starts up again. "So this is Christmas" indeed, John Lennon. And it seems that initial reports on Friday pointed to the wrong person as the gunman, because the news media still has not learned its lesson about rushing to conclusions instead of fact-checking. How about less idle speculation on the identity of gunmen, and armchair psychology about their motives, and instead spending more time grieving for the victims? There's hardly any public space where people, young or old, can feel safe anymore.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Netflix

Yay, I'm glad that Netflix is adding subtitles/closed captioning to many streaming movies and TV shows that didn't have them before. Now I can watch more stuff without having to pause and rewind to catch the dialogue. So for now I don't have to upgrade my TV speakers.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Most Sand

"She was the best girl I ever see, and had the most sand."

That's Huck Finn's description of Mary Jane, the girl that got away. I've been rereading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn lately, and though I find certain parts pretty boring or pretty ridiculous (Tom Sawyer's shenanigans for setting Jim free), I liked the book more this time. I hadn't noticed Mary Jane before, but now I see that it's a sign of Huck's growing maturity, before he resolves to free Jim from slavery. Mary Jane is one of the daughters of a dead man named Peter Wilks, and the conmen known as the duke and the king pretend to be Peter Wilks's brothers from England, so they can steal the inheritance. Huck Finn goes along with their scheme at first but starts to feel so guilty that he decides to steal the money back for the orphan girls. He expects to escape by himself (and reach Jim, who is waiting with the raft), then send a letter back later to tell the girls where the money's hidden.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Interlude, revised

This is a revised version of the Interlude from DIM that I posted before. It's a glimpse of Helen Stoner's life in 1881, before she meets Sherlock Holmes and before Julia dies. This version includes a scene with Constable Tibbs.

See the previous Interlude for explanations of Helen's middle name and the backstory about Julia witnessing the death of their butler in India.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fitzwilly

I'm glad that Nikita's ratings are up, but sad that we're heading for the midseason finale so soon. At least it's back in its old timeslot. I frankly don't care about Grimm being delayed until March. Season 2 has been such a disappointment.

On TV today I caught an airing of the 1967 movie Fitzwilly, starring Dick Van Dyke and Barbara Feldon. Years ago my older sister first introduced me to this madcap movie about a butler who masterminds robberies so that he and the other servants can support their old employer, who doesn't know she's penniless. It's made by the Mirisch production company who also worked on Billy Wilder's films, and it has the same sort of feel about it. It's such a fun gem full of familiar faces.

Same old Israel

Israel announced 3,000 new settlers because they're jerks who still claim it's the Palestinians holding up the peace process. Juan Cole says that the Europeans who voted overwhelmingly in favor of recognizing Palestine at the UN may be able to punish Israel with boycotts or other actions in the future. If so, maybe they can fix what the US seems incapable of fixing. (And what Egypt can't help with anymore.) I can only hope.

I've been disappointed with people like Jon Stewart, who on a recent show falsely implied that the intractable Israeli/Palestinian conflict is ancient and goes back to Biblical times. No, it goes back to the founding of Israel in the 20th century and its illegal land grabs. It's also based on humanitarian injustices and racism more than religious disputes about the Holy Land. Stop selling the misconceptions.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Last night's shows

Just when I thought my DVR troubles were done, the signal strengths on my local CBS stations switched suddenly. The weak station became the strong station and vice versa, so I had to reset my Season Passes again. Am I gonna have to keep monitoring the signal strengths week to week? Anyway, I had to watch the latest Elementary episode off of CBS's website again. Good episode, though I was horrified that Holmes broke open that poor woman's wall to find the dead body inside. Yeah, it had to be done eventually, but to do that secretly, then leave it exposed so that she might accidentally wander in without explanation, was kinda cruel!

In other news, Person of Interest is pissing me off with its pushing multiple trite romantic storylines lately. I don't fucking care about Harold/Grace flashbacks because they're shoehorned in at the expense of learning anything about Nathan's death or Harold's injuries. And they never explain why Nathan's son Will is allowed to know that Uncle Harold is alive, even though Will is the more obvious target for a bad guy trying to find the Machine. Plus, everybody's still mean to Fusco for no reason! If this show continues being so rotten, I might just drop it too.

UN recognizes Palestine

Yay for Palestine becoming an observer state. Boo to the U.S. for voting no, because it does everything Israel wants, no matter who's the President.

Whereas the US consistently vetoes all condemnations of Israel by the four other UN Security Council members, making sure that the Palestinians are always screwed over, it has no ability to stop the UN committees of the General Assembly, the UNGA itself, or the ICC from criticizing or sanctioning Israel.

Hopefully this new legal status can give Palestinians more ability to protest Israel's illegal settlements and the Gaza blockade. Now can we get to negotiating more than just a cease-fire?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Next year's TV

Well since The Good Wife is in the crapper (and I'm not watching until spoilers/press releases tell me Nick is gone) and Grimm is being very annoying about Juliette's amnesia, I've been looking into other TV news lately. I seriously don't understand how Jeff Zucker is poised to become head of CNN. Zucker is the idiot who destroyed NBC, and yet he keeps "failing up" and being promoted.

Anyway, I am waiting for midseason TV shows like The Goodwin Games, but am discouraged by the episode order being cut back. Deception (formerly Infamous) also looks interesting and somewhat reminiscent of Dirty Sexy Money.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday, in a different sense

Fuck it, so there was a clash at the Gaza border. And this is somehow NOT in violation of the cease-fire? What does the word even mean, then?

Plus, the Egyptian president has declared new unilateral powers. So nothing can ever stay good for long.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

This year I am thankful that Barack Obama is still president, and that the election finally gave me some Democratic representation (although yes, my Senators are still crazy Republicans).

I am thankful for the ceasefire in Gaza (but also wish some progress could be made toward a two-state solution). Maybe Egypt can continue to help, but Israel also could use new leaders who aren't constantly sword-rattling with Iran and blockading Gaza.

I am thankful that Elementary is doing well and that Nikita will be back at its old timeslot next week where hopefully it's ratings will improve. I am unhappy with other TV shows I used to like, for various reasons, but will ignore them just now and hope for improvement.

I am happy to have the day off, but am feeling under the weather, and will be staying home today. I have to hope I don't feel as bad tomorrow because I have to work Friday. I hope everyone else who has to work Black Friday will be all right despite the craziness. Sheesh, even the constant Christmas music has already started.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gaza

The violence gets worse in Gaza every day.

This is a far more important petition than stupid secession.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stupid Secession

My only response to the Texas secessionists and the equally horrible liberals saying "Hooray" is this link. Thank god somebody on Daily Kos is saying something rational.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Good and Bad News

Well there's good news in that Nikita will move back to its previous timeslot and be paired with Arrow reruns. That should help the ratings a bit hopefully.

My Tivo recorded Elementary! Yay! So it was the weak antenna signal that was the problem all along. That's good.

Anyway, tonight had some interesting backstory on Holmes through his friend Allistair. However they name-dropped Irene at the end, and I am quite disappointed. I wish they would have backed away from the topic for longer. I could hope that they'll do Irene differently than BBC Sherlock did, but that doesn't mean it'll necessarily be any better. I've seen Irene treated as Holmes's love interest and a career criminal in many different movies; she's written as if she was Catwoman. The only thing that did proper justice to her moral goodness despite her grey actions was Jake Kasdan's Zero Effect, and that was a very loose pastiche of SCAN. Please, please don't screw her up, Rob Doherty. Please.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Great Election

I'm mostly happy with the election results. In Texas I'm still stuck with crazy Republican senators, but at least my district is now represented by Democrats in the local and national House of Representatives.

But the bigger picture is that Obama won, new Democratic senators won, and many marriage equality initiatives won.

However, any liberals who still think that red states should secede and aren't worth fighting for, can shut up. We'll be blue one of these days.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall Back

Well we turned the clocks back this weekend and now we're so close to election day. It's so confusing watching the polls.

I think I might have figured out what's wrong with my DVR. My antenna's digital signal for the local CBS station is weak but there's another signal from their backup station that's much stronger. So I've reset my season pass to grab from the channel with the stronger signal now. I hope that fixes it, but I won't know until the next episode airs. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I think my Nook HD is shipping to me now, but I've gotten contradicting emails about my order lately.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Preemptions and DVR woes

Yay! Nikita's ratings improved at last, stopping the downward trend for now. Next week will be the return of Owen and Amanda, so I'll be happy. Although it's disappointing that the week after the show will be preempted for a Top Model special. I wonder what will be the lead-in after that's gone.

In other news, my Tivo screwed up again and didn't record Elementary, so I had to watch it on CBS's website. I'm glad to learn more about Joanie Watson's background. I like her nickname and might start calling her Joanie from now on.

On Tuesday, NBC preempted Go On and New Normal for their Hurricane Sandy special, so I had to buy New Normal on iTunes instead. (I can wait for Go On, though NBC still won't say when it will reschedule the episodes.) I didn't mind the telethon on Friday as much because that could actually help the victims rather than just rehash what other news has already covered. I hope that people are safe and recovering.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Better TV

Meanwhile, Nikita is still showing great love and respect for Nikita & Alex's relationship. Their friendship is almost like sisterhood, or a mother/daughter bond. Seeing them rescue the kidnapped and brainwashed girl in this week's episode was so good, and was a reminder of how well the writers handle strong women. All we need now is the villain Amanda to make her return. (It seems also that the female President on the show is a villain of sorts, with her threats about wiping out Division if it becomes too troublesome and visible.)

Mockingbird Lane also aired tonight. It was eccentric and fascinating, and definitely quirky. I did like the macabre humor and the special effects, though I'm sure the effects would have to be toned down in a normal series. But it didn't offend me the way that the Addams Family movies offended me for changing Wednesday Addams and going for more gross out humor. Well, we'll see what the ratings are like.

I enjoyed Elementary this week also. It's great that Holmes, like book Holmes, does not like the rich and powerful much. Holmes being fallible and in genuine danger was great too, because he is in fact human, and not a perfect reasoning machine. I loved the scene with Gregson at the end, and also Holmes's remarks to Watson about how deductions make relationships hard. Even though the case eventually turned into serial murder, it at least started out as a private client wanting to find a missing person. So hopefully we'll have more private cases in the future, and I hope some will not become murder. I'd even take a jewel heist or bank robbery. We'll see.

Good Wife Reprieve

I read that supposedly the Nick/Kalinda storyline will be ended early, due to the negative audience response. If that's true, then thank God. Seriously, when I read spoilers saying how freaking long Nick was going to be on the show, I gave up in protest, deleting the season pass, and all my episodes from my Tivo. I mean if I could have (like a recent song on the show said) "burned this mother down" I would have burned the show to the freaking ground, I was so pissed off. I'm still pissed off that they started the storyline at all.

Here's the interview with TV Guide.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall TV

I'm very sad about the awful ratings for the season 3 premiere of Nikita. It was such a good episode. It seems that the promos during Arrow didn't help. Maybe it was the baseball, but I don't follow sports.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Arrow premiere

I watched CW's Arrow, because of all the good buzz about it. I'm not a comic book reader and know nothing about Green Arrow and his history. In fact, I'd probably confuse him with Hawkeye from The Avengers movie, just because they're both skilled archers.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Good Gone Bad

I usually don't comment on The Good Wife here, but I've been watching it since season 1 because I loved many of the strong female characters like Alicia, Kalinda, and Diane; the complexity of the political plots and the struggles at the law firm frequently elevated the show from mere procedural to an insightful look at morality and character. Alicia and Kalinda's friendship was great for a while too, and I was glad for them to reunite, but frustrated when Kalinda still kept secrets and denied she was in trouble even when Alicia tried to help her.

Last season, I thought I wanted to learn about Kalinda's husband and her mysterious past as Leela, but boy was I wrong. This season is a retread of the worst aspects of the Blake storyline from season two. Violence mixed with lust, for no reason other than salacious shock value. What a mess.

It reminds me of that awful Hound of the Baskervilles movie where Laura Lyons was still trapped with her abusive husband and actually defending him when he attacked her. What the fuck is this? Sadomasochism? Women encouraging men to proclaim love while dishing out pain? And men tearfully declaring they'd never really kill her, because they love her so damn much. It's sickening. I'm going to fast-forward Kalinda from now on until her stupid husband is gone. And if Alicia continues to be flat and dumb and stay with Peter, I'm dropping this show too. I've already seen her stand by Peter through a campaign, and I don't need to see another retread in a year that I'm already sick of the real-life campaign.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Elementary episode 2

Elementary appears in my area on three separate channels that mirror CBS's schedule, and yet somehow my Tivo screwed up and didn't record it Thursday! Thankfully, I was able to watch it on the CBS website, and I loved it.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Elementary Premiere

My thoughts on the first Elementary episode. I might have more to say after I've slept on it. Spoilers below:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Nooks

Wow, I didn't see any advance warning about a Barnes & Noble press conference for its new tablets and ereaders. There was just the announcement about their video service/shop, then suddenly voila!

I think I will order the 7-inch Nook HD, in smoke gray. That one looks nicer than the white in close up photos and certainly not as ugly as the new hole/grommet in the Nook HD+. Besides appearances, I like the features and that the size is not that much different from my current Nook. It has expandable memory, which probably isn't needed for books but might be for video content. I also like that I can browse catalogs, and then "scrapbook" pages I'm interested in. Then I can stop receiving catalogs by mail.

Apparently the new Nooks won't be out until November 1st, so I have time to save up some money. I need to see the accessories/cases in person at the stores to judge which ones are too bulky or not.

Damn it!

After spending too many hours during the weekend doing chat support, diagnostic tests, and phone support on my Tivo, I gave up and ordered a replacement DVR. I asked the tech if I would need to re-enter all my season passes, and he assured me that no, that info would be saved on the Tivo website and I could download it to the new DVR. However, when I got the new DVR and tried to set it up, there were no season passes on it. I checked the Tivo website and signed into my account, but found that my old DVR information had been deleted, so no, I can't download a damn thing. I have to set everything up again. Arrgh!

Well, I guess I should just be happy the replacement box arrived so soon. I missed a couple of shows this week, but I'll catch up online.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The First Family

Unfortunately, my Tivo went on the fritz last night and still has not recovered. I'm currently running a long diagnostic test on the Tivo (and the hard drive expander), but it lasts for hours! (Still going, in fact.) I really need my Tivo to recover before next week when all the new shows arrive. I'll miss everything unless I try to break out an old VCR and find some blank tapes.

Luckily, I do have a TV not connected to the Tivo, so I was able to watch The First Family today when the first two episodes aired. It's not like a Tyler Perry sitcom but more like the old fashioned sitcoms on UPN or The WB. It doesn't hurt that the cast includes Jackée, Marla Gibbs, and Gladys Knight.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Anticipation

Less than a week to go until the premiere of Elementary! Here's a good review in the Hollywood Reporter. It confirms my impression that Joan Watson will definitely be a co-lead, not a mere sidekick.

I've heard that the Emmys are this Sunday, but I don't care about those anymore. Award shows are so boring and so long.

I'll probably catch up on my TiVo recordings and such. On Saturday the syndicated sitcom The First Family will debut in my area. I had a hard time finding it, since it wasn't advertised on my local TV station's website, but I found it in my TiVo guide. I hope it's funny.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall Shows

I watched the premiere of Revolution, and it was okay for a post-apocalyptic show, but nothing really special. I only recently got interested in it because I read that Kim Raver would have a recurring part, and I have liked her since The Nine. I think I might check back with the show later when Kim Raver is on, but for now I don't much care about the premise.

On the comedy side, I'm watching Go On and The New Normal. Matthew Perry's character is way too smarmy sometimes, but I like many of the ensemble cast members like John Cho and Tyler James Williams, so I'm sticking around for them. But the show certainly needs to improve. Alan Sepinwall didn't like The New Normal, but I do so far. The gay couple are so sweet together and affectionate, in a way that's refreshing for network TV. Plus the surrogate mother Goldie and her daughter Shania are delightful. I was surprised by how they avoided a convenient ending when Goldie decided not to move into the guest house because it was important for her to be an independent woman so that Shania would learn from her example. I don't mind Ellen Barkin's outrageous character that much, and I'm glad that they showed in the 3rd episode that other people are homophobic in other, less in-your-face ways. This show is definitely growing on me, and even Sepinwall reconsidered a bit after seeing the 2nd episode.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Need Nook News

This week both Kobo and Amazon released new e-readers and tablets. I hope Barnes & Noble announces its new products soon. Surely they won't wait until after Apple has announced whatever in October?

My first Nook still works fine, but I am getting annoyed that it's not color and the contrast between text and background is too low. I was hoping and waiting for a color e-ink or Mirasol, but I guess they won't come out, and I'll have to upgrade to whatever "incredible display" Barnes & Noble claim to have in the works.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Moffat Misogyny

In a spoilery review of the latest Doctor Who episode, S. E. Smith discusses Steven Moffat's "lady issues" in Who, and also mentions Irene Adler at the end. The other women on Sherlock are pretty bad too, though that can also be blamed on Gatiss and possibly the other writer. The non-psychopathic women are incompetent, unable to rescue themselves, have flat personalities, and are so interchangeable/invisible that John mistakes Irene's assistant for Anthea, and both Holmes brothers mistake dead bodies for Irene. How fucking depressing.

You know what, I blame Moffat's wife too for not telling him to rein in his misogyny and sexism. Or what he calls a "fetish for powerful, sexy women who like cheating people." But he takes their power away until they're on their knees begging like any other damsel in distress. Keep that to yourself, Moffat, and not on TV shows.

Anti-Elementary Bias

Apparently the Elementary pilot has been leaked online. I don't have a link, for I can't find it myself, so I suspect it's on torrents. I'm tempted, but it's going to premiere on September 27th anyway, so I might as well be patient. The reviews of the episode from people who've seen it have been mostly positive, consistent with the response at Comic Con and the buzz even before CBS picked it up.

But still there's bias from some Sherlock fans. They are apparently so die hard that they weave conspiracy theories about how Rob Doherty was actually hired to rewrite Josh Friedman's script from 2000. Other than the same title and modern setting, Doherty's version shares nothing with Friedman's. Friedman's Elementary is set in San Francisco, has a male Watson, tries to adapt Musgrave Ritual, employs a really clumsy framing device of Watson telling a case in flashback to a cop and a lawyer who really should not be in the least interested, and ends on a Moriarty cliffhanger. Nothing matches Doherty, and when I ask for a source, people don't give one.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Private Life, part 10

After reading about PLoSH again recently, I've written a new chapter on my Private Life fic aka "A Love Story Between Two Men". If you've forgotten, here's the first chapter, and each part links to the next. Other chapters and discussion of the movie are also tagged Private Life.

Chapter 9 left off with Holmes and Watson in their Paris hotel, on their honeymoon. This chapter finally moves out of France. Here's the honeymoon map again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Texas Redistricting

Yay! A federal court ruled that the Republican redistricting maps in Texas were discriminatory. These are the original maps, not the "interim" maps that are currently in place for November 2012.

The decision is going to be appealed so there's uncertainty about whether the interim maps will have to be redrawn. I don't think there's time to do it now and get approved before November, so it might be for the 2014 elections instead.

No, I'm not watching the GOP convention, not even to see Senate Candidate Ted Cruz embarrass Texas with his Tea Party rhetoric. No I don't need to hear from ignorant Democrats about how Texas should secede except for Austin. Help us, or shut up!

Edit Aug 30th: The Voter ID law was rejected on Thursday. Good. People whining that anybody can get a driver's license need to remember that some DMVs in Texas are 120 miles away from where people live. Even in DFW where there are DMVs close by people's neighborhoods, the DMVs are fucking overcrowded with huge wait times. These are unfair burdens that shouldn't be put in place for voters, especially the poor and elderly.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

The Last Reveal has posted about Billy Wilder's film (called PLoSH here). First there is a transcript of the Honeymooners scene that was cut out, plus commentary about the film in general. There's even a link to a script of PLoSH that I'll certainly have to spend some time reading. Finally there's a a theory about PLoSH and the plot of Nicholas Meyer's Seven-Per-Cent Solution pastiche. I've already made my comment on Lee's blog, so there's no point repeating it here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Into the West

Today I watched on TV the 1992 movie Into the West starring Gabriel Byrne. It's a fantasy movie about a mystical horse, and a band of Irish travellers. It's sort of like how Thunderheart revolved around a part-Lakota man going to the reservation and getting in touch with Native mysticism and culture, so that he becomes proud of his heritage instead of ashamed. Into the West has that same sort of blending of real, modern world with the myths and traditions of an outcast culture.

I liked it quite a lot. It's what Beasts of the Southern Wild ought to have been, but wasn't. (Lots of people like Beasts, but I didn't like how nonsensical and strung together it was. The fantastical elements didn't relieve the crushing poverty, and I was sad that Hushpuppy was raised to be hard and have no physical affection or tender words from people who loved her. She desperately craved the embrace she got from the woman whom she thought was her mother. I felt pity and depression more than admiration and hope.) SPOILERS BELOW:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scary

Fuck it! These crazed shootings are becoming a regular thing now. Every few days it seems. This is so insane.

The only good news this week is that the judge ruled against enforcing the Texas voter ID law. Technically he ruled that the law won't go into effect until the case comes to trial, but we have no idea when that trial will be. Hopefully not until after the election. Too bad that Pennsylvania didn't fare so well their voter ID law.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Zero Effect

Wikipedia claims that this movie is based on Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe mysteries, but any doubt that it's based on Sherlock Holmes is erased with one of Ben Stiller's first lines, when he paraphrases Holmes's statement that his fees are on a fixed scale, save when he remits them all together. Stiller also later paraphrases the line about how the stage lost a great actor when Holmes became a detective. Ben Stiller plays Steve Arlo, the lawyer and go-between for reclusive private detective Daryl Zero, played by Bill Pullman.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Hate Crimes

God, how horrible to read of the origins of the Hammerskins in Texas. And of skinheads in general committing other hate crimes throughout the country. It's interesting to read of the undercover informant who monitored these groups for the FBI, but sad to think that Wade Page couldn't have been stopped before the massacre in the Sikh Temple.

I don't know how to grasp this horror any more than I did the shooting in the Aurora movie theater. I have no words.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hot August Night

It's a miserably sweltering summer in Texas, but at least most of the political ads are gone for now. It will certainly pick up again closer to November.

As I said, I don't care about the Olympics, so I'm just watching various movies and TV shows that I've got on DVD or Netflix. This weekend I'm gonna watch Zero Effect to refresh my memory of that updated twist on Sherlock Holmes. This film and The Royal Tenenbaums are the two Ben Stiller movies I enjoy the most, as I don't generally watch his broader comedies.

Because my Elementary obsession knows no bounds, I've found spoilers for the show. Really SpoilerTV is mostly just listing all the CBS promo material so far, though they did get an episode title and synopsis for the 2nd episode.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Elementary at CBS's press tour

The Elementary stars and producers attended the TCA press tour today. They say many of the same things that they said at Comic Con, although now they say that Lucy Liu's Asian-Americanness is not going to be addressed on the show.

I'm not sure how I feel about that, being Asian-American myself. Sure, color-blind casting is fine, but I don't like not acknowledging a character's traits. No, Watson doesn't have to do karate moves, but I was hoping she would do some fighting or brandishing a gun when necessary. You want to avoid a racist stereotype certainly, but can still have fun with the character. I remember that in the original Star Trek episode "Naked Time," Sulu had a fantasy about being one of the three Musketeers and started fencing. But in later episodes, they disappointingly relegated Sulu's fights to Japanese katanas. Ideally I'd want Watson to kick ass, but not in a blatantly stereotypical way.

Alan Sepinwall has a much fuller interview with Rob Doherty.

Leverage

Since I began to tire of Burn Notice and be disappointed by Person of Interest, I looked around for another series to get my weekly vigilante fix. As usual, I wanted something like the old A-Team, and I had also seen the British series Hustle on my PBS station before it disappeared. The writing on that show was excellent, and I liked the idea of a conman who was specifically targeting other people who prey on ordinary citizens. Mickey Bricks seemed to have a conscience even if he stole from rich people, and his team was mostly likeable.

So, after hearing recommendations that Leverage was an Americanized version of Hustle, I began recording episodes of it from TV. Sadly, it was not as good as Hustle.

Kung Fu Panda

Meanwhile, I had to do something to cheer myself up after the horrible Colorado shooting, so I recently watched Kung Fu Panda on DVD.

London Olympics

I voted early on Friday in the Democratic Primary runoff. Luckily I also got the day off from work, but was still bombarded with political flyers in my mailbox and with the hated TV and radio ads from the Republicans.

That night I watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony on NBC, and Danny Boyle managed to celebrate British culture fairly well, but the different sections felt disjointed. The children's choirs sounded lovely but I couldn't make out most of the words they were singing, other than "Oh Danny Boy" and the last "green and pleasant land" bit of the Jerusalem hymn.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Encyclopedia Brown

I was sad to read about Donald J. Sobol's death this week. I used to read all the Encyclopedia Brown books as a kid, though I don't remember much of the plots now. I mostly read them from my school library, so I don't own any books that I could thumb through for nostalgia now. I recently looked for them in used bookstores, but nobody had the complete set. I remember that the Encyclopedia Brown books used to have a logo and tag line saying "America's Sherlock Holmes in Sneakers" but the books apparently dropped that later on. Threatened by a lawyer, perhaps? So sad.

Alyssa discusses Encyclopedia's intelligence and Sally Kimball's refreshing role as both the prettiest girl, and the toughest girl. She defends Encyclopedia against Bugs Meany the bully. That is such a great choice by Sobol, way back in the 1960s. I heard that there was a short-lived HBO TV series which I never saw. I wish I could find it somewhere.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

True Grit and more

I watched the Coen brothers' True Grit last night and enjoyed it. Mattie Ross was really impressive and formidable for a teenager, saying things matter-of-factly with "no sugar" or deference to characters that try to argue with her. She's hell bent on avenging her father's death, and nobody will stand in her way. At one point, she irritates the LaBoeuf character so much that he spanks her and tries to hit her with stick like a disobedient child. He is stopped by Rooster Cogburn, who apparently respected her for stubbornly crossing the wide, deep river on horseback to catch up with them. As the movie goes on, Rooster and Mattie form a bond, as well as with LaBoeuf, who is trying to catch the same man Chaney and take him to Texas for a reward. Mattie is opposed to him at first, before learning to like and trust him. The characters all have an odd way of talking, which I hear is true to the book. They are eloquent and thoughtful, measuring their words carefully even in weird situations. It's a grim movie with many deaths, injuries, and hardships. I found the ending somewhat abrupt when we changed to the adult Mattie, but I liked that she didn't mind who she turned out to be. Still strong and independent, with no sugar and softness. I would have liked more information about LaBoeuf, though.

In other news, a panel of judges is still considering Texas's voter ID law. Some people live 120 miles away from a DMV center, and couldn't get a driver's license without undue burden. (And as I saw on the news the other day, even living close doesn't mean you won't have to miss hours of work waiting in overcrowded lines.) It's laughable for the lawyer Hughes to argue that this is okay, and easy to get an ID. The voters' polling places are presumably closer to where they live because their right to vote is so essential. Either make more DMVs close to where they live and reduce overcrowding in urban areas too, or drop the freaking ID requirement. Voting should always be easy and free.

I'm also glad that Apple returned to EPEAT. Their decision to suddenly pull out all their products from certification always seemed abrupt and boneheaded. Why did they imagine they wouldn't receive criticism for it? There is a wide swath of Apple-haters ready to pounce on them for anything, and even neutral or Apple-positive people would have a hard time defending this.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Elementary at Comic Con

Apparently Elementary was at Comic Con, and the audience got to see the whole pilot. I wish I could have been there.

Then the actors and the writer Rob Doherty answered questions. Here's a summary at TVLine, and here's a liveblog version. This article is more in depth, and CBS posted video clips on their website. You have to click each video separately.

They say that the episodes will be new cases rather than adaptations of the canon. They'll also hold off on an appearance from Mycroft but make Holmes's father into a looming presence. I would prefer that they don't introduce Moriarty right away. Just wait for a few episodes, please? Like five or six. You've got 22 episodes to work with. Please don't rush it. There's plenty of other great villains like Charles Augustus Milverton, Grimesby Roylott, and John Clay. (Or do equivalents of them, given that you're not adapting the book cases.)

I hope it will be like the 1950s Ronald Howard series, where even though they made up plenty of original cases, the stories sometimes had echoes of the canon even still.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Elementary and AD

In happier news, Jason Bateman announced that Arrested Development will start filming in four weeks. Huzzah!

CBS finally announced its fall premiere dates, and Elementary will start on September 27th. I hope it starts filming soon too.

Voter ID laws

Texas is one of the states that passed a voter ID law (and is still waiting for a court ruling on whether it's okay to put it in effect). Republicans claim that it's to prevent voter fraud and that citizens should have no trouble getting an ID, such as a driver's license. And yet on my TV news today was a story about how most DMV centers are hopelessly overcrowded, with hours of waiting time, and backlogs for driving tests. There's going to be a "megacenter" opened to try to relieve the congestion, but what if the voter can't get to the megacenter? Or if the voter is elderly and has stopped driving? How are they gonna get a precious driver's license so they can vote? It's insane that Republicans assume that it's easy for a citizen to get an ID. They shouldn't have to get an ID, anyway, that they have to pay for. That's a poll tax discriminating against the poor. Voting is a right, not a privilege. It's not fair at all, putting in more obstacles that prevent real citizens from voting. Fuck these voter ID laws.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fuck you, Rick Perry

I'm not really surprised at Rick Perry's decision to opt out of healthcare reform, but he's still an asshole for doing it. The Texas Republicans always assume that they're speaking for the whole state, while ignoring all the Democrats who oppose their stupid policies.

According to the article, though, "any state that refuses to set up a health insurance exchange will have one set up for them by the federal government", so something will be set up in Texas. But Perry is refusing all that Medicaid money that Texas so desperately needs, and the Supreme Court ruled that the Medicaid expansion was optional. Fuck them.

The Texas primary runoff elections are July 31, and it's a case of dueling endorsements among the Democrats. I still don't know who I'll vote for, and I still feel helpless about the November election. Fuck all of this.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Millie Warne

This appears to be the only picture of Millie Warne that I can find online.

It's part of a website about Beatrix Potter, and there's no more info on Millie. I do find it interesting, though, that the website points out that Beatrix Potter's parents Rupert and Helen were Unitarians who never celebrated Christmas, when the film Miss Potter prominently featured a Christmas party and said that the Potters had one every year. Well, since they felt free to change the circumstances of Norman's proposal and his death, I shouldn't be surprised. I wish I could learn more about the real Millie Warne. I even tried looking under her formal name Amelia Warne.

In other news, I found They Might Be Giants on Netflix and have been watching it. It's the one with a judge who thinks he's Sherlock Holmes. Goofy and offbeat, but sad and earnest too.

Speaking of Netflix, I'm trying to figure out how to turn subtitles/captions on for streaming movies, but either the movies don't have it, or I just can't turn it on. That's rotten, since surely the DVD versions ought to have subtitles available. It's really going to impede my movie watching, since I find that I can't hear dialogue easily over action/music/special effects on my TV. Maybe I need better speakers, but I can never find anything affordable that I can add to my system.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beatrix Potter

Today on TV I saw the 2006 movie Miss Potter starring Renee Zellweger, and was much impressed by it. I wish I'd gone to see it when it was in theatres, but I had feared the movie would be too cutesy, what with making her illustrations of animals come to life. Indeed I still think that showing her talking to her characters and calling them her "real friends" when she was a grown adult of 36 was really stupid. It made me think she was hallucinating and genuinely unable to distinguish reality from fiction. She didn't look merely eccentric, with an overactive imagination; she looked mentally ill and "potty."

And yet I loved most everything else about the movie. It was better than Hysteria in some ways, especially in its handling of spinster women and feminism.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Real Mortimer Granville

Interesting, I found this post linked from the Hysteria page on Wikipedia: Joseph Mortimer Granville originally marketed his "percusser" invention for the relief of muscle aches, and it was hysteria doctors who found new uses for it in their practices.

I did have a feeling while watching the film that it was fiction, despite its "based on a true story" title at the beginning. It was just too convenient for him to have a rich friend already working with electricity, and clearly they just made up the Dalrymple characters as a convenient microcosm of the hysteria issue. Still, it was an enjoyable film with good humor. I'm considering going to see it again.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Miss Marple of Botswana

I recently bought and watched the DVDs for The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, which I had heard good things about. In fact, one reviewer blurb calls the detective "The Miss Marple of Botswana." Based on a series of books by Alexander McCall Smith, the show is about a woman named Precious Ramotswe, who uses her inheritance to open the first female detective agency in Botswana. She is most often called Mma Ramotswe, "Mma" being an equivalent form of address to Mrs. or Miss, I suppose, based on context. The male characters are similarly addressed as "Rra", and most everyone is courteous and cheerful.

This is a fun show full of colorful characters such as Mma Ramotswe's secretary Grace Makutsi, car mechanic J.L.B. Matekoni, gay hairdresser BK, and an orphan boy who hangs around the agency offering to do odd jobs for them. They solve a variety of cases such as missing persons, adultery, insurance fraud, car theft, and burglaries. I like these cases, because it strikes me as realistic for a struggling private detective agency, even if Mma Ramotswe balks at having to find a missing dog and tries to talk a father out of spying on his daughter and forbidding her from having a boyfriend. (Also, it reminds me of the original Sherlock Holmes stories which often dealt with such widely varying cases, whereas newer adaptations make it seem like Holmes doesn't consider a case interesting unless it involves murder, preferably serial killers. Though Holmes too balked at some cases as unworthy of him, he did come to understand that cases like BLUE, REDH, and SIXN can start out trivial, yet lead to interesting and unexpected adventures.)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lovely Films

Today I saw two movies, Brave and Safety Not Guaranteed. I enjoyed both, but unfortunately that seems to be the end of my movie watching for the summer and fall. I've checked the release dates for months ahead and find that there's nothing I am interested in until December with The Hobbit and possibly Django Unchained, if I can stand the violence.

Anyway, back to the pair that I saw today. SPOILERS below.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Elementary promo

Here's a newish promo from CBS, featuring more behind the scenes interviews with the cast. Also we see a scene where Holmes mentions his father emailing him about an "addict sitter."

The Game of Shadows Blu-ray is out now, so I'll probably get it soon, to glory in the perfect Moriarty and Moran.

Right now, I'm not watching that much TV. I'm watching Starsky & Hutch reruns for the slashy goodness, and watching Dogs in the City. For a reality show, it's not bad. No heinous villain characters, and lots of shots of lovable, adorable dogs in New York.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsmen

Well I saw the Snow White movie today. Charlize was magnificent as Ravenna as I expected, but she didn't have many scenes with the magic mirror. We would see glimpses of her at the castle, doing things like conjuring the black ravens and bathing in milk, but it seemed mostly for good visuals. We didn't get a clear explanation of the curse, the limits of her power, or a full backstory. I mean, at least explain when and where she got the magic mirror. How did she reunite with her brother? What happened to their mother? When did she do a spell that allowed her brother to call on her for help when injured? Also let the magic mirror indicate what Ravenna is going to do with Snow White's heart. Eat it like the birds's heart? Or boil it up in some soup to drink like when her mother cast the first "fairest blood" spell?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hysteria is hysterical

I saw the movie today and I loved it. A lot of laughs and fun characters like Molly "the Lolly" (a prostitute-turned-maid) and Edmund (played by Rupert Everett), a rich friend of Mortimer Granville who helps him when he gets repeatedly fired. Edmund is also an eccentric inventor who creates a motorized feather duster that Mortimer is inspired to convert into a "personal massage" device. I wish we'd seen more about Edmund and perhaps a little about Emily, too. She was the "devoted dutiful daughter who still loves her wacky, outspoken sister" for so much of the movie; so when she realized that she needed to live for herself rather than for her father's expectations for her, it was too late to get a real personality out of her. But I guess they didn't have room for more development on the non-lead characters. Good story, and it was amusing to see various models of vibrators during the closing credits.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Primary elections

Well, as far as I can tell from the online election results, most of the races I voted in went the way I wanted. (Most races in my district were uncontested, at least in the Democratic primary; the general election is a different matter.) But the most hotly contested Democratic race is going into a runoff election. I have no idea when this runoff will take place, and I know that my mailbox is going to be flooded with yet more campaign mailers between now and then.

Besides that, it looks like the Republican primaries also have a huge runoff election between Dewhurst and Cruz, so I'm sure there will be lots of TV ads about that, too. So we have a long way to go yet even before the general election in November. God, I'm so sick of the campaign.

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Elementary

CBS released a new, longer trailer for Elementary. We get more banter between Holmes and Watson this time, as well as more views of their strange wardrobe.

Edit on May 30th: Alyssa at Think Progress just posted about Elementary again. She discusses Holmes's addiction, including quotes from SIGN. I think the first commenter is too cranky, though, since Alyssa obviously meant BBC Sherlock's focus on Sherlock's alien mindset and so-called sociopathic tendencies, which were emphasized in every episode, especially when it played out as a mirror to the psycho Moriarty. The Asperger's term in the Hounds episode was used to refer vaguely to whatever it is that's weird about Holmes's personality.

Also, I do think that canon Holmes was a regular addict, even if drugs weren't mentioned in all the stories. When Watson speaks in SCAN of Holmes "alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition," I regard that as regular cocaine use, like clockwork. Face it, he was an addict, whom Watson had to eventually wean off drug use.

Hysteria interview

Here's a nice interview with the director of the romantic comedy Hysteria. I don't want to read it too closely for fear of movie spoilers, but it looks like it will be fun and smart. I just wish it would open here sooner! It would have been great to see it this Memorial Day, but nope. Not yet.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hounds and the Fall

I watched The Reichenbach Fall yesterday, mostly to say goodbye to this show, because I'm not staying with it for season 3. I hate both Moffat & Gatiss now, and the writing is just too bad to tolerate. Given how they resolved the cliffhanger this year, I am not confident that they won't cop-out next year with their solution of the fake death. So I won't let them string me along anymore.

I also watched the Hounds episode last week, but was vastly unimpressed. I mean, it wasn't intense hate like I had for the Belgravia episode, but the Hounds ep was worse than the Blind Banker. Where did I get the idea that Gatiss was a good writer? His previous reputation as a Doctor Who writer? His loving appreciation for Private Life of Sherlock Holmes? Well, he might be a good scifi writer and Sherlockian, but he's a shit mystery writer. I disliked his Great Game episode last year too, but I thought it was due to my hate for Jim Moriarty, and the bomb plot; but now it's clear that Gatiss sucks even when Jim is kept to a minimum. Clearly he also subscribes to the school of "it doesn't matter if the plot makes sense; it just has to look good." Hounds was as bad as a season 4 episode of Castle, and trust me, that's ridiculously bad.

House finale

I went out for early voting today, for the May primaries. I still did not feel like I got enough info about the different candidates, but I did the best I could based on local endorsements. At least redistricting gave us a new Democratic seat.

I wanted to see Hysteria this weekend, but I found out that it's not coming here until June, so I've been watching TV shows on Netflix to pass the time. I'm going through season 1 of Murder, She Wrote now, and I wish current TV shows were still made like this. I want traditional whodunits, not serial killers and CSI gore. I want mystery plots that make sense, instead of being all random flash and style. (I've been so fed up with the declining quality of Castle mysteries that I've quit the show.) An episode should not end with viewers confused as to what happened, or doubting the plausibility of the story.

Anyway, tonight was the House finale. I stopped watching the show many seasons ago, but came back for the end since I heard about Wilson's cancer. He's the one guy I still cared about on the show, and I'm glad he didn't die onscreen. I found House's brooding and talking to past characters in his head boring, but at least the bastard finally decided to make a sacrifice for his friend Wilson. Going to the extreme of faking his death and being unable to ever resume his old life, suggests a very deep love indeed. The two of them riding off into the sunset together is ambiguous enough that we can imagine them living slashily ever after if we want. It may be bromantic crumbs, but it's a lot better than many shows lately that don't want to support sexual ambiguity. (I was very upset about Person of Interest introducing Grace out of nowhere, destroying past continuity for gay panic.) Some viewers said the fake death was reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes's death in "Final Problem". Well, sort of, but with Watson joining him on his hiatus, with no marriage in the way, but a real impending death to shorten their happiness. It was sentimental and schmaltzy, like the ending to E. M. Forster's Maurice. But sometimes we like our sentimental fairy tales.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Elementary trailer

Yay! CBS posted a preview for Elementary on Youtube. We don't see a lot of Captain Gregson in this one. Instead there's some other local NY cop having friction with Holmes on the case. I'm puzzled by the mentions of Holmes's father. Is he in America, or just able to arrange things from Britain? I also find "sober companion" to be a weird job title for Joan Watson. They can't just call her his NA sponsor or something? Even if he wouldn't join a group like Narcotics Anonymous, surely there's some other general term for a person who helps an addict transition out of rehab?

But I love the scene where Holmes apologizes to Watson for crashing her car, and says she's a good investigator. I'm glad that she seems not to be a doormat to him, asking to be let in on the full investigation. I have yet to see her do any ass-kicking, though. Hopefully it will be in the full pilot and the full series.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Prelude - 5000 Downloads

My Holmes ebook has reached 5,000 downloads now, after about 2 years and 5 months. Nice milestone, though sadly I have not finished a sequel to Prelude yet.

The stats on Feedbooks say that 26% of downloads are from the US, 10% from China, and the rest scattered around the world. Interesting that it's so popular even in non-English speaking countries.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

CBS orders Elementary

CBS officially picked up Elementary for the fall season. I'm excited, but impatient. I want to see the pilot already, or at least read the script. They might air it, or maybe clips from it, during the network upfronts. Of course, I won't get to see it, as I'm not member of the TV press. I hope Alan Sepinwall, or some other blogger I can find, will write about it.

Speaking of other Sherlocks, I saw The Avengers yesterday. It was a good movie, and I could follow most of it, except for some vague nuances about Captain America's past, Thor's past, who Hawkeye was, and the identity of the Thanos villain during the post-credits scene. (I only learned Thanos's name, and the fact that there was a 2nd post-credits scene, by reading about it online.) I liked the funny banter, and that there was genius bonding between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. I didn't trust Hawkeye at first after Black Widow knocked him out, because I really didn't believe that it would be that easy to undo Loki's brainwashing. I kept waiting for Hawkeye to betray the Avengers, but finally gave up and just enjoyed his arrow-shooting. He was as impressive and sexy as Jude Law's Watson. I also loved how awesome Black Widow was, not only in fighting, but in her heartbroken act when talking to Loki in the cell. Anyway, good movie.

I like strong, badass women, and I hope that Lucy Liu as Joan Watson will be in the same mold as Black Widow, or maybe like Nikita. (I've been rewatching season 1 of Nikita most of last night and today, in celebration of its renewal.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Great week

This has been a good week, what with Obama supporting marriage equality, and Nikita getting renewed. I even gave Obama a donation for his speech. (I've been supporting mostly Texas democrats instead this year.) Today is a municipal election day, so I'm going go out and vote. I had a tough time finding any information on the local candidates, but I did research a bit on the League of Women Voters site. I still have to read more about the Congressional candidates in the May 29th Democratic primary, but at least I'm prepared for today's election.

Anyway, after voting, I'll go and try to catch a showing of The Avengers that isn't sold out. Mostly I want to see RDJ again, and haven't seen any of the non-Iron Man movies leading up to it. I hope I'll be able to understand it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Point of Origin, part 7

Here at last is the mating scene in my Sherlock is a Vulcan fic

Fandom: BBC Sherlock/Star Trek
Story: Point of Origin
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Warnings: slash, interspecies sex, strong language, Rated R

Point of Origin, part 6

As much as I hate the BBC versions of Moriarty and Irene Adler, I do still love Sherlock and John for the most part. So I'm belatedly trying to finish my pon farr fic. This chapter turned out long, so I'll post the sex scene in part 7 instead.

Fandom: BBC Sherlock/Star Trek
Story: Point of Origin
Pairing: Sherlock/John
Warnings: slash, interspecies snogging, PG-13

Scandal In Belgravia

I was really debating with myself whether I'd watch the Sherlock season 2 premiere when it aired on PBS this weekend. I want to support PBS, and I've been rather offended that people have been blaming PBS for the cuts in the show and accusing Rebecca Eaton of unprofessionalism when fucking Steve Moffat is an internet troll abusing his fans constantly. Plus he and his wife Sue Vertue have been goading Sherlock fans into going to every article about Elementary, to bash it and accuse it of copyright infringement. You ruin your own goddamn show, and you can't let me enjoy the idea that somebody else will do it different? Talk about unprofessional.

But I wondered if I should just let go of my grudge too. Just delete this episode from my DVR unwatched and say, "It's just a TV show. There's way more horrifying stuff in the real world to feel outrage over. Let it go."

Monday, May 7, 2012

Sherlock Holmes on Shmoop

I just discovered this website called Shmoop which seems to be a study-guide for students preparing for college tests. In a very casual, jokey manner, they give summaries and commentary on various literary texts. I found them discussing The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and they made a point to actually mention the bromance:
...the bromance scale goes up to eleven in these stories. Holmes's relationship with Dr. John Watson is so emotionally satisfying that Watson's wife Mary eventually just dies so that the two guys can be roomies again.
Plus they also emphasize that Holmes is a good man, helping people out with his superhero deductive powers. He's not a psychopath who doesn't care about people. He has plenty of ethics and sympathy, even if he takes the law into his own hands sometimes.
 Speaking of having him on our side, Holmes totally uses his powers for good. Everyone in Victorian London, from the lowliest governess to the highest nobleman, eventually comes to see Holmes when they need help. He's like a super-genius, disguise-loving Victorian version of Dear Abby. And it's reassuring to read about a guy who just goes around making sure that life is fair for the little guy.
This is the character I love. The man that's about Truth, Justice, and the British Way. I suspect it's what Watson loved too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

To my profound relief, I found that The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was playing in my area after all. It's really annoying that movie websites don't make this clear until the last moment.

It was very warm and funny, but also sad and moving as well. There were seven British retirees, as well as a few significant Indian characters, in the movie. There was only one married couple among the Brits, while the others were single, divorced, or widowed. In fact, Judi Dench's character had to sell her flat because her late husband had kept her in the dark about his debts. She goes to India instead of moving in with her son to be independent, and she even gets a job for the first time. (I found the coincidence of her being hired by the same company where Sonny's girlfriend worked a little too pat. Sonny is the hotelkeeper played by Dev Patel.) Tom Wilkinson has a great part as a judge who grew up in India long ago and wants to return to find an old lover. Maggie Smith's character only goes to India to get a hip replacement, and intends to leave once she's healed. But of course plans and people have a way of changing.

There's some cliches and predictability to the plot, though I was pleasantly surprised at times. I also felt that the Mrs. Ainsley character was underwritten to the point that I can't remember her first name. Her actions were all over the place and her motivations unclear. But otherwise I was mostly satisfied and glad to have seen the movie. It was certainly well worth missing the Avengers for, at least until next week.

I hope that Hysteria will similarly not disappoint when it comes out later this month. Surely it too will not be hard to find in theatres?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May movies

I didn't see most movies in March and April. I only saw the Chimpanzee movie and was mildly interested in The Raven but decided that I wouldn't be able to stomach the gruesome horror aspects; Poe's stories have always creeped me out without illustrations let alone film images that could stick in my nightmares. The premise of The Hunger Games held no interest to me, nor was the description "the next Twilight" very encouraging. If I want to see an apocalyptic movie about fighting to survive, I'll take Daybreakers with Ethan Hawke and Sam Neill.

I was hoping to see more movies in May because I was interested in both Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Hysteria. In fact I was going to see Marigold Hotel instead of Avengers on May 4th, only to learn that the limited release means it will be nowhere near my state, let alone my city, that weekend. That was highly disappointing. So it's either watch the Avengers, in which I only care about Iron Man, or stay home and watch more Jeremy Brett episodes.

This is particularly annoying as that weekend is also the premiere of Sherlock season 2 on PBS. Fuck that crap.

So I gotta hope that Marigold Hotel comes to me soon, and that Hysteria won't be in such extreme limited release either.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Violets and Violins

This is the opening chapter for my DIM novel, and it takes place in 1861. It shows Sherlock and Mycroft as orphaned children, and introduces the mystery that Sherlock doesn't know how their parents died. They also interact with their cousin George and their French grandmother. I'm not completely decided on all the names yet, but the family relationships are mostly firm.

Jeremy Brett rewatch

Lately I also have started rewatching the Granada Holmes series on Netflix. The episodes with David Burke have altered the stories to make no references to Watson being married, even in cases that take place after his marriage, like SCAN and BLUE. I don't remember David Burke well, as I started with Edward Hardwicke the first time around. I also notice several references to Holmes's cocaine being locked in his drawer, and the show implying that Holmes has injected during some cases.

My Dearest Holmes again

Criminal Element has a review of Rohase Piercy's My Dearest Holmes. I previously praised this book in my blog, and I still recommend it.

In other news, I'm still reading Lycett's biography of ACD. I still haven't heard anything new about the CBS Elementary pilot, though I obsessively check all the time. I'm also very worried about Nikita's chances of renewal.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lycett's biography of ACD

Lately I've been reading a biography of Arthur Conan Doyle by Andrew Lycett called The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes. It cost more than I usually like to pay for a book, but considering that it's almost 600 pages long, I think it's worth the price. It's very interesting and readable, full of new information that I haven't read in any other biography of ACD.

I would recommend this book to anyone who's a fan of ACD and craves an enormous amount of background detail about him (and his family, friends, and literary influences). Lycett practically goes month to month though ACD's life, giving vivid glimpses of daily life, such as ACD joking in a cartoon that he was now "licensed to kill" when he earned his medical degree! It really humanizes him to me. To give you an idea of the biography's pace, it took about 150 pages before I got to ACD writing A Study in Scarlet. I'm still not even halfway through the book yet.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Set Photos from Elementary

Digital Spy has some photos from the filming of the Elementary pilot. You can't really tell what's going on in the photos, but I'm glad for confirmation that it's being filmed now.

I forgot to post here earlier that Aidan Quinn will play Captain Gregson, of the NYPD, who will let Holmes consult on cases, presumably.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PayPal censorship

Hmm, it's being reported that PayPal is backing down with Smashwords about removing erotic books from the store. The article says that they will go after illegal images rather than text, and that it will ban books on a case-by-case basis, rather than banning whole classes of books. That policy is a little better, but we'll have to see how strict their standards are. Also, if their process for letting individual authors appeal a decision doesn't really work, PayPal could still suck. I don't know if PayPal is going to be more reasonable with smaller websites like Forever Fandom either. Maybe Smashwords just had more clout to negotiate. I'll remain skeptical for the moment.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Holmes on BraveStarr

"Sherlock Holmes in the 23rd Century" is the title of two 1988 episodes from the Filmation cartoon series BraveStarr. They're on Hulu, but are incorrectly titled as the "21st century", contradicting the credits and dialogue in the actual videos.

If you don't know it, BraveStarr is a space western set in the future on the planet New Texas, where Marshall BraveStarr and his friends battle outlaws who are after the valuable mineral Kerium. BraveStarr also has supernatural powers based on "spirit animals"--puma, bear, wolf, and hawk. I don't remember most of the show, but am sure it was in my rotation of cartoons in my childhood.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sexual Tension Between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson

Yay, someone else doesn't mind Lucy Liu being cast.

Also, I saw Margaret Colin on an episode of Blue Bloods. She is still as beautiful as ever. Someone even tried to throw acid on her character, much like in a Sherlock Holmes story. I wonder what she thinks of another female Watson.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lucy Liu cast as Watson

Just saw this news posted. So she'll be opposite Jonny Lee Miller in Elementary. Can we finally stop with the accusations that they're stealing from BBC Sherlock now?

There's more detail on her character (Joan Watson) here. So she's "a former surgeon who lost her license after a patient died, while consulting for the NYPD."

Okay, so she already has a non-romantic storyline presumably--a quest to get her license back--and like Margaret Colin's Jane Watson, she was already trying to solve crimes before Holmes came along. (Margaret Colin was a private detective; Liu's character consulted with the police.) That sounds promising. Let's hope the writing and the show lives up to this potential.

Don't know if they'll do a will-they/won't-they romance as well, but at least someone's thought about her character as more than just Holmes's sidekick. She has motivations of her own.

The Oscars

I didn't watch the Oscars because I have long ago got tired of the rambling, boring shows, and I've never really liked Billy Crystal's schtick in the first place. (I've only enjoyed him in movies like Princess Bride and City Slickers.) Even the appearance by Kermit and Miss Piggy wasn't enough to lure me. But reading over the Oscar results today leaves me pretty disappointed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ian Richardson's SIGN

So, my DVD of Richardson's 1985 SIGN movie arrived, and I just watched it. It's a fairly good adaptation, and thankfully there's no domestic violence in it like in their version of HOUN. The movie even borrows a few things from other Holmes films, like the circus from Arthur Wontner's 1932 film.

Thaddeus and Bartholomew Sholto are not twins, and Bartholomew is played by Clive Merrison, who later played Holmes in the BBC Radio series. David Healy plays Watson, possibly because he looks younger (middle-aged) than Richardson's previous Watson, Donald Churchill, and they wanted to make his romance with Mary Morstan more believable.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Study in Lavender

Speaking of ebooks, I recently bought A Study in Lavender as an ebook. This is the same book that Tor.com reviewed last year. There is no sexually explicit content in the book, but it explores themes of queer clients, queer victims, or queer canon characters.

Paypal

Paypal is turning into quite the censor lately, not wanting to provide services to websites hosting erotica fiction. (They also cancelled services to the fanfiction site Forever Fandom that I use for some of my stories.)

Their whole argument about erotica being high-risk for people returning it is odd, because surely if the books are correctly categorized and described as having explicit sexual content, then readers ought to be able to buy what they want, and those who are offended wouldn't have to see it? It's really discouraging.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Jonny Lee Miller cast in Elementary

Here's the casting news from Deadline Hollywood. I'm pleased that now there are more people willing to defend the idea of the US show and point out that lots of people have tried updating Holmes before.

But I really don't understand how it's "asking to get sued" to cast Jonny Lee Miller, or why that would be seen as a betrayal. You can't sue over an actor who's not in the show being cast. It's his career, not Benedict's. They can only be sued if they copy the particular look and feel of BBC Sherlock, which they probably won't, being set in New York after all. Ditto if they copy characters like Molly or Sally Donovan, or make Mycroft and Lestrade look and act the same as they do on BBC Sherlock. Still, I don't see anyone suing BBC Sherlock over taking Mycroft's personality from The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes movie.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good news

Yay for Washington state legalizing same-sex marriage this week. The governor is supposed to sign the law soon.

This along with the federal appeals court ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional, is wonderful. Of course opponents will still seek to appeal the ruling, like always. It must be awful having to wait again and again for the question to be settled.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ian Richardson's HOUN

I just watched the 1983 movie starring Ian Richardson as Holmes, Donald Churchill as Watson, and Martin Thaw as Sir Henry. Finally a version of HOUN that actually has a coal black hound that's suitably massive and scary! Even Thaw's American accent wasn't overdone.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Matt Frewer's SIGN

You know how some time ago, I watched a bunch of Canadian-made Holmes movies starring Matt Frewer and Kenneth Walsh? I was missing one movie then, and now I've found it, but on VHS instead of DVD. Still, it was a good enough copy to watch.

I also rewatched my Seven-Per-Cent Solution DVD, but it's really poor quality, having been transferred from an old VHS tape. If only the owners would reissue it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nicol Williamson

Wow, I just read that Nicol Williamson has died. According to the A.V. Club, it happened back in December, but his son only just recently reported the news, because his father didn't want a fuss made. I didn't know Williamson was Scottish-born. The A.V. Club article has a lot of clips of his works.

I admit that I am only familiar with Nicol Williamson playing Holmes in The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, but what a performance it was. I'll have to look among my VHS tapes and watch it again, maybe this weekend. If only I had a better copy of it, though. So many Sherlockian movies are unavailable these days. You'd think more would be reissued to capitalize on the vogue for Holmes movies and shows these days.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

CBS's Elementary

So, CBS has greenlighted a pilot for their new modernization of Holmes. Unlike most commentators on that page, I'm going to hold out hope that it might be okay. Why? Because I've seen Americanized TV versions of Holmes in modern times before.

I mean, they were more of the Holmes-is-cryogenically-frozen-and-revived type, but I liked them. I especially loved the one with Margaret Colin. You could say that Zero Effect was a modernization of Holmes too.

I've seen people say before that Americans already have Holmes on TV, not merely in House, but in genuine detective/crime shows like Psych, The Mentalist, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but the problem with all those guys is that they're unwatchable jerks. Well, I like Psych, but more for Gus than for Shawn, who grated on my nerves increasingly, and convinced me to stop buying the DVDs. The Criminal Intent guy was full of annoying tics too, forever leaning over and driving me up the wall.

So if they can do a good Holmes that doesn't make me want to slap him despite his Holmes-ness, then sure I'll watch it. I don't mind it being set in New York either. As I've just seen, the 1906 Raffles/Holmes crossover moved to New York pretty seamlessly, and Sherlockian pastiches are forever taking Holmes to America or other lands outside Britain. I'm keeping an open mind.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Muppet Sherlock Holmes

Anybody else see this book that was published in February 2011? It's a comic book/graphic novel starring Gonzo and Fozzie as Holmes and Watson. (If you ask why they didn't use Sherlock Hemlock instead, that's because the Sesame Street characters are now separately owned by Sesame Workshop.) I just found it on Alibris and ordered it recently. It apparently also came out as 4 separate magazines, but the book I got put all 4 issues together.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Point of Origin, part 5

Here's part 5 of Sherlock as a Vulcan. The explanations of pon farr turned out longer than I thought, so still no sex yet. Next chapter, when they're on the ship.

Mycroft says that pon farr lasts for 11 days because in "Amok Time," Spock had been sick for 3 days already when McCoy examined him and declared that he would die in 8 days time.

Nikita

I should have written about this show before, but was too busy enjoying the awesomeness of it. It's finally back from winter hiatus though, and I want to recommend it for how great it treats its female characters. Some showrunners could learn a lot from it.

I'm talking about the CW show, because I've never seen the previous cable series.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Raffles Holmes

Now trying to get onto other things. Happy Twelfth Night! January 6th is claimed by Sherlockians to be Holmes's birthday, based on flimsy evidence--him quoting Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night and him apparently having a hangover on January 7th in Valley of Fear, a claim that's questionable in itself. Apparently the early Sherlockians were obsessed with the idea of Holmes and/or Watson getting drunk on their birthdays. That's what came of their club-like gatherings I guess.

Speaking of early Sherlockians, I recently read R. Holmes & Co. by John Kendrick Bangs which is a sort of crossover between Holmes and A. J. Raffles, the gentleman burglar. Bangs's book was published in 1906, and Raffles Holmes introduces himself to the narrator, whom he asks to be his biographer.

Moffat is furious

Oh I just read that Moffat is furious about being accused of sexism.

Oh you're furious, really? How do you think we fucking feel? And to be clear, I never said that Sherlock the character is sexist, I said you the writer are a misogynist and that your writing for the show, (in season 1 and in this notorious episode), is sexist. And anti-canon. And disgusting. And shameful. Fuck you!

It's laughable to read Gatiss discussing how they need to be faithful in adapting the iconic Hound tale, but apparently they didn't need to be faithful in adapting the iconic Irene Adler. You didn't give a damn about reining in Moffat on that one. Piss off to you too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Still Seething

It's not even about shipperness. I liked Holmes's female love interests in Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and The Seven-Per-Cent Solution movie (not the book). But when Guy Ritchie makes Holmes hate Mrs. Hudson and shoves a woman out of a train, yet is still less misogynistic than you, you ought to be ashamed! I was annoyed with season 1 as a feminist, but I tolerated it as just male Sherlockian blindness.

Moffat and Gatiss claim to love canon, and I was told to "trust them" to get Irene Adler right, but they fouled up everything. Besides, they threw away such trust with Jim, and the stupid Orientalism of "The Blind Banker." This is like insult added to injury. I would have preferred Baring-Gould's crackpot theory that Holmes had an affair and child with Irene Adler during the Hiatus.

Have some balls, Moffat. Name your woman literally Femme Fatale or Catwoman, but don't fucking call her Irene Adler. Jerk off in private, not on our fucking televisions, you wanker.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Moffat the Irene Killer

No I still haven't seen the episode, and I'm starting to feel less and less likely to see it when it does air here. By "Killer" in the title, I don't mean anything spoilery about whether she lives or dies. I mean her personality, her uniqueness, her incredible strength have been murdered. It's worse than Guy Ritchie's version, and worse than the version where she was a criminal mastermind, murderer, and art thief, with helpful evil scar to identify her.

Here are two spoilery reviews of the episode, telling us how badly Moffat needs to fuck off for destroying Irene Adler. 1. Steven Moffat, Sherlock, and Neo-Victorian Sexism. 2. A Scandal in Belgravia, or the fall of Irene Adler.

In fact, I'm even angrier. Gatiss and Sue Vertue need to fuck off too for allowing Moffat to do this, not only to Irene, but to all the female characters in season 1. Fuck off to the lot of you!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

BBC Sherlock spoilers

So, they've seen the "Scandal in Belgravia" episode in the UK. I haven't seen it but the only thing I desperately wanted to know was the resolution of the cliffhanger. I checked John's blog, and found the answer at the end of John's very detailed summary of the Great Game episode.

So if you want to know, go there, even though of course you won't get the rest of the season premiere details, or know if they showed Moran at any point. Also, the blog in general has been updated with months worth of cases. I assume the ones written in full will not appear on the TV show, and the ones mentioned without solutions will be explained in the TV show.