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Jan 18

Too good to be true? Four new series for me to follow!

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016 in TV series

When the series I was following on Swedish tv (not the streaming ones I watch online) stopped just before Christmas, I was convinced it would be a long time before there was anything else I could watch (again, on Swedish tv, fortunately we do still have the streaming series, though most of them will be American and not the British and European ones that we would so much like to see as well).

However, I was wrong. On an ordinary week I now have four different series to watch, and that’s not counting the Sherlock Christmas special that is coming up this month. At least that was lucky.

First of all, there’s a German series, called Deutschland 83, which seems very interesting. It’s about an East German soldier who is forced to relocate to West Germany and work as a spy. It’s set in the 1980’s which is one of my favorite decades so much of the music will be great and it’s sort of ‘historic’ now, so that too, adds to my interest in the series.

Then there’s Shetland, season 3. I had forgotten how short the seasons were, so I was a little surprised to find that we were already on season 3, but clearly it’s correct. I love the scenery and I also really like the episodes, because they’re just old-fashioned ‘real’ cop series. These days you get all that ‘whydunnit’ instead of ‘whodunnit’ and I really prefer the latter. That’s also why I love the historic cop series, because they focus on ordinary plots, instead of all that new stuff.

Finally, tonight there were two new series for me to follow. I’m amazed.

The first one is a Norwegian historic series about a group of resistance fighters who attack the heavy water plant at Rjukan in Nazi-occupied Norway. It’s a very interesting historic series that I’m really looking forward to following. Of course, that attack on Rjukan is very famous in Nordic history so I knew about it before, but I’d forgotten many of the details and we’re also getting a lot of the background, which is great.

Then right after the Norwegian series, Swedish tv has decided to air London Spy. I never thought we’d get to see that this soon after it was released in the UK. It’s a very interesting series too, especially for a slash fan like me, since it’s about two gay guys, well, actually, there’s an older gay man as well.

As someone who’s also into angst, I found this first episode very interesting though a bit surprising. My impression of men, regardless of sexual preference, is that they’re usually not that emotionally fragile and self-desctructive and rarely prone to self harm. But since this series is apparently written by a gay man, I guess he should know. Clearly I was wrong, just as I was wrong about Bob and Rose (about a gay man who falls in love with a straight woman). I also didn’t think that men were quite as likely to just talk, talk, talk instead of getting down to some – erm – action right away. I hope I haven’t spoiled this first episode for anyone intending to watch the series who hasn’t done so already.

Oct 21

Dark Matter (sf tv series)

Posted on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 in Science Fiction, TV series

I have been watching several new series lately, that is series that are new to me. The other night, I started watching a series called Dark Matter. This one really is quite new (released in 2015). It’s actually one of the best I’ve seen so far. I’m not exactly sure what it is about it that appeals to me, but I suppose it’s just a good series – good plot, good setting, good characters. In fact, there’s at least one really cute guy, and two more that are quite hot as well. If you watched the sf series First Wave, you may recognize they guy who played ‘Joshua’. He’s the only actor I have recognized. The rest are completely new to me. A big plus in my eyes is that the women are not slutty. They seem credible as crew members on a spaceship.

A number of people wake up from stasis with no memories of who they are or what their mission is, but they each have specific sets of skills. All they know is that they are aboard a spaceship and the spaceship has been damaged so fixing it is a bit urgent. Since that’s the beginning of the first episode, I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler if I mention that the ship is stabilized and they can continue on their way.

Since the people don’t remember their names, they decide to call themselves One, Two, Three etc, according to the order in which they woke up. Apart from the six crew members there’s also an Android who rather unimaginatively gets called the Android.

Quite early on the ship is attacked and after a while, there are other problems for the crew to deal with.

Later they get a hint of who they supposedly are, but the facts don’t seem to match their personality types.

I think that’s all I’m going to mention about the plot. It may not sound all that exciting, but I have really liked everything so far.

Sep 19

Mr Robot

Posted on Saturday, September 19, 2015 in Fandom, Reviews, TV series

I just watched the first episode of Mr Robot. It was really interesting. Maybe this is an unfair comparison, but it’s a whole lot better and intelligent than Warehouse 13.

When I first heard that a Swedish actor was going to be in it, I was actually slightly disappointed. To be honest, not all Swedish actors are any good, but I suppose I’m being unfair again. No country in the world could possibly have only great actors. And in this case, my fears were unfounded. This guy, that I hadn’t heard of before, seems to be doing ok.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be fan fiction material, but not everything has to be. I have my hands full as it is, primarily with fan fiction, but also original fiction, so I’m not complaining.

This type of series (about computers, the internet and hacking) might not be to everyone’s taste, but it is also a thriller, if that sounds more appealing.

Aug 18

Vera (2011)

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 in Mystery/Cop, Reviews, TV series

I’ve recently watched (most of) two seasons of the UK cop series Vera (2011). It was a pleasant surprise. Most cop series deal with the same old type of case – young women murdered by men. In Vera, you usually have a female killer and as often as not, she kills other women (or children). Depressing as it sounds, it seems to make sense. Women have conflicts with each other, just like men do.

Also, I must say I’ve had more than enough of all those old men who are made out to be irresistible to women thirty or forty years younger. DCI Vera Stanhope, as an older woman is, at least to me, quite new.

Vera is a bit brusque and can seem rude. She’s not that great at social niceties and has spent most of her life alone, but despite her apparent absent-mindedness, she’s very sharp and hardly misses anything, even what is completely baffling to others. She also has her trusted sergeant Joe Ashworth, who seems to regard Vera almost like a mother, rather than a boss. He has a busy personal life, but always manages to find the time to back Vera up.

This, like many other favorite tv series lately, will never inspire any fan fiction. It’s just a very good series to relax with, that can help you forget your own life for a while.

Aug 18

Poldark (2015)

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 in Historic, Reviews, TV series

Poldark (2015) is based on a series of novels by Winston Graham. There was also another tv series made in 1975.

The first episode starts out with a man – Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) – coming back to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War. Defeated and wounded, he expects a different welcome than the one he gets. He finds his father dead, his home in the hands of lazy, neglectful servants and – worst of all – his beloved fiancee about to be married to his cousin. No one except his other cousin Verity, an old maid at 25, who is being used as an unpaid housekeeper by her family, is happy to see him. Believing him dead, his uncle and cousin had expected not only to have the fiancee but also Ross’ father’s mine and land. After repeated efforts by the uncle to buy him out Ross decides to stay on, mostly to support his tenant farmers, who are struggling to make ends meet. He tries to start up the mine again, in a time when the competition from the Welsh mines are keenly felt. To do that he needs capital, which means he needs to convince others to invest in his venture. Cornwall is going through a difficult time. Fishing is failing as well as the mines and people are risking starvation. Even the ‘wealthy’ classes aren’t doing as well as in the past.

To me, Ross Poldark is very much the star of the show. He’s dark, handsome and brooding and exactly the sort of man I like to see in a tv series. None of the other characters come across as real or as developed as he is. Out of the others, his cousin Verity is the only one you really seem to get to know, at least to begin with. After a while, Ross finds and rescues a young girl (dressed as a boy) and takes her in. For several episodes, Ross is still obsessed with his former fiancee and doesn’t have much time for his new young housekeeper, but eventually they begin to get to know each other and Demelza (Cornish name?) learns new skills and turns out to be very intelligent and prepared to take on new responsibilities.

At times it seems Ross’ own family are his worst enemies, but the Warleggans (moneylenders who have done well for themselves and managed to join the gentry) work against him for reasons not quite clear. I get a vague feeling there’s been some enmity between Ross and the younger Warleggan in the past, but you don’t find out much about that in the series, at least not so far.

I have just finished watching the first season and I’m glad to see that there will be a second one. If I will ever write fan fiction again, this is one of the series that has definitely inspired me to several different (mainly angsty, but also slashy) ideas. Naturally, that’s because of Aidan Turner. He’s one of the few actors these days that can totally captivate, beguile and bewitch me and for that I’m grateful.

Aug 18

The Librarians (2014)

Posted on Tuesday, August 18, 2015 in Reviews, TV series

The series can be described as a combination of Indiana Jones (or rather The Young Indiana Jones), MacGyver and Doctor Who/Torchwood. It’s fun and filled with action. The underlying idea is fascinating – a magical library that is more or less infiitely big, that you can reach from more than one place (The Annex), but also a portal that opens just about anywhere so the Librarian can get where the magical action is.

The first episode starts with a woman, Eve Baird, working for an antiterrorist unit who runs into a mysterious excentrically dressed man who is expert in disarming traps (but not the usual kind of bomb trap). She is puzzled but impressed. Soon she receives a mysterious invitation to begin work at the Metropolitan library and finds out about the huge underground library. However, the Librarian (at that time there’s only one) isn’t at all happy to see her. He claims to be able to get by very well without a Guardian (that is the Librarian’s body guard). Circumstances move fast though and Eve (the Guardian) and Flynn (the Librarian) are pulled into a complicated case, fighting a group of ninja warriors. It seems someone is killing off Librarian candidates. Although traditionally there’s only ever been one Librarian and one Guiardian it seems now there’s need for more.

From the second episode there are three Librarians-in-training, protected by the Guardian and a mysterious older man, Jenkins, who seems to be living in the Annex (a sort of add-on to the Library), doing research and keeping an eye on the team of amateurish future Librarians. There’s young amoral thief Exekiel Jones, Cassandra Cillian who is a genius rather like Sherlock, but unfortunately she owes her genius to a tumor in her brain and finally a sort of cowboy who is a genius too – and extremely well educated in archaeology, history and languages.

Like I said, this is a fun, action filled series, with all kinds of supernatural and magical enemies, but I can’t help wishing there was more depth. If they’d only taken the time to write more ‘serious’ and deep episodes I would have been happier. It feels a little llike a YA series with rather hurried plots. Some episodes are downright annoying like the one about Santa, who insists on referring ot himself in the third person. Others, are far more interesting, like one about a town where fairy tales come to life, with dangerous consequences.

So far I’ve seen one season, but apparently there will be another, so at least that’s good. I don’t think I’ll be writing any fan fiction based on this series, but it’s definitely good enough to distract you from your life for a while.

Feb 11

Les revenants, French tv series

Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013 in Fandom, Reviews, TV series

Recently, I finished watching a really good French tv series. Swedish television had taken the rather unusual decision of airing it only online, perhaps as a sort of trial to see how popular it would get. I thought it was great. No more keeping track of time, just watching whenever I liked.

The series is about a town where strange things happen. It lies idyllically in the mountains, somewhere in France. Perhaps a French viewer can be more specific about which region it is, or perhaps it’s been left intentionally vague. I’ve seen other series like that.

The first episode begins with a teenage girl wandering around rather dazed in the countryside. She is seen climbing up from a slope, onto a road. She has no memory of how she ended up there. Her last memories are of being on a school trip, on a bus.

She makes her way home and meets her mother inside, telling her she understands if she’s been worried, but something’s happened and she doesn’t remember what. Her mother manages to keep her calm, and embraces her daughter, but we soon learn that the girl, Camille, has been dead for four years, following a tragic accident while on a school trip. Despite that, she seems exactly as she was four years earlier.

Camille only learns about that when her twin sister (!), Léna arrives home, rather late. Léna has a hysterical outburst and Camille is upset too. The family can think of no explanation for Camille’s return.

I won’t go into all the main characters, but Camille is probably ‘the’ main character so I thought I’d describe her more in depth. Léna has had a really hard time dealing with losing her sister and has rebelled against her parents, but she finds it even harder to accept her sister’s return. The two sisters have a falling out.

In later episodes we learn more about the two sisters and also about a number of other characters, some who have returned from the dead, among them a sinister little boy, a good looking young guy, who played in a band, but who, we are told, killed himself on the night before his wedding and a serial killer.

Some of the returned have no families to return to, having died ten, or even, in one case, thirty-five years earlier.

I’ll just end by saying a few words about the name of the series. In French it’s called Les revenants (“the returning”) and in Swedish it’s been given a name that is one of our words for ghosts (literally meaning ‘those who walk again’, or ‘someone who walks again’). I think that’s a bit of a misnomer, in a way. These people are not like traditional ghosts, though somehow, they seem to be able to get around in mysterious ways. However, we never get to see them going through a wall, or anything like that. You never get the impression they are not flesh and blood. They can eat (to begin with, they’re quite hungry), fight, have sex, but have a difficult time sleeping, though some are able to, as time goes by.

If you get a chance to see this series, I can really recommend it. It’s fascinating, creepy but not too terrifying (if it had been, I wouldn’t have been able to watch it). The tension builds slowly with little details adding to the feeling of dread.

Edit: Here is a link to a gallery with images of the main characters. Just click the image to see the next.

Sep 12

Female role models in tv, movies and books

Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 in Books, Children's books, Classics, Fandom, Fantasy, Historic, Humour, Literature, Movies, Mystery/Cop, TV series

I recently read an article about positive female role models in movies. In general, there is a lack of good female role models so I think the short list in the article is a good starting point in changing that. I began to wonder which female characters I would deem positive and came up with this list (some of which were in the original article):

Ellen Ripley/Sigourney Weaver, the Alien movies (especially the first and second)

I read that Ripley was originally meant to be a male character, which figures. What man would write a female character like Ripley? Or anyone? Which is too bad, because I think that any woman who was physically capable would have done exactly the same things Ripley did. All she did was save her own life and those her adopted kid/s and try to pay a corrupt corporation back for killing her crewmates and setting them all up to bring back a lethal weapon in the form of an ‘exo lifeform’.

Erin Brockovich/Julia Roberts in the movie by the same name

Erin Brockovich is an unedcuated rather simple woman who stumbles across corruption and finds that she wants to do something about and then does exactly that. Simple enough, but at least when I watched the movie, I was impressed with her development from someone who just wanted to make a living to someone with a conscience. Normally, I don’t like Julia Roberts, so I was surprised to find that I liked this movie and the main character.

Olive Hoover/Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine

Olive is anything but a cliche. You might say that her grandfather is not really the kind of person who should have been helping her create her act for the Little Miss Sunshine pageant, and you’d think someone would have thought of that before the actual pageant, but I guess then there wouldn’t have been much of a movie. In any case, Olive is an amazing kid and several other characters in the movie are quite unusual and interesting too.

Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey

Catherine is adventurous, imaginative and though I understand she’s supposed to be a parody of the typical heroine of a ‘gothic’ novel, I really like her. She’s fun and human and flawed, but in general, just nice and you find yourself rooting for her throughout the novel.

Anne Elliot, Persuasion

Anne is also quite different from the other Jane Austen heroines, which is probably why she and Catherine are my two favorite characters from Jane Austen’s books. Poor Anne has been rather too obedient to her family and that has left her in the unenviable situation of being unmarried at the old age of 26. She spends her life trying to help her family and keeping them from bankruptcy. Then when she gets a second chance at life, she’s strong enough to go against her snobbish family and do what she wants for a change.

Beatrice Eliott/Stella Gonet, The House of Eliott

In the first episode of the House of Elliot, Beatrice and her sister Evangeline are basically slaves to their selfish father, but when he dies – which he does during the first five minutes or so of the first episode – Beatrice is the one who quickly finds a way for the sisters to support themselves, doing something they’re both good at and enjoy doing. Beatrice is fun, tough and the sort of person you really root for, except when she’s mean to Jack.

Trudy Joplin/Olivia Brown, Miami Vice

Trudy is the most fun member of the Miami Vice team. Crockett and Tubbs may be sizzling hot, but Trudy is fun, tough and cool. I love her outfits (when she’s not playing prostitute in sting operations).

The rest of my list:

Constance Peterson, Spellbound
Alicia Huberman, Notorious
Tracy Turnblad, Hairspray
Jane Eyre, in the movie by the same name.
Alice, Alice in Wonderland
Miss Froy, Alice Henderson, The Lady Vanishes
Eowyn, LOTR
Stephanie Plum, Lula, Grandma Mazur/mormor Mazur, One for the Money
Veronica Mars, Cindy “Mac” McKenzie, Veronica Mars
From Downton Abbey:
Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
Lady Sybil Crawley
Lucy Pevensie, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe + Prince Caspian + Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Morgan, Cutthroat Island
Janet, Charmed Lives, Diana Wynne Jones
Tea with Mussolini: Most of the female characters.

As you can see this is a mix of characters from movies, tv series and books. They’re in no particular order, chronological or otherwise. I just put them in as I thought of them. Some are from the early 19th century, others from this year or last year and the rest from anything in between. Considering how long a period of time this is (nearly two hundred years) you could say that it’s a pitifully short list, but of course I’ve probably overlooked several great characters that I might have come up with if I’d taken more time to consider. Also, it’s just characters from the English-speaking world. Anyway, for what it’s worth, this is my list. Do you have one too?

Mar 9

Dr Who Meme

Posted on Friday, March 9, 2012 in Fandom, Other, TV series

I found this on Tumblr and I thought I’d share it right away, it was so much fun (and I really need fun right now).

This is how you do it:

Your job is now your Time Lord name. The last digit of your phone number is the current regeneration you are in. The nearest clothing item to your right is now the most notable item in your current wardrobe. The last person you texted is your current companion. Your favorite word is now your catchphrase.

The Writer
7th regeneration
Short blue skirt
My sister Gabriella
Books!

Jan 2

Doctor Who revisited

Posted on Monday, January 2, 2012 in Reviews, Science Fiction, TV series

Three years ago, I posted a review about Doctor Who, after watching part of season 1. I just reread it and I must say it was sort of funny. After having spent many evenings of happy watching, I have a rather different view of the series. I think it’s time for a new review.

Three years ago, and a bit more, Swedish tv aired season 1 of the new Doctor Who series. My dad had watched some episodes of the older series (not sure which ones) on the Sci Fi channel (I know it’s spelled differently now, but it looks ridiculous, and anyway it wasn’t called that back then). I hadn’t been particularly interested. What little I’d seen looked decidedly odd, compared to Star Trek and Star Wars, which were pretty much the only experiences I’d had of science fiction on tv and/or in movies.

Then three and half years ago, roughly, the new series came out. This time, I was definitely interested. Some of the things I said in my earlier review still stands. I don’t like all the episodes, but despite that, I won’t hesitate to say that I love the series. By now, that first Doctor (for me, that is) Nine, has been replaced by Ten and Eleven. I like them all, so it’s hard to make a choice and anyway, they’re all the same Doctor.

I think what I’ve seen so far of Eleven is from one season (apparently season 5).

Fortunately, my sister has a friend who’s given her two DVD boxes of Dr Who, so we’ve been able to watch the whole series in peace and quiet at home. Almost every time I sit down to watch it, I think that my dad would have loved it. (Actually, I do that a lot. Every time I see or hear of something I think my dad might have liked, I think about that. I kind of hope that somehow he does get to see those tv series, movies etc.)

So what can I say about the series? First of all, it is very different from American tv series, but I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. I like many different kinds of tv series and movies. Put simply, Doctor Who is about a lonely alien, the last of his species, who travels the universe in his space/time ship the TARDIS (acronym), that looks like a blue phone booth, looking for distractions, but who also lends a hand when someone – mainly humans – are in danger. To cure his loneliness he picks up human companions and lets them travel with him for a time.

I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen the series (or the whole series, as far as I’ve seen), but I thought I might just mention some favorite episodes.

The first episode of series 1 (Rose) is pretty good (The Doctor saves the Earth from an invasion of mannequin dummies…). I also like The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances (About an eerie child who asks everyone “Are you my mummy?”) .

From season 2 I have several favorites, starting with New Earth (set in a futuristic hospital, where humanized cats care for the seriously ill, if you know me, you can probably guess what I like about this episode), then The Idiot’s Lantern (perhaps a warning about watching too much tv?), The Impossible Planet, The Satan Pit (a double episode that can be quite scary at times, introduces a couple of great characters that I wish would return and also an interesting new species, the Ood) and finally Fear Her (about a scary child who likes to draw a lot).

In season 3 I particularly liked Smith and Jones (a hospital is moved to the Moon by some kind of intergalactic police force chasing an alien wanted for murder), Gridlock (very interesting idea and some adorable kittens, I’m a sucker for those), 42 (again with a promising new character – who hasn’t returned so far, and a fast paced plot: find out what’s wrong with a cargo ship and what’s killing its crew members before you fall into a sun all in 42 minutes) and Blink (very, very scary – keep an eye on those statues and never blink, even for a second).

The list goes on… :) Season 4: Partners in Crime (Donna returns looking for trouble, hoping to find the Doctor, this time a warning about quick weight loss schemes?, I’ve never seen any fat look so cute though LOL), The Doctor’s Daughter (fascinating idea, terraforming and instant non-sexual reproduction, among other things) and finally The Unicorn and the Wasp (where Donna and the Doctor meet Agatha Christie and try to solve a murder mystery in a British manor house).

Somehow season 5 seems quite different, with a new Doctor again. The Beast Below (welcome aboard the starship United Kingdom where something is not right, don’t ride in the elevators at least not when a frowning face is staring at you) is really interesting, and so is The Time of Angels and Flesh and Stone (again, really scary, with those nighmarish Weeping Angels – to watch or not to watch?). I also like Amy’s Choice (I do love Amy’s guy Rory, he’s such a sweetie). I can’t quite make up my mind about The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood (don’t dig too deep, you never know what might turn up). In a way they’re really fascinating, but in other ways – well, as I said, I’m not sure. There are parts of those two episodes I like less.

All in all, it’s been absolutely thrilling to have these Doctor Who marathons. I can’t wait to see the next season.

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