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Oct 6

About tv and channels

Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 in My life, Other, Whining

I hate so called ‘reality series’ (what we in Sweden call ‘docu soaps’), talk shows and game shows. If it was up to me I wouldn’t pay for any ‘tv package’ because it wouldn’t be worth my while. I read the news online and I also watch the few tv series and movies online as well, legally of course. It’s my mom who insists on having a couple of channels – news mostly. Unfortunately, she also watches every single ‘event’, i e charity galas etc. Even more unfortunate is that since we live in the same house it’s impossible for me to escape the noise coming from the tv. Whenever possible, I try to go for a walk so I won’t have to ‘passively’ watch and listen to her shows.

Since I no longer feel it’s worth the money to have tv packages, it’s not such a problem for me personally, but a few years ago, I would have been really happy if the people selling these tv channels to consumers would have let us ‘cherry-pick’ the few channels we wanted, for a higher price, naturally. But no, they force you to pay for ten, twenty or more other channels, that I, for one, would never start. Never even use the settings to save on a certain channel number. So how can they make money from their commercials that I don’t watch, ever? It’s something I’ve never understood.

If I could have my wish, I’d like to see a special ‘channel’ that only had ‘real’ tv, like cop series, science fiction and movies. Not just the so called movie channels that mainly air movies that I’ve never heard of or that are extremely old, but not classics – like from the 1990’s and earlier, and still, it’s not the movies I might like to watch but stuff I’ve never heard of and quite rightly so, because they are probably the ones that both critics and viewers shunned when they first appeared. Whenever I have evaluated a ‘movie channel’ I’ve never heard of the movies included so where do they find this stuff?

Aug 27

TV, Books and Writing

Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2015 in My life

The third season of The Bridge (Bron), will soon be on Swedish tv. This time I really should be smart enough not to watch it. I should have learned my lesson from watching the first two seasons. I watched the first season and disliked it, particularly the ending. Despite that I went on to watch season 2, out of boredom and because the first episode was actually very interesting and exciting. The rest weren’t, but I stupidly continued watching until the end, that again, I disliked more than the whole rest of the series. By now, I should really learn from my experience.

At least there are a few other series I can watch instead.

In other news:

Since I wrote the Vera fanfic, I have also written two short original stories. It’s amazing, and I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be able to, only a week or so ago, but unfortunately, I’m not at all sure I’ll be able to finish the three books I’m working on and definitely not get started on the fourth book and two collections of short stories. I’m not really that inspired. It’s just something to do.

Today, I also discovered that I actually can borrow the two Maria Lang/Dagmar Lange mysteries as e-books – as long as I get a library card in a small town not far from here. I could get one right away, the next time I go and I might, but since I also might move there or closer to there, I think I’ll wait until I actually do move (which will be very soon, hopefully) at least if we can find a reasonable good house. We’ve already looked at a few, but none of them were a good fit for us.

In that town there’s also a really great supermarket with lots of locally grown (organic) vegetables and fruit. It’s the best shop I’ve seen anywhere. Finally, there’s also a very nice, but a bit expensive cafe.

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!

Feb 11

Lark Rise to Candleford

Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 in Historic, Reviews, TV series

Some time after I watched Cranford (see earlier review), I discovered another tv series set in nineteenth century Britain. In fact, it reminded me of Cranford, not merely because the two names Cranford/Candleford are similar. Like Cranford, this series is set in nineteenth century England (though roughly half a century later.)

The initial premise is smiliar too. A young woman, Laura Timmins, moves to live with an older woman – in this case her mother’s cousin, Dorcas Lane – to work in miss Lane’s post office, in a small town.

Again, like Cranford, this series is both funny and sad and most of all interesting. It too features a number of memorable characters, mainly female. In fact, that’s one of the few complaints I have. While there are.a few interesting male characters, the great majority are female.

Apart from Laura, the main character, and her relative and boss, Dorcas Lane, there are their two neighbours, Pearl and Ruby Pratt who own a shop selling the latest fashion, sometimes all the way from Paris. They are perhaps not exactly pleasant, but interesting and have their secrets, some of which are exposed in season 2 (which is as far as I’ve watched).

One of my favorites is Queenie (who lives in the hamlet Lark Rise, that Laura comes from). Queenie is easily the most likeable character in the whole series. She’s a wise old woman, who keeps bees, grows herbs and vegetables in her garden and knows much about healing. Over the years she’s taken in children and raised them as her own. Sadly, Queenie was never able to have children of her own. She lives with her common law husband (later they marry, properly in church), Twister. Twister is a bit excentric, perhaps going senile. He’s a good man, but he leaves the responsibilities of running their household entirely to Queenie.

Another favorite is Minnie, a girl taken in by Dorcas Lane, to train as kitchen maid. Minnie is funny, charming and filled with wide-eyed curiosity about her new world. She listens attentively and picks up new, long words like ‘extra-ordinary’ and learns to use them. Minnie, like many of the other characters, has her own dark back story, but despite all that, she remains happy and outgoing.

Mailman Thomas Brown, strict Christian, comes across as rather rigid and cold, but hides a heart of gold under his strict exterior.

Finally, I’d like to mention James Dowland – another favorite of mine. He shows up early in season 2 and he and Dorcas Lane end up arguing about just about everything, but it’s obvious that they’re attracted to each other. I won’t go into what happens between them. I will only mention that he’s one of Queenie’s foster children, who’s left Lark Rise, gone to London and returned to his native Oxfordshire, having made a fortune. James too has his secrets, but again, I won’t spoil the series for those who haven’t seen it. There are plenty of other interesting characters, but I think this will do as an example. If you like historic series, I can definitely recommend it.

Feb 11

Desperate Romantics

Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 in Historic, Reviews, TV series

Desperate Romantics is another tv series set in the nineteenth century. It’s about the so called PreRaphaelite Brotherhood – a group of artists and poets who decided to challenge the current ideals of beauty and launched a new painting style (among other things). In private, many of them led tumultuous lives. They drank, took drugs, were involved with prostitutes and had affairs with each other’s wives. The series is narrated by a friend of the artists – Fred Walters – (I’m not sure if this man existed in real life or is a convenient invention to tell the story).

There’s a lot of sex and drama, and a bit of history, especially art history, but my remaining impression is the sad situation faced by women in those days. They either had to lead sheltered, anemic, boring lives or risk losing their reputations and end up as prostitutes. Dante Gabriel Rossetti (from a family of famous artists and poets) seems to have been a sex addict, chasing prostitutes and barmaids, as well as his own models, some of which were prostitutes and barmaids, but he married a young milliner’s assistant, Elizabeth Siddal. She becomes Rossetti’s model, wants to become an artist like him, but is frustrated both by the lack of interest in her work and her husband’s constant infidelity, and later dies of a drug overdose. It’s pretty much all like that. You get to see a lot of Aidan Turner’s naked body, and believe me, I’m not complaining about that, but also all those women. It made me sad.

All the men, except John Millais, who had his own premarital problems, were more or less in love with the same women, but usually the charismatic Rossetti had the best luck with them. For years he had an affair with his friend and ‘brother’ William Morris’ wife, apparently with Morris’ full approval.

At the beginning of the series, the ‘brothers’ are trying to get the art establishment’s attention and eventually are able to gain the famous critic Ruskin’s approval. Ruskin is married to a frustrated young woman, Effie, but apparently he hasn’t consummated the marriage – he finds the female form unattractive. During the course of the series, it’s suggested that he might be a paedophile, but he strenuously denies the accusation. Perhaps he was what today would be termed ‘asexual’, but on the other hand, who would admit to being a paedophile? In the later part of the series, Ruskin goes everywhere with a young art student of his, a fourteen-year-old girl. Effie has the marriage annulled, after a humiliating physical examination to confirm the fact that she is still a virgin. Soon after, John Millais marries her. Apparently their marriage is both normal and happy and in the end they have eight children (but you don’t get to see that in the series). As far as I can tell, it deals with about ten years of the ‘brotherhood’s career.

The only really likeable character in this series is John Millais, and I suspect that’s partly because he’s not really a main character. He was never the rebel the others were, and even from early in his career gained recognition by the art establishment.

The others, especially Rossetti, claim to understand women, but end up hurting their feelings, through lack of understanding of their situation. Ultimately all the women, except Effie, formerly Ruskin, later Millais, are more or less unhappy.

Feb 11

Cranford

Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 in Classics, Historic, Reviews, TV series

I’ve always liked historic series/movies/books and whenever there’s something like that on tv, I want to watch it. Cranford was no exception. The series was on a few years ago, and after it ended I read that there would be a ‘Christmas special’. I was hoping we’d get to see that too, but the Christmas of 2009 came and went and there was nothing like that. Fortunately, I had more luck last Christmas (2010). At least I assume it was the ‘Christmas special’ we got to watch.

At first I thought the tv adaption was focusing a little too much on (unintentional?) humour. Despite that, I found it interesting though rather sad. Some of the characters were really likeable, others less so, but still interesting and/or funny and definitely real and believable. Undoubtedly this was partly due to the cast. I’d especially like to mention Judi Dench, Julia McKenzie and Imelda Staunton, but the others too, famous or not so famous, did a great job.

Cranford is a little town in mid-nineteenth century England. It struggles with the changes their country is going through, not convinced that all change is for the better. For instance, railways are considered a threat. In the end, though, the people of Cranford find that nothing can stand in the way of ‘progress’ and perhaps they were wrong to try. The town is populated by a number of memorable people. Especially the women are described in detail.

At the beginning of the series, two elderly sisters, Misses Deborah and Matty Jenkyns, invite a young woman, Mary Smith, daughter of a friend of theirs, to come and live with them. You get to see Cranford and its inhabitants through her eyes. I suspect she’s the author’s alter ego. (I understand that Cranford is based on a series of books by a woman named Elizabeth Gaskell. I haven’t read them, but I think I might like to.)

Looking back on the series, my strongest impression is that it’s mostly about women who have never married, are widowed or whose prospects of marriage are poor, either because of lack of money or connections. Another theme seems to be the position of women in nineteenth century Britain.

Mar 31

Top Ten Male Characters

Posted on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 in Fandom, Other

1. Spock (Star Trek: Zachary Quinto – ok, a movie, but anyway…)
2. Peter Petrelli (Heroes: Milo Ventimiglia)
3. Mohinder Suresh (Heroes: Sendhil Ramamurthy)
4. Mitchell (Being Human: Aidan Turner)
5. Robert of Huntingdon (Robin of Sherwood: Jason Connery)
6. Guy of Gisburne (Robin of Sherwood: Robert Addie)
7. Archie Kennedy  (Hornblower: Jamie Bamber)
8. Robin of Loxley (Robin of Sherwood: Michael Praed)
9. Boromir (Lord of the Rings: Sean Bean)
10. Jack Harkness (Torchwood: John Barrowman)

Honorable Mentions: Alex Krycek (X files: Nicholas Lei), Aragorn (Lord of the Rings: Viggo Mortensen), Michael Guerin (Roswell: Brendan Fehr), Dr Wilson (House: Robert Sean Leonard), Cal McCaffrey (State of Play: John Simm) Dan Foster (State of Play: James McAvoy), Mulder (X files: David Duchovny), Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt: Spy Game – ok, not a tv series, but I’ve seen it on tv, so…), Adam Carter (Spooks: Rupert Penry-Jones), Danny Taylor (Without a Trace: Enrique Murciano), Scotty Valens (Cold Case: Danny Pino), Casey (Veronica Mars: Jonathan Bennett), Quinn and Colin Mallory (Sliders: Jerry and Charlie O’Connell)

Oct 23

Veronica Mars

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Mystery/Cop, Reviews

You must have heard of the tv series Veronica Mars. Maybe you’ve followed it right from the start, like me. If not, and you’re curious about the series, read on.

On a superficial level, VM is just like other American series for teens – Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Roswell and many others. The difference is that VM is also a series about a PI. Veronica is not only a high school student (in the first two seasons), but also a private investigator.

At the beginning of the series. the school where Veronica is a student, and the little town where she lives, is¬† stunned by the brutal murder of Veronica’s friend, Lilly Kane. She was the daughter of an IT millionaire and was found dead on the family’s patio. One of the suspects in the case was Lilly’s own dad.

Veronica’s dad, who was the sheriff of their little town – Neptune, California (imaginary town) – was the one who dared to accuse one of the most prominent citizens of the town. He lost his job over that. At almost the same time his wife leaves him.

What’s left of Veronica’s family is now poor and impopular and Veronica can’t hang out with her old, rich friends.

She makes a new friend – a guy who has just moved into town – but she’s still obsessed with finding out who killed her best friend and to regain the good reputation she and her dad used to have.

Throughout season 1 she keeps getting closer to the solution of the crime, but she also solves other crimes, for instance for people from her school. She also gets to know a computer expert, called Mac (her real name is Cindy, but she hates that.)

In the last episode of season 1 Veronica finds out who killed her friend, but at the same time, she and her dad end up in mortal danger. She also falls out with her boyfriend, who is also her best friend’s ex. Unfortunately, she and her dad’s has him figured as the prime suspect for the murder.

At the beginning of season 2, Neptune High, Veronica’s school, is the victim of a major tragedy.. A bus full of students from poor families, end up in a traffic accident. Before long, it’s apparent that the accident is suspicious and Veronica decides to investigate. For instance, her ex’s new girlfriend is in the bus when it goes over the cliff. She is also the sole survivor of the crash, but ends up in a coma.

For various reasons, she hated Veronica, but ironically, it’s thanks to her that Veronica isn’t on the bus when the accident happens.

Just like in season 1, Veronica solves other cases too, but the main theme is the bus crash. After following a number of false leads, Veronica finds out who was behind the crash. This time too, she ends up in serious danger. She also finds out that she was raped, even though at first it looked as if she wasn’t – she’d had voluntary sex with her ex-boyfriend, who she thought was her half-brother.

Confusing? If you’d followed the series, you wouldn’t think so. In any case, her ex wasn’t her brother, but someone really had raped her while she was out cold. That’s where season 2 ends.

Now I’ve watched season 3 as well. Sadly, that’s the last one ever. I’m sorry about that, but on the other hand, no series can last forever. Also, I have to say that season 3 wasn’t nearly as good as the other two.

The reason I can really recommend this series is that it maintains a high quality throughout the two first seasons. The dialogue is great, the main characters are well defined, and the series writers don’t hesitate to deal with serious problems. Unlike many series I’ve seen in the past four or five years, this feels a lot more genuine.

Oct 23

Silent Witness

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Mystery/Cop, Reviews

Silent Witness has been going on for several seasons already. I think I’ve been around for three of them, but that was late in the series. It started some time in the 1990’s. In any case, if you’ve seen Crossing Jordan you’ll have some idea about the genre.

Personally, I like Silent Witness better. I do have one, only one, which is unfortunate, favorite character, in each series, but usually I prefer the British series.

It’s set in London at a university (probably University of London, but what do I know? They might have more than one.), at the department of pathology of whatever they call it. Two pathologists work under a professor (well, there might be more pathologists, but the viewers get to follow these two). They perform autopsies and help the police solve criminal cases or eliminate the natural deaths from their lists.

Unlike in the American equivalent, there are no particular ‘effects’. There’s no cop returning in each episode (like Woody, played by Jerry O Connell). Instead there are new cops in each episode.

Sometimes, but not often, you get to take a look at the personal lives of the pathologists. That’s not always pleasant. For instance at the beginning of one of the latest seasons, Professor Dalton loses his wife and daughter in a very tragic accident. A car hits a cafe, killing everyone or almost everyone in there.

In Crossing Jordan, almost all the main characters irritate me. The ones in Silent Witness don’t.

It’s an interesting series and sometimes also exciting. I don’t think I can mention anything negative about it. Except for one thing, maybe. My constantly stressed out sister says she’s having trouble focusing on the episodes. They’re quite long. Movie length. Possibly they were meant to be shown in two parts. That would make it a longer series with shorter episodes. Like Crossing Jordan. Personally I prefer finished storylines. The only thing making movie length episodes a little tiresome is the commercial breaks.

In any case, I can really recommend this series if you like the cop series genre (or the pathologist, forensic subgenre). This one is just a little different. One detail: there’s a very beautiful song playing at the beginning and the end of the show. It sounds like gregorian chant or at least some type of religious music. I’m no expert, but I do know I find it really beautiful. One more thing. I think Harry, the youngest male pathologist, is kind of cute, if not really hot, if that means anything to anyone. :)

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