Category Archives: Television

Lewis 8.28

Lewis Series 8
28 “Entry Wounds”
(Originally Aired in UK 10 October 2014)

Hathaway starts work on his first murder case as an inspector with the help of a new partner, DS Lizzie Maddox. But as the pair delve into the worlds of neurosurgery, blood sports and animal rights, Hathaway’s theories are challenged by alarming new developments. He realizes he needs the insight of the retired Lewis to close the case.


Another good crime story from the BBC. The story successfully navigates between multiple suspects until a final revelation that catches the killer. As usual there is little violence (apart from the murders) and everything is would up in a very British way. Interesting use of Indian actors, who I suspected were never the killers and got what was probably their best acting parts in years.

 

Anna Karenina

Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy (1875)

The novel was published in serial installments from 1875 to 1877 in the periodical ‘The Russian Messenger’. Tolstoy clashed with editor Mikhail Katkov over political issues that arose in the final installment therefore, the novel’s first complete appearance was in book form in 1878. Widely regarded as a pinnacle in realist fiction, Anna Karenina recounts St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina’s life story at the backdrop of the late-19th-century feudal Russian society. Having considered War and Peace not a novel, Tolstoy considered Anna Karenina his first true novel. Fyodor Dostoyevsky declared it “flawless as a work of art.” His opinion was shared by Vladimir Nabokov, who especially admired “the flawless magic of Tolstoy’s style,” and by William Faulkner, who described the novel as “the best ever written.” The novel remains popular, as demonstrated by a 2007 poll of 125 contemporary authors in Time, which declared that Anna Karenina is the “greatest book ever written.”


After reading ‘War and Peace’ on a Palm Pilot over the 2008 winter, I had anticipated also reading this novel. However the public broadcast of the 2012 film by Joe Wright was an alternative and shorter means of absorbing the story.

A lot of the story takes place on in a theatre, with actors changing the scenery between each scene. It’s a device not seen before and at first is a novelty but soon becomes distracting.

The best part of the film is the production design, costumes and score. The music really takes over at times, making the film a visual and audio feast for the senses. However the main problem is the story. This is surprising given the screenplay by Tom Stoppard. There is never a sense of involvement with characters. Their backgrounds and motivations are not clear and the result is that the story comes across as a cheap melodrama.

Having red War and Peace, I know that Tolstoy put more into his books than this. Maybe the story would be better told as a miniseries. There have already been seven TV adaptions, so maybe one of these is better than the film.

In the end this film it was a case of style over substance and after an hour it became boring and I gave up.

Recommendation: Read ‘War and Peace’

24 Day 2

The second season of the American drama television series 24, also known as Day 2, was first broadcast from October 29, 2002, to May 20, 2003 on Fox. The season begins and ends at 8:00 a.m.

This season can essentially be broken into two acts:

The first act involves CTU attempting to stop a Middle Eastern terrorist cell from detonating a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles.
In the second act, Jack and the CTU try to prevent a misdirected retaliatory strike from the U.S. by investigating a possibly forged piece of evidence, as the strikes might touch off a world war if successful.

This season pushed the melodrama up another notch. Lots of close shots of people whispering and conspiring. Jack surviving torture then a few hours later taking on a crack team of assassins. The absurb-o-meter really gets cranked up to nuclear proportions in this season.

24(1) 2:00PM – 12:00AM

24Season1-CastPic

Yet more absurd twists and turns. Agents do stupid things, leaving doors open, not looking behind them. But most annoying being a sniper played by an actor who had obviously never held a rifle before. It ends, then end and ends. The plot has more endings that ‘Return of the King’.

Palmer looks more like a goody two-shoes one dimensional character that just becomes more annoying. His wife is the better character, actress Penny Johnson Jerald played Kasidy Yates in Star Trek DS9.
She is great as the Machiavellian wife that pushes her husband. The Palmer couple could have been based on the Bill & Hillary Clinton, but even more accurately Frank and Claire Underwood from ‘House of Cards’.

Despite the plot holes and absurdities of the plot, it’s still a good and tense ride for the 24 hours.

 

24(1): 3:00AM – 2:00PM

24Season1-CastPic

 

Jack follows a lead from Walsh’s card. At CTU, Nina Myers and Jamey Farrell (Karina Arroyave) decide to go against George Mason’s (Xander Berkeley) orders and help Jack. Kim is handed off to Gaines’ men while Janet is taken to the hospital.

Palmer meets with reporter Maureen Kingsley (Devika Parikh), who explains that she has two separate sources accusing his son Keith Palmer (Vicellous Reon Shannon) of murdering his sister Nicole’s (Megalyn Echikunwoke) rapist. Kim and Rick (Daniel Bess) are taken to Ira Gaines’ compound on the outskirts of the city. Jack finds an unidentified body connected to Gaines in the trunk of a car. Alan and Teri wait in the hospital as Janet undergoes surgery.

Jack and Teri are briefly reunited at the hospital, where Jack warns the doctors not to let anyone near Janet. Gaines contacts Jack and tells him that he has kidnapped Kim. Jack must follow Gaines’ orders if he wants to ever see his daughter again. Teri leaves the hospital with Alan to continue searching for Kim. Palmer discovers that his entire family has been keeping secrets from him, but he needs them if he is to come clean before Kingsley breaks the story herself. After Jamey helps identify the body from the car, Nina calls Teri to tell her that the cadaver is the real Alan York.

Acting on Gaines’ orders, Jack returns to CTU to interfere with the decryption of the key card. He is then ordered to shoot Nina, but manages to do so without actually harming her. Teri escapes from Alan’s impostor, but is captured by more of Gaines’ men.

Nina Myers and Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) realize that Jamey is the mole inside CTU and is communicating with Gaines. Using instructions and equipment from Gaines, Jack gets in to see Palmer’s appearance at the San Clarita power plant. Jack soon realizes that the terrorists plan to frame him for the assassination.

Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson Jerald) tries to convince Maureen Kingsley not to run her story. Jack is taken into custody while Kim and Teri encounter more problems at Gaines’ compound. Nina and Tony pressure Jamey for information about the assassination plot. After leaving and returning to the room where Jamey is held they find Jamey with her wrist slashed in an apparent suicide attempt.

Teri acquires a cell phone and calls Jack, giving him clues to her whereabouts. An Acting Director, Alberta Green (Tamara Tunie), arrives at CTU and declares Jack a fugitive. Jack follows a lead from Jamey’s computer to a Los Angeles businessman named Ted Cofell (Currie Graham).

Jack poses as the driver of Cofell’s limo and soon interrogates the businessman on his family’s whereabouts. Initially Jack has no success but after Jack breaks Cofell’s wrist, Cofell curses him in Serbian, which Jack recognizes as a link to the day’s events. Cofell suffers a heart attack and dies. Jack then runs into Cofell’s contact, Kevin Carroll – the man he knew at the hospital as Alan York – and interrogates him. Carroll agrees to take Jack to where Teri and Kim are held in exchange for his life. Nina and Tony grow more concerned about the possibility of another mole inside CTU. Andre Drazen (Zeljko Ivanek), Gaines’ superior, orders the deaths of Kim and Teri.

Jack makes it into Gaines’ camp and enlists Rick’s help to secure for a vehicle in which to escape. Gaines quickly finds out when Carroll is found unconscious and chaos ensues. Jack manages to escape the compound with his family and Rick until the tire of their van is shot out. Continuing their escape on foot, Teri and Kim make their way to the rendezvous point while Jack and Rick hold off Gaines and his men. Rick is wounded but manages to escape with Jack. When Palmer tries to talk to Dr. George Ferragamo, his son’s therapist, he soon discovers that there are men inside his own campaign that are willing to commit murder in order to protect him.

Jack has a final confrontation with Gaines who, fearing retribution from the Drazens, chooses death over helping Jack. Jack, Teri and Kim are airlifted back to CTU. Rick manages to escape from the compound, fearing that he would be jailed for his involvement with Gaines if he turned himself in. Palmer plans to talk to the DA about Dr. Ferragamo’s murder, but Carl Webb (Zach Grenier) tries to stop him. At CTU, Nina discovers that a second assassin has arrived in Los Angeles, which means that Palmer’s life is still in danger.

Kevin Carroll, having escaped the compound with a small group is killed by Alexis Drazen (Misha Collins), who is mopping up the remnants of the first team of mercenaries. Jack returns to CTU, but is not authorized to see his family. Tony refuses to tell Alberta Green and Ryan Chappelle (Paul Schulze) what he knows about Jack’s activities. Nina escorts Kim and Teri to a hospital, but comes across evidence that they may still be targets. Palmer discovers a link between himself and Bauer, and decides to take matters into his own hands — demanding to see Jack personally to confront him about the day’s events.

Bauer is great is these episodes, combining the skills of a super-spy and showing some vulnerability when holed up in the construction office. The problem is Palmer, he is becoming less realistic as an ambitious  politician. Now willing to make tough decisions he is overshadowed by his wife ans aides. And finally when the assassin’s boss meets his end… we get a re-start and another threat.

24(1): 12:00AM – 3:00AM

 

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The first season of the American drama television series 24, also known as Day 1, was first broadcast from November 6, 2001, to May 21, 2002 on Fox. The season’s storyline starts and ends at 12:00 a.m. on the day of the California presidential primary.

It’s the eve of the California Presidential Primary. Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), sneaks out of the house to go out with friends. As Bauer’s wife, Teri (Leslie Hope), searches for Kim, Jack is called in for a meeting at CTU Los Angeles in response to a threat on Senator David Palmer’s (Dennis Haysbert) life that is believed to take place within the next 24 hours. Bauer discovers that there may be a mole inside CTU. Senator Palmer gets a disturbing phone call at his downtown Los Angeles hotel.

Jack’s plans to find his daughter are sidetracked when he gets a call from CTU agent Richard Walsh (Michael O’Neill), who is being stalked by assassins connected with the David Palmer hit. Walsh meets another CTU agent, Scott Baylor, who is subsequently killed. Mandy (Mia Kirshner) passes the ID card of a dead (presidential) photographer to Ira Gaines (Michael Massee), the man leading the assassination plot. Kim realizes that she and Janet York (Jacqui Maxwell) may be in danger, while Teri and Alan York (Richard Burgi) search for them. As Jack and Walsh escape from the assassins, Walsh is gunned down, but manages to throw a keycard to Jack, which contains information about a mole within CTU.

The files on Walsh’s key card finger Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) as a dirty agent. Kim and Janet try to escape from their captors while Teri and Alan continue their search.

Wow ! It’s been 15 years since the series was aired. The obvious precognition is the black senator looking to be President. It was in 2008 that this actually happened. The first plot problem I had was that Bauer cut off the finger of a dead assassin so he could get a fingerprint match. This was done to establish his character, despite being a family man, he was tough and brutal when necessary. The problem was that the way to scan the fingerprint was to use a portable scanner. Something he could have done without removing the finger. Next is the obvious ‘damsel in distress’ story-line of his daughter. It may be the 21st century, but this trope just won’t die.

It’s apparent that the use of constant background music is setting the tense tone of the series. It’s unrelenting and sometimes could do with some toning down. Still, a good start to an iconic thriller.

 

 

House of Cards 42-52

 

House-of-Cards

Chapter 42
Claire joins Frank as he campaigns in South Carolina, but he doesn’t trust her. A disastrous scandal blindsides Frank on primary day.

The race card is dealt, and Frank responds. But it’s too late, he losses his home state. Claire, despite her setback is clawing for her way back into the power game. The tension between them is continuing to rise.

After seeing a few episodes, the remainder were viewed over the weekend.

Chapter 43
Claire threatens Frank while Frank makes a politically bold move that may provoke Russia.

Chapter 44
Claire advises the VP Donald Blythe on dealing with Russia. Further investigation of Lucas Goodwin dredges up his accusations against Frank.

Chapter 45
Claire clashes with the Secretary of State Durant over her involvement in negotiations with Russia. Dunbar must choose between her campaign and her ethics.

Chapter 46
Frank and Claire adjust to their new reality. The search for Frank’s running mate begins. Frank starts a campaign to weaken Conway’s strong support.

Chapter 47
Formidable as ever, Frank and Claire have their eyes on the big picture as they manipulate a potential running mate and push a gun bill.

Chapter 48
At the convention, Frank and his team publicly push for Secretary of State Durant to be chosen as his running mate, but privately push a different agenda.

Chapter 49
As Frank deals with a new threat to his candidacy, Claire has doubts about their plan. Claire faces a difficult decision concerning her mother’s health.

Chapter 50
Frank ups the ante on the war on terror to counter Conway’s public criticism of his lack of action. Tom joins Claire on the campaign trail.

Chapter 51
Frank asks Conway to help deal with extremists threatening to murder hostages. Tom Hammerschmidt digs deeper into the allegations against Frank.

Chapter 52
As the hostage situation continues, Claire secretly negotiates with an extremist leader. Frank confronts Hammerschmidt.

Another good series with the usual persuasion and corruption expected from the first three series.

 

House of Cards 41

House-of-Cards

 

Chapter 41
As Claire begins exploring a campaign of her own, she and Frank engage in backdoor political maneuvering. But this time they’re not on the same side.

It’s Claire vs Franks, and a win to Frank for undermining her campaign. Claire resorts to dipping into the family assets, proving that blood is not thicker than water. The Russians are back and it looks like another bully to bully round is coming.

House of Cards 40

 

House-of-Cards

Chapter 40

 Clare’s absence causes problems for Frank on the campaign trail amid rumors of a marital rift. Claire tries to strike out on her own.

Frank is back, and more of a bulldog than before. Those loyal to him appear to be short in number. It’s Clare who looks like the real political operative here, even if she doesn’t get her way. And just who is the criminal let out of jail. Looks like he could be the next spanner in the works for the administration. An intriguing start to series 4.

 

 

 

Lexx 4.24

 

Lexx_Logo
Lexx 4.24 “Yo Way Yo” April 26, 2002
Dr Longbore selects his crew of schoolgirls to go onto Noah with him. But just before he boards, Priest and Bunny take his ride, and he is fried. Out of spite, Longbore has left a Higgs boson accelerator to destroy everything. The aliens start tearing into Earth using moon-sized tentacled asteroids. Kai starts towing the accelerator to use it against the aliens, but after Xev, Stan and he leave Earth, 790 destroys it using senile Lexx. Prince grants Kai his mortality, as he tows the accelerator into the main alien asteroid, and collapses it. Kai crashes into the core in almost a shot for shot duplicate of the first time he died and laughs from the irony as the accelerator’s Higgs Boson value is determined as 131313… and explodes. Prince appears, rejoicing, on Noah. Lexx disintegrates, and spawns a baby Lexx, which Stan and Xev enter with Stan becoming the new captain.

At least it ended with a bang, not a whimper.