Category Archives: Television

Lewis 9.33

Lewis Series 9
33 “What Lies Tangled”

(Originally Aired in UK 3 November 2015)

A summer’s day in Oxford is screwed apart, when a parcel bomb explodes. The team are called in to investigate, but the victim is a womanizer, having been known to have had numerous affairs with younger women. With his six-month trip to New Zealand with Hobson on the horizon, Lewis is in a race against time to save his career and relationship.


Another rather ordinary story, with a number of characters that could be the killer. It’s just a matter of eliminating the unlikely to end with right man. Unfortunately, a rather forgettable final episode of the series.

Lewis 9.32

Lewis Series 9
32 “Magnum Opus”

(Originally Aired in UK 20 October 2015)

Lewis and Hathaway are called to investigate a body in some woodland. But realizing three more murders are to follow, the team must hurry to catch the killer, before they happen. Hathaway is struggling to cope with his father’s illness, as he begins his search to find out who he was before the dementia kicked in.


This is a better episode because it has a simpler storyline. But, as usual there is a twist late in the story to explain the motivations of the murderer. So better than before, but just very average.

 

 

Lewis 9.31

Lewis Series 9
31 “One for Sorrow”

(Originally Aired in UK 6 October 2015)

A new boss arrives at Oxfordshire Police, and he begins to question Lewis’ role as a consultant. After an exhibition of anthropomorphic taxidermy, the body of a young avant-garde artist is found. Lewis, Hathaway and Maddox must delve into the worlds of social media, drugs, taxidermy, alternative art and the homeless East European community. Meanwhile, Hathaway confronts his father and sister, with whom he does not have a good relationship.


Again, a plot that changes and shifts, never leaving clues as to the actual murderer. Is it about drugs, taxidermy ?

Turns out it was all about the Stanford prison experiment. Who saw that coming ? Only the writers.

And Then There Were None

 

And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers, after the British blackface song, which serves as a major plot point. The US edition was not released until December 1939; its American reprints and adaptations were all re-titled And Then There Were None, the last five words in the original American version of the nursery rhyme (“Ten Little Indians”).

The book was adapted in 2015 to a television serial that was first broadcast on BBC One from 26 to 28 December 2015. It was adapted by Sarah Phelps and directed by Craig Viveiros.

Cast

  • Douglas Booth as Anthony Marston: Accused of killing two children, John and Lucy Coombes, by reckless driving, which he acknowledges.
  • Charles Dance as Justice Lawrence Wargrave: Accused of murdering an innocent man by sentencing him to hang.
  • Maeve Dermody as Vera Claythorne: Accused of murdering Cyril Hamilton, a boy in her care, having encouraged the child to swim out further in the hope that he would drown so her lover, the boy’s uncle, would become heir to the family estate.
  • Burn Gorman as Detective Sergeant William Blore: Accused of murdering a homosexual in a police cell. The actor was also in the Dr Who Torchwood Series.
  • Noah Taylor and Anna Maxwell Martin as Thomas and Ethel Rogers: Accused of murdering a previous employer.
  • Sam Neill as General John MacArthur: Accused of murdering a fellow officer having an affair with his wife.
  • Miranda Richardson as Emily Brent: Accused of being responsible for the suicide of her maid by abandoning her when she became pregnant.
  • Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard: Accused for killing 21 men in Eastern Africa for diamonds.
  • Toby Stephens as Doctor Edward Armstrong: Accused of killing a patient during surgery while drunk.

Review
This starts very slowly, intense shots of scenery and faces, every word seeming to have meaning. Then the killing starts, and the viewer it invited to work out who did it. It’s not until part two that the intensity increases and the body count mounts. A lot of the story is told in flashback, sometimes unnecessarily repeating. Then, at the end just when we think it’s all worked out and we know who did it – a final twist of the knife before all is revealed. Then it becomes apparent why this is considered Agatha’s best story.

Lewis 8.30

Lewis Series 8
30 “Beyond Good and Evil”

(Originally Aired in UK 7 November 2014)

Thirteen years ago, Lewis successfully apprehended hammer killer Graham Lawrie. Now Lawrie is on the verge of freedom thanks to new evidence. Lewis fears the worst, but nothing can prepare him for a string of murders resembling the original case. With his mentor’s reputation in jeopardy, Hathaway races to catch the killer.


Review

The last of the season and best of the season. This is due to the simplicity of the story. It’s a basic did-he-do-it plot. Was Lewis wrong in his original arrest of Lawrie. Is there someone else and who will die.

Alec Newman plays Graham Lawrie and gives a great portrayal of a psychopathic killer.  Hathaway finally gets to show some leadership as Lewis is fading into retirement.

 

 

Lewis 8.29

Lewis Series 8
29 “The Lions of Nemea”

(Originally Aired in UK 24 October 2014)

Lewis, Hathaway and Maddox’s abilities as a team are severely tested when they investigate the brutal stabbing of an American classics scholar. The bizarre case that follows takes in the cocaine trade, astrophysics and ancient drama, but the truth is hidden in plain sight: a heartbreaking tragedy made possible by the most ordinary of secrets.


Review
The body count mounts in this twisting tale. Trouble is, it involves so many people things get confusing near the end. I did guess that the lost play was a fake. Unfortunately there are no clues early on to point you the real killer. It’s all up to the Police to lead us along as numerous co-incidences lead them to an inevitable arrest.

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.