Category Archives: Television

The Night Manager

BBC TV Series
The Night Manager is a British-American television serial directed by Susanne Bier and starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, David Harewood, Tom Hollander and Elizabeth Debicki. It is based on the 1993 novel of the same name by John le Carré and adapted by David Farr to the present day.

It begins with Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston), a British military veteran working at an elegant hotel in Cairo, in 2011. Pine meets Sophie, a beautiful woman who has secrets, including inside information about a British businessman who’s also an arms dealer. Pine is drawn to Sophie’s sensual vulnerability, sleeps with her, shares her secrets with a friend who has ties to British intelligence, and lives to regret all of it.

 
A very stylish and British thriller. It’s Bond without all the stunts and violence. Hugh Laurie is great as the villain, Hiddleston suitably suave yet brooding (perhaps he will be the next Bond). The only problem I had was that they took the good vs evil thing a bit too far (especially the UK govt lackeys). Arms smuggling does go on, presumably endorsed by the governments that manufacture arms. So why write weak characters that have to justify these actions (4/5)

Lexx 3.13 & 4.01

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Lexx 3.13 – “Heaven and Hell” April 30, 2000
Xev retrieves Kai, who then dives to the center of planet Fire to rescue Stan. He has a little chat with Prince, who shows him Stanley in the red vortex evil soul repository, where they patiently await rotational incarnate torture with Prince for the rest of eternity. Xev liberates Kai by destroying Fire, then spiritual-Prince gains control of Lexx to destroy Water. The area is filled with good and evil souls, who fly off to Earth on the other side of the sun. Stan’s frozen body revives, and he remembers nothing about his judgement.

A better episode due to the requirement to wrap up all the plot threads and bring the third series to a close. (4/5)

Lexx 4.01 “Little Blue Planet” July 13, 2001
Begins with Marconi in Newfoundland 1901 and his trans-Atlantic communication attempt. This strong radio emission attracts the attention of another alien ship way outside the Milky Way. Arriving at Earth, Stanley H. Tweedle starts negotiating with the president, who is using cue cards to cope with alien first contact. They are not adequate to cope with Stan’s idiotic presumptions and sexual desires. Isambard Prince, head of the ATF, initiates a plan to attack the Lexx using Russian psycho killers aboard a space shuttle. Prince’s old crony from planet Fire, Priest, is elected president, and Lexx eats a large chunk of the Amazon Rainforest.

There is no explanation of how the Lexx and Prince arrived at earth.

Plotonium ?
It’s an interesting episode due to the contemporary setup and use of space shuttle video.  (4/5)

 

Lexx 3.11 & 3.12

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Lexx 3.11 Girltown 16/4/2000
Stan and Kai search for Xev in Girltown. Stan’s nubile non-dead body attracts the attention of the “head” Queen (reincarnated Giggerota), who has no body and kind of wants some body. She is interrupted by the all-female committee proceedings of Girltown, who discuss non-she and non-boy sexist agendas, in endless movements and motions. Meanwhile, Kai liberates the drag queen slaves making balloons, who are nice people, and have no idea why they have been sent to this hell. (Guest star Jimmy Somerville cameos.) In the escape, all the gay balloonists are eaten by Lexx. Stan and Kai fall to the planet Water, Kai sinks like a stone.

It’s not clear if this was supposed to be funny, satirical or just silly. Any way you looked at, it just doesn’t work. Zev just wanders around. Kai rescues people and they all reach the Queen in time to rescue Stanley. (2/5)

 

Lexx 3.12 The Beach     23/4/2000
Stan drowns, and washes up upon a metaphysical Beach. He is met by Prince, who explains that it’s his judgement time. When asked if he’s done anything bad in his life, Stanley really can’t remember anything. He’s not judged for causing the death of 94 worlds in the light zone. Instead, Prince focuses on his general cowardice and his attempt to destroy planet Water because he lusted for May meanwhile, Xev hasfound Stan’s body and popped it in the freezer while she searches for Kai. Kai observes many souls en-route to the center of Water, and finally slips through a light-hole, that lands him on another Gametown. Stan goes to hell.

Kai drowns, then re-appears. Zev searches, and Stan gets judged. More of an excuse to re-use old footage. Nothing in the plot moves forward. (2/5)

 

 

 

Lexx 3.09 & 3.10

 

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Lexx 3.09 Garden (2/4/2000)
Kai and Stan search for Xev in a moth and luckily find her stranded, dehydrated, under a city spire. They fly down to the Garden, and meet three women who spend their day tending to stamens and other flower parts. In an atmosphere of serenity, Kai decides he will plant himself and decompose. Stan wants to stay and teach the gardeners how to please him. Xev longs for a man, and wants to go. Excitedly, the gardeners recreate the Lyekka plant using a hallucinogenic dream ritual. They court her to eat them, and she obliges. Stanley tells Xev that it was nice knowing her.

That was one of the most boring episodes ever. Stan’s rather juvenile attempts at mating. Xen just wandering around and everyone ignoring the fact that Lexx needs food. (1/5)

 

Lexx 3.10 Battle (9/4/2000)
The Garden is raided by Prince, and Stan’s love, Lyekka, dies again, with 5 arrows in her back. Xev is kidnapped, and Kai requisitions an attacking balloon. From there, they engage in a battle of wits with Prince and his offsider (who appears as Priest in series 4). After a series of daring moves, both Prince and Priest die. Stan and Kai make it to the Lexx, and begin a search for Xev who is walking through the desert. Prince reincarnates near her, to walk with her, and watch her die in the scorching heat. He’s not part Cluster Lizard, so he dies first. Rated one of the visually spectacular episodes.

This is more exciting. It’s fun with balloons, and defying the laws of physics. (3/5)

 

 

Lexx 3.07 & 3.08

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Lexx 3.07 – Tunnels

Kai is brought before “The Commission”, who, in a room full of candles, endeavour to civilly interrogate him, exploring his human evil. Kai is not interested, and requests to be thrown off the tower. The adjudicatrix asks him whether he has killed anyone as an assassin. Kai then delivers his famous speech: “I have killed mothers and their babies. I have killed great philosophers and proud young warriors. I have killed the evil and the good, the intelligent, the weak and the beautiful, but it’s been a while since I slaughtered a whole room full of petty bureaucrats”. Meanwhile, Stan encounters an amateur surgeon, who feels that he has parts that “he’d feel better without”. Prince plays good guy, and dies saving Stan. He wanted Stan to love him. Xev plays with some girls who like bear traps.

 

Lexx 3.08 – The Key

Using an incarnation in Xev’s image, Prince continually probes Kai, 790, and Stan, asking for a way to get the key to the Lexx. They hook Stan up to 790’s diagnostics and Kai determines that the key could be released during sexual rapture, instead of the ecstasy near death which Prince is so familiar with. Prince then concerns herself with a complicated ritual to give Stan the ride of his life. Kai gets suspicious and tests the Xev impostor twice, to see if she kisses like a real Xev. After obtaining the key, she then countermands the order to destroy planet Fire, and directs Lexx to Water. Kai then kills her, and the key flows to a dismayed Stanley.

Lexx 3.05 & 3.06

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Lexx 3.05 – Gondola (March 5, 2000)
In a dramatic survival episode, the crippled moth falls to Fire in the night. Duke and Fifi also crash. All of them have to make it to a city before the sun rises, or they’ll fry. The Lexx team: Bunny, Xev, Stan, and the two Kai’s find a wrecked gondola and pump it up. During their flight, they realise that there is not enough fuel to make it across the lava lakes, unless there is less weight. The protoblood Kai volunteers to jump overboard and walk through the lava on foot. Duke decides it’s easier to just to sit in the desert and die, which worries Fifi a bit. Duke explains the Water/Fire reincarnation system. However, the Lexx team find them, and stupidly pick them up, unable to solve the moral dilemma. Bunny gets thrown overboard. Stan and Xev make it to tower of K-Town, and then defend themselves against mortal-Kai

A simple survival story with a twist at the end. Just average (3/5)

 

Lexx 3.06 – K-Town (March 12, 2000)

On entering K-Town through a hole high in the wall, Xev and Stan have to deal with the tunnels and the demented inhabitants – the most evil of the souls incarnate. They meet some people who enjoy throwing rocks at them. Kai climbs up the tower, finds them, and then has a systems failure. They also meet Mantrid, who is devoid of memory, but highly encouraged by the idea that he is the greatest biovizier who ever lived. He participates in Kai’s diagnostic procedure, does something stupid, and then Kai cleanses him. Xev and Stan manage to throw Kai off the tower to realign him, but it doesn’t work, and he gets captured.

What a mess of story threads that don’t work and make no sense. The re-appearance of Mandrid is illogical and Kai’s ‘undergarment’ is unnecessary and probably belongs in a 1990’s puzzle adventure game. (1/5)

 

Lexx 3.03 & 3.04

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Lexx 3.03 – Gametown

Stanley begins plotting how to destroy the planet Water without alerting Kai and Xev, or steering the starving Lexx. May gets better or worse, depending on his attitude. After waking the moth breeders, Kai goes to Gametown to find some food for Lexx. Gametown is a floating city inhabited with aerobics enthusiasts who play basketball all day. There is one inhabitant who is not quite right: Fifi. He doesn’t play the games by the rules, and he quickly betrays everyone, by stealing all the moths and food, then heading over to Fire, to surrender himself to Duke, so he can destroy Water. Stanley’s attempts on Water are foiled by Xev, who nearly strangles him, then smothers him with her breasts. May ridicules him, and heads off with Prince.

Some interesting plot turns, but undermined by slow pacing and lacking any tension or excitement. The weird thing is that on a mainly water planet, with no sign of land, the food offered is mainly fruits !!
Where is the fish and seafood ?
(3/5)

 

Lexx 3.04 – Boomtown

Duke and Fifi attack Gametown. They kill everyone he knows and raze the town. Duke likes Fifi. Kai requisitions an attacking moth, and then heads over to Boomtown with Bunny and Xev. All they do in Boomtown is eat and have sex. Stan is thrilled to find a number of the women willing to sleep with him, but Xev isn’t so lucky, as the men have adapted way of avoiding sex by interminable foreplay. Bunny makes several efforts to have sex with Kai, which he finally deterrents only by cutting of his left hand to demonstrate that he is not alive. Back on Fire, May kills Prince in a questionable gambit, then Duke and Fifi decide they’ll paint May and his former deputy with explosive tar, and burn them. Duke and Fifi fly to Boomtown and burn it.

The most frustrating thing about this episode is Xev, for a long time she has complained about lack of sex and showing she can be aggressive when it comes to Stan. But in a situation with a willing male, suddenly she becomes submissive. And the character of Fifi makes no sense at all. Where did he come from and why has he become psycho # 3. Kai’s unwillingness is indulge in sex is strange, given that all of his appendages appear to be working. At least Stan finally gets his way, but why is he wearing a nappy ? Very illogical episode (1/5)

 

 

The Cloud Minders

(Episode of Star Trek)

This troubled planet is a place of the most violent contrasts. Those that receive the rewards are totally separated from those who shoulder the burdens. It is not a wise leadership.

Spock – “The Cloud Minders” Star Trek first broadcast 28/2/1969

Is this just a coincidence ?
The very weekend I am reading the book “When Corporation rule the World” by David Korten this star trek episode is aired on TV4. I thought I had seen them all. Korten uses this future morality tale to highlight the problems he sees with the world today.

This book chronicles the economic history of the last 50 years, since the Bretton Woods conference and the creation of the IMF and World Bank.

Korten tell how large corporations have influenced the economic world and ensured a system that is to their advantage.
Some of the accusations are a bit to simplistic for my liking, the impression gained is that all the evils of the 20th century can be laid at the feet of big business. He fails to take into account other trends of our modern world, especially the influence of technology.

Most of the trends and influences he outlines ring true, anyone who has read similar books will recognize the themes –
* reduction of environmental standards
* the error of growth based economics
* undermining of democratic process

Indeed, some of the work he quotes I read in previous books in similar subjects. All those interested in economics should read the Cobb/Daly book “For the common good”, as this must be the most quoted book on “new” economics.

Some notable quotes from the book –
According to Joe Kurtzman, editor of Harvard Business Review –
* For every $1 circulating in the productive world economy, $20-$50 circulates in the world of pure finance.
* In international currency markets alone, $800billion to $1 trillion changes hands each day. Far in excess of the $20-$25 billion required to cover trade in goods and services.

Production accounts for only 25% of the selling price of a typical product.

Overall a good read. The prose is good, and not too technical.
Most of the book concentrates on the problems, with the solutions being kept until the last few chapters. Korten doesn’t propose solutions, he simply states the strategies that others have started to enact.

I sympathize, therefore, with those who would minimize, rather than those who would maximize, economic entanglements between nations.

Ideas, knowledge, art, hospitality, travel – these are the things which should of their nature be international. But lets goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible, and above all, let finance be primarily national.
– John Maynard Keynes

(c) Nigel Baker 29/3/98

Lexx 3.01 & 3.02

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The third season comprises 13 episodes in which the Lexx is trapped in orbit around the warring planets Fire and Water, and the crew encounters an enigmatic and cheerful evil being known as Prince, who may be the Devil. The two planets orbit each other at extremely close distance, and share one atmosphere, allowing the inhabitants to pass freely between them. Fire is the afterlife for all evil souls, the inhabitants of which are continually engaged in attacks on Planet Water, which is the afterlife of all good souls. Fire is filmed between the dunes of Namibia and the Gothic architecture of Berlin. The rulers of Fire are Prince and Duke, who both reincarnate whenever it suits them. Water appears to have no ruler, and contains a small population of hedonists on floating islands.

Lexx 3.01 – Fie and Water (6 Feb 2000)
After being adrift for 4332 years, Lexx comes into orbit of the planets Fire and Water. The leader of Fire, Prince, heads an expedition in a balloon to intercept the Lexx. He brings back Stan and Xev to Fire, discarding Stan as of little use, and setting him to torture. He tries to woo Xev, and she nearly falls in love with the romantic ruler of a dramatic planet. Kai wakes up, repairs 790, who becomes fixated upon him, and then (having no moth) he decides to long-jump down to planet Water, to find the crew.

Lexx 3.02 – May (13 Feb 2000)
After jumping down to planet Water, Kai finds the beautiful May; the lone survivor of an attack on a Water city. He requisitions an attacking gondola, and sails over to planet Fire. After realising Stanley is the key to the Lexx, Prince brings Stanley back into the picture; dismissing his torture and near execution, as merely “a test”. After all being rescued by Kai, May begins to convince Stanley to destroy Fire. Lexx is starving, and they become aware of how stuck they are. As May lapses into death from a small wound on her shoulder, Prince comes to Stanley as a ghost, and tells him that he can have May forever, if he destroys planet Water.

An interesting premise and a good setup for some interesting science fiction. The problem is that the directing is so lethargic and the script so predictable that there is no tension or excitement to be had.  (3/5)

 

Lexx 2.20

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Lexx 2.20 – End of the Universe (23 April 1999)

In a last-ditch bid to save the light universe from Mantrid’s drones, 790 discovers (way too late), that he can create self replicating drones of his own, to fight Mantrid. Kai and 790 hatch a cunning plan to distract Mantrid, long enough for him to make the mistake of moving too many drones around them, thus engulfing them all in a giant black hole, collapsing the light universe, and shooting the Lexx into the Dark Zone. Lyekka’s pod is damaged, and she demonstrates yet more inexplicable talents, transforming herself into a Lyekka drone, and pulling Mantrid from his interface. She is killed in the process, somehow lodging part of herself in Stan’s mind.

This is the very definition of ‘Deus ex Machina’ (god from the machine). The term means a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. 790 gets replicating power and Lyekka transforms. Apart from this rather contrived ending to season 2, it’s satisfying in the large battle scenes and resolution to the Mantrid story.
(4/5)