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Posted on Nov 13, 2012 1:46:42 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2012 1:52:38 PM PST
Hikari says:
Seeking out Wallander info, I stumbled upon this . . . a David Letterman interview from 1991, featuring "Baby Branagh".

Oh, and Dave is younger, too . . .

OH! Mr. Smith--looky what I found, just for you . .
(Almost-not-quite Sir) Ken drops by Craig's house to discuss Jung & Freud . ..

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 8:00:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2012 8:06:00 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:

I sent back today Morse: The Twilight of the Gods (episode 26). For the first time in the series, the soprano heard singing on the soundtrack wasn't Janis Kelly, it was Susan McCullough. She sang parts of the Immolation Scene from Wagner's The Twilight of the Gods. I thought if that is Kelly, she is making her voice sound heavier than it is. I was relieved to see in the credits that it wasn't Janis Kelly. To distort one's voice that way, if that had been her, would seem harmful for the voice and I would hate to think of any harm coming to Kelly's charming instrument.

John Gielgud acted in the episode. Rachel Weisz did also, though I didn't recognize her and got that information from the credits. I enjoyed the show as another satisfying entry in the series.

Now one question: I read somewhere, and it may even have been something you wrote, that Kevin Whately was absent for a while in the series and Morse and to work with someone else. There are 33 episodes in the series and this was 26. Seven remaining episodes wouldn't seem to leave much room for Lewis to be gone for a while and then come back. Maybe I read that wrong.

I'm still enjoying the classic Upstairs, Downstairs. It's abundantly clear why this was such an iconic hit and remains a favorite all these years later. The recent revival of the show that covers some years before the Second World War has been good, though I have some major problems with that new production on the visual side. Apparently, though the new series went over well, the BBC has elected not to continue with a third season. Bummer.

Now, as to that visual problem. One of the pleasures of the original series, in addition to the characters, stories, and acting, is that the interiors of the houses and autos have such great detail. You can easily see the detail in the marble over fireplaces, woodwork around the mirrors, the fabrics of clothing, cushions, details of wallpaper, metal surfaces ij the kitchen, the wood of side tables, etc. The actors inhabit these rooms and it all looks tactile.

In the new show it almost appears as though everything in the frame except the actors is CGI, and blurry CGI at that. You can make out no details of any given room, furniture, clothing, anything. The large rooms and offices in government buildings lack any detail. As I said, it's like they really aren't there and the actors are just performing before green screens. They never seem to inhabit any room or locale where they may be found. To me, it was all pretty disturbing. There was no visual beauty to be found in the new show, unlike the old. Frankly, it looked cheaply done.

Nevertheless, I will miss it and would liked to have had at least another season. Meanwhile, there is still the wonderful old show; I'm nearing the end of season two.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 8:52:55 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2012 11:11:02 PM PST
Hikari says:
Thanks for the recommend of Upstairs, Downstairs. I still have my Downton Abbey DVDs to get through but I'll think about adding US, DS to my ever-growing Queue.
Re. Kevin Whately's absence from Morse
I heard Kevin give an interview where he referenced missing two episodes, and I was under the impression that it was during the last block. Kevin would have been in Tunisia in 1995ish, filming The English Patient . .but he may have had conflicts with an earlier project. Or family leave? The idea of Morse with a rent-a-sarge is rather entertaining, but of course that poor sod had to flee the scene after one case. Colin Dexter, in one of the Morse-Lewis stories has a bit about Lewis' awareness that his sole area of distinction as a cop is the fact that Morse will work with him and him alone; this knowledge keeps Lewis more or less content in a situation that would be intolerable to anyone else.

In Kev's present incarnation as DI Lewis, we see that they have maintained Robbie's singular talent--Hathaway will work with no one else, either. It's a gift. ;-)

If you recall, they only did three episodes a year, and in the last 5 years, only one a year. But if they shot several episodes back-to-back-to-back, it would explain why Kevin might miss shooting on two episodes and not actually be absent long. I get the impression that a British shooting schedule moves at a brisker clip than an American one. They don't have the budget for endless retakes & I don't think British union crews would put up with the 14-hour days typical in American TV. They work more sane (8-5) hours, with mandated tea breaks, and so if a director wants to get through a script in the allotted time, he's got to move sharpish.

I'm dubious about the appeal of a Lewis-free episode for me, but I will have to soldier through anyway. PS to add--just checked with IMDb--the only episode missing from Kevin's resume is #32--"The Wench is Dead". Hmm. Kevin himself said he'd missed a couple, but he may have misremembered. A few of the episodes used Sgt. Lewis little enough that he may have felt as though he wasn't in it!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 1:56:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 2:06:21 AM PST
Brought a British mysteries series called Taggart-The First Season for a bargain price,wondered if anyone has seen it.
Have a catalog with the first season of Vera available which I am trying to find how far back you were discussing it.
They also have a short series available called Flickers with Bob Hoskins who is one of my favorites. Either one worth buying?
Did the British Law and Order series go over with our cousins across the pond?
Not often a Bond movie or any movie makes the regular news on TV but early grosses are huge. Books on Lincoln are in all the stores.
Flight is doing well,Oscar of course for Washington. A few critics say he has done this character before only this plot is in a realistic today
"Oscar Buzz" seems to be the current phase when a TV boob likes a movie.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 3:15:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 3:22:04 AM PST
Hi Warren,
I used to watch Taggart many years ago (mainly for James MacPherson :)))))))).

You might enjoy Cracker starring Robbie Coltrane too. There is one particular very disturbing episode with Robert Carlyle, who showed what a terrific actor he is. This is an episode that you will never forget.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 4:48:31 AM PST
Kacee: Have a box set of Cracker. So far did not care that much for Blacks Books and Murdoch Mysteries,now House of Cards and Gormenghast
both the books and the movie I am a big fan of.
I am the area collector and reference source for Marilyn Monroe since I grew up in the 50's with all the great movies and early rockers,one of the
guys who say the music died with Buddy Holly.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 5:30:46 AM PST
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Posted on Nov 14, 2012 7:25:38 AM PST

Let me put in a good word--or several--for Murdoch Mysteries.

There are actually two different series--first, The Murdoch Mysteries Movie Collection, with Peter Outerbridge as Murdoch, which consists of 3 TV films adapted directly from Maureen Jennings' books. These proved so popular in Canadian TV that in turn there came Murdoch Mysteries, with Yannick Bisson, four seasons of which are available on DVD and a fifth in the wings. I've seen all of the films and all of seasons 1-4.

One could with some justice call Murdoch Sherlockian--the conceit is that Murdoch is a Toronto detective in the 1890s using advanced (for his day) forensic techniques, including some associated with the Master himself. He is aided by two Watsons--Dr. Julia Ogden, the medical examiner, and Constable Crabtree. Much of the delight in the series comes in the introduction of real late Victorian persons, like Tesla, Conan Doyle, and Houdini, and Victorian topics--such as the telegraph as the Victorian internet. Well written, and often very, very clever. One might describe Murdoch as a combination of Chesterton's Father Brown, Sherlock Holmes, and MacGyver.

Most enjoyable, and far livelier than the dour proceedings of the likes of Morse, Lewis, and Wallender, et al. There is backstory, but it is kept within reasonable limits. Very highly recommended here.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 7:52:14 AM PST
Hikari says:
Morse is dour and Wallander is definitely dourish . . . Our Inspector Lewis, definitely not dour. Robbie is the anti-dour.
Hathaway has dour potential, but he's too young yet. He is still in the 'sardonic' category.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 8:00:18 AM PST
H: I'm not sure that I have prescribed this bit of wisdom before, but it seems rather appropriate now.

If you aren't getting dour out of the deadly three above: eat something sweet and the feeling will pass.

Or re-adjust your mood by reading Wodehouse or Cold Comfort Farm.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 8:00:31 AM PST
Larry Kelley says:
Hikari: Just watched "Bomber's Moon" on GG. I think this is Episode 3. What an great story. I didn't catch the name of the bird-watcher/murderer, but he should have received the British equivalent of an Emmy. The entire episode is one of the best I have watched in series TV going back to Hill Street Blues/L.A. Law at their best. I wonder if Shaw has ever done audio-books? He would be marvelous. With really good film I often simply do not hear much of the background music, but on this series, it is really excellent.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 8:24:53 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 8:33:22 AM PST
Hikari says:
If you liked Series 1, hold onto your hat . . .it gets even better.

My favorite bit of Bomber's Moon was the opening scene: Gently's allegedly on leave but he can't stay away and is loitering near the crime scene. DS Bacchus is ranking officer in charge and is trying to get answers out of the snotty German guy. Bacchus is making a (Herculean) effort to be polite and not cold-c*ck the guy. Guy refuses to deal with 'a mere (sneer) sargeant'. Suddenly Gently sails into the frame, walking purposefully in the direction of the body. "DETECTIVE Sargeant, actually," he throws over his shoulder not bothering to even look at the guy. But note the super-Vulcan hearing that caught the guy's diss of his DS. The look that passes over Lee Ingleby's face at this juncture is priceless: "What the %#@! is *he* doing here! . . I was handling this! is chased by "Oh, thank g@d he's here! This was going t!ts up!"

Mr. Ingleby is presently 36; he would have been barely 30 at the time of Series 1. Please tell me off the top of your head any of Lee's American peers (except perhaps Edward Norton) that could have handled that level of subtlety at 30.

One amusing feature of this series is watching Bacchus abuse poor PC Taylor, the desk sargeant. You are in for a world of riches yet, my friend.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 8:51:09 AM PST
Larry Kelley says:
Hikari: I seldom purchase anything to keep--except a few books. I suspect that I am going to purchase this entire series. I have a hard time believing that it is going to get better--but it has through the first 3 episodes, so why not!? What tickles me about Ingleby, because it is sooo human, is that he has to learn everything by first making a mistake--and as soon as the German offered him money--you could see the light go on in his eyes, his brain start to ticking, and you KNOW he is going to do something at least a little bit off-kilter. He maintains this character perfectly . . . as does Shaw---as does the supporting cast. Nobody just delivers their lines and walks off camera--the pig farmer and his wife--I didn't understand 1/10 of the words he was saying, but he had such and expressive face--and his wife was just as good. I haven't had so much fun watching TV in ages. It is really difficult not to watch episode after episode when I need to be doing other things--one of which I have to do now (drat!).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 9:05:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 3:55:31 PM PST
Hikari says:
Our young sarge does enjoy the pleasures of life--drives a flashy car, dresses flashy, (note the Beatle style--Bacchus is in the style vanguard for Durham, up on all the latest modern stuff), eye for the women (supremely inconvenient as he is married--JB's family dysfunction will be dissected in upcoming episodes) . . . Bacchus feels, not without some justification, that he's rotting away in the countryside. He wants to be where the action is, and that would, of course, be the London Met. John is less materialistic than ambitious, though--material things are useful shorthand (to him) for professional success. John's driving ambition is to be somebody of authority, and that informs everything that he does. C*cky little sod he is--in his new guv, he has met an immovable force, and he's gonna have to learn how to navigate in harmony with it, or smash himself against it. There's a lot of smashings, because the kid has a hard head. John is not intrinisically 'bad', but his ambition could be his downfall. Gently knows this and that's why he will derail John's attempts to go to London. Gently spent his career there and knows it's foul to the core. He keeps Bacchus in Durham to keep an eye on him; keep him honest. The young Padawan learner is a bit slow on the uptake due to his two blind spots--his thirst to be a big man and his proclivity for chasing anything in a short skirt. Gently's role as mentor is more curb than whip with that one. John's already too revved up and wants to get where he's going, preferably somewhere else--like, yesterday. He always wants to be the guy who single-handedly breaks the case, to prove how indepensible he is and how they should make him an Inspector right now--it will get him into hot water more than once. His objective in taking the bribe from the German guy was not for personal gain, but so he could catch the guy out and be the hero. Of course his methods are completely off the reservation and look very, very self-serving and bad.

Isn't this the episode where Gently gives him 5000 pounds so he doesn't have to sell his prized MG? That's Gently for you--the kind of guv'nor that will ream you a new bodily orifice for being a dolt . . and then loan you as much money as you need. They call it a 'loan' so Bacchus can save face, but Gently has no intention of asking for that money back. John will be in all intents and purposes the son he never had--though the long-suffering father might wish for a son who was less bull-headed and mouthy and more amenable to doing things Dad's way. Gently will win; Gently always wins. But Bacchus' futile resistance is entertaining to watch.

Gently does rely on his protege for one thing--'Geordie' to standard English translation. Hahaha!

PS--In my favorite episode of Season 2, and probably the series as a whole, "Gently with the Innocents", it opens with Bacchus addressing a classful of high school boys about his job. John would rather be at the dentist, but his guv is making him do this, for personal growth. A particularly insulting boy in the back opines that the police force is 'an outmoded, oppressive monolith'.

Bacchus returns to the station.

JB: Tell me again why I had to do that.
GG: To get to know the community you serve. (Says the new transplant to Durham!) That is the future of England.
JB: If that's the future of England, we're stuffed. (flips through dictionary)
GG: What are you doing?
JB: Looking up 'monolith'.
GG: (grins)

Call me fantastical, but I like to imagine that among that classful of Newcastle schoolboys was one Robbie Lewis, who would have been that age. It tickles my funnybone to think Bacchus might have inspired the young man who would go on to become Inspector Lewis. Of course the shows are on rival networks, so it doesn't work like that, but I reserve the right to think so, anyway.

Incidentally, have you seen "Endeavour", the Morse prequel? I put young Bacchus and young Morse about the same age. Same age, same stage in their careers . . John may be a few years older, because he's a DS already, but then, being the Chief's son-in-law would have its perks (and its detriments--more the latter than the former for JB.) Imagine those two meeting for a pint, eh? Epic!

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 9:56:13 AM PST
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Posted on Nov 14, 2012 10:36:52 AM PST
Larry Kelley says:
Hikari: Haven't watched the Morse series yet. it is available and next up after I finish all the GG's.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 1:30:21 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
Larry Kelly

Ah, a new convert to George Gently! So understandable, really.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 2:25:40 PM PST
WAS: Some good programing came out of Canada if you can find it on DVD,USA cable channels are doing American everything reruns. A&E had the
The Avengers,The Prisoner and other BBC or Canadian programing in the better years of American TV.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 4:01:30 PM PST
Larry Kelley says:
Cav: I am addicted. I ignored a phone call that came at a crucial moment in the story-was my Bank and they never have anything good to say. I have been sitting in front of the computer most of the day watching Bacchus mess up and snickering, or laughing out loud--except some of the stories get to me. I intend to recommend it locally to anyone who will listen.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 4:03:33 PM PST
Re: Gently: Based on the limited number of episodes I have seen--count me as a skeptic. Better than Morse / Lewis in terms of plausibility: but comparably glum.

But I am nothing if not fair-minded. I just put several episodes on my Netflix instant queue, and will encounter them sooner, rather than later.

An interesting discovery: Hulu Plus. $7.99 a month--but, if you stream, worth considering since they have the entire Criterion catalogue available for streaming. 700 notable films.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 4:07:10 PM PST
Warren: The Prisoner and The Avengers--to my mind, two of the four best things ever on television--are British, not Canadian.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 4:45:51 PM PST
WAS- Da Vinci's Inquests was the TV series I was trying to think of. Canadian?
They buried it in late night TV and even changed the days they showed it. I think a lot of it was filmed on the street with no block off of traffic
on the sidewalks.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2012 5:51:48 PM PST
stevign says:
"Intelligence" was an excellent Canadian (CBC) tv series from the creators of Da Vinci's Inquests. Too bad it was canceled. For anyone interested, the CBC is still showing the reruns.

Another excellent show was CBC's mini-series The Last Chapter, I liked it and would imagine any fans of the American TV series "Sons of Anarchy" would also.

Posted on Nov 14, 2012 7:09:47 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2012 7:11:19 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
One of my favorite shows from a number of years ago was Canadian and aired on CBS here, I think it was - Due South, a usually light-hearted show about a Canadian Mounted Policeman assigned as a guard at the Chicago Canadian consulate. Another Canadian cult show was Forever Knight, about a centuries old vampire, who no longer feeds on humans and who tries to atone for his past by being a detective. He gets his stash from a blood bank and only works at night. I still haven't finished that series yet, I just remembered.

A current Canadian series that is doing very well in the States for ABC in the summers is the cop show Rookie Blue. It's already had three seasons and will be back this summer. Not the most challenging thing you will ever see on television, I like it. It's about young rookies of both sexes on the police force and their mentors. It looks great on DVD and was popular enough to be released on Blu-ray at a time when not many tv series were given that treatment.

One interesting aspect of the show is that the characters never refer to Canada or the city in which it all takes place. The idea probably is that it will go down easier with Americans if they can think it's taking place in New York City or Chicago. The occasional Canadian accent, though, gives it away. It's harmless entertainment with charming actors, led by that young lovely, Missy Peregrim. She's the reason I tuned in and I've stuck around every summer since. Just don't expect a masterpiece and you might enjoy it.

Posted on Nov 15, 2012 7:21:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2012 7:23:46 AM PST
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Initial post:  May 8, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 5, 2013

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