Friday, February 28, 2014

Star Trek Annual preview

I ran across this Star Trek Annual 2013 today, and it slipped by my radar.  It's a fairly unique concept, the idea is to tell some missing Star Trek: TOS episodes using old photos montages, known as fumetti, done by noted comic book creator, John Byrne.

 It started out as just something Byrne had fun doing in-between his other various projects.  It's a sequel to the episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before,"  the third episode from the first season. If you don't remember that episode, there's a recap of that episode in this preview.  From what I've read, the project was pretty successful and IDW and Byrne have begun more "lost stories" in the series to be released bi-monthly. 

Velvet #1  by Ed Brubaker and art by Sean Epting

   Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting have become a formidable force in modern comics. I’ve come to rely on them for strong storylines and ideas.  

   Their long run on The Death of Captain America and the more recent ongoing, Fatale, and other comic work have always hooked me, and I look forward to seeing what new stories and ideas they come up with.

   Velvet  is a spy comic heavy on action and intrigue and fashioned much in the mode of James Bond, Jason Bourne, and the more recent film, Haywire. It features a strong female protagonist, Velvet Templeton, portraying the main role.  

   The story begins in 1973 as an operative agent, X-14, is on a mission in Paris. Something goes wrong and it appears a mole has tipped off  his mission, and he’s been set up as a fall guy.  

   After the news reaches the agency of his untimely demise, intelligence sets into looking for who might have taken the hit, and they begin checking into airport arrivals and departures, hotel bookings, and so forth, trying to find clues as to who might have done it. 

   There’s another flashback on Velvet’s earlier career when she was an agent. She knew X-14 along with several of the other agents, they were once pretty close so she has a personal interest in the case. But the past few years she’s taken a desk job out of the field, and working under Director Manning as a secretary.  

   From intel they find an agent, Frank Lancaster, who might have killed X-14, but Velvet thinks the intel on Lancaster smells funny, and is half baked. Curiosity gets the better of Velvet, and she begins her own investigation into the case, which leads her to one of Lancaster’s safe houses.  

   Once Velvet gets inside the safe house we find out all is not well. The book ends on a confrontation, and a heck of a cliffhanger. Yes, like a lot of the James Bond franchise and other spy fiction, a certain amount of suspension of disbelief is required to engage in such fantasies. But if spy fiction and action is your double martini, you might want to check out the book. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hey Kids, Comics! rant

I still have an interest in comics after all these years.  However, I can't afford (or chose not to) buy them like I used to.  I think they're over priced and wonder at times if the comic industry will continue to thrive and survive in the future, particularly as the cost of living goes up and eventually, comics will want to go up in their respective prices as well.  It's no wonder the amount of readers has dwindled. 

I've always been a bargain hunter.  I think this was something that was passed down to me from my parents.  Their generation came out of WWII and the depression, so with that outlook, they held pretty close to the ideas of saving,  buying in bulk, shopping for a bargain, and actually doing without and just buying the necessities.  As kids we always had our share of toys for birthdays and Christmas, but it wasn't, I don't think extravagant.  I do remember getting a train set, and car racing set for Christmas, and of course, my official first Schwinn bicycle that had a sounding horn on the middle of the tank.  I put many miles on that bike and rode it all over the place.  I'm surprised at times where I went with it.  Comics were always there too.  We had a toy closet, and a box on the bottom that held the comics.  We had all kinds from funny animal to Superman and Sci-Fi  to war stories and others.  But getting back to price, you can buy a used book these days for around two bucks, sometimes cheaper in larger towns or book sales.  It takes me longer to read a book, whereas a comic takes me around fifteen minutes to read.  It hardly seems justifiable when compared to price. 

The same can be said of movies/DVDs and gaming.  A DVD might take a hour and a half to watch, and also you can rewatch them, and a game can take up to a month or longer to complete, compare that with the price of a comic or the cost of say, five comics at three bucks a comic--I guess, what I'm saying is it all adds up, and I guess it's just a matter of what you want to spend your time and money on.

Back to bargain shopping--I haunt used book stores, pawn shops for movies (generally I can find them for $2. each or so).  You can barely  find a comic these days for $2.  I have a local comic shop just down the street from me, which I have to admit, is a very nice shop, stocked extremely well for the area, but I don't think he sells much to be honest.  I think he makes most of his money off catering to the D & D gaming crowd.  And he's one of those guys that marks last months comics up a buck or two if he thinks it's "hot" for some reason, which is such a crock.  No modern comic is ever "hot".  That's laughable.  In fact when I'd gotten back into the hobby in the mid-80's there was that perception along with baseball cards that there was this over hyped "collectors" market out there.  Granted there was to a small degree, but I think most of that was hype, and indeed, the market crashed like a lead balloon, and really most comics are worth diddly-do, except for very rare Golden or Silver Age comics.  It's a joke.

So why in the hell, the comic shop down the street for me increases the price of some "hot" comic he perceives as having demand is beyond me. If indeed it's "hot", it will get collected in a graphic format, and that will be the end of that.  Plus, you'd think he would realize, I got all this stuff lining the walls of my shop not selling, raising the price on a book ain't gonna help matters any.   Just sayin'.

At any rate, since I still enjoy comics from time to time.  I just hate to see them go the way of the dodo.  Also while on the topic, I ran across a site on comic fandom, called Hey Kids, Comics!  At the end of last year, when everyone was putting up their Best Of list, I saw where the same blogger and writer, Rob Kelly, had completed his book .   It's stories about people sharing how comics had changed their life.  I haven't picked up a copy yet, but still plan on doing so.  It's just one of those books that appeals to my nostalgia. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Another bust

Well today was pretty much another bust as the antibiotics I was taking still has my stomach upset with heartburn to no end.  Sometimes when I'll eat something it'll subside, but return later.  I don't think I'll take another pill and see how I sleep tonight.  At least I wrote a small comic review, which I'll post later. 

The computer is such a marvelous invention, I'm continually amazed by it, and so used to it, I can't imagine being without one now.  I do remember growing up most of my life without a computer and the so called computer age.  I wonder if modern kids take it for granted? 

I watched a Star Trek: Next Generation episode the other night called The Neutral Zone.  The Enterprise finds a derelict spaceship and send over a crew to investigate.  They find several people inside the ship  in cryonic hibernation, however, some of the crew has perished, but there are still three people who are still intact.  They take them back to the Enterprise, and are, more or less, brought back to life, and now it is 300 years in the future for them.  It's two males and a female.  They marvel at their new future. With it brings also sadness because their family and everyone they have ever know is now passed.  One of the cool things about the episode though is that it got me to thinking how that would be if I could do something like that.  I would jump at the chance.  Granted I wonder if our society will last that long at times or will we implode or destroy ourselves?   Still it offered up a lot to think about, and I enjoyed that aspect of it.

I wanted to also post a link I found today, as I've just started looking around on this site, and it's all free podcast of SF and genre radio shows.  Some are taken from franchises, so I don't know if they got the rights to use Star Trek, Space: 1999, Resident Evil or whatever to create their radio dramas, or if they did it from a fan perspective and put it out there.  But some of them might be cool to investigate further.  I listened to one called Star Trek: Outpost, which was done pretty well.  It didn't stream that well with the online player that they provided, stopping and buffering many times, so with some of the episodes,  it might be better to go ahead and download the show and play it back on some other software on your own computer like RealPlayer or Winamp or whatever you use to listen to such things.  At any rate, there's a lot to explore, so here's a link. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Art Talk

Short post tonight.  I'm sort of frazzled.  I went to the oral surgeon today as I've been having this implant surgery done.  The way they are handling mine is he extracted the tooth before Christmas, then I went back to get a check up on the healing progress.  Today, he did what is know as  putting in a post.  The post is attached to your jaw bone, so he has to drill into your jaw bone.  Yes, lovely.  Then that allows for a place to anchor a crown tooth.  He worked me over pretty good.  Granted I was numbed with a local shot, but he ground and drilled etc.  It went pretty smoothly, but once my mouth work up, I'm pretty sore.  Good thing for meds.

I ran across a site though that I thought I would share.  It's called  If  you are interested in books, movies, learning courses, etc. They also have a lot of audio books there too, and some SF titles.  It's an interesting site.  I ran across the link that allows you to download over 250 free art books from the Getty Museum.  Art is one of my hobbies as well.  I've done some art in the past, and enjoy looking at it all the time too.  I don't spend enough time with it, and have been meaning to do some artwork lately, hopefully I can do a bit once the weather warms up a bit more.  I don't work in any one medium nor have specific imagery in mind when doing it either.  I like it all! From sculpture to paintings on canvas, collage, music (I've dabble with some of that too playing guitar and synthesizer), and enjoy abstract work as well as figurative, landscapes, still life, and everything in between.  I am particularly drawn to contemporary art the most, just as with music, I'm very much interested in progressive rock, but enjoy classical, jazz, new age, electronic, folk, and other styles.

I'm not embarrassed to say I'm just an amateur.  Still I love it and it gets my imagination flowing to just look at art and read about it, and discover it.  If  you are like minded, and have not discovered, you  should definitely check it out.  You can kills some time there easy, even if just to check out all the fanboy stuff, like SF art, posters, and so forth.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Corman's World

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The weather lately has let up some in Texas, which I'm very grateful for.  I don't know how they manage the cold up north.  I can take it for a while, but the overcast gloom and clouds was starting to get to me.  So I stayed inside unless I just had to get out.  I've also been experiencing a weird sore throat on the left side of my head and also some accompanying ear pain on the same side.  I asked an oral surgeon about this, but he was sort of baffled by it as well.  I thought maybe it's just a cold, so who knows?  If it doesn't clear up in a bit, I'll have to get it checked out.  Life is weird.

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The other night I caught the documentary on Roger Corman, Corman's World.  It's pretty good if you've ever seen any of his films.  Most are pretty low budget, and most also have a certain, cheesiness to them, but there's also some entertainment value there as well.  He gave a lot of famous actors their first break in the business, like Jack Nicholson, and also did the same for a lot of budding directors, that went on to become quite famous in the industry.  A lot of those same folks appear on the documentary to either talk about their experiences working with Corman, or about other facets of the industry.  It was a pretty breezy watch, and a lot of fun.  Trivia:  I had no idea that Roger Corman had made around three hundred films.   I also had no idea that William Shatner starred in his first serious film, made about race relationships. 

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I also ran across a short documentary on William Friedkin on Youtube, where he name drops a few of his favorite films.  I've enjoyed some of his films to various degrees.  I say my favorite ones are:  The Exoricst, The French Connection, and Sorcerer, and to a lessor degree, Bug.  Bug was taken from a stage play, if I remember correctly, so it was sort of a small scale film, but I did enjoy it.  It is about the decent into madness and also deals with conspiracy theory.  It's sort of an acquired taste, but still worth a watch.  The first three films, however, The Exorcist (horror), The French Connection (crime), and Sorcerer (suspense) are all well worth checking out, if you've not seen them. 

Sorcerer  is a remake of the film, The Wages of Fear.  I didn't know that when I first saw it in the theater long ago, I was just taken in by the film's poster artwork, and wondered what the film could have been about.  Plus it starred Roy Scheider, who I've always enjoyed as an actor and the soundtrack was by the German electronic band, Tangerine Dream, and that was enough to pull me into the cinema.   Turns out the title of the film is pretty misleading--I was expecting something like science fiction or dark fantasy, but I think the film about some fugitives driving a truck full of nitroglycerine to help put out an oil fire, was very suspenseful and one of my favorite films still today. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Comic reviews

Journey: The Adventures of Wolverine MacAlistaire by William Messner-Loebs was initially published by Aardvark-Vanaheim for the first 14 issues, and then published by  Fantagraphics for further adventures.   

   I didn't pick up the early run on it, I found a few copies somewhere in the middle of the series, and then later found a copy of the IDW collection, which contains issues #1 - 16.  
   Journey is an adventure comics about frontier life in around the territories of Michigan and Fort Miami in the 1800s.  
   Wolverine MacAlistaire is a trapper by trade, who shuns society, yet can be brave and resilient when needed. He is described as a brute of a man, grown old on the frontier. More beast than human, with the evil and darkness of the wild in his soul. 
   The first issue opens with a flashback tale told while waiting for a ferry by a cut-throat villain who, along with two other accomplices, had previously jumped MacAlistaire at his camp, stealing his animal pelts, clothing and livelihood, leaving him staked out to die in the snow. 
   So the story starts out as a tale of revenge and equity, and after old scores are settled, we follow Wolverine as he travels through  the wilderness. William Messner-Loebs has a unique way that he tells his stories, in the slang and voice of that time period, sometimes writing in that manner as well.  This can be a bit jarring at first, but you get used to it quickly.  
   His artwork is unique too, sometimes stark, sometimes detailed,  a bit sketchy or perfunctory at times, using gesture and negative space to convey the mood as well.  
   The last part of issue #1 turns into a high chase and some comic relief as well, as Wolverine stumbles up on a black bear. He runs for his life, hoping to outfox the bear, not wanting to become some bleached bones for some other trapper to find later.  
   If  you enjoy westerns like Jeremiah Johnson and Little Big Man and stories of early historical frontier life, this would be a good comic to pick up.  It's a mixture of heroic adventure, fictional and historical drama, and dealing with the awe of nature.  

In the late '80s I started getting tired of the usual superhero comics although I still bought my share. However, I started looking for something different.  

   Kings in Disguise was a six-issue limited series by James Vance  and was certainly unique. The art looked different and the story was based on real life.  

   Set around the beginning of the Great Depression, the story centers around a young boy named Freddie in Marian, California. Vance sets the mood for the period as we see Freddie and his friends at the 10 cent theater enjoying a James Cagney film.  

   We then get to see what his home life is like. His father suffers from alcoholism, which creates a certain amount of turmoil in the family. He does the best he can for his two sons, but due to there being no work around town, their father leaves not wanting to burden his sons. 

   Freddie's brother, Albert, is left with the responsibility to keep the concerns of the home going and protecting Freddie. Albert does the best he can in providing for Freddie as things around town grow worse. Eventually Albert gets in some trouble, which causes Freddie to flee instead of having to go to an orphanage.

   Without much of an idea of what to do or where to go, Freddie is on the road. His journey takes him down to the railroad tracks where he sees some hobos preparing a meal. They confront him, and one of them called the Joker tries to befriend Freddie, but we find out quickly it's only for an ulterior motive. There's a skirmish, and Freddie and another hobo, Sam, catch a fast rail out of town.  

   This begins Freddie's journey to adulthood, his learning of the hobo life, and how to survive.  

   For me, this series had a lot going for it. I enjoyed the artwork by Dan Burr, but it was the touching story that had me buying the full series.  

   In a lot of ways it reminded me of novels like Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. When someone would ask me what I might recommend in comics, along with Art Spiegelman's Maus, and a few others, I'd mention Kings in Disguise.  

   I later learned it won a Eisner and Harvey Award, and not only that, but Vance has written a sequel graphic novel, On The Ropes. There's a preview of On The Ropes at Amazon, if you want to check into that.  

   I'll certainly want to pick up a copy.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Film Talk

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I watched this interview last night and it streamed pretty smoothly, and was very insightful to hear David Cronenberg's  thoughts about his films, the film making process,  learning a bit more about the meaning behind some of his films, and just listening to him talk about his art.  I love stuff like this.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Lo-Fi Sci-Fi

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I ran across this article on the tasteofcinema site about lo-fi sci-fi films.  It's pretty interesting.  I've seen some of them like:  Primer, Beyond the Black Rainbow (which may be the most accessible of the bunch), La Jetee, Moon (actually that was pretty accessible too), and Pi.  Primer might be the hardest for some to get into, either due to its low budget, or the plot.  It was made for around $16,000. in one of the actors' garage and other places around the Dallas, Tx. area.  You can read about it on wikipedia.  It's about time travel, and they did a pretty good job on that theme for such a low budget.

Pi, I think, might appeal more to the arty crowd, and it can be pretty heady as well.  It has a pretty cool techno soundtrack. Darren Aronofsky has gone on to make larger films, and has made quite a name for himself. Actually it's been a while since I've seen it, so I should give it a re-watch.

La Jetee, is a French short film, from which they made into the larger Hollywood film, 12 Monkeys with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt.  From what I've read Terry Gilliam said that 12 Monkeys is the it the second part of a dystopian satire trilogy begun with 1985's Brazil, followed by 12 Monkeys, concluding with the third part, 2013's The Zero Theorem.  The Zero Theorem is news to me, I had not heard of this film, nor that the three films were thought of in that manner. You can find La Jetee on YT.

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Beyond the Black Rainbow, even though it was low budget, I was pretty impressed with.  I thought it was a throwback to some older SF, and had a pretty cool old analog sounding soundtrack and audio effects, and also was filmed uniquely enough to keep one engaged.  The movie was about this scientist studying this captured girl who displayed psychic abilities.  It was done in such an arty manner that the low budget didn't bother me, and had this weird way that kept the intensity.  I though the director could make a pretty good horror film or SF horror film if given a larger budget.

Moon is just a cool film, particularly if you are a fan and fond of old SF films of the 70's and 80's.  It has modeling in it, rather than CGI, and reminded me of older SF like Space: 1999, Outland, Dr. Who, The Starlost, and movies of that nature.

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I'd add, Brother From Another Planet, Cube, They Live, Dark Star, and Gattaca to the list.  Most are pretty low budget, but if I were to guess, I'd think that Gattaca probably cost quite a bit of money to produce, just because it had some big named actors. 

On a side note, a lot of these films are starting points for amateurs that have gone on to become major directors.  I watched a horror film the other day called Bad Taste by Peter Jackson.  I didn't care for it, as there just wasn't enough story to hold my interest, but it was interesting to see what he could do at such an early age, on a cheap budget, and it was interesting to note that he also starred in the film as well.  Everybody has to start out somewhere.  I ran across this link  to the SF web site,  They have an article on there about these early student films made by directors before they got famous along with the accompanying  YT videos. 

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Cosmos Trek

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Cold here today as to be expected for winter I suppose, and Dallas even got a sprinkling of snow.  That means I'm staying inside my little cubbyhole though I've still got plenty to do inside.  I ran across a pretty interesting article from Ron Moore who said it's about time for another Star Trek series for television.  I'd agree.  Ron Moore is writer for the current Helix series on the SyFy Channel, but has also penned and produced Next Gen, Deep Space Nine, and so forth.  I guess if you're a Trekkie you probably have your own ideas of what you'd like to see for a new series.  For me, I've liked the new movie reboots, with early versions of the original crew, while others didn't care for those movies.  Heck the last one, Star Trek: Into Darkness, I enjoyed a lot.  I'll probably pick up a copy on DVD one of these days. It seems these days there's always going to be a give and take, and different opinions.  If you'll read below the Ron Moore article, however, some of the comments have pretty diverse opinions, some pretty interesting.  I'd just be game for the new series, wherever they take it.

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Still been on a Carl Sagan binge.  Don't know what brought that on.  I remember seeing at least part of Cosmos back in the day, so I've been re-watching that series.  Some of it you can find on Youtube, but there are large chunks of it missing, so I've been getting those on the physical disc plan from Netflix. Hard to believe back when Cosmos first aired there wasn't a world wide web, it's amazing how quickly that became an integral part of our lives.  Last night though I saw a late 80's broadcast on Youtube with a conversation between Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and Arthur C. Clarke on an older talk show, I'm guessing from the BBC.  It was a short thirty minute program, but interesting to see those three together.

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I also caught the first episode of  The Starlost over the weekend.  They have, from what I can tell at a glance, the full series up at YT.  It was written by Harlan Ellison, but credited to his pen name, Cordwainer Bird. It's a pen name that Ellison has assigned to works of his that, well, he wishes to give "the bird" to or feels that the powers that be mangled his story.  A long time ago a friend (hey Drew) had given me a copy of the original book Ellison had written and in the introduction he wrote about the whole sordid ordeal, and how Hollywood had screwed up his project, and how badly it turned out.  I think Mr. Ellison is one of those authors, however, that has a hard time letting go of his stories once he signs the okay for an adaptation to the screen.  It's been a while since I've read the original story, but from what I could tell, the televised story goes along pretty closely to the book.  Granted it's somewhat dated, and low budget, but a pretty interesting concept, none the less. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Spock vs. Data

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I found a couple of things over on the site that I thought I might share. One is an interesting article by Emily Asher-Perrin on the differences between Data vs. Spock.  Both are great characters, and I dig them both, so I won't choose who I like better.  Spock is half human, half Vulcan, and yet suppresses his human side.  Data is android, yet wants to understand the human experience.  Both are a bit at odds with their crew at times, offer a bit of comic relief, and sometimes are the butt of the jokes from other crew members.  However I'm not sure I totally agree with all Emily posits within the article, however, it was fun to read and food for thought.  It's funny that she mentioned how Data was anatomically correct.  I too had to wonder about that one.

Also on the site they are offering a freebie download of some SF short stories. They are from the 2014 Campbellian Anthology.  That's 111 authors, and it's DRM-free.  This would be particularly great to grab if you have an e-reader, and if you don't, you can download an app that will allow you to read them on your laptop or desktop or what have you.  It is only offered for a short time, so if you think you might be interested, I'd go ahead the grab it now while it's available.  They also tell you where you can download an app to read them.  Link.

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A fun little quiz is up on the zimbio site.  You answer some questions, and they tell you which character from Star Trek: TOS  you'd be.  I turned out to be Kirk, woo hoo.  I haven't taken the Next Gen quiz yet, but I plan too, just to see who I might be.  I had a friend that said he turned out to be Khan, ha, so maybe there's villains too. 

Monday, February 03, 2014

Akira Sherlock Downton Abbey

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If you happen to be a fan of Akira the manga or the anime, you might like to hear this podcast about Katsuhiro Otomo’s stunning science fiction masterpiece.  I remember watching it many years back on the Sci-fi Channel and being blown away by it, although not totally understanding it.  It's a bit bombastic and over the top, but you'll hardly forget some of the scenes from it, and the artwork is fantastic. 

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I really can't think of two television series more differently paced that the BBC Sherlock, and the BBC Downton Abbey.  Sherlock is very fast pasted, and throws multiple images at  you quicker than a Waring blender.  I always feel exhausted after watching an episode, and to be fair, the current season 3 has been a bit  uneven at times.  I thought the season opener, which continued from the great cliffhanger of Season 2, concerning the confrontation of Sherlock and his nemesis, Moriarty, was a bit of a letdown.  Perhaps letdown, may not be the right word for it, I thought you just had to suspend disbelief a great deal.  Even so it was still a pretty great episode the way it was handled, showing different perspectives on how Sherlock survived from the former season. 

Last night on Sherlock, they aired a really good episode called, His Last Vow.  I was thoroughly engaged  by it.  In it they presented another arch and powerful villain for Sherlock to encounter, Charles Augustus Magnussen.  He was supposed to be someone that all of England, even Scotland Yard, and the politicians were afraid of.  He was known for his blackmailing ability.  That may not seem like that deadly of a power, but it turned out to be so.  There were many unveilings within the episode, one concerning Watson's wife, to whom he had recently married, a  look into Sherlock's home life, his upbringing and relationship with his brother, Mycroft, and their mother and father, Sherlock taking on a  junky protege (no kidding, weird), a new love interest for Sherlock, and so on.  It was really a great episode all the way around.

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Downton Abbey on the other hand moves pretty glacial slow, and I can well  imagine some people might be turned off by that or might feel it would try their patience, or they might think it's too stuffy or highbrow.  I felt the same way, but I  have to admit, once I watched a few episodes I got hooked pretty easily.  It does move pretty slow, but the scripts are so well written, and it's so well shot, that it's hard not to be engaged by it.  Plus the characters are all pretty interesting.  This is Season 4 for it, and I really picked it up around the third season, which was the one that hooked me.  I went back and watched the first two seasons and got caught up, and so when Season 4 started I was up to snuff.  So far, this season strikes me not being quite as good as last season, but there are a few plot threads that I'm curious as to how they'll play out, particularly involving the rape and misfortune that happened to the servant woman, Anna, and her husband.  There's also a plot thread concerning two of the male and female servant that are dredging up dirt and so forth.  I'm not entirely sure what their plans are, but you get the feeling they are trying to undermine someone with their plans.  I may have missed on that particular plot point, so I'll have to go back and re-watch parts to Season 4.  It's one of those shows that you can watch again, however, as more will reveal itself on multiple viewings.

Robot Carnival

Robot Carnival (1987) is one of the earlier animes I remember watching.  I caught it off the Sci-Fi Channel many years back.  It's an anthology series of nine short stories concerning robots made by different creators with various art styles.  If one short doesn't work for you, another might.  It being so varied though was one of the draws for me. Some of the stories are comical while others are dramatic.  I wasn't very well versed on anime, about all I knew about it at the time was Robotech, and this help give me an idea of how varied if could be.  There's a streamer of the series over on Youtube if you might be interested in watching the series.

I caught a very oddball Australian film over the weekend, called Bad Boy Buddy.  I pretty much went into it without knowing much of anything about it, which if you are an adventurous movie watcher is the best way to go, and I'd suggest that way to view it as well.  So I won't give away spoilers here, but just say that I'm sure there's many things on the film that will turn off many viewers.  For one, there's nudity, and that might be enough to cause some people to avoid it, but also some animal cruelty, incest, profanity, and so the list goes.  I think the writer and director, de Heer, might have thrown in the kitchen sink as far as what might offend some people, but I think he was aiming at an exploratory, original experimental film, not so much one that would offend someone, but maybe shock one out of their normal doldrums of film watching.  And he succeeded as for my take on the film.  The first part of the film was a bit slow, and I wondered where the films was going or even what type genre of  film I was watching.  I thought it might be a low budget sci-fi at first, but once Bubby left home, and was out on his own, the pace picked up, and darn if it didn't get more interesting.  I even found myself laughing at parts of it despite some of the offensive material.  It's a crazy, nutter film, but if you're an adventurous film fan, check it out.