Sep 272012

Brains.  Steam.

J. J. Abrams, or maybe more accurately his atelier, specializes in matryoshka doll plotting, nesting story within plots, teasing, tantalizing, Will o’ the Wisp stories .  Most famously, Lost teased and tantalized for years before its fizzle-ending.  It promised largely, but what it most importantly taught is that the goal of the entertainment industry  is to get us to come back every week.   The works of atelier Abrams are glossy, gorgeous, well-executed on every level, and sometimes quite entertaining, but essentially vacuous, like gourmet cotton candy.  By now, we should be used to the technique.

This year’s offering is Revolution Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:46 pm
May 232012

I’ve been trying to catch up with my British drama.  I got behind.  I’ve cruised through the first two seasons of Upstairs Abbey, or whatever it’s called, which I found to be a pleasant companion during housework and cooking.  The characters are almost all pleasant and glossy, and none of the men deserve the women who love them.  Downton Downstairs is interesting in some other ways that I’ll get around to sometime soon.  I do rather keep expecting Michelle Dockery to pick up a poker and speak in a hollow, leaden, echoing voice.

I’ve been slow to tackle Sherlock for entirely personal reasons that I’ll also get to sooner or later.  Normally I collect Sherlock Holmes, and enjoy them however cheesy and “inaccurate” they are.  To this, however, I had an immediate and nearly anaphylactic  reaction, something like “These are not Holmes and Watson.  The names may be the same but these are not Holmes and Watson.”  And there was the incredulous “Watson = Bilbo?!” thing.  We’ll see if I can get past that after the swelling goes down.  I’ll try again in a few days.

 Posted by at 5:38 am
Feb 012012

I’ll give just about anything Sam Neill is in a try.  The stated premise to his new show, Alcatraz, from the J. J. Abrams shop, was intriguing.  Alcatraz prison was closed after everyone one the island disappeared.  Now they’re all reappearing.

After four episodes, it’s little more than Law and Order:  Time Travel Unit.  Horrible people doing horrible things horribly, getting caught after doing enough horrible things to fill up the hour, and giving the audience a teensy tiny hint that Something Bigger might by going on.  There’s no suspense because the premise requires that the baddies get caught.  The hints at Something Bigger aren’t intriguing enough to put up with the predictably horrible behavior and actions that go before.  The returned bad guys do not appear disoriented, bewildered, or perplexed.  They just go right on being horrible.

So, sorry Sam, sorry Jorge.  Alcatraz has been demoted to something to watch while biking or ironing or cleaning the TV room or brushing the dogs, if nothing else is queued up.