litlover12: (Books)
On a slightly cheerier note, I've started watching the British series Black Books. I'm three episodes in, and so far it is HILARIOUS. Bernard L. Black (L for Ludwig) makes Dr. House look like a lover of humanity.

The slightly disturbing thing is I can easily imagine myself ending up that way -- tucked away in a hole somewhere, surrounded by dirt, refusing to look up from my book all day, yelling for someone to bring me whatever I want. (I think my mom can too! Imagine me that way, I mean, not herself!)
litlover12: (Castle)
I've found some of the best shows just because everyone else was always going on about how great they are. Like Once Upon a Time.

Oddly, though I've always been fond of fairy tales, I wasn't that interested at first -- I guess I couldn't see how network primetime TV could pull off a convincing one. And I did think it started out a bit stilted, when I finally took a look at it. But goodness, how it's grown on me over the course of only three episodes! I'm totally on board now, and then some. I haven't been this anxious about what was going to happen to Snow White since I was, oh, about five years old. And I really like how they're using the traditional framework with all these new little twists thrown in -- like how Prince Charming got his name! Love it.

Also, nice to see Jennifer Morrison with a regular role again, and this time as someone who's not an annoying self-righteous twit. Take THAT, House. (Though I can't say I care overmuch for the "birth mother comes back to save kid from evil adoptive mother" idea. Adoption gets stigmatized enough as it is.)

But oh my word, poor daddy of the evil queen! YIKES! I felt awful for him. Though I suppose he should have known that a "Max and Norma from Sunset Boulevard" kind of setup is never going to end well. (I know it was a father in this case instead of an ex-husband, but still, there were uncomfortable similarities.) And that, when your daughter considers ripping your heart out, even for a fleeting moment, it's not a good time to give her hugs. It's a good time to -- as my own father would say -- whup her like a yard dog. And then RUN.
litlover12: (FB)
Ringer was awful. Revenge was interesting only sporadically. A Gifted Man had terrible characterization.

However, I think Person of Interest is a keeper. There's a touch of Early Edition about the storyline, but with very different characters. When Reese (Jim Caviezel) was warning a man in an elevator that his wife had put a hit on him, I amused myself thinking of the adorably awkward way that Gary Hobson would have carried out a similar mission. There's nothing of the adorably awkward type about John Reese; he has much more of an edge, but he also has deadpan humor and protective instincts and charisma to burn. And looks. Boy oh boy, does he have the looks. Hollywood may have its issues, but at least it can be relied on for a steady supply of eye-candy. :D Caviezel and Michael Emerson are turning out to be a very good team -- maybe not quite on the level of Burke and Caffrey, but still very good. I'd never seen Emerson before, not being a LOSTie, but now I know why people always rave about him. The guy's awesome.

And that's all I've seen of the new TV season.

Oh, and I've dropped House. Dropped it even before the end of last season, though I don't think I mentioned it then. I hated to do it after all these years, but IMO, the shark has been well and truly jumped. As I've said before, it's the rare show that can go on for many years without eventually, pardon my language, taking a dive into the crapper. Fortunately, since Hugh Laurie seems determined to take his music career up a few notches, and since he's also starring in the upcoming Mister Pip, it won't be too hard to find him elsewhere!
litlover12: (WC4)
I mean it. Right there.

Spoilers below cut . . . )
litlover12: (BA2)
Make sure you let your spouse have an open marriage, or else he'll be sure to cheat behind your back?

I've just about had it. I never really took to the new cast anyway, but now they sicken me. At least the House characters used to acknowledge the existence of some sort of morality; now the whole show's a moral sinkhole. If it weren't for the terrific-looking karaoke scene next week, I might not even watch. After that, I may give up. It's just not worth it anymore.
litlover12: (P1)
If you pair Wilson up with that awful Thirteen, I will do something drastic.

Also, I don't know which was dumber, Foreman and Taub getting high to figure out what makes House tick, or Cameron jumping Chase the moment he signed the divorce papers.
litlover12: (Default)
Mm, nope, I don't think so. Pretty clever idea, though. Don't miss the clip from the '80s dance scene at 1:04, and the head toss at 1:48 is a hoot. :-)



(Thanks to Jane Austen Today)
litlover12: (WC2)
I wasn't going to do this again. I was not going to get sucked into another TV fandom. The last show I fangirled -- really, truly, deeply, wholeheartedly fangirled -- tore my heart into little tiny bleeding pieces and jumped up and down on them. It's been years and I still get depressed when I think about it, that's how awful it was. I've had shows I've loved since then, like Monk and Psych and (most of the time) House, shows that made me laugh and cry and squee and even argue for hours on fan boards, but no more hardcore fandom. I was NOT going to go there again, ever.

And now look at me. I think it was the events of "Free Fall" and "Hard Sell" that did it -- pulled me in so deep it's probably too late to throw me a rope. I look at White Collar promo photos and obsess over what might be going on in them. I hunt for spoilers. I look for fanlistings to join. I want a Peter Burke of my very own (with a Neal Caffrey just to look at every once in a while). I want to write fanfiction.

I am in deep doo-doo here, people.
litlover12: (P1)
Funny thing about Madeleine L'Engle. When she's good (the Time series, The Joys of Love, Two-Part Invention), she's very, VERY good. But when she's bad . . . well, you know.

Alas, I have to place A Severed Wasp in the latter category. This is largely the fault of its protagonist, Katherine Forrester Vigneras, quite possibly the most unappealing heroine L'Engle ever wrote. In her adolescence (in The Small Rain) she wasn't so bad, but in her old age she's prickly, self-absorbed, and insufferable. And as we find out through flashbacks, her morals leave quite a lot to be desired. I don't mean to be judgmental, but I can think of few people who wouldn't be shocked and offended by what she and her husband did in the past -- and even more shocked and offended by their reasons for doing it. They had both suffered greatly during World War II, especially him, but their response to their experiences is atrocious. And the fact that L'Engle lets their actions pass pretty much without comment makes me seriously question her judgment, which makes me sad, because there really are a lot of things that I like about her. (It's not the first L'Engle book to make me do so, though; I had much the same reaction to Camilla, although what happened there wasn't quite so icky.)

All this -- although the icky part is a secret from nearly all the other characters -- makes it all the weirder that everyone Katherine meets virtually worships her from the get-go. There's this sort of mass reaction of "Just sitting here with you for five minutes has completely changed my life for the better, and just hearing your voice on the phone takes away all my fear, and here, have some tea, and have some dinner, and let me rub your back, and please may I name my firstborn child after you?" Okay, she's an astonishingly brilliant pianist, but good grief. The woman comes across like the love child of Dr. House and Mary Sue.

Frankly, it's almost a relief when, late in the book, someone confesses to hating Katherine. So naturally, it turns out that that person is sick in the head.

I won't say there aren't wonderful glimmers of insight here about the arts, family life, faith, and life in general. But the book is mostly Katherine, and that makes it, in my estimation, not a very good book. Two stars out of five.

Now I'm reading A Preface to Paradise Lost by C. S. Lewis.
litlover12: (WC1)
Certain parts of it are formulaic -- when you open your novel with an evil tycoon luring an antagonist into a silo full of corn, it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to guess what's coming. Certain parts of it are gross -- after all, Dr. Nick "The Bug Man" Polchak loves nothing better than to chat about insects and what they do to human bodies. And certain parts of it cross the line between quirky and just plain unbelievable -- more on that in a moment.

And yet with all that, Ends of the Earth is still a thoroughly good read. Nick, as always, is irresistible with his singlemindedness and his one-liners, which occasionally rise to Dr. House-like levels -- and that's a compliment I don't pay lightly. He's kept me reading for four books now despite being one of the most squeamish readers ever. (The first Bug Man novel I read made me decide to be cremated when I die.) As for the plot, despite its formulaic moments, it has a good solid premise and some cool twists and turns.

Nick's relationships are not quite as well-drawn as his character. An element of romance has been present in each previous novel -- in a way that sort of bugged me (har!), because I'm always a little annoyed by series in which there's a new love interest in every installment. Make a choice and settle down, I say. Well, here Nick decides to do just that . . . in a way that sort of works and sort of doesn't. To begin with, we have a love triangle with Nick and two women from previous novels -- if you can call it a triangle when both women are after Nick and he spends much of the book not even noticing -- so at least we're recycling and not bringing in yet ANOTHER woman. There's something in that. And though I don't like love triangles as a rule, there's at least a bit of originality in the way that the two women in question, Kathryn and Alena, grow to be friends and to look out for each other in a dangerous situation. And one of them, I won't say who, really got me rooting for her. She's gutsy and smart and goes after what she wants without beating around the bush.

What doesn't exactly work is that we see very little of Nick's mental processes as he falls in love with one of the women, so when he finally decides to propose, I was half "Goody!" and the other half "Really?" And here's where we get all gimmicky -- Downs ends the book without saying to whom Nick proposed! You had to go to his website and vote!! After the shock and a brief moment of hating the author with the heat of a thousand suns, I rushed to the site to do just that. Turned out I was too late, the voting had already closed . . . but, joy and relief, my choice had won by a huge margin. In the next book, which Downs is writing now, she'll be either engaged or married to Nick. In a way I like this (hurray, he's making a choice and settling down!); in another way I can't help feeling it's all been just a little too quirky, and maybe a little too rushed; but in yet another way -- am I running out of ways? -- the weirdness of it kind of fits the characters and the general tone of the story.

So . . . I can't say that the story works the whole time. But I can say that when it works, it really works. Three-and-a-half out of five stars. I have a feeling the next one, when it comes out, may be higher; when we see Nick actually settled into a stable relationship with a very cool lady who gets him, I think it'll probably be better written than all the will-he-or-won't-he stuff. I just hope he gets her as well as she gets him.

Next: The Reef by Edith Wharton. In his introduction, Louis Auchincloss calls it "a Jamesian novel." Uh-oh.
litlover12: (BA2)
I just now realized that on Monday nights I watch two different shows about men who are named after places of residence. Interesting.

However, I'm not THAT slow, because I figured out the Strangers on a Train thing before Castle & Co. did, and I've barely even been paying attention.

litlover12: (P1)
Should've seen that one coming.
litlover12: (BA1)
Didn't care much for tonight's episode of House. I think bachelor parties are disgusting, barbaric, and exploitative.

But that part aside -- if anyone wanted to make me an icon of House in the shades with the boombox on his shoulder, when he was standing in the doorway of the kid's hospital room, I would be your slave for life.

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