Note to my reader of some New Series:
Rough notes on them.
Orphan Black BBC3 in the UK BBC3 Fridays @9pm 3 episodes in started 20th September with two episodes-available on BBC i-player-see review below.
Sleepy Hollow Universal Channel @137 on Virgin TV starting 9th October 2012
“My name is Ichabod Crane!”…
started 29th September Sunday @ 9pm Universal Channel # 137 on Virgin TV
Syrupy but enjoyable slush. Charlie’s Angels-of a sort updated for the present day. OK Like America’s Next Top Model House but for a mixture of Government undercover Agents. & it is the Rookie’s first day…what could possibly go wrong.
Oh and they all live in a funky beach house right on the beach and surf and have golden coca-cola moments on the beach around a fire. Bleuch.
Still it trundles along helped by some very hunky men and of course lip-pouting mostly women who aid and obey them at intervals.
It’s like a house full of friggin James Bonds and Jane Bonds & or chic Nikitas. & evil alter-egos. Except they are all mostly sunshine yellow and about as convincing and as harmful as saccharine instead of sugar.
Oh well. No one of this really matters to me as i like so bad they are good dramas. Especially if it is set in
California, Los Angeles, all the places with wild and crazy sunshine and giant upside down alien like palm trees pointing like giant bulbous poles into the twilight sun.
The Walking Dead new series 18th October 2013 Friday @10pm
Yikes! i can’t look nor write..
“zztttt…static on the car radio, then a voice, saying…sanctuary…sanctuary…”
True Blood new series Monday 30th September FOX Channel # 157 on Virgin TV 10pm=yey!
“Time for the humans to bite back!”…..
Homeland Series 3. Series 2 currently showing on Channel More4 in UK & on 4OD (4 on demand) New series starts Sunday 6th October @ 9pm on Channel 4-Channel number# 104 on Virgin TV
Orphan Black: My Review
On first few episodes.
This is great and hugely enjoyable. I have seen the first two episodes which were shown together. This is
available on i-player.
It would be hard to write much about Orphan Black without seriously spoilering it. Plus it is one of those shows that resists such efforts at concentration for me and calls out instead for a tub of chocolate ice cream and a grin.
I will say that if features a heroine, her foster brother who actually nearly acts her off the screen and a
Policeman named Art. See even that is a spoiler.
The Cameramen, I can describe, seem to fall subject to some calamity whenever our heroine has her pants/knickers on. Since uncountably he seems to be filming from the floor.
Having missed the first few minutes which had, as i later discovered in checking, handily contained a train Driver’s announcement of a station. I was convinced Orphan Black was set in London.
There was the train, the station platform. Quite why i was convinced a train and a platform were definitely British i don’t exactly know.
It looked like the train came into a tube station.
The lady on the train who looked in horror when our heroine exclaimed “shit” and who clutched her child tighter. That might have been a clue. At one point our heroine and her foster brother go to a Pub and he orders Guinness. That was what convinced me it was London.
But no, a lot is explained by finding out that it is a BBC American series but made and produced in Canada. & filmed in Canada. Ahah.
I was fully convinced it was in the UK./ London until i saw the Policemen’s uniforms. That was the clue. (well a later clue)
As mentioned before on here, I like Canadian productions. They are fresh and different. (i even watched Rookie Blue for a while)
I am a firm fan of LA Complex.(before that Intelligence was good but sadly cut short.)
I am intrigued as to what will happen next. So far Orphan Black has been delightful & different. To see a woman heroine do some things that, of all the dramas i have seen, no female character has done before.
Plus i want her wardrobe. Not the wardrobe you understand.
“Hey, I’m Sasha, how are you?…
“Katia, It’s Frank!”…
Geddes takes his daughter to enrol.
We find out where Geddes gets his religious education from. Catholic School.
(except Catholics don’t learn the Bible)
“Has she done her Sacrament, her Confession?”
I really think getting an 8 year old child to confess to something she ain’t even done yet is straight up bunkum!”
( i thought she was 13)
Frank & his contact inexplicably move a couch.
“Old G bust it running dirty tricks 2 blocks away”
“You know I tossed you”
(young boy) Jamal:
“I ain’t gonna say some whys and when and wheres…”
The stylish gangsters are still washing the blood off.
Moustachioed man Damon (I keep getting him and the paper tearing man, Nick confused)
“I can’t believe I did all this”
(you did actually)
Frank to Reverend Underwood’s henchman:
“How’d you jack your hand?”
“AK’s pecker was too big!”
Reverend Underwood & Frank.
“Someone got smoked in the Trap house”
“Now all of your guys is pushing weed”
“I come with respect”
“Drop a name, any heat drops on you”
“Let me disseminate, see what shakes loose”
To his men when Frank is gone:
“Hey-any of you punk ass hood rats know why a Homicide Detective is rolling up on me?!”
Detective Dani Khalil:
“A Challenger..I found a witness”
(is a car apparently and not the spaceship)
Mother of Billy:
“You saying my boy was with a camel when he was shot?!”
“He didn’t like camels”(what?!)
“He weren’t too keen on whitey either!” (uh oh)
Nb. I keep getting worried that Frank & Geddes might consider that Dani Khalil might have to go the way of the wicked.
Since she keeps turning up actual real clues and witnesses in their case.
Geddes to Khalil:
“How are you and Frank?”…
“You know what they say, incest is OK as long as you keep it in the family”…
Geddes gets a brainwave in the shop of a witness: to take all the girly magazines for sighting (of) fingerprints!
“Don’t worry, we’ll return them to you, at some point..”
Detective Dani Khalil & Geddes.
“We’re partners, right?”
“Better than some rookie with a hot dog hanging out of his arse!”
“So: I reckon you have about 18 months, where, the FBI? CIA?”
“I’m confused, are you trying to get rid of me?”
Maya & Moustachioed man Damon
how did it go?”
(she means) Damon’s face show-up (as they call it-i would call it showing your face) to the brother of the man in their car.
Damon weeps on the ground in an alleyway.
Frank ambushes Katia in a rate foray (for her) outside the house.
He hugs her.
Name one thing I like?”
“You like lots of things..”
Nb. Frank is like Superman. He zooms magically back from Canada & wherever in the blink of an eye he is back in Detroit.
Nick, the paper tearing man is having a therapy session.
He keeps looking at the clock.
“Been taking your medication Nick?”
“What’s on your mind?”
Nick comes out of therapy and just nearly thinks about stepping in front of a lorry/ truck by the looks of it.
He goes and buys 2 bottles of booze.
They are put in paper bags.
That is what you have to do in America.
Nick puts out a row of tablets on his leg. Washes them down..
Then thinks it’s a good idea to drive.
Nick’s car is cool as are all of the men’s cars in Low Winter sun. But it doesn’t have that lovely chugging engine sound that Gedde’s car has and i think Damon’s car. Sounds like a V8 engine or an old British motorbike.
The victim lies on the ground eyes staring wide open.
That was the paper tearing man Nick, not moustachioed man Damon.
Frank turns up drunk at Khalil’s place.
“Can I come in?”..
“You look like shit”..
Then Frank goes in for a kiss..
“I’ve been thinking about you..”
Damon & Stelios.
You’re only up on 2 feet because of your old man”
“If anything happens to me or Maya!”
“Your decrepit old ass will die in a cell!”
How poetic, the skill of excellence damns”!
“Nothing changes without peace”
“I will take over the International as well”
Stelios to Maya:
“Sorry, I know it’s been your family business..”
(Maya is pissed)
“This could be one of those Game Day spots,”
“get some jerseys, some ferns, all of that nonsense!”
Geddes, his mother and his daughter.
Geddes’s Mother to her granddaughter:
“You just go through the motions, but don’t really become a Catholic!”
“At least you won’t have to deal with Sister Agnes, she made my life hell!”
“No pun intended!”
Frank & Ak (Reverend Underwood’s man)
“Ak is just the messenger..”
Khalil and the witness.
“Looked like 2 men, one dark, one light..”
“They put a body in that car”
“They put him in the river”
“By the time I was done in that interview, I didn’t know which way was up…”
“tell you what, I didn’t have him as some Middle-Eastern guy though…”
***end of excerpts***
So Low Winter Sun lurches on. It did get a bit good. It kind of came together. For longer this time.
Now I’m thinking that it’s just so very hard to care. I think that’s the problem. That is why i can’t be bothered paying attention to the ramifications of the plot.
It really should make it more interesting i suppose if i was keeping track of each and every amusing incidence . That is the result of Frank& Gedde’s lies and meddling. Or should i say not so amusing since their dark shenanigans have already resulted in some untimely deaths.
Sometimes the lies deliberately told by Frank & Geddes in their fairy tale reconstruction of their case get people killed.
By the wrong people since the other lot hadn’t really done anything. Frank & Geddes just made it up.
Other times, weirdly, the right people, who really have done something get killed by the right people so to speak.
Because one side really did do it. But the side who have killed the real culprits were actually lied to as well.
Because Frank & Geddes don’t know everything that the stylish gangsters have been up to. It should be interesting all this but it’s not.
Can you see how this is turgid and boring to contemplate?
Trouble is, Low Winter Sun thinks it’s The Wire.
I divine my problem to be with the lack of sympathy for most of the characters. It is a hard ask to sympathise with Frank & Geddes. Frank,I find a bit leaden and dopey. Cruel as that may sound.
Frank’s ongoing dreariness of demeanour is meant to reflect his grief over Katia i surmise. That’s kind of old now.
Frank has been looking mean and moody for every single episode now.
Although i further appreciate the dialogue being scattered around more equally to many more characters.
Each one really had his or her own poetic individual style.
Top marks to the dialogue. Even if i ruled it a touch too pat last wee. It still is a bit box fresh. If a little knowing.
So, having a hard time sympathising with Frank & Geddes whilst not being able to help myself liking Geddes. Just for having more get up and go and more to say than Frank.
I have decided to sympathise with Khalil. As the only fairly moral & decent character. With any glimmer of humanity. If all this is sounding a little judgemental it is probably because I’m bored.
We are meant to sympathise with Frank’s love and ceaseless search for Katia. Likewise Gedde’s obvious love for his daughter and how passionately he fights for her. I guess i do. I mostly appreciate Gedde’s use of words & his energy.
Coke-fuelled or not. He makes Frank look like someone in need of a defibrillator.
A little like Low Winter Sun itself which could do with the application, though metaphorical, of twin paddles and someone shouting:
The trouble is, it has all been done before. The Wire. The excellent Australian series Underbelly. All the gangster
movies ever. Countless Law and Orders. Serpico even. None of it is new. The fact that Low Winter Sun cruises by so easily without any proper characterisation or depth is due to it’s borrowing of every cliché’ that has gone before.
Low Winter sun is like a smorgasbord of shorthand notations of fixed dramatic fixtures made visual: Dirty Cops.
Suspicious partner who is clean. The bar owning gangsters with beautiful wife. The troubled Veteran soldier with mental health issues and Post Traumatic Stress. The kids on the block, playing hookey on bikes,
Big, chugging engines and cool old cars. The stylish suits, Although i stopped noticing clothes in the dark.
The Catholic Detective who goes back to see his old Priest. Who knew/ taught him him when he was young.
The boxing gym and the championing of a young, officially troubled protege’. & so it goes on.
The shouting, angry to apoplectic Police Chief Boss and/ or their political superior. Constantly demanding answers and talking about how it will roll with the Press.
All this as listed would be all right if there was just some more flesh on top of the borrowed bones beneath. But it has about as much flesh as vultures would leave carrion picked dry in the sun.
Low Winter Sun trundles on in the most appallingly unlit dark, impenetrable to the eye. Things really buck up in the sunlight/ daylight. We can actually see.
Probably my favourite character in all is Sean,ex-husband of Maya who successfully acts everybody else off the screen.
Even writing about Low winter sun feels like pushing a wet cloth through an old wooden mangle and turning the handle.
As for all that effort, precious few drops of water fall to the ground But i just keep on turning the handle, trying to find something to say.
I will keep watching just to see if Frank & Geddes get away with it. Since that is the only really dramatic tension left.
( & Whether the gangsters get blatted i suppose.)
Since everything else is surprisingly dull. it is like watching Inspector Montalbano and getting bored with the clever contorted plot. & deciding instead to just look at the scenery and people talking a lot.
Wentworth Prison episode 4
“Sorry I’m late”
“How about a whiskey?”
He appears to be an old English actor.
“I picked up some cheese for you on the way over, extra bitey, make sure the sirens don’t pinch it..”
Mr. Jackson & the ex-soldier Prison Officer
“What did you give her?” (the murdered Governor)
ex-soldier Prison Officer:
Mr. Jackson is cracking.
“Give me another scotch!”
You don’t need another Scotch”
Then Mr. Jackson shags a woman in the loo and can’t kiss her.
The he cries in the loo.
Jacs cries. & looks at herself in the mirror and touches her face.
Another Depressing song.
“Please leave your light on for me”
“I’ll be crawling in the dirt”
“It’s not just me who’s hurt”
“I went out from the halls of grace”
“Turned my back on my future”
“Please leave your light on for me”
“I’ll be taking the long way home”…
All the women are practising their speeches for the Open Day.
“It’s us women who made this happen, I’m most proud of the peer worker programme..”
“I knocked a few heads together, I spent a lot of time in the slot”
“It helped me to stop going bunta”..
Governor Eric to the Prison Officres:
“You can mention the work done and how it has helped the women.”
“And don’t mention the riots!”
Mr. Will Jackson:
“Any news of the inestigation?”
“Every time iI ask the Police they give me the same Bullshit”..
Bea’s daughter is holding hands with Braydon her new boyfriend. (Jac’s son)
Liz and kindly woman Social Worker.
“Your parole is in 2 weeks”
“Now the last time you appeared before the Board,
“they expressed some concern as to how you would cope on the outside?”..
The speeches at Open Day.
“The governor believed in me, she saw past my front”
“It helped that she’s hot!”
“She gave me desire……”
awful pause (so is Frankie gay?)
Erica the Governor looks worried.
“to be a better person.”
“Some people say it’s the worst thing being in prison..”
“My name is Sue but they call me the boomer”
“Cause I always come back”
“I used to bash a lot of people but Frankie taught me this trick”
“Puppies and jelly”..
***end of excerpts***
So this week it was the story of Liz. I had a feeling it would be. I realise that Wentworth Prison is sticking very closely to the original story lines of Prisoner Cell Block H. & even taking care to have actresses who look the same as in the original series.
Since I remember a character who looked just like Liz. & was also gentle and kind and a peacemaker to the other women. I liked her then and i like her now.
A far and distant bell rings about Frankie and the Governor too. In the original Prisoner Cell Block H Frankie and the Governor were having a hot and tempestuous affair.
Over the course of an increasingly tense episode in terms of the nervousness of Liz as she prepares for her public speech: we see her past unfold.
The upcoming speech Liz is expected to make, urged on and encouraged by Erica the Governor, has triggered flashbacks to
Liz’s past. When Liz was nervous about a speech at another event. In her past Liz was organising the whole event too.
The flashbacks, to signify it so, are set in lurid sepia wash of bleached out light. These visions are populated by hideous caricatures like Madge from (the Australian soap opera series) Neighbours, with black seeming lipstick on and a horribly bad black wig. All the people, grown-ups that is, in Liz’s past are constantly criticising her.
Not without reason.
Yet Liz constantly puts herself down and doubts her abilities. Whether as a result of this criticism or just plain lack of confidence is unclear. The two feed into each other and the implication is that Liz’s mother is a bit posh and has high expectations. Of perfection.
Liz must have lived on a farm because out of nowhere a tractor appears and Liz knows how to drive it…
& We see the carefully controlled heartbreak of Jacs over seeing her husband with a new and improved version of her. Much younger. Thus does Jacs grieve over her loss and her own ageing as she looks in the mirror.
I knew i was going to end up liking Jacs. Carving pieces of Frankie’s chest aside. Oh and employing the long remembered weapon of the industrial steaming iron.
Reckon it will be Jac’s story next week.
We also realise that unwittingly or not, Liz sabotages her own parole. Subconsciously. Since as only we know, Liz has no one likely to be waiting for her outside.
This is a well known predicament of long term and even short-term prisoners.
Prisoners who find and say that they feel safer and more secure inside. They miss their prison family, their routine.
Often times we see in Wentworth Prison how the prison provides a boundary for the women. A place of safety. They can raise their hand and ask for leave from a visitor if they want. As with Bea, the prison also offers protection.
All of these things may have been unavailable to the women before. The institution itself allow them to assert themselves.
The Bates Motel
So this is really quite good I think. It is somehow more than the sum of it’s parts.
Bates being the surname of Norman who famously killed Janet Leigh in the shower in Hitchcock’s Psycho. I’m not telling the rest. Just in case not everyone has seen Psycho.
Lets just say that Norman had an infamously close relationship with his Mother.
Now i was expecting the Bates Motel to be a little bit rubbish. Some fun, silly TV. Possibly my favourite kind. I wasn’t going to bother but i read a review which said much the same as i was thinking. They thought The Bates Motel would be mediocre yet it wasn’t. It was really rather good. OK i said that bit.
So i caught up with The Bates Motel. It manages to be that very rare thing: something different and free of cliché.
Yes it helped that the story is already imbued with the dark underlay of our previous knowledge. That Norman becomes a murderer. & Just exactly what happens to his Mother. I’m not giving it all away.
However the drama itself is satisfyingly sinister without this perhaps. It is believably but surreally set in the giant old dilapidated motel. Gigantic it is, on top of a hill.
At night the Motel looks enormous and real. From our semi-remembered memories of the original film. The two films fed into each other and bleed out atmosphere in spades.
Like the horror was the water raining down at night.
It rains, the old neon Motel name sign is lowered and a new one, blue and white arises. Norman’s Mother coos and flutters around him. She is too close. She is always too close. Sexual energy fizzes around her and Norman. No, really.
“Its what you wanted, the blue, your favourite,remember?” says Norman’s Mother as they stand, insufferably, suffocatingly close. & gaze out at the sign in the black night.
Norman and his mother Norma are in the middle of nowhere. On the outskirts of a small seaside town. There don’t seem to be many roads.
Norma admits that when she arrives she saw a public notice. Announcing that the new road will be built the other side of town.
“Silly me” she says to Norman,
“No one will come”..
When Norman goes down the giant hill in the morning to go to school he has his white i-pod earphones dangling.
(so they are not dating it to Hitchcock’s time or before i now realise)
The Bates Motel is present day prequel.
Norman walks down to the lone wooden bus stop of white weathered board.
The hill in the daylight morning sun appears a a palette of orange luminous yellow. The colours of another world. Almost another planet.
The golden grass is nearly knee high.
We are glad for Norman on his first day and every day he does this. Crazy yellow it maybe but Norman has his earplugs dangling like a normal kid and he meets some new class mates waiting at the bus stop. They are all girls. & The girls are all wonderfully normal and nice.
We have high hopes for Norman. Intermittently forgetting his future. Any time away from his mother has got to be good.
Norman badly needs to get out more.
i will give a slight warning of a surprisingly violent scene in the first episode. Well i wasn’t expecting that.
& I am not sure about some graphic detail which i will leave undescribed. It is always the women who are shown like that.
A rather contorted insertion of future plot perhaps.
& Norman makes a new friend. A really cool girl with oxygen twin tubes in her nose. & a little trailing oxygen tank on wheels. This is never explained. I am guessing Cystic Fibrosis.
Norman’s mother is very beautiful. She always has make-up on even at night. But then American women in dramas always do.
Even in the apocalypse.
Norma is less clear in the daylight when she simpers up to the handsome young Policeman in the diner. Norma’s face becomes less defined. As if part of it had melted like wax.
Then as wax-faced Norma giggles girlishly her lips writhe and wriggle like two giant caterpillars released suddenly into freedom from a dark small box.
After the wood-chucking contest which is won by the young Policeman he and Norma stand in the dark. Townspeople throng around them in the Woodchuck festival.
Suddenly the Policeman is giving Norma the low down on the town.
“That industry died down, yet people live in million dollar house and have yachts”
The Policeman turns to Norma and asks:
“How do you think they make their money?”
Norma just stares. She has already asked the Policeman why, when she has brought dear Norman here for a new and innocent life: that bad things seem to keep happening?
Norma is getting a bad feeling abut this we can tell.
The incredibly handsome Policeman turns his head towards Norma and smiles.
“Here, we deal with things in or own way, behind the scenes”
“An eye for an eye, you know?”
He smiles, all white teeth and pleasantry. Things just took a turn into sinister.
Low Winter sun Episode 4
Maya and ex-husband Sean:
“You look pretty, something different with your hair?”
“The bird man gets inside you and before you know it, words like known sound wrong..”
Geddes & Frank.
“Nine 0’Clock, Nine 0’Clock..”
“Nine 0′ Clock..”
“Billy smoked menthols, Trapp house..”
“Not the Raven, the Raven gets us in trouble..
Fat men roll in twos..”
“McCann’s jumped by Billy & Osama…”
(Why do they always have to play Jazz)
(Jazz music plays quietly)
“I used to tell my friends my Dad sparred with Sugar Ray Robinson”..
“We’re drowning, we’re drowning, the whole damn city is on us and you’re over there worrying about lint!”
“It tastes like a foot!”
The boxing match.
“That was a deliberate head butt ref!”
Khalil goes in for a kiss! She thought Frank took her on a date.
“Yeah, this was fun!”..
(knew this would happen)
***end of excerpts**
So our sympathy dissipates towards the gangsters in a Spiral-esque scene and we are back to a mostly dull and pedestrian drama. In spite of all the right ingredients and so much effort.
There was a point at which i almost felt Low winter sun had finally coalesced. It had come together at last, it seemed believable for a minute. All the interaction of the characters were credible and made sense, it was realistic. Whatever that is.
However that feeling was only momentary and brief. & disappeared as quickly as it had come.
I don’t mean the plot which is fairly run of the mill. I mean that the whole thing just doesn’t gel somehow. it’s a shame because the sets are great, what you can see of them in their terminal gloom. So is the scenery. It must be as a dramatic construct that it fails/ falls down.
There just doesn’t seem to be enough gaps, no pauses for breath, no real background.
The characters are forced to explain their own background, in the already top heavy dialogue.
The dialogue is mostly clunky and unreal. Whilst Gedde’s dialogue is wildly over the top and surreal. Surreal for it’s surroundings. It seems unlikely that other Cops would not have told him to shut the F up about religion. religious quotes, foretellings of doom generally and giant shouting bouts down at the station.
Wonderful though Gedde’s dialogue is. It is daft in reality. Which is meant to be what we believe in when watching.
The dialogue & verbal interplay between Geddes and Frank is a delight to the ears. However it is almost too perfect, too street, too poetic.
Would weary long serving Detectives really talk like this to each other? would they be quite so verbose? So flowery?
Wouldn’t it be much more likely they would grunt, short monosyllables at teach other in a spare, energy saving familiar code?
I suppose that Gedde’s speech is synonymous with the young fighter. For Geddes, his words are his weapons and his arsenal.
For me, on consideration, Low Winter sun suffers from having started when it did. Sure it was fresh and different to do that as a Drama, however the lack of believability of the whole thing hinges on this. We needed more explanation, more character build-up.
It is like there is at least one episode missing before the first.
That said i will stick with it since i’m kind of fond of it now. I do glory in Gedde’s dialogue. See what i did there.
It is unclear whether Geddes really believes all the religious declarations he makes or is being supremely sarcastic.
Such is the plethora of religious quotes i wondered if even “9 0′ clock” was a religious allusion.
(since as in T.S. Elliot’s the 4 Quartets- 9 0′ clock refers to the time that Jesus died)
Who knows. Possibly. We are just along for the ride. Myself, as mentioned in my review for Hatifum and along the way, I like dramas with mainly male characters in them. Since such dramas are relatively rare. Which makes them interesting.
I like Low Winter sun because it is different.
Even though it mostly floats along buoyed up on a bumpy sea of clichés.