In case you’ve wondered, I still haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth (yay me!) so I still can’t tell you the sex of the Great Turtle. (Besides I wouldn’t know what to look for to ascertain the sex of a turtle anyway.) No, last week I merely did my taxes for 2008. Which was hellish (granted, not so hellish as that thing with the dragons, but there were numbers involved which is bad enough).
I also watched Morse.
Or rather, I’m still watching Morse – getting through all the 33 episodes takes a bit of time, after all. 🙂 Obviously, I love the series not only because it’s well written, but also because you can play many entertaining games while watching it. Like, “Spotting Colin Dexter” (he’s the author of the Morse novels, and he has cameo appearances in almost all episodes of both Morse and Lewis) or (my favourite!) “Spotting actors who also appear in Lewis (but in different roles and with greyer hair)”.
As you might have gleaned from my Twitter tweets, I’ve got something of a crush on Stephen Fry at the moment. Not a crush-crush, if you know what I mean. He seems to be such a nice and decent man, and I really enjoyed KINGDOM and the various Fry and Laurie sketches available on the YouTube channel of BBC Worldwide.
So this week I watched STEPHEN FRY IN AMERICA – Fry travelling through all the 50 states of the USA in the course of six 60-minute episodes. Of course, in such a short time, you get no more than glimpses of the country, nevertheless, the series is a good introduction to the USA and leaves you curious to find out more and to travel to the States yourself. Or at the very least you wish that Fry would have spent another 12 episodes travelling up and down the country. 🙂
Eleven years ago, I spent three weeks in Oxford — and fell in love with the golden “city of dreaming spires”. What’s not to love? The city centre is dominated by the local yellow stone, which almost seems to gleam when the sun shines. There are lots of colleges with mysterious nooks and crannies and arched entrances and porters who stand guard over the hallowed halls. There’s a street full of bookstores, and there is the Pitt Rivers Museum (& Geordie the voodoo doll), the most intriguing museum imaginable!
So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that one of my favourite TV series at the moment is “Lewis”, the spin-off of the Inspector Morse series.
Both in Morse’s and in Lewis’s Oxford the sun is alway shining, which gives the series a light, airy look despite the serious subject matter, crime. In contrast to other popular crime series such as CSI, “Lewis” falls into the category of cozy mysteries. More often than not you don’t see how people are killed, though you might be shown a glimpse of the corpse. But you do not see bodies cut open!!! Which is a huge relief since I don’t particular care to see how bodies are cut open or bullets cut through muscles, organs and blood vessels. (Yuck!)
No doubt you’ll be happy to hear that Sandy has not fallen off the Disc in order to find out the truth about A’Tuin’s sex. (After all, she wouldn’t even know what turtle bits and pieces to look for!) Instead, she was working on a Very Important Article (well, sort of important) on “History and Nostalgia in W. M. Thackeray’s THE NEWCOMES.” Since the novel is set in the 1830s and 40s and there are references to even earlier decades, I was able to show off and make use of all my research about the Regency era. Which was fun! (But took a bit longer than I had anticipated …)
In addition, I continued glomming Lisa Kleypas (why doesn’t Fictionwise have the first of the Hathaway books???) and read some of Anne Perry’s Christmas novellas. I bought my first Anne Perry novel in Oxford eleven years ago after I had seen THE CATER STREET HANGMAN on TV. (Hmm. Wonder whether the film is available on DVD by now …) (I’ve just checked, and the answer is no. Duh.)
One of the DVDs I gave my parents for Christmas was MAMMA MIA! Loved, loved, loved it!!! It’s such a fun, feel-good movie. The German dubbing, though, is a horror. It made me squirm when I watched the film with my parents. Whoever did the synchro managed to butcher the poor movie. It’s so sad, especially when you consider how much time, effort and money went into the making of the film. Argh!
I also watched the second Pratchett TV adaptation, THE COLOUR OF MAGIC. Even though we don’t learn anything about A’Tuin’s sex, the mini-series is still highly entertaining. It’s perhaps not as good as HOGFATHER, but the ending is just awwwwww. You can’t help loving that big turtle! 🙂
Exactly ten years ago I spent three wonderful weeks in Oxford. I went to a language school, but I also had a lot of time to explore the town. From this trip, I’ve brought back so many lovely memories — finding the Pre-Raphaelite paintings in the Ashmolean Museum, talking a walk through Oxford and through his old college with one of my teachers, the wonders and marvels of the Pitt Rivers Museum … One of the books I bought during these three weeks was the first Inspector Morse omnibus by Colin Dexter. The Morse novels are all set in Oxford, so I thought this would be a great way to remind me of my holiday.
Unfortunately, I’ve never managed to finish any of them: I usually gave up reading after only a few pages because I simply don’t like Dexter’s style. Duh. Still, I’ve kept that book as a fond reminder of those days in Oxford.
When I eventually found out that Dexter’s novels have been adapted for televison, I ordered the first series — and watched all three films (which are based on the three novels in that omnibus edition I bought in Oxford!) last week. I can’t say Morse has become my favourite crime series (can anything surpass the Poirot series with David Suchet?), but I enjoyed all three episodes a lot. Morse is certainly an interesting character — he is a bachelor and something of a loner, even though he tries to form romantic attachments to several women (usually unsucessfully); his methods are often unorthodox and if it suits him he is not above bending the law; he loves classical music and beer (there are some suggestions that he actually drinks too much). But the best thing about the series is the setting: getting all these glimpses of Oxford in all her honeyed beauty is just wonderful. Indeed, I’ve started thinking about another visit to Oxford. To spend more hours in the Pitt Rivers Museum (an anthropological museum, that’s dimly lit and crammed with display cases stuffed with all sorts of strange and fascinating objects*) alone would be sheer heaven!
* Some of the charms I describe in BEWITCHED are based on objects I saw in the Pitt Rivers Museum, e.g. a slug on a thorn to chase away warts, or a bullock’s heart with nails and thorns stuck into it to bring evil to the house in which it was hidden.
#1: You can sit the whole day on the couch, suffering picturesquely, and don’t have to feel bad about not getting any work done.
#2: You can sit the whole day on the couch, suffering picturesquely, and don’t have to feel bad about not getting any work done because you’re having a Gene Kelly Day (and as we learnt from Monday’s post, Gene Kelly is good for the Muse. Toh-TAH-ly!).
Yes, indeed, we do! Even if we don’t model our heroes on the aforementioned visual inspiration, the Muse still needs the nourishment. Toh-TAH-ly.
Isn’t that a great excuse to watch old MGM musicals, specifically those featuring Gene Kelly?
Wonderful, even. 🙂
Besides, if you’re not into crime and mysteries, our TV programme (CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, Navy CIS, Cold Case, Without a Trace, Medium, Ghost Whisperer, plus several German detective series) is uninspiring in the extreme. Not to talk about majorly depressing. By contrast, those old musicals are wonderful, feel-good entertainment, and you can count on them bringing a smile on your face.
And there is Gene Kelly, of course. Have I already mentioned Gene Kelly? *g*
I love, love, love British documentaries and bought quite a number of them on DVD in the past few months. Here are some of favourites:
The British Isles — A Natural History presented by Alan Titchmarsh
There are some repetitions of clips and pictures throughout the series, but all in all it’s a great overview of how the face of Britain has changed in the course of several thousand years.
A Picture of Britain presented by David Dimbleby
David Dimbleby travels through Britain, following in the footsteps of artists, writers and composers and looking at the landscapes that inspired their work.
Coast presented by Nick Crane (Season 1)
Nick Crane’s team is made up of a geographer (himself), two archaeologists, a medical doctor and a zoologist. Together they explore they explore the coastline of the United Kingdom. Great series! They’re now in their third or fourth season.
Ever since I read Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE (actually, I think it was THE VAMPIRE LESTAT which did it *g*), I’ve had a great fondness for vampires. Sexy, hot vampires, that is, not some sort of half rotten corpse. Needless to say that I adored BUFFY (more than one sexy, hot vampire *squeal*).
A few weeks ago a new TV series was launched on Lifetime: BLOOD TIES, based on Tanya Huff’s Blood books. And with such a title, it can come as no surprise that there is a vampire in the series. A sexy, hot vampire (hey, otherwise I wouldn’t be blogging about it, right?): Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, illegitimate son of Henry VIII, dead for 400-umpteen years, lives in Toronto, writes graphic novels (in the books he’s a romance writer; stupid TV people changed it — can somebody please go and bang a big, fat romance novel on their heads?), and have I mentioned he’s hot and sexy?
Anyways, saw the preview (see below) and now I’m keeping fingers crossed that said series will come to Britain and be released on DVD there soon!