swordznsorcery: (manolito)
( Aug. 3rd, 2016 00:23)
So, [personal profile] heartonsnow said that I had to post something. That was more than a week ago actually, but I still haven't thought of anything worth posting. Still, let's see where this goes. I'll start with books, as that's easy.

... )
I have dug everything. Everywhere. If there was something you didn't want dug, sorry. It's too late now, you should have said. Everything is now planted in the allotment, but turns out that watering is accomplished by hanging over the riverbank, and dipping a bucket into the water. So that's my job, as there's no way my mother can do that. If you hear a splash, it's me.

Elsewhere (a different river), I was out walking again, watching the bouncing fishes, and look look!

... )
swordznsorcery: (littlejoe)
( May. 28th, 2016 20:45)
A book meme ganked off [personal profile] liadtbunny, and general rambling about life, the universe and everything stuff.

... )
swordznsorcery: (methos)
( Mar. 17th, 2016 20:12)
Memed from [personal profile] liadtbunny. I actually did this several days ago, and then forgot to make the post public, and now obviously several of the answers have changed! So I'll add the new ones in brackets.

... )
When I was very young, I'd sometimes hear the others in my family talking about a long departed show called Man From Atlantis. It sounded tailor-made for me - a man who breathes underwater! Undersea adventures! Action, adventure and the ocean. It couldn't very well have been more perfect. And then, some thirty-plus years on, I finally got to see it. And it was awful. Not entertainingly awful - not even amusingly awful. Just awful. Lesson learned.

When I first got on the internet, there was a TV series that I'd sometimes hear America talking about: Counterstrike, a spy drama starring Christopher Plummer and Simon MacCorkindale. Simon MacCorkindale! As a fan of the long defunct Manimal, this seemed like a very good prospect. Didn't seem likely that I'd ever get to see it though. And then, a couple of days ago, I found it on YouTube. And, yes, it's terrible. Not the fault of Christopher Plummer or Simon Mac - they're doing the best they can with it. But everybody else in the cast? And the writers? And the directors? Oh boy. Lesson, once again, learned.

It's not going to go into the long term memory though, let's face it. Somehow these things never do.

In other news, I was given a 1978 Battlestar Galactica annual for Christmas, which I've just got around to reading (I wanted to finish something else first). It's in the finest annual tradition of having an appalling grasp of the premise and characters of the TV show, and the artwork borders on hilarious - but Battlestar Galactica! The annual! It made me smile throughout. I particularly like the fabulously jolly interview with Lorne Greene, that suggests BSG might last as long as Bonanza did, and be his next big hit. Hmm. Bonanza ran for fourteen seasons. Battlestar Galactica... didn't. But it was nice of them to try. The stories in the annual have some of the best titles ever, clearly written by writers who got a bit carried away with the whole SF thing. Presumably they usually had to write stories for Grange Hill or The Waltons or something. Amazons Of Space!; Chess-Players Of Space!; Hijack In Space!. When in doubt, always stick "Of/In Space!" at the end of your title. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes. It's a bit sad actually, when they talk to the various stars about their hopes for the future. Everybody seems all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and sure that this is their great stepping-stone to wonderful things. Yeah. Don't hold your breath, guys. The only one whose long-term plan turned out the way he'd hoped was Dirk Benedict, who said that he'd like to act for a few years, then slip away into relative anonymity, live in the middle of nowhere, and write. Which is precisely what happened. Lucky sod!

And speaking of actors who write, in other other news, I've just started reading a book called Once A Crooked Man, by David McCallum (mostly because Amazon were selling it for two quid on Kindle. Sorry Illya, but I can't afford costly book experiments!) I wasn't sure about it at first, as it had a slightly rocky beginning, but the Kindle tells me I'm 25% in now, and I'm enjoying it. It relies very much on people doing things that they probably wouldn't in the real world (the whole story is basically the hero doing this), but it's engaging enough, and I like the scene setting. Some of the prose is a bit clumsy here and there (first book-itis - it's largely inescapable), but the descriptive passages are nicely done, the plot seems strong, and the characters are well drawn. I quite recommend it, if you're in the mood for a contemporary thriller. Mind you, I am only 25% in, so it could all go wrong yet.

(Sorry. I think Counterstrike just murdered my optimism).
swordznsorcery: (face)
( Nov. 29th, 2015 15:13)
I got a new sister in 1982. That was nice. I hated being the youngest. We didn't get along until she was practically out of her teens, but it was mostly nice having her there anyway! I guess that was also the year that the garage fell down, and squished my bike. Probably one of the few times I'd put it away, rather than leaving it out on the lawn! It must have been in the winter, either at the start or the end of the year (bit vague, I know). I do know that we were watching Tarzan, in one of its various forms; and he jumped out of a tree, and landed with the most almighty crash you ever heard, which shows that sometimes the wind has jolly good timing.

TV wise, I think I was turning steadily American from this point onwards. I don't know when The Dukes Of Hazzard starting airing in the UK, but it was certainly underway by now. The Fall Guy was just getting going, and so was Tales Of The Gold Monkey, although I guess everybody would rather forget about that one nowadays. Obviously there was Starsky & Hutch in near permanent repeat, and Bonanza settling into what seemed like a decade-long position in the BBC schedules at noon on a Sunday. Guns! Explosions! Car (horse) chases! Hurrah! (Although America also gave us Fame in 1982, so by no means was it all good). I must be fair to British TV, which did give me a good series of Doctor Who this year of course. And then killed Adric at the end of it. I was devastated! Boy have times changed...

Musically a few surprises. Bucks Fizz managed to become temporarily cool with The Land Of Make Believe, the Jam fell apart, Chas & Dave would keep bothering us with nonsense (that my sister would insist on singing, loudly), and half of the Specials unfathomably formed a duet with Bananarama. Me and some friends from school formed a band this year, although I don't think it lasted the year out. I don't remember much, but there must have been some pretty severe musical differences, given that (of a trio, if memory serves), one was a Bucks Fizz devotee, and wasn't really allowed to listen to anything else (paranoid parents), and the other third only seemed to know Christmas carols. My abiding memory of our attempt at musical stardom is that we were initially called Hot Chocolate, as it was the one thing we all seemed to like! Then we found out that there was already a band with that name, which was bound to cause confusion on Top Of The Pops, so after much deliberation we changed to Blancmange. Somebody nicked that one off us too. :) Why we were so obsessed with foodstuffs, goodness only knows. And I don't think any of us could sing. Two of us played the melodica, and I don't remember what the third one did. She had one of these, so probably that.

And now I'm going to shut up, before this gets any more embarrassing!

1982 stuffs )

Channel 4 started this year too of course, but my family didn't get it until 1983. Something to do with the aerial, I think. And we went to war with Argentina, mostly because the leaders of both countries were low in the opinion polls, and needed a handy distraction, sharpish. (When I say "we", I do of course mean Britain. Not my family. We always were a rowdy bunch, but we were never that bad. And in 1982, the furthest we went was Cornwall. Honest).
swordznsorcery: (paradox)
( Aug. 25th, 2014 19:30)
Interesting one here. A short film (twenty minutes), posted on the net by its creator. Legal films on the internet?! Whatever next! It's about a boy whose father yearns to be an astronaut, and it stars Siobhan Redmond (Between The Lines, The High Life, Bulman) and Emun Elliott (Paradox, The Paradise, Los Malvados (cough)). It's odd, but in a good way.

Mission from Phase VI on Vimeo.

In other news, I watched the pilot of Starsky & Hutch, possibly for the first time. It's strange watching it, as it's basically all the bits from the opening credits, strung together with a bit of plot. And the wrong music. And the wrong Captain Dobie. And Starsky's hair is much too short. Pilots are weird that way. Nothing could be quite so weird as the Bonanza pilot, but it's always odd watching a familiar series testing itself out. Like The A-Team, when Face has the wrong head, or Kojak, which doesn't have Crocker in it, or Babylon 5, where everything looks like it's made out of cardboard, and G'Kar is a completely different shape.

In other other news, it's wet. And cold. Make it stop being wet and cold please. Thank you.
TV meme, shamelessly nicked from several people on my f-list. Behind a cut, because it's me, and I can't not waffle.

... )
Day twenty-eight, your first TV show obsession. My immediate thought when I read that was Bonanza or The Hardy Boys, which were both very early. If I'm being strictly honest though, I'd have to go back further than that, to when I was horribly small, and used to watch a show called Tarzan, Lord Of The Jungle. That's not the proper Tarzan (ie: black and white and can't talk properly). This was a cartoon series, far more faithful to the books, and based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' preferred illustrations. I have only the vaguest memories of it now, but I do know that I was besotted, mostly because of Tarzan's monkey friend N'Kima. I must have driven everybody nuts going on about monkeys, as my mother eventually bought me one, who I called N'Kima. I still have him (he says hello), and he's in remarkably good nick, despite never once managing to hold on to me during tree-swinging.

So there you go. I don't really remember the show at all, and poor old animated Tarzan got superceded pretty swiftly by Johnny Weissmuller and Lex Barker anyway, but N'Kima could never get superceded by anything. Although he does look a bit dusty right now, I must admit. I know, I'm cruel. In all fairness though, he doesn't seem to mind.
Day twenty-three, the most annoying character. Hmm... Quite a few options here. Obviously there's Dawn in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Rarely have I wished horrible death upon a character so regularly. Dawn was whiny and irritating and, despite being the same age that Buffy and co were when the series started, horribly immature by comparison. If she was intended to appeal to younger viewers, then that's a bit of an insult to younger viewers. And then there's Wind, the character that The High Chaparral picked up in season four, when they accidently lost Blue Cannon down the back of the sofa. Wind was a Pawnee halfbreed, which could have been great, but he wound up being Wesley Crusher without the redeeming features. And then we come to Angel... It's one of my favourite TV shows ever, but it also has Fred, a character I hated from the beginning (although she did turn into Illyria, so she obviously had some saving graces). And Gunn. He began by irritating me slightly, and got worse with every season. Neither of them comes even close to being as annoying as Eve, though, a Wolfram & Hart employee who may rank as one of the worst characters in anything ever. It's entirely possible that I'm grouchy and misanthropic, and inclined to be irritated by almost everybody, but even so, there really is no forgiving Eve.

But I'm not choosing any of them. I don't need to, because there's somebody worse. I've mentioned before how much I loved Bonanza growing up. In its later years the show was retooled a little, as long-running series sometimes are. In an effort to appeal to younger viewers (because that always goes so well) they introduced a new character. Jamie Hunter was an orphan boy of about fourteen, taken in by the Cartwrights. Why, I have no idea. He was to spend the next three years sobbing and whining and causing trouble for everybody, and even in my youngest days I couldn't stand the wretched child. And they didn't kill him! They had so many opportunities. He fell into a river during the opening credits every week, but did they drown him even once? No. There is no justice in television. So the most irritating character ever is Jamie Hunter-Cartwright. Trust me, nobody else even comes close.
Day eighteen, your favourite title sequence. Oh, brother. So many possibilities. Blake's 7, with that glorious theme music, and the Liberator in all its slightly wobbly glory. Quantum Leap (seasons one to four), with Sam sliding across cars and punching people, all beautifully edited to fit the wonderful theme. Buffy and Angel, both of which have title sequences that I love, and Doctor Who (old, not new), which has several. Wibbly black and white from the earliest days; revamped slightly with the move to colour when Pertwee took over; the slightly jazzed-up Davison era. Anything written by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter (or just Post, after Carpenter died). The second Bonanza theme, which always makes me ridiculously happy, even though Bonanza purists hate it because it changed. But, partly because I can't watch it without a stupid smile, and partly because I'm wearing my A-Team T-shirt today, so can't really go with anything else, I'm choosing this one:

Great music, great pictures, great fun, from the days when TV could still afford to waste a full minute just on a theme. Also, stuff blows up. You can't really go wrong with that.
Day fourteen, your favourite male character. Oh meme, you really ought to know better than that by now. Like I'm going to be able to decide anywhere near definitively. If absolutely pressed - like at gunpoint, or by threat of being forced to watch Eurovision - it's probably Joe Cartwright or Manolito Montoya, but I refuse to choose between the two of them. That would be like having to choose between my children (if I had any). So I'm going to have to fudge it again, aren't I.

He's not my favourite character (except when he is), but I do rate Harrison Blackwood very highly, for quite a few reasons. Back when War Of The Worlds first aired in the UK, we still had proper regional ITV, so when you saw it would have depended on where you were living at the time. I saw it first in the early nineties. By then Doctor Who had been gone for a little while, and didn't appear to be returning (oh those pre-internet days, when we had no real way of finding out!) and I was feeling somewhat bereft. And then, there in the early hours of Wednesday mornings (about half past one), was Harrison Blackwood. A nutjob, pacifist vegan with an odd tuning fork obsession. He wore a hat, he thought sleep was almost entirely unnecessary, he absolutely refused ever to use a gun (and yet would cheerfully build a flame thrower from scratch, and annihilate his enemies with that, when required), and had a thing for hypnotising guards when inconveniently arrested. He was the Doctor, basically. He didn't have a spaceship, but he did live somewhere that was bigger inside than out - a huge underground house, hidden beneath a little cottage by the sea. And he fought aliens, weekly. Sometimes his adventures were rubbish, sometimes they were brilliant, and frequently they required him to wrestle with rather obviously rubber props. He was usually accompanied by a very stiff and proper army officer, and a pretty, blonde scientist, suggesting a fondness amongst the writers for the early Pertwee era; and he had an evil nemesis who treated him oddly fondly, though didn't have a pointed beard. He did have a tendency to giggle, though.

So yeah. Harrison Blackwood was quite the tonic for the insomniac Doctor Who fan in the early nineties. He was fun to hang out with in the small hours, when sleep was a very long way away. I remain very fond of him. Later he was revamped, given a beard and a gun, and turned into a different person entirely, but for me that version isn't canon. The true Harrison is the nutjob with a floppy hat, striding into battle against vast alien hordes, armed with his trusty tuning fork. Hanging out with him is a surefire way to get your insides scooped out by an alien with wobbly rubber arms, but on the plus side, he does have a nice smile.

Sorry, that's not much of a plus side, is it. I really have got to work on my priorities.
Day twelve, an episode you've watched more than five times. Well I've never counted, but there's probably quite a few. The entirety of The A-Team seasons one to four springs to mind. Most of The High Chaparral and the later seasons of Bonanza, due to the BBC having them on a loop for much of my childhood. A few Doctor Who adventures, especially when they first started coming out on VHS. I only had a few, and was possibly a bit over-excited by the ability to suddenly watch stuff that had previously only existed as Target novelisations. Look! It moves! Including the bits that probably shouldn't. ;)

But I'm going to go with Buffy The Vampire Slayer, specifically the season one episode "Never Kill A Boy On The First Date". I used to hear so much about Buffy online, back when it first started, but there was no way to see the show in the UK at the time. I'd see little bits here and there; people used to post tiny RealVideo clips of their favourite scenes. Mostly Giles being Giles, as the internet back then was wonderfully skewed in favour of librarians with closets full of weapons. Nowadays everybody's batty about pretty vampires, and Giles would probably be the bad guy. But I digress. Eventually, in January 1999 I think it was, the BBC started airing the show. I used to tape it every week, and keep the best ones. "Never Kill A Boy..." grabbed me from the get go. Buffy falls in love (with a schoolboy who is even more obviously not really a schoolboy than is usual with American TV, but we have to pretend not to notice such things!), and tries to balance going out on dates with slaying vampires. Giles is brilliantly hopeless at understanding her, and all the attempts to keep the boyfriend from finding out about the slaying are wonderful. Arguably season one of Buffy was still finding its feet, but "Never Kill A Boy..." is just about perfect. Great dialogue, great performances and great timing.

There are a bunch of other episodes that I've probably watched enough times to qualify; particularly the ones with Ethan Rayne and Spike and Dru. Those early episodes though, hoarded on crackly VHS tape, have a particular appeal. I think, like with those early Doctor Who videos, it was probably the novelty of finally being able to watch the damn thing. I miss getting that excited about television. Still, that's probably a subject for a different meme altogether.
Day six, your favourite episode of your favourite TV show. But we already established that I don't have one of them! *grumble* Still, I chickened out last time, so this time I'll behave.

It's not my favourite show (except when it is), but one show that has always been very special to me is Bonanza. It was on a lot when I was a kid, and the character of Joe Cartwright was a pretty major part of my childhood. He and Manolito Montoya, his opposite number over on The High Chaparral, were everything I wanted to be when I was growing up. I thought the world of Joe. And there is one episode of Bonanza which I discovered recently on YouTube - having not really had the opportunity to see the show in years - which just brilliantly sums up everything I used to love about it, and everything that made me think so highly of Joe. The episode is called "Different Pines, Same Wind", and it's the first episode of season ten. It really couldn't be more perfect. Joe is trying to protect some forests from a ruthless logging merchant (the Cartwrights were environmentalists long before it was fashionable), and in the process he finds a lonely old widow living in a log cabin. During the course of forty-seven minutes, he befriends her, saves her beloved forest, defeats a despicable bad guy, helps a doctor to rediscover his calling, and has a splendid no-holds-barred battle with a gang of heavies. Michael Landon was an accredited stuntman, and his fist fights were always awesome. Plus, as a special bonus, Ben and Hoss, the best father and big brother you could hope for, come dashing to the rescue to save the day at the last possible moment. It also has the nice blend of comedy and drama for which Bonanza came to be known.

It's wonderful, it really is. It's everything I loved about the show growing up, and Joe is every inch the hero I idolised so much as a child. So, even if it lacks the depth of a favourite episode of The West Wing, or the brilliant comedy-drama mix of a favourite episode of Buffy, I'm choosing this one. It's awesome. And, for the record, I still want to be Joe Cartwright (and Manolito Montoya). It looks like I always will.
In your own space, share a favorite piece of original canon (a TV episode, a song, a favourite interview, a book) and explain why you love it so much. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

This was incredibly difficult. My first thought was to choose a really good episode of something; but then the full extent of the prompt got me thinking, because there's movies and books to choose from as well. Also, the mention of "a favourite piece of canon" suggests that the choice shouldn't be a favourite episode, but a favourite thing that happens in a particular episode. Which complicated things even further. Eventually I narrowed it down to a shortlist of about twenty episodes, films and books; but since I had no over all favourite, I decided in the end to go for the one that's arguably the least well known. There's too much good stuff out there to try deciding whether one thing is better than all the rest; and small fandoms need support. Shortlist included at the end, just because.

... )
swordznsorcery: (true blood)
( Apr. 23rd, 2012 23:36)
True Blood has announced its return date, although I think they actually did that several weeks ago, and I've only just noticed. Also there's a trailer! Well, more of a glimpse, but they call it a trailer. It'll be nice to have True Blood back. I've given up on The Mentalist now, Hawaii 5-0 decided that we weren't going to be friends anymore, and Ringer has gone away. Probably forever, as I was the only person who watched it. So True Blood could be the only television that I watch until Steven Moffat decides to give me Doctor Who back. There are Worries, however. Seasons one, two and three of True Blood were awesome in every way, except for how there was altogether too much Sookie. Season four was rubbish, though. And this will be season five, and I am suspicious of season fives by their very nature. Should that be seasons five? No, I don't think so. Consider the evidence, anyway:

The rather-too-involved Universal Theory Of Season Five. Also True Blood trailerage in screencappery. )
swordznsorcery: (littlejoe)
( Mar. 10th, 2012 15:34)
From [community profile] fannish5. What are your five favourite sibling relationships?

In no particular order:

1. Hoss & Little Joe Cartwright (Bonanza). This is probably the ultimate sibling relationship for me. They were perfect as brothers. Hoss was the older brother that everybody wanted, which helped, and the very real brotherly love between actors Dan Blocker and Michael Landon made it even better. By the time they'd been making the show for a few years, their rapport was excellent, and the chemistry was just perfect.

2. Bray and Zoot (The Tribe). A somewhat flawed, low budget teen drama from New Zealand, The Tribe isn't too well known. The ideas in it really grabbed me though, and it's like crack for a writer. A virus has killed off all the adults, and the world has gone Lord Of The Flies. Enter Bray, a loner who has always been better with books than people, estranged from his once beloved, now-turned-psycho-cult-leader, younger brother Zoot. Some of the acting in the show was a little rocky; theirs never was. We rarely saw them together on screen, but their relationship largely defined Bray's character.

3. Rick & AJ Simon (Simon & Simon). Another pair of screen brothers who were close friends in real life. These two gelled perfectly. Chemistry, mannerisms, everything. Rick's protectiveness towards AJ, and the way that AJ naturally looked to Rick in everything, all told with a touch or a look or a gesture. So well done.

4. Victoria & Manolito Montoya (The High Chaparral). I loved these two as a kid, and they're still just as good now. The children of a rich, Mexican landowner, they'd grown up privileged but isolated, and had only ever had each other. Victoria, the eldest, was responsible and respectable; Manolito was anything but. They fought tooth and nail, usually in wild, improvised Spanish, as their chemistry was so good that they didn't need a script. Their shared affection was wonderful, though. Chalk and cheese, but shoulder to shoulder against the rest of the world. They had a shared respect for others, too, banding together to care for wounded Apache when nobody else cared. Always wished that they'd been the focus for that show, rather than the Cannon family.

5. Frank & Joe Hardy (The Hardy Boys). Though I grew up with the books, and loved most of them, I mean the TV series mostly here. In the books they could be a little interchangeable at times, no doubt the result of there being so many writers over the years. In the TV series they had much more distinct personalities, and the actors sparked nicely. Frank was the devil-may-care adventure junkie, hurling himself into danger with a smile, and Joe had a lovely line in dry humour, as he tried to suggest caution. I had a rewatch fairly recently, and really loved that dynamic.
Episode 10: Shoot-Out At Land's End

Proof positive that cowboys make everything better. Not good, necessarily, but better. And these are Bonanza-flavoured cowboys to boot!

... )
In season two, the makers of The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew decided that it might be a good idea to have the kids get together to solve crimes. They did this partly to boost viewing figures for Nancy's show, which was under-performing quite badly, but mostly just to annoy me. Oh, Nancy. Not only is she even more obviously not a teenager than Frank, she's also just really, really boring. Even her cunning self-defence abilities and lock-picking skills can't save her from that. Still, if she's going to combine forces with the Hardys, there's no escaping her, is there. So, here we go with...

Thrills! Spills! Horror! Singing! )



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