swordznsorcery: (whitecollar)
( Jun. 11th, 2015 14:23)
What a rubbish day! The great Christopher Lee, and dear old Ron Moody, in one fell swoop. Neither was a young man, but it's a shame nonetheless. Christopher Lee especially had a remarkable career, and seems to have known and worked with everybody. You can spot him, in his earlier years, as a deck officer aboard one of the Naval ships set against Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravat in The Crimon Pirate (1952). One of my favourite films, and I very much recommend it. He also cropped up in the Beeb's brave attempt to adapt Mervyn Peake's epic fantasy Gormenghast a few years back, playing the creaking librarian Flay. I recommend that too, although you'd do better really to read the book. The adaptation was gorgeous, but suffered from too much material in too little screentime. Worth searching out though, if you're in need of something else once Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is done.

In a more cheerful frame of mind (actually, I don't know that it is more cheerful), I have been doing further Remington Steele-ing. And dear gods, the 1980s. As I've mentioned before, it's a show that steers away from anything too eighties, in an attempt to be as timeless as possible. If anything it favours the vintage styles of the thirties and forties, and at times even earlier than that. But every so often, there's no hiding from the fact that it was made in the eighties. The worst of the decade hides in dark corners, and pops up every so often to shout boo.

Still, on the plus side, at least it's not the seventies. )
Ye gods, with all the thanks in the world to [livejournal.com profile] sabethea for putting me on to this one...

On the twelfth day of Christmas, swordznsorcery sent to me...
Twelve dragons drumming
Eleven Methos piping
Ten books a-leaping
Nine trilobites dancing
Eight megalodons a-milking
Seven sharks a-writing
Six pirates a-reading
Five fo-o-o-ossils
Four dinosaurs
Three Westerns
Two Kronos
...and a Highlander in an I Love Lucy.
Get your own Twelve Days:

Best. Christmas. Song. Ever. :) And two Kronoses. Kroni? At any rate, it's just as well I have eleven piping Methoses to keep them all in order. The mind boggles. But is happy while it does it. And dancing trilobites, hurrah. C'mon, everyone. Let's see yours!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and find out how to milk a megalodon. John Barrowman might know...
swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Mar. 22nd, 2014 18:03)
So, American television was kind enough to make a pirate series. I wanted to wait until I'd got my pretend pirate show all figured out and posted before I watched it, so I finally got around to seeing the first two episodes last night. Obviously, because it's mine, I think my show is better! But, quite honestly... boy is my show better. If only by virtue of not really existing, but still.

Ouch. )
It's strangely difficult to write an episode guide for a television show that doesn't exist. The temptation to just write each episode in full is surprisingly powerful. But it's an episode guide, not a full series, and I don't want to be posting too many spoilers - because obviously the show will be airing in the autumn, and I would hate to have anybody think that they know the whole story, and not bother to watch. (!)


New for Autumn 2014, a ten part mini-series from BBC Drama.

Betrayed by those closest to him, Alexander Gray is forced into a fragile alliance with a band of pirates. On the run from the authorities, and with most of his new shipmates ready to stab him in the back, the only thing keeping him alive is a secret he has always wished he didn't have.

... )
swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Mar. 15th, 2014 00:11)
I am the worst possible DreamWidther. I go weeks and weeks without saying a thing, and then when I do finally say something it's of no interest to anybody. I'd leave, but then who would I irritate with inane ramblings about television, and random videos of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band? Anyway, some weeks back, before I got distracted by real world stuff again, I signed my brain away to [community profile] isurrendered. What this means is that you get given a prompt, and have to design your own television series around it. With a cast list, and plot information, and all sorts of stuff like that. It's horribly, horribly absorbing, and once you've agreed to do it, your life is massively overrun with plans for a TV show that nobody but your imagination is ever going to see. Anyhow, [personal profile] thisbluespirit was kind enough to give me the nicely flexible prompt of "Pirates". Anybody who has read even one of my posts will know that I immediately set about constructing a TV series that's really just a flimsy excuse for lots of sword fights, big ships with billowy sails looking pretty on the ocean, and as many cannon as it's possible to fire in the space of one mini-series. Subtlety. I doesn't has it.

Pirates, however, I now have in abundance. Your fun fact about pirates for the day is that they were a far more diverse bunch than Hollywood would have you believe. A pirate crew (and, for that matter, quite a lot of other branches of the seafaring life) were more interested in how well you could fight, and how dependable you were, than in where you happened to come from, and a lot of former slaves, both freed and escaped, wound up at sea. Female pirates were also more common than you might think. History tells us that the infamous Jack Rackham sailed with two, and it wasn't until the Victorians got hold of the story that it was turned into anything particularly notorious. There weren't many of them, certainly, but a sword-swinging lady pirate is far from unlikely. So, in other words, a pirate series is tailor-made for a modern audience. And also has swords, which is better still. Hurrah.

With that in mind, have a basic premise and a cast list. At some point over the weekend, I should be posting the episode guide. Hopefully. I've got to stop worrying over it at some point, so if I say that I'm going to post it, I shall have to.

*clears throat*

Thrown overboard by a duplicitous crew, fortune-hunter Alexander Gray thinks he's in trouble when he's rescued by pirates. But when he discovers that the Governor of Jamaica is corrupt, and is behind his recent woes, he realises that the pirates might just be the only people he can trust. Declared outlaw by the Governor, and forced into a rocky alliance with a band of thieves and cutthroats, he has a long fight ahead of him if he's to see his world set to rights.

A ten-part mini series from BBC Drama, new for Autumn 2014.

... )
swordznsorcery: (paradox)
( Feb. 14th, 2014 18:49)
Okay, so back in November (ish) [livejournal.com profile] sabethea made a post discussing a particular list of "One Hundred Books You Must Read", and asking for other people to make their own recommendations on a similar theme. I had intended to have a go at answering the question at the time, but there was [community profile] fandom_stocking, and [livejournal.com profile] dw_50ficathon, and some stuff involving actual real people too, believe it or not. But here now, belatedly, is a book post. There aren't one hundred recommendations, although I might just about be able to squeak that if pressed. Due to reasons of space, most of my books are packed away just at the moment though, so I have nothing to refer back to, which complicates things. Neither is this is a list of "Books You Must Read", because that sort of thing is clearly nonsense. Instead it's a jumbled and probably incomplete list of books that I've especially enjoyed, or that have made, at some point, a particular impression. Not such a snappy title, I know, but a far less obviously inaccurate one.

Books... and quite a lot of rambling, sorry. )

Title: Under A Black Flag
Rating: U (Gen)
Word count: c. 2800
Warnings: None (that I can think of)
Summary: Pirates (and Eight and Grace)

... )
Day twenty-nine, your current TV show obsession. I don't really have one. Lately I've been watching Jack Holborn, largely thanks to this meme, but I don't think I could call that an obsession. It is great, though. I hope I never decide that I'm too old for children's adventures, as they're so much better than the grown up ones. Jack Holborn is the story of a young foundling, who gets mixed up in the feud between the despicable Captain Sharingham and his hilariously danger-prone identical twin brother. It doesn't sound like much, but it's brilliant. Swashbuckly and entertaining, and awash with pirates and peril. All the kind of thing that my television needs a lot more of, frankly. Why aren't there any pirates on TV anymore? Sort it out, television.

So yeah, not an obsession, but a great thing to watch. I recommend it to everybody who needs a little excitement in their lives. And that's everybody really, isn't it?
I have been busy, and have been neglecting the meme. Sorry, meme. It's nothing personal. I have been busy digging, which is much more entertaining than it sounds, especially since I keep finding fossils. Everywhere there are fossils. The garden was apparently the scene of some ghastly mollusc massacre some time during the Jurassic. But anyway.

Day twenty-one, your favourite ship. A close run thing, this one. Obviously there's the TARDIS, and also my beloved White Star (the original and best) from Babylon 5. I never did quite forgive Sheridan for crashing her into a planet, even if it was in the act of probably saving the universe. But in the event, neither of them wins. Instead I'm going with the Charming Molly, the eighteenth century sailing ship from Jack Holborn. A 1982 adaptation of the book by Leon Garfield, Jack Holborn tells the story of a small orphan boy caught up in the affairs of the dread pirate Captain Sharingham, and his danger magnet brother, Sir John. The Charming Molly is Sharingham's ship, a rather characterful and exuberant three-master with a talent for atmospheric lurking. She doesn't last long, sadly, as she gets pounded to driftwood in a storm halfway through the series, but she lives on in young Jack's dreams, haunting him with memories that he can't quite reach. I love Jack Holborn. It's a terrific family adventure serial about pirates and stolen jewels and adventuring and things like that; and the Molly, and especially her red-haired figurehead, is key to a big chunk of the story. So she wins, for adventuring and excitement, and assorted escapades, and for haunting Jack's dreams all his life. And also for the opening credits, with perfect adventuring music, and her being a shameless camera whore. Why don't we have sailing ships these days? Everybody should have one. They're so much more fun than cars.
Quite a change of pace from last week's dull worries over Gan's brain. From the very outset this episode feels like it comes from a completely different series to that one. I feel a bit unkind pointing out the distinction, as it's painfully obvious that Gan's episode was a limited set and cast necessity to keep the series budget down. It's just that it was so dull. This week we get Federation guards and fighting, and Blake and Cally playing It's A Knockout with a little mini castle thing. Also, pirates!

... )
Not being the biggest fan of TV nowadays, I haven't been paying a lot of attention to what's on over the holidays (aside from Doctor Who, obviously). Instead I spent the weekend with pirates. As it turns out, they proved to be ideal company.

Who wouldn't want to spend Christmas with pirates? )
In 1922, when he was nine years old, Burt Lancaster went to summer camp. Not all that unusual with an American kid, apparently; but at this summer camp, little Burt met a boy named Nick Cravat (actually he wasn't called that then, but bear with me). They decided to become acrobats, and wound up joining a circus. Probably not quite when they were nine. They might have waited until they were ten or something. The point is, this is surely the sort of thing we should be encouraging more? Anyway, then they grew up and made films together, of which two are especially famous. The first, The Flame And The Arrow (1950), has, if I'm perfectly honest, very little plot. It's just about Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravat swinging from chandeliers a lot. Not that I mind that in the slightest, but I do prefer The Crimson Pirate. This is firstly because it has a plot, and secondly because it's about pirates. Mostly, though, it's about Burt Lancaster and Nick Cravat swinging from ropes a lot; and you can't really get a whole lot better than that.

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum )
In episodes twenty-two and twenty-three, The Time Tunnel suddenly turns into a show tailor-made for me, and comes up with just about everything that I could want. That anybody could want, really. If there's anybody alive who doesn't think that pirates and cowboys are just about the most excitingest things ever, then they're probably somebody confused and disillusioned, and soon to see the error of their ways. Oh yes.

... )
Also pirates, lesbians and Paul Reiser - who don't often appear together in the same place. (If you know differently, please tell me. As soon as possible).

Spoilers for tonight's Doctor Who )
Though not necessarily in the same place. More from the late eighties in a moment, but for now it's still the late seventies, and the penultimate episode of Man From Atlantis. Yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Or there will be, once the warbling mergirl is out of the way.

Episode 16: The Siren

... )
swordznsorcery: (whitecollar)
( Feb. 10th, 2011 02:20)
Some random observations.

1. Every episode of Hawaii Five-O should feature Daniel Dae Kim in the jungle. It conjures up happy memories of Lost back when it was still good. Also, wherever possible, he should make his escape on a motorbike, having suddenly become inexplicably bullet-proof.

2. White Collar is awesome. I think I may have mentioned that previously. However it's approximately 2000% more awesome whenever an episode features lots of Diahann Carroll. It's like she breathes gold dust or something. And she sang! Briefly, but she sang.

3. Hawaii Five-O should feature more random visits from vampires. We've had Spike twice, and this week Lorena. For some reason, vampires in daylight in Hawaii just seems to work. Maybe they should try the same trick in reverse, and have somebody from H5O in True Blood? I vote Daniel Dae Kim. He could play zombie!Gavin again! Okay, so zombie!Gavin got beheaded, but this is True Blood. That really shouldn't be an issue.

4. Jazz music and a lead who wears a hat automatically makes a show better. Yes, that was just another way of saying that White Collar is awesome. But it really, really was this week. And it had lots of Diahann Carroll in it.

She worked with Dean Martin, you know. See, everything good comes back to Dean Martin in the end. Probably.

5. Hawaii Five-O is completely mental, and I hope that it stays that way for as long as possible. Although I do wish that somebody would give Scott Caan acting lessons. Maybe his father could help.

6. Did I mention the bit about White Collar being really quite good?

7. I've just heard that there's going to be pirates in the next series of Doctor Who. What are the chances of having some pirate Daleks?

Come to that, I wonder what the chances are of getting pirates in White Collar.

8. White Collar also had Billy Dee Williams in it this week. Lando! Just like it's always good to be reminded of when Lost was good, it's even better to be reminded that Star Wars was as well. And still is, if you concentrate just on the original bits.

I guess Lando pretty much qualifies as a pirate, doesn't he. And Caffrey did that awesome antique-dagger-and-a-curtain Errol Flynn thing a few episodes back. So we have had pirates in White Collar after all! Cool.

9. I wonder what the chances are of getting pirates in Hawaii Five-O?

10. Or Daleks.
I am in sci-fi swashbuckly heaven. :) I don't think I've had more fun all year than I'm having now with Voyagers!. The combination of out-and-out fun and historical settings is a good starting point, but the characters are really making this show. As a lead man, Phineas seriously rocks. He's falling around through time, without a clue where he's going, or what he's going to do when he gets there; and then when he crash lands in some fairly random century, he almost invariably has a whale of a time there. Especially if there are swords, staves and bows and arrows. Jon-Erik Hexum was born to swashbuckle. He should have been around in the fifties - although of course then he couldn't have done Voyagers!, which would be sad. Think of the movies he could have done in the fifties, though! He could have been swinging from ropes and hacking about him with swords to his heart's content. Also, perhaps the fact that he's not around anymore would that way seem less tragic.

I do have one complaint, though. How come, episode after episode, we get lovely, detailed views of American history; but when we wind up in Britain we get, firstly, a bizarre Dickensian fictional London... and then secondly, Robin Hood. Complete with Errol Flynn Hollywood costumes, and Maid Marion. Yes, it is possible that there was an historical figure who was the basis for the legends. Marion, however, was added to the tale centuries later by a Frenchman. You only need do a tiny piece of research to get that one. British history is just as important as American history, Universal. And if you employed a few more British actors, rather than Americans with lousy fake accents, then you might just be able to ask them a few questions about it. :p

It's all too much fun to gripe, though. Way, way too much fun. 'Cause of the swashbuckling, and the time travel, and the swords, and the swashbuckling, and the playfulness, and the merriment, and the swashbuckling. And Jon-Erik Hexum. Always, always, Jon-Erik Hexum. Hard to believe that this year sees the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death.

Yes, there are stupid amounts of screencaps underneath. How'd you guess?! )
It's not easy being Jim Hawkins, you know. Okay, so admittedly it's not a problem faced by many people, but all the same...

Pirates, pirates everywhere. Hurrah! )



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