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Dreams of the Odd Office Cowboy Dreams of the Odd Office Cowboy

Is Kim turning into Dougie? I couldn’t help thinking the moment where Kim, in last night’s new Better Call Saul, spaced out staring at the weird cowboy office art was a lot like Kyle MacLachlan doing the same thing in last year’s season of Twin Peaks.

The Vague Sketch of an Education The Vague Sketch of an Education

Why do revolutions so rarely stay simple, why do complications always seem to arise around a perfectly pure vision? 2004's The Edukators (Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei) tries very hard to whittle things down to a cast of characters with pure lives and goals so it can tell a story about how they’re suddenly challenged…

Twelve Nights and One Thousand Nine
Hundred Sixty Nine Years Twelve Nights and One Thousand Nine Hundred Sixty Nine Years

One of the adaptations of Twelfth Night available on Amazon Prime is a 1969 made for television version with Alec Guinness as Malvolio, Ralph Richardson as Sir Toby, and Tommy Steele as Feste. It’s not bad but I still haven’t seen an adaptation of the play I really like. The BBC Television Shakespeare version is…

Responsibilities of the Doctor Responsibilities of the Doctor

The 2013 Seventh Doctor Doctor Who audioplay Afterlife feels more like a Tenth or Eleventh Doctor story than any audio I’ve heard so far. It’s good, though, and it’s kind of nice hearing Seven being taken out of his comfort zone.

Dancing to Save the World Dancing to Save the World

Oh, to be young and right about everything. 1987's Dirty Dancing is supposedly based heavily on screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein’s childhood, though one suspects some facts were altered in the interest of fantasy, to say nothing of distinctly 80s pop music turning up in 1963. But as a sweet indulgence it certainly works…

Lessons and the Alien Lessons and the Alien

Several episodes of Cowboy Bebop are homages to specific genres. One of my favourites of those episodes, and of the series in general, is the horror homage in the eleventh episode. But it isn’t simply a stand alone piece that uses the characters to tell an entertaining story referencing a certain kind of film…

Suggestions Worse than Bullets Suggestions Worse than Bullets

The new Sirenia Digest, which I read this morning, features a cool Sci-Fi noir by Caitlin R. Kiernan called “CHERRY STREET TANGO, SWEATBOX WALTZ.” Like a lot of Caitlin’s stories for the Digest lately, it features a protagonist being interviewed or interrogated by someone demanding they tell a story that’s evidently…

Better Call Kim Better Call Kim

In last night’s new Better Call Saul the MVP was definitely Kim. But the nice new episode had other good scenes having to do with Jimmy though all the drug dealing business still feels like a screensaver.

Water and Gold Nowhere Water and Gold Nowhere

You think you’re hot now, try crossing Death Valley without any water. That’s what a gang of bank robbers do in 1948's Yellow Sky, a magnificently shot Western loosely based on The Tempest.

The Long Lives of Mistakes The Long Lives of Mistakes

William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline isn’t just a play where most people’s plans go awry, it’s a play where most people’s plans go awry without them even knowing. It’s a play not only about misinterpretation but the gruelling emotional journeys people embark on initiated by misinterpretation. It has the logic typically…

Smorgasbord of the Doctor Smorgasbord of the Doctor

There are a lot of reasons The Two Doctors is significant for Doctor Who canon, but the three parter doesn’t really get to the meat, so to speak, of the story until the third episode. This is where writer Robert Holmes really leaned into trying to convince the audience to go vegetarian while convincing the Doctor in…

The Changing Life of the Stopped Watch The Changing Life of the Stopped Watch

Jet Black is the polar opposite of Edward so it makes sense that the episode of Cowboy Bebop that follows Edward’s introduction focuses on Jet. Another unusual character for an anime series, Jet was probably most closely modelled on Jigen from Lupin III. He has a similar beard and both have a somewhat paternal role in…

Children in the Ruins Children in the Ruins

Among the many difficult jobs Allied forces faced after World War II was reuniting families separated by the Nazis. 1948's The Search is about the small children found in concentration camps and the efforts to find their parents, who were often dead. Shot on location in the ruins of post war Germany, there’s an…

True Love or the Currency of Debt True Love or the Currency of Debt

You don’t need to be Machiavelli to see that the realms of politics and business are filled with opportunists, people who use the language of friendship and loyalty merely for their own gain. But now and then I suppose there must be a poor sucker who believes everything courtiers say and such a one is Shakespeare’s …

The Return of Saul The Return of Saul

Last night’s première of Better Call Saul’s fourth season was a lot like the third season première—not a lot of dialogue, not a lot of plot, just the feeling of a stage being set. Sometimes I like this deliberate slow down, sometimes it does feel stretched a bit too thin.

The Arrows that Misdirected a Thousand
Ships The Arrows that Misdirected a Thousand Ships

It’s a little difficult to describe why I tend to hate Shakespeare productions directed by Jonathan Miller. I generally like Miller in interviews and find myself absorbed by his insight; I love his Alice in Wonderland from the 60s. I even like the adaptations of Shakespeare he produced but didn’t direct. But something…

Hiding Brigitte Hiding Brigitte

Keeping a gangster’s beautiful daughter hidden while her father is on the lam can be trickier and involve more slapstick and songs than you might imagine. In 1956's Naughty Girl (Cette sacrée gamine) a suave nightclub singer has just such a task which makes for a delightful screwball comedy that is overshadowed…

Doctor of the Parliament Doctor of the Parliament

1963 continues to be a busy year for the Doctor in the 2013 Doctor Who audio play 1963: The Assassination Games. The Seventh Doctor proves a natural fit for this entertaining conspiracy espionage thriller.

The Armour Becomes the Prince The Armour Becomes the Prince

Seventeen years after he played the definitive merry rebel, Errol Flynn found himself in the opposite role in 1955's The Dark Avenger. A high adventure take on Edward the Black Prince, son of England’s Edward III, the film finds Flynn in charge of England’s occupation of Aquitaine. Lacking the energy and fun of…

Shapes of Villainy Shapes of Villainy

How very different Richard III is with Queen Margaret around. When Jane Howell’s production aired in 1982 it was as a conclusion to a series, the first three parts of which were made up by Shakespeare’s three Henry VI plays. This gave Howell the rare opportunity to produce Richard III without trimming or removing…

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