Saturday, November 6, 2010

What's On My Television

While I'm waiting for some dough to rise I thought I would talk a bit about some recent television I've been watching. It's rare for me to actually "watch" tv these days and it's not because I'm a tv snob but because I'm always reading. Our tv is more for background noise than anything else for the most part -except football and my daily Golden Girls fix - but there are two shows for which I have made an effort: Sherlock on Masterpiece Mystery and The Walking Dead on AMC.

Sherlock is yet another reincarnation of the infamous sleuth only this time it's set in the 21st century. Holmes, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, lives in the same place, works for Inspector Lestrade, and is the same arrogant yet brilliant jerk as he ever was. In the first episode, he meets Watson, who is played by the wonderful Martin Freeman, a wounded former soldier who needs a purpose in his life. It's like love at first sight only not and soon after Watson is moving into 221B Baker Street. Cumberbatch seems to have channeled Holmes and is pitch perfect for an updated version of Doyle's character; for example, he manipulates Lestrade's and the press's cellphones during a press conference, sending everyone texts at the same time to refute Lestrade's statements. Freeman is a perfect straight man as Watson and by the second episode, is already exuding the right amount of suffering toleration of Holmes and his quirks. The mysteries have been entertaining if not a bit obvious after the fact and the hour and a half long episodes are a bit too long. I'm not a Holmes purist and I liked Guy Ritchie's take on it too so I'm a bit more open to interpretations not involving Basil Rathbone. If you like Sherlock Holmes but are not a stickler on the subject, give this one a try. Masterpiece Mystery is on PBS on Sunday nights at 9pm.

(Left to right: Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Frank Darabont, Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus. Not that you can read this if you click on the picture.)

The Walking Dead is an adaptation from Robert Kirkman's comic book series and it is nasty good. Graphic and unapologetic about it, Frank Darabont and company have so far impressed everyone who is familiar with Kirkman's books. I got to see a decent amount of footage at NYCC 2010 but that didn't prepare me for Days Gone Bye, the first episode of season one. The protagonist, Rick, is a cop who awakens after being shot by a perp to another world, one where the dead are walking and his wife and son are missing. The casting is superb and the makeup and special effects are stomach-turning. I have read some of the first volume in this acclaimed series but I definitely plan to read more. Horror isn't usually my thing and I'm a total sissy when it comes to horror movies but what affected me most about Days Gone Bye was the loss and grief by the people Rick meets. Season one is only six episodes and the show airs on AMC on Sunday nights at 10pm. Vampires are out and zombies are in!

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