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Audio, television, etc.

Happy birthday to the wonderful altariel! May you have a fabulous day and year to come.

Here are a few items of interest in the audio world:

* There are direct links to downloads of a number of original Barnes & Noble interviews with speculative fiction authors (including Neil Gaiman, Lois Lowry, and Terry Pratchett, among others) here.

* SFFAudio has posted a five-part reading of H.P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow Out of Time" here.

* A lecture series by Dr. Justin Woodman (University of London) presented in January and February of 2007 at Treadwell's Bookshop is now available online. The series as a whole focuses on H.P. Lovecraft; the four lectures include "HPL: Fabulist, Myth-Maker & Shaman," "Legends of the Necronomicon," "Chariots of the Dark Gods," and "Chaos, Cthulhu, and Contemporary Consciousness." The lecture summaries and MP3 files are available here.

* Speaking of H.P. Lovecraft lectures, I've mentioned this before, but it's worth repeating: S.T. Joshi's SUNY Cortland lecture "Reflections on H.P. Lovecraft" is definitely worth downloading.

And now to television:

Two science fiction series I have followed from their beginnings were recently cancelled. The Dead Zone (USA) had, in fact, jumped the shark with the loss of two main characters, and this last season was often rather painful to watch. Nonetheless, I give it credit for having, at its height, a strong ensemble and a compelling central story arc. I only wish it had been allowed to follow the arc through to its conclusion and end with a bang rather than a whimper.

I am quite sorry to see the end of The 4400 (USA). After fitful stops and starts, the series seemed to have found its voice. Season four boasted some of the series' best writing and a lean dystopian sensibility. The 4400 also had two of my very favorite characters in current television: Dr. Kevin Burkhoff (played by the ever-outstanding Jeffrey Combs) and Tess Doerner (portrayed by Summer Glau of Firefly and Serenity fame). These characters and their relationship were a joy to watch develop, and I will miss them.

FYI, there is a wonderful music video tribute to the two characters on YouTube here (which I recommend even if you haven't seen the series) and a great music video celebration of the Burkhoff character alone on YouTube here. The first three seasons of The 4400 are already available on DVD now, and the fourth season is coming.

This seems a good point to take stock of my viewing. Here are the series I still watch faithfully when new episodes appear (despite the fact I have something of a love/hate relationship with the last two):

24 (Fox)
Cities of the Underworld (History Channel)
Doctor Who (BBC via SciFi)
Hustle (BBC via AMC)
Lost (ABC)
Torchwood (BBC via BBC America)

More informally, I watch The Daily Show (Comedy Central), Lost Worlds (History Channel), and South Park (Comedy Central) when I can. There you have it!

"Me and 4,399 of my closest friends popped out of a ball of light right about here."
- Shawn Farrell, The 4400


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
That video was amazing! I adore Jeffrey Coombs! I never saw this show, I suppose it was on cable, alas! We are restricted to what comes via our digital rabbit ears. But I think I will check out the DVD, thanks for the heads up!
Jan. 13th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
I love Jeffrey Combs! I think you'll enjoy his role on The 4400. He doesn't show up until the second season, but he's in every season thereafter, and his part just keeps getting bigger - no doubt because he's so fabulous in it! I think I read that he will be the guest star in an episode of Cold Case on Jan. 20, by the way.
Jan. 13th, 2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
Having scanned your TV list, I have a question for you: have you ever watched Supernatural?
Jan. 13th, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC)
I tried to get into it, and it just didn't take. :( However, I have been known to make mistakes! (LOL!) I've got the first disc of the first season DVD on my Netflix queue, so I can give it another shot. Maybe the second time's the charm.
Jan. 14th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
As is probably fairly obvious from even a casual look over my LJ, I'm definitely a fan of the show. :) The first eight episodes, about, are monster-of-the-week type of stories that give you a look at the "daily life" of the Winchester brothers, while hinting at glimpses of the deeper mytharc.

Because yes, there is a deeper mytharc, and when that storyline hits, there's no turning back. Or at least there wasn't for me.
Jan. 14th, 2008 03:26 pm (UTC)
You should give it a second chance. It is just dripping with Americana. First episode has the La Llorona variation of the Phantom Hitchhiker. It then followed up with a wendigo. How were you able to say no to that? Well I suppose it might have been due to the fact that Dean is a bit of a sociopath.
Jan. 15th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
LOL! I will give it a second chance. I found the two brothers to be insanely annoying, but who knows, they may grow on me next time. :)
Jan. 13th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I missed Justin's lectures - it's my gaming night - so I'm pleased he recorded them. Thanks for noticing.

I caught some of Re-Animator on TV last night which reminded me that Combs is one of my favourite mad actors. We've got a new season of Primeval that started yesterday. It's about dinosaurs and time portals, has decent actors (Dougie Henshall, Juliet Aubrey) and is laughably bad. I'm not sure I can face another episode. On the other hand, it does make Torchwood look good so it can't be all bad.
Jan. 13th, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)
You know, Re-Animator wouldn't have been half as fun with anyone other than Combs playing West. He just made it work. I get a goofy grin on my face, just thinking about it.

On the other hand, it does make Torchwood look good so it can't be all bad.

LOL! It's sad when you have to have a comparison show to remind you that things could be worse. Primeval sounds almost bad enough to be good, but unfortunately not quite...!
Jan. 13th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
Many thanks for the birthday wishes! :-)

I thoroughly enjoyed the first season of The 4400, and then lost track of it somehow. I think I'll try to get hold of it via the DVD lending thingie I've just joined.
Jan. 13th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
I hope you're having a great birthday!

I bet you'll enjoy the rest of The 4400. I'm anxious to find out when season four will be available.

Jan. 13th, 2008 07:38 pm (UTC)
I loved the Kevin and Tess video! I had not seen that one before. I'm so sad that the show isn't coming back.
Jan. 15th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
Me, too! I'm just grateful we got that wonderful final scene between them ("Where am I going to find another you?") before it was over. *sniffles*
Jan. 14th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Are you watching Moonlight? It's pretty good:)
Jan. 15th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
You know, I meant to, and then I missed it somehow, and then I didn't go back to catch it because I was behind. I could just kick myself. Do you think they'll rerun the whole thing in order? Maybe I should wait for the first season on DVD? It's good to know there's something new worth watching, though. Thanks for the recommendation!
Jan. 16th, 2008 12:12 am (UTC)
the last first run episode is this Friday (I think). You might want to check the internet for sites to possibly buy/down load things. My computer cannot handle graphics so I don't know if it's available. But yeah, I do highly rec it. good luck!
Jan. 14th, 2008 04:36 am (UTC)
Like you I have had my ups and downs with Torchwood - mainly the writing, which is where my dislikes with Doctor Who also lie. I would like to see both on a tighter rein at times, as far as writing goes. I am looking forward to the second season of TW though, very much!

I was watching a commentary on a Star Trek: TNG episode recently, and they were talking about how ST was primarily, always, about 'the ideas', the ethical questions we have to face, the nature of our principles and so on. And I have been thinking that's very interesting with regards to other sci-fi shows such as Torchwood and Stargate Atlantis, which I think have a different sensibility. *muses*
Jan. 15th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
I agree completely with the writing. They're both uneven, though I think Torchwood is worse than Doctor Who. To me, DW has consistent characterizations; they're just sometimes over the top to the point of caricature. There's hardly any consistency to the TW characters (and what consistency there is, to my mind, is totally annoying - I don't remember ever watching any other show faithfully when I disliked so many of the leads!). *shakes head at self*

You've put your finger on why I miss the more classic SF sensibility. I miss the "big ideas" series.

Jan. 14th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for posting the Lovecraftian links. Very much. =)
Jan. 15th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome! I'm so glad they're of interest.
Jan. 16th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
I was just about to ask you what your love/hate r'ship with TW consisted of but your exchange above enlightened me. I haven't seen many episodes of TW yet (cable being a new and much-petted creature in our home), but the ones I've seen I've been fairly lukewarm about. It's sorta fun but Gwen annoys me so much I regress and end up yelling at the television. I quite like weird little Owen, but I find Captain Jack too much and also too little (if that makes sense). A pinch of him in DW worked nicely but a whole show...I'm not so sure.

Meanwhile, *big Fungus hugs* for again posting such content-rich, linky entries. Just wish I had time to follow all the shiny trails...
Jan. 30th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC)
Why oh why do you like Owen? I need to know this, because if you see something in him, there must be something there. And I need something more to look forward to in TW each week than Owen possibly being killed off. LOL!

I completely grok your takes on Gwen and Jack.

Meanwhile, *big Fungus hugs* for again posting such content-rich, linky entries.

Awwwww! That makes me SO happy! *huge hugs*
Feb. 1st, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
Heh. For my part I find Owen quite compelling to watch despite being such a pathetic excuse for a human being. He's quite dynamic, it's fun to watch him suffer and self-destruct and Burn Gorman's one of the better actors. Strangely he now seems to have become... nice. Which is quite disconcerting. Nice Owen. Owen... being nice. It seems wrong somehow, it doesn't add up. It's like Hannibal Lecter serving you breakfast in bed.

And I likewise am grateful for all your links. Cities of the Underworld looks like something I might have to investigate.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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