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):
Cities of the Underworld (History Channel)
Doctor Who (BBC via SciFi)
Hustle (BBC via AMC)
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