Octagonal paper, deceased wood, and general blather about TV


In this thread about corkboards we suddenly started going off on a tangent (actually my fault entirely - I am by far the most tangential in that thread):

literatureandlatte.com/forum … =4939#4939

So, in a rare attempt to keep things vaguley on-topic, it might be a good idea to reply to any TV-related banter from that thread in this thread, and keep the replies in that thread limited to the original subject matter.

Uh, that was probably just confusing.


We have gone down remarkably similar roads in terms of TV. My recent two year stint in France found me starved for anglo input and I watched all of Farscape, Firefly (The director’s commentary on the Serenity DVD is actually worth listening to, btw) and BG. (Obviously this would have been impossible in France without things like Demonoid but that’s another issue). As an ardent anglophile, (I spent a few childhood summers and did my masters in the UK) I’m also familiar with Lovejoy, not to mention the Doctor. Frankly I’m a little disappointed in Torchwood, couldn’t make it past the first two episodes.
House was mired in its own formula for the longest time but has taken a more novel - and dark - turn of late that is giving Hugh Laurie plenty of scenery to chew.
But Deadwood is a thing apart, the single best series EVER done for TV, with wonderfully complex characters and themes, it is downright Shakespearean in its scope. Buy it, borrow it, download it - whatever it takes, watch it. You’re in for a treat.


(Oh Yeah, when it comes to Brit TV: I quite enjoyed the gritty cleverness of Life on Mars)

In response to Alexwein’s post (literatureandlatte.com/forum … 3&start=15):

Actually, I should modify that: I loved the original series of Star Trek when I was a kid, too. It’s just been spoiled for me by everything that happened since. Even more so since somebody told me that there was a Star Wars theme pub in Pimlico (London), leading me to take one of my friends there for a bit of a laugh (I mean, who doesn’t like the first Star Wars trilogy?). But the git who told me about the pub confused Star Wars with Star Trek. When we got there, the carpet was patterned with the Star Trek logo (you know the one they have on their uniforms). There were two bald men dressed as Captain, um, Patrick Stewart. They kept eyeing each other daggers, as though they had expected to be the only one to think of that particular costume. There was a group of goths (including a ladyboy) looking surly next to a scale model of the Enterprise. But the really scary moment came when someone rolled down a screen at the far end of the bar, onto which was projected numerous clips of various Star Trek shows that had been selected very carefully to fit in perfectly with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody (“I see a little silhouette-o of a man” - look! it’s the shadow of Spock!), which was ceremoniously blasted out at full volume. I say “ceremoniously”, because it was clear that everybody else in the pub was awaiting this moment. Because as the song began to play, the group of dwarves who had, until that moment, been supping beers in a gaggle at the back of the pub, suddenly got up and broke into formation dancing. No, really - dwarves. Formation dancing. On each other’s backs. At one point they made a pyramid, I swear (“Thunderbolts and lightning” - some alien, stormy planet). And they weren’t the hired entertainment, either, they were punters.

Don’t get me wrong, I like David Lynch as much as anyone. But I left straight after that.

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing:
Too Too funny - Life is stranger than scrivenings.


I couldn’t get past the first couple of Torchwood episodes, either. I was quite disappointed with the last series of Dr Who, too. David Tennant is great, don’t get me wrong, and really should be able to match the fantastic Christopher Eccleston, but the writing just wasn’t up to par - and that is exactly what is wrong with Torchwood. Also, John Barrowman was a great supporting character, but he is a terrible leading man…

I’m looking forward to S3 of House - the ending to S2 was rather bizarre, though (a little Moonlighting S2, in many ways). I know what you mean about formulaic, though… Guess the illness, quote several medical dictionaries (and every few episodes sees a new favourite illness-guess), get it wrong, send in Billy-from-Neighbours or the other guy to break into the patient’s house and rifle around, a tiny bit of character development (usually in the form of humourous banter between Robert Sean Leonard and House or derisory banter between House and his crew), House insults some folk he is forced to see in day surgery, House guesses some obscure disease, everyone says he is wrong, but he is right - ta-da! And the big joke is, of course, that in every episode everyone says, “Hey House never talks to patients”, and then the case turns out to be exceptional so House goes and talks to the patient. Every episode.

Anyway. I am looking forward to S6 of The Shield, too, though I was gutted that they murdered [a main character].

DEFINITELY be getting Deadwood to watch then. Thanks for the recommendation. It’s been on my list of series to watch for some time, and coming from someone with similar taste in programmes, I may have to order it for Christmas. :slight_smile:


P.S. Life on Mars - I forgot that. Yes, that was actually really good. The BBC are the only British channel making good dramas any more. Channel 4 used to try but have given up. My only complaint against the BBC is that they too often go for the easy “period costume” option. One more Jane Austen adaptation might kill me (and don’t get me wrong, I like Jane Austen, and the 90s adapation of Pride and Prejudice was excellent; it just spawned too many rubbish adaptations).

You definitely could write for House: bang on with that description. And I too preferred Eccleston. Can’t stand Barrowman- he worked as a mock hero in Doctor Who but can’t pull off doing it for real. I did find the welsh setting refreshing: it let me practice the acccent. (My girlfriend just loves it when I repeat back to the TV).
Never actually watched The Shield, I’ll have to have a look.


Hahaha!! Hilarious. It reminds me of an Saturday Night Live skit when William Shatner hosted a long while back. They did a mock Star Trek convention with everyone dressed up and Shatner addressed the crowd. “I have only one thing to say,” he said. “Get a life!!” It was so funny, I’ve never forgotten it. That was in the hey-day of Star Trek paraphernalia, conventions, and the like. I once went to one when in college. What a riot! But your experience with the Star Wars pub, OMG, that’s unparalleled!! LOVED Dr. Who back in the day–I can’t remember which actor was my favorite, it was a long while back too.

As far as BBC productions, we get a LOT of mystery shows here in the states produced by BBC and some of them are quite good. Inspector Morris was a favorite for a while (though I got sick of all the Oxford themes–but I love the character and the interactions between characters). I loved Touching Evil (British version, not ours, which lasted a few episodes, I think, and was incredibly violent and not that well acted in IMHO).

S3 of House has been similar to what came before and different too. Like Eiron said, a bit darker, and Hugh Laurie is in top form. Increased tension between Wilson and House, and increased ‘sexual’ tension between Cuddy and House. Basically, more tension all the way around!

Btw, it was Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart). I never could get into any of the other Star Treks. TNG was okay at times, but it lacked the stuff I loved about the original–the really interesting interaction between the characters.

Deadwood is on HBO, which we don’t have. Too cheap to pay for that much cable. I’ll definitely have to check it out on DVD or if it ever makes it to iTunes. Never got into the Shield either. The main actor used to play a completely opposite character in a show–can’t remember now what the name was.

Best get that fire started. I’m sitting out a pretty major wind storm here in our neck of the woods. I hope my fellow Portlanders are dry and safe and with power. A lot of folks are without. Reminds me of when I lived down south and we’d have a hurricane off-shore!


Alexwein, obviously you are unaware of - or are willfully ignoring - a painfully stubborn fact: Captain James Tiberius Kirk can woop Picard’s little pansy ass. :wink:

And please do get that fire stoked! If Kirk was there, you betchya he’d help. Thinkest thou Picard would? He’d turn on you like that Doctor in Lost in Space. :astonished:

Oh please…Captain Kathryn Janeway would take them both on. That woman was a pint sized psychopath by season seven. And she had adjustable hair.

I can’t believe I just admitted I know another Star Trek captain. I must try and find my medication.

Well, yeah, of course, you’re right…all things being equal. But see, things with Kirk are always profoundly unequal. Like his spiritual forebear Odysseus, Kirk is utterly polytropic.

I’ll tellya what he’d do if he met Captain Janeway. First, he’d thrown on some of his unearthly music. Second, he’d set up one of those lights that make his eyes look sparkly. She’d be weak in the knees in no time. Third, Kirk would clock her (and who knows what else he might do.) :wink:

Oh no… This is exactly the sort of conversation those dwarves were no doubt having in that pub in Pimlico… Please, for the love of gods, nooooo…!

While you were merely nursing your bitters, those silly dwarves were no doubt negotiating a treaty for perpetual intergalactic peace. So who looks silly now? eh? :wink:

Yeah, get a room! :slight_smile:

Hahaha! I know I shouldn’t…but I will. :slight_smile: I love Jot’s assessment of Janeway. She was qualifiably nuts! 'Let’s raze ‘em down,’ seemed to be her motto. I never could really get into Voyager either. I liked Jacote (spelling??). I did try to like these other shows. I loved the original so much when young. And I love sci-fi in general.

Picard. Man, it used to really annoy the heck out of me when all kinds of stuff would be going on and he’d just sit there while his first officer fired out orders, looking kind of goofy. Yeah, that show actually annoyed me. And as for Kirk, yeah, he was great…when I was 12! Ha! He’s definitely not my type. Too full of himself. I mean, what an ego. Great for a starship captain, but hell on relationships!

To be fair, though, the original ST used some of the best sci-fi writers around at the time. Very original and creative scripts. The special effects are painful to watch from our vantage point now, though. They had no budget so I guess they did the best they could.

Okay, enough of that. I do love that I still get to watch the original ST series on reruns. Haven’t seen hide-nor-hair of the other ones for ages.


OK OK I have to confess. This is so embarrassing. I remember actually enjoying TNG – Picard in particular: he was a touch more cerebral than your usual US TV hero, was played by an RSC alumnus and was French to boot! So apparently I liked him for much the same reasons you folks thought he was such a dweeb. And at some point I seem to have thought (well, umm, felt) that Troi was hot in her galactic cheerleader uniform :blush:

As for Shatner, he’s such a HUGE ham. Sure I thought he was cool when I was ten. But hell, I thought Mr Terrific -he of the 1 hour Power Pills and the five-minute boosters - was cool. BTW, Shatner’s a bit of a proud embarrassment to his fellow Montrealers: the Student Union building at Mcgill University is named after him.

All this to say I’m amazed how much one’s tastes in popular entertainment evolve - we’re exposed to so much that almost any sort of novelty can be refreshing and interesting for a while. But not for long.

Years later I look back, and most SF – and especially all of Star Trek and Star Wars – seems incredibly facile and wooden. Any pleasure we take from it now is largely ironic.

To jump back to earlier parts of this thread, I’m starting to feel that the quality of Deadwood has just ruined me for TV for a long time to come. It all seems like crap now that I’ve seen the possibilities for the medium really growing up. And from a western no less.



Not a big fan of ST original series, but I loved ST NewG and Voy. (I actually own some of the DVDs.) However, I did (and do) have an issue with the scripts. The stories were interesting on a one to one episode (some of them at least), but looking at the series (or seasons) as a whole was simply blah!

Now, for a good and lined plot we have Babylon 5. The acting sometimes is not that great (well, specially comparing with Patrick Stewart’s classy Picard and Kate Mulgrew’s “kick-ass” Janeway), but the story is very well built. I started watching it recently and at first (maybe up to 3 episodes) I wasn’t that fixated on it, but after I got most of the plot… Wow! I could see three episodes on a roll. Really! What caught me the most was the way humanity is portrayed: not as naive and ideal as in ST, but in a much richer (and real) way. However, we can see that the budget is much smaller for B5.

I’d love to see a good script like B5 have the budget of ST. That would be great.

(Nowadays, I’m enjoying other genders like “Without A Trace” or “Prime Suspect.”)

Okay, back to my Ph.D. now. :stuck_out_tongue: (However, watching Helen Mirren in action sounds so appealing!)

– MJ

Okay, I admit it too. Like MJ I also liked particular episodes of TNG. You are so right–it was on an episode to episode basis. And there were times I actually liked Picard, when I didn’t find the scripts annoying. Like that one where he got trapped on the ship when it was getting maintenance done and it was being overrun…there were good moments. Mostly I thought the shows were bland, however.

LOVED!!! Babylon 5. Yeah, lower budget. And they had two amazing veteran character actors (that played Londo, Peter Jurasik, and G’Kar, Andreas Katsulas). I even liked year one, which a lot of folks didn’t care for.

Okay, okay, Eiron, I give! I’m going to check out Deadwood! I know how it is–once you see something so high-level it’s hard to go back to ordinary quality. I found that with books early on too.

That’s a riot about Shatner having a building named after him. As if he needed anything to make his ego even bigger!

(To alexwien)

Different topic: Portland, Oregon! One of my favorite cities. I have wonderful memories there. :slight_smile: And, oh my, I do miss Powells. I miss it a lot.

For those who don’t know it: powells.com/info/briefhistory.html

– MJ

PS. Now to check Deadwood too. (Eiron – if I get addicted I’ll blame you, not my lack of will.)