What I’ve Been Watching
I Am Your Father – this is a doco about David Prowse aka Darth Vadar. It is made more from fandom and goes into the fact he was not cast as Darth Vadar in that final scene in the Return of the Jedi when DV dies and another actor was cast. The doco is interesting and held my attention for the most part and yet it felt a little odd. It tried to involved George Lucas but he would not, which is not surprising and they really did a number on him. Yes, it does seem weird for Prowse not to be in that scene, but all this time later is not going to change anything. Prowse seemed happy enough to go along with it all. I’m mixed about this, guess it’s one to see for yourself!
Tribute to James Burrows - this was a lovely walk down memory lane with stars of all his television shows talking about his genius. And what genius he has: Taxi, Cheers, Frasier, Friends, Will and Grace and so on. Was a bit of fun.
Ella Fitzgerald concerts – caught all these sassy Ella concerts on Fox Arts (god do I love Fox or do I love Fox!), wow, I have always loved Ella, being a huge Jazz fan, but to watch her sing those great songs, her delivery and poise, man, that’s the bomb!!!
Art docos – I am going out of my ever loving mind with Art docos on Fox Arts, as in docos about Lichtenstein, Warhol, Monet, Impressionists, Stolen Art, you name it....love, love, love!!!
The Man from UNCLE – this was a fun remake, it didn’t take itself too seriously, looked fab and Cavill and Hammer were fab.
MASH – what a delight to go back to the beginning of this wonderful fave. I am slowly going to watch it all in order, something I have never done. Always watched out of order on tele in repeat mode. I loved the earlier characters, the whole thing has not dated at all. And Hawkeye is still divinely gorgeous and brilliantly dramatic and hilariously funny.
Heroes Reborn – I loved the original series of Heroes, especially those first two seasons, Season 1 in particular was so perfect it almost makes me weep how bad it got in Seasons 3 and 4. It was ahead of it’s time and I think the creators just tried to string it out too long back then to make more money! This reboot really seemed like a great idea, in an era where such things are better received, except it did not have the bang of the first series, it needed a better progression of old cast and young and a less forceful and mean storyline against the heroes. It did reach moments of almost getting there about 3/4 the way through but ultimately was just a poor cousin of the original. Shame.
Hap and Leonard – this is a new 6-parter, sort of a look for lost treasure show, but the treasure was stolen money they ditched years before thought long lost. Hap and Leonard are besties and always up to no good, it kinda reminded me of The Dukes of Hazzard in a way, but less funny. Still funny, but more dramatic. It was ok.
Banshee S1 – not a bad series about a guy masquerading as the Sheriff he murdered (no one had met the Sheriff before) in a small town where his ex associate/girlfriend is living, trying to make a new life for herself. He’s a baddie trying to make good and maybe see his ex again (even though she is married with children living under another name), but you just know it’s all going to hell in a hand basket. A little brutal and violent at times, but entertaining enough.
Wayward Pines S1/2 I have wanted to watch this for ages, as I am a fan of M NIght Shyamalan and he was attached to it. It is based on a series of books about a strange town where people visit and cannot escape. Superb cast, and a creepy mystery, it tooka couple of eps, but I was hooked, they do not wait too long to reveal ‘the reveal’ and then you are just trying to work out the truth until the shocking final episode. S2 is nowhere near as good, I suspect there will not be a S3. I want to say why, but spoilers, I am still watching it cause curious, but compared to S1, nah!
Orphan Black S4 – This show is starting to lose me a little, S5 will be the last and I think that is smart. Having said that it is still a great kick arse show with a female lead. Well multiple female leads, given it is about clones. 3
Penny Dreadful S3 – S1 was nothing short of perfection and S2 upped the ante. This 18th century stylised drama featuring all the book characters from that period – Dorian Gray, Dr Jeckyl, Dr Frankenstein, etc – was superb. The cast were superb, especially Eva Green – she was everything, sublimely cool, dark and devious. But S3 just didn’t rate, and it was cancelled, and rightfully so. They went too dark and split character up that worked well together, it was like they didn’t know where to go and set up people to fail. It basically all imploded which is a shame. S1 and 2 are still so very worth watching, but S3 WILL disappoint, believe me.
The Walking Dead S6 – this is my other favourite show, it just gets better and better, the layers and characters have more depth than imaginable. This season raises the stakes even more than before with some gruesome and shocking twists and turns, and some real heart break. And a killer of a cliffhanger ending. Bring on S7!!!! Just Make sure nothing happens to Darryl!!!
Game of Thrones S6 – I think this deserves it’s own blog it was THAT GOOD. I think this was the best season ever, not watching it in one go as I usually do maybe impacted on that, but it had a lot of great scenes. However, I know there are still people yet to watch it, or finish it, so I don’t want to spoil. There were many moments of joy and comeuppance, many deaths and some absolute killer moments, that will still bring me to tears just thinking about. This is by far the best show on television – maybe ever. The stories are remarkable, the sets stunning. By god, it even has dragons. I am thinking of going back to the beginning and watching it all from the start!!!
Secret City – this was a stunning Australian political intrigue/thriller set in chilly Canberra on Fox – headed by the brilliant Anna Torv (who I loved in Fringe) and a who’s who of Australian Actors (standout performance by Damon Herrimon who absolutely broke my heart) this 6-parter had me on the edge of my couch each episode right up until the shocking end!
Rake – he’s back and better than ever. What can be said about Cleaver Greene that hasn’t been said before?! Nothing, this is Australian Drama (comedy) at it’s absolute best. Richard Roxburgh is born to play this rogue, they are intertwined. This season took us to many strange and amusing places, and delivered a shock or two. Well done!
RocKwiz – this series was about the countries (US, UK, Ireland, Canada, NZ, and OZ), and was a load of fun, with some great covers including stand out performances from Kav Temperley doing Dylan’s Hurricane, Sarah Blasko’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Ella Hooper absolutely nailing Pleasure and Pain (The Divinyls). This is my favourite Australian show, it is so uniquely Australian and pub-rock, I wish they made more!
Abominable Bride – Sherlock – finally caught up with the next Sherlock instalment. It was good, clever, and the boys as always superb.
What I’ve Been Reading
Roald Dahl – we got a whole new collection of Dahl on talking book read by the UK’s creme de la creme, Kate Winslet, Bill Bailey, Richard Ayoade, Chris O
Dowd, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Miranda Richardson and on and on. The stand out was Kate Winslet reading Matilda, with a different voice for each character. She was on fire. And Bill Bailey doing a great romping read of The Minpins. All were fab, and it was a fun break in the car to listen to these old faves, no matter I am an adult, Dahl always wrote for everyone!
Wildflower by Drew Barrymore – this was a very lite memoir, but interesting nonetheless. I like Barrymore and I guess everyone knows her story, while she skims over the drama, she delves into the part of her life where she dragged herself back to respectability. And she talks about the people who were there to help her.
I’ll Never Write My Memoirs by Grace Jones (as told to Paul Morley) – now this IS a memoir, what a rollicking, fun, and real read. Grace has been there and done that, long before anyone else and tells us in a very matter of a fact but gracious point! As only you can imagine. It goes through her younger years in Jamaicia and being discovered. Her move to the US, modelling, and then stardom with the Studio 54 crowd, music, and Warhol. This is all killer and no filler. Totally worthwhile read.
Women I’ve Dressed by Orry-Kelly – I feel like I have been reading this forever, it is a large and detailed tome. Plus it’s been popular so I keep sending it back to work for others to read and getting it back when I can. This is a remarkable true story of a wonderful creative Australian and the book the formed the Gillian Armstrong doco of last year. It is his very detailed life story, from rags to riches, from Kiama to Hollywood. Cary Grant’s lover, Bette Davis’ dresser, triple Academy Award winner, and fashion guru to Hollywood. Oh it is filled with sublime Hollywoodness, slightly gossipy, but mostly refined. In fact, you learn a lot from what he does not say, than what he does. Loved this so very much!
My Island Home by Tim Winton – this is a stunning collection of descriptions of places Tim has lived or visited over the years. Imagine the scenes he sets in his novels, well multiply them into little chapters and you have the very luscious My Island Home, Water features heavily as you would imagine and each chapter takes you right into the heart of a place, you can imagine it and almost feel as you are there. This is Winton at his dreamy best.
Public Library and other stories by Ali Smith - this was an interesting mix of short stories based around libraries, reading, literature and so forth. Some were better than others, but all were interesting.
Almost sincerely by Zoe Norton Lodge – this is a series of short stories about Zoe’s life growing up. They are funny and embarrassing and familiar. I like her style, it is self deprecating and dry.
Here is New York by e.b.white – a lovely long essay that eb wrote for The New Yorker many many decades ago. ABout New York and all there is to love about it, this is a must read for any NYC lover like myself, you can feel the beat of the city in it and whilst some of the places he wrote about no longer exist, a lot of it does and it’s essence has not changed.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett - I had read this years ago and found it difficult to understand, and seen the movie many times. This waas scheduled for my bookclub (by me lol) and I decided to listen to it instead, which was marvellous. It helped he get to the crux of the story much better. It is a classic, but almost laughable today. No one loved it, but we all appreciated it for what it was.
What I’ve Been Listening to
The West Wing Weekly – this is a fabulous podcast by Joshua Malina (ex West Wing, now on Scandal) with Hrishikesh Hirway and they go through every episode of the beloved show episode by episode from the very beginning. SO far they are only about 1 eps in, and I have listened to 6 or 7. The beauty of this is they can get special guests on the show who were on the actual show! I’m in heaven listening to them dissect each episode. Totally for fans!
Mixed CDs – been listening to a lot of these at work, they are ex ABC discs bought at a fundraiser and passed on to me by a good friend. Perfect easy listening for work.
Prince – still been listening to a fair bit of Prince