The Great Game (Sherlock TV 2010)

This was a fantastic episode. This is where Moriarty is officially introduced and my goodness, does he make an entrance. He finally confronts Sherlock by forcing Sherlock to solve one mystery after another without a letup and the hook is that if Sherlock fails, an innocent will be blown to smithereens by a bomb vest. It is tense, fast and non-stop.

Unfortunately, the gay innuendo is non-stop as well. From Moriarty’s little “love” letters to Sherlock, to Moriarty pretending to BE gay to the continued two guys can’t be friends schtick. I had not remembered it being so blatant or so non-stop. It just felt unrelenting.

Dave asked me some questions, so without further ado:

  • What do you think of Moriarty’s portrayal during this episode? Does he come of as clever as he thinks he is? Do you consider him a threat with all that pomp and show and tell tactics?

He’s definitely a show-off but his little game makes me feel that he IS as clever as he thinks he is. He’s just a crazy psycho too.

That being said, Moriarty was the absolutely PERFECT villain. When that light hearted charming facade switches off and you see the evil monstrous man, oh boy, watch out. His little tantrum while talking to Sherlock while Watson is wearing a bomb vest was like a light turning off and darkness just spreading through the whole room. The cliffhanger ending would have been annoying back in the day but with the series finished, anyone now can simply pop in the next disc (or stream it if they’re extravagantly and filthy rich) and voila, the journey continues.

  • What did you feel about the overall episode.

While I enjoyed watching this, as a nice little break from the Muppet related stuff, overall it was not worth the energy to review. Movies are a whole different beast from books and it takes a different mentality to review them. I haven’t had a lot of practice and so the strain on my moral fibre is incredible. If I watch any more of the series I won’t be blogging about it.

  • Do you think the cat and mouse game between good and bad was well done? If so what stood out, if not, what did you find annoying?

The rivalry between Moriarty and Sherlock was definitely changed for a tv show. Like I mentioned above, it was almost too frenetic for me. And Sherlock thriving on it and losing sight of the goal of bringing a criminal to justice wasn’t very likeable or heroic in my opinion.

  • Do you also keep severed heads in your kitchen fridge?😆

Hahahahahaa! That was just so ridiculous that I actually laughed at it.

Dave has his own review up HERE.

The Blind Banker (Sherlock TV 2010)

This second episode of the modern remake of Sherlock Holmes introduces us to Watson’s future wife. It also gives us a view of the international sense of crime that Sherlock is fighting against. We also get some hints about a mysterious Master of Crime.

I thought how Sherlock kept interfering between John and Sarah, whether consciously or not, really showed that he did value John’s friendship and was so unaccustomed to friendship that he didn’t know how to share.

Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. The chemistry between Freeman and Cumberbatch is so perfect that you would think they WERE Watson and Holmes. John and Sarah had pretty good screen chemistry too. They were believable as an odd and uncomfortable couple. The stereotypical English couple.

And I’m still struggling for words. I don’t know why this is going so hard but I feel like I am grasping for every single word I type. Sorry folks, this is all you get.

Here’s to hoping Dave has more to say than me!

A Study in Pink (Sherlock TV 2010)

This is the first episode of the Sherlock tv series that premiered in 2010 starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. It’s a modern retelling that was a rather large success. I am doing a watch-a-long with Dave and we watched this and had a couple of questions for the other. Here are Dave’s questions to me that I’ll answer. A link to his post is at the end below.

1) Did you like the over all feel of the opening episode?

Yes I did. I really enjoyed this modern retelling. The updated forensics and technology was handled well and as far as tv goes, didn’t offend any sense of reality that I had.

2) What do you feel about the portrayal of The Holmes brothers?

The portrayal was fantastic. I really enjoyed how the producers made it look like Mycroft was actually Holmes’ “nemesis”, getting our expectations all set for some Moriarty action. Making Mycroft a government stooge, albeit an extremely smart and powerful one, seemed much more in tune with today’s culture than him hanging out in a gentlemens club like in Doyle’s stories.

3) Do you think or remember Watson having a brother or a sister in the books?

I don’t. It was one of those “liberties” that the producers took that didn’t really bother me. It really felt more of a setup to give Holmes and Watson a bonding moment, to cement their friendship. Considering that Watson’s family wasn’t again outside of that specific moment made it feel as shallow as it was. Of course, I could be wrong and Watson has a HUGE family that we’re introduced to in later books :-/

4) What do you think about the chemistry between holmes and watson? You can list good and bad traits if you feel like it.

I thought Cumberbatch and Freeman worked excellently off of each other. They exhibited characteristics of Holmes and Watson that MADE them those characters. Now that I’ve seen them, I can not imagine anyone else playing them. I am not familiar with older incarnations of TV Sherlock, so I have no attachments to other actors. That helps a lot. I did find Watson a bit too “polite” for me. He’s not spineless, as how he handled the mad cabbie shows that. Holmes’ disdain for the police smacked of modern elitism, unlike the books by Doyle. I did find the joking about male friendship as nothing more than hidden homo-eroticism got stale and tired very quickly. It made me wonder if the producers had ever had any close male friends or if they were just pathetic lonely men?

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this watch. I am VERY glad that Dave had these questions because I was really struggling to write something about this tv show. I expected to write something up as easily as I did for the Muppet Show or Fragglerock but nope, I tried about 6 times to get started and it wasn’t until I had these questions that the writing seemed to happen. Made me wonder how some people can write up movie reviews every day?

Fraggle Rock Season 4 (TV 1986)

Technically, there was a Season Four AND a Season Five to Fraggle Rock, if you watched it on tv. They did some number shuffling for a variety of reasons. Reading Henson’s bio talked about this a little. It had to do with what studios would accept, etc, So they stretched out the final season into 2 seasons. As I’m watching dvd rips, I’m getting it the way it was originally produced.

When they made the choice to split the final season, they cut 2 episodes from Season Three, added them to the final season and then cut that in half for 2 shorter seasons of 13 episodes each. Yeah, it makes a real hash of trying to figure out stuff. I guess that was why I included the episode list in my last review so I could keep straight what episodes were going where. So here’s this sets episode list:

  • Disc 1
  • Sidebottom Blues
  • Uncle Matt’s Discovery
  • Junior Faces the Music
  • The Perfect Blue Rollie
  • A Tune for Two
  • A Brush with Jealousy
  • Disc 2
  • Wembley’s Flight
  • Wonder Mountain
  • Red’s Blue Dragon
  • Space Frog Follies
  • Boober Gorg
  • Mirror, Mirror
  • Disc 3
  • The Riddle of Rhyming Rock
  • The Voice Inside
  • The Trial of Cotterpin Doozer
  • The River of Life
  • Beyond the Pond
  • Gone, But Not Forgotten
  • Disc 4
  • Mokey, Then and Now
  • Ring Around the Rock
  • Inspector Red
  • The Gorg Who Would Be King
  • The Honk of Honks
  • Change of Address

After reading Henson’s bio, watching this season made so much sense. Henson was adamant about only producing top quality stuff and at the same time was all about letting the artistic side of himself dictate stuff. So when he got bored with something, he would drop it. But unlike a certain jackass author *coughgrrmartincough* Henson made sure to finish things up. Which meant his shows usually ended on a high point.

We’re so unused to that here in the States now (where producers, executives, studios milk anything until they destroy it) that it is extremely refreshing but also gives me pause, as I did find myself saying “Awwww come on, I want some more”. But more wouldn’t have been better. Doc and Sprockett move away and the Fraggles find that they can make entries into our world using the power of magic so the adventures don’t have to end. It was the perfect ending to this light, (extremely) loud and frenetic series.

While I enjoyed the Muppet Show more, this was still very engaging and fun and I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at Fraggle Rock. I can also see myself coming back and just listening to this in the background as I do other things. If you enjoy the Muppets, I would unreservedly recommend this series as well.

Fraggle Rock Season Three (TV 1985)

Another great season for Fraggle Rock. I’ve decided to include an episode list this time just to show some of the, ummm, “creative” genius of the show.

  • Red-Handed and the Invisible Thief
  • Boober and the Glob
  • The Grapes of Generosity
  • Blanket of Snow, Blanket of Woe
  • Pebble Pox Blues
  • Home Is Where the Trash Is
  • Believe It or Not
  • Wembley and the Mean Genie
  • The Secret Society of Poobahs
  • The Beanbarrow, the Burden and the Bright Bouquet
  • Gobo’s School for Explorers
  • Scared Silly
  • The Great Radish Caper
  • Born to Wander
  • The Battle of Leaking Roof
  • Playing Till It Hurts
  • Bored Stiff
  • The Cavern of Lost Dreams
  • The Incredible Shrinking Mokey
  • A Dark and Stormy Night
  • Gunge the Great and Glorious
  • The Bells of Fraggle Rock
  • Sprocket’s Big Adventure
  • Wembley’s Wonderful Whoopie Water

Reading the Jim Henson Bio has certainly opened my eyes while watching this season. Henson’s love of television as an artform, his creative genius, it all explains so MUCH about these shows (I’m including the Muppets too). His underlying new age philosophy also plays a much bigger part than I initially realized. It is rather amazing how much those kind of things influence a show and we the watchers would never full grasp it.

I still don’t like the wraparound scenes with Doc and Sprocket. I don’t like Doc and he hasn’t grown on me at all. Part of it is that he is a potterer and I can’t stand people who just potter around doing one thing one minute and another thing the next minute. He’s also a monomaniac when it comes to his inventions. There is one episode where Sprocket ends up going into Fraggle Land but his efforts to convince Doc that they exist come to naught. Sprocket can be extremely expressive for a muppet dog while Doc has got to be about the thickest human I’ve ever seen.

The energy of this show is incredible. Just thinking about it makes me tired but while I’m watching I’m as jazzed up as anything. Considering this was aimed at prepubescent children, either I’m a big baby or Henson hits his notes for the show perfectly. Let’s go with the Creative Genius interpretation.

Only one more season to go and then it’s back to tracking down Muppet movies and shows again.

ps,
I am trying this without the Jackass picture. I hope that the scumbag who forced me to use it last time will leave this poor little post alone.

Fraggle Rock Season Two (TV 1984)

This post is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. If you copy this link without at least asking, you are a jackass and I hope you choke to death.

Season 2 tended to focus a bit more on the Fraggles themselves and as such there weren’t as many Uncle Traveling Matt skits or even skits with the Trash Heap or the Gorgs. However, we did get more episodes featuring the Doozers as characters.

As I mentioned in Season One, this was not the Muppets. Doc and Sprocket are as annoying as any absent minded inventor whose best friend is a dog, as you could imagine. In the US version Doc is played by Gerry Parker and my goodness, he really throws himself into the role. Why Sprocket hasn’t turned on him and eaten him is beyond me. Whatever lesson the Fraggles are learning that episode is always mirrored with Doc and Sprocket. I suspect Henson wanted to keep one foot in the real world to make kids watching realize that what was happening to the Fraggles also applied to them.

The episodic nature of the show lends itself to binge watching, as I did while having covid. The only downside is that the Fraggles are loud and rambunctious all the time and I usually took a break after 10 episodes or so just to give my ears a break. I cannot imagine children quietly watching this. I can see them jumping around and screaming and hollering right along with the Fraggles though.

Fraggle Rock Season One (TV 1983)

This post is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. If you copy this link without at least asking, you are a jackass and I hope you choke to death.

Fraggle Rock follows the adventures of a core cast of 5 fraggles, little creatures that live in the wall of a shed of an inventor named Doc and his pet dog Sprocket. Gobo, Mokey, Red, Wembley and Boober each have a 30min work week and this show is all about their adventures.

They live in a place called Fraggle Rock, which is also inhabited by Doozers, even smaller creatures that live to build, and Gorgs, humongous creatures whose gardens the Fraggles raid for radishes.

The biggest difference between this and the muppets is that this was aimed directly at children. Lots of easy to repeat songs, fraggles screaming and hollering at the drop of a hat and simplistic and silly morality lessons.

Gobo is the main lead and his job is collect a postcard each week that his intrepid uncle, Explorer Matt, sends him. Uncle Matt has headed out into Outer Space (our world) to explore and each postcard tells of a different experience he has. Gobo has to overcome great danger each time, as the postcards are delivered to the shed where Doc and Sprocket tinker around.

The interactions between the Fraggles and the Gorgs play a big part of the show too. The Gorg King and Queen (who are the rulers of the universe) have a rather dumb son named Junior. Junior’s highest ambition in life is to catch Fraggles and thump them. In the gorg garden lives Marjory the Trash Heap, the All Knowing and All Seeing. She’s pretty much an oracle to the Fraggles and half the adventures revolve around the Fraggles avoiding the gorgs to talk to the Trash Heap.

What’s more, it all works. It works REALLY well. It did take me a couple of episodes to adjust my expectations but I was watching this while dealing with our covid adventures, so it was perfect to watch as I lay on the couch without much of a brain. It was bright, colorful, funny and easy to follow. Everything the doctor ordered in fact.

“Fraggle Rock is Great” The Almighty Trash Heap HAS SPOKEN!

I am pretty happy with this first season of Fraggle Rock and am already looking forward to watching more.

Sorry about having to use the jackass picture again, but the jackass who made me use it in the first place is back. I suspect it will be a regular thing for all movie related posts from now on. My apologies for someone else being a complete jackass.

Dune: Part 1 (2021 Movie)

Oh man. What a movie! When this was being produced and talked about, I had my reservations. The gender change for Dr Kynes smacked of pure woke bullshit. The “Part I” let us all know it wasn’t a complete movie and that was worrisome as well. As an avid fan of the Novel by Frank Herbert (having reviewed it 3 times since 2011), I do consider myself a bit of a snob when it comes to Dune.

Thankfully, I follow a couple of people who reviewed Dune Part 1 when it hit the cinemas back in October. Those reviews relieved all my fears and actually got me excited to watch it. I pre-ordered the blu-ray as soon as it was possible and it was released January 11. Because I’m a member of prime, I got it that day. Since then, I’ve watched it 3 times plus all the “extras”.

Let’s deal with the “problems”. Kynes being changed to a woman didn’t matter because they completely neutered the character’s impact on the story. In the novel Liet Kynes is not only the Royal Ecologist for the Emperor, but is also the de facto leader of the fremen, leading their secret ecological fight to transform Dune into a watery paradise. In the movie, Kynes helps Paul and Jessica escape and then is killed by Sardakar almost by accident. It was laughable, in a pathetic way. I “almost” felt bad for the woman playing Kynes but not that much and she was just such a non-entity that the change didn’t bother me like I thought it would. The other issue of this being Part One has already been resolved as this was such a success that Part Two is a green lit.

This follows the first half of the book and ends where Paul and Jessica head out into fremen society. As such, this was a real setup movie with lots of introductions to the universe. I thought they did a good job and kept it interesting with the whole Harkonnen / Atreides feud. I also liked just about every casting choice except for Lady Jessica. As minor as it may seem, her hair wasn’t red enough for me. I know my mental picture has been influenced, greatly, by the SyFy (that’s syphilis to the uninitiated) Channel’s miniseries in the early 2000’s. That is a very minor complaint though, so I’m not sure I can even really call it a complaint.

Saskia Reeves was a wonderful Lady Jessica from the tv mini-series

One thing I did miss was the dinner scene soon after the Atreides take control of Dune. It is very memorable and informs the reader/viewer about a lot of the political scenes going on. I didn’t miss it on the first watch but on the second and third I realized it was missing and did feel it rather keenly.

The musical score was absolutely top notch. I felt like Hans Zimmer watched the finished movie and then wrote this weird, throat singing, chanting, atonal sound track that fit the barbarity of the desert of Dune and political fighting and betrayals that occur. I thought the music fit the movie perfectly. However, as a musical score on its own, it’s an abysmal failure. I listened to it on youtube and it was shudderingly jarring and I gave up before I got to the halfway mark. I will NOT be buying the cd of this sound track. Here’s the youtube embed so you can listen for yourself.

Since I got the bluray I also watched the extras. What few there were. While there were many in number, a lot of them simply repeated the same things or the same scenes over in a different way. There was no commentary track (something I tend to like) nor were there very many of the technical “making of” parts. There were a few bits and bobs of that stuff, but not anything close what I have come to expect from extras. There were no interviews with the cast, another thing I tend to enjoy.

Looking at this, it comes across as a check list of issues I had with the movie. The problem with that is that I really did enjoy the movie but it can be harder to write about what I enjoyed than what I didn’t. For instance, I thought Timothy Chalot was a great Paul. He was small and wiry and looked like a young adult and not just a small old person. The Bene Gesserit “Voice” was done wonderfully too. I liked how the ornithopters were portrayed. I’ve always imagined them as mechanical sparrows but the change to make them more like dragonflies than birds worked aesthetically. The little bit we see of the sandworms and how the sand acts around them fit perfectly too. There were enough “little” touches that I wouldn’t mind getting a directors cut some day 😀

My issues in watching this (and hence why I’ve watched it 3 times so far) is because it is VERY easy to mix up what I’m watching with the previous Dune screen incarnations. The 1984 David Lynch version was such an odd duck that you almost have to like it just for its weirdness but trying to keep track of what was from that movie and what was from the book gets intermingled in my mind. Then throw in the aforementioned SyFy mini-series and it’s sequel series, Children of Dune and suddenly, well, there is a TON of information to keep track of. What was original to this movie, or what came from the 1984 film or the Mini-series OR the book itself? I think it is a testament to Frank Herbert that Dune has inspired so many incarnations and that us fans continue to lap them up and give them a chance.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and am very glad I bought the bluray. It is making me look forward to the sequel that much more. If you are tired of Super Hero movies but still need that bigger than this world feeling, Dune Part 1 might just fit the bill. If you liked the book, I think you’ll like this too. It IS an adaptation but one that I am quite glad has been realized. A solid thumbs up.

I realize this is a bit longer than my usual posts, so thanks for sticking it out to the end. Cheers!

Muppet Treasure Island (1996 Movie)

This post is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. If you copy this link without at least asking, you are a jackass and I hope you choke to death.

Muppet Treasure Island is the fifth Muppet Movie (Muppets from Space wasn’t made until 1999) and I must say, I think it edges out even A Muppet Christmas Carol. So far, only the original Muppet Movie has been better. Which is to say, this is one fantastic movie..

Loosely based, and I mean LOOSELY, on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island, this version takes the story’s outline and completely makes it its own. Which works surprisingly well. Part of it is because it is so silly and everyone leans into that silliness. It also helps that Tim Curry as Long John Silver just throws himself into the role and drags you along with him. He makes you think “Well, if Tim Curry can act like this then the least I can do is enjoy the silliness”. It takes chops for that.

While not a huge hit financially, it helped revive interest in the Muppets and I suspect propelled the Muppets Tonight show onto the silver screen (which failed. Without Jim Henson or Frank Oz, the Muppets are missing their soul). What this movie did correctly was show that the current Muppet creators need a good, already existing story for the Muppets to hang their frame on. Could you imagine Muppets 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, or Muppets Don Quixote? Of course, I am well read. I’m not sure if the average American would have any interest or even know what the stories were based on. But come on, can’t you see Kermit as Don Quixote and Fozzie Bear as Sancho and Miss Piggy as Dulcinea? I tell you, it’s just money waiting to happen!

But that is getting off track.

I had a lot of fun watching this and even Mrs B enjoyed it because of the many musical interludes. Some were stupid and sappy, like soprano Jim Hawkins (ugh) singing about adventure but then you have Cabin Fever, probably the song I remember most from any Muppet adventure, movie or tv. Below is the youtube embed of the song and about a minute and a half of the movie after it. This is the tone of the movie and if you don’t find it hilarious, you probably won’t enjoy the movie as a whole either.

Since this movie was so good, I want to keep the good times rolling. I’m going to be starting in on the Fraggle Rock tv series for next month. I’ve heard good things about that and since it was done by Jim Henson in the early 80’s I’m pretty sure it WILL be good.

Onward!

Muppets Tonight Season Two (TV 1996)

This post is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. If you copy this link without at least asking, you are a jackass and I hope you choke to death.

This Season Two was originally just the rest of Season One that was cancelled part way through.

Here’s the episode list:

  • Prince
  • Rick Moranis
  • Heather Locklear
  • Pierce Brosnan
  • Coolio & Don Rickles
  • Paula Abdul
  • Dennis Quaid
  • Cameo Show
  • Best of Muppets Tonight
  • Gary Cahuenga
  • Andie MacDowell
  • Johnny Fiama Leaves Home

This was going really well until the last couple of episodes. then it all fell apart. I suspect that was because the higher ups knew the axe was coming.

Objectively speaking, I don’t know why this failed. I laughed quite a bit and was amused. I think part of the failure was that there wasn’t that same family bonbomie from the Muppet Show. I think audience expectations had changed as had studio expectations.

But while I laughed and enjoyed the skits, each time an episode was done I wasn’t ready for the next episode to play like I was with the Muppet Show. Something that I can’t describe was missing from this tv show. Whatever that missing ingredient was, that’s what doomed this show. Personally, I think it had something to do with Jim Henson not being involved, as he was dead by this time.

Still, this was a fun little show to watch. I do wish I had watched this BEFORE Muppets from Space, as that movie used this set of muppets. It also introduces muppets that we see in Treasure Island, most notably Clueless the goat and Pepe the prawn. Knowing they’re not just random characters made up for the movies makes their characters even better.

I think for my next choice I’ll be watching Muppet Treasure Island which was done in 1996 as well.