Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Falling Skies 5.9: Plummeting

Falling Skies seems to be plummeting to its ultimate conclusion, or lurching along, checking off boxes that need to be checked, rolling out another trite gambit, in episode 5.9 on Sunday night.

Pope is now (presumably) dead.  Check.  Lexi's dead, too, after she comes back, or rather the bad alien comes back in her form, just as happened with Weaver's old flame last week.  Check.

And the new threat?  The Esphemi have not only overloads,  but a queen who is above them, calling the shots - "the"queen" - and she's apparently calling for an ultimate showdown at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

If time travel were part of this story, maybe Nixon could appear at this showdown, plucked forth from his infamous appearance at the Lincoln Memorial during the protests against his conduct of the Vietnam War.  That would at least be interesting.

What happened to this series?  It had its moments over the years, especially in the early seasons, and even seemed to come back a few episodes ago.  But since then, it's been one trite retread after another.

Somehow, the characters are still pretty interesting, especially Tom and his boys, and Weaver, too. They transcend the tired story lines.

So I'll be watching the series finale next week, if only to see what happens with these characters. And, who knows, maybe Pope survived after all.

See also Falling Skies 5.1: Still Worthy of Viewing ... Falling Skies 5.2: Hybrid ... Falling Skies 5.7: Back Up There

And see also Falling Skies 4.1: Weak Start ... Falling Skies 4.2: Enemy of my Enemy ... Falling Skies 4.3: Still Falling ... Falling Skies 4.5: Cloudy ...Falling Skies 4.7: Massacre Indeed ... Falling Skies 4.8: Spike ... Falling Skies Espheni: How to Pronounce? ... Falling Skies 4.9: To the Moon, Anne, To the Moon ... Falling Skies 4.10: Lexi ... Falling Skies Season 4 Finale: Self-Sacrifice and Redemption

And see also Falling Skies 3.1-2: It's the Acting ... Falling Skies 3.3: The Smile ... Falling Skies 3.4: Hal vs. Ben ... Falling Skies 3.6: The Masons ...Falling Skies 3.7: The Mole and a Likely Answer ... Falling Skies 3.8: Back Cracked Home ... Falling Skies Season 3 Finale: Dust in Hand

And see also Falling Skies Returns  ... Falling Skies 2.6: Ben's Motives ... Falling Skies Second Season Finale

And see also Falling Skies 1.1-2 ... Falling Skies 1.3 meets Puppet Masters ... Falling Skies 1.4: Drizzle ... Falling Skies 1.5: Ben ... Falling Skies 1.6: Fifth Column ... Falling Skies 1.7: The Fate of Traitors ... Falling Skies 1.8: Weaver's Story ... Falling Skies Concludes First Season

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no aliens, but definitely insects

Monday, August 24, 2015

Fear the Walking Dead 1.1: Great Beginnings

Fear the Walking Dead, the prequel to The Walking Dead, debuted on AMC last night, and I gotta say, blasphemous as it may be, that I liked it better than many an episode of The Walking Dead in recent years.

The opener of Fear the Walking Dead was a perfect little masterpiece in itself - beginning like an episode of The Walking Dead, then pulling out to reveal that this world of Los Angeles was still teeming with human beings, and thus a big, significant step before the world of The Walking Dead.

And the episode continues in that fine, frightening vein - beyond frightening, because we the audience of course know all too well what's going on, and what Nick experienced is all too real.  But no one, including Nick, quite knows that yet, and the arc of this first episode bends slowly towards Nick proving to himself and his mother and her man that what he saw in that drug den - his girl friend turned into a flesh eating zombie - was exactly what truly had happened.

And this is beginning to happen all over Los Angeles and in at least five states.  The police can't control zombies who get up and come back at them after being riddled by bullets.   Hospitals can't treat an illness which leaves the deceased all to read to actively spread the disease further and further. We've seen the ultimate result of this in The Walking Dead, and that knowledge makes this prequel even more blood curdling.

Indeed, what we know invests every encounter with the potential for unimaginable danger - or, peril that we can indeed not only imagine but have seen on The Walking Dead.  A school administrator is hunched over his desk, non-responsive.  Has he already turned?  No, in this case he's just listening to some audio.   But it may happen next time we see him, and may have already happened to some poor soul who walked by one of our central characters in the hall.

And the ending leaves provocative questions, too.  Were Nick's mother Madison and Travis bitten in their encounter with the newly-minted zombie?  In The Walking Dead, our characters know to look for that.  In Fear the Walking Dead, no one yet knows what to look for, which means anything can happen.

One of the big reasons I'll be watching next week.

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Ray Donovan 3.7: Excommunication!

One of the best episodes of Ray Donovan this season last night - 3.7 - in which Ray (and probably Terry and Bunchy) are excommunicated by that priest on the case.

Well, it's not exactly the Middle Ages or even the Renaissance, so Ray's not too upset, and even relieved that Fr. Romero wants only to forgive Ray, if Ray confesses, and not go to the cops, if Romero is to be believed.   But Terry's plenty upset about the excommunication, which Romero pronounces after Ray delivers a beat-down not a confession in response to Romero's prodding and pleading, and it will be interesting to see where Ray and Romero go from here.   Will the priest eventually go to the police or be true to his word?  (I was certainly concerned that Romero might have been recording Ray's confession, with an intention of bringing this to the authorities, last night.)  And will Ray just let this play out, or do something more decisive to protect himself and his family?

Meanwhile, Bunch, whose babbling brought Ray to this place in the first place, otherwise had a banner night last night, leaping to Mickey and Daryll's urgently needed defense,  swinging that pipe like "a lion," in Mickey's apt words.   Mickey, typically, bit off more than he could chew, but his heart was in the right place, and his agreeing to bring Bunchy along because another hand was always welcome proved prescient indeed.

The story with Bridget and her teacher (an emigre from Mad Men) is also proceeding nicely, and we're likely to see the two in bed together before too long.   Abby's advice to Bridget that she should go for it will likely be increasingly taken, and the irony's sweet indeed that the "it' is Bridget's teacher, which of course Abby doesn't know.

One last point: it's nice also to see Ray's team slowly coming back together.  Good to see Lena on the job, and the coming attractions show Avi coming back into the orb, too.   One of the hallmarks of Ray Donovan is that, no matter how bad things get in the outside world, if Ray's extended family is together, he has more than a fighting chance.

See also Ray Donovan 3.1: New, Cloudy Ray ... Ray Donovan 3.2: Beat-downs

And see also Ray Donovan 2.1: Back in Business ... Ray Donovan 2.4: The Bad Guy ... Ray Donovan 2.5: Wool Over Eyes ... Ray Donovan 2.7: The Party from Hell ... Ray Donovan 2.10: Scorching ... Ray Donovan 2.11: Out of Control ... Ray Donovan Season 2 Finale: Most Happy Ending

And see also Ray Donovan Debuts with Originality and Flair ... Ray Donovan 1.2: His Assistants and his Family ... Ray Donovan 1.3: Mickey ... Ray Donovan 1.7 and Whitey Bulger ... Ray Donovan 1.8: Poetry and Death ... Ray Donovan Season 1 Finale: The Beginning of Redemption


  different kinds of crimes and fixes

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Masters of Sex 3.7: Going Ape

An hilarious Masters of Sex 3.7 last night - an outrightly laughing out loud episode in many parts - in which Virginia must use not only her savvy as a psychologist of sex but her feminine charms, literally, to motivate Gil the gorilla to do his thing at the zoo.

Simon & Garfunkel sang it's all happening "At the Zoo," but it wasn't happening for Gil, who sadly, just couldn't make it, and Masters and Johnson are tasked to find out why, and put in a cure, if possible.   The key, it turns out, is a woman who used to work at the zoo, and talked endearingly to Gil as prelude to his foreplay.   But the talk wasn't the thing - it was her copious bosom that ignited Gil, and Virginia needs to bare hers to get Gil right again.

That's about where the humor ends.   Virginia's not pleased about what she had to do, Bill is not very sympathetic, but that perfume guy is, and the result is she's drawn closer to him, and with the result that now much more than a bosom is shared, and with increasing frequency.

There was also was an anachronism is this story line - a rare kind of mistake for Masters of Sex - which occurs when Bill observes that gorillas are "98%" like humans.   That's based on genomic analysis - the Human Genome Project, in particular - which didn't take place until 1990-2003, and in fact the human-great ape comparison wasn't revealed until the end of the project.   True, DNA itself was discovered back in the 1950s, but no one in the 1960s knew the degree of similarity between ape and human genomes.

Hey, it's tough to get things right, and the main reason I know about this is the research I did for my first novel, The Silk Code.   And the error didn't really hurt the story.

What does hurt - not the story, but Bill, and is a powerful marker for potential damage - is when his son partially burns one of Bill's prized football cards.  I almost don't want to see Bill's rage when he discovers that, but of course will be watching the excellent series with rapt attention.

See also Thomas Maier: Masters of Sex and Biography Come to Life ...Masters of Sex 3.1: Galley Slaves ... Masters of Sex 3.2: The Shah, the Baby, and the Book ... Masters of Sex 3.3: The Bookstore

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Falling Skies 5.7: Back Up There

Falling Skies has put up some of its best episodes recently, as the series moves towards its ultimate conclusion in three episodes.

My favorite was 5.6, last week, in which Tom gets treated to something akin to what life was a like before the invasion, with a son coming of age who doesn't (yet) know about the aliens, and a grateful kiss on the lips from the boy's mother.  It all had a bit of a Herschel's farm from The Walking Dead feel - though there was no evil lurking in a barn in this good place - and there are only so many gambits available in a post-apocalyptic narrative.   But this was handled well, and was, against most odds, rather satisfying.

And real, life-changing developments are occurring with our major characters, as befits an ending of a series.  Pope breaking bad was a good touch, and my only regret is that Tom didn't kill him in that quick encounter.  Maggie getting her spikes removed was welcome, and points to at least one path to a happier future.   Ben getting one of his spikes removed, against his will, was not so welcome, and his fate with one or more spikes removed is an interesting, open question.

The human military base pivoting from a safe haven to an instrument of torture and death is something we've seen before, including on Falling Skies.  But the relationship between the commander and Weaver is a nice touch, and it will be fun to see how that plays out.

Falling Skies has regained some of its luster, and has a chance to really end on a memorable note in the episodes ahead.   I'm looking forward to them.

See also Falling Skies 5.1: Still Worthy of Viewing ... Falling Skies 5.2: Hybrid

And see also Falling Skies 4.1: Weak Start ... Falling Skies 4.2: Enemy of my Enemy ... Falling Skies 4.3: Still Falling ... Falling Skies 4.5: Cloudy ...Falling Skies 4.7: Massacre Indeed ... Falling Skies 4.8: Spike ... Falling Skies Espheni: How to Pronounce? ... Falling Skies 4.9: To the Moon, Anne, To the Moon ... Falling Skies 4.10: Lexi ... Falling Skies Season 4 Finale: Self-Sacrifice and Redemption

And see also Falling Skies 3.1-2: It's the Acting ... Falling Skies 3.3: The Smile ... Falling Skies 3.4: Hal vs. Ben ... Falling Skies 3.6: The Masons ...Falling Skies 3.7: The Mole and a Likely Answer ... Falling Skies 3.8: Back Cracked Home ... Falling Skies Season 3 Finale: Dust in Hand

And see also Falling Skies Returns  ... Falling Skies 2.6: Ben's Motives ... Falling Skies Second Season Finale

And see also Falling Skies 1.1-2 ... Falling Skies 1.3 meets Puppet Masters ... Falling Skies 1.4: Drizzle ... Falling Skies 1.5: Ben ... Falling Skies 1.6: Fifth Column ... Falling Skies 1.7: The Fate of Traitors ... Falling Skies 1.8: Weaver's Story ... Falling Skies Concludes First Season

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no aliens, but definitely insects

Monday, August 10, 2015

Deutschland 83 Season 1 Finale: Looking Forward to More

A good finale to what I hope will just be the first of many seasons of Deutschland 83, but, as often happens in television drama, not quite as effective as the immediately preceding episodes.

The highpoint of those episodes was Martin/Stamm telling General Edel that he (Stamm) was really an East German agent - Martin needing to do this as the only way he could think of to get Edel to call off the exercise which the Soviets and some East Germans were sure was a build-up to a real attack.

In the finale, the only big surprise was Edel taking his life at the end - which I was sorry to see, not because the character was so sympathetic (he was a rotten father, for sure), but because he added a lot to the story.  The other reveal, that Walter (be my guest and spell his last name yourself) was Martin's father, was not quite as big of a shocker, but has all kinds of potential for further seasons.

The extent of the AIDS infection is also of interest. Tischbier may or may not have it, which means the same for Edel's son.   Truthfully, I wouldn't mind seeing both gone in subsequent seasons, since each, in his own way, was annoying in this first season.

Not so Annett, who, other than Martin, was one of the most interesting and compelling characters this year.  It's still hard for me to wrap my head around how she could be so loyal to the East Germans, but that's one of the main points of this story, isn't it?  Attractive and otherwise decent people can be loyal to a totalitarian society that locks you up for reading 1984.

But speaking of East German officials, I also found the guy who doubted that the West was attacking, and stood up both to Walter and the Soviets, of some interest.  Would be good to see more of him next season, too.

So, yeah, I hope there is a Deutschland 83 season 2 - which hasn't been announced yet - and which I'll be eagerly watching for and reviewing, in case this makes any difference to those who call those renewal shots.

See also Deutschland 83: Edge of Your Seat and Memorable Espionage ... Deutschland 83 106: Grave Developments


 

different kind of spies

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True Detective Season 2 Finale: Good Smoke but No Cigar

Well, I've apparently enjoyed True Detective season 2 more than have most of the people who have publicly been posting about it, but I gotta say that the season finale, though certainly powerful and even justified, was a little too grim for my ever-hopeful taste.

Ray dying and the reason he did was also a little trite.  He could have made it, gotten away with Ani and the money, except, against all reasonable caution, he needs to see his son one last time.  You just knew that that would be his undoing, and you have to wonder why Ray didn't realize it, too.   And even then, why not let him escape in this woods, and maybe kill Buris in the act, too?

Frank's death was also predictable, given the commitment that he made to meet Jordan in two weeks "or less".   The twist of who did him in was strong, though - as was the way he want out, walking, mortally wounded, in the desert.   That was certainly a fitting way to go.

Ani and Ray were good couple, and their all-too-brief relationship was handled well.  Especially memorable was Ray's telling Ani that this was the first time for him in a long time, Ani saying she could see that, Ray asking how, and Ani saying he seemed like a man who was "making up for lost time".   That scene was one of the best of season, capped off by Ray's smile in the car, when he can't quite bring himself to tell Ani he loves her, though she knows that's the way he feels and she the same.

Ani and Kelly's survival, with Ani and Ray's baby, was also a nice way to end this story.   All in all, enjoyable television, but not even close to the masterpiece that this series was in its first season.

See also Season Two: True Detective: All New ... True Detective 2.2: Pulling a Game of Thrones ... True Detective 2.3: Buckshot and Twitty ...True Detective 2.4: Shoot-out ... True Detective 2.7: Death and the Anti-Hero

And see also Season One: True Detective: Socrates in Louisiana ... True Detective Season One Finale: Light above Darkness

 
Like philosophic crime fiction?   Try The Plot to Save Socrates ...

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Humans 1.7: "I Think You're Dead, George"

The past two episodes of Humans - 1.6 and 1.7 - have been really outstanding, with deaths, near deaths, and all kinds of change-ups which really transform the narrative, excellent to begin with.

Mia coming out is the key to most of this.   As a sentient synth rather than a servo-mechanism, she's everything we could want: protective not only of her android family, but the human family where she worked and lived as Anita.   The end of 1.7 is especially significant in showing the depths of her feelings about the Hawkins: when they ask her and the synths to leave, after seeing a report of Niska's earlier rampage, Mia agrees, even though the synchs will be far more vulnerable out there, amidst those English (this is my reference to the movie, Witness, in case you missed it).   And just for good measure, we get Mia telling Joe that she was "there" the whole time when he had sex with Anita, and we don't get even a hint from Mia about whether that was good, bad, or neutral for Mia (though Mia certainly doesn't seem angry with Joe).

Meanwhile, Max is handled beautifully and hauntingly.  In 1.6, he sacrifices his own life - or puts it at severe risk - to save Leo, and his partial revival in 1.7 is a sight to see.   Losing his identity - hell, let's call it soul - as his damaged code disintegrates, he still smiles on the table, the smile of the Cheshire Cat, though Max's smile is nothing but genuinely benevolent.   Keeping him sentient also now provides an immediate reason for the sentient synths to put together and implement that secret code within them as a group - a motive far more pressing than creating a potential species of thousands of sentient androids around the world.

George Millican, being only human, is apparently beyond recovery.  In one of the most chilling lines in the story, the damaged Odi, talking to Millican as he breathes his last, remarks, "I think you're dead, George," in that deadpan mechanical voice of his.

Looking forward to the season finale, and how the now murderous Karen will figure into it.

George may be dead, but Humans is teeming with life and profoundly intriguing questions.

See also Humans: In Ascending Order


a different kind of humans

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Rectify 3.5: Finally!

A superb Rectify 3.5 on Thursday night - a great night for television, what with the Jon Stewart farewell and the first 2016 Republican Presidential debate - but Rectify was uniquely satisfying, in that we finally get to see the story edging  towards a measure of justice for Daniel.

The sheriff finally seems to be getting it - or some to most of it - and is putting some of the pieces of this whole story together. The sheriff thinks:  George not Daniel killed Daniel's 16-year-old girlfriend, Hanna, all those years ago.  George and others - including Trey, not Daniel - raped Hanna as well.   The group, not including Daniel, worked to cover up their crime and were glad to see Daniel get convicted for it.   But George had a guilty conscience, tried to tell the truth at the time, and felt even more guilty after Daniel's release.  Sheriff Daggett thinks Trey killed George to prevent him from confessing, and arrests Trey at the end of the episode.

Daggett is wrong about the last point - we saw George take his own life after a conversation with Trey in the very first episode of the series  - but the arrest of Trey is certainly justified for other reasons (Trey tried to frame Daniel for George's "murder," which was actually a suicide), and great to see happen in this episode.  This gets at one of the deep strengths of Rectify.  Unlike most police and murder mysteries, in which the main characters are clearly good or evil, right or wrong in their facts, Rectify has characters moved by much subtler and more realistic motivations.  In this case, Daggett arrests Trey, eminently the right thing to do, for the wrong reasons - or least for the wrong main reason.

And, Rectify continues to leave unanswered exactly what happened to Hanna and by whom.  After all this time - in series time, we're just a few weeks into narrative time in Daniel's life - we still can't say with 100% percent certainly that Daniel did nothing wrong to Hanna.   Hell, that's what I feel, and would surely bet that he did not, but the ultimate facts remain tantalizingly elusive.

Meanwhile, the dialogue, especially from Daniel, continues to be first class.  I guess my favorite from Thursday was Daniel remarking, as he looked at the pool he was painting, that he was in his "blue period".  But there were many other gems, and I'm looking forward to more, as well as what Trey has to say about what really happened, in the season finale next week, for one of finest shows ever to be on television.

See also Rectify 3.1: Stroke of Luck ... Rectify 3.2: Daniel and Amantha

And see also Rectify 2.1: Indelible ... Rectify 2.2: True Real Time ... Rectify 2.3: Daniel's Motives ... Rectify 2.4: Jekyll and Hyde ... Rectify 2.6: Rare Education ... Rectify 2.7: The Plot Thickens ... Rectify 2.8: The Plea Bargain and the Smart Phone ... Rectify 2.9: Dancing in the Dark ... Rectify Season 2 Finale: Talk about Cliffhangers!

And see also Rectify: Sheer and Shattering Poetry ... Rectify 1.5: Balloon Man ... Rectify Season 1 Finale: Searingly Anti-Climactic

 
another kind of capital punishment

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get Rectify season 2 on 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

First 2016 GOP Presidential Debate: My Ranking of the Performances

Continuing my tradition of reviewing the Republican Presidential Debates (and Democratic Debates), which goes back to 2007,  here's my take on what happened on Fox News in Cleveland tonight.

First, as a preamble, I thought the 5pm appetizer debate, consisting of the seven contenders whose polling numbers didn't qualify them (by Fox's standards) for the main event, was one of the most boring political debates I've ever seen.   Sad to say, that debate made pretty clear why those seven candidates polled so poorly.

But on to the debate of 10, which took place from 9 to 11 tonight, I'll appraise this by ranking the performances from worst to best, on all the issues:

10. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon was amiable enough, but clearly out of his depth.  I'll be amazed if his polling numbers don't dip below one percent in the weeks ahead.

9.  Gov. Scott Walker, who was seen in reaction shots agreeing enthusiastically with whatever Carson was saying, didn't do very well himself.   I can't think if a single surprising or memorable point he made.

8. Sen.  Rand Paul came on strong with an attack on Trump at the beginning, and had a few good moments, but let Gov. Christie get the better of him in an exchange about hugs - Paul slammed Christie for hugging Obama, Christie responded that the hugs he most remembered were those of 9/11 victims.  This reprised, in effect, the exchange about national security between Ron Paul (Rand's father) and Giuliani in 2007, except tonight Christie did much better than Giuliani.

7. Gov. Huckabee had some strong moments - his best his joke at the end, in which he talked scathingly about someone leading in the polls with no valid ideas, whom we expected to be Trump, but turned out to be Hillary - but for the most part Huckabee looked and sounded tired.

6. Sen. Ted Cruz was clear and dynamic, but I can't think of an original or commanding idea expressed by him.

5. Christie had a surprisingly good debate, getting the best of Paul, as I said above, but also making powerful points about his success as Governor of New Jersey (and, fortunately for him, no one brought up Bridgegate).

4. Gov. Jeb Bush, as second in the polls after Trump, had more than anyone other than Trump to lose. He accounted well for himself  - spoke well, and came across as the compassionate conservative, especially on immigration, which is where he wants to be.

3. Sen. Marco Rubio came across as the man of the future - showing an understanding of the digital age - as well as compassionate and savvy on a variety of issues.   He was well-spoken, genial, and incisive.

2, Donald Trump held his own, including even in his answer to Megyn Kelly's question about the vicious and demeaning things he's said about women, and later defending his declared bankruptcies in response to a question from Chris Wallace.   For someone with zero experience debating and running in elections, Trump, whatever you may think of his views, stood strong up on that stage.

1. Gov. Kasich was the biggest surprise of the night.  He was powerful without being belligerent, and like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio displayed what seemed like a real compassion for humanity.

So there you have it - an honest appraisal, without reference to my own political views, which are mostly in disagreement with everyone on the stage (I voted twice for Obama).


Song List for my LI-Con2 Concert on 15 August

I had a great rehearsal yesterday with guitarist Peter Rosenthal for our performance at LI-Con2 in Ronkonkoma, NY next Saturday (August 15) at 9pm, and thought I'd put up a partial play list. Songwriters are in parenthesis.   Free links and iTunes links are indicated, where available.

  • The Soft of Your Eyes (Paul Levinson) - iTunes
  • The Lama Will Be Late This Year (Paul Levinson - Ed Fox) free ... iTunes
  • Today Is Just Like You (Paul Levinson) free ... iTunes
  • Time is Money (Peter Rosenthal)
  • Looking for Sunsets in the Early Morning (Paul Levinson - Ed Fox) free ... iTunes
  • 2020 (Peter Rosenthal)
  • Lime Streets (Paul Levinson) free ... iTunes
Concert will be streamed live on Periscope starting 9pm Eastern, Saturday, August 15 - watch it by clicking on the link on my Twitter page.

Note added 16 August 2015 - and here's the concert as it appeared in its entirety on Periscope:



Paul Levinson with maraca, Peter Rosenthal with guitar

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Masters of Sex 3.4: The Bookstore

One of the pleasures of Masters of Sex for me this season is to see how well - both seriously and comically - Masters and Johnson's excursion in publishing has depicted.   I have no idea if the two actually went through these experiences - actually, it's Masters who's leading the charge on this - but the point is that the experiences are valid and instantly recognizable to any published author who's not comatose.

In episode 3.4, we find Masters wrangling with a bookstore displaying his and Johnson's book.  In days gone by, many's the time you'd find me haunting a Barnes and Noble or a Borders - an activity no longer as fruitful or even necessary with Amazon on the rise, which I otherwise am undilutedly happy about.  But back in the day, I'd check out the sections in the bookstore with my books, and occasionally even stoop to "fronting" one - that is, turning the cover face out, so the browser would see the great art work, and have more to go by than just the spine. One of my peak experiences was actually seeing a customer pick out my novel - it was The Silk Code - then go up to the cashier and buy it!  It had a great cover, but, come to think of it, it was spine out on that occasion.

Masters is under pressure from his traditional publisher to move more copies of his book if he wants to see a second edition.  This portrayal of traditional publishing is spot on.   Maybe William Henry Appleton, a leading character in my Plot to Save Socrates trilogy, cared more about quality than money for his Appleton's press in the 19th century, but he cared about money, too, and in the twentieth century there was decreasing difference between a shoe manufacturer and a book publisher, as far as moving products.  Masters is hoping a little book tour might help.  Johnson resists for personal reasons - she's wanting to stay close to her family - but she's right about the waste of time of most book tours, anyway.  They may boost the author's ego, but usually not sales, or at least not enough sales to justify the effort.

Books play another role in this episode, which finds Masters obsessively reading How to Win Friends and Influence People.  What comes out of this is a fur coat for Johnson - which Masters' wife unfortunately sees - and a dinner invitation, which seems to herald a new tenderness from Masters to Johnson.

Much enjoying this season.   More soon.

See also Thomas Maier: Masters of Sex and Biography Come to Life ...Masters of Sex 3.1: Galley Slaves ... Masters of Sex 3.2: The Shah, the Baby, and the Book

 
"resonates with the current political climate . . . . heroine Sierra Waters is sexy as hell"
-Curled Up with a Good Book 

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my first novel

Monday, August 3, 2015

True Detective 2.7: Death and the Anti-Hero

A desperately good True Detective 2.7 last night, with two significant deaths, after last week's punch-in-the-gut episode 2.6 with Ani under cover as a drugged party girl.

We didn't have much emotion invested in the prosector found dead in her car by Ray, but her murder deprives our team of their last reliable connection to unrotten authority.  They're on their own now.

We did have a lot of emotion invested in Paul, and his death hit hard.  He accounted well for himself throughout this story, including to the very last, in which he took out a whole slew of bad guys with guts and straight shooting.  To be gunned down in the end was a cruel fate, and, unlike the moniker for this season, eminently not what he deserved.

Frank fared far better against his demons and bad guys, and, although he's a sicko vicious killer in his own right - professing enjoyment in seeing the "lights go out" in someone he's strangling - he also has admirable qualities, in particular standing up to the overwhelming and deadly pressure of the Russian mob.   Indeed, Frank is one of the most compelling anti-heroes to come along in a television drama.   He has less good and more bad in him than, say, Tony Soprano, but Frank is still on that continuum which against all odds commands at least some of our respect, even support, and makes me hope that in the end next week he finds a better fate than has Paul.

The other notable scene in the drama of this story last night is Ani and Ray making love, and that was good to see for all kinds of reasons.  They both deserve a little happiness, or at least comfort, after all they've been through now separately and together, and the counterpoint of the two in each other's arms as Paul's being shot down was one of the best soulful and heart-tearing moments of this season.

Back with a review of the season finale next week.

See also Season Two: True Detective: All New ... True Detective 2.2: Pulling a Game of Thrones ... True Detective 2.3: Buckshot and Twitty ... True Detective 2.4: Shoot-out

And see also Season One: True Detective: Socrates in Louisiana ... True Detective Season One Finale: Light above Darkness

 
Like philosophic crime fiction?   Try The Plot to Save Socrates ...

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