Saturday, February 24, 2018

Reviewing The Simpsons (seasons 1-9)


At what point did The Simpsons stop being good? I didn't hang around long enough to find out, bailing out of the nostalgic 25th anniversary rewatch as soon as the cracks started to show, so I could part with fond memories rather than frustration. I didn't want this to be another X-Files.

This is one series I really didn't need to watch again again again, but it was an enjoyable waste of time that I'll doubtless do again again again.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reviewing childish cartoons etc.


When I'm asked to write a website, loads of blogs or other whopping projects, I like to pace and reward myself along the way. If I'm being good, it might be a chapter of a book after every page. Other times, immature nostalgic abandon. All must be compulsively documented for judgement day. Turtle power!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Reviewing Rex the Runt


I got a bit obsessed with this off-the-wall claymation series the first time around, which was during that impressionable early teenage period when I couldn't just enjoy things passively. I even wrote a tragically incomplete episode guide on Amiga Wordworth that no one but myself would read. How far I have come.

Would it still hold up now I'm an adult, and not so easily won over by plasticine animals rebelliously spouting mild swear words in a teatime slot? Would the second series they apparently made that I never knew about be just as entertaining without the nostalgia to back it up? Obviously not, but is it alright?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ranking the Deep Space Nine comics


Deep Space Nine was always my favourite Trek flavour, but even as a fan, it took a long time for me to bother cracking open the station's continuing adventures in novel form. I don't know what I was expecting from licensed fan fiction, but they were only alright.

I'm not similarly deluded about the wonders that might await in DS9 comics written (mostly) while the series was still on the air under a strict non-interference directive. But it's something to do, innit? These decades won't waste themselves.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Reviewing ZAZ


The trio of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker (let's call them ZAZ) is responsible for some of the greatest comedy films of all time. They made six episodes of a cancelled TV series, and that's up there too. Their efforts may have paved the way for less talented people to make some of the worst films of all time as well, but that's not their fault.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Reviewing Operation Good Guys


Before The Office, the Good Guys were already lampooning TV's fly-on-the-wall fad with grimy, semi-improvised realism. For a little while at least, before celebrity cameos and increasingly wacky antics made it easy to forget they were supposed to be police officers in the first place.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Reviewing One Foot in the Grave


Growing up in the '90s and non-discriminatorily watching pretty much whatever comedy was on, I hadn't spared a thought for Victor Meldrew in the years since. It wasn't until I noticed that the series was written by David "Jonathan Creek" Renwick that I took notice and revisited it as an older, wiser, more judgemental tosspot.

If, like me, your memories of this deceptively traditional sitcom only go as far as Richard Wilson saying his catchphrase and a few accidental pet deaths, I'd recommend giving it another watch.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Reviewing The Young Ones & Filthy Rich & Catflap


This would ideally go on to cover Bottom too, which is the Rik & Ade incarnation I grew up with and still consider the best. But I don't have to dissect the mirth from everything I love.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Alrightreads: Wonders

This was supposed to be a collection of (pop-)science books to make up for my non-fiction drought last year. That didn't last long.


Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science

2008 / Audiobook / 554 pages / UK

****

Learning who these men and woman were was illuminating, but the most entertaining parts were the ballooning and the Tahitian travelogue. I should go back to some of those reckless colonial journals, they seem like a depressing hoot.

Audiobook narrator Gildart Jackson is a keeper, almost on the Stephen Thorne/Derek Jacobi level, except he hasn't done the compulsory turn in Doctor Who yet.


Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

1956 / E-book / 96 pages / USA

***

This is one of those books I never would have come across if I wasn't struggling to bulk out this flimsily connected reading batch, but that's one of the delights of doing this. Except when it's often not.

In this essay/proto-blog post/episode of the Patch Stop, the passionate author makes the straightforward case for exposing kids to nature and inspiring a lifelong appreciation for the everyday, even if you don't know your mosses from your lichens. Common-sense self-help that you already know, but like those people who never go outside to watch the humdrum meteor shower and only realise on their death bed that they probably should have bothered sometimes, it's a useful reminder.


Geraldine Brooks, Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague

2001 / Audiobook / 400 pages / UK

***

I like a nice rustic historical from time to time. They don't have to involve monumental suffering, but that's usually how it goes.

The best thing about this pretend first-hand account of the Black Death is the author's eye (and nose) for detail. The worst is that she doesn't bother writing in an archaic style to help us pretend it's anything other than pretend. Presumably she didn't want to put off her readers and jeopardise her success, the wuss.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Reviewing The Prisoner


It's a shame this seminal smart-arse sixties series didn't get more than the 17 episodes, though even that was already stretching the concept well beyond Patrick McGoohan's original seven-episode outline. The desperate filler gets comically mental by the end, before the actual ending is inexcusably madder than anything that came before. Still, the journey was compelling.

It's due for a rewatch. The good bits, at least. Here are my moderately confounded reactions from the first time around, for what those are worth.