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Friday, August 25, 2017

Comic Cuts - 25 August 2017

You'll see from the totaliser that there hasn't been much movement on the Fifty Forgotten Authors book. But don't worry, I've been working very solidly on it. I'm only adding to the totaliser when essays are complete and the latest one is still only half finished. It's the same piece I was working on last week, which has taken a huge amount of research, which I only finished on Sunday.

As well as over 25,000 words of notes, I also had some 70 additional reviews that I'd managed to track down, and trying to wrangle that lot into something readable takes time. Something like 15,000 words of notes has been turned into 6,500 words of essay so far; if this keeps up, I'll hopefully have a finished piece of around 10,000 words. Much longer than I anticipated but so be it. I'm not too worried as there was another very long piece that I was thinking of maybe including. I'll just have to see how things pan out.

I did make an interesting discovery during the week. Way back in 1882, a reviewer spotted a book under another name that he insisted was by the author I'm writing about. I could find no reference to this anywhere; it has simply been buried in a Victorian newspaper for 135 years until I uncovered it on Tuesday. On Wednesday I'd managed to confirm this anonymous reviewer's suspicions. So that's something you can look forward to discovering...

In celebration, and because I don't have a huge amount to write about, I took the morning off to write about another old author I corresponded with back in the 1990s but who died about ten years ago. So the totaliser bumps up one more place and the word count jumps to nearly 20,000—and it will take a nice little leap when I add author eight to the figure.

I will have some news on another old project shortly, so there is at least something to look forward to in these columns other than my endless rambling about word counts and the handful of pretty pictures, thank goodness. It was starting to look like next week's column was going to be a fruit by fruit guide to the 95 tomatoes we've had off the plants this year.

It's not all work. There's still time for a little entertainment, which has been mostly taken up this last week with The Defenders, the latest Marvel show on Netflix, which has been superb. Good on Netflix for not stretching the story out to thirteen episodes, which I kinda feel happened with Iron Fist. Eight episodes is just right for the story they were telling, and I hope other shows will take note.

I'm also watching The Mist. I'm only four episodes in, so it's creepy and unsettling at the moment rather than jump-out-of-your-skin scary. I'm looking forward to more... and, again, it's only ten episodes. Maybe it's because I grew up on British television where the storylines are usually told in four to six episodes (unless they're an openended soap) and have an ending. I'm definitely more intolerant towards shows that don't reach some sort of conclusion. We watched a Spanish serial (Sé quién eres / I Know Who You Are) recently and, for reasons unknown, BBC4 have brought it to an end on a cliffhanger after only ten episodes. The full season runs to 16 episodes and was broadcast in Spain without a break, according to the show's Wikipedia page. So why break it up?

(Which is not to say that I don't welcome the return of Inspector Montelbano... but with my memory I'll have forgotten as much about the Spanish show as the lawyer accused of murder who was suffering from amnesia.)

Of the shows that are given the full American season treatment—usually 22 to 24 episodes—that I've watched recently I'm starting to find some a bit of a drag. I finished watching Flash season 3 and Supergirl season 2 and I'm seriously wondering whether I'll be back for the next run. I think I've identified the problem: the leads in all these CW shows (and that includes Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow) are meant to be intelligent  young adults: Barry Allen (The Flash) is a forensic scientist working for the police department and is surrounded by police officers and scientists; Kara Danvers (Supergirl) is a reporter for CatCo and surrounded by other reporters and the members of the Department of Extra-Normal Operations. They're not children... but they act like it. Almost every decision they make is made on the emotional level of a 14-year-old, which (I'm guessing) is the age of the audience the show is aimed at. What I've been putting down to bad writing makes far more sense when you think of them not as scientists or reporters but bratty teenagers struggling to control their hormones and their emotions, ill-equipped to face the tasks they've been given due to their super-powers. I'm not sure I can take another season of either without hurling something at the TV.

On the other hand... Gotham season 3. Channel 5 seem to have dropped the ball, but it should be available on Netflix shortly. It is brilliant and that's almost wholly down to the interplay between the villains; previously it was Penguin and Fish Mooney; then Theo & Tabitha Galavan, Butch Gilzean and Barbara Keen; most recently it has been Penguin and The Riddler. It's one of the few shows where 22 episodes doesn't seem too long... or long enough. The good news (for me!) is that it took so long for me to get hold of season 3 that it's only a month before season 4 starts.

More good viewing: we're at last getting to Fargo season 3, which has been sat on the box since before the election, and after that we'll be watching Preacher season 2. It's a couple of years old now, but we've also just started watching Fortitude, set in the chilly climbs of the Arctic Circle. It seemed apt to start it at the same time as sunny Inspector Montalbano. Amazing to think we've had to wait four years for new episodes!

By the way, the images above and to the right are the covers for novels by the fictional science fiction writer Thaddeus Mobley (via here), one of the characters who appears in Fargo season 3.

Random scans... this week it's a batch of recent purchases that haven't been absorbed by other cover galleries. Not yet, anyway. Also, a couple of scans from friends of the blog, which are always welcome (300dpi and saved in a lossless format, if you can manage it, as it makes then easier to clean).


1 comment:

John Kerry said...

At one time the standard season for a television series in the US was 32 episodes. As well most older series didn't have an overall story arc for an entire season. The closest you came was the occasional two or three-part story.