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Friday, October 05, 2018

Comic Cuts - 5 October 2018

We started out with good intentions to get lots of walks in during Mel's week off from work. After a birthday get-together on Saturday we needed some exercise to walk off the lamb tikka blow-out.

After a good start with a bunch of nice long walks on Sunday and Monday, taking in the Quay and nearby woodlands, we headed into town on Tuesday. Mel's dental appointment was cancelled due to staff illness (it would have been nice for them to let her know) and I had a trip to the job centre to see if there was anything worth applying for and left greatly disappointed that they had a card board advertising only eight jobs. The various agencies around town are fine for anyone who wants to do farm picking or drive a forklift in Frating. Maybe next week...

By Wednesday we were both feeling utterly knackered and Mel has now gone down with a cold – I might have sidestepped the worst of it, but it has meant that our nice week together has been spent waking up ridiculously early, half-sleeping-in late, dozing off in the afternoon and going to bed early.

As Mel was home we started watching a series that both of us had heard of and thought, "Yes, sounds like our kind of thing." I now find myself in the odd situation of being half-way through three different programmes at the same time. Four if you count Taskmaster, although that's not the kind of serial series I'm talking about.

Firstly, I'm watching The First, about a manned mission to Mars. Except, of course (at least "of course" to anyone who has watched it), it soon became obvious that it's the build up to the mission that's the focus, the politics surrounding it and the stories and actions of the potential flight crew. I kept watching and for the most part the show is interesting as a human drama.

However, I'm still finding it a little disappointing. I think the problem I'm having isn't what's on the screen, but what isn't. I signed up for a mission to and landing on Mars; instead, there are hearings and political wrangling and family drama where I wanted space drama. The trailer was all cicadas and sunsets, and while it's an exaggeration to say that if you stretched the trailer out to 45 minutes you'd have an episode of The First, take-off for Mars feels like it's an awful long way away.

Another programme about family, but which has drama by the bucket-load, is Keeping Faith. The show rests firmly on the shoulders of Eve Myles as lawyer and mother Faith Howells, whose husband Evan goes off to work one morning but never arrives. There are discoveries in each episode that just add to the mystery and I have to admit that we're happily in the dark over what to expect from one episode to the next. Some shows you know how the whole thing is going to unfold from scene one... that's definitely not the case here.

This has none of the flash and bang of Bodyguard, but I'm finding it just as compelling to watch.

Which brings us to Miss Sherlock, a Japanese, all-female take on Conan Doyle's Sherlock stories, starring YĆ«ko Takeuchi as thoughtless, science obsessed consulting detective Sara Futaba, nicknamed Sherlock, and her housemate Wato Tachibana (in Japanese "san" is added as a title (as we would add Mr. Mrs. Ms., etc.) so she becomes Wato-san... geddit?), a doctor recovering from her experiences in Syria.

It's still recognizably Sherlock Holmes, and an enjoyable take on that thoroughly mutable character, although the centre of the show is Wato-san – as it should be, because she guides us through the stories and to a degree humanizes an alien creature who lacks empathy. If Wato-san likes Sherlock, we can like Sherlock because we like Wato-san.

Random scans are, this week, on the theme of "first"...

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