Thursday, January 9, 2014

TV series

Have watched “Star Trek” 1 and 2 with the original cast and enjoyed them so the Christmas present wasn’t misjudged. Also watched “Private Schultz,” BBCTV (1981) at its very best, with Michael Elphick and the brilliant Ian Richardson absolutely superb as Major Neuheim plus a few smaller parts ending with a one liner, the very last line in the six part one hour series: “Your change, sir.”  Not an inflexion wrong, not a gesture wrong, not a note wrong, not an expression wrong, an absolute gem of a performance achieving that wonderful outcome of being both hilarious yet at the same time a real person rather than a two dimensional comic. Hats off too to Jack Pulman, most famous probably for his adaptation of “I Claudius,” for his scripts of “Private Schultz.” He died young (54) before he could see his work. I feel sure he would have been more than pleased with the final result. Not all of us can have that sort of talent but what a loss when you see some of the dross TV puts out. Words of praise too for Mr. Elphick, also for the direction by Bob Chetwyn who, when he was artistic director at Ipswich, directed the very first play of mine produced, “Oh Brother.” Over the years I sometimes wondered what had happened to him since then so was delighted to note his credit here and learn something of his career up to that point as discussed in the “extras.”
 If it is true, and I have no reason to doubt it, that there are only eight basic stories and the rest is all variation and embellishment a good example is the series “24” starring Keifer Sutherland. We have started to watch it a second time and have seen the first four in all of which the basic plot is a terrorist threat to America: an attempted assassination of the president, an unknown deadly virus, a dirty bomb, a stolen nuclear missile, and agent Jack Bauer there to sort out every one, with some assistance of course, but mainly through individual heroics. Exciting stuff, each hour ending in a cliff-hanger. The series is franchised under the wing of 20th Century Fox. I wonder if the writers have ever been paid all that is due to them.
Been a wee bit disappointed in the last two episodes of “Golden Girls.”  Temporarily out of ideas? They’ve gone from reality to fantasy and once truth or naturalism if you rather gets kicked aside it is difficult to stay with it. Like hey! We’re stuck here, dream sequence come to the rescue. Okay, all the gags are still there but that is all they are, gags. They don’t come out of a natural situation. For example, it’s Christmas time and Blanche brings a new found conquest back to the house. He is wearing a Santa Claus costume and Rose immediately flies at him accusing him of dereliction of duty. He should be out and about doing what Santa Claus is meant to do. Now this is not said in jest. In fact the attack is quite vituperate and suspension of disbelief goes out the widow because Rose might be a wee but slow on the uptake but she is certainly not that stupid. All her herring and down on the farm stories are wonderfully humorous and ripe for send-up though she doesn’t realise it but this kind of threatening behaviour is out of character and an immediate cut-off.  
Last Sunday Papa Spiros came around once again (Epiphany?) to bless the house. My timing was unfortunate because I was in the loo so missed out but Chris and Douglas were well sprayed with holy water and basil. Papa Spiros is very young and, to use Noel Coward’s favourite words of approval, very sweet. He is about to become a father for the second time, hoping it will be a boy. Though we are not Orthodox or members of his congregation (not even Christian for that matter) he is well aware of it. He even went especially to visit Douglas in hospital but unlike the Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists he doesn’t try ramming religion down your throat. So, if blessing our house means something to him, we wouldn’t dream of denying him.

A group, The New York-based Satanic Temple, has unveiled designs for a 7-foot-tall statue of Satan that it wants erected at the Oklahoma state Capitol. The statue features a goat-headed Satan sitting in a throne with children either side. The Satanic Temple spokesman says Oklahoma's decision to put a Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol opened the door for its statue, he says it's moving forward with plans despite the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission's decision to place a moratorium on new requests.
The commission says it's waiting until a lawsuit over the Ten Commandments has been settled

Life’s a funny old thing innit?

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