Perry Mason – Raymond Burr

I’ve watched some of the excellent old Perry Mason shows over the holidays. My Dad is a fan.

Click PLAY or watch a retrospective on YouTube.

Raymond William Stacey Burr (May 21, 1917 – September 12, 1993) was a Canadian-American actor, primarily known for his title roles in the television dramas Perry Mason and Ironside. …

… His portrayal of the suspected murderer in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Rear Window (1954), is regarded as his best-known film role.

He won two Emmy Awards, in 1959 and 1961, for the role of Perry Mason, which he played for nine seasons between 1957 and 1966. …

Turns out Raymond Burr was Gay. I’d never heard. And my Gaydar has always been terrible.

Homeland season 5

… premiered on October 4, 2015, and concluded on December 20, 2015 …

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, an ex-CIA intelligence officer with bipolar disorder, now working for a philanthropic foundation in Berlin. …

The season includes several real world subjects in its storylines; including ISIS, Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, the Charlie Hebdo shooting,Edward Snowden and European migrant crisis. …

I admired seeing an American TV show move to Europe. It’s must watch, no matter how much Carrie irritates you. No other current television series offers as important commentary on the state of the world.

That said, Mike Sissons – who lived many years in Arab countries – tells me it’s controversial with Muslims. Too many stereotype characters. Mike’s not actually watched the show himself.

My feeling is that the show is quite balanced. It shows the stupidity of U.S. foreign policy.  There are no good guys in this show.

Click PLAY or watch a season 5 preview on YouTube.

related – “Homeland” season 6 premiere date is speculated to be October 2, 2016.

 

Sherlock – The Abominable Bride

The Abominable Bride” is a special episode of the British television programme Sherlock.

The episode was broadcast on BBC One and BBC One HD on 1 January 2016. It shows the characters in Victorian London for the first time …

Emelia Ricoletti, a consumptive bride gone mad, had fired on by-passers in the street from a balcony, before fatally shooting herself in the head through her mouth.

Later that evening, while exiting an opium den, Mr Ricoletti was confronted by Emelia, still dressed as a bride, who shot him before disappearing into the fog. Intrigued by Emelia’s apparent survival, Holmes takes the case. …

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

I love Cumberbatch as Holmes. But this particular episode didn’t work for me. :-(

Luthor – BBC TV

John and Laura got me hooked on Luther. Not as good as The Wire. But very, very good.

Luther

Luther is a British crime drama series starring Idris Elba as the titular character, DCI John Luther.

… premiered on 4 May 2010 …

Elba has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for each consecutive season; he won at the 69th Golden Globe Awards. …

Series one was met with positive reviews, according to aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes, where it holds a 95% approval rating …

The show’s second series was met with equally positive reviews and holds a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 12 reviews. …

Click PLAY or watch a season 1 trailer on Vimeo.

The 16th episode of Luther (end of season 4) aired Dec 22nd. I’ve seen them all now. Highly recommended if you can handle the intensity. The villains are terrifying.

Rebus – Even Dogs in the Wild

The Inspector Rebus books are a series of detective novels by the Scottish author Ian Rankin. The novels, centred on the title character Detective Inspector John Rebus, are mostly based in and around Edinburgh. …

ian-rankin-even-dogs-649x337

Ian Rankin’s 20th Rebus novel …

In Even Dogs in the Wild, Rebus is dragged out of retirement – again – to act in the semi-official capacity of consultant detective, assisting in the investigation of a shooting at the house of another retired geezer, long-time foe “Big Ger” Cafferty. …

Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin review – a satisfying return for Rebus

The rumpled detective is back in a twisty, darkly topical and immaculately executed tale of Edinburgh’s underbelly

Author Ian Rankin purchased back the TV rights. He wants the original actor who played Rebus, Ken Stott, to return in a new production.

Homeland Season 4

The fourth season of the American television drama series Homeland premiered on October 5, 2014, and concluded on December 21, 2014 …

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

A Hollywood simpleton’s version, for sure. But it’s a good glimpse into the ethical dilemmas of western boots on the ground in the Muslim world. I recommend Homeland.

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison is a manic CIA intelligence officer assigned to the Counterterrorism Center. She fanatically wants to defend America … at any cost.

In the fourth season, Carrie is working as a CIA station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Carrie’s failures are symbolic of the failures of the USA in that region.

On Metacritic, it has a score of 74 out of 100, based on 22 reviews.[22] On Rotten Tomatoes, the season received an 82% rating based on 49 reviews with an average rating of 8.0/10. The critical consensus reads “Homeland is back on top, with a renewed energy and focus not seen since its first season.” …

I’d agree. Seasons 1 and 4 are the best, so far.

… According to media reports, Pakistani officials were unhappy over the depiction of Pakistan in the fourth season. …

Homeland will be returning for a fifth season.

farewell David Letterman

Late Show with David Letterman debuted on August 30, 1993

I was an early fan.

Click PLAY or watch his Velcro Suit on YouTube.

Ron Shewchuk and I liked how he revered the trivial. And trivialized the famous.

Jessica Winter was a bigger fan:

David Letterman Raised Me

His subversive comedy transformed the entertainment landscape—and made me who I am today.

But it’s been decades since I’ve been able to muster enough interest to watch more than a Top 10 list.

I’ll certainly be following the Late Show with Stephen Colbert starting September 8, 2015. But I’m assuming my interest will dwindle quickly. Unscripted celebrity interviews are like torture.