Doc Martin – season 1

Warren got me started watching.

Doc Martin is a British television medical comedy drama series starring Martin Clunes in the title role. …

The programme is set in the fictional seaside village of Portwenn and filmed on location in the village of Port IsaacCornwall, United Kingdom, …

Eight series aired between 2004 and 2017 …

The actor, Martin Clunes, is unusual and unusual looking. A touch of Mr. Bean.

The real star is the Cornish village of Port Isaac.

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

The actress playing receptionist Elaine, Lucy Punch, is brilliant in the role. In fact the eclectic villagers are all entertaining.

But no racial diversity in Cornwall?

Before I started on the TV show I watched the 2001 movie called Doc Martin. Similar premiss. But Doc Martin is a much warmer and more charming character in the film.

Click PLAY or watch a movie trailer on YouTube.


Even This I Get to Experience – Norman Lear

The Simpson’s writer — Mike Reiss — recommended Norman’s Lear’s autobiography. And it’s excellent.

Norman Lear’s career is legendary: All in the Family; The Jeffersons; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Over 100 TV shows.

He collaborated with Rob Reiner on Stand By Me and The Princess Bride.

Surprisingly, the character Lear identifies closest with Maude.

Archie Bunker was based on Lear’s father. 

Maude was a social activist, as was Lear.

Lear fought Nixon, Jerry Falwell and the Religious Right, the Tea Party.

Lear is a proud American buying a copy of the United States Declaration of Independence—for $8.1 million. Then touring it across the nation to celebrate Democracy.

The autobiography was published 2014 when Lear was age-92.

One of the first TV celebrities, Lear knew and hung-out with almost everybody. I enjoyed hearing the inside story of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, for example. Lewis was a jerk.


Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Brotherhood of the Rose by David Morrell

The beginning of this acclaimed 1983 book is compelling.

It’s the story of Saul (Jew) and Chris (Catholic), two orphans from Philadelphia, who grow up like stepbrothers.

Trained from a young age to be CIA spies and assassins, Raumulas and Remus (code names) are expertly defined characters with a great back story.

It’s well written. I’d like to recommend this book. … On the other hand, I found the ending quite weak.


A cheesy made-for-TV movie was released in 1989. The book is much better.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mortalis Series:

The Brotherhood of the Rose, 1983
The Fraternity of the Stone, 1985
The League of Night and Fog, 1987

Dune: books 1-3

If you claim Dune is the greatest Science Fiction novel of all time, I’d not argue.

Recently I reread the first 3 books in the series.

Written 1965, it’s superb. Not at all dated.

Dune was rejected by more than 20 publishers—before being published by Chilton Books, a little-known printing house best known for its auto repair manuals.

Frank Herbert wrote 6 books before his death. As I recall from past readings each sequel was less compelling.

Book 2 is Dune Messiah 1969. I again found it slow, dark and overly philosophical.

Book 3 is Children of Dune 1976. Better than Messiah, but still too slow paced. In fact hardly anything happens in books 2 and 3. It’s mostly interpersonal intrigue.

When his son took over for the 7th book they got even worse.

I actually found things to like about both the 1984 film and the 2000 TV miniseries. Sting was excellent, for example.

Still … it’s time for another version of Dune. Happily we can look forward to that December, 2020. Jason Momoa plays Duncan Idaho.

Liet Kynes will be played by a woman.

Click PLAY or watch a teaser on YouTube.

In June 2019 it was announced that Legendary Television will be producing a spin-off television series, Dune: The Sisterhood, for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, HBO Max. The series will focus on the Bene Gesserit and serve as a prequel to the 2020 film.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Very good.

Station Eleven is a 2014 novel by Emily St. John Mandel.

… The novel takes place in the Great Lakes region after a fictional swine flu pandemic, known as the “Georgia Flu”, has devastated the world, killing most of the population. It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2015. …

Critics like the book for it’s unpretentious writing and unusual time-jumping plot line.

It works. Though most, like me, have many questions about this dystopia.

The only thing that ties characters together are two King Lear plays: one the day the plague arrives and another in the near future.

A film adaptation of the novel is in development.

related – NY Times review – O.K., Now It’s Time to Panic

Hanna (TV series) – season 1

I did like Hanna the movie.

Saoirse Ronan

Hanna the TV series is … different. But the new actor playing Hanna is just as interesting. Fierce — yet naive and vulnerable. Lost girl with killer instincts.

She didn’t watch the film wanting to bring her own interpretation to the role.

Esme Creed-Miles

Hanna is a 15-year-old girl living with Erik, the only man she has ever known as her father, in a remote part of a forest in Poland.

Erik once recruited pregnant women into a CIA program, code name UTRAX, where the children’s DNA was enhanced in order to create super-soldiers.

It’s smart. Brave. Multilingual. Good acting. Complex characters.

The fight scenes and explosions are embarrassingly poorly done, however. 😀

A little too much violence for my liking. Still … I might continue with season 2. I’d like to see what happens with those super humans.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer on YouTube.