Only Murders in the Building – season 2

I loved season 1 mostly for the absurdity.

Two old comedy legends being made fun of by a hip young female star. Selena Gomez can act.

I thought season 2 might be a letdown. BUT Steve Martin made the plot much more interesting. Added a daughter to the great cast.

Shirley MacLaine, Amy Schumer.

Tina Fey is still the bad guy.

I enjoyed season 2 at least as much.

It’s still hugely popular.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie

Murder in Mesopotamia (1936) is set at an archaeological excavation in Iraq.

Hercule Poirot happens to be close when an astonishing (far-fetched) murder occurs.

It’s typical Christie. A cast of characters all of whom MIGHT be the killer. A surprise ending.

I liked best Nurse Amy Leatheran who tells the tale.

Click PLAY or watch a snippet of a TV adaptation on YouTube.

The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton

I finally got around to reading some of the Father Brown short stories.

53 were published between 1910 and 1936 by English novelist G. K. Chesterton.

Father Brown solves mysteries and crimes using his intuition and keen understanding of human nature.  …

In the most popular adaptation, Mark Williams plays Father Brown. That’s Arthur Weasley, to you. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Wheel of Time – season 1

I got through it. Somehow.

It’s no Game of Thrones.

Mixed reviews.

The only character that appealed to me is Daniel Henney as al’Lan Mandragoran, Moiraine’s Warder and companion. A nuanced performance.

Casting seems uninspired. Interactions between characters not convincing.

Production values are surprisingly poor.  The wolf attack in episode 5 was like bad TV from the 1970s. 

The battle / birthing scene at the beginning of episode 7 is EPIC, however. Worthy of the film 300.

I’ll probably watch season 2. I can’t explain why.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Hacks – season 2

I really liked season 1.

And season 2 is even BETTER.

Deborah Vance, a legendary Las Vegas stand-up comedy diva, needs to re-invent her aging act to avoid losing her residency at the Palmetto Casino.

Ava is a young comedy writer who is unable to find work due to an insensitive tweet and her reputation for being self-centered and arrogant.

When Ava’s manager sends her to work as Deborah’s new head writer, the two slowly bond as Ava pushes her new boss to take more risks and Deborah, in turn, helps Ava start to work through her personal problems.

Fantastic comic dialogue.

Interesting video editing.

Great cast.

I’m now a big fan of Canadian comedian Mae Martin.

Of course Hannah Einbinder is great. She’s so natural in this show.

Stealing many scenes is Megan Stalter as Kayla.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube. The lesbian cruise episode is funny.

I was also looking forward to The Flight Attendant – season 2. But quit when Cassie Bowden started drinking again. Too depressing.

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Unless you are a Star Trek nut, I can’t recommend the book Redshirts.

It did win the 2013 Hugo Award, so SciFi fans do like it.

As usual with Scalzi, the plot is ingenious.

In a TV series like Star Trek — called the Intrepid — the fictional universe is actually real. Characters from the TV show travel back in time (like Star Trek) and try to get the show cancelled.

Once there, they meet their actor doubles and realize that they are exact doppelgängers.

It’s complicated.

This book didn’t win me over in any way.

Of course a “redshirt” is a stock character in fiction who dies soon after being introduced. The term originates from the original Star Trek (NBC, 1966–69) in which the red-shirted security personnel frequently die during episodes.

Cody Hoyt / Cassie Dewell novels

A big fan of the Joe Pickett novels by C.J. Box, I ASSuMEd I’d enjoy another of his series based on a rogue, a brilliant cop named Cody Hoyt, an alcoholic.

But for me they are too blood thirsty and violent.

I didn’t like either Hoyt or his protege, Cassie Dewell.

Back of Beyond is the first book. It’s set in Yellowstone National Park.

#2 is The Highway, somehow astonishingly connected to the bloodbath in Yellowstone.

Serial killers are picking up prostitutes at long haul trucking service stations.

Somebody liked the book. ABC turned it into a big budget TV show. It’s already had 3 seasons as I post. Mixed reviews.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

I’d never heard of Keigo Higashino before randomly trying this novel.

Devotion of Suspect X is fantastic.

Turns out almost twenty of his books have been turned into films and TV series. But not all have been translated to English.

The pacing is slower than a typical American or British whodunnit.

But mathematician Tetsuya Ishigami and Manabu Yukawa, a physicist who often consults with the police, are two of the best fictional characters I’ve read in a long time.

I highly recommend it.

Click PLAY or watch the trailer of the Chinese TV adaptation on YouTube.