Designated Survivor (season 1)

It’s sappy. It’s not going to win any awards for acting.

Still … I’m going to download season 2.

The premise is fascinating. The plot engaging. I did get hooked.

They do a good job of leaving a cliff hanger end of each episode.

In a world with a Toddler President this alternative looks pretty good.

Tom Kirkman

Designated Survivor is an American political drama … 

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I never particularly liked Kiefer Sutherland in the past. But he’s quite good as “Tom” Kirkman, the independent President of the United States.

My favourite character is Kal Penn as Seth Wright, a speechwriter who quickly becomes one of his closest advisors and the new White House Press Secretary.

Maggie Q as Hannah Wells, is impressive too.

Also LaMonica Garrett as Secret Service Agent Mike Ritter.

 

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World Without End by Ken Follett

The audio book is 45 hrs long. A sweeping historical novel set in 12th-century England during the time of the Black Death. The plague.

It follows characters over 40 years.

The Church is still powerful. New architecture and building techniques are revolutionizing the lives of people as they move from serfdom to free entrepreneurs.

It’s a bit of a soap opera with too high a percentage of the pages devoted to love stories and romantic disaster.

Still … I’ll be continuing on to book 3 in the series –  A Column of Fire, published 2017.  It’s set in the same English city starting 1558.

World Without End is a best-selling 2007 novel by Welsh author Ken Follett. It is the second book in the Kingsbridge Series, and is the sequel to 1989’s The Pillars of the Earth.

World Without End takes place in the same fictional town as Pillars of the Earth — Kingsbridge — and features the descendants of some Pillars characters 157 years later. …

television miniseries based on the novel aired worldwide in 2012.

Fargo season 3

I expected to love the series, but gave up after 4 episodes.

It’s as quirky as ever. Ewan McGregor plays both of two brothers.

Some of the winter scenes were filmed out of Calgary.

I couldn’t get into the plot nor did I care much about any of the characters.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

It’s getting rave reviews from everyone else.

The Tunnel – season 1 (2013)

I enjoyed watching the 2 seasons (24 episodes) of The Bridge (2013-14), an excellent police drama set on the Mexican / American border.

It was based on ‘Bron, Broen’ (2011), a Scandinavian hit.

The Tunnel (French: Tunnel) is the British-French adaptation. Season 1 launched 2013.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The series stars Stephen Dillane and Clémence Poésy as British and French police detectives Karl Roebuck and Elise Wassermann …

The plot follows the two detectives working together to find a serial killer who left the upper-half body of a French politician and the lower-half of a British prostitute in the Channel Tunnel, at the midpoint between France and the UK. They later learn that the killer – who comes to be nicknamed the “Truth Terrorist” – is on a moral crusade to highlight many social problems, terrorising both countries in the process. As the series progresses, the killer’s true intention is revealed. …

The American adaptation was best in my opinion. Then the Scandinavian original.

The Tunnel is worth watching. Indeed, the similar storyline was better in some aspects than the other two.

When they cast Clémence Poésy  (Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter film series) as one of the detectives, it must have seemed ideal.

But she’s not nearly as intriguing as were the female leads in the other two series. One difference in this adaptation is that Elise Wassermann does not necessarily have Asperger Syndrome. She’s simply direct. And socially awkward.

Dillane is at least as good as the male leads in the other two series, however. Very believable as the “rumpled British Everyman“.

That’s it. I won’t watch season two of The Tunnel. I’ve finally had enough of The Bridge.

The Bridge (‘Bron, Broen’) 2011

I enjoyed watching the 2 seasons (24 episodes) of The Bridge (2013-14), an excellent American police drama set on the Mexican / American border.

It was based on ‘Bron, Broen’ (2011)

When a body, cut in half at the waist, is discovered in the middle of the Øresund Bridge, which connects Copenhagen with Malmö, placed precisely on the border between the two countries, the investigation falls under the jurisdiction of both the Danish and Swedish police agencies.

It is not one corpse but two halves of two separate women: the upper-half being that of a female Swedish politician; the lower-half being that of a Danish prostitute. Saga Norén from Sweden and Martin Rohde from Denmark lead the murder investigations. …

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

‘Bron, Broen’ is good too, but not nearly as good as the American remake.  I doubt I’ll continue on to season 2.

The highlight is Sofia Helin as the Swedish police detective Saga Norén.

Suggested, but never stated, to have Asperger’s syndrome she is portrayed as completely oblivious to social norms, but a brilliant and devoted police investigator.

The finale of Bron, Broen season 1 was very well done. Better than the American version.

There have also been remakes made on the British / French border and Estonia / Russia. It’s a good premise for a TV series.

I’ll download the The Tunnel next.

The plot follows the two detectives working together to find a serial killer who left the upper-half body of a French politician and the lower-half of a British prostitute in the Channel Tunnel, at the midpoint between France and the UK.

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Highly recommended. Best book I’ve read in some time.

The Pillars of the Earth is a historical novel by Ken Follett published in 1989 about the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. It is set in the middle of the 12th century …

The book traces the development of Gothic architecture out of the preceding Romanesque architecture, and the fortunes of the Kingsbridge priory and village against the backdrop of historical events of the time. …

Before this novel was published, Follett was known for writing in the thriller genre. The Pillars of the Earth became his best-selling work which was later made into an 8-part miniseries in 2010. …

It is fantastic. Though I have very little interest in either history or architecture, I was entertained for over 40 hours of audio.

The story leads up to the murder of Thomas Becket by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral.

Gothic architecture characteristics include the pointed arch, the ribbed vault (which evolved from the joint vaulting of Romanesque architecture) and the flying buttress. During the course of the book these innovations come to England.

Reims Cathedral

Ken Follett:

I knew it had to be a long book. It took at least thirty years to build a cathedral and most took longer because they would run out of money, or be attacked or invaded. So the story covers the entire lives of the main characters. My publishers were a little nervous about such a very unlikely subject but, paradoxically, it is my most popular book. It’s also the book I’m most proud of. …

I’ve downloaded the sequel World Without End (2007)

American politics went batshit crazy starting with Newt Gingrich

I ignored American politics until 2004 when — inexplicably — George W. Bush was elected for a second term after being unbelievably bad in his first term.

What the Hell was going on?

Jim VandeHei explains why the USA has such extreme politics in 2017: Newt GingrichFox News (1996), MSNBC, CNN, Facebook and later Twitter, Sarah Palin and finally Trump.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert documented the idiocy.

It’s easy to say Americans deserve the politicians they have.

My fear is that other nations will evolve in the direction of the American way. 😦