Vikings – season 1

Vikings is a historical drama television series …

Season 1 premiered on March 3, 2013 in Canada …

Filmed in Ireland, Vikings is inspired by the tales about the Viking Ragnar Lothbrok, one of the best-known mythological Norse heroes and notorious as the scourge of France and England. …

Rotten Tomatoes reported a 81% approval rating with an average rating of 6.9/10 based on 27 reviews. The site’s consensus reads, “Vikings makes up for its lack of historical accuracy with a heaping helping of violence, romance, and striking visuals”. …

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

Already renewed for a sixth season I doubt I’ll continue on to season 2. Too gory for gore’s sake.

related – The religious angle of the TV series is entirely fabricated. Learn about Ásatrú – the religion of the Vikings

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The Bridge (U.S. TV series) – season 2

I loved season 1 and had high expectations for season 2.

Many critics liked season 2 better. I found it muddled. Disjointed. There were too many characters. Plot too fuzzy.

Still … for me it was well worth watching. But I’m not surprised there was no season 3.

I’ll next watch Bron, Broen … the Scandinavian crime television series on which this American version was based. It’s headed into it’s 4th season.

 

The Bridge (U.S. TV series)

Important issues in the era of Trump’s hateful America.

Yes, there are detectives and, yes, there is a killer. But the true mysteries of The Bridge lie in the great swaths of land and stories surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border. …

Episode 7 Recap: The Defiant Weirdness of ‘Destino’

Click PLAY or watch a trailer on YouTube.

The Bridge is an American crime drama television series … based on the Danish-Swedish series Broen/Bron. …

The show stars German actress Diane Kruger and Mexican actor Demián Bichir in pivotal roles.  …

The complete series consists of two seasons of 13 episodes each. The series debuted on FX in the United States on July 10, 2013, and the series finale aired on October 1, 2014. …

The American version takes place on the U.S. and Mexican border where a murdered body on a bridge between El Paso and Juárez (the Bridge of the Americas) bring together El Paso detective Sonya Cross (Kruger) who is mentored by Hank Wade (Levine) and Chihuahua State police detective Marco Ruiz (Bichir). …

Detective Sonya Cross has undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome or a similar autism spectrum disorder. She’s awesome. Meticulous, direct and prickly. No empathy.

Many of the minor characters are excellent too. Casting is great.

Cult-figure Steven Linder (Tom Wright) is my favourite. Wright’s been compared to Daniel Day-Lewis.

Linder believes that he has a calling to help people, including the women and girls in Ciudad Juarez, hundreds of whom have been killed or disappeared since 1993.

I got the series from Warren. And will continue watching season 2. And then the Danish-Swedish version.

House of Spies (Gabriel Allon #17)

We expected in this book that Gabriel Allon would stay home, now the Chief of Israeli security and father of twins.

Not so much.

… Daniel Silva’s runaway bestseller The Black Widow was one of 2016’s biggest novels. Now, in House of Spies, Gabriel Allon is back and out for revenge—determined to hunt down the world’s most dangerous terrorist, a shadowy ISIS mastermind known only as Saladin.

Four months after the deadliest attack on the American homeland since 9/11, terrorists leave a trail of carnage through London’s glittering West End. The attack is a brilliant feat of planning and secrecy, but with one loose thread: the French-Moroccan street criminal and ISIS operative who supplied the combat assault rifles. …

Amazon

Click PLAY or watch a TV interview with the author on YouTube.

A TV series in in the works produced by MGM.

This is Us – Kate and Toby

Have you been watching This is Us?

It’s excellent.

One of the story lines is the charming romance of two obese characters.


That’s Chrissy Metz as Kate Pearson. And Chris Sullivan as Toby, her boyfriend.

37% of Americans are currently obese (50% obese by 2020).

34% more are currently overweight.

Fad diets and reality TV doctors don’t seem to be helping. Overweight in the 1st world is here to stay, I think.

Old Man’s War (2005) by John Scalzi

Old Man’s War is a military science fiction and debut novel by John Scalzi …

It was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2006. …

… the first novel in Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series. …

I was reminded of of Ender’s Game.

Scalzi freely admits he was influenced by Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.

The writing is juvenile to appeal to teenage boys.

Still, I enjoyed this book. Particularly the plot twist that soldiers must be age-75 to enlist.

Soldier John Perry tells the tale. His consciousness is transferred to a super-powered 20-year-old body.

There are plenty of interesting technologies in this imagined future.

BrainPal is a neural implant that allows members of the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF) to send and receive data, including speech, battle plans and much more. CDF soldiers use their BrainPals to translate alien languages, watch classic cartoons, and read old books.

It was initially optioned for film in 2011, and for the last few years Syfy has been trying to develop it as a TV series. Don’t hold your breath.

I don’t think I’ll continue to the sequel — The Ghost Brigades. 

The English Girl by Daniel Silva

I’ve been disappointed by a number of books recently. Not Silva. He keeps getting better.

REVIEW:

A beautiful woman is snatched from her vacation on Corsica. A ransom note reaches 10 Downing Street. An ambitious, unfaithful prime minister seriously needs a fixer.

… Israeli spy, Gabriel Allon, one of the more believable and likable heroes in recent spy fiction.

To call The English Girl a page turner is an oversimplification.

Smart, unpredictable, and packed with bits of history, art, heart, and imagination, this is a page turner to be savored. Let me just say that I like John LeCarre. Big fan. Still impressively relevant and prolific into his 80s. But the torch must pass to someone. …

Daniel Silva isn’t quite LeCarre. He’s a more modern breed, with some major DNA overlap. (Other DNA-sharing: Graham Greene, Joseph Kanon, Alan Furst.) When it comes to the vast club of practitioners of international spycraft, Silva is a cut above them all, and The English Girl is a masterwork. —Neal Thompson

 
related – MGM TV Acquires Rights to Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon Spy Novels