Now that I think of it, we also watched the first series of the lauded series “Breaking Bad“. The series have a nice joke here and there, but also here the first series did not make me want to watch the second. Many people say that the series develops, but frankly, when you want people to watch your series, the first have to be very good, right? I guess I missed that part.
We usually spend one evening a week watching series. Not on TV though, I am terrible with following things on TV, I just want to watch something when I want to watch it. Also I am no fond of all these 7+ season series and consequentally not of still running series. Also I find little of interest actually.
After the very good series “Intelligence“, we did not have much luck.
We watched a few episodes of “Engrenages“, a French police series with a rather predictable story-line and the obligatory gruesome serial killer elements.
We have tried two series of the lauded series “Game Of Thrones“, but close to nothing in it happens that interests me. Almost never I looked forward to the next episode and even the series endings are not too ‘cliffhanging’.
I think I forget one, but currently we are watching season 1 of “Mad Men“. I heard there are “Twin Peaks” actors in it and that it has “Twin Peaks” elements. Well, not in the first series! Judging IMDb.com, Ray Wise features in 4 episodes in the 4th to 7th series. In any case, however the series has nice humour and I like the 1950′ies atmosphere, there is nothing interesting in the story and I doubt I will want to continue with the next series. Besides, I just find out that it is a 7+ season series and still running…
Since series seem to have become terribly popular, there might a lot be left to check out. I like the stranger series, “Twin Peaks”, “The Prisoner”, “Carnivale”, that sort of stuff, but as you can see with “Intelligence”, a well written ‘normal series’ can be good too. Tips are welcome.
It has been a while since I saw “Enter The Void“. Taking that the DVD would be released by now, I thought I would get myself a copy and watch it again. Well, the DVD is available, but from the average DVD shop downtown… Fortunately there is the internet.
The circumstances were thus that we watched “Dexter” four nights in a row, it were the first eight episodes of the second series. “Dexter” started in 2006 and is still running (season 6). I am no fond of still running series, nor of series with many seasons, but a friend highly recommended “Dexter” and the series actually get a 9.3 on IMdB. We usually watch two episodes a week, but things were different during holidays.
“Dexter” is mainly about Dexter Morgan, a man in his thirties somewhere who watched his mother being brutally slaughtered when he was a child, afterwards spending three days in the container in the blood of his mother before he was found. This experience made that Dexter has unsurpressable urges to kill. Dexter’s fosterfather became the policeman who found him, Harry Morgan, who raised Dexter together with his real daughter Debra Morgan. Since Harry soon realised Dexter’s anomaly, he taught him a “code” and a means to deal with the presure. The outlet became people who deserved to die and who for one reason or another, could not be gotten to jail by the police. The “code”, simply stated, means that Dexter has to be 100% sure that his kill is righteous and that he has to perform his deeds in a way that he will not get caught. So, the person we follow in the series is a serial killer, all the rest we learn from the many flashbacks. “Dexter” is basically a “soap”, or perhaps what some people call “television drama” which is something else than a “soap”. We follow Dexter, who is his own voiceover in which we hear his thoughts (in the second series he calls this voiceover the “voices in his head”). We learn more about the man, his past, what he does and why and how he does it (the series are quite explicitly bloody at times). There is a lot of dark humour, especially coming from Dexter’s dual nature. Of course he is not open about his “dark side” so in general he becomes this quiet, strange fellow. He pretends to be normal, so he has a job at the police station as “blood splatter patterns” forensic expert, being a colleague of his dirty mouthed sister who followed her father’s steps and became a police woman. Dexter even found the perfect girlfriend, Rita. Rita has a husband who used to beat her up and ended in jail. Damaged as she is, she feels at ease with Dexter who does not force himself on her and on his own side is happy that Rita is not after the usual couples things such as sex and living together, since he tends to “freak out” the women he has sex with due to his total lack of emotion and feelings.
Like I said “Dexter” is a soap, meaning that we learn more and more about the people in it and characters develop in the course of time. Dexter’s sister Deb tries to portray herself as a strong and independent woman and does this with a dirty mouth and the use of sexuality. Actually she is an insecure young woman (especially after ‘that thing’ that happened to her in the first series), looking for a father figure who cannot get over the idea that her own father had more attention for Dexter and the fact that she does not really know Dexter. Dexter merely tries to protect Deb by not letting her into his life, as he does with anybody else, but of course, Debra does not really understand why.
Then we have Rita, mother of two kids who grow to love Dexter. Time and time again she tells Dexter that nothing will scare her away, but when her affection for him grows from being fond to love, she grows closer to him, but also more possessive. Then Rita’s ex comes out of jail and the situation becomes more complicated. Eventually trying to make the puzzle called Dexter in her mind, Rita convinces herself that Dexter is a drug addict like her soon-to-be ex and sends him to AA. Dexter first holds off, but eventually goes and meets the super sexy Lila who appears to be able to “look behind the mask” without scaring away. But neither to Lila Dexter gives away everything.
At the police station where Dexter works, there are some characters that do not (yet) develop, such as colleague forensic Vince, but also characters that seem to change three times in every episode, such as head of office Maria LaGuerta. Then there is (James) Doaks who immediately senses that there is something wrong with Dexter, something that becomes his obsession.
“Dexter” has a long-running storyline and many short stories. The long story is of course the story of Dexter, a serial killer trying to perform perfect crimes and the way he tries to combine that with ‘real life’, a ‘real life’ that sometimes seems more desirable than “living in the shadows”. So many murders cannot go unnoticed, so at some point Dexter becomes hunted by his own department. Well done about the series is that Dexter is so completely different from what a person should be, his struggles in the ‘real live’ make him completely identifiable for the viewer (at least, I think so). The way he manages to do his “work” next to his occupation and girlfriends, his attempts to fit in, his moments of weakness in which he wants to tell everything to someone while realising that that will not be a sollution. Dexter truely is the anti-hero of the series.
There numerous of shorter stories spread over one or more episodes. Debs boyfriends, cases the bureau investigates, the cases of Paul (Rita’s ex) and Lila, Doaks obsession with nailing Dexter, LaGuerta’s way to reach the top.
After one-two-thirds series I can say that “Dexter” indeed is a fine piece of modern series-making, but 9.3 is way too high. At an emotional level the rating is perhaps not that strange, but when you look at the writing of the script, there are really highs and lows. FBI agent Lundy as a character is almost as good as Dale Cooper, there are great jokes in the series, but there are strange misses like Doaks finding Dexter at an AA meeting thinking that he found the ‘dark secret’, the highlight of the first series (the one of the “Ice Truck Killer”) is worked out pourly, especially at the end, the episodes in which Dexter appears to have feelings afterall are not always very strong, Dexter’s lies are often pretty poor. Generally speaking I think that the series are good enough to keep watching for some time more, but I do not know if I will make it to the sixth (or whenever the plug is pulled) series. There are people claiming that the series get better and better, so who knows. As of now, I can say that the second series definately are not better than the first. They are not bad, but not better than the first series. At the moment I could easily keep on watching since I love the character of Lila and it looks like some real tension (until now I found the series not really tense/thrillerish) is coming.
Remember “Horizonica” (2007)? The team of “Schat Ik Ga Fietsen” is working on a new full-length “Nederhorror” (“Netherhorror” after the Netherlands) zombie slasher with a plethora of volunteers. Make-up is done by Suzy Terror (who else), Ramon Etman (director of “Horizonica”) has his influence because of the cooperation of “Broet. The title is in Italian “Il Campeggio dei Morti Viventi” and on the Facebook page you can find more information. Also ‘Googling’ the title will bring up Youtube ‘trailers’ and the like. It looks like there will be some zombies in the film that I know, just as in “Horizonica”, hopefully “Il Campeggio…” will be a bit better
As a new series we got ourselves “Dexter“. These series actually have a 9.3 on IMdB (just as Twin Peaks) and a friend of mine says that it is getter better with every episode, even upto the fifth series. I am no fond of still running series, neither of series with too many seasons, but last week we saw the pilot and first (or second) episode. As in “American Psycho” we get the viewpoint of a serial killer. We hear him thinking, the story is with him as focal point. Dexter is an adopted child and has had urges to kill since his youth. His adoptive father, a policeman, knew all about these urges and taught Dexter to use them ‘for good’, hense, kill the people the police cannot catch. In his normal life Dexter is a forensic expert with “blood splatter patterns” as his speciality. The police is not his employer, but he works for them. His (step?)sister followed her father’s footsteps. Dexters jog inspires his other work.
The first two episodes were amusing, but not brilliant. The series have a grim sense of humour and it is funny that a serial killer is the hero of a popular series. I know that I gave all the information already, but I myself wonder how a series of five seasons with 12 episodes each remain interesting when the pilot already gives everything away. I suppose it does not (and so neither did I) or the writers manage to keep coming up with new ideas. Time will tell.
As you probably know, we are watching “Danger Man” (“or “Secret Agent”), the series that came before “The Prisoner”. Suddenly I wondered what McGoohan would have looked like when he was older. I ran into this page informing us that McGoohan died at the age of 80 on 15 January 2009. The link contains two photos. Also I ran into a very nice interview from 1977 which is mostly about “The Prisoner”, also with photo.
Yesterday we watched “Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind” again. What a great film! A story with filmographic jokes as only a Kaufman can come up with, empathizable characters (the shy Jim Carrey who falls in love with the extravagant sweetheart Kate Winslet), a great atmosphere. I see that my review gives everything away, but even watching it again (and thus knowing exactly what will happen) makes this film a great one.
However the Danger Man box that I got are the third and forth series, it took a while before the series started to get more interesting. Most of the episodes still are a bit ‘normal’ but not boring, but a few episodes back was the great “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove” in which John Drake is knocked out and the episode is a very surrealistic dream reminding of the end of “The Prisoner”. Yesterday we watched “Colony Three” in which Drake investigates the disappearance of many people. During the investigation he is kidnapped and kept prisoner in a remote village that is used to train secret agents. The episodes has more than one thing incommon with “The Prisoner”, Drake even calls the man who runs the village “number one”. By the way, the greeting “be seeing you” is also used frequently in the series.
Yesterday we started to watch “Danger Man”, the series that supposedly preceeded “Prisoner” and whose main character John Drake would be the nameless (but numbered) prisoner of that series. “Danger Man” started in 1960, is (of course) shot in black and white and appears to be that kind of James Bond or Avengers kind of series with secret agents and dangerous plots. The atmosphere, humour and acting reminds a lot of “Prisoner”, but “Danger Man” is more ‘normal’. All to be expected of course and the first two episodes where surely not disappointing.
What is disappointing is that I did not know that there were actually two series of “Danger Man” and I got myself the second…!! Starting in 1960 with three series and 39 half hour episodes, after three years of silence another four series started in 1964 with 50 minute episodes and these are the series that I got. Moreover, the series are in a different order on my DVDs than the broadcast list of IMdb…