Friday, August 29, 2008


I'm still wondering why I spend £30 on The Shield and why I wasted 10 hours of my life this week watching it.

But more than that I'm wondering why Franka Potente wanted to be in this show?

She appeared for two episodes at the end of this series as the daughter of an Armenian gang boss. She was very good. She is a good actress. But I don't understand why she would want to do it. Perhaps her indie credentials from Run Lola Run are behind her since appearing in the Bourne films, but really they weren't as bad as this mindless dross.

I suppose the same question could be asked of Forest Whittaker and Glenn Close too.

I hope it paid well.

Reading the Detectives, Part 2

A year ago I wrote about my reading in the crime genre, which hadn’t really been much. Recently I’ve been reading a lot. In fact I’ve been reading manically as it is the only thing that seems to soothe the feelings of angst from which I’ve been suffering.

This reading has included some more crime novels. Firstly, I got back into the Rebus series and read the final two books in the set. I especially enjoyed End Music and thought it was a good farewell to Rebus, who I shall miss.

Next I borrowed a George P Pelecanos book from the OH, the first in his Washington series “The Big Blowdown”. It took me a little while to get into it, but I enjoyed. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the next instalment “King Suckerman”, can’t get a swap for it on “Read It Swap It” and my library doesn’t have it. I will probably crack soon and buy it but at the moment I’m loathe to pay full price for it.

Then I read "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" the book by Jeff Lindsay on which the television series was based. It was similar to the programme but there seemed to be one plot difference, so there was still some suspense there for me.

Last weekend I read “The Shape of Water” by Andrea Camillieri, the first of the Inspector Montalbano books which are set amongst the corrupt officials and gangster in Sicily. It had a decent plot but wasn’t too heavy-going. It is the perfect sort of read when I don’t want to think too much.

Yesterday, I started “The Return of the Dancing Master” by Henning Mankell, This time my reading has taken me to Sweden, and it’s a much darker journey than the one to Sicily. Its quite graphic, but I like the characters in it so far. The thing I don’t like about, and I realised is what puts me off a lot of crime novels, is the book itself. It is one of those squat books, that implies low-brow. At least it doesn’t have a black cover with blood-soaked dagger on it and the author’s name in a huge font. I like my crime books to look just like any other books, to look like they might be good literature too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And the prize for the Worst Character goes to...

In a universe populated by gangs, drug barons, murderous cops and corrupt politicians, it is perhaps strange that the character I hate the most in The Shield is a nurse!

But it is true. The character that aggrieves me the most is Vic’s estranged wife, Corrine, an emergency room nurse. It isn’t so much that she is a despicable person, but that this is the worst written part in direly written show (a show that I’m still watching though).

If there is ever a scene in the hospital, you can guarantee that Corrine will be the nurse on duty. This is a mother of three children, yet she is always on duty whatever the emergency. Is Farmington’s hospital so bad that they can only employ one nurse?

This is what separates The Shield from something like The Wire. The Wire across its 5 seasons must have close to a hundred characters and even small parts are fully formed. The Shield may have a high body count, but beyond that it doesn’t seem to pay for extras and every plot involves the same few characters. So if there is any nursing to be done, Corrine Mackay is going to do it.

Last night though her character annoyed me beyond the omnipresent nursing. Last night she had a dream. It was a dream about Lem and burgers. She gathered together the Strike Team (her estranged hardman husband and two hardmen cops) to tell them about her dream. It was supposed to be symbolic, but it was the symbolism of the worst teenage poetry.

They would have been justified to have laughed in her face. I would have. In fact I did. Another night of laughing at The Shield (except for the bit were someone was whipped with chains - nobody laughed at that.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Return of the Angry Baked Bean

The Olympics are over, there is still nothing on the television and I refuse to pay £40 for the first season of Ironside on DVD. This leaves me with no choice other than to buy the sixth season of The Shield instead.

And thus my love-hate relationship with The Shield continues.

Last night we watched two episodes of it. I laughed through most of the first episode, vowed to try to take it more seriously, then had to chide the OH for laughing.

Lem (the blonde one who looked more like a surfer than a cop) was killed at the end of the previous series. This one opens with Vic (the Angry Baked Bean) vowing to find his killer and “make them die in the same way….but slower”.

This is the standard of the dialogue throughout so it is no wonder we are struggling not to laugh.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Unless it had magically appeared like the shop Mr Ben visits, I must have walked past it a hundred times before, but I didn't notice it until yesterday.

Murder One Bookshop on Charing Cross Road.

Perhaps its window display had previously been crime books so I hadn't paid it so much attention. But yesterday, the display was a glorious selection of DVDs.

I never thought a stack of Bergerac DVDs would make my pulse quicken. Actually, until yesterday I didn't know there were any Bergerac DVDs. And there at the bottom, Ironside Season 2, presumably a USA import.

So many detectives, but alas I've so little money. Next month I will return with my wages, but until then is there any harm in browsing?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Song of the Week: Echo and the Bunnymen "The Killing Moon"

Another tenuous choice - nowt to do with detectives, but it has the word "killing" in the title and was used in the film "Grosse Point Blank" which is about a hitman According to Wikipedia, Ian McCulloch told Smash Hits magazine that the song was about "a moon with a machine gun".

Actually it doesn't seem quite to tenuous a choice at all now.

Also I have a bit of thing for Ian McCulloch. I think its the arrogance.

Lessons learnt from Law & Order

The Hallmark Channel was on a Law and Order marathon on Saturday, showing episodes from the Benjamin Bratt era. I’ve not seen too many of these and actually I quite like the pairing of him and Jerry Orbach.

The first episode “Encore” was about a man who had been suspected of murdering his first wife and then his second wife was murdered too, with some similarities. The next episode, “Saviour” has a family man suspected of killing his wife and son, being labelled a “family annihilator”. The characters and conclusions in these episodes were very different, but in both suspicion fell on the husbands due to insurance policies on their wives. This made me think that it perhaps isn’t such a good idea to take insurance out on your wife because either a) it will fill you with an uncontrollable urge to murder her or b) she is bound to get murdered and you will automatically be the prime suspect.

Next up was an episode called “Deceit” about gay lawyers. Not one of the best episodes, but a chilling ending. Then there was “Atonement” about a murdered model, which featured Michale Imperioli (Christopher from the Sopranos who I find quite attractive even though he resembled Gonzo from the Muppets). The model was a shallow coke addict which led to her being murdered. This episode reminded me that all photographers are sleazy. I’ve yet to see an episode of any murder show featuring models and photographers where the photographer isn’t a callous sleaze.

Some detectives

When my OH hasn’t been watching cricket or the Olympics, I’ve watched a couple of detective shows in the last week.

I’ve seen a bit more of Medium. I’m surprised the couple have three children as I’ve never seen two people wear so many clothes to go to bed. Is it a family show so we can’t see man’s bare chest?

I attempted to watch a couple of episodes of SVU but they seemed to be particularly gruesome episodes (I know sex crimes are never a barrel of laughs, but these seemed particularly vicious) and I found myself not having the stomach for it.

Saturday morning, I enjoyed an episode of Randall and Hopkirk deceased, which featured a great moment when Randall was nearly drowned and for a moment he appeared next Hopkirk, wearing a white suit too.

I’ve also watched a bit of Law & Order too but that will be a separate post.

Quote of the Week: Woody Allen

Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television.

Woody Allen