Wednesday 29 April 2020

#TWD Should Have Stayed, Glad They're Gone, and Should Last Forever!

I've tried not to just go with the obvious... yes, of course we all wish Glenn, Abraham, Carl, Hershel, Bob, Beth, etc were still around, and are glad The Governor and Gareth have gone, but here are my other choices - and I don't expect them all to be popular! 

Eleven Who Left Too Soon

~ Merle ~
Just when his best self was coming out, it was all over...
After a dodgy start, TEOTWAWKI could have brought out the best in him.
And Michael Rooker was just brilliant.

~ Andrea ~
Not popular with everyone, but I had a lot of time for her.  She screwed up by not facing the truth about The Governor early enough, but, as with Merle, her death came just as she was getting her act together.
And, of course, as we now know from S10x13, she saved Michonne... 😉

~ Axel and Oscar ~
Just loved these two.  Daryl (about Axel): 'We liked him.  He was one of us.'

~ Mitch Dolgen ~
An asshole so expertly played by the fabulous Kirk Acevedo; 
a waste to have him go out so soon.  Would have made an excellent Savior.

~ DJ and Laura ~
It was great how some Saviors truly came over to the good side.  These were
the last two; Laura had much potential, and DJ was far too lush to be 
written out!

~ Tammy Rose and Earl ~
I loved the Suttons.  They were real, old-school characters, who would have
totally fitted in as far back as Season 2, on Hershel's Farm.  
It was good to have some older survivors, too.

~ Dante ~
I thought this wonderfully sinister psycho being killed so soon was a waste of some great plot potential; I expected him to get away with Siddiq's death, making out that he'd killed himself, and the Alexandrians not discover the truth for a while!

~ Alpha ~
The relationship between her and Negan was inspired; I think she loved him from day one, and we know he had some genuine feelings for her. I wonder if he would have brought back the woman she used to be;
of course she had to die, but I think it was too soon.

Eleven I Was Glad To See Go

~ Ed Peletier ~
Okay, some of these are obvious - he was the first to go,
and missed by no one!

~ Dale ~
There was a lot of good stuff about him, but I found him irritating, and
the way he hovered around Andrea kind of creepy.

~ Tomas and Andrew ~
I was really pleased that Rick saw what a threat Tomas was right from 
the word go, and wasted no time in getting rid!
Andrew: because of Lori and T-Dog, and because he was
a little mollusc, generally.

~ Dan ~
More than any of the others in the Claimed gang.
Revolting obese paedo.  Vomit.  Rick, anything you did to them was okay.

~ Pete Anderson ~
Smug, creepy wife-beater who killed the lovely Reg.  Nuff said.

~ Ron Anderson ~
Whiny little twerp who allowed his teenage emotions
to nearly get people killed.  And lost Carl's eye.

~ Jared ~
The most despicable Savior.  It's not just Benjamin, but the way he took
the piss out of Morgan when he very politely and reasonably asked
to have his stick back.

~ Magna and Yumiko ~
Oh no, sorry, that's just wishful thinking...

~ Henry ~
Though it caused Carol and Ezekiel great heartache, I was so glad
to see the back of this pouting, petulant youth who managed to 
cause a whole bunch of trouble with his amateur heroics and daft impulses.
When he was younger he was cute and could get away with it,
but the older him, in S9, not so much.
Again, I'm guessing this won't be a popular choice! 

Eleven I Don't Want To Lose - Ever
...and need no explanation! 

~ Daryl ~

~ Carol~

~ Rosita ~

~ Negan ~ 

~ Judith ~

~ RJ ~

~ Aaron ~

~ Alden ~

~ Scott ~

~ Eugene ~

~ Dog ~

*waits patiently for S10 x 16 ....*

Monday 20 April 2020

Lately I've Been Watching

More mini TV and film recommendations, with trailers to help you make up your mind, for these long weeks at home!  I've made a note of which site I saw them (mostly Amazon Prime and Netflix).

If you would like to see more, please click here: Lately I've Been Watching.  There are many of these posts; if you want to see them all, click on 'older posts' when you get to the bottom.

Series: Money Heist - Seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4  (Netflix)

5 stars plus ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I just can't get over how good this is! Absolutely gripping stuff all the way through.  It's Spanish, dubbed into English.  A mild-mannered criminal mastermind ('The Professor') has a plan to print billions of euros inside the Royal Mint of Spain, and puts together a crack team.  The Mint heist is covered in S1/2, and an even more ambitious one in the Bank of Spain in S3/4; I have just watched the last ep of S4 and the team are still stuck in the bank, with sure disaster on its way for The Professor.

Running through the 'present day' scenarios are flashbacks of the team getting together and being tutored by The Professor, during which time they are given code names - cities of the world.  One of his rules is that there must be no personal relationships between his recruits, but of course rules are made to be broken....  

Highly though I recommend this, I felt it dropped off just slightly in S4; I read that it was taken over by Netflix after the first two, and this shows, in many ways.  There is more 'love stuff', and the crew allows emotions to get in the way, much more than they did in the first two seasons.  Also, it has become a little more James Bond-ish and zap-pow.  I'm just hoping that the writers don't spoil one of the best shows I've seen in ages by trying to make each season more sensational than the last.  

For anyone who has already watched it, my favourite characters are The Professor, Nairobi, Berlin, Helsinki, Marseilles, and I like Tokyo now, having not been keen at first.  Denver was a favourite at the beginning, but he and Rio have started to behave like idiots (discussing their love lives while hunting down a killer assassin let loose in the bank; too silly).

Series: Ozark - Season 3 (Netflix)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'm a huge fan of this show - I love Jason Bateman, and he's great as Marty Byrde, the financial advisor from Chicago who has to take his family and flee to Missouri when a money-laundering scheme for a Mexican drug cartel goes wrong.  In his new home he becomes involved with hillbilly family the Langmores, and the corrupt landowner who rules the area, Jacob Snell.  

The quality doesn't let up for a moment in this third season, with main antagonist Helen Pierce, the cartel's lawyer, causing most of the problems.  If you're a fan and you haven't seen S3 yet, you will not be disappointed.   If you haven't seen any of it, I envy you having it yet to watch!

Series: Devs (Season 1) (Hulu)

5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This show was created, written and directed by Alex Garland, which piqued my interest straight away, as The Beach is one of my all-time favourite books.  I'm not sure if it's set in the present or a little way into the future, but it centres round a new-age type quantum computer company called Amaya, owned by the eccentric Forrest.  The main character is Lily, a computer engineer who sees her boyfriend, Sergei, accept an offer to become a part of Devs (or Deus), a top secret project.  But when tragedy occurs, Lily finds herself in a battle against unseen and unsuspected enemies to discover the truth about Sergei - and what Devs is really all about.

I was absorbed all the way through this; it's a terrific plot, highly imaginative, and has a futuristic feel to it, all the way through, at the same time as being quite low-key.  Highly recommend if you like sinister, clever scifi dramas.

Comedy Series: Curb Your Enthusiasm - Season 10 (Amazon Prime)

4.5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

10 seasons and still going strong, as funny as ever, and Larry, Ted, Jeff, Suzy, Richard and Cheryl are all definitely showing their age!  I watched it all through again from the beginning, before starting on Season 10, though this time around I had a slight sense of humour bypass; I was annoyed to find myself, in places, mildly irritated by the self-indulgence of these 'A-Listers' who have everything that money can buy but carp on about trivialities.  If you're sensitive about that sort of thing, don't watch it.  If you're not, or are willing to give yourself a slap in the face and stop being so damn silly (as I did!), you'll love it.

Series: Elite - Seasons 1,2 and 3 (Netflix)

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Spanish dubbed into English, and amongst its stars are the chaps who play Rio and Denver in Money Heist - Christian (Rio) is a scholarship pupil at a school for wealthy kids, along with Nadia and Samuel; Nano (Denver) is Samuel's brother who has just got out of jail.  Basically, it's about how Christian, Nadia and Samuel fair amongst the spoilt, rich kids, and the problems their new world causes for them, and others - and as the story unfolds, we see that some of the privileged don't have such a great life after all.

Obviously it's teen-orientated, but I found it most compelling, and look forward to seeing more.  One aspect I was not keen on, though, was the amount of sex.  These schoolboys and girls are meant to be aged 16/17 at the start, but the message coming across is that it's normal and perfectly okay for kids of that age to engage in any sort of sexual practice that takes their fancy, including casual hook-ups and threesomes, without anyone blinking an eye - potentially dangerous for the teenagers who will be watching it, some of whom may be younger than the characters.  This made me knock a half star off.

If you've seen it, the relationship I'm most interested in is that of Nadia, the daughter of a Muslim shopkeeper, and Guzman, the class hero, son of fabulously rich parents.  I like them both and so hope they will find a way to be together - I also like how it highlights the difficulties experienced by the children of Muslim parents who are thrust into the relaxed, self-indulgent western lifestyle.  Sometimes, the scenes in Nadia's parents' shop, and the relationship between her and her family, seemed like an oasis of calm and normality amongst the maelstrom of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll outside.

My other favourite character is Nano (Jaime Lorente - Denver in Money Heist), who is one of those young men that make one say, 'if I were 30 years younger' 😆😂😉.

3 part miniseries: Quiz (ITV)

4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Drama about Major Charles Ingram and his wife Diana, who are alleged to have executed a scam in order to win a million on TV quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  It's well known; they were found guilty but are still protesting their innocence.  Matthew MacFadyen plays the Major in the same vein as his character in Succession, which I liked; it's most entertaining but somewhat frustrating as no definite conclusion is reached.  Definitely worth watching, though!

Thursday 16 April 2020

Wasteland is LIVE!

Now available on all Amazon sites:
Click HERE

~ W A S T E L A N D ~
(sequel to HOPE)

'Those who escape 'the system' are left to survive outside society.  The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.'

The year: 2061.  In the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make.  Speech is no longer free—an 'offensive' word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine.  One too many demerits?  Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages. 

Rae Farrer is a megacity girl through and through, proud of her educational and career achievements, until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.

On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever...

Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to Hope, and is the second and final book in the Operation Galton series. 

Saturday 4 April 2020

Review: #TheWalkingDead S10x15 THE TOWER

Review S10x14 Look At The Flowers 

~ S10 x 15  The Tower ~ 
Written by: Kevin Deiboldt and Julia Ruchman
Directed by: Laura Belsey

Betrayed by a cat.... 

Huge thanks to all concerned for this excellent (if worrying!) end-before-the-real-end of Season 10; on the whole, I think it has been even better than Season 9.  

As Beta's horde converged on the old hospital and the tower, I had one optimistic thought: Negan is there, and he will remember the methods used to escape when the Sanctuary was surrounded by Walkers, in Season 8.  Admittedly, that horde was made up of 100% genuine undead, but I'm sure whatever the newly skinny Luke is making will be useful, even though Aaron and Alden's part in the proceedings has come to a temporary halt...and I'm starting a protest if either of them get killed!

When Daryl was talking into his radio to what he hoped was Michonne, he said, 'We've got a plan to end this, one I think you'd like', which should have struck a warning bell even to him; he must know, by now, that none of their plans ever go as smoothly as intended, especially when their foe is an increasingly demented strongman in a Walker mask who, despite thinking that he's having conversations with the Guardians, manages to keep a grasp on reality when it comes to seeking them out.


'Anyone alone for this long ends up selfish
or crazy—in her case, definitely both'

So we're not getting to meet Stephanie yet, then ... Princess is set to be a love-her-or-can't-stand-her character, I think.  I was torn between liking how Ezekiel knew how to converse with her in a way that was beneficial to all concerned, feeling sorry for her because she was lonely, and agreeing with Yumiko that they ought to get the hell away from her.  

But generous heart won the day, and the scene in which Yumiko asked her to join them (though she should have cleared it with the guys first, right?) was kind of sweet; you could almost hear Glenn saying, 'It's still who we are'.  Ezekiel was a delight this week; he's beginning to become a favourite of mine, and I love how Eugene has completely shed the manipulative scaredy-cat of S4 and 5; he seems more 'normal' all the time.

After the mines fiasco, I didn't imagine for a moment that Princess's garage would contain anything remotely motorised; I've often wondered why bicycles don't feature more, as they seem like the ideal post-apocalyptic mode of transport.  Tara mentioned them once (on the road to Washington in S5), but apart from the Scavengers using them to get to Alexandria in S7, I don't believe they've been seen in TWD world since this day, long ago...


'Being on the run like this, scraping by, reminds me of the old gang.
Seems like ages now.' 

Even with all the fear and approaching danger afoot, this episode included some real tug-at-the-heartstrings moments, much of which carried haunting echoes from the past, but not always in a bad way.  Kelly's becoming such a cool member of our gang, wise beyond her years—if she can forgive Carol, everyone should.  Maybe it will seem to some that she forgave her too easily, but we have to remember that they live in extraordinary times, a permanent war zone in which anyone can die at any moment, emotions are through the roof, and normal standards do not apply.  Aside from the fact that a) Kelly doesn't believe Connie is dead, and b) Connie followed Magna back into the cave when she could have got out.

'I've heard the stories about you in the old days; we all have.  
How you'd just go off and do things only you can do.  
You can't give up everything about yourself because bad things happen.'

Then there was Eugene telling Princess that, 'I've made poor decisions.  Lied to folks', his eyes going just a little glazed, as if he was remembering that day on the road in S5 (shortly after Tara mentioned bicycles).

Star of the week, though, was dear, brave little Judith. Cailey Fleming was fabulous in this episode; just thirteen, and she can act like that?  Her fear for Michonne, and the fact that she misses her so much, were etched all over her face when Lydia said that 'not everyone gets to have a mom like yours', though I did wonder if she was thinking about the real mother that she never met, too.

Later, when she was talking to Daryl, and she said, 'What if you were lost and no one could find you?' —she had to be talking about Rick, there, as well as Michonne, surely?  The words seem to fall out of her mouth as she admitted that she was scared Daryl would go away, too; you could feel every shred of the emotion she was going through: her bravery in not talking about it, but also, at that moment, having the courage to do just that—and her fear about losing more people she loves.

'There's a whole bunch of people back there that'll do anything for you'
'You've got a whole lot of family'
'Nothing can take the place of someone you love being gone, 
but that doesn't mean that everything that follows is going to break your heart'

Beautiful, beautiful scene.  Judith is learning fast—she wants to be out there with Daryl and learn all that he could do, but that means hardening herself to the raw brutality of life outside the safe walls of Alexandria. Daryl knows this, sees that she is ready to learn about reality, and didn't try to shield her when he killed the injured Whisperer who left the pack to escape Beta's madness.  Daryl will teach her, and she'll grow up like Rosita, Michonne and Carol all rolled into one.  I hoped Carl was watching her, out there. 😢


The whole mum-daughter-loss/uncle figure thing was echoed by the more difficult and less easily resolved scenes with Negan and Lydia—and I thought Negan was telling the truth when he said that he liked Alpha; I believe he actually had some feelings for her, and must have seen a little bit of the woman she was before.  

Everything he said to Lydia felt totally from the heart and genuine; she said, 'You only killed her so they'd think you were a hero', and yes, there was probably an element of that in it, but Negan's reasons for killing Alpha were as complicated and mixed as Lydia's tormented emotions about her.  

He was right when he told her that she would have to mourn her mother; the way she allowed him to comfort her in the end made me think that she's going to let him help her.  Hope so, anyway.  Even if she didn't want his stewed possum. 

Finally, as far as Negan is concerned, I one hundred per cent agree with this, from @TWalkingDWorld on Twitter (click on to enlarge):


I did appreciate the locations this week, with Eugene's group looking genuinely wet and uncomfortable in the rain (don't often see raining scenes in TWD!), and also that terrific shot of the hospital, delapidated and covered in vegetation.  

And so the deranged Beta, the Whisperers and the Guardians approach, in a climax that reminded me of the White Walkers nearing The Wall in that season finale on Game of Thrones: a vast, terrifying, seemingly unbeatable mass.  Will Beta be gunning for Negan, in particular, now that he is seen by others as the new Alpha?  Negan can't die!

What a moment to be left hanging like this—we can only hope that it won't be too long before we can see them all again.  Stay safe, TWD friends; for now, I'll leave you with Judith's own TWD family ... starting with the moment Lori found out she existed 💕.

 and my gif post ~