Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘You’ve Done It Again, Lewis!’: On the Enduring Worth of ‘Inspector Morse’

 

There are, it seems, about a million British detective shows on offer to American audiences (about a million to the power of ten when you add in all the other European sleuthing nationalities), from heart-pumping “Luther” to the more sedate “Ms. Marple’s Mysteries.” Having grown up without cable and had 90 percent of my television-viewing experiences before high school courtesy of WGBH, I have a definite familiarity with the full range of British television offerings (“Vicar of Dibley,” “Keeping Up Appearances,” and “Waiting for God” were all household favorites), but age prevented me from ever making the acquaintance of “Inspector Morse.”

It took until halfway through high school, when I had, in a rare coup d’état, actually managed to get hold of the solitary television clicker, to see the Inspector on Netflix and my mother in no uncertain terms demanded that he disappear after half an hour. However, I was hooked. Even within the diverse range of detective dramas, Morse is a quite singular property, elaborate plotted, skillfully filmed, chock-full of more obscure references than an Umberto Eco novel, and poignant without being sappy or sentimental. A genius product of pop culture. 

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Very Python Memory

 

The death this week of Monty Python member Terry Jones brought back an unforgettable memory of our one meeting.

As I commented here recently, for eight seasons I hosted an eponymous interview show in Silicon Valley that was syndicated to PBS stations around the country. Over the course of 300-odd shows I had a number of memorable experiences: holding Jane Goodall’s hands to keep them warm on a freezing hotel rooftop shoot, drinking wine with Julia Child while talking about the OSS, listening to Dizzy Gillespie tell how he stabbed Cab Calloway in the butt … and scores more.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘9-1-1 Lone Star,’ Give Me a Break. Please.

 

This is RightAngles, TV Reporter, here to save you some time. Do not bother to watch the new Fox show 9-1-1 Lone Star unless you want to end up throwing things at your TV. I admit I may have been predisposed to disliking this show because in the trailer they flew the Texas flag upside-down, but I think my initial gut reaction proved to be correct. So without further ado, here is my reaction to this over-the-top mishmash of SJW causes.

My first clue was when with the opening credits barely finished, we learn that New York Fire Capt. Rob Lowe’s son, also a fireman, is gay. I mean they just could not wait to stick that in there. Lowe is sent to Austin to repopulate a firehouse where everyone died in an explosion, and they tell him diversity is paramount (what?). As a result, we see him interviewing a paramedic in a hijab (he hires her even though she has 11 reprimands on her record), a black trans person (a twofer!), a basic Brown Guy who has failed the written exam four times (he hires him too), gay men, etc., etc. I mean is this the Fire Department or the SJW Cavalcade?

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Film Review: 1917

 

Back in the late 1940s and throughout the 50s, as the motion picture studios sought to fight off the advancement of the one-eyed monster called “television,” film studios experimented with gimmicks to lure their once faithful audiences out of their living rooms and back into the theaters. It saw the introductions of wide screens, curved screens, 3-D glasses, even a run at “Smell-O-Rama.” One of those early attempts to redefine the motion picture experience was Rope, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1949 attempt to replicate a “real-time” experience by shooting a single-set story in long uncut takes, the longest of which pushed it to the limits of a 10-minute film magazine (10:06).

We seem to be back in that era. Sam Mendes’ latest picture, 1917, harkens back to Hitchcock and creates a movie with a single two-hour tracking shot. Like Hitchcock, Mendes and his editor use blackouts and other distractions like a plunge underwater to hide the seams. At first, you might think it’s rather a nifty technique and it does work very well during the action sequences. But the rest of the time it becomes an annoyance, but maybe it’s me. Having directed my share of television over the course of my career and watched others much more talented than I do it even better, I believe the best direction is almost transparent and should always enhance the story and never do anything that ends up saying, “Look at what I can do!” That’s also the danger of CGI.

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Finish the week strong with your Friday martinis! Join Jim and Greg as they discuss the roster of President Trump’s impeachment defense team, including former independent counsel Ken Starr and famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz. They also roll their eyes as Arizona Sen. Martha McSally tries to fundraise off of calling CNN reporter Manu Raju […]

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Nothing but crazy martinis today and the last one is a lot of fun! Join Jim and Greg today as they try to understand how bumbling figures like Lev Parnas ended up as Rudy Giuliani’s key operatives in Ukraine. They also shake their heads as Iowa Democrats plan to release three separate results from the […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 10): The Many-Sundered Heart

 

Nessa-Cthoney’s long golden-green hair went flying back in the storm winds, as flames that had nothing to do with the torches flickering nearby glowed in her eyes like burning embers.

Lightning flashed and glinted over the Death’s Head pin in the witch doctress’s hand as it hovered over the ragged-trousered voodoo doll of the man known as Nemo.

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Who knew you could have so much fun talking about Elizabeth Warren? Join Jim and Greg as they wade into Warren’s accusation that Bernie Sanders told her two years ago that a woman couldn’t get elected president. They also shake their heads as Warren promises to cancel a lot of student loan debt on her […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Neil Peart, RIP

 

Neil Peart, drummer for the Canadian rock band Rush, died on January 7 from brain cancer. Saturday, the news caught up with us 50- and 60-something fans, as yet another hero from our youth passed on.

Peart was a drummer’s drummer, and people far more qualified than I will give him his appropriate tribute. I do have a couple of stories that reflect my own admiration for his skills.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Hollywood: The Scene That Celebrates Itself

 

Actor and comedian Ricky Gervais did the unthinkable Sunday night: he made an awards show interesting. As millionaire celebrities and billionaire moguls congratulated each other at the start of another tedious awards season, Gervais took a flamethrower to the house of cards.

In this room are some of the most important TV and film executives in the world. People from every background. They all have one thing in common: They’re all terrified of Ronan Farrow. He’s coming for ya. Talking of all you perverts, it was a big year for pedophile movies. Surviving R. Kelly, Leaving Neverland, Two Popes. Shut up. Shut up. I don’t care. I don’t care.

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Neon Genesis Evangelion, the iconic anime series that you can currently stream on Netflix, was the brainchild of director Hideaki Anno and produced by famed animation studio Gainax. Anno was one of the founders of Gainx and arguably its guiding force through most of its early history, having since left. The studio itself was famous […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. News from the World of Entertainment

 

Last night Hollywood patted itself on the back at another interminable awards show. You know, the one you didn’t watch. Me, I have been trained not to watch these things since I was a little kid and they interrupted my finely crafted schedule of targeted TV watching, probably interrupted Quincy, Hill Street Blues, or Marcus Welby… I don’t know, just know that I hated award shows.

They futzed with the schedule.

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We’ve got three compelling martinis to help you ease back into that first day back at work or school. Join Jim and Greg as they applaud comedian Ricky Gervais for hammering Hollywood for its hypocrisy and self-importance at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday evening on topics ranging from Harvey Weinstein to Jeffrey Epstein to Chinese […]

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I just saw The Rise of Skywalker, and I loved it. The visual and aural effects were astounding, the settings beautiful, the story fun, most of the main characters engaging, and the adaptations of what audiences love about Star Wars present without being too derivative. This was brilliant high-tech, family-friendly fantasy storytelling. I did think […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lessons from an SJW Mob (or, Horror in Romancelandia)

 

Isolate the target. That’s the first rule of mobbing. But who knew it would result in so many targets?

My sister and I are writers. She’s romance, I’m mystery. We’re both members of Romance Writers of America (RWA). So, when a fairly big-name romance writer, Courtney Milan, was censured by RWA for cyberbullying, we got curious about what was going on. We got even more curious when Milan’s gang turned on the RWA board and got most to resign, ruined the reputation of the gay man who became president, and seems on the verge of taking down the 9,000+ member organization.

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I knew a few things when forming this list, it would be very biased against both Asian and animated Cinema and I could not include anything by Terrence “I can’t write” Malick or “Pretentious” Thomas Anderson (I really hate those guys and I’m not wasting any more time or money on either). I really need […]

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Star Wars had a simple winning formula: More

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 9): The Phoenix and the Flame

 

The Phoenix wheezed as it flapped slowly higher over the volcano, sparks trailing from its side like liquid drops of light. Molting feathers shimmered red and gold as they spiraled down to the ground and burst into flame. Not much further now …

As it rose over the rim of the volcano, the phoenix looked down – and saw only cold black rock. No lava, no healing fire and warmth. The volcano was dead. Not just dormant, but never coming back. And the phoenix … was dying. And not a cloud in the sky …

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Yes—froglegs for Christmas! Give the gift of Froglegs this Holiday Season. They’re free. They bring smiles… and every time you share, an angel slaps a Democrat. True Story. More

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Unlike most unsolicited, intrusive online messages that pop up or appear in e-mail to remind me of some tepid offer when I simply want to be left alone to use a service, I enjoy the Facebook memory feature. It will say something like “7 years ago today,” and then bring up an old post or picture. […]

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