Criminal Minds: "Amplification"

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DOCTOR WHO: "The Power of the Doctor" came as a complete surprise to me. Well, I shouldn't say a complete surprise as I knew she'd be returning in the Fall (plus commercial for it aired during Graham Norton), but I didn't know exactly when. I would advise anyone interested to avoid any coverage of the episode at all until one has had the chance to see it. Tracy only skimmed a headline yesterday afternoon which gave away a plot point that totally blew me away!

THE WALKING DEAD: When one of the the last episodes of TWD airs back-to-back with the return of Doctor Who, it is a good night for TV indeed. 

(We also watched episode two of "Bly Manor".)

Pretty sure I saw that headline.

I'm sorry. :(

It's alright. I should have stayed away from the media for a few more hours. Besides, I wasn't very surprised, and I was delighted by a lot of things that weren't spoiled.

Overall, my reaction to the show was "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, oh thank you, yes!"

Tracy's three-word review: "This is fun!"

The Beeb posted the regeneration scene on FB.  I was not pleased by the ending, aalthoug I do have a thery that would explain it that I won't go into right here, right now.

THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR: At first, this nine-part adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw reminded me of A Christmas Carol... not the one one by Charles Dickens but the one SyFy did for TV a couple of years back, in which they took the characters from the novel, then proceeded to tell their own damn story with them. As much as The Turn of the Screw is a ghost story, it it a mystery... several mysteries, in fact, all of them left unsolved by the author. The overarching question that has surrounded the original novella for well over 100 years is is it a ghost story? Or is it all in the governess's mind? I think it is that mystery which has kept the story so popular for all these years. The book has many, smaller, (unsolved) mysteries as well: Why was Miles expelled from school? Why is the children's uncle so detached? What, exactly, was the relationship between Miss Jessel and Peter Quint? Why did [X] die at the end? And, structurally, what happened to the framing sequence?

This TV mini-series eliminates all mystery whatsoever. Let me just tell you up front: there are ghosts in this version. In fact, every question raised in the book is answered, every mystery solved. The more I watched it, the more fascinated I became. It is as if the writer set out to retell the story with the specific intention of solving all the mysteries. (I daresay the writer must have been a fan of Dark Shadows as well, because her answer could also apply to the ghosts of Quentin and Beth, the children David and Amy.) If you have any interest whatsoever in reading The Turn of the Screw and have not, my advise is to read it first, then try to solve the mysteries for yourself before watching The Haunting of Bly Manor. But if you don't have any interest in the novel, you should still find the TV series entertaining if you like gothic horror. 

I would also recommend reading James' "The Jolly Corner" before watching THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR.

Whoops! Too late for me.


We're watching Cabinet of Curiosities, the new eight-episode series (we can hope that it's just season one) by Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinthe).

It's very reminiscent of Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Alfred Hitchock Presents, or maybe Crypt of Terror, with del Toro himself the host who introduces the stories. Two episodes are adaptations of H.P. Lovecraft short stories, with three more by writers who have written for the Cthulhu mythos (Henry Kuttner, Michael Shea), one an HPL contemporary (Kuttner). (Although it is not those stories that are adapted, I think.) Del Toro himself writes two.

Our favorites: We weren't terribly impressed with the first two, "Lot 36" and "Graveyard Rats," which spent too much time establishing the protagonists as people we shouldn't root for, before getting to the scary bits. The second, in particular, reminded me of an EC story with a few tweaks (including what looks like a Great Old Ones necklace, possibly Cthulhu himself.) They were like typical Twilight Zone episodes, only with better effects, which is not a complaint.

"The Autopsy" is is scary and grisly and our favorite so far. Well, my favorite -- my wife's favorite is "The Outside," which has to do with unrealistic standards of beauty and the pursuit of them. For her, "The Autopsy" (with F. Murray Abraham) comes in second.

"Pickman's Model" is also very good. It's one of the two HPL adaptations, a story which I have both read in print and seen adapted for TV (Night Gallery), and this adaptation tweaks the story quite a bit for more horror and death than the original story provided. It stars Ben Barnes (The Punisher, Shadow and Bone) and an unrecognizable Crispin Glover (Back to Future I-III). Both Barnes and Glover adopt bad accents; I think Barnes was going for Boston Brahmin, but for the most part dropped it pretty quickly (thank goodness). Glover was trying for Irish, maybe? But it often came out more Italian. Maybe he was supposed to be vaguely foreign but not specific. Nevertheless, good episode.

We have yet to see the last three episodes, the first of which ("Dreams in the Witch House") is the other Lovecraft adaptation. The penultimate episode ("The Viewing") stars Peter Weller (RoboCop) and the final one ("The Murmuring") is written by del Toro.

The episodes were released two at a time on four consecutive days. Which is weird, but maybe a Halloween thing. Those shows aired Tue-Fri last week, so they're all currently available on Netflix.

So far, I've seen only "Lot 36," which was like Storage Wars meets H.P. Lovecraft.

GHOSTS: Tracy found out about this show somewhere. We watched the first episode last night and I thought it was mildly amusing. We watched the second episode tonight and I am hooked. I think there's an America version as well, but we're watching the original British one. 

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