Tuesday, 10 September 2013

As they say in the Temporal Mechanics Department, there's no time like the present

The title of this long overdue entry in my sadly neglected blog is a cheeky little reference to my neglect. I have been procrastinating in the last few months, so I feel that the words of Kathryn Janeway are quite appropriate. I'd promise to better in the coming days, but let's face it - Life, that absolute cheeky little frakker, has a habit of finding ways to interfere. In the meantime, I've racked up a few topics I feel worthy of babbling about. Not going to cover all of them today...going to attempt to say a couple for another blog post. In fact, in the course of making a quick scribble on a piece of paper at this very moment I discovered a theme. These topics can be grouped into categories of movies, TV and videogames. Given that I snagged today's title from a television show, today's category of rambling will be TV shows.

I'll start with Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. I had to do a quick trawl through my posts to check that the one and only time I mentioned it was in reference to Topher Brink being one of my top ten favourite tech people, so I now have free license to go for the full ramble.

Let's start with a mild pre-amble. I think it would be pretty difficult not to notice that I'm something of a Whedonite (if this isn't a term it probably should be). I hold Joss Whedon's works in very high regard and have a lot of time for pretty much anything he does, TV or movie. Especially after the awesomenesses that were Avengers and Much Ado About Nothing. Now, by and large Dollhouse is not held in the highest regard by a lot of people, Whedonites included I'm pretty sure. And I have to admit, I'm one of them. Dollhouse is the weakest of Joss Whedon's TV offerings, disappointing after the great offerings of Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.

I have to follow this paragraph up with a huge, gigantic YES IT FRAKKIN' DOES LOOK BIG IN THIS...


...I did, actually, quite thoroughly enjoy Dollhouse. I won't put it on a pedestal and say that it's the best thing Whedon has ever done. Joss may be Boss, but alas I can't sing too many praises. Dollhouse has great moments, some fantastic episodes, utterly astoundingly brilliant characters and some incredible acting talent...but alas, it's not enough to detract from the fact that, well, you do have to wade through a tiny bit of crap to get through to the really, really good stuff.

Now, thrashing the poor bugger while it's down and out for the count aside, let's talk about the good bits.

As with any Joss Whedon show, I absolutely love the witty banter that is fired off between the characters. In fact, I'd wager half of what I love about Whedon shows are the character dynamics, punctuated by the witty banter. For an example and some context for said example, the "Dolls" (or "Actives") of the eponymous Dollhouse are not supposed to exhibit the usual human reactions in their "Doll" state. In one episode, the B-Story Arc revolves around LA Dollhouse head tech Topher Brink (Fran Kranz) discovering that one of the Actives, "Victor" (Enver Gjokaj) is having a "man reaction" (Topher's exact description) and investigating this occurrence with Doctor Claire Saunders (Amy Acker), the head physician. In the course of their investigation, the phrase "I believe I spotted a tumescence" occurs. Giggles all round.

To go a bit sideways for a second, I want to touch upon my comment of "incredible acting talent" and single out the aforementioned Enver Gjokaj. During the course of the show, as one of the "Actives", he plays many different characters, essentially. And he does them all superbly. Including...well...here is a massive SPOILER ALERT. If you have not watched Dollhouse and intend to, do not continue much further. Well, skip the next paragraph at least.

For at one point, Victor is "imprinted" (the in-universe term for having a personality put into the blank-slate head of an Active) with...Topher 2.0. That's right, the brilliant techie that is Topher Brink has his mind copied and downloaded into Victor in season two in order for them to hack into a secured computer system. Utterly brilliant and genius. Enver Gjokaj, proving how awesome he is.

Anyway, moving on now.

Now, I will briefly discuss how I have been sucked into watching and enjoying Breaking Bad.

So this has been one of those shows that almost everyone I know has been raving on about. I'd heard about it, been intrigued by it. Finally managed to get to sitting down and watching some of it. And I must say, what I have seen has been very enjoyable. A particular highlight is the season two episode "Negro y Azul". Much laughter and enjoyment was had, though there is one part that I still wonder if I shouldn't have found it that funny. But oh well.

I said this would be brief, right? So there it is. Started watching it, think it's pretty good.

Moving on to something I'm going to absolutely rave about, my new addiction - The Almighty Johnsons.

My provider of sage advice and wisdom, Oracle, was the first to discover this. She recommended it on numerous occasions before me and my housemate finally sat down to watch it. And lo, it very quickly became...pretty much like crack for me (funny that I just mentioned Breaking Bad, a show about drug dealing...). Honestly. Couldn't stop watching it. Within in a few days, I had devoured both seasons. Twenty-three episodes total, but still.

Now, for some context. The Almighty Johnsons is a New Zealand TV show about four brothers, the Johnsons, who just so happen to be the mortal reincarnations of Norse gods. Yep. That's right. Norse gods in New Zealand. The eldest brother, Mike (full name Mikkel), is Ull, the god of the hunt and of games. Next up is Anders, played by The Hobbit's Fili, Dean O'Gorman. He is Bragi, god of poetry. And is a womanising jackass, but somehow, because it's Fili, I don't detest him as much as I should. Or maybe it's his godliness...anyway, next on the agenda is Ty, who is Hod, the god of all things dark and cold. He's not so happy about that. And last of all there's the youngest brother, Axl. In the first episode, it's his 21st birthday, the time when his god-hood manifests. And lo and behold, he discovers that he's none other than Odin, the Allfather. And in order to restore all the gods to their true powers, he has to find Odin's beloved, the goddess Frigg to restore the House of Asgard. Seems simple enough? Only there's a quartet of goddesses out to stop him.

The Almighty Johnsons is a comedy drama that I find absolutely, utterly 100% brilliant. Like I said, like crack for me. I've always had passing interest in mythology, knowing little to nothing about it, but by the gods and goddess of Asgard, this show makes me want to learn more.

I would rave so much more, but I feel that A) I've been babbling too long and B) The Almighty Johnsons can more than speak for itself. I now join my dear Oracle in her nail-biting irritation at the lack of season three on DVD. Come on, New Zealand. I can now more or less tell the difference between your accent and the Australian accent...release season three of The Almighty Johnsons on DVD? Pretty please...?

(Song of the Mind: Battlestar Sonatica - Bear McCreary)

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