Sunday Rundown – That’s What She Read

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This week has been awful. Last Sunday I came down with a bit of a cold that quickly turned into the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. I’ve spent this week at work feeling like I was submerged under water but at a depth that was causing me intense pain all over my body. There was genuinely a point when my headache felt like a bunch of tiny pixies were repeatedly stabbing me with their tiny pixie knives. Then there was the guy who was attempting to jab a screwdriver through my eyeball several times a day. It’s been dreadful. I tend to get a bit pathetic when I’m ill. I just lie down and accept death no matter what the affliction. So, I haven’t had a very exciting week. Especially considering I was expecting to have finished my current read by now. November and October were really shitty reading months for me. Must try harder in December.

Weekly Blog Posts

  • TUESDAY’S REVIEWS – Geostorm (2017)

I could have gone my whole life without seeing this ridiculous looking Gerard Butler film but, in a cold-induced haze, I watched it. It’s safe to say my life will never be the same. Find out more here.

  • BOOK POST

Again, I genuinely planned on writing something this week but, you know, ill. It’s amazing I managed to do anything this week. I will start doing this on a regular basis soon… I’m sure of it.

  • TBT – Left Behind (2014)

After describing Gerard Butler as the new Nicolas Cage I decided it was only fitting to watch one of the Cagester’s films for this week’s TBT. I picked the shortest one I could find on Netflix because that’s the kind of approach I have to this segment. It was another life-changing watch. Read all about it here.

Currently Reading

  • Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve been so ill this week. I’ve been unable to do anything really so have let my reading get away from me. I’ve managed a couple of chapters this week so I really need to step up my game.

Recently Purchased 
  • Oxfam book haul

Another week and another couple of trips to the new Oxfam books in town. God I love this shop.

  • Surrender the Pink by Carrie Fisher – I bought this because, duh, I adore Carrie Fisher and this has one of the most intriguing openings I’ve ever read. “Dinah Kaufman lost her virginity a total of three times. Not because it was so large that it took three times to knock it out, but because she thought losing your virginity was supposed to mean something and it took her three strikes to feel that she was even remotely in the meaning ball game.” If you read that and didn’t think the phrase “three times to knock it out” was enough to make you buy it then we’re just too different.
  • Brighton Rock by Graham Greene – I bought another copy of this because it was a really simple but really lovely looking Penguin edition. You’ll definitely see it on my Instagram soon.
  • Sherlock Holmes: The complete illustrated short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – I own far too many different copies of the Sherlock Holmes short stories but this illustrated book was an instant buy. It’s gorgeous and was so fucking cheap.
  • The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith – This was something of a guilty purchase because it was in the collectables section of the store. I’m talking locked in a fucking cupboard and everything. This is an illustrated edition of a novel of sensibility that I studied at university. It’s so beautiful and, despite being on the higher end of the charity shop scale, is still cheaper than a brand new paperback. I saw this and spent days thinking about buying it. I’m so glad I did.
Recently Watched 
  • Netflix Binges: Jonathan Creek, QI
To be honest, I couldn’t really remember what I’ve been watching this week. I think I’ve mostly fallen asleep trying to watch most things. I’m so pathetic at the moment. I’ll be better next week.

TOP 10 WEN-SDAY – Top 10 Fictional Jobs

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Today I was rejected for another job that I really wanted. To be fair, I highly suspected I hadn’t got it even after they spent 4 days longer than they said to contact me. It still sucks though because I thought it would have been a really good fit. I’m getting so used to getting psyched up for interviews and then coming out feeling like shit. I’m sick of job hunting. When I got a promotion at work a year or so ago I nailed the interview. Since then, every interview I’ve had has ended in rejection. So I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion the job I’m most qualified for is the one I know, wholeheartedly, I don’t want to do. Whilst the job that I’m desperate to get is the one that nobody thinks I should be doing. Great. So, I’ve got some thinking to do, which is convenient because a recent Instagram challenge prompt asked me to reveal my dream fictional job. It’s an interesting question. Yes, it won’t help me in my job search but when my current job is so fucking boring I need to pass the time somehow. This prompt happened to fall today which is the first Wednesday of the month. Perfect timing for a hastily put together Top 10 Wen-sday.
Ten: 00-Agent (James Bond)

I know that James Bond is an awful mess of sexism and nonsense these days but I always loved the films as a kid. I think I’ve always been fascinated by spies and secret agents when I was growing up. My favourite episode of Thunderbirds was the one with the secret agents and I was obsessed with Bond’s gadgets. I realise that I wouldn’t be as suave or sophisticated as 007 and I certainly wouldn’t be ordering Martinis when I walked into a bar. However, I’d be pretty happy to drive around in fancy gars with exploding pens in my pocket.

Nine: Paper Salesman (The Office)

I realise that the act of selling paper itself isn’t that dream worthy a job but it would be if you were doing it at either Wernham Hogg or Dunder Mifflin. I’d love to do this job for a short time just to get the chance to work with the characters on both shows. We’d all love to mess around with Tim/Jim and hang out with Dawn/Pam at reception. And, despite their flaws, I’ve have worse bosses than either David Brent or Michael Scott. This could be a breath of fresh air.

Eight: Man in Black (Men in Black)

This job may have more to do with the accompanying Will Smith song than a real desire to do it but I think that’s reason enough. This just feels like a cool job. Wake up, save the world from Alien scum, erase people’s minds, and go home. What a way to spend your day. This would be a job where you would wake up desperate to go to work and look insanely good whilst doing it.

Seven: A Detective (Sherlock HolmesPoriotMiss Marple etc)

In real life, I’d probably be shit detective. I’ve watched enough crime dramas and failed to work out who the killer is to know this. I’m probably either too trusting or not trusting enough of people. This wouldn’t work too well. I’d either suspect nobody or everyone. So, in my dream world, I’m a great detective. It’s perfect. You solve crimes and get to be kind of a dick to everyone. Plus, you always get some sort of great accessory that makes you stand out. Hat, moustache, knitting… I wonder what mind would be.

Six: Member of Starfleet (Star Trek)

I don’t even care what job I’d have to do for this to happen. I’d be a red shirt and run the constant risk of sudden death if I had to. Who wouldn’t love the chance to be on the Starship Enterprise? Especially if it was The Next Generation era. Working under Captain Jean-Luc and discussing great things with Data? Sounds like a great day at the office. Then there’s the whole holodeck thing… and we all know, what happens on the holodeck stays on the holodeck.

Five: Auror (Harry Potter)

I reckon a lot of people who thought about this kind of list would say that a teacher at Hogwarts would be the best job in the series. However, I would hate it. I’ve already discussed my feelings about the way the school is run so I don’t think I could get on board with it. There would be far too much stress and so much work to do. Then you have to deal with kids. Not just any kids, mind, but magical kids. No, I’d much rather be the next Alastor Moody and go around kicking the arses of bad witches and wizards. Doling out justice with my wand in hand… I can picture that.

Four: Ghostbuster (Ghostbusters)

I’d happily be a part of either the original team or the new, girl-only team. I think the original film is clearly better but there was something about the new one that I loved. Whatever happens, I’d love to get the chance to test out a proton pack and capturing some spirits. I could even get on board with the unflattering jumpsuits.

Three: A Member of International Rescue (Thunderbirds)

I absolutely bloody love Thunderbirds so would love the chance to join the team. I’ve always wanted to be Virgil if I’m honest. Yes, he doesn’t get the glory in the way that Scott does but he’s probably the most important guy on nearly every mission. He carries the bloody supplies to each site and controls every piece of equipment that is needed. The guys a bloody hero but Scott acts like the big I am all the time. Ridiculous. Still, I’d rock the hat and I’d love to have a portrait that has light-up eyes.

Two: Pokemon Trainer (Pokemon)

This may not really count as a job but, in the game at least, you got money for winning matches. I’d love to wander around and catch Pokemon for a living. It’d be difficult but I think I’d get a pretty good team together. Then it’d be on my way to the Gyms to get my hands on the coveted badges. I’m already a proven Pokemon Master using my Gameboy so why not make it official?

One: Jedi (Star Wars)

Okay, I’m not entirely sure that a Jedi even counts a job either but I can’t deny that it’s something I’d love to do. Yes, the whole celibacy thing would be tough but I’d love to learn how to use the force. To travel around the galaxy and stop uprisings and shit. I think I’d be a pretty good General and could proved fairly useful in the Clone Wars. I think I could cope with the pretentious and moral act that I’d have to put on…as long as I could get my hands on a lightsaber. That’s the real draw.

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

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I honestly thought I’d done quite well in terms of book buying this month. I thought I’d managed to reign in my desires and only buy a few books each week. The other day I had to take a monthly book haul photo for one of the Instagram challenges that I’m taking part in. Boy was I wrong. I’ve gone a bit wild without even realising. I seriously have to get this under control because I don’t have the space for them or the time to read them all. I just can’t help myself and there are so many great books coming out that it’s never going to end. I’m just going to have to be brutal and get rid of a load of stuff that I’ve either read or will never read. It’s so difficult to actually decide what can go though. Ah, being a book nerd is always so hard. At least I’m getting somewhere with the reading. I’ve managed to get through some pages this week. It feels good.

Currently Reading

  • The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker
I started this when I went away last week and I bloody love it. It’s one of the books on my ‘Anticipated Books of 2017’ list and it’s as good as I hoped it would be. I was worried at first that it would the same old “trying to be gritty” kind of story but the friendship at the centre of the story is excellently written. I’m looking forward to finishing this soon and hope to read more from Whitaker in the future. It’s one of those rare occasions when a debut novel actually lives up to the hype and I’d already recommend it to everyone. 

Recently Purchased
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Classics Reimagined) by Arthur Conan Doyle
I have more copies of Sherlock Holmes novels than I’d ever need and I really don’t need any more. However, as soon as I’d bought the Pride and Prejudice edition of these Classic Reimagined I just had to try and get a better set. Where else would I start than a set of stories that I already loved wholeheartedly? And I’m glad I did. The book is gorgeous (check out my latest Instagrams for the proof). I won’t be in a rush to reread the Adventures but I’m having a blast just looking at the pictures.
  • Alice in Wonderland (Classics Reimagined) by Lewis Carroll

My middle name is Alice so when I was growing up I think Alice in Wonderland had a a bigger impact on me when I was a kid. I became Alice and I had all sorts of pictures and related stuff in my room. I loved the book and the film so much and I still do. I had to reread it a few years ago during my final year of my undergraduate and it’s amazing how much joy it still gave me in that environment. Normally I avoid critically analysing books I love but this was one of the few exceptions. So I’m always looking for gorgeous copies of this book. This was another one I absolutely needed to add to the collection.

  • The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
I bought this during a trip to the bookshop for another book. I couldn’t find that one but got so excited seeing this that I bought it immediately. I’d seen that Simsion had a book coming out this year but hadn’t really paid attention to the date. So when I realised it was here I kind of lost control a bit. I’m quite excited about this and plan on taking it up as soon as I’ve finished The Animators. I enjoyed The Rosie Project but was annoyed enough by certain elements that I didn’t rush to read the sequel. So I really want to see what Simsion has to offer outside of Don Tillman’s bubble.  

Recently Watched
  • David Brent: Life on the Road
I had been planning on seeing this when it first came out at the cinema with some guys from work. As with all social gatherings with my coworkers these days it never happened. I’ve now finally seen it. And I’ll tell you what I thought on Tuesday.

  • Netflix binges: Cuckoo and Riverdale
I finished watching Cuckoo series 1-3 as I was packing to go on holiday and I really enjoyed it. I loved the first series with Andy Samberg because I love Andy Samberg and think Greg Davies is one of the funniest men alive. I was shocked to discover that Taylor Lautner, who I’d always ignored thanks to his Twilight links, was actually really funny too. I now love this show and I will look forward to the release of series 4 when it comes.

After Cuckoo I was at a loss for what to watch so decided to finally watch Riverdale. It had been starring at me for a while but I just didn’t think I’d like it. I’ve caught up with all the available episodes and I’m still unconvinced. I mean it’s okay but it kind of feels like a YA version of Twin Peaks. Something that is fine for people who haven’t seen Twin Peaks. This is the kind of premise that has been used countless times before and Riverdale doesn’t have enough going for it to make it seem fresh. The only joy I could see comes from having an understanding of the characters in their original format… something I don’t really have. I’ll keep trying but this just feels like it’s not going anywhere interesting or new.

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

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This is such a late post because I’ve been unusually active today. I spent my Sunday off visiting a friend of mine so have been out most of the day. It means I’ve done none of my usual day off lounging and watching Netflix, which is good, but it also means I’ve done no reading. So you win some and you lose some. January has been a difficult month for my family so I think I’m just a little preoccupied to anything that taxing. Reading just seems too much whilst I’m in the emotional space that I’m currently residing. So I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. Something that is much harder to do when you’re as neurotic about insignificant things as I am.

Currently Reading

  • The Plague by Albert Camus
I really love this book but it’s so intense that I can’t read it at night and I keep forgetting to take it to work with me. The writing is fantastic but the chapters are lengths that are conducive to a quick pre-bed read. I doubt I’ll finish this by the end of the month which means there isn’t a forecast for 2017 to end with an improvement on the number of books I read last year.  

  • Ball by Tara Ison

Because I was so upset at the prospect of not finishing a single book this month I decided to take a break from The Plague and read something a little easier. So I picked up this short story collection that I’ve had for a while. So far it’s been a charming and fairly quick read which makes a change from Camus. I just need something simpler to get me back into reading before I’m ready to tackle that again. This could be the thing to do that.

Recently Purchased

I’ve been really good this week and not bought a single new book. Something that I would call a victory if I had successfully managed to read more. At least then it would feel as though my TBR pile were getting smaller. Instead it’s just staying at it’s now standard huge length. 
Recently Watched
  • Sherlock series 4 again
I was having mixed feelings about the latest series so decided I needed to watch all 3 epsiodes again. I still kind of like the first episode. I mean it’s not the greatest but there have been much worse ones. I liked the second episode more than I did the first time but still felt bored. I love Sherlock and John’s relationship but this episode pushed it too far. The final episode? I still think it was possibly the second worst episode in the show’s history… and that’s only because ‘The Blind Banker’ is the biggest load of shit I’ve ever seen. I don’t know. There were good moments and I think all three actors were great. I mean I was in tears as Mycroft willingly sacrificed himself. But it just felt too much like a parody. It was all over the place and didn’t make sense. I want there to be another series so we can improve on this one but it also feels as though Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have kind of lost their way. 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (Netflix)
I wasn’t sure that I was going to watch this new Netflix adaptation of the Lemony Snicket books but on my day off on Monday I decided to give it a go. I loved it. I mean it’s not perfect and, despite my absolute love of him and think he’s great in the role, I think NPH has been given a bit too much free reign. I mean that theme tune is just wrong for the show. Still, it improves dramatically on the 2004 film. Patrick Warburton is amazing as Lemony Snicket and the supporting cast have been sensational so far. It could be improved but is certainly worth a watch.  
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Film)
Decided to rewatch this after I started the television show. You can read my thoughts in the previous post.

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

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I’ll be honest with you, this week has fucking sucked and I’m super glad it’s over. It’s been a shit week for my family and, really, I haven’t felt in the mood to do anything. Other than shop. That’s the one thing I can rely on at all times. So this week’s rundown isn’t exactly inspiring. I have read some things but I’m only getting through one chapter a night because I’m so tired. Still, it’s hopeful and tomorrow is the start of a new week. It can only get better.. or I hope so because any worse and I’d have to give everything up.

Currently Reading

  • The Plague by Albert Camus
This is slow going, I’m not going to lie but I am getting into it. I love the writing and it’s a super interesting study of humanity in a difficult time. I’ve had this on my TBR for ages so I’m hoping I get more inspired soon. I just need to watch less Netflix and spend less time on the internet. 

Recently Purchased
  • The Magician of Lublin by Isaac Bashevis Singer
I wasn’t supposed to be buying books this week. I was doing so well… until I saw that Pocket Penguin editions come in fucking pink. I know barely anything about this book but as soon as I knew it existed I bought it. I’ve seen bright pink Penguin editions all over Instagram and have always been jealous. Now I have my own and my life feels more full.
  • The Great Science Fiction by H.G. Wells
Another that I don’t need because it contains copies of books I already own multiple copies of. However, this collection of Wells’ stories is beautiful. I’ve never needed a better reason to buy a book in the past so it’ll do me now.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Illustrated Edition) by J.K Rowling
This is another of those books that I’ve coveted for ages but haven’t felt like I could justify. Until I decided to just say “fuck it” and bought it. It’s a beautiful edition and has already come in handy on my Instagram. I’d say it was a great investment. 
Recently Watched
  • Sherlock series 4 episode 3
I’ve pretty much just finished watching this as I write and I’m not sure how I feel about it. This whole series has been weird. I liked the first episode but it wasn’t anyway near the best. I hated the second but loved the ending. This one felt… disappointing. It was emotional, certainly, but I feel like they’re forever moving Sherlock more into the realms of the Steven Moffat era Dr Who. He’s like a completely different character to the one from the beginning and I just don’t buy it as much. It’s too far removed from the books and it’s an unprecedented change. I’m kind of hoping we don’t get much more because it’ll be a fucking rom-com in no time. It’s less about the solving of crimes and more about Sherlock’s emotions. It’s as awkward and annoying as the moment The Big Bang Theory started making Sheldon a more emotional person. It just didn’t work with the character development they’d already started. I’ll have to watch this again.
  • The Girl on the Train
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this film considering my feelings on the book. But I kind of wanted to see how it worked out. And I do fucking love Emily Blunt. So, what did I think? Find out Tuesday.

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 fictional characters I’d want in my zombie apocalypse squad

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These Top 10 Wednesdays really sneak up on me so I’m always caught off guard. I don’t know why I’m so shit at remembering considering it happens at the start of every new month. I try and spend the month thinking about the next one but still feel unprepared when the day finally arrives. This month I wanted to celebrate the upcoming ghoulish celebrations by making it Halloween themed but my proposed Top 10 Alternative Halloween films list just didn’t happen. So I’ve decided to keep that for closer to the day and have instead decided to delve into a topic that is fairly controversial for me. I think I’ve made it clear that I’m fucking bored by zombies these days but, at a time like this. you can’t really get away from the little buggers. So it begs the question, if the day ever comes when the undead decide to fight back who do I really want by my side? What I’m essentially doing is creating the cast list for my ultimate dream zombie apocalypse movie. And I know what you’re thinking, why not just find 10 characters who have survived zombie apocalypses? Well, that would be both boring and not as much fun. So, I’ve avoided that wherever possible. It’s going to be great. But probably not. You know who these things go.


Ten: Gillian Holtzmann

 A bit of a weird one I must admit because she’s mostly prepped for dealing with ghosts. However, look back at her fucking awesome gun sequence in Ghostbusters and you’ll see she’s pretty handy with firearms. She could easily change her targets if need be. Plus, you need people who are gonna be fun if you’re the last remaining humans on Earth. I mean I love Andrew Lincoln so much but Rick Grimes is so fucking miserable and annoying. I’d have given him up to the Walkers many seasons ago. Holtzmann would put the “ha” in zombie ha-pocalypse. Also, you need more than death in a zombie movie. The sexual tension between me and the Holtz would be palpable. Or, more likely, entirely in my head and making everyone else uncomfortable. But you know, subplot.

Nine: Rupert Giles

I know, I know. Why would you pick someone from the Buffyverse and not pick Buffy herself? Well, think about it. Buffy is great, undoubtedly, but you have to spend every day with these people. Every day. Look at Buffy in season 5 and beyond. She moans… a lot. That would be super annoying after a while. Yes, she’s the chosen one but why does she have to be so holier than thou about it? Yes, Giles may have a propensity for getting bashed on the head every time he tries to fight someone, at least he knows a fuckload about the forces of evil. Surely if there’s anyone that could find a way to end the zombie plight then it’d be Giles. Besides, every zombie film has that one person who always falls into a zombie trap and needs rescuing. If I don’t provide that person then it would end up being me.

Eight: Minerva McGonagall

 Minerva is old, make no mistake, but she’s a badass motherfucker and I want her on my team. Just look at her in Deathly Hallows, she’s a queen. She faces off against Snape, holds her own in the Battle of Hogwarts and says two of the best lines in the final two films. Minerva is a powerful witch that, when Dumbledore was alive, was always overlooked. She’s amazing. Plus, you know, Maggie Smith. 

 Seven: Sherlock

In all honesty I wasn’t sure about including Sherlock on the list. He’s hardly an action hero who would be able to stand up to the zombies. However, he is the kind of guy who could help with strategy. He’d know how to keep people safe and where to get the supplies we need. He’d be the one that would wind everyone up but would ultimately save everyone’s life. Brawn isn’t everything you know. Zombies shouldn’t be the only ones looking for braaaaaains.

 Six: Obi Wan

 There were a lot of people from Star Wars that I could have chosen to be part of my dream team but there were more that I knew wouldn’t work: Luke and Yoda would be far too annoying; Chewie would no doubt growl loudly enough to alert a horde to our presence; Darth Vader would definitely kill you given the chance; Anakin is annoying as fuck; and Mace Windu was clearly shit as shown in his fucking stupid death. It essentially came down to Leia, Han and Obi Wan. I chose Obi Wan because I’m a bigger fan of Ewan McGregor’s face than I am Carrie Fisher and Han Solo without Chewie just didn’t seem right. Besides, he was a pretty big deal during the Clone Wars so General Kenobi would be a fine edition to the team.

Five: Ellen Ripley

Ripley is often considered to be the greatest female character of all time and it’s easy to see why. She’s an amazing character who has lived through enough alien encounters to make it obvious that she’d survive this. Ripley is exactly the kind of person you need around when things get tough and it doesn’t seem as though she’d be too annoying to be around. If anything I think she’d be my sassy, cynical soulmate. We’d be BFFs in no time. I’m positive.

Four: John McClane

Earlier this year I was asked in an interview “which fictional character would you most identify with?” As I’d watched Die Hard a couple of days before I could only think of this guy but I think it’s a pretty good answer. John McClane is the kind of guy I’d want to be around in a crisis. Now I’m not talking about Die Hard 4 era John McClane. I’m talking 80s god John McClane. The guy who single-handedly took down a whole gang of German thieves. Imagine what he could do in a zombie apocalypse? I mean he’s a man who doesn’t mind being dirty, he thinks on his feet, and he’s handy with the weapons. Exactly the kind of man who’d get you through a zombie infestation.

Three: Brienne of Tarth

 I realise that there are very few lists on this blog that don’t contain Brienne of Tarth now but there’s a reason for that. The woman is a fucking badass. She’s handy with a sword, fucking huge, and just really awesome. I’d love to be stuck with her at the end of days. She’d protect me and help me get things off high shelves. I mean she fought a bear and lived for fuck’s sake. Why wouldn’t you want her around. And I’m pretty sure Podrick would just follow her around anyway and, as we know, I a fan of the Brienne-Pod friendship. It would add some much needed sentiment to my Z-movie.
  
Two: Jack Bauer

So I’ve saved the best til last. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Jack Bauer is handy in a crisis and knows how to stick to a deadline. If there’s anything we learnt from the 9 seasons of 24 it’s that Jack Bauer can turn anything into a weapon which would be incredibly handy given it’s the end of the world and supplies would probably be limited. The guy’s got skills. He’s also incredibly attractive so it only increases my chances for romance in my zombie movie. You know how it is: I nearly get eaten by zombies, Jack Bauer saves me, he proceeds to shout abuse and threats at me and, obviously, one thing leads to another. This shit writes itself.

One: Groot

Fun fact: the game I’ve played most on Steam is Plants vs Zombies. I used to play is as I was writing my essays so it would be open for hours on end whether I played it or not. As such I’ve managed to get 190 hours of play recorded on my account. This means I know a fair bit about zombies by now. If there’s one thing I know it’s that they don’t fair well against plants. Therefore, the best man to destroy them is a massive fucking tree. Not only was he the greatest thing in Guardians of the Galaxy but he would surely have the power to stop zombies making their way across your garden. He is Groot. I am Groot. We are Groot.

Top 10 Wen-sday – Top Ten Sherlock Episodes

Benedict Cumberbatch, list, Mark Gatiss, Martin Freeman, Sherlock Holmes, Top 10

So with the new year comes some new additions to my blogging schedule. You will hopefully already have seen my new Monday and Tuesday topics. However, I’m pleased to announce a new, monthly addition. Yes folks, the first Wednesday of the month I will bestow upon you a Top Ten List of my choosing. I bet you can’t hold in your excitement. Now Top 5 Wednesday is already a thing on Goodreads but I think this has a much more appealing sounding name. I’m always on the lookout for opportunities to make things sound more palatable. If you work with me and ask for a Caesar salad then you’d better say “can I have a Caeser pleaser” or you’ll risk my ignoring you. Of course, if I was only doing this based on the sound of the title then it would be Top Two Tuesday but that would be a fucking waste of everyone’s time. So here we are.

TBT – Sherlock: A Study in Pink

Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Gatiss, Martin Freeman, modernisation, Sherlock Holmes, TBT, television

Today is New Year’s Eve and people all around the world are excitedly waiting for the biggest event in the calendar. Yes, we are a few hours away from the Sherlock special. The first episode in almost a year, which is admittedly less time than we’ve been kept waiting in the past. An episode that take us back to the world of the books and places Tumblr’s favourite Otter in Victorian England. It’s an exciting concept and has allowed Martin Freeman to sport a much more impressive moustache than the last one. Now, I’ve not always been on board with Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ modern Sherlock and still only really like a couple of episodes in seasons 1 and 2 and all of season 3. I just feel like they keep mixing up Arthur Conan Doyle with Doctor Who and it’s really fucking annoying. I understand the logic: you want to persuade your already loyal Whovians to follow your new series so you make it so fucking familiar its like their watching the same show. It makes sense. It just doesn’t always feel right to me. I know it’s a modern interpretation but Sherlock is sometimes too quirky for my liking. I like my Holmes to be more stiff-upper-lipped than bouncy.

Still, back in 2010 I eagerly watched the first episode along with the rest of my family. Being major fans of the books, my father and I felt like we had a lot riding on this. To be honest, I liked the first episode. It struggled from the usual first episode problems but was promising. It was the second episode that stopped me watching. In fact it wasn’t until a good couple of years later that I finished series 1 and series 2. The scene in where Sherlock looks for clues in the office just pissed me off. That’s not Sherlock: that’s the Doctor.

It’s not even the fact that I’m a stubborn purist, The idea of modernising Sherlock Holmes was a fantastic one and the casting was superb. I’ll forget about any original material when something well-written and enjoyable is on offer, ‘The Blind Banker’ is one of the shittest things I’ve ever seen. You know how Star Wars purists feels about the prequels? Yeah, that’s how I feel about series 1 episode 2 of Sherlock.

Anyway, I’ve since changed my mind… at least partially. It’s all thanks to Mark Gatiss really. His Hounds of the Baskerville episode is the best thing in the entire fucking series, That man is one of the best television writers we have at our disposal and I always look forward to anything he’s helped to craft. It’s equally telling that the best episode of series 1 is also written by Gatiss. I dread to think what Sherlock would have been like without him.

But I digress. Before we see a more traditional version of the character we have come to know and love, I think it’s prudent to look back at the Cumberbatch’s first outing as the great detective. There was a lot of pressure all round when ‘Study in Pink’ first aired. How well would the modernisation work without the whole thing feeling like a bit of a gimmick? How well would the stories translate into a modern setting? And, most importantly of all, who would play the wiseman?

‘Study in Pink’ may not have fully proved that the new series was destined for greatness it certainly showed there was great potential. The use of social media and new mobile technology were used greatly and the graphics on screen allowed them to fit into the narrative. It is no new idea that Sherlock liked to be ahead of the times and loved to play with gadgets. It fits in with his character that he would utilise the internet and smartphones in his investigation.

As for the story, the plot isn’t the greatest crime mystery ever crafted but it works. There are few unanswered questions and a few dodgy moments but, in the end, it holds up. Obviously, the first episode of any series has the awkward task of introducing the concept and the characters. It had to bring our main characters together and create the dynamic duo. It had to quickly allow the audience to get to grips with Sherlock’s character and his history with the supporting cast. The actual case is neither here nor there but it has all the hallmarks of a traditional Holmesian tale.

What really made the series great was the casting. The supporting cast is amazing with Lousie Brealey, Mark Gastiss and Una Stubbs standing out. Although, for my part, I’ll always have a soft-spot for Rupert Graves’ Lestrade. Not only is he astoundingly handsome but is a bloody good actor. Of course the main event is in the casting of Holmes and Watson themselves. Bringing together Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman is quite honestly the greatest thing that Steven Moffat has ever done. It’s no wonder that Tumblr have accept the pair as a tried and tested ship. You can tell the success of a television pairing by the number of people drawing pictures of them in romantic situations and writing fanfiction about them adopting children together.

‘A Study in Pink’ deserved a much better follow-up than ‘The Blind Banker’. It’s a smart and stylish episode that showcases the talents of its actors. It is a strong opening episode that hinted at great things to come. You can tell that Gatiss and Moffat know their stuff in terms of Conan Doyle law and truly enjoyed updating the tales. It’s just as obvious that all the actors involved relish their roles and loved making the series. I’ll never be truly convinced that this is absolute greatest adaptation of the tales we’ll ever see but I’ve come around to the idea that it’s the best we’ve got at the moment.