Testing The New Brain

For those of you who care of such things, Pocket Brain 2.0, the Nokia N95, has been traded for a Nokia N97, likely Pocket Brain 3! Not having much to say yet about the next Behind the Screen and still gathering notes of the previous Adventures of the Colt Apollo, let’s turn attention to what’s on the DVD shelf.

Saturday was spent watching State of Play, the TV series. Hadn’t heard of the movie adaptation until I studied the front cover a bit more closely. I was distracted by David Morrissey, John Simms and Bill Nighy! Can’t say I’d pursue the movie anyway, likely attributed to the fact that it possesses none of the aforementioned actors.

A quick word about Bill Nighy. I strongly suspect my abiding love and respect for him as an actor may well be akin to the exuberance one feels if you like Sean Connery and are female (although I know some males who share this). More so than how he portrays a character though, I think it’s the ethic of the man that enchants me so. He will play ANYTHING up to and including the same vampire elder in three movies that, frankly, didn’t deserve the notion of sequels. Whether it’s Love Actually or Pirates of the Caribbean or Valkyrie and regardless of the quality of the screenplay, I always get to see a great performance out of him. State of Play is no difference.

Aside from Nighy, it’s a cast of thousands from the aforementioned Morrissey and Simms, to Phillip Glenister (who, I’m convinced, was given only one piece of direction regarding Gene Hunt, which was “Play it like Bell, only louder”), James Mackavoy, who suits this much better than Wanted, Marc Warren (See above only replace Gene Hunt for Danny Blue) and the lovely Polly Walker who it was great to watch in something other than Rome. It is recommended.

Sometime tonight after fencing, I’m either going to finally watch the fifth season of Alias or I’ll start from Season 1.

Alias has often put me at odds with friends whenever we swap TV series, and I can understand their reasons why, but there are things that draw me to this series and what got me to buy, now, all five seasons. The first rule is you cannot, despite, all attempts to the contrary, treat it like an action spy series.

People watch spy series to see someone competent outwit, outfight or outspy their opponents. Sydney Bristow does not do this; at least not often enough to have her meet the above criteria. Typically she’s flying by the seat of her pants on improvisation and no small amount of luck, or help from those who have a vested interest in keeping her alive.

It does, however, play well as a pulp action, get the treasure, find the X on the map affair and it’s how JJ Abrahms operates as a showrunner. Changing the expectations improves this series somewhat.

I’m also impressed that the dynamic of the show changed from season to season. Most TV up to that point found their rut and dug in quite happily. Alias went and changed it up in Season 2, and had the balls not to do it as a finale affair. A not inconsiderable amount of balls required for this considering that ‘Reality’ TV had been marching its way along the broken bodies of scripted TV series. Alias had its audience and a formula that could have vomited enough storylines to turn it into a wasted ruin of a premise and yet it Abrahms was only willing to hold it’s hair back for so long. Taking something already winning and changing it mid 2nd season still impresses me.

Granted things kinda fell apart regardless and they could have wrapped up the Rambaldi line about third season in, but I am curious to see how, if at all, this concludes. I am, however, expecting some disappointment, not least of which is having to shift down from from the standards of BBC writing to American fare (Dexter and Burn Notice notwithstanding).

Now to hit post and see how this works.


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