When The X-Files finally closed thirteen years ago, I’ve got to admit part of me was a little relieved. In the eighth and ninth season, the series had become a pale imitation of the series I loved and made appointment television for its first six to seven years. The mythology had become so convoluted that I no longer looked forward to it and the stand-alones had become a bit weaker than we saw in the early days.
When news broke that Fox was going to revive the series, my first thought was — please, don’t let me it be as unmemorable as seasons eight and nine. And the more I heard about who was being brought back for this six episode run, the more intrigued and, dare I say it, excited I became. Maybe, just maybe this six-episode mini-series could channel the series at its best and find a way to send Mulder and Scully off with dignity and grace.
After watching the first installment of the mini-series, I have to admit the results are a bit mixed. Continue reading
Time to kick off the week with Musing Mondays hosted by A Daily Rhythm. This week’s random question asks: Have you read – or do you plan to read – the Shannara Chronicles by Terri Brooks? Have you been watching the new TV series based off the books? If so, what do you think?
I’ve only read Stones of Shannara and that was a long time ago. I’m curious about the new series and have the DVR set to catch it. But so far I haven’t watched it yet. I’d like to read the novel it’s based on (the second in the series I believe) if I find I enjoy the series.
I did read several of the Magic Kingdom of Landover series by Terry Brooks and this may be why I’m hesitant to dive too deep into Shannara. I found that series followed a predictable formula for all the installments. And that kind of turned me off to the series and Brooks.
When the best thing you can say about a comic book cross-over event is — well, at least the art was nice, you know something isn’t quite working. Or maybe that this particular cross-over event isn’t your cup of tea.
Collecting the six-issue run of Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War, this limited run series is not two great tastes that taste great together. In one reality, the Green Lantern corp has just been wiped out by some evil force. Rings of various colors hop over to the JJ Trek verse and assign themselves to familiar faces in the final frontier.
Adventure ensues. Along the way, there’s a massive battle between all the various colors of the spectrum and the planet Vulcan comes back from the dead, complete with zombie Vulcans.
And yet for all of this, I couldn’t help but feel that I’d arrived late for the party and missed some important details that reduced my enjoyment of this crossover event. It could be that my familiarity with Green Lantern is limited to what I’ve seen in the DC cartoons and the big screen version of the character with Ryan Reynolds. I hope that those who are more versed in Lantern lore will get more of seeing why various rings chose certain characters that I missed here. And I suppose if I recognized any of the Green Lantern pantheon of foes beyond Sinestro, I might have felt a bit more drive and drama to the battle to save the universes.
Instead, what I felt for much of this collection (beyond the first issue) was confused and uninterested. The third issue does little more than tread water as we set up things for the return of zombie Vulcan and Scotty inventing his own power ring.
In all honesty, I can’t necessarily recommend this one to a casual fan. It feels like we’ve got a shoehorning of the JJ-verse Star Trek characters into a Green Lantern event mini-series. And it’s one that left me as cold as General Chang’s bones in space at the end of this story.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a digital ARC of this comic book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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In his afternote to City of Death James Goss notes “There are about three people in the world who don’t like City of Death and they’re being hunted down.”
I guess I’m one of those three people. And it’s not that I hate City of Death per se. It’s just that I don’t necessarily love it as much as many of my fellow Doctor Who fans do.
Famously re-written by Douglas Adams over the course of a weekend, few scripts from the classic run are as eminently quotable nor do they deal with the implications of time travel in quite the same way that this one does. But does that make it a top ten classic? Not to this fan.
Arriving in Paris, the Doctor and Romana decide to take a holiday. But a series of cracks in time quickly put them into the orbit of the Count Scarlioni, who has set his sights on stealing the Mona Lisa. His motivation for stealing the painting is so he can sell it on the black market, making millions and financing his dangerous experiments in time and time travel.
Goss takes a page from Adams in not telling the same story precisely the same way for each adaptation. Combining the televised version with the shooting scripts and a few flourishes of his own (in the style of Adams, of course), Goss gives readers an opportunity to find new nuggets in City of Death. Goss even creates an interesting spin on the reveal the monster cliffhanger ending of episode one with the Count not realizing he’s a splintered part of the Jaggeroth and being just as shocked as viewers are intended to be at the reveal that he’s a green faced, bug-eyed monster. (Though this does create some questions when it comes to the motivation of stealing the Mona Lisa and other aspects of the story)
And while Goss certainly isn’t quite in the same sphere as Adams, he does a serviceable job of channeling Adams for this adaptation. Short of Douglas writing the novel himself, this is probably as close as we’re going to get. Goss takes time to add some depth to Karinksi, Duggan and even the art critic couple from the story over the course of the story. But he also take a page from the Terrance Dicks school of Doctor Who novel writing and rarely abridges or joins scenes together from the televised version to the printed page.
His adaptation of City of Death is more along the later entries in the Target novel line as opposed to most of the fourth Doctor ones that feel like a straight adaptation of the shooting script with minimal descriptions thrown in for good measure. It makes this one of the better fourth Doctor novelizations in the long line of books. But as I said before, it’s simply not one of my favorite stories and the adaptation doesn’t enhance the reputation of the story any more (at least in my book). It also doesn’t detract from it either.
It’s a big day. Not only is it time for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) but it’s also my birthday!
And like Jack Benny, I stopped counting my age when I reached 39. So, today is the fourth anniversary of my 39th birthday!
To celebrate, I’m going to list a couple of additions I’ve made to the to be read pile. And if you see something that is missing, please drop a line in the comments and let me know what I should add and why.
- The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp
- A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
- Staked by Kevin Hearne
- The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
- City of Blades by Robert Bennett Jackson
- The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky
- Doctor Who and the State of Decay (audiobook) by Terrance Dicks
With the already ginormous size of my TBR pile, I think seven is enough to add (for now). Well, that is until I surf to everyone else’s list and find several more suggestions I need to read.
Thanks to my local library, I’m catching up on some movies I missed while they were in theaters. Here are some (hopefully) short thoughts on some of what I’ve seen lately.
One of the hallmarks of the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who was a heavy reliance on the implications and mechanics of time travel. So it’s interesting to see Smith join the Terminator franchise in an entry that has a heavy reliance on the implications and mechanics of time travel.
For the first half of Pretty Girls, Karin Slaughter teases us with details of the lives of sisters Claire and Lydia. Their family was torn apart twenty years ago when their sister vanished under mysterious circumstances from the University of Georgia and now a recent, similar girl’s disappearance unearths some old memories, feelings and resentments.
Both sisters hold pieces of the story — and it’s not until Claire’s husband is killed in a random act of robbery on an Atlanta alley that the two get back together and begin to see that things weren’t necessarily what they seem in their family, then or now.
It’s once we reach the the mid-point of the novel and the threads start unraveling that Slaughter’s Pretty Girls takes a big left turn and slowly begins to leave credibility in the rear view mirror. I found myself rolling my eyes on multiple occasions as Slaughter reveals the secrets held not only by Claire’s husband but by members of her own family in connection with the kidnappings. Instead of being shocking, these revelations made me think, “Oh really? You must be kidding” on multiple occasions.
With cover blurbs by some of the better suspense writers in the business today, I was expecting a lot more from Pretty Girls. And for the first half of the book, it delivers on the promise of those blurbs. It’s just the ending that left me feeling a bit let down by the entire experience. This was the first novel I’ve read from Slaughter in some time and while the first half had me eager to dive into her back catalog, the last half of the story made me a bit wary.
The start of a new year is a time to look back and ahead. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) asks us to look at our resolutions for 2016.
- Get ready for the arrival of my daughter — We’re expecting a baby girl in April and she’ll be here before we know it!
- Maintain my weight loss from last year — I fulfilled one of my resolutions by losing weight last year. I’m healthier, thinner and have slowly been upgraded my wardrobe to my new, smaller size. Key word now is maintaining.
- Clear off the DVR — Between a couple of series I need to catch up on and a movies, I need to make a dent in my viewing. Either that or just admit I can’t watch everything and erase them.
- Whittle down the TBR pile — I think this one shows up every year. Between the library, NetGalley and our local used book store, it’s easy to have the pile grow. I hope to get my physical and e-book pile down a bit this year.
- Read Brandson Sanderson’s Words of Radiance series — I’ve got volumes one and two on my shelf, just waiting to be read. And a lot of people I know and share similar taste in books with have enjoyed them. So this is the year I’m going to finally try and take the plunge and read them!
- Re-watch Star Trek — It’s the 50th anniversary and I’d like to re-watch the original (and still the best) Star Trek. It’s only 79 episodes so it shouldn’t prove too daunting. I also hope to finish up my Enterprise re-watch (which is down to three or four episodes!)