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Oh, television...

When I was very young, I'd sometimes hear the others in my family talking about a long departed show called Man From Atlantis. It sounded tailor-made for me - a man who breathes underwater! Undersea adventures! Action, adventure and the ocean. It couldn't very well have been more perfect. And then, some thirty-plus years on, I finally got to see it. And it was awful. Not entertainingly awful - not even amusingly awful. Just awful. Lesson learned.

When I first got on the internet, there was a TV series that I'd sometimes hear America talking about: Counterstrike, a spy drama starring Christopher Plummer and Simon MacCorkindale. Simon MacCorkindale! As a fan of the long defunct Manimal, this seemed like a very good prospect. Didn't seem likely that I'd ever get to see it though. And then, a couple of days ago, I found it on YouTube. And, yes, it's terrible. Not the fault of Christopher Plummer or Simon Mac - they're doing the best they can with it. But everybody else in the cast? And the writers? And the directors? Oh boy. Lesson, once again, learned.

It's not going to go into the long term memory though, let's face it. Somehow these things never do.

In other news, I was given a 1978 Battlestar Galactica annual for Christmas, which I've just got around to reading (I wanted to finish something else first). It's in the finest annual tradition of having an appalling grasp of the premise and characters of the TV show, and the artwork borders on hilarious - but Battlestar Galactica! The annual! It made me smile throughout. I particularly like the fabulously jolly interview with Lorne Greene, that suggests BSG might last as long as Bonanza did, and be his next big hit. Hmm. Bonanza ran for fourteen seasons. Battlestar Galactica... didn't. But it was nice of them to try. The stories in the annual have some of the best titles ever, clearly written by writers who got a bit carried away with the whole SF thing. Presumably they usually had to write stories for Grange Hill or The Waltons or something. Amazons Of Space!; Chess-Players Of Space!; Hijack In Space!. When in doubt, always stick "Of/In Space!" at the end of your title. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes. It's a bit sad actually, when they talk to the various stars about their hopes for the future. Everybody seems all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and sure that this is their great stepping-stone to wonderful things. Yeah. Don't hold your breath, guys. The only one whose long-term plan turned out the way he'd hoped was Dirk Benedict, who said that he'd like to act for a few years, then slip away into relative anonymity, live in the middle of nowhere, and write. Which is precisely what happened. Lucky sod!

And speaking of actors who write, in other other news, I've just started reading a book called Once A Crooked Man, by David McCallum (mostly because Amazon were selling it for two quid on Kindle. Sorry Illya, but I can't afford costly book experiments!) I wasn't sure about it at first, as it had a slightly rocky beginning, but the Kindle tells me I'm 25% in now, and I'm enjoying it. It relies very much on people doing things that they probably wouldn't in the real world (the whole story is basically the hero doing this), but it's engaging enough, and I like the scene setting. Some of the prose is a bit clumsy here and there (first book-itis - it's largely inescapable), but the descriptive passages are nicely done, the plot seems strong, and the characters are well drawn. I quite recommend it, if you're in the mood for a contemporary thriller. Mind you, I am only 25% in, so it could all go wrong yet.

(Sorry. I think Counterstrike just murdered my optimism).


( 27 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Jan. 23rd, 2016 06:49 pm (UTC)
Battlestar Galactica. <333

Wait, David McCallum wrote a book?
Jan. 23rd, 2016 06:56 pm (UTC)
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Once-Crooked-Man-David-McCallum/dp/1910985074/ :)

And it has a quote from Joanna Lumley on the front cover, just to particularly delight fans of "Sapphire & Steel"!
Jan. 23rd, 2016 07:30 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, nice.
Jan. 23rd, 2016 08:26 pm (UTC)
I am really glad I hadn't heard of counterstrike in time to get my hopes up because it sounds great and my hopes would have been very.
Jan. 24th, 2016 05:11 am (UTC)
I may try some more episodes. First episodes aren't good things to judge shows by, and sometimes they take half a season to get into gear. It's one of those low budget shows made in Canada that proliferated in the nineties. Some were very good. And Christopher Plummer and Simon Mac! But it was agonising.
Jan. 24th, 2016 05:58 am (UTC)
This should obviously be a lesson to you to only watch old UK TV that is 100% composed of cardboard and beige. ;-D
Jan. 24th, 2016 02:47 pm (UTC)
True! It's amazing how rarely the beige cardboard lets us down, isn't it.
Jan. 24th, 2016 03:16 pm (UTC)
*nods* Never let yourself be enticed by things that promise to be shiny and have action! Stick to static things where the outside is either suddenly grainy and clearly a freezing day in February or a nice picture painted on a canvas backdrop outside your window. ;-)

(Mind, even then sometimes they let Ben Steed in, so maybe there's something to be said for motion and explosions and film serials!)
Jan. 24th, 2016 05:26 pm (UTC)
I love a painted backdrop. I was rewatching an episode of "The Champions" recently, and it made me smile quite ridiculously when somebody opened the door, and there was clearly a painting outside it (and then later the painting changed. Bless). And switching from film to VT depending on whether you're inside or outside is obviously a mark of quality. As is blatant stock footage and wobbly scenery. (Fortunately I think history kept Ben Steed fairly well contained).
Jan. 24th, 2016 07:35 am (UTC)
Wait ... is that the guy from NCIS?
Jan. 24th, 2016 02:49 pm (UTC)
NCIS?! NCIS?! He's the Man From UNCLE! :p

Yes, it is that David McCallum. Looks like it's got a German edition as well: http://www.amazon.de/Murphys-Gesetz-David-McCallum/dp/3959670168/
Jan. 24th, 2016 12:07 pm (UTC)
Nooooo, sometimes watching stuff that seems like a good idea can be good... 0.5% of the time;p

My kobo doesn't tell me if I'm enjoying my reading. I feel short changed.
Jan. 24th, 2016 02:53 pm (UTC)
It doesn't?! There you are you see - should have gone for the Kindle. :) Amazon is all-seeing. They know.
Jan. 25th, 2016 01:27 pm (UTC)
Oh I don't know, Amazon sounds like a creepy stalker!
Jan. 24th, 2016 07:53 pm (UTC)
Should I get a Kindle? I may do this as a poll later.
Jan. 24th, 2016 09:07 pm (UTC)
Well, I got mine free, so in a way I can't comment. I wouldn't have bought one! But having got it, it is great. I have very little space for books, so it's a great help in that regard; and there are loads of old books that are now out of copyright, and have been turned into e-books by volunteers. You can get them free at https://www.gutenberg.org - all the classics, and more besides.

Also, it's fab when you have a cat sprawled all over you, as you only need one finger to turn a page. :)

(There are several different types of e-reader, mind (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc). I have no idea how they all compare).
Jan. 27th, 2016 07:20 pm (UTC)
You are very good at the links.

I am unsure because I mostly read in bed and it may keep me awake more than a papier livre.
Jan. 27th, 2016 07:23 pm (UTC)
It says in the terms that they are out of copywrite in USA but to check if in another country!
Jan. 28th, 2016 05:03 am (UTC)
Re: PS
Yes, copyright law is complicated, and varies from country to country. Nobody is going to quibble about it though. One day the website might get blocked in the UK, but it's highly unlikely. Don't worry, you're not really supposed to ring up publishers and ask!

As to keeping you awake, I think that probably depends on which type you get. The basic models are just like books - the screens don't glow, so they shouldn't have the same effect as a computer screen supposedly does. Or at least, mine doesn't glow. It's quite old now I guess. There might have been changes since. If you do post a poll, you could ask other people about things like that.
Jan. 28th, 2016 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: PS
You can get laptops which are easy on the eyes so maybe I can get an ereader like that.

I cannot afford it myself, but mum buys me better pressies now she has sold the house!

We still have no figured out how to use the cappuccino machine, but we are getting there!
Jan. 29th, 2016 05:02 am (UTC)
Re: PS
Oh dear, I'm sure you'll get there! Are the instructions in badly translated English?! So often seems to be the case. Sometimes, if you look the make and model of something up on Google, you can find some help.
Jan. 30th, 2016 09:33 pm (UTC)
Re: PS
Nope, it's just cos I am selectively stupid!
Jan. 31st, 2016 05:07 am (UTC)
Re: PS
Aren't we all!
Jan. 25th, 2016 06:08 am (UTC)
As far as I remember I used to love Man From Atlantis, if it's the same thing. Bobby Ewing in it? I think mostly I loved the idea of it, without it fulfilling my imaginings. Mermen! Chlorine! Swimming pools! Dual identity! Plus there was hardly any of it to love. Wasn't it just one very short season?

Ooh, novels by Steel. Boggling slightly. Imagine a co-effort with Sapphire. A blank-faced spy lurking about on staircases would be great. He could pretend to be pretty much anybody and have a million secret identities, how convenient for the profession.
Jan. 25th, 2016 04:53 pm (UTC)
Yep, Bobby Ewing in very tight shorts! And yes, just one season. Three feature length episodes, and about ten ordinary length ones. It was agonising! Except the last episode of all, which I actually really enjoyed. It was clearly their shot at avoiding the axe, but sadly it came too late.

And that's a very good idea for a book! This is a much more ordinary crime story though. Does have a quote from Joanna Lumley on the front cover, but that's the closest Sapphire comes to getting involved. Although I can't help imagining JL, c. "New Avengers" era, as the policewoman who teams up with the hero!
Feb. 1st, 2016 03:19 pm (UTC)
Some old (and some new) TV series are absolutely abysmal. You see them and think, "People watched this?!" Then you find that no, they didn't. Even people prepared to sit through 30 years of Last of the Summer Wine turned their noses up at it.

When in doubt, always stick "Of/In Space!" at the end of your title. You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes.

Hee! That's an amazing piece of writing advice. They could improve so many books that way.
Feb. 2nd, 2016 05:29 am (UTC)
Oh gosh yes, there's some terrible telly in the vaults! And some stuff where you wonder just how on Earth it got made. Things like the infamous (Sky TV, I think) sitcom called "Heil Honey, I'm Home!", which is a domestic sitcom about Hitler and Eva Braun...
( 27 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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