icepixie: (Maggie/Joel magic)
Hooray! My third season Northern Exposure DVDs came today! I've mentioned before how awesome Amazon is, right? 'Cause I ordered these on Wednesday night, and got the free 5 to 9-day shipping on them, and they're here TODAY. Since I ordered them after business hours, that's essentially two-day shipping for free. Not quite as spectacular as the next-day shipping I got once when I was in Gambier, but still nothing to sneeze at. (And the DVDs were almost thirty percent off the list price! Yay!)

I suppose the postal service probably has more to do with this than Amazon, come to think of it. Either way, yay for infrastructure getting my indulgences to me with excellent speed. :)

And yes, for the next few weeks, you will all have to put up with my natterings about the best season of one of the best TV shows ever. I'll try to keep my glee contained under lj-cuts. *g*

*

I finished off the BBC miniseries North and South (based on the novel of the same name by Elizabeth Gaskell) today. Reviewish thing. And talk about broody men. )
icepixie: (Assumpta sparkly)
Bah. Netflix is taking forever these days. I'm on the one-at-a-time plan, and I sent back my last DVD on Tuesday. They're just now shipping out the next one, for arrival on...Tuesday. More than a week after the last one. Pah. (I guess, technically, this is actually the USPS's fault. The last time I had Netflix, they would've had the next disc to me by Saturday. Perhaps the volume has gone up faster than can be handled.)

But anyway, more Ballykissangel tomorrow! To celebrate, I'm using one of my two new Assumpta icons. Isn't she purty?

I did manage to get the "Ballykissdibley" Comic Relief special from my library yesterday. Heh. I'd never seen Vicar of Dibley before, but I'd heard of it. I watched some of the actual episodes on the DVD as well; it's definitely amusing, but unfortunately I can also predict the next joke about fifty percent of the time, so I don't think I'll watch any more. But I would like to see some of the French & Saunders sketch show, 'cause Dawn French is hilarious.

As well as getting that DVD, I wandered into the poetry and the Irish history sections. Yeah. As usual. The Nashville Public Library apparently has greatly increased its stock of LitCrit volumes since I was last there, not to mention of modern poets. I got a bunch of Seamus Heaney1, and a couple travel essay collections or memoirs, and a book on the Troubles in Belfast from the seventies to the nineties, because I still don't know as much as I ought about that place and time period. I usually stuck to the Celtic Twilight and the Easter Rising when researching and writing about Irish independence movements.

Have also been reading, er, Ballyk fanfic, very little of which is any good. But they've got the names of the characters spelled out, which is interesting. I will never understand how one can get something like "Porrig" out of "Padraig." Where does the "d" go? And let's not even go into "Shivan" from "Siobhan," although at least I knew that one already. Irish spelling is on crack. Or "craic," as they'd spell it. *facepalm*

I keep thinking, "Hey, it would be neat to learn Irish!" And then I look at the orthography and run screaming. Even if that weren't a problem, I could never learn this language because I will never in a million years be able to wrap my brain around cases. A semester of Old English taught me that much. Any number of irregular verbs in Spanish didn't phase me in high school, and gendered nouns were even okay, although I didn't ever really get why they were gendered, but the idea of declined nouns just makes my head spin.

Speaking of reading and writing, does anyone else find that letting an LJ entry sit for a while just takes away any desire to finish it and post it? I have a half-finished entry on rereading Tam Lin (which segues into rereading Alma Mater and to W.B. Yeats and then on to some stuff about being an English major...yeah, it's rambly), but it seems that if I don't write an entry and post it in one sitting, I can't bring myself to bother finishing the thing. Hmmm. And I still haven't done the plot vs. language poll I meant to do last week. Oof, I'm lazy.


1 I think after a year in the UK and a trip to Ireland, I can actually appreciate him and his fixation with land much more than when we read him in Irish Lit. Interestingly, the exact opposite has happened with Yeats; not that I appreciate him any less (check out the 4,000-word paper I did on him and William Morris that year, for one), but I've moved on from his early fairies-and-landscape-related stuff and am now more interested in his later works, which don't have much to do with land. Anyway, his poetry that does deal with the landscape of Ireland isn't as...hmmm...true? evocative? as Heaney's is. Of course, the seventy-odd years separating them doesn't help much. Not to mention the fact that Yeats' poetry is generally considered to have gotten steadily better throughout his lifetime. ...I'm destroying my argument here, so I'm going to stop.
icepixie: (Ireland)
Especially for [livejournal.com profile] alto2, non-spoilery commentary on The Hanging Gale. ;)

I didn't realize until I got the disc from Netflix that it's a four-part series, not two parts, so I only saw the first two hour-long episodes. I think I'll eventually get around to watching the other two episodes, but it might take a while.

I'm definitely getting the impression that it's all going to end on a note very similar to The Field, which I watched for my Irish Lit. class in sophomore year. Perhaps there won't exactly be an old guy herding his cows off a cliff and to their deaths in the crashing sea below, then going out into the ocean himself and trying to fight off the tide with his cane while the dead cows float around him, but something not far off from that, I think, is not unlikely. So far, it is, to quote Ellen, "Depressing like a fat operatic Viking woman, with one of those horned hats, standing on your foot. Depressing like that." Given that they're in the middle of the potato famine, this...seems unlikely to change. (Although there was a darkly hilarious moment when the land agent tells some farmers that he'll defer their rents until after that year's harvest, which he "prays will be bountiful." And then you realize, when you remember that it's 1846, exactly how ironic this is, and if you're me, you giggle a bit. Possibly I'm evil.)

In general, it seems a bit like Eavan Boland's poem That the Science of Cartography Is Limited has been made into a miniseries. Or at any rate, the subplot about a proposed famine road, as well as the line (paraphrased), "Why do you want to build a road that starts nowhere and ends in a bog?" could have been pulled from that poem. And--

Okay, actually, let me explain something first. Since middle school, I've been intensely interested in Irish history and Irish literature. I wrote at least eight or nine papers on either subject (mostly on W.B. Yeats or the Fenian movement) during college, and took one class in 20th Century Irish Lit, as well as another Lit. class with a lot of Irish stuff in it and two history classes with large components on Irish history from about 1200 on. And I've done quite a bit of reading on my own. Consequently, these days I feel a bit, well, jaded about anything dealing with something like the famine, and I like it to have some edge I haven't seen before. This doesn't, so much. It's grittier (and the location shooting is certainly muddier) than you usually see, and there's more violence, but beyond that, there's not much new. Also, it's hampered by many of the actors playing "outrage" as scenery-chewing hyenas, when most times quiet, deadly fuming would be a lot more effective. Some of the dialogue is mind-bendingly bad, as well--of course, after seeing Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I find it difficult to laugh at anyone who says, "We're being oppressed" with a straight face, so perhaps some of it is just me. ;)

The biggest difficulty I had with it, though, is that I CANNOT TELL THE McGANN BROTHERS APART. Honestly. They all look so much alike. Joe and Mark, who play the two brothers still living at home, thankfully had different hairstyles and so after a bit, I figured out who was who. On the other hand, Paul and Stephen(? the one who played Daniel, the schoolteacher) could be twins. It doesn't help that they both dress in black cloaks, both have dark hair that's nearly chin-length and is a little bit curly, and both have blue eyes. It honestly took me until the second episode, where they were standing next to each other, to realize that they were two separate people. *facepalm* I thought that Paul was playing the schoolteacher, who (I think--it might be the priest, but probably it's the schoolteacher) murders the first land agent at the very beginning of the first episode, and continued to think it was Paul until the second episode, when a priest who looked remarkably like the schoolteacher showed up and began doing priestly things. I thought for a while that perhaps he was multitasking by teaching school as well, and then remembered that this same guy had also been canoodling (or whatever) with a girl in the first episode, and went, "Wait a minute." For a brief moment, I wondered if something very strange had happened and he was actually an Anglican priest and was thus allowed to do these things, and then finally they put the two characters in a room together and my brain exploded.

The only difference I can make out between them is that Stephen's voice is a little bit higher, and he looks a bit more like Alan Rickman-as-Snape. (I swear, it's the black robe.) Seriously, in later scenes, when it wasn't obviously Paul/Liam (i.e., when he was wearing the dog collar), I actually had to wait for someone to say the character's name or otherwise verbally tell the audience which brother it was before I knew. Here, here's photo evidence: Paul/Liam, Stephen/Daniel, both of them in profile. Can you tell them apart without thinking really hard about it?

Another strike against it was the exceptionally large, interrelated cast; it took me until the second episode to figure out which brother Maeve was married to, or indeed if she was actually married to any of them and not just a sister. I think her brother was the guy who gets shot early on (not the land agent, but another guy), and his sister is, I think the one who captures Daniel's eye. And there's approximately five million other characters spread all over the place, and eventually I just have to throw up my hands in defeat. Large casts, when not well-differentiated--or relegated to their individual subplots, with little or no crossover--have a tendency to frustrate me to no end.

I dunno...after all that, I can't say that it's bad. It's obviously been well-researched, and the bleakness of the locations and weather they chose to shoot in works well. There's some particularly fine acting from Paul McGann and Mark McGann, the latter especially when spoiler ). I think it possibly suffers from the effect of having a million things which cover a lot of the same material show up after it broke the ground for this kind of thing eleven years ago. (Thanks in large part to Riverdance. I kid you not; I wrote a paper on the incredible "New Irish Renaissance" spurred by that production, which premiered the same year this aired, I believe.) So, if you're a relative newbie to Irish studies and you like large casts (and can tell McGann brothers apart), it's definitely worth seeing.

Okay, wow, that was long. Shutting up now...

Mmm. TV.

Jun. 2nd, 2006 06:29 pm
icepixie: (Casanova in gondola)
Biggest ever benefit of joining up with Netflix again? All the BBC series/miniseries I could ever want. Eat your heart out, BBCAmerica. (I just added mounds of DW, Ballykissangel (squeee!), North and South, Upstairs/Downstairs, Bleak House, etc. etc. etc. Also, Northern Exposure, because even though I taped most of them...extras. Mmmm, extras.)

Yay!
icepixie: (Victorian lamps)
I watched the first half of He Knew He Was Right this evening (saving the rest for tomorrow...or perhaps later tonight). Hee! So amusing! Mostly it's the excessive schadenfreude that's funny (David Tennant's expression and that little, squeaky "Camilla?" was just fantastic), although I'm also totally in love with the crazy old spinster aunt. She cracks me up. I like how she admits her mistakes, too; she's not a one-dimensional Mrs. Kravitz. I am so going to turn into her when I'm an old spinster--well, with less gossip, perhaps.

The trick of having the characters bemoan their current circumstances to the camera is great. DT walking by the cathedral whining about how Dorothy is a wonderful girl with or without £2000...all right, better with, was highly entertaining.

I've not read any Trollope (meant to get around to it last year, since he set several of his novels in Exeter, but never managed it), but he certainly strikes me as akin to my other favorite Victorian, Thomas Hardy. Although I think the amusement from Hardy is that he's secretly laughing at his very serious characters as he puts them in horrible situations; Trollope is more of a satirist, and lets his characters do some of the laughing as well. Plus, there's mocking of Victorian social mores. From a Victorian. Love. (I love the Victorian era; much of that is for its utter mockability. Good lord, just look at the skirts! The muttonchop sideburns! The top hats! Prime mocking material!)

The main plot is less interesting than the secondary ones (Gibson and the French sisters; Nora and her journalist beau, which is just very sweet), but I think that's because it's about the two straightmen characters compared with all the funny ones. Although Laura Fraser is still ethereally beautiful, and very good at the whole wide-eyed-innocent thing. I do enjoy her acting. I smell a comeuppance coming for that twat she calls her husband, of course; what else would you expect?

Hey, it's Anna-Louise Plowman and her atrocious American accent again! Why does the BBC consider her adept at those roles? Ow. Does anyone else find her rather wooden? I've noticed this in Doctor Who and SG-1, as well as in this mini. Sigh. But her Vivien Leigh impression was pretty funny--sadly, I'm not sure it was intentional...

Ooooh, they filmed at Stourhead! It looks much better on a bright summer day than on a dreary afternoon in October.

And ooooooooh, pretty costumes and sets. Naturally. I kind of want to make myself a straw bonnet if only so I can have all that pretty ribbon on it.

ETA: Okay, maybe I'm not going to be that particular spinster aunt. Hmm. Also, my @#$%*&^(#&!@*(@(&@(%&(@^%(! tape cut out only about an hour and fifteen minutes into the second part, just as we first see Sir Marmaduke and family in the Swiss Alps. Gaaaah!!! Maybe PBS will air it again sometime. Or I suppose I could go read the book...

Babble

May. 2nd, 2006 12:12 am
icepixie: (To the very end)
Somewhere on the internet, whatever I could say about "School Reunion" has already been said. It's probably been linked to on [livejournal.com profile] who_daily as well. However, because I can't keep my mouth shut... )

Also, one comment about Casanova )

There were many sniffles this weekend, oh yes.
icepixie: (Doctor adoring)
Oof. I can't believe I even watched an hour of that horrid The Cutting Edge sequel/remake that was on tonight. If they'd had D.B. Sweeney and Moira Kelly back to play Doug and Kate, it might have been worthwhile, but that was just...ick. Not that I was expecting anything good to come of that thing, but...yeah. Ow.

In better news, I got ahold of the first episode of the Casanova miniseries David Tennant (who is really very, very pretty) was in last year. "Hilarious" does not begin to cover it, I don't think. The opening absolutely hooked me, and then it went on from there. I cracked up so hard at DT's delivery of "This is beginning to scare me" directly to the camera when his third completely off-the-wall venture--from lawyer to doctor to astrologer--worked. Yay for breaking the fourth wall. Can't wait until PBS airs this at some point this year.

I kept thinking that Casanova's mother (played by Dervla Kirwan) looked awfully familiar, but couldn't imagine why. Then, for no apparent reason besides not wanting to face my research, I decided to see if there was any new Ballykissangel fanfic, and, through a long chain of events that involved me looking up an episode guide to try and remember what event a writer was referencing, I finally realized that she'd played Assumpta the pub-owner. Hee! Ballyk is, like Cupid was until last fall, one of those shows I've never actually seen, but which I've read and heard all about and still occasionally read fic for. ('Cause I'm a great big dork like that, you know.) Hey, it's basically Northern Exposure in Ireland, and there's the added bonus of defrocking of a priest. I'm in. Although that ending to season three is the stuff of nightmares, man. Talk about smooshing puppies, and I've never even seen it. It's times like this when I wish I had BBCAmerica.

...Ooooh, Netflix has DVDs. Say, flatmates, you wanna go in for a month of Netflix with me around the middle of April? It could be fun, particularly during senior week...

I'm beginning to realize that the BBC's usual stable of actors is apparently even smaller than that of whatever union includes all of those Canadian actors who regularly show up in sci-fi shows (Lisa Ryder, I'm looking at you). Aw. The chick who plays Henriette was also Kate the blacksmith in A Knight's Tale. Which isn't BBC, but is vaguely related to this topic. And now I'm just rambling, so I'm gonna go off and maybe do something useful, or at least something that doesn't involve me blathering away like this...
icepixie: (Doctor adoring)
A compliation of the past 24 hours on my computer:

- I think I broke something laughing at this. And now I have the llama song stuck in my head.

- Remember how I was thinking "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" would make the best vid ever for Doctor/Rose? Well, someone actually did it. (Or rather, it's a Beatles medley with that as part of it; whatever.) Ha!

- I am currently devouring every video/audio clip and/or photo I can get of David Tennant. God, the man is ADORABLE. The accent makes him even more so. And he was a DW fanboy! Hee! Not to mention he sounds fairly intelligent when some reporter shoves a microphone in front of his face, which is always a plus.

- I've never seen it (although I think PBS may be doing its usual import of BBC dramas and including it this year, yay!), but from what I can tell, Blackpool could best be described as "cracktastic." Check out Clip 4 here, and a longer clip in the comments here. The police capture a teenage criminal while lip-synching and doing Broadway-style dance to The Smiths? Meh? I sat there for a long time afterwards going, "...the who in the what now?" And then I watched it a few more times because it was just so bizarre.

- I would hope that this has been recc'ed all over the damn internet by now, but if you've missed it: Nostalgia's Notes on the Domestication of Birds. Mind-bendy and heart-bendy and perfect. F'r instance: "Either way people didn't tend to hang about and he could stand there trying to look deeply immersed in official Tesco thoughts. Tesco Value thoughts, perhaps, which weren't as good but were a better deal for that penny people were always offering for them." Exactly what you're thinking has happened has happened, and it is done so. well.

- I finally found some reeeeally good DW vids here. Very good. [livejournal.com profile] castalianspring, I think you would particularly enjoy the music of the "Exile" vid, even if you're not a Who fan.

- [livejournal.com profile] laserhead, I can't believe I didn't rec this series to you earlier, since I found it about a month ago, but...you must read it. The regeneration makes the tenth Doctor into a chemist. I assume, since the author is getting a chem degree, the chem stuff is fairly accurate.

This post has totally not been brought to you by me meticulously working my way through the archives of [livejournal.com profile] time_and_chips. Not at ALL.

*

Spent the morning at the public library. Found out that the archives of the Tennessean and Nashville Banner are not indexed. Oof. Spent a while flicking through some reels of microfilm before giving up and deciding to get as many actual dates as possible before trying that again, instead of just waltzing in with "1933-1940." Ugh. Lord, flicking through microfilm that fast gives me a headache like nothing else.

Now, I'm off to tackle me some Blake for comps. Ick.

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