Tuesday, January 26, 2016

FOX's Lucifer

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 12:30 P.M.

Tired of an eternity ruling hell, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) runs off to Los Angeles, where he owns a nightclub.

In last night's pilot episode, after drinks with Lucifer, who helped her rise to fame, troubled star Delilah (AnnaLynne McCord) is killed in a driveby shooting. Moved, Lucifer teams up with Det. Chloe Decker (Lauren German), determined to see the person responsible punished.

I'm interested in this show as a fan of Ellis (USA's Rush) and German (Hawaii Five-0), but am skeptical about the crimefighting procedural element. The pilot kept it to a minimum, which was good in that the real reason to watch is the character study of Lucifer. Still I found the case of the week the show's weakest point.

One of the first people Lucifer questioned regarding Delilah's murder was her ex-manager, ex-fiance Jimmy (John Pankow). Having the power to compel people to tell the truth or voice their deepest desires, Lucifer tried to force Jimmy to tell the truth about his involvement. Jimmy deflected this power by avoiding Lucifer's gaze, but, spoiler, Jimmy was ultimately revealed to be behind Delilah's death.

Really? Just don't look him in the eye and you can fool the devil?

Monday, January 25, 2016

At The Five-Two: Kurt Nimmo

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 2:00 A.M.

This week, Kurt Nimmo is reminded of John Berryman's suicide, January 7, 1972:

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Saturday, January 23, 2016


© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 9:30 A.M.

In 1981, bucking cutbacks in the worldwide intelligence community, M reactivates the 00 Section, making Bond as its lone member, to spy on nuclear physicist Anton Murik, Laird of Murcaldy.

Bond learns that, having quit the International Atomic Energy Agency, Murik plans to force the world powers to let him build his self-proclaimed completely safe reactors by holding six nuclear power stations hostage. While working to stop this plot, Bond also discovers Murik's claim to lordship is false.

For me, a child of the 1970s, James Bond was kept alive by Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and John Gardner. After reading Kinsley Amis's 1968 Bond novel, Colonel Sun, I followed the urge to read Licence Renewed for a sense of how Gardner first approached the character.

The approach seems the same as in the three Gardner Bonds I'd read previously. Not much to identify with, but that's because, according to Raymond Benson's introduction to the 2011 Pegasus Books paperback, despite letting Gardner set Bond in the current year, Glidrose (now Ian Fleming Publications) denied him much say in how he wrote Bond, dictating an objective, camera-like prose style and holding plots to "the Bond formula".

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Get the Phoof Out of Here

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 3:00 A.M.

"Phoof" is the informal name for the snapshot-style freeze-frame used on NCIS and its spinoffs as episodes open and return from commercials. Phoofs show images from the end of each act. NCIS creator Don Bellisario developed phoofs in mid-Season 2 because wondering how they fit in kept people watching. I've never much liked phoofs because I enjoy mysteries for the road to the reveal, not the reveal itself.

Bellisario left NCIS after Season 4 and it became TV's #1 drama without him, yet the phoof remains, becoming a franchise trademark. Aw, phooey.

Monday, January 18, 2016

At The Five-Two: Ruth Danon

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 12:30 A.M.

This week -- Can a reader of murder mysteries identify with the characters too well?:

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

COLONEL SUN by Kingsley Amis

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 6:30 A.M.

In the first James Bond continuation novel, published May 28, 1968, the sixtieth anniversary of Ian Fleming's birth, Bond happens upon a brazen attack on the estate where his chief, Admiral Miles Messervy (M), is convalescing. The assailants kidnap M and nearly Bond himself. Clues deliberately left in the aftermath lead Bond to Greece where, with the help of two natives, he uncovers plans for an attack by the Communist Chinese on a Russian conference. Bond's and M's bodies were to be planted so as to blame the attack on the British.

Born in the 1970s, I can't very well relate to Colonel Sun's initial reception, but I can look at it in light of almost fifty years of subsequent Bond adaptation and continuation books and movies. I like that Amis's novel is steeped in the political tension of the time and that his Bond has none of the exaggerated personality and gadgetry of the movies. This is a very personal quest and plausible plot. Bond's main adversaries, on the other hand, are more familiarly Fleming-like in their physical quirkiness and mental derangement.

Continuation is tricky. New authors can neither please all of the original author's fans nor get away with everything the original author did. Like the movie of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, it seems Colonel Sun has been more appreciated with time. It was well worth my snapping up a copy of the 2015 Vintage Books paperback.

Monday, January 11, 2016

At The Five-Two: Paul Hostovsky

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 12:30 A.M.

Read "Cain & Abel":

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I'm seeking love- or passion-themed crime poems. Submit today for publication in February.

The Twelfth of Never

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 12:00 A.M.

Twelve years ago today I spontaneously decided to start this blog as an outlet for anything on my mind that was keeping me from writing poetry or fiction. That said, I've never thought of this as "just a blog". I bring the same commitment to anything I write, though I hope to have improved naturally over the years.

There's a lot more I want to write in life, but as with this blog, I can't predict where any project will end up. Thanks to those who've found out with me since 2004 and those just getting to know me.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Michael Weatherly Leaving NCIS

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 8:00 A.M.

Weatherly, who has played Special Agent Tony DiNozzo since NCIS's backdoor pilot in 2003, announced yesterday he would leave the show at the end of this season.

The fact that DiNozzo has been fully fleshed out over thirteen years makes Weatherly's departure easier to take than say, Kate Todd's, who was killed off after two seasons. Then again, DiNozzo has been the spark of much of the show's humor as well as its younger man of action. I don't see McGee or Bishop filling the action void as Kate, Ziva, and Tony did. In those aspects, Weatherly is most difficult to replace.

Is it too much of a stretch to wonder if Weatherly's departure puts NCIS's renewal for Season 14 in doubt? If I were an executive, I'd want some assurance the show post-DiNozzo could still hit all the notes it does now.

Promoting a recurring humorous, physical character like Abigail Borin (Diane Neal) or recent DiNozzo ex Zoe Keats (Marisol Nichols) would be an easy transition, but there are also several episodes left this season that could introduce a new character.

What kind of sendoff would I like for Tony? What if he simply retires, as Ziva did, and reunites with Ziva as a bonus?

Monday, January 04, 2016

At The Five-Two: "Gunsels Need Not Apply"

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 5:30 A.M.

First up in 2016 is Richard Manly Heiman's prose poem "Gunsels Need Not Apply" as read below by contemporary noir author S.A. Solomon:

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We have one more slot open in January. Write us a poem about a criminal resolving to go straight.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

I've Finally Seen: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

© by Gerald So | geraldso.blogspot.com | 5:00 A.M.

As a fan of the TV series, I had anticipated an U.N.C.L.E. movie for years, various actors, writers, and directors becoming attached and detached. When the movie premiered in August directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, I wanted to see it, but not so much I'd have gone to a theater alone.

At the family Thanksgiving party, a cousin raved about the movie on video, saying she enjoyed it more than the higher-profile James Bond movie Spectre. Yesterday, my brother mentioned the U.N.C.L.E. movie had come up on his Netflix queue. Not familiar with the TV series, he still enjoyed it, saying it was worth the $14.99 on Blu-ray I'd been thinking of paying, so we watched it together last night.

While not blatantly like the TV series, the movie strikes enough of the same chords that its inspiration is clear. Coming close to Robert Vaughn's playful cadence, Cavill plays the CIA's Napoleon Solo with a flair sadly missing from the current incarnations of Bond and Bourne. Hammer plays the KGB's Ilya Kuryakin not quite as David McCallum did, but with the same sense that his volatility could churn to the surface any moment.

The movie covers their getting to know each other as the United States and Soviet Union team up in pursuit of a missing nuclear scientist. It's really a race which superpower finds them first, and each man has orders to kill the other if necessary to win. Meanwhile, U.N.C.L.E. chief Alexander Waverly (Hugh Grant) has his own agent in place.

I found it a good mix of period tension and low-tech action. I regret that a sequel seems unlikely given its low box office total.