tempestsarekind: (the wind and the rain)
Just finished watching King Charles III on PBS. Tim Pigott-Smith was quite moving, and there were lots of Shakespearean echoes (Kate is clearly being cast as Lady Macbeth, and even says "Cry havoc" at one point). Charlotte Riley as Kate is maybe not quite soft enough - which is to say that she plays the Lady Macbeth side of things aptly, but it's hard to imagine her as public Kate. (One of the puzzling things about the play/adaptation: how much are we meant to rely on what we "know" of these figures currently?)

Not totally sure how I felt about the blank verse; I'd need to give it another listen, probably. I like the idea of it, though.

Of course, there are many old friends - and some new! - among the cast: Charlotte Riley from the Wuthering Heights adaptation from a few years back, and Jonathan Strange; Adam James who played Don Pedro opposite David Tennant in Much Ado (and other things; he pops up a lot). Peculiarly, there were three cast members who'd just acted opposite each other in Twelfth Night at the National Theatre: Tamara Lawrance (Viola), Oliver Chris (Orsino), and Tim McMullan (Sir Toby). This is particularly peculiar since, of the three, apparently only Oliver Chris was in the theatrical run.
tempestsarekind: (bananas are good)
Because this review of The Great British Baking Show (its PBS title) turns into a statement about life:

http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2016/07/01/484184090/the-bun-also-rises-why-we-love-the-great-british-baking-show

Don't laugh, but this is life, in a way, as we all hope for it to be. You screw up, but not entirely. You see your hoped-for result dashed on the counter in a pile of goop, but someone says, "I see what you put into this; I see what you intended." Someone you trust who is better than you are at whatever you're trying to do says, "We both see what you did wrong; I can help you identify what you did right." You still might lose. You still might go home crying with disappointment. But someone will have said, "Next time, take it out of the oven five minutes sooner and you'll really have something." It's a show of such … hope. Hoping everybody else is going to be willing to try the imperfect layers of your particular not-quite-put-together cake is often the only way to get through the day, after all.


Although this sentence describing the appeal of the show as compared to that of Top Chef is also pretty good too (and took a direction I didn't expect):

I don't know that it's more exciting, but there are days in which you find yourself more in the mood for a relaxing evening having drinks with low-key, charming friends than for an hour spent watching a skunk and a rat fight over who gets to drag a rotten potato into a hole in the ground.


Heh.
tempestsarekind: (the man himself)
What's this? An announcement about Shakespeare on Great Performances? Not tucked away in the comment thread of some other random post? Not the week or the day before the first episode is set to air? My stars, has someone at PBS finally figured out that people are much likely to watch things if they tell the audience when those things will be airing?

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/hollow-crown-wars-roses-miniseries/5109/

Although that December 25 airing of the Richard III episode is going to make for some odd Christmas viewing. And I guess we'll see whether they actually advertise for it...
tempestsarekind: (regency house party [s&s])
1. It cracks me up that the triangles of the "Play" buttons on the various videos on the website are done in these wavering, old-timey lines instead of just being normal triangles:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/poldark/world-of-poldark.html?utm_source=promourl&utm_medium=direct&utm_campaign=poldark_2015

2. I obviously haven't seen episode 3 yet since it hasn't been broadcast yet, so perhaps I'll feel differently tonight, but based on the trailer: does anyone else think that the Ross/Demelza relationship is being rather rushed? They've only had a few interactions, none of which have seemed to have any romantic undertones on Ross' side, and suddenly the trailer is all hushed, tempting whispers in Demelza's ear… I remain open to being persuaded, but I have a hard time imagining how the episode will get them to this point in a convincing way.

(I felt this way last week with the whole Verity subplot, as well: small spoiler ))


=======

Edited for post-episode review: well, that escalated quickly. But if they do what I hope they'll do episode 3 spoiler )
tempestsarekind: (dido plus books 2)
…Aw man, they knew just how to push all my costume-drama buttons, didn't they?

What I like most about it so far, I think, is that they weren't afraid to just drop us into this world of honor and pride and family obligation and let us accept that these were the feelings that overwhelmingly influenced people's behavior - instead of trying to gloss them over and make them more palatable to a modern audience. I think perhaps Ross is a bit too friendly with his tenants (they called him "Ross"!), but they are mostly of an age with him, so I can imagine that he might well have grown up with them in a more relaxed way. But I really like Ross' interactions with Demelza: he rescues her, but he also treats her like a servant; he's fair to her, but not overly kind. I'm sure their relationship will change as the show progresses, but I like that it's started this way. And more personally - I'm an only child, from a small family, so I tend to forget how interconnected people's extended families can be; I liked that aspect as well.

Before watching the episode, I thought that casting Aidan Turner in a role where he was likely not to get to smile was rather a waste, but now I think that the warmth he shows so easily comes out in unexpected moments - as when he smiles at the children enjoying the Punch-and-Judy show on market day, for example - and helps to balance out the quick anger and the brooding that might otherwise be too much.

Also, I am very excited for the inevitable Demelza-wears-a-dress scene. :)

ETA: Rather than starting a new post - is anyone else watching The Crimson Field? Wow, that first episode was a lot. And spoiler ) I've missed Oona Chaplin's face, too, after the premature cancellation of The Hour (sob), so it's lovely to see her here. And Suranne Jones as well!

I don't get why PBS tends to throw all its new dramas at one at once, though, instead of spreading them out. They've been doing pledge drives for absolute weeks now, with nothing but the same tired old health programs on ("Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" and the like), and then both Poldark and The Crimson Field starting tonight.
tempestsarekind: (your strange behavior puzzles martha)
A PBS commercial for Nova (for next week's episode, called "The Great Math Mystery") just asked, "Is math an invention, or a discovery?" and my brain so does not understand how to wrap itself around how you would even begin to answer that question.

Of course, I am someone who took an extraordinarily long time to understand that 2+3 was the same as 3+2 as a child, and would break out in, I don't know, panic itching when my mother made me do timed math practice sheets at the kitchen table, in addition to being really spatially challenged - those puzzles where you had to figure out which set of six identical squares would fold up to make a cube? Bane of my existence - so this is not especially surprising. It sounds like an interesting episode, but I am not sure that even Nova would be able to explain this to me in a way that would let me get anything out of it. :)

*giggle*

Apr. 5th, 2015 10:14 pm
tempestsarekind: (martha + ten + TARDIS)
I am entirely too amused by the fact that in the credit sequence for Wolf Hall, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Harry Lloyd got a title card all to themselves, seeing as they were both in "Human Nature/Family of Blood."
tempestsarekind: (globe)
Dispatch from the Department of Stuff No One Else Cares About, "Eight Actors in Britain" edition: In yesterday's episode of the most recent season of Endeavour (the prequel series to Inspector Morse), I did not spot any actors from Doctor Who, but there were four actors who had been in Globe productions. Two of these are series regulars: Jack Laskey (Orlando in the Thea Sharrock-directed AYLI), and Roger Allam (Falstaff in 1 and 2 Henry IV; also Prospero in last summer's production of The Tempest). The amusing thing was that the other two actors had also been in those same productions: I was of course thrilled to note Jamie Parker's name in the opening credits; he played Oliver opposite Jack Laskey's Orlando, and Hal to Roger Allam's Falstaff. And then Jessie Buckley was Roger Allam's Miranda! (They filmed this production of The Tempest, but who knows if they'll ever get their act together for US screenings; they never did for last year's, as far as I know - which was not a terrible hardship, I suppose, since I'd always planned to buy the DVDs for Jamie's Henry V and Sam Barnett's Twelfth Night anyway, but I still would have loved to see Jamie cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George on a big screen too.)

(Jamie played an utterly obnoxious Oxford tutor of medieval history, clipped upper-crust accent and all - but his voice was still so lovely that I kind of just wanted him to keep being obnoxious forever...)
tempestsarekind: (history boys oxford)
- I emailed the local cinema that usually screens the NT Live broadcasts to ask if they had plans to show the Branagh/Kingston Macbeth, and they wrote back to say that they were in the process of scheduling it, and would update their website when things were finalized. Yay! Because, if I'd had to, I *would* have taken the two-hour bus ride to get to a place that has announced a screening, but it's great that I won't have to.

- Since the last time I checked the local library system catalog, one of the libraries that allows requests on audiovisual materials has purchased a copy of the DVD of At Home With the Georgians. So I have requested it!

- Speaking of library materials, my request for James Shapiro's TV series Shakespeare: The King's Man, from last year's Olympics-timed Shakespeare festival in the UK, came in yesterday. (I think it was called The King and the Playwright in the UK. Also, I didn't even know that this series had come out on DVD in the US until it happened to show up in an email from the BBC America Shop. How is that possible? My usual Shakespeare news sources failed me.) So, I know what I'm doing today.

- My local PBS station is airing episodes about various stately homes - Althorp, Chatsworth, and "Henry VIII's palace" (I'm assuming that this is Hampton Court) - in the next few weeks. I was rather miffed when they only showed the episode about Highclere Castle a few months ago, with no indication of whether they'd purchased the whole series (I mean, I get why they showed it then, it was a perfect Downton tie-in, but it looked like they were only ever going to show that one episode), so this is good.

(Turns out I still hear the phrase "stately home" in Samuel-Barnett-as-Posner's voice. Huh.)
tempestsarekind: (Default)
So I spent an hour yesterday squeaking at my television in delight about David Tennant's face, and so cannot possibly evaluate the Hamlet episode objectively. (He geeked out over the Bad Quarto, you guys! How do I resist that?) The Tempest episode mainly made me want to watch the Taymor film, which I have so far not been inclined to do. (I also find the whole 'farewell to the theatre' narrative slightly irritating, and so am not objective about that, either.)


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

tempestsarekind: (facepalm)
...Well, at least the ridiculous Derek Jacobi anti-Stratfordian stuff in the Richard II episode of Shakespeare Uncovered was pretty short. And at least they followed up with Jonathan Bate basically going, "...Sir Derek, what is your deal?"

I do wonder how much of the play came across to people who didn't already know the play, though. I feel like most of the other plays in this series are reasonably familiar; even if you haven't read it, you probably have a basic idea of what happens in Hamlet or Macbeth, and have probably heard references to Henry V's famous speeches (although I did once have a student who asked in the middle of a discussion, "I mean, is this speech actually that famous? Like, do people just randomly make references to a 'band of brothers' or something?"). Richard II does have the big famous speech by John of Gaunt, but I suspect that a lot of people don't know that it comes from this play.
tempestsarekind: (Default)
Is anyone else watching Shakespeare Uncovered on PBS? I saw the first two episodes on Friday night (...and may have watched them again since in repeats. Shut up, it's not that often that there's Shakespeare on my television). Of course, because for some reason PBS doesn't advertise its Shakespeare offerings very well, all the commercials were only for the Ethan Hawke Macbeth episode, even though they showed two of them back-to-back (I get the monthly members' guide, so I was prepared for this, at least), but I suppose I should just be glad that there *were* commercials, since I never saw a single one for David Tennant's Hamlet.

Anyway. The first episode was on Macbeth, and the second on "the comedies." (In practice this was basically just Twelfth Night and As You Like It, but that was the title of the episode.) I rather liked the Macbeth one, particularly because they interviewed Antony Sher and Harriet Walter, who played Macbeth and Lady M opposite one another in 2001, so we got some lovely little details of how they played that relationship. I found Ethan Hawke a much more engaging host than I had expected; he was earnest and a little clueless, but that's not a bad thing for an introductory look at the play. Joely Richardson, on the other hand, seemed to be trying a little too hard to impress - or maybe I'm just miffed that she kept interrupting the Globe rehearsal scenes to talk about how much she loved some theme in Twelfth Night. And I didn't come to this episode with the best grace, anyway, precisely because of the decision to treat any comedy as every comedy, as so often happens: you'd never see someone cram Macbeth and Hamlet into one episode because they both deal with the murder of kings, but Twelfth Night and As You Like It both have heroines who dress up as boys, so they're obviously completely the same and couldn't possibly each deserve an episode. (I'm not saying they both should have gotten an episode, necessarily. I just think they should have picked one play and really concentrated on that one, instead of forcing everyone to talk in vague generalizations about how Shakespeare does the same things in so many of his comedies, and they have great, strong heroines, and are about the difficulties of love.)

This week we get Richard II, which I am greatly looking forward to even if Derek Jacobi does apparently get all anti-Stratfordian in spots*, and Henries IV and V, hosted by Jeremy Irons.



*I may have spent some time crooning "Jaaaaamie" in an unseemly way during the commercials for this episode, even though I have already seen his clips as Richard II thanks to the Jamie Parker Shakespeare tumblr. You'll have to guess, because I'm not telling.

oh, dear.

Jun. 2nd, 2012 08:13 pm
tempestsarekind: (elizabeth bennet is amused)
My local PBS lifestyle channel (cooking, crafts, travel) is running an "Ice Cream Saturdae" marathon. I don't know why I find this funny.

I thought they were done for the day when they started showing an episode of Rick Steves' Europe in which he travels to Rome...but nope, he ate some gelato! That totally counts!
tempestsarekind: (very few dates in this history)
I am puzzled about why everyone's puzzled that people like Downton Abbey. For example:

"The US cult of Downton Abbey"
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16731254

I suspect I'm the absolute wrong person to ask the question, since I give all of Masterpiece Classic's offerings a try even if I don't like them enough to keep watching--so I am not a part of "Downton fever"; I'm just doing what I usually do.

I'm also not madly in love with Downton, anyway. I wrote three pages about it the other day (whoops), but I will spare you since I don't have them with me. The short version, anyway, is that the only character I really care about at the moment is Mary, with an honorable mention for Matthew.

But I would really, REALLY like it if we could get past this simplistic idea that anyone who watches costume drama is thoughtlessly nostalgic for some time that didn't exist, or in desperate need of mindless escapism. Other genres don't get accused of this nearly so often, it seems to me, and I can't help thinking that it's because costume drama is seen as a women's genre. Unless it's a manly war film about a boy and his horse, in which case, Oscar gold, because we have to honor the stories of the past, you know. But not if they involve dresses or marriage or some escapist stuff like that. Nobody sensible cares about those stories.

(I really feel like you could rewrite this article using Janeites instead of Downton fans, and you would not have to make a lot of changes--you'd have the same puzzlement that a lot of ladies seem to like something, the same need for commentators to weigh in with their condemnation. I'm not saying that there aren't a bunch of things that I'd like to see Downton do better, because there are, especially now that they've added the WWI narrative but don't seem entirely willing to commit to it. Also, I would like to punch Branson in the nose. All the time. But that's a critique of the show, not of the people who watch and enjoy it, who have every right to do so.)
tempestsarekind: (Default)
Have I ever mentioned how much I love As Time Goes By? I only catch it somewhat randomly on PBS, but I always find myself crooning at how adorable Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer are. I also wind up thinking I should have deeper comedy thoughts than "see look it's a comedy not based on derision, they do exist," but that's as far as I ever get. hey-ho.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

tempestsarekind: (Default)
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/we-still-live-here/film.html

It's no longer available for streaming on the website, alas, but it's worth keeping an eye out for it if it's still playing on your local PBS station, or if it comes out on DVD. As the website copy says, it's a documentary of "the story of the revitalization of the Wampanoag language, the first time a language with no native speakers has been revived in this country."
tempestsarekind: (Default)
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/we-still-live-here/film.html

It's no longer available for streaming on the website, alas, but it's worth keeping an eye out for it if it's still playing on your local PBS station, or if it comes out on DVD. As the website copy says, it's a documentary of "the story of the revitalization of the Wampanoag language, the first time a language with no native speakers has been revived in this country."
tempestsarekind: (regency house party [s&s])
Media consumed recently:

--"Vincent and the Doctor," on the S5 rewatch. There were tears, again. Oh, too many feelings still.

--Reread Sunshine by accident. Well, I'd planned to reread it--but I hadn't planned to reread it all in one day. Oops.

--the first installment of Downton Abbey on PBS. Er, twice. (I watched it once while I was still home with my mom, the night before I left; I was curled up on the sofa in the living room, and she came upstairs from the basement and said to me, "You look like you're really enjoying that." The second time was a day or so ago, because PBS was showing it again; I'm pretty sure I said "ooh, Edwardian snap!" out loud to my empty apartment at one point, so it is yet again clear that I shall always live alone.)

--The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson. It's a peculiar little novel, occasionally threatening to become twee but never actually doing it; utterly matter-of-fact about the imaginative lives of the characters, and the occasions where that imagination tips over into the actually fantastic. If I were going to describe it in one word, I suppose I'd say "unapologetic": the narrator makes very few concessions and no apologies for the fact that we aren't a part of her family's imaginative club, just as they make no concessions for their beleaguered governesses who have to try to educate the youngest sister.

Currently reading The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw. I'm only about fifty pages in, I think, but I'm not sure this one is going to take. Theoretically I should love a book that's so...fairy-tale (for lack of a better way of putting it), but something about the narration--as though it wants to be a "properly" "literary" novel, all cold, lonely families and hidden heartbreak--is leaving me cold. But I will press on and see if it improves.
tempestsarekind: (regency house party [s&s])
Media consumed recently:

--"Vincent and the Doctor," on the S5 rewatch. There were tears, again. Oh, too many feelings still.

--Reread Sunshine by accident. Well, I'd planned to reread it--but I hadn't planned to reread it all in one day. Oops.

--the first installment of Downton Abbey on PBS. Er, twice. (I watched it once while I was still home with my mom, the night before I left; I was curled up on the sofa in the living room, and she came upstairs from the basement and said to me, "You look like you're really enjoying that." The second time was a day or so ago, because PBS was showing it again; I'm pretty sure I said "ooh, Edwardian snap!" out loud to my empty apartment at one point, so it is yet again clear that I shall always live alone.)

--The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson. It's a peculiar little novel, occasionally threatening to become twee but never actually doing it; utterly matter-of-fact about the imaginative lives of the characters, and the occasions where that imagination tips over into the actually fantastic. If I were going to describe it in one word, I suppose I'd say "unapologetic": the narrator makes very few concessions and no apologies for the fact that we aren't a part of her family's imaginative club, just as they make no concessions for their beleaguered governesses who have to try to educate the youngest sister.

Currently reading The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw. I'm only about fifty pages in, I think, but I'm not sure this one is going to take. Theoretically I should love a book that's so...fairy-tale (for lack of a better way of putting it), but something about the narration--as though it wants to be a "properly" "literary" novel, all cold, lonely families and hidden heartbreak--is leaving me cold. But I will press on and see if it improves.
tempestsarekind: (eleven and amy)
Because I am a degenerate, I had cause to watch a DVD from Netflix on Friday instead of working on my paper. (It was the first disc of S2 of Being Human, which I still haven't seen. I was only going to watch a little bit, while I ate dinner! Ha.) At the beginning of the DVD, as there are, there were previews. And this voice started saying that the universe was vast and complicated, and sometimes impossible things just happen, and we call them miracles...

I cannot even describe the ridiculous glee-noise I made. It was truly pathetic. And then at the end of the little trailer, I said (out loud, to my empty apartment), "I was not expecting this!" And giggled like an idiot through most of the next trailer.

In other mildly idiotic news, PBS was showing a special on graveyards yesterday. I'd seen it before, a couple of years ago, so I didn't think much of it at the time, because hey--special on graveyards, this is totally normal! It took me several minutes to go, "...oh right. Because tomorrow is Halloween."

Hopeless. I am hopeless.

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