Wednesday, September 30, 2015
I've been enjoying Blunt Talk, the new comedy series starring Patrick Stewart, now showing on the Starz network. An occasional guest star on the series has been Brent Spiner, Mr. Stewart's old cohort on Star Trek: The Next Generation way back when. Though playing totally different characters now (Mr. Stewart an effective television journalist with a train wreck of a personal life and Mr. Spiner a sympathetic piano player working in the bar Mr. Stewart's character often visits), it's been a lot of fun seeing the easy repartee these two actors still have with each other.
Seeing them also makes me want a new Star Trek series. C'mon, how hard would that be? Just get a new series going, assemble a nice cast, and set the whole thing in the 24th century, a couple of decades after the time frame of Star Trek: The Next Generation. That last point would allow characters from that series, as well as from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, to come and go as occasional guest stars, complementing the new series' regular cast. It would be a lot of fun. Watching Mr. Stewart and Mr. Spiner on Blunt Talk just reminds everyone that time is being wasted and these actors won't have an indefinite window to again play their classic Star Trek characters.
And as far as a premise for a new Trek show? I say keep it simple. Star Trek is best when embracing its classic structure: a ship traveling the galaxy having adventures, encountering strangeness, and addresssing challenges and moral dilemmas. You don't need to complicate the premise with too much originality and cleverness. Leave those things for the individual episodes' stories, and for the new characters created to populate the series.
Any, end of rant. But if there's anyone at Paramount Pictures who reads this blog, could you please get on this issue at your convenience? Time, as they say, is a wastin'. Thanks.
Friday, September 25, 2015
Peter Swanson's The Kind Worth Killing is a slick and trashy thriller without a lot of subtlety and nuance, but at the same time I have to admit it's undeniably an entertaining page-turner. A woman meets a stranger at an airport bar, and after hearing his tail of woe about his cheating wife, offers to help him get his revenge on her. As in killing her.
If you check credibility at the door and allow yourself to accept that a woman can talk a stranger- fairly quickly, too- into offing his wife, the story is pretty enjoyable. What's especially enjoyable, and clever, is that the cheating wife, quite coincidentally, just may have psychopathic tendencies of her own. Oh, there's also another guy in the story, one who is particularly dumb and let's himself be manipulated and used by the much smarter women. It was fun to see the poor guy caught in the middle as each woman tries to use him to best the other.
The Kind Worth Killing isn't one of those autumnal, thoughtful thrillers that make us think about our own issues and problems as the various characters confront theirs. But then does every crime story have to be that? Sometimes a sharp, fast-moving story about beautiful people with dark souls, all spinning through an over-the-top plot laced with violence and sex, can deliver decent entertainment, too. This story certainly did.
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
For fans of James Bond, the latter going of 2015 offers a couple of nice treats. Obviously, the big one is the premiere of the new Bond film, SPECTRE, which debuts in the UK in October and in the US in November. From the trailers, it looks elegant, action-packed and intriguing. After all, we haven't seen the international crime cartel, SPECTRE, as a Bond antagonist since the 1971 film, Diamonds Are Forever, and SPECTRE head Ernst Stavro Blofeld since the pre-credits sequence of 1981's For Your Eyes Only. What do the producers have in mind for the re-launched, re-booted crime organization in the new film? We'll soon see.
But you may not realize that we're also getting a new Bond novel, and in only a few days: the second week of September will see the release of Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz. Set in Ian Fleming's original 1950's timeline, the book sounds pretty great. Here's a description that paraphrases from the press materials: Recovering from his recent victory over Auric Goldfinger, Bond is relaxing with his latest ally and conquest from that adventure, Pussy Galore, when he's soon called upon to thwart an effort by the Russians to sabotage a famous international auto race in West Germany. But is there more to the plan than simply embarrassing the West by messing up a celebrated race car event? Bond intends to find out. Again, sounds pretty good, huh?
Stay tuned for more discussion of our favorite fictional spy, as I'll undoubtedly have more to say about both the high-profile film and smaller-profile novel in the near future. For now, it's great to know we're getting some new Bond on both the big screen and printed page beginning almost immediately.