The Man In The High Castle

I’ve just finished watching the second season of The Man In the High Castle, and WOW! what a fantastic conclusion to the season. I though the first season ended well but this one took it up a couple of notches.

This is a show that I’ve enjoyed a lot but I’ve not been rabid for it like I am with Sense8, Marvel’s Netflix series, and Orange Is The New Black. When I do start watching it through, I have trouble turning it off. It doesn’t seem to be trying to shook, or cause offence, it feels like it’s just trying to tell a story. Some shows I’ve watched leave me feeling like the creative team behind it or the studio or network are just trying to do something that infuriates the fans, and that really isn’t a good way to go in my opinion. The Man In The High Castle feels like it knows what it wants to say and it’s doing it very well.

I like the changes they’ve made from the book, I honestly don’t think a literal adaptation of the book would work in either TV or movie format. I’m not going to go into comparing the two, because they are different entities. I’m not someone that feels that a book or comic adaptation has to replicate everything in the source material, that is seriously not possible. With this adaptation I think they’ve stayed loyal to the heart of the book but opened it up to create a world that they can explore. With the second season they have really opened up what the world might have turned out to be like had Germany and Japan won the Second World War.

This story wouldn’t work without the right actors, and I think they got them. The core cast of Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank, DJ Qualls, Joel de la Fuente, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brennan Brown, and Rufus Sewell are all fantastic. Each one plays their role in the show with a lot of depth and it’s hard taking your eyes off of them when they’re on screen. The rest of the cast all hold their own very well as well, which makes it all so much stronger.

I really hope we get a few more seasons of The Man In The High Castle. I haven’t heard much from the producers and so on from the show, so I don’t know if they’ve indicated a timespan they’ve got to get the story to its conclusion, but if they keep up this level of quality then I hope we get more and I’m eager to see where this journey takes us. Bravo Amazon for letting the all the people involved in this show getting it made and out there.

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A little wrap up for the day. I’ve followed the routine I mentioned in my post earlier and done some work on outlining at lunch time and then this evening another chapter on The Space Watch. I did it a little differently tonight though; I watched some TV and then started work at about nine this evening. I’ve wondered for a while that if I have a time restraint that I’ll be more productive. Tonight it has proved to be the case, but I’m also on a high from wrapping up season two of Sense 8. This show really blows my mind away. It’s so beautifully written, acted, directed, and produced that it’s a true emotional commitment to the show. There have been times during this season that I have been on the edge of my seat, that I have been jumping up and down and fist pumping and cheering the characters on. It’s very few shows or movie that get this response out of me, and Sense 8 is absolutely one of the ones that does and it’s near the top of my favourite all time shows. I cannot wait to see where they take the show from here on out.

I’m calling it a night now, I’m going to read a little before bed and then hopefully do it again tomorrow.

Sense8:Season Two

I am five episodes(including the Christmas special) into the new season of Sense8 on Netflix, and its good. Very good.

I loved the first series. In my opinion in one of the best series of TV I’ve ever seen. It’s beautifully written, directed, and acted. There are very few shows that have the balls to spend most of their first season on character development while only drip-feeding you the overall plot. They pulled it off though, it made the events in the rest of the season more hard-hitting because you knew the characters.

This new season has started at a full speed and kicks the nitrous in when it needs to. I literally jumped at the end of the first episode and have been moved to the edge of my seat on a number of occasions throughout this second season so far.

Now that we know all of the main characters the focus is on the bigger picture, but we’re still seeing the difficulties of the characters lives outside of the main story arc. They’re not fighting these problems alone though, despite the fact that these eight people are spread all over the globe, only two of them are physically together, but with how they can control each others bodies they help each other in difficult situations. Whether it’s the actor having to cause a scene to be a distraction, or the gangster beating the crap out of a threat to a cluster mate, or the bus driver needing help from the martial arts fighter, they can all move into each others bodies and help them out whenever they need them. How they shoot those scenes is fantastic to, it’s very smoothly done.

Once I’ve finished writing for the day I’ll be diving back in again. I’d like to say I’m going to be restrained and not binge watch the rest of the second season today but I’m not sure I’d be being honest with myself if I said that.

Judge Dredd Is Coming To TV!

On Wednesday it was announced by 2000AD that Judge Dredd will be coming to the small screen! I am super hyped about this. I think Judge Dredd:Mega-City One will kick ass big time. I do love the movie Dredd, it’s probably in my favourite three movies, but I think with Judge Joseph Dredd being in a TV series will suit the character and the setting of Mega-City One much better as we’ll get a show that’ll be able to explore the universe a lot more thoroughly. Movies are great, but with forty years of history I think a series is going to allow the creative team behind it more time to explore that universe.

No casting details have been announced, I’m really hoping they get Karl Urban, and Olivia Thirlby, back but I’m not going to hold my breath too much. I’ve got a feeling this series is going to be its own thing, though.

After hearing the owners of 2000AD talking (check out the 2000AD podcast) about the comic I’ve got a lot of hope for this series. They seem to get what it means and I think they are going to do it justice.

Perspective 

Since last weekend I’ve been watching Hells Kitchen on Netflix. There’s three series on there and I’ve got to admit, I wish there was more. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy this show. I think I probably watched the first three, maybe four seasons of the show before drifting away from it, as I do, and as I was watching it last night while I was doing a little editing I realised that to the people aiming to win, Gordon Ramsey is what Dan Abnett and Scott Sigler are to me.

When I used to watch the show it used to amaze me how often they screwed up something they’d claimed to have done countless times before. This time round though, I can Appreciate the pressures they’re under. I’m not going to say I understand it, because I’m not there trying to reach these goals, but I feel I can see how much pressure they have in those kitchens. As I was walking to work this morning I realised that for the contenders working with Gordon Ramsey is a dream come true, and would I be any different if I was working with someone like Dan Abnett or Scott Sigler? I’ve been lucky enough to have met both of my writing idols, and I wasn’t quite a gibbering wreck when I met Dan Abnett but I don’t think I was far off. I would probably have been the same with Scott Sigler but we were in a pub, his business partner A Kovacs was there, along with twenty to thirty other Junkies (that’s what us Sigler fans call ourselves).  And what would I be like if either Abnett or Sigler asked me to work with them on a story! I think I’d be a gibbering mess till it had sunk in, and then I’d be second guessing myself half the time.

If I’m honest I’m not expecting that to happen, but if I am not writing and trying to get my work out in the word then I stand no chance at all. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.

Good Morning, Sunday

This is going to be a bit of a bulky post as I just sum up what’s been going on in the last few weeks.

It’s been a slow couple of weeks with writing, I’ve literally written no new words for pushing a month now. In that time though I have been  working on an outline in much more detail than I have done in the past, and I’ve been working on getting last years FanFic piece read through. With the FanFic piece it’s a little complicated as I have to figure out what I’m going to need to connect the various pieces together, as well as figuring out what I’m going to re-write to make it all into a coherent story.

I have got my vampire collection all sorted out though. This is one of the files that I’d done beta note adjustments on, but I’d lost the file and have had to do them all over again. As I was doing the changes I couldn’t help but think it might just be an idea to rewrite the whole thing as (I’d like to think) I’m a better writer now. Aside from the time it’ll take for me to rewrite another story I’ve written (50k plus words), I’d also loose some of the subtext that is in those stories. I listen to Armand Rosamilla’s podcasts (Armcast and The Mando Method) and he has said that he has thought about rewriting some of his older work, but he isn’t now who he was then, and they’d loose something if he rewrote them. I can’t help but agree. I also don’t want to be that writer that keeps working on the same things and never moves forward. I do suffer a little of that but I’m trying to pull away from it. Now that I’ve got this done, and ready to go off to other beta readers, I’m feeling like I am moving forward.

We’re also moving forward on The Space Watch. Owen is working his way through, putting his stamp on it and I’m looking forward to sitting down with him to go through it in detail and see what he thinks needs working on.

I did have a massive highlight last Saturday (18th March) and that was meeting Scott Sigler. Scott is one of my writing idols and he’s having a small European tour and as soon as I heard him announce the two London dates I immediately booked the 18th off so I could go and hang out with a writer who I’ve been following since 2007. I also got to meet his business partner, AB Kovacs. Both Scott and A are really fantastic people. They are both very engaging, passionate, hard working, and genuine. They’ve also got a great deal of appreciation for the fans, we call ourselves Junkies, and that was very clear to see on Saturday. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best moments of my life, and has opened my eyes a little to how much of a rut I’m in. Both with writing and life in general. I am taking steps to change that, but I am quite an introvert and it’s not easy for me to step out of my comfort zone.

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Scott Sigler and myself
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AB Kovacs

Back to Saturday night though; in addition to meeting Scott and A, I got to hang out with a good twenty to thirty other Junkies who were an awesome group of people and were all so passionate about Sigler’s work. I also got to meet comedian, illusionist,  and writer John Lenahan. John was podcasting back when Scott started off, and is such a cool dude. What made him even cooler was that he did the voice of Talkie Toaster from the TV series Red Dwarf!

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John Lenahan

Elsewhere, I’ve been getting back into the cinema. I’m a huge movie fan and it’s getting to the time of year when the movies I want to see are coming out. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been to see Lego Batman, Logan, Kong:Skull Island, and Beauty and the Beast. Lego Batman was a lot of fun, silly and over the top, which is what I was expecting. Logan was just brilliant! Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine with such commitment, understanding and passion over the years it’s going to be a shame not seeing him playing the character again. Kong was surprising good. Action right from the start and never did it feel like it was slowing down. It just kept its pace, and the action didn’t disappoint. It’s also the first time I’ve really seen Brie Larson in anything. She’s been cast as Carol Danvers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and I was really impressed with how she was on screen. Beauty and the Beast is probably one of my favourite Disney movies. I saw the animated version a couple of times at the cinema when it first came out, and it’s always resonated with me. The live action version was good, but I think it doesn’t quite match up to the original. This is one of those times where I’ve realised this film was going to find it hard to impress me because of my love for the original, that said there was a lot I liked about the live action remake and I will definitely be buying it on Blu-Ray when it does come out.

TV wise, I watched The Expanse, and really dug it. It was a little bit of a slow start but once I’d gotten to about episode three I was locked-in. I’m looking forward to seeing the next series. It’s also reminded me I’ve got to get through the rest of the books in the series. I’m now getting stuck into Iron Fist, and am really enjoying it. It’s just taken a turn I wasn’t expecting. I could quite easily go and binge the last four or five episodes but I’d like to get some work down today.

Reading wise, I’ve not got Terror Byte by J.R. Park finished yet. I’m enjoying the story but I’ve let myself get distracted by movies, TV and comics in the last couple of weeks. I’m going to aim to get back to reading before bed each night, again and will hopefully have it finished by this time next week. Speaking of comics, I’ve just finished House of M, and really loved it. I’ve been curious as to what led up to Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment and I brought House of M simply because the cover looked cool and I was intrigued by the title. So seeing Scarlett Witch’s ‘No More Mutants’ moment was an added bonus. I’ve now moved onto Secret Invasion. I also listened to Alone by Scott Sigler. This is the third book of his Generations Trilogy and really ended the series well. The audiobook was narrated by AB Kovacs and she smashed it! A really impressive performance, and very easy to listen to.

Well, that’s about it. Sorry for the chunky post, it’s not often I break five hundred words, let alone a thousand! I am trying to focus my attention and energy better. I’m not being overly successful with it, but I’m trying. Hopefully I’ll have a productive week.

Orange Is The New Black

I’m re-watching Orange Is The New Black and its a show I do like a lot. I like the complexities the show has in it. From the main Piper Chapman storyline to what seems like the most throw away storylines for what look to be minor characters, there is an undercurrent of quality in this show that I’ve rarely seen on TV. There are characters in this show that seem minor but then we get an episode that focuses on them and their backstory. It’s nice seeing such thought put into each character, and I wonder how much thought has been put into each of these characters.

The funny thing about the show is; theres a lot of the characters and storylines that I almost hate. Some of that is a personal thing, I’m not one for a lot of confrontation and stirring trouble up, and some of it is people just being dumb. Then I remind myself how dumb human beings can be.

Now normally with some things I’d have dropped it and moved onto something else, not because somethings bad but normally because it’s not my cup of tea.

The reason why I’ve been pulled into, and looking forward to season four,  Orange Is The New Black is because of the depth of writing, the quality of the acting, the strength of the production, and everything else and all of the hard work that goes into making this show. Also though, the show feels like it has a lot of heart in it. The cast seem to have a lot of love for each other, and that affection comes across on camera. From what I’ve seen on social media they all show each other a lot of support outside of the set. I’ve only seen a few pieces of behind the scenes footage, but it seems they have a lot of fun there.

I’ve mentioned that there’s parts of the show that I don’t like, including characters, but that is just an indication of how good the writing is, and how good the acting is. Poor acting can destroy a good script, bad writing can do the same for an actors performance. Good writing, combined with good acting, and everything else that a good show has, now that is something that is hard not to enjoy and appreciate.

Something else I have noticed about the show is just how diverse Orange Is The New Black is. Race, religion, sexuality, body type, personality, mental states; it’s all there. You don’t just see one type of person on the show, theres characters from all walks of life in this show and whether I like or dislike the character I believe in each and every one of them and that makes it so much more engaging to watch.

This is a show where it feels like nothing is off the table, and that makes this a really exciting show to be watching because as a viewer I never know what I’m about to see.

I can’t wait for season four.