Monday, February 8, 2016

Vera Series 6 - Dark Road - Episode Review

My review of the first season of Vera.
My review of the second season of Vera.
My review of the third season of Vera.

My reviews of the fourth season of Vera. 

Bleak but gorgeous moors? Crows? A crowded pub? A girl running alone in the dark? No depressed Swedish detective in evidence? Must be Vera, and so it is. The girl in particular had just discovered the body of a woman, Anne Marie Richards, left in the wilderness for two weeks.

Marcus the Pathologist, who's looking rather older, hesitantly diagnoses a violent death. She'd been scheduled to have supper with her two daughters several weeks ago. A history of drugs and desertion meant they weren't particularly surprised when she was a no-show. But is that the only reason they refused to seek her out? Could they be responsible for her disappearance?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Vera Series 4 - On Harbour Street - Episode Review

My review of the first season of Vera.
My review of the second season of Vera.

My review of the third season of Vera.

So: the first episode of series 4 finds Joe and his suddenly older daughter, (played by a different actress, Olivia Armstrong) Jessie, boarding the train after church. Among the crowd is Margaret Kraszewski, a do-gooder that the camera’s lingering gaze implies is not long for this world. Sure enough, when the crowd vacates the car, Jessie finds the old woman dead - stabbed in her lower back.

Vera - Series 3 - Review

My review of the first season of Vera.
My review of the second season of Vera.

Vera - Series 2 - Review

 My review of the first season of Vera.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Vera - Series 1 - Review

Vera starts out slow. She's a hard sell is Vera Stanhope - tough, insecure, fearfully intelligent, and afraid of placing confidence in others. Joe Ashworth, the dishy sergeant to end all dishy sergeants (sorry, Hathaway), is, however, a patient man. He's prepared to wait, to chip away at her walls, to take her moods and temper. I think they're my favorite detective duo of all time.

What I offer here are the impressions I jotted down after each episode - minireviews, if you like, and more of a rough diary than anything, but here they are. You can watch the first three seasons free here.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Top Books of 2015

Neil Gaiman's simply one of the best storytellers in the market right now. Mixing the whimsical and macabre, he uses an uncomplicated story to convey a powerful, understated effect. My dad described his writing thus: "It's like you're walking down an ordinary street and then you take a left turn and there's Faerie." The Graveyard Book is close to my favorite of his novels (Coraline might be the winner), and in it he sets us into a small world with a supernatural twist. Bod is an ordinary boy, raised by ordinary parents, who just happen to be ghosts. 

I read My Antonia once before in what was probably Middle School, but I obviously didn't get it. This was the time it finally clicked: the atmosphere, the untamed prairie, the romantic realism of it all. Also, that epilogue was about the most winsome portrait of a huge family that I've ever read.

Endeavour Season 3 - Coda - Episode Review

 My review of last week's episode: Prey

After last week's hijinks, Coda returns to more familiar territory. In many ways, this has been a wildly different series of Endeavour - so much so that it's been difficult to establish a status quo. Coda suffers from this, but in all the chaos, there are moments of pathos.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016