Category Archives: TV

Altered Carbon — Two Teasers and a Trailer

Netflix has adapted Altered Carbon, Richard K. Morgan’s award-winning 2002 cyberpunk novel, into an initial 10-episode series. The company released a couple of teasers late last year, and a full trailer this week. Here are the teasers:

[No, I haven’t accidentally slipped a porn video into the blog. That initial image is just Netflix being Netflix. They call these things “teasers” for a reason.]

And here’s the new trailer:

Ah, the “old brains in new bodies” trope!

I don’t know about this one. On the one hand, Joel Kinnaman and James Purefoy are both solid performers. On the other hand, the CGI is less than dazzling. It looks on the cheap side.*

All 10 episodes of Altered Carbon will become available on 2 February 2018.


*On the third hand, some of the most impressive CGI-heavy trailers I saw last year were for Ghost in the Shell, and that didn’t turn out so well, did it? I’m still a little embarrassed about getting so overheated about that one.

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More Game of Thrones Goes Postal — Giants and Direwolves and Dragons, Oh My

The British Royal Mail isn’t ignoring the non-human players of the Game of Thrones. In addition to the 10 contestants in the set of postage stamps that I wrote about yesterday, the Royal Mail is also issuing a sheet of stamps featuring some of the less hominoid characters in the Game.

There are direwolves, who are friends of the good guys…

…giants and dragons, who play both sides of the field…


…and, of course, the Big Bad himself, the Night King.


At the center of it all, the Iron Throne.

The stamps will be sold at UK Post Office branches starting on 23 January 2018, and are already available for pre-ordered on the Royal Mail website.

Game of Thrones Goes Postal

Imagine this: There’s been an incident in King’s Landing. Two or three royals die of festering paper cuts, a deranged pig farmer blows up the national cathedral, the Queen announces that she’s pregnant by her six-years-dead husband, flying monkeys attack the scarecrow, the tin man, and the cowardly lion, whatever. Just another day in Westeros, really, but you feel an urgent need to get word of the event to the Watchers at the Wall.

You go to your aviary, only to discover that your fastest, most reliable raven is lying motionless at the bottom of his cage, little claws in the air, pining for the fjords. What to do?

British Royal Mail to the rescue!

On 23 January 2018, UK Post Office branches will begin selling stamps celebrating characters from the world’s most popular TV show, Game of Thrones. Even better, the stamps are available for pre-ordered on the Royal Mail website.

The stamps depict 10 characters, eight of whom are played by British actors.  Here’s are close-ups of the individual stamps:

Beautifully done, aren’t they?

Downton Abbey — Party Like It’s 1925

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition, which I’ve previously mentioned, has extended its New York run, and is now offering a new, interactive feature:


It’s 21+, and tickets are $225. The package includes:

  • A three-hour cocktail soiree with Edwardian inspired passed hors d’oeuvres and passed small plates menu
  • Unlimited bar featuring a Downton Abbey inspired cocktail
  • Access to the Exhibition
  • Exclusive screening of rarely before seen cast footage
  • A complimentary Downton Abbey: The Exhibition keepsake book
  • A complimentary media guide for touring the exhibition

“Guests are welcome to dress in their best Downton Attire. All waitstaff will be in period costume, providing service of which Carson would be proud.”

Apparat (with Soap&Skin) — “Goodbye”

I’ve been watching Dark, the eerie, difficult-to-describe German TV series running on Netflix. The show delves into a number of seemingly unrelated but interlocking mysteries.

For me, the first mystery arose even before the plot kicked in:  Why did the theme song seem so familiar?

A little research revealed that the name of the song is “Goodbye”. It’s the creation of German synth musician Sascha Ring, who uses the stage name Apparat. On this song, he collaborates with Austrian musician Anja Plaschg. She uses the stage name Soap&Skin.

No help there.

And then I got it.

“Goodbye” is playing in the background of “Face Off”, the stunning final episode of the fourth season of Breaking Bad, as Gus Fring heads toward Casa Tranquila to kill Hector Salamanca. I must have watched that episode a dozen times.

Mystery solved, and a certain anxiety relieved.

But now I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. I got so into “Goodbye”, Apparat, and Soap&Skin that I’ve just spent a couple of hours exploring dark wave and contemporary Middle European ambient music, when I should have been doing important stuff like emptying the dishwasher and reorganizing my socks by colour.


2018 New Year’s Resolution Number 3

Don’t worry about falling down rabbit holes. That’s where the good stuff is hidden and the joy can be found.

The Magicians — Series Three Trailer

I’ve become charmed—enchanted, actually—by the SyFy channel’s adaptation of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians books, a series that has been described as “Harry Potter for grown-ups”.  You might even say that I’m under its spell. [Enough with the “magic” allusions already!]

The writing’s quite good, mixing subtle relationship drama with genuinely shocking moments and occasional outbursts of absolute hilarity, usually involving Hale Appleman’s character “Eliot”, who steals the show. The rest of the cast play flawed but charismatic, multiple-layered characters, except for Arjun Gupta in the thankless role as the always angry “Penny”. He’s just irritating.

Some of the effects are quite beautiful.

By the end of the show’s second season, the world’s magic had been powered down. Literally.* In the new series, our flawed heroes will try to reboot it.

Here’s the trailer for Season Three:

And, since it’s been a year since Season Two ended, here’s a refresher on what brought us to our current sorry state:

The Magicians returns to TV on 10 January 2018.


*Long story.

David Bowie: The Last Five Years Coming to HBO

The BBC documentary, David Bowie: The Last Five Years, is coming to HBO early next year.

According to the BBC’s program notes:

“This is an intimate portrait of one of the defining artists of the 20th and early 21st centuries, told by the people who knew him best – his friends and artistic collaborators.

“This film takes a detailed look at Bowie’s last albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, and his play Lazarus. In his final five years, Bowie not only began producing music again, but returned to the core and defining themes of his career. This film explores how Bowie was a far more consistent artist than many interpretations of his career would have us believe. It traces the core themes from his final works and relates them to his incredible back catalogue. His urge to communicate feelings of spirituality, alienation and fame underpin his greatest works from the 1960s to 2016. This is what lies at the heart of his success and appeal – music that deals with what it means to be human in a way that goes far beyond the normal palette of a rock star.”

David Bowie: The Last Five Years premieres on HBO on 8 January 2018, commemorating what would have been Bowie’s 71st birthday.