Watched In November

Finished season 1 of The Umbrella Academy. Time travel, apocalypse etc. Was well entertained.
7/10 (solid)
Finished “The Spy”, limited 6 episode series.
Solid 7/10
Finished “The Order”, season 1.
OK, not spectacular, 7/10

Re-watch:
Lord of the Rings (theatrical versions):
1) Fellowship of the Ring. Lots of material from the book is missing. The shifting mood of the books are mostly retained, and well done.
8/10
2) The Two Towers
Lots of good stuff from the books is missing
7/10
3) The Return of the King.
Again good stuff from the books missing, but still has the emotional effect. Maybe because I know the books so well.
9/10
Still rating the theatrical releases as a whole:
8/10

 

Lord Of The Rings: Books Vs Films (Theatrical Releases).

While traveling earlier this year, I have been listening to the Lord of the Rings book trilogy on audio. Excellent reading by Rob Ingliss.
Further, because they were available on Netflix, recently I re-watched the three movies of the theatrical releases.
Previously I have watched the extended editions, too, but they are not in my recent memory.

Here is my impressions of the releases, for the moment:

I have loved the books since I first read them, first in Danish, then in English. This happened in the 1980s, and for a while I read all three books every year or two.
This means that when I first saw the films at their release around 2000, I could easily compare the films and the books, in relation to what was included in the films, and what was changed.
While I can understand the need to remove some parts of the books in order to fit the rather massive story into about 3×3 hours, it does result in some flaws in the films. Here are a few examples:

From the first film/book: Fellowship of the Ring:
– when I first saw the movie, I was wondering if I had missed a part of it. The hobbits were fleeing the Black Rider, crossing the Brandywine river in the ferry boat, and suddenly they were at the gate in Bree. No unmasking of the “conspiracy”, no Old Forest, no Tom Bombadil, and no finding their weapons in the Barrow Downs.
I might have accepted missing Tom Bombadil, but the swords found at the Barrow Downs are significant at a later stage: The sword that Merry receives at that point is the one that can destroy a ring wraith. Now this just happens with no explanation at all. It is not even mentioned in Rivendell, where Elrond *could* have explained the significance of the sword.
– I can accept the merging of the characters of Glorfindel and Arwen, if only for the Arwen/Aragorn part of the story. Also, it does not really detract from the main story.
– also, though it is kind of spoilery, I can accept the beginning of the movie, providing the back story of the Ring.

From Book 2: The Two Towers:
– parts of the orc hunt and Merry and Pippin’s experience with the orcs and Treebeard have been cut, but it does work.
– The arrival of the elves at Helm’s Deep was confusing, having read the books, but I can see that it would not be so, if someone is watching the films alone.

From Book 3: Return of the King:
– Elrond coming to see Aragorn at Helm’s Deep is a change that becomes rather inconsistent with the books, and made little sense to me.
– A large part of the story is completely missing, especially there is absolutely nothing about meeting Saruman on the way home, and having to deal with him in the Shire when they arrive home. Everything is just unchanged when they return to the Shire. I consider this a significant part of the story, because it shows how the hobbits have grown since the start of their journey.
These are just examples of changes to the story, there is much more, but it will have to do for now.

Did I enjoy the films? YES! I did, they still have excellent changes form the beautiful to the horrific, just like the books. The landscapes they film in are magnificent (I would like to visit some of those places). The moods in the films are excellent, as are the vast majority of the characters.

I still find that the films have a strong emotional effect. Maybe this is because I know the books so well.
I love the cinematography and the music used, and I am aware that the films could not have been made at all before their time, because the technology to make the effects did not exist.

So yes, despite the flaws I see, I like the films quite a bit.

Here is how I would rate the films and the books:

1) Theatrical versions: 8/10
2) Extended versions: 9/10
3) Books: 10/10

I am aware that I need to re-watch the extended versions again some time, but not just now.

Gotham, Season 2.

I recently finished watching Gotham, season 2, on Netflix

Gotham is, of course, a TV series on Bruce Wayne’s journey from the murder of his parents to becoming Batman.

While this series is not sensational, I do enjoy watching the slow progressions of both Bruce Wayne and Detective Gordon. Also, the back stories of several of the classic Batman adversaries is not too bad.

Season 2 saw Gordon in deep trouble, and the descent into madness of his friend from Forensics, E. Nygma. (Yes I know, the future Riddler).

Talking about madness, the program of the Arkham Asylum is quite mad, as is its head figure Hugo Strange, trying to bring (mad) people back from the dead and creating an army of madmen.

Bruce finds the killer of his parents, but finds that there is a greater conspiracy behind their murder. Despite his initial intention, he is incapable of killing the assassin.

I rate the season 7/10

 

The Order, TV Series.

I just finished watching the first season of the Netflix original series, The Order.

I was well enough entertained to follow through with the whole season. It is, however, not the strongest of the Netflix originals I have seen.

I found the characters OK, and the story line a little bit generic. I was well enough entertained, so the rating of the season is an average 7/10.

Watched, Read and Listened To: July – October 2019:

A little less because of travels and other planned activities. This came out a bit late, but I shall endeavour to continue this type of posts, maybe monthly, maybe covering a few months at a time.

Here is the list with quick ratings:

TV:
Finishing The 100, season 4 re-watch 7/10
Finishing season 5 of “The 100”. Good show Final 2 episodes 8/10, all over 7/10
Finishing The Americans, season 6, with a friend8/10
Jeremiah, S1 continue/DVD with a friend
Finishing Scorpion, season 2 7/10
Chernobyl mini series 10/10
Sense8 re-watch, whole series. still 10/10
Krypton Season 2 finished 8/10
Into the Badlands: finished 2nd half of season 3, average 7/10
Scorpion: Season 3: 7/10
Scorpion: Season 4: (it went down hill) 6/10
Scorpion as a whole: Average 7/10
The Flash, season 5 a solid 7/10

Film:
Spiderman: Homecoming 8/10
Gravity with a friend 8/10
I Am Legend, a solid 7/10
The Dark Crystal 7/10

Read:
Becoming Superman – JMS 10/10

Babylon 5: Technomage trilogy – Jeanne Cavelos:
“The Passing of the Technomages”
1) Casting Shadows
2) Summoning Light
3) Invoking Darkness

I like this trilogy a lot
9/10

Graphic novels:
Superman: New Krypton, vols 1 – 4:
Enjoyable, interesting take on Zod’s character
8/10

Yoko Tsuno: vols 2,3 and a few more.
#29 arrived at Fantasticon – “Engle og Falke” (Danish title, Eng.: Angels and Falcons)
7/10

 

The Flash TV Series, Season 5

Brief review of The Flash, season 5, telling the story of the daughter of Barry Allen and Iris West Allen.

Lots of time travel, and good character moments.

Much good fun and excitement in following the journey of Nora West Allen, also known as the speedster XS (excess), and the quest to stop the unstoppable Cicada with the indestructible (or not) lightning shaped dagger.

I was well entertained and will rate this season a bit over average, 7/10.

 

Scorpion TV series (4 seasons)

Over the last few months I have been watching “Scorpion” on the recommendation of a friend.
The series rums over 4 seasons, and is the story of a group of people with genius level IQ helping out Homeland (and others) with seemingly unsolvable problems.
The group is assisted by their (non-genius) partners, their Homeland handler and a former waitress who happens to have a genius son.
The problems range from saving a puppy, over environmental disasters to preventing the apocalypse.
The characters are reasonably well drawn. There is an amount of character development, and going from having an EQ of almost nothing to some EQ is not nothing.
Lots of fun moments during their problem solving makes it quite entertaining.
The series is somewhat formulaic, each episode having a problem almost solved something goes horribly wrong and then has to be solved. It always works in the end. I would have liked to see cases that they could not solve properly.
Sometimes the solutions are, to me, at least, obvious technical/scientific mistakes, making them ridiculous. OK, that’s part of the fun to me.
I think the 4th season is not as strong as the first 3. it feels to me like the writer(s) were running out of ideas.
I like the series, but it does not warrant a repeat viewing. There is better stuff out there, and a lot of stuff that I have not seen yet … priorities …
I rate the series as a whole to an average 7/10.

Watched and Read, March to June.

The watching and reading has been reduced a bit due to other activities, so here are 3 months worth:

Finished:

Supergirl, season 4, 8/10

Berlin Station (spy thriller), season 1, 5/10 with a friend

Black Lightning, season 2, 8/10

Star Trek Discovery, season 2, 8/10

Shadow Hunters, season 4 (aka. 3a), 7/10

Magicians, season 4, 8/10

Highlander, season 2, 7/10

Sense8 re-watch, except final episode, 10/10

Game of Thrones, season 8, 8/10

The Scorpion, season 1, 7/10

The OA, part 2 8/10

Films:

The Matrix (re-watch), 8/10

Matrix Reloaded, 7/10

Matrix Revolutions, 7/10,

as part of me watching more by the Wachowskis

Partly watched:

Jeremiah, season 1, with a friend (the show disappeared from HBO Nordic, but I managed to find both seasons on a DVD set (Rather expensive, but I wanted it anyway))

The Americans, season 6, with a friend

Legends of Tomorrow (not yet finished)

Started Cloak & Dagger, season 2

Started Roswell, New Mexico (2019 version), but did not get very far. It did not catch on too well in the first few episodes

 

Read: Finished “The Broken Earth” trilogy by N.K. Jemisin I like that very much, 9/10

 

The Iron Throne: Game of Thrones Is Finished. No Spoilers.

I watched the final episode of the whole Game of Thrones series.

I like it quite a bit, though the two final (short) seasons 7 and 8 felt rushed. I am aware that this is not necessarily the fault of the show runners. While they had got an outline of the books not (yet) written they did not have as much material to work with, and they probably miss several things that have been in George R.R. Matin’s head.

The missing part may also be due to the compression of the seasons made necessary by the decision makers at HBO.

Seasons 7 and 8 felt uneven from episode to episode, although the finale did tie up a lot of story lines, and was satisfactory to me. It even tied up something that several people were complaining about in the penultimate episode.

I like who ended up sitting on the throne (no spoilers). I did not quite see this coming, but it made sense to me. To me it was a bitter-sweet ending for most characters, which is much like real life can be.

I rate the final episode 9/10.

I may be back with more later, but that will be spoiler filled.

Watched and Read in February.

Not too much this month, but still:
Watched:
Kingdom Season 1
MarvelInhumans S1: – 8 episodes

Continued (just a few episodes) :
Magicians S4 – weekly episodes
RoswellNewMexico – weekly episodes
StarTrekDiscoveryS2 – weekly episodes
Supergirl – weekly episodes
BlackLightning – weekly episodes.

With a friend, just a few episodes :
Highlander Season 2
Jeremiah Season 2
Kingdom (first episode)
BerlinStation

Read:
N.K. Jemisin : The Obelisk Gate (Book 2 of Broken Earth trilogy)