Thursday, 20 August 2009


From the Earth to the Moon
Part Three We Have Cleared the Tower
Please look here for my thoughts on this episode.

The Mentalist Finale Night
The Mentalist Revealed
Inside The Mentalist
And so Five chooses to close out the first season of its enjoyable House replacement with three hours of programming devoted to it. First up, two behind-the-scenes half-hours that feature the same narrator and cuts from the same set of interviews. Why isn't it just a single one-hour programme? God only knows.
They hardly dig deep into the production, characters, or anything else, but with a fun lightness about them ("Crowie and Kidders"!) they were perfectly in keeping with their subject matter. Lightweight, then, but enjoyably so. Nice work Five.

And they were of course followed by...

The Mentalist
1x22 Blood Brothers
1x23 Red John's Footsteps [season finale]
A slightly disappointing finale in my book, being rather too much like any other episode. (And, of course, ep22 was just any other episode, though Five did their best to convince people otherwise in promoting Finale Night.)
I do hope Red John doesn't get dragged out interminably, although once he's dealt with it'll leave Jane entirely nemesis-less (and any potential replacement couldn't possibly carry the same weight). Of course, seeing what happens to a Man With A Cause once he's fulfilled it -- is there fulfillment? -- could be very interesting if treated right.
[Watch episode 22 and episode 23 (again) on Demand Five.]


Avatar Trailer
Just as overhyped as we all should have expected.
The CGI is very good, true, but it's no better than that: very good CGI. It does not look real. That journalist who said s/he knew the Big Blue Aliens couldn't be real but they certainly looked it was either a fool or just very gullible. And better CGI has been seen too, such as Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3.
Of course, if the story's good then this won't necessarily matter, but it's already harming it's chances in my book.


No Line on the Horizon by U2
I'm not the biggest U2 fan, though I quite like them, but I couldn't resist this rather lovely edition at Amazon's reduced price (for this week only, I should add).
As for the album itself... it's not bad.


50 Greatest Movie Sequels
(from Empire)
I like lists, and this is an interesting (if long) one.

Guy Ritchie Talks Moriarty Rumours by Owen Williams
(from Empire)
""Some kind of appearance is probably the best way to describe it," says the director, replying "I believe not" when asked if anyone is officially named as the Prof in the credits. "All will be revealed. I'm afraid I have to be slightly ambiguous, but you'll understand when you se the movie.""
Ah, crystal clear.

Will The Hobbit Be A Trilogy? by Owen Williams
(from Empire)
Answer: we don't know. Obviously -- if we did, there'd be no question in the headline.

From the Earth to the Moon - Part 3

21 months on from the Apollo 1 disaster (depicted in Part Two of From the Earth to the Moon), NASA is preparing for the launch of Apollo 7 -- the first manned mission attempt since the fire. This episode's title -- We Have Cleared the Tower -- should give away its success.

Once again, FtEttM (a catchy acronym if ever I saw one) uses an unusual structure to tell it's story. Here, a young documentary crew follow the preparations for Apollo 7 -- while the mission is obviously real, the documentary crew are a fictional creation. On the one hand it works quite neatly, allowing characters to explain technical details and expand on their feelings in a way that would be unrealistic in a standard dramatisation. The major downside of this is that it occasionally feels like a documentary being performed by actors, rather than a genuine piece of drama.

The primary benefit of this, on the other hand, is to emphasise the effect of Apollo 1: it features ominously in the thoughts and words of the astronauts, ground crew and the media, the potential for a similar incident constantly hanging over them. So tangible is the memory of the accident that this episode almost feels more like a continuation of the Apollo 1 story, rather than the tale of Apollo 7. Certainly, by choosing to end the episode with the successful launch -- thus ignoring what occurred during the 11 days the men spent in space -- the story makes its focuses whether NASA can overcome the legacy of Apollo 1 rather than what Apollo 7 contributed to the space program.

It's the creation of this feeling that makes Part Three another successful episode of From the Earth.... As a series, it's finding new angles from which to tell the story of the Apollo missions, rather than just rehashing other films and documentaries. If it wasn't for this it would inevitably repeat itself with episode after episode of similar experiences in space, and while those tales are likely fascinating, a lot of other things went on around the program that are worthy of retelling too.