Saturday 5 May 2012


The Mentalist
4x21 Ruby Slippers
One of the best for a while, I think. Not that I've disliked recent episodes, but this is a particularly good one.
[Watch it on Demand 5 from Friday 11th May.]

9x14 Idleness
The Jeremy Clarkson-featuring episode they skipped in December after his widely misunderstood 'controversial' comments on The One Show. I don't think he said anything offensive on this; I guess they just didn't want him on TV much that week.
The XL version, which was released on to some versions of iPlayer by mistake back in December (and I missed), doesn't seem to be forthcoming this time round. How daft.
[Watch it (again) on iPlayer.]

The Voice UK
1x09 Live Show 2
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]

Would I Lie To You?
6x04 Episode 4
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]


Mission: Impossible III (2006)
[2nd watch]

The last time I saw this was in the cinema (has it really been six years? Six?!) I remembered quite liking it, but watching it again now I think it's actually a rather good action-thriller. The Vatican mission and bridge action sequence in particular are excellent.

And I love how things keep going wrong. Everything from big stuff (like jumping off a building several storeys too low or getting the identity of the mole wrong), to little things (like not getting phone signal or our hero alerting the enemy to his presence by knocking some stuff over), goes wrong at some point. Sure, the heroes still win, and sure, some stuff goes fine, but normally the only time things go significantly wrong for the good guys in a movie is when it turns out to be a bluff as part of the plan -- not so here. I liked that.

I may be alone in this, but I've actually really enjoyed every Mission: Impossible film. It often seems like people who like the first hate the second, or people who like the second hated the first, or they just dislike all of them: on IMDb the first has 6.9, the third 6.8, and the second a measly 5.8! I vehemently disagree with all that -- I like all three films, and one of the reasons is how different they all are.

But I've not seen Ghost Protocol yet. I hope it's just as good, and just as different again. It looked similar in tone and style to M:i:III though (whereas the first three differ from each other quite wildly, I'd say), so we'll see. It has 7.5 on IMDb though, so that might bode well...

Free Comic Book Day 2012

Free Comic Book Day – $7,000 we probably don’t see again
by Kenny (from Forbidden Planet International blog)

Today is Free Comic Book Day, which sounds marvellous but is actually a little dubious for various reasons.

I don't approve of publishers releasing new or "essential" (to quote Bleeding Cool's review of one FCBD title) content in a way that can only be accessed if you can, a) make it to a comic shop (which I imagine loads of people can't, especially in the UK), b) if that comic shop is participating (by no means guaranteed, especially in the UK), and c) you can get enough free comics to get the one you want.

The latter is related to another reason I dislike it: the retailer pays. Yep, they're not actually free to the shop; so understandably most shops limit how much you can take, one way or another (only one free, only with a purchase, you get a set-size "goodie bag", etc). Which is fair enough -- they're basically giving money away -- but can't be great if you're after multiple titles. The latter is what this article from 2007 is about. Being five years old might make you think it's now factually inaccurate, but FPI's blog about FCBD 2012 says it's "still valid now".

I'm not saying everyone should be able to get free comics without having to go to a shop or without someone paying. If it was "any comic free" or reprints, I wouldn't mind; if you could purchase it at a later date, maybe even have to wait a month or two for the privilege, then I wouldn't mind. But it's new content, some of it "essential" to the series, which not everyone can get hold of! That's insane.

And can you imagine another industry in which a shop would be forced to pay for a publishers' marketing exercise, and be criticised by customers if they didn't? (Comic shops are regularly accused of "not supporting the industry", etc, if they don't join in with FCBD.) The FP article notes that "it isn’t unusual for us to be given 500 of a 36 page sampler of a novel to give away to our customers" -- that's FCBD, except the difference with FCBD is FP would have to pay for those 500 samplers. Madness.

Doesn't look like such a great industry-boosting event after all, does it?