Reviews

22 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
The Orville: Into the Fold (2017)
Season 1, Episode 8
9/10
It's Called Moral Depth
6 December 2017
Those arguing about this show in their reviews, on both sides, are missing the point. This episode has more moral depth than all the _Star Trek_ episodes I've seen by Braga put together, and more than any by Bormanis. The characters are not all completely good or completely evil, and actions have consequences. It's also morally serious, in a way I suspect MacFarlane would not get away with if the show were not labeled a comedy, with a serious point to make about three kinds of fatherhood, which would have been controversial if anyone had been paying sufficient attention.
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Beauty and the Beast: Masques (1987)
Season 1, Episode 5
10/10
Another by Martin
6 December 2017
Another episode by George R.R. Martin. I don't want to give away any of the details, so I'll just note that some of us realized how good a writer he was long before _Game of Thrones_, while he was writing for _Analog_ at five cents a word. The digitization does, I will admit, leave a lot to be desired, but is worth enduring for the sake of the writing.
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Beauty and the Beast: Terrible Savior (1987)
Season 1, Episode 2
10/10
Skip the pilot and start here
24 September 2017
I found the pilot, written by the producer Ron Koslow, barely watchable and gave up for a long time, but eventually watched the first regular episode. Vastly better; writing matters. It even makes up for the horrible digitization. Mr Martin seems to have bad luck with pilots, but his writing here is even better than his occasional writing for the dramatization of his novel(s), _Game of Thrones_.
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Beauty and the Beast: Once Upon a Time (1987)
Season 1, Episode 1
5/10
Persist
24 September 2017
I found this pilot barely watchable and gave up on the series for a long time. I eventually watched the first regular episode, "Terrible Savior," written by George R.R. Martin rather than the producer Ron Koslow.

Vastly better; writing matters.
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Take My Life (1947)
6/10
I don't believe it.
3 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with most of the other reviewers on how stylishly this film is acted and directed. But the (predictable spoiler warning) misleading coincidences leading to the false accusation are too unlikely to be believable; I'm afraid the protagonist must have been guilty. And the further coincidences leading to the supposed bad guy are so implausible, and the obstacles facing the intrepid but dim heroine so preposterously handled, that suspension of belief is impossible.
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Cinderella (1965 TV Movie)
6/10
Rodgers & Schrank, not Rodgers & Hammerstein
20 February 2017
A word of advice for those contemplating rewriting Oscar Hammerstein II: If you're not Oscar Hammerstein II, _don't_. People will still be ridiculing you a half century later. The original 1957 Rodgers & Hammerstein Cinderella, even in a awkward black and white kinescope print, is still worth watching, and created quite a fuss when it was rediscovered early in this millennium. This rewrite (including the importation of unrelated songs) by Joseph Schrank, even though in an excellent print with a mostly stellar cast, lacks all the wit, charm, and (dare I say it?) sense of genuine Rodgers & Hammerstein. Even if you can't bear to watch a primitive kinescope, instead of watching this, close your eyes and listen to the CD of the original–you'll get a far better sense of a charming tale.
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Morte d'Arthur (1984 TV Movie)
10/10
Magnificent narration, inexplicable dumb show
19 February 2017
John Bernard Adie Barton, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, is magnificent in this, portraying (and narrating as) Sir Thomas Malory, knight prisoner. The other actors have no lines; it is both literally and figuratively what Shakespeare called a dumb show. Jeremy Brett does show some relevant facial expressions as King Arthur, but David Robb as Sir Lancelot shows Pythonesque levels of stupidity, at one point failing to don armor when the narration (and common sense) twice command him to do so. But Barton is always worth listening to, and worth watching whenever he is on screen. Barton revealed aspects of both Sir Tom and King Arthur new to me, and I've read and reread both the Winchester and Caxton texts of Malory, not to mention White and Lerner and Lowe.

So I urge you to listen to this, even if you don't watch it. It seems only available on the Broadway HD streaming channel, though Barton is listed as "Creator" of a rare audio-book adaptation of Le Morte d'Arthur around the same time, with actors including William Squire, Tony White, and Harry Andrews: Musical Heritage Society MHS 834985F.
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Five Red Herrings: Episode #1.1 (1975)
Season 1, Episode 1
9/10
Good Sound Stuff
14 March 2016
This is good sound Wimsey; Carmichael carries off the characterization to my complete satisfaction, and the digitization is acceptable given the age of the original. Glyn Houston and the rest of the cast do quite well, and the script was faithful enough (unlike _Strong Poison_) not to conflict with my (admittedly not recent) recollection of the book, with the obvious exception necessitated by the change of medium.

One recommendation for viewers of the DVD set(s): The packaging suggests watching the books in production order; I'm watching them in the order the books were published, which entails watching this after the Edward Petherbridge _Strong Poison_. (Which I also recommend, despite the initial attempt at sensationalism in the screenplay. Petherbridge is obviously a more distinguished actor, though his characterization is darker—more lord and less whimsy, as one reviewer noted.)
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9/10
Shouldn't work at all, but it does.
14 March 2016
This production shouldn't work at all: It's too authentic and politically incorrect; the actors, even for the female parts, are male and wearing masks. It's too inauthentic and politically correct: The translation uses heavy-handed rhyme (which is philological nonsense, _pace_ Gilbert Murray) and uses "he-god" for "god" and "she-god" for "goddess." And I saw a badly- digitized copy with horrible audio interference.

But somehow the patented Sir Peter Hall magic makes you see why Wagner revered the Oresteia and Swinburne called it the greatest spiritual achievement of man.
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Tales of Tomorrow: All the Time in the World (1952)
Season 1, Episode 37
9/10
Americanized, perhaps by Sir Arthur
14 March 2016
Sir Arthur Clarke says in his Collected Stories that he worked on this script, not (as the on-screen credits and IMDb would have it) that he wrote it entirely himself, based on his short story. The Americanization is pretty heavy, and removes what subtlety there is in the original characterization. The plot hole in the Goofs section, though, is present in the original; though it's not certain that it _is_ a hole—we're not told in the original what would happen if the protagonist violated the prohibition.

One nice touch new in the screenplay is the newspaper in the opening scene.
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