Best and Worst Police Procedural’s on Amazon Prime! Under Construction

THE SHIELD- Shawn Ryan’s THE SHIELD is a show glorifying a racist bunch of dirty cops, and the un-redeeming stereotypes they beat on. It’s a dire, depressing, largely detestable show, that is not dissimilar to a slog through the sewers.

I watched a couple episodes in season #1 and then an episode in season #7, and there is absolutely no growth in the show, what a waste. Three episodes more than enough of this show. A classic example of Black faces, White messages. It’s a modern day minstrel show.

How it made it seven seasons, says something about the acceptance of great doses of bigotry. Not my thing. Pass on this and see either HOMICIDE or NYPD BLUE Season 1 instead.

NYPD BLUE- I’ve never been a fan of police procedurals, but the first season of NYPD BLUE was something else, a game changer in terms of dramatic intensity for television, and a clinic in style and the acting prowess of David Caruso. He was effectively the show. Which left later seasons… uninteresting. Get season 1, forget the rest.

JUSTIFIED- I found this modern cowboy drama incredibly uninteresting in the first season with largely unlikeable characters. Pass on this and see LONGMIRE or DEADWOOD instead.

LIFE- Both seasons are fantastic. Transcends a simple police procedural, by its protagonists quirky pursuit of Zen and Justice.

COPPER- Police work late 19th century style. Not really interested.

LUTHER- First few episodes are magnificent, though it loses its way toward the end, but still season 1 is a recommended view. Season 2 however is utter garbage.

HOMICIDE- Clearly the best police procedural ever, and largely because it is not about the procedure. A rich, ethnically strong cast of powerhouse actors, especially Andre Braugher in a star making performance, creates that rarest of television shows… a smart one. Highest recommendation.

LUTHER DvD Review II: Praise for actresses Nicola Walker and Indira Varma

[Contains minor spoilers for Season 1 of Luther]

I’m rewatching season 1 of Luther in preparation for watching season 2, which I just got in the mail.

The strength and magic of LUTHER is grounded in it not being the standard cop show about the serial killer or the case, those are ancillary to the real story. which is about Luther trying to make all the dysfunctional pieces of his life, particularly the women in his life… work, to be right.

His greatest challenge not surviving the serial killers, but something far more deadly and relate-able, trying to emotionally survive and make happy the women in his life, from his boss, to his wife, to his… arch-enemy/friend. And it’s only when the writer loses that plot, that heart of the story of Luther, that it suffers… badly, and devolves into its sub-par 1st season conclusion.

See my previous review, for my detailed list of problems with season 1, but in brief, a poorly written and cliched final episode (couple of episodes actually) that marred an otherwise tremendous, and amazing series.

Now that said, perhaps I didn’t give enough love to the first 4 (4.5) episodes. Those episodes are really powerhouse television, the quality of which you seldom see.

And a big reason is the quality of the actors. Idris Elba of course is phenomenal, as is Ruth Wilson who plays the red-headed Alice, as well as the rest of the principal cast. But I wanted to give attention to two actresses that I saw in this series first, and have since come on my radar for other work they’ve done.

One is the gorgeous Indira Varma, who plays Luther’s less than faithful wife. She also played the cheating wife in the first season of ROME. She seems to be making a career of playing cheating women as well as playing women who do not end well, with this series, ROME, and MOSES JONES (ugggh— traumatized me. A good series, but one that is too violent for its own good). She’s a convoluted character here in LUTHER, as his estranged wife she is in many ways more damaging to Luther, by far (in her hot/cold nature), than any of the monsters he has to face. She doesn’t set out to be cruel, though there is a bit of that there, but mostly it’s more a half hearted indifference, which is all the more crushing. It’s another strong performance by Indira Varma.

But the 2nd actress I want to give praise to, and the one I really wrote this post to mention, starred in only one episode of Luther, but left an indelible impression. I’m speaking of Nicola Walker, who stars in episode 4’s tale of a purse fetish serial killer. The salacious and slightly silly description of the killer, doesn’t really do justice to the uneasiness of the episode, or the wrenching, and episode making performance of Nicola Walker.

Following seeing her on LUTHER, I caught her earlier work on SPOOKS, and in that she was equally… brilliant. She brings a very unique presence to the screen, something thoughtful, and considered, and deeply heartfelt, she is so… there. In a world where so many people are shutdown, from themselves and others, there is something so rich and full and impassioned and human about her in the noblest most caring definition of that word. She’s not the ravishing beauty of say Indira Varma, but she has something that can only be called… more. Something within, a stillness, a sense of depth, something both furtive and fathomless, fragility married to something slightly frightening, her intensity, kept subdued… just out of sight, something haunting.

To put not too fine a point on it… I adore this actress’s presence, her performances, her ability to channel humanity– definitive, in a world that is anything but… humane.

So yeah that’s the refresher on LUTHER, and a couple actresses who deserved mention. I’ll post on season 2 soon.

Luther

Luther: Season 2

[Season 2 Review: Contains Spoilers]

Addendum: I just watched season 2 of LUTHER, if you can call 4 episodes a season. It’s utter rubbish!

Well, why don’t I tell you how I really feel? 🙂

The main problem with season 2 is it veers sharply to the irrational, and soulless, and more than just a little bit trite and tired.

Trite uninteresting villains, once smart cops inexplicably made moronic, including the lead Luther. And it makes the mistake, that the original series initially didn’t, of concentrating on the villains, and losing all the intriguing personal ties that made LUTHER interesting and captivating television in the first place.

Unlike many shows LUTHER originally understood something seemingly lost on most crime shows, the fact that criminals are a boring lot, and it’s the procedural and the dynamics of Luther’s life and the extended family around him that was the draw.

Season 2 undoes all that originality, and just makes Luther and all the cops incompetent, feckless caricatures rather than fleshed out characters. Add to this the fact that the new cast I just don’t care for, and you have a show working at a significant disadvantage; a show that plays, while you are watching it, as just so tired, and so disappointing and irresponsible, and so worthy of fast-forwarding.

The best way to describe it is that it performs as if writer Neil Cross had 4 episodes worth of story for season 1, and after that completely ran out of ideas and anything close to originality, for the ending of season 1 and the entirety of season 2 (With the exception of the very ending of Season 2, the coda if you will, I thought that was a nice scene to go out on, but everything leading up to that 5 minutes was largely rubbish, from the overlong plot of killer twins, that was nicked from a far better episode of Tom Fontana’s HOMICIDE, to the completely annoying and useless characters from Erin Gray, as the new detective, to the mother, to the killers. It’s just a lot of hackneyed and overwrought, and unforgiveably tedious characters, that just don’t remotely interest).

I have seldom seen such a sharp fall from grace from the same writer in such a short period of time. Bottom line: Season 2 of LUTHER is just plain awful, which is unfortunate for a series which in terms of performances and look and sound is laudable and had such potential.

Final Grade: D-/F.

DVD Review: HOMICIDE LIFE ON THE STREET Season 6

Homicide Life on the Street – Complete Series Megaset (35pc)

Homicide: Life on the Street – The Complete Series (repackaged)

I’m on season 6 of Homicide, the next to last season… and man… am I stunned.

Seasons 1-3 were very good to great.

Season 4 faltered for me a bit, and season 5 for most of its run was an abortion.

Maudlin dreck, season 5 spent way too much time on making both Pembleton and Kellerman, incredibly annoying (The post stroke Pembleton storyline, some of the most annoying and overindulgent television, a pity fest) and incredibly unlikeable characters.

Season 5 was so bad I almost didn’t finish it, but luckily it ended strong with a fantastic final 3 or 4 episodes that just wowed.

And I’m happy to say season 6 ran with that momentum, tossing out all the rules and creating one of the most consistently excellent seasons of the whole series.You can feel the experimentation in this season, from great scripts by James Yoshimura and Yaphet Koto among others, to impressive direction not only by name directors such as Mary Harron, Steve Buschemi, Gary Fleder, but series regulars such as Clark Johnson and Kyle Secor.

With such experimentation it was a season that should not have worked… as it was sometimes incredibly erratic bordering on forced. The most deserving of that confusion, and that dichotomy is the final two episodes of season 6 directed by the now legendary Kathyryn Bigelow.

These two episodes have the thankless job of wrapping up all the loose ends of the previous seasons. It’s impossible to do that in two episodes and not feel forced, a praying Pembleton, perhaps the most egregious of the failings, but any discomfort is assuaged by the sheer bloody gall of these episodes. As a wrap up to a perpetually on the verge of cancellation show, leaves friend and foe, and the very nature of the show, torn apart. And what better way to end a show about breaking conventions, by breaking its own. Fantastic audacious television. It’s a loud violent explosive end, to a show that has always eschewed such easy answers, relying instead on the contemplative, and the cerebral and the thought provoking.

In many ways those two episodes should feel like a betrayal, and to a certain extent they are, but there’s enough invested here, enough challenged here, and indeed enough… violated here…, yes a violation of convention, which has always been a hallmark of Homicide, to make this still… Homicide.

This was designed to make a fine ending to the series. And flaws and all… it is.

However just when everyone thought the fat lady was singing, the network green-lit one more season of Homicide. Season 7.

Having not seen season 7 as of this writing, my gut reaction is season 6, the overall most solid, best season of the series, is the show spending everything it has. Leaving the “johnny come lately” season 7 nowhere to go, but to recycle plot points that season 6 has made moot.

I’ll be reviewing Season 7, the final season of Homicide next, and I’ll let you know if I’m right or wrong. I’d be happy to be wrong.

But final grade on HOMICIDE Season 6 : Grade… A-.

Homicide Life on the Street – Complete Series Megaset (35pc)

Homicide: Life on the Street – The Complete Series (repackaged)

HOMICIDE Season 3 Review!

“When everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am”
-IRIS by the Goo Goo Dolls


Homicide: Life on the Street – The Complete Series (repackaged)

I could never get into any of David Simon’s later series, neither THE BLOCK nor THE WIRE.

They lacked something that immediately galvanized me to his first series, HOMICIDE LIFE ON THE STREETS… most clearly characters I cared about. But also a certain idealism, a delineated, if murky, sense of fighting on the side of the angels, that comes with those who are tasked with that most crushing of jobs… to speak for the dead. As opposed to THE BLOCK about druggies, or THE WIRE about a drug war, waged by sides I found equally unlikeable.

And to be fair HOMICIDE was a Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana series, and that is why I think it works. They were the ones steering the ship on the property based on Simon’s book. And they brought a humanity, perhaps an idealism, all their own. And for me that’s what makes HOMICIDE work… the idealism, even when it falters, the idealism.

So I continue with my review of the show, begun sometime ago. This is season 3 of HOMICIDE LIFE ON THE STREET, Enjoy.

HOMICIDE: SEASON 3

NEARER MY GOD TO THEE- The third season of Homicide starts off with a precredit sequence satirizing how Networks force sex into shows. And obviously that’s the case with this new season. Introducing a famale shift commander, and concentrating on Bo Felton’s unstable wife. At the heart of it a murder investigation of a good, devout catholic, this episode meanders, and loses the razor-point intensity that highlights the best of the first two seasons. The strengths of the show lost in a soap-opera inanity. C-.

FITS LIKE A GLOVE-The 2nd episode of the 3rd season continues with the investigation into the catholic killer, and back room romantic shenanigans. Continuing the concessions to the network of less cases per episode, and slower, soap-opera pacing. The dumbing down of Homicide. C-.

EXTREME UNCTION- The 3rd episode cranks up the season a bit. Whenever Andre Braugher is center-most, particularly in the box, the show sings; however the ludicrousness, salaciousness of the episode, the multiple personality killer, kinda torpedoes any momentum the episode has. Leaving something more talk show, than up to the levels of the series’ best. And of course the subplot of Bo Felton’s annoying wife continues to be tired and uninteresting. C+.

The 4th episode, CROSCETI by writer James Yoshimura rights the sinking ship of HOMICIDE. Being the first great episode of season 3, dealing with the death of one of their own. B+/A-.

THE LAST OF THE WATERMEN- Another fantastic episode, this one tinged with nostalgia and a great score. As Howard, sickened by the murderous city, seeks solace… off the prosaic waters of her childhood Chesapeake home. But finds murder, like rain, is everywhere. Great score. B+.

A MODEL CITIZEN-Talk of Romper Room. 🙂 Meldrick feels the first pangs of infatuation.And Pembleton is sued by a serial killer. This is a return to the multiple plot-lines of earlier seasons as quite a bit happens in this episode. B+.

HAPPY TO BE HERE-Another packed episode. As many story threads are pursued, Baylis’ continuing romance, Bo’s search for his family, the pursuit of the murderer of a newspaper publisher. An alternately fun and fantastic episode. One of Baylis’ best episodes. A-.

-to be continued-

Homicide: Life on the Street – The Complete Series (repackaged)

DVD FACEOFF Review: Idris Elba’s LUTHER vs 55 DEGREES NORTH

I just watched the 1st season of the BBC show LUTHER, and I have to admit to addictively enjoying it for the great majority of its run.

It is very unusual for me to review a series and go into specifics, because I avoid such reviews myself. I don’t like spoilers, I like to go into something fresh. All I need to know is if you liked something or not, and general reasons why, I don’t need a play by play.

Unfortunately LUTHER is one of those rare shows that requires more detail, than I typically like to give when reviewing a show. This detail necessary in order to relate accurately my feelings on the show’s 1st season.

I will attempt to be as general as possible, but there are spoilers below. So for those looking to avoid all spoilers and just get the gist of my feel on this show, just jump to the last paragraph.

The first thing that has to be said is, I think with a lesser actor in the lead role the show would have sunk under its weight of…excess. Its extremes pushing it dangerously close toward parody and the farcical. Like one actor states when describing the show, ‘it’s not realism, it’s arched to the point of theatrics’, and needs especially capable actors to ground this.

And they pull that off spectacularly for most of the episodes that make up season 1 of LUTHER.

The high point of course being the lead. Idris Elba is one of the best and most commanding actors of his generation, and none of those gifts are wasted in this series, about a London Inspector Detective, a monster hunter at a cross-roads. He brings a nuanced strength and believability to a role, that as stated pivots wildly between the understated and the monstrous.

The episodes ramping up till # 5 which is the most outrageous episode of the run, an amazing hour of television, packing more delirious ups and downs then in a typical season of most shows, or in most 2 hour movies for that matter.

Part of the jaw dropping nature of it, is the irrational actions of a main character, who to cover up a minor crime, compounds it with a blood bath that makes no sense. So part of the strength of that episode is its nonsensical nature, the audience can’t keep up because it is irrational.

Episode 5 is clearly influenced by the 1st season of 24, so those holding this up as British television’s originality over American television, would be incorrect. But while not original, the twist and turns of LUTHER are unexpected and for the most part well done.

However it doesn’t work quite as well here as in 24, because that betrayal, that Greek tragedy reveal comes out of nowhere here, and is not really supported in anything covered in the brief season of LUTHER. So everything rests on the final episode to give some perspective to the lunacy of episode 5, and that simply does not happen.

The last episode, episode 6, the season conclusion, instead leaves a taste of ashes in my mouth. The show LUTHER perhaps being more appropriately named after a different historical and Literary figure, Job. Since the trials of Job are what they put Idris Elba’s character through.

If anything the season ender is too steeped in such broad melodrama and theatrics, and strains suspension of disbelief too far. I’m willing to meet a show half way, but this episode went off the rails in terms of poor justifications and even poorer character actions/decisions.

This final episode steeped in what can be called, I think accurately, moronic actions from all involved, including Luther, especially the supposed brilliant Luther. As one character states “you’re not acting in a reasonable way’ and that’s the mantra for the last two episodes of LUTHER for all the characters. They are all written as caricatures of people, rather than real 3 dimensional personalities, their actions coming off as inane and contrived, to steamroll viewers to the series protracted and unsatisfying conclusion.

For a show that prides itself on being innovative, the finale is largely a very idiotic and moronic episode,that does not do justice to what has come before. The plotting is unlikely and haphazard at best, and the cliffhanger denouement… lacking.

It is insultingly stupid to be blunt. Here we have a character supposedly one of the best detectives and his female ally, one of the most brilliant sociopaths, and the best plan they could come up with, to trap the end game villain, is arranging a meeting in full view of snipers, and just hoping on absolute luck to escape without being shot or taken into custody by police!?. Really? That’s your master plan? It is moronic.

And the purpose of this suicide mission? To allow a civilian, someone who has no interest in believing the protagonist’s protestations of innocence to help save the day? And the civilian not only buys it but agrees to commit a felony. Agrees to walk into police headquarters, sneak unnoticed into the police locker room, break into a locker and find diamonds (Diamonds that somehow Luther magically guesses the location of. Guessing exactly where the villain is keeping them. Really??? Talk about plot contrivance), and get out without being noticed or stopped.

Really?

I do respect Neil Cross for creating this series/character, but I just think he wrote himself into a brick wall, and just couldn’t write himself out of it and ended up with a very, very flawed and contrived final episode.

I mean it is absolute dreck, if you take half a second to consider it. It is an incoherent muddied mess. And this is followed up by the third ludicrousness, plot idiocy/contrivance, of telling the bad guy about the theft before you know it has been pulled off.

Really? Come on!

Thus giving the bad guy time to try and stop the theft. And all these mistakes and suicide by cop ideas avoided, the final purpose is to lure the villain to a location so you can catch him confessing on tape??

That’s your brilliant idea???

A confession that is completely inadmissible, as the very show illustrates in episode 5, how audio recordings can be manipulated, and are worthless in and of themselves.

So the whole endgame is a tissue of faulty logic and questionable dumb luck.

And the culmination of this episode’s stupidity, and what really just annoyed me and soured me above everything else, is Luther has the upper hand on the monster that has done all this damage, and ends up talking himself out of that upper-hand and into receiving a butt whupping, that engenders him needing to be saved… again, by his homicidal female ally.

I think Neil Cross progressively writing not only the series as a whole, but his lead character specifically, less convincingly with each episode.,

And to add to the issues, let’s ignore little common sense things that would have made more… well sense, in proving the protagonist’s innocence and the other person’s guilt; cell phone records, and geo-location of cell phone signals just to name one option.

As the show takes pains to point out, this is a monitored, near Orwellian 21st century Britain, where everything is seen, and everything recorded. These are 21st century detectives. So if they couldn’t pull actual recordings of crucial conversations between Luther and the Killer, at least the who, when , where of these calls is something they can pull. Luther’s cell phone was in use miles away at the time of the death he’s accused of . And a triangulation of other cell records would probably prove where the real criminal was at the time of all three unsolved murders of Episode #5. Thus giving the besieged protagonist reasonable doubt if nothing else, to help at least sway his Chief Detective to his side.

Just simple common sense stuff like that is ignored in favor of hysterical and nonsensical plot contrivances. And obviously this didn’t bother some, as the first season was well received, but as I stated… for me the season finale left the taste of ashes in my mouth.

And obsessing on that ending, (Spoilers)Comeon he should have at least shot the villain in the knees to shut him up if nothing else, rather than ending up punked on the wrong end of a knife. I hate these filmic cliches of turning your back on the villain or letting down your guard etc. I don’t find it gripping or good writing, I find it boring and to be cliched, hack writing.

That kind of writing comes off as an insult to my intelligence, and just ended up unduly sullying a show, that for most of the season I was quite behind.

There’s supposedly a 2nd season now available, and I’m lukewarm on investing the time to see it, but I will. Mostly to see if series creator Neil Cross imbues that with less of the lunacy and idiocy that marred for me the culmination of season 1, and can recapture the strengths of series 1.

So all that said I do recommend Season 1 of LUTHER, unsatisfying end acknowledged, the first 5 episodes of season 1 are worth the price of admission.

And to be fair I’m only this disappointed in the ending, because of how impressed I was with the shows buildup, highlighted by great cinematography, excellent soundtrack, impressive montage sequences (I love the opening credit sequence and the theme song), and of course for the most part… stellar performances and direction. Final Grade: B.

*****

And if you like LUTHER I would direct you to a similar, but I feel superior BBC police procedural, the little seen but riveting 55 DEGREES NORTH.

A show that ran for a brief two seasons, it eschews the brutal and tortured extremes of LUTHER, to instead be a lowkey tale, of a small English countryside police force.

Don Gilet and the striking Dervla Kirwan (that’s a lot of woman! 🙂 Please excuse that bit of sexism, but easy on the eyes… she is 🙂 ), headlining a show that is some odd mating of Moonlighting meets Homicide meets Diagnosis Murder, while being quite a unique and original take on a police procedural.

No serial killers here, these are more prosaic crimes, but the show, in an age of grim and gritty, is all the more welcome for that light touch. And the final episode ties everything up with quite an enjoyable ending. 55 DEGRESS NORTH
comes highly recommended. The full show is available on DVD. B+/A-.

Stumbling through the Dark in… Heroic Times!

If you’ve stumbled across this handy dandy blog, it means more than likely you’re a pop culture junkie like myself with more than a passing interest in books and cinema, and aren’t totally adverse to the idea of getting together with a bunch of like minded people and sharing these interests. Yapping a bit on fav music and comics and movies and writers and artists, etc.

Here I’ll try and keep you quickly and concisely informed about some stuff I’ve stumbled over and have loved, liked, or simply believe deserves a larger audience. Some of you are people I know, and I’m using this blog as a way of keeping you conveniently informed without sending out a trillion emails.

And while the gist of this will revolve around pop culture, it will take little segues depending on what’s going on in mi vida loca, my crazy life. Baltimore local here, so a little of this will revolve around this odd port city. Will revolve around landmarks and people; an odd place of power this city is, full of brilliance and banality, beauty and barbarism.

So without further ado:

First a little about me, 30 going on 98, pop culture guy, employed for a major metropolitain newspaper, and in my spare time defend truth,justice and the a… wait that’s that other guy.

But yeah me average dude. Employed here, freelance writer on the side with two pro gigs to my resume( pro as in I actually got paid for the stuff, not pro as they were big time) and a lot of self published and free stuff printed. Looking to do a lot more of that stuff, and actually buckle down and try and submit a piece someplace every week.

(So some of you getting this have volunteered to help me get a new freelance mag/ fanzine off the ground. So really big on that. Those of you serious, let’s get started asap. We meet at my place every Sunday, early, and just start slapping stuff on the page. And either sell it mailorder, or via ebay, or force atomic books to carry it. Think of it as Entertainment Weekly meets Heavy Metal meets Mother Jones. Need writers, artists, photographers, etc. No pay, no glory, outrageous deadlines and fun. Spread the word!)

HOMICIDE was Great, or How I learned to kill my TV

Not a huge TV guy here, most stuff on tv is just…. not good. Last decent TV I watched was like Homicide, lst year NYPD Blue (the year with Carruso, rest of the years were… crap), Babylon 5, Farscape, and generally TCM.

But now, in the last six months I turn on my TV maybe once a week. And the killer part is I paid a paycheck or eight for the darn TV, and basically it’s just a very huge paperweight.
(With the exception to that being… I recently caught a show on AMC I think, called HUSTLE. A brit show, it was very good)

HYENAS whup Sin City

All that said I love movies, DVDs. Dig everything from classics to crime to horror to foreign. Let me rephrase, I love good movies. Which means I HATED Sin City (saw it on the big screen like everybody else, what a waste of money). And I dug the Frank Miller books, but like everything Tarrantino and Rodriguez have done recently, the darn thing had no soul. For more on Sin City, a better analysis and why it’s more programming than movie, go here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401792/usercomments-1000

If you want to see a good movie, and don’t mind subtitles check out the late, great Mambety’s wickedly biting satire HYENAS. Great flick out of Senegal.

WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL LURKS

But really I’m not even watching movies, unless I have company over. When in the house by myself,or writing or reading, I’m listing to music or OTR.

OTR? Oh yeah, let me explain. Recently got turned onto Old time radio. What they call the theater of the mind. Radio programs ranging from the 1930s to the 2000s. Stuff like The Shadow and Suspense. Currently listening to a program from nearly 70 years ago called Mysterious Traveler, man that’s some good stuff.

Endlessly listenable.

HATH CHARMS to soothe

As far as the music stuff. Very eclectic here, but some names that rise to the top: Terry Callier (if you have not listened to his African Violet you are missing one of the great songs of all time), Rage against the Machine, Public Enemy, Seal, Bob Dylan, Coltrane, Lenny Kravitz, Solomon Burke, Traci Chapman, Green Day, Everlast, Bob Marley, Awadagin Pratt (great classical pianist),Johnny Cash ( based on one song, his Man in Black),and lots and lots of regional guys the best being Jahiti and Talaam Acey.

Nothing like a screaming crowd

Dig live events. Concerts, plays, openmics, sporting events. I really don’t get into watching sports on tv, with the exception of boxing or mixed martial arts. Some great venues for live music are: 8 by 10 club, Notre Maison, Xando, and An Die Muzik.

Comics Smomics

Comicbook fan from the good old days, before it was cool to like comics. Nowadays every movie is comic based, every hack movie or tv writer or director… wants to write a comic. It’s sickening. That said I still dig the occasional comic book. I’d recommend picking up anything by Kyle Baker, his Nat Turner is getting great buzz),and John Ridley (a true Renaissanse man, director, screenwriter, novelist, writes brilliant pulp fiction in the hard angles of Himes and Thompson) is now doing a comic. But seriously it is good to see comics being seen as a valid form of entertainment for adults. Something other countries have long known.

Pulp Fiction or Literature that Rocks

Currently reading so many books. Ones I’ve finished and highly recommend? Marc Olden’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant, BLACK SAMURAI series from the 70s. Far better than the lackluster, related to the book in name only, Jim Kelly film from the 70s.

Have finished 2 of the eight books in the series, Book 5 The Warlock, and Book 1 Black Samurai. This is a series highly deserving of seeking out. If you’re a fan of other Action books such as THE DESTROYER, MACK BOLAN, etc. you will love Black Samurai. Currently on Book # 3 The Golden Kill. Great stuff.

Marc Olden has done some well known, mainstream novels, and police procedurals since, but nothing comes close to the the kick, fun, pathos, and shear brilliance of his work in this 70s series.

Have just started David Anthony Durham’s PRIDE OF CARTHAGE. The story of Hannibal of Carthage, Hannibal the Great… who took the war to Rome. Just knocked out the first 30 pages, and the language, the descriptions… just lovely, lovely stuff. It puts you there, in an odd removed age, of masterless men.

So that’s a little about me, and the type of things you can be turned onto in these pages. Upcoming entries will bring you info on best podcasts, favorite spoken word artists, my trip to harlem, my first Hot Air Balloon Ride, Spain in summer… during the dying of the light, tales of my ongoing unfinished projects, and interviews with writers and creators I admire.

Have guests coming over so we’ll cut this entry off here.

Want to dedicate this podcast to the great Gordon Parks who recently passed away. The absolute definition of a Renaissance man, writer, director, photographer, painter, poet, cowboy.

May you rest in everlasting peace, but may your energy continue, may it go forth and fill and uplift and inspire a new generation.

If you don’t know the name Gordon Parks, please take the time to learn it (I’ll cover him in more detail in upcoming entries). He has left great, immense shoes to fill, and the world is the poorer for his passing.

Thanks for checking out my site, and talk to you soon.