Monthly Archives: December 2009

Sherlock Holmes

As the Resident IT Consultant said afterwards, he had had a different kind of Sherlock Holmes in mind.

We behaved most uncharacteristically on Sunday, by first going out for a pub lunch en famille, and continuing on to the cinema afterwards. Daughter had decided Sherlock Holmes would work as light entertainment for all generations, and I suppose it did.

It was pretty lightweight, though, even as lightweight stuff goes. It could have been half an hour shorter (but then, the half hour of ads and trailers before it could also have been much shorter). The film could have had a plot.

What it seemed to have were several actors of the well known category, except I have to admit to having no idea who Robert Downey Jr is. Have heard of Jude Law, but couldn’t have picked him out in an identity parade. Mark Strong and James Fox I do know, but I prefer the former with more hair. These days when you need an important old fogey, it always seems to be a Fox.

If you like lots of fighting, running around and jumping about, coupled with a weak script, this film would be ideal. Personally I prefer my light rubbish to be slightly more fun. And shorter.

And then there were..?

Not none, but rather fewer than before, at least.

We watched Wallander last night, and as the cast numbers dwindled towards the end, I asked who they would have left. ‘This was the last,’ said the Resident IT Consultant, but it really wasn’t. There are another twelve more recent episodes of Swedish Wallander still to come. Although, as the BBC announcer mentioned a new Branagh series coming up, we may have to wait a while. The announcer also managed the feat of going from perfectly correct pronunciation of Wallander to the abysmal anglicised Öuållander for Branagh. It’s how to keep them apart, I presume.

It might have been better if we’d watched these last ones in order, but with a lack of time, we simply recorded the others and found we had a Wallander sized hole on Saturday evening, so consumed immediately. We’ll have to go back to find out what we’ve missed.

I have a recently developed dislike for too many ‘northerners’ in Ystad, so welcomed the local accent of the one actor who could speak ‘properly’, and then he promptly turned out to be the baddie. And I do wonder how they managed quite so much snow. For Ystad.

Appointment with a new plot

There was no feeling of recognition at all. I’m not sure how many years have passed since I read Appointment With Death, but it could be close to forty. Generally, though, there tends to be an ‘oh, yes, that’s what happened’ kind of thought when you come face to face with whodunnit.

Last night on ITV I just told myself that I was watching an ITV Poirot, so there was every likelihood of it having acquired a new plot. The summary on Wikipedia bears a little resemblance to the television drama, but not enough to disturb.

What we saw was attractive and sensational, which is how they prefer their crime dramas. Fair enough. John Hannah looked good in his desert outfit, even though he was a bit OTT. And as Son said, it’d be nice to be able to travel like that. Minus the murders.

A master race

I thought of it first. Or rather, I thought of it before it was mentioned on Doctor Who this evening. So there.

The End of Time, Doctor Who

They really had to spice up the Master so that he could match the Doctor’s sticky-uppy hair, as Wilfred calls it. Blond will have to do. It at least made him look cooler, while he still managed the stark, raving mad quite nicely.

The End of Time, Doctor Who

Whereas Daughter enjoyed herself, Son was being quietly, or not so quietly, sarcastic about it all. Having two Lord Asriels in the one episode made up for things a little, however.

The cactii were charming, as cactii go. Wilfred continues to be lovely, and I have no idea how poor Donna is doing, except she’s less out of it than you’d think.

The End of Time, Doctor Who

And surely this was the saddest we’ve seen Doctor Tennant so far?

Palms in LA, NCIS style

There is no reason not to have a Christmas palm instead of the traditional spruce. At least not if you’re in California. So I think Callen was allowed to have his own style Christmas tree and we know that Hetty can deal with almost anything. But to follow on from my thoughts about her and clothes; can anyone imagine Gibbs decorating even his desk? He certainly let Daddy Gibbs down with the lack of seasonal cheer in his house last week.

Other than the tinsel on the set, it’s hard to fit California and Christmas into the same thought. It looked as sunny as ever, and they weren’t warmly dressed. (It must be sitting in a cold-ish house surrounded by snow that makes me crankier than usual.) But you could tell that they were aiming for some Christmas good will and soppiness quite early on, which rather helped in deciding who was naughty and who was nice.

Call me childish, but I like a seasonal flavour to my television series. What I like less, is having to wait three weeks for next time.

A Happy Christmas To You All

This year I decided to bake my own Christmas card. Cheap (and red) and green, rather like your witch. And it’s possible to eat afterwards, at least at this end. I’d advise you not to chew your computer screens.

2009 Christmas card

A Very Happy Christmas To You All!

Father Gibbsmas calls

Gibbs in snow

Gibbs Sr

Christmas came early. Again. Not sure I want it to. Couldn’t they keep the NCIS Christmas episode until just before Christmas, and not the week before just before?

Oh, well. It was another loveable episode, whenever it gets broadcast, but I wonder if they got the timings slightly off? We could have had more Gibbs and Dad, more McGee and Admiral Whitebeard, and less murder, since it was quite clear that the murder was most incidental this time.

Meredith Eaton, NCIS


I think Gibbs and his Dad needed more time together than they got. And Abby and McGee could have used more meat for their little thing, too. Nice, and sad, to see Meredith Eaton as Abby’s friend. I still miss Marty, the man they sort of shared.

Who could say no to these sweet faces? Not McGee, the softie. Though I’m sure the ladies had practised those helpless looks.

McGee as Father Christmas

Secret Santa is good for some fun, but what do those Americans put in their personnel files? DiNozzo has a big heart, really.

Abby's kiss

Puzzled over Gibbs’ living room, which we’ve been led to believe had been dismantled. Either they filmed this ages ago, or they built it again. Or lied. They wouldn’t, would they?

The tree. It was there. And then it wasn’t. And back again.

Ducky and Gibbs Sr

Ducky drinking too much? No. But quite fun to see what he’d be like if he did.

From boatyard to the North Pole. Interesting to see what that basement can double as.


(Photos © CBS)


Help me out here, will you? Christmas carols are generally quite nice, one way or another.

Back in my foreign days we read about the quaint English custom of going carolling, which sounded really nice, both for the singers and the sung-to. We no longer live in charming little villages, with charming church choir quality type people doing the rounds singing Christmas carols outside people’s houses, in the snow, with robins nearby, and so on.

So why do young people still think carolling is a good idea? It is meant to sound good, isn’t it? They want money for their trouble, so I’d want something good in return. Or am I paying to get rid of them? And in general, should it not be my right to ignore them, not to have (bad) carols in the middle of dinner?

It’s nearly always boys of a certain age, who have never been able to sing to save their lives. Why now? Do they honestly believe they contribute to everyone’s well being in December? And why can’t they even sing something decent, however badly?

Today at dinner we had the same group of boys we turned away last week. Did they forget, or did they think we’d love them today?

I wish I could understand how their minds work.

Joan Baez and whatsisname

It was the fact that I was feverish that meant I had time to watch the Joan Baez programme on BBC the other evening. Had I been more myself I’d have been too busy. So, silver lining and all that. I believe the programme was introduced as something that would tell us lots (all?) about Joan we didn’t already know. That may have been over optimistic.

But it was still a good programme, with a lot of 1960s ‘nostalgia’, Martin Luther King and the Vietnam war and other stuff long forgotten. Joan talked fairly openly about some things, but I bet she kept quiet about a lot more which we, quite rightly, have no business knowing.

Joan Baez 9

The interesting thing was that every person who was interviewed for their knowledge of Joan had a name displayed when they were on screen. All except that little man in the spotted purple shirt. I’m old enough to know who he is, but had I watched with the younger generation I’m fairly sure he’d have been anonymous. At what stage is a person so important that they can appear without a credit?

Anyway, never mind him. Joan is infinitely the most talented of the two, and it was her programme. I also think she is better now than she ever was. Power to older females!

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

The third Stieg Larsson film confirms what I said about the first two. If this is low budget, then that’s what we need. No glossy Hollywood stars driving too fast in fancy cars. Instead we have what the books want; namely normal looking Swedish people acting the parts of – almost – normal Swedish people and immigrants in Sweden today. If fast driving is required, then that has been done quite normally, and ‘on the cheap.’

Lisbeth Salander

Luftslottet som sprängdes has been changed from the book a little more than the previous books, but only to fit in with a plot that will work in just over two hours of film. I’d say there is very little that’s incomprehensible to someone who didn’t read the book first. The only thing I would have liked is more insight into the complex way the police worked out what was going on. There was very little room for the police work at all.

The doctor at the Sahlgrenska hospital was just right, if awfully young looking. (Can’t find the actor’s name, though.) They have also kept all the female roles, rather than integrating several into one, which just shows that the trilogy does have a strong voice for women.

As I mentioned re the second film, they have played around with the seasons. In film three we have winter most of the time, except when at home with Annika Giannini, who has perpetual summer outside her house. Slight oops, perhaps.

Director Daniel Alfredson has put his famous father Hans in a cameo as Evert Gullberg, which is confusing as he comes minus his moustache and his normal speaking accent.

And an appearance by the Prime Minister would have been fun, obviously.