From book to screen and back again

vintage TV

I have been keeping track of the books I’ve read for more than 20 years. It’s interesting to review what has tripped my trigger over the years. This year, with a 45-50 minute commute three days a week, the audiobook has taken greater prominence in my “reading.”

This is the first year that I’ve averaged more than one book a week. I’ve already absorbed 61 books this year, which is more than I read the previous two years combined.

And book series that have made the transition to the small screen have had a lot to do with that burst. Almost one-third of the books have been by Michael Connelly, creator of detective Harry Bosch and his half-brother, the Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Schaller. I was drawn to the books by the brilliant Amazon TV series “Bosch” with Titus Welliver.

Recently I’ve been entertained by the Longmire books by Craig Johnson, as read by the wonderful George Guidall. I thought Robert Taylor did a marvelous job of bringing Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire to life, but Guidall is a great reader, and I may see Taylor’s face when I envision the sheriff, but it’s Guidall’s voice I will hear from now on.

“Longmire” recently completed its six-year run on Netflix, and its series finale was one of the most satisfying I can recall. In a different way, the series finale of “Inspector George Gently,” available in the U.S. (so far) only on Acorn TV, is an absolute gem and honest to the great story it has told for eight seasons.

Once upon a time when you missed a TV show, you missed it. In today’s world of on-demand viewing and streaming and all that, we can make TV series recommendations with the same casual air that we recommend books or good music. And so I recommend “Bosch” and “Longmire” and “Inspector George Gently” to anyone who enjoys mystery stories and police procedurals, a little wistfully because two of those shows have run their course now. But there’s still season 4 of “Bosch” to look forward to …

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Burying the sports lede/lead/whatever: a pet peeve

vintage TV

One of the seven major sins that reporters were once told to avoid is burying the lede.

(Tangent: It is a mystery to me when journalists started spelling it “lede” to differentiate a news lede from, say, the lead paragraph of a news story or the leader of the free world. But there it is.)

To bury the lede means to tell the most important part of a story deep inside the story. For example: The Megacorporation has announced a major advance in its manufacturing process that will take the company to the next level of wonderfulness. The process allows the corporation to fulfill its mission of making the world a better place while pleasing its shareholders and investors bigtime. “This is a fantabulous moment in human history as Megacorporation moves into the brightest future imaginable,” said Todd Bogguss, president and CEO. The company is laying off 30 percent of its workforce as part of the major restructuring.

What’s the lede? What’s the most important fact? What should have gone first? Continue reading

5 thoughts after binge-watching Netflix’s The Defenders

1. That was one wild ride.

2. Eight episodes is better than 13. Everyone got significant time and good moments even with five fewer hours to cover the ground.

3. Stay through the closing credits for a trailer. Hey, it’s Marvel, even on the small screen.

4. Yeah, after six series of Marvel TV universe, I still like Jessica Jones best. Her show, the character, I’m eager for more.

5. One thing: Comic book villains always, always talk too much so the good guys can come to the rescue just in time. But if we were in it for realism, we wouldn’t be watching stories about bulletproof, impossibly strong people, would we?

Iron Fist: Not terrible

iron fist

An interesting battle is raging in the land of binge-TV watching that reflects, to a certain extent, the professional wrestling match that U.S. politics has become. The people are tired of accepting what an elite group of thinkers tells them to think.

Marvel’s Iron Fist is the fourth in a series of 13-episode television series based on some of the comics megacorporation’s second tier of superheroes. The movie blockbusters get Captain America and the Hulk; Netflix gets Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, with Daredevil – who flopped financially with what I thought was a pretty good movie – the most well-known of the bunch.

In the days before the show’s March 17 debut on Netflix, the critics spoke, based on a preview of the first six episodes of Iron Fist: They hated it. Continue reading