Archive for June, 2015

The Brits got to see the new series of Poldark months ago, now it’s our turn.  PBS began the first series on Masterpiece this past Sunday.  It stars Aidan Turner, best known for the BBC’s Being Human and for playing dwarf Kili in The Hobbit trilogy.  It also stars Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza and Heida Reed as Elizabeth.

Just a short synopsis… Captain Ross Poldark, an English gentleman from Cornwall, returns from the American Revolutionary War to find his father has died, his lady love Elizabeth is engaged to his cousin, and his lands and the mines that comprise his inheritance are in ruins.  He saves what he believes is a teenage boy from a beating, only to find that Demelza is very much a girl.  He takes her in as a kitchen maid but sparks soon fly between the two.  That doesn’t mean Ross and Elizabeth no longer have feelings for each other, though early on Elizabeth does get married to Francis, Ross’ cousin.

Poldark_PBSI have started reading the books by Winston Graham, the first one of which was published back in 1945, the last in 2002, so there’s enough reading to last you quite a while if you’re interested in the novels.

There will be eight episodes of Poldark in this first series, but don’t despair, a second series has already been commissioned.  Series one was based on the first and second Graham novels; it’s expected series two will cover the third and fourth.

If you remember the very popular Poldark series from the 1970’s you’ll remember the title character was then played by Robin Ellis, who turns up as a parson/judge in this version.

Turner is not the only Hobbit dwarf to have television series success.  Graham McTavish (Dwalin) has also found a great gig in Starz’ Outlander.

Image: Aidan Turner and Heida Reed in BBC/PBS’s Poldark

#Poldark #AidanTurner

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I’ve been getting more and more into podcasts recently, partly because I have a fairly long drive to work and partly because I’m over listening to music.  I can turn on the news on Sirius XM, but I’ve usually heard it all by the time I get to the car in the morning.  So podcasts it is, or has been recently.

I’ve downloaded some episodes from NPR.org before, mostly Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! which is a very entertaining and funny game show.  I decided, though, that I should have some variety, so after searching for what are deemed to be the best podcasts out there, I found a few that looked interesting and downloaded a sample or two from each series onto a memory stick for playing in the car.

One of the podcasts that turns up on almost all the lists of Best Podcasts I’ve seen is The Nerdist.  The Nerdist is hosted by Chris Hardwick who, along with a couple of his nerdy friends, usually spend the hour interviewing celebrities.  I downloaded a couple of episodes, one of which was Benedict Cumberbatch’s interview from December when he was promoting The Imitation Game (and before he was announced as the star of Marvel’s Doctor Strange – that’s serious nerd cred there).  You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Benedict, he of the lovely cultured English accent and sonorous tones, make every kind of fart noise he can think of.  That’s Nerdist.

A very recent Nerdist podcast had the guys interviewing Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt, along with Jurassic’s director Colin Trevorrow.  Pratt seems like such a nice guy you can’t help but just be happy for him for his recent success, especially when he talks about things like his early auditions (for jerk roles) or his struggles with his weight.  Awwww.

If you’re really, really into comic books, The Nerdist also has a Comic Book Club Channel.  Immediate geek cred given for listening to that one.

One of the other highly-recommended podcasts I listened to recently was from How Stuff Works.  There are actually several series here to pick from, including the original Stuff You Should Know, Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff To Blow Your Mind, and Stuff They Didn’t Want You To Know, among others.

Stuff You Should Know is hosted by two guys, Josh and Chuck, who talk about topics like How Autopsies Work, What’s The Deal With Blood Types? and How Junk Food Works (not sure why anyone would be confused about how junk food works, but I digress).  The episode I downloaded was How ESP Works.  I thought this one would be fun, since I am a big skeptic about things like clairvoyance and the ability to talk to the dead.  They hit on several such topics and not just on ESP, but I’m not sure I really learned much of anything I didn’t know already.

I’m in the meh category on this one, but it could be just the episode I listened to.  It took the guys a good 15 minutes of chit-chat and commercials before they really got into talking about ESP and related subjects.  What is up with all the chit and the chat?!  A little is good before you get into the subject at hand, but 15 minutes?  During the course of the episode they strayed from the topic as well and went off on a tangent before finally remembering they were supposed to be doing a show about ESP.

They should compare notes before they hit the Record button also – if one of them tells an anecdote about some past research trial and the other guy then tells him it was determined later that it was pretty easy to cheat on that trial, it’s clear they’re not spending enough time beforehand discussing what they’re going to say.  And one more thing – anyone who researches such things for a podcast should also know that name of the so-called “medium” who had the show called Crossing Over is John Edward, not Edwards.

Suffice it to say I’d have to listen to some more of this series’ episodes before I say skip it, but if you’re looking for tightly researched scientific knowledge on a subject this podcast is probably not where to find it.  It was somewhat entertaining, nonetheless, so I don’t want to be too down on it just because the episode I heard was a little rough.

I’ve mentioned NPR’s very popular Serial podcast on this blog before, which focused on the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee and the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed.  If you were hooked on the Syed case after listening to that series, you might want to pick up on Undisclosed.  This podcast picks apart the details of the case that sent Syed to prison for life 15 years ago.  He recently won a court victory that may lead to a new trial.

I’ve added a podcast category in my links and listed some of the ones I’ve been listening to there.  If you have some other suggestions use the comments below and let us know what you recommend (or not).

#TheNerdist #BenedictCumberbatch #ChrisPratt #StuffYouShouldKnow

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It’s been quite a few days for Benedict Cumberbatch.  He and his wife Sophie Hunter have just announced the birth of a baby boy!  No details were given, but I’m sure the little one has inherited some great genes.

Recently Benny was also honored by the Queen with a CBE, or Commander of the British Empire.  This is a higher honor than an OBE, or Order of the British Empire, and just below a knighthood (which he will probably also have at some point).  The award was given for his work in the performing arts as well as his charitable work.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, who starred with Benny in 12 Years A Slave and will again be alongside him in Doctor Strange, already had an OBE but was awarded the higher CBE.

Eddie Redmayne received an OBE, as did Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat.  Kevin Spacey, who ends a long run as the artistic director for London’s Old Vic theatre later this year, was given an honorary knighthood.  Because he is an American, Spacey can’t use the title Sir, but it’s a lovely honor anyway.

Congratulations to all!

#BenedictCumberbatch #ChiwetelEjiofor

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Warner Bros. has released a second trailer for the upcoming Henry Cavill/Armie Hammer fun fest The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

I’m guessing you’d rather just watch that than read a long post, so here it is:

#TheManFromUncle #HenryCavill #ArmieHammer

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Deadline is reporting that Chiwetel Ejiofor will join Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel’s Dr. Strange flick.

Cumberbatch will be playing Strange, and Ejiofor’s role is said to be Baron Mordo, a villain in the comics, but according to the article he may not be quite so bad in the film.  We’ll have to see when the movie premieres next year.

This is not the first time these two guys have worked together.  In 12 Years A Slave Ejiofor played the title character and Cumberbatch played one of his masters.

But what an impressive cast this movie is gathering, including Tilda Swinton, who will playing a gender-switched Ancient One.

#ChiwetelEjiofor #DoctorStrange #BenedictCumberbatch

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Sir Christopher Lee, best known for his roles in several Dracula films and as Saruman in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, passed away June 7th at the age of 93.

CLee_LOTR_FellowshipSherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss tweeted that Lee was “a Titan of Cinema and a huge part of my youth.”  As he was to many.

Lee also appeared in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, the 007 flick The Man With The Golden Gun, and played Sherlock Holmes (more than once), among the many roles he took on over the course of a long and varied career.

Lee is survived by his wife and a daughter.

R.I.P. to a legend.

Image: Christopher Lee in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


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From UniverseToday.com comes the news that Benedict Cumberbatch has laid down the narration for a digital dome production called Solar Superstorms.  Keep an eye out at your local planetarium if you’re interested.

ManFromUnclePost_via_imdbVia Entertainment Weekly – Henry Cavill has ducked out of Stratton just before filming was due to begin, apparently over issues with the script.  And it was his production company doing the film!  He had been set to star as British Special Forces officer John Stratton.  The company financing the film has exercised their rights to make it anyway and will recast the role.  Yes, Cavill is a Brit, lest you think his American accent in Man of Steel was his own.

Cavill’s next film release is The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which looks like a whole heap of fun.  Of course, he’ll also be seen again as Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice next year, which will be followed by the Justice League flicks.  There have also been rumors he will join the next Fifty Shades of Awful (sorry, Grey) movie as Jack Hyde.

Image: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. poster via imdb.com

#BenedictCumberbatch #HenryCavill

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