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Archive for the ‘radio’ Category

Is everybody jolly out there?  Well, if not, I’m here to give you some ideas how to spend your time off from work.

  1. Go to a movie.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the big one out there that you may have trouble getting tickets to.  Order them online if necessary.  I haven’t had time to check this one out yet, but I probably will in the next few days.  Chris Pratt’s Passengers is also out, but with a big ol’ Rotten Tomatoes splat (31% – yikes!) I’m not sure if I’ll put out the coin for that one or just wait for it to show up for rent online.  If anybody’s seen it feel free to let me know how it is by posting a comment.
  2. Watch Sherlock series 4.  This will premiere on the BBC and PBS on January 1 with the next two episodes on subsequent Sundays.  The last episode, The Final Problem, will also be shown in certain theaters.  See my previous post for more info.
  3. Do some charitable work and/or donate to your favorite cause.
  4. Catch up on Lethal Weapon.  Episodes are available for free online.
  5. Play with the furkids.  You got the felines and canines and any other animals in your lives presents, right?  Mine are getting a some-assembly-required new cat tree.  Cross your fingers I get this one put together before I have to go back to work.  I have 10 days.
  6. Rewatch all the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films.  That’ll take you a while.  Be sure to get up and stretch once in a while.
  7. Write down your New Year’s Resolutions.  Then put them in an envelope, tear them in half, and throw them away.  Seriously, who needs the pressure?
  8. Watch all the old Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone.  There were 14 of them.  Personally I’d skip the ones where they’re chasing Nazis (outside of the first two they were all in what was then present day.  No, BBC’s Sherlock wasn’t the first to do that).
  9. Listen to all 26 episodes of BBC radio’s Cabin Pressure.  With Benedict Cumberbatch and a crew of very funny people (including Anthony Head in some later episodes), it’s my go-to comedy series when I need a laugh.  You can order the CD’s or an Audible version on Amazon.

Everyone have a very happy whatever-you’re-celebrating, and hug the furkids for me!

#Sherlock #CabinPressure #LethalWeapon #StarWars

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Yes, you read that right.  Benedict Cumberbatch, who can alternately be a Serious Actor (The Imitation Game, Hamlet), perfectly deliver some very funny lines (Cabin Pressure), play a superhero (Doctor Strange), or a consulting detective (Sherlock) — all with equal ease — will now be The Grinch.

According to Deadline, Benny will be voicing the character in a new animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Illumination Entertainment, house of The Minions.  The movie will be released on November 10th, 2017.  Of course, his little boy Christopher might just be old enough by then to enjoy it, although maybe a little confused about why his dad’s voice is attached to an ugly green creature in a Santa suit.

Benedict has done quite a bit of voice and radio work in the past.  If you haven’t checked out Cabin Pressure, it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard.  And of course, he was the voice of Agent Classified in The Penguins of Madagascar as well as the dragon Smaug and The Necromancer in The Hobbit films.  He’s done the audio tapes for Casanova, voiced young Rumpole for the Rumpole of the Bailey radio shows, and even read some recent Sherlock Holmes stories, among other things.  All of these are worth checking out, as well as his other early voiceover work.

#BenedictCumberbatch #TheGrinch

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PBS’s Masterpiece is getting its own podcast!  If you’re a fan of Sherlock, Downton Abbey and other Masterpiece favorites, you can get your between-episodes fix by listening to their new podcast Masterpiece Studio.

Entertainment Weekly just tweeted the news.  On December 21st the first guest will be Sherlock writer/co-creator Mark Gatiss.  On December 28th there will be a preview of the final season of Downton.

You can follow Masterpiece’s Twitter feed at @masterpiecepbs, and host Jace Lacob at @televisionary.

Here’s the press release.

#SherlockBBC #DowntonAbbey #MasterpiecePBS #MasterpiecePodcast #BenedictCumberbatch

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The first series of the Serial podcast was a runaway hit, so Sarah Koenig and her team have now begun podcasting series two.  This series will focus on Bowe Bergdahl, the Army Pfc. who walked off his post in Afghanistan in June of 2009 and ended up being captured by the Taliban.  He spent five years as their prisoner until he was released in a prisoner swap in May of 2014.

Originally hailed as a hero, his return caused controversy after questions arose as to whether he had deliberately deserted his post.  Several soldiers were killed while searching for him.  Bergdahl is currently facing two counts, desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

While there are certainly a lot of questions surrounding this story, it’s just not of particular interest to me, so I will probably skip this series.  If you find it intriguing, though, the first episode has already been released.  Personally I think this series won’t be anywhere near as popular as the last one, but we’ll see what the download numbers say.

As reported on Deadline, Serial will also have a television series on Fox.  If you’re interested watch out for that.

The first series of Serial explored the Hae Min Lee murder case from 1999.  Hae’s ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was convicted of her murder in 2000 and is serving a life sentence.  Whether or not he is really guilty of the crime is very much in doubt.  Syed family friend and Adnan supporter Rabia Chaudry approached Sarah Koenig with the idea of doing a podcast about the case, which became Serial series one.  Chaudry, along with fellow lawyers Susan Simpson and Colin Miller, created their own podcast,  Undisclosed, to continue the search for answers and to help get Syed a new trial.  This podcast digs into the evidence (and sometimes the weeds of legal mumbo-jumbo in a way us laypeople can understand) to try to get Adnan’s conviction overturned.  Bob Ruff, a fire chief and arson investigator, became so wrapped up in the Syed case that he created his own podcast, Truth & Justice (formerly called Serial Dynasty).  Both podcasts have ferreted out quite a bit of interesting information, and in fact have helped win Syed a hearing where his attorney will present new evidence to a judge in the hopes Syed will be granted a retrial.

While Serial series one was interesting storytelling for storytelling’s sake, Undisclosed and Truth & Justice have dug into the details of the case that Koenig didn’t have the time and quite frankly, the interest, to do.  Syed may very well be innocent; at the very least he shouldn’t have been convicted on the evidence the prosecution had in my opinion.  Both Undisclosed and Truth & Justice are doing very well numbers-wise in their own right as many people want to know what happens with this case as it has now become reactivated.  Sarah Koenig is nothing if not a great storyteller, however, I have to admit to being somewhat disappointed that she’s shown little interest in the case since the end of series one (although I understand she may be giving some brief updates on the case during Serial series two).  In any case kudos goes to the folks who are still fighting to get overturned what may very well have been a wrongful conviction.

#SerialPodcast #AdnanSyed #Undisclosed #TruthAndJustice

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Benedict Cumberbatch is going back to his radio roots in a new Rumpole of the Bailey, Rumpole and the Portia of Our Chambers on BBC Radio 4.  The series starts tomorrow, Friday, July 3rd at 2:15 p.m. London time.

Benny has voiced the part of the younger Rumpole several times.  Radio Times has the story here.

batmansupermancomiccon_deadlineEntertainment Weekly has six photos from the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  This is just in time for San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), which begins July 8th with Preview Night and continues through the 12th.  The complete program schedule is now online here.

Batman v Superman star Henry Cavill will be a busy guy at SDCC.  Not only is Dawn of Justice going to have a major presence, but he will also be part of a panel for his upcoming flick The Man From U.N.C.L.E. with co-star Armie Hammer.

And yes, geek favorites Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) will be there on behalf of their crowd-funded web series Con Man.

Image: Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice via Deadline

#SDCC2015 #BenedictCumberbatch #HenryCavill

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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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NPR’s award-winning podcast Serial, a spinoff of This American Life, will be getting a second and third series.  One will air this fall and the other in the spring of 2016.

Serial_via_bbc_dot_comSerial has been a surprise hit for NPR, with over 60 million downloads.  It was the first podcast to win the prestigious Peabody Award.  The first series consists of 12 episodes and follows co-producer and host Sarah Koenig and others as they review the case against Adnan Syed, convicted in the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, 18, his ex-girlfriend.  Syed has maintained he is innocent since his conviction in February of 2000.  He is serving a life sentence.

The 12-episode series ran from October 3, 2014 to December 18th.  You can stream it from various podcast outlets (including iTunes) and on Serial’s official website.  You can download it as an MP3 also.  If you have hearing issues and would rather read transcripts of the episodes, Google “Serial transcripts” and the links to the audio translations on Reddit will pop up.

In February of this year Syed won the right to an appeal on the basis that his defense attorney never sought a plea deal for him.  It could also be argued she didn’t present as effective a case as she could have, and in fact she was disbarred for various offenses both related and not related to the Syed case.  The attorney died several years ago.

There’s no word yet on the stories being used for the second and third series.

Image via bbc.com

#SerialPodcast

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BBC Radio 4’s hilarious comedy Cabin Pressure had its final episode in January, and while all us fans are sad that it’s over, we can revisit MJN Air, GERTI and the crew over and over again now that they’re giving us a box set!

The show revolves around a one-jet airline and the places they fly to, or as the BBC synopsis says, it’s a “sitcom about an airline for whom no job is too small but many, many jobs are too difficult.”CabinPressure_boxset

The show stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Captain Martin Crieff, Roger Allam as First Officer Douglas Richardson, Stephanie Cole as MJN’s owner Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, and John Finnemore as Carolyn’s son Arthur.  Finnemore also wrote the series.  There were some great guest stars, and several episodes featured Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Carolyn’s boyfriend.

All the episodes from A-Z (Abu Dhabi to Zurich) will be included, along with the Christmas special and several bonus features, including a 32-page booklet.  The bonus features are described here on Finnemore’s website.  My favorite episode, btw, is Ipswich.

The set will be released in the U.S. in April but it just became available in the U.K.  If you want to preorder the link for Amazon.com is here, and the link to buy it now on Amazon.co.uk is here.  Or if you live in the U.S. you could just order it from the U.K. site.  It will take a while to get here, but I’m sure it would make it before April!  And yes, if you want to download it instead of dealing with physical CD’s, you can do that, but I doubt the the booklet and special features would be available to download, so be careful what you’re buying if those are important to you.

You might wonder why Cumberbatch was on a radio show, but in fact he has done quite a bit of radio, as well as recording audiobooks.  While I was looking on Amazon I discovered that he has recorded a series of mysteries called Benedict Cumberbatch Reads Thrilling Stories of the Railway that was released last year.  These are written by Victor L. Whitechurch.  Previously Benedict read a series called Sherlock Holmes: The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries and Other Stories, which were written by John Taylor.  If you poke around you’ll find Benedict recordings out there for everything from the audiobook to Casanova to Jane Austen.

Be aware, though, that Benedict loves doing voices, so he usually doesn’t just read the material in his own, but creates different voices for each character.  Some people like that, and some don’t.  Just FYI.

#BenedictCumberbatch #CabinPressure

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2014 is in the books, and there were definitely some milestones in entertainment.  Some really good movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, The Imitation Game, and the last Hobbit (what’s December going to be without visiting Middle Earth’s elves??), and great TV (The Blacklist and Orphan Black to name just two).  There were some sad moments, too, when we lost such greats as Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall.

Free-Clipart-for-this-New-YearLooking forward to what’s coming up this year, you can see on my calendar page that January and February will have the return of some favorite TV series after a winter break.  I want to know what is the deal with Red and Tom, and I want to know now, dammit!

If it’s January that also means the start of the gaggle of awards shows for 2015, only some of which I have bothered to list as there are just too many.  Hollywood is nothing if not good at patting itself on the back.

Don’t miss checking out my Twitter feed at @CatsnBooks.  (Yes, someone else has @CatsandBooks and would not release the username despite not having used it.)  I retweet a lot of fun stuff there from folks like James Gunn, Lee Pace, Luke Evans and Chris Pratt.  You never know what might show up there, but it’s always entertaining.

You’ll have to excuse me now, there’s a bottle of wine in the frig that’s looking for a glass and someone to drink it, and I think I’ve kept it waiting long enough.  Happy New Year to all!

#HappyNewYear

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