I finished the first draft of a story that I’ve been struggling with yesterday morning. I have to turn it in on Sunday, so the weekend will be spent revising it. I’ll also have a Storytellers Unplugged essay show up on Sunday that talks a bit about the process by which I solved the plotting problem I faced with this story. It has a lot to do with the subconscious and the shower.
I got a kick out of seeing that Misty (Lily Rabe) on American Horror Story: Coven was listening to Stevie Nicks on 8-track tape. I never owned an 8-track player, but my brother did. He almost always had a tape strung out around his bedroom trying to get it respooled. It’s hard to imagine how the format caught on, what with its awkward clicks between tracks, usually in the middle of a song. My parents had one in their living room console, too, but we mostly used it to play regular cassettes thanks to a handy-dandy Radio Shack adapter. AHS is remaining strong and interesting in its third incarnation. Some people are better off dead, but death is not the end on this show. I don’t think it’s even possible to guess where it’s going next.
I enjoyed Covert Affairs this week. Sure, the plot was good, but I particularly enjoyed the setting, Hong Kong, a place I’ve visited on a few occasions, though it’s been quite a while since I was last there. I recognized a lot of the locations, in particular the funicular that goes up the side of Victoria mountain to the peak and the lookout at the top. The first time I was there, my coworkers and I took an evening “booze cruise” aboard the Star Ferry. The captain might also have been imbibing because when we came back to the pier he overshot the landing and hit the edge of the pier. We were stranded aboard for half an hour or so while they got it unstuck from the rigging. I remember it fondly as “The Wreck of the Star Ferry,” though not quite as dramatic event as the one Gordon Lightfoot sang about.
Jimmy Smits has been an excellent addition to Sons of Anarchy. Though his character gets involved in some serious stuff, he can be the focus of levity on this otherwise angst-ridden and violent show. This week, the greatest scene was the one where he and Wayne were in Nero’s truck on the way to check up on Wendy. Gemma had already warned Nero that Wayne was in love with her. They bickered and badgered each other until they reached a kind of begrudging detente, and by the end they had a bromance going. Nero’s reaction to Gemma’s description of her intended rehab treatment center for Wendy was funny, too. “I love that place.” I wonder where Tig gets his skull and crossbones shorts?
I think they made a mistake in voting off Tina this week on Survivor. She’s an easy target they can take out any time. It was the perfect chance to get rid of Monica, who is a loose cannon. Her paranoia will likely rear its ugly head in the future and make things difficult for her “allies.” It could have messed up Tyson’s game play. Speaking of which: who keeps putting down Tyson’s name? In the two votes this week, he was named each time, once as “Thai Son.” It will be interesting to see what happens when the two brothers go head to head on Redemption Island, especially if it’s a physical challenge. Those “food” challenges are tough to watch. Yuck! There are some strong contenders to win this thing. Tyson, obviously, but Gervase is playing well and I’m not ready to write off Katie, who won a very difficult challenge (made worse by having her mother chirping in her ear through most of it).
In binge-watching, I plowed through the two seasons (plus pilot) of the BBC series DCI Banks, based on the Peter Robinson novels and characters. Each one is two 45-minute episodes. Good, solid crime stories. They don’t really break any new ground (other than the fact that they’re set in Leeds), but the characters are interesting and the mysteries are well done. I’m also nearing the end of the second season of Death in Paradise, which is lighter fare. Fish out of water series about a very stiff British DCI exiled to the Caribbean. These are sort of Murder, She Wrote mysteries—almost cozies but not quite. The setting and its traditions are a large part of the interest, but the mysteries are fairly well constructed and I’m always pleased with myself when I pick up on significant clues. Next up, the French series Les Revenants (The Returned), which is now playing on the Sundance channel.