I finished The Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurtry last night. A quick read, but fun. I started The Explanation for Everything by Lauren Grodstein. The plot synopsis intrigued me: a staunchly atheist biology professor at a small NJ college (he teaches a class that’s known around campus as “There Is No God”) agrees to sponsor an independent study project by a young co-ed who wants to explore “intelligent design.” He argues, of course, that it’s impossible to scientifically test that belief system but she convinces him to take her on—his main condition is that she agree to read some of the preeminent atheist writers, like Dawkins and his PhD advisor. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.
Last night I watched the Paul McGann eighth Doctor movie from 1996, which I’d never seen before. I was trying to figure out why he looked so familiar. Then I recognized him as Mark, Zoe’s lover from the Luther series. Eric Roberts as The Master! There’s a funny scene where a motorcycle cop has no brakes. He drives into the TARDIS, turns around and comes back out again—this reminds me of the teaser they’ve shown for the forthcoming anniversary special where a motorcycle drives into the TARDIS. Or maybe that’s a stretch? After a very slow and uneventful first 30 minutes, the 90-minute film kicks into overdrive late, with all sorts of jiggery-pokery that seems to mean a lot but doesn’t really. I was quite mystified by how the companion was converted to evil, briefly. Did I miss something? A fun romp that probably seems better now in the context of the show’s rebirth than it did in the mid-90s after a long hiatus from the original series. I was also intrigued to note that the story takes place at the exact same time (midnight 1999) as my story “Leap Second” from Doctor Who: Destination Prague. Well, not exactly the same time as it took place in a different time zone, so my story happened first.
I’ve long been a fan of How I Met Your Mother. It and The Big Bang Theory are the only half hour comedies I watch (though I saw an episode of Anger Management while flying overseas a couple of weeks ago and I’m tempted to try it out. It seems like it has the best aspects of Two-and-a-Half Men without the worst parts. *cough* Jon Cryer *cough*). Anyhow, getting back to HIMYM, whoever came up with the idea of putting Marshall in a months-long car ride should be sent back to storytelling school. The show still has good stuff—especially the moments with the “mother”—but this hasn’t been its strongest season.
Castle was pretty creepy this week, with its dopplegangers. They also pulled a fast one on me by having William Mapother (Ethan from Lost) show up in what appeared to be a bit part. A prime candidate for Famous Guest Star Syndrome. But then they made me forget all about him with all the other stuff going on, so when the story came back around to him, it was a surprise. I do wonder, though, about the extent to which 3XK went to get his hands on those files. Was it really necessary to duplicate a tattoo that couldn’t be seen unless Lanie disrobed while requesting documents? I also thought that someone should have at least suggested that Mapother’s character might be 3XK after plastic surgery.
There’s a new series on the Sundance Channel called The Returned (in French: Les Revenants). In the first episode, a school bus goes off a mountain in the Alps, killing all on board. Four years later, one of the kids, Camille, simply shows up at her family’s home as if nothing happened. She has no recollection of the accident or any sense that time has passed. She isn’t a zombie, or at least she doesn’t seem to be at this point (I’ve only watched the first twenty minutes so far), but clearly something very unusual is going on. Apparently other dead-for-a-while folk will be showing up in future episodes. It’s creepy and fascinating.