Tag Archives: mystery

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Blade Runner 2049 – Comparative Opinions Episode 62

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! This week, Hosts Holly and David made it to see Blade Runner 2049 and had to talk about it! They spend some opening minutes trying to talk about the movie without spoilers, then dive into a spoiler discussion. This movie is recommended for you to see, and then maybe listen to the podcast – it’s definitely a better movie without spoilers first! You have been warned!

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday!

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Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

Binge-Worthy TV: Marcella

Earlier this week, I noticed that Netflix had added Marcella, a show featuring Anna Friel (who I LOVED as Chuck in the all-too-short-lived series Pushing Daisies) and that Friel was the show’s title character AND that she was playing a detective searching for a murderer… Well, obviously I knew I’d have to watch this show. I’m always on the lookout for shows with badass female characters — and there’s a bonus if those shows involve crime-solving, because I love a mystery.

And if there’s one thing that this show has, it’s mystery. Marcella is a British crime procedural, written and directed by Hans Rosenfeldt (The Bridge). The 8-episode first season was added to Netflix shortly after it finished in mid-May, with audiences able to stream the show beginning July 1.

Anna Friel as Marcella

Anna Friel is Marcella

The show follows Marcella Backland (Friel), a retired detective who has spent the past decade at home raising a family. Marcella’s husband Jason (Nicholas Pinnock) has just left her, and in many ways her personal life is crumbling. Meanwhile, the signature of a serial killer who has been inactive for many years resurfaces. And so Marcella decides to return to work as a homicide detective and to search for the killer as she also deals with her personal life.

I have to admit that I think the show’s plot is a bit too formulaic at times, but there is enough complexity in the show’s subplots and enough strong acting that I didn’t find it distracting. Friel is a wonder to watch, giving a nuanced performance as Marcella’s obsessions spiral. She is often unlikable — volatile and obsessive, disregarding all sorts of not just rules and regulations but ethical and moral quandaries. She has a penchant for ruthlessly pursuing suspects, and she neglects to share pertinent information about the case with her fellow officers and superiors (like that she has started having blackout moments caused by extreme stress, and that one of those blackouts involved a fight with her husband’s mistress, who turned up dead).

The show also excels in its structural oddities, forcing us to do our own work to suss out the murderer by introducing us to a fairly large-sized cast of characters all at once rather than suspect by suspect. Marcella’s blackouts also add a layer of complication–we don’t see what she does, but we know that she is sometimes violent. The relationship between Marcella and Jason vacillates, both of them confused and confusing one another, both of them suspects.

And that’s really the other thing I like about the show: Everyone is a suspect, and everyone is guilty. The question is really not whether they’re guilty, but to what extent and of what, exactly.

Internet gossip suggests that the show will get a second season, but that has not yet been confirmed. Here’s hoping, because as Friel has gone on record as saying in regards to her character: “the world is changing, rightly so, and we’re maybe having the attention and the spotlight is being put on to women. It’s about time, isn’t it?”

American Gothic – First Impressions

American Gothic premiered last night on CBS, and after seeing a bit about it I decided to give it a shot. I’ve been watching Parks and Rec and Archer on Netflix a lot lately, and wanted something fresh. It looked intriguing, and so I figured, why not? The worst part would be the commercials, since I haven’t watched a show play live on TV in ages.

American Gothic centers on the well-to-do Hawthorne family, and begins its introduction to the family members in the midst of getting ready for the eldest sister’s family portrait and interview. She is running for office, and is already an established and well-liked city councilor. As the youngest sister, Tess, and her husband are heading to the family home, part of a tunnel collapses behind them on top of a car. As we are introduced to the other family members, we see that in the debris of the tunnel a belt is found, which it is discovered is linked to a notorious serial killer. The Silver Bell Killer, who was never apprehended and who left behind no evidence, except for a silver hand bell, strangled his victims, and it is believed the belt may have been a murder weapon. It is found in concrete supplied by the Hawthorne family.

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American Gothic – First Impressions

American Gothic premiered last night on CBS, and after seeing a bit about it I decided to give it a shot. I’ve been watching Parks and Rec and Archer on Netflix a lot lately, and wanted something fresh. It looked intriguing, and so I figured, why not? The worst part would be the commercials, since I haven’t watched a show play live on TV in ages.

American Gothic centers on the well-to-do Hawthorne family, and begins its introduction to the family members in the midst of getting ready for the eldest sister’s family portrait and interview. She is running for office, and is already an established and well-liked city councilor. As the youngest sister, Tess, and her husband are heading to the family home, part of a tunnel collapses behind them on top of a car. As we are introduced to the other family members, we see that in the debris of the tunnel a belt is found, which it is discovered is linked to a notorious serial killer. The Silver Bell Killer, who was never apprehended and who left behind no evidence, except for a silver hand bell, strangled his victims, and it is believed the belt may have been a murder weapon. It is found in concrete supplied by the Hawthorne family.

Continue reading

Review: Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer

I mentioned in my post at the beginning of the year that I was looking forward to getting back into reading, especially by branching out and trying new authors and genres I generally wouldn’t think to try. I’m about to feel like a commercial and I apologize for that, but with Amazon Prime I get one free Kindle book a month through their Kindle First program. For the longest time I’ve been awesome at picking one out each month and downloading it… but that’s as far as I’ve gotten with all but one of them (a romance novel that helped me discover a new novelist to read for fun; that’s probably a great post for another time).

So for January, I decided to try one of the most recent ones I’d picked out and read it as my book for the month. I maybe missed doing it in January because time is going by too quickly, but I did finally pick it up this week, and I’m really glad I did.

harmony black

Harmony Black by Craig Schaefer has all the great workings of a modern mystery novel; Harmony Black is an FBI agent working for a Special Ops branch who usually works alone, but gets pulled out of her first vacation in years by an unusual string of infant kidnappings. She’s thrust into working with a motley crew of FBI agents and associates, and the mystery takes them back to her hometown, to the unsolved mystery of her sister’s mysterious kidnapping, which happened thirty years ago… and yet by all accounts the same scenario is repeating itself. Oh, and did I mention that Harmony Black is a witch and the branch of the FBI she works for targets magical and demonic criminals in very underground, off the books ways, and the case they’re trying to solve involves the Bogeyman?

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