Month: December 2014

Longmire picked up by Netflix for season 4

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Awesome news from Variety (yeah like more than a month ago I know!).  Longmire has been picked up by Netflix.  Shame on A&E for dropping their #1 show.  Sorry I haven’t reviewed this series yet.  I’m waiting to watch Season 3 before I get a more thorough 6-pack rating completed.

Q:  Who needs to be worried on A&E about #1 Longmire being cancelled?

A:   Whoever is #2.

longmire_series_tv_poster_by_marrakchi-d5esccl (1)

So yeah, Longmire has some shortcomings, like some middling writing but the setup for a terrific long-running series is there in spades.  The actor that plays Sheriff Longmire (Robert Taylor) is excellent.  The whining Katee Sackhoff (from Battlestar fame) has promise but needs some heavy character work and to STOP LOOKING LIKE SHE IS ALWAYS GOING TO CRY!

Thanks Netflix for saving another good show!

Cheers!

J.W.

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Helix:  Looks Like A Really Fast Car…Shame About The 4-Flat Tires

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Series Review:  Helix

My Rating:  1 craft beers on a 6-pack scale (to get through this turkey I needed WAY more than a 6-pack!). I will be accepting donations to help me get through the suffering that is sitting through the first 13-episodes of this disaster.

Genre:  Sci-Fi/Thriller

Runtime:  13-episodes 40-45 mins each

Directed by:  Various

Creator:  Cameron Porsandeh

Stars:  Billy Campbell, Kyra Zagorsky, Jordan Hayes, Hiroyuki Sanada, Neil Napier

HelixSyfy So I caught a commercial/trailer for this series more than a year or so ago and filed it away in my brain.  As time went by it hovered in my memory until it merged in my mind with the commercials for The Strain (which I still need to watch) and Fringe (which I have watched most of but still need to watch the last season+).  Being busy with work, life, and naps I’d all but forgotten about Helix.  I haven’t watched Syfy since they killed Stargate: Universe so I never caught the series when it was first run.  Then, a couple weeks ago, Helix popped up on my Netflix radar and the memory of this promising series resolved from the fog.  I added it to the queue and prepared for a marathon.  I primed the couch and stocked the larder ready for a Saturday morning start for the planned day-long session.  Unfortunately my plan was derailed when I found Helix to be…not so very good.  If I’m going to spend a whole day sitting on my butt watching the TV, instead of doing the dozen or so more productive things, the program needs to be pretty good.  Not great.  Just pretty good.  And Helix definitely does not as “pretty good.”

I managed to make it through the first season but it took me far longer than I had originally planned.  I simply seemed to find things to do instead of watch Helix like…wash my car in the rain, reorganize the glassware in the kitchen cabinet according to height, and count the servings and calories in my emergency ration stash so I know exactly what’s in inventory for when that alien invasion occurs (which I assume is soon).

As is my normal practice I will not include any spoilers in this review though I can tell you that one of the main-ish characters in the first several episodes doesn’t make it half-way through the first season and THANK GOD for that!  If you watch Helix you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say the acting of the clichéd bandanna wearing, rock music enthusiast, straight-talking scientist Doreen character is simply terrible.  Terrible.  Terrible.  The acting is bad.  The reasoning her experienced and supposedly intelligent character uses is simply awful and really detracts from the story.  Just about every second her character is on the screen time is better spent taking out the trash or checking your work email on the iPad (yes both of those are similar tasks).

The main character of Dr. Alan Farragut, played by Billy Campbell, is not so very good by itself but thanks to the terrible Doreen character your ire is not focused entirely on him.  Why he feels the need to talk in a husky/whiny voice (tough to pull that off at the same time) for the entirety of the first season is beyond me.  I need to also mention that Campbell is 30-years older than the character played by Jordan Hayes.  I won’t go any further on the subject but it is worth noting.  If you watch the show you’ll understand.  Thankfully there are moments of mystery that work to pull you into a slowly developing story.  From time-to-time Dr. Hatake, played by Sanada – perhaps most recognized as the swordmaster in The Last Samurai – pops in and drops a little morsel of mystery like Hansel and Gretel leaving bread crumbs.  Now if only those bread crumbs led somewhere interesting.  There was so much promise in this show in the beginning but it just kinda continues on without really getting all that interesting.  There’s some side story going on regarding stolen children I think.  I should know but I found my attention often waning throughout this turkey.  Oh, one last glaring issue with Helix.  The team led by Campbell that is trying to do…whatever it is that they’re trying to do…is part of the CDC.  Is that organization really so inept that a group of their most senior scientists runs off to cure a big bad bug and when the home office doesn’t hear from them for a long time there’s no response?  Just one of the many, many plot holes in the show.

I’ll probably watch the second season when it’s on Netflix but I won’t seek it out.  When it shows up on the recommendations list I’ll add it to the queue but not before.  I’m not going to search it out.  I do have to mention that there was one thing I enjoyed about the show.  The hokey elevator music that plays during the title crawl is out of place and yet it’s oddly catchy.

Now can I recommend you spend a weekend watching this?  Sure…but only after you’ve expended all other entertainment options, completed all chores, and reorganized your hope chest.  Note: as I wrote this review I’ve steadily deducted points from the rating.  I’m going to stop here out of concern I’ll soon be into negative numbers which isn’t fair to the two or three people that worked hard to bring you Helix.

Cheers!

J.W.

P.S.  75K+ words into Sigma Draconis and more than a third of the way through the 2nd edition of The Bellerophon: Ambush which I hope to republish soon.  I’m excited about both projects and the many, many project yet to come.  SD is going to be cool but very different than my first book.

Writing update, The Bellerophon 2nd edition update, etc.

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J.W. Kurtz update.

I’ve been writing and editing like mad.  Recently I pulled my book from Amazon for a short hiatus as I do some heavy re-editing.  I hope to have the 2nd edition out by then end of January.  I’m about 80% done with this renovation project.  I can promise you this…IT WILL BE MUCH BETTER than the 1st edition plus it will have a snippet of my 2nd book.  I’ll update, tweet, post like crazy when edition 2 is done.  I miss checking the Amazon Authors page daily!

My second book, Sigma Draconis, and just where exactly am I on that?  I’m nearly at 80K-words.  I would say I’m well over halfway through the first draft.  Maybe a little more.  Maybe a little less.  I hope to have it out by the middle of the spring.  I wish writing was my fulltime job but it isn’t…for now.  The sequel to my first book will be started in earnest the day after I finish Sigma D.

In the meantime I hope to post some more movie/show reviews soon.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for checking-in.

Cheers!

J.W.

Editor/Proofer

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I’m in the market for a good editor and proofer.  I will be writing 2-4 books a year…for hopefully forever!  So this could be a long term working relationship.  Please leave a comment on this post or DM me on Twitter if you are up for this and have previous experience.  I’d love to chat with you.

Cheers!

J.W.