This Week in Geek (27/10-2/11/08)

Buys

Recent Shakespeare acquisitions got me looking for more, so I wound up getting MacBeth with Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench, as well as Kenneth Brannagh's Twelfth Night, both television productions. Oh yeah, and The Incredible Hulk, which I haven't yet seen (not a good year for my going to theater releases).

As for high end comics, I finally got my hands on Jeffrey Brown's Cat Getting Out of a Bag (see below) and Chris Ware's ACME Novelty Library #19 (each issue is an event).

"Accomplishments"

Comics: Jeffrey Brown's Cat Getting Out of a Bag and Other Observations is a fun little book of vignettes told by an obvious cat lover. A quick read, because cats don't tend to say much, but being hardbound, that makes it a perfect little coffee table book.You know, I didn't care much for Brown when all I'd read was Clumsy, but he's really grown since then. He totally deserves the buzz generated by the Incredible Change-Bots, and the review this book got a Everyday Is Like Wednesday, which is how it got on my radar.

DVDs: One of the things missing from the big Apocalypse Now DVD was a proper "making of" documentary, but that was for a very good reason. There already was one, Hearts of Darkness, which had, almost 20 years ago now, even enjoyed a theatrical release. Being a film unto itself, this very honest look at the troubled production deserved its own DVD release and could be packaged with the feature film itself. Not having seen it since its original release, I thought it still held up (despite similar ground having since been covered by commentary tracks and the like). The documentary has its own commentary track which adds yet another layer to the Apocalypse Now story, but is also packaged with the "making of" of Coppola's last feature, Youth Without Youth. It's an interesting book end, but is far less relevant by virtue of not referring to a well-known (or included) film. They should have saved it for that film's DVD.

I also flipped Time Tunnel volume 2, the second half of the show's only season. I'd been watching the episodes from time to time, but this week decided to be done with it. Though there are some classic, well-remembered, episodes in there, like The Walls of Jericho, there are also some real jumping the shark moments as the show turns into an alien of the week series at the very end. There's a surprise Robert Duvall appearance in here too. Also included on the DVD are a couple of interviews with Robert Colbert and Lee Merriweather, the unaired 2002 pilot for a new Time Tunnel (which tries to pull a Battlestar Galactica v.2 more or less successfully and would have made the series more mission-based), and Irwin Allen's Time Travelers 1976 tv movie (also obviously a pilot, which, despite the rather unexplained time travel element, had engaging characters and a thoughtful use of the premise).

Speaking of time travelers, I also flipped The Brain of Morbius, a 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane adventure taking its cues from the Monster of Frankenstein. Though it tends to play havoc with continuity, it's a fondly regarded story, with great energy and humor even as it doles out the shocks and (mild to our standards) gore. The DVD includes the usual text and audio commentary (too many people seem to be at the table at time though), a "making of" voiced by Paul McGann, digital recreations of the sets and how they would have stood in the studio, and more.


Finally, there's Enterprise Season 3. Thanks to the Xindi story arc, the show had great momentum and we (my household and I) kept playing another and another (what we call the Heroes effect). Though there are some great episodes in the first two seasons, this is probably where the series really got into its groove, though by then, everyone was probably to tired of Star Trek to notice. Shame, because I happen to think Enterprise is grossly underrated. The DVD offers audio or text commentary on a couple episodes and the usual stuff: Favorite moments, actors' profiles (Connor Trinneer's here), outtakes, etc. I'm particularly fond of A Day in a Director's Life with Roxann Biggs, one of the more informative features on the subject of making Trek.

New Unauthorized Doctor Who CCG cards: 21, all from The Mark of the Rani. Next up will be The Brain of Morbius!

Someone Else's Post of the Week
Lots of great posts this week on the blogosphere, but I'll point you all to Rachelle Goguen's Living Between Wednesdays where she looks at toys, both good and bad in the Sears Wish Book. It made me giggle like a little girl.

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