A howdunnit is like a “whodunnit“, but where we already know the culprit from the get-go — either because we see it happen at the beginning like in Columbo, or because it’s pretty obvious — but where the fun of the film is to see how, exactly, (s)he dunnit.
We’re living in a golden age of TV series, especially for fantasy and science fiction adapted from works of literature.
We’re living in a golden age of TV series, especially for fantasy and science fiction adapted from works of literature. I’m thinking especially Game of Thrones and The Man in the High Castle. And I’m now keenly awaiting the upcoming BBC series based on Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. This gives me hope that maybe some other of my favourite books might get adapted — and adapted well! I previously foretold there would be a series of Lord of the Rings, and it’s actually now happening.
Earthsea. Classic Ursula Le Guinn fantasy series set on a world of islands. This phenomenal world of creative genius needs a wider audience.
Discworld. This could actually be multiple series, with each based on one set of characters. Each book more-or-less can be one season, all books could form the whole series. Focus on maybe wizards, city watch, death, nowt else. Or a series based on one of the set of characters, e.g., the City Watch, but with each book more-or-less being a season. In any case, there are loads of great characters and stories to come out of the fertile mind of the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett.
Stargate. I want a total reboot, remake, reimagining of the Stargate and SG1 franchise. Get back to the basics of the Von Däniken “Chariots of the Gods” theory that the very most ancient gods were actually extraterrestrials, keep it with the Egyptian and Babylonian gods. Stargate SG1 had a very Star Trek: The Next Generation vibe of intergalactical banterous romp; I would want a reboot to have a darker, “edgy” DS9 type vibe.
In this post, I wanna share how I became a dedicated Star Trek fan.
NOTE: this article originally came out in 2017
Ever since I heard that a new Star Trek series (Star Trek: Discovery) was definitely for real actually happening, to be released this year, I’ve been super hyped and also a bit scared — what if it doesn’t live up to my hopes?
As you can tell, I’m a massive Trekkie… Or Trekker… whatever, I don’t care, but that’s for another post. In this post, I wanna share how I became a dedicated Star Trek fan.
I was born in 1984. When I was a kid, back in the dark days when the UK only had four channels and we heard mythical stories about how in America they had FORTY, the replays of the original Trekwere always on the telly at weekends. But I never paid attention. It was just another rubbishy show from the ’60s. It barely registered in my consciousness. I much preferred Land of the Giants(!)
Fast forward to age nine-ish. Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Trek reboot, had been running for several years and still I didn’t notice. And then one day, a season five episode came on: Cause and Effect. It involves the Starship Enterprise being stuck in a timeloop; the same catastrophe-tainted day keeps repeating itself. Think sci-fi horror version of Groundhog Day, or the film Triangle, but in space, and with dodgier make-up and production values. I was sold.
I won’t ruin the episode for you. Check it out on Netflix! But it marks the sort of intelligent, mind-bending stories that were par for the course in Trek. Every time a new mindbender or time-travel flick comes out, like Looper, I love it. But I always refer people to Trek.
If you’re new to Star Trek, here’s a few more episodes you might want to take a look at (all currently available on Netflix):
The Visitor (Deep Space Nine, series 4 episode 2): another great time-travel episode.
Hard Time (Deep Space Nine, series 4 episode 18): the psychology of guilt and suffering.
In The Pale Moonlight (Deep Space Nine, series 6 episode 19): the hardship of keeping your principles in war.
Trials and Tribble-ations (Deep Space Nine, series 5 episode 6): a good example of the lighter-hearted side of Trek, which pays homage to the original series with some neat special effects.
Sadly, no matter how I wax lyrical about the virtues of Trek, nobody’s buying it. The rubber ears, the dodgy acting, the huge number of episodes where, yes, nothing really happens. Sadly, TV has moved on. There is no Trek that fits modern conventions. For example, series are now limited to around ten episodes a season, there are no “one-off” episodes, and it’s all about moving the plot forward. The closest Trek came to this, and arguably it was instrumental in pre-empting the current trend, was the Dominion War story arc from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (my favourite incarnation of Trek, for what it’s worth).
But now with Star Trek: Discovery, I hope a new Trek for a new televisual era will be born, a Trek that captures the imagination of the young as much as the new Star Wars films have, as much as that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation captured mine some twenty plus years ago.
I don’t remember now; I was tanked up on Goulash at the time.
This is quite possibly the most pointless thing I will ever write. So… Enjoy!
When I go abroad, I love to watch foreign telly. Even though I have very little idea what they’re talking about, I enjoy seeing the differences between our superior British TV and their inferior outlander television. Think hetheth etheth etheth from The Fast Show. But more than that, I’m a language-lover, and so I just enjoy hearing authentic foreignese.
I recently went to Budapest. One night, I sat up till the wee hours (that’s Scotch for “small”; I was in Scotland recently, too) watching a film. I enjoyed it. Even though it was complete bollocks. But I have no idea what it was called and therefore I cannot do my obligatory post-film ritual of looking up every little thing about it on IMDB.com. This is now driving me to despair.
If I explain the film to you, Dear Reader, will you please psychically intuit its name and let me know? I will reward you handsomely. Behold! 100 Hungarian florints!
No, seriously: I will send you this coin if you tell me the name of the film (I’m not joking). A wholehundred! I swear it by the old Gods* and the new.**
So, the film then…
It was evidently a German film dubbed into Hungarian. It was like a crap German rip off of Hot Shots!. Yes, when you thought the spoof genre couldn’t get any worse: ladies and gentlemen, the German spoof.
The lead character: white guy, long dark hair, slightly chubby, glasses. He mostly had a Rambo-style headband, but earlier in the film he was wearing a leather jacket.
In the same office but ?a different scene (I don’t remember now; I was tanked up on Goulash at the time), random people from nowhere start pouring into the office and laughing at the protagonist. One guy dies from laughter and his ghost carries on this cruel spasmodic audible thoracic diaphragmatic contraction-based mockery.
There’s an oriental-looking bad guy with a dodgy ‘tache.
A Predator is hunting them and at one point invisibly slays the protagonist’s foes so that everyone, including the protagonist himself, thinks the protagonist is possessed of some psychic mage-like powers. This Predator eventually takes off its suit to reveal himself as __PLOT SPOILERZ__ a sexy female Vulcan.
In one scene the bad guy is speaking down the phone to a guy who is copying the words down. Reveal: the guy on the other end of the line is SAT NEXT TO HIM. Like, lulz.
After the protagonist (getting tired of typing this word already; how about “pr’ag”?) succeeds in his mission, they pour a trophy full of medals over his head. And he gets the girl. Wahey.
And that’s about all I remember. Good bye.
*YHWH, Allah, Zeus.
**Britney Spears, Jordan, Tom Hardy.
NOTE: It’s been six years since I saw this film, and I still can’t get it out of my head. Can someone PLEASE tell me its name??