TV shows

The Week Before Christmas

I have neglected adding to this blog. I missed sharing during the trip to South Dakota in mid-October and later to a meeting in Pittsburgh. Here I am a week before Christmas and I have not kept up to date with comments and photos.

I thought I would add some thoughts on a TV show I have enjoyed for the past 4 seasons, now on season 5. The show is Yellowstone where it is set in the Bitterroot Valley of SW Montana. The scenery is spectacular. The acting and actors draw you in. The writing is by Taylor Sheridan who is a former rodeo participant and a lover of the Old West, horses and the cowboy way of life. This has become a TV phenomenon. This series is being spun off into other series, one show is 1883/season 1, which shows how the Dutton family came to locate in Montana. At the end of this series, the location is picked by the 18 year old daughter, Elsa, who picks where she will die and be buried following being shot by an arrow that creates sepsis. The next spin-off is set at 1923 and we shall see how the family handles adversity in that day and age.

We drove on the way to South Dakota along I-90 which follows much of the Yellowstone River. We saw the beauty of some of the Yellowstone Country. I am adding here a photo of the Little Bighorn River near the Crow Agency and GaryOwen, MT where Custer's last stand and battle occurred for the 7th Cavalry - a story in itself.

Little Bighorn River sm

Pioneer Girl Marked

One of the TV shows I watched for the past few years was "Hell on Wheels" which was based on the building of the transcontinental railway. One of the characters was named Eva whose life was impacted by tattoos placed on her chin from when she was kidnapped by a Native American tribe when she was a child. The character was likely based on this depiction of Olive Oatman, whose retrobituary is here.

Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry

Star Trek as a TV version and later as a series of movies is part of our culture now. There are a lot of Trekkie fans out there, very dedicated and die hard. The person who conceived Star Trek and is considered the inspiration behind it is Gene Roddenberry. From this article, he was not necessarily a nice man and often others were the individuals who gave the series the uniqueness and great scripts to carry it forward. An interesting story to learn a supposed hero is not so heroish in reality.

The Greatest Documentary

Yes, I would agree with this designation. An article that calls The World at War the greatest and an essential primer on history's deadliest conflict. I have recorded this set and then later purchased the DVD set. It is serious, riveting, unbelievable and above all watchable. See why.

The Amerikans

I have watched the TV show, The Amerikans, on FX since it started. The concept is a deep cover family, parents came over from Russia and are very American like spies for the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Their children do not know they are spies and they assume they are a normal American family.

I came across this story of a family of much similar circumstances. The parents were deep cover spies for Russia and the children did not know of the deception until the FBI arrested the parents. Now the sons must live in Europe and wish to be able to return to the U.S. Read the story.

Indian Summers

Downton Abbey is in its last season but another Masterpiece Theatre show held my interest this fall. It is Indian Summers and is focused on the time in the 1930's and 40's when the people of India were transitioning out from under the rule and influence of Great Britain. It is lavish and an interesting clash of cultures. Find an interesting story about the serial here.

Sleepy Hollow

Currently on TV, there is a show called Sleepy Hollow. It is an updated, demon related take on the Sleepy Hollow legend of Washington Irving's. There have been a number of movies made about the town and also Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Ooooo, Spooky, more so than what goes for spooky nowadays.
If a person wants to know more about what is legend and what is true, it can be check out here in this article.
So just in time for Halloween tomorrow,…..

"In a small town just 26 miles north of New York City, the Halloween season is bigger than Christmas. And it’s all thanks to the legend, almost 200 years old, of an infamous headless nightrider.

A short 40-minute express train from New York’s Grand Central transports you to the “drowsy shades of Sleepy Hollow” — previously North Tarrytown, before the good citizens voted in 1996 to rename it to capitalize on the tourist trade. Here, as Washington Irving described him in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a dark-horse-riding specter was “said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon ball, in some nameless battle during the revolutionary war…” "

Elmore Leonard

One of Bob's and my favorite TV shows was Justified. Just the best to us. It is no longer on TV. The person who wrote the character of Rayland Givens and the inspiration behind the scripts was Elmore Leonard, author. I came across this NYBR article about the Elmore Leonard. Enjoy!

The Obsolete Man

Lately, it has seemed as if the United States is drifting or being pushed more to a Semi-totalitarian state. The rule of law is vanishing or what has been the rule of law for over 200 years. It is an unsettled feeling on where we are going. I am a non-conformist when it comes to being told what I must think and say. I tend to dig in my heels and say "No Way". I am feeling that lately. A recent article referred to the path we are taking was predicted by a Twilight Zone episode in 1961, The Obsolete Man. How soon will we, or I, become The Obsolete Man for real.

Justified and Westerns

The TV show Justified is set to finish its last season in a few weeks. It is just about the best TV series of all time in my book. The acting and writing are superb. It holds your attention every week. I have always been a Timothy Olyphant fan along with many of the others in this series. Now I came across an article discussing how the series and the main character, Raylan Givens, relates to the western genre and modern manhood. More of the discussion can be found here. At least, I can get away from all the secular progressive garbage on the internet and look at a mix of traditional and modern concepts with this show.

Rachel Lu thinks heroes of the western genre like John Wayne embodied a noble vision of American manhood as honorable, reliable, and self-sacrificing—everything a good American man should be.

Understood in that light, Lu argues that the FX series “Justified,” although it has elements of the western genre, is thoroughly modern, its characters “infused with far more moral ambiguity than John Wayne typically faced.” The show’s protagonist, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant), might dress like a cowboy, but “as a family man, he leaves much to be desired”—because he sleeps around with strange women and refuses to join his wife and baby in another state. By contrast, the show’s villain, Boyd Crowder (the excellent Walton Goggins), is devoted to one woman and his “devotion even inspires dreams of respectability.”

The Fall

Earlier this year I watched the first season of an interesting crime drama set in Belfast, N. Ireland. It was really good. Netflix was promoting the second season to watch so I got started doing so on my IPad. I was hooked. It was about the best or one of the best crime shows I have ever viewed. Intense and the characters were fascinating to watch. The male lead playing the serial murderer was great, really great. He played the man as such a normal family man who hid such intelligent evil under this normal surface. A master manipulator up against a female chief inspector who was determined to find and capture him. Cat and mouse play or mouse and cat play. Toying with each other and the people surrounding them too. A good TV series out of Northern Ireland, The Fall.

Andy Kauffman Equals Elvis

I came across this link to old video of a sketch on the Tonight Show of early Andy Kauffman. About 2 1/2 minutes in he switches to doing Elvis Presley. Or is it Elvis becomes Andy? Funny and great memories. Nicely done by Andy who died too early. "Tank you veddy much!"

Zombie Obsession

I have featured articles by Michael Totten on this blog before. He is an interesting writer and also a fellow Oregonian. He has also written a Zombie book, Resurrection, which probably will lead to a sequel. The book is optioned for a movie. Because of this, he has written an article not related to war or distant locations, but one about our Zombie obsession (which I admit I have). I am a Walking Dead fan. I like to watch Zombie movies and shows and read the books. It is different and not run of the mill, even if there is a lot of Zombie stuff out there. Check out his look at where The Walking Dead has been over the last years and Zombie mania.

“Zombies seem to be everywhere these days. Barnes and Noble called the decade from 2003 to 2013 a “Golden Age for zombie fiction.” Max Brooks—son of comedian Mel Brooks—has written several zombie-themed books, the most popular of which—2006’s World War Z—sold more than 1 million copies and inspired the blockbuster 2013 movie of the same name, starring Brad Pitt. (I recently jumped into the genre myself, with a novel called Resurrection, which has been optioned for film.) Zombies dominate the video-gaming world. Dead Rising 3 for Xbox One and Microsoft Windows, released last November—the latest in a zombie-killing franchise—has already sold 1.2 million copies, at $50 a pop.”

Doh, The Simpsons

Have you ever wanted to say, “Doh”, like Homer Simpson? I bet you have. I even had it as a phone sound at one time. The Simpsons are 25 years old and still going strong. They still shine and have not taken on any dull behavior. Now if you look at the Thayers........well, they are a bit worn around the edges. Happy Just get a feel, a taste of the Simpsons here.

Fawlty Towers Dining

One of my most favorite TV shows and also the funniest is the British TV show, Fawlty Towers, starring John Cleese. It was voted the funniest of all TV shows in 2000 in Britain. Little can touch the sarcastic humor there. What a hoot. Now people have found a way to bring it to you by way of offering a Fawlty Towers dining experience show. It has traveled the world though mostly seen in the UK. You can find out more about the show and the schedule.

Quien Es Mas Macho?

It is always good to laugh. Good humor is hard to beat and so much a life saver at the same time. The earlier days of Saturday Night Live was gold. A lot of good comedians came from that time period. I came across this video skit from SNL that included the great Bill Murray, the wonderful Gilda Radner (Bless her soul), and heart throb Ricky Nelson. It is a hoot and displayed the superb talents of Murray and Radner in timing and sense of humor. Ricky Nelson is along for the ride, the straight guy. Enjoy the show!

This Season of Justified

Last Tuesday was the last show of this season’s episodes of Justified. It was a riveting season. The writing, dialogue, and acting were superb. I am a fan of each and everyone involved with this TV show. Bob and I are not the only fans. Many others feel the same way. Here is a great explanation of why this is one of the best crime shows ever as the article tells us. I heartily agree.

Christians and Vikings

I have written about the Vikings television show before. One of the characters is a Christian priest who is captured by the Vikings and kept as a slave. He becomes a believer in the Old Norse Gods and is conflicted with his Christian past. This article describes the scenario and the author believes the scene with the attempted crucifixion is not historically plausible.

Some Current TV series

With Justified due to start a new season in a few weeks, there is a good article in the Wall Street Journal pointing a person to some of the different, interesting TV series coming up. I watched the first season of the beginning series listed, The Americans. It is a good one to follow yesterday’s blog on Whittaker Chambers. This series is about two sleeper agents from the Soviet Union who live as husband and wife in the United States in the Reagan years. They are espionage agents dedicated to finding secrets that will benefit their handlers in the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Enjoy reading about some possible shows to follow right here.

Justified and Writing

One of the best TV shows around is Justified. Timothy Olyphant portraying Reylan Givens is a superb actor and made for that role. The writer who wrote the short stories that Justified is based upon is Elmore Leonard. Mr. Leonard passed away the other day at an age in his 80s. He was a very popular author and there was a recent article re-posted from 2001 that discussed his views and rules on writing. He advised easy on the adverbs, exclamation points and watch the Hooptedoodle. I find it always pays to listen to someone who has demonstrated they know what they are doing and he fits that bill. Here is another article from someone else who Elmore Leonard gave good life advice.
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