1. Once, years ago now, I read an anecdote about an author who disliked a film adaptation of one of her novels saying something pithy to the effect that the film resembled the novel only as much as two sausages that were the same shape but were stuffed with different ingredients.
This simile came back to mind when I watched the first episode of the new TV series based on G. K. Chesterton's stories about the mystery-solving priest Father Brown. The TV series certainly features a mystery-solving priest named Father Brown, and the mystery he solves in the episode I saw is recognisably similar to the one in the short story with which it shares its title, but all the Chestertonian ingredients seem to have been squeezed out and replaced with others. The sausage metaphor seems particularly apt since the result takes its place in a string of similar TV murder mysteries of recent years. (With, by way of leavening, some of the Quirky Townsfolk in Years Gone By recipe that British TV has spent so much time perfecting.) What, I ask, is the point of taking a series noted for its unique approach and approaching it the same way as everyone else?
Well, I suppose it means more sausages for the TV viewers who like that flavour of murder mystery. For myself, I suspect I'll find it more rewarding if I just go back and read the stories instead.
2. Speaking of reading, and sort of detectives, I've finished reading Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 01
. One of my favourite moments in the later chapters comes from a storyline in which Judge Dredd quits the force after failing to catch the leader of a criminal gang (and nearly getting killed by said gang leader) and takes up a menial job as a street-sweeper on a maintenance crew. It's all a dodge, of course, to lure the gang leader into thinking it's safe to take another crack at him, and the story ends with a splash panel of the population cheering as Dredd assures them he's still a Judge and always will be... and down in the bottom corner of the page, one member of the maintenance crew remarks to another that it's really just as well, because between you and me, he was a lousy street-sweeper.
(Which reminds me that one of the reasons I ended up not going to see Dredd
when it was in the cinema was that I didn't get any indication from the reviews I saw that it had any of the original's sense of humour. I don't think I could put up with two hours of somebody trying to take Mega City One seriously.)
3. Speaking of comics, and reading, Ursula Vernon (whose award-winning webcomic Digger
recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign to publish a single-volume collected edition) went on a trip to Alaska last month and came back with some good stories for her blog, including a pair of birders encountering several Arctic birds for the first time
and a truly awesome whale-watching trip
4. Speaking of Kickstarter, and comics, Tesladyne Industries is holding an employee drive
, because apparently they have a recurring problem holding on to new employees beyond the first hideous slavering monster attack. Or, to put it another way: Atomic Robo merch!
The base level reward is a copy of the all-new Tesladyne Employees' Field Guide; higher levels include posters, buttons, stickers, mugs, T-shirts, etc.
The highest level, available in limited numbers, is the Action Scientist Kit, which includes a lab coat, shirt, and various items of official stationery, all with the Tesladyne logo on -- or, if you prefer, the Minion of Dr. Dinosaur Kit, which includes a "slightly ruined" lab coat, dinosaur-themed variants of the stationery, and Genuine Hollow Earth Crystals, complete with a Genuine Certificate of Authenticity (forged with all the care and attention Dr. Dinosaur brings to all his genuine documents).
5. I could wrap this around to the beginning again if I could think of anything to say involving Kickstarter and television, but nothing's coming to mind. Have I mentioned yet that tomorrowpeople
is running a group re-watch of the original 1970s Tomorrow People
series? And that I've been using that as an excuse to watch the series for the first time? That's been... interesting.