Dirk Gently and Getting What You Deserve

This is no more a spoiler than a trailer for the next episode of Dirk Gently. Unless you haven’t finished season 1, in which case you may hesitate to read what I have to say.

The season 1 finale of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency has everything falling apart for basically everyone who survived to the end of the season. One of the biggest things to happen, though, was that Todd Brotzman got Pararibulitis. This is a fictional nerve disease that causes hallucinations that feel real and causes an immense amount of pain for the person suffering from it. It’s a disease that runs in Todd’s family, in fact his sister Amanda already had it before he did. A lot of people have talked about this ending as seeing Todd getting the disease as punishment, namely because of the song that plays at the end. First Things First by Neon Trees.

You are never gonna get
Everything you want in this world
First things first
Get what you deserve

I mean someone gets a disease and then a song goes on to say “Get what you deserve” that definitely sounds like a punishment. But I don’t at all believe this was true. Even before seeing season 2, it just didn’t make sense. First off, it runs in his family, so the odds are he would get it eventually anyway. Secondly, he gets this after he’s righted all his wrong. By the end he has come clean and told the truth to Amanda about having previously faked having the disease to get money. He has saved the world and Lydia by stopping the soul swapping bad guys. He has even come to believe in Dirk and is choosing to follow him and help him solve future cases. Why, after everything, would he then be punished?

It is true that Todd himself sees it as a punishment, but as we go further into season 2 it’s obvious that it isn’t. If Todd didn’t have Pararibulitis then he wouldn’t have had that episode right in front of Sheriff Hobbs, who then wouldn’t have found the pill bottle left behind with his info, which then wouldn’t have led to Todd, Dirk, and Farah getting arrested. This is ultimately a good thing, because that keeps them in this town where the weird stuff starts happening, and it gives them a new set of people who are now willing to help, and not turn them in to Black Wing, who is hunting them.

If Todd didn’t have the disease he wouldn’t have had an episode at the same time as Amanda, who is now showing that the disease in connection with the Rowdy 3 actually gives her powers. Them both having an attack at the same time allows Todd to figure out where Amanda actually is.

Todd didn’t deserve to be punished. He deserved to have help, he deserved to find his sister, and he deserves to be part of the team that stops the terrible things that are happening in this town. Pararibulitis is making that happen. It’s all connected.

More than that though, in real world terms, when real diseases are contracted it’s hard to see the silver lining. Sometimes maybe there just isn’t one. But sometimes there is. I recently read an article about Michael J. Fox, and he talked about how he wasn’t exactly happy to have Parkinson’s disease, but that his having it has been a good thing. He’s been able to bring attention to the disease in ways others haven’t. He’s been able to help raise money and get awareness to where they’re working on a cure for it. Because of who he is, having this disease has brought about a lot of good.

Nobody wants something bad to happen to them. It’s hard to see how it could be good given that we call it “something bad”. But sometimes those bad things do actually happen so other good can come of it. Instead of looking at it as a punishment, maybe we should look at it as we deserve to have this obstacle to overcome so we can come out stronger and more capable than ever.

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The Silkworm Book vs Show

Strike

After The Cuckoo’s Calling diverged from the book as much as it did, I really didn’t know what would become of The Silkworm, a book which was even better than the first. Upon hearing it would have only 2 episodes when at least Cuckoo had 3, my expectations dropped even further, for this book was far more complicated than the first. However, while it definitely doesn’t follow the first book from beginning to end in the same manner, it did keep the important parts and simply melded events into a more efficient manner. While Strike might have got different information from the same person at different times, they instead would have it happen in one conversation. And of course the things the characters would’ve simply have been thinking about and worried over are brought out in conversation in different ways, so that the viewers could get hints of the same issues the likes of Strike and Robin were dealing with.

Though I find it strange they still find a reason to do silly things like change names. Michael Fancourt from the book is now Andrew Fancourt in the show. I’d really like to know the logic behind such changes. Yet that’s a small complaint that can be overlooked, even if it’s strange. I think the most interesting part is how they did flashes of what one would be envisioning while reading Bombyx Mori, and if you recall what it was about you can imagine how disturbing it would be. But they did it in a way where you get the idea of how twisted the book is, while not overdoing it. Though they definitely didn’t shy away from the grisly murder scene.

It’s also a bit of a switch up how they’re making Matthew out to be so much more sympathetic and nice, when in the books he’s not exactly the best and often shows how little he thinks of her job and Cormoran. Of course if Galbraith goes against my wishes, and Robin and Matthew stay together, perhaps it’d be better to shine a good light on him. However, the biggest change there really was from book to show was the cutting out of characters like Pippa, which alters a lot of the story, and Nina, which wasn’t as big a deal. As well as diminishing Kathryn Kent’s role to barely a conversation. It makes it much less likely that you would get the little clues that lead to the killer. Even, if I’m being honest, I didn’t quite catch them until my second read through the book. So while I think the ending of the story does appear to come out of left field at you from the show’s point of view, altogether I think it was a much better representation of the book than the last episodes were.

The Cuckoo’s Calling Book vs Show

Strike

It’s no secret now that The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith is actually written by J.K. Rowling. Now anyone who read her Harry Potter books and then saw the movies know how well they were kept to the original novels, and so you might be surprised by how much is changed from the book to the TV show in this case. In some cases it makes sense to alter or cut certain scenes in order to get you the information you needed to follow this mystery, but not hear the same repeated information over and over. Also some things have to just be said since, obviously, we’re not in the characters mind like you are in the book. However, the fact that they made it into a TV show should’ve allowed them the ability and time to truly explore this mystery as it was meant to be. After all, a movie can reasonably only be so long, but a TV show can be rather long in length as well as have several episodes to continue the story.

Now there’s the fact that some have complained that the characters don’t quite look how they were described, but that’s not really something to worry about. Robin Ellacott, played by Holliday Grainger, is perhaps the best match there is out of the cast. Not only does she look as she was described in the story, the actress does a great job of getting across the barely contained excitement Robin felt at the opportunity to help a Private Detective actually solve a case. She’s fun and likeable, and does justice to the character. Oddly enough, they diminished her role in solving the case. Such as the fact she’s the one who figured out how to find Rochelle, rather than that scene of Cormoran stealing a file from a previous residence. Which also led to a rearranging of events that had him interviewing Rochelle before he went to Vashti, it’s no wonder she didn’t stick around for questioning, he wouldn’t even have known the right questions to ask. Which is further kerfuffled by the fact they completely leave off his main line of questioning, what was the blue paper Lula was seen with the day she died?

Speaking of which, Tom Burke, as Cormoran Strike, was a casting I wasn’t too happy about when I first heard of it. He’s not the looming giant that takes up too much space and has not too attractively described facial features topped with hair that was likened to pubes. However, Burke does a good job of coming across with a gruff demeanor that’s softened by the few self deprecating smiles. He makes you believe that he has a prosthetic leg in his movements, something they rather flaunt, which is as it should be considering it is an obstacle for him at times in cases where he might attempt to follow someone, or even just struggle to make it up stairs. Altogether his acting has brought the character to life. My one complaint really is that he does on occasion mumble so that it’s hard to understand what he’s saying. Regardless, the two main characters, and perhaps the most important considering they’re the ones that’ll keep popping up, do well. And luckily they didn’t feel the need to add any romance that wasn’t there in the book, and kept their relationship very professional, which is one of the things that I do so love about this duo.

The rest aren’t exactly too far off their marks, at least not enough to really change anything. Though strangely they renamed Kieran Klovas-Jones to Nico, even while they kept his story exactly the same. Then there is Lula’s boyfriend, Evan Duffield, who in no way looks the part of a pretty boy. Once again, his part is so small as to not really detract from the show itself.

However, I was surprised that some characters were cut. Those like John Bristow’s girlfriend, Alison, and DI Carver don’t really make much of a difference to the plot and it’s reasonable to cut characters like that so you don’t have too many cluttering up the show. After all a book has plenty of time to delve into a variety of characters, while a total of 3 hours of TV really don’t. Yet in the case of combining characters like with the actual woman Tony Landry was having an affair with and Tansy, it does cause a bit of an upset to the story for a number of reasons. Such as how Cormoran comes to discover some info and what really is going on in Tansy’s life. As well as they made Guy Some come off as playing the gruff and rude demeanor that was really more of how Freddie Bestigui was set up, especially with how they ended up being able to talk to Guy Some. Once more it was an unnecessary change, and greatly altered the story.

While it’s not a bad thing to not necessarily know exactly what will happen next when it comes to a murder mystery, it does feel like this show hasn’t quite done the best it could to live up to the core of what really made the novel so wonderful. It felt rushed through, and at times it was as if they were just jamming the few characters they kept into random places to help make sense of the story that they’d chopped up and simplified perhaps too much. No there’s no need to have a similar conversation with one character to enforce facts that another character has already given us just to keep true to the book, but in a way they let characters give too much straightforward info that took away a lot of the ingenuity that makes Cormoran Strike such a wonderful detective, because of the truth that he’s able to dig out of the scattered and broken facts he’s given.

On its own it’s not a bad show as many a reviewer has established. I enjoyed it, and I’ll definitely watch whatever more is to come. However, in comparison with the book, it comes up a bit short, and that saddens me.

Second Chance: That Time in the Car

second chanceWell, Second Chance is still playing, that makes me happy on its’ own. And as the show goes it just proves how so many didn’t give it the fair chance it deserved. All they saw was another cop show with a little twist they didn’t find intriguing enough, but it’s that twist that is setting it apart. It isn’t just about solving some crime with a dude that used to be old, it’s about a man whose getting the chance to look at his life in a new light. Seeing the impact he’s made on his kids, the good and the bad, and having the chance to perhaps make things better. Though, they are still managing to make the crimes a lot different from the other crime shows I’ve seen. Which is saying something, because I watch a lot of them. It isn’t just some who done it, but the thrill of the chase and watching the events unfolding. But it’s really the family aspect that makes this show worth watching.

Jimmy Pritchard being able to talk to his children, especially his daughter, Helen, who doesn’t know who he really is, has given him the chance to see how his own actions shaped their life. It drove Duval to be a better law enforcement officer at his job in the FBI. He walks the straight and narrow, and likes everything by the rule book. Which is the opposite of Jimmy, who was willing to bend the rules to get the job done, leading to him being asked to step down due to evidence tampering. Duval is protective of those around him because he never felt like his father never took care of his family in the way he should have, as shown when Duval admits he busted out the windows of his dad’s car for making his mom cry. But in this episode it shows how when Jimmy thought he was protecting Helen as a little girl, but he was really just standing in her way.

He sees how some off hand remark (calling her an idiot) which he doesn’t even remember saying still effects her to that day. It still makes her unsure of her choices when trying to find a boyfriend. It’s left her alone. Jimmy gets to see that something he might have considered small and unremarkable meant so much more to the children he was raising. How his idea of protecting was hindering her from growing. It’s the emotional binds and the family aspect of this show that is making it so wonderful with each new episode. It’s seeing someone like Jimmy, who was so set in his ways, so sure of the choices he’d made, coming to new realizations that is helping him grown as a person. Helping him become better, because he’s finally getting the chance to see the truth that in some ways had been kept from him, but in other ways he’d been unwilling to see himself. It’s for these reasons that I do hope this show makes it, because it’s bringing a new life to the screen and I just want to see where they’ll take it.

And don’t forget it’s actually on Fridays now…

Second Chance Deserves All the Chances

second chanceSo I wrote the post Give Second Chance a Second Chance after only watching the first episode, because I knew with the way critics were tearing it apart that most likely this series didn’t have much hope of surviving. And it is kind of at a tipping point. Even as I wrote that post though I did wonder how this show would make a realistic premise that could keep the old sheriff in action. The first episode made sense, the whole reason he got a second chance was because he was murdered, and so solving his own murder that happened to tie into the FBI’s cases was a great starting off point. It got him working with his son, FBI Agent Duval Pritchard, and had Duval curious exactly where this man came from.

The second episode was even better. Jimmy’s good humor about basically being a 70 year old man in a 30 year old body made it a great show to watch. With so many detective shows out there, these sly little parts helps make it stand apart. I mean yes, he’s basically our new Frankenstein, but while futuristic technology does play a big role in helping him not only stay alive, but solve crimes, it doesn’t eclipse the basics. Jimmy is a man enjoying a new chance at life in ways his first time in his prime didn’t even give him. And surprisingly, they gave another plausible reason for not only Jimmy, but Looking Glass to get involved in another crime. During the blackout caused by his being resurrected 2 murderers escaped from prison. They all felt responsible, and Jimmy gave them the push to jump in on the FBI case.

However, now it’s jumped into him just wheedling his way into Duval’s work. He’s able to use his history with people in that town through his years of being a policeman to help just as much as the technology that Looking Glass is able to provide. They even approached the mystery different, in that we know who it is as much as they do. It’s just the question of what choices are the people going to make as the story unfolds. Sometimes the suspense in watching this sort of show isn’t necessarily the question of who committed the crime, but how the people will play their parts. And I’m glad this show realizes that. Altogether, each episode gets better and better, and I’m already looking forward to next week.

And in case you didn’t know, it moved to Fridays. Don’t miss it!

Give Second Chance a Second Chance

second chanceSo only the first episode is out, and this show could go downhill fast. At this point it really could go either way, but honestly I was surprised by how  much the critics seemed to hate it. One actually stated that it made no sense, that the layers were too dependent on each other to make sense separately. But that’s ridiculous. While this show is dealing with super advanced futuristic technology, the main basis and ideas of it are fairly realistic.

I mean you start with a set of really smart twins, Otto and Mary, who use those smarts to advance technology and get really rich off of it. Well that happens. We’ve made movies based on real life people who have done such. Not crazy. And with their super smarts and technology they then turn to figuring out how to save the dying Mary. I mean junk like that is how we advance medical science, so really someone trying to beat death is in no way unrealistic either. Nor that one person might have the genetic markers to create a formula. If you don’t believe me Google James Harrison. This junk happens.

Plus acting like how him having to return to their facility and that big tub is forcing the plot is over looking the obvious. People who have organ transplants have to deal with their body rejecting what it knows isn’t natural to it. They daily have to take anti-rejection medicine to keep everything intact and going. Jimmy went through a huge transformation that his body knows isn’t natural, heck he was dead, and so his body is fighting off these unnatural changes. Plus they’d only worked on goldfish and wasn’t yet ready for human trials, so bad side effects are definitely reasonable. Instead of taking pills though he has to take the world’s biggest bath. All in all you really don’t have to suspend your disbelief too much. I mean if we can believe gamma rays can cause anger issues, then why not have medical science beat death in a rather Frankenstein sort of way.

This show may suck in the end, but the first episode held potential. Plus I’m tired of shows not getting a fair shot. Too many get cancelled before they have the chance to really build up. It’s getting old.

The Dad of Limitless

limitlessI am loving the show Limitless. The movie was great, but honestly I didn’t think it would work out too good for a show. The fact they’re doing it as an extension of the movie, having Bradley Cooper still play the part of Eddie Morra, and more so as a perhaps slightly bad guy who may  not even realize he’s a bad guy, really helped set it off to a great start. But really it’s Jake McDorman, as Brian Finch, who made this show so wonderful. Most crime shows tend to be a bit of a downer, but Brian is a quirky guy who really makes being super intelligent an arts and crafts montage of good humor. He showed that just because a drug may make you smarter, it doesn’t change who you are. It just magnified it, and so with this new intelligence he’s doing what he can to make the world a safer place, and helping out those he cares about along the way as well. Altogether just begin a good guy.

Which is why Brian’s dad, played by Ron Rifkin, bothers me so much. I like the actor, he’s a cool dude, and at first he seems like a great dad. Always being there for Brian, and sticking up for him when the FBI was after him to begin with. You would think to finally see his free loading son not only make something of himself, but do so in a way that’s really noble like assisting law enforcement in apprehending dangerous criminals, would make him happy. However it’s like he doesn’t like his son no longer being dependent on him. Brian has a good job, lives in a nice apartment, and is happy, and suddenly his dad cuts him off. He actually refuses to take his phone calls, and then shows up to tell him he no longer wants all the stuff Brian has made him over the years because basically he no longer loves him now that Brian doesn’t tell him everything. This is just terrible parenting.

Sure when you’re raising your kids you have a lot of control over their life, and really need to know what they’re up to. But once they’re grown they have a right to their privacy, and a right to live the life they choose whether you approve of it or not. Especially since Brian is clearly doing good for himself. I understand being concerned, but to basically cut your child off like that is just wrong. And then when Brian finally tells him everything, because he doesn’t want his dad out of his life, his dad turns it around and assumes Brian needs saving still. He ignores Brian’s wishes, and breaks their own confidentiality by telling others. He also is determined to see Brian as someone who needs saving, because that’s what his dad wants, he wants to be the guy that Brian has to rely on to function. And I hate that. It really is making me angry, and now I hate it every time he shows up on the show.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. Regardless, still think the show is AWESOME!