Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AUGUST 30, 2016

I was sorry to hear of the ending of two excellent police procedurals – one from each side of the “pond”.  The final episode of “Inspector Lewis” recently aired on MASTERPIECE MYSTERY on PBS, and the there is only one more episode of “Rizzoli & Isles” on TNT.
“Inspector Lewis” was a continuation of the “Inspector Morse” series, from the books by Colin Dexter, with Morse’s Sergeant taking over as an Inspector.  It was interesting to watch the evolution and maturity of Kevin Whately’s character Robert Lewis over 30 years of episodes.  Laurence Fox’s Sergeant James Hathaway was a complicated and interesting character.  FYI, Kevin Whately also starred in the British series “The Broker’s Man” which is available on Acorn.       
“Rizzoli & Isles” was very loosely based on the series of novels by Tess Gerritsen.  However the television version is different from the books, taking place in a “parallel universe” where the only true similarities, other than being about a Boston police officer and coroner, are the names of the major and supporting characters.
The Colin Dexter characters have become somewhat of a British franchise, with “Inspector Morse” spinning off first “Inspector Lewis” and then “Endeavor” about the early exploits of young Police Constable Morse.  Along the lines of “Endeavor”, I have suggested that a series about the early exploits of Lt Columbo might be an interesting idea.
I thoroughly enjoyed each show and looked forward to new seasons.  They will certainly be missed.  Perhaps each can return occasionally in the future as specials, like “Hart to Hart” returned in several tv movies after the series was cancelled.
Now if The Bachelor, Big Brother, or others of that “ilk” announced its final episode I would run out and celebrate – as I would be as happy as a pig in reality tv!
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It is one thing to support, or oppose, a political candidate based on their expressed political beliefs and convictions, on their experience, and on how you perceive their character based on past actions and your perceived results of these actions.
But when a candidate has no real political beliefs and convictions, and just spews whatever he thinks his current audience wants to hear, no experience, and no character it is impossible for intelligent citizens with a conscience to justify supporting that candidate.  The only intelligent and conscientious option is to oppose that candidate.
The only intelligent and conscientious option in the 2016 Presidential election is to oppose Donald Trump.  Voting for Donald Trump is not a viable option.
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I have found YouTube to be a constant source of unique news television and movie viewing.  Unlike NETFLIX or HULU it doesn’t cost a penny!
I recently discovered the 1995 Canadian series filmed in New Zealand titled “Mysterious Island” - loosely based on the Jules Verne book.  The book has been the source of several theatrical and television movies and series over the years, the most famous of which was the 1961 film with special effects from Ray Harryhausen and starring Herbert Lom as Nemo, which I remember watching on tv as a youth. 
I just finished “binge-watching” the first 5 episodes of the series.  No giant animals or insects in sight – but it does have Captain Nemo and the Nautilus.  The show appears to be a tale of the survival of castaways who, like the characters in the book, escaped a Confederate prison in a balloon during the Civil War and end up on an uncharted island – with Nemo observing their progress from afar as part of a scientific study, treating them as human lab animals and influencing their environment to test their behavior under stressful conditions.
The only familiar face is Alan John Scarfe as Captain Cyrus Harding.  I recognized him from the UPN time-travel television series “Seven Days” (also available on YouTube) from the late 1990s and other past tv guest appearances.
So far it has been a well-written and well-acted series that has not had to rely on special effects and monsters to keep my attention. 
I suggest you check it out. 
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Speaking of television programs –
Reality television is garbage.  The best way to describe reality tv is “a steaming pile of excrement”.
Reality tv is not educational, entertaining, or even interesting.  It has absolutely no “socially redeeming value”.
Just as it is inconceivable to me that anyone with any degree of intelligence could vote for Donald Trump for President, it is inconceivable to me that anyone with any degree of intelligence could actually watch this crap.
The term “reality tv”, as it is used to describe this heinous genre, is a misnomer.  True “reality television” is news and documentary programming.  Reality tv has absolutely nothing to do with reality.  As Mark Burnett correctly observed when selling the idea of “The Apprentice” to Trump (at least in the tv movie), “It’s not reality – it’s reality tv”.
When I talk about reality tv I am not referring to legitimate talent competitions like “American Idol”, “America’s Got Talent”, “The Voice”, and “Dancing With the Stars” (often “stars” is indeed a stretch – it should really be “Dancing With Celebrities”).  Although some of these shows may include a degree of humiliation, which is the basis of reality tv, it is not the main purpose.  I also am not referring to home improvement shows like those on HGTV and DIY.
By reality tv I mean trash like Big Brother, the Bachelor/Bachelorette, the Apprentice, any “Real Housewives” from anywhere (they are not “real” and not what I would consider “housewives”), Duck Dynasty, Dance Moms, Toddlers and Tiaras (actually soft-core porn for pedophiles), Chrisley Knows Best  (WTF is this fool Chrisley, and if he “knows best” why did he choose to humiliate himself and his family by appearing on a reality tv show?) everything on WE-TV (except the CSI Miami and Law and Order reruns), just about everything on MTV and VH-1 (these cable stations are no longer about music), anything with a Kardashian, and so on.  Unfortunately the list is almost endless.
Reality tv is both a result of and a contributing factor to the continuation of the phenomenon known as “the dumbing down of America”.
What has reality tv done?
It has taught our young that ability, education, intelligence, self-control, self-respect, and talent are no longer important or necessary for success.  Any no-talent brain-dead idiot can make lots of money and become a celebrity by acting outrageously on television.  And that a cat-fight is an appropriate option for conflict resolution.
It has given undeserved credibility to self-absorbed and self-important talent-free “personalities” like the Kardashians and Donald Trump, which has led to the almost total destruction of the Republican Party by Trump, while turning Hugh Hefner, a social and cultural icon of my youth, into a cartoon character.
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Both major party candidates in this election are, in varying degrees, unpopular.
Why did Hillary Clinton win the nomination?  There were not enough choices in the primaries.
Why did dangerous Donald Trump win the nomination?  There were too many choices in the primaries.
The two parties must seriously look at changing their primary rules.  The delegates who vote at convention should be based on the popular vote in the individual state primaries.  There should be no “winner take all” primaries or Party caucuses in lieu of actual voting.
So what do you think?
Your thoughts and comments on my ramblings are welcomed.  Comment below or email them to me at rdftaxpro@yahoo.com with "Ramblings" in the subject line.

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