February 2014

One of the pivotal characters in Tinker, Tailor is Bill Haydon, an oleaginous and snarky British intelligence officer played with perfect pitch by the late Ian Richardson, which brings us back to American TV, or whatever you’d call Netflix. I watched a few episodes of the first season of House of Cards when it appeared, but lost interest because it seemed pretty thin and Kevin Spacey has always annoyed me. I knew that the Netflix series was based on a UK show with the same general plot, but I didn’t know until recently that Netflix streaming actually carries the 1990 UK House of Cards series as well as their own. Bingo. So I watched some of the first season (apparently also available on YouTube), and I’m here to tell you that it is an entirely different animal, far more subtle and Shakespearean than the US version (not surprising, since it was meant to echo bits of Macbeth and Richard III).

The Frank Underwood character here is Francis Urquhart, Chief Whip of the Conservatives, played by (tada!) Ian Richardson with absolute brilliance, malevolent and occasionally murderous but not entirely inhuman. His signature catch phrase, “You might very well think that, I couldn’t possibly comment,” was quoted on the floor of the House of Commons at the time and was later used in an amusingĀ Rover commercial starring Richardson. Susannah Harker as political reporter Mattie Storin is also very, very good.

Speaking of Netflix streaming, it often doesn’t work very well out here because of our primitive low-end DSL access (the smaller the screen, the better it looks, which makes sense), but I was surprised to see that the rest of the country isn’t having a great experience either. Evidently Netflix and Verizon are having a tiff over peering arrangements, with Netflix accusing Verizon of a kind of passive extortion and possibly intentionally slowing things down to favor its own Redbox Instant streaming service. In other news, there’s apparently something called Redbox Instant. Good luck with that. Their kiosks, at least out here, are stuffed with absolute crap like “Chainsaw NASCAR Ninja Killers” and it’s hard to picture them streaming anything worth watching. But I could be wrong.

In any case, I hope Netflix gets well soon, because at $8 a month it’s going to be replacing the satellite TV we can no longer afford. I’ll kinda miss Al Jazeera America, which has turned out to be surprisingly good (and it’s nice to see all the folks who used to be at NBC, CBS and CNN again), but buying cat food is more important. Did you know that Fancy Feast is really not bad as a sandwich spread?

Which brings us to our last point, which is that it would be awesome if y’all would subscribe or contribute in the interest of keeping the lights on here at Word Detective World Headquarters. It would be nice not to have to worry about tripping over cats in the freezing dark.

And now, on with the show….



Page 2 of 3 | Previous page | Next page