NINETY FIVE

Some may call the Television and idiot box but I have learnt many things from my years of TV addiction. As a child I understood the difference between sausage, ham and steak because of the Tom and Jerry cartoons. I knew what a jet pack was because of Jetsons. And before Jurassic Park, dinosaurs were not alien to me because of the Flintstones. Now, with the TV actually turning into a source of mediocre forms of entertainment, I focus more on TV Series, from America and UK. I have learned about Tracheotomy from House M.D. and such other trivia.

Recently I have been watching a few series which have a lingering theme in them, it makes sense to have that common thread run through them because they are also part of the same Marvel Universe. Yes, I am talking about the series of The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, Legends of tomorrow. Combine that with my tryst with Doctor Strange in the theaters, this one concept has been intriguing me. The same theory was mentioned in The Big Bang Theory, as something Sheldon believes in, which got me thinking, Multiverse theory is not just part of comic books it is possibly something scientific. Then I re watched Interstellar and as with all Christopher Nolan movies, each time you watch them you become aware of a nuance you had missed earlier. This Multiverse theory was everywhere.

Like all millennials, if I can call myself that, I turned to the internet for my answers.Here is some basics about what is Multiverse?

The multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of possible universes, including the universe in which we live. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, and the physical laws and constants that describe them. The various universes within the multiverse are called “parallel universes”, “other universes” or “alternative universes”.

This comes from Wikipedia and for more details do check out the link here.

In fact most of the comics characters we have grown up with from DC comics and Marvel comics have always been intermingling the stories from their different worlds sometimes bringing all the superheroes into the same world and time. Hence, we have the Avengers and Justice League. One is given more story lines and better stories with this intersection of time and space but sometimes, too much playing around with the time and space concepts can hurt your head in the audience trying to understand everything that is going on. In fact 2017 Oscar nominated movie Arrival also speaks about it to some degree, not the multi verse theory as such but the concept of Non linear time. The same kind of concept of time, was referred to in Interstellar. Our understanding of time is linear, currently, in some future time or in the case of Alien travelling across the universe to meet us may see and understand time in a non linear fashion. Here is link on the Linear vs Non Linear view of time.

The more I am reading about this, the more I am intrigued and after watching Arrival, I am beginning to grasp the concepts much better. Of course, one must understand that these are theories which have several anti-theories too. But for the time being this science fiction and comic book fan is happy.

 

THE END.

 

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EIGHTY TWO

I am by nature opinionated. For the longest time I can remember my dream was to become a columnist in a leading daily, somewhat like Sobha de. Of course with the course of time the realisation dawned on me that in order to be a columnist there was a lot of hard work involved.  Yes, I am not denying the fact that hard work is the pre requisite for any success in any field but the lazy impatient personality that I have thought it was too tedious to try and make it as a columnist.  Note how brilliantly I have circumvented the need for any actual talent to become a columnist. I like writing in fact I think I write well sometimes. But just like hobbies from childhood many things fade with time and lack of practise. The same has happened to my writing skills. I haven’t tried to groom myself to become a writer.  Yet, I have opinions which I like to share. My next best recourse has been the social media namely Facebook. It gave me scope to vent my opinions and bore unsuspecting friends reading their newsfeed. In fact my initial days of blogging were mostly spent in putting forth my random opinion on things.  Over the years I have come to find that not everyone welcomes my opinions. Off late I have found myself trying to stay away from sharing my opinions.

Coming back to why I started talking about my opinionated self. I have been finding it difficult to write well researched blog posts in the past one year. It seems to me the best way to continue towards my goal of making it to the 100th post is to stick to opinions. Yes, that could be what I focus on for the next few posts. In fact I am someone who reads a lot of news and I have opinions on most of them but I am also lazy not to leave a comment on the online posts. Perhaps this would be the to fit forum to voice the opinions which I keep dormant.  With this thought I started to type this post. Today my opinion is about the media obsession and focus on Priyanka Chopra and her acceptance in Hollywood post her stint with the ABC produced Quantico. The TV series has competed the first season and shooting is on for the season 2. In the meantime Piggy chops has won herself a People’s Choice award. I admit that’s an achievement. To be associated with a mainstream TV series produced by ABC is a great boost to her image as a crossover star from Bollywood but most recently everyone is losing their head over her presenting at Oscars. I am a wide eyed fan of the Oscars and I am a bit offended by the fact she is being hyped up by the media. It seems to me that she is the favour of the season and celebrity status is as good as your last success or award for someone like Priyanka Chopra. But the man who I find to be the real bearer of torch if acting skills of Indians and an ambassador of Bollywood is Irfa  Khan. He is a phenomenal actor whether he plays an inspector interrogating Dev Patel in Slumdog Millionaire or the adult Pi. He has been part of many Hollywood movies from a Ang Lee Epic to a Danny Boyle drama. He has worked with Ron Howard now for Inferno and from what I read he was approached by Steven Spielberg and he missed out on working on The Martian. He has been part of blockbusters like the Amazing Spiderman. He is part of good entertaining movies quietly without the hype. I have been wondering why his PR team , don’t know if he has one, hasn’t promoted him better. Anil Kapoor was more hyped for Slumdog Millionaire,  in fact he bagged the Hindi version of 24 , his pathetic role in Mission Impossible 3 post all of the Oscar promotion.
I don’t grudge Priyanka her share of the limelight but in the same time when she was releasing contrived music albums Irfan Khan was doing good work. I hope audiences around the world who love good movies and good actors remember him and focus on him instead of the bling and flash and bang of Priyanka Chopra.
I would only compare Irfan with only one other actor, Om  Puri who has been part of great Hollywood projects from before my birth. Recently I watched the 100 feet journey it was so poignant, it reminded me once again that the artistry of acting is not dead in this Era of fast paced , computer graphics driven story telling. But that is a story for another post.
My contention is Irfan should receive adulation , promotion and recognition for his contribution to our collective pride as Indians in the world of movies.

THE END.

SEVENTY EIGHT

TV show addicts know what it is to binge watch seasons of your favorite show, But to watch a new series a difficult emotional moment, where you worry about getting too invested into the story in the sheer fear that the series may not be renewed. With such thoughts in my mind I watched the first few episodes of THE LAST SHIP and I haven’t stopped watching since the last weekend.

The basic premise of the series is that after a global viral pandemic wipes out over 80% of the world’s population, the crew of US Navy destroyer called USS Nathan James has the scientists and a lab and a mission to find a cure, stop the virus, and save humanity.

The surprise element of the series is the fact that although the premise is simple the story spins itself brilliantly and the plot thickens. Each episode leaves the viewer on the edge of their seat and till you have watched the next episode you are in agony of ignorance about the fate of the characters. Strangely the character sketches are pretty thin hence the attachment does not form with any particular character. In hindsight probably that is a good thing. The story is the real hero of the series and pulls you forward without the need for the viewer to be too invested into the plots and sub plots. Initially the viewer may wonder how this series will complete 12 episodes in a season at the pace in which the story is told however, we are mildly surprised when interesting sub plots are launched. However, one also realises that the hopelessness is replaced with more practical and realistic problems which are encountered by the crew and captain of the USS Nathan James.

The character of Captain Tom Chandler is played by Eric Dane. Does any one rememeber Mcsteamy from Grey’s Anatomy? If you do, you should watch this series where I realized that McSteamy can act too and can be an eyefull even in the standard issue blue uniform of US Navy.

What I found interesting about the handling of the story and the characters is the fact, the plot doesn’t let the viewer get too attached with any character, every episode someone or the other is killed off. The series does not shy away from killing of important characters. It is tad bit difficult to write about this series without giving out spoilers. But I can say this is one of the best series in a long time.

This show is from the TNT network and Michael Bay is the Executive Producer for it. In fact, the series has a rating of above 7 on IMDB and TV.com.

The intense drama of the show and high speed action keeps the viewer hooked episode after episode and I am just dying to get back to it as I type this. The series started in 2014 and has run successfully for 2 seasons. The third season is expected in the second half of 2016. I am already excited about it.

THE END

FORTY FIVE

Doctor Who is back on the TV screen and this time the 12th Doctor is played by Peter Capaldi, he is taking up the helms from Matt Smith. I started watching the series from its revival in 2005. Confused? Oh well, I should probably talk a little about the advent of Doctor Who – one of the top three Brtitish Television program that has gained popularity across the countries. This is a science fiction drama which started in 1963 and continues till date – there was a break from 1989 to 2005. Yes, that’s how long the lore of Doctor Who survived in the British Popular culture.

So who is this Doctor Who? In a gist he is a time travelling humanoid alien – his race is called the Time Lords- who travels in his TARDIS – a sentient ship which can travel through time and space- it looks like a Police Box of the British bygone era of the 60’s. So, the Doctor along with his various human companions moves across the fabric of time and space fighting foes of a variety of origins and saving civilizations, helping people and correcting the wrongs in the world.

Since the 2005 revival series there have been three regenerations of the Doctor. Umm what is a regeneration you ask? Well, a regeneration is something the Time Lords do, it is a biological phenomenon, in which an old or mortally wounded Time Lord can undergoes a transformation into a new physical form and with a somewhat different personality. As per the rules of Time Lord regeneration, a Time Lord can only re generate 11 times. The whole regeneration gambit was set up in order to introduce new actors as the main character – Doctor Who in the franchise. 

And now we come to Peter Capaldi, who became the Doctor after the regeneration fo the 11th Doctor played by Matt Smith. Here having exhausted all his regenerations there was a new trick introduced by the shows writers to give Doctor Who another new set of regenerative power. So, came Peter Capaldi and boy do I dislike him.

To me out of the 3 actors who played Doctor Who from 2005 to 2013 [ no there were not ‘that many episodes’, there were many breaks], I find David Tenant to be the best of the lot. He took over from Christopher Eccleston who just didn’t work and survived only one season, then it was David Tenant all the way from 2005 to 2010 and i think he was a favorite of many fans of the series.

Like Peter Capaldi, David is a Scottish actor but he was younger when he became Doctor Who. All said and done he has been even voted the Best Doctor in 2006 by the fans of Doctor Who and some how this Peter Capaldi just doesn’t cut it. I was willing to tolerate Matt Smith’s over the top hamming as Doctor Who but a cold and very aloof Doctor Who is not my cup of tea, and that is what Mr. Capaldi is, very alien, very cold, very professional, lacking all the raw sensuality of David Tenant and his charismatic smile along with his grandeloquence. I am disappointed by the choice of the actor, it remains to be seen if I like the series at all. Mind you the new companion with all the crazy connections throughout Doctor Who’s timeline, Ms. Clara Oswald played by Jenna Coleman is a disappointing companion after the likes of Martha Jones, Donna Noble, even Rose and Amy Pond were more tolerable than Coleman. Her character is so artificial and lacks any depth plus has absolutely no emotional connection with the Doctor except for the forced bit made mandatory by the writers.

I cannot imagine watching this series with a disappointing Doctor as well as a boring companion!

 

THE END.

 

THIRTY SIX

I have to admit I am not a fan of Game of Thrones.  They say it’s the next Lord of the Rings. I am a FAN of The Lord of the Rings and that’s why I find it difficult to accept this new series as the ultimate in fantasy fiction.

A confession is due here, I went ahead and ordered the entire series before even reading an excerpt, basing my purchase decision on reviews and cheap discounted pricing.

So I started reading the books. I completed book 1. I proceeded to book 2. I faultered there. I picked it up again. Eventually, unlike myself, I abandoned the series. This happened long before the fabled Tv Series of Game of thrones.

The series of books sat pretty in the my drawing room display case, untouched, till last year my cousin  brother saw them and the tone of delight in his voice made me realize that here was a true fan of the series. I asked him whether he owned the books. Since he didn’t and was obviously more appreciative of the writing and the story,  I asked him to take the entire set with him.

I am glad I did that, because books are meant to be read and appreciated, and not just gather dust and grow mouldy.

I have 5 or 6 such books  either bought under insufficient information or received as gifts from folks who had gifted me a book just because they know I am a bibliophile (I mean bookworm). These books sit in my bookcase, in their original wrapping waiting to be read. I am yet to find someone who will love them as I love books.