Fall T.V. Premiere time – A T.V. Junkie’s Bliss!

Tonight the fall T.V. shows either premiere  or start back up again.  In the eyes of a T.V. junkie, as I am, I couldn’t be happier.  After a few months of lackluster T.V. (other than my 1 month World Cup coma) it will be nice to see some good shows again.

The first show I’m looking forward to is Gotham, which is on FOX.  Gotham is about Commissioner Gordon and his rise from detective to the Commissioner.  We’ll get to see a young Bruce Wayne as well as some of Gotham’s villains.  Previews have looked compelling and buzz is this could be one the best new T.V. shows this season.  Here’s to hoping it’s worth the hype.

Show two is the return of Sleepy Hollow, another FOX series.  Last season left Ichabod and Abbie in questionable peril, but previews have shown that doesn’t last long.  This was one of my favorite shows from last year.  The premise seemed ridiculous – Ichabod Crane comes back to life due to a curse and teams up with a local detective to fight the evil forces that are invading Sleepy Hollow and hopefully stop their fated future.  But Tom Mision and Nicole Beharie have excellent chemistry, the writers gave a fast and fun plot line, and they put a humorous spin on Ichabod’s acclimatization to the modern world.  We’ll see if season two can hold up to the fun and enjoyment of the first one.

Constantine from NBC, which will be on Friday nights is another show that I’m hoping will be good.  This show is based on the comic book Hellblazer, which, I haven’t read.  Constantine has a vast knowledge of dark arts and has a sharp wit where he fights to protect the innocent.  I haven’t seen any previews of this show but I like the concept and am looking forward to checking out the premiere.

One show I’m totally on the fence about is Gracepoint from FOX.  This is the American version of the excellent Broadchurch that originally aired on BBC America.  Why it needed an American remake is beyond me and to have David Tennant in this version as well is an odd idea.  Part of what made the BBCA version so good was the Brits know how to do a drama.  The previews I’ve seen don’t seem to capture that compelling drama of the original. Then again, it could just be my jaded opinion on a remake of this show.  I’ll check it out just to see how the show is.

Marvel’s Agents of Shield is back for a second season and I’m hoping the action that happened in the second half of the series continues in the second season.  Grimm is another show that is back again this year.  This is just a fun show to watch and not one to take too seriously.  Yes there are some issues with it but it fits its Friday night-time slot well and it’s a fun show on a Friday night.  And of course there’s the next season of The Walking Dead on AMC.  Season five is much hyped (like all other seasons have been) and the Grimes gang has to find a way out of Terminus.

There are other shows I’m looking forward to, but these are some of the main ones.  How about you – what shows are you looking forward to?

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

20140910_210701Writers often say there is a little bit of themselves in a character in their books.  How could there not be since it’s the voice in their head that is leading them to the writing.  As readers, I think we tend to find a little bit of ourselves in a character as well.  It may have been what drew us to the book to begin with or we may be looking for something or someone we aspire to be (whether we are aware of it or not).  the-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-buttonI picked up The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper because I thought it sounded interesting – David Ullman a professor who teaches mythology and Judeo-Christian religious narrative but whose tenure is based on his expert knowledge of Paradise Lost by John Milton, is asked to go on a trip to Venice and provide his opinion on an event. He takes his young daughter along where she ends up disappearing, causing David to question the actual existence of demons in the world. Little did I know that I’d find a bit of myself in this book.

I was fully engaged in this book from the second I started reading it.  I liked the main character and enjoyed the topic.  Then I came across these lines:

“For me it is the dark cloud of depression. Or should I say, what I reluctantly feel obliged to call depression, just as half the world has diagnosed itself, though it doesn’t seem to precisely fit my case. All my life I have been pursued by the black dogs of unaccountable gloom…” (p. 9)

and

“Professional semantics, maybe, but it feels more like melancholy to me than anything as clinical as the chemical imbalances of depression. What Robert Burton called in his Anatomy of Melancholy … a “vexation of spirit.” It’s as though my very life has been haunted.” (p. 10)

And this is where I started to love this book.  I felt a kinship with this professor (as unreal as he is) and saw a tiny bit of myself in him.  It’s the melancholy that stuck out.  I would say I’m an overall melancholy person – it’s not depression, more of that gloomy feeling that I identify with.  Although I’m not pursued by any “black dogs…”, or are my nightmares my form of black dog pursuers?  In any case, I felt a familiarity while reading The Demonologist.

David Ullman is a gloomy and lonely guy.  His marriage is on the tail end of over due to his wife sleeping with a colleague. He doesn’t have a vast circle of friends, his best friend being a fellow teacher in a different department, Elaine O’Brien.  His one shining spot is his daughter Tess.  She makes him happy and they have a connection that enables them to understand one another.  Early on, David is approached by a mysterious woman who offers him a chance to fly to Venice and provide his expert opinion on a “primary case of interest”.  Ullman is initially reluctant to go on this trip but after a discussion with O’Brien, his mind is changed.

Ullman flies to Venice with Tess and the days before he has to view the case are full of joy and happiness for the two of them.  They site see and get lost and have a good time together.  The hour arrives for Ullman to go to the agreed upon location where he is to watch something and offer his opinion.  To me, this was the scariest part of the book.  It was creepy and disturbing – more of a mental scare than a graphic one.  What Ullman sees terrifies him and he runs back to his hotel room with plans to leave immediately.  While packing, Tess somehow goes to the rooftop area.  Ullman goes with the intention of bringing her back so they can leave.  Tess, however, is not herself and it’s there that she completely disappears.  This starts Ullman’s search for real demons.  The search tests his beliefs – he is an atheist and thinks demons a manmade invention – as well as his fortitude.

I throughly enjoyed this book.  It is dark, sad, and almost depressing, but there is something beautiful in all of it.  David Ullman is pushed to his limits and the reader is left guessing to the very last page to find out if he is successful or not.  I made the mistake of reading this book the same night I watched an episode of The Strain and had horrible dreams of a vampire/demon hybrid.  I’d recommend not doing the same, especially if you are prone to nightmares like I am.  If you like a book that is smart and offers true feelings of being scared, I’d highly suggest you read this book.  I thought it was a great read and was happy to have picked it up.

 

The Shining Girls – by Lauren Beukes

20140902_181129Harper Curtis has found the perfect way to get away with murder – a house that transports him into the future and back.  He finds the girls when they “shine” and he goes back years later to snuff out their shine and walks away, not worrying about getting caught. the-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-button Kriby Mazrachi survived the brutal attack on her life and she is set on catching the guy who did it.  But how do you catch someone who leaves no trace?

I liked the overall idea behind The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – a serial killer who can jump to different points in time in order to commit his crimes.  Kirby, the one who gets away, is a likable character.  She’s a tough girl who doesn’t let people easily into her life.  The reader doesn’t get much insight into the killer, Harper, but it’s fairly safe to assume he was never a good guy.  The hardest part about this book is how the story is told.  Almost every chapter is a different time – from the 1950’s to the 90’s to the 80’s, and then back to the 1950’s.  This makes for confusing reading at first, however, once you get your head around the chronology, it’s gets easier to read.

Harper is able to go to different times due to the house that calls hims, and would have liked to know how this came to be.  Although I don’t think it would have quite fit into the story, more just a curious thought on my part.  The murder scenes are rather brutal and one or two are described in gory detail.  Don’t know if this book falls easily into crime or mystery since it touches on both elements.  I wish I had more to say about this book but I don’t.  The Shining Girls is a quick paced and an average read.  The way it ends leaves the door open to a future book or maybe it’s just a way to show how things continue on.  Not sure if I’d recommend this book to others.  If you’re looking for something a bit different in overall concept, I’d say read it, but the overall formula – killer on the loose, girl gets away, girl driven to find who did it – is nothing too new.  I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either.