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Author Archives: RachelMD

About RachelMD

Like my Twitter profile says: " I love books, music, LOTR, super heroes, TV and sandwiches." Pretty much sums it up.

BBC 4 / BBC 4 Extra – Story Telling Radio

I won’t deny I stumbled upon radio stations, BBC 4 and BBC 4 extra, because of Benedict Cumberbatch.

After l had my fill of his TV shows (past and present) and movies, the next thing any dutiful fan will do is listen to his audio books and radio dramas because surprisingly he voiced quite a few.

Last Christmas, BBC 4 held a 4-day airing of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Cast included (aside from BC) were James McAvoy, Natalie Dormer, and Christopher Lee. (If you’ve read the book and enjoyed it, I hope you were able to catch the radio dramatization of it. If not, well, let’s hope they will re-air it sometime soon.)

BBC Radio's Neverwhere

 

Radio dramas take me to a time when my grandmother was alive and she would constantly turn up the volume in the afternoons to listen to her favorite radio soap series. When TV became popular, radio dramas became a thing of the past (at least here in my region) and rarely do I get a chance to listen to one in any local AM station. The Neverwhere experience ignited my interest to the genre once more.

So again because of BC, I discovered Cabin Pressure – a radio comedy series following the lives of the crazy flight crew of MJN Air. Unfortunately, the series is on its end, and the last episode titled “Zurich” will air in December 2014. Cabin Pressure originally aired on BBC 4. BBC 4 extra re-aired episodes of the series 3 every Sunday last March. I’m still waiting for the rest of it (hopefully). You can download all the 4 series via Audible if you prefer to hear it on your own time.

Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore

Cabin Pressure by John Finnemore

 

For non-BC related info, BBC 4 has programmes such as Book of the Week and Book At Bed Time. Both feature books from popular and sometimes unknown (to me) authors. Fiction books featured are either read by voice actors or the authors themselves. Along with these programmes, BBC 4 feature radio dramas or comedies.  Bleak Expectations, a radio comedy series I caught in BBC 4 (unfortunately too late), is a parody/comedy mash-up of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Bleak House.  The show was hilariously and brilliantly dramatized, I do hope they will re-air it once more.

BBC Radio Landing Page

BBC Radio Landing Page

BBC 4's Bleak Expectation

BBC 4’s Bleak Expectation

For radio shows that are currently airing in BBC 4, I recommend their Classic Serials of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Inferno was already aired last week and the days to listen to it has already passed (You can listen to aired shows within a week – that’s how it works). Purgatorio was aired last April 6 (Sunday) so you have 6 days to go before they remove it from the schedule. Paradiso will air this Sunday, April 13 at 21:00 (UK time).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03xtvtm

BBC 4 extra, on the other hand, is the station where all the of the drama shows and book readings are re-aired.  One time I had the chance of hearing Mark Gatiss read his book Black Butterfly (from his Lucifer Box novels). The station schedule currently have radio drama episodes of Dr. Who, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers.

For people who love to listen (as well as read) stories, I recommend the programmes and radio dramas of BBC 4 and BBC 4 extra.

BBC 4 and BBC 4 Extra have an IPlayer radio app (available in their site) for mobile users (It depends on your region). For my case since I am not from the UK,  I just listen to their shows via their internet site or live via my Blackberry radio app Nobex.

 

 

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Sherlock S3

January 1st 2014 was not just a New Year for the BBC Sherlock fandom. It marked the end of the 2-year nail-biting, hair-pulling, brain-wrecking wait for Season 3. After the world’s  only consulting detective’s leap to death in 2012, all theories on how he survived the fall were put to rest (did it?) when “The Empty Hearse” finally aired with a bang of 9 million plus viewers just in the UK (Also worth mentioning are the illegal downloads in other regions who cannot wait for the US airing date of January 19th). Reviews so far are mixed, but it’s pretty clear though no matter how good or bad Holmes’s waiter disguise (and not to mention his French accent) was, everyone is glad that Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are back in Baker Street. (Yes, even Anderson was glad.)

Sherlock Season 3

The second episode “The Sign of Three” aired with 8.8 million viewers and was one of the most tweeted show on that particular airing date. Holmes may have delivered one of the strangest best man speech ever (and unconsciously solving an actual case on the spot), SH still managed to impress even the bewildered groom himself for the heart-warming honesty on certain points … while it lasted.

Courtesy of jawkwardlol.com

Courtesy of jawkwardlol.com

Dr. Watson’s blog attests to it.

http://www.johnwatsonblog.co.uk/blog/11august

But then again, it was SH himself who actually made the post. (Nice one.)

Impending doom awaits fans once more, as the final episode for this season “His Final Vow,” will be airing on January 12th and hence another wait will once again begin. (Hopefully, it wouldn’t be another 2 years!!). A new nemesis under the name Charles Augustus Magnussen, the king of blackmail, will be crossing Sherlock’s path and (as per rumours) will kill off someone significant to Holmes or Watson this coming Sunday.

new nemesis

At least we’re assured it won’t be Holmes himself (because killing him is just so two years ago).

So while Mark Gatiss et al will leave us (again) to reruns and to guesswork as to what will happen to Sherlock Holmes in Season 4, it would be fun to wonder how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would find this version of his character if he is alive to watch it.

(Personally speaking, I’m sure he’d love this version’s Irene Adler.)

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in BBC Sherlock, TV

 

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NaNoWriMo: Because This Exists, and the World Needs Better

NaNoWriMo: Because This Exists, and the World Needs Better.

Yes, I totally agree. We need better writers (heck, I need to be better myself.)

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Writing

 

Fall TV Watch List

It’s that time of the year when I channel my inner couch potato. October is a fantastic month for those who like to veg out in front of the tube and just get zombified. I am one of the guilty ones.

Series like The Walking Dead will be returning on October 13th and new shows such as CW’s Tomorrow People will premiere on October 9th. Enough to keep my eyes glued to the TV.

NCIS Season 11 (whew!) already premiered and I will not give spoilers about the TIVA situation for the benefit of those who haven’t watched it. The show kicks off where it left everybody – either de-badged or in a quandary. All I can say is that if you love this show, this is not the time to bail out.

Anthony DiNozzo and Ziva David

Anthony DiNozzo and Ziva David


Supernatural Season 9
 The CW veteran returns on October 8th, moving to a Tuesday slot. Season 8th left Dean Winchester in a pickle with the premise that Sam Winchester is going to die. Then there’s the King of Hell, Crowley, almost “cured” when Dean interrupts Sam in finishing the trials. Castiel, tricked by Metatron, inadvertently helped the scribe of God to banish all the angels from heaven. Season 8 not just left a lot of questions on what will happen next but what IS next for the series. There has been rumors of a spin-off and I’m betting money Episode 18 Freaks and Geeks of Season 8 was the start of it. There is also persistent rumors (since Season 5) that the series will end (hopefully not). If there would be a wishlist for me for Season 9 it would include the resurrection of several characters, particularly Sebastian Roche’s Balthazar and Richard Spreight’s Gabriel because if there are two smart angels out there who’s going to help Castiel in saving Paradise, either one would be it. I’d also like to see Mark Pellegrino’s Lucifer back to shake things up a bit (not that Crowley isn’t doing a good job of being a real pain to the brothers), but if there’s somebody who’s going to raise up hell it’s going to be the big man (or fallen angel) himself. And it would be nice to know who (or where) God is. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen next in the Winchester saga.

supernatural season 9

Arrow Season 2 After the EPIC Season 1 ending, there is no doubt Season 2 will be big. If you follow any of the production and cast’s Twitter accounts you already know that a lot of things will be happening in Starling City. A lot of super villains and heroes will be coming in. Worth mentioning would be the 1st Black Canary (which is not Laurel Lance) and The Flash.  There are indications that the Oliver-Laurel romance is on hold with the demise of Tommy Merlin last season (which gives the Olicity fans out there hope for their girl to have a lot of quality time with Mr. Queen). There are also surprising additions to the cast, Summer Glau being one of them. And if you’re a fan of The Killing, Bex Taylor-Klaus will grace one of the episodes. Meanwhile, the followers of Red Arrow will see Roy Harper go through an “island-like” phase, which Oliver went through before he became the vigilante that he is. Season 9 promises a lot to the fans. I want several things though:

1. Island scenes explaining all the graffiti in Oliver Queen’s body.

2. John Diggle versus Dead Shot (finally).

3. More China White. She has to have a much deeper story, not just being an assassin for the Chinese Triad.

Arrow returns on October 9th. I can’t wait.

arrow season 2

Sherlock Season 3  If there is one show that is the mother of all my waiting, this is it. For those who don’t know, Sherlock only has 3 episodes per season. Season 2 ended with Sherlock “dead” to the world and the finale aired January 2012. It’s been more than a year since Reichenbach Fall, which made a lot wonder if that was really the end of it. All episodes were brilliantly adapted from the classic Sherlock Holmes we know. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson, you’ll be seeing these two again in December in The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (another item in my waiting list). My expectations are beyond the roof as we know that Moriarty is also dead (Unless …. that is not the real Moriarty. Who knows?! Let’s see.).  And there’s the enigma on how Sherlock survived at all (well, I assume Molly Hooper has got something to do with it). These questions broiling in my head for more than a year now will hopefully be answered soon. Holmes and Watson will be back – they say on the October 31st. If you’re a die-hard of the show (like yours truly) visit the link below as they seem to have better news of the show.

http://www.sherlockology.com/

sherlock season 3

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in TV

 

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When Music Turns EPIC

What I enjoy most about internet surfing is when you stumble on things you absolutely don’t give a hoot about before, and then in less than 5 minutes you become its minion.

One particular day I was searching the theme of the TV Show, Cold Case, in YouTube.  While reading comments of the video and trying to make sense what the frickin’ argument was about, an adjective ” EPIC keeps popping up in their sentences. The sidebar contained several related videos, which contain family photos of your neighborhood Nazgul, their cousins from Mordor, and scantily-clad fantasy women your nerds can imagine .

I made the EPIC move of clicking to these links.

Some call it EPIC MUSIC. This is a type of orchestral music fused with some elements of any  kind of music out there (electronica, pop etc.). Some people call it Trailer Music or Soundtrack Music because more often you’d actually hear these pieces in movies, trailers, TV show themes, and video games.

A fine example is E.S. Posthumus “Unstoppable,”

… which was used in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows Trailer

Read the comments of these EPIC MUSIC videos in YouTube and you will most likely observe that:

1. Chuck Norris owned something.

2. A mediocre task just got intense.

3. Mass Effect, Skyrim, and other stuff that keep your brothers in the basement are always involved.

4. Something small turned into something huge. Like Bruce Banner turning into The Hulk.

5.  LARP-ing (live action role playing) in the thread gets out of hand.

Now why am I giving a hoot about this thing? Because it really is EPIC.

Experiment one album of E.S. Posthumus, Two Steps From Hell, Thomas Bergersen, Zack Hemsey, Position Music, and the likes while doing something (working out, reading a book, washing the dishes). And then try to understand what the heck just happened. 😀

(I listened to Thomas Bergersen’s album Illusions while I was driving, I felt I was hurtling into the far reaches of space in the Millennium Falcon …  or my car was about to transform into an Autobot.)

I suggest Silmarillion, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Songs of Fire and Ice, Wheel of Time, Chronicles of Narnia, or any DC, Vertigo, Marvel superhero comic book while listening to some of the music below.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in MUSIC

 

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The Supernatural Hex

It’s one of the worst addictions I have acquired for the past few months. (And I thought coffee was already a bad enough habit.)

If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a CW television horror series.

Supernatural (or SPN) centers on two brothers, Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padalecki) Winchester. They are off-the-grid characters (bordering on felons) travelling across America, hunting and killing supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc. While conceptualized as a weekly horror show, its main theme is about family, demonstrated by the brotherly (and sometimes disturbing) bond between Dean and Sam. (They have “slash” fans, if you know what I mean).

Aside from the story, SPN features classic rock music, a 1967 Chevy Impala which doubles as the Winchester’s home while on the road, and enough inside jokes which can render the non-watcher completely bewildered on why “pudding” is hilarious.

The Winchesters

** WARNING: I will tell my version of their story. It will be filled with details which may induce yawning (‘cuz you know them already) or may make you strangle me for over-sharing. Don’t tell me later I didn’t care about your feelings.**

So aside from the regular monster of the week killing spree, the entries below will describe the seasonal dilemma and the implied bitchy hellatuses/hellati (?) in between that the super-fans had to endure while watching this show.

Season 1:  Dean and Sam searches for John Winchester (their father) while figuring out the connection between the mysterious demise of Sam’s girlfriend, Jessica, and their mother’s death 22 years earlier. Fast forward several monsters later and blah blah blah, THEY FIND DAD. Only in the end all three of them figure in a car crash. (Such a happy reunion.)

Season 2: To save Dean’s life (badly injured in the crash), John Winchester makes a deal with the same demon who killed his wife. So by the end of episode one, Dean lives and dad goes to hell.  Meanwhile, Sam starts to develop psychic powers. This troubles Dean because these “powers” seem to be connected to the Yellow-Eyed Demon (or YED) Azazel, who was responsible for their mum’s and Jessica’s deaths (and technically speaking, dad’s death as well).  They were able to eliminate YED.  But whilst battling YED, the Winchesters (along with friends, Ellen Harvelle and Bobby Singer) failed to prevent the opening of The Devil’s Gate. Hence, unleashing hundreds of scary demons on earth. Oh by the way, before all these things happened … Sam died. And in true Winchester tradition, Dean makes a deal with a crossroads demon in exchange for Sam’s life. Sam is resurrected (hence, was able to help in defeating YED), and Dean has one year to live before he goes to hell.

Season 3: Sam tries to find a way to save Dean from his fate. At the same time, they try to send some escaped demons back to the pit. After a writers’s strike and only 16 episodes (which is roughly less than a year’s work in TV series world), Dean Winchester goes to hell. (Fan girls cry throughout the hiatus).

And then something interesting walked in the neighborhood ….

If it’s not the wings, it’s the trench coat.

Season 4:  After spending summer in the pit, Dean walks out of hell. And no, Sam did not deal with a demon (he was just semi-dating a Ruby).  A Castiel happened. And while we’re at it, the angel (the picture explains it) tells Dean he’s got some heavenly work to do (hence, why the saving of his butt in hell).  This job happens to be stopping the rising of Lucifer.  How the heck to manage it? Prevent 66 seals that hold the Fallen’s cage from being broken by the demon, Lilith. Add to Dean’s laundry list, prevent Sam from going Vader. (C’mon Sam, dating a demon? Really, what did you expect?)  Meanwhile, Dean tries to dodge the other angels (who happen to be “dicks”) with the help of Castiel (who sided with Dean and rebelled for Dean). After all this, Dean fails in preventing Sam from going darkside and killing Lilith (who happens to be the last of the 66 seals to be broken).  In the end, Castiel gets blown into smithereens. Lucifer rises. The Apocalypse starts. Sam and Dean “dies.” (Clap your hands anyway, Dean killed Ruby).

(I love season 4. It was the most fantastic of them all, in my opinion).

Season 5: Sam and Dean gets magically transported in a plane, thanks to God. So they’re resurrected (again). Angels (and demons) try to get to them because the Apocalypse just started and the title fighters, Archangel Michael and Lucifer, will be needing their “vessels,” which happens to be … you guessed it, Dean and Sam. (The universe seems to revolve around these two).  Castiel, also not dead, searches for God in order to stop the end of the world. He fails, so he goes drinking.  Meanwhile, aside from refusing to be prom dresses for the warring Archangels, the brothers have to stop the four horsemen: War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death. After acquiring three rings from War, Famine, and Pestilence (and losing some friends), the Winchesters finally get some reprieve by gaining Death’s help and assistance from a demon named Crowley. The brothers hatch up a plan which inevitably separates them. Lucifer was able to body-snatch Sam and faces off with Michael (who was wearing Adam, the Winchester’s half-brother … one episode, just watch it sometime).  Anyway, in the last minute Sam was able to control Lucifer and hurls himself (and Lucifer) along with Michael into the waiting cage. Castiel appears again (after being killed by Lucifer because he threw a Molotov at Michael and yelled “Assbutt” – yes, you have to know these things) and tries to comfort Dean. Dean gives up hunting and moves in with a former flame, Lisa, and her son, Ben.

And then at the end of the whole finale, Sam watches Dean across the street.

(Everybody goes WTH?!)

Season 6: Sam is alive.  Half of the season is devoted to answering the mystery of his return and why he acts strange. And then to the discovery that he is missing his soul (which is still left in the cage with Lucifer and Michael). Furthermore, how Dean plans to retrieve Sam’s soul, and while doing so how to defeat The Mother-of-All monsters – and we’re not talking of Lady Gaga.  (That was a long half season.) Meanwhile, Castiel is fighting a civil war in heaven against Archangel Raphael.  In the process, he teams up with Crowley to get souls from Purgatory to have an upper hand in the battle. Somewhere towards the end, Sam gets his soul (“undamaged” as long as the brain “wall” built by Death remains intact). And they kill the Mother-of-All monsters. However, Castiel double-crosses Crowley, betrays the Winchesters, goes darkside and claims to be the new God.

With the exception of The French Mistake (hands down, the funniest episode in SPN history), Season 6 is not exactly my kind of pie. Though I don’t agree with some of the opinions, I think the Youtube video of Hitler said it best:

Hitler’s Reaction to Supernatural Season 6 Finale

(Kudos to iluffKakashi for making this video hilarious enough.)

Season 7: Castiel’s sudden rise to power resulted in an equivalent downfall. He had to return the souls he took from Purgatory, died in the process, and unfortunately released the suckiest villains ever – the Leviathans, monsters which eat people with extra cheese and gets killed off by borax (alright, beheading too). Meanwhile, Sam starts seeing HaLucifer (hallucinations of Lucifer) as the “wall” put up by Death slowly gets breached because of Castiel’s betrayal.  Adding more injury: the beloved Impala gets hidden while they keep a low profile from the powerful Leviathan, Dick Roman. Adding more more injury: Bobby Singer, the boys’s foster father, dies and turns into a ghost. So don’t blame Dean when he became more alcoholic. Castiel finally returns only to become crazy and useless after transferring Sam’s hallucinations to himself (as redemption to what he has done) ….

The board game of redemption.

(While I join some fans in a collective facepalm and pray to God for a Season 8 renewal, the unexpected finale strolls along waking me from alcoholic coma.)

…..  After finally killing Dick Roman (yes!), Dean and Castiel find themselves in Purgatory while Sam is left alone (and clueless). So what the heck happened? Boys and girls, let’s all thank … CROWLEY! Desperate to get rid of the Winchesters, Dick Roman made a mistake by dealing with the king of hell. Unfortunately, the boys also committed the same mistake semi-trusting the demon. So in the end, the Winchesters & Castiel and Dick Roman got double crossed by Crowley.

Damn it, I love this show.

Postscript: I was late in joining the Team Winchester bandwagon. The series was already in the middle of the seventh season airing on Fridays (an indication that it was headed to the graveyard) when I started watching it.  I barely had 5 months –  from Season 1 and to catching Season 7’s finale last week. Imagine my glee upon hearing the news that this show is renewed for an 8th season and moved to a Wednesday.

This is my first time to experience “hellatus.” It’s been less than a week and I had to deal by blogging about it.

Waiting for October 10th will be painful.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Supernatural, TV

 

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Comett – Once Upon A Time/City of Lights

I don’t really post music videos on this blog, but I’ll make an exception for these guys, Comett.  Really cool video and this particular song can be my blog’s theme.

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2012 in MUSIC

 

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