Space bums, dimension-jumping duos, voices from the past, and A Sideline In Vengeance - just some of what's been setting the tone this month...
Click "READ MORE" below to see this month's looks, sounds, vibes & flavours...
Red Dwarf: Series 12 - so, after a rather bumpy first half of the latest series, The Boys from The Dwarf soar back into good graces with an increasingly good back-half, climaxing with the brilliant sixth episode "Skipper" in which Rimmer searches for a universe where he's less of a loser. The final episode of the series impressed with a solid story based on intriguing scientific ideas (e.g. a new universe is created for every decision you DON'T make in this one), which is wide open to comedic possibilities; sprinkle in the Dwarfers - and a dash of nostalgia (Holly, Captain Hollister, the original bunk room) - and you've got the best episode of the series and, arguably, one of the best episodes of the entire show's history. I'd very much welcome a thirteenth (and possibly fourteenth?) series, but more consistency in the quality of episodes is a must: tightening some of the storytelling, adjusting the structure of certain gags for greater comedic impact, and more 'back and forth escalation' in the dialogue for that classic Red Dwarf sense of intricately-woven absurdity.
Ash vs Evil Dead: Season 2 (Blu-Ray) - a second swing for the second season with 'Ashy Slashy' and the 'Ghost Beaters' gang. The infamous morgue fight in episode two is still as grossly entertaining as it was the first time around, and the roster of supporting characters (from big bad Baal, to appearances from Ash's father, best friend Chet, and sister Cheryl) provide not only mucho mirth, but good stories to hang around them as well. I'm really looking forward to Season 3 - bring it on - but please don't let it be the last, Starz!
Cold Blooded Beast (Blu-Ray) - full review here.
Rick & Morty: Season 1 - a few years late to the party, but better late than never. I was generally aware of the show for a few years now, and the screeds of praise it has received is all spot-on. So, I'll simply say this: the Jelly Bean King ... crikey!
Baby Driver (Blu-Ray) - Edgar Wright's most recent film is his 'most American' in terms of look and feel, but the writer/director's fingerprints are evident throughout, bringing so much vitality to a story that could have so easily been botched into a generic actioner by lesser hands. Gun fights, car chases, proper action and shit - choreographed and meticulously composed as if it was a musical.
HIM "Razorblade Romance", "Deep Shadows & Brilliant Highlights", "And Love Said No", "Dark Light"
CKY "Volume 1", "Infiltrate. Destroy. Rebuild.", "An Answer Can Be Found", "Carver City"
The Swimming Pool Q's "Corruption" - as featured in the Frank Henenlotter movie "Brain Damage" during the infamous 'Hell Club' sequence.
VIBES & FLAVOURS:
"A Sideline In Vengeance" - it's been a year since I last worked on this and at the time I'd exhausted all the ideas I had for it. That was as far as I could take it then, but now, with another year's writing experience under my belt, especially the practical experiences working on "For Want Of A Nail", I have returned to give this conspiracy thriller a bloody good tidying up by enacting the lessons I've learned since I last touched it. Even something as seemingly simple as just how you put the words on the page can change a fair bit in that time, so this month I've dived in with both feet to wrestle a new version of it into shape.
Tales From Times Square: The Tapes - Josh Alan Friedman's new podcast, constructed from reminiscences and cassette tape interviews from the denizens of 'The Deuce' and its surroundings. A fascinating and lyrical dive into a world where mankind's secret desires and perversions were writ large in neon and splashed upon marquees.
Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast - this one has been going for a while and I just discovered it through a recent episode of Pete Holmes' podcast 'You Made It Weird'. The comedian and voice actor is anything but politically correct (so sensitive souls residing in their safe spaces, oblivious to their own hypocrisies need not apply *smirk*), but evidently it comes from a place of 'everyone is a target in comedy'. Interviewing all kinds of people from the world of comedy and film (including many niche market names you may never have heard of), it's a humorously coarse delve into Gottfried's off-piste interests and weird fascinations.